Saturday, February 27, 2010
Hi Stan, Can You Tell Us—What is Rochester Movie Makers?
The RMM Mission Statement- to create, develop and promote filmmaking and
filmmakers in Rochester, NY.
RMM is a NY State Educational Cooperative 501(c)(3) designed to help connect
local film makers and persons interested in learning more about film making.
Attend meetings regularly to be exposed to other people in the Rochester
area that want to help and be helped executing the sometimes complicated,
time consuming but usually very fun and rewarding process called film
making. Learn by doing at RMM.
For more info on RMM visit www.RochesterMovieMakers.org.
Tell me about the 72 hour challenge.
The premise? Filmmaking teams have just one long weekend to make a short
film. All creativity - writing, shooting, editing and adding a musical
soundtrack - must occur in a 72 hour window beginning Thursday evening at
7:00 and ending Sunday at 7:00. The following week, the completed films are
screened to an eager audience.
For the whole poop on Mind2Movie-2010, visit
www.RochesterMovieMakers.org/m2m. You will find a FAQ on that page that
What's your take on the filmmaking community here in Rochester?
I think the talent for feature films is definitely available in Rochester.
Great actors, writers, directors and crew. The challenge is getting groups
here to work together and grow together better than they do in other
markets. We haven't been as successful as I would like in attracting
students from the big schools and some of the more high end film and video
maker pros in Rochester to meetings or to serving on the Executive Board.
What are some other events and ideas the group has coming up?
In March we have the RMM Summer Shorts Screenplay Contest where Screenplay.
Writers come with 10 page screenplays and we read them and vote for the top
3 best. Then we shoot as many as we can in the RMM Summer Shorts. More
info at http://www.rochestermoviemakers.org/summershorts/
How can people join?
Sign up for free 24/7 at www.RochesterMovieMakers.org. We meet at least
once every week. The complete list of meetings is on the homepage. Sign up
at the website for last minute changes to scheduled meetings.
What's the most important thing you see happening when a bunch of
filmmakers get together?
I think the most important thing RMM can do is continue to provide
opportunities to improve local skill sets through activities that get people
who don't know each other to work together. The best thing I see at
meetings is people discovering each other's potentials and making new
Friday, February 26, 2010
Monday: Kevin DeHond
Wednesday: The Margaret Explosion
Thursday: Trio East
Friday: Madeline Forster
March Music Schedule
Monday: The White Hots (No music on 3/1)
Friday: The Bowties
Under the accomplished direction of Michael Hoffman, who also wrote the script, "The Last Station" is well-acted across the board, but the film's centerpiece is the spectacular back and forth between Christopher Plummer as the great man, a count as well as a writer, and Helen Mirren as Sofya, his wife of 48 years and always a force to be reckoned with. For those who enjoy actors who can play it up without ever overplaying their hands, "The Last Station" is the destination of choice.
The notion for "The Last Station" came from writer Jay Parini, who was so fascinated to discover that numerous people around Tolstoy in the fatal year of 1910 kept diaries with their versions of events that he wrote a novel telling the story from six points of view. Hoffman's screenplay simplifies this a bit but keeps the story's fine sense of the complexities of human relationships, of the war in Tolstoy's household between the welfare of family and the welfare of mankind. Read the full article here.
QUESTION: Now, I understand that one of the attractions for you to do Last Station was the fact that it had - within this passionate drama, a great sense of humor.
HELEN MIRREN: Yes. It does, it's funny. Most of all, it's funny. Without being gag-driven, or comedic in that sense. It's just very funny about real life. And that's the kind of comedy I always enjoy the most.
QUESTION: Could you identify at all with any facet of this character, or this marriage?
HELEN MIRREN: No, I mean, I'm so not like Sofya. I wish I was more like Sofya. Instead, I get quiet and resentful and cry and angry and sulk. You know, Sofya does not do that. She lets it all out immediately. And I wish I had more of her characteristics. I'm certainly not like her, in that sense. But I think that anybody who's married - of course, they're not confronted with the same kind of problems as Sofya and Tolstoy were at the end of their marriage. Those sort of massive problems. But every marriage goes through those moments of conflict and disagreement. Even quite fundamental disagreement. And - you know, you fight your way through it. One of the most wonderful lines in the film is when Tolstoy says to Sofya, you know, "Yes, I love you. But, why do you make it so hard?" And she says, "Of course it's hard. What do you expect?" She said, you know, "You are that - you're the work of my life. I'm the work of your life. That's what love is." And I think that's a wonderful description of love. Read the full interview here.
Monday, February 22, 2010
Ryan, tell us about how you develop a script.
What I have done in my short time writing, is taking an idea, an image, or even just a small detail, and trying to run with it. Generally I try to stick with things that are at least somewhat familiar only because I feel more confident in what I'm writing when I actually know what I'm writing about.
What kind of stories do you think translate well into film?
I have always felt that the stories that adapt best to film are ones with really strong and unique characters. I feel like good dialogue and good character development can make any idea into a decent movie. My favorite scene in film history is the beginning scene of Reservoir Dogs. The fact of the matter is that it really doesn't "do" anything for the film and it's not vital to the rest of the story, but it gives you some insight on who the guys are. After that scene you almost want to root for these guys. Without that scene the rest of the movie might have just been a typical gangster film that would easily have been forgotten.
You are currently in pre-production on a project, what are your next steps?
I have been trying to put together a film project for the past couple of years. I have found quite a few interested people in both acting and working as crew members on the film. I have been trying to accumulate funding for such a project. After finding funding I would try to push something right into production.
What do you think about the filmmaking community in the Rochester area?
I don't know as much about the filmmaking community in Rochester as I do about the film community. The film community seems to be a rich one. Every time I go to the theaters be it a megaplex or an independent theater there is usually a huge crowd. I think the filmmaking community is growing with the great programs at the area colleges and the new possibilities there are for independent filmmakers.
Any advice for other aspiring screenwriters or filmmakers?
I am quite new at this myself, so I would feel bad giving advice to people who aren't far behind me. I guess I would say read and watch films. Some great filmmakers never spent a day in film school. You can get a lot of experience with a movie rental and library card. See what people are doing and what their writing and making. I haven't gone to film school (yet?), but I have seen thousands of movies and read dozens of scripts and books about filmmaking.
You can contact Ryan at:
Friday, February 19, 2010
In a village in Protestant northern Germany, on the eve of World War I, the children of a church and school run by the village schoolteacher and their families experience a series of bizarre incidents that inexplicably assume the characteristics of a punishment ritual. Who could be responsible for such bizarre transgressions? Leonie Benesch, Josef Bierbichler, and Rainer Bock star in director Michael Haneke's Palm d'Or-winning period drama.
Interview with cinematographer Christian Berger
The White Ribbon is so different from the other films you’ve shot for Haneke. Why did you choose black and white?
It was our goal to make not black and white because it’s 1914, or to evoke a kind of nostalgia, or to fake something authentic. It was actually to create a strong abstraction. Michael Haneke said, of course all the photos and film of that time are in black and white. But we didn’t want to recreate that black and white. I hope it worked, because it’s a kind of modern black and white, even if I don’t know what it means. Read the full interview here.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
The White Ribbon
2010 Oscar Shorts
Spotlight on Black History Month, including: Shadows of the Lynching Tree, Pressure Cooker and Heart of Stone (For Black History Month film descriptions, showtimes and other events, click here.)
Monday: Kevin DeHond
Wednesday: The Margaret Explosion
Thursday: Trio East
Friday: Madeline Forster
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
A rich mix of documentaries and premieres headline this year’s offerings
From February 19th to the 25th we celebrate the fourth annual “Spotlight on Black History Month” here at The Little Theatre. This film series brings various aspects of African-American life to the big screen; including the drive to embrace the American Dream, the revitalization of a scarred community, and the ongoing struggles to overcome the dark sides of black history in America. The goal of the series is to present a varied range of film topics and to provide a forum for open discussion and education. We've been highlighting some of the filmmakers on our blog during the past few weeks. Tickets to all the films are $5.00. Here's everything you need to know about the series:
The films include:
Shadows of the Lynching Tree (Rochester Premiere), directed by Rochester native Carvin Eison. This movie explores the history of lynching in the United States and reveals an underlying ideology still alive today at some levels of American culture. His documentary, July ‘64, was a standout in 2007 at The Little. Talkback with the director following the 6:30 showing on Fri., Feb. 19th.
Pressure Cooker, a documentary about the lives of a strict, but loving teacher of culinary arts in an inner city high school in Philadelphia, and a half dozen of her students. In an area where most kids don't have a lot of opportunities, these kids are learning to be professional cooks and competing for a few scholarships to big name culinary schools around the US.
Heart of Stone, a documentary about a gutsy Newark high school principal's efforts to stave off gang violence and boost student morale. The setting is the city's once-famed Weequahic High, known for fostering more Ph.D.s than any other American high school from the 1930s-'50s. What makes this chronicle poignant is its illustration of how African-Americans and Jewish alum helped each other turn the school in a new, safer direction. The film won the Audience Award in Slamdance's documentary competition.
MVP Little Biddies Series, Bring the kids and enjoy a little light fun with Space Jam, where Michael Jordan agrees to help the Looney Toons play a basketball game vs. alien slavers to determine their freedom.
“This year’s program takes a look at the darker side of our nation’s past,” comments Bob Russell, Executive Director at The Little. “But, also on the hope that creates the bright side of our future.”
The Emerging Filmmakers Series will highlight short films by African American filmmakers or films about the African American experience. This regular monthly program screens films produced by up-and-coming New York State filmmakers, regardless of age or educational status, or films shot in New York State.
Shadows of the Lynching Tree
Fri., Feb. 19, 6:30 pm (Followed by Talkback with Carvin Eison)
Sat., Feb. 20, 12:00 pm, 9:00 pm
Mon., Feb. 22, 6:30 pm
Wed. Feb. 24, 9:00 pm
Sat., Feb. 20, 6:30 pm
Sun., Feb. 21, 9:00 pm
Wed., Feb. 24, 6:30 pm
Thurs., Feb. 25, 9:00 pm
Heart of Stone
Fri. Feb. 19, 9:00 pm
Sat. Feb. 20, 3:00 pm (Followed by Talkback with Rick Smith - Principle of John Marshall High School, Chris Cuby - President of Realizing Others Outstanding Talents,LLC, and Anthony Jordan - Assistant to Commissioner of City of Rochester Parks and Recreation)
Sun., Feb. 21, 6:30 pm
Thurs., Feb. 25, 6:30 pm
Little Buddies Series
Space Jam, starring Michael Jordan
Sat., Feb. 27, 10:00 am
Emerging Filmmakers Series
Mon., Feb. 22, 9:15 pm
Monday, February 15, 2010
What is it?
Live music, dance and puppetry will combine to bring to life the spectacular and surprising world of Terry Pratchett's NATION on the National Theatre stage. NATION is the third play in the pilot season of NT Live, the National's ground-breaking initiative which launched in June with the hugely successful broadcast of Phèdre with Helen Mirren, which was seen by 50,000 people in 19 countries around the globe. NT Live continues with a worldwide broadcast of the National's acclaimed production of NATION, based on a novel by Terry Pratchett, adapted by Mark Ravenhill, directed by Melly Still.NATION tells the story of a parallel world, 1860. Two teenagers are thrown together by a tsunami that has destroyed Mau's village and left Daphne shipwrecked on his South Pacific island, thousands of miles from home. One wears next to nothing, the other a long white dress; neither speaks the other's language; somehow they must learn to survive. As starving refugees gather, Daphne delivers a baby, milks a pig, brews beer and does battle with a mutineer. Mau fights cannibal Raiders, discovers the world is round and questions the reality of his tribe's fiercely patriarchal gods. Together they come of age, overseen by a foul-mouthed parrot, as they discard old doctrine to forge a new Nation.
When Does It Play at The Little?
There are two presentations:
Thursday, February 18 at 7:00pm
Tuesday, February 23 at 7:00pm
Suitable for 10yrs+
Tickets: $20 / $18 for Little Members, Seniors & Students
The NT Live Series is proudly supported by City Newspaper.
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Belinda Bryce is showing her work in the cafe's gallery through 03/05/10.
This recent work is a playful exploration of the figure-ground concept in painting: the figure or subject is set against the background. A fundamental principle of visual perception, the figure-ground relationship allows the artist to delineate the foreground and the background.
I am interested in flattening the space between figure and ground. I am also interested in scale, how large or small something appears based on its relationship to other visual elements or based on its relation to the edge of the painting. Shrinking or enlarging the figure changes the ground. Some paintings pay more attention to the figure; others focus more on the space that surrounds the figure.
In previous work, I have used images of pears, bowls, birds, dogs, and dresses. The rabbits, like these other images, are visual metaphors that relate to the experience of being female. In addition to the symbolic imagery, I am interested in creating unflustered but interesting juxtapositions of textures, color and shapes.
This work is influenced by many artists. Some who immediately come to mind are Matisse, Milton Avery, Louise Bourgeois, Susan Rothenberg, Mimmo Paladino, Sqeak Carnwath, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Outsider Art as well as children’s art.
Belinda Bryce is a Rochester artist. For more information, please go to www.belindabryce.com.
Friday, February 12, 2010
From the NY Times review:
"Together Ms. Penn and Mr. Arkin create a portrait of a marriage in which you sense the intertwining crosscurrents of devotion, boredom, anger and gratitude. As the movie shows, the decision to settle is only the beginning of a new phase and can be undone. As people keep changing, stasis is the enemy. A happy ending is never guaranteed."
From an Interview with the Director, Rebecca Miller
She's the daughter of the great American playwright Arthur Miller and the Magnum photographer Inge Morath, and therefore it's no surprise that so much of her work is informed by questions of identity, or the desire to escape the past, and other people's definitions of you - and the impossibility of ever managing to.
"That's right," she says. "I think we all want to believe, especially Americans, that we are free to redefine ourselves, usually by moving to California. Changing it all. But I think, really, all the past is with us. Our parents are with us. Who we are. You can only escape so far. Pippa succeeds to a degree, she moves on to the next stage, but it's only to a degree."
In this Miller is a larger, starrier, more illustrious version of ourselves. She's like a metaphor for the rest of us, or an avatar, a more obvious version of the inescapability that we all have, as our parents' children and our partners' partner, I say to her, although it's the kind of question that she bats away, like an irritating fly.
"I am also so good at just ignoring things. And just, you know ... I find denial is very handy."
She does. She's incredibly articulate on the thorny subjects of parent-child relations, and how the self can be subsumed within marriage, but only with regard to her characters. Because when it comes to Rebecca Miller's parent-child relations or her marriage, you get only answers like the above. Because from being Arthur Miller's daughter, she became Daniel Day-Lewis's wife, and her books and her films and her interviews sometimes feel like an almost Darwinian struggle for survival; an attempt not to be suffocated by the people around her.It's precisely the sort of struggle in which Pippa Lee, her eponymous heroine, is engaged. Read the full interview here.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
The Private Lives of Pippa Lee
NT Live Presents NATION (Thurs. Feb. 18 at 7:00 pm and Tues. Feb. 23 at 7:00 pm
Me and Orson Welles
The Bad Lieutenant
A Single Man
Up in the Air
Monday: Kevin DeHond
Wednesday: The Margaret Explosion
Thursday: Trio East
Friday: Madeline Forster
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Author Robert Kaplow will be at The Little this Saturday night for a talkback after the 6:30 showing. Tickets are $10.
You may know him for his books or his NPR series, "Moe Moskowitz and the Punsters." Here are some excerpts from his production diary during the making of the film.
Richard Linklater [director, Me and Orson Welles] is gracious, low-key, and excited. He tells me he’s “nervous about the Shakespeare, but nervous in a good way.”
Christian McKay is now slimmer by 26 pounds from the last time I saw him in New York (in May,) and he looks even more like Welles.
He knows his entire part by heart. His wife Emma will play Virginia Welles in the movie, and she’s lit with enthusiasm and love for Christian. McKay has so internalized Welles’s speech patterns that you feel, even when you’re talking to him casually, that you’re actually talking to Welles (whom Christian refers to as The Old Man.)
Claire Danes arrives with her English boyfriend Hugh Dancy. She’s pale and pretty and all eyes—in her cowl-neck sweater—and she has a quirky and powerful flirtatious energy that she seems very aware of, that she can turn on and off like a blowlamp: or so it seems to me. She asks me where I grew up, and she tells me she grew up in Soho with an artist father. Hugh Dancy has Leading Man written all over him: poised, playful, handsome. He tells me that my friend Marc Lanzoff thrust a copy of Me and Orson Welles into his hands outside of Journey's End in New York. Read the full article here.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Scheduled for Tuesday February 2 at 7 PM and Sunday February 7 at noon. $18 for Little Theatre members, senior and students. $20 for all others. With a 235 minute running time (there will be two short 'rest breaks,' too) that's less than 7 cents a minute! You'll never see a RING opera for a better rate!
If you're not already a member of THE LITTLE THEATRE FILM SOCIETY please give serious consideration to joining. The Little is non-profit membership organization, not at all like the multi-plexes. We depend on members to help meet the expenses of running a 5-screen cinema in an old building! In addition, because of the length of this opera, The Little will not be able to fit in a second screening on Tuesday evening or a second Sunday matinee. They are really sacrificing for us! End of commercial.
If you want a brief recommendation so you don't have to read much further it's: "Hojotoho!" You'd better go! For those of you who have put off Wagner for any reason, or if you are at all interested in a first exploration of the work of this musical genius (Even if he wasn't a very nice person!) this is the perfect opportunity. Of the four parts of The Ring Cycle, DIE WALKURE can stand alone. You don't need any background to enjoy it, but if you want background, plenty is provided for you if you listen and read the subtitles carefully.
This production comes once again from Valencia, Spain and from the outside shots of the opera house the building itself must have been designed by Calatrava. Someone can research that: Palau de les Arts "Reina Sofia" in Valencia.
The conductor is ZUBIN MEHTA who got his orchestra to produce astonishing sounds--from uber-sensitive to absolutely majestic. Sigmund is Peter Seiffert and Juha Uusitalo sings Wotan. Petra Maria Schnitzer is a beautiful Sieglinde and Jennifer Wilson is a fully competent Brunnhilde. Many of these were new names for me, and I was delighted to hear wonderful Wagner voices. I hope some of them will eventually get to our shores--or perhaps I've missed some of them.
This is a continuation of last year's DAS RHINEGOLD which many of you loved even though it was quite an unusual production. After watching this WALKURE I have a feeling we're seeing the future of Ring Cycles, created with projections rather than realistic scenery. I know that's the plan for the Met's new production, now in process. In this production the costumes are a bit sci-fi for my taste. Unfortunately, the designer of the breastplates for the Valkuries must have had a mad-on for these women warriors, for he could not have made them any less attractive. Gartefully they all sang gloriously!
In addition to the projections, the immortal characters are standing on metal vehicles that allow them to be pushed all around the stage and to be raised and lowered depending on the scene. They wear regular costumes and can step off the vehicle when necessary. The vehicules are remarkable to watch because they give the characters a wonderful 'god-like' capability. They are literally pushed, raised, and lowered by nearly invisible 'pushers' who were given their own curtain call at the end of the opera for their amazing work. I can't even begin to imagine how much time was spent choreographing all these mechanical movements. It was like watching dance--especially when the eight Valkuries were doing their thing.
In ACT I the focal point is, without a doubt, the tree. Created by a projection it literally fills the stage, changes colors, weeps leaves, and once Sieglinde screams Sigmund's name, the trunk and branches fill with the word SIGMUND and letters from his name drop to the ground like tears. You will definitely be impressed!
At the beginning of the act Sieglinde moves on all fours and her hands are held very much like paws, indicating her wolf heritage. She also wears a noose around her neck which Hunding pulls on when he speaks to her and yells his orders. Needless to say, the noose is the first thing to go once she and Sigmund begin their duet. In her scene in ACT II when she declares herself unworthy, she reverts back to some of these wolf-like movements.
As you can see, I could go on forever about the wonders of this opera and this particular production. During the final Wotan/Brunnhilde scene I had tears running down my face. It is the only time I have seen REAL fire used to encircle Brunnhilde in her long sleep.
It's a time investment, but you won't regret a minute of it! Please feel free to let me know your thoughts if you go.
Monday, February 1, 2010
Carvin Eison's film “July ’64: Roots of Urban Unrest" screened during our Spotlight on Black History Month Series in 2008. We are pleased to share his latest film, "Shadows of the Lynching Tree" in this year's Series. In this interview Carvin chats with us about his latest film, funding a movie and how he develops ideas. We hope you will come out and see his film during February.
Carvin, what draws you to film as an artistic medium?
Documentary work is my expression right now. At a purely academic level, I’m fascinated by the complex intersection of images, words and sounds. In skillful hands, these elements can influence perception and tap deeply into subconscious arousal. This medium has impact on human behavior. The craft and tools are alluring but what’s most important to me is how I can use this medium to search through time in pursuit the truth. Documentary picture making is about getting as close as possible to the truth of a matter while establishing an emotional connection with the viewer. If I accomplish this, it is likely that the substance of my work will remain with a person, in some way, for some time. This is what I am attempting to do in “Shadows of the Lynching Tree.”
How did receiving a grant from the Sundance Documentary Fund help Shadows of the Lynching Tree most?
Sundance as well as the Diversity Development Fund at ITVS and the Paul Robeson Fund were very important to the completion of “Shadows of the Lynching Tree.” These organizations gave the project stature and clout and they continue to say to film community, including festivals, broadcasters and distributors, this film is worth paying attention to. I am grateful for all they have contributed to this film. However, I was never able to generate enough funding here in the United States to complete the picture. But in Europe and particularly Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk, (MDR) Germany Public Television provided the critical levels of funding that made the production possible. This singular fact suggests that in the United States lynching remains a difficult subject to address.
How do you distribute your films?
My previous documentary, “July ’64: Roots of Urban Unrest,” is distributed by California Newsreel, the oldest distributor of political documentaries in the country. It is possible that California Newsreel will also distribute “Shadows of the Lynching Tree.” The plan is first to have the film screened at film festivals in the country and around the world. It is already an official selection at the 2010 San Diego Black Film Festival and at the 2010 Idée Suisse BaKa FORUM on TV and Media, Karlsruhe, Germany. We are currently in conservation with PBS that may lead to a national broadcast once the festival circuit has run its course.
If there is one takeaway from Shadows that you hope audiences will have, what is it?
There’s an old saying that goes “let sleeping dogs lie…,” in other words, leave that certain thing alone cause if you keep on bother it again it could cause you trouble. The shrouded history of lynching in America is one such sleeping dog. It’s a sleeping dog because unlike other human atrocities such as the Jewish holocaust or South African apartheid, lynching in America has largely been ignored. Our nation has never come to terms with the brutal killing of its citizens because of the color of their skin. As we have so completely repressed this history, it has become the blueprint by which we negotiate cross-racial communication. With Shadows of the Lynching Tree, I am kicking that sleeping dog and disturbing the troublesome past. The dog is awake, will we finally confront the beast or does it return to an uneasy slumber?
How did you develop the idea for Shadows?
March 2005 I came across James Allen’s book on lynching photography entitled “Without Sanctuary.” They disturbed me to my core. I could not believe what I was looking at. I could not put it down – I could not pick it up. From that day to this, in every way, it changed the meaning of my life. It took me years to come to terms with the images. I couldn’t figure out my relationship with them, I didn’t know how to present them, I didn’t understand their full meaning, in some ways I still don’t. Gradually I realized that after the barbarity of the killing, it was the “onlookers,” those who linger in the background, those who crane their necks to be seen in the photograph, in the images, the women and children, the gentry, the festive atmosphere. I never get over these images. I knew then that Shadows of the Lynching Tree would be my next work.
There are three basic strands that form the foundation of Shadows of the Lynching Tree - historical - mythical - contemporary. First is the historical fact of the Waco Horror: The lynching of Jesse Washington. The documentation of this story shows that more than 15,000 people closed their shops, abandoned their farms, and brought their families to take pleasure in the killing of this boy. The second strand evolves from James Baldwin’s short story “Going to meet the Man,” in which a second boy named Jesse is taken by his father to a lynching. The third and perhaps anachronistic element grew from the candidacy of President Barack Obama. As Obama gained more traction in the general electorate, certain quarters of the country formed a more resolute opposition.