Thursday, June 28, 2007

Instilling the knowledge

My cubicle mate at work is a film junkie. Ask him anything - he knows about it, and there have many afternoons where he has generously taken it upon himself the educate me. I listen, of course, but admittedly, I don't absorb everything he tells me. It's not because I'm not interested. It's because the film-related trivia he is trying to instill upon me is stuff I've never heard of.

So, with my small bit of recently acquired film knowledge, I put it to him.

"Tell me about cinema verite."

He was pleasantly surprised. I could see it on his face. He began to talk about it at length, naming movies (I'm embarrassed to admit) I'd never heard of. He clearly saw the blank look on my face.

Finally, he said, "Borat."

Ah! I see! I got it - at least a little. (For the record, I hated that movie.) But I began to understand what he meant because he used something I knew.

And the lightbulb finally went on.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Try something new

I'd first heard about the Plymouth Independent Film Festival when it was in its infancy in 2004. I didn't give it much thought, being more a fan of mainstream films myself, but it seemed to be well-received in the community. There was good buzz about it, and at the newspaper, we were receiving press releases practically every week.

The following year, the festival attracted over 4,000 attendees, and local businesses reported increased revenue. In 2006, 110 films were shown, including free outdoor screenings on the waterfront. Both amateurs and film-making legends were in attendance. Actors from the HBO series, The Sopranos, were special guests.

My curiosity was piqued. Finally, I felt I had to get involved with this, even if only in some small way. I offered to blog. Why not? It's what I do, after all. And then Don mentioned something called "cinema verite." What?

According to Film Education , Cinéma Vérité was a television-style technique of recording life and people as they really are, using hand-held cameras, natural sound and the minimum of rehearsal and editing. It literally means ‘film truth’ or 'truth cinema' in French and was a style of film making developed by film directors in the 1960s. The film directors of the CinémaVérité movement strove for immediacy, spontaneity and authenticity in their films, primarily through the use of portable and unobtrusive equipment, such as small, hand-held cameras and the avoidance of any preconceived narrative line. Cinéma Vérité was characterised by the use of real people, as opposed to actors, in unrehearsed situations.

There's more to it, of course, but you get the gist of it. And so I've learned something new, because I'm willing to get involved in something new, something different, something I've never tried before. So what about you?

PIFF 2007 needs volunteers. Visit the website,, and click on "Get Involved".

Try something new for yourself.