JFK (1991) – Oliver Stone (Eric Norcross)

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JFK (1991) – Oliver Stone (Eric Norcross).

Although the themes of this movie are incredibly sinister, it’s an absolute must-see for any film aficionado and a must-study for any student of the medium. Regardless of your personal politics or opinion on the real world event, the film is an amazing achievement of nearly every aspect of the filmmaking craft. Anytime I get around to watching JFK, I tend to develop a sympathy for the filmmaker because of the dark place that working on this film must have sent him. This is not easy material to handle, not for anyone, and for achieving what he did with this project, I kindly ask that all of you have an open and appreciative mind when indulging in it. This is a work that deserves our utmost respect, from a man of great character and an impressive catalog of work to boot. [read more at A World of Film

 

Box Head Revolution

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BOX HEAD REVOLUTION is an avant-garde science fiction film that I had the pleasure of seeing recently. Largely shot in a Hollywood back alley, this experimental endeavor peaked my curiosity when it was given to me in 2012 during a visit to Los Angeles. I haven’t had a chance to check it out until recently. Any aficionado of avant-garde cinema should give Box Head Revolution a viewing.

In 1973 The US launches the space probe Voyager into space.

 

Placed upon the space probe is a golden record: SOUNDS OF PLANET EARTH.

 

The record is discovered by an alien race. The must incites a revolution.

A Box Head Revolution.

 

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Box Head Revolution was directed by Mark Christensen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Craigslist Producers Say

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When I first launched Film Anthropology, one of the primary goals I set for myself, was to have articles oriented towards the art and craft of film, but more so to plant the seeds for an eventual pursuit that transcends the current social status films have in North America. FA, essentially, has been designed to explore the place in our society where film can succeed as an art form for human expression and not so much as a commercial endeavor to produce disposable entertainment. One of my favorite quotes that I always go back to, when explaining how I see film and the production of film, comes from Jonas Mekas, one of the founders of the Anthology Film Archives in New York. He explained in his Anti-100 Years of Cinema Manifesto that films should be about “friends getting together, doing the thing they love”. This is what I have in mind every time I start a project and pursue collaborators, but being in New York, it’s not always what you get, especially with a rather vicious freelance workforce.

Some time ago, a self-proclaimed “comedy troupe”., who I assume are also freelance videographers in their day jobs, put up a video on YouTube and began promoting it on the Craigslist gigs forum in New York. The video is called “Shit Craigslist Producers Say” and it has received an enormous amount of likes and positive comments, largely from the workforce. I recognized immediately the bitter undertone of the video, which was largely designed to be humorous. With little forethought as to the can of worms I was about to open, I quickly commented that the core of the video is “Mean Spirited” and then I moved on. Some weeks later I started receiving one vicious response after another and then another. Sometimes the response was posted on the video, most of the time it came by e-mail. This past week some cat from Nashville had the audacity to accuse me of “vying for slavery”. After a brief argument it was clear to me that he had little knowledge of what slavery consists of and that in his mind, volunteerism is essentially the same thing. I ended the argument as peacefully as I could. The entire thread has since disappeared from the video, as well as my original comment.

My films are incredibly personal to me and when I go into production I do no want to surround myself with people who’s dedication is only commensurate to the capacity of their paychecks. It doesn’t work out. It NEVER works out. Not unless you have a bottomless bank account. In my experience, once you start spending money, the people around you won’t let you stop. Invention takes a backseat to ease and your film becomes much less personal and the final cut typically winds up far less interesting. This Craigslist video and its subsequent comments are a prime example of the kind of people who should not be engaging in the production of independent film, in my eyes. They don’t have the spirit and aren’t in it for the right reasons. These are people who are certainly hungry, but acting thirsty. You should always be hungry, but never act thirsty. Some of the most successful independent films were created by people working on the project because they believed in it, because they had a stake in its success. Today, crews and even actors, are not approaching projects with the thought that they have a stake in them, but are measuring its potential based on the budget and earnings potential. Because of this, the quality of work has suffered immensely. Good storytellers are being ignored because their call for collaborators are being flagged for deletion by the thirsty workforce.

With indie film, EVERYONE on board needs to have a stake in its success and the only way to achieve this is to approach the production as equal partners, not the typical employer-employee relationship. Everyone has to be understanding to the needs of the storyteller and not respond venomously when they’re incapable of raising what some of these cats would consider “proper” funds. In the grand scheme of things, there isn’t all that much information the filmmaker needs to squeeze into that tiny frame, but for some reason it has become more complicated and more expensive than ever before. If we’re going to be successful at this, we need to take a step back and look at where we’re going as collaborative artists, otherwise we cannot improve the quality of our work or our economic conditions. It’s really easy to demand pay without care of where the pay might come from. Instead, offer up solutions that are a little more “outside the box” and actually make a difference. We can all mutually benefit from a community of understanding people, but only a select few benefit from the current set-up.

Desperation yields contempt for those who do not deserve it. Storytellers are generally, incredibly idealistic and there is nothing wrong with that. When I come across content like this video, I feel like my goal to elevate indie film to the next level sits in a constant state of triage. We all need to move onto the next stage and we’re not going to move on if we’re all treating one-another like garbage. There is no below the line, it’s just us. All of us.

 

Through Baby Steps, We Make Progress…

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Film Anthropology:

I am reblogging this from my Production Diary for THE SPACESHIP – a sci-fi feature I directed which is currently in post-production. I thought that this might be helpful to any struggling artists who might be dealing with incredibly unreasonable circumstances with their work – I certainly believe no filmmaker should ever be in the situation I’ve been in with this project so it’s an important addition to the Film Anthropology catalog of experiences.

Originally posted on THE SPACESHIP - Production Diary:

I’m one to admit that there is always a benefit to things crashing down on you. People skeeving out on their agreements and things just flat out not going as planned does open some doors, even if you don’t see them right away. It’s easy to be blinded by the anger that comes with being betrayed by those you trusted. But when the smoke clears, and it will clear, if your eyes are open, you’ll make some amazing moves. Invention out of necessity is often key to creating a work that transcends expectation and after a year of dealing with some of the worst kind of faux pas on the part of those whom I shall never collaborate with again, there is alas progress being made with a film I had thought seriously about walking away from.

As some of you might already know, I have a volunteer from Toronto…

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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/