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:

 

The Whale & the Wave – “The Unknown” Official Video

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I have the pleasure of presenting all of you with a sneak peak at the official music video for “The Unknown” by the indie pop group The Whale and the Wave. I previously featured two of their songs in my short film Caroline of Virginia and I am happy to have directed the music video for their new single. The video and the single officially drops Friday May 02, 2014 – but for Film Anthropology subscribers you get to see it early!

Download “The Unknown” in MP3 format for free at: http://tinyurl.com/theunknownTWATW

Official Video Link: http://tinyurl.com/TWATWmusicvideo

Watch on Vimeo:

The Resolution Debate | 2k, 4k?

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Reblogged from Renegade Cinema

I’ve made a conscious effort over the past few years to avoid getting too involved in the debate over whether or not we need 4K resolution or higher in digital cinema production. I refused to give this particular topic my time because I hadn’t worked in the higher resolution medium, that is until last spring when I directed a film shot in 5K. Although the film is not complete as of yet, we plan on finishing in 4K. More on that later.

Another reason I never wanted to get too involved in the “4K or not 4K” debate was because it has always been obvious to me that if you can go bigger, then you should, especially if you’re producing a work that will be presented to mass audiences, like a commercial or feature film. Future proof it. Not enough professionals are thinking about the future as far as their body of work is concerned, and instead are thinking with their wallets and that’s the ONLY reason this debate has gone on for as long as it has. If we had a culture where future proofing your work is of higher importance than the short term savings – there would be no debate.

[read more at Renegade Cinema...]

Call Northside 777 at A World of Film

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Call Northside 777 - One SheetToday, A World of Film has published my article on the 1948 Henry Hathaway film CALL NORTHSIDE 777, which stars Jimmy Stewart and Richard Conte.

“Directed by Henry Hathaway and expertly shot by cinematographer Joseph MacDonald, the aesthetics of this very timely film is a mix of standard narrative structure crossed with documentary style elements. By merging the two formats, the filmmakers have created a hybrid docudrama, or more appropriately, a doc-noir, drawing a lot of the visuals from the noir movement of the period. Shadowplay is just as prominent of a component as newsreel inserts.

Unlike many of the films produced in the 1940’s, the script has less of the typical Hollywood meandering and focuses more on information dissemination when and where you need it. We get the goods almost as if it were coming from a credible news source. This approach in the telling of the story is the single most identifiable and unique element of the film and an example of Hathaway’s genius at the creative level.”

Continuing reading the article here.

Farewell To 2013

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Forget about money, hype and fan-base for a moment. Let go of the desperation, finance talk and box office chatter. As 2013 comes to a close I want to take a moment to reflect on the films and film related events of this historical year and hopefully find a mechanism to connect with filmmakers and their support base. I want to talk about the art of cinema and the importance of integrity in creation. 2013 was tumultuous at best and for me, at least, started out great and somehow, some way, morphed into absolute conflict, both at the social and professional levels and creatively. That conflict has finally begun to settle back down and while we’re not quite out of the woods yet, there is at least some light in the distance and creatively I’m bouncing back and better than ever before. From the feature film I wrote, directed and produced and am now in post-production of to my work behind the scenes of the New York festival circuit – things were crazy. How 2013 will be remembered is still up in the air, but one thing is for sure: 2013 was a significant year for me and a whole lot of other filmmakers and film enthusiasts.

Film Festivals

This past year, my peers in the independent film community have helped me realize just how truly important this art is to our culture and why maintaining a sense of professional integrity is vital in a world where one can easily throw their peers under the bus for the slightest bit of attention. My friends in the festival circuit have helped me to understand how much their series’ and annual events are teetering on the brink of existence and how a little bad press from the most sour of people can devastate one of these smaller, family run festivals. This year I ended my relationship with two film festivals so that I could concentrate my time on both my film and film writing but it’s important that I continue to support them in other ways just as it’s important that all indie filmmakers in the NYC community continue to support them. Boutique indie film festivals are in danger and they need all the help they can get to survive. With some of the more well sponsored organizations working night and day to quite literally take over the NYC film festival world, we need to step up our support of the smaller events or indie filmmakers will not have a mechanism to screen ‘nor a home base to build support for their work. I am thankful for the film festivals that I’ve been involved with and had an opportunity to screen at over the past few years and I would hope that all of you are thankful too. More so I am thankful they have given me the opportunity to continue supporting them, not just as a selected filmmaker but subsequently as a volunteer and in some cases hired help. If you’re a filmmaker who has screened at a festival this past year, make sure to reach out to the organizers and thank them for supporting your endeavors and if you have the time, offer to volunteer for them in their follow up season. There are few actions that will impress them more.

Film Journalism

At the latter half of 2013 I began writing news, oped and a bi-weekly column for Renegade Cinema and have been working to get moving with similar endeavors for various other publications. I’ve also been developing a plan to expand Film Anthropology. Most of the news I have been writing revolves around the future of film as a business and as an art form and other pieces deal with DC Comics news (as it relates to films being made out of DC material). The column I started is titled “The Case For” and every other week I make my case for why certain films deserve better treatment when they are released on DVD. The latest to be released was published on Christmas Eve and in it I make my case for why the Sydney Pollack film THE INTERPRETER deserves a Criterion spine. The most popular installment came two weeks ago when I made my case for the Sundance Award Winning Film RHYTHM THIEF. The column was started right here on Film Anthropology when I published the first incarnation: “The Case For Angus” (which was edited and published as the first installment of the RC column).

Eric Slate WoodsThe Spaceship

The beginning of 2013 was probably the best part of the year for me. From January through the first part of April I was in pre-production of THE SPACESHIP, my new sci-fi feature I directed and filmed almost exclusively on Staten Island. While the principle photography portion of the production which started in mid-April and ran through the first week of May was one of the worst experiences of my life (next to my time at film school), the footage is impeccable and the film in its current state is solid. While there is an enormous list of tasks that remain to be done (vfx, sound work and a huge reorganizing of the project on the business side) my hope is to have the film ready for festivals by the end of 2014 so we can offload it to a distributor and move on to other projects. It’s a long road ahead for this ballsy project but the fact that we’ve got it shot and are now on the 3rd pass edit is HUGE. The Spaceship is a film I wrote & directed and produced in partnership with quite a few other people and it was the first movie I directed that was shot under the union umbrella (which I’ll never do again as an indie filmmaker) and it was the first movie I directed that I didn’t shoot myself. On this project we hired a professional cinematographer with Hollywood grade gear to help us capture this highly original and entertaining story. To date it is the most expensive film I have made. Be sure to connect with the film by subscribing to the Facebook and Twitter feed.

Other People’s Movies

My favorite indie film from 2012, the musical comedy Welcome To Harlem finally made it’s way to DVD thanks to Amazon’s on-demand distribution service. While I feel that this film deserves a professional grade release, I understand the difficulties in getting a distributor to take a risk on indie work (even a high end production like WTH). In the grand scheme of indie film, this is never a bad way to go and I’m excited for filmmaker Mark Blackman and his cast & crew. They did a great job with the film and I hope that their DVD sales skyrocket. Pick it up here.

Other indie films that went on to do well this year were Shari Berman’s “My Life As Abraham Lincoln“, Mike Rader’s “Man vs. Ultraman” and the short film “Hope’s Portal” from filmmaker David Allensworth. I am a fan of all of these movies and all of these filmmakers and hope to see continued success with these films and their subsequent works.

In Closing

Before I end this and bid 2013 a farewell, I wanted to reach out to every filmmaker working and just starting out, whether an ultra indie artist or a mainstream director – I wanted to remind you that Film is a responsibility. This seems to have been forgotten by so many creatives this past year, especially with all the box office records being broken and the slumping economy. Film is one of the few art forms that actually affects us in ways that influence our behavior and aspirations. It is a medium that transcends art and commerce and is so phenomenally unpredictable that it is almost assuredly its own consciousness. Film influences the way we think, act, socialize and in some cases affects our decision making. It does so because it affects our subconscious and in some ways affects our dreams or more accurately the way we dream. To work in a medium this influential to the human mind is a serious responsibility and I don’t feel that enough filmmakers take this responsibility as seriously as they should. More and more I find that studios and indie filmmakers alike are trying to decipher what audiences want to see and not necessarily what they need to see and because of this have created a system of production that turns out lesser quality and utterly simplistic material that could otherwise be world changing content.

Film is not disposable entertainment and should not be approached as such as it would be irresponsible to continue to produce films for the wrong purposes (hype, box office etc). Forget the money, forget the 3D and the IMAX… let’s go back to story and let’s make a difference again. In the words of the great Jonas Mekas: “the real history of cinema is the invisible history – – history of friends doing the thing they love”. Let’s get together and do it because we love it and for no other reason.

Farewell 2013.

-Eric Norcross for Film Anthropology

Film Study: Essentials

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Every film institution both large and small have their list of essential titles that they believe every filmmaker and cinephile should include on their “have watched” list and in some case “have studied” list (or in some extreme cases “have learned the bastard inside and out” list). Film Anthropology is no exception and next month we’re launching the first in a series of articles, accompanied by a video featurette, on our recommended list of films for new filmmakers (and established filmmakers) to study as part of our essentials. Some of them are independent and some are mainstream studio pictures. Some titles are American, others are foreign and a few are experimental and extremely obscure. Some are so well known you’ll be surprised by the lack of pretentiousness of the selection.

Each title included on any of the lists we present are here for a specific reason and purpose. This month’s installment is our Top Ten Essentials (Part 1). You can read more about these films and discuss them with fans on IMDB. Check out this same list at: http://www.imdb.com/list/WncWG6s-WRE/

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FA Filmmaker Profile: Matthew Harrison

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Courtesy October Films

Matthew Harrison and Kevin Corrigan.

Recently Film Anthropology flew out to Los Angeles to interview filmmaker, artist and television director Matthew Harrison, about his life and career. From his roots in the New York underground art scene to his achievements at some of the world’s most influential film festivals, Matt Harrison tells all. He talks about starting out shooting super 8 as a child and winning his first award at the New York Downtown Film Festival, which encouraged him to bring up his game and how he went on to win the jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival.

Matthew elaborates on working with Super 8, 16mm, his first union experience and how he came to work with Martin Scorsese on his feature studio picture Kicked In The Head.

Matthew’s film My Little Hollywood, which he shot in the mid-1990’s was recently completed and has spent the past year in the 2012 and 2013 festival circuit.

 

 

Direct Link URL: http://youtu.be/kZ-R3jufBss

 

Matthew’s Official Website: http://www.filmcrash.com/

About Filmmaker Profiles: This video is the first in a brand new incarnation of the Filmmaker Profiles series, a collection of interviews that Eric originally started at the Anthology Film Archives when he volunteered with the NewFilmmakers series.

Caroline of Virginia – DVD Release

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COV DVD CoverI am happy to announce that my award winning short film CAROLINE OF VIRGINIA has been released on a limited edition DVD and is available to order through Amazon.com. The DVD includes cut scenes, an audio commentary with myself and a separate audio commentary with actress Lauren Meley and various video featurettes that allude to my intent in making the film and my reasoning for its existence.

Caroline of Virginia was and still is a landmark project film for me, personally.  It has been in the festival circuit since 2011 and been available for free viewing online for the past six months.  To see it go to DVD is a wonderful way to close out an era.  I couldn’t be happier with the results.

Thanks everyone for your support and I look forward to releasing more good news!

-Eric

The Case For Angus

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Angus DanceFor several years now I’ve been trying to make the case for giving the 1995 film Angus the Criterion Treatment – that is, to allow Criterion the distribution rights for this incredible work of art so that it can become a permanent addition to the Criterion Collection.  At this time, Angus is only available as a dvd on demand from WB and Amazon.com.  A film this important commands better treatment and so I present here my list of reasons, thus the core reasons for my case on why Angus warrants inclusion in the Criterion Collection.

*Spoiler Warning*

1.  The film isn’t your average teen movie, but a depiction of middle school/high school life so true to reality that it made some parents and children uncomfortable.  This is partly why it wasn’t a big success when it initially came out and why it hasn’t been treated respectfully since.  A film that hits a core this hard definitely warrants a second (and third) look.  Basically this story and its characters are as real as it gets, as are the outcomes.  That’s something to be applauded in little ol’ happy ending Hollywood.  Angus might not get the girl, but there’s always hope and that’s all any boy really needs.

Angus OSt2. Rob Cavallo produced the film, thus incorporating an amazing collection of 90’s songs from popular bands he also produced, including the Goo Goo Dolls, Weezer and Green Day (among many other amazing artists). Because of this, the soundtrack of Angus was more popular than the actual film (at least where I grew up in Maine).  Most of my friends who had the soundtrack, never even saw the film (and still haven’t bothered). A highly publicized Criterion release would remind a good chunk of the 90’s generation to check out the film they likely forgot about.

Angus Final3. In some cases (and specifically in the case for Angus), individual scenes are in and of themselves worth preserving.  Included in this is the climatic school dance where Angus conjures up the courage to stand up to the school bully (played by a young James Van Der Beek) and gets a dance with his dream girl (played by the amazing Ariana Richards of Jurassic Park fame).  Added to this, in a scene when he’s being interviewed for admission to a private school, Angus makes a case for the underdog by using his own science experiment as a case and his own experience in life as a control. It’s a remarkable scene and excellent monologue delivered by actor Charlie Talbert.  Added to this and other scenes, it has the single best opening credits sequence of any film I’ve seen.  It’s funny as hell, has an amazing song to boot and makes your average high school marching band look like rock stars.  Oh, and there’s that reality check again.  Gotta love it! Check it out here:

Direct Link URL: http://youtu.be/1vZKt1u7SIM

4. George C. Scott! Everything about Scott’s character and performance is priceless.

5.  The film is all around good for the teenage soul. Growing up just plain sucks regardless of which class or culture you live in. At least for young American boys, this film exists as a light in the darkness. It’s an emotional reason, and seemingly silly at best, but an important one.

6.  It’s good film making and great storytelling with an amazing cast of characters.  Why wouldn’t you pick this film up?

There are plenty of other reasons. If you’re a fan of Angus, hit us up in the comments and let FA know what you loved about the film.

Here’s a trailer for Angus:

Direct Link URL: http://youtu.be/-Q4Xmh6XKto

Thanks for hearing my case Criterion,

-Eric

Abe – Rob McLellan

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abeI am ecstatic to have discovered an amazing sci-fi movie on youtube – it’s short and sweet and  is a must see for any Asimov fan (or any sci-fi fan for that matter). It seems to be a developing series of entries on Film Anthropology, where I’ve just started sharing some of the more amazing indie films that I’m discovering on the internet.  Not that it’s a bad thing, I quite like it and intend to keep them coming.  If you’ve made a short in the sci-fi genre, send it to me and I’ll give it a gander.

As far as Abe goes, the embed, links and credit info are right below.  I’ve also included a video interview with the director, which was made available via the video description.

Cheers,

-E

Website – abemovie.com
Facebook – facebook.com/abemovie
Twitter – https://twitter.com/Rob_Mc1e11an

Direct Link URL:  http://youtu.be/3xovQcEOdg8

Also check out this interview with the filmmaker:

Direct Link URL:  http://youtu.be/RM5uUnRmJQI

Film Credits:

Credits:

Writer/Director – Rob McLellan
Manager – Adam Marshall / Caliber Media 310-786-9210
Agent – Chris Ridenhour / APA 310-888-4209
Facebook – facebook.com/abemovie
Website – abemovie.com
Interview with the director 30/04/13 youtube.com/watch?v=RM5uUnRmJQI
Copyright Zero-G Productions

Produced by
Rob McLellan …. producer
Liz Ridings …. co-producer
Mark Shuterland …. co-producer

Original Music by
Vanessa James

Cinematography by
Kate Reid

Film Editing by
Rob McLellan

Production Design by
Kiera Tudway

Set Decoration by
Sven Hornsey
Mark Sutherland

Costume Design by
Faye Fillingham

Makeup Department
Fay Booth …. assistant makeup artist
Karen Fundell …. makeup designer
Rebecca Johnson …. assistant makeup artist

Visual Effects by
Rob McLellan …. visual effects
Craig Stiff …. visual effects supervisor
Craig Stiff …. visual effects

Camera and Electrical Department
Kyle Mann …. gaffer
Nick Menniss …. second assistant camera
Sonia R. Serrano …. first assistant camera
Ricardo Williams …. electrician