Film Essent Archive for February, 2010

Your World in Two Minutes

The BBC has this pretty cool thing called My World going, where they are inviting filmmakers to submit two-minute short films about where they live. The shortlist will be selected by “well-known documentary filmmakers from around the world” and the top ten shown on BBC World News.
You can check out some of the films already submitted or enter your own film right over here. Some of the entries are surprisingly good; it made me think about what some of my talented filmmaker friends could come up with to show their world two minutes. If you make and submit a short to this competition, let me know so I can check it out.

Oxford Film Festival: It's a Wrap!

This was my third year at the Oxford Film Festival, and I have to say this fest just gets better and better every year. Other small regional fests take note: If you want to grow your small-town-fest-that-could into a small town fest that can and does have a reputation as one of the go-to fests for your region, take some notes from the folks who make this fest happen. As at any fest, there are countless volunteers who make it happen, but I have to give a shout out to the fest co-directors, Michelle Emanuel, Molly Fergusson and Micah Ginn, and Assistant Director Melanie Addington.
My fellow fest circuit junkies — not to mention all you indie filmmakers out there looking for a great fest to showcase your hard work — should add Oxford to your list of fests to check out; If you’re ever fortunate enough to be invited to attend as a filmmaker, juror or panelist, do not turn it down.

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“When books become a thing, they can no longer be fine.

“Literary people get mad at Knausgård the same way they get mad at Jonathan Franzen, a writer who, if I’m being honest, might be fine. I’m rarely honest about Jonathan Franzen. He’s an extremely annoying manI have only read bits and pieces of his novels, and while I’ve stopped reading many novels even though they were pretty good or great, I have always stopped reading Jonathan Franzen’s novels because I thought they were aggressively boring and dumb and smug. But why do I think this? I didn’t read him when he was a new interesting writer who wrote a couple of weird books and then hit it big with ‘The Corrections,’ a moment in which I might have picked him up with curiosity and read with an open mind; I only noticed him once, after David Foster Wallace had died, he became the heir apparent for the Great American Novelist position, once he had had that thing with Oprah and started giving interviews in which he said all manner of dumb shit; I only noticed him well after I had been told he was An Important Writer.

“So I can’t and shouldn’t pretend that I am unmoved by the lazily-satisfied gentle arrogance he projects or when he is given license to project it by the has-the-whole-world-gone-crazy development of him being constantly crowned and re-crowned as Is He The Great American Writer. What I really object to is this, and if there’s anything to his writing beyond it, I can’t see it and can’t be bothered. Others read him and tell me he’s actually a good writer—people whose critical instincts I have learned to respect—so I feel sure that he’s probably a perfectly fine, that his books are fine, and that probably even his stupid goddamned bird essays are probably also fine.

“But it’s too late. He has become a thing; he can’t be fine.”
~ Aaron Bady

“You know how in postproduction you are supposed to color-correct the picture so everything is smooth and even? Jean-Luc wants the opposite. He wants the rupture. Color and then black and white, or different intensities of color. Or how in this film, sometimes you see the ratio of the frame change after the image begins. That happens when he records from his TV onto his old DVCAM analog machine, which is so old we can’t even find parts when it needs to be repaired. The TV takes time to recognize and adjust to the format on the DVD or the Blu-ray. Whether it’s 1:33 or 1:85. And one of the TVs he uses is slower than the other. He wants to keep all that. I could correct it, but he doesn’t want me to. See, here’s an image from War and Peace. He did the overlays of color—red, white, and blue—using an old analog video effects machine. That’s why you have the blur. When I tried to redo it in digital, I couldn’t. The edges were too sharp. And why the image jitters—I don’t know how he did that. Playing with the cable maybe. Handmade. He wants to see that. It’s a gift from his old machine.”
~ Fabrice Aragno