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The Crowd: Moviemakers win grants from foundation

Adrienne Brandes says she has two favorite days in the year. First on the list is Christmas, and the second is the day she joined the Women of Chapman to bestow grants on deserving students at the university.

The Chapman women gathered last week for a luncheon in a bayside dining room at Balboa Bay Resort.

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Here's a little back story of how Brandes got involved with the group. Some years ago, the Women of Chapman pledged to raise $1 million over a period of years to support university advancement. In 2009 Brandes and her son Patrick, then a college student himself at University of Pennsylvania, pledged a match donation of another million to Chapman through the organization, which has been a major philanthropic association for Brandes for more than 30 years.

The match pledge has been funded by the Adrienne Boyle Brandes and Patrick Ryan Brennan Endowment Fund. For the third year Brandes has joined the Women of Chapman distributing scholarship cash grants to students.

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The principal beneficiaries of these grants are students in the Dodge College of Film and Media Arts at Chapman. The grants are specifically billed as The Women of Chapman Endowed Student Filmmaker Awards and they are awarded based on both merit and financial need.

Undergrads at Chapman use the resources to meet production costs associated with upcoming senior projects required during the 2015-2016 school year. Judges awarding grants look for projects that have a unique story and/or production values that may require a long-distance shoot, period costumes, cutting edge technical equipment for effects, and more.

The 2015 winners were:

Alex Yonks: $8,000 for "Pumpkins, Parties, and Paradise," a family-friendly drama about a young girl fighting leukemia who shares a special and life-affirming bond with her horse.

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Brandon Karsh: $8,000 for "Any Elsewhere," in which a shiftless loner inexplicably finds himself on the lam with a social misfit with superpowers.

Daniel Corona and Matthew Robillard: $10,000 for "For Old Time's Sake," about a hapless group of superheroes who grow weary of retirement home living constraints and boredom. This will be a combined digital and live action film.

Andrew Evers: $10,000 for "Cronus," a futuristic space drama tackling the topics of moral duty, honor to one's father and the survival of humanity.

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Kathy Thompson Does It With Style And Substance

One of the all-time classy grand dames of the Corona del Mar oceanfront, Kathy Thompson, joined her husband Jerry Thompson, their daughter April and son Todd in welcoming some 100 friends for the annual SOS Star Team luncheon at Five Crowns, Corona del Mar.

The mid-week confab is a highlight of the early summer social scene on the coast as luncheon attendees go home with an enormous bag of sweet Vidalia onions from the Thompson farm presented to each supporter of Costa Mesa's SOS.

The crowd, including The Rev. Kerry Beaulieu from Our Lady Queen of Angels Church, Carol and Henry Schielein, Marla Bird, Michael Russell, Bridgette Krause, Allison McLane, Jane and Richard Taylor, Whitney and Michael Moses Cortez, Gary Fudge, Linda Johnson, Kathy Leland and SOS executive director Karen McGlinn, are all front and center raising funds and awareness for the needs of those struggling to survive in our own back yard.

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The gracious hostess Thompson, always smartly dressed, and usually showing off her signature favorite aquamarine colors, traded in the blue for summer yellow and black and white for the onion affair. Guests dined on Five Crowns' famous roasted prime rib of beef with the creamed spinach and Yorkshire pudding that has made the establishment famous for more than a half century in the O.C.

McGlinn, the eloquent leader of the SOS charge shared a few special words with the luncheon crowd. She quoted Abraham Lincoln stating, "The human bond is all that matters, one to another, that is the legacy that endures."

Guests listened as McGlinn detailed some very personal stories of fellow Newport-Mesa citizens who have fallen on very hard times and the adjustment necessary from living in a home to a car or motel room for survival.

"It is so important to treat everyone with the same respect, dignity and look them in the eye to let them know that they matter," McGlinn said. "Do not classify people by the situation they are in. Remember that at some point in time we all may be in the same situation."

Today SOS operates five local centers offering "support for body, mind, spirit and health care."

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Getting To The Heart Of The Matter

The American Heart Assn. entertained nearly 400 community guests recently at the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel for the 34th annual "Heart Ball."

Chaired by Alfredo Molina and Renee Dee of Black, Starr & Frost Jewelry Co., the black tie event raised in excess of $550,000 earmarked for the fight against heart disease and strokes. The tally broke all previous fundraising markers in the O.C. for The American Heart Assn. Molina shared with the crowd that he and Dee would commit to chairing the event for three years in an effort to raise needed funds for critical research.

The Gene Press Orchestra serenaded As the crowd as they dined on gourmet fare. Special guest of honor for the evening was Stacey Buchholtz, a survivor of sudden cardiac arrest.

"Only about 8% of sudden cardiac arrest victims survive and when they do it's because of the immediate administration of CPR," Buchholtz told the room full of diners. "I am here today because of the incredible work of the American Heart Assn., where research led to the discovery of CPR 55 years ago."

THE CROWD runs Fridays. B.W. Cook is editor of the Bay Window, the official publication of the Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach.

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