Archive for the ‘Off-topic’ Category

A Change of Scenery

Tuesday, May 30th, 2006

Though anything I write on this website is obviously coming from my personal point of view, I typically don’t write much about my life unless its relevant to the aim of this site. I basically do this for two reasons: 1) why would you care?, and 2) I’m kind of a private person.

Having said that, this is one of those occasions where I’d like to share some good news:

Starting this fall I’ll begin a position as an assistant professor of Digital Film/Video production at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University — Virginia Tech, to you and me. I’ve not yet begun the job, or even made the move to Virginia yet, but my colleagues are already showing me a warm, Southern welcome.

Though I’ve enjoyed my stint at Temple University immensely, as readers of this site know I’m committed to regional filmmaking. I’m excited to be heading someplace where my students understand this not as a concept, but as a reality. I guess they remind me a little of myself when I was an undergraduate at the University of Tennessee in the early 90s.

It’s going to be a good move for me, too. Though I know East Tennessee better than Southwest Virginia, I can’t wait to return to the part of the South where most of my work is set. This is the landscape I know and this is where I find the stories that inspire me.

In sum, the position at VT was, to quote a not-so-“self-reliant film”, an offer I couldn’t refuse.

I’ll try to do at least a few more posts before I get swamped with packing and moving, but if when my posts drop, consider this your pre-emptive apology.

Rest in Peace, Grant McLennan

Monday, May 8th, 2006

I recall a bigger brighter world
A world of books
And silent times in thought
And then the railroad
The railroad takes him home
Through fields of cattle
Through fields of cane

— “Cattle and Cane” / The Go-Betweens

I first learned about The Go-Betweens when I was in film school in the mid-90s. A fellow student introduced me to them and, as I think back on it, discovering The Go-Betweens during that time was entirely appropriate. That band wrote some of the most cinematic pop songs I’ve ever heard.

They were a band you could love: They had that classic, two-songwriter Lennon/McCartney dynamic in Grant McLennan and Robert Forster; Lindy Morrison, their drummer, is my all-time favorite female rock n’ roll drummer; and, like Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, they managed to produce a phenomenal break-up record (16 Lovers Lane) when two relationships within the band dissolved.

I met Grant McLennan once, briefly, after a show in New York in support of his solo masterpiece, Horsebreaker Star. Those moments when you tell someone how much their art has inspired you never come off quite like you mean them to, so I just said hello and that I enjoyed the show.

Today a friend sent me the news Grant McLennan died on Saturday. He died in his sleep; he was 48. I imagine that in most of the world McLennan’s death will pass in the press without a blip. But for those that knew his music, he will be missed.

Self-Reliant Film Contest: Deadline Today

Saturday, April 8th, 2006

Today’s the deadline for the contest. Send an email to contest AT selfreliantfilm DOT com with your answers by midnight. Winner gets a DVD of his/her choice.

Self-Reliant Film Contest!

Saturday, April 1st, 2006

Since I put up this site, a few people have sent me emails asking “What would be in the self-reliant film canon?” I’ve thought about writing a post in response, but have resisted because a) I’m not the Pope of self-reliant film, defining what does and doesn’t fit the label, and b) it’s more fun for people to set their own canons. Or maybe it’s because c) I fear that I could spend days writing such a post and never be satisfied with it.

Anyway, I want to do some reconfiguring of the SRF website over the next month or so and this morning I was toying around with a new banner. While it’s not exactly a “canon” of self-reliant films, it’s, well, something.

After finishing it and putting it up on the site I’ve immediately decided it’s far too busy. I’ll take it down soon, but I thought it would be fun to keep the thing up, at least for a week or so, to see if anyone can name all the movies it contains.

The first person to successfully name all 33 images will receive a DVD, on me, of any one film from the banner. (Note: Not all images are from films currently available on DVD.) I don’t have a ton of time to spend on this, so this “contest” runs for one week only… if no one names them all, then there won’t be a winner the person with the most correct answers (20 minimum) wins.

Good luck!

ADDENDUM: Click here if you want to see the banner without the text.

Comments! (And Christopher Alexander)

Friday, February 10th, 2006

I’m out of town right now and I’ve got limited access to the internet. This morning I checked my email and it looks like there are a lot of new, great comments on several different posts. No time right now to reply to all of them, but a quick thanks to everyone out there for supporting the blog by reading and by posting such thoughtful, um, thoughts. One reason I set up this blog was to build community with the other like-minded individuals out there. If you’ve posted recently, it’s great to hear from you — and if you’ve been bashful about posting so far, consider yourself formally invited.

On a completely unrelated note, while I’m traveling, for your enjoyment I thought I’d share an introduction (via Merlin) to the great architect/philosopher Christopher Alexander whose A Pattern Language is one of my three or four favorite books of all time. Part II of the article is an interview. Discussion of how his ideas relate to film to follow. In fact, hey, how about you get it started?

We’ll resume our regularly scheduled programming early next week.