Film, Books, Art, Politics, Culture & Shaz!


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www.shazbennett.com
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Friday, February 29, 2008

Ah Critics...

As I mentioned before in my blog everyone's got an opinion.

But at the very least I think their opinion should be based on having seen the film all the way through or actually listening to the album. Apparently not at Maxim.

Late Night Politics in Mexico City

So we're in the bar in Mexico City talking politics. We had planned to just have one drink when the political debate began. It got a little heated, if only in the volume of our voices. In the end, we all hugged and said good night and in the morning we'll go see more movies at FICCO and reconvene to talk film, art and politics again.

But, the thing that struck me this morning, was the reason we started talking politics in the first place - we were talking about reggae music and Lee Scratch Perry and the poets of Jamaican culture - and their powerful lyrics and how those words were able to start a revolution and those words brought power to a struggle and changed lives. And then we were wondering, "where are those songs now?" "why aren't people making those films now?" Which brought us to Obama and then it all went crazy.

The words are there and there is power in those words. No one will know if he can fix all the problems that the Bush administration has left until he's he's in office. But we ask for leaders who can inspire and lead and then we tear them down by saying they are all talk, they have no experience, they are all charisma, no substance.

But, maybe like the poets mentioned above, the words do have power and substance that can start a movement. Wouldn't that be awesome. I can get behind that.

Sundance Shorts online

I love short films!
So often they are only seen as a calling card to make a feature but sometimes a great short is just that - short.

Sundance has been hosting their shorts online, take a look - super cool.

Check it out.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Jimmy wins!



I know it's just silly but I loved "we are the world!"
x

Thursday, February 21, 2008

I love underdogs!

Wouldn't it be great if the Oscars was full of upsets!
It's been that kind of year!

I'm not holding my breath but in my Oscars, there would be some write in winners...

and PERSEPOLIS would win best animation.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Anvil Rocks!


My friend's made this movie and it rocks! Go see it when you can, I loved the characters and the story is so sweet and moving! Plus as I mentioned it rocks!
Everyonce in awhile I run into an old friend from high school and they say, "Shaz are you still doing your little skits?" After seeing Lips' journey into the artistic dream - I will now proudly say, "Yes, I'm still doing my thing. It's who I am."

xo
shaz

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Graffitti is Art!

Check this out, it's cool to see the government doing something positive.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Errol Morris' new film Standard Operating Procedure

Errol Morris' new film Standard Operating Procedure won the Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival yesterday.

I went to a screening on Friday, it's such a deep film, we screened FOG OF WAR at AFI FEST, this is the perfect companion piece to that film. Errol Morris was asked about the two films saying, "My last film was about a person that was at the apex of power, Robert McNamara. With this new one, I wanted to make a film about the people at the bottom of the pyramid, 'the little guys'. A story that I think the world needs to see and hear."

Go see this film! Sony is releasing April 25th. It's a really moving, maddening documentary. I love Errol Morris' film for their artistry and just finished my own Netflix Morris retrospective which I highly recommend too.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Huge part 2

Huge part 2

As an addendum to my earlier post about the Aborigines.
What a beautiful moment captured in a photo.


Australia apologized on Wednesday for the historic mistreatment of Aborigines, heralding a new era in race relations and moving indigenous people to tears as huge crowds cheered across the nation.

It makes the indigenous community feel, for the first time in a real long time, really feel part of Australia, that it's embraced by the whole Australian nation," Stolen Generation elder Mark Bin Bakar told Reuters. It's about us coming together as a country, acknowledging our past and moving on, accepting each other as brothers and sisters of this nation,he said "Sorry heals the heart, and it goes deep".

www.shazbennett.com

Australia apology to Aborigines

Yesterday in my Kundalini class, Harijiwan was talking about how there are great things happening right now in the collective consciousness and that there are two states, fear and love - sometimes it helps to apologize to fix the past wrongs.

This is a start.

People who don't believe in collective consciousness have never programmed for a film festival - it's very interesting the stories told in any given year but filmmakers and artists around the world.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Thursday, February 7, 2008

AFI PROJECT 20/20 in Turkey

Here are some cool photos from the latest trips for AFI PROJECT: 20/20.

I went last year to South Africa with the filmmakers and it was such an awesome experience. I traveled with Norman Maake (HOMECOMING) from South Africa, JB Rutagarama (BACK HOME) from Rwanda and Jay Craven (DISAPPEARANCE) from Vermont. We screened in theatres and in townships and the audiences were amazing!

So rare when the US Government gets behind the arts, which to me is so sad, since the artists are the ones that articulate change and inspire people!

For me this program is one of the highlights of my film festival life - to be able to take films and filmmakers to the world and talk to artists and audiences with different points of view and life experiences about film and the future - powerful stuff.

Here are my photos from South Africa:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/shazbennett/sets/72157600424616795/


The new group of AFI FEST 2007 - AFI PROJECT 20/20 filmmakers just got back from Turkey. Here are some of Chris Bowman's photos. Thanks chris!

AFI PROJECT: 20/20 Filmmakers Chris Bowman (AMERICAN FORK) and Salif Traore (FARO, GODDESS OF THE WATER) have concluded their cultural exchange tour in Turkey. Both filmmakers received warm receptions and engaging audiences in Adana, Ankara and Istanbul. http://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gif

A D A N A
http://www.flickr.com/gp/11037500@N02/Q8rd72

A N K A R A
http://www.flickr.com/gp/11037500@N02/95juR3

I S T A N B U L
http://www.flickr.com/gp/11037500@N02/6y3507

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Nothing False about Hope!

I'm not giving up the hope on Obama!

"We are the ones we've been waiting for!"

That's deep! Tears in my eyes deep.
wow.

A friend o mine put it this way.
Hillary has a lot of "political experience," but maybe what we need is
a little less political experience and a little more of the type of
experience Obama has: the ability to bring people from different races,
different political parties,  different socioeconomic classes together
to actually make change. 

Or Larry David's endorsement of Obama: "Haven't we had enough with
Bushes and Clintons and Bushes," he said. "The country needs a shower,
a good, long, hot shower. That's what Obama is, a hot shower. So fresh
you can smell him, delicious."
www.shazbennett.com

Nothing false about Hope!

When was the last time a politician really inspired you?

I like Hilary don't get me wrong, and having a woman president is long overdue but when I hear Barack speak, he reminds me of the kind of politician I grew up watching before sound bites and all the bullshit - we screened that film BOBBY a couple of years ago at AFI FEST and while the film itself isn't perfect - the last 10 minutes of the film, of Bobby Kennedy's speech, are so powerful - truly awesome.

I want to be inspired by the leaders of the United States and I've been sick waiting these last 8 years for someone to do that.

Listen to this episode of THIS AMERICAN LIFE - I love it.

and...

Here's a song I like but search you tube for the actual speech too - it's amazing.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Yes we can!

I'm supporting Obama!

The Yes We Can Song
by will.i.am

I was sitting in my recording studio watching the debates...
Torn between the candidates

I was never really big on politics...
and actually I’m still not big on politics...
but 4 years ago, me and the black eyed peas supported Kerry...
And we supported Kerry with all our might...
We performed and performed and performed for the DNC...
doing all we could do to get the youth involved...

The outcome of the last 2 elections has saddened me...
on how unfair, backwards, upside down, unbalanced, untruthful,
corrupt, and just simply, how wrong the world and "politics" are...

So this year i wanted to get involved and do all i could early...

And i found myself torn...
because this time it’s not that simple...
our choices aren’t as clear as the last elections ...
last time it was so obvious...
Bush and war
vs
no Bush and no war...

But this time it’s not that simple...
and there are a lot of people that are torn just like i am...

So for awhile I put it off and i was going to wait until it was decided for me...

And then came New Hampshire...

And i was captivated...

Inspired...

I reflected on my life...
and the blessings I have...
and the people who fought for me to have these rights and blessings...

and I’m not talking about a "black thing"
I’m talking about a "human thing" me as a "person"
an American...

That speech made me think of Martin Luther King...
Kennedy...
and Lincoln...
and all the others that have fought for what we have today...

what America is "supposed" to be...

freedom...
equality...
and truth...

and thats not what we have today...
we think we are free...
but in reality terror and fear controls our decisions...

this is not the America that our pioneers and leaders fought and
died for...

and then there was New Hampshire

it was that speech...
like many great speeches...
that one moved me...
because words and ideas are powerful...

It made me think...
and realize that today we have "very few" leaders...
maybe none...

but that speech...

it inspired me...
it inspired me to look inside myself and outwards towards the world...
it inspired me to want to change myself to better the world...
and take a "leap" towards change...
and hope that others become inspired to do the same...
change themselves..
change their greed...
change their fears...
and if we "change that"
"then hey"..
we got something right...???...

1 week later after the speech settled in me...
I began making this song...
I came up with the idea to turn his speech into a song...
because that speech effected and touched my inner core like nothing in a very long time...

it spoke to me...

because words and ideas are powerful...

I just wanted to add a melody to those words...
I wanted the inspiration that was bubbling inside me to take over...

so i let it..

I wasn't afraid to stand for something...
to stand for "change"...
I wasn't afraid of "fear"...
it was pure inspiration...

so I called my friends...
and they called their friends...
in a matter of 2 days...
We made the song and video...

Usually this process would take months...
a bunch of record company people figuring out strategies and release dates...
interviews...
all that stuff...
but this time i took it in my own hands...
so i called my friends sarah pantera, mike jurkovac, fred goldring, and jesse dylan to help make it happen...
and they called their friends..
and we did it together in 48 hours...
and instead of putting it in the hands of profit we put it in the hands of inspiration...

then we put it on the net for the world to feel...

When you are truly inspired..
magic happens...
incredible things happen...
love happens..
(and with that combination)

"love, and inspiration"

change happens...

"change for the better"
Inspiration breeds change...

"Positive change"...

no one on this planet is truly experienced to handle the obstacles we face today...
Terror, fear, lies, agendas, politics, money, all the above...
It’s all scary...

Martin Luther King didn't have experience to lead...
Kennedy didn't have experience to lead...
Susan B. Anthony...
Nelson Mandella...
Rosa Parks...
Gandhi...
Anne Frank...
and everyone else who has had a hand in molding the freedoms we have and take for granted today...

no one truly has experience to deal with the world today...

they just need "desire, strength, courage ability, and passion" to change...
and to stand for something even when people say it's not possible...

America would not be here "today" if we didn’t stand and fight for
change "yesterday"...
Everything we have as a "people" is because of the "people" who fought for
change...
and whoever is the President has to realize we have a lot of changing to do

I'm not trying to convince people to see things how i do...
I produced this song to share my new found inspiration and how I've been moved...
I hope this song will make you feel...
love...
and think...
and be inspired just like the speech inspired me...

that’s all...



Let's all come together like America is supposed to...
Like Japan did after Hiroshima...

that was less than 65 years ago...
and look at Japan now...

they did it together...
they did it...

"We can't?...

Are you serious..?..

WE CAN!!!

Yes we can...
A United "America"
Democrats, Republicans and Independents together...
Building a new America

We can do it...
"TOGETHER"

Please visit www.yeswecansong.com

Thank you for reading and listening...
will.i.am

Friday, February 1, 2008

AFI FEST films in theatres now!

Go see these AFI FEST films!

CARAMEL and 4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS, 2 DAYS are wonderful films, they both feature women as the main characters, women's stories have been dismissed as of late as "chick flicks"
I couldn't really hate this, I don't see why a film about a woman is less interesting to men than a film about a man would be less interesting to me. If it's a good film that's all that matters to me and these are two of the best. One made and starring a woman (CARAMEL) who has such a unique voice and the other directed by a young man who has an amazing ability to capture women in all their complexity and beauty and sadness and the whole thing. I heard Curtis Hanson talk about his film IN HER SHOES and how people called it a "chick flick", his response was, would you call ALL ABOUT EVE a chick flick?

In this historic year when we have a woman running for president of the United States, even though I'm voting for Barack Obama, I like Hilary I'm just really passionate about what electing Obama means to me and our healing the wounds of George Bush would do! I was listening to NPR and there was a guy on their complaining that now that Jon Edwards dropped out of the race there just wasn't anyone for the white male to vote for... I've been voting for years for white men for president... it's about the person and their character and the issues they represent - get over it.

Okay, enough of my rant, these two films that played at AFI FEST in 2007 are wonderful and go see them!


CARAMEL and 4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS, 2 DAYS in theatres now!
Go see these two AFI FEST 2007 festival favorites.
More information on screening times and locations for CARAMEL at:

http://www.roadsideattractions.com/Catalog/FilmLibrary.asp?BusinessUnitID=%7B3134273E-EA18-4451-AC2B-40C0CC73ED2D%7D&ProjectID=


More information on screening times and locations for 4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS AND 2 DAYS at:

http://www.ifcfilms.com/