Kelli B. Bender

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Hey Everybody visit my page at NYU Local, New York University’s online publication. My greatest passion is film and having  the opportunity to be a film writer for NYU Local has only strengthened it.  Click the link below to be taken to an archive of my stories. As always I would appreciate any feedback. Thanks!



Written by kellibbender

May 12, 2009 at 5:26 pm

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Pontential 2012 Doomsday Inspires a New Wave of Apocalypse Films

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The poster for upcoming apocalypse film 2012 (via Flicker user azure819)

The poster for upcoming apocalypse film 2012 (courtesy of Flicker user azure819)

The world will end in 2012 according to the Institute of Human Continuity. The officials that make up the group have been working for 30 years studying the potential doomsday and came up with three scenarios that could lead to the Earth’s destruction: crustal displacement, solar flares, or a collision with Planet X.

In response, the institute has begun constructing floatable cities and celestial colonies. The organization has created a lottery to fairly administer a place for citizens in these safe havens, with more than six million registering so far.

The institute isn’t real. It is a promotional creation for the upcoming movie “2012”. The disaster film is one of a growing number of motion pictures that are trying to profit off people’s concern and fascination that the world will end in 2012.

An increasing number of apocalypse-focused films are premiering this year attracting audiences seeking a distraction from the economic recession. Disaster and action movies are framing their stories around the fear of the predicted 2012 doomsday, while children’s films encourage the audience to take care of the planet to prevent devastation. Experts believe movie studios are responding to increasing Internet attention to an apocalypse and moviegoers’ attraction to watching destruction.

“2012” is not the only film this year to play the numbers game with Earth’s destruction. March’s “Knowing” topped box office charts with the story of a predestined apocalypse revealed through a series of digits.

These ideas regarding 2012 the phenomenon arose as predictions on a different entertainment outlet. “Any information about 2012 is repeated on the Internet,” said Stetson University professor of Modern Languages Robert Sitler, “ It has got to the point where you have every prediction from total destruction to humans ascending to a new state of consciousness.”

Many of the sites Sitler views provide the Mayan calendar as evidence of 2012 destruction, even though, he says, few of the writers are familiar with the ancient culture. Sitler is concerned with how these misinformed posts transfer to the big screen. The professor explained since the movie studios’ main focus is entertainment; they tend to offer a poor portrayal of history.

As this year’s apocalypse films gain box office success and pre premiere buzz historical accuracy seems to be of little concern to audiences. “Moviegoing is best when it is a spectacle,” said David Chen, producer and podcast host of the blog /(slash)Film, “Disaster films offer that visceral, communal, special-effect laden experience.” Read the rest of this entry »

Written by kellibbender

May 11, 2009 at 12:19 am

City Seeing a Rise in Abandoned Cats

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Shelters are using creative adoption events to promote adoption in their facilities crowed with abandoned animals

New York City animal shelters are creating new programs and adoption events to deal with the increasing number of abandoned cats in their facilities.


     PJ was abandoned, left alone in a dark and empty basement. The grey and white tabby waited there for days for his evicted owner to return, but it was New York City’s Center for Animal Care and Control (NYCACC) that came instead.

     What the NYCACC rescuer found was a nervous and neglected cat that needed a new home. A month later, PJ has more welcoming accommodations, as he snoozes in the top cage of the “cat room” at Anjellicle Cats Rescue Group’s shelter. But PJ is still waiting, this time for a permanent loving home.

     The number of relinquished and abandoned pets is steadily increasing as owners struggle with the pressures of today’s economic crisis. New York City shelters are at capacity and have to make hard decisions about how to deal with the continuing rush of animals. City run shelters are beginning to put down healthy animals while no-kill shelters have to turn many homeless pets away. Several shelters are working on programs to help owners care for their pets to prevent relinquishment.

     Anjellicle Cats, a non-profit, no-kill, feline rescue group, is currently taking up to 10 cats a week from the NYCACC euthanasia list. But with 50 cats in danger of being put down per week, the group is unable to house a majority of felines. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by kellibbender

April 9, 2009 at 11:10 pm

An Afternoon With Gary Graff

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Graff (left) with rapper Wil Louchi at the 2008 Detroit Music Awards (via Flickr user wilouchimedia)

Graff (left) with rapper Wil Louchi at the 2008 Detroit Music Awards (courtesy of Flickr user wilouchimedia)

Books and folders hang off every shelf and surface like stalactites, dripping papers that break loose from their bindings. CDs and DVD compilation sets crowd the corners of the space making its dimensions uncertain. This is the home office of Music Journalist Gary Graff. The room and its contents make sense to Graff who can pick and pluck what is needed from the eroding shambles, but to me the office is a overwhelming cave archiving decades of music history.

“That’s a lot of CD’s!” I nod at the pile tottering next to me.

“Oh, those are just from this week,” Graff says casting a sideways glance at the three foot tower of disks.

This is when I began to understand that Graff was a master juggler, a man who could stay calm under a staggering amount of information and responsibility. Graff works as the head music journalist for Oakland Press, a daily paper serving the Metro Detroit area, he also routinely contributes to Billboard, The New York Times Syndicate, as well as several websites and radio stations. Added to all this is making sure Liba, a 2-year-old Labradoodle, gets enough attention, a task I was able to assist in greatly.

Aside from giving me a chance to bond with Liba, Graff ‘s most important lesson was devising a work ethic and organization that you are comfortable with. Following his own credo Graff has several unusual habits that help him keep control in a hectic daily schedule. The one I found the most humorous was his choice of word processor, the archaic Xywrite. Xywrite looks like a program that was one of the first to break out of the primordial ooze of computer software. The processor is simply a aqua blue screen with black type, giving it the look of a ATM menu, that responds to the most basic function copy, paste, delete. But this is what Graff swears by and it is obviously working for him.

In the four hours I spent with Graff we conducted two phone interviews, edited and sent out three stories, recorded a radio segment, did research for future stories, and organized a personal schedule for the upcoming South by Southwest (SXSW) tour (Playboy party= a must, Jonas Brothers Interview= sadly a mandatory task).

Even in planning the schedule for SXSW Graff’s years of experience has shaped a routine and organization for the event.

“When you go to the tour you have to go through the tents for all the free swag,” Graff explained. “That’s where I get my yearly supply of pens.”

Written by kellibbender

March 30, 2009 at 5:40 pm