Archive for the ‘Movie Making’ Category

It started with a tattered box…the making for FOR MEMORIES’ SAKE

Monday, August 3rd, 2009

Today begins the first postings by Ashley Maynor on our film For Memories’ Sake. (She’s the director; I’m the producer.) Take it, Ashley….

It’s Christmas 2005 and I’ve begun the crazy whirlwind of travel that results from being part of a Southern, Catholic family and a child of divorce. My grandmother, Angela Singer, who always gives the most unique (if utterly bizarre) gifts, often salvaged from garage sales or Dollar Store specials, surprises me with a tattered cardboard box. Within the box is a ratty paper bag, and within the bag a treasure trove: 79 3-inch reels of 8mm and Super8 home movies.

I had begged Angela for months to see if she could find her home movie collection, which I knew must have been buried in her house in Cheatham County Tennessee. What once housed nine children and all their things (most memorably for me: potato guns, slingshots, and dirt bike helmets) is now a cluttered mess of papers, mementos, newspaper clippings, and photographs that document time gone by and its slow, continual creep.

Having deciphered Angela’s handwritten labels, organized the reels as best I could, and researched home movie transfer houses, I sent the films off in late 2006 for a low-cost telecine transfer. The films came back to me in digital form and I began to cut up and reconfigure these celluloid relics of time immemorial using a Macintosh Powerbook and Final Cut Pro.

After expressing such a fervent interest in the home movies, Angela keep digging and presented me, piecemeal over the next year, with more and more documents: over 130 VHS-C tapes of home video, dozens of photo albums from the 1990s, her latest photographs on CD-rom, baby books, photo collages, and so on. In sum, what began as a modest attempt to preserve a few precious films turned into an unexpected discovery of the immensity of Angela’s film and photo stockpile and an involved (if unintended) campaign to protect and preserve as much of her archive as possible.

My next post will discuss how I learned (taught myself, really) to preserve Angela’s “archive” and how I began shaping this raw material into something that I could use to create For Memories’ Sake.

Sita Sings the Blues is out on DVD. How, I’m still not sure.

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

Sita Sings the Blues, the critically acclaimed animated feature film single-handedly made by Nina Paley, is being released on DVD today. For those that haven’t been following the story, the film’s use of uncleared, copyrighted musical compositions has restricted the film’s release.

Today, indieWire reports that “[t]hrough an intense study of copyright laws, Paley has realized the opportunity to allow other people to sell her work with her endorsement, and she can receive donations from these distributors.”

But the author of the article does not mention the legal conclusions that Paley (and her lawyers) arrived at, nor does the article make any mention of the source for this information.

One website that is acknowledged is QuestionCopyright, which has a lengthy interview with Paley. The comments section that follows the interview is worth a read, too, as there’s a lot of back-and-forth between commenters supporting Paley’s attempts to produce “new work” (as copyright law is supposed to encourage) and several other others that argue that blame Paley for the situation at hand.

Unfortunately, I still don’t have answers about how Paley and her lawyers have decided to release the film on DVD. Perhaps it’s because they’re also giving it away via torrent?

If you want to buy the DVD, it’s available here.

UPDATE: See the comments for answers….

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.

This one’s for the graduates…

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

Reader (and former student) Jonathan Poritsky writes in:

I’ve replied to enough “your-dad-said-you-work-in-film-what-should-i-do-now?” e-mails that I got tired of it and decided to write the response to end all responses. It seemed relevant to SRF, and also in part inspired by what you do on your site. So here’s the link, do with it what you will…

I will link to it. Here it is: Starting Out in Film, Now What?

How to make a screenings map with Google

Sunday, May 17th, 2009

After my recent post, which mapped out the past and upcoming Quick Feet, Soft Hands television screenings, some folks at ITVS asked if I wouldn’t mind sharing how I made the map so that they could encourage other filmmakers they work with to do the same.

Though I’m far from the first person to do this sort of thing, I was, of course, happy to oblige. It’s a great way to visually communicate with your audience about when and where they can see your work.

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