Declaration of Principles
Film Festivals: Playing the odds
DIY Film Projects
Cinema vs. Home Theatre
For Those With Writer's Block
So You Wanna Go to Film School: 1
So You Wanna Go to Film School:2
On July 9th my short film Quick Feet, Soft Hands will be on nearly a hundred PBS stations across the country, including stations in New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Dallas/Ft. Worth, and Boston. If you’ve not already seen it, tune in or set your DVR. Many stations are playing it three or four times throughout the day.
To determine if it will be broadcast in your area — and, if so, which PBS station (many cities have multiple streams) — you can click here and enter your zip code.
Another way is to check is to look at this listing of all PBS World stations. If your city is listed here, then look at that station’s local listings for July 9. Almost all of these will be doing the broadcast.
Here’s the trailer from 2008, when it was about to begin playing on the festival circuit.
Posted in Distribution & Screenings, Films & Filmmakers, Quick Feet Soft Hands, Regional Film | Comments Off
The Year SXSW Got Big. While I don’t agree with David Lowery that it’s (yet) in danger of becoming Sundance, attendance swelled this year. The growing pains were sometimes apparent, especially with sell-outs and long lines.
From my perspective, I think sell out screenings are good, both for the fest and for the filmmakers. But more than a few noteworthy films were only programmed once during the main festival (Fri – Tues) and others were booked at venues that were far too small for the demand. In previous years, these issues wouldn’t have been a problem. This year, though, even with a Gold Badge, if one hoped to attend a screening it meant standing in line for more than an hour. Needless to say, all that time spent in line cut down on the films one could see. I took it in stride, in part because my badge was complimentary for moderating the Cinematography for Improv panel. It wasn’t hard, however, to hear the grumbling of others standing in line. As long as I’ve been attending, SXSW has been well-run, so I’m hoping that this is just a hiccup and I’m optimistic that festival organizers are looking for solutions for next year.
Two Highlights. Of the films I did get to see, the highlights were Justin Molotnikov’s Crying With Laughter and Jukka Karkkainen’s The Living Room of the Nation, both of which stand a good chance of making my Top 20 list at year’s end. The former is a Scottish thriller set against the backdrop of stand-up comedy. The centerpiece of the film is a tour-de-force performance by Stephen McCole. Living Room, on the other hand, is a deadpan chronicle of the lives of ordinary Finnish citizens in their homes. Shot with an almost entirely static camera, the film has a mix of comedy and desperation that is hard to shake.
A Few Disappointments. When I come to SXSW I especially seek out the regionally-produced independent narrative films. In the past this has been, for me at least, one of SXSW’s most distinctive areas. This year the handful I caught were somewhat disappointing. My policy on this blog is not to write negative reviews — particularly for small movies that need all the help they can get just to be noticed by audiences — so I won’t name names. That said, I was surprised that the low points of the festival were all centered in this area. Perhaps it was just an off year, or maybe I just saw the wrong films?
Did I mention I missed a lot of films? With a fest this big, it’s easy to miss movies you really want to see and this year I missed more movies than I saw. I missed some, as previously mentioned, because of sell-outs. Others I missed because of time conflicts with other movies, or conflicts with my panel. Regardless of the reason, here are some films I’ll be eager to see in the coming year: Audrey the Trainwreck,Cold Weather, And Everything is Going Fine, Myth of the American Sleepover, Lovers of Hate, Tiny Furniture, and World Peace and Other 4th Grade Achievements. That’s a lot to look forward to.
Posted in Distribution & Screenings, Films & Filmmakers, Regional Film, SXSW | 1 Comment »
The Cinematography for Improvisation panel that I moderated was a blast — and, while I felt like it was a success, the one hour we had to dig in flew by. I personally could have listened to Andrew Reed, Allison Bohl, and Justin Molotnikov talk shop for another couple of hours. There were easily 100 people in the crowd on a Monday afternoon and the feedback after the panel was very positive.
Here are the links, as promised:
Crying With Laughter — Justin showed clips from this film, which had its North American Premiere at SXSW.
Synchronicity Films is Claire Mundell and Justin Molotnikov’s production company. For those of you that attended the panel, Claire sat near the front of the room and shared some thoughts from the audience.
Finally, the improv film webisodes from the Wickerman Music festival that Justin briefly mentioned can be found at www.wickerman.tv.
“Blessed Be, Honey Bee” — This is the music video that we saw behind-the-scenes stills for, but which we didn’t have a chance to screen during the panel. Allison directed and shot this video.
Allison’s reel is also on Vimeo. The reel features, among other things, selected shots/scenes from “People of Earth” the feature that Allison showed a clip from on the panel.
I Always Do My Collars First – website for Allison’s first documentary
Quiet City — Andrew showed a clip from this film, which had its World Premiere at SXSW in 2007.
Cold Weather is the new film by Aaron Katz, shot by Andrew Reed. The trailer can be found here.
Paul Harrill (moderator)
Obviously, if you are here, you have found my blog. Information about my own work as a filmmaker can be found here.
Posted in Basics, DIY, DIY Filmmaking, Films & Filmmakers, Movie Making, Online Video, Pre-Production, Production, Red One, Regional Film, SXSW, Tools/Equipment | 1 Comment »
Though this will be my third SXSW as a panelist/moderator, this was the first time that I’ve ever proposed a panel. Selecting the panelists was a collaboration between me and the SXSW organizers, especially Jarod Neece. I’m very excited about the people we’ve got on board to tackle the subject. If you’re at SXSW, check out the panel on Monday, March 15 @ 2pm.
Allison Bohl makes movies with a natural look and creative touch. With experience in documentaries, experimental films, and features, she has become known for capturing beautiful images with minimal equipment. She is based in South Louisiana, but has worked internationally.
Andrew Reed is the cinematographer of the feature films Cold Water (SXSW ’10) and Quiet City (SXSW ’07), both written and directed by Aaron Katz.
Justin Molotnikov is the writer/director of the feature film Crying With Laughter (SXSW ’10).
Here are some clips of their work:
Posted in Creativity, DIY, DIY Filmmaking, Films & Filmmakers, Movie Making, Production, Regional Film, SXSW | 2 Comments »
For some time I’ve debated putting my short films online. My work is often quiet, has relaxed pacing, and it can be dialogue heavy. That, combined with the fact that some of my films are over 20 minutes probably makes at least some of my work not the best candidate for online viewing.
I’ve been impressed, though, with what The Auteurs is doing with online video. Their catalog caters to cinephiles, and their site’s design and interface encourages people to pay attention to the videos they’re watching. So I’m happy to say that my short film Gina, An Actress, Age 29, was recently selected for the site. It’s just gone “live”, and the timing is fitting, as the film premiered around this time of year in 2001, at Sundance.
Click on the image to view Gina, An Actress, Age 29 on The Auteurs.
For now, the film is free for the first 1000 viewers. Spread the word, tell your friends, and become a fan of it if you like.
One way or another, if you do watch it, I hope you enjoy it!
Posted in Basics, Distribution & Screenings, Films & Filmmakers, Online Video, Regional Film | 3 Comments »