Tender as Hellfire – The Grand Opening

Despite little more than a week’s word-of-mouth marketing, this past Thursday’s first public showing of Jason Stone’s short film “Tender as Hellfire” was a resounding success. Filmed in Porterville last summer, the film drew solid support for the last year from Porterville’s citizens. On this night, 500 of them turned out for the viewing, filling the parking lot, the lobby, and the largest theater.

Many in the crowd were friends and family of extras and crew, waiting to see their loved ones on the silver screen. The 12 people waiting for the midnight opening of Watchmen were left bewildered and wanting to join in the excitement.

The special event, organized by local producers Will Lloyd and Barry Caplan brought out local dignitaries including Chamber of Commerce leader Donette Silva-Carter and Mayor Cam Hamilton.

During celebratory speeches prior to the viewing, Mayor Hamilton presented Stone with the Key to the City.  Hamilton said this was an absolutely unprecedented presentation in the history of Porterville.  The Mayor took this step in appreciation for the way his film brought the town together and introduced it to the new opportunity of making films.

Stone, graciously accepting the unexpected honor, gave all the credit to the citizens of Porterville who gave their time and their efforts in every possible way to help make the film from the minute he first came to town.

The film, completed only 2 days before the viewing, tells the story of two teen brothers – the younger Sean and Chris (Sean Christian Day and Chris Aguilar, respectively, both locals making their acting debuts) living with their mother (Bellamy Young)  and her boyfriend French (John Hawkes) in a dusty rural trailer park

Shown primarily from Sean’s point of view, the film explores the uneasy truce between French and the boys as he wrestles with how much he wants to get to the be involved with the family.… Read the rest

Jerry Brown: Proposition 8 Should Be Struck Down

The California Supreme Court finds itself center stage this Thursday when it will hear oral arguments on whether it should uphold Proposition 8’s ban on same-sex marriage.

The case touches the heart of our democracy and poses a profound question: can a bare majority of voters strip away an inalienable right through the initiative process? If so, what possible meaning does the word inalienable have?

The state faced a dilemma like this before. In 1964, 65 percent of California voters approved Proposition 14, which would have legalized racial discrimination in the selling or renting of housing. Both the California and U.S. Supreme Courts struck down this proposition, concluding that it amounted to an unconstitutional denial of rights.

As California’s Attorney General, I believe the Court should strike down Proposition 8 for remarkably similar reasons — because it unconstitutionally discriminates against same-sex couples and deprives them of the fundamental right to marry.

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Introducing Producer Barry Caplan and Location Porterville/Tulare County, California

Tender as Hellfire Poster“Tender as Hellfire” a short thesis film by USC grad student Jason Stone, makes its silver screen debut in Porterville, CA on March 5 at 7PM at the Galaxy 9 Theater.

Filmed last summer in Porterville ((trailer is www.tenderashellfire.com ), and based on the novel by Joe Meno, TaH tells the story of a 2 brothers finding their way in a world of complex relationships that starts right at home.


French: John Hawkes http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0370035/
Cheryl: Bellamy Young http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0949292/
Chris: Chris Aguilar of Exeter in his movie premiere
Sean: Sean Christian Day of Porterville in his movie premiere

And a cast of stunt dogs, with many local extras, locations, and above the line and below the line local credits.

All are welcome to the show!

More importantly for this list, as one of the local Producers on the film, I would like to say that the town is interested in drawing more productions as part of an economic development plan.

Porterville is located 200 miles north of LA in Tulare County and offers locations ranging from rural to agricultural to some of America’s most spectacular mountains.

Because we are within an easy day’s drive from LA and the Bay Area, Porterville can be a cost-effective stand-in location for more distant places. In the case of Tender as Hellfire, the script is set in Oklahoma, but the filming was all done in California.

I am interested to network with Directors, Producers, Executive Producers, etc. to introduce you to Porterville and to learn about your interest in such scenery and general pre-production needs. I am very interested in acting as a clearinghouse for projects on one hand and film investors on the other hand.

Just as an idea of services, I can scout out locations, conduct casting, and so forth. There is more about me on my linked in page, and also here at portervillenerd.com and digimediafinance.com .… Read the rest

10 / 40 / 70 Movie Review – How does Porterville Stack Up?

Just in time for Porterville’s silver screen debut next week comes this new and clever movie reviewing technique. Take 3 still frames at arbitrary times, 10 minutes in, then 40 and 70 minutes in exactly, and review the film based on those three framse.

See how it goes with  10 / 40 / 70 Ocean’s Twelve.

I might be a while until we can see Tender as Hellfire in a format where we can view it fram by frame, but at 20 minutes long, let’s modify 10/40/70 based on assyuming a typical filml is 100 minutes long. So what would we see and learn of the film  of we grabbed a frame at 2,/8/14 minutes in?

As Associate Producer, I predict you will see a promising career for Director Jason Stone and a hardscrabble life for Porterville’s residents. Luckily, Porterville is standing in for Oklahoma in the script, which was standing in for Minnesota in the original novel, so we will see amazing acting chops by Porterville locations.

Just as well known for its foothills and vistas of distant Sierra peaks as its rustic midwestern style farming scenes, this screen rookie is worth looking into by directors everywhere. Sometime  in the future, Porterville, as the King of California Citrus, will be discovered for a role as early Orange County, maybe in a bio-pic of one of the Disneys that will be sure to pop up from time to time.

Contact me and I will show you around, online or off, for the locations you are looking for. Let The PortervilleNerd show you what Porterville can do for you.… Read the rest

Tender as Hellfire First-Ever Public “Friends and Family” Viewing March 5th

Tender as Hellfire PosterAs many of you may know, this past summer I worked as an Associate Producer on a film called Tender as Hellfire, filmed right here in Porterville. The short film is about 20 minutes long, made by USC Film School graduate student Jason Stone as his thesis film to complete his Master’s Degree.

The film is completed at last (trailer is here), and scheduled for its first ever public showing, a “Friends and Family” viewing, at the Galaxy 9 Theater on Henderson, March 5, at 7PM.

It is the story of a boy coming to grips with complex relationships in his family, especially with his mother’s boyfriend.


French: John Hawkes http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0370035/
Cheryl: Bellamy Young http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0949292/
Chris: Chris Aguilar of Exeter in his movie premiere
Sean: Sean Christian Day of Porterville in his movie premiere

All of the extras and vehicles are local folks and belong to local folks, so you might see your friends and neighbors on the big screen. Various locations in and around Porterville star in their own right.

All are welcome, and there is no charge, but be aware that this unrated film would probably be a strong pg13 and may not be appropriate for younger children. There is some sexuality (clothed) in the opening – you can see a taste of that in the trailer – and a simulated dog fight (no dogs were harmed, honest, I was there and so was the ASPCA that watches over these sorts of things).

Feel free to forward this, the more the merrier – if the theater can’t hold everyone, there will be multiple showings until everyone who wants to has seen it.… Read the rest

Water conservation in California needs to begin down on the farm « Jim Gogek

Former editorial writer Jim Gogek blogs:

Don’t get me wrong, California’s rural-based agriculture is very important. The Golden State is the nation’s breadbasket. But California’s urban-based manufacturing is even more important. In 2006, the California gross domestic product for crop and animal production was $15 billion. For manufacturing, it was $172 billion. California needs all of its industries to survive and thrive. So when we talk about conservation, let’s start the conversation with the biggest user – agriculture. After that, we can talk about three-minute showers.

Interesting article, and Jim has an interesting background. I like his  approach to discuss policy instead of politics, and his  approach to rely on facts.  As a high tech Bay Area entrepreneur relocated deep in the Central Valley (Tulare County), I am just starting to looking at some of these matters in order to identify possible solutions.

Of course there is going to be some tension making decisions and policy when there are limited resources available. That is the very definition of economics after all.

But I think he has failed his readers with what is either an incorrect statement or one disingenuously presented in his post, one that lies at the heart of the persuasiveness of his position:

“In 2006, the California gross domestic product for crop and animal production was $15 billion”

Read why this seems unlikely after the jump.

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Snapshot Statistic #1-7: A Peek at The Scale of the Food Industry

0908_62obesitythumb1From: Taxing the Rich—Foods, That Is – BusinessWeek.

Late last year, New York Governor David A. Paterson proposed an 18% sales tax on non-diet soda and sugary juice drinks for the fiscal year starting in April. Such a tax, he says, would raise $404 million this year and $539 million in 2010, to be used for fat-fighting public health programs

Snapshot Statistics:

1 – In New York State alone, an if 18% of the total retail value of non-diet soda and sugary juice drinks is $404 million, then the overall retail sales are $2.24 billion dollars for this year and  $2.94 billion for 2010.

6 more remarkable statistics after the jump.

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Food Channels: In the News

Vilsack calls for stricter food labels

The labeling requirements, which would apply to fresh meats and some perishable fruits and vegetables, long have been debated in Congress and were enacted as part of a wide-ranging farm bill last year. While the meat industry and retailers responsible for the labels have protested the changes — saying they are burdensome and could lead to higher prices — consumer groups and northern states ranchers who compete with the Canadian beef industry favor them.

Barry’s analysis:

I don’t think that this will necessarily lead to higher prices. I have been thinking nerdly thoughts about transparency in the food channel, as I mentioned in yesterday’s post about my impressions of the World Ag Expo in Tulare last week.

After the jump, read the predicted results of increased transparency.

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PDC Map Clears Up Some Mysteries

Whenever I speak with folks from PDC, even the layout of the place is a mystery, let alone the jargon they use regarding programs as substitutes for location of work spaces.

I came across this map which solves both problems. Click the image for the large version.



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World Ag Expo Review – Specific Impressions

Here I offer some specific insights into what I saw at the show. Here are  my more general impressions.

I am not a farmer, but I am increasingly interested in the business of farming and how my skills in software innovation and marketing relate and can be applied. In that regard, I am fortunate to live so close to what is billed as the world’s largest Ag Show. This was my second time attending.

Unlike last year, when I was mostly curious to see what would be at such a show, I arrived with some ideas of what I wanted to see based on what I saw last year, and what I have observed locally in  the ag economy.

On the one hand, I thought it would be neat… Read the rest

World Ag Expo Review – General Impressions

Time for the first annual World Ag Expo review by the Porterville Nerd.

This part will focus on general impressions,. here are my specific impressions.

In our preview, I  expressed concern about the weather. On Tuesday, the only of the 3 days I went, the weather turned out to be spectacular. In the morning it was crisp and clear, and warmed well into the 50s during the later hours. Not only that, but the grounds were dry. I was concerned about mud from the previous weekend’s soakers, and went prepared for a slog. Instead, the grounds were dry as a desert. In only a very few spots on the outdoor paths was there even a patch of mud, and even there is was shallow and easily walked around.  I don’t know how the ground crew did it, but they did, and they deserve a huge tip of the hat for their remarkable efforts.… Read the rest