The Resolution Debate | 2k, 4k?


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


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


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


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:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

FA Filmmaker Profile: Matthew Harrison


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:


Matthew’s Official Website:

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


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 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!


The Case For Angus


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  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:

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:

Thanks for hearing my case Criterion,


Abe – Rob McLellan


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.



Website –
Facebook –
Twitter -

Direct Link URL:

Also check out this interview with the filmmaker:

Direct Link URL:

Film Credits:


Writer/Director – Rob McLellan
Manager – Adam Marshall / Caliber Media 310-786-9210
Agent – Chris Ridenhour / APA 310-888-4209
Facebook –
Website –
Interview with the director 30/04/13
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

The Multiverse | The Writer’s Main Ally


This past January, Sabotage Times wrote an excellent article about the Quentin Tarantino Universe – a parallel world to our own but with slight differences. The article went on to break down how all of Tarantino’s films connect to create this remarkably violent universe and how all the characters connect from film to film.  You can read it in full here:

In addition, one of my favorite go to sites every morning,, published an article about overlapping fictional universes that included the Tarantinoverse at the top of their list:

These articles, which I came upon both today, brought to mind my own process for writing, that is – not by individual story, but by small segments of much larger stories that exist in massive parallel worlds.  I am not sure what the process is for most writers, whether successful storytellers or not.  What I can attest to is that since I started screenwriting back in high school, I have been writing for several specific universes and haven’t really moved away from them.  In fact, if anything, I’ve made it a point to focus my creative energy into strengthening the universes I do write for.  I find it to be a phenomenally helpful mechanism to maintaining integrity and continuity in a story, at least at the subconscious level, and allow for a set of rules to create by, that the viewer or reader will recognize in one way or another.  Today I will discuss the two universes I primarily write in, to help illustrate the concept as it pertains to my own work (since this is the work I know the best).


Julie Geistert in Hero For A Day (2002)The first three movies I made: Sixteen Stories, Hero For A Day and The Long Island Project, in my mind, have all taken place in the same universe.  I call this Universe 1, or more personally: the EzzieVerse.  This is because it includes a lot of recurring themes and characters, at least in early incarnations of the stories, that link the events in the stories together.  More specifically, a character named Ezzie, who at this point, has only appeared in Sixteen Stories.  Some of my experimental work has made it into Universe 1 as well: Spuyten Duyvil and Croton Falls come to mind.  These aren’t the only produced films that take place in Universe 1, there are several others that have been developed that fit there in addition to projects still in development.  A direct sequel to Sixteen Stories, a direct sequel to Hero For A Day and an adaptation of a story my brother in law wrote called The Harbinger, which I acquired the rights to back in 2000.  As far as The Harbinger goes, the source material has absolutely nothing to do with Universe 1, but was a cataloging mechanism so that I understood the mindset I was to be in whenever I went to work on it.  In an early draft of the screenplay it went as far as to include some characters from Sixteen Stories.  As a result of The Harbinger falling into this particular universe, a film I recently made called Lipstick Lies also falls into this realm.  It wasn’t intentional that it would but it makes sense because when it went into production, it was done so with the idea that it would tie into The Harbinger when I finally got around to producing it.  Hence the title at the end of the film “The Answers Lies In Boston“.  There is much more to the story than could be told in 20 minutes and I intend to tell the rest of it when I get around to making The Harbinger.  It was almost by default that a film I would produce in 2012 and screen in the festival circuit in 2013, would play out in a universe I haven’t touched for quite a few years now.

While it more or less started out as a mechanism to allow myself to mentally catalog where each of these films belong in my overall gamut of work, the task of separating stories by universe has since extended its usefulness to helping me keep track of all the projects I currently have in development.  What makes a universe so specific?  What makes it call for one story to be included but not another?  Why is it that a bunch of films from one era of my life exist in one universe, but a bunch of films that were produced in another era of my life exist in another?  This is what I’ve been thinking about all day, in working to figure out how to tackle this article.  I have few conclusions, which is a good thing as it means I have a reason to keep working on projects.  The more projects I work on, the closer I come to a conclusion.  I think a part of it might be that a universe can exist for each phase of my life, to coincide with my world view – or the way I perceive reality… so to speak.  In some instances, perhaps it coincides with what I want reality to be.  So with that, I introduce you to Universe 2 – a bit more fantastic than Universe 1.


I have no nickname for this universe.  This is where the majority of my science fiction and fantasy work exists, at an alarming scale.  We’re not just in indie film territory now either, but novels, short stories, some feature films but also television shows that are still in development and a medium length film called Caroline of Virginia.  While all the characters and stories are seemingly different from one another – they are all written with the same overall universe in mind.  Fictional global events that might take place in one story, may be referenced as historical fact in another.  Published stories that exist within Universe 2 include Paradigm Shift, The Balance of the Seventh Column (both novellas) in addition to a few exercises that have resulted in the outlining of some serious projects.  I have a two part feature film that is by all real definition a standalone franchise – clearly exists in this same universe as a developing television series that it seemingly has absolutely nothing to do with.  The connections are minor – if that.  For the most part, the stories’ affiliation with Universe 2 are merely rules for me to consider when I take into account an action or major plot twist.  I have to keep in mind that in a specific universe, if a character makes a decision that affects the world on a global scale, how would it impact the other stories?  Most of the time the characters’ decisions won’t affect the other stories, not unless they’re set in the same town and time period.  This is the only time a true crossover might occur.

I think that when most writers try to break apart other filmmakers’ work to dissect and work out the connections of all the various movies that could exist in a single universe, most of the time they’re finding coincidences.  Sometimes screenwriters recycle old material, specifically names that they like.  I suspect many of the circumstances that have been written in regards to the work of Tarantino, might be coincidental – or at least, started out as coincidence.  However there are obviously blatant attempts to maintain a constant universe, like in the work of Kevin Smith and his “Viewaskewniverse“.  Most of the time though, I suspect that writers cannibalize scripts that they no longer intend to produce.  I have done this on a recent project, by cannibalizing a script that was set in Universe 1 to work in a story designed for the more complex (and profoundly amazing) Universe 2.  This is the only possible way I could knowingly allow any kind of crossover, it needs to involve complete removal of the story from the previous universe – no echos of any kind.

SSStill1For my upcoming film The Spaceship, which exists in Universe 2, I found that before going into principle photography, I had to redevelop the script to be set within the maritime community of Staten Island.  I was moving the setting, which was originally suppose to be rural Pennsylvania.  For the task of re-writing The Spaceship for Staten Island, I used an old screenplay called The Inequity.  The Inequity was more of a horror comedy, which existed within Universe 1.  It was a spin off of Sixteen Stories and included two characters from that specific movie.  I essentially took all the unique, genre-esq scenes I had developed for The Inequity and wrote them into The Spaceship – along with a few minor characters and pacing mechanisms that had not previously been used in any of my writing.  As a result, the shooting script for The Spaceship was the first ever meshing of two different universes – two universes I previously wouldn’t have considered mashing up.  It worked out beautifully.

So what is the difference between Universe 1 and Universe 2 as far as the ground rules go?  If I had to pinpoint it to a specific definition, I would say the rules lie in the physics and general belief structure of each universe.  Universe 1 isn’t fantastic – in fact it’s the drab that we all know real life can be.  There are a few stories that introduce fantastic ideas to them, like in The Harbinger, but the end result being that our main characters are punished for it.  Many of the characters in Universe 1 are not good people and those that are seem to be doomed in some way or another.  The few good people that make out well, do so with great sacrifice.  Universe 1 is the world we do not want to live in and that makes it a fascinating setting for stories that dabble into the darker side of our world, the socioeconomic issues or controversial character studies.  What have you.

Universe 2 is the opposite – it’s fantastic and amazing… anything goes and anything is possible.  Can’t pay for coffee?  I’m sure there’s a wizard right around the corner with magic coffee beans.  Universe 2 has all around good people with truly good intentions, people with open minds and are more likely to change for the better.  Universe 2 has bad guys with truly bad intentions and the definition between good and evil is clear.  This is the universe designed to appeal to everyone, whereas Universe 1 was designed for my own personal use.  Although the appearance and cultures of Universe 2 seem to parallel with Universe 1, the fact of the matter is that much much more is possible in Universe 2 on almost every single level: interstellar space flight, inter dimensional travel, time travel, love between unlikely characters, alien visitation… the universe of adventure, intrigue and absolute imagination.  Another interesting fact about the two different universe’ is that most of the main characters in Universe 1 die at the end while most  of the main characters in Universe 2 survive.  A fascinating and defining coincidence.

Thanks for letting me talk about my process for a bit.  Please use the comments section to discuss your creative process.  Do you subscribe to the multiverse idea?

-Eric Norcross

Filmmakers/ Author

Lipstick Lies Will Screen In Hawaii!


Ll One Sheet Big IslandIn a remarkable development of events, my quaint little film LIPSTICK LIES has been selected to screen at 2013 Big Island Film Festival in the latter half of May.  The film is partially shot in Hawaii (on the island of O’ahu) and features plenty of material for the locals out there to be flipping happy about.

Of course the film is also partially shot right here in New York City as well as Philadelphia, although we haven’t yet explored screening in Philly at this point, perhaps after the BIFF screening we’ll look into it.  We recently screened in Williamsburg Brooklyn, at the first annual Philip K. Dick Science-Fiction Film Festival and have submissions out to other NYC based film festivals.

The Big Island Film Festival will be held from  May 23 – May 27 at the Mauna Lani Resort and  feature films from around the world.  More info to come and will likely be posted on the film’s Facebook page and Festival Portal.  The film stars Samantha Rivers Cole & Matthew Krob with music by Omer Ben-Zvi.

-Eric Norcross

BigIslandLaurels Black Background