Monthly Archives: November 2014

DUO Brings Home 4 More Peer Awards

1292974_1537446866471985_7796271075077338792_oPermit me to pat ourselves on the back for a moment. Normally on these blogs, I try to focus on the work of others, but I wanted to share with you some exciting news.  We won four TIVA Peer Awards on Saturday, November 8, 2014, and we couldn’t be more excited!

10649010_1537448056471866_3057171987498440790_oThe Peer Awards are coveted awards in the Greater Washington, DC area, because they’re different than a lot of other awards.  With many organizations you send in your project and your entry fee and then you wait to receive a letter in the mail telling you whether you won or not based on a panel of  judges you know nothing about.

10620200_1537448609805144_6327962120537911899_oWith the Peer Awards, you don’t wait at home. You get dressed up and head out for a lovely evening at the prestigious National Press Club right in the heart of DC. Not only is it held at a beautiful venue, but the evening contains delicious gourmet food, great networking, entertaining presenters, and of course, lots of awards. But perhaps the most unique thing about this particular awards ceremony, is that you know that each award you receive was judged by your peers, hence the name, The Peer Awards. That means that the certificate or statue you hold in your hand was put there because the people that do the same work you do, in the same part of the world you do it in, thought you deserved it. What could be better than that?

And now, without further ado, here are the awards we won with pictures to boot.
10688318_1537446363138702_1325312414141383250_oBronze Award:  NAE “Engineering for You” Promo 2D/3D Animation (Under $10K)  Photo of Brian at left.

Silver Award:  “Apocalypse Rock” Trailer Program/Series Promo (Under $10K)  Photo of Brian at top of page. Check out our film at

Silver Award:  Fundamentals of SolidWorks Electrical Public Relations/Marketing (Under $10K)  Photo of Karen at bottom.

Gold Award:  NAE “Engineering for You” Public Relations/Marketing (Under $10K)  Photo of Karen at bottom.







Not the Sci-Fi Movie You’re Used To: Thoughts on “Interstellar”

If you are unsure about whether or not you should venture out to see Interstellar sometime soon, please read these fairly convincing thoughts on the film by our friend, Jason Hamilton. 

The trailers for Interstellar were just vague enough to cloud the actual plot so that I did not really know what to expect from it. To sum up what I gathered from the trailers: Earth is interstellarPoster1dying, Matthew McConaughey leaves Earth with Anne Hathaway at the request of Michael Caine to find a new home, they visit other planets, things don’t go according to plan.

And so I sat down and prepared to watch a new take on a classic science fiction film. Without getting into spoiler territory, Interstellar was not the movie I thought I was going to be watching. I watched a science fiction movie where the science fiction didn’t out shadow the science fact and real extrapolated theories for the sake of sensationalism. That said, there were sensational scenes both in space and on planets, but the space travel was merely the vehicle for a much more down to earth tale of humanity and family.

In summary, while Interstellar may not have been the science fiction movie most people wanted, it IS the science fiction film we all deserve. One that is close enough to science fact so as to cause you to place yourself in the film and find that you have a personal stake in the outcome, but also asks you suspend belief and take some things on faith.

If you find my ramblings here to be confusing, good! Go see the movie for yourself. I’m not doing this “review” for you, I’m doing it to process my thoughts on the film for myself. I don’t pay any attention to reviews when deciding whether or not to see a movie, and neither should you. Go see movies that strike a chord and resonate within you regardless of what someone else’s opinion is, because ultimately everyone resonates at different frequencies anyway and the only way to know if you like a movie is to watch it yourself.

No offence is meant to those who fancy themselves amateur (or professional) film critics.

Thank you to Jason, who graciously let us repost this from his original facebook page posting.

Yes, I really did just compare Snowpiercer, Interstellar and Sleepless in Seattle

In the past 72 hours, I’ve watched three very different movies, Snowpiercer, Interstellar and Sleepless in Seattle, but was surprised to find similar themes in all three. “How?” you ask. First, let’s look at each one individually.

SnowPiercerPosterAlthough Snowpiercer and Interstellar are both about how to preserve life when the world can no longer support us, they couldn’t be more different in execution, and of course Sleepless in Seattle isn’t about the end of the world as we know it but the restart of one man’s world.

Snowpiercer was a remarkably weird movie that couldn’t seem to settle on a tone. With elements of Hunger Games, Equilibrium and any Terry Gilliam movie you can think of, I know I felt a bit uneasy throughout the story and found myself laughing at moments that I don’t think were intended to be funny. This movie is more about overcoming oppression rather than working together for the good of all.InterstellarPoster

Interstellar was an experience. We managed to get some tickets to the pre-opening night screening at the National Air and Space Museum’s IMAX theater, which was important since Christopher Nolan filmed a majority of Interstellar on IMAX film, and notably without green screen. I felt a tenseness throughout the movie, but not the sort you have when watching a really scary movie that sends you into the shakes. (Does that only happen to me?) Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway and Jessica Chastain were very believable in their roles and Michael Caine brought a great performance slightly outside of his normal stoic roles.

I saw Sleepless in Seattle a long time ago, but it was a comfy movie to watch again on a night when I was feeling especially tired (probably because I didn’t get home from Interstellar until after 4am that morning.) It’s the classic romantic comedy of the nineties that pays homage to an even older classic, An Affair to Remember. This film certainly helped secure Tom Hanks as a leading man with a role slightly more serious than some of his previous characters in Joe Vs. the Volcano, Turner and Hooch and The Money Pit, but without being entirely a chick flick.

You’re probably wondering what the heck these three movies actually have in common, so let’s break them down a bit (and I’ll try not spoil anything about Interstellar, especially since it doesn’t officially open everywhere until tomorrow.) Here are three of the themes I saw prevailing throughout each film.

Family and Sacrifice – When there’s family and love, there’s going to be sacrifice. In each of these films we see strong connections between parents and their children, and the lengths to which each one will go to protect as well as ensure the happiness of the other. In Snowpiercer, we see a number of parents fight for their children as well as incur much suffering even when they know it’s pointless to even try.

With Interstellar, we have parents leaving children behind and children leaving their parents to go on an incredibly uncertain journey, all for the sake of preserving the human race.

SleeplessInSeattlePosterIn Sleepless in Seattle, we get a bit of the reverse. It’s the son that goes through so much of the trouble to try and find his dad not only a new love, but one that could somehow measure up to the magic bond his dad had with his now deceased wife.

Time – Time is so important in all three of these films.  The entire timeline of Snowpiercer is based on the fact that this train containing the last remnant of the human race is barreling around the world taking exactly one year to complete a full circle. There’s also the timing of the revolt, which must happen at just the right moment so that they can pass through several gates during the four measly seconds they’re open.

I loved the way that the film Interstellar handled time. There’s the simple problem that earth and its inhabitants are out of time and won’t live past the next generation, but there’s also the very complex time problems they face when flying too close to black holes or needing to hibernate while traveling long distances to conserve resources.

With Sleepless in Seattle, the characters face the very real time problems of “When is it okay to start dating after your wife dies?” and “Should I wait for the one whose very touch feels like magic, or stay with the one who is reliable and loves me, but doesn’t inspire me?”

Moving forward – Each of these films has their own tragedy (or tragedies) to deal with which leads to feelings of hopelessness and paralyzing fear.

In Snowpiercer, there are so many atrocities the people from the rear of the train have had to face and continue to face on a daily basis, that the fact they’re able to raise enough spirit to revolt against the people from the front of the train is quite a feat in itself. At each new obstacle they press on, even when things seem quite grim indeed. Perhaps what this movie really exhibits is the human spirit when you have nothing else to lose.

The film Interstellar is a perpetual illustration of having to move forward in the most difficult situations. It is a film about trying to find another planet as our own planet dies from under us, so I’m sure you can imagine the difficulties that will ensue. There are so many examples I’d love to share, but I really don’t want to spoil anything for you, so just go watch the movie.

With Sleepless in Seattle, is there anything more difficult to recover from than losing the love of your life? I think the main character, Sam Baldwin, sums it up perfectly when he talks about how he’s handling the loss of his wife and mother of his child. “Well, I’m gonna get out of bed every morning… breathe in and out all day long. Then, after a while I won’t have to remind myself to get out of bed every morning and breathe in and out… and, then after a while, I won’t have to think about how I had it great and perfect for a while.” Good advice for all of us.

So, while I hope there were some interesting bits here for you to consider, I more so hope that you’ll seek out a real IMAX theater to watch Interstellar in, you’ll RedBox Snowpiercer and take it with a grain of salt, and keep Sleepless in Seattle in queue for a great date night movie.