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Typically when we talk about trailers we parse out whether the editors were skilled enough at teasing the audience while leaving the story to unfold when the film actually comes out. Or we complain that they’re a 2.5 minute reduction of the entire plot, or that they’re setting up a bait-and-switch campaign rather than selling the film for what it really is. But rarely would I be tempted to discuss trailer editing as an art unto itself, but I was recently reminded of this beguiling trailer & felt compelled to share it. It’s one that shouldn’t work, it does not dwell on the story, merely gives you different moods from the film and teases imagery, it mashes up rock music with instrumentals more in-keeping with the film’s score and modernist vocal works by Jonathan Elias (“Hope” from the incredible “The Prayer Cycle”) and yet it does. I remember first seeing this trailer online months before its release and playing it over and over, it’s funny thinking about it now considering YouTube really wasn’t around and certainly wasn’t used for official promotion purposes then and Apple Trailers/Quicktime certainly weren’t capable of 1080p (that is even if we did have the internet speeds to handle that, which we didn’t), my how things change in just 8 years.

Kingdom of Heavenis one of my favorite films, and thanks to being gutted by the studio in the wake of the flopping of Oliver Stone’s Alexander it’s one that was exhibited to most of the world as much more simplistic and messy than it actually was. Thankfully Ridley Scott’s infinitely more sophisticated director’s cut was restored on video, but the phrase “you never get a second chance to make a first impression” is around for a reason (bait-and-switch campaigns targeting the wrong audiences also ruin many films’ reputations, it drives me up the wall). Ostensibly a film depicting the crusades, the film is more a allegory on modern day Middle East relations and the cycle of violence that continues to this day in much the way fellow 2005 release Munich served to teach a similar way for today than to merely stage traumatic violent events. It’s also quite possibly the most fully realized and lived-in feeling depiction of a period/past location the production crafts of this film are as criminally underrated as the film as a whole left second fiddle to Scott’s more crowd-rousing but less deep Gladiator



http://www.pbs.org/pov/onlytheyoung/
I had been following the release of this documentary feature for quite some time, unfortunately Oscilloscope only screened it for a handful of special engagements & I was sick the one time I had the chance to see it nearby. Only the Youngis a disarmingly simple piece of work, it follows three teenage friends through everyday life over the course of a school year. But that logline might make for a simple work of fiction, it’s a different story however when trying to capture that kind of thing authentically and openly in documentary. The filmmakers follow the leads as though they’re not an intrusion at all, and even the ‘talking heads’ aspects come off as natural, near inner-monologue type revelations. A touching look at young adult friendship, the struggles of coming of age, and the dual profundity & naïveté of teenagers. It is also one of the more respectful treatments of modern day Christians in the media, though that angle is teased more than fleshed out (they talk about church plenty, but the most we see of the leadership and participation is a single event for a ‘skateboarding ministry’ which was admittedly eye-opening).

Honest portrayals of everyday issues and triumphs (or as close as we get to ‘triumphant’ in real life) are something I’m very fond of, and hard to come by. I’d love the opportunity to speak with the filmmakers about how they accomplish what they did, especially as this is the first documentary feature for each (the first directing gig altogether for one of them) because it’s what I’d aim for in the projects I’m working on.
Big thanks to PBS’ POV for presenting this to everyone, if you’re at all interested in documentary, coming of age stories, interviewing, American life, etc. you owe it to yourself to check this out while its available. It’ll be streaming on PBS.org until the middle of August.

http://www.pbs.org/pov/onlytheyoung/

I had been following the release of this documentary feature for quite some time, unfortunately Oscilloscope only screened it for a handful of special engagements & I was sick the one time I had the chance to see it nearby. Only the Youngis a disarmingly simple piece of work, it follows three teenage friends through everyday life over the course of a school year. But that logline might make for a simple work of fiction, it’s a different story however when trying to capture that kind of thing authentically and openly in documentary. The filmmakers follow the leads as though they’re not an intrusion at all, and even the ‘talking heads’ aspects come off as natural, near inner-monologue type revelations. A touching look at young adult friendship, the struggles of coming of age, and the dual profundity & naïveté of teenagers. It is also one of the more respectful treatments of modern day Christians in the media, though that angle is teased more than fleshed out (they talk about church plenty, but the most we see of the leadership and participation is a single event for a ‘skateboarding ministry’ which was admittedly eye-opening).

Honest portrayals of everyday issues and triumphs (or as close as we get to ‘triumphant’ in real life) are something I’m very fond of, and hard to come by. I’d love the opportunity to speak with the filmmakers about how they accomplish what they did, especially as this is the first documentary feature for each (the first directing gig altogether for one of them) because it’s what I’d aim for in the projects I’m working on.

Big thanks to PBS’ POV for presenting this to everyone, if you’re at all interested in documentary, coming of age stories, interviewing, American life, etc. you owe it to yourself to check this out while its available. It’ll be streaming on PBS.org until the middle of August.

The Time We’re In – A short film based on recent events

Damon Stout, an upcoming filmmaker who has been cutting his teeth on award-winning ad campaigns is trying to raise the money to put together a short that comes directly from his heart, the story of a man who tries to stop time to save the people he loves, written by Stout following a year that saw both his parents as well as his wife diagnosed with cancer. It sounds both heartbreakingly personal and a really powerful way to channel those emotions into your art. I just supported his campaign, I hope you’ll take a look/share it and maybe support it as well.

Science fiction’s most influential writer may not have lived to see the premiere of Blade Runner, the troubled and maligned-on-release adaptation of his novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? from director Ridley Scott, but unlike most everyone else during the run up to its release he predicted its immense impact to come. In this letter from the website of his estate (kudos to Open Culture for posting this!) he discusses his anticipation for it, while he was unfortunately wrong about its commercial prospects, the film has survived the studio’s fears and tampering and audiences’ initial confusions to become probably the most acclaimed science fiction film of all time and endures to this day as a most-watch film for all genre and film fans alike. It is sad that the studio’s cuts and horrid voiceover additions turned a high brow film into a more muddled mess and robbed the film of its chance to make a great first showing and has instead needed the vocal members of its cult believers to continue to spread its influence, but thankfully they have allowed Scott to slowly but surely restore the film to what he intended it to be with the much improved director’s cut and the incredible 2007 ‘Final Cut’.
It’s interesting that a large number of the author’s fans usually bring up how much it departed from the source material, and yet the closest thing we have to a reaction to it from the author himself is effusive praise.

Science fiction’s most influential writer may not have lived to see the premiere of Blade Runner, the troubled and maligned-on-release adaptation of his novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? from director Ridley Scott, but unlike most everyone else during the run up to its release he predicted its immense impact to come. In this letter from the website of his estate (kudos to Open Culture for posting this!) he discusses his anticipation for it, while he was unfortunately wrong about its commercial prospects, the film has survived the studio’s fears and tampering and audiences’ initial confusions to become probably the most acclaimed science fiction film of all time and endures to this day as a most-watch film for all genre and film fans alike. It is sad that the studio’s cuts and horrid voiceover additions turned a high brow film into a more muddled mess and robbed the film of its chance to make a great first showing and has instead needed the vocal members of its cult believers to continue to spread its influence, but thankfully they have allowed Scott to slowly but surely restore the film to what he intended it to be with the much improved director’s cut and the incredible 2007 ‘Final Cut’.

It’s interesting that a large number of the author’s fans usually bring up how much it departed from the source material, and yet the closest thing we have to a reaction to it from the author himself is effusive praise.

"I’m open to most genres. I like to play around with genre though…28 Days later was a Zombie Movie with no Zombies in it in my opinion; Slumdog was a Fairy Tale in genre terms but there are moments of real darkness in it; 127 Hours was an Action Movie about a guy who couldn’t move… Trance is supposed to be a heist movie or an amnesia movie, or a femme fatale movie. but it’s all of those things and none of those things really. the genre hooks are macguffins that give us a route into exploring ideas about perception, reality and madness."

Danny Boyle, on Reddit

"Thank God for stories—for those that have them, for those that tell them, for those that devour them as the soul sustenance that they are. Stories give shape to experience and allow us to go through life unblind. Without the, everything that happens would float around, undifferentiated. None of it would mean anything. Once you have a version of what happened, all the other good stuff about being human comes into play. You can laugh, feel awe, commit a passionate act, get pissed, want to change things"

Tomas Alex Tizon, reiterated in the Nieman Foundation’s excellent Telling True Stories

Cities in the Sky - Forgotten Visions of the Future

rtrftr:

There’s only a few hours left to support this futurist documentary on Kickstarter, get on it! Reblog! Tweet about it! Facebook share, etc!

"The government can’t solve problems because the two parties are so wedded to their opposing ideas that they can’t move. The very idea that someone from Congress can’t take something from the other side because they’ll be punished by their own party? That’s stupid. If I were running for office, I would be poaching ideas from everywhere. That’s how art works. You steal from everything."

Steven Soderbergh on how politicians can benefit from learning to steal like an artist in this excellent interview on New York Magazine.  (via explore-blog)

I admire you even more now Mr. Soderbergh.

(Source: , via explore-blog)

This short is ridiculous, but bringing this kind of absurdity into British street-life makes me easily susceptible to it.

"Cool Unicorn Bruv" // Short film

(Source: vimeo.com)

Help save one of America's most important movie theaters

This theater is the biggest reason Casablanca remains an enduring classic, hosts the DocYard documentary events, Boston’s independent film festival, book talks with many leading authors, & holds a lot of special memories for me (seeing Paul Rusesabagina speak being one of them) and is a huge rarity these days, a repertory movie theater. Beantown movie people, help them stay in business!

 http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/78747263/brattle-theatre-digital-projection-and-hvac-renova

Where else do you get all the best of recent film, the art house, cult classics, documentaries, annual Looney Tunes & Muppet runs, & so much more with 2 for 1 double features on the big screen?

An inspiring reminder of the power of music to change lives, and evidence that upcycling is more than just a hipster art trend. An upcoming documentary feature about a youth orchestra from a slum in Paraguay that’s surrounded by a landfill, the adults in the community make their living from salvaging materials to sell, the music students build their own instruments to learn & perform on. 

(Source: vimeo.com)

I’m not sure about the film yet, (though I’m a huge fan of Soderbergh, and the team up of Soderbergh & screenwriter Scott Z. Burns did deliver with Contagion so I’m optimistic) but this teaser poster is such a killer design.

I’m not sure about the film yet, (though I’m a huge fan of Soderbergh, and the team up of Soderbergh & screenwriter Scott Z. Burns did deliver with Contagion so I’m optimistic) but this teaser poster is such a killer design.

"[Artists are] not commodities that you just put up on the shelf and you bring down when you need to. Art is just as important in your society as economics is and as politics is. And if it’s not serving that purpose, then it’s just a wank thing. It’s just your own personal self-gratification. It should be there to inform, to educate and to open up vistas for other people. We’re standing on the shoulders of people who came before us trying to do something."

Clarke Peters, in an interview with The AV Club.

"…You put the blinkers on and you just run toward the goalposts and do as much as you can. Which is kind of what you do in life. You’re carrying your whole biography with you, but you’re not thinking about it. It just naturally informs what you do."

Clarke Peters, http://www.avclub.com/articles/clarke-peters-on-red-hook-summer-treme-and-perform,84326/