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Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and The Linux Foundation Launch the Academy Software Foundation

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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and The Linux Foundation today launched the Academy Software Foundation (ASWF) to provide a neutral forum for open source software developers in the motion picture and broader media industries to share resources and collaborate on technologies for image creation, visual effects, animation and sound.

“We are thrilled to partner with The Linux Foundation for this vital initiative that fosters more innovation, more collaboration, more creativity among artists and engineers in our community,” said Academy CEO Dawn Hudson. “The Academy Software Foundation is core to the mission of our Academy: promoting the arts and sciences of motion pictures.”

“Open Source Software has enabled developers and engineers to create the amazing visual effects and animation that we see every day in the movies, on television and in video games,” said Jim Zemlin, Executive Director of The Linux Foundation. “With the Academy Software Foundation, we are providing a home for this community of open source developers to collaborate and drive the next wave of innovation across the motion picture and broader media industries.”

The ASWF is the result of a two-year investigation by the Academy’s Science and Technology Council into the use of Open Source Software (OSS) across the motion picture industry. The survey found that more than 80% of the industry uses open source software, particularly for animation and visual effects. However, this widespread use of OSS has also created challenges including siloed development, managing multiple versions of OSS libraries (“versionitis”) and varying governance and licensing models that need to be addressed in order to ensure a healthy open source ecosystem.

“Developers and engineers across the industry are constantly working to find new ways to bring images to life, and open source enables them to start with a solid foundation while focusing on solving unique , creative challenges rather than reinventing the wheel,” said Rob Bredow, SVP, Executive Creative Director and Head of Industrial Light & Magic and Member of the Academy’s Science and Technology Council , Open Source Investigation Committee. “We are very excited to launch the Academy Software Foundation and provide a home for open source developers to collaborate , regardless of where they work, and share best practices which we believe will drive innovation across the industry.”

ASWF Mission: The mission of the ASWF is to increase the quality and quantity of open source contributions by developing a governance model, legal framework and community infrastructure that lowers the barrier to entry for developing and using open source software. Developers interested in learning more or contributing can sign up to join the mailing list at www.aswf.io/community.

The ASWF Goals are to:

Provide a neutral forum to coordinate cross-project efforts, establish best practices and share resources across the motion picture and broader media industries.
Develop an open continuous integration (CI) and build infrastructure to enable reference builds from the community and alleviate issues caused by siloed development.
Provide individuals and organizations with a clear path for participation and code contribution.
Streamline development for build and runtime environments through the sharing of open source build configurations, scripts and recipes.
Provide better, more consistent licensing through a shared licensing template.
“In the last 25 years, software engineers have played an increasing role in the most successful movies of our time,” said David Morin, Project Lead for the Academy Open Source Investigation. “The Academy Software Foundation is set to provide funding, structure and infrastructure for the open source community, so that engineers can continue to collaborate and accelerate software development for moviemaking and other media for the next 25 years.”

For more information about the Academy Software Foundation, visit http://www.aswf.io/.

The ASWF will have a significant presence at SIGGRAPH 2018. Interested developers and engineers can learn more about the ASWF by attending the keynote session on Monday, August 13, from 2:00 – 3:15 pm PT by Rob Bredow, SVP, Executive Creative Director and Head of ILM, or following the keynote livestream on YouTube or Facebook.

Conference attendees are also invited to participate in the Academy Software Foundation Birds of a Feather (BoF) session on Tuesday, August 14, from 9:00 – 10:00 am PT in the Vancouver Convention Centre, East Building, Room 11.

Academy Software Foundation Supporting Premier Partners

Founding members of the ASWF include: Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Animal Logic, Autodesk, Blue Sky Studios, Cisco, DNEG, DreamWorks Animation, Epic Games, Google Cloud, Intel, Walt Disney Studios, and Weta Digital at the Premier level, and Foundry and SideFX at the General level.

Animal Logic

“Animal Logic is proud to be an inaugural member of this industry initiative to support foundational software on which future innovations will be developed. Combined with our open-source contribution through AL_USDMaya, this signifies our commitment to giving back to the community that has provided us with so much.”

– Darin Grant, CTO, Animal Logic Group

Autodesk

“Autodesk understands and appreciates the diversity of our media and entertainment customer’s workflows and the critical role open source projects play in making them successful. We are very excited to collaborate with the Academy and The Linux Foundation to build this industry initiative to strengthen the projects and ecosystem we all rely on.”

– Guy Martin, director of Open Source, Autodesk

Blue Sky Studios

“Blue Sky Studios is thrilled to be a part of the Academy Software Foundation launch. Open source technologies give filmmakers the wonderful opportunity to collaborate and give back to the community. As a studio we are committed to making entertainment that means something to the world, and are excited when other filmmakers do the same. With the ASWF we have the opportunity to help each other in this goal: to create technology for ourselves and each other, so we can craft beautiful and compelling stories that make us all proud.”

– Hank Driskill, Chief Technology Officer, Blue Sky Studios

Cisco

“Cisco is joining the Academy Software Foundation to help fuel technology innovation in the creation and production of film and TV. Linux and OSS have become de facto standards across a wide number of industries, and we are realizing the distinct benefits for pre- and post-production as Hollywood and Silicon Valley continue to explore best practices for technology transfer.”

– Dave Ward, Senior Vice President, CTO of Engineering and Chief Architect, Cisco

DNEG

“Open source software projects have contributed significantly to the success and growth of the Visual Effects industry. DNEG recognises the importance of these projects in the service of our key goal: participating in the telling of inspiring and innovative stories through technology. As such we are delighted to support the ASWF and are excited by the prospect of collaborating on the software that will form the basis of the future of our industry.”

– Graham Jack, CTO, DNEG

DreamWorks Animation

“DreamWorks Animation is pleased to be a founding Premier member of the Academy Software Foundation. The formation of the Foundation underscores how vital open source technology is in the production industry, and how essential it is to future innovation and advancements. As an active open source contributor, and a dedicated consumer, we at DreamWorks Animation recognize the value of an oversight organization to ensure continued resources and momentum for software development.”

– Andrew Pearce, VP of Global Technology, DreamWorks

Epic Games

“Epic Games is committed to providing a new generation of real-time technology for the film and television industry based on standard technology and practices. We are strong supporters of open source software and open platforms, and are thrilled to be part of the new Academy Software Foundation.”

– Marc Petit, General Manager, Unreal Engine Enterprise at Epic Games

Google Cloud

“Google Cloud is excited to be a Premier member of the Academy Software Foundation and to help contribute to the open source standards for industry software. Our core belief in an open platform for cloud users echoes the sentiments of the VFX industry and we look forward to collaborating on projects that will benefit all users.”

– Todd Prives, Product Manager, Google Cloud

Intel Corporation

“As a founding member of the Academy Software Foundation, Intel will join a vibrant community of studios, and software and hardware technology leaders to spur developer innovations and enable top-quality motion picture content that is better, faster and less expensive to make. Intel’s just announced Intel® Rendering Framework including software libraries Embree and OSPRay, and the new OpenImageDenoise library, can be used by ASWF members to develop compelling motion pictures and visual effects with all the benefits of open source solutions on Intel® architecture-based systems.”

– Lynn Comp, Vice President, Data Center Group, and General Manager, Visual Cloud Division, Intel Corporation

The Walt Disney Studios, including Walt Disney Animation Studios, Industrial Light & Magic, Pixar Animation Studios and Marvel Studios

“The creation of the Academy Software Foundation is an important and exciting step for the motion picture industry. By increasing collaboration within our industry, it allows all of us to pool our efforts on common foundational technologies, drive new standards for interoperability and increase the pace of innovation.”

– Nick Cannon, Chief Technology Officer, Walt Disney Animation Studios

Weta Digital

“We are proud to help establish the Academy Software Foundation as a Founding member.  Thoughtful curation and dedicated financial commitment to open source platforms and standards is vital for our industry as we mature. The pace of innovation in visual effects is supported by a reliable platform of technology contributions by many companies and groups. The Academy Software Foundation will provide a unique collaboration environment that marries the interests of all parties and ensures the industry’s history of experimentation and creativity will continue well into the future.”

– Joe Letteri, Sr. Visual Effects Supervisor, Weta Digital
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Scrubs Reunion: The Band Gets Back Together

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Fans of the beloved medical comedy series Scrubs were recently treated to a thrilling surprise when John C. McGinley, who portrayed the iconic Dr. Perry Cox, dropped a photo on Twitter hinting at a potential reunion project. The image, showing McGinley alongside his former co-stars, sparked a wave of excitement and speculation among fans who have been longing for more adventures with the beloved Sacred Heart Hospital staff.

While details about the reunion project are still scarce, the mere possibility of seeing the gang back together again has sent waves of nostalgia through fans who fondly remember the show’s original run from 2001 to 2010. Scrubs was not just a sitcom; it was a heartfelt exploration of friendship, love, and the chaotic world of medicine, all wrapped up in a quirky and often hilarious package.

At the heart of the show was the bromance between JD (played by Zach Braff) and Turk (played by Donald Faison), whose antics and deep bond served as the emotional anchor for the series. Their dynamic, along with the sage wisdom (and relentless sarcasm) of Dr. Cox, provided viewers with memorable moments that have stood the test of time.

As we eagerly await more news about the Scrubs reunion project, one thing is for sure: it’s time to dust off those old DVDs, rewatch our favorite episodes, and get ready to welcome back our favorite gang of doctors, nurses, and janitors for what promises to be a memorable reunion.

But Scrubs was more than just its main characters. The supporting cast, including the eccentric Janitor (played by Neil Flynn), the neurotic Elliot (played by Sarah Chalke), and the wise-cracking nurse Carla (played by Judy Reyes), each brought their own unique flavor to the show, creating a rich tapestry of characters that fans grew to love.

While the photo shared by McGinley has fueled speculation about what the reunion project might entail, whether it’s a one-off special, a new season, or something else entirely, one thing is certain: fans are eagerly awaiting any opportunity to dive back into the world of Sacred Heart Hospital.

In an age where reboots and revivals are commonplace, Scrubs stands out as a series that has the potential to recapture the magic that made it a fan favorite in the first place. With its blend of humor, heart, and unforgettable characters, a reunion project has the opportunity to not only satisfy longtime fans but also introduce a new generation to the joys of life at Sacred Heart.

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Dune Part Two: The Lisan Al Gaib comes for you!

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Welcome back to our struggle for control of the known universe already in progress, the continuation of the journey of Paul Atreides from exile to Emperor, Dune Part Two

So when we last left our intrepid if dubious heroes, House Atreides had been betrayed and virtually destroyed, by a combination of House Harkonnens surprise attacks and the added treachery of Emperor Shaddam and his Sardaukar. Paul Atreides (Timothee Chalamet), the last surviving heir (so far) of House Atreides and his mother Jessica, have taken refuge on the desert planet of Arrakis amongst the indigenous Fremen, and as far as most are aware, the other remnants of House Atreides are dead as well. And here is where we catch up with everyone, as the struggle for Atreides emergence and dominance begins in earnest! 

The Emperor’s daughter Princess Irulan (Florence Pugh) is known for her many skills, but her copious note-taking and writings on the large events shaping her world come to the forefront as she takes counsel with her father amidst games of chance on their homeworld. Her life is one of luxury and privilege but alas, Irulan is a trained Bene Gesserit and is well aware that in all likelihood, she will be used as a pawn in the marriage games empires have to go through. Bet she never imagined it could be to a House everyone swore had been utterly destroyed. 

Meanwhile, on Arrakis, Paul is trying to integrate himself into the Fremen way of life, which is admittedly far different from the life he led back on the Atreides homeworld of Caladan. (If nothing else, Caladan has vast oceans.) The Fremen are fiercely independent, gloriously strong fighters, survivors who dare to ride and revere the giant sandworms that inhabit their planet that they call Shai-Hulud, and rightfully distrustful of outsiders. After all, the previous stewardship of Arrakis belonged to House Harkonnen, known for their cruelty and glee at hunting Fremen and torturing their victims, sometimes for weeks at a time. But Paul won his and Jessicas way into the Fremen by fair combat against Jamis, and if nothing else, the Fremen are firm in their beliefs of the old ways. 

Or rather, the elder Fremen are, most particularly the famed Fedaykin fighter and Naib (leader) of Sietch Tabr Stilgar (Javier Bardem) is adamant in his unshakable belief that Paul is the foretold Lisan Al Gaib, the Voice from the Outer World, that will lead the Fremen to peace and paradise. Stilgar’s steadfast belief in Paul’s potential only grows, and he manages with just that to convince a great many of the other Fremen elders. The younger generation of Fremen however, of which Paul’s beloved Chani (Zendaya) is a part, generally scoff at the legends of otherworldly prophets and Arrakis as a fabled green, wet heaven. In the beginning, Paul himself swears he doesn’t want to be the Messiah, only a Fremen fighter amongst the rest of them, hundreds of years of the Missionaria Protectiva, the Bene Gesserit practice of spreading useful religious propaganda as seeds on various planets, is working double-time against him. It doesn’t help that Paul’s mother Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson) is expounding on that myth as much as she possibly can. 

And why would she do that? Survival yes, but also, Jessica is a thoroughly trained Bene Gesserit and knows of plans within plans within plans. Jessica also has many secrets of her own, and one very important one happens to be that she’s pregnant with Paul’s sister. The Bene Gesserit bodily control may be something out of legend, but even Jessica, possibly Reverend Mother Mohiam’s best and most fractious student, will have trouble with the trial the Fremen are insisting she go through to become truly one of them. The Reverend Mother equivalent of Sietch Tabr, known as their Sayyadina, is old and dying, and the Fremen have to have a Reverend Mother. Jessica tells Paul this much and explains that each culture is different in their trial to become a Reverend Mother, so she honestly doesn’t know what to expect. The reality happens to be worse than she could’ve imagined – Jessica must drink the Water of Life, a deadly poison that comes from Shai-Hulud (sort of), and come out the other side of it. And Jessica manages to do it, barely, with almost all of the consequences going to the poor fetus in her womb, the girl that will grow to become Alia Atreides, an insane legend in her own right. But for now, the unnamed fetus is awake and aware and full of the memories of generations of Bene Gesserit women that came before her – before she was even born

Paul participates in razzia raids amongst the Fremen as they work to take out the spice mining operations of the Harkonnens, immerses himself in the vastly different desert culture of his chosen people, and perhaps most importantly, his romance with his beloved Chani only grows stronger. After declaring his desire to join the fierce fighter elites amongst the Fremen known as Fedaykin, Paul is told by Stilgar that he must summon and ride one of the giant sandworms, the embodiment of Shai-Hulud where the Fremen get their terrible tooth Crysknives from. And after much sendup, in a glorious scene of blinding sand and huge monstrous killer worm-riding, Paul is triumphant and riding atop the sacred creature, his Maker hooks set properly to control the great beast, waving at great distance to his fellow Fremen as Chani looks on in bemusement. 

But that’s all external, and inside Paul is beginning to become divided on what he wants to do. As Jessica pushes the Protectiva hard amongst the women and priestesses of the Fremen, she is also pushing her son to become much larger than he ever wanted to be, if nothing else a conqueror can take revenge for the destruction of House Atreides and the death of her beloved Duke Leto. Paul may have earned his place amongst the Fremen and been given new names – Usul, meaning the strength of the base of the pillar, as his private name within the Sietch; and Muad’Dib, from the small mouse survivor of the desert, well versed in desert ways, called ‘Instructor-of-Boys’ in Fremen legend, as his open-use name – but now everyone wants Paul to be something greater, and potentially more destructive, than what he currently is. It only gets worse when Paul begins to suffer prophetic dreams, and visions when he’s awake, prodding him further to his destiny as an epic conqueror of worlds. Nothing can be done for it, Paul convinces himself that he must take the Water of Life himself, to awaken the sleeping prophet inside himself, and allow him to hopefully See a path through the future. 

The problem with that plan, is that Bene Gesserit are almost exclusively all women, and only they are supposed to know how to transmute poisons internally, along with all sorts of other “witchcraft”. But Jessica has been training Paul in forbidden Bene Gesserit ways all his life, and as much as Paul might rail and even quail against it, there is no denying his incoming destiny, crushing any resistance he may have with all the force of a giant sandworm hunting a spice blow. And even when Paul has finally given in and taken the cursed substance almost mockingly called the Water of Life, it falls to another strong and prophetic in her right female in his life, his beloved Chani, to save him from himself. But even Chani can’t stop Paul’s destructive destiny as the conqueror of the known worlds, guilty of slaying millions upon millions of people in his quest for vengeance, thinly disguised as peace. 

Over on the Harkonnen homeworld of Geidi Prime, “Beast” Rabban (Dave Bautista) is disgusted and enraged at the continuing Fremen raids against the Harkonnens on Arrakis, and terrified of what his uncle the notoriously cruel Baron Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgard), will do to him in response. The Baron’s nephew Feyd-Rautha (Austin Butler), heir apparent or na-Baron to House Harkonnen, demonstrates his blood-inborn savagery in a slaughter of the remnants of House Atreides gladiator-style, as his birthday celebration. Pleased with the spectacle, the Baron commands Feyd-Rautha to take control of the fight against this Fremen rebel known as Muad’dib, as Rabban is proving himself more and more useless. And any tool or toy that the Baron finds broken or unusable, is destroyed before being discarded. 

As the legend of Muad’dib grows off Arrakis and circulates among the Imperial worlds, the Emperor grinds his teeth in frustration and the Bene Gesserit, led by Reverend Mother Mohiam (Charlotte Rampling) as the Emperor’s Truthsayer, begin pushing forward their plots and machinations. Lady Margot Fenring (Lea Seydoux), a criminally underused character in this respect, demonstrates her willingness to be a pawn in Bene Gesserit machinations, but never forget, strong Bene Gesserit women have been breaking their own rules for generations. Just look at what Jessica did. 

As the raids and rebellion on Arrakis continue, both the Emperor and the Baron become more and more desperate, sending in mercenaries and smugglers in the hopes they might have more luck. And aboard one of those smuggler’s vessels happens to be an old hand at being a smuggler himself, the warrior troubadour with the scarred face given him by “Beast” Rabban himself, Gurney Halleck (Josh Brolin). Reunited with his beloved Duke’s only son, Gurney finds himself swept up in the legend of Muad’dib in the making along with everyone else, though at least from Gurney’s point of view, Paul is using the messianic angle to take revenge for House Atreides. 

Finally, in an act of what could be considered the ultimate in arrogance, Emperor Shaddam Corrino himself comes to Arrakis, along with Princess Irulan and many others of his Court, the Baron, and Feyd-Rautha in tow as well, to crush this upstart Muad’dib and his Fremen warriors. Sadly for all that the powerhouse actor Christopher Walken plays him, Emperor Shaddam Corrino is shown as a doddering old man, cowed in the face of Muad’dib’s overwhelming vitality and growing-ever-stronger legend. And there is where we will end the review, for the final confrontation between all key players in the Known Universe is full of spoilers and derivations from the original opus of Frank Herbert’s novel Dune

For those of you who stuck around long enough to get to the end, after all, Dune Part Two is almost three hours long itself, if you are fans of the original novel and the zany Lynchian masterpiece that was the first Dune film, you may be disappointed or even angered at the changes made to the story for the climactic end scenes. Director Villenuve has an eye for making grand epic scenes like Paul’s sandworm ride but can be a bit scattered when it comes to piecing the story together with all the key players needing to be involved in a way that can be understood by any layman. Dune in any form is a rich, vast universe of storytelling, and even an almost three-hour-long sequel simply can’t cover every last bit that’s in the novels. But if nothing else, the film is an overwhelming feast for the eyes and should bring a whole new legion of fans to the many worlds contained within Dune

If you want to dive further into the Dune-iverse, do yourself a favor and read the Dune prequel books written by Herbert Jr. and Kevin J. Anderson. Until then, dive into the sands of Arrakis along with Shai-Hulud and scream vengeance to the skies with Paul Muad’dib Atreides in Dune Part Two, in theaters now! 

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