Archive for the ‘Misc.’ Category

Best Film List, By Alphabet (x 2)

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

Chris Cagle at Category D tagged me for the Alphabet Meme.

Here are the rules:

1. Pick one film to represent each letter of the alphabet.*

2. The letter “A” and the word “The” do not count as the beginning of a film’s title, unless the film is simply titled A or The, and I don’t know of any films with those titles.

3. Thanks to some clarification by The Siren, movies are stuck with the titles their owners gave them at the time of their theatrical release.

4. Films that start with a number are filed under the first letter of their number’s word. 12 Monkeys would be filed under “T.”

5. Link back to Blog Cabins in your post so that I can eventually type “alphabet meme” into Google and come up #1, then make a post where I declare that I am the King of Google.

6. If you’re selected, you have to then select 5 more people.

I have rejected Cagle’s new guideline that with foreign titles one should “rely on the original title if in Roman alphabet, the translated title otherwise.” This rule had me making even more tough choices than I wished, so I threw it out. I’ve cheated, in fact, by using foreign titles or translations whenever it helped with difficult letters, tough choices, etc. My guilt is nil.

And to make the choosing even less painful, I have created two lists: One satisfies the theme of this website, the other lists more general favorites. Of course, MANY of my favorite films — a ridiculous number of them beginning with the letters “M”, “T”, and “G” — are left off of both lists. And if a film got listed on one list, I tried to list a different film on the second list.

Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (Fassbinder)
Black Ice (Brakhage)
City Lights (Chaplin)
Dance Party USA (Katz)
Edvard Munch (Watkins)
Frownland (Bronstein)
The Gleaners and I (Varda)
The Hours and Times (Munch)
Isle of Flowers (Furtado)
Jo Jo at the Gate of Lions (Sjogren)
Killer of Sheep (Burnett)
Last Chants for a Slow Dance (Jost)
Meshes of the Afternoon (Deren)
Night of the Living Dead (Romero)
O Dreamland (Anderson)
Pather Panchali (Ray)
Les Quatre Cents Coups (Truffaut)
Rome, Open City (Rossellini)
Shadows (Cassavetes)
Thirteen (Williams)
The Unchanging Sea (Griffith)
Les Vampires (Feuillade)
The Whole Shootin’ Match (Pennell)
Xala (Sembene)
Zorns Lemma (Frampton)

Harrill’s list:

The Awful Truth
Best Years of Our Lives, The
Chinatown
Diary of a Country Priest
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
The Fly (Cronenberg)
Grand Illusion
The Hours and Times
Isle of Flowers
Jacquot
Killer of Sheep
Love Affair
The Mortal Storm
Night of the Living Dead
Ordet
The Parallax View
Les Quatre cents coups
Ruggles of Red Gap
Starship Troopers
Tender Mercies
Unforgiven
Vivre Sa Vie
Woman Under the Influence
Xanadu
Yi yi
Zero for Conduct

Finally, I want to hear from David Lowery, AJ Schnack, Darren Hughes, Alison Willmore, and Karina Longworth.

Election Day +4

Saturday, November 8th, 2008

Just wanted to drop this as a follow-up to my last post, which concerned Video The Vote.

For me, the day began at 6am, when I walked to my polling place in Roanoke and stood in a 40 minute line to vote. The line was the result of an electronic voting machine that didn’t work and some poll workers who were getting on the job training about how to use the machines. Needless to say, it wasn’t reassuring. I had a Flip video camera and took some very rough footage from my spot in line of the problematic machine. Needless to say, this was an inauspicious start to the day.

Thankfully, things did improve. The lines to that polling place shrunk by 8am, and I remained “on call” for Video The Vote for most of the day. I did drive out to Cloverdale, Virginia to document a woman whose voter registration address change had been lost; she had to vote provisionally.

The real story of the day, though, was in Blacksburg, where students from Virginia Tech were having to wait for several hours at one polling place. I heard about this late in the day, and a few minutes after reading the story (oddly, on Huffington Post instead of via The Roanoke Times website or from friends), Video The Vote called me from NYC, asking me to document the situation. Ashley was already in Blacksburg, so she went to capture footage. She got some great stuff with her Flip camera (videos 1, 2, 3).

NOTE: My name, not Ashley’s, is on the footage because I was the one that registered for Video the Vote.

When Ashley returned home, we spent the evening uploading her footage. Video The Vote’s website was SLAMMED, so uploads took forever. The fact that we were hitting the “refresh” button on our browsers to see election results wasn’t helping.

Pennsylvania was called for Obama around the time that we were close to done uploading all of our videos from the day. We knew what was coming, so we headed over to an Election Day party.

And the rest, as they say, is history. Literally.

The Election: How Filmmakers Can Help

Saturday, October 25th, 2008

If you’re reading this, you’re probably a filmmaker with access to a video camera. Video The Vote needs people like you and me on Election Day.

What’s Video the Vote? From their website:

Video the Vote is a national initiative to protect voting rights by monitoring the electoral process. We organize citizen journalists—ordinary folks like you and me—to document election problems as they occur. And then we distribute their footage to the mainstream media and online to make sure the full story of Election Day gets told. Watch our 2006 highlights and join us as we Video the Vote this November.

If, like me, you find yourself in a swing state this year, you might feel like it’s especially important to be a part of this.

It takes less than a minute to sign up, and you can volunteer for just part or all of Election Day. So get involved. And spread the word to your filmmaker friends.

Finally, if you’re not sure why such an organization even exists, check out this interview between Bill Moyers and NYU professor Mark Crispin Miller. Warning: Viewing this will keep you up at night.



Rest in Peace, Paul Newman

Saturday, September 27th, 2008

Paul Newman died today. He was 83.

He leaves behind an incredible body of work, as both an actor and humanitarian. He will be missed.

That Newman was one of the greatest — and best-loved — actors this country has ever produced is not a subject for debate. Here is a quintessential late-career Newman moment, a nearly four-minute long take from The Verdict. Astonishing stuff.

Louis Massiah/Scribe Video Center

Monday, September 15th, 2008

Louis Massiah, acclaimed documentarian and community video pioneer, visited Virginia Tech a few days ago. What an inspiration.

Among the works Massiah screened was a segment from Power!, one episode from the Eyes on the Prize II series. In the segment, we are told the story of Carl B. Stokes, the first black mayor of a major American city. To say this video — produced in the 80s, about a man that broke ground in the 60s — was timely would be an understatement. If you want insight into this year’s presidential election, including the racial (and racist) strategies being employed by opponents of Barack Obama, it’s a must-see. (Search for it in a local library here.)

Still, even more impressive, was hearing Massiah discuss and screen work produced by Scribe Video Center. Massiah founded Scribe in 1982, and occupies a central place in Philadelphia media-making. If you don’t know about it and you’re interested in community storytelling (and empowerment) through video, dig into their website. Scribe has been around for 26 years, which is a phenomenal achievement, particularly considering the fate of so many other media arts organizations (from the Film Arts Foundation to AIVF). More importantly, they’ve changed lives through storytelling. Great stuff.