July 2009

Hollywood 2.0

Scott Kersner pointed me in the direction of John Ott and his blog Making the movie. Its a great clean, well organized site with cool reviews, ideas and well, cool film stuff. The thing that caught my ATT was John’s article called Hollywood 2.0 (the title of the book on the topic, if he ever gets that far).

There are many ideas on what Hollywood can/should do to “save” the film industry. John just flips it upside down. Again using the music industry as a lead staff, he suggest making more music and taking theatrical to an exclusivity status.

What if you released your movie streaming online, then for download — going to the t.v. through people’s box of choice - then on DVD/Bluray and, finally, in theaters? You could theoretically have so few screenings (such scarcity) that the filmmakers or actors could tour around the country with it, making personal appearances. You wouldn’t have to shell out for the theatrical tour until you knew, from statistics on download and home video sales, that the movie had a sizable audience

I think the idea deserves some novelty points. It not just crazy talk, there is a plan behind it. Roll out the film mass scale, get people watching, in my opinion on ANY medium, and then build your audience. Charge premium for theatre tickets and sell out on every show.

Its alot like what Arin Crumley did on Four Eyed Monsters. Taking their film across the US once they had a full cinema in any city - that was achieved through google earth and some other free apps or networking sites.

John admits that this model wont easily work for the studios, since they have the whole theater thing under their belts and audiences are already pretty conditioned to paying x for tickets. To think they will now suddenly pay x*200% is not likely. Except maybe if you turn it into an “EVENING AT THE THEATRE” and you actually do get to sit next to Zooey Deschanel and make idle chit chat while thinking that you have a chance with her…..wait I’m getting distracted.

This model, like music, will work on “social scale”, if your movie is big and famous you get to charge more in a premium theatre, if its small and grundgy then thats what you get. Easy.

ya, think about it, read/write and rock-on.

Sites that review unreleased Indie

Aah, Trulyfree blog is always a little bit of awesome. This time Ted has posted some sights that review Indie films. I hope the guys from Orgie, Party of Three and Capitalist Pigs make use of of any of these!! If you do - let me know and well post something onnit….

Ted has placed the name of the individual who recommended the site next to the blog (to spread more names of people doing stuff)

http://brendonbouzard.com/blog/ Brendon Bouzard
http://cinemaechochamber.blogspot.com/ Brandon Harris
http://wwww.cinematical.com Tze Chun
http://www.cinevegas.com/blog/ Christophe Lepage
http://d2dvd.blogspot.com/ Bill Cunningham action,horror, pulp,sci-fi, thriller
http://www.filmthreat.com/blog/ Christophe Lepage
http://www.filmschoolrejects.com Tze Chun
http://www.hammertonail.com/ Ted Hope
http://iradeutchman.com Christophe Lepage
http:/www.ironweedfilms.com Christophe Lepage
MyFiveYearPlan Brendon Bouzard
http://www.nerve.com/CS/blogs/screengrab/default.aspx Christophe Lepage
http://www.notcoming.com Tze Chun
http://www.sf360.org/blogs Christophe Lepage
http://www.slashfilm.com/ Slashfilm
http://www.spout.com Tze Chun & Christophe Lepage
http://twitchfilm.net/site/ Tze Chun
http://videocrity.blogspot.com/ Dave Nuttycombe

I am a member of Ironweedfilms and read Slashfilm OFTEN. Both these sites offer great indy information and enjoy the odd, the strange, the creative and unique, as I can imagine all these sites do. Hammer to nail is Ted’s site and is part of his site collective of which trulyfree is also part.

Enjoy, its a great resource… make use of it!

Cronenberg Filmmaker for today

Controversial visionary David Cronenberg sees technology, mankind, sexuality merging in ‘eXistenZ’

Todays film maker is another director and I chose him because I accidentally watched The Fly again a couple of nights ago (I think it was on SABC 2). I love his films, eXistnZ was one of the first I watched of his (this interview was done during the time of the film) and I remember feeling like I was watching something other worldly but awesome! Seeing how malleable he is as a film maker is also astounding. The madly erotic to the strangely deviant and even the Hollywood mainstream, Cronenberg can do it all and that’s why he is one of my bestests….
Instead of a straight up biography I chose to give you this interview, it gives a more personal feel to David and if your still keen, I added a link to a biography anyway.
Enjoy the madness!

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Interview form SPLICED WIRE by ROB BLACKWELDER

I don’t know what I was expecting exactly when I met David Cronenberg, arguably the most bizarre, eccentric and even grotesque auteur in North America.

A visionary and controversial director with a penchant for ingenious, violent and sexual metaphors, he’s been responsible for a half dozen of the most admired (by film aficionados) and abhorred (by many others) movies of the last 20 year, including “Videodrome” (a violent and sexualized allegory on thought control) “The Fly” and “Dead Ringers” (considered the height of the art house-horror hybrid), and hallucinogenic, autobiographical adaptation of William S. Burroughs’ “Naked Lunch.” In 1997 his adaptation of J.G. Ballard’s novel “Crash,” about car-crash fetishists, was shelved for several months by New Line Cinema owner Ted Turner, who didn’t want anything to do with the twisted tale.

Was I meeting a human deviant? A demented genius with “straight jacket” written all over him? I didn’t know, but for the first time in years, I was feeling intimated about an interview.

Then I was lead into the conference room of San Francisco’s Prescott Hotel and shook hands with a congenial, bespectacled fellow with salt-and-pepper hair and a benevolent smile. It turns out, David Cronenberg - the envelopepushing circus freak of independent cinema - is a cheerful, deepthinking, mild-mannered college professor type. Go figure that.

Today he’s here to talk about “eXistenZ,” the first film since “Videodrome” that he both wrote and directed. A forward-looking, somewhat cautionary vision of the future of virtual reality, the film stars Jennifer Jason Leigh as the inventor of a bio-engineered game, played by plugging a living game pod directly into the central nervous system through a fleshy umbilical cord inserted into an orifice carved in the player’s back.

In the near future created for “eXistenZ,” anyone who hasn’t been jacked with one of these bioports is considered a square in most circles. It takes place in a world where the game and reality are disturbingly intermingled. In Cronenberg’s vision, technology and the human organism have begun to merge — something the director considers inevitable.

I see technology as being an extension of the human body,” he says. “It’s inevitable that it should come home to roost.”

But before we discussed to his new movie, his fixation with sexuality and the organic form, we talked about Hollywood and why he’s fed up with being perceived as a horror director.

I never thought I was doing the same thing as directors like John Carpenter, George Romero, and sometimes even Hitchcock, even though I’ve been sometimes compared to those other guys. We’re after different game,” Cronenberg says. “The filmmaking process is a very personal one to me, I mean it really is a personal kind of communication. It’s not as though its a study of fear or any of that stuff.”

SPLICEDwire: Your films are more deeply psychological, where many of those directors are often just trying to make you jump out of your seat.

David Cronenberg: True. Even Hitchcock liked to think of himself as a puppeteer who was manipulating the strings of his audience and making them jump. He liked to think he had that kind of control. I don’t think that kind of control is possible beyond a very obvious kind of physical twitch when something jumps out of the corner of a frame. I also think the relationship I have with my audience is a lot more complex than what Hitchcock seemed to want his to be — although I think he had more going on under the surface as well.

But you can’t control all of that. Anybody who comes to the cinema is bringing they’re whole sexual history, their literary history, their movie literacy, their culture, their language, their religion, whatever they’ve got. I can’t possibly manipulate all of that, nor do I want to. I’m often surprised - I expect to be surprised - by my audience’s reactions to things.

SPLICED: Do you consider any of your movies horror movies?

Cronenberg: No. I don’t. “The Fly” was, technically, a horror sci-fi film, and this is technically a sci-fi film. But to me that’s not a creative category. That’s a marketing problem or possibly a critical problem, a journalistic preoccupation. But it doesn’t function on a creative level.

It doesn’t mean anything. Each movie generates its own little biosphere and has its only little ecology and its climate, and you’re attune to that more than anything else. So when people say “is there anything you wouldn’t show on film?” or “would you draw back?” I say, if I do it’s only because of that biosphere. What is appropriate? What works within the ecology of that movie? So in one movie sex and blood would be very up front, like in “Crash” because it’s sort of the subject of the movie. But in another movie, like “The Dead Zone,” it would not be appropriate. It would be disproportionate.

There’s no sex really in “eXistenZ,” except metaphorically. There was an opportunity to have sex scenes, and we were all willing to do that. But as the film evolved, we thought it would be wrong. It would take away from the metaphorical sex, which is all this plugging in and that sort of stuff. That’s more interesting. It has more resonance than if you suddenly saw a real, naked sex scene in the middle of all that. It would unbalance all that — almost invalidate it. So if you wait, the movie gradually tells you what it wants to be, and you have to sort of go on with it.

SPLICED: There seem to be connections between “Videodrome,” which you also wrote and directed, and “eXistenZ.” The way you’re plugging in a pre-programmed videotape or a game into your body. Was “Videodrome” on your mind?

Cronenberg: No. You have to remember I haven’t seen it in 15 years. You might well have seen it more recently than I have. It is true this is the first script I’ve written since “Videodrome,” so I’m sure that connects somewhere. But when you’re writing a script - for me anyway - you have to sort of create an enforced innocence. You have to divest yourself of worrying about a lot of stuff like what movies are hot, what movies are not hot, what the budget of this movie might be. You have to stop worrying about what people might expect from you because of the last thing you did…you have to stop worrying about your other movies. I mean, I just know they’re all going to be interconnected. People have asked me to do a sequel to “Scanners,” or they’ve asked, very recently, to do a remake of “Shivers.” And that would feel like a horrible place to put myself. I wouldn’t want to go back there.

SPLICED: Have you ever considered doing a big budget, schlocky studio film? Has anyone has pitched you anything like that?

Cronenberg: Oh, heavens yes! Recently? “The Truman Show” and “Aliens 4,” and in the early days things like “Witness” and “Top Gun.” Oh, and “Flashdance.” Dawn Steele, for some reason, kept bugging me to do “Flashdance”! And I kept saying “No.” and “You won’t thank me! I would destroy this!” So, yes, I do get offered stuff. And, like, “Alien 4” is tempting for a minute because they’re begging me to do it, and I think to work with Sigorney Weaver and Winona Ryder would be great fun, and so on.

SPLICED:…and it has some of the same kinds of themes, body themes, that you often work with…

Cronenberg: Yeah, because the original “Alien” took stuff from “Shivers.” It was obvious that happened. I know how it happened, too, but we won’t get into that.

The problem with doing a schlocky or big budget studio film is that it wouldn’t actually be fun for me. It wouldn’t be exciting. My rule of thumb is this: You’re six months into it, you’ve got six months to go. It’s February. It’s winter. It’s dark. Am I suicidal, or am I really excited and happy? And the answer with those projects would be, “I’m suicidal.”

SPLICED: You originally wrote “eXistenZ” three years ago. I imagine you had to make changes to update the technology, since such things change so rapidly.

Cronenberg: That didn’t change. The technology I sort of side-step in this movie. It’s the metaphor. It’s the drama and the meaning of it and all of that which is interesting to me.

We don’t have any computers in this movie. It’s a different technology. I’m certainly aware that the big chip makers have all done heavy, heavy research into using protein molecules as a basis of their chips, and protein molecules are the basis of organic life. I read an article recently about experiments done to try to use DNA strands as electrical wiring.

Since I see technology as being an extension of the human body, it’s inevitable that it should come home to roost. It just makes sense. I mean, I literally show that in the movie with the pod plugged into central nervous system.

Technology is us. There is no separation. It’s a pure expression of human creative will. It doesn’t exist anywhere else in the universe. I’m rather sure of that. But we’ll see if the spaceships come. And if it is at times dangerous and threatening, it is because we have within ourselves we have things within us that are dangerous, self-destructive and threatening, and this has expressed itself in various ways through out technology.

(Modern technology is) more than an interface. We ARE it. We’ve absorbed it into our bodies. Our bodies, I think, are bio-chemically so different from the bodies of people like 1,000 years ago that I don’t even think we could mate with them. I think we might even be, in other words, a different species, we’re so different.

(This) technology, we absorb it, it weaves in and out of us, so it’s not really an interface in the same way people think about a screen or a face. It’s a lot more intimate than that.

SPLICED: Is that why in many of your films there’s some type of orifice through which a person is connecting?

Cronenberg: Yeah. I mean, technology wants to be in our bodies, because it sort of came out of our bodies. In a crude way, that’s what I’m thinking. It wants to come home and that is its home. First of all, in the obvious ways - the eyes with binoculars, the ears with the telephone - technology had to be an advancement of powers we knew we had. Then it gets more elaborate and more distant from us. More abstract. But it still all emanates from us. It’s us.

SPLICED: And it’s a theme in almost all of your movies.

Cronenberg: It’s more than a theme. To me it’s kind of like a living presence, an understanding, that is behind all of the movies.

SPLICED: How does the idea of the technological meshing of man and machine, how does that connect to the reoccurring theme of sexuality?

Cronenberg: Well, I think, with “Crash” it was getting very focused on the idea that we are re-inventing sex. We are at a major epoch in human history, which is that we don’t need sex to recreate the race. You can have babies without sex. This is the first time in human history that has been true, and it means, for example, we could do some extraordinary things.

It’s becoming disconnected from what it was initially, just in the same way we’ve taken control of our evolution. We are no longer subject to the laws of survival of the fittest in the gross physical way that Darwin articulated. Even though we’re not quite aware of it, we don’t know how to deal with it, we are messing around with our evolution at the genetic level.

So, I think, in the same way, sex is up for grabs, for reinvention. There have always been elements of politics, fashion, pleasure, art, in sexuality. But now those things are, in a weird way, almost the primary part of sexuality. So why not say, OK, how about some new sexual organs? They don’t have to reproduce. They don’t have to do all that complex chromosome splitting and stuff that goes with real reproduction, so why not have direct access to your nervous system and create new orifices that do god knows what?

In a way, you’re seeing new sex, neo-sex, in this movie. Or do you even want to call it sex? It’s obviously inducing some kind of pleasure the way sex does, but what is it?

I think that is happening. You see a lot of body modification. In the same way, we’ve never accepted the environment as it was given to us, we’ve never accepted the human body, either. We’ve always been messing with it to the full extent of whatever the technology at the time would allow us to do. But then there’s also the other element of body modification that are not medical. It’s social, it’s political, it’s sexual, it’s cosmetic, it’s fashion. Just what people will do now - with scarring, tattooing, piercing and all that, and performance art as well - it would have been unthinkable, at least as mainstream as it is now, not very long ago.

SPLICED: To what do you credit your fascination with organic form and the mutation of the human body?

Cronenberg: I got bored. That was traumatic.

I think it really has more to do with the perception and an understanding than the whole idea that it’s something that happened to you in your childhood. I’m just observing the world. I was born into it, like you were, and then I found out there were some really disturbing aspects to being alive, like the fact that you weren’t going to be alive forever — that bothered me.

Do you remember when you found out you wouldn’t live forever? People don’t talk about this, but everybody had to go through it because you’re not born with that knowledge. That’s the basis of all existentialist thought, which, of course, is an underpinning of this movie. It’s not called “eXistenZ” for nothing.

For me, the first fact of human existence is the human body. But if you embrace the reality of the human body, you embrace mortality, and that is a very difficult thing for anything to do because the self-conscious mind cannot imagine non-existence. It’s impossible to do.

So not only can you not imagine dying, you can’t really imagine existence before you were born. So, I think, for example, that’s one of the reasons people believe so strongly in reincarnation. They kind of assume that somehow they were there. You can’t imagine things going on without you. That’s just the nature of our self-consciousness.

So I observed these kinds of things as a kid and then I’m gradually expressing this and talking to myself through my movies about all of this stuff. Then I’m really inviting the audience to have that conversation with me. You’re seeing me develop, not only as a filmmaker if you’ve seen my earlier films, but you’re seeing me kind of learn how to be a human, how my philosophy has evolved.

So that’s why I think, for example, this movie cannot be like “Videodrome.” All the other connections aside - that was what, 17 years ago? - I’m different now.

SPLICED: So all of your movies together are like a biography.

Cronenberg: Well, they should be. They’re almost like chapters in an ongoing book.

a nice biography here

New Story Platforms

We know by know that story telling has come a long way from sitting by a fire and hearing an old lady tell of the man that came form the river…..Stories themselves have not become more sophosticated but the delivery methods have. Dee Cook looks at three different stories being told in three different ways.

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Alabaster
The Queen has told you to return with her heart in a box. Snow White has made you promise to make other arrangements. Now that you’re alone in the forest, it’s hard to know which of the two women to trust. The Queen is certainly a witch — but her stepdaughter may be something even more horrible…

Alabaster is a form of interactive fiction that sets about to retell the tale of Snow White from a somewhat different perspective. The story is told through text, and you are given a prompt to enter responses. The story then reacts to what you have just told or asked it. Additionally, Alabaster includes illustrations that change in accordance with the mood of the story. This collaboration between 11 different authors is a sophisticated tapestry of dialog and plot. In all, 18 separate endings are available, depending on the choices the player makes.

If you’ve never had the opportunity to explore the world of interactive fiction, or IF, you’re missing a treat. If Alabaster whets your appetite, give the classic Zork series a shot next. Theatre of the mind at its finest.

Nawlz
Another sort of storytelling entirely, Nawlz is an online graphic novel. Nearly every panel features some sort of animation and sound, and some have interactive hotspots that readers can play with. The cyberpunk setting “follows Harley Chambers as he kicks thru the futuristic City of Nawlz engaging in overlaying virtual realities, mind-bending drugs and other strange techno-cultures.”

What’s interesting about Nawlz is that the panels are not static. Items and elements appear and rearrange themselves within the panels as the reader navigates through the story. This gives a totally new dynamic to the experience and is exciting even for graphic novel neophytes to navigate through.

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Survive the Outbreak
When the zombies attack, are you dead meat or will you be leading your people to safety? Chris Lund’s Survive the Outbreak let people put their best armchair zombie quarterbacking skills to the test, providing a choose-your-own-adventure style interactive movie that allowed viewers to make the decisions what to do next. Unfortunately, the high quality version seems to be a victim of its own success (or perhaps it’s a vast undead plot), but a reasonable facsimile of the movie/game can be found on YouTube complete with the decision tree. According to the designers, there are eight possible endings - but only two where the protagonist lives. As Homer Simpson would say, “I like those odds!”

So take note, storytellers - every day there is someone out there finding another new and innovative way of captivating an audience. What’s been most interesting has been to see the shift from author-driven story to author/audience collaboration. Giving your audience a stake in the story is a sure-fire way of building a very strong relationship with them. Finding interesting ways of doing that is the challenge - and the fun part.

Dee Cook was elated to discover the world of interactive storytelling because, at that moment, she finally discovered what she wanted to do when she grew up. A fish out of water with lofty ideals and meta-theorizing, Dee finds herself most at home with her sleeves rolled up and the grease of a good story under her fingernails. In the last several years she has written, designed, and consulted on over a dozen alternate reality games, extended realities, and marketing campaigns, most recently World Without Oil, True Blood, Dead Space, and My Home 2.0. You can find her online at Addlepated.net.

D9 at The Comic-Con

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This week saw the Comic-con take place in San Diago and saw a host of movies being screened, promoted and talked about there. To name a few: Iron Man2, 9, Avatar, The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, Where the Wild Things Are, Zombieland and Sherlock Holmes. For a more comprehensive list go here and cry a little.

Anyways, I’ve done my crying a little and decided to try and find out more. I am really interested in D9 (as you may already know) and knew that Sharlto was going to be on a panel discuss with Peter and Neill all about D9. The bastardo’s had a full on screening of the movie - aargh - adn this panel was done right after the film. I have here for your enjoyment all four parts, download them from youtube at work and watch them at home later. That way you don’t use your bandwidth, your not skimping on your work and you have them to share them with your friends later…

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2:

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4:

Then, jsut for fun, here’s a little vlog from Slashfilm doing a review of the movie and some hints of what to expect on Assassins Creed. Go Here

More Friends and Fans

Last time I wrote about my favorite “creating fans” guru Scott Kirsner. NOw I found someone else who also has I wanted to share it with ya’ll..

Posted: Tue, June 09, 2009, 11:06 AM From Thompson on Hollywood

Cinematech blogger Scott Kirsner drank the digital Kool-aid some time back. So the author of 2007’s The Future of Web Video and 2008’s Inventing the Movies decided that he had to self-publish his newest book, Fans, Friends and Followers. “If I was writing that artists had to be their own entrepreneur,” he says, “then I had to do it too.”

For no up-front charge (and no advance), Kirsner selected his own fonts at Amazon’s CreateSpace. He sent a PDF of the cover and interior to upload. They sent him back galleys to correct and within 10 days of signing off, he had books on sale at Amazon, and collects a bigger percentage of royalties than a publisher would pay. “If I had waited for traditional publishing it would be out in the fall of 2010,” he says. “This stuff is timely, it’s not the history of MGM. It would have been stale.”

For the book, which has sold more than 10,000 copies, Kirsner interviewed three dozen do-it-yourself types in film and video, art and music, from internet pioneer and short video maker Ze Frank to animator M dot Strange. “Until the last three to four years,” says Kirsner, “you made a film and either you picked up a distributor at SXSW or Sundance, or not. There was no plan B. You never thought about what might happen, how to get the movie out there. I tried to talk to people about Plan B.”

In 2006, Strange persuaded the Sundance Film Festival to play his film We Are the Strange at a midnight screening at the Egyptian by using his YouTube following to prove that he had an audience. He then distributed the film through Film Baby and via YouTube (with a DVD click-through button) in April 2008. According to Kirsner, he made enough money to not only pay off the debt from the film, but to finance his next one.

Here’s the trailer:

The agricultural documentary King Corn debuted at SXSW in 2007, went on to other festivals, had a theatrical run, aired on PBS in April 2008, and was one of the biggest selling films on iTunes. Aaron Wolff, Ian Cheney, Curt Ellis and their team kept building a database of fans in FileMaker, then created an email list on Constant Contact. They barraged their fans with new info, updated their website constantly, and kept the promo stream going by guest-blogging at different sites that they knew would be receptive to the film’s green subject matter. Here’s the trailer:

A lot of online communities are interested in what you’re doing, whether it’s a sci-fi movie or a documentary about U.S. future policies,” says Kirsner. “With the internet there’s a direct link between that review or write-up and where you buy a book. People are closer to the transaction. There’s a lot of innovation in terms of business models. People are trying different things. With places like Home Star Runner, which avoids advertising and built their model on selling t-shirts, merchandise and DVDs, or Lulu and CreateSpace, you can see there’s a whole new infrastructure, a new pathway for getting books, DVDs, and CDs out there.”

But DIY takes work, Kirsner admits: “The promotional energy has to come from you, using blogs and Twitter and getting people to write about your project. It’s a whole new world. There are no more sugar daddies taking care of problems. With the old school Hollywood dynamic you had to shuck and jive to get observed by a talent agent, that was the only path to making it. Now you do what you want to get noticed and build up an audience. Then you have a choice to do a deal with a studio or record company, or do your own thing. Some will do it, some will not. But you don’t have to wait around and cross your fingers and hope.”

Kirsner has been working overtime to get out the word on his book. He’s created a Power Tool Wiki that lists tools for building an online fan base. Here are some reviews, including Wired editor Chris Anderson, who log-rolled thusly:

Making a living in the Long Tail means taking matters into your own hands, crafting a marketing strategy that’s just right for you and your work. This book compiles the stories of those who’ve done it best. You’ll get ideas from every one of them. Inspiring and incredibly useful—Kirsner’s assembled a playbook for the social media age.”

David Lynch VS IPhone

Antichrist at Cannes

Antichrist was accused of rampant misogyny; of being “an abomination”; “easily one of the biggest debacles in Cannes film history”

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I remember I read about Lars von Trier’s Antichrist a couple of months ago and was wondering what the response was going to be. Laballed as a Horror movie, but its LArs von Trier so Horror could mean anything! It showed at Cannes recently and was slated, hated and discombobulated in so many ways that I wonder if it will even make the fair shores of Cape Town. Charlotte Gainsbourg has walked away with a Best Actress award but both TIMES and Variety labeled the film as “Director gone mad” and “too arty” respectively.

When U opened my Igoogle this morning I found a great article on the film that is made up of a host of smart people reviewing the film. If you where hesitant to see it already, this may not help. If you considered watching the film, this is what you could expect:

Linda Ruth Williams Professor of Film, Southampton University

I approached Antichrist with some trepidation. Lars von Trier first got my sexual-political back up with Breaking The Waves, a pernicious paean to female self-abnegation, which sees raped and murdered Emily Watson getting celestial postmortem applause as heavenly bells peal in the clouds above. This was a horror film in the true sense, I thought. Now I am not so sure. Von Trier’s tongue is often so firmly poked into his cheek, who knows where he’s coming from, or going to?

Antichrist is obsessed with bodies. Clearly, for all its in-your-face qualities, no one should approach it expecting a pornographic romp. There is a money-shot, but it’s bloody rather than ecstatic. Heavily referencing horror cinema, it’s marketed as the arthouse answer to The Blair Witch Project, 10 years on. Teen audiences marinaded in the conventions of “spam in a cabin” movies – monsters in the woods, out there where no one can here you scream – will feel at home with the creepy noises, buried bodies and innovative uses for a woodsman’s toolbox here. Yet Antichrist hardly offers the “dare you to watch it” thrills of popcorn horror.

For me, what is most shocking, and most interesting, is its frenzied meditation on sexual hysteria. Film academics have turned to horror cinema over the last 15 years because it reveals cultural sores, symptoms of our guiltiest pleasures and incomplete repressions. At best, horror shows that in our sex-saturated culture, the body, surrealism and the unconscious can still hold imaginative power. Yet the most familiar sub-genre right now is the production line of so-called “torture-porn” meat-fest movies. In the wash of multiple Saw and Hostel films, it’s hard to see the ideas-rich Antichrist as a serious danger to our moral wellbeing.

Last week, the Brazilian film Embodiment Of Evil opened in the UK, including scenes of somebody eating their own buttocks and a rat running up another character’s vagina. To my knowledge, no one has condemned this as the most obscene film ever made (in contrast with the Sun’s outrage over Antichrist). With films like that as a backdrop, I don’t find Antichrist’s intellectualised antics too worrying. If only tabloids campaigned against real clitorectomies, done on real baby girls, rather than fabricated ones done in fiction movies.

Of course, Von Trier probably doesn’t “mean” any of it. For all the ludicrous excesses of this story, it could all be seen as an extended grief nightmare. If Antichrist has a sexual political agenda, it’s probably just to stir things up. Von Trier throws us ideas, and we fight like dogs over them.

Joanna Bourke Professor of History, Birkbeck College

Lars von Trier’s new film opens with heart-breaking lyrics of loss and longing from Handel’s Rinaldo opera. The graceful yet ecstatic beauty of death – literal and symbolic (“la petite mort”) – sets the tone. Black and white scenes, in which the camera moves with a dreamlike slowness, are followed by dazzlingly dyed scenes of claustrophobic carnage. The effect is breathtaking and compulsive, like a drug; I would have watched the film a second time if it had been possible.

The theme of the film is an ancient one: what is to become of humanity once it discovers it has been expelled from Eden and that Satan is in us? Despite the erotic beginning, Von Trier has little interest in desire; his focus is on Sadeian extreme pain and enjoyment, the abject emptying of self and other (including the audience, who are made complicit in the sexual violence infusing the film).

Antichrist circles relentlessly around acts of transgression. The violence is defiantly excessive and beautiful. It is gendered, but more misanthropic than misogynistic. The man’s violence is the heartlessness of rationality. Patronisingly, he sneers at the woman’s research project on gynocide. He is a rationalist cognitive therapist, who bullies her into exposing her inner demons.

In contrast, the woman embraces the mysterious, uncanny energies of the unconscious and unknowable elemental forces. Her violence against the man and her own body is unbounded. The scenes of her crushing his penis and then snipping off her clitoris and labia are graphic. But it is not designer violence, intended to appall and titillate in the same breath. Neither does it inspire compassion. Von Trier simply presents cruelty as “there”, serving no liberating function for the audience. Pain – its infliction and its suffering – is integral to life.

Von Trier has admitted that, of all his films, Antichrist “comes closest to a scream”. It exposes us to an untamed erotic and aggressive aesthetic without redemption. It jolts us out of a passive voyeurism and, in despair, leaves us (in the words of Handel) crying over cruel fate.

Samantha Morton Actor

Watching film is always a very personal experience for me; I understand the dangers mentally, emotionally and physically. The euphoria when the team achieves the “scene” in question, when the light is perfect, the words happen at the right time, the sound is like crystal, and everybody is happy to move on … It is hard to describe what happens when you’re alone, the scene just performed and your skin and nerves are tingling as if you’re cold turkeying from a drug. For this reason, I congratulate from the bottom of my heart Charlotte Gainsbourg’s performance. The grief portrayed was of profound honesty. She had, when needed, a vulnerability that was heartbreaking, and throughout her demise into madness she maintained integrity. Willem Dafoe amazed me with his tragic stillness and inner pain. The constant, intense battling of intelligent minds, mixed with the most horrific of circumstances, proved fascinating.

A director (if they’re worth their salt) will, and does, feel the pain of every moment of every character, be it behind closed doors or on set. A director pains over every shot, every inch of film, every breath of sound. Trying to communicate birth, fear, loss, death, religion, pain, love, desire, hate – the list goes on – is all-encompassing to the point of insanity. Deciding to make the film (or the film guiding you to make it) is an act of bravery and vulnerability, and sometimes of loneliness. The writer/director speaks through every character, so this film must have been incredibly painful to make.

The cinematography here is breathtaking, pushing the boundaries between emotion and technology, like the ancient vines that are photographed. Film is so important to me and for that reason I am glad I saw Antichrist. However, like I do with my life – and especially my mind – I take care. A bit like visiting a loved one who’s going through some terrible, dark pain in the face of which we seem powerless, it can be emotionally crippling to watch. So for that reason, I say: take care viewing this. But if you can take the journey, take it.

There are more where those came from. If you are still unsure or you have a need to know more go to Guardian.co.uk to read all.

In the end the over-riding question was whether von Trier hates women. Personally I think thats a bit lame. A filmmaker like von Trier with a track record like his surely has other things on his mind (perhaps insanity) other than to hate women. One of my favorite quotes in the article: “I don’t find Antichrist’s intellectualised antics too worrying. If only tabloids campaigned against real clitorectomies, done on real baby girls, rather than fabricated ones done in fiction movies.” That kind of sums it up for me. The hysteria around films is always fascinating, as if because the film is made it has opened doors that can never be closed again. Films as art are made with the intention to hold up a mirror, perhaps in this case it’s a mirror of von Triers deep and dark depressed phyche, but as a film it will only ever be that. The realities of life are much worse. A friend of mine posted on his Facebook status shortly after MJ death: “It seems that the Iraq war is over if mass media is anything to go by”. That is sad and dark, maybe even worse than a movie entitled Antichrist….

Go look at some High-Res frames of the film here

Forum Video

Watch live video from theforumza on Justin.tv

Indexed

I cant help it. It just really funny!

TRUST BERNIE

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Go and visit This is Indexed for more classics!

Workbook project

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Here is a Powerpoint on how to think about film and integrating it with other media… Courtesy of the Workbook Project, they continue to divulge their ideas on how we can make movies and do it well. Follow them, bookmark their site and read ALL of it. There are great lessons to take from their the examples, many of which should be used in an emerging market like ours!

Focus Films Africa First Competition

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Again it dawns on me that there is some serious conversational problems with our little “independent” film industry.

A person with Ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, for he or she has a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed.

I received an email from a friend in namibia yesterday regarding this incredible film competition opportunity. So only now am I able to share this knowledge. I was just wondering why the hell I haven’t heard of it before. Where is the mass email from one of my fellow film makers letting us all know? Where is the Facebook status with the link or the sms or send your pigeon for heavens sake!

My point is just that if we want to raise the bar, make better movies we have to challenge one another and then applaud those who do well. Secrecy was part of the Apartheid legacy, lets move on!!! Share information, any information. A new camera tool, a business idea, a link to a pretty colour or a a way to achieve a set construction. As long as we hope that no one notices us and we keep hiding what we are doing the longer we will take to draw attention to our little industry and get investors to believe that it is viable to make films in South Africa..

And thus, after my little rant here is another key to getting your films out there and making mark!
Do it, win the competition and draw attention, then do it again…

The Focus Features Africa First Short Film Program supports films that aspire to artistic excellence and accomplished storytelling, and substantially contribute to the development of local film industries. Award recipients of the 2009 Focus Features Africa First Short Film Program can use award money received from Africa First to complete initial production and to pay for post-production costs such as laboratory fees, sound mixing, and editing.

Applications must be fully completed and postmarked by the August 1, 2009 deadline and received no later than August 15, 2009 in order to be accepted. Individuals can only submit one film. Submissions that are made with an incomplete application or applications that are submitted without the supporting materials will be disqualified. Submissions that are obscene, pornographic, libelous, or otherwise objectionable will also be disqualified. Recipients will be notified on or about October 1, 2009 of their status and must be available to travel to New York City for the Summit Weekend of November 12 - November 16, 2009.

REQUIREMENTS
All projects entered into the Focus Features Africa First Short Film Program must meet the requirements below:
Produced in continental Africa;
5-25 minutes in length with narratives taking place exclusively in Africa. Feature and/or documentary submissions will not be accepted;
In preproduction, production, or postproduction;
Project must be filmed in continental Africa and contribute to the development of the local film industry by using local key production staff and using local facilities;
All Program documents must be written in the English language; however, if the original language of the screenplay was not in the English language, an English-language translation of the screenplay is acceptable;
Project must be either (i) in the English language or (ii) if not, be delivered with English-language subtitles in 16mm, Super 16mm, 35mm, HDTV, DigiBeta, or Beta format.

Go here to get application form and visit the site!

Pirate Bay, going once going twice…SOLD!

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Oh yes Pirates. Our beloved, illegal and awesome bit torrent site has been SOLD. And for a mere $7.5 milj ….. pittance.

An Imagination Scenario
Imagine for a second, an English war ship pulls over a pirate ship (which is beaten and battered), the english ship’s Captain invites the Pirate Captain on board for a rum and coke. The Pirate Captain agrees (first mistake) and swings across to the English ship, “If I’m not back within the hour maties, wait ye longer and then shoot all the bastards!”.
Finally, the Pirate Captain returns, he is sporting a new coat and a shiny new blade. His crew are stunned but trust their old and brave Captain who only utters the co-ordinates of a famous English harbor. They all know the place because they have fought there and killed many army bastards and pillaged the towns around! He tells his crew that for some money they will now be a legal entity. They are still known as THE PIRATES but no army will shoot at them ever again, and they will not be pillaging any longer, they will bater and sell goods. “Ai me maties, nothing will be changed, we shall be the PIRATES still!!! Har Har” he yells from Starboard. The Pirate crew look unimpressed and not convinced by the new legal pirate entity.

A legal, Pirate Entity….hmmm..

The listed software company, Global Gaming Factory X AB (publ) (GGF)
acquires The Pirate Bay website, http://www.thepiratebay.org, one of the 100
most visited websites in the world and the technology company Peerialism,
that has developed next generation file-sharing technology. Following the
completion of the acquisitions, GGF intends to launch new business models
that allow compensation to the content providers and copyright owners. The
responsibility for, and operation of the site will be taken over by GGF in
connection with closing of the transaction, which is scheduled for August
2009.

We would like to introduce models which entail that content providers and
copyright owners get paid for content that is downloaded via the site, ” said
Hans Pandeya, CEO GGF.

That does sound appealing though doesn’t it. Everyone getting paid… download something you might receive money. Yes please, I’ll have one.
The move in my opinion is the right one. The alternatives for TPB owners included more jail time and bigger fines, not so appealing when your the one going to jail, regardless the street cred that you gain!

Watch this space for more. Many pirates are pissed off and I wonder what the subscriber backlash is going to be. I don’t think pretty. Go and check out The Pirate Bay Blog to read their response to the sale and there is ALOT of messages posted varying from F-U to “That sounds great, what’s Pirate bay..” LOL.

I leave you with this from the CEO of GGF:

”The Pirate Bay is a site that is among the top 100 most visited Internet sites in the
world. However, in order to live on, The Pirate Bay requires a new business
model, which satisfies the requirements and needs of all parties, content
providers, broadband operators, end users, and the judiciary. Content creators
and providers need to control their content and get paid for it. File sharers ´need
faster downloads and better quality, ” Hans Pandeya.

An article on the deal at The DealBook Blog