Movie City Indie Archive for January, 2007
Guerrilla marketing, a device often used by independent filmmakers, can entertain, inform, advertise, or, in stupid hands, shut down traffic all across Boston. WBZ reports that Time Warner’s Turner Broadcasting System’s weird promos for “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” caused police to shut down several important traffic arteries and cause chaos across that city. [Time Warner’s CNN Headline News also employs the inflammatory Glenn Beck, a bomb-setter in his own right.] “The suspicious devices which forced bomb units to scramble across Boston today were actually magnetic lights that are part of a marketing campaign for a television cartoon. The reports forced the temporary shutdowns of Interstate 93 out of the city, a key inbound roadway, a bridge between Boston and Cambridge, and a portion of the Charles River but were quickly determined not to be explosive. “It’s a hoax — and it’s not funny,” Gov. Deval Patrick said. All of the devices are magnetic lights which resemble a character on the show “Aqua Teen Hunger Force”… “The “packages” in question are magnetic lights that pose no danger. They are part of an outdoor marketing campaign in 10 cities… They have been in place for two to three weeks in Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Seattle, Portland, Austin, San Francisco and Philadelphia. [We are] in contact with local and federal enforcement on the exact locations of the billboards. We regret that they mistakenly thought to pose any danger.” The ATHF movie, starring Master Shake, Frylock Meatwad is due in March. Incoming! [Details on the tie-ups in Boston at the link, included one that was detonated under Interstate 93.] UPDATE: Overnight, AdultSwim included multiple-card print apologies in their interstitials amid programming. More panic, and arrests of those who did the deeds as opposed to those who paid for them to do them, can be found around yr. standard news sources.
Better late than never, plus, “Ouch!” Over at his blog, James Wolcott catches Scoop on PPV, which he writes, “sags and drags with the same flaccid verbosity and vague purpose that plagued Curse of the Jade Scorpion, Hollywood Ending, and, lodged at the bottom of the well, Anything Else… The literate wisecracks that once peppered Woody Allen’s dialogue and put him in the company of quick studies such as Mort Sahl and Lenny Bruce—for instance, the famous joke in Annie Hall about Commentary and Dissent merging to form “Dissentary” (dysentary)—have been replaced by Metamucil gag lines that might have been dug out from the depths of Bob Hope’s vault or Neil Simon’s notebook, and delivered with less spin.” Wolcott also notes “the bizarre repartee between Allen and Scarlett Johansson. She plays a cub reporter and he pretends to be her father… and informs a polite couple… that his daughter has come so far in life, considering she grew up with a learning disability. Later, when the murderer’s identity has been supposedly unmasked… Allen jokes, Well, actually, you were adopted—you’re mother and I were looking to adopt a handicapped child… Learning disability, handicapped–his fibs about her aren’t funny, and they aren’t pertinent to anything in the story. I don’t know what the fuck they are. Perhaps they’re veiled swipes at Mia Farrow, who has adopted handicapped children, because they make no sense in the context of Scoop except as misplayed shots of displaced hostility. Or maybe it’s displaced hostility borne of erotic frustration. In a Washington Post interview… Allen lamented, “One of the great pastimes of my life was eyeing girls in short skirts, and that’s gone. They’re unavailable to you, and in the few cases where you could work your magic, it’s to no practical avail because you can’t plan a future if you’re 70 and she’s 22. So your flirtation life goes, which is a big part of everybody’s enjoyment in life.” By the time you’re 70—and married—you might have matured enough to get over it and reconcile with reality…” Once more, with feeling: “Ouch!”
South Korea’s leading film translator subtitles his life for Korea Times’ Jane Han. Lee Mi-do has translated over 450 movies from English to Korean, but his career began with Kieslowski’s Blue. “After starting to work at an agency importing foreign films, one of the brokers asked me if I would be interested in translating the film myself… ‘Why not?’ I thought, and that first film led me all the way here… I grew up getting hard English training,” said Lee, recalling that his father, who served as an English translator in the military, had him memorize word after word and familiarized him with American culture by showing him movies. “My father had a heart for emigrating abroad, so that’s another reason why I was pushed to learn the language.” … The single 45-year-old who says he doesn’t have many other personal commitments begins each day at his local Starbucks coffee shop. “I drink coffee, read three different dailies and think of ideas. It’s a great place for me to work in a vibrant atmosphere,” the full-time translator said, smiling. “But most of all, it’s boring to work at home alone.” … Translating one or two movies a month, he recently put out his second book, titled “100 Movie Dictionary, English Encyclopedia,” which consists of stories about 100 popular movies, catchy keywords in each film and detailed explanations of proper English usage.” He’s a publisher, too: his company’s called “FISH library.” “Fashion equals following the trend, ideas must be fresh, stories should always be extraordinary and each piece should carry its own heart, giving inspiration to the audience… The four letters of each word led to FISH _ that’s my publishing company. I only publish books that carry those characteristics.”
A large percentage of all movie imports to Ukraine will have to be dubbed into Ukrainian, Kyiv Post reports. “Authorities warned film distributors Wednesday that they will face punishment if they do not abide by new guidelines stating that half of all foreign movies shown in the nation’s theaters must be translated into Ukrainian. Amid persistent disputes in the ex-Soviet republic over language use, the state cinematographic service and film distributors signed a memorandum last week setting the rules. Movie distributors, who mainly buy films in Russia, have complained of financial losses and many in the largely Russian-speaking east and south have not been translating movies into Ukrainian… Language is a sensitive issue in Ukraine, where Russian was heavily promoted during the Soviet era, and nationalists see protecting and promoting the Ukrainian language as a way to prevent meddling from Moscow. President Viktor Yushchenko has said all foreign movies – which in Ukrainian theaters are typically are shown dubbed into Russian – should be translated into Ukrainian… The Party of the Regions, whose head, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, enjoys strong support in the east and south, campaigned in elections last year on a promise to make Russian a second state language. Six regional governments in the east and south, where Russian is mainly spoken, earlier this year granted Russian a special status – decisions that were heavily criticized by Yushchenko.”
A Scottish film student gets a kinda-sorta lucrative deal with Time Warner after posting film-student style stop-motion shorts to YouTube reports the Scotsman’s Eben Harrell. Twenty-four-year-old James Provan “is set to earn thousands after being spotted and signed by the media giant Time Warner. [His] latest YouTube hit, The Garden [pictured]—filmed at his parents’ house in Aberdeen—is already being used as [part of] an advert for a Time Warner internet service in the United States [for which he was paid £2,000]… Provan’s ‘distinct, idiosyncratic style’ [seen for decades in student work and in no-budget music videos] —which blends his original music with the same stop-animation technique used for Wallace and Gromit—has made him one of the most popular film-makers in cyberspace. He first shot to fame last year when his Pancakes!… became one of the most popular videos on the internet. It was featured on news programmes across the world and viewed by some 1.5m people.” in The Garden‘s “climax, Provan pushes his friend along the ground as if he were a lawnmower.” The most blood-curdling sentences of the dispatch? “The synthesised, toe-tapping music accompanying Provan’s videos give them a feel-good quality that is perfect for the open-access medium of YouTube, [unidentified] media commentators said… “I don’t have any training as a film-maker. The first time I used a video editor was in June, so I’ve been learning as I go along. I’d like to be a film-maker. I love making my videos and I think that’s where my talent lies.” Provan’s oeuvre is here.
Bollywood’s success is leading to Western greed, Reuters reports from Mumbai in the dispatch, “Bollywood toys with spinoffs.” “For decades, Bollywood was happy just to sell filmgoers a 20-rupee (US50c) cinema ticket. Now studios, tentatively evolving from dynastic family firms to Hollywood-style companies with a taste for merchandising, are increasingly trying to market everything from movie hero action figures to mobile phone ringtones of film soundtrack snippets. Krrish, Bollywood’s all-singing, all-dancing, black-caped answer to Superman, was perhaps the industry’s most full-on attempt yet to cash in on merchandising…” After seeing 2006’s biggest Bollywood entry, “children could nag their parents to buy them Krrish dolls, Krrish superhero mask, Krrish dartboards, Krrish Rubik’s Cubes, and Krrish school stationery. It is all a contrast to a a few years ago when old-fashioned revenge melodramas played in often dilapidated cinemas… Studios and analysts say the industry is ambitiously aiming at following Hollywood with “media convergence” – the buzzword for plastering a product across a wide array of media such as television, radio, the internet, video games and mobile phones… “The Indian film industry has definitely opened up to exploring various innovative revenue streams,” Siddharth Roy Kapur, marketing and communications chief of… a leading Bollywood studio, said. “However, I do not think we can claim to be in the same league as Hollywood on exploitation of our content amongst non South Asian audiences.” [More stats at the link.]
Commingling a few minutes before Saturday’s Closing Night awards.
Between screenings, I’m trying to carve out the time to close the books on a few more euphoric moments from Sundance, but then I find probably the most depressing story I’ve seen so far this year, from Bilge Ebiri at ScreenGrab: a gifted filmmaker who might just have quit: Ebiri reports on a press release that “Cristi Puiu, winner of the 2005 Prize Un Certain Regard at the Cannes Film Festival and the Golden Bear for Short Film at the 2004 Berlinale, announced at a recent press conference in Romania, his decision to no longer participate in the contests held by The Romanian National Centre for Cinematography. The announcement follows the denial of development funds for two of his projects, which were submitted to the latest contest organized by the Centre for Cinematography… Puiu [also] stated that he will not make use of the funding granted to another one of his projects during a previous contest…” Illuminates Ebiri, “[T]he idea of a smallish Romanian film director choosing to forgo state support for his films may not seem like a big deal, but… Puiu is the director of The Death of Mr. Lazarescu the much-acclaimed masterpiece that made its way to the top spots in… critical surveys in 2006… In countries like Romania, state funding through organizations like the Center for Cinematography is absolutely crucial for film production to survive…This is Puiu basically saying he will not accept this funding, even if it means he never gets to make another film, which it very well might. The release goes on to say that “the hard line decision is a protest against what Puiu sees as the ‘rigidity of a communist system’ still present within the Centre for Cinematography and the way the organization spends public money on productions with no value.” Fuck. You can find a remarkable earlier interview with Puiu at the link.
Beating LATimes’ Scriptland to the punch. The Smoking Gun lets the dog out of the bag: someone’s leaked the five key pages of the abused-child among abused-child movies at Sundance 2007. “With the Dakota Fanning rape movie Hounddog yet to find a buyer… it remains unclear when (or if) the controversial film will land in U.S. theaters. Until then, film fans will have to make do with the below excerpt from the… shooting script, which describes the sexual assault of the 12-year-old actress[‘ character].”
Tom Hall calls Sundance 2007 The Year of The Asshole at Back Row Manifesto: “[T]he festival blues are kicking in; Many of the members of the industry have left town, the screenings are less frequent and the exhaustion of seeing 5 or 6 films a day has started to wear… [I] believe that Sundance 2007 will go down in history as The Year of The Asshole. In almost every single fiction (and, come to think of it, non-fiction) film I have seen at this year’s festival, white American (heterosexual) masculinity has been exposed as the playground of self-serving, foul-mouthed, misunderstood pricks whose sole mission in life is to destroy the happiness of women and their fellow men. As a white American heterosexual man, I can understand how watching the constant parade of cultural and political douchbaggery might impact people’s perceptions of what the tropes and parameters of the white guy ethos actually look like, but are we really that bad? … It is a tough year for the boys at the movies, although maybe these guys are better than the neutered, incompetent drips that represent us on television. Where are the heroes? Ok, maybe asking too much; Where are the likeable men?” [Hall names names at the link.]
Over at Filmmaker, Park City newbie, shooter Jamie Stuart, catches sight of the talent (The Interview‘s Sienna Miller, Great World of Sound director Craig Zobel) and watches the Watchers (S. T. Van Airesdale, for instance, and random attendees [pictured] at the Filmmaker magazine 15th anni party) in a rapidfire, short video podcast called White Plastic Flower. (The title refers to a bit with Ms. Miller being charmingly dorky with her hands.)
For anyone who’s wondering what the ruckus is about Sundance premiere Once, you can sample the songs on the fillum’s MySpace profile. Still, that’s not the best way to sample the charm of the duo: try this clip, in extended entry, of an impromptu perf out in the snow by stars Marketa Irglova and Glen Hansard. (Tuig é nó ná.)
Yes, that is Tom Arnold. From PR about “television celebrities” who posed for pics kissing baby seals on behalf of the Humane Society. “Teri Hatcher hit up Sundance 2007 for a week full of outrageous swagging, but she also stopped to show some love. This time, it wasn’t her hunky BF Stephen Kay (whom she was all over the whole week), but the Humane Society’s Baby Seals. Hatcher and a host of other celebrities visited The Green House in Deer Valley for Après Ski Swagging with The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) as one of the sponsors… Other celebs were also THRILLED to sign a pledge asking the Canadian government to stop the seal hunt.” [Continued at the jump.]