April 28, 2002

Oh, before I forget: Send

Oh, before I forget:


Send an email if you're interested in coming to a private evening screening of Souvenir November 2001 in NYC, to be scheduled within the next couple of weeks. If demand warrants, we'll set one up in Washington, DC as well. I'm working on the date and location this week.

Now that the movie's finally done, I have a little breathing room, so I went to one of the websites we shot really quickly for insert shots in the wife's Google search scene. Of the dozens of sites we shot, we included maybe 5, for a fraction of a second each (with more screen time for Google, because it's integral to the story). The page: "MIT Architecture: 9-11 and its Aftermath," with a lecture/article by Prof. Hlne Lipstadt titled "The Monument does not Remember."


It was probably this combination of words that appealed to Jonah and caused him to include the shot of the page, but it seemed like a nice, oblique reference to the attacks and NYC's own questions about what comes after the World Trade Center, so we kept it in. The lecture's quite interesting, but even more interesting, is a memorial I'd never heard of, built within 72 hours (!) of the attacks at MIT. Called the Reflecting Wall, it was a full-scale model of a fragment of the WTC's distinctive column/window/column wall, executed in plywood. A remarkably moving and prescient gesture, it predated the emergence of images of the twisted, remaining fragment of the actual wall that became a familiar reference (and which doctrinaire voices rapidly included in any eventual memorial on the site).

April 27, 2002

As if nothing had ever

As if nothing had ever gone wrong... This morning, I managed to get the completed, subtitled, sound-level-relatively-balanced version of Souvenir outputted onto a DV master AND several VHS tapes. What this means:

  • pain-free festival submissions
  • local screenings for family, friends, the crew and any potential partners, backers or distributors
  • I can sell the overpriced, underpowered Powerbook Titanium to which I can attribute some of the output problems.


    A hint to Final Cut Pro users with output problems: < geekspeak> After outputting the audio to a CD-file and the video (only!) to a Final Cut Movie file, I combined these two full-length (15 min) files into an entirely new project and sequence. It doesn't require any render files, etc, so it's entirely self contained in 3-4 files. Because these were sitting on a firewire external drive, they were inherently limited by the transfer speed of the firewire connection. I moved them off the ext. drive and placed the entire project on the laptop hard drive. Then I replayed the project via "Print to Video." It worked fine. Of course, because the G4 only has 10Gb, I had to delete piles of stuff first to make space. And if you have a larger project, you'll need a commensurately larger internal drive. < /geekspeak>

  • April 25, 2002

    First the good news: I

    First the good news: I got my keyboard replaced, and now I have my beloved Trackpoint back. Things are looking up.


    Bad news: Here is the list of picks for International Critics Week at Cannes. One short, The Day I Was Born, by Japanese director Manda Kunitoshi, features a "baby born on September 11 2001," so that may have filled the thematic slot I was targetting. There were no US shorts among the seven selected, though. In fact, there are no US films at all.


    Good news: I got the no-subtitles version dubbed and submitted to the Edinburgh Film Festival, which cut me a week's slack while I tried to get the subtitled version outputted.


    Bad news: I haven't gotten the subtitled version outputted yet. There are memory problems with Final Cut Pro, which doesn't seem to recognize the 30+ available gigabytes on my external drive. At this rate, though, I'll be able to sit next to everyone who watches it and translate the French parts for them.

    Sure enough. Here is the list of short films selected for Cannes. Two US films, including one by Bruce Terris, who was Pete Jones' 1st Assistant Director on Stolen Summer/Project Greenlight. Watching Terris' constant pushing/complaining about the importance of shot lists stuck in my head and proved to be very helpful advice for shooting Souvenir, btw.

    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 (Agns 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).

    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.

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