Wednesday, March 12, 2014

School board approves MNPS pre-K at Casa Azafran

Ribbon cutting in October 2013 of United Neighborhood Health Services' Unity Clinic at Casa Azafran. Another ribbon-cutting appears to be on the way, this time with Metro Schools. Photo source: Casa Azafran

Thanks to the Nashville public school board, four-year-olds may soon be attending pre-kindergarten at Casa Azafran, the prominent new immigrant-welcoming community center on Nolensville Road.

In today's Tennessean, Joey Garrison reported on last night's school board meeting, where planning for the pre-K center at Casa Azafran was approved. The idea of Metro Nashville Public Schools Director Jesse Register is to expand the reach of pre-K throughout the entire city, according to the article. Garrison previously reported on the Casa Azafran-Metro Schools partnership in more detail, here, indicating that this new pre-K would be up and running for 60-80 new students in the fall of 2014.  Garrison cited Register as saying that improved, early English language learning would be one of the center's primary benefits.

Casa Azafran's December 2012 opening was covered by the Nashville Scene in this article by Jim Ridley, and the center features prominently in the paper's story naming Renata Soto as Nashvillian of the Year in 2013.

Conexion Americas, the non-profit which anchors Casa Azafran, also announced the news of the school board decision on Facebook.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

From Oscars to Nashville Film Fest: Year of Firsts

by Cindy McCain

Congratulations to Alfonso CuarĂ³n who made history this week as the first Latino to win the Oscar for Best Director. And congratulations to Nashville Film Festival next month, April 17 – 26, 2014, for a record-breaking number of entries—3,133 films from 125 countries—and other Fest Firsts. International submissions grew to 1,404 compared with U.S. films at 1,729.

In addition to the Nashville Film Festival named as an Academy Award Qualifying Festival for short narratives, short documentaries that win at NaFF will now be given Oscar consideration as well.

“In five years we’ve doubled the call,” said Brian Owens, artistic director. “We can attribute it to NaFF’s reputation among filmmakers as one of the best festivals to get into in the world, and Nashville’s reputation as one of the world’s best cities to visit.”

Other firsts in 2014, NaFF’s 45th Anniversary year, include NaFF’s inaugural Screenwriting Competition, drawing 1,523 entries in feature, short and teleplay divisions.  Also, the festival will expand to 10 days and will take place in two locations.

The downtown location, is named the Nissan Multicultural Festival Village, at Walk of Fame Park, will offer free films for the public nightly in NaFF’s outdoor theater.  It will also feature live music events, a cash bar, and, on weekends, activities for families. For three days, April 18, 19, and 20, NaFF will screen free films at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.

Regal Cinemas Green Hills will be the site of more than 200 film events in six theaters, the VIP tent for filmmakers, celebrities and members, and the NaFF Red Carpet.

“2014 promises to be a ground-breaking year for the Nashville Film Festival,” states NaFF Executive Director Ted Crockett.  “From expanding our dates to presenting events in multiple venues throughout Music City, these changes will lift NaFF into the top tier of 1,500 U.S. film festivals with programs and attendance rivaling Sundance, Toronto, and Seattle Film Festivals.”

Tickets go on sale Monday, April 7th at 10 AM for the Nashville Film Festival here:

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