Every evening at dusk during the Cannes Film Festival, the artist Jenny Holzer is projecting cinema-related quotes from actors and filmmakers onto the ugly wall of the Palais des Festivals. You can follow along on the Festival's pretty info-packed official site. Holzer's Please Change Beliefs was the first great piece of web-based art, produced in collaboration with my friends at ”da'web. There's tons of Holzer's work, including the balsawood postcards above, at Printed Matter
May 20, 2003
March 18, 2003
For the diehard greg.org fan, who's not related to me and/or not chased away by my recent forays into my perspective on current events which keep relating back to the themes of my first movie, otherwise I'd have just started a 9/11 blog and turned it into a warblog and... ahem:
I've been writing the press kit for Souvenir (January 2003), my second short, which has been holding in a sort of DV-to-film transfer limbo. Also, I started dubbing a bunch of screener tapes, because there's a world of film festivals out there waiting for a reflective look at ironing.
February 3, 2003
From yesterday's NYTimes:
Editors' Note, Sunday Styles
The Age of Dissonance column last Sunday, about cozying up to celebrities, mentioned a report in The Daily News that guests at the Sundance film festival "had their shoes spattered" when the actor Tobey Maguire was taken ill. But the day the Times column appeared, The News quoted the actor's publicist as saying that although Mr. Maguire doubled over at one point, it was not he who vomited."
January 29, 2003
First, rather than just say, "Called it!" (which I did, thank you), let me congratulate director Stewart Hendler and company (including DP John Ealer) for winning Sundance's Online Film Festival with their short, One.
Second, third and fourth, check out the following roundups of Sundance deal-making and film performance. The takeaway (sorry, Holly Hunter): Wo unto those who maketh their films for buzz, for verily, they have their reward.
Mary Glucksman takes a thorough and incisive look at indie film and distributor performance in 2002 in Filmmaker Magazine. Last year, only eight festival-bought independent films grossed more than $1 million. (The population of acquisition execs who passed on the non-festival My Big Fat Greek Wedding is enough to fill Park City. In fact, it just did...)
Glucksman picks apart seven 2002 Sundance deals to uncover the winners and losers, finding three-time Sundance vet Miguel Arteta's The Good Girl to be the win-win deal of the year for all involved. Interestingly, Gary "win-win" Winnick's Tadpole results in sweet deals for everyone but Miramax, who bought the film in a classic Sundance frenzy for $5 million (it only made $2.8 at the box office). [Harvey, if you're overpayin', I'm playin'. Give me a call.]
Filmmaker also has a handy Sundance Box Office 2002 Chart, which you can cut out and put next to your editing station, to remind you of the financial folly you're undertaking.
In the Voice, Anthony Kaufman casts a (now understandably) sober eye at this year's deals, calling bulls**t on both the supposed value of festival buzz and the overheated acquisitions it spawns. Or, in the words of Sony Pictures Classics prexy Michael Barker, "We've been burned before by the Sundance frenzy. In fact, we've had more success with films that we've revisited after the festival outside the context of sleep deprivation. And that's what we're going to do in the coming weeks."
January 23, 2003
In the middle of this witty, winning Dogme 95-sanctioned melodrama about infidelity and mourning, the Park City projectionist accidentally screened the film in the wrong order: after the mistake was determined, the audience voted passionately to continue watching and piece together the narrative in their heads. One happy viewer was rumored to comment, "It's just like watching Memento." [One hopeful filmmaker was rumored to comment, "Then offer me what you should've paid Chris Nolan, dude."]
Buffalo on the Montana Plains, Albert Bierstadt
from the Collection of Ted Turner image:tfaoi.com
Just two things about emerging filmmaker Richard Linklater's short film, Live from Shiva's Dancefloor, about that megalomaniacal kook from that double-decker tour bus movie: If you want to put buffalo on Ground Zero, check with that far more impressive megalomaniac, Ted Turner; he's got the biggest herd of in the world.
According to the National Bison Association, you'd probably max out at a rather sparse 2.2 head/acre, or 35 buffalo total, on the 16-acre WTC site. Not quite the inspiring herds we've been promised. Not that returning land to the wild is too far-fetched: the Buffalo Commons concept has been floating around the Great Plains since at least 1987.
Ted Turner bonus quote: "Just because you don't hear him doesn't mean he isn't screaming," says author Richard Hack.
January 21, 2003
This beautiful, entertaining Sundace Online entry, Lots of Robots is, amazingly, the product of one guy, animator Andy Murdock. Read about it at Wired. I love it, and not just because he has a website all about the making-of. Murdock's comments on the still above:
This is the first shot I created fof LOR. I had just purchased my new machine for home and I wanted to take it for a spin. I looked out window into the garden and saw a humming bird. How saccharine is that? But who needs to see another cg humming bird, I'm not about to compete with Mother Nature in the beauty department, so let's make a robot humming bird and a whole story to go along with it. What else am gonna do anywayÖ watch TV?
I find this to be the most enjoyable way to make art. You have no idea of what to do, but you start anyway. You put something down on the canvas to break the silence and just start reacting to what you see. Once you have a few critters walking around scratching their butts, you ask yourself, "What is that, and what's it doing there, where did it come from?" Now you have the beginnings of a story. Too many Hollywood stories come out of the "Formula." Want success, just change the names and fill in the blanks. I don't really want to know how this story will end until I get there. That way I get to enjoy it's flow along with everyone else. This is not the easy way, I know, but it's the way I like it. So thereÖonward.
January 20, 2003
SCENE: A Park City Mill-about
ELVIS MITCHELL scans the lobby, sees HOLLY HUNTER standing, quiet and alone. He says to himself, "What the [expletive deleted, Utah S.C. 1999-104.2.1] is this, The Piano? Why ain't that broad talking?", and determines to do something about it. The result is in today's NY Times: the actress gives Elvis her thoughtful views on indie film marketing, audiences' different reactions to Sundance and Cannes, and translating fleeting Sundance buzz into actual box office success.
"On the other hand," she said, "I think this marketing is provocative territory. There's a real contradiction, which is anathema to the purpose ó nurture independent film and filmmakers. Having a truck back up with $10 million changes things, not always to the good."Yeah, just dump it in the corner. Do I need to sign someth-- Wha-- Hey! Hey! Someone shut her up!
January 17, 2003
Breakbeat meets media hacking in Stephen Marshall's S-11, which was made for GNN, Guerilla News Network. Where Norman Cowie's Scenes from an endless war (which screened last month before Souvenir (November 2001)) used FoxNews sampling to underline media complicity, Marshall's S-11 is more powerfully and closely edited for musical and rhythmic effect, which enhances its criticism of the current administration's entire approach to the terrorist threat.
From the Flash Filosopher, Billy Blob comes Bumble Being, the bee version of "the butterfly effect." Blob also did last year's Sundance-ruling Karma Ghost. (If you haven't changed your life yet, see it before it's too late.) It's stylin' and simple, even if it doesn't have quite the impact (so to speak) of KG, but the Flash bio that accompanies it is hi-larious.
September 29, 2002
According to this wire report, the US State Department has refused to process a visa for the director Abbas Kiarostami, the godfather of Iranian cinema and one of the most highly acclaimed filmmakers in the world. His latest work, Ten, has its US premier tonight at the NY Film Festival. In the NY Times review, A.O. Scott called it "a work of inspired simplicity."
Check the movie index for more discussions of Kiarostami, his previous films, and his perspective on DV filmmaking. Check Camworld's discussion of the government's policy's potential blowback for Americans traveling abroad.
September 8, 2002
Of course, I don't mean the whole world; just all New Yorkers. The terrorists' message would have gotten an auto-reply saying, "Sorry, you missed us. We're all in Toronto, eh?" Alas, it was not to be.
This year, however, everyone DOES seem to be in Toronto. And they're all making short films dealing with September 11th. Just look at the list of directors participating in 11'09"01, a collection of 11 shorts put together by a French director, Alain Brigand: Ken Loach, Claude Lelouch, Danis Tanovic, Sean Penn, Amos Gitaï¿½, Shohei Imamura, Samira Makhmalbaf, Youssef Chahine, Idrissa Ouedraogo, Mira Nair, and Alejandro Gonzï¿½lez IÒ·rritu.
Each film is 11 minutes, 9 seconds and 1 frame long, as if the date were a timecode. Check this description of Sean Penn's short in a Guardian (UK) review from Venice:
Some avoid the politics completely. Sean Penn's beautiful and moving short film shows the ordinary early morning of an elderly New York widower. He shaves, he dresses, he talks constantly to his dead wife, tells her the apartment is just too dark. When he wakes up from a mid-morning nap, the room is flooded with sunlight and the dead flowers on the windowsill are blooming: the towers that had blocked out their light have crumbled to nothing.
The loft where we shot the New York scenes of Souvenir November 2001 was actually such a place (minus Ernest Borgnine, of course). The friends who let us shoot there had to cover their 14' high windows with butcher paper; with the World Trade Center gone, sunlight poured in from the suddenly empty southern view and threatened to damage their art. The films screen in Toronto on Sept. 11 and 12. Since originally writing this entry, an excellent article showed up in the NYTimes.