January 24th, 2006

walking distance

(no subject)

January 24, 2005

Apologies for not updating yesterday, was fairly busy.

Saw three films yesterday:

- Stay directed by Bobcat Goldthwait. Here's a film that's the definition of indie: labor of love, shot on an extremely tight schedule, using guerilla locations and cast/crew's homes. The director himself admitted that he thought nobody would want to see this film aside from his close friends, and it received a fantastic reception from the crowd. The film is about honesty in relationships... dogs... and the things you do when you're bored. It's outrageous, hilarious and well done. Bobcat Goldthwait was in tears when everyone applauded his film, and he was hilarious throughout the Q&A.

- Sherrybaby, starring Maggie Gyllenhaal. Amazing performance by Maggie Gyllenhaal, that otherwise saves this film from a double whammy of "we've seen this before" and "we've heard this done better before". Altogether, a good film that is really connecting with alot of audience members, but it left me a bit cold. However, I must stress again, Maggie Gyllenhaal's performance will send shivers down your spine, a tour de force that shows Maggie is Oscar bound before her career is over.

- Dreamland by Jason Metzner, starring Amy Bruckner, Justin Long and John Corbett. Beautifully stunning cinematography in a landscape that just lends itself to beautiful photography. A story about a young girl bound by her position, literally trapped in the middle of the desert, with a heart that wants to leave but her mind that wants to stay, if only to tend to those who she cares for. As she says in the film, she's the "raveler" when everyone else is unraveling. Needless to say, her own string starts to unwind when a new love interest moves to town, challenging the existence she's created. The film reminds me of "Ozymandias".

News and buzz: apparently, it's turning into a fantastic buying year for Sundance, as well as for acquiring agents. "Little Miss Sunshine" already sold, and "The Science of Sleep" North American distribution rights were secured by Warner Brother Independent for $6 million. Great film, but definitely no "Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind". Mind you, that doesn't make it better or worse... just very different, from an audience and marketing standpoint.

I'm currently sitting in Prospector Square theater, waiting for "TV Junkie", a dilm some friends have instructed me with: "Amazing film, do NOT miss it!" Movie starts in an hour.

For anyone curious, for the average jerks attending Sundance, it's not glamor and constant parties. It's hours waiting for films, piecing together meals from little snack bars located in every theater, be they half sandwiches, chocolate chip cookies, bags of popcorn, a hot dog or whatever. On average, I try to see 3 movies a day, and alot of the time in between is transit to and from theaters. Sundance is movie boot camp... or at least, I make it that way.

Also, if you're curious, no, Sundance is not exclusive. It's just a pain in the ass to get tickets for the festival. The people with unlimited resources (compared to your average attendee) buy up all the individual ticket times, so they get most, if not all, of the tickets very early on. 98% of the films were "wait list only" (the new language for "sold out") on Thursday, just two days after the tickets went on sale. So, you spend alot of time doing wait-lists to see movies. Also, for every 3 people you see, 1 will have a cellular phone glued to their ear. Not so many bluetooth headsets, though, as a large number of them want you to know they're important, they're busy and working. They're "HOT", and you want to hire them.

I got some very interesting information from the Panavision Grants workshop today, so if any students want, I will write up the information they gave me with all the business card contact information. The grants are eligible for students or new filmmakers, and they can get you free 35mm camera rentals, free developing and processing at FotoKem, and even free (or cheaper) stock from Kodak.

Before you all start bitching, "OH, DIGITAL VIDEO IS THE WAY OF THE FUTURE, IT'S SO MUCH CHEAPER AND FILM IS DEAD YOU DINOSAUR", keep in mind that if you run a test budget for even a modest short film project or even a feature project, you can shoot film as cheaply as you can shoot DV or HD, if you want a pro looking product. Also, while you'll need to know workflow and all the permutations of paths from film or DV to final product, the rep from Kodak made an observation that I will testify is very true: "When you shoot film, you're a lot more mindful of the story and the project. That will result in a better project."

Meaning to me: alot of student films and low budget films suck shit because they're shot on DV, so the product is equivalent to the money spent on the medium and time. When you make an investment into the film's quality, that means you believe in the project enough to think it warrants the expenditure. If your film is worth $50 in DV tape and a few sandwiches for your cast and crew... then that's going to show in the final product. Ingenuity gets you a long way, but you're probably not as clever as you think you are.

More to come. I'm going skiing tomorrow (booya), so I might have only one movie to see tomorrow night: "A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints". For now, take care and keep watching movies!