7 reasons why it's awesome that Pedro Almodóvar was chosen as president of Cannes.

Pedro Almodóvar is a legend.

He was born in Spain three years after the first Cannes Film Festival. In the subsequent 67 years of his life, he has pushed the creative envelope of screenwriting and filmmaking. His influence is truly global, and his films consistently have echoed social themes for over 30 years.

Almodóvar being selected as the president of the jury for the 2017 Cannes Film Festival is significant for many reasons.

Photo by Pascal Guyot/AFP/Getty Images.


1. He is the first Spaniard to earn the honor.

In the festival's illustrious 70-year existence, presidents of the jury have hailed from many countries: France, USA, U.K., Belgium, Japan, Austria, Germany, Italy, Guatemala, Sweden, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Serbia and Montenegro, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada.

Now, Spain finally gets to join that company. And Almodóvar is taking it very seriously.

"I am very happy to be able to celebrate the Festival de Cannes 70th anniversary from such a privileged position. I am grateful, honoured and a bit overwhelmed. I am aware of the responsibility that entails being the president of the jury and I hope to be up to the job. I can only tell that I’ll devote myself, body and soul, to this task, that it is both a privilege and a pleasure."

2. It's rarified company.

Some of the past presidents include Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Jeanne Morneau, Luc Besson, Kirk Douglas, Milos Forman, Louis Malle, Ingrid Bergman, and Tennessee Williams.

3. His work has been a staple at Cannes for 30 years.

His movies don't just "get in to Cannes." They are consistently in the running for the Palme d'Or, the highest prize at the festival. -

"La Mala Educatión." Photo by AFP/Getty Images.

4. His work has been cutting-edge since day one.

Black comedy/drama is an understatement when it comes to Almodóvar's work. He draws you in with luscious colors, framing, and scenery while shaking you awake with themes of identity, political freedom, and passion. His new film "Julieta" has received mass critical acclaim.

"All About My Mother." Photo by Dreamworks.

5. His mantel is overflowing with awards.

He is considered one of — if not the most — successful Spanish filmmakers of all time. He has won two Oscars, three Goya Awards, seven European Film Awards, four BAFTAs, four Cannes prizes, one Italian Golden Globe, and many more.

But that's not all. Other highlights include: the French Legion of Honor, a Gold Medal for Merit in Fine Arts from the Spanish Ministry of Culture, selection as a foreign honorary member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and honorary doctoral degrees from Harvard and Oxford universities. And many more.

It's a really, really big fireplace.

6. He's a president the world is actually excited about!

With all the news inundating us, we get to celebrate a universally liked celebrity getting the recognition he deserves.

Photo by Kena Betancur/AFP/Getty Images.

7. Diversity is (finally) getting more recognition this year.

A Spaniard finally being recognized as president of the jury and the Oscars making history this year with a black actor nominated in every major acting category are just two signs of progress for diversity in the arts.

In the scheme of the recent barrage of events that we've been subjected to as new subjects this pales in comparison. A judge at a posh film festival in an overpriced tourist town in France wouldn't normally make for breaking news. But I'll take the smallest of victories wherever I can to try to find some true escapism, in real life and on the silver screen.

Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

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The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

The Schmidt family's Halloween photoshoot has become an annual tradition.

Two of Patti Schmidt's three sons were already well into adulthood when her daughter Avery was born, and the third wasn't far behind them. Avery, now 5, has never had the pleasure of close-in-age sibling squabbles or gigglefests, since Larry, Patrick, and Gavin are 28, 26, and 22, respectively—but that doesn't mean they don't bond as a family.

According to People.com, Patti calls her sons home to Point Pleasant, New Jersey, every fall for a special Halloween photoshoot with Avery. And the results are nothing short of epic.

The Schmidt family started the tradition in 2017 with the boys dressing as the tinman, the scarecrow, and the cowardly lion from "The Wizard of Oz." Avery, just a toddler at the time, was dressed as Dorothy, complete with adorable little ruby slippers.

The following year, the boys were Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Chewbacca, and Avery was (of course) Princess Leia.

In 2019, they did a "Game of Thrones" theme. ("My husband and I were binge-watching (Game of Thrones), and I thought the boys as dragons would be so funny," Schmidt told TODAY.)

In 2020, they went as Princess Buttercup, Westley, Inigo Montoya, and Fezzik from "The Princess Bride."

Patti shared a video montage of each year's costume shoot—with accompanying soundtracks—on Instagram and TikTok. Watch:

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."