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Karibukai Animation Festival

North entrance to Ballajá

This weekend I made it to the Karibukai Animation Festival. I say “made it” because it was raining constantly this past week and I waited until the very last day of the festival for drier weather.

I got the chance to meet Carlos Goméz Nicolás (Nikodemo), creator of the funny animated series from Spain Cálico Electrónico. Niko was freshly arrived from a (wet) tour of El Yunque rainforest. Poor guy came to Carlos Gómez Nicolás and Menormally sunny Puerto Rico and barely saw the sun.  He was nice enough to autograph stickers of his Cálico series for free. Cálico Electrónico is about a short chubby janitor/superhero that fights (or tries to fight) bad guys in Electronic City. Some videos the Cálico website are dubbed into English so if you can’t understand Spanish you’re in luck.

I saw Dig Comics, a pro comic book reading documentary with writer/director/host Miguel Cima (of Argentinean heritage).  From what I saw, Cima is very much a comic book fanboy and this documentary is a labor of love.  Made me smile.  There was a second documentary about comic books called Comic Book Literacy. It was a longish but very educational. I learned something of the history of comics in the United States.

Of the Japanese anime I saw, I found Gundam Unicorn to be the most interesting and will be looking for the DVD. I hadn’t seen any robot anime since Voltron.  I thought it had ruined me for anything else.

The shorts contest was disappointing not because of the quality but because of the quantity. There were only three contenders, and three prizes, so it wasn’t exactly a fierce competition. Hopefully next year we’ll get more entries. Here were the winners:Elena Montijo, Wewex Collazo, José (Pepe) Vázquez

1st place ($250) and Viewer’s Choice award ($150). Fried, Elena Montijo Capetillo. This was a cute dark humor story about a little girl who loves her chickens but each bird is a bit crazy (and the girl too). I voted for this entry because it was the one I liked best. Having it created by a woman was a nice bonus. Check out her promo video at the link. It shows a bit of the winning short starting at 0:37.

2nd place ($200). Boricuas Beyond: Happy Hour, José Luis Collazo. This animated short from the Puerto Ricans in the future series Boricuas Beyond was the one I least enjoyed. Although the animation is excellent, I didn’t like the crude humor.  It uses local pop culture and slang heavily so it would be hard to get if you’re not a Puerto Rican living on the island.

3rd place ($150). Ventana, José Vázquez. I’m not sure Ventana was a story, it was more like a look at past and future Puerto Rican cartoon characters, some corporate logos and others from comics and webseries. Vázquez also presented a short called Mad Taíno about a native couple who fight Spanish conquistadors.

I really hope more animators and  film producers participate in future Karibukai events. It’s great exposure and the money isn’t bad either. Here’s to next year not having such foul weather that keeps people home. I really enjoyed the event and hope the Karibukai Festival will become a yearly tradition.

Carlos Torres and Emilio Torres of Paquines.com, event organizers

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Fans Quest to ‘Save Our Seeker’

Variety advert funded by LotS fans

Recently Karen Méndez of IBG Inc. contacted me about the Legend of the Seeker renewal campaign. She is co-organizing efforts to bring about season 3 of this ABC series based on Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth book series. I personally love the show; it is beautifully filmed in New Zealand and has an excellent cast. It would be a shame to see it cancelled after only two seasons. Check it out if you like fantasy epics like me. The Save Our Seeker campaign gathered enough funds for advertising in top industry magazines Variety and The Hollywood Reporter– a feat that any TV show follower who’s been in a fan-driven movement can appreciate. The campaign is now bent on making sure as many public libraries as possible have the Legend of the Seeker DVDs. Their DVD campaign will end on May 30, so donate now. If you’re already a fan, there’s no confession necessary.

Here’s what Méndez said:

To date, we’ve published the two ads. There’s also a wide range of other campaigns in conjunction from fans coming together trying to do anything and everything to save our seeker. We email and snail mail to various networks, as well as ABC/Disney. We also have significant ‘Legend of the Seeker’ related items sent in, along with the letters.

One of the biggest boosts we at “Save Our Seeker” have had has been the support of Terry Goodkind, best selling author of the ‘Sword of Truth’ book series which the show is based on. He has graciously offered to collaborate with the “Save Our Seeker” campaign and we are currently working with him to launch a new campaign in the next day or so.

The season finale is [this] week and we hope to change our current situation to an announcement of ‘Legend of the Seeker’ being picked up for a third season.

All of us Legend of the Seeker fans wish the campaign every success. We’d love to continue the adventures of Seeker Richard Cypher, Mother Confessor Kahlan, Mord Sith Cara, and Wizard of the First Order Zeddicus. Find a way to support the campaign- its website SaveOurSeeker.com has several ideas on how to do this.


Filed under Sci-fi Conventions & Fan Events

Puerto Rico Comic Con 2010

This weekend the Puerto Rico Comic Con (PRCC) held its annual two-day event at the Puerto Rico Convention Center in San Juan. I visited on the first day. The PRCC is a small convention that is almost entirely a huge dealer’s room with comic book and toy vendors.  Their best feature is that the local comic book and manga artists come in person with their new material (which they all signed for the price of the book). It was great meeting them; you could tell they love what they do. Most attendees were teens and young adults interested in anime and manga, a growing trend on the island. There were plenty of cosplayers at the event along with game tournaments and a few out-of-town guests. These included Twilight actor Chaske Spencer, anime voice actor Spike Spencer, and comic book artist Michael Golden.

Hopefully next year the convention will add more panels and have an event schedule and booth map available on site. There was only one panel with Chaske Spencer limited to 300 people a day, and it cost an additional $40 to get in (daily tix were $16). So most attendees never saw the arguably biggest star of the event, and that’s a shame. While not being a Twilight fan, I would have gone out of curiosity and who knows? Maybe I would watch the movies if I was charmed by one of the actors. Spike Spencer did have a Q&A session but it wasn’t moderated; it took place in the main dealer’s room so it didn’t have the greatest sound quality. However, the actor did his best to answer questions and entertain everyone so- disaster averted.

I got the latest local comic books and talked to many artists, so in future posts I will share my thoughts about the books and whenever possible, interview the artists and writers. I’ve posted pictures of the event on the SciFi Latino Facebook page.

UPDATE 4/26/2010: More event photos by attendees at the Paquines.com and Cinemateria forum. You must register to see them, but it’s free. Click here!

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Filed under Sci-fi Conventions & Fan Events

Smallville Fans Make Tribute to Cherished Character Chloe and Actress Allison Mack (Part Two)

Elizabeth De Razzo

In the previous post I wrote about the Smallville tribute commercial that fans have been working on this year. I had the opportunity to interview Elizabeth De Razzo, who is a co-producer of the Legendary Chloe project along with Maggie Bridger. De Razzo is an actress currently residing in California. She grew up there and in Texas, where her parents were born. Her family has roots in Texas, Mexico (Monterrey and Zacatecas), and Spain. She also lays claim to Native American and French heritage. Quite a nice mix!

Ms. De Razzo has played several small TV roles. I had the opportunity to see her in Cold Case, a role she is very proud of. She plays a young college student who is an unwitting participant in a cruel frat boy prank. This was her first TV role, and you really can’t tell it is! She is also proud of her work in the Real Women Have Curves on-stage musical, where she had the chance to sing to a diverse repertoire including rancheras, tejano, and pop rock. De Razzo is very passionate about her acting and singing career. Of course she is also passionate about her work on the Legendary Chloe project. Here De Razzo speaks of her charity work, which started with a love for the X-Files, and her job on Legendary.

Besides working as an actress, you are part of a charity organization called IBG, Inc. Can you tell us about that?

IBG, Inc. was something that four friends came up with in a diner. Two of us grew up watching the X-Files (me from the age of 12 and my friend Caileigh, 9) and we really admired the character of Scully and the actress Gillian Anderson. Two of us were inspired to become actresses [because of her].  IBG, Inc. started as a thank you to Gillian for inspiring us to follow our dream. She kind of gave us that first push. We did an event and raised over $6,000 for her favorite charity and we thought this could be really great and something we could actually do. We were all philanthropic in our own way, donating whatever we could. We thought “why don’t we use this passion of being philanthropic and also what we do in the business to make events, try to get people to go meet and greet a celebrity or have something signed by a celebrity, and then all that money can go to charity?” We recently had two successful charity events and raised over $25,000 in November, then one with Rob Bowman, an executive producer of Castle, who donated set visits and we raised $15,000. We want to keep doing this and keep helping underfunded charities. Now IBG, Inc. has five members: four co-founders and our CEO who later joined us.

What genre shows do you like?

I love the X-Files. I’ve been a fan since the show started when I was 12 years old and have been a fan ever since. Scully is my all-time favorite character. She was the first strong woman that I saw on television that was in the boys’ club and taking charge. She wasn’t a damsel in distress! I also love Chloe Sullivan (Allison Mack) from Smallville. Other shows that I enjoyed were Dark Angel, and Battlestar Galactica with Edward James Olmos. I really liked Dollhouse, because I loved Amy Acker’s character [Dr. Claire Saunders] and Echo’s handler. A show can disappoint me, whether it’s the direction that they’re taking it or the writing, but I get attached to characters especially if the actors portray them in such a way that you just can’t not watch the show even if you’re dissatisfied with it. That’s what happened with Smallville. I’m characters first- I got invested in characters like Chloe Sullivan, Lionel Luthor, and Lex Luthor. It’s Clark’s story but they brought in all these interesting characters that made Smallville so much juicier. [SPOILER] Now Lionel and Lex are gone and Chloe has been relegated to the background so what I grew to love about the show is kind of slowly fading in Season 9. This really inspired me to help out in this project any way that I could.

What makes Chloe’s character so special to you?

Well the show started when I was twenty; I was just out of my teens. It’s almost like I grew up and became a young adult watching this show. What spoke to me was that she has elements of characters that I already loved, like Scully. She reminds me of a young Scully with her determination and spunk, not afraid to take on the world and fighting for what she believes in, following her dreams and pushing towards that goal. She really resonated with me and that’s who I got attached to from the beginning. I think it’s hard to get invested in the story because one thing that we’re constantly hit over the head with is that that story, that future, has already been written. Even being invested in a character like Chloe Sullivan that doesn’t exist in that story- what happens to her? That’s who I like. I know where Clark Kent ends up. I know where Lois Lane ends up.  I want to know what happens to [Chloe].  It’s really hard to take an interest in some of the story lines when that future is predestined. It’s almost redundant, and you’re just waiting for the other shoe to fall.

Working on the project

What has been your role in the Legendary Chloe Project?

I am one of the executive producers. I’m out in LA so I was in charge of gathering everyone behind the scenes- getting the director, the grip, the sound person, and set designer; casting actresses,  getting the location, and making sure things were flowing properly. Also I was in charge of reaching out to the CW, Warner Brothers and Smallville production to get permission to do this. I had dealt with Fox before for X-Files related charity events so I knew what I needed. I talked to like 50 different people until I actually spoke to the person I needed. This person was really helpful. They got us permission to use some Chloe Sullivan stills with the highest resolution. They sent us some of the Supergirl T-shirts that have the Supergirl shield the night before we shot the commercial. They knew that this was a fan-driven project, a thank you to Allison Mack for bringing to life the character of Chloe Sullivan, and a thank you to the creators, writing team and the producers for bringing that character to us.

Originally it was intended as a thank you to Allison Mack for nine great years because there’s been rumors that this was going to be her last year. We don’t know if she’s coming back or not. Her character is not promoted as much as others are, so we’re going to promote her! It’s a combination of appreciation, and saying “hey, we want her promoted too.” So, here we are: fans that love her and really want to see her out there.

How long did the commercial take to produce?

A bit stressed during production!

We started in the middle of January. First the idea got thrown out there and we thought “oh, there’s no way we can afford that.” Then when we found out the numbers, we thought it was actually feasible. Then came the process of getting the budget together, permission, getting people- some people donated their time. The actual commercial was shot in one 12-hour day.  It’s a full-blown production. Everything was professionally done. Right now we have our editor working on it and we’re adding more. We’re getting our second rough cut Thursday and we’ll go over it again. Once we get that final phase we should have our final cut and then we get our airtime- hopefully within two weeks. It will be 45 seconds long and we’re working to have it air on KTLA, the Los Angeles CW affiliate. We’re hoping to get it to other affiliates, and we’ll get it out for viral release so that people who aren’t in those areas get to see the final product.

What was this experience like for you?

It was a really great experience, getting everyone on board. Once we got on set, the feeling and the fact that people took this and ran with it- some of whom had never seen the show or really didn’t have an idea of what this was for- was wonderful. Once [its purpose] was explained they took ownership of that. Watching it happen, the vision come to life, was extraordinary and satisfying.

What can fans do now?

We’re still fundraising to try and hit other markets outside of LA. Fans can go to LegendaryChloe.com for more information. Also you can follow us on Twitter @legendarychloe.  We also have a Facebook Fan Page. Come out and support Chloe and Allison Mack!

Rally on Smallville fans! Thanks to Elizabeth De Razzo for the interview and the pictures! Remember to check the Legendary Chloe official sites for updates. Also, follow Ms. De Razzo on Twitter @ederazzo.

UPDATE 4/16/2010: Catch Elizabeth De Razzo in Season 2 of HBO’s Eastbound and Down as a recurring guest star! She’ll be filming soon in Puerto Rico.

UPDATE 5/17/2010: Full commercial here!


Filed under Television

Smallville Fans Make Tribute to Cherished Character Chloe and Actress Allison Mack (Part One)

Smallville leads Clark Kent (Tom Welling) with Chloe Sullivan (Allison Mack)

It is always a pleasure to see fellow genre fans accomplish a cool project they have worked hard for. There is a certain geeky inspiration in it for all of us to see people come together making a special contribution to their respective fandoms. A group of Smallville fans have made a wonderful tribute to their favorite character Chloe. Smallville is a TV series that follows the adventures of Clark Kent in his younger years before he becomes Superman. Chloe Sullivan is Clark’s friend and one of the main characters of the show that is already in its ninth season.

In the next post, I interview Elizabeth De Razzo, who is one of the organizers of this fan acknowledgment.

Here is the press release:

Fans honor CW leading lady & Smallville star, Allison Mack, with tribute commercial to air in Los Angeles.

Smallville fans have funded a professionally-filmed tribute commercial for the CW leading lady Allison Mack and her tv character, Chloe Sullivan, to air this Spring in Los Angeles before this season concludes. Starring on Smallville since 2001, Ms. Mack has gained a large and devoted fan base as one of the CW’s most beloved stars.

For the completion of her 9th year on the series, Smallville fans decided to celebrate Allison Mack and her tv character, Chloe Sullivan, with a commercial project entitled Legendary. Scripted and funded entirely by fans, this first of its kind tribute ad was filmed in Los Angeles in late February. In the capable hands of the director, Jon Michael Kondrath, cast and crew created a tribute ad focusing on who Chloe Sullivan is and what she means to Smallville fans.

The ad highlights milestones in Chloe Sullivan’s journey from her introduction as a high school student in Smallville to being hired at the Daily Planet as well as becoming Clark Kent’s confidante.

The website, Legendary (http://www.legendarychloe.com), has been set up for the project. Although the intial goals of the project have been met, the organizers invite other Smallville fans to help them expand the project with longer air time for the ad or airing it in a second tv market.

Ms. Mack has been the center of a flurry of fan activity recently. Earlier this year, Smallville fans participated in Operation: Truth & Justice, another initiative to honor Ms. Mack, in which fans donated $3000 to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation in her name and sent the CW star baskets of fan created gifts in appreciation of her performance.

UPDATE 5/17/2010: Full commercial here!


Filed under Television