April 24, 2002

"'We wanted to break the

"'We wanted to break the rule which has it that the selection of the Cannes film festival should always be tragic and solemn,' Thierry Fremaux, the festival's artistic director, said on Wednesday as he presented the program."

I haven't been able to find the list of short films selected, but it sounds like Fremaux specifically ruled out my movie. I'd better reconsider my next project: a film about coming to terms with my strict Catholic upbringing.

April 24, 2002

The list of feature films

The list of feature films in the competition at Cannes is here, and the Un Certain Regard selection is here. Alexander Payne's film, About Schmidt got in after all; a couple of weeks ago at MoMA, he said he thought it had been rejected. TF1 reports that there were 2,281 films submitted this year. Whether that includes the 900 or so shorts isn't clear.

April 23, 2002

Just when I imagine that

Just when I imagine that this might be the most problem-plagued, nerve-wracking production ever, Sundance Channel comes through in the pinch, with a timely screening of Les Blank's Burden of Dreams, the 1982 documentary on the making of Werner Herzog's folly, Fitzcarraldo. It tells the ridiculous story of Herzog losing his two stars, Jason Robards and Mick Jagger, after 40% of the movie had been shot; of delays that mean shooting in the dry season, when the river is too low for his boats; of the border war that erupts, necessitating them to move the location 1,500 miles; and of course, of his hate-love-hate relationship with replacement lead Klaus Kinski. I got it easy.

Oh, by the way, they're announcing the films selected for Cannes tomorrow (24 April).

So tonight, Les Glaneurs et La Glaneuse is on Sundance Channel as I come home from the gym. It's the first time I've seen it on television, not in the theater, and the image difference is quite noticeable between video-to-film transfer and video-on-television (AgnËs Varda shot the movie herself in DV). It's a relief/heartening to see that it does look like video on TV, since Souvenir November 2001 looks like video on TV, too. It'll be nice to see it on film. Hell, it'll be nice to see it.

What I can't understand, but what I've been aware of since at least Hoop Dreams, is how the Academy can NOT give even a nomination to a movie like The Gleaners, i.e., a successful, critically acclaimed, popular film. Here is an article about the lamenesses of the 2001 Oscars. Anyone know of the seemingly ineffectual changes to the way films are nominated for the documentary Oscar?

Back from Albuquerque, ready (I think) to face a full day of non-stop debugging and (hopefully) output on the movie. Right now, though, I'm somewhat hectically getting caught up on the rest of my life, such as it is. One Albuquerque anecdote: Saturday night, after a day spent at The American Physical Society/High Energy Astrophysics Division (aka APS/HEAD) conference, we dropped on by the Break Loose 4 Breakdancing Contest and Skate Demo being held in the adjacent hall. We were the only crossovers, as far as I could tell. 200 +/- NM teens hanging out somewhat laconically, watching small crews take turns spinning on their shoulders on the unpadded concrete floor.

This confluence/juxtaposition reminded me of perhaps the best This American Life episode in my memory, partly because at the time (1994-7) I was acquainted with the guy telling the story, John Perry Barlow, partly because, listening to it, it seems that Ira Glass was actually caught off guard, unscripted, by the interview. In the Episode titled, Conventions John talks about "when worlds collide," a fascinating story of two people at two conventions from two different worlds meeting. Here's the Real Audio (go about 37 minutes in).

In Albuquerque for the weekend. My wife is attending an astrophysics conference here. Lots of dust and wind. And lots of murals, too, for some reason. There must be a "1% for murals" ordinance in force, because practically every building in town has an uplifting, figurative mural. Sure enough, here's a site with a collection of Albuquerque's murals, and here is info about the City's Mural Program. I guess it could be painted cows, so they should be grateful.

If ONLY this moviemaking experience was as annoying as Groundhog Day... Final Cut Pro seems to be disintegrating before my eyes, and taking the project with it. EVERY time I open the master sequence, the same dozen or so clips show up as missing. The infuriating thing: it's supposedly because the audio (not the video) file isn't being recognized (even though they're both clearly present), and almost all the *&#$'ed up clips don't even use audio. They're insert shots where we use only the video and lay another audio track over it. [While I've posted this plea/rant to the 2-pop.com discussion board, I haven't gotten any responses yet.]

Right now, I'm recapturing the offending clips in video only, hopefully avoiding the missing audio syndrome. Considering I currently have no movie to submit to any festivals, I can't even say what festivals I'm missing (except for the ones like the IFP Market in NYC where I already applied but haven't sent in the tape (obviously).

Editing: Final tweaks over the weekend to get a distortion-free output version has now deteriorated into a major structural problem with Final Cut Pro. If I didn't have so much other stuff to occupy my mind, I'd be worried sick. The program shows that a dozen+ audio files are missing AND that they're required to play the finished sequence, even though they're not in the sequence. IDGI. Anyway, I've started going through every file, recapturing those that are in the movie, and deleting those that aren't. It's going to be a long week. And the submissions clocks are still ticking.

Submissions: Got a dear auteur fax from Quinzaine Realisateurs. Maybe I don't want people who don't know me to see it after all...

As I'm sitting here working, Rushmore is just ending on Comedy Central. Freakin' amazing. What IS that movie? I'm glad I didn't see it right before meeting Wes Anderson last week; id've been a blubbering idiot fan. As it is, I'm no more likely to EVER make a movie like that (at one end of the spectrum) than I am to make Weekend at Bernie's II (at the other). No prob.

Issue of 2002-04-22 and 2002-04-29
Posted 2002-04-15

COMMENT/ TWO STATES/ Nicholas Lemann looks at the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the lens of post (US)-Civil War reconstruction.
STRING SECTION/ SLAVA AT SEVENTY-FIVE/ Charles Michener basks in the effusive presence of Maestro Mstislav Rostropovich.
INK/ THE TIMES, V.O./ Adam Gopnik lets us know that, even though Le Monde began publishing an English-language insert from the NYT, he buys it for the French articles.
THE BOARDS/ MAN IN TIGHTS/ Eric Konigsberg previews right-wing muscle daddy/blogger Andrew Sullivan's Shakespeare debut.
THE FINANCIAL PAGE/ TAX CHEAT, INC./ James Surowiecki explains why offshore tax dodging is illegal for you, but fine for Ingersoll-Rand.

I ended up making screening tapes from the DV master, since I have been having the same problems with output that we had before (ie., skipping, frozen frames). The movie may have found the maximum processing capacity of the G4 we're working with. Moral: don't go halfway on the memory or processing power. You'll use it all, so make sure it's enough.

Jean and I drove from DC to NC for the weekend, and talked through the rest of the Souvenir series. I'll post some of those notes after I get them typed up. Some general ideas around which stories may develop: remembering and returning to specific places, the differences between peoples' memories of the same event (more Chuck and Buck than Rashomon, though), remembering as talking vs. remembering as "experiencing," and a few more. Abstract enough for you? After hearing a 1992 interview with John Cage on WNYC yesterday, I'm pretty sure he'll have a role in the movie somehow. (besides the music in Souvenir November 2001, that is) Anyway, everyone goes to bed early in NC, so I'm outta here.

Since 2001 here at greg.org, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting greg.org that time.

comments? questions? tips? pitches? email
greg [at] greg [dot ] org

find me on twitter: @gregorg

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