Archive for the ‘Virginia Tech’ Category

UFVA Panel – “Self-Reliant Filmmaking”

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

I am in New Orleans at the University Film & Video Association conference. Today I moderated a panel on Self-Reliant Filmmaking. There was a good crowd and, as often happens with these things, the discussion just scraped the tip of the iceberg.

The panelists were:

Paul Harrill, Virginia Tech. Moderator.
Sasha Waters, University of Iowa.
Jennifer Proctor, Grand Valley State University.
Bob Hurst, University of Kansas.

As promised, I am posting links to many of the articles and resources discussed by the panelists and myself. If this is your first time visiting Self-Reliant Film, I encourage you to sift through the posts, especially the first post, which lays out some of the points made in my discussion today, and the resources page.

Paul Harrill: Panel Opening Remarks

Yes, The Sky is Really Falling” by Mark Gill
Welcome to the New World of Distribution by Peter Broderick

Workbook Project – website led by Lance Weiler that “bridges the gap between tech and entertainment”

CinemaTech – Scott Kirsner’s blog about “digital cinema, democratization, and other trends remaking the movies”

Self-Distribution Case Studies:
Power to the Pixel conference presentation: Brave New Films
Power to the Pixel conference presentation:Four Eyed Monsters

Panelist Sasha Waters:

Be Fake, Remake – group blog featuring work from Sasha Waters’ Remake Seminar

Panelist Jennifer Proctor:

Jennifer Proctor: home page (see “Teaching Materials“)

Center for Social Media – Best Practices for Fair Use in Online Video

Vimeo — a video hosting community

Student work shown:
Anna Gustafson, “Woman
Evan Rattenbury, “Land O’ Dreams
Josh Carlson, “Donkeys vs. Elephants

Back to School Textbooks

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

Whether you’re a student gearing up for the start of the semester, or someone who’s just looking to develop your talents, a good textbook can come in handy. Amazon.com is running a promotion via their Textbook Store, so I thought I’d link to some of my favorite books. All of the books below are books I’ve either personally assigned as a textbook in my classes, or a book that I’ve recommended multiple times.


Please note: I do get a few pennies for the click-through if you end up purchasing something. Amazon links are my way of keeping this site advertising-free. And remember: If you’re broke you can always try to find these at your nearest public or university library.

“Herbert” – ContemporAsian @ MoMA

Thursday, December 11th, 2008

Indian filmmaker Suman Mukhopadhyay recently visited Blacksburg to screen his two features and speak with filmmaking students at Virginia Tech. Talking with Mukhopadhyay about Herbert and Chaturanga was a real highlight of the semester, and a great way to end to the year.

Today, Mukhopadhyay shares Herbert, his debut feature, with New Yorkers as part of the Museum of Modern Art’s ContemporAsian film series.

Nathan Lee, writing in today’s New York Times, calls Herbert “mad, messy, and frequently amazing.” It is.

Showtimes are as follows:

Thursday, December 11, 2008, 8:00 p.m. (Introduced by Mukhopadhyay)
Friday, December 12, 2008, 6:30 p.m. (Introduced by Mukhopadhyay)
Saturday, December 13, 2008, 1:00 p.m., Theater 2, T2
Sunday, December 14, 2008, 5:00 p.m.
Monday, December 15, 2008, 4:30 p.m.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008, 8:45 p.m.

Mukhopadhyay’s newest film, Chaturanga, which is still playing cinemas in India, is even more impressive. It trades Herbert‘s surrealism and self-reflexivity for a more contemplative approach, as befits its story of spiritual searching. Chaturanga is currently screening in theaters in India. Catch it on the festival circuit if you’re lucky right now — and let’s hope that a smart American distributor picks it up.

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.

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.