Saturday, June 29, 2013

Ipseity Character Poster: Fourth of seven!

The fourth IPSEITY character poster in the series of seven is here. This poster features Greg Wait as the character Eric Smith

Stay tuned for more character posters and more exciting news about the first private screening of IPSEITY!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Film Critique: 'Upstream Color'

Upstream Color (2013)
Drama/Sci-fi – 96 Minutes
Shane Carruth (Primer)

Perhaps the most mind blowing thing about Upstream Color (and there are many mind blowing things about this film) is the resourcefulness of director Shane Carruth, who not only wrote and directed this film, but stars as the lead, edited, produced, did cinematography, and wrote the original score.

I was familiar with the style and voice of this film before I viewed it, so I knew that the film was going to be cryptic, and was intentionally so.  Shane seems to be more interested in asking the audience a beautifully crafted riddle than telling them his ideas for what the answer to the riddle might be. That said, Upstream Color is a beautifully crafted, and sometime bizarre riddle.

The delight of this film isn’t necessarily having the plot presented to us as much as it is piecing together the poetic fragments that Shane has captured.  Many viewers that I’ve talked with aren’t able to appreciate Upstream Color, but no one can deny that Shane Carruth has created a complex and beautiful enigma.

If you liked Upstream Color, you should view Shane’s previous film, Primer, which won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance in 2004.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

IPSEITY character posters: Third of seven!

Here is the third IPSEITY character poster in the series of seven. This poster features Kimberly parker as the character Angela Drake. Stay tuned for more character posters and a sneak peek into some more of the behind the scenes of the film!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

IPSEITY character posters: Second of seven!

Here is the second IPSEITY character poster in the series of seven. This poster features Abigail Cornell as the character Audrey Tesh. Stay tuned for more character posters and a sneak peek into some more of the behind the scenes of the film!

Abigail Cornell as Audrey Tesh in IPSEITY

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Thoughts on Film: Plot and Meaning

As a filmmaker and a storycrafter, it's extremely important to know the heart of what your story is about.

Plot and Meaning: Which should serve which?

Most filmmakers, when asked what their film is about, will start to explain the plot. They may say "My film is about a man who discovers an intricate conspiracy to overthrow..." or "My story is about a young college dropout who goes on a road trip and meets..."

But both of these are wrong - 

These explanations are not what these films are about. These are explanations of what happens in the film -  The plot.

Let me give you an example:

Christopher Nolan's 'Inception' is about the nature of reality, the value of knowing the truth. What happens in the film is different than what the film is about.

In my film 'The Strong One', a young boy imagines riding a dinosaur through Durham. That's what happens in the film. The film is about dealing with the struggles of growing up, and overcoming disappointment and divorce.

This is important to distinguish and to know, because what happens in your film (the plot) should always serve what your film is about (the meaning). 

So, when you watch a film - ask yourself these questions: 

What is this film about? 

Can you distinguish between what this film is about (The meaning), and what happens in the film (The plot)?

Monday, June 10, 2013

Film Critique: 'George Washington'

George Washington (2001)
Drama – 91 minutes
David Gordon Green

David Gordon Green's 'George Washington'

I heard about ‘George Washington’ in a recent film article, and I was intrigued after it was compared to the work of Terrence Malick. I was surprised to find that the director, David Gordon Green, shot part of the film in my hometown of Winston-Salem after graduating from North Carolina’s School of the Arts. I was further intrigued after I found that the director went on to shoot several raunchy comedies such as ‘Pineapple Express’ and ‘Your Highness’ - A huge shift from the subject matter and style of the subtle, dramatic, indie 'George Washington'.

But I was delighted to find that the article I had read was correct- There were hints of Malick’s influence strewn throughout this film: The cinematography, the setting, the subtle voiceovers. ‘George Washington’ beautifully captures a glimpse into several children’s lives in a charmingly depicted, but decaying southern town.

The strength of this film is the characters – they are authentic and vulnerable, and at times reminded me of Zeitlin’s ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’.  As in ‘Beasts’, the film is punctuated by voiceover narration sequences, which offer a thoughtful introspective view into the life of the town. The dialogue is divisively either authentic character development or philosophical musing on life – there isn’t much in between, but it doesn’t cause an issue in the film.

I found some of the technical aspects of the film, such as the transitions between scenes, jarring or disorienting (David Gordon Green has a thing for fades, apparently), but the simplicity of the cinematography and the strength of the characters make up for the mildly distracting transition techniques.

Even more impressive is that 'George Washington' marks David Gordon Green's debut feature film as a director - A debut film that was selected for the Criterion Collection.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

IPSEITY character posters: First of seven!

As promised, here is the first character poster in the series of seven. This poster features Doug Nydick as the character Jackson Scott.

Doug Nydick as Jackson Scott in IPSEITY

Friday, June 7, 2013

Film Critique: 'The Science of Sleep'

The Science of Sleep (2006)
Drama/Comedy/Fantasy – 105 Minutes
Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind)

For those of you who have seen ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’, you’ll know that director Michel Gondry has a unique and quirky cinematic voice. Likewise, the quirky structure of ‘The Science of Sleep’ blends seamlessly between dreams and reality. This blending of sequences can give you the feeling that the rug is constantly being pulled out underneath your feet, but allows for humor that is impossible in traditionally framed films.

Michel Gondry's quirky 'The Science of Sleep'

The film carries a beautiful and unique visual style, but it isn’t enough to cover some of the flaws in pacing that seem to arise in the aim of the film – Although, for a film that purposefully mirrors the structure of an imaginative dreamscape, I’m not sure this is a real flaw. ‘The Science of Sleep’ is enjoyable at the bare minimum as a breath of fresh creativity.

IPSEITY character posters

As promised, we do have some upcoming news from IPSEITY:

After principal photography took place, we shot a series of character posters for seven of the main characters in the film. We will be releasing the seven posters in the coming months leading up to the release of the film.

Stay tuned, as we post the first of seven character posters tomorrow!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Film Critique: 'The Return'

It's been a while since I've posted- They'll be some news about Ipseity and other projects soon, but I wanted to change gears for a little bit before we get closer to the Ipseity premiere...

I haven’t utilized this blog for the purpose of film critiques up to this point, but I’ve begun to dive into some cinematic pieces that deserve to be mentioned, and I feel like this is one of the best venues to discuss them.  I won't be writing these film critiques to summarize the plot or give a description of what happens in the film (although I might, if it’s important to my critique) - rather, I hope to focus on the strengths, intent, and interpretation of the film.

The Return (2003)
Drama – 105 minutes
Director: Andrey Zvyagintsev

Andrey Zvyagintsev's 'The Return'

The Return is the debut film of Russian director Andrey Zvyagintsev. I didn’t know anything about this film or the director before I watched it – I happened to come across the film online after browsing through a number of films. This film caught my eye, and after reading the tagline/description on IMDB and Amazon Prime, it looked like it would be a dramatic story with an underlying secret (or twist) to its premise (In other words, I was expecting there to be a dramatic reveal of some kind).

With this expectation, I was waiting for the reveal to be set up and then rightfully paid off. After an hour and twenty minutes in, I felt as though few promises had been made, and even fewer clues had been dropped.

One minute later, all of my thoughts about the film changed, and the previous hour and twenty minutes carried more weight than I thought they ever could.

Everything in the first hour and twenty of the film builds up the characters and is paid off in the final ten minutes of the film in a sufficiently beautiful manner. The beauty and eeriness of this film isn’t complete until the very final frame.

Ivan Dobronravov, who plays the lead character, is a force of nature. The young actor brings a sincerity and honest emotion that is rarely seen among seasoned actors, which makes it even more remarkable, considering this film was his debut role.

Viewers expecting solid answers to the plot will be disappointed, but they are also missing the nature of the film. If solid answers were given, the film would fail to conjure emotions that were as strong and as potent as the feelings that the characters are left with at the end of the film.