Archive for the ‘Films & Filmmakers’ Category

Gina, An Actress, Age 29 on The Auteurs

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

For some time I’ve debated putting my short films online. My work is often quiet, has relaxed pacing, and it can be dialogue heavy. That, combined with the fact that some of my films are over 20 minutes probably makes at least some of my work not the best candidate for online viewing.

I’ve been impressed, though, with what The Auteurs is doing with online video. Their catalog caters to cinephiles, and their site’s design and interface encourages people to pay attention to the videos they’re watching. So I’m happy to say that my short film Gina, An Actress, Age 29, was recently selected for the site. It’s just gone “live”, and the timing is fitting, as the film premiered around this time of year in 2001, at Sundance.

 


Click on the image to view Gina, An Actress, Age 29 on The Auteurs

For now, the film is free for the first 1000 viewers. Spread the word, tell your friends, and become a fan of it if you like.

One way or another, if you do watch it, I hope you enjoy it!

Eric Rohmer (1920-2010)

Monday, January 11th, 2010

Filmmaker, critic, and French New Wave pioneer Eric Rohmer has died at the age of 89.

Rohmer was one of the great filmmakers, and his films have been a deep source of personal and professional inspiration to me. My personal favorites are My Night at Maud’s, Autumn Tale, and part one of Four Adventures of Reinette and Mirabelle. In the last of these, the climax of the film has two young women awaking at dawn to listen for “the blue hour” — a possibly-mythical moment of absolute silence in nature. It is a moment that, for me, is the essence of Rohmer’s art.

If you are a fan, I recommend Colin Crisp’s superb book, Eric Rohmer: Realist and Moralist, which, in addition to Crisp’s observations, contains many passages of Rohmer talking and writing about his filmmaking practice.

Best (and Worst) of the Decade

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

I love making end-of-year lists, but I’ve decided to forego drawing up a “Best of 2009” list, at least for now. I’ve seen far too few of the films that are getting attention this year. Living in the sticks as I (proudly) do means, among other things, I only see small-release (i.e., good) films weeks after release, on DVD/streaming, or when I travel to larger cities.

Instead, I offer up 30 films that meant something to me over the past decade…. as well as a few other lists.

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Tape is dead! Long live tape!

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

It struck me today that For Memories’ Sake will probably be the last movie I’m involved with that uses videotape. Ashley began shooting the documentary with the venerable DVX-100 in 2006 and, for consistency’s sake, we stuck with that camera through production. All the new projects that I have on the horizon will be shot with a tapeless cinema camera, whether it’s made by Panasonic, Sony, or Red. So tape is dead to me.

Or is it?

One of the issues, of course, about shooting tapeless formats is what you do with the data. While editing with tapeless footage, of course, I keep lots of backups on drives in different locations. But after the project is completed, using hard drives to archive the footage is not a reliable solution. Of course, I’ll confess that this is what I’ve done in the past. But as my hard drives age, and as I amass more footage that I’ll want to hang onto, I know I need to find another solution. Most pros will tell you that solution is (wait for it)…. tape. Specifically, LTO or “Linear Tape Open.”

Luckily, for us Mac users out there, Helmut Kobler recently did us all a service by summarizing how to get started with LTO4 tape archiving on a Mac. Kobler estimates the low-end price tag for a Mac-compatible LTO system as $3300.

That figure may seem like a lot to independent filmmakers. (I wonder how many fewer Panasonic HVX200s or Sony EX-1s would have been sold if this cost was factored into the purchase price?)

In the end, whether to spend this kind of money amounts to questions about risk and value: How much do you value your data? And how much risk are you willing to take that your data might be lost forever?

For me, that $3300 is starting to look like a decent value. Long live tape!

Take the Survey: 50 States, 50 Filmmakers

Monday, October 26th, 2009

The United States of America


I’ve been looking over Ted Hope’s blog lately and one thing he keeps returning to is the idea that in order for cinema to be truly free (i.e., liberated), we have to do our part to help film culture. I agree.

That’s part of what this blog has always been about. One of the reasons I began this blog was to champion filmmakers working regionally.

But now I’d like to undertake a concrete project specifically dedicated to spotlighting filmmakers that live around the country. To do that I need your help. Not a lot of help, mind you — just a few minutes.

I’m calling this undertaking 50 States, 50 Filmmakers.

It will probably end up being a series of discussions with filmmakers working around the country. I hope to talk with others about why they live and work where they do, the challenges and opportunities they face, the resources available to them, and how they support their work. Ideally, these discussions will include links that allow you to watch or purchase their work. And I’d like to do one for each state, in case the title didn’t tip you off.

So, to restate, to do this project completely, I need your help.

I want you to tell me who you think is living and making interesting films outside of New York or Los Angeles. The films can be feature films, documentaries, or short experimental works. I don’t care. “Interesting” and “not-New-York-or-Los-Angeles” is all I care about.

If you want to nominate a filmmaking team or filmmaking collective, that’s cool. I’m open to doing a few historical surveys, too, so if you prefer to nominate someone deceased (say, Eagle Pennell of Texas or Colorado’s Stan Brakhage), go for it. I just want some interesting ideas.

So, without further ado, CLICK HERE TO TAKE THE SURVEY.

Don’t know 50 filmmakers in 50 states? That’s okay. I don’t either. That’s why I’m doing the survey — to fill in some blanks and to get some good ideas for this thing. Just take the survey and give suggestions where you can. You don’t have to provide nominations for all 50 states.

And please pass this along to your friends. I’d like as many people throwing out ideas as possible. I’m going to leave this post up for a couple of weeks, after which I’ll start compiling replies.

Again, here’s the link to the survey.