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Jules Verne Fest Opens Portal at 7+Fig

By Eric Richardson
Published: Wednesday, August 13, 2008, at 11:55AM
Jules Vernes Portal Ribbon Cutting Eric Richardson [Flickr]

Ribbon cutting at Jules Verne's Portal. L-R: Jimmy Jean-Louis from "Heroes," Nichelle Nichols of "Star Trek," Councilwoman Jan Perry, Buzz Aldrin and Brookfield Properties' V.P. of Southern California Leasing, John Barganski.

On Tuesday afternoon Councilwoman Jan Perry joined astronaut Buzz Aldrin and Nichelle Nichols of "Star Trek" in cutting the ribbon for Jules Verne's Portal at 7+Fig, a space that the Jules Verne Adventures Film Festival will use for education and screenings. The festival returns to Los Angeles in late October, this time landing on Broadway in the Million Dollar Theater.

The space hosted its first group of local schoolchildren earlier in the morning, giving the kids from Normandie Elementary School a chance learn about conservation and the environment. "In this venue, every week, two classes of school-age children will open the Porthole and dive into the multiple worlds of our fascinating planet," festival co-creator Frédéric Dieudonné explained. "They'll be able to enjoy films, as well as meet and interact with filmmakers, conservationists, scientists and real-life explorers."

"Exploration, education and conservation through imagination: that's our mission at the Porthole," festival co-creator Jean Christophe Jeauffre told those on-hand for the ribbon cutting. "Hopefully [the children who visit] will realize how vast is the world. It's not only our cities, it's not only our modern civilization; there are so many other things to see."

Nichelle Nichols played Uhura in the original "Star Trek" television series. She spoke of the importance television and film play in encouraging exploration. "A little more than 40 years ago the first Starship Enterprise began exploring outer space boldly going where no TV show had ever gone before," Nichols said. "Star Trek is a porthole to a better world. I know that Jean Christophe and Frédéric, these beautiful men, were inspired not only by captain Jacques Cousteau and astronaut Buzz Aldrin, but also by our adventures aboard the Starship Enterprise."

Starting in September, a series of festival-connected screenings will take place at the Edison Lounge. Edison owner Andrew Meieran commented that this wasn't the first time he'd connected the space with the festival's eponymous author. "When I first envisioned the Edison, I actually walked into the Edison when it was eight feet underwater. As I explored the strange and unusual and remarkable space, the first thought was that I had walked into a Jules Verne novel."

Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin wrapped up the speeches by talking about the importance of connecting with today's youth. "It is attractive entertainment that really helps educate our young people and inspire them." That, he said, is what the Jules Verne festival provides.

The Jules Verne Adventures Film Festival runs October 23 - 26, 2008. The festival website is at http://jvaff.com.

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