Filmmaking



Jack D. RipperCharles Q. Choi writes for National Geographic News:

Even a regional nuclear war could spark “unprecedented” global cooling and reduce rainfall for years, according to U.S. government computer models. Widespread famine and disease would likely follow, experts speculate.

During the Cold War a nuclear exchange between superpowers—such as the one feared for years between the United States and the former Soviet Union—was predicted to cause a “nuclear winter.”

In that scenario hundreds of nuclear explosions spark huge fires, whose smoke, dust, and ash blot out the sun for weeks amid a backdrop of dangerous radiation levels. Much of humanity eventually dies of starvation and disease.



ETGreat remixing and animation job by the filmmaker here, no wonder why the little guy always wanted to “phone home” … cool find from Cyriaque Lamar on io9.com:

Robert Blankenheim and Derek Johnson Productions have created a trailer for ET-X: Extinction, an unnecessarily gritty and violent sequel to Steven Spielberg’s family-friendly blockbuster.

In this preview, grown-up footage of Henry Thomas and Drew Barrymore is spliced with generic disaster flick scenes (starring an authoritative Morgan Freeman, natch) and new animation of the red-eyed, cobra-necked extraterrestrials:


I had a chance to attend a screening of Gasland last year. It is an eye-opening film which exposes the severe dangers fracking presents to the environment and the public. Naturally, any controversial documentary is bound to make a few enemies. MNN reports:

Josh Fox, the director of the Academy Award nominated documentary Gasland isn’t surprised at the recent reports that oil and natural gas front groups are behind campaigns aimed at discrediting him and his film.

On Thursday, Brendan DeMelle reported on Desmogblog.com and the Huffington Post that a memo had surfaced linking the group Energy in Depth with oil and natural gas interests. In recent months Energy in Depth has been at the center of criticism aimed at not only Gasland, but also reporters at ProPublica and the Associated Press following stories that reflected negatively on the hydraulic fracturing industry. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking as it has become known, is a process where chemicals are injected deep into the ground at a high pressure to get to natural gas reserves.


Did you know that product placement in movies began in 1919, during the silent era? Ultimately, that paved the way for last year, when Michael Bay broke his own record by promoting products from 49 corporations within a single film (the blockbuster Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen). Conceived by FilmDrunk:



VaderStar Wars sequel The Empire Strikes Back is to be preserved by the US Library of Congress as part of its National Film Registry:

Each year, 25 “culturally” significant films are added to the registry, which was founded in 1989. Lucas’s Star Wars and American Graffiti are among the 550 titles already selected for preservation.

This year’s raft of entries includes Robert Altman’s 1971 western McCabe and Mrs. Miller starring Warren Beatty, Blake Edwards’ The Pink Panther and Elia Kazan’s first feature film, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, made in 1945.


LaughologyContestants and their fans will converge in Montreal on October 27, 2010 for the first ever laughter competition — Le Grand Championnat de Rire de Montreal. Comedy contests are common, however this will be the world’s first televised laughing contest. The contest was inspired by my documentary Laughology, currently distributed by The Disinformation Company, in which I demonstrate that people can laugh spontaneously by using various “active laughter” techniques.

Contestants across Quebec will compete in diabolical laughter competitions, contagious laughter face-offs, and competitive laughter duels to see who will be crowned the “Best Laugher in Quebec.” The show is a pilot for an eventual international laughter competition to demonstrate that laughter could itself be a competitive sport.

The Championnat is a based on the revolutionary concept that because laughter is contagious: laughing makes people laugh. It involves games designed to produce natural contagious laughter. The whole event is also being filmed for Rire Extreme, a documentary for CANAL D. I got the idea for my documentary Laughology after meeting Doug Collins, an American who is said to have the most contagious laugh in the world:

I believe that because of Quebec’s tradition of Joie de Vivre and Quebec may have laughers who are as good or better than Collins. This summer Laughter contests where held at major Quebec festivals, including le Festival du Grand Rire in Quebec, The Western Festival of St. Tite and le Festival de Poutine du Drummonville. The winners of those contests have been invited to the Championnat which takes place at in Montreal in a special ring.

We really found some extraordinary laughers. I’m afraid to imagine what happens when we get them all in the same room. I hope that the idea of a laughter competition is to spread the positive, healthy emotions of laughter. And I’m trying to prove that laughter could be a competitive sport.

Contestants are coming from around Quebec however, we have left one spot open for one last great laugher. Auditions will be held on Oct 27th at Salla Rossa at 5 p.m. Please email hey@laughology.info. to be put on the list.


Here is an interesting match-up… Pioneering esoteric filmmaker Kenneth Anger gets interviewed by pioneering esoteric filmmaker Gaspar Noe in this match-made-in-heaven (hell?) tete-a-tete:

Kenneth Anger, the octogenarian American underground filmmaker, has largely been heralded as one of the founders of experimental film, with his role in inspiring directors such as Martin Scorsese and David Lynch. He pioneered queer, cult and psychedelic film without ever imagining himself in a gere, and this year he crossed over into fashion and created a piece (with longtime collaborator Brian Butler) for the Italian fashion house Missoni.

Gaspar Noé, director of the recent film Enter the Void and creator of the controversial film Irreversible, has long been a vocal supporter of Kenneth Anger…









President Barack Obama spent four years of his childhood life living in Indonesia.  He attended Primary School 1 in the Menteng district of Jakarta, where they referred to him as Barry. Much…


Dear Friend Hitler is a lighthearted Bollywood romp, presumably filled with dancing, based on “Hitler’s love for India and how he indirectly contributed to Indian independence.” Anupam Kher and Neha Dhupia star…


Disinformation’s Raymond Wiley started this conversation over on Disinfo’s Facebook Wall and a great question for disinfo.com readers to address (if you haven’t already).

I See AllI’m partial to Oliver Stone’s filmmaking … and I can’t wait for his Wall Street sequel later this year.

Here’s a bit of JFK that is about the power of questioning established truth, regardless of how entrenched that “truth” might be.

I’ll let the film speak for itself and do share your favorite films or film moments:



Star Wars ScandalIf you haven’t seen Red Letter Media‘s (a.k.a. Milwaukee-based filmmaker Mike Stoklasa‘s) take on the Star Wars prequels, they are really worth the lengthy video reviews.

Do note that his twisted sense of humor isn’t for everyone, particular his “Buffalo Bob”-style narration and the “Mr. Plinkett” scenes in these reviews can be distracting. (My take is he does this in the reviews to say that it’s even obvious to someone psychotic that these movies are terrible … or he might just enjoy playing a psycho.)

Regardless, he does have some salient points about filmmaking, particularly on establishing a protagonist the audience can identify with and actually having a story arc in your movie. Stoklasa also does a great job at pointing out the pitfalls of completely digital filmmaking and a (seemingly) lack of true collaboration between Lucas and his staff in the making of these prequels.

If you haven’t seen it yet I’d start from the beginning with his review of The Phantom Menace, but if you’ve already seen those, Red Letter Media‘s take on Attack of The Clones is now out.

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace Review (Part 1 of 7)

Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones Review (Part 1 of 9)


Living in downtown Manhattan, I regularly go by the peerless Film Forum cinema, which is currently playing Harlan: In The Shadow Of The Jew Suss. I was curious to know what it was about and conveniently Larry Rohter obliges in the New York Times (I’ve also included a clip from Harlan’s film, Jud Süss):

In the history of the cinema, the German director Veit Harlan occupies an especially ignominious position. It is his name that is attached to “Jew Süss,” perhaps the most notoriously anti-Semitic movie ever made, a box office success in Nazi Germany in 1940 that was so effective that it was made required viewing for all members of the SS.

But what motivated Harlan to write and direct such a film? Was he a Nazi true believer, an opportunistic careerist or just a filmmaker too fearful of retribution to say no to Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi propaganda chief…