Saturday, 29 June 2013

Superpower China recognises Scotland's low carbon technology expertise

Scotland and China sign Memorandum of Understanding.
Scotland's low carbon technology expertise has been recognised by superpower China following the signing of an agreement between the two countries.

The agreement, in the form of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), aims to develop cooperation and a knowledge transfer framework with the Hong Kong Science and Technology Corporation.

The MoU will leave Scottish firms well placed to be involved as the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region develops a low carbon technology hub to tackle its biggest environmental concerns.

The low carbon technology hub will focus on air quality, construction and waste management.

Brokered by Scottish Development International (SDI), the MoU will give Scottish companies access to research and development facilities at Hong Kong Science Park - offering easier access to growth markets in Greater China and throughout Asia.

Opportunities for Scottish firms are anticipated in a number of areas, including:

  • Biofuels and bioenergy
  • Clean transport initiatives
  • Low Carbon finance, education, policy and market structure
  • Smart sustainable cities and islands
  • Waste Management
  • Low carbon sustainable building construction
  • Renewable energy
  • Air quality

Humza Yousaf, Scotland's Minister for External Affairs and International Development, said, "Scotland has the skills, the know-how and the low carbon technology to help tackle the world's environmental challenges, and this agreement will reinforce our reputation as a global leader in this field."

Mr. Nicholas Brooke, Chairman of Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTPC), said, "I am confident that the signing of this MoU will drive closer collaboration between HKSTPC and Scottish companies, particularly in the area of green technology development. We hope it will encourage and accelerate research and development partnerships and exchanges between both locations. We warmly welcome Scottish low carbon companies to make Hong Kong Science Park their home in Asia."

Speaking at the signing of the MoU, Anne MacColl, SDI's chief executive, added, "This agreement sends a clear message that Scotland is one of the world's leading authorities on low carbon energy developments.

"There is significant economic opportunity for Scotland to gain early competitive advantage through the adaptation of existing technology and the design and development of new products and services.

"This agreement with Hong Kong is just one example of how we are working with international partners to facilitate opportunities for Scottish companies to enter new markets with vast opportunity for development."

Earlier, Mr. E Anthony Tan, Chief Executive Officer of HKSTPC explained, "Hong Kong Science Park's Phase 3 is currently being developed and is scheduled to complete in stages from early 2014 to 2016. Employing an array of green features, this latest phase of the Park will become a living laboratory to showcase green technologies. Phase 3 aims to be carbon neutral in the long run and will be the perfect base for low carbon companies."

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Robert Kennedy criticizes privatization of water at World Environment Forum

Privatization is currently the most troubling issue we face in relation to water.

So says Robert F. Kennedy Jr., an activist and attorney specializing in environmental law.

The son of the late U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy and nephew of the late President, John F. Kennedy, and the late Senator Ted Kennedy, was taking part in the World Environmental Forum organized by LIDE – Grupo de Lideres Empresariais [Group of Business Leaders], in Foz do Iguacu.

"Water ought to be a right for all human beings," asserts Kennedy. He believes that free market capitalism is the best solution, but it must be managed with a social interest, otherwise future generations will have to pay for our mistakes and excesses. And he insists: "We should encourage a more rational use of water, but we cannot restrict the use of water by the poorest people through pricing."
Kennedy cited the example of Cochabamba, Bolivia, a country where water was privatized in such a way that people were dying from lack of access to it.  The revolt was so great that the French and American companies managing the city's water supply were forced to leave the country.

Another example occurred during the Pinochet regime in Chile, when the dictator "sold" all of the rivers to the company Endesa. The company was sold to Spanish investors, and now, according to Kennedy, foreign speculators own all of the country's water.  The same thing happened with the forests.  He believes that there is no real democracy in Chile because it has no autonomous control over its natural resources.

He explains that coal is one of the worst polluters of the environment in the United States, and that it is necessary to replace this source of energy as fast as possible, but there are three obstacles: the existing subsidies for the oil industry, the lack of a system for new energy networks, and of effective mechanisms for penalizing those who waste resources.
Kennedy has been called one of the "Heroes of the Planet" by Time magazine for his contributions in the fight to rescue the Hudson River in New York, and for taking part in demonstrations against an oil pipeline with a group of environmentalists in front of the White House.

Los Angeles Film Festival winners announced

Janis Nords' Mother, I Love You and Ryan McGarry's Code Black Win Jury Awards

Destin Daniel Cretton's Short Term 12, Grace Lee's American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs and Haifaa Al Mansour's Wadjda Win Audience Awards

Best Performance, Short Film and Music Video Award Winners Also Revealed

Sloan Fast Track Grant and Millennium Entertainment Fellowship Given out in Part of Film Independent's Fast Track Program

Film Independent, the non-profit arts organization that produces the Los Angeles Film Festival and the Spirit Awards, announced the jury and audience award winners for the 2013 Festival at the Awards Brunch, hosted by CHAYA Downtown for the fourth year. Actor Mary Elizabeth Winstead was on hand to present the awards. The LA Film Fest, presented by Film Independent, in conjunction with Presenting Media Sponsor Los Angeles Times, Host Partner L.A. LIVE and Premier Sponsors DIRECTV and American Airlines, ran from Thursday, June 13 to Sunday, June 23in downtown Los Angeles.

"Every single film in the Festival rocks and I love that an international film and a local film received kudos today. They represent the breadth of our programming and our commitment to supporting unique voices around the world," said Festival Director Stephanie Allain.

The two top juried awards of the Los Angeles Film Festival are the DIRECTV Narrative Award and DIRECTV Documentary Award, each carrying an unrestricted $10,000 cash prize, funded by DIRECTV, for the winning film's director. The awards were established by the Festival to encourage independent filmmakers to pursue their artistic ambitions.

"Our jurors had hard choices to make this year and their discussions were at an incredibly high level.  I thank them for their thoughtful work and salute the winners.  I think we had a banner crop of competition films at the festival. All our filmmakers are winners in my book," said Artistic Director David Ansen.

The DIRECTV Narrative Award recognizes the finest narrative film in competition at the Festival and went to Janis Nords for Mother, I Love Youwhich made its United States premiere at the Festival.

TheDIRECTV Documentary Award recognizes the finest documentary film in competition at the Festival and went to Ryan McGarry for Code Black, which made its world premiere at the Festival.

The award for Best Performance in the Narrative Competition went to Geetanjali Thapa for her performance in Kamal K.M's I.Dwhich made its North American premiere at the Festival. Given to an actor or actors from an official selection in the Narrative Competition, this is the tenth year the award has been given at the Festival.

The LA Film Fest also awarded an unrestricted $1,500 cash prize to each short film category. The recipient for the Honolulu Film Office Award for Best Narrative Short Film went to Walker, directed by Tsai Ming-Liang. The recipient for the Honolulu Film Office Award for Best Documentary Short Film went to Kevin Jerome Everson for StoneEmma De Sweaf and Marc James Roels' Oh Willy… won the Honolulu Film Office Award for Best Animated or Experimental Short Film.

The Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature went to Short Term 12 directed by Destin Daniel Cretton and the Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature went to American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs, directed by Grace Lee. Sony Pictures Classics' Wadjda, directed by Haifaa Al Mansour won the Audience Award for Best International FeatureThe Audience Award for Best Short Film went to Grandpa and Me and a Helicopter to Heaven, directed by Asa Blanck and Johan Palmgren. Katachi, directed by Kijek/Adamski with music byShugo Tokumaru won the Audience Award for Best Music Video.

The DIRECTV Narrative Feature Competition jury was comprised of Film Independent Spirit Award-winning producer Gina Kwon (Me and You and Everyone We Know, Chuck & Buck), Spirit Award-nominated director Sean Baker (Starlet, Take Out, Prince of Broadway) and actor-producer Harry Lennix (Man of SteelTitus, the upcoming NBC series The Blacklist.). The DIRECTV Documentary Feature Competition jury was comprised of the 2010 LA Film Fest Grand Jury award-winning director Clay Tweel (Make Believe), award-winning producer Lesley Chilcott (Waiting For SupermanAn Inconvenient Truth), and New York Times contributing culture writer and former film and television critic Carina Chocano.  The Honolulu Film Office Award Shorts Competition Jury was comprised of Los Angeles Film Critics Association Vice President Tim Grierson, author Sandi Tan (The Black Isle) and Independent Spirit-nominated writer and director David Fenster (Trona, Pincus).

Also announced at the festival were the Fast Track grants winners which Film Independent selects and Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and Millennium Entertainment sponsor. The Fast Track program is an intensive, three-day film-financing market that connects participants with established financiers, production companies, agents, managers and other film industry professionals who can move their current projects forward.

Writer/director/producer Christopher Munch's film Frank's World: And Tales of the Fearless Brothers O won the Sloan Fast Track Grant, a $15,000 production grant.  The $10,000 Millennium Entertainment Fellowship grant was awarded to Vincent Harris and Amy Hobby for their film Third Girl from the Left.
Now in its nineteenth year, the Los Angeles Film Festival, supported by L.A. LIVE and the Los Angeles Times, showcases the best in new American and international cinema and provides the movie-loving public with access to some of the most critically acclaimed film makers, film industry professionals, and emerging talent from around the world. The 2013 Festival screened nearly 200 feature films, shorts and music videos, representing more than 30 countries.

The LA Film Fest kicked off on Thursday, June 13 with the North American premiere of Pedro Almodovar's I'm So Excited, sponsored by American Airlines, and will close tonight with the world premiere of Oscar® winners Nat Faxon and Jim Faxon's The Way, Way Back, sponsored by DIRECTV. Gala Screenings included the world premiere of Doug Pray's Levitated Mass: The Story of Michael Heizer's Monolithic Sculpture, the North American premiere of Nicolas Winding Refn's Only God Forgives and the Los Angeles premiere of Ryan Coogler's Fruitvale Station. 2013 Guest Director and recipient of this year's Spirit of Independence Award was David O. Russell and Artists in Residences were actress Maya Rudolph and composer Gustavo Santaolalla.

DIRECTV is proud to be a first-year partner with the LA Film Festival as sponsor of the Festival's Closing Night, Narrative and Documentary Competitions and Jury Prizes, reflecting its commitment to supporting established and emerging filmmakers. DIRECTV Cinema's premium pay-per-view movie service for DIRECTV customers offers access to exclusive new releases before they premiere in theaters, a library with thousands of movies to watch instantly with DIRECTV On Demand, and the most movies available in 1080p HD. DIRECTV the world's leading providers of digital television entertainment services delivering an unparalleled video experience through state-of-the-art technology and unmatched programming to more than 35 million customers in the U.S. and Latin America.

Stunning locations, great crews and generous tax credits are why Honolulu and Oahu are known as 'Production Center of the Tropics.'  Host to countless feature films, television series and new media projects including Jurassic Park, The Descendants, LOST and Hawaii Five-0, 2013 marks 100 years of film production in Hawaii.  To celebrate, the Honolulu Film Office has enhanced their tax credits. (

CHAYA restaurants have remained one of the city's most beloved and iconic dining destinations for 30 years. Lead by Corporate Executive Chef Shigefumi Tachibe—the creator of the original tuna tartare, CHAYA restaurants are renowned for their modern Euro-Asian cuisine and influence on the Los Angeles dining scene.  Chef Tachibe creates an inspired menu by infusing exotic ingredients and honored culinary traditions from his native Japanese roots. All CHAYA restaurants, including three locations in Los Angeles and one in San Francisco, highlight their menu with local and sustainable ingredients fresh from the farmers' market with seasonal menus. (

Awards were given out in the following categories:

DIRECTV Narrative Award (for Best Narrative Feature)

Mother, I Love You directed by Janis Nords
Alise Gelze
Kristofers Konovalovs, Matiss Livcans, Vita Varpina, Indra Brike, Haralds Barzdins

Film Description:

Like a lot of children, 12-year-old Raimonds has his quiet side, his talented side (he plays saxophone at a music school), a mischievous streak and a resourcefulness born of desperation. Often on his own while his single mom works, and routinely at odds with her when they do spend time together, Raimonds finds thrilling companionship in Peteris, a boy who steals money from one of the apartments his mother cleans.  Raimonds' increasingly dangerous decisions will have thorny repercussions for him and those close to him. Latvia

The Narrative Award carries an unrestricted cash prize of $10,000 funded by DIRECTV, offering the financial means to help film makers transfer their vision to the screen. The award recognizes the finest narrative film in competition and is given to the director. A special jury selects the winner, and all narrative feature-length films screening in the Narrative Competition section were eligible.

In bestowing Janis Nords with the DIRECTV Narrative Award, the Jury stated:

"As film makers ourselves we are finely attuned to the processes of making a film and sometimes find it difficult not to analyze a film on a purely technical or esoteric level.  In the case of our selected film, we found ourselves absorbed so completely in its world that we removed our critical eye. Its story is simple, deftly executed, and features a prodigious central performance. The careful escalation of dramatic tension, the truthful portrayal of a strained mother-son relationship, the stunning night time photography of an urban landscape and the confidant direction - never sacrificing substance for style - thoroughly won us over.  It is with a deep appreciation for its delicacy, emotional resonance and assured control of craft that we award the Grand Prize to Mother, I Love You."

DIRECTV Documentary Award (for Best Documentary Feature)

Code Black directed by Ryan McGarry
Linda Goldstein Knowlton

Film Description:

Continually understaffed, under-budgeted and overrun with patients, public hospital ER waiting rooms are by definition seas of misery. The ER of the old L.A. County Hospital+USC Medical Center, which was the first academic Department of Emergency Medicine in the US was, by all accounts, a war zone.

Code Black follows a team of young, idealistic and energetic ER doctors during the transition from the old to the new L.A. County as they try to avoid burnout and improve patient care. Why do they persist, despite being under siege by rules, regulations and paperwork? As one doctor simply states, "More people have died on that square footage than any other location in the United States. On a brighter note, more people have been saved than in any other square footage in the United States."

The Documentary Award carries an unrestricted cash prize of $10,000 funded by DIRECTV, offering the financial means to help film makers transfer their vision to the screen. The award recognizes the finest documentary film in competition, and is given to the director. A special jury selects the winner, and all documentary feature-length films screening in the Documentary Competition section were eligible.

In bestowing Ryan McGarry with the DIRECTV Documentary Award, the Jury stated:

"It's unusual for a first-time film maker to integrate complex, multifaceted ideas so seamlessly into a visceral, action-packed and character-driven story that they end up creeping up on you, as if you'd thought of them all by yourself. With a strong point-of-view rooted in personal experience, and without judgement, this year's winning film deftly disarms a hot-button political issue by reframing it as a human issue and shows us, instead of telling us, why we should care. Instead of rehashing familiar arguments, it drills down to find the universal in the specific. It's heart warming, and also heart stopping. The winner of the 2013 Los Angeles Film Festival Documentary Competition Grand Jury Prize is Code Black directed by Ryan McGarry."

Best Performance in the Narrative Competition

Geetanjali Thapa in Kamar K.M's I.D.

Film Description:

The feature directorial debut from Indian film maker Kamal K.M. may be called I.D., but this drama has less to do with individual identity than it does our shared personal connection. A carefree young woman living in Mumbai named Charu is visited by a painter who's been hired to do a touch-up to one of her apartment walls. But when the man falls unconscious, Charu discovers that she alone must attend to this stranger, first getting him to the hospital and then trying to discover who he is. India  

In bestowing Geetanjali Thapa with the Best Performance Award, the Jury stated:

"The Narrative Competition Jury gives an award for Best Actor to the very talented Geetanjali Thapa for her portrayal of Chara in Kamal K.M.'s I.D. Thapa's performance is recognized in part for her ability to win over the audience's empathy for a character that initially lacks, indeed even resists, empathy. Rarely conversational, her ability to speak volumes with gesture and silence is a revelation to the audience.  With an onscreen presence that commands attention, we see her rising star as something that excites us as film makers, and we are privileged to bear witness to the start of Thapa's very promising career."

Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature

Short Term 12, directed by Destin Daniel Cretton
Maren Olson, Asher Goldstein, Joshua Astrachan, Ron Najor
Brie Larson, John Gallagher Jr., Kaitlyn Dever, Keith Stanfield,

Rami Malek

Film Description:

Working with at-risk youth in a foster care facility, Grace never knows when things might suddenly go sideways. Likewise, Destin Daniel Cretton's film keeps viewers off-balance starting with its brilliantly staged opening scene, rarely allowing a moment's peace before another crisis erupts. Having reached a critical juncture in her relationship with her boyfriend Grace is pushed to her breaking point by the arrival of Jayden, a girl whose troubled home life parallels the one she endured.

This award is given to the narrative feature audiences liked most as voted by a tabulated rating system. Select narrative feature-length films screening in the following sections were eligible for the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature: Narrative Competition, International Showcase, Summer Showcase, Community Screenings and The Beyond.

Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature

American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs directed by Grace Lee
Grace Lee, Caroline Libresco, Austin Wilkin
Grace Lee Boggs

Film Description:

Intimate and inspiring, Grace Lee Boggs' story is one of a lifelong work for social justice and equality. Born into a middle class Chinese immigrant family and educated at Barnard in the 1930s, the young Grace soon noticed the inequities in American society and spent the next eight decades working to change the status quo, becoming an icon of the African American movement. Using her advanced education and intelligence not to accrue vast wealth but to work towards the betterment of all people, Boggs became a true American hero.

At 97 she continues to work tirelessly to educate and activate Americans, young and old, to work for the changes in which they believe. Director Lee (no relation) gives us a writer, activist and philosopher as she works her way through decades of social and political upheaval, inspiring all the way.

This award is given to the documentary feature audiences liked most as voted by a tabulated rating system. Select documentary feature-length films screening in the following sections were eligible for the Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature: Documentary Competition, International Showcase, Summer Showcase and Community Screenings.

Audience Award for Best International Feature

Sony Pictures Classics'  Wadjda, directed by Haifaa Al Mansour
Gerhard Meixner, Roman Paul
Reem Abdullah, Waad Mohammed, Abdullrahman Al Gohani,

Ahd, Sultan Al Assaf

Film Description:

This rousing, pioneering gem--not only the first Saudi Arabian feature shot within the Kingdom, but the first ever directed by a woman--focuses on a remarkable 10-year-old girl named Wadjda, who sets her sights on buying a beautiful green bicycle so she can race her friend Abdullah through the suburban streets of Riyadh. But in this conservative society, virtuous girls don't ride bikes, and her mother forbids it. The rebellious Wadjda decides to raise the money herself - by entering a Koran recitation competition at her school. The troublemaker must pose as a pious, model student to achieve her goal.  Germany/Saudi Arabia/United Arab Emirates

This award is given to the international feature audiences liked most as voted by a tabulated rating system. Select international feature-length films, both narrative and documentary, screening in the following sections were eligible for the Audience Award for Best International Feature: Narrative Competition, Documentary Competition, International Showcase, Summer Showcase and The Beyond.

HONOLULU FILM OFFICE AWARD for Best Narrative Short Film

Walker directed by Tsai Ming-Liang
Chen Kuan-Ying
Lee Kang-Sheng


In this stunning meditative piece, the walking pace of a monk measures up against the bustling streets of Hong Kong.  China

In bestowing Tsai Ming-Liang with the Honolulu Film Office Award for Best Narrative Short Film Award, the Jury stated:

"Great storytelling comes in many different forms, and like an ancient koan, our winner is deceptively simple and surprisingly playful. It features the epic odyssey of one man, seemingly poised against the forces of modernity as he advances - silently, deliberately -from day to night, from tiny alleys to towering skyscraper avenues, across the frenetic city of Hong Kong. At journey's end, we, too, are transformed by the sweet moment when denial morphs into glee: Walker from Tsai Ming-Liang."

HONOLULU FILM OFFICE AWARD for Best Documentary Short Film

Stone directed by Kevin Jerome Everson
Madeleine Molyneaux, Kevin Jerome Everson                                 


A real-time documentary of a street hustler running a betting game of finding the ball under one of the three caps.

In bestowing Kevin Jerome Everson with the Honolulu Film Office Award for Best Documentary Short Film Award, the Jury stated:

"Documentaries can expose us to the world's harsh realities, but they can also reveal the beauty and mystery of the everyday. The latter is very true in the case of our winner for Best Documentary Short, which is only seven minutes long but is filled with character detail and suspense. Consisting of only one shot, this short introduces us to an unnamed street hustler as he bets onlookers that they can't find the ball hidden underneath one of three caps, our winner is film maker Kevin Jerome Everson's Stone."

HONOLULU FILM OFFICE AWARD for Best Animated/Experimental Short Film

Oh Willy... directed by Emma De Sweaf, Marc James Roels
Ben Tesseur, Nidia Santiago


Fleeing a nudist colony where he witnessed his mother's passing, Willy has an unexpected encounter.Belgium/The Netherlands/ France

In bestowing Emma De Sweaf and Marc James Roels with the Honolulu Film Office Award for Best Animated or Experimental Short Film Award, the Jury stated:

"Several of the animated shorts at this year's festival were inventive and startling, but our winner was a truly exceptional piece of work. This humorous, moving and ultimately sublime short tells a story of life, death and rebirth with wobbly thighs, vomit, breastfeeding, space travel and bunny rabbits - all against the backdrop of a nudist colony. The winner of Best Animated or Experimental Short is Oh Willy..."

Audience Award for Best Short Film

Grandpa and Me and a Helicopter to Heaven directed by ├ůsa Blanck and Johan Palmgren
Asa Blanck


An unsentimental young boy goes on a final excursion with his grandfather to collect chanterelle mushrooms.  Sweden

Awarded to the short film audiences liked most as voted on by a tabulated rating system. Short films screening in the Shorts Programs or before Narrative Competition, Documentary Competition, or International Showcase feature-length screenings were eligible for the Audience Award for Best Short Film.

Audience Award for Best Music Video

Katachi directed by Kijek/Adamski
Shugo Tokumaru

This award is given to the music video audiences liked most as voted on by a tabulated rating system.

Now in its nineteenth year, the Los Angeles Film Festival, supported by L.A. LIVE and the Los Angeles Times, showcases the best in new American and international cinema and provides the movie-loving public with access to some of the most critically acclaimed film makers, film industry professionals, and emerging talent from around the world.
The Festival features unique signature programs including the Film Maker Retreat, Music in Film Nights at the GRAMMY Museum, Poolside Chats, Master Classes and more. Additionally, the Festival screens short films created by high school students and has a special section devoted to music videos. Over 200 features, shorts and music videos, representing more than 30 countries, make up the main body of the Festival.

The DIRECTV Narrative and DIRECTV Documentary awards are cash awards for best narrative and documentary features selected by an esteemed panel of jurors each year.  The Honolulu Film Festival awards cash prizes for best narrative, documentary and animated short films. The Festival also hosts a jury awards as well as a jury award for best performance in the narrative competition. Audience awards are also presented to best documentary, narrative and international feature, short film and music video.

The Los Angeles Film Festival is presented in conjunction with Presenting Media Sponsor the Los Angeles Times, Premier and Closing Night Sponsor DIRECTV, Premier and Opening Night Sponsor American Airlines, Principal and Family Day sponsor Hasbro Studios and Platinum sponsors Stella Artois, Regal Cinemas L.A. LIVE Stadium 14, EFILM, HBO, Volkswagen of America, Canon U.S.A., Inc. and Dolby Laboratories, Inc. Special support is provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The Official Screening Venue is Regal Cinemas L.A. LIVE Stadium 14. Stella Artois is the official beer. Renwood Winery is the official wine provider. Shellback Caribbean Rum is the official spirit. Los Angeles Athletic Club is the Official Host Hotel. WireImage is the Official Photography Agency and PR Newswire is the Official Breaking News Service of Film Independent. More information can be found at

Film Independent is a non-profit arts organization that champions independent film and supports a community of artists who embody diversity, innovation, and uniqueness of vision. Film Independent helps film makers make their movies, builds an audience for their projects, and works to diversify the film industry. Film Independent's Board of Directors, film makers, staff, and constituents, is comprised of an inclusive community of individuals across ability, age, ethnicity, gender, race, and sexual orientation. Anyone passionate about film can become a member, whether you are a film maker, industry professional, or a film lover.

Film Independent produces the Spirit Awards, the annual celebration honoring artist-driven films and recognizing the finest achievements of American independent film makers. Film Independent also produces the Los Angeles Film Festival, showcasing the best of American and international cinema and the Film Independent at LACMA Film Series, a year-round, weekly program that offers unique cinematic experiences for the Los Angeles creative community and the general public.

With over 250 annual screenings and events, Film Independent provides access to a network of like-minded artists who are driving creativity in the film industry. Film Independent's Artist Development program offers free Labs for selected writers, directors, producers and documentary film makers and presents year-round networking opportunities. Project Involve is Film Independent's signature program dedicated to fostering the careers of talented filmmakers from communities traditionally underrepresented in the film industry. For more information or to become a member, visit

Corporate cash is flowing to business investment says AFP survey

Although corporate cash reserves remain high and growing in banks, a significant stream of cash is flowing into the types of corporate investment that augur well for American business.

According to the AFP 2013 Liquidity Survey released by the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP) and underwritten by RBS Citizens, corporate treasurers and CFOs reported that their companies were more likely to have expanded cash and short-term investment holdings over the past year than to have contracted them (40 versus 22 percent), but companies that reduced cash were making clear investments for the future, often taking the opportunity to acquire or launch businesses.

Top reasons for paring reserves were acquiring a company or launching new operations (36 percent), increasing capital expenditures (32 percent); retiring debt (19 percent); or share repurchases or dividends (16 percent).

"Though CFOs and treasurers are cautious, these are significant amounts of cash being invested in American businesses," said Jim Kaitz, AFP's president and CEO. "If the trend continues to play out as we expect, business investment should continue to rise."

James Gifas, head of Treasury Solutions at RBS Citizens, concurred. "There are good signs that companies are building and investing now, and laying the groundwork for their future. We are seeing confidence levels rise among our treasury customers, and the survey results underscore this trend."

Companies continue to maintain ultra-conservative investment strategies for their short-term holdings, the survey found, with 74 percent of their short-term investment balances placed in one of three investment vehicles:  banks, money market funds, or treasury securities.

Despite the expiration of unlimited FDIC insurance (Transaction Account Guarantee, or TAG) at the end of December, companies didn't pull their cash from banks. In fact, three out of five companies indicated that expiration of TAG had no effect on their investment strategies.  About the same percentage of corporate cash resides in banks as did last year (50 percent, compared to 51 percent in 2012).

Uncertainty about the future of money market funds (MMFs) likely accounts for the large amounts that companies place in bank deposits as they seek safety of principal. This month, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission proposed that Prime MMFs shift to a floating-rate net asset value structure and might include redemption restrictions, which could affect institutional investors.  Financial professionals indicated in the survey that their companies likely would further disinvest in MMFs should these proposals go into effect.

As uncertainty around MMFs lingers, corporate holdings have declined from previous years to just 16 percent of short-term investments in the 2013 survey, down from 30 percent as recently as the 2011 survey.

About the Survey
AFP conducted the survey, underwritten by RBS Citizens, in May 2013, generating 885 responses. The survey respondents were senior finance and treasury executives from a broad range of companies—typically U.S.-based multinationals with a median of $2 billion in revenue.  The typical AFP member works at an organization with complex treasury operational needs that can be met only by large regional banks and global banks.
Download key findings from the AFP 2013 Liquidity Survey on  

About AFP® (
The Association for Financial Professionals (AFP) is a professional society headquartered outsideWashington, DC, that provides members with news, economic research and data on the evolving world of treasury and finance, certification programs, networking events, financial analytical tools, training, and public policy representation to legislators and regulators. AFP's global reach extends to over 150,000 treasury and financial professionals worldwide, including AFP of CanadaLondon-based gtnews, an on-line resource for the treasury and finance community; and bobsguide, a financial IT solutions network.

About RBS Citizens Financial Group, Inc.
RBS Citizens Financial Group, Inc. is a $126 billion commercial bank holding company. It is headquartered in Providence, R.I., and through its subsidiaries has approximately 1,400 branches, approximately 3,600 ATMs and approximately 19,000 colleagues. Its two bank subsidiaries are RBS Citizens, N.A., and Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania. They operate a 12-state branch network under the Citizens Bank brand in ConnecticutDelawareMassachusettsNew HampshireNew JerseyNew York,PennsylvaniaRhode Island and Vermont; and the Charter One brand in IllinoisMichigan and Ohio. RBSCFG has non-branch retail and commercial offices in more than 30 states. RBSCFG is owned by RBS (the Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc). RBSCFG's website is