Caroline of Virginia at Phnom Penh 2014

cover
Standard

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

claudette_colbert_in_it_happened_one_night
Standard

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]

 

 

An Introduction To OBJECTS

Objects Frame
Standard

More info:

Crowd Funding Video for OBJECTS, a new feature indie film I plan on shooting in October 2014. Please be a gem and donate and spread the word about this film and the funding campaign. Check out the links below for deets.

IndieGoGo Funding: igg.me/at/objectsmovie
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/objectsmovie

Eric Norcross: http://www.EricNorcross.com / http://www.NorcrossMedia.com

Also check out our cast:

Joshua: http://www.JoshuaScottGriffith.com
Mary Ashley: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm5385559/

Film Crash Series Reboots With NYC Event

Film Crash Still
Standard

[reblogged from Renegade Cinema]

In one of the biggest festival reboots in the history of independent cinema, the Film Crash Series is returning to the indie film scene with an all new screening event to take place in Brooklyn, New York in September. Reworked as an annual film festival that will showcase original and unusual films, the programming staff will select one feature and five shorts, to screen in one evening. In addition to participating in an incredible networking opportunity, awards and prizes will be presented to select filmmakers, recognizing achievements in feature film directing, short film production, student and new media projects.

Past Tix

Founded by filmmakers Matt Harrison, Scott Saunders and Karl Nussbaum, the series was born out of the creative tempest of Manhattan’s East Village and Lower East Side during the Roaring 80′s and early 90′s. Known for creating a vibrant gathering place for a forever burgeoning independent film community, Film Crash grew and eventually broke free of its downtown roots and the event ventured abroad. Returning to NYC after many years on hiatus, I am looking forward to seeing the series shake up the indie film community as it did when it originally launched.

Filmmakers still have an opportunity to get in on the action. For submission and deadline information, please visit:  www.filmfreeway.com/festival/FilmCrash

Filmmakers and film buffs far and wide should check out Film Crash on Facebook: www.facebook.com/filmcrashfestival

[reblogged from Renegade Cinema]

 

 

Rhythm Thief Cast & Crew Reunite

2014_Ctek_Apr-May_rhythmthief2_613x463
Standard

[Reblogged from my article at Renegade Cinema]

This past evening I had the pleasure of attending a screening of the 1994 indie film Rhythm Thief, which as some of you might remember, I previously wrote about in an article calling on Criterion to pick the movie up for distribution. There is something about this film that has mystified me since I first saw it and even though I have had multiple opportunities to sit down with filmmaker Matt Harrison to discuss his work, it was starting to sink in that no amount of Q&A’ing was going to help me figure out what was going on with this movie.

Tonight, I’ve made some progress. The film screened as part of the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s “Cinématek Overdue” series. Along with a screening of an actual 35mm print (which I rarely see these days), the event included a wonderfully detailed and enthusiastic Q&A with Harrison and his cast and crew, including actors Jason Andrews, Kevin Corrigan and Kimberly Flynn.

Aside from the usual battle stories which I had already been familiar with, one of the key components I discovered that makes this film special is the obvious rapport the participants have with one-another. It’s clear to me now that Rhythm Thief works because it is a film made out of love, not just love for the craft, but love between the people involved and that love, which has lasted two decades, is exactly what has been translated onto the screen. This is an element that is so important to the creative process, but is often overlooked by young indie filmmakers today, many of whom would easily sacrifice a friendship or two in exchange for time on a Red Epic.

Experimental filmmaker Jonas Mekas wrote in his Anti-100 Years Manifesto, “The real history of cinema is invisible history: history of friends getting together, doing the thing they love.” I’ve used this quote before and will again because it’s important and absolutely true. Today I witnessed that same love,  between all of the people involved in the making of this 90’s classic and I realize too that I can see that love come alive every time I take a gander at the work they all created together. Thankfully, I have taken a major leap forward in demystifying this amazing work.

Thanks for putting up with my romanticism.

-E

Rhythm Thief is available for streaming on YouTube, Amazon and on DVD through Netflix and Kino.

[Reblogged from my article at Renegade Cinema]

Gift – Singapore Drama Short Film

gift
Standard

I have come across a wonderfully inspiring short film about giving and wealth. My personal ideal that money isn’t meant to be hoarded is something I’ve struggled to get across some of the wealthier folks in my social circles but unfortunately few agree. I was floored when I saw this film. It hits home the message and solidifies my ideals and it’s all around good filmmaking. This gem comes to us from some incredibly talented filmmakers from Singapore.

URL: http://youtu.be/1DUYlHZsZfc

Karl Nussbaum | Night Blooming Flower

BlookingFlower1
Standard

Experimental filmmaker and video installation artist Karl Nussbaum’s new short film, NIGHT BLOOMING FLOWER, will be premiering tomorrow at a gala event honoring Thomas Edison’s birthday.

BloomingFlower Main

Night Blooming Flower won the 2nd Prize Jury Citation Award at the 33rd  Black Maria Film Festival, a festival well known for its dedication to the art of the moving image.

The premiere this weekend will be hosted by the West Orange Film Society at the Essex Green AMC Theater in West Orange, NJ. The show is at 2PM.

Filmmaker’s Description of the work: “We often bring flowers to our loved ones in the hospital and then sitting on the night table in the dark, they become the silent witnesses to the changes the patient makes in their transition from life to death.

‘Night Blooming Flower’ is a meditation on death, memory, acceptance and the passage into the world of the dead, specifically the moment of leaving.

Originally presented as a video installation, this circular film is projected onto a Vietnam era silk parachute that gently sways as if breathing.”

Learn more about Karl by visiting his website at: www.KarlNussbaum.com

Film Location Spotlight: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Downtown Philadelphia
Standard

Broad StreetI first visited Philadelphia a few years ago for a two day trip of exploration. I used to go on a lot of these kinds of trips and plan on resuming the practice. They’re great for getting to know places you’re not intimately familiar with. Through these brief visits I’ve been introduced to a lot of fascinating places, including Washington, DC, Philadelphia, Montauk and everywhere in between. Philadelphia stands out the most, as it is clearly one of the most underutilized locations when it comes to film.

In 2012 I decided to set a portion of a short film I was working on in Philadelphia, or at least, on a fictional island located in the Delaware River, reachable from Philadelphia. “The Island” was created by using two different locations in New York. I ventured to Philly for a second trip so that I could shoot b-roll and other establishing elements for the movie so that I could visually connect the city with the story’s fictional island. The footage has brought up the production value of the project immensely. You can tell this is Philly… not Boston and not New York. It’s Philadelphia. You can watch the short experimental film on Film Skilllet. I am now writing a feature which I plan on setting in Philadelphia. This one is a cop movie/courtroom drama and I’m very excited about it.

What might interest you about Philly? It’s hard to say, but here are some facts to start out with:

Philadelphia is the largest city in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the second largest city on the East Coast of the United States and the fifth-most-populous city in the country. Philadelphia is located in the Northeast at the confluence of the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers, and it is the only consolidated city-county in Pennsylvania.

Within the Delaware Valley, the Philadelphia metropolitan area consists of five Pennsylvania counties. Philadelphia is nicknamed Philly and The City of Brotherly Love, the latter of which comes from the literal meaning of the city’s name in Greek.

Philadelphia has an enormous history and both historic and modern locations to boot (although some of the more notable locations are operated by the National Park service which isn’t film friendly in the least). I couldn’t even begin to describe the variety of locales available to your average independent filmmaker. Because of its role as the center of economic activity in the commonwealth, the city has spawned a diverse culture on par with New York. Similar to NYC, the city cannot be defined by the sum of all its parts and it’s really up to every individual filmmaker to find their own reason for bringing their project here.

via WikipediaAt the visual level, Philly is diverse. The city has a remarkable architectural history that dates back to Colonial times and includes a wide range of styles. The city also features more than ten thousand acres of parkland, adding another feature that gives the Philly a hand up.

Across the Delaware River is Camden, New Jersey, which has a variety of other location options, including the Battleship, New Jersey and an aquarium.

The most notable productions shot on location in Philadelphia, for me at least, is PHILADELPHIA (1993), MANNEQUIN (1987) and ROCKY (1976). There are others too: 12 Monkeys, Trading Places, Unbreakable, National Treasure… and one day maybe your film will be on this impressive list

*Have you filmed in Philadelphia as an independent producer? What are the pros and cons? Tell me about your experience in the comments section.

Sources: Wikipedia | Greater Philadelphia Film Office

Philadelphia (1993) – They Don’t Make ‘Em Like They Used To

philadelphia-blu-ray-movie-title
Standard

Phil One SheetThe 1993 dramatic film PHILADELPHIA is a prime example of how good mainstream film-making used to be. Hollywood doesn’t make films like this anymore and if they did, it would hardly ever be as successful as this Academy Award winning masterpiece. It’s a different business with a different core audience.

Philadelphia was directed by Jonathan Demme and stars Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington. Philadelphia is an important work of cinema because it was among the earliest of films to tackle the subject of HIV/Aids and homosexual discrimination in a mainstream format.

The film is a little more than loosely inspired by the real life Geoffrey Bowers case, where he sued his employer for wrongful termination. The importance of the film is often overlooked on many of the film lists I’ve been reading lately, but its production and release is vital in understanding the improved social attitude regarding homosexuality and sexually transmitted diseases in North America.

The film opens up with a wonderful montage of images from the great City of Philadelphia, some dramatic in style, a-typical landmark shots to solidify the setting of the story, but most of the images are seemingly documentary or news-like. Often times Demme allows the “extras” on the street to break the forth wall and wave to the camera as it moves along the streets. This sequence engages the audience head on and makes one thing clear: this is a very real story about a very real problem. The sequence screams: Listen up! This is YOUR world and YOUR neighbors we’re portraying here so don’t think for a second that we’ve made any of this up for your entertainment. The sequence plays beautifully against the incredibly heartbreaking Bruce Springsteen single “Streets of Philadelphia”, which Demme had commissioned specifically for this film. It was important for Demme to have the film appeal to as broad an audience as possible and having Springsteen whip up this amazing song worked wonders.

Opening:

The movie is largely a courtroom drama, with witness testimony and bureaucratic nonsense. But it’s also a relatively light approach to what is normally a heavy, depressing subject matter. There is also a great deal of humor peppered throughout, but the spine of the story is always there, as it should be. The general “vibe” of the movie is clear in the trailer:

Trailer:

I am pleased to be adding this to Film Anthropology’s Essential Cinema list, under the General Category. If you’ve seen the film, please post your thoughts here. Were you old enough to attend the original release when it hit theaters? If so, I’d love your memories and a description of the audience reaction at your local theater.

-E

DISCLAIMER: About FA Essential Cinema List: The General Category list is not numbered, but a drop of essential titles that everyone in the movie watching world should know inside and out. Philadelphia is the first to be added to the list publicly, but it is not the most ‘nor least vital title here. There are more and they are all equal.

Finding Music

Caroline of Virginia
Standard

From the get-go, I have always understood the importance of music in film and video media.

I made my first independent film in 1999, completed the first pass in 2000 and re-edited in 2002 when I got access to new technology. In 2002 I made my second film. In 2005 my third. In 2008 my forth, 2009 my fifth and sixth and so on. Regardless of the difficulty of the production of the intricacy of the script, the only constant with all of these productions is that it was easy for me to acquire music that I could lay into the soundtrack of each project. For Sixteen Stories, my first movie, I was able to get a friend from a neighboring town to compose three original pieces and on top of that I acquired, free of charge, the sync rights to a handful of relatively popular songs that were getting airplay in the Portland, Maine area the year I shot it. For the second film, Hero for a Day, I once again was able to obtain an original score and had a new score re-done when I re-cut the project in 2009. Every single project I’ve tackled, I’ve managed to pull through with some of the most kick-ass music tracks an indie filmmaker could expect on a no-budget production.

In 2011, for the first time, I paid for a music score when I hired a very talented musician named Peter Dmitriyev to compose themes for my medium length fairy tale film Caroline of Virginia. Additionally, I was able to acquire the sync rights to three different pop songs that to this day I’m still listening to on my MP3 player. Lipstick Lies had one of the best scores I’ve ever had in a movie, a variety of original compositions by the incredibly versatile Omer Ben-Zvi. Omer managed to mix an old fashioned sound with a contemporary feel to create an emotional work that aided in holding up what I consider to be a very fragile story. His cue in the last scene of the film plays perfectly over Samantha Cole’s performance, which is heartbreaking and inspiring. Omer went on to create an original piece for the mission video I directed for the American Lung Association, again adding a level of production value to a remarkably underfunded project and making my work seem a million times more professional.

Something has changed in the past two years since then. I have had the darnedest of trouble finding music and I do not know why. With my feature film The Spaceship in post-production, I’ve been prowling the forums and reaching out to everyone I’ve ever known, in an effort to find the right tracks for scenes that require different genre songs. Because of the kinetic nature of the story and its hop from one location to another, I have made it a point to find music from artists based out of or at least originally from the areas in which scenes are set. These are in no way areas of the globe that are strapped artistically – Maine for one, has numerous indie bands with professional sounding records that could easily be made available for consideration and New York… well get outta here, we know there are musicians a plenty. So why is it that this one film seems to be getting the snub over all of these other short and experimental projects?

I would love some of your ideas on how to find good, original, independently produced music and if you’re a filmmaker, your experience in dealing with the situation of music, specifically score.