I'm such a documentary junkie - Jean-Pierre gets so mad at me cause have our Netflix queue is full of documentaries.
What luck that today you can read two awesome posts from folks who have a lot to say about docs.
Eugene Hernandez great post from IDFA: http://www.indiewire.com/movies/2008/11/iw_insider_euge.html
Thom Powers new post: http://stfdocs.com/blog/comments/wanted_documentary_critics/
I would add to the list of great documentaries one must see:
SILVERLAKE LIFE: A VIEW FROM HERE - bring your tissues.
ENCOUNTERS AT THE END OF THE WORLD
SEX: THE ANNABEL CHONG STORY
SHAKESPEARE AND VICTOR HUGO'S INTIMACIES
ALONE IN FOUR WALLS
Oh I could go on and on... docs rock.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Man, I have been celebrating Obama's win for a full week! First of all this was us in the box office working at AFI FEST the night of the election.
It still sometimes hits me and I'm giddy again.
However this Prop 8 is such a bummer and such a travesty! Redefining marriage - we have redefined marriage hundreds of times because we have been wrong. Starting with interracial marriage which was illegal in many states in America as late as 1967. Our president's parents couldn't have married in 1/3 of the states in the US when he was born.
And as my friend Amy Saeed said in a beautiful email recently, if her family was going off a "traditional" marriage, she could have been married to some distant Afghan cousin when she was a teenager.
The majority should never vote on the rights of the minority, our ancient Greek philosophers talked about that and other concepts - change often is rejected by groups because they can't always see beyond what they think they know - that's why civil rights are almost always decided in the Courts.
I got married this year and while Jean-Pierre and I have been together for six years and were already legally domestic partners because I work for a company that's progressive enough to recognize that....not everyone works for that kind of company... still when we stood up in front of our friends and family and got married - it was revolutionary and so amazing.
I am a minister legally too and have married 4 couples as seen here - including my dear friends for the third time legally this summer - they have been together for 19 years - we should all be as lucky to find this kind of love. This was a photo taken at the wedding of all 5 couples - we're all bummed prop 8 passed.
As many of you know I grew up Mormon so it's such a drag that the church put in all this money to pass Yes on 8 - I get that and I'm mad about that too... I am looking forward to the rally on saturday and maybe because I grew up Mormon and know some great Mormons including my whole family, don't blame the whole group, especially since the voters here in California were the ones who cast the ballots.... and sadly, it's not just the Mormons who are against this... Catholics, Protestants, and other "christians"
I find it a little funny that all these folks that voted for Prop 8 would never have voted for Mitt Romney because they think he's in a cult!
What the hell happened to all the smart californians who voted overwhelming for change and diversity and hope???
Then I started reading about some folks who want to boycott Sundance because it's in Utah... I get it - there is a desire to do something!!
But as several people including me have pointed out - Sundance has been a proponent and a haven for diversity - including and screening films from under represented voices including GLBT filmmakers.
I think this is an interesting article from Indiewire about the issue.
Boycotts do work but many Mormons in Utah would be thrilled to have Sundance leave and I totally get what Cooper says about the irony and power of Sundance being there isn't lost on him.
In my final point on this rant I want you to hear this moving, passionate speech from MSNBC Keith Olbermann on Prop 8 and Marriage.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Friday, November 7, 2008
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Gerardo Naranjo, Tobias Datum, Shaz Bennett in Guanajuato Mexico
One of my personal heroes is an AFI and an AFI FEST Alumnus, David Lynch, but he’s not the only one. At the world-renowned AFI Conservatory, the emphasis is on narrative visual storytelling and personal expression. Filmmaking is a collaborative art and each class breaks into teams that mirror a real production environment. Those teams collaborate and produce more films than at any other graduate-level film program.
Since 1969, over 3,500 artists have graduated from the AFI Conservatory. Every year at AFI FEST we are thrilled to include some of these talented Alumni.
One in particular this year, Tobias Datum, graduated from AFI with an emphasis in cinematography. He’s had an extraordinary year with the success of Azazel Jacob’s film MOMMA’S MAN out of Sundance. (Jacobs is also an AFI Alumnus and on the Narrative Jury this year at AFI FEST.
Datum then collaborated with acclaimed Mexican filmmaker, and AFI Alum, Gerardo Naranjo on I’M GONNA EXPLODE, which is screening in our World Cinema section.
I had an opportunity to talk to Datum before the festival.
Where are you from originally? How did you first hear about AFI and what made you decide to come to school there?
I’m from Frankfurt, Germany. I decided after graduating from film school in Berlin, that it would be good to try out the US. Since I wanted to study cinematography I decided to apply to AFI.
AFI is a built on the conservatory model with a focus on the collaboration of the artists in film—can you talk about the people you met at AFI and how those working relationships developed?
AFI is not very big, so after a week there you know all the faces and can make out the people that interest you. Then you are making all these “cycle projects” [AFI teams collaborate and produce more films than at any other graduate-level film program] together. So, it doesn’t take long before you connect with people you might want to work with. The backgrounds of the Fellows in my year and the year before me were very diverse. There were people from all over the world, and they all had various levels of experience in film. Some had not been on a set before. Meeting all those people and working with them did provide a variety of inspiration since everybody’s background was so different. Learning about people and yourself is a very important aspect of filmmaking, and AFI had a very diverse group of students who were all interested in the same thing but not exclusively film nerds
How did you start working with Azazel Jacobs and Gerardo Naranjo?
Aza and Gerardo were a year ahead of me. I knew Aza a little bit but we didn’t work together until after AFI. I had shot a film called HOW THE GARCIA GIRLS SPENT THEIR SUMMER that was directed by Georgina Garcia Riedel who was also in their class. I think that film got them interested in maybe working together. After that, I helped Aza and Gerardo when they were shooting THE GOODTIMESKID but was already committed to shoot another project so I helped them for only four days. Then Gerardo asked me to shoot DRAMA/MEX and last year Aza and I did MOMMA’S MAN.
I must say that I feel extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to meet and work with such a talented group of people who have also become some of my best friends.
The year Aza, Gerardo and Georgina came out of AFI (2001) was a really good year for talent. Mikal Lazarev and Goran Dukic, who made WRISTCUTTERS, graduated that year, too.
Where did you shoot I’M GONNA EXPLODE?
We shot some interiors is Mexico City and the rest was shot in the city of Guanujuato.
What did you shoot on?
We shot Super 35 3-perf on Kodak 5279 Vision2 Expression 500T. Zeiss with high speed lenses on a moviecam MK2 compact, for most of the time.
Do you speak Spanish? I understand most of the crew was local?
I learned just enough to be able to communicate with the crew. But I don’t really speak Spanish. But, we understood what we were trying to accomplish.
Can you talk about working with Gerardo Naranjo as a director?
We are different in some ways. Gerardo knows a lot of movies and has studied them. I have not seen that many movies and most of them I forget. So usually he tells me some movies I should watch and then we have conversations about them in regards to the film we are trying to make. For I’M GONNA EXPLODE it was clear that it was stylistically based on our experience with DRAMA/MEX so we went from there.
He makes a lot of drawings and scrap collages and I don’t. We talk a lot about the movie beforehand while going through the script and scouting, and most of the time we come up with similar stuff. But he is over-prepared so that there is always something to fall back on. It’s hard for me to rationalize this, because I am not so sure myself how I work. I follow my instincts a lot and try to just listen and pay attention.
While shooting, we usually started the day with a coffee and watching some dailies. Then we decided what to shoot depending on how the actors and Gerardo felt. We had a relatively long schedule of, I think, 40 days, so we had a good amount of time. A lot of people on this movie also worked on DRAMA/MEX, so it was a family affair. For me it felt like I am the distant cousin of the Mexican family that comes to visit and we have a family event that lasts for a few weeks. I did end up with a hangover actually.
The biggest struggle was to keep the set intimate, because there were considerably more people working on I’M GONNA EXPLODE than on DRAMA/MEX.
Will this be the first time seeing the film on the big screen?
No I saw it in NYC before, but since I live here it’s the hometown screening.
It’s a homecoming of sorts.
AFI Alumni Films playing at AFI FEST
This year’s AFI FEST includes these films of AFI Conservatory Alumni filmmakers:
ADAM RESURRECTED: Paul Schrader (Dir.)
A NECESSARY DEATH: Daniel Stamm (Dir./Scr.), Zoltan Honti (DP), David Kashevaroff (ED), Brian Udovich (Prod.),
BUCKETS: Nick Simon (Dir.), Todd Serlin (Prod./Scr.), Patrick Russo (DP), Michael Griffin (ED), Elizabeth Chase (Scr. ED)
THE CHASER: Shinho Lee (Scr.), Sujin Kim (Prod.)
DEADGIRL: Harris Charalambous (DP)
DEFIANCE: Edward Zwick (Dir./Scr./Prod.), Marshall Herskovitz (Exec. Prod.), Pieter Jan Brugge (Prod.), Steven Rosenblum (ED), Scott
THE DESERT WITHIN: German Mendez (Exec. Prod.), Ana
DOWNTOWN LA: Nick Higgins (Dir.)
I’M GONNA EXPLODE: Gerardo Naranjo (Dir./Scr./Prod.), Tobias Datum (DP),
THE SOLOIST: Susannah Grant (Scr.)
WORLD’S APART: Kim Magnusson (Exec. Prod.),
THE WRESTLER: Darren Aronofsky (Dir./Prod.).