Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Grey Gardens...American royalty

"As a documentarian I happily place my fate and faith in reality." - Albert Maysles

Reality is certainly what the audience received in 1976 when filmmakers Albert and David Maysles arrived at the decaying 28-room masion in East Hampton, known as Grey Gardens, to film the true story of Mrs. Edith Bouvier Beale and her daughter, Edie, the aunt and first cousin of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

The Maylses' story takes you inside the sad and eccentric lives of these two intriguing women, fringe aristocrats, who exist in a world of their own within the confines of their estate. The mother, a born aristocrat, known as Big Edie, was the sister of Jackie O's father. Little Edie was an aspiring actress, living in New York, who put her own life on hold to care for her mother, and never left.

The conditions they lived in were enough to make national headlines. Once, authories threatened to evict them for violating building and sanitation codes.

The two paint a sad and bittersweet picture of eccentricity, dependence, dreams forever gone, romance left unfulfilled and the strange and captivating relationship between mother and daughter.

For more information on this and other films by Albert and David Maysles, visit http://mayslesfilms.com/.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Shooting in HD? Get It Authored and Sold on Amazon, Free !

Microsoft and Amazon have announced a program to help indy filmmakers get their work authored and sold on Amazon's Disc on Demand service (formerly CustomFlix) at no cost. It goes without saying, this is a great opportunity for aspiring artists to get in the marketplace.

HD DVD is not hitting it big with major studios, and the Amazon/Microsoft partnership is an easy way for them to increase their catalogue while giving under-recognized artists some exposure.

The terms are very generous. But hurry. Only 1000 of the best will be selected for sale on Amazon.

Read about it here.

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Saturday, July 07, 2007

Film Progress Workshop

Attention, please!

This is for all you young (or maybe not-so-young) would-be filmmakers with an idea in your head and a camera in your hand!

Glorianna Davenport and David Tames are holding a workshop, entitled "Film-in-Progress RX" Sunday, July 21, at 10 AM. They're hoping young filmmakers with film ideas or films in progress will flock to this session. Glorianna and David will be able to offer useful advice on story as well as technical sticking points. Surgery will only be suggested in dire situations.

Stay tuned for more information on this and other workshops.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Cinéma Vérité Dealt a Blow in NYC

Oh, boy. You may need a permit now to shoot on public property, including sidewalks, in New York City. The paranoia is really mounting.

Quote from the June 29, 2007, NYTimes article (full post here):
New rules being considered by the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting would require any group of two or more people who want to use a camera in a single public location for more than a half hour to get a city permit and insurance.
What kind of insurance? $1,000,000 liability insurance.

Of course you know who this is going to be aimed at - the indie documentarian whose political views are perceived to be contrary to the status quo. No more Michael Moore, hey.

Thankfully the New York Civil Liberties Union is taking notice. And you should, too. Email your comments to Mayor’s Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting.

If you don't, your style could really get cramped.

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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Pervert art - Untangling the fantasy

Slovenian philosopher and psychoanalyst, Slajov Zizek once said, "Cinema is the ultimate pervert art. It doesn't give you what you desire - it tells you how to desire."

In his film, "The Pervert's Guide to Cinema," Zizek and director Sophie Fiennes present a psychoanalyical look at some of cinema's greatest films, such as "'The Birds," "Psycho" and "The Matrix" and "The Wizard of Oz" to name a few. Zizek offers an introduction to some of his most exciting ideas on fantasy, reality, sexuality and desire, as he shoots at original locations or on replica sets, as if speaking from within the films themselves. He says, "I can really explain a line of thought if I can somehow illustrate it in a scene from the film." As such, he is IN the scene, relating what he believes is the meaning behind it.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, "Zizek's ideas...are frequently amusing and provocative, whether using Norman Bates' multilevel house in 'Psycho' and the Marx Brothers to illustrate Freud's theories about the superego, ego and id or the films of David Lynch to explore, well, pretty much every aspect of human sexuality."

To learn more about Slajov Zizek's "The Pervert's Guide to Cinema," visit www.thepervertsguide.com.