News Desk


Sunday, March 1, 2015

Actor Scott Takeda’s Working Together Improv Show Featured in Albuquerque

TV/Film actor Scott Takeda ( has packed up his dry wit and “unexpected” sense of humor to hit the road with his hilarious group of improv pals to headline the improv show, Working Together in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Working Together, founded and directed by Justin Franzen, will be the featured show at The Box Performance Space on March 27, 10:30 p.m. and March 28, at 9:30 p.m. Takeda will strut his comedic chops in Working Together along with five other off-the-cuff comedians: Bre Forkes, Drew Rinella, Rahul Shah, Thomas Robinson, and Liz Walradt.

“We’re thrilled to host Working Together at The Box,” said Doug Montoya. “We’re always looking for hysterical improv groups that will entertain our guests and keep them laughing and once I heard about this show, I knew it was a perfect fit.”

Originally featured in Denver last year to standing ovations, Working Together is a workplace situational comedy that takes place in the 90s -- the era better known as the hangover after the 80s, grunge, Beavis & Butthead, a stained blue dress and Clinton.

Takeda, known for his role in the locally filmed CW series (, The Messengers, engages the audience with just the right mix of extemporaneous humor and classic comedy twists. The show also uses cue cards to bring the audience into the performance adding to the overall patron experience.

“As a working actor I am constantly advancing my dramatic and comedic talent,” said Scott Takeda. “Working Together has all of the components that I need to understand how the audience responds to humor and allows me to work at being funny.”

Typically taking on roles with a more serious side, Takeda ( been featured in the Dallas Buyers Club and Gone Girl and hit TV shows Nashville and Drop Dead Diva. To find out more about Takeda and his latest projects, visit

About Scott Takeda

Scott Takeda is an Asian American, SAG actor with notable credits, including Gone Girl with Ben Affleck, Dallas Buyers Club with Matthew McConaugheyEverything Must Go with Will Ferrell, Little Fockers with Ben Stiller and Robert DeNiro, and Disney’s Lemonade Mouth. He is based in Denver, Colorado, with his producer wife, Lori and two dogs, Pinot and Merlot.

To book Scott Takeda for a TV or film production, contact:

New Mexico: Lynette O’Connor of O-Agency,

Los Angeles: Linda McAlister of Linda McAlister Talent,

Saturday, February 28, 2015

IVLP Documentary Showcases European Visitors' Experience of America

Cultural Vistas is proud to announce the release of Connecting Cultures, Impacting Lives: The IVLP Experience, a short documentary showcasing a behind-the-scenes look at the U.S. Department of State's premier professional exchange program.

The film follows a group of 13 emerging leaders representing 12 countries across Europe that participated in an International Visitor Leadership Program project during the summer of 2014 focused on advancing youth leadership and engagement.

The group traveled to the United States for a five-city, 22-day tour on which they experienced America firsthand – meeting with youth experts and those engaged in youth-focused projects from the public and private sectors in Washington, D.C., New York City, Concord, New Hampshire, Austin, Texas and Seattle, Washington.

Connecting Cultures, Impacting Lives showcases all that makes the International Visitor Leadership Program, which celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2015, a unique and unrivaled professional exchange experience.


Through IVLP projects, visitors have the opportunity to see Americans as Americans themselves – through professional meetings, cultural activities, and the very personal experience of sharing a meal and evening of home hospitality with an American family.

Since 1940, more than 200,000 visitors have interacted with Americans through this program, including 35 current and 300 former Chiefs of State or Heads of Government, who proudly call themselves IVLP alumni.

Speaking about the important role IVLP holds in U.S. public diplomacy efforts, Rick Ruth, Senior Advisor, Bureau of Educational & Cultural Affairs at the U.S. State Department, said, "This is where Americans engage the world.  Where we tell our story.  Where we talk about who we are."

Alberto Soler Soto of Spain, one of the 13 young and emerging European leaders who took part in this project, provided one of the most important reflections on the impact of exchange programs like the IVLP: "I'm very thankful for this opportunity. I learned a lot. I lived a lot. I felt a lot. This really changed me. I feel like I am a better version of myself."

Connecting Cultures, Impacting Lives was shot, produced and directed by Kate Hoof.

Countries Represented in this Project
Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Russia, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine

Post-Project Reflections
Meet Alberto, Anna, and Jitka: three young leaders from Spain, Ukraine, and the Czech Republic who visited the United States as part of this project. Cultural Vistas caught up with each of these participants following their IVLP experience to learn about the program's impact.


About Cultural Vistas
A nonprofit organization, Cultural Vistas annually serves more than 5,000 students, professionals, and emerging leaders through career-focused international internships, educational study tours, language immersion and cultural exchange programs in the United States and around the world. As one of seven National Program Agencies, Cultural Vistas works in close cooperation with the U.S. Department of State and the Global Ties U.S. network to administer, design, and implement IVLP programs that directly support and advance U.S. foreign policy goals.  Learn more at

Follow @CulturalVistas on Twitter

Friday, February 27, 2015

Garden State Film Festival Honors James Wilder

The 13thAnnual Garden State Film Festival will be held in Atlantic City, March 19-22, 2015.  The four-day event closes with an awards dinner at which several honors will be bestowed for achievement in filmmaking. James Wilder will receive the Independent Spirit Award at the Sunday, March 22nd dinner to be held at the Claridge Hotel, the newly refurbished beachfront venue on the historic Boardwalk. Last year’s recipient was actress Laura Dern.

“James Wilder embodies the independent spirit not just for his roles on film and television, but also for his passion for artistic creation,” states Diane Raver, Executive Director of the festival.  “We are delighted that James is attending the festival with his film ‘Three Holes, Two Brads and a Smoking Gun’ (now titled “3 Holes and a Smoking Gun”).His starring performance is outstanding and the film is terrific,” she adds. Wilder plays an ex-Hollywood screenwriter turned teacher in a battle of wits with a devious student.

Raised in the bohemian enclave of Sausalito, Wilder attended an all-boys advanced learning institute.  At the age of 14, he was living in Paris, regaling audiences with his one-man show at such legendary venues as the Moulin Rouge and Lido, and later on Broadway. Wilder nabbed a role in the Broadway hit “Sugar Babies” while studying at the famed NY Actors Studio. His breakout role was as the troubled addict son of Ed Asner in the ABC Circle Theater presentation “Cracked Up.” Coincidentally, Mr. Asner will also be honored at the 2015 festival where a documentary about him, “My Friend Ed,” is premiering on Saturday, March 21st.

Beginning in the late 1980s, Wilder made a splash on the small screen in a number of popular series, including “Equal Justice,” “Melrose Place” and “Models Inc.,” and found success in film as well. He starred in “The Coriolis Effect,” which won The Grand Prize in its category at the Venice Film Festival. It was his scorching depiction of serial killer Carl Isaacs in the acclaimed Miramax film “Murder One” that thrust him into the limelight. Having spent an entire day with the prisoner at Atlanta’s Reedsville State Penitentiary, Wilder embodied the dark and sinister psyche of a deranged murderer with chilling acuity.Or as the New York Times wrote:“James Wilder, as Carl Isaacs, is a thoroughly malevolent character, one in whom evil rather than insanity seems to prevail.”

A true renaissance man, Wilder balances his work as an actor with a passion for visual art, architecture and design. Untrained as an architect or interior designer, Wilder’s keen eye and distinct vision has transformed a dozen empty lots throughout California into panoramic living art.  The homes he built in his exclusive Hollywood Hills neighborhood have evolved into a loosely structured artist’s retreat. Wilder has experimented with sculpture, and creates apparel and jewelry approaching his various endeavors with equal enthusiasm and expertise.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

"Larger Than Life" To Open for Jeff Timmons of 98 Degrees at Webster Hall in NYC

Boy Band Tribute Group Larger Than Life will be opening for Jeff Timmons at historic Webster Hall February 26.

Larger Than Life to Open for Jeff Timmons of 98 Degrees
Larger Than Life to Open for Jeff Timmons of 98 Degrees
Larger Than Life opens up for Jeff Timmons of 98 Degrees in NYC!

Thursday, Feb 26, 2015 8:00 PM EST (7:00 PM Doors)

Webster Hall, New York, NY

Tickets are $20

Larger Than Life brings the Ultimate Boyband Tribute to Webster Hall as they open for Jeff Timmons of 98 Degrees!

The evening will be full of surprises and crazy fun.

Jeff Timmons is the founding member of the internationally acclaimed, multi-platinum, Grammy Nominated selling group 98 Degrees, The group produced mega-hits such as "The Hardest Thing", "I do", "Because of You", and the number one hit single featuring Mariah Carey called, "Thank God I Found You."

Larger Than Life-The Ultimate Boyband tribute, brings an interactive show like no other, full of costumes, dancing, and your favorite songs. The show is produced in part by actor Edvin Ortega, who has been featured in such shows as Blue Bloods, The Following and Orange Is The New Black. NYC Pop Princess Carrie Lane will be joining the boys for a few fun surprises. An exclusive guest list only after party will be held at Noel Ashman's NYC hotspot The Leonora for select VIP Guests.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Raleigh Video Production Company Wins a Prestigious Pixie Award for Video Production

Blueforest Studios, an integrated video production company in Raleigh, NC, has won a prestigious Pixie Award for the video it produced for VIF’s Global Gateway program. It was singled out with a Gold Award for exceptional animation.

Emily Kohler, Blueforest Illustrator, shared her vision of the purpose of animation in the firm’s videos:

We've found that animation gives us more options for getting to the heart of a message. When we have a lot of content to fit into one clip, animation allows us to distill the message and communicate it to the audience in a simple, effective, and memorable way.

The nationally respected Pixie Award has been honoring outstanding work in motion graphics, animation, and visual effects for 6 years, helping innovative professionals achieve recognition. Videos submitted for competition were judged in accordance to high standards by industry professionals. Greg Koohran, Managing Director of the Pixie Awards, commented:

The Pixie Awards help set a standard for outstanding craft in the industry. [...] The goal is to help the highly innovative people who create pixel magic achieve the recognition they deserve.

Here's the award winning video:

About Blueforest Studios

Blueforest Studios is an integrated video production firm located in Raleigh, NC that serves the mid-atlantic region and beyond. Typically their video materials are made using the RED camera that delivers high-quality 4K and UltraHD footage. They place an emphasis on storytelling to connect with their audiences through high-end animation and live-action videos. For more information, please visit Blueforest’s website

About VIF International Education

VIF International Education builds global education programs that prepare students for success in an interconnected world. For more than 25 years, educators have leveraged VIF’s professional development and curriculum, language acquisition and cultural exchange programs to generate engaging learning environments. As a proud B Corp, VIF strives to support teachers, school leaders and districts in the endeavor of developing globally competent citizens through turnkey international education programs and resources. For more information, please visit VIF’s website