Interview: The Circle’s Sammie Cimarelli

Netflix’s The Circle has proved to be a success and it also brought a discussion about how impactful social media is. From the hashtags, to having a conversation with random strangers, and to posting pictures online for you to be anxious on who noticed the picture, The Circle exploited the functions of social media from the first episode, to the end. One of the most popular members of The Circle is Sammie Cimarelli and she is here to talk about her time on the game show along with a few facts that you have not known about her until now in this exclusive interview.

Tell me more of yourself. What was it like growing up and what were your best memories with your family?

SC: “I grew up in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. I have only lived in Miami since June of 2017 and I have 6 sisters and 2 brothers. My best memories with my family are traveling and going on vacations. We also have a lot of holiday traditions. Egg hunts on Easter, finding the pickle in the tree on Christmas, playing games on Thanksgiving, etc. My family is really close and making memories has always been something important for us.”

You must have a lot of interests outside of the show and social media. What do you like to do in your spare time that you would like your fans to know?

SC: “In my spare time, I absolutely love to sing and dance. I have also been looking into taking acting and singing lessons because I really want to mold my talents into something other than just a hobby I do in my room. I have actually sang in my high school chorus and was part of a jazz band competition where I had a full jazz band playing behind me while I sang.”

How were you approached to join The Circle? and who pitched the concept to you?

SC: “I was approached through a phone call.”

Being that this is an episodic reality-based game show, how did you and everyone else kept it a secret to the general public?

SC: “We agreed through legal paperwork to follow regulations and restrictions in regard to the show.”

I also wanted to know, how long were all of you in that house and if you were able to go outside of the house when the cameras were not on? I also noticed that there were cameras all over the room. Were those the only cameras that were used, or was there also a camera crew there without the viewer noticing?

SC: “Camera’s were always rolling; the cameras were only unable to film when walking room to room. The cameras seen hanging in each room were the only cameras around. There was never a camera crew in the apartment.”

Were there any times that the voice activated app did not work, or did not hear your voice?

SC: “No. Not once.”

Do you feel that The Circle exposed the dark side of social media?

SC: “I feel The Circle exposed a lot of darkness and light for social media. I think it also exposed the precautions that should be taken when using social media and how careful one should be when interacting with others through an app, when you have no met this person directly.”

Some of my favorite moments watching The Circle were the game challenges as I was anxious to see who was going to win the challenge. What were some of your favorite game challenges?

SC: “I would say my favorite game challenge was the cake challenge and the painting challenge, simply because we were given items to use and create things. The other challenges were fun, however, my mind was being used differently for the cake and paint challenges. Which I feel like I needed while being secluded in that apartment for so long.”

One of the challenges involved everyone making an anonymous comment on everyone’s photo with a hashtag and this was at the point where I was hooked to see who would get exposed first. Before it was revealed who would be the next catfish, who did you think it was?

SC: “I think we all knew before, during, and after that game that Mercedez was the catfish.”

Was there at any point that you wanted to go to see if the other cast members were not catfishing even though you were not supposed to?

SC: “There actually was never a point in time where I wanted to go see the other cast members to see if they were lying or not. It was really fun having to guess and actually play the game to see who was real and who wasn’t.”

I love the show and I hope that it returns for season 2. If someone was auditioning for The Circle, what advice would you give them?

SC: “Bring a lot of things to keep you occupied!!!! Seriously, bring a suitcase of things.”

You also have a YouTube channel and you have a great amount of content. Did the cast recognized you from your channel when they first saw you? 

SC: “No, they did not see my YouTube channel at first.”

What are some of your upcoming projects and where everyone can find you on social media?

SC: “Currently I am unable to speak on upcoming projects but there will definitely be more of me!!! You can find me on Instagram, Twitter and Youtube @itsssammiee”

Follow me on Instagram and Twitter @julianexcalibur for more content. Contact me at julian@alternativemindz.com

New Hasbro Marvel BLACK WIDOW Product Revealed

MARVEL LEGENDS SERIES 6-INCH BLACK WIDOW Figure

 (HASBRO/Ages 4 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $29.99/Available: Spring 2020)

Fans, collectors, and kids alike can enjoy this MARVEL LEGENDS SERIES 6-INCH BLACK WIDOW figure, inspired by the character from the MARVEL comics. This figure features premium design, detail, and articulation for high poseability and display in any action figure collection. The figure also includes a clear, flexible action stand which can hold it in a perfect action pose and features peg holes to attach accessories. Includes figure, stand, and 12 accessories. Available for pre-order at Walmart.com,Best BuyEntertainment EarthBig Bad Toy Store, and Hasbro Pulse.

NERF POWER MOVES MARVEL BLACK WIDOWSTINGER STRIKE NERF DART-LAUNCHER

(HASBRO/Ages 5 & up/Approx. Retail Price: $19.99/Available: Spring 2020)

Inspired by the BLACK WIDOW movie, this NERF POWER MOVES MARVEL BLACK WIDOWSTINGER STRIKE NERF DART-LAUNCHER offers exciting MARVEL action and adventure. With this role-play toy, kids can imagine taking a swipe at TASKMASTER and other evildoers! Boys and girls will love pretending to be BLACK WIDOW, holding down the button on the launcher and performing the STINGER STRIKE move to launch a NERF dart! Includes blaster, 3 NERF darts, and instructions. Available at most major retailers.

MARVEL BLACK WIDOWTASKMASTER STEALTH SLASH SWORD AND SHIELD

(HASBRO/Ages 5 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $19.99/Available: Spring 2020)

TASKMASTER is armed with the ability to mimic an enemy’s every move. Imagine the masked assassin TASKMASTER  suiting up and carrying out deadly missions with this MARVEL BLACK WIDOWTASKMASTER STEALTH SLASH SWORD AND SHIELD, inspired by MARVEL’S BLACK WIDOWmovie. The calculating and formidable TASKMASTER always has a surprise for enemies. Pull the sword from the shield and imagine surprising other combatants in battle! Slide the switch on the shield and it retracts into a gauntlet or opens up. The shield also includes an elastic strap that fits easily on most fans’ wrists. Includes sword, shield, and instructions. Available at most major retailers.

Fear The Walking Dead Reveals a Returning Character From The Walking Dead

Fear The Walking Dead is currently producing the sixth Season and the season will feature the long awaited return of Sherry. Christine Evangelista will reprise her role for the first time since Season 7 of The Walking Dead.

Sherry was last seen on the eleventh episode of Season 7 as she escaped The Sanctuary. Sherry then left Dwight (Austin Amelio) a note explaining why she left and has also left him notes to find her. Dwight did exactly that after he was exiled by Daryl at the end of Season 8. His journey of finding Sherry begun from there and it led to him all the way to Texas (Which also lead to Dwight crossing over to Fear The Walking Dead) and he has been getting closer to finding her throughout Season 5 of Fear.

Christine has been spotted in the Austin, TX area not too long ago and AMC wanted to get ahead of the speculation and straight up shared the image on Twitter with the line
“Is this a dream, or a reunion? #FearTWD” earlier today and compared to her last appearance, her look has entirely changed. Scott Gimple was also interviewed by EW as well this week and he mentioned that the sixth season of Fear will have a time jump as he said “We’re going to see a lot of time pass” which could also factor on when she would appear in the season. I also interviewed Colby Minifie (Virginia) last year and asked about Sherry and Colby teased that it could happen at the time.

What do you think about Sherry crossing over to Fear The Walking Dead?

 Follow me on Instagram and Twitter @julianexcalibur for more content. Contact me at julian@alternativemindz.com.

It Is Time for Walker Stalker Con/Fan Fest to Come to an End for Good

I am a huge The Walking Dead fan starting with the comic book series in the mid 2000’s. When the boom period of The Walking Dead has hit the mainstream media, so too did Walker Stalker Con/Fan Fest. It was a great opportunity to not only meet your favorite stars of the television series (along with more actors and actresses from different television series), but to also see them speak to the fans live at a the panels. I covered one of their shows back in 2016 and it was a blast and I was hoping to go back the next year, but that did not happen. But if you were to tell me that a convention as big as a scale as Walker Stalker Con gone from having thousands of attendees in one weekend to having less than a few hundred four years later, I would have said that it could not happen. But that came to reality at last weekend’s Fan Fest in Nashville. I will get to the crap show in a moment, but here are many reasons why that this show should go away for good.

Fan Fest is owned by James Frazier. Remember that name because he will be on this article a lot! He founded the event back in 2013 and it was a massive hit with the community and the attendees. Huge A-list actors and actresses were there such as Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Kit Harrington, Danai Gurira, Stephen Amell, Melissa McBride, etc. For these events, it was the only time that fans can meet them face to face and get their picture with them and an autograph too. As the time went by, there were rumors that speculated that James owed the bigger name talent money. James neither confirmed or denied those rumors at all, but more signs of this came too light as select talent started to part ways with James. 

As that happened, the attendance rate begin to decline. James Frazier stated that this happened due to the decline of the popularity of The Walking Dead, but this proves to be untrue due to the fact that the stars of the show are at different conventions and their table is usually full with a long line (I seen this happen at other conventions and I can say that those lines for stars like Austin Amelio, Khary Payton, Lindsley Register, and others are very full). The truth is, fans stopped attending because they were also owed money as well. Picture this, you pay up to $1000 for a VIP experience (side note, if you pay for that experience at one of their shows, you will also have to pay extra to get a photo/auto with the talent) to meet Norman Reedus. He cancles his appearance and then you are trying to get a refund. But no, the chances of you actually getting a refund is as low as winning the lottery as you either do not get a response from an email, or you will have to wait up to a year. This happened to a large amount of attendees and what is more disgusting about this is that FF/WSC ocassionally false advertises talent appearances and once the talent finds out about this, they outright let their fan base know that they are not attending.

Back in the summer, Khary Payton and Cooper Andrews were the first stars of The Walking Dead to publicly announce that they have served ties with WSC/FF and after that, more stars begin to disassociate with the event and James Frazier himself. It got much worse when media outlets such as ComicBook.com and the local news started to pick up on the story of how fans and talent were treated by James. Also to add, I believe the one star of The Walking Dead that got treated the absolute worst of them all is Angel Theory. Angel was verbally assaulted by a member of the security team last fall at Walker Stalker Con because she had her service dog at her table. Angel is hearing impaired so her dog was needed at the area and the security guard decided to take it upon himself to cause a scene for no reason. This also looked very bad on James Frazier because he failed to give Angel (and also the attendees at that show) an American Sign Language interpreter at that show. Angel (and also co-star Nadine Marissa) did a live video on Instagram detailing their horrible experience with James Frazier and how the entire incident affected them along with James owing them money. They both has since disassociated with James Frazier and started to appear on different conventions since then.

Also on that same day, two more incidents happened within hours of each other. The first, an attendee and her mother were told to leave the convention by a security guard without giving them a reason. He just told them two that they were not allowed to come back to the event. How can a guard do that when they did absolutely nothing? I believe that he messed up and kicked out the wrong people and did not want to admit that he was wrong. Those two also paid over $1000 for a VIP experience and they were treated poorly. Did you think that James Frazier cared? Nope! The second incident took place right before the day finished as I will not fully blame the volunteers because they had to deal with James’ nonsense and they were not even paid at all. Keep in mind that James left the building when this happened so you know damn well he most likely ignored all of the calls and texts. The printer that prints the photo ops stopped working and there were attendees that did not receive their photo ops at all. The volunteers tried their best to take care of everyone in this situation, but it only half-worked as only a small number of attendees got their photo ops after the machine was fixed and for the ones that did not get their physical photo op, they had to get theirs via email and for the ones that tried, only a very few actually got. This happened due to the photo ops company serving ties with WSC/FF about a week prior so picture the chaos of trying to get a new company within that time frame. All of this can be seen on Ronny Haze’s (Make A Path Presents) discussion video and it is far worse than what I described.

A few days after the mess of Atlanta, James Frazier stepped down as the CEO and made a short statement: “Today, I’m turning it over to new leadership and stepping down. I will no longer have any decisions in the direction of the company and it’s daily management. I will make sure that they are up to speed on each issue and make myself available to assist them in any way that would help them succeed.” Michael DeVault became the new CEO as he wanted to fix everything that happened and he promised that the next show in Nashville will happen and that he will work on making sure that everyone gets refunds and will only work on a $1 salary until everyone is satisfied. That sounded promising on his video, but the reality came as he was as useful as Eric Bischoff’s run as the head director of Smackdown on FOX and they both have something in common and that is, they both did not last. The only difference here is that Michael only lasted a few days and Eric lasted a few months. Michael resigned as the CEO and it made me think the entire time that he was there just to be the “fall guy” as Bischoff was when something got bad and what Michael stepped in was already a sinking ship.

Fan Fest Nashville took place last weekend and the only Walking Dead related stars that were there were the prisoners from season 3. Select cast members of Sons of Anarchy were also there, but that did not save the show as there was less than 100 people over there for both days! That was very telling that this show could be the last ever show. I have never seen a big show fall this fast. And not only was the attendance very low, but Michael DeVault was there showing his face in all of this making a mockery to attendees that talked bad about him.

But the joke is sure on him because there was no bag check, no security in the front, no shirts for VIP attendees, and no weapon check. Also, it seems like nobody was running the show all weekend and that tells you how outlaw they are.

Now I am not the type of person to knock somebody while they are down, but because James treated attendees and the talent unfairly for up to almost two years at this point so he needs to be dealt with whether if it is a class action lawsuit, or anything else in that matter. You not only owe it to the fans, but to also the talent that you also owe money to as well. I will never understand how James Frazier got greedy. For a company that was once “for fans, by fans”, they turned into “for money, by money” very quick. I hope that Fandemic Tour wipes away the harsh memory of Walker Stalker Con/ Fan Fest for good.

Follow me on Instagram and Twitter @julianexcalibur for more content. Contact me at julian@alternativemindz.com

Superman: Red Son arrives 2/25 on Digital, 3/17 on 4K/Blu-ray

SUPERMAN: RED SON

COMING FEBRUARY 25, 2020 TO DIGITAL;

ARRIVING MARCH 17, 2020 ON

4K ULTRA HD™ BLU-RAY COMBO PACK,

& BLU-RAY™ COMBO PACK

BURBANK, CA (December 18, 2019) – What if the Man of Steel was raised behind the Iron Curtain? So begins DC’s acclaimed Elseworlds story, Superman: Red Son, the next entry in the popular series of DC UniverseMovies. Produced by Warner Bros. Animation and DC, the feature-length animated film arrives – along with a new DC Showcaseanimated short, Phantom Stranger– from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment on Digital starting February 25, 2020, and on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack and Blu-rayCombo Pack on March 17, 2020. 

Superman: Red Son will be available on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack (USA $39.99 SRP; Canada $43.99 SRP) and Blu-ray Combo Pack (USA $24.98 SRP; Canada $34.97 SRP) as well as on Digital. The 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack features an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc in 4K with HDR, a Blu-ray disc featuring the film in hi-definition, and a digital version of the movie. The Blu-ray Combo Pack features a Blu-ray disc with the film in hi-definition, a DVD with the film in standard definition, and a digital version of the movie. 

Based on DC’s famed Elseworlds tale from 2003, Superman: Red Sontakes place in an alternate realitywhere the spaceship bearing the last survivor of Krypton crash lands – not in rural Kansas, but in Stalinist Russia. Can this Cold War-era Earth survive the coming of a Soviet Superman?  

Golden Globe-nominated actor Jason Isaacs leads a stellar cast as the voice of the alternate, Soviet take on Superman. Isaacs, one of the stars of the Harry Potterfilm franchise, Star Trek: Discoveryand more than 120 films and television series, gets his turn as a Super Hero after three memorable appearances in DC Universe Moviesas famous Super-Villains from the DC library. Isaacs previously voiced Sinestro in Green Lantern: Emerald Knights, Lex Luthor in Justice League: Gods and Monstersand Ra’s al Ghul in Batman: Under the Red Hood.

Joining Isaacs is Diedrich Bader (American Housewife, Veep, The Drew Carey Show) as Lex Luthor, Amy Acker (Angel, Person of Interest, The Gifted) as Lois Lane, Vanessa Marshall (Young Justice, Star Wars Rebels) as Wonder Woman, Phil Morris (Seinfeld, Doom Patrol) as James Olsen, Academy Award winner Paul Williams (Goliath, Phantom of the Paradise) as Brainiac, Roger Craig Smith (Batman NinjaBatman: Arkham Origins) as Batman, Sasha Roiz (Grimm) as Hal Jordan, Phil LaMarr (Futurama, Pulp Fiction, Justice League/Justice League Unlimited) as John Stewart, Jim Meskimen (Parks and Recreation, Impress Me) as John F. Kennedy, Travis Willingham (Critical Role, Batman: Bad Blood) as Superior Man, William Salyers (Regular Show, Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders) as Joseph Stalin, and Winter Ave Zoli (Sons of Anarchy, Bosch) as Svetlana.

Superman: Red Sonis produced and directed by Sam Liu (Reign of the Supermen) from a script by J.M. DeMatteis(Batman: Bad Blood, Constantine: City of Demons). Jim Krieg (Batman: Gotham by Gaslight) is co-producer. Amy McKenna (The Death of Superman) is producer. Executive Producers are Sam Register and Bruce Timm (Batman: The Animated Series). 

“Elseworlds tales from DC’s vast library of stories have long electrified fans across the globe, and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has now begun to mine these fascinating stories – first with last year’s release of Batman:Gotham By Gaslight, and now with Superman: Red Son,” said Mary Ellen Thomas, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Senior Vice President, Originals, Animation and Family. “Together with Bruce Timm’s animated short,Phantom Stranger, this combination of unique storytelling promises to entertain in unexpected ways.”

Superman: Red Son Special Features

4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack and Digital

  • DC Showcase: Phantom Stranger (Animated Short) –Animation legendBruce Timm helms Phantom Strangeras both executive producer & director from a script written by Ernie Altbacker (Teen Titans: The Judas Contract). Set in the 1970s, the short follows young adult Jess as she joins her friends at a party in adilapidated mansion hosted by the mysterious Seth … when odd things begin to happen to Jess and her friends, can Phantom Stranger intervene? Peter Serafinowicz (The Tick) gives voice to Phantom Stranger, and Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville, Impastor) provides the voice of Seth. Phantom Strangeralso features the voices of Natalie Lander, Grey Griffin and Roger Craig Smith.
  • Cold Red War (New Featurette) – An exploration of the Cold War through the lensof the Elseworlds classic Superman: Red Son, as Superman rises to power and tension escalates between the United States and the Soviet Union.  
  • Two episodes from Superman: Red Son – The Motion Comics.
  • A Sneak Peek at the next DC Universe Movie, Justice League Dark: Apokolips War–     An advanced look at the next animated film in the popular DC UniverseMovies collection.

Superman: Red Son will also be available on Movies Anywhere. Using the free Movies Anywhere app and website, consumers can access all their eligible movies by connecting their Movies Anywhere account with their participating digital retailer accounts.

Fans can also own Superman: Red Son via purchase from digital retailers beginning February 25, 2020.

DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION ELEMENTS

On February 25, 2020, Superman: Red Son will be available to own in high definition and standard definition from select digital retailers including Amazon, the Apple TV app, FandangoNOW, PlayStation, Vudu, Xbox and others. On March 17, 2020, Superman: Red Son will be made available digitally on Video On Demand services from cable and satellite providers, and on select gaming consoles.

ABOUT MOVIES ANYWHERE

Movies Anywhere is a digital movie platform that enables movie fans to discover, access, and watch their favorite digital movies in one place. Movies Anywhere brings together a library of nearly 7,500 digital movies from Sony Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox Film, The Walt Disney Studios (including Disney, Pixar, Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm), Universal Pictures (including DreamWorks and Illumination Entertainment) and Warner Bros., and will continue to expand the consumer experience as more content providers, digital retailers and platforms are added. By connecting participating digital retailers that include Amazon Prime Video,  the Apple TV app, FandangoNOW, Google Play, and Vudu, movie fans can now bring together their digital movie collections (whether purchased or redeemed) in one place and enjoy them from the comfort of their living rooms, and across multiple devices and platforms, including Amazon Fire devices; Android devices and Android TV; Apple TV, iPhone, iPad and iPod touch; Chromecast; Roku® devices and popular browsers. Movie fans can also redeem digital codes found in eligible Blu-ray and DVD disc packages from participating studios and enjoy them through Movies Anywhere. Movies Anywhere – your movies, together at last.

ABOUT DIGITAL 

Digital movies or TV episodes allow fans to watch a digital version of their movie or TV show anywhere, on their favorite devices. Digital movies or TV episodes are included with the purchase of specially marked Blu-ray discs. With digital, consumers are able to instantly stream and download movies and TV shows to TVs, computers, tablets and smartphones through retail services. For more information on compatible devices and services go to wb.com/digitalmoviefaq. Consult a digital retailer for details and requirements and for a list of digital-compatible devices.

BASICS

PRODUCT                                                                 SRP

4K UHD Combo Pack                                                $39.99 USA, $43.99 Canada

Blu-ray Combo Pack                                                  $24.98 USA, $34.97 Canada

Blu-ray Languages: English, Spanish, French

Blu-ray Subtitles: English, Spanish, French

4K Blu-ray Languages:English, Spanish, French

4K Blu-ray Subtitles:English, Spanish, French

Running Time: 84 minutes

PG-13 for violent content, bloody images, suggestive material, language, thematic elements and some smoking.

About Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, Inc.: 

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (WBHE) brings together Warner Bros. Entertainment’s home video, digital distribution and interactive entertainment businesses in order to maximize current and next-generation distribution scenarios. An industry leader since its inception, WBHE oversees the global distribution of content through packaged goods (Blu-ray Disc™ and DVD) and digital media in the form of electronic sell-through and video-on-demand via cable, satellite, online and mobile channels, and is a significant developer and publisher for console and online video game titles worldwide. WBHE distributes its product through third party retail partners and licensees.

ABOUT DC

DC is one of the largest English-language publishers of comics and graphic novels in the world and home to some of the most iconic and recognizable characters ever created. As a creative unit of WarnerMedia, DC is charged with strategically integrating its stories and characters across film, television, consumer products, home entertainment, interactive games and the DC Universe subscription streaming service. For more information visit dccomics.com

SUPERMANand all related characters and elements are trademarks of and © DC.  © 2019 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

About Warner Bros. Animation

Warner Bros. Animation (WBA) is one of the leading producers of animation in the entertainment industry, producing and developing projects for multiple platforms, both domestically and internationally. WBA’s current series include Animaniacs for Hulu, Green Eggs and Ham for Netflix, Gremlins: Secrets of the MogwaiJellystone, Little Ellen and Looney Tunes Cartoons for HBO Max, Harley Quinn and Young Justice: Outsiders for DC UNIVERSE, DC Super Hero Girls, Teen Titans Go!, ThunderCats Roar and Unikitty! for Cartoon Network, Bunnicula, Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz, New Looney Tunes, Scooby-Doo! and Guess Who?, The Tom and Jerry Show, Wacky Races and Yabba-Dabba Dinosaurs! for Boomerang, and Mike Tyson Mysteries for Adult Swim. WBA’s full-length theatrical film, Teen Titans GO! to the Movies, was released in summer 2018. As home to the iconic animated characters from the DC, Hanna-Barbera, MGM and Looney Tunes libraries, WBA also produces highly successful animated films — including the DC Universe Movies — for DVD, Blu-ray® and digital media. One of the most-honored animation studios in history, WBA has won six Academy Awards®, 35 Emmy® Awards, the George Foster Peabody Award, an Environmental Media Award, a Parents’ Choice Award, the HUMANITAS Prize, two Prism Awards and 20 Annie Awards (honoring excellence in animation).

Winter Film Awards International Film Festival Announces 2020 Edition

NEW YORK, January 3 2020 – Winter Film Awards International Film Festival (WFA-IFF), a New York City competitive Festival with a special emphasis on showcasing the work of women and under-represented filmmakers, has announced selections for its 2020 edition. WFA-IFF received more than 650 submissions and has selected 79 films from 27 countries to be screened in February. The films include the following genres: Narrative Feature, Narrative Short, Documentary, Horror, Animation, Music Video, and Web Series.

The Festival will run from February 20 through February 29 at its main venue Cinema Village (22 East 12th Street) in Greenwich Village. In addition to screenings and filmmaker Q&A sessions, WFA-IFF will present an opening night film and entertainment industry networking event on February 20th, a series of educational sessions geared towards emerging filmmakers, including Shooting Difficult Scenes / Sex & Violence for Filmmakers, Distribution 101, All About Music for Filmmakers, Crafting an Amazing Opening Scene with Annette Insdorf, The Art of the Pitch with Seed&Spark, Camera Hacks for the Frugal Filmmaker and more. The Festival comes to a glittering close on February 29th with a Gala Award Ceremony Red Carpet event at a leading NYC nightclub. Details, schedule and additional events can be found on https://winterfilmawards.com/wfa2020/.

WFAIFF’s Executive Director Steffanie L Finn said of the 2020 edition, “Emerging filmmakers with low budgets and no connections are so often ignored in favor of the standard big budget generic action films. Diverse, exciting low budget films are created all over the world; it is critical for film festivals to showcase them. Indie film festivals are often the sole means for the community to share personal stories from around the world, and WFA’s location in the center of the action provides our filmmakers with a dazzling chance to begin their careers in the film industry.

WFA-IFF’s list of sponsors and partners for 2020 includes the NYC Department of Cultural AffairsNYC & Company FoundationJungle SoftwareMagix SoftwareNYU Women’s InitiativeFinal DraftRosco LaboratoriesElvid Cinema and Accenture. Several of the Festival’s networking events will be organized in collaboration with Liberty Coca-ColaBoxed Water and other beverages.

WFA-IFF ensures that each submission receives a fair, complete and bias-free consideration. Festival submissions are viewed and scored by a team of 75 film industry professionals from around the world. Each submission is viewed by 4-6 screeners and scored in 8 technical categories and an overall star rating. Final selections are chosen based upon average score.

WFA-IFF’s awards jury consists of a fresh set of 40 film and festival professionals from around the world. The awards jury will select award winners in thirteen categories: Best Picture, Best Short Film, Outstanding Women Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Animated Film, Best Director, Best Documentary, Best Horror Film, Best Music Video, Best Student Film, Best Web Series, and the New York Perspectives Award for outstanding depiction of New York City.

About WFA-IFF
A group of filmmakers and enthusiasts have been organizing independent competitive international film events since 2011. WFA-IFF’s mission is to promote diversity, bridge the opportunity divide and provide a platform for under-represented artists and a variety of genres, viewpoints and approaches. We believe that only by seeing others’ stories can we understand each other and only via an open door can the underrepresented artist enter the room. WFA-IFF is 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

For more information about the Festival, please visit: http://winterfilmawards.com/

FREEFORM’s TCA 2020 Session to feature “Motherland: Fort Salem,” “Everything’s Gonna Be Okay” and “Party of Five”

The Television Critic’s Association is only a few more weeks away and FreeForm has announced their plans for the winter 2020 event as three of their television series will be showcased along with panels with the cast and producers for each television show.

Motherland: Fort Salem – Premieres Spring 2020 – 

Set in an alternate America where witches ended their persecution over 300 years ago by cutting a deal with the government to fight for their country, “Motherland: Fort Salem” follows three young women from basic training in combat magic into early deployment. In this world, the traditional roles of gender and power are flipped, with the more dominant women on the front lines fighting looming terrorist threats that are familiar to our world—but with supernatural tactics and weapons.

Panelists: 

Taylor Hickson (Raelle)

Ashley Nicole Williams (Abigail)

Jessica Sutton (Tally)

Amalia Holm (Scylla)

Demetria McKinney (Anacostia)

Lyne Renee (General Alder)

Eliot Laurence (Writer, Creator, Executive Producer)

Kevin Messick (Executive Producer)

Everything’s Gonna Be Okay – Premieres January 16, 2020

Critically acclaimed for his series, “Please Like Me,” Josh Thomas once again takes on a multi-faceted role as creator, writer, executive producer and star of the 30-minute comedy. “Everything’s Gonna Be Okay” introduces Nicholas (Thomas), a neurotic twenty-something-year-old visiting his dad and teenage half-sisters (Kayla Cromer and Maeve Press), one of whom is on the autism spectrum. When Nicholas’ trip is extended due to his father’s untimely death, the siblings are left to cope with not only a devastating loss, but also the realization that Nicholas is the one who will have to rise to the occasion, move in, and hold it all together. Navigating autism, budding sexuality, consent, parenthood, adolescence, family and grief, the heartfelt comedy will follow this imperfect family as they discover the importance of finding happiness in the middle of really difficult moments, one awkward conversation at a time.

Neurodiverse actress and activist Kayla Cromer stars as Matilda, a high school senior who is driven to succeed and on the autism spectrum. She is Nicholas’s bright and outgoing half-sister who is curious and contemplative, and if she doesn’t initially understand something she’ll put in the work to figure it out. 17-year-old stand-up comedienne Maeve Press as Genevieve, Nicholas’ other half-sister who has a unique comedic sensibility and is clever, dramatic and definitely a little weird. At school she’s at odds with her authentic self, hanging around a group of girls who sharply contrast her kind-hearted family and she struggles with finding her place in the world. Newcomer Adam Faison rounds out the cast of series regulars as Alex, a romantic interest of Nicholas’ introduced in the first episode.

Stephanie Swedlove and Kevin Whyte also serve as executive producers, with David Martin, Jon Thoday, and Richard Allen-Turner executive producing for Avalon Television.

Panelists:

Josh Thomas (Nicholas) / Creator, Writer, Executive Producer

Kayla Cromer (Matilda)

Maeve Press (Genevieve)

Adam Faison (Alex)

Party of Five – Premieres January 8, 2020 

The reimagining of beloved series “Party of Five” will follow the five Acosta children as they navigate daily life struggles to survive as a family unit after their parents are suddenly deported back to Mexico. In a new iteration by original series creators Amy Lippman and Christopher Keyser, this beloved story of a young family bound by adversity will be retold through the lens of current-day themes and cultural conversations.

Panelists:

Brandon Larracuente (Emilio Acosta)

Emily Tosta (Lucia Acosta)

Niko Guardado (Beto Acosta)

Elle Paris Legaspi (Valentina Acosta)

Amy Lippman (Co-Creator, Executive Producer/Writer)

Gabe Llanas (Co-Executive Producer/Writer)

New Master Rules of Yu-Gi-Oh Slightly Sets it Back to the Original Playstyle.

Back in 2017 when Master Rule 4 was announced, we got to learn about Link Summoning and Link Monsters. This controversial rule change sparked a debate of whether if it was a good change, or a bad change since it limited the number of how many Fusion, Synchro, and XYZ Monsters you can summon from the Extra Deck. Now with this new rule, it will revive some of the old school Yu-Gi-Oh mechanics.

On the official Yu-Gi-Oh YouTube Channel during the Jump Festa Livestream, the announcement came and that means, As of April 1st, Fusion, Synchro and Xyz monsters will be summonable to the Main Monster Zone in addition to the Extra Monster Zone. The rules for Pendulum and Link Monsters will remain the same. You are not limited to 1 of each anymore.

This means that you do not need to have a Link Monster on the Extra Zone to point to the direction of where you can Fusion, Synchro, or XYZ Summon a monster from the Extra Deck anymore as you can now freely summon from the Extra Deck to your Main Zone or your Extra Zone as much as you want now. However, the method of using the Link Monsters’s direction points can still be used, but it is optional now. This will also be interesting to see what will happen to the next few Forbidden, Limited, and Semi-Limited card lists since this new Master Rule could bring back more veteran players now than it did when Link Summoning has been introduced. The reason the previous Master Rule was put in place due to the fact that many of those type of monsters could be summoned very quickly.

You can see the official announcement below on the official Yu-Gi-Oh YouTube Channel!

UPDATE 1/02/2019: I reached out to a representative of Konami to comment on the Master Rule 5 change to see if it will also affect the video games (Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution, Duel Links) and the representative confirmed to me that only the physical card game will have the change and not the video games.

What do you think of the new Master Rule change? Do you think that your deck would get affected greatly by this? Or are you used to the previous Master Rule and you do not want to see it change anytime soon?

Follow me on Instagram and Twitter @julianexcalibur for more content. Contact me at julian@alternativemindz.com

Interview: Kris Statlander on her Journey as a Professional Wrestler

Kris Statlander is the newest member of the All Elite Wrestling (AEW) roster and she made her debut not too long ago on AEW Dynamite as Brandi Rhodes wanted to recruit her to her stable The Nightmare Collective. As she is there now, we look to her brief past on her time training at Create A Pro, traveling the road, and her tryout match on WWE Smackdown in this exclusive interview!

You are the first female graduate of Create A Pro. How does it feel to have that honor of being the very first of many females to graduate from the class of wrestlers over there?

KS: “Well honestly, there have been a few girls that have been training there before I have. But I was actually the first one to completely get through the training and it’s a very proud title for me to have for myself. I’m hoping I was able to set some sort of standard for the female and male trainees that come through the school.”

I must say, you and the rest setting the standard opens the door for future women that will go to the school. What was your first few months like over there and do you have any funny stories with Brian Myers? (Curt Hawkins)

KS: “I wish I had some funny stories, he got resigned with WWE shortly before I had debuted so I never got to go on the road with him like some of the other students have. But he’s been like a wrestling dad to me, as have everyone else at CAP. The first few months were incredibly challenging as have the rest of wrestling is. Wrestling itself is like the hardest thing ever. But everyone was beyond supportive and basically made sure I wouldn’t give up or quit because they all believed in me so much. It really became a family for me very quickly. “

 I have seen you wrestle at places such as Beyond Wrestling, Chaotic, and Limitless Wrestling. How far in your training did you adjust to the travel schedule in the northeast for these promotions?

KS: “There’s no really way to adjust, at least there wasn’t really for me. I just started saying yes to everybody and kind of had to just deal with it and figure it out as I go. There’s nothing to prepare you for all of the driving and travel you have to do, it’s just sort of part of the job if you want to make it in my opinion.”

You also appeared on Smackdown Live a few months ago going against The IIconics. What was it like for you to finally be seen on television that is watched by millions and did you tell anyone that you were going to appear on Smackdown before the match happened? Or did everyone found out as they watched?

KS: “I was told the match would happen shortly before they opened doors to that episode of Smackdown. I didn’t tell anybody at home or anything I don’t think because I wanted it to be a surprise. I knew my family would be watching anyways. It was amazing to be on TV, although going into it I wasn’t really focused on that and I was focused and making sure I did my part to make sure the math went as well as it could have. It was also amazing to see how many people online knew who I was even though I wasn’t in my alien form haha.”

Outside of the ring, what do you like to do on your spare time? and how has life for you changed since you started your journey as a professional wrestler?

KS: “My life is always changing and I’m always adding new things in my life. The major change in it, is the amount of traveling I’ve been doing, which is exciting but also very tiring. I just like my time at home to be just time at home. With my dog and my loved ones. Get some good workouts in and just relax during some time off the road.”

Who do you see yourself having a match with in the future since you are now in AEW? And what are some locations around the world that you would love to wrestle at?

KS: “I just want to wrestle anyone and everyone everywhere, I love meeting new people and I love getting to create something new with somebody new. But Rhio is the Women’s Champion and she would be a great opponent!”


The Worst of Video Gaming in 2019

2019 has been an absolutely great year in the video game industry and it shows with some of the releases of Death Stranding, Mortal Kombat 11, Devil May Cry 5, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, Luigi’s Mansion 3, Apex Legends, and even the Goose Game. While those releases were great, the negative news that sprung through the industry has also been made to light and it has overshadowed the good gaming news. Just like last year,I will give my opinions on the worst of the video game industry in 2019.

WWE 2K20

Four years ago, I reviewed WWE 2K15 and that game was a disaster for the lack of content and modes and I thought at the time that this game was one of the worst WWE video games I have played. But 2K20 exceeded my expectations on how ridicilously bad it is. The game has been shipped with all of the glitch glory that was not properly patched no matter how many times they released patches. Also, the career mode has some of the worst dialouge you will ever see, but knowing WWE, I can bet that whoever wrote the game’s career mode also writes bad dialouge for the WWE Superstars on a weekly basis. There was a reason to why little information about the game was revealed up until the release date and the biggest reason why is the split between Yukes and 2K that happened midway through the development of the game. Also to note, many Superstars and Legends were removed including the 1998 version of Kane. This has gotten so bad that the hashtag #fixwwe2k20 was trending worldwide which is not a good look at all for 2K. With the current generation of consoles coming to an end within the next year, this game from the WWE 2K series will be remembered for all of the bad press it has gotten.

Everything With Anthem

This game was supposed to be BioWare’s attempt to erase everything about Mass Effect Andromeda, but that did not happen and after the release of the game, the problems came to light such as extremely loading times that can go for over five minutes, crashing on the PS$ version so bad that it bricked the consoles of many players. What is also noted is that BioWare announced that it was abandoning the post-launch content to address its issues due to the negative feedback of the game. With the sales being a disaster and the player count for multiplayer going downhill ever since the launch, it would safe to say that this game has been the biggest flop of 2019, but I am saving that for the best for last.

Mario Kart Tour

Playing Mario Kart on your mobile phone or tablet has been a dream for many people and Nintendo turned that into a harsh reality with this game. When it launched, you could not play with your friends and the CPU that you were racing against were made to make it seem like you are playing an online match. But that is not as worse as the paid microtransactions as the game is full of them from the start as you cannot enjoy the full game unless you take out your debit card and buy the microtransactions. Those include the parts, the cars, and leveling up characters and unlocking tracks. I think everyone should stick with Mario Kart 8 as you can experience everything without spending real world money.

NBA 2K20’s MyTEAM Advertisements

Only 2K can take something good and turn it bad and this advertisement of the MyTEAM mode explains it all. They did not learn from last year’s game with using real world money for lootboxes last year and they will continue to not learn at all. Not only did they showcase the monetization schemes right in our faces like thye slot machines, they showed “reactors” reacting to getting great results after they paid money to use that feature. What they were trying to tell us is that “if that person could win big, so could you! take a chance and you can be just like that guy” all throuought the ad and the dislike/like ratio should be a message that we are not falling for it. But we are not done with paid microtransactions just yet.

Gotta Catch em’ All (With Restrictions Applied)

For years, I (and millions of fans and players worldwide) wanted a full scale Pokemon video game on a console and this year when the announcements of Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield happened, I was very excited. That was until more information of the game came to light. The number of Pokemon has been reduced compared to the earlier games and there were so many restrictions added in Shield/Sword that I can list that would take up the entire article. The developers at GameFreak stated that the reason for this is due to them redoing the animations from scratch, but players found out that the animations from Sword/Shield were ported over from the 3DS Pokemon games. The fire of the negative feedback has not been put out yet and it will be a long time before it does.

No Sony at E3 2019

For the first time in E3 history, Sony decided that there will not be a presentation this year at the show. This has gained a mixed reception amogst the community as everyone had no clear idea on what their vision of the rest of the year into the new year would be. Of course, now Sony has their State of Play presentations similar to Nintendo Direct, but with the lack of news and due to the fact that XBOX Series X was announced at The Game Awards, Sony has to catch up next year and skipping another year of E3 is not an option.

Activision Blizzard Laying off 800 Employees

So what does Activision Blizzard do after they announced their quarter-earnings earlier this year? They lay off about 800 employees of their staff. How can this possibly happen days after they announced that they set a record net revenue of nearly $8 billion? That wass a terrible week and the conversaion of game unionization and executive pay followed this too. What made matters worse is that a few weeks later, they had a number of positions open for new potential employees which raised the question, why did this all happen in the first place?T

A Subscription Service for Fallout 76

The more bad news about Fallout 76 comes to light, the more my eyes will roll. After a disasterous launch just last year, Bethesda decided to launch a subscription service for Fallout 76 titled “Fallout 1st.” It will cost you either $12.99 a month, or $99.99 per year. After a bad launch, Bethesda wanted to monetize everyone for it and all that it features is allowing you to play Private Worlds with your friends, unlimited storage for crafting, recieving over 1500 atoms per month, and a survival tent. This all costs more than a streaming service and it is not even worth it.

EA Neglets Gambling Laws

I saved the absolute best for last and that is EA. Earlier this year, an investigation was launched in the UK and at the House of Commons committe hearing, Kerry Hopkins compared Lootboxes to things like chocolate as Kerry believed that “people liked surprises” in his statement. She also went aqnd said “We do think the way we’ve implemented these kinds of mechanics is quite ethical and quite fun. They aren’t gambling and we disagree that there’s evidence that shows they lead to gambling.” But the most notable thing that she also said is that they do not want lootboxes to be defined that way as she referred it to “suprise mechanics.” This was very laughable and it shows how tone-deaf EA is towards paid microtransactions as gamers do not want them regardless that it is optional. How can anyone go infront of a comittee to say this? Many countries have banned lootboxes and paid microtransactions and I hope that this comes to the United States very soon. YouTube personality YongYea broke this down in further detail in the video below.

Follow me on Instagram and Twitter @julianexcalibur for more content. Contact me at julian@alternativemindz.com