Archive for the ‘Production’ Category

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.

Congrats to Rooftop Films Filmmakers’ Fund Recipients

Friday, September 18th, 2009

Rooftop Films today announced the four recipients of their 2009 Filmmakers’ Fund Short Film Grants. It gives me a lot of pleasure to spread the word about this because, in addition to being someone whose career benefitted greatly from a short film grant, I happen know two of the recipients.

Recipients and summaries of the projects:

ROOFTOP FILMS AND THE CHICKEN & EGG FUND SHORT FILM GRANT
+ Sara Zia Ebrahimi: Norman Schwartzkopf Made Me Gay

ROOFTOP FILMMAKERS’ FUND SHORT FILM GRANTS
Underwritten by Cinereach

+ Moon Molson: Crazy Beats Strong Every Time

+ James M. Johnston: Knife

+ Dustin Guy Defa: We Have No Home

Way to go Sara Zia and James — and congrats to all!

More details about the grants and the projects selected for funding here.

Vote for my panel at SXSW…

Monday, August 17th, 2009

As you may have heard, South by Southwest is crowdsourcing their panel ideas (at least in part) for 2010. I’ve proposed a panel and I’d love to have your vote of support to make the panel happen.

Click HERE, create an account (takes just a sec), and vote thumbs up.

The panel I’ve proposed is called Cinematography for Improvised Films: Lighting the Unknown.

Here’s a description:

This workshop focuses on the unique challenges of shooting improvised cinema. How can a cinematographer approach working with little or no script, actors that need to be able to move freely without worrying about “hitting their light”, and live locations that can’t be controlled? The cinematographers of a few distinguished, beautifully shot micro-budget indies discuss clips and share their secrets for creating a distinctive look on the fly.

I would be the panel’s moderator (organizing it and asking the questions). I’ve got some great ideas for who would be on the panel, but I have to stay mum on that for now.

You don’t have to be planning to attend SXSW to support the panel since panels are recorded and blogged about. If the topic is interesting, vote for it.

LED Lighting Units review

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

David Tames of Kino-Eye has just posted a great review of four professional LED lighting units under $1K.

I really trust David’s insights on technology (not just tools, but how to use them), and I’ve been looking into acquiring one of these units myself, so this helps a lot.

pCAM for iPhone

Saturday, April 4th, 2009

David Eubank’s pCAM and pCINE were great applications for the Palm OS. They helped you compute depth of field, hyperfocal distance, angle of view…. Together, they were like a computerized version of all those charts in the American Cinematographer’s Manual that you always referred to on set.

Now, Eubank has outdone himself with pCAM for iPhone, which combines the pCAM and pCINE applications in a new interface. If you have an iPhone and you shoot film or video, this is a supremely useful tool. At $39.99 it may seem pricey for an iPhone app, but in my opinion it’s well worth the price.

pCAM for iPhone [iTunes store link]