Tag Archives | Filmmaking

Pursuing Justice Through Filmmaking, Why we Create Beauty, Hot Dog Related Altercations

Via Midwest Real

Filmmakers Spencer Chumbley and Erik Ljung have shot for organizations like VICE and Al Jazeera. I caught up with the guys just before they debuted their film, The Death of Cory Stingley a the Milwaukee Film Festival. 

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Humans make things, we always have. But, we don’t just make, we create beauty. We pay attention to symmetry, form and detail. Why is that? Darwinian theory says it’s simply a form of “peacocking.” More specifically, our creative predispositions are merely “fitness signals.” For example, if you write a novel, create a moving peace of art, or compose a great song, it’s just a uniquely human way of showing off your intellect in hopes of attracting a mate, like a peacock with it’s innately douchey bouquet of feathers.

I fucking hate this idea.  

But, let’s be fair. It’s totally undeniable that ego and social elevation are often intertwined with creative accomplishments.Read the rest

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“The Thing” – Storyboard to Film Comparison

If you haven’t figured it out through previous posts of mine, I’m fascinated by the ingenuity and brilliance of film directors and the people they work with. I’m biased, but I do think that film is by far the most challenging and rewarding of the arts. It’s one of the only art forms that can easily transcend societal barriers. The only other art I’d consider to have such an effect is music, but what’s unique about cinema is that it’s inclusive of all art forms. You will find that the fine arts, music, photography, and writing all play an integral role in the creation of a quality film.

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Still from the The Thing (1982)

Take for example, The Thing (John Carpenter, 1982). Artist Michael Ploog crafted two of the most visually stunning scenes via beautifully drawn storyboards. In the video below (thanks to Vashi Visuals), you can see the comparison between Ploog’s highly impressive drawings and the brilliant special effects and cinematography of the actual film.… Read the rest

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The New South Africa Bans a Major Film Festival Entry as Protests Mount

Durban, South Africa: It was Nelson Mandela’s birthday, and the international day of service in his honor. The reports were that the man they call Madiba was recovering, according to upbeat accounts from his wife of 15 years and daughter Zindzi from his marriage to Winnie.

Happily, on that night, it was also a time of celebration as film fans packed into the annual opening of the film festival in Durban.

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For 34 years, the Durban International Film Festival  (DIFF) has brought a world of cinema to the East coast of South Africa with an impressive range of films, filmmakers and related events. The screenings are often packed with over 150 films or more on display.

The Festival is organized by the Center for Creative Arts at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, up on the big hill overlooking Durban. In recent years, its setting went from the academic to the commercial, from a mountain to a beach, with the opening this year, once again, based in cinemas at the Suncoast casino where it is attended by a multi-racial, and multi-generational crowd.… Read the rest

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Spanish Cult Horror Director Jesus ‘Jess’ Franco Dies At 82

Beginning in 1959, filmmaker Jess Franco walked the line between art and exploitation, dreaming up underground classics that combined shock, sex, perversion, the surreal, and groovy soundtracks in groundbreaking fashion. 1970's Vampyros Lesbos, below, established the cinematic trope of lesbian vampires. Via FEARnet:
Euro-cult great Jess Franco has passed away after producing nearly 200 films. A unique filmmaker, Franco’s work fits in a category all its own, combining art, the erotic, and the macabre into titles like Lorna the Exorcist, The Awful Dr. Orloff, Succubus, Venus in Furs and of course, the eponymous Vampyros Lesbos. While Franco isn’t to everyone’s taste, he certainly stretched the definition of erotic horror cinema.
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Hollywood Now Needs Censorship Consultants In China

Two of the booming occupations of the future: government mole who weeds out and reports dangerous movies and cultural works, and consultant who helps creators navigate censorship standards. The Atlantic Wire writes:

China’s censorship has become a huge headache for Hollywood lately, as movie studios struggle to break in to the world’s second largest film market. Every single film bound for Chinese theaters has to make it past China’s all-powerful State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) whose guidelines for what is and isn’t acceptable is more or less subjective and entirely unpredictable. All the studios can do is hire consultants who are familiar with the ins and outs of censorship in China and hope for the best.

Bringing in consultants does help movie studios frame projects in a censor-friendly manner, but after filming begins the filmmakers have to be very careful not to deviate from the plan. SARFT sends spies to the set to make sure everything is going as planned.

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The Birth Of Surveillance Video Filmmaking

A trailer for the 2007 film Faceless, which includes Tilda Swinton in its cast and is comprised only of CCTV camera footage. The United Kingdom's Data Protection Act allows people to access stored information on themselves, including surveillance video. Director and star Manu Luksch has explained that as a filmmaker, she realized it was pointless to bring her own camera since she and the other actors were already being filmed all of the time:
FACELESS was produced under the rules of the ‘Manifesto for CCTV Filmmakers’. The manifesto states, amongst other things, that additional cameras are not permitted at filming locations, as the omnipresent existing video surveillance (CCTV) is already in operation.
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A Timothy Leary for the Viral Video Age

Jason SilvaRoss Andersen writes in the Atlantic:
I want to introduce you to Jason Silva, but first I want you to watch this short video that he made. It will only take two minutes, and watching it will give you a good idea if it's worth your time to read the extensive interview that follows. If you ever wondered what would happen if a young Timothy Leary was wormholed into 2012, complete with a film degree and a Vimeo account, you have your answer: Jason Silva. If Silva, who was born in Venezuela, seems to have natural screen presence, it's because he's no stranger to media; he worked for six years as a host at Current TV before leaving the network last year to become a part-time filmmaker and full-time walking, talking TEDTalk.
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Free Exclusive: Clark, A Gonzomentary

Clark: A Gonzomentary“This lunatic ‘Clark’ has Adonis DNA in his veins,” —Charlie Sheen

“This movie is a complete trainwreck. And I mean that in the best way imaginable.”  —Entertainment Weekly

Clark: A Gonzomentary explores the struggles of Clark, an outsider artist who struggles to gain a following for his phallic art series, “Body.”

The fourth wall is broken in about a thousand pieces as the documentarian himself is pulled into the nightmarish downward spiral that concludes this psychedelic-soaked commentary on art in a capitalistic society.

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