Caroline of Virginia at Phnom Penh 2014

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Caroline of Virginia has been officially announced as an official selection of the 2014 Phnom Penh International Film Festival. This is a landmark event for me as a filmmaker as it is the first time my work will be seen outside of North America. I’m happy it was this particular film to make such an important achievement as it was the first film I made to get into a film festival to begin with and to be recognized with an award. It makes sense that it would continue to further my accolades.

Although I know the festival will be in September, I have not yet received the screening schedule so I do not know the exact date that COV will screen. I’m to understand the staffers there are working really hard on getting the scheduled locked and live, so stay tuned!

Please check out the film’s listing on the festival website at: http://www.ppiff.com/2014/caroline-of-virginia/ and connect with them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PhnomPenhIFF

COV-Still-BUS-STOP COV-Still-FINAL-SHOTWatch the production trailer on the festival’s YouTube Channel:

 

It Happened One Night at A World of Film

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A new article I wrote for A World of Film, this time I tackle the Frank Capra classic “It Happened One Night” – among the earliest of “road trip” movies.

[reblogged from A World of Film]

… The atmosphere on set was tense as Gable and Colbert disapproved of the material, citing the script aslow quality. It is purported that when Gable first arrived to set, he told Capra, “Let’s get this over with”, making it clear how unhappy he was to have been loaned out for this “inferior” project. Gable and Colbert took a liking to one another through their common dissatisfaction with the script and only lightened after Capra suggested that Gable play occasional pranks on her.

Although she got along well with Gable, Colbert continued to demonstrate her displeasure while on set. She is said to have had many tantrums, largely motivated by her deep seeded hatred towards Capra. She balked at the idea of hiking up her skirt to entice passing drivers to give her a ride, citing that it was “beneath her”. Capra responded by introducing Colbert to her double, a chorus girl. Upon seeing her legs, a disgruntled Colbert changed her mind and agreed to do the scene without a double. Knowing that Colbert was perfect for the part, Capra took it all in stride, believing that the headache would pay off in the long run…. (read more at A World of Film)

[reblogged from A World of Film]

 

 

IndieScreen in Brooklyn Closing

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According to BKMag.com, IndieScreen, the movie theater/bar restaurant in Brooklyn is closing. The venue was located on Kent Avenue in Williamsburg, in a relatively “difficult to access” area near the East River. In December 2012, I had the pleasure of having my film Lipstick Lies screen there, as an official selection of the first annual Philip K. Dick Sci-Fi Film Festival. While the screening venue is impeccable at a technical level, I found the location and pricing of the area wasn’t commensurate with the wallets of many NYC indie filmmakers. I vaugly remember telling another filmmaker friend that it was called “IndieScreen” because it sounds hip and Brooklyn-ish, but it was never really for the truly independent filmmaker.

Via: http://www.bkmag.com/2014/07/08/indiescreen-closes-to-make-way-for-vice/

 

When one choice does not work, try another

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Film Anthropology:

One filmmakers opinion on FilmFreeway.com and I agree – if something doesn’t work, go another route. So happy people are taking a liking to the new festival submissions platform.

-E

Originally posted on Cypriot Abroad:

My first Kickstarter campaign ended on Sunday March second, at 11:46 EST. My documentary, My Life in Black Rock, Buffalo, New York, was to continue to be stored in my LaCie external drive. I had no funding to proceed with film festivals submissions.

A cold virus had accompanied me home the week prior. I think it sneaked into my system while i was riding my bike. I felt weak and got fever shivers. Gradually, I lost my voice and developed a coarse cough.

I stayed home to recover. I watched TV and made lots of comfort food and pop-corn. At one sitting, while eating the pop-corn, i broke my tooth. The size of the enamel was alarming.

It is mandatory to remain calm when a succession of disasters take place.

On Monday morning of March third, i booked an appointment with a local dental facility. Then, i  reviewed all e-mails…

View original 262 more words

Good Morning…

Eric Norcross filming The Long Island Project in Syosset, New York
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I just spent the past four hours walking around a very empty and extremely frigid lower Manhattan. The financial district between the hours of 1am and 4am is my favorite time to be strolling about NYC. In these hours I feel like the city belongs to me. All these skyscrapers, subway infrastructure and everything that goes with is there for me and only me. I can hear and see things that I might not pick up when the hustle and bustle begins around 6am. There’s a Chase Bank in relative close proximity to the Bowling Green where the door lock grinds loudly and the card reader consistently beeps – clearly these two security mechanisms are malfunctioning. This Chase branch has been this way for several years now. This is part of what I know of MY New York. It was broken when I was 29 and it’s still broken – even tonight, while I’m 32.

I thought a lot about my time here tonight – my entire time since I moved to this town on that fateful Labor Day weekend in 2003. Fresh from Maine, without a dime in my bank account – like most major decisions in my life, I didn’t take the financial aspects into consideration. If I had, I wouldn’t be here. Somehow, someway, it all has worked out in one way or another. You see, I moved here with the promise to myself that no matter how hard, complicated or crazy it got – I wouldn’t regret anything I did while I lived here and I wouldn’t let any kind of fear dictate my decision making. RISK IS KEY. Being an independent filmmaker in New York City has always seemed like such a special thing and IT IS. It’s not easy and you’re not guaranteed ANYTHING. Too few people ever have or ever will understand why it’s so important. It’s just that this is something that some of us HAVE to do. It’s the mother fucker at the top of a bucket list chock full of impossible shit and holy shit! I’ve made some films! I’ve screened some films! I’ve helped filmmakers get their films going, inspired other filmmakers, volunteered in service to the indie film community and encountered the kinds of people I never thought I’d mix up with. I did it all in NYC! I did it all as a New Yorker! As a New Yorker, I’ve lived in four of the five boroughs, in some of the wealthiest and poorest neighborhoods and for all of it I am grateful.

I’ve worked with some of the most kick ass people and some of sleaziest individuals on the planet. I’ve interviewed senators, assemblymen, district attorneys, heads of state and even convinced a sitting congressman to improvise a cameo for one of my old no budget movie projects. This guy, he was hot shit, the Illinois congressman that went after Clinton for the Lewinsky thing. Henry J. Hyde. Can you believe that? For all these years I forgot about this and it just hit me tonight – WOW! I’ve had commercials go to air here, in Long Island, Connecticut, upstate as far as Rochester! I’ve never even been to Rochester! On top of that, video spots I’ve directed have appeared on those small screens in the back of the NYC taxi cabs. That’s so weird but cool and to put this into perspective of where I came from, just a few years ago… WOW!

I lost all this for the past year or so because, well, I’ve been pre-occupied. It’s this monster project, THE SPACESHIP. You see, it has driven me batshit crazy. Some of you close to the project know first hand that “batshit crazy” is the understatement of the year. This bastard is as big as my move to NYC. It has all the same risks and cockups and doesn’t guarantee much of anything, at least not for me as a writer or director. But that’s okay. It’s one hell of a project and unlike everything that came before, I’ve really stuck to my guns on so many aspects of it: technical, aesthetic and approach. I’ve lost a lot of trust, friendships and credibility as a result of how this project has been handled so far and that’s okay too. You see, all these inconveniences, pains and emotions are a distraction. They’re meant to be, a distraction, created by fear and none of it really does anyone any good. These fears won’t exist when this is all over because all that will matter in the end is the final result – the finished film. Few will remember any of the cockups, the late checks and the hard days and those that pine over it or base their future professional decisions based on their experience with this project and with me should rethink what they’re doing with their lives.

I have little pride – I don’t much care for it. I find it hysterical actually. I am especially amused when someone claims to be proud of something they have no control over, like their heritage or something. But I do recognize something about me that I am proud of, a couple things actually. The first is that I’m proud that I’ve stuck it out in NYC as long as I have. It has been an “against all odds” kind of thing. This past September was my ten year anniversary and although I didn’t get to celebrate it in style like I was hoping, none of it was lost upon me. The second is that I have never, ever, chosen a project, either client or personal, based on its monetary value (to me). My dedication to a project has never been commensurate to the capacity of a paycheck, even in the worst of times. Maybe that’s why I ended up moving around so much or maybe that’s why my client work is so eclectic. Who knows. Maybe it’s more than that or maybe it has nothing to do with anything. All I can say is that as hard as it has been, I don’t regret a single day of it. It’s like that broken security lock on the Chase Bank – it isn’t perfect, but it’s part of the experience I was after when I made the decision to come here.

It’s approaching 5:30am so I guess I should be getting some sleep now.

-E

Film Location Spotlight: Astoria, Oregon

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Astoria, Oregon

This month our location spotlight is on the city of Astoria, Oregon and the nearby Pacific Coast. Astoria is the seat of Clatsop County and sits at the mouth of the Columbia River. Astoria offers unique scenery for any film, large or small and is just across the river from the State of Washington. With Portland, Seattle and Tacoma easily accessible and mild year round weather, it’s clear why so many productions have gone to Astoria in the past.

Astoria is home to many artists and historians that are easily accessible, should your production require their talents and expertise. In addition, many locals are often involved in productions, working as extras or production assistants whenever needed. According to Wikipedia: “Since 1998, artistically-inclined fishermen and women from Alaska and the Pacific Northwest have traveled to Astoria for the Fisher Poets Gathering, where poets and singers tell their tales to honor the fishing industry and lifestyle.

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Southward view from Ecola State Park, Northern Oregon Coast / IMG from Wikipedia

The Oregon Coast is diverse geologically and stretches for more than 360 miles. The north coast, which stretches from the Columbia River to Neskowin, is the most accessible from Astoria.  Next to the State of Hawaii, Oregon is one of the only states to pass laws that make all of the beaches in the state accessible to the public, which many indie filmmakers can benefit from.

You can read more about the Oregon Coast by visiting: http://visittheoregoncoast.com/faq/

The Goonies

Some of the more well known productions that have utilized Astoria as a backdrop include THE GOONIES, which made the coast and its beaches famous to the world and KINDEGARTEN COP, directed by Ivan Reitman, who maximized his access to Astoria Elementary School. There are many others too, like FREE WILLY and the third installment of the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles live action movies (the one where they go back in time).  You can learn more about productions that filmed in Astoria by visiting the Oregon Film Museum.

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Essential: #09 – Nosferatu (1922)

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9Making the number 9 slot in the first installment of our top ten essential cinema list is the 1922 German expressionist film NOSFERATU by F.W. Murnau. The film stars Max Schreck as the title character in a film that managed to survive war, depression and a lawsuit from Bram Stoker’s widow. In fact, the negative and all official prints were destroyed as a result of the lawsuit and the only reason the film exists today is because other prints surfaced over the years. It has since been digitally restored to its original condition (as original as technology & existing production records allow) and is available in a special DVD release through Kino Video.

Some interesting facts about the film: Nosferatu was banned in Sweden until 1972, due to excessive horror. The concept that vampires die when they come into contact with raw sunlight came directly from this film and the title character of Nosferatu is seen on film for no more than nine minutes. This film is the cornerstone of the horror genre, at least as far as film is concerned, and the dramatic lighting, make-up and feel of the movie is an achievement that has inspired and spawned many films (some that have also ended up on our essentials list).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rcyzubFvBsA

Film Location Spotlight: Nova Scotia

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Cabot_trail_2009kNova Scotia (or New Scotland) is the most populous Atlantic province of Canada. Nova Scotia offers great maritime scenery and the charm that comes with its quaint central city, Halifax. Although it’s the second smallest province in the nation, it’s not at a loss from fresh views as it  is home to 3,800 islands including Cape Breton. Nova Scotia is surrounded by three different bodies of water: the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, the Bay of Fundy and the Gulf of Maine.

Halifax, NightWhile Nova Scotia has been used by mainstream movie producers in the past, it is often overlooked by independent filmmakers, specifically the lot of us producing work in the United States. The perspective this part of the world offers to outsiders helps make any project produced here unique, solidifying it as a historical happening locally and allowing it to exist on a pedestal above most other indie work for location originality.

Notable films and shows that have filmed in Nova Scotia include:

Margaret’s Museum starring Helena Bonham Carter

Forever Young starring Mel Gibson

Haven (tv series)

Titanic directed by James Cameron

Bag of Bones

and of course many others.

Facts about Nova Scotia:

Nova Scotia is located almost halfway between the equator and the north pole.

Most of the population of Nova Scotia (approx 950,000) live in or close to Halifax, leaving a lot of open space in other areas of the province for your movie production to move about and set up gear. :)

Nova Scotia is a peninsula jetting out from New Brunswick and includes the massive Cape Breton Island.

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Star Trek vs. Spaceballs

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StarBallsVideo editor Jason Einert has a created a gem of a mash-up short film utilizing footage from Star Trek: The Next Generation and Spaceballs. I don’t normally promote mash-up videos but after stumbling across this beauty I had to give the guy props for making it – it had me in hysterical laughter all morning.  I’ve since checked out many of the other videos he’s put up on YouTube and they’re phenomenally funny. Jason is a self-taught editor and uses off the shelf software to create his work.

Check out his channel and subscribe:  http://www.youtube.com/user/seifer2846/videos

Enjoy,

-E

Direct Link URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NiXe0VIXts

Teen Titans Fan Film

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teentitans1Film Anthropology had a chance to talk with Omer Ben-Zvi about a Teen Titans fan film he and his friends are producing. Currently they’re in the fund raising process via Kickstarter and while we don’t normally back Kickstarter projects, we rather liked the idea and thought we’d give them some face time. We sent over some questions for Omer to answer, with the help of the Teen Titans crew, so we could throw this up to our readership. If it appeals to you, they have a long ways to go in 18 days to make their funding. Check it out:
FA: What is Teen Titans for those who have never heard of them?
OMER: The Teen Titans are a team of teenage superheroes based off of characters in DC Comics, including Robin (from Batman and Robin), Superboy and Wondergirl.
FA: What is the project you’re raising funds for have to do with Teen Titans?
OMER: The project that I’m composing music for is a live action fan-film/web series based off of the characters from the Teen Titans.
teentitans3FA: Why Teen Titans? Why put all this effort to creating a fan film about this specifically?
OMER: Besides the fact that we are all superhero geeks on the team, the reason why Teen Titans was chosen for this fan-film is because it has never been adapted into a fan-film or any sort of live action film in the past. Our director Chelton Perry wanted to create something that has not already been done in the past.
On my end, I’m interested in working on this project because I am a huge fan of superhero film music. I have always wanted the opportunity to create a heroic superhero theme and build a score based off of it. There are also character themes which will be used in the project which can be found on our director’s youtube page: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpYPtf_Vb6iCUHHCHq0Kb5Q
FA: Where will the finances go?
OMER: All of the money which we are currently trying to raise goes solely to production, and nobody on the team will be profiting from it. Most of the money will go towards renting equipment such as lighting and cameras, and the rest will be for miscellaneous equipment, food on the set, and the Batmobile which is going to be built.
FA: Tell me about the previous work that both you and your producing partners have done (provide links if available).
OMER: The works which I have done in the past can be found on my website: omer.ben-zvi.com.
OMER:. We are using Kickstarter to raise money for the project. People interested in contributing should go to http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/teentitansproject/teen-titans-project-a-fan-film
The site contains all of the information necessary to know for those who are interested in learning about it.
FA: Who can people reach out to if they want to learn more?
OMER: We have a Facebook page where people can post any questions they have about the project: http://youtu.be/UIbR9JFXsj0
Besides that, all of the information about this project can be found on our Kickstarter.
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