WHO IS BUGGING THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY
ISSUE ISSU IS SUE SU E 1, 1, 2 2012 012 01 2
ISSUE 1 of 2012
The only free film magazine in the world
Groucho Club Exposé Putin’s Kiss Swashbuckling
SCAM FILM FESTIVALS EXPOSED INTERVIEW WITH CEO OF FINAL DRAFT UFFO’s CODE OF PRACTICE FOR FILM FESTIVALS
INTERVIEW ACTOR AND CO-OUNDER OF LA COMEDY FESTIVAL GARY ANTHONY WILLIAMS
NEW MOVIE ON CRIME MOBSTER WHO KILLED 40 PEOPLE
DOP , TALKS ABOUT CINEMATOGRAPHY
P.11 P.47 P.41
Issue 1 - 2012
Intro UFM The Universal Film Magazine is a free magazine that delivers passionate and creative coverage about the global film and festival communities. The publication differs from the competition because it is totally free and is a unique crossover magazine that connects filmmakers and film festivals with the wider community. It is the mission of the Universal Film Magazine to uphold our uncompromising high standards in professional journalism with compelling stories that are unbiased and fact-based. We are committed to the advancement of the industry by providing the very best in-depth features and coverage that will have a positive impact in the world. We aim to give our readers motivational and inspirational stories that embrace the spirit of independent film and festivals and give them a voice in the media. editor
Universal Film Magazine Editor TYRONE D MURPHY Creative Director DOM MURICU Proofing Editor TODD VOLZ Photographer KEVIN ANTHONY Advertising Director BERNARD DUNSMUIR Contributors IVOR BENJAMIN DGGB CHRIS O DELL DOP J.R. BEARDSLEY DANIEL E SPRINGEN CHRISTOPHER MOORE EDWARD SUMMER DAN NUXOLL MARTHA SHANE DON AND KATHA CATO MARGARET DANE FREDERICK MONTGOMERY ROSEMARY FEBBO PAULA BRANCATO JARED FELDSCHREIBER T REED CHRISTINA KOTLAR SCOTT ROSENBERG TIM WASSBERG ZOE MOON
Tyrone D Murphy
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Contents FEATURES Final Draft
An exclusive interview with the Maverick and founder of Final Draft script writing software.
Groucho Club Exposé 11 The Explosive revelations about on of the worlds
most famous celebrity and media club A no budget movie? 13 An interview with Philip A McCarthy about his
no budget movie Tyrone Power IV
15 The Tyrone Power acting dynasty that spans
is Bugging the Industry 17 Who Incidents of illegal bugging and hidden cam-
eras in the lavatories of a media club
The Launch of UFFO Launch of the Universal Film & Festival Organization and the code of practice for film
scams and stories 21 AFilmlookFestival at some of the more dubious Film Fes-
tivals around the world Queen Of Scams
19 New expose Documentary on the Queens
Groucho Club Expose
Final Draft Interview
International Film Festival
Cherry picking by the big Film Festivals 27 What is the cherry picking policy of the big
Film Festivals LA Comedy Film Festival 37 Interview with co-founder and artistic direc-
tor Gary Anthony Williams
VIMEO and Copyright VIMEO and copyright issues that clearly conflict with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act
41 Swashbuckling J.R. Beardsley talks about Swashbuckling on the silver screen 6 fatal errors in screenwriting
45 By Paula Brancato, Lecturer University Southern California
Putin’s Kiss 47Lisa Birk Pedersen’s film “Putin’s Kiss” reviewed
by Jared Feldschreiber Time VS Technology 49 Has digital media content a limited life-span,
Letters & E Mails Please send in your letters and stories anything in relation to film. email@example.com
www.ufmag.org g g
Universal JANUARY 2012
Universal Film Issue 1 of 2012
Universal Film Issue 1 of 2012
Directors insulting other directors
2. Ingmar Bergman on Michelangelo Antonioni: “Fellini, Kurosawa, and Bunuel move in the same field as Tarkovsky. Antonioni was on his way, but expired, suffocated by his own tediousness.” 3. Ingmar Berman on Orson Welles: “For me he’s just a hoax. It’s empty. It’s not interesting. It’s dead. Citizen Kane, which I have a copy of — is all the critics’ darling, always at the top of every poll taken, but I think it’s a total bore. Above all, the performances are worthless. The amount of respect that movie’s got is absolutely unbelievable.” 4. Ingmar Bergman on Jean-Luc Godard: “I’ve never gotten anything out of his movies. They have felt constructed, faux intellectual, and completely dead. Cinematographically uninteresting and infinitely boring. Godard is a fucking bore. He’s made his films for the critics. One of the movies, Masculin, Féminin, was shot here in Sweden. It was mind-numbingly boring.” 5. Orson Welles on Jean-Luc Godard: “His gifts as a director are enormous. I just can’t take him very seriously as a thinker — and that’s where we seem to differ, because he does. His message is what he cares about these days, and, like most movie messages, it could be written on the head of a pin.” 6. Werner Herzog on Jean-Luc Godard: “Someone like Jean-Luc Godard is for me intellectual counterfeit money when compared to a good kung-fu film.” 7. Jean-Luc Godard on Quentin Tarantino: “Tarantino named his production company after one of my films. He’d have done better to give me some money.” 8. Harmony Korine on Quentin Tarantino: “Quentin Tarantino seems to be too concerned with other films. I mean, about appropriating other movies, like in a blender. I think it’s, like, really funny at the time I’m seeing it, but then, I don’t know, there’s a void there. Some of the references are flat, just pop culture.”
9. Nick Broomfield on Quentin Tarantino: “It’s like watching a schoolboy’s fantasy of violence and sex, which normally Quentin Tarantino would be wanking alone to in his bedroom while this mother is making his baked beans downstairs. Only this time he’s got Harvey Weinstein behind him and it’s on at a million screens.” 10. Spike Lee on Quentin Tarantino (and the “n-word” in his scripts): “I’m not against the word, and I use it, but not excessively. And some people speak that way. But, Quentin is infatuated with that word. What does he want to be made — an honorary black man?” 11. Spike Lee on Tyler Perry: “We got a black president, and we going back to Mantan Moreland and Sleep ‘n’ Eat?” 12. Tyler Perry on Spike Lee “Spike can go straight to hell! You can print that… Spike needs to shut the hell up!” 13. Clint Eastwood on Spike Lee: “A guy like him should shut his face.” 14. Jacques Rivette on Stanley Kubrick: “Kubrick is a machine, a mutant, a Martian. He has no human feeling whatsoever. But it’s great when the machine films other machines, as in 2001.” 15. Jacques Rivette on James Cameron (and Steven Spielberg): “Cameron isn’t evil, he’s not an asshole like Spielberg. He wants to be the new De Mille. Unfortunately, he can’t direct his way out of a paper bag. “ 16. Jean-Luc Godard on Steven Spielberg: “I don’t know him personally. I don’t think his films are very good.” 17. Alex Cox on Steven Spielberg: “Spielberg isn’t a filmmaker, he’s a confectioner.” 18. Tim Burton on Kevin Smith (after Smith jokingly accused Burton of stealing the ending of Planet of the Apes from a Smith comic book): “Anyone who knows me knows I would never read a comic book. And I would especially never read anything created by Kevin Smith.”
19. Kevin Smith on Tim Burton (in response to “I would never read a comic book”): “Which, to me, explains fucking Batman.” 20. Kevin Smith on Paul Thomas Anderson (specifically, Magnolia): “I’ll never watch it again, but I will keep it. I’ll keep it right on my desk, as a constant reminder that a bloated sense of self-importance is the most unattractive quality in a person or their work.” 21. David Gordon Green on Kevin Smith: “He kind of created a Special Olympics for film. They just kind of lowered the standard. I’m sure their parents are proud; it’s just nothing I care to buy a ticket for.” 22. Vincent Gallo on Spike Jonze: “He’s the biggest fraud out there. If you bring him to a party he’s the least interesting person at the party, he’s the person who doesn’t know anything. He’s the person who doesn’t say anything funny, interesting, intelligent… He’s a pig piece of shit.” 23. Vincent Gallo on Martin Scorsese: “I wouldn’t work for Martin Scorsese for $10 million. He hasn’t made a good film in 25 years. I would never work with an egomaniac has-been.” 24. Vincent Gallo on Sofia (and Francis Ford) Coppola: “Sofia Coppola likes any guy who has what she wants. If she wants to be a photographer she’ll fuck a photographer. If she wants to be a filmmaker, she’ll fuck a filmmaker. She’s a parasite just like her fat, pig father was.” (funny cause you had no problem starring in Francis’ last movie) 25. Vincent Gallo on Abel Ferrara: “Abel Ferrara was on so much crack when I did The Funeral, he was never on set. He was in my room trying to pick-pocket me.” 26. Werner Herzog on Abel Ferrara: “I have no idea who Abel Ferrara is. But let him fight the windmills… I’ve never seen a film by him. I have no idea who he is. Is he Italian? Is he French? Who is he?” 27. David Cronenberg on M. Night Shymalan: “I HATE that guy! Next question.”
1. Francois Truffaut on Michelangelo Antonioni: “Antonioni is the only important director I have nothing good to say about. He bores me; he’s so solemn and humorless.”
Universal Film Issue 1 of 2012
Final Draft CEO Marc Madnick
Draft by Tyrone D Murphy
The American Dream
CEO of Final Draft Marc Madnick developed the software in 1986 to help aspiring screenwriters because he found as a screen writer himself the studios’ rigid formatting regulations made screenwriting difficult
t’s over twenty years since the launch of Final Draft and today, the company employes 40 people and has offices on both coasts, with headquarters in Calabasas, CA. Marc Madnick the co-founder of Final Draft Inc, has served as the chief executive officer since 1991. He is a native of Philadelphia in the USA and graduated from the University of Maryland with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Finance in 1986. He moved to Los Angeles in 1986 to follow his dream of being a screenwriter. Like many aspiring and professional screenwriters of the time, he found the process of writing a script trying and time-consuming. The problem was not a lack of ideas, but rather the lack of any wordprocessor capable of automatically formatting a script to Hollywood’s stringent standards.
and Lawrence Kasdan, he could save them time and money, he’d have a chance at success. After five years of hard work it paid off and in 1990 the company had 9 employees. Just five years after its inception and Madnick’s aggressive marketing campaign Final Draft scriptwriting software had become the entertainment industry standard for scriptwriting and the market leader among its competitors worldwide. With the company now in its 20th year and the eighth version of the software, Final draft, the application and its brand, continues to grow in popularity and into new markets throughout the world.
This experience led Madnick and former partner Ben Cahan to the creation of Final Draft, a fully dedicated scriptwriting software application that automatically formats your script to Hollywood’s industry standards.
In 2001, Final Draft, Inc. released Final Draft AV, the first software application specifically designed for writers of documentaries, reality TV, and commercials written in the two-column script format.
A very strategic marketer, Madnick knew that if he could convince Hollywood’s heaviest hitters (Tom Hanks, Oliver Stone,
Final Draft AV was developed using the Final Draft philosophy of freeing the writer to write completely uninhibited by formatting constraints.
Final Draft app The Final Draft Reader app displays Final Draft scripts on your iPad exactly as they appear on your desktop - perfectly paginated to industry standards for anyone who take notes directly in the Final Draft script on their iPad. You can import your Final Draft version 8 scripts into the Final Draft Reader app to read and annotate your FDX files anywhere, anytime. Works on iPad 1 and iPad 2 with iOS 5.” The app leverages the ScriptNotes feature found in the Final Draft desktop application. With ScriptNotes, you can easily add, edit and categorize notes right on your iPad. All edits and additions will be maintained when you bring your script back into Final Draft desktop on your Mac or Windows computer. The Company now have big plans for an online version enabling collaborating online
Universal Film Issue 1 of 2012
Marc Madnick on horseback In the early years in Hollywood Marc shared a small apartment with his then writing partner Ben Cahan. According to Marc, who was then in his 20’s “Times were very tough and we were flat broke. Two young kids went to Hollywood to find the American dream and through hard work and determination we succeed. I had a variety of jobs including guardian to Corey Haines, a production assistant , a production manager’s assistant and as a production accountant on films such as Back to the Future Part II and Part III “ A produced playwright, Madnick recently saw his musical, Liberty Smith (book and original story), premiere at the historic Washington D.C. Ford’s Theatre in the spring of 2011. His other pursuits include owning thoroughbred racehorses -- most notably Singletary, winner of the 2004 Breeders’ Cup Mile – and adventure travel, having made annual trips for the past 15 years to such exotic locales as Morocco, Mount Kilimanjaro, Peru and Thailand.
He is now residing in Westlake Village, California; he is the father of two teenage sons.
Universal U niversal Film Film Issue Iss ue 1 of of 2012 2012
by T Tyrone Tyr yron one e D Mu Murp Murphy rphy hy
rron on SSky ky iiss a sc scie science-fi ienc ncee-fi fiction ctio ct ion n comedy comedy come dy fillm m di dire directed rect cted ed b byy Ti Timo mo Vuorensola. Vuor Vu oren enso sola la.. Se Sett in 2 201 2018 018 8 tthe he fillm m tells tell te llss a story stor st oryy of the the 1945 194 1 945 94 5 Nazi Nazi defeat def d efea ef eatt and an d a handful hand ha ndfu full of scientists ssci cien enti tist stss wh who o fled to tthe he M Moon oon oo n wh wher where ere e th they ey b built uilt ui lt a fl fle e eet et of space craft. They are now ready to conquer Earth. The film comes from the makers of Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning and was produced by Tero Kaukomaa of Blind Spot Pictures. Samuli Torssonen was responsible for the computer generated effects of the film. The film was financed by Energia Productions, Blind Spot Pictures, New Holland Pictures and 27 Films Production. The cast includes Julia Dietze (11⁄2 Ritter), Götz Otto (Schindler’s List, The Downfall), Christopher Kirby (The Matrix Reloaded & Revolutions, Daybreakers, Space: Above and Beyond), Udo Kier (Dogville, Dancer in the Dark), Peta Sergeant (Satisfaction), Stephanie Paul (Separation City, Film School Confidential) and Tilo Prückner Fälscher), (The (T he Neverending Nev N ever eren endi ding ng Story, SSto tory ry,, Di Die e Fä Fäls lsch cher er),), screenplay sci-fi with wi th a sscr cree eenp npla layy by acclaimed aacc ccla laim imed ed ssci ci-fi -fi writ wr writer iter er Johanna JJoh ohanna ohan na Sinisalo SSin inisal inis alo o (Nebula (Neb (N ebul ulaa Award Awar Aw ard d nomi no nominee mine nee e 20 2009 2009, 09,, Fi Finl Finlandia nlan andi diaa 20 2000 2000) 00)) an and d Mich Mi chae aell Kalesniko Kale Ka lesn snik iko o (Private (Pri (P riva vate te Parts). Par P arts ts).). Michael In tthe he fillm, m, a ssec ecre rett Na Nazi zi sspa pace ce p pro ro-secret space program gr am lled ed b byy Ha Hans ns K Kam amml mler er aand nd a Kammler grou gr oup p of G Ger erma man n scientists scie sc ient ntis ists ts make mak m ake ea group German brea br eakt kthr hrou ough gh in in anti-gravity anti an ti-g -gra ravi vity ty rres esea earc rch. h. breakthrough research. From Fr om a secret ssec ecre rett Nazi Nazi base bas b ase e in the the AntAnt A nt-arct ar ctic ic the the group gro g roup up evade eva e vade de ccap aptu ture re aand nd arctic capture dest de stru ruct ctio ion n by fle eei eing ng tto o th the e da dark rk side ssid ide e destruction eeing of tthe he M Moo oon, n, w whe here re they tthe heyy es esta tabl blis ish h th the e Moon, where establish mili mi lita tary ry base bas b ase e “Schwarze “Sch “S chwa warz rze e So Sonn nne” e” ((Bl Blac ackk military Sonne” (Black Sun) Su n).. Th Thei eirr fien endi dish sh p pla lan n iiss to b bui uild ld Sun). Their endish plan build a flee eett of advanced aadv dvan ance ced d sp spac ace e craft craf cr aftt space and an d re retu turn rn to to conquer conq co nque uerr Earth. Eart Ea rth. h. return The Th e Na Nazi ziss pr proc occe ced d to Nazis procced cons co nstr truc uctt construct
a flee eett of spacecraft sspa pace cecr craf aftt an and d a sp spac ace e space fort fo rtre ress ss.. In 2 201 018 8 th they ey rret etur urn n to conccon on-fortress. 2018 return quer qu er EEar arth th w wit ith h an ar arma mada da of of flyi ying ng Earth with armada sauc sa ucer ers. ers ss. saucers. 27 FFil ilms ms Films Prod Pr oddu duct ctio ions ns.. Prodductions.
The Am The Amer eric ican an astronaut ast stro rona naut ut James Jam ames es WashWas ashhAmerican ington (Christopher Kirby) lands his At the 2010 Cannes Film Festival Iron Lunar Lander a bit too close to the Sky signed a co-production agreesecret Nazi base. The Moon Führer ment with Australian production (Udo Kier) realizes that the glorious company New Holland Pictures who moment of retaking the Earth has brought in Cathy Overett and Mark arrived sooner than expected. WashOverett as co-producers of the film. ington claims the mission is just a publicity stunt for the President Filming began in November of the United States (Stephanie Paul), but the Nazis believe “Worldwide 2010, location in Frankfurt in Weseler Werft or Tauthat the astronaut is a scout theatrical nusstraße, and in January, for an imminent attack by release in 2011, in Australia for studio 2012” Earth forces. The Fourth Reich shooting. must now act! Two Nazi officers, the ruthless Klaus Adler (Götz Otto) and the idealistic Renate Richter (Julia Dietze), travel to Earth to prepare for the invasion. When the Nazi UFO armada darkens the skies, ready to strike at the unprepared Earth, every man, woman and an d nation nati na tion on , m mus ustt re-evaluate re-e re -eva valu luat ate e th thei eirr must their prio pr iori riti ties es.. priorities. Pr Prod oduc ucti tion on o off Ir Iron on SSky ky b beg egan an iin n ea earl rlyy Production began early 2006 20 06.. Th The e pr prod oduc ucti tion on ttea eam m to took ok a 2006. production team teas te aser er trailer ttra raililer er tto o Th The e Ca Cann nnes es teaser Cannes Film Fi lm Festival FFes esti tiva vall in M May ay 2 200 008 8 2008 seek se ekin ing g co co-fi -fin nan anci cier ers. s. seeking nanciers. They Th ey ssig igne ned da signed co-p co -pro rodu duct ctio ion n co-production agre ag reem emen entt agreement with wi th
Iron Sky was filmed in Red camera format. On 6 February 2011, the filming of Iron Sky concluded in Australia and entered a 10 week post-production process. The film premiered on 11 February 2012 aatt th 2012 the e 62 62nd nd B Ber erlilin n In In-Berlin tern te rnat atio iona nall Fi Film lm ternational Fest Fe est stiv ival aal.. Festival.
Universal U niversal Film Film Issue Iss ue 1 of of 201 2012 2
Fan Fa n Participation Part Pa rtic icip ipat atio ion n The Th e fans fans ccan an ttak take ake e part part in in ma maki making king ng IIro Iron ron n Sky th Sky through thro roug ugh h a co collaborative coll llab abor orat ativ ive e film m mak makak-ing in g platform plat pl atfo form rm called ccal alle led d Wreckamovie.com Wrec Wr ecka kamo movi vie. e.co com m
Finland - € 3.972.720 Germany - € 1.704.956 Australia - € 1.823.503 Total € 7 501 179
52,96 % 22,73 % 24,31 % 100 %
The financing includes 1 million from the Iron Sky Fans, from which 40% is cleared and 60 % gapped by the Finnish bank Nordea. The rest is coming from sources such as Finnish Film Foundation, Hessen Film Invest, Eurimages, Nordisk Film & TV Fond, Screen Queensland, Media development, several pre-Sales and spend related financing like DFFF in Germany and Australian tax-offset (Qape). What makes Iron Sky special is the active collaboration between the film makers online community. and an d th the e on onli line ne ccom ommu muni nity ty.. The Th e Ir Iron on SSky ky team te am is is in
si site tes, s, Facebook, FFac aceb eboo ook, k, TTwi witt tter er,, Yo YouT uTub ube e an and d sites, Twitter, YouTube help he lp tto o spread spre sp read ad the the word wor w ord d about abou ab outt the the movi mo vie e through thro th roug ugh h their thei th eirr ow own n so soci cial al ccir ircl cle. e. movie social circle.
An iint nteg egra rall pa part rt o off th the e Ir Iron on SSky ky integral publ pu blic icit ityy campaign camp ca mpai aign gn is is a system syst sy stem em called cal alle led d publicity Demand to See Iron Sky, which can be The fans and followers can take part found in www.ironsky.net/demand/. in Iron Sky by offering the following: It enables the visitors to demand to ideas, funding and publicity. see the movie in cinemas in their home city. The fans validate their The fans can take part in making Iron demand with their e-mail address, Sky through a collaborative film makwhich makes it easy for the filmmaking platform called Wreckamovie. ers to reach their fans in certain com. In Wreckamovie the film city or geographical area. The “1 Milmakers can give their followIron Sky community can also lion euros ers tasks, which can be simple take part in creating movie in crowd (come up with a name for a funding by merchandise. The fans will be character) or quite complex able to download a Design fans” (build a 3D model of a starKit, which includes Iron Sky ship). themed graphics, fonts, pictures and other materials, with which they CROWD FUNDING: can create their own suggestions for Iron Sky merchandise. The best sugOut of the 7.5 million euros that is the gestions will be added the official line budget of Iron Sky, one million euros of Iron Sky merchandise, which is disis fan funding. It is based on the active tributed globally by EMI. The designers merchandise sales of Iron Sky (store. will be rewarded with movie tickets, ironsky.net) cash, tickets iron ir onsk sky. y.ne net) t) and and notable not n otab able le fan fan investiinv nves esttcash ca sh,, ti tick cket etss to the the Iron IIro ron n Sky Sky premiere prem pr emie iere re ments. followers made ment me nts. s. TThe he ffol ollo lowe wers rs o off Ir Iron on SSky ky m mad ade e and an d in other oth o ther er ways. way w ays. s. investments starting from euros inve in vest stme ment ntss st star arti ting ng ffro rom 10 rom 1000 00 e eur uros uros for movie for the the whole whol wh ole e duration dura du rati tion on o off th the e mo movi vie e The Th e mo movi movie vie e is only onl o nlyy on one e pa part rt o off th the e Ir Iron on project, proj pr ojec ect, t, u unt until ntilil tthe he rreq required equi uire red d to tota total tall of Skyy fa Sk fami mily ly of of pr prod oduc ucts ts.. In aadd ddit itio ion n to family products. addition €900.000 €900 €9 00.0 .000 00 is is met. met. ((ww (www.ironsky. www. w.ir iron onsk sky. y. the th e merchandise merc me rcha hand ndis ise e there ther th ere e are are several seve se vera rall ot othhnet/ ne net/fi t/fi fina nanc nance/) nce/ e/)) er products pro p rodu duct ctss coming comi co ming ng out out such ssuc uch h as C Com om-Comicss and ic and no nove vels ls.. A videogame vide vi deog ogam ame e based base ba sed d on novels. The Th e co core re g gro group roup up o off the th e Iron Iron Sky Sky franchise ffra ranc nchi hise se iiss un unde derr de deve vellunder develfans fa ns aare re from ffro rom m opme op ment nt,, an and d it w wil illl be p pub ublilish shed ed o on n opment, will published soci so cial al the th e PC p pla latf tfor orm. m. IIn n ad addi diti tion on tthe here re aare re social platform. addition there medi me diaa plan pl anss fo forr publishing publ pu blis ishi hing ng an an Ir Iron on Sky Sky game gam g ame e media plans on o oth ther er p pop opul ular ar g gam amin ing g pl plat atfo form rms. s. other popular gaming platforms. Ther Th ere e will will b be e al also so IIro ron n Sk Skyy th them emed ed There Iron themed cont co nten entt on m mob obilile e pl plat atfo form rms, s, ssuc uch h as content mobile platforms, such smar sm artp tpho hone ness and and a free free application aapp pplilica cati tion on smartphones whic wh ich h br brin ings gs the the latest llat ates estt Ir Iron on SSky ky which brings news ne ws and and content ccon onte tent nt d dir irec ectl tlyy to directly the th e us user er’s ’s phone. pho p hone ne.. user’s
About Abou Ab outt half o half off the th e Ir Iron on SSky ky € 7 7.5 .5 million production budget is covered from Finland, and the rest from Germany and Australia.
contact cont co ntac actt wi with th 2 200 200.000 00.0 .000 00 ffan fans anss on a weekly week we ekly ly b basis. bas asis is.. 75 75.0 75.000 .000 00 o off th thes these ese e fa fans ns aare re found foun fo und d in Y You YouTube, ouTu Tube be,, 53 53.0 53.000 .000 00 iin n Fa Face Facebook, cebo book ok,, 55.000 55.0 55 .000 000 o on n Ir Iron on Sky Sky w web website, ebsi eb site te,, and te and so forth. fort fo rth. h. TThe These hese se fig gures gur ures es are are growing gro g rowi wing ng d day ay after afte af terr day. day.
Universal Universal Film JANUARY 2012 Issue 1 of 2012
Götz Otto (Klaus ) - A German actor most famous for his portrayal as Mr. Stamper in the 1997 James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies. His roles include films such as Schindler’s List, Der Untergang and the UK comedy Alien Autopsy.
Julia Dietze (Renate Richter) - An up-and-coming German actress and model. She recently appeared in the medieval comedy 1½ Ritter and has appeared in several German films and tv series.
Universal Film Issue 1 of 2012
Get ready the Fourth Reich is here..
The Dark Side of the Moon, Nazi military base “Schwarze Sonne” (Black Sun)..
Issue 1 - 2012
Universal Film Issue 1 - 2012
Universal Film & Festival Organization
UFFO launches the good business code of practice for film
FEST-COP ADOPTED BY OVER 120 FILM FESTIVALS
festivals to strong industry support... by Tyrone D Murphy Maureen O’Hara
“Every once in a while there is something that stands out and compels us to notice it; I think that is what struck me most about UFFO when it was ﬁrst brought to my attention. I am so tremendously honoured and proud to be the President of such an international organisation that promotes ethics in an industry I love so much”.
ince the launch of UFFO on the 1st July 2011 and the organization’s good business code of practice for film festivals it has been adopted by over 120 international film festivals and has gathered strong support from organizations all over the world With stories being published on almost a daily basis about crooked film festivals something had to be done to protect filmmakers from fraud and to assure that honest festival organizers’ hardearned reputations were protected. At this stage it was just an ideal. Sometime later I attended an international Film Festival in the UK. I discovered that the festival organizer and
Tyrone D Murphy is the founder and CEO of UFFO, he was responsible for creating and implementing the Code of Practice (Fest-COP). Through his hard work it has been adopted by over 120 international film festivals around the World. He is an award winning film producer and director, a festival director and now dedicated his time to benefit the filmmaking and film festival communities through UFFO. Tyrone Power JR, is the Chairman of the UFFO committee USA. He is an acclaimed actor in his own right and follows in the footsteps of his famous father Tyrone Power Senior. “The promotion of ethics and standards is a noble and worthwhile goal in any walk of life. To be able to help do so in an industry I love and admire is truly a gift and an honour. I am proud to be a part of the UFFO organization which fosters and promotes the dedicated, passionate work of ﬁlmmakers and ﬁlm festivals around the world.” Tyrone Power.
his partner, a film director, had a film in competition in their own festival. (Nothing illegal about that; a number of festival organizers regularly promote their own and even their friends’ films.) The screening programme was set up with their own film taking prime position in the lineup. In addition the film was nominated in 7 of the 10 categories. Although the film was slated by many of the UK critics it managed to win an award in every category. Almost 400 other filmmakers submitted their films to this festival and paid $50 for the privilege. What was very apparent was that there needed to be something in place to stop this from happening. There was no code of practice anywhere in the world that was fair to both filmmakers and film festival organizers. We wrote a very basic code of practice and published it on social networking sites LinkedIn and Facebook to judge the reaction. The response from both communities was phenomenal. We were inundated with e-mail from all corners of the globe, telling us horror stories, and why the code of practice is needed. The whole idea behind a code of practice was to improve the relationship between industry professionals and acknowledg the importance of enhanced cooperation between filmmakers and film festivals. It led to a heated debate over many months by festival directors and filmmakers. Both communities had very strong opinions about what should and should not be included.
On the one hand the majority of festival directors run legitimate operations, provide a great service and want to play fair; on the other hand the filmmaking community had a gut full of the fraudulent activity that was taking their hard-earned dollars. The few bad apples in the barrel were blighting the entire film industry. The UFFO good business code of practice has ten guiding principles. The successful implementation of this code was largely dependent on its acceptance by the film festival and filmmaking community as a whole. The code is completely voluntary and has helped define the obligations and responsibilities that film festival organizers have towards the filmmaking community It has a pragmatic approach to implementation that is based on rational and transparent working methods. It promotes good business practices and assists in the development of relationships between film festival organisers and the filmmaking community. The Universal Film and Festival Organization was later formed to monitor the database of accredited film festivals. Membership to UFFO is completely free and is open to all creative individuals, filmmakers and film festivals. It is completely voluntary and easy to implement, in addition it’s also a blueprint for filmmakers in deciding which film festivals to do business with.
Universal Film Issue 1 - 2012
Good Business Code of Practice for Film Festivals No 1: Film Festival organizers should operate a transparent selection process and publish details of the selection process and the names of the Jury/selection committee (publication can be after a festival concludes) No 2: Film festivals organizers should provide full contact details for the festival offices including address and telephone numbers and the names of the festival directors and or committee No 3: A Film Festival should publish its legal status as a company, charity or non-profit (this only applies to a registered entity) No 4: Film festival organizers should not share filmmakersâ€™ financial data with any third parties No 5: Film Festivals should publish a year by year history of festival winners and films officially selected No 6: Film festival organizers, committee and or jury should not show or demonstrate any favouritism to any film submitted to the festival or attempt to influence other members of the jury or selection committee No 7: Film Festivals should declare the number of films sought and/or invited by the festival organizers to participate in the festival prior to and before the general call for submissions is sent out No 8: Film Festivals should provide the names of the selection committee and/or jury members who viewed the submitted film screeners to the festival (this could be after the festival has concluded) No 9: Film festival organizers should view at least 5 minutes of all submitted films
No 10: All Festival organizers should declare any conflict of interest that may arise from any film submitted to or invited to participate in the festival
Universal Film JANUARY 2012
Tyrone Power IV The Powers The acting dynasty that spans 200 years
Tyrone Power Snr
yrone Power is a name we are all familiar with and many of us have seen his movies.
His great great grandfather was the first Tyrone Power (1795-1841), a famed Irish comedian. His grandfather, known as Tyrone Power Sr., was a huge star in the theatre and film in both classical and modern roles. His grandmother, Patia Riaume (Mrs. Tyrone Power), was also a Shakespearean actress as well as a respected dramatic coach. His father, Tyrone Edmund Power Jr. (also called Tyrone Power III) was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1914. He is now remembered as one of the great romantic swashbuckling stars of the twentieth century. Tragically, he died halfway through shooting Solomon and Sheba,
by Tyrone D Murphy
after he collapsed of a heart attack. On January 22, 1959, just a couple of months after Tyroneâ€™s death, Tyrone Power IV was born at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in Los Angeles.
More recently Tyrone (Ty) Power IV has taken on the role of Chairman of the UFFO committee USA.
Tyrone Power II
Tyrone Power Jr was educated at Pomona College in California. He inherited his fatherâ€™s striking good looks and followed in his fathers footsteps as an actor. Ty Power began his own acting career when he landed a role in a Shakespearean play in college and caught the acting bug. He went on to be a stage actor for seven years before he began his movie career. He landed his first movie role in Cocoon (1985). He returned three years later for the sequel to Cocoon. He has continued to make movies through the years in a variety
Tyrone Power III
Universal Film JANUARY 2012
Tyrone Power IV
Universal Film Issue 1 of 2012
WHO IS B
A US court handed down a one-year prison sentence to Hollywood director John McTiernan for having his producer’s phone tapped and then lying about it to the FBI. This is just one of a number of bizarre criminal case that highlight the mistrust in the film industry. John McTiernan was one of Hollywood’s most celebrated film directors. He shot action films such as “Die Hard,” “The Hunt for Red October,” and “The Last Action Hero”. He worked with stars like Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sean Connery. His movies grossed more than $1 billion at the box office. This bugging incident may well have remained a mere footnote but for the fact McTiernan hired private investigator Anthony Pellicano who worked regularly for the Hollywood’s elite. Pellicano’s previous clientele included names like Michael Jackson and Tom Cruise. What McTiernan didn’t know at the time was that he was involved in one of the biggest wiretapping affairs in US history. The McTiernan case began in 2000 while he was directing a remake of the 1970s “Rollerball” in Montreal. The production became embroiled in a row between producer Charles Roven (“12 Monkeys” and “City of Angels”) and McTiernan. The director wanted to make a modern “Spartacus,” in which a slave rebels against an inhumane system. But Roven insisted the movie be an “action adventure.” Shortly after shooting began a fire broke out and destroyed the set, and the movie went completely off the rails. The film’s main producer was the MGM studio, but McTiernan was worried Roven wanted to take control by buying up the studios. He also suspected the fire had been started deliberately. McTiernan hired Pellicano, who used a hardware-and software-based system that secretly records telephone conversations. FBI agents discovered a recording of a conversation between McTiernan and Pellicano during a search of the private investigator’s offices. In December 2008, Pellicano was given a 15-year jail sentence for 76 counts of illegal wiretapping, and in October 2010 McTiernan was sentenced to one year in prison.
by Tyrone D Murphy Goldcrest Offices Bugged? A few years ago Goldcrest Film & TV had serious concerns that their offices in central London were being bugged. A counter surveillance sweep team was brought in to sweep the building at the Dean Street in Central London.
Hidden Cameras in Lavatories? This story is far more repugnant: recently, hidden cameras were discovered in the lavatory of a well known media club in the heart of London. The miniature wireless camera was hidden in an everyday smoke detector and was discovered by a former surveillance specialist who was at the famous celebrity club on a night out.
After an extensive sweep of the building, the Sweep Team discovered a covert transmitting device hidden inside a common household UK-style mains adaptor. The device was found in the directors boardroom.
DB said, “ I noticed a rather cheap looking smoke detector on the ceiling in the toilets on the second floor. I immediately recognized the smoke detector as a type that I had sold previously as a wireless smoke detector with a hidden camera built in.
A covert listening device is commonly known as a bug and is a combination of a miniature radio transmitter with a microphone. The use of bugs, called bugging, is a common technique in surveillance, espionage and in police investigations. At the time, Mr. John Quested, the chief executive of Goldcrest Films and TV, had been charged by London’s Serious Fraud Office with conspiracy to “cause loss to others by falsifying documents made or required for an accounting purpose.”
Smoke Detector/ Hidden Camera
According to sources the covert listening device was a UHF transmitter device, ultra high frequency and very sophisticated. It is not known if the perpetrator was ever found.
This type of cheap smoke detector import would not have had a COC (certificate of compliance) as a smoke detector” DB goes on, “ I opened the cover and there was the miniature camera. In disgust I pulled the wires from the camera and left the lavatory.
Technology has changed much in recent years with cellular networks being utilised to listen in on conversations. A miniature device can be disguised and contain a camera or listening device and can be hidden in anything.
DB, the surveillance specialist who made the discovery was immediately accosted by security after leaving the lavatories and a heated exchange ensued outside the club in front of many witnesses. The security officer later denied that the conversation ever took place. Although this incident was reported to the police, no investigation ever took place. Apparently, installing hidden cameras in lavatories is legal in the UK!.
Transmitter disguised as an mains adaptor
Universal Film Issue 1 of 2012
Whither Film Festivals and Wherefore? There are no easy answers to the “Film Festival Question.” Not one. There are now so many film festivals that, if one could teleport, it would be easy to spend 24/7/365 in a theatre somewhere on earth watching movies without eating, sleeping, or relieving oneself. Even if I had mastered teleportation, I wouldn’t attend that many screenings. But the opportunity is clearly there. So what are we to do? And what, really, is the question? The “question” has, vaguely, to do with how to make your own film festival successful and, at the very least, pay for itself. That’s not easy, especially in the second decade of the 21st Century where the economics of the world have transmogrified into a surreal playing board worthy of Alice’s Wonderland. In the United States, especially, the film festival landscape -- long supported by charities, foundations, and the attendance of interested viewers -- has become barren and dodgy. Add to that formula the general collapse of theatrical motion picture exhibition in Europe and, especially, North America because of the rise in ticket prices and home theatres, and
by Edward Summer
you have a concoction sure to turn the most innovative programmers into babbling idiots. Our own festival has seen a drop -off in both attendance and entries. We have very, very low entry fees, and our admission prices are extremely reasonable (and heavily discounted if our audience just pays attention and orders early). We find a way to show almost every film that’s entered each year. It’s not hard, with a little care, to find a slot for the majority of short films, and we don’t receive all that many independent features (as compared to the number of shorts sent to us). One thing that would benefit us, and perhaps many others is reciprocity and cooperation among and between various festivals. Our region has just over a dozen film festivals, all of them of varied and non-competitive content. Yet it is nearly impossible to find out everyone’s scheduling in advance with an eye toward spreading events generously throughout the year to maximize audience interest, and it is just as difficult to get our associates to share promotional costs that could benefit everyone’s bottom line.
as a charitable event is remarkable, yet that festival seems to be the most difficult to collaborate with. If one speculated, it might be easy to surmise that they are most dependent upon their bottom line to survive, whereas charities potentially have other options and fewer commercial expenses. Nonetheless, the benefit to a community from both commercial and noncommercial film festivals is immense and grows with both the local and international appeal of the events in the aggregate throughout a year. One supposes that this is true all over the world. So, let’s all consider: How do we -- collectively -- improve and refine the film festival climate? How do we help each other to survive, expand, encourage better movies, and make the world a better place -- if only by entertaining our fellow human beings for a few joyous hours? I have no idea. Let me know what you think. Ed
The fact that at least one film festival is run as a commercial venture and not
Edward Summer Executive Director Buffalo International Film Festival Buffalo and Western New York State, United States
Issue 1 2012
Film Festiv THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY... by Tyrone D Murphy
ome film festivals are set up solely to con and rip off the filmmaking community. With the recent explosion of film festivals all over the world it was inevitable that the scammers would consequently follow. This was highlighted recently with a number of film festivals around the world including the Swansea Bay Film Festival in the UK. The Swansea Bay Film Festival was set up by Binda Singh, a charismatic character with a silver tongue by all accounts. He managed to secure the patronage of actors Catherine Zeta Jones/Douglas and Michael Sheen for the festival and he was raking in the cash. All seemed to be going well for Singh who had expanded his operations and was now running up to sixteen film festivals through the AMRISTA organization ‘Academy of Media, Recording, Interactive, Television & Stage Arts’ a grandiose name I am sure you will agree, but grandiose in name only? AMRISTA was operating film festivals in countries such as Australia, Egypt, USA, Ireland, Thailand, the Caribbean, South Africa and many more. Business was booming for Singh. If a film-maker submitted their film to a festival throught the AMRITSA organization, they would also be accepted into 10 other AMRISTA festivals. How good can it get for an aspiring filmmaker?
After receiving the fantastic news that 10 international film festivals just simply loved your film that was a labour of love, you now had to pay £30 for the submission of your film into each AMRISTA festival. £300, not bad considering you are now going to be the next Tarantino! And now you have gone and told all your family and friends. Now, the hard truth. Most of the festivals were nothing more than a screening normally held in a small room with a couple of chairs. All profit and literally no outlay for Binda Singh. Actors Catherine Zeta Jones/Douglas and Michael Sheen had also attached their names to a backstreet operation that gave tin cans out as awards. In comes the heroes of the story: two American filmmakers - California filmmakers Steve Rosen and Terri DeBono - arrived at the Swansea Bay festival. It didn’t take them long to work out the Swansea Bay Festival was a sham. They were so infuriated at the unprofessional way the festival was run they decided to make a documentary about the now notorious festival.
The documentary is now available on YouTube, titled “Looking for an Audience”. The film details their arriving in south Wales to discover that their film had no screening time and the main audience was other film-makers with entries at the event. Another maverick film-maker, Paul O’Connor was the first to highlight his concerns over Singh’s festival activities, on his Undercurrent blog. Singh had a considerable amount of public authority support; local politicians are now asking where public money went. It would seem that is all they are doing. We spoke to Singh and he blamed the bad management of the film festival on the volunteers, volunteers who were never paid!
Be on the lookout for scam festivals While we all love film festivals and they are crucial to screening filmmakers’ work and recognising talent there are a few bad apples in every barrel that give the rest a bad name. We are committed (UFFO & UFM) to routing out the criminal and shady operators and bringing about a fair and transparent way of doing business. This can only benefit the whole community and we ask you to be vigilant and look out for possible scam festivals. please e mail us firstname.lastname@example.org.
Issue 1 - 2012
val Stories Another festival that has been a cause of concern is LALIFF, which is directed by Edward James Olmos. every filmmaker who submitted a film to his festival telling every one of them that they were nominated for an award.
The Famewalk Film Festival is another festival that is a complete farce. The festival was set up and run by Andrew Hughes AKA Andrew Von Gregor, a guitarist. He frequently tells people that he is from Miami FL but our investigation has shown he is originally from Steelton, PA and last we heard he was living in a studio apartment on sycamore Avenue in Hollywood, CA. The festival is just very a basic website, and he has been charging $50 for submitted films with all mail going to a mailbox. Von Gregor sent out the odd e-mail stating that awards nominations would be announced soon, but nothing ever came. There is no jury, no selection process and he cannot be contacted. Efforts were made many times by filmmakers but he has ignored all contact to date. When Von Gregor found out that we were on his case he sent an e-mail to
He also sent us an e-mail stating that Andrew Huges is being replaced by Andrew Von Gregor. He is however one and the same. We believe this is an attempt to appease the filmmakers who had concerns about the way the festival was operating, or should we say, not operating at all. When all is said and done this is the typical type of festival that sets up overnight, takes in as many submissions as they possibly can and then ignores all contact from filmmakers. Is this festival for you? Have you submitted a film to this festival? If so, here are the details. Andrew von Gregor www.andrewgregor.com Birthdate, October 19, 1971 AKA Andrew Hughes Famewalk Films Info@FamewalkFilms.com
The official selections were made for the 2011 Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival, which kicked off on July 17 and held at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. Among the selections was the movie “America,” which stars (you got it) Edward James Olmos’ own wife, Lymari Nadal. Mr. Olmos is also in the film alongside a Latino star-studded cast . It gets better; Mr. Edward James Olmos is an executive producer of the movie “America.” Now this may all be very respectable, but does it not seem strange that Mr. Olmos, a co-founder of the Latino International Film Institute which organizes the festival each year, is using the film festival as a vehicle to promote his own and his wife’s films? Is this a clear case of a conflict of interest? Did other filmmakers submit films to this festival in this category? The festival has declined to comment. Surprise surprise!
The Topanga Film Festival ripped off Topanga Film Festival, a non-profit organization reported losing $20,000 in funds when Pacific Palisades-based International Humanities Centre (IHC) closed its offices suddenly. IHC is now under investigation for nearly $1 million in missing funds. The IRS and the FBI may also get involved. IHC Executive Director Steve Sugarman is apparently missing, the offices are closed, the company’s telephones cut off and the website taken down.
full story in the next issue:
Universal Film Issue 1 of 2012
Queen of Scams
Documentary on the Queens International Film Festival by Dan Nuxoll & Martha Shane She has been sued countless times and accused of fraud under many different names, relating to four different film festivals in three different cities. There is an elderly egg farmer who claimed he gave Marie and her husband his life savings to make a gangster movie, and there is a single mom who says Marie took her last dime. And all that is just the beginning. Everyone we spoke to said that Marie could be charming, sweet, vulnerable, and captivating. Yet everywhere we looked there were accusations of fraud, piles of unpaid bills, and people whose lives had been left in disarray. The deeper we dug, the more we wanted to know.
Marie Castaldo being interviewed for the documentary
ver since 2007, we have been chasing the enigmatic Marie Castaldo, convicted criminal, alleged con artist and proprietor of scandal-plagued film festivals. Directed by Martha Shane (Producer and codirector of “Bi The Way”) and Dan Nuxoll (Program Director of Rooftop Films, coproducer of “Kiss My Snake”), The Mystery of Marie Castaldo and the Queens International Film Festival will take the audience on a voyage of discovery from Africa to Paris to L.A. to Queens to Riker’s Island, and finally to the small apartment in London where we finally met Marie face to face. In the end, we hope to come to a better understanding of what truly drives Marie Castaldo. The Story My name is Dan Nuxoll, and I am the Program Director for Rooftop Films, an outdoor film festival in New York. It’s a great job and I really enjoy it, but right now I would like to tell you about a different sort of project that I am working on. In 2007, a festival director named Marie Castaldo called me up and said she was looking to rent some equipment for her Queens International Film Festival. We rented her some gear, but never got a deposit, and after the festival was over, Marie disappeared without paying a dime. A year later, when I discovered that Marie was presenting the festival again, I decided to take action. I called the festival, left a message, and was subsequently contacted by Marie, who threatened that if I showed up at the festival, there would be “men there who would make me regret it.” As I soon learned, however, Rooftop Films wasn’t the only company that Marie hadn’t paid over the years.
Around this time, I met a filmmaker named Martha Shane. Martha and I started to do a little research, and bit by bit, we began to uncover a trail of unpaid bills and allegations of fraud that covered Marie’s twenty-plus years of working in the New York and Los Angeles film industries. Finally, Rooftop Films, along with a number of other people who claimed they had been defrauded by the Queens International Film Festival, brought Marie’s actions to the attention of the Queens DA. But for many months, the case rested there, as Martha and I continued to learn of increasingly bizarre allegations against Marie. Finally, just as we were beginning to think that no action would ever be taken by the Queens DA’s office, there was a shocking turn of events. Marie was arrested on multiple counts of animal abuse in upstate New York. While she waited in jail there, the Queens DA was informed of her arrest, and Marie was transferred to Riker’s Island. It was nearing the end of 2010 when Marie plead guilty to multiple counts of fraud and animal abuse and was deported back to France. When we started investigating Marie, we quickly became enthralled by the wild scope of her life. She has been married multiple times on multiple continents, and she claims that two of her exes threatened to kill her. We’ve heard stories from past associates describing bizarre scams and shady deals that they claimed Marie or her ex-husbands had pulled - from--run-of --the mill bounced checks, to small town Ponzi schemes, to an attempt to sell Q-Tips off the back of a stolen pharmaceutical truck.
Who is this woman? Marie was a fascinating enigma to us, and we dove headfirst into our research. We tried to find out everything we could about Marie’s life, combing through old articles, interviewing many of the people who have worked with her in the past, speaking with ex-boyfriends and alleged victims, and compiling a tremendous amount of raw information and footage. But the most fascinating part of this investigation came a few months ago when we finally met Marie face to face and interviewed her in London. The thing that still troubled us as we headed to Europe was that we couldn’t understand why Marie had gotten involved in all of these unusual situations. If she was simply a run-of-the-mill con -artist, then some of her actions, such as giving fee waivers to filmmakers who submitted to her festivals, just didn’t make sense. But at the same time, she had been accused of so many different schemes by so many different people, it also didn’t seem possible that she was completely innocent of blame as she so often claimed. Our interviews in London cleared up some of our confusion, but our time with Marie created as many questions as it answered. After spending more than 25 hours with Marie in a blacked out apartment in London, poring over the details of her life and crimes, we realized just how difficult it can be to parse out the truth about someone’s life. In many ways, we have more information, but will we ever know the truth. For information on “The Mystery of Marie Jocelyne” documentary Contact : email@example.com We (UFM & UFFO) support the efforts of these maverick filmmakers who are making a difference.
Universal Film Issue 1 - 2012
Caramel Popcorn from Mama Roseâ€™s kitchen Honey Rosemary Caramel Popcorn 2 tablespoons coconut oil 1/2 cup popcorn 12 stick unsalted butter 1/2 cup honey 1 1/2 tablespoon rosemary leaves 3/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon baking soda Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Place corn kernels and oil in a large pot over medium to high heat. Once the kernels start to pop, start shaking pot to ensure all kernels get popped. Hold a few inches above the flame and shake until no popping sounds remain. Remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl. Cook butter and honey in a medium saucepan and stir constantly until the butter is completely melted and the mixture is very hot (250 degrees if you have a candy thermometer). Remove from heat and stir in the rosemary, salt and baking soda. This combination of ingredients will bubble up slightly. Pour over popcorn and toss to coat. Spread popcorn on a cookie sheet and bake for approximately 45 minutes until somewhat dry. Allow to cool then break into small chunks before serving. Rosemary Febbo Mama Roseâ€™s Kitchen www.roseskitchen.com
KZFR 90.1 FM http://www.kzfr.org
Universal Film Issue 1 of 2012
A NO BUDGET MOVIE? by Tyrone D Murphy
“The Vein Within”
INTERVIEW WITH WRITER AND DIRECTOR PHILIP A McCARTHY...
Graveyard and have been refused permission. This was due to too much bureaucratic red tape and a complete lack of support for up and coming filmmakers from all quarters in local government. They are far too busy chasing up parking tickets to be bothered with filmmakers. However, we simply did it guerrilla style and had to apply the same methodology to the rest of the film. A phrase that has been attached to the film is “low budget”, this is “no budget.” What’s driving this production is the passion of the actors and the crew. It’s not an easy road. I’ve been knocked many times and been put down, but you need to hold your head up high, brush off the dust and carry on.” Shooting on location in and around Cork City, Ireland, the film stars Don Baker, best known for his co-starring role in the film “In the Name of the Father.” The film, “The Vein Within,” is scheduled to be released in 2012.
” was told that I’d never do anything with my life, and that this film would never be made” says Phillip A. McCarthy as he sits in a cramped recording booth, chewing gum intensely, jumping at the chance to speak about his new film. That film is the new independent Irish feature “The Vein Within” which is currently shooting in Cork City. The subject of the film is one McCarthy knows all too well, addiction. He is a recovering heroin addict who decided to use his knowledge of drug addiction and recovery to make the film. McCarthy said, “I want to raise awareness about the drug problem in Ireland
and in particular, Cork; a city which is being ravaged with drug addiction.”
UFM will keep you posted on developments.
The film tells the story of Mick Barrett, a drug addict in his 20s who is caught in the world of crime and the consequences of his addiction. Unlike the dark seedy world portrayed in the film, where the majority of the characters are taken to the edge by heroin and never come back, McCarthy has escaped that faith and has used his experience to create “The Vein Within. “ The person who inspired McCarthy to write the screenplay was a young man who he had met while in recovery, who helped McCarthy overcome his demons, but, sadly couldn’t overcome his own. “The struggle he had fighting the heroin addiction just blew me away, “said McCarthy. The production is about as far from a big budget film as you can get; and as such, the production has faced a great number of setbacks, particularly when it comes to securing filming permits and locations to shoot in. McCarthy explained the struggle he faced with getting past the red tape: “Well to be honest, we’re still in that position now. We’re planning shooting a scene in a
Universal Film Issue 1 of 2012
Basic $ Considerations for Filmmakers When an independent film is successful, it is the result of the creative, networking and business abilities of all those involved. It is important for the filmmaker to receive sound legal advice and be aware of how and why distributions are made. Most films pay participants a flat fee. These payments are usually apportioned based on the planned number of weeks for production. Except for those production members actively involved in pre-production, payments will not begin until principal photography. Cast and crew members may be paid per diems, as well as salaries. These Per diems are modest payments based on the number of days worked and are designed to assist with personal expenses (such as food and travel). When shooting an independent film, cash flows are a major issue. By deferring expenses, filmmakers can shoot a movie with less money than would normally be required. This allows budget expenses to be paid from the film’s future revenues. It is often not possible to defer all expenses, but participants are often willing to defer all or part of their salaries. As the salaries are budgeted costs, they must be paid before any capital is returned to investors or profits are paid. The other form of payment to film participants is from profit participation in the film. Definitions of “profit participation” are open to manipulation. However, many independent filmmakers do not have the studio overhead or other charges that major studios have. As a result, there is more likely to be legitimate profit distribution. “Profit” must always be defined in legal documentation. “Profit” is what is left after all expenses are paid, all investment is returned to investors and a reserve fund is made for the ongoing operations of the film company. Except as provided in profit participation agreements, all profits belong to the film company. Due to the importance of profit participation agreements, they should be referred to in the offering documents for the film company. Profit participation agreements should stipulate when profit is earned. This should be when an employment task is successfully completed, as opposed to when an employment contract is signed.
The filmmaker should ensure that their legal counsel negotiates all contracts to maintain sufficient leverage in situations where actors decide to walk away from a project. by Gene Goodsell, Esq. Entertainment Lawyer contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
ilm la F 012
s er e 1 - 2 v i n ssu
Why Run a Film Festival? Since beings first huddled around a fire to celebrate a victorious hunt, acting out the roles of the hunted and the hunter, storytelling has been part of the glue that binds us together. Even though technology now makes it possible for moving images to reach into the darkness and surround us, assault us, transport us, we gather for the same reason: the telling, the hearing, the sharing of the story.
very year thousands of films are pitched or discussed. A bunch of them begin shooting, and some of those are actually finished. A few of those might participate in some kind of collective viewing experience – a festival or a theatrical run. Yet thousands and thousands of filmmakers all over the world are telling stories through the moving image with equipment and gadgets small enough to fit in your pocket and the net is deluged with messages, clips, promos, contests, tweets, posts and re-posts. We join virtual communities to view, rate and forward short clips based on viewer videos based on a commercial based on a web series based on a comedy skit based on a music video based on a dancing kitty. Communal Experience The watching of films was intended to be a communal experience, but we’ve lost that…we go to the movies at the multiplex/amusement park/food court/arcade. Yes, we do sit right next to others, but we have our own cup holder, special glasses and snack trays. We sit together, but we have not gathered. Festivals celebrate gathering. With rosters of eclectic films, talk-backs and relevant panels, festivals are designed to promote interaction, conversation, and communion. The variety of material available allows us to give voice to stories outside the multinational corporate studio system, stories that resonate with universal truths. And they are out there, these storytellers. We hear from them. We receive their films in handmade boxes with heartfelt notes, slick packages with impressive pedigrees and sometimes just a simple copy of their story. Their story!
Right now there are over 150 films in our living room, organized by category, theme and content. When we open a shipping package, the filmmaker steps into our living room. We feel them and we feel what it took to bring their story forward. It reminds us that it is now our turn to carry that load.
At the best festivals, people gather, tribes form, the talk is exaggerated and thoughts linger on the stories told, long after the circus leaves town. And that’s why we run a festival.
It is important to us. It’s not about the parties, the red carpet, screening our own work or giving ourselves awards. It’s not about making money off of the efforts of the filmmakers, it’s about screening work that resonates, invigorates, infuriates.
For more information on Queens World Film Festival visit www. queensworldfilmfestival.com or visit us on Facebook or follow us on twitter @queensworldfilm
By Don and Katha Cato, Co-Directors of the Queens World Film Festival
Give credit where credit is due Who owns the cast and crews credits on a movie? I worked on a film last year as a 1st AD. It was during the hot summer period on the English coast, shooting on some very picturesque beach locations. The director was a first--time director and was, as you would expect, relying heavily on the experience and expertise of the rest of the film crew to get the job done. Not all went as planned, as happens on most film sets. We were very shorthanded and the assistance of a runner was required. A local guy who was on one of the locations knew the continuity girl and he offered to help out. It was greatly received by at least some of the crew. He spent the last three days of the shoot doing whatever was required of him. He received no pay whatsoever for his contribution but he would at least have a credit on the film as a runner, or at least one would have thought so. As the old saying goes, you give credit where credit is due. This is even more important in the entertainment industry and especially if you are not getting paid as the credit is all you have for your efforts. The film was wrapped despite literally fighting against the incoming tide from the sea. When the film went to the edit, I was more than a little taken back to discover the runner was not being credited for his work. This of course did not sit well with me and other members of the crew. The director simply stated that she did not ask for his help (he offered) so he was not getting any credit on the film. The director was being precious and bitchy about the credits and simply thought that she had the right to distribute the credits to whomever she wanted to. Anyone who works on a film (as we all know) is entitled to be credited for their hard work. Anyone who goes against this golden rule may find that not a lot of people will want to work with them in the future. One can only hope this first time filmmaker will listen! by Tyrone D Murphy
i lm lF rsa 2012 ive e 1 Un Issu
Vimeo & Copyright Does UK Copyright conflict with the USA Digital Millennium Act?
I contacted the first--time producer and raised the issue and he said he would correct the title credits and remove himself as a codirector. A few weeks passed and his name was still on the video as a co director.
Under Section 512(c) of the USA DMCA there is a general requirement that the ISPs must not be aware of the presence of infringing material or know any facts or circumstances that would make infringing material apparent. An ISP cannot qualify for the 512(c) safe harbour if they have actual knowledge that they are hosting infringing material or are aware of facts or circumstances from which infringing activity is apparent. The UK copyright laws are clear: both a Producer and Director share in the copyright equally. Vimeo had evidence that I am one of the copyright owners of the work. In addition, I provided evidence that the counter notice contained false
Vimeo: Under penalty of perjury! is this a joke?
I contacted Youtube and they removed the video.Because the video had an inflated view count thanks to a computer script, YouTube closed the producer’s account permanently. The majority of views had come from Vietnam. Next chapter: a cameraman also on the project decided to publish the video without any credits at all, promoting it as his own work. I sent a copyright infringement notice to Vimeo and had the music video removed once again. This is where it gets silly. The cameraman then made a counter notice stating he had my permission to publish the video and provided additional false information to Vimeo (this was done under “penalty of perjury”). After some lengthy correspondence with Vimeo, they reinstated the video on the cameramans Vimeo account. Despite Vimeo having clear evidence that the cameraman had provided false information under penalty of perjury, they refused to remove the music video. They cited the Digital Meillennium Copyright Act (DCMA) telling me to get a court order and they would remove the infringing video.
information, and Vimto still restored the music video on the cameramans Vimeo account. In a high--profile court action between EMI and Vimeo, EMI argues that Vimeo had abandoned its safe harbour protections by having actual knowledge of infringement occurring on its site, and then profiting from that infringement. The core assertion by EMI was that Vimeo staﬀ had actual knowledge of such infringement; that they exercise control over uploaded videos; that they have uploaded such videos themselves; and that staﬀers have even told community members that unlicensed music was fine to use. “Our website is about original videos, not original music,” said one Vimeo staﬀer quoted in the lawsuit. And EMI isn’t pleased that Vimeo founder Jakob Lodwick actually coined the term “lip dubs” and has produced some of his own Video clips featuring complete songs that have also been featured as “Staﬀ Picks” on the site. The kicker to the story is that I recently learned that the community music video project that I worked on for free was not a charitable project but was a for profit music video. Lessons Learned I won’t support VIMEO Make sure everything is in writing
Not just a young person’s game!
What comes to mind when you hear the phrase “Up and Coming Filmmaker!”? Young man, baseball hat on backwards, headphones around his neck, discussing whether independent filmmakers are going to outperform the studios? There is a new kid in town. Only he (or she) is no kid. Over forties and fifties are picking up the career of filmmaker in big numbers. They bring the skills needed to write, produce, direct, act and engage in all other aspects of the filmmaking process to the table. People statistically change careers at least 3 times in their lifetime. The professional and life skills honed are indispensable and absolutely transferable to the film industry. After a person has had a career, raised (or raising) a family, lived through the ups and down inherent in just BEING ALIVE, who cares what others might think? You get to trust yourself, your resourcefulness and your abilities. It is a perfect time to follow your dreams. Attendees at film schools and courses are much more likely to be of “a certain age.“ On a set, you will see a great mix of people, young, mature and everyone else in between. An “Up and Coming Filmmaker” can very easily be a “Tried and True” adult, with a history of expertise and the professionalism to get the job done. There is no reason not to follow a dream that was once set aside for other priorities, and every reason it can actually become another career. Young or not so young ....do it! by Margaret Dane
by Tyrone D Murphy
I recently wrote and directed a music video for a first--time producer in the UK. The final version was a pretty good piece of work even if I say so myself. We included some stock footage of a sailing ship and helicopter shots to give the project some reasonable production value. I did this as a community project, no pay, as you do from time to time. However, when the music video was published on Vimeo and YouTube I noticed that the producer had included himself as a codirector, making my own contribution, as I saw it, worthless.
CHERRY PICKING Issue 1 2012
WHAT IS THE CHERRY PICKING POLICY OF FILM FESTIVALS ?
Over the past year we (UFFO) have seen many fraudulent activities by disreputable film festivals from all over the world. Most of these festivals recieve 200 to 400 submissions annually and are considered small in comparison to the bigger film festivals that have 10,000 to 20,000 submissions every year. However, fraudulent activity is not limited to the small film festivals. We were astounded to learn recently from a respected film festival director in the USA about a major festival in the US that sets up its entire screening programme with films invited in from other festivals. Nothing wrong with that, is there? Well, there is with this festival. After the screening programme is completed in its entirety, only then does a general call for submissions then go out to the filmmaking community. Films that are submitted to this festival are just trashed/binned without ever being opened. The staff simply look at the tracking number on the outside of the package, look it up on the computer , verify payment has been received through the online submission provider and then toss it in the trash. The submitted films are never opened, never screened, never looked at.
Look at the numbers!
This story gave us cause for grave concern (where does all this end?) we began looking into some of the bigger film festivals around the world to see how they conduct business. From what we have seen, the little guy has little or no chance competing in the big festivals. Why would you submit your film to a big festival when there is little or no hope your film is going to be chosen or selected? Most of the films that are in competition in the bigger festivals have the support of major distributors and studios with millions in campaign funds. Not only that, most of the films are invited to take part in the festival are big budget films or already have distribution in place. As a filmmaker you can conduct your own due diligence by researching the bigger festivals to which you are thinking about submitting your film. Look at the numbers, contact the festival and ask them how many films are invited to take part in their festival. What percentage of these films wins awards? What percentage of newcomers’ films are selected or win awards? What percentage of these films does not have distribution? If the festival refuses to answer your queries, then we suggest you pass them by. To try to establish a level playing field we have written an open letter (opposite) to all the big festivals around the world asking these important questions. We will be publishing their replies as soon as we receive it, if we ever do!
The Universal Film Promoting a Good Business Dear Festival Director
We are writing to you to introduce you to U which promotes a good business code of pr we have enlisted the support of 120 interna 2011.
We ask you kindly to assist UFFO and the the bigger festivals toward films that are in as a “Cherry Picking Policy”
If I may explain: Given the rise of disreput have a very difficult task in determining wh Recently we received information that at le entire screening programme prior to the gen community.
We would therefore ask that you, in the int community and the festival community, pr 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
How many films are invited to tak How many films invited to take pa How many films) are invited to tak general call for submissions? What percentage of films submitte your festival each year? What percentage of films submitte festival each year typically win aw
We graciously ask that you provide this inf operation. We thank you in advance for you gratitude of the filmmaking community Kind Regards, Tyrone D. Murphy
Founder & CEO
A copy of the letter is on the UFFO website: www.uffo.org
© Universal Film & Festiva
Universal Film Issue 1 of 2012
Tips to Film Festivals IF A FESTIVAL SEEMS ODD IN ANY WAY - PASS THEM BY We all love film festivals and they are a very important part of the industry. However, one thing that all filmmakers should do is to check out the festival before submitting a film. Use common sense and look at the history of the festival. If there is nothing available on the festival, then think twice!
m & Festival Organisation Code of Practice for Film Festivals
Find out if the festival is an online festival or an annual event. And find out where the event takes place. Find out the names of the festival directors and programmers and make sure they have an address, telephone number and web site so they can be contacted.
UFFO the Universal Film and Festival Organization ractice for film festivals. Recently dubbed Fest-COP ational film festivals since our launch on the 1st July
filmmaking community in determining the policy of nvited to take part in the festival. The is now known
able film festivals around the world, filmmakers hich festivals to which they will submit their films. east one major festival in the USA completes its neral call for submissions from the filmmaking
erests of the entire filmmaking and festival rovide us with the following information
ke part in your festival each year? art in your film festival every year win awards? ke part in the film festival every year, prior to the
Find out if the festival has a selection committee and if it is made up of Industry professionals. Ask if the festival is non-jury or has a jury made up of industry professionals? Find out if the festival directors are connected in any way to any of the films in competition. Ask about the organization’s publicity for the festival and where they advertise. What are the previous year’s attendance and submissions figures. Ask how many films are invited in to take part every year in the festival. (Cherry Picking) Ask if the festival is sponsored by distributors or any other company, and whether these companies have films in competition at the festival. (Review the history)
ed by first time entrants are typically selected by
Do not give out your private financial details unless you are sure about a festival.
ed by first time entrants that are selected by your wards
Do not submit a film to a film festival if the awards are going to the festival directors’ own films or their friends’ films.
formation from the last five years of your festival’s ur assistance in this matter and you have the
If a film festival is charging a submission fee and giving you a guaranteed screening for your film but there is no real festival, just a screening event, we suggest that you pass them by. There are a lot of one man band film festivals out there, many of whom provide a very valuable service to the local community and to the filmmaking community. However, if such a festival is not in your local community, does it really make good sense submitting your film to a festival half way round the world to compete with local filmmakers who can bring their own audience and can canvas the area prior to the festival? IMPORTANT! Do not rely on any of the online submission providers to weed out scam festivals. They are in business to take a percentage of your submission fee and not to make sure your submission fee is protected from fraudsters. This is about to change as we (UFFO) are currently working toward this
We have much more information available on the UFFO website, www.uffo.org. We will also be publishing the UFFO book on Film Festivals in the near future that will tell it the way it is. by Tyrone D Murphy www.uﬀo.org
al Organisation 2012 www.uffo.org
Universal Film Issue 1 - 2012
THE ETHICS of Changing the Distribution Model of Films...
t wasn’t too long ago that consumers read their news exclusively from newspapers, and audiences watched movies at the theatres. All that seems to be changing as technology takes on a new lead. A report in the New York Times discussed the alarming decline of movie-goers in North America for 2011, which saw ticket sales at 500 million dollars behind last year. As technology is increasing at a rapid rate, critics are wondering how this will impact the film industry. One impact is ethics. The film industry has always been against new technology, such DVDs, VHS, or even television sets threatening movie theatres in the 1950s. While the technologies have proven to be undisruptive and - wait for it-marketable, the film distribution model doesn’t have enough room yet for new digital distribution.One consequence of this new technology is piracy, or the copyright infringement of audio-visual works. While piracy poses a big threat to the movie industry, the unethical behaviour of pirating films nowadays seems almost normal. As with the technology of high-speed internet, downloading or streaming movies is as easy as a few keyboard strokes. Digital distribution has proven itself
convenient for audiences worldwide, as seen with the fast rise of Netflix and Hulu, but this revolution is causing a stir in Hollywood. As I understand it, the distribution model works through “windows”. In this sense, film executives are managing the consumer’s access to films in order to extract every dollar from the project. The logic is sensible, as making movie is time-consuming, expensive and most of all, risky. However, some may reason that, funneling the consumer through this movie stream is not a good business model. In a recent post, VC blogger Fred Wilson expressed his opinion on the matter stating, “I totally get that the studios need to make a lot of money on those movies to make their business model work. But denying customers the films they want, on the devices they want to watch them, when they want to watch them is not a great business model.” Wilson continues to argue that this structure will prevent piracy. So the question is, should it be the responsibility of the film industry to appeal its distribution model to the fast demand of moviewatchers, or should audiences hold the industry to a higher standard? by Frederick Montgomery Centre for International Media Ethics
A TRAILER FESTIVAL? The original idea of The Trailer Festival seems to have been welcomed by the industry who, like the Festival Director, is all hoping the next Paranormal Activity is going to turn up in the Trailer Festival’s screening room! The first two events were attended exclusively by film industry and included executives from Paramount, Fox, Disney, PBS and many other high profile companies. All the trailers that are accepted are uploaded into an Online Screening Room and for a year following the event executives from production, management and distribution companies’ login to take a look and request DVDs and scripts for trailers that they like. The festival now has a database of over 700 industry professionals, which include Universal, Warner Bros, HBO, ABC and Lionsgate. If a trailer is good, and they think they can sell it, they put it in, their goal being to keep the screening room brimming with great projects. The trailers are all divided into categories, so even if they have 100+ trailers, each category on average would contain 20, which would take viewers about 50 minutes to watch. The festival is able to monitor when audiences log in, what they look at, if they skip or click off during viewing, and it seems most executives will spend an hour online, looking for the jewel in the crown. www.thetrailerfestival.com. by Tyrone D Murphy
Food & Film Two turkeys, one goose, four cabbages, but no duck...
ake, two turkeys, one goose, four cabbages, but no duck, and mix them together. After one taste, you’ll duck soup for the rest of your life.” This was an actual quote from Groucho Marx about the title of the 1927 film Duck Soup, featuring the Marx Brothers. Not a movie about food, but named after a version of soup. Fast forward to 1989 when director Peter Greenaway creates an atmosphere of gluttony, obsession, torture and murder all mixed with voracious amounts of food between scenes in The Cook, The Thief, His Lover & Her Lover. Nineteen ninety-one brought us a French film, Delicatessen where a butcher who dabbed in cannibalism kept his customers supplied with fresh meat until the butcher’s daughter fell in love with a vegetarian circus performer and had to help him and his band of freedom fighters avoid the father’s clever. This film was directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet & Marc Caro. From Ratatouille to Big Night, food has been the basis for tales woven into the fabric of cinema. Food, glorious food, makes the visuals of film deliciously appetizing. Entire scenes revolve exclusively around the preparing and presentation of a single dish like in the movie Eat Drink Man Woman where Chef Chu is featured plucking a live chicken from his backyard coop and minutes later turning it into a steaming, mouth-watering casserole dish. Food is featured in backdrops of arguments and tantalizing sex scenes like in 9 1/2 Weeks or created with a single fig in Women in Love when Alan Bates compares the fig to a woman’s most female part and presents the most vulgar way to eat one. Many of the films that feature food as its star are cult classics about primal hungers; physical, social, spiritual and sexual. Some go into the foray of food history, culture and traditions while other simply whet your appetite with tantalizing culinary delights. In the new iPhone APP & soon to be book, Cooking to Impress Chicks, the Field Guide for the Culinary Casanova, Chapter 11 shows us that Cuddling While Watching a Movie just doesn’t have to be combined with only popcorn, there are other snacks that will impress a favourite date, especially if you will be watching a movie filled with close ups of delicious, succulent, nummy, lip-smacking scenes about food. You don’t want to be watching these movies on an empty stomach, but maybe no soup! by Rosemary Febbo
Issue 1 - 2012
Universal Film Issue 1 - 2012
UFFO FILM FESTIVALS THAT HAVE ADOPTE
The 3rd Annual New Media Film Festival takes place on June 12 & 13th 2012 at the Landmark Theatre 10850 W Pico Blvd. Los Angeles. The Best in New Media.....Honoring Stories Worth Telling . â€œSundance for the Facebook Crowdâ€?-Culture Rehab . Judges from Pixar, Industrial Light & Magic, The Caucus. Over $45k in prizes combined. Choose from 17 Categories. All Ages, All Cultures, All Media, Affordable. Each submission is considered for distribution, screening and competition. www.NewMediaFilmFestival.com Click on submit.
Use discount code NM254
New Media Film Festival The 2012 Cape Winelands Film Festival (CWFF) is proud to again present an unparalleled window on quality films from around the globe. The rich selection of world cinema includes more than 150 features, documentaries and shorts, all which have won more than 420 international awards. The CWFF short film competition has developed into one of the most important film festival platforms in South Africa for quality productions from around the world. The festival remains an important forum for South African cinema
Cape Winelands Film Festival
FoPe Fest performs traditional and contemporary arts and cultures of countries and people from all around the World. A multi-arts festival including music, dance, film, literature sections, visual arts, from folk to street art. Come and join us online soon! Antonietta Ciarniello Founder & Director FoPe Fest - International Festival of Folk & People Arts and Cultures E-mail: email@example.com
The Universal Martial Arts Film Festival (UMAFF) showcases films that explore the martial practice, philosophy, aesthetic and spirituality. The Universal Martial Arts Film Festival (UMAFF) encourages an emerging generation of filmmakers whose films treat various aspects of the field of the martial arts; those of the arts of combat and the arts of health. The purpose being to collect and to protect the memory, to educate the public, to share and to pass on the knowledge.
Universal Martial Arts Film Festival Queens World Film Festival Henry Street Settlement opens doors of opportunity to enrich lives and enhance human progress for Lower East Side residents and New Yorkers through social services, arts and health care programs. Katha Cato Director of After-School and Camp Services Henry Street Settlement 301 Henry Street New York, New York 10002 212-254-3100, ext 263
Queens World International Film Festival
Buffalo International Film Festival: Movies of the World. Founded as a not-for-profit charity in Buffalo, NY, United States in 2004, The Buffalo Film Festival has grown to one of the largest in NY State outside of the Manhattan area. It features world premieres of varied live-action and animated films from all over the world and encourages attendance by the filmmakers for screenings, workshops, Q&A. Sidebars include animation, 3D, films on Comic Books, H.P. Lovecraft, music videos and more.
FoPe Film Festival
Buffalo International Film Festival
ED THE GOOD BUSINESS CODE OF PRACTICE
Universal Film Issue 1 - 2012
FLICKERS: Rhode Island International Film Festival (RIIFF) has secured its place in the global community as the portal for the best in international independent cinema.
The Reggae Film Festival -April 1721 in Kingston, Jamaica showcases films featuring Jamaica’s Reggae music culture. The event includes World Cinema, Caribbean Programme;
RIIFF is one of 65 festivals worldwide that is a qualifying festival for the Academy Awards. For more information,
Make A Film In 24 Hours; Cine Jamaica; Animation and a celebrating in film of the Jamaican 50 Independence anniversary honouring Jamaican films and film makers.
Rhode Island Film Festival The Association Talulah is made up of volunteer entertainment industry professionals who participate in Talulah’s activities during their free time. Talulah is NON-political and NONreligious. We work towards sharing our passion for cinema, nature, a fantasy world and to expand access to culture to everyone. The 3rd edition of the Festival du film Merveilleux & Imaginaire will take place from June 28th - 30th, 2012. Theatre Douze, 6 avenue Maurice Ravel 75012 Paris
The Reggae Film Festival CIFF California works to meld the vision of Art and Commerce, and blend it with Travel and Tourism presenting a wellbalanced, and well received, presentation of Chico’s only Independent Film Festival. www.chicoindependentfilmfestival.org Chico Independent Filmmakers and related artists are in the forefront of digital film making. We look forward to our opportunity to promote another facet of the vibrant arts community in Chico of the third season of the Chico Independent Film Festival October 24th-28th, 2012!
TALULAH Film Festival
Chico Independent Film Festival
The Corona Fastnet Short Film Festival is dedicated to bringing together established and first-time filmmakers to celebrate the short film.
12th annual ReelWorld Film Festival April 11th-15th - celebrating films from our rich diverse communities. Five days of Screenings, Industry Panels,
The element of competition is not paramount and while the prizes are significant, the screening of as many as possible of the entrant’s films in a public arena is considered paramount.
Parties and so much more, at Cineplex Odeon Sheppard and Famous Players Canada Square. For Tickets call 416 598 7933 or go to reelworld.ca! or “Text keyword “ReelWorld” to 58888
Participants will have the opportunity to meet established filmmakers, view their films and take part in workshops.
Reel World Film Festival
Fastnet Short Film Festival
Universal Film Issue 1 - 2012
UFFO FILM FESTIVALS THAT HAVE ADOPTE
Since 2006 ÉCU -The European Independent Film Festival has been Europe’s premier arena for independent filmmakers to screen their films to large audiences, to network with industry pros and interact with other indie filmmakers.
The first Imphal International Short Film Festival, to be held from 15 to 18 April 2012 in Manipur (India), will screen around 100 short films from India and other parts of the world.
For more information:
The festival will give away awards in the Best Short Film, Best, Direction, Best Screenplay, Best Actress, Best Actor, Best, Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Musical Score and Three Special Mentions categories.
The 7th edition is taking place March 30th to April 1st 2012.
European Independent Film Festival
STEPS Film Festival is a non-profit organization dedicated to attracting the attention of our society to prejudices and cruelty in the modern world, where human rights are violated, animals oppressed and the environment destroyed. Where barbarous habits have become a part of our daily lives and are no longer considered unacceptable. The festival aims to disclose the topic of human, animal rights and environmental protection as widely as possible in order to show people the way to grow and improve themselves. STEPS Film Festival reveals the “inconvenient truth” avoided by many
Steps Film Festival
Cars In Film - Film Festival! Where Film and Cars Collide… Where the Engine Meets the Celluloid… Where Hollywood Meets the Motor City… Just at the intersection of “Le Mans” and “Gone In Sixty Seconds”! September 23 - September 30, 2012 Starts at the End of Route 66 in Santa Monica!
Cars in Film - Film Festival
Imphal Short Film Festival MOONDANCE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL “The American Cannes” WEBSITE: www.moondancefilmfestival.com BLOG: www.moondancefilmfestival.com/blog EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org Call for entries postmark deadline: June 30, 2012
Moondance International Film Festival
Carmarthen Bay Film Festival In Home Town Of Wales’ First Hollywood Film Star. The former tinplate town of Llanelli in Carmarthenshire is to become the premier destination for all film makers. A brand new film festival has been launched in the town of Wales’ very first Hollywood film star, Gareth Hughes
Stradey Park Hotel, Llanelli from the 8th to the 11th May 2012.
Carmarthen Bay Film Festival
ED THE GOOD BUSINESS CODE OF PRACTICE SCRIPT (Social and Corporate Responsibility International Promotional Theater) International Short Film Festival is for films with social relevance.It is held at Kochi, India in Jan Feb annually.
Universal Film Issue 1 - 2012
Final call for entries at Bangkok Amazing Thailand 9FilmFest, deadline 23 April, 2012 Bangkokâ€™s Short Film Contest has a 1st Prize of $20,000 cash !!!! More info www.9filmfest.com
There is Rs 2,50,000 to be won in cash prizes with the Coveted Golden Halo See www.scriptfilmfest.in
SCRIPT Film Festival The London MENA (Middle East & North Africa) Film Festival October / November 2012 is calling for submissions features, shorts and docs - deadline 30th June 2012. For further info see www.menafilmfest.com or email email@example.com st.com
Bangkok 9 Film Fest Shorts Fast Film Festival
Sunday 20 May 2012 Lyric Theatre Carmarthen A group of third year Trinity St David film students shall be presenting their films on the big screen at The Lyric. Come along for an entertaining afternoon of short films and guest speakers. Meet the film makers Directors, cinematographers, writers and crew, will be available to answer questions about their films.
MENA Film Festival
Cine Migratorio presents artistically accomplished, thematically challenging and stimulating films about migration. The festival takes place 10-13 May, 2012 in Santander, Spain. For more details visit cinemigratorio.org
Shorts Fast Film Festival The Feel Good Film Festival encourages the development of short or feature length films with optimistic, positive themes, and that capture the beauty of our world. Leave a film festival feeling good! See www.fgff.org
If questions, please let us know. The Feel Good Film Festival Team firstname.lastname@example.org
The Feel Good Film Festival 34
Cine Migratoria Film Festival
Universal Film Issue 1 of 2012
UNIVERSAL FILM MAGAZINE Our magazine is written by industry professionals and filmmakers. We need your stories and contributions for the next edition. We aim to create a reputation of telling the hard stories no one else will ever dare.
Please write to: email@example.com
Issue 1 of 2012
Universal Film Issue 1 of 2012
LA Comedy Shorts Film Festival by Tim Wassberg Interview with co-founder and artistic director Gary Anthony Williams
ntering into its 4th year, the LA Comedy Shorts Festival, under the auspice of co-founder and artistic director Gary Anthony Williams, also known for his acting stints on series such as “Boston Legal” and “Weeds”, continues to bring together a intrinsic cross section of filmmakers and industry alike in a fun, close-quarter confab that truly brings about possibilities by literally placing the players in such proximity that deals cannot help but happen. UFM: Has the mission of the festival changed at all as you enter this year? GAW: Our main goal really is, stands and remains to be, introducing new comedy talent to the industry...and we’ve been fortunate. “Funny Or Die” came on early for us and they still continue to be strong with us every year. On opening night, we will do a celebrity block of their films and then they are hanging around there all week, looking for people to steal which is a great thing. And then Atomic Wedgie, another big one, that’s Freemantle’s internet arm, they were also with us in year one. And I believe that year, Tom Hoffman [from Atomic Wedgie] picked up 4 different people they made deals with. Tom will be there again this year. But, in that first year, he saw literally every single film that we played at the festival. UFM: As one of the few festivals that specifically focuses on shorts and more specifically on comedy, what is the current importance of this form to the industry? GAW: I truly believe that now, the ability to make a comedy short, is such a great calling card. It will always be a great calling card but now people are actually making a nice living and have a foothold in the industry off comedy shorts. There is such an outlet for them now, whether it be [places like] “Funny Or Die” or Atom Films. Everyone is moving into them. Even Yahoo is running comedy shorts. It is a great way to get into the industry. What we still need though is talent. Everybody has a video camera...and everybody can make a short but not everybody should (chuckling). Those who can, and do it well, really stand out. I mean there is some new talent which we stumbled upon this year that we can’t wait for people to meet. There’s one group, a group of guys, who have four films in [the festival]. We kept looking at their stuff in disbelief and were like “these guys are just just amazing!” And once people see them, they will be blown away by the variety of stuff they’re doing. Something that you and I couldn’t have done ten or eleven years ago...we couldn’t have afforded to do...these guys are doing. UFM: What is necessary when it comes to programming these films in terms of seeing the “funny”? GAW: That the beauty. You just said the magic. We look for the “funny”. Sometimes we will even let the quality, as far as the look...we’ll let that slip a little if it’s really good funny stuff. At the end of the day what we like is strong visuals and strong comedy but comedy wins overall here.
GAW: We have agents [attending]. We have production companies [attending]. And even if the agents aren’t there, we set up the winners with them. But the festival is not just for the winners. All the filmmakers there, guaranteed, will get a chance to be seen by somebody who can help their career, by somebody who might be interested in what they’re doing. The ability to put all these people in one place for four days in kind of a summer camp lets them meet each other and exchange ideas and see each other’s goods. Something good always happens. Every single year. Someone has gotten a job. Someone has gotten meetings. Interviews. Somebody’s working with someone. And that is just filmmaker to industry and industry to filmmaker. Then, on the other hand, we have these filmmakers who have met each other. They team up and send in a film in that they worked on together from just meeting previously at the festival. UFM: What is the key to making this community within the festival work? GAW: The way we have set it up...here’s what we have done right. There is probably a million things we have done wrong but what we have done right is we still keep our films all on one screen. Everyone is there for the films at the same time. That goes for my friend from the State Tax Credit Exchange or anybody from any big agency or production company. Everybody is there. If you want to meet someone, you can meet someone and there are people interested in meeting you. And the little steps I’ve seen...one of the scripts that was one of the finalists last year came in this year as a movie. Last year it was just a script, and this year they shot it. Now it is a movie and it got in [to our festival] and it’s fantastic. I can only guess that they are going to take the next step and try to make this into a feature. UFM: So there is also a competition element as well within the festival... GAW: The script competition, that Movie Magic does with us, they are one of our major sponsors...what happens with that competition is we have different categories: There’s student. There’s pilot. There’s short. There’s feature. All comedy of course. The scripts don’t have to be shorts. They can be any length. We have a four-page script that is absolutely hilarious that is being considered right now. Since the writers cannot get their stuff seen on screen, they get a little different special treatment. We actually pay for them [the finalists] to fly in and put them up in our guest hotel, the Kyoto Grand, across the street. We honor them on awards night just like anyone else. It is a great thing (for the writers) because I have seen writers hook up with directors at the film festival as well. And then we get them meetings with different literary agencies around town. UFM: What is the most gratifying part of the process for you?
UFM: But the key also needs to be having the right people at
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GAW; On a simple level, if someone that came to the festival, met someone here and now has a writing job from Disney or has a TV show in Canada, [that’s great].. Those things happen a lot [here] we are happy to say. But, for me, just the fact that a filmmaker comes to us and says “That is the best, most useful weekend I’ve ever had!” That is worth everything to me. Of course, I want introduce people to the industry. I go out of my way. I’m shooting a pilot right now with [producer] Tracy Boomer. And I’ve already talked to her. I’ve said,”You got to come sit on a panel! There are some people you should meet at my festival!” And her husband Linwood [Boomer], who was the show runner and creator of “Malcolm In The Middle”, has been here several times. I just make sure to get as many of the “muckety-mucks” out of Hollywood as I can and go “Guys! Check these people out!”
Universal Film Issue 1 of 2012
"RULES OF THE GAME" by Chris
Things they don’t tell you at film school
illiam Goldman’s famous quote “Nobody knows This was clearly not a pick-up line, but served to neatly cut anything” did not refer to the stupidity of studio exme down to size. It appeared that she thought the chap sitecutives (though there is much evidence for this) but ting on the dolly peering through the camera was the “camto the impossibility of knowing how well a production eraman”, and had no idea that there could be someone else would do in the box office. The cinematographer will, howin charge of the photographic element of the production. So ever, confront a startling amount of ignorance displayed on the moral of this story is to underline the fact that although the film set, particularly with reference to what he actuyou spend much of your time “hanging around at the ally does. So it is important that he at least should edge of the set”, you are the manager of the whole of “nobody have a clear idea of his duties and responsibilities, the creative photographic input of the production. knows any- I frequently bang home this fact to my trainees and and his relationships with other members of the thing” William students: the cinematographer’s job is 65% mancrew, executives, and cast. Goldman agement and 35% technique and craft. Getting the The stuff you learn at film school, and pick up as you management part of the job right, at the earliest stage trundle slowly through the grades in the camera departof your shoot from your first day of preproduction, will ment, relating to the technical and craft elements of your save hours if not days or weeks of torture and misery during chosen profession, is of course essential. The more you the actual shoot. know, the better you will be prepared. It is easy enough to hold an exposure meter and transfer the reading to the camera via your focus puller, but you need to be able to call Getting it right! upon all your technical experience and knowledge, as well as the backing of your crew, when presented with a difficult The first person you may have to deal with when you are situation or, which is frequently the case, when things go hired for a project could be an executive, (perhaps a probadly wrong (not usually of your making). There are some ducer), a director, or a production manager (now referred basic rules that once understood will enable the cinemato flatteringly as executive producer or production executographer to sail happily and successfully through the most tive). Each of these worthy individuals will have a different potentially disastrous situations that production can throw approach to hiring you. The executive might employ you at him. I hope to address some of these rules in this series because he has seen your credit on something he liked, or of articles, with the intention of making your future career on the basis of your reputation. The director might ask you easier to bear. to shoot his film because he has worked with you before, or on the recommendation of another director. What does the cinematographer do? The production manager might hire you because he knows A few years ago I attended a wrap party for a film that I had that you will bring the cinematography in on budget and on shot for television over a period of four or five weeks. At the time. Any one of these individuals who has taken the deciparty a young actress, who had been on the shoot for most sion to hire you will want to be sure that you will succeed; of the time, having a fairly major role, came over to me and none of them want their choice challenged. So the rule is: said “I have seen you hanging around at the edge of the set, know who hired you, and why, and build on this knowledge. but what is it that you actually do?”
Universal Film Issue 1 of 2012
etting out the parameters . It has been the tradition in our industry that the cinematographer, as the manager of the photographic and lighting unit, (hence the name “head of department”) has the choice of his crew, his laboratory, and his supplier of lighting and camera equipment. A clever producer will realize that the cinematographer will have built up a relationship with his crew and suppliers that will benefit the production. In recent times this tradition has been challenged by production on the grounds of budgetary restrictions. Production managers and accountants will often strive to get the cheapest deals that they can get, but the cheapest crew or equipment may not be the best for the production. Not long ago I was employed on a production where the producers insisted, on the grounds that they got “a great deal”, on using a laboratory not of my choice, and which I considered unreliable.
Having made your suggestions for equipment and services to the production office you will be faced with the choice of your crew. Productions are in most cases happy for you to have your choice, unless BSC you employ someone who has upset them in some way in the past. You may find yourself in the position of being asked to employ a relative or Key Credits friend of an executive as a trainee or other supernumerary position on The Santa Incident (Film) your crew; be very wary of this. It Lewis, Pilot and 4 Series (TV series) throws up several problems, first, The Last Detective (TV Series) you have no idea where this person The Brief (TV Series) comes from, or what their agenda Wire in the Blood (TV Series) is, and secondly, the person may Margery & Gladys (Film) hold more loyalty to the executive Hornblower 6 Episodes (TV Series) who has wangled his job for him Pollyanna (Film) or her than to you and the rest of Anybody’s Nightmare (Film) the crew. Inspector Morse 4 Episodes (TV Series) Midsomer Murders (TV Series) This can lead to a very difficult Mosley (TV Film Series) situation (that I have experiInto the Blue (Film) enced) where the crew has, in Sharpe 9 Episodes (TV Film Series) Original Sin (Film) Chillers(TV Series) Poirot 14 episodes (TV Series) Love Hurts 10 Episodes (TV Series) The Big Battalions (TV Film Series) Lucifer Rising (Film) Man and Music (Documentary Series) effect, a hostile member, a sort of South Bank Show (Arts Documentary Series) spy in the camp. The rule here is simple: The Heart of the Dragon (Documentary try as far as humanly possible to build a Series) crew whose loyalty to you and to each Cosmos (Documentary Series) other is not open to doubt. This will go a long way to ensuring a happy production.
CHRIS O'DELL Two weeks into the shoot the laboratory managed to “cook” the rushes from an expensive night shoot involving principal artists. The re-shoot cost a fortune, much more than had been saved by the choice of a cheaper laboratory. The production immediately switched back to the lab that I had nominated in the first place, but at what a cost!
* “La Règle du Jeu” (The Rules of the Game) A wonderful satirical film by the master Jean Renoir 1939 About Chris O’Dell
Chris O’Dell BSC is a photographer and cinematographer, a graduate of the London International Film School, currently working in the area of television drama. He travelled widely in the 80s and 90s filming documentaries and current affairs programmes. He ran a successful production company making arts and music programmes for the BBC and other clients. Since 1990 has photographed many very successful TV drama series including Agatha Christie’s Poirot, Sharpe, Hornblower, Inspector Morse, the Morse sequel Lewis, and many single dramas. He lives in West Cork, and was chairman of the 2009 Corona Fastnet Short Film Festival.
* “La Règle du Jeu” (The Rules of the Game) A wonderful satirical film by the master Jean Renoir 1939
As cinematographer you accept responsibility for your choice of crew and suppliers that is what “head of department” means. This is why you should be so careful about your choices. But you should make it clear that your responsibility does not extend to personnel or supplier chosen by production on budgetary or any other grounds. To sum up: Your managerial position and unique technical knowledge should allow your choice of crew and suppliers, for which you have to take responsibility, but if production forces choices against your advice, you have to make it clear that they have to accept responsibility for their choice. There will inevitably be times when you have to compromise, and accept a supplier that you might not want, but the rule still applies. A great deal of cinematography is about compromise!
Universal Film Issue 1 of 2012
he romance and the thrill of the sword have captured the hearts and imaginations of men and boys throughout history. As a young lad J.R. Beardsley spent many late Friday nights watching swashbucklers on the old TV channels in Kansas, savouring every moment. Those seemingly idle hours ignited his passion to study theater, fencing and martial skills.
When reviewing the history of film swashbucklers, foremost is Douglas Fairbanks, probably the “Granddaddy” of swashbuckling and stunts as well as an amazing athlete. He created his stunts, performed all his own sword fight and action sequences and was no slouch with a whip. He was the source of my fascination with the whip which led to my becoming a master of its study and use.
ON THE SILVER SCREEN
the talkies when his athletic prowess by then was inhibited by age. Then came the incredible swashbucklers of the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s, featuring Errol Flynn - with his flamboyant style - and Basil Rathbone - who played the consummate foil to all that crossed his sword
as well as Tyrone Power, to name but a few. Rathbone knew how to use a sword, having taken fencing lessons since his teens. He boasted that he could easily have bested all the heroes from whom he was forced to suffer defeat.
Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks remodelled Pickfair, a 56 acre estate with an old hunting lodge in the city of Beverly Hills, California. Coined Pickfair by the press, it was once one of the most celebrated homes in the world. Life Magazine described Pickfair as “a gathering place only slightly less important than the White House and much more fun.”
Fencing masters Fred Cavens, Ralph Faulkner and Jean Heremans were the Hollywood hot-shots, all fencers and masters of their game, who staged astonishingly exciting duels. Faulkner was Basil’s double as Caven’s was Flynn’s. They were bitter foes. Once Faulkner stated that Rathbone was a better fencer. Caven retorted, “How would you know? You never fought him.”
Connected through a tunnel from the house was a huge gym which Fairbanks equipped with swords, a set with a mast and bow of a ship, a trampoline, ropes and full mirrors where he trained constantly with his chums. His was a brilliant career that lasted until
Cavens, who staged the fight in The Mark of Zorro, and Scaramouche said that of all the actors he ever trained, Rathbone was the one who could have been a competitive fencer. In turn, Rathbone said, “Power was the most agile man with a sword I’ve ever
faced before the camera. Tyrone could have fenced Errol Flynn into a cocked hat” “I studied with Faulkner at his Falcon studios. “The Boss” would keep a professional’s eagle eye on me as I worked under his tutelage. My proudest moment was when I brought him to my opening of Romeo and Juliette, directed by Milton Katselas at the Skylight Theatre. By that time he was in his nineties with “coke bottle” glasses, yet he still had a mind like a steel trap”.
Falcon Studios, built in the 1920s, also offered drama and dance taught by Faulkner’s late wife, Edith. Between the two of them they taught such modern stars as John and Bo Derek, Anthony Quinn, Alexis Smith, Cornel Wilde and Tony Curtis. Their site hosted many Hollywood performers in the 30s, 40s and 50s, many of whose signatures and handprints were featured in the garden There was still the feel of their unique energy and spirit in the many studios. The big building in the garden with sliding garage doors must have hosted many a duel for actors and producers in its heyday. In the early ‘90’s I went to Los Angeles on the day of the Rodney King riots. Once out of the clutches of that insanity, I focused on directing, producing and self determined projects. Many of my talented students have gone on successfully working on most major films as stunt doubles, stunt coordinators, motion capture specialists and fight directors in films such as Hook and Pirates of the Caribbean among others. It is a source of pride to have been instrumental in passing the baton to keep the swash of the buckle alive.
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Rod Colbin (1923 - ) was the first swashbuckler/actor I met professionally when I arrived in Hollywood. Although not as known for his sword as much for his acting during the 60s, 70s and 80s, he was a go-to man for sword fighting in Hollywood, especially in television, and he was a great supporter of instruction in the sword for many young actors during that period. Bob Anderson (1922 – 2012) who sadly passed away recently, was and is a true inspiration to all past, present and future swashbucklers. He was an English Olympic fencer and a renowned film fight choreographer with a cinema career that spanned more than 50 years. Included are films such as Highlander, The Princess Bride, The Lord of the Rings film trilogy and Die Another Day. He was regarded as the premier choreographer of Hollywood sword fighting. Patrick “Paddy” Crean (1900-2003) was a professional actor and theatrical fight director who was one of the most influential figures in the art of modern stage combat. Crean, who had a background in competitive fencing, began choreographing fights in 1932 when he was working in his native England as an actor in The Legends of Don Juan. He and his partner Rex Rickman were frequently hired to stage fight scenes for theatrical productions as well as in motion pictures such as The Master of Ballantree and The Sword of Sherwood Forest. Michel Carliez, fencing master of the French cinema, has staged some wonderful duels in Le Bossu (aka On Guard,) D’Artagnan and the 3 Musketeers, Fan Fan la Tulipe, Julie, Chevalier de Maupin and Lagadare (French) with the latter two as mini-series . He has also choreographed the thrilling sword fights for a 40--minute special at the theme park Puy de Fou in Vendée. William Hobbs (1939) was with Laurence Olivier’s National Theater at the Old Vic for nine years. He has a great portfolio of 20 film credits from 1962 to 2005. A small, slight, even-tempered gentleman, he was leaning more towards directing at that time. One of his films that stands out in my mind is Rob Roy, the final duel between Tim Roth’s smarmy fop Cunningham and Liam Neeson’s Rob. Neeson creates a real man in Rob Roy and is excellent. Oscar Kolombatovich (1919), the elegant and demonstrative fencing master known as “The Grouch,” was instrumental in the opera world in New York, for many years maestro at the Met. Well-known in the fencing world, he moved to Spain where he built fine, historical, technically sophisticated weapons. He designed state-of-the-art edged weapons of international repute and taught countless swashbucklers throughout Europe. David Boushey (1942) is an actor, American stuntman, stunt coordinator and stunt trainer with countless theatre and film credits to his credit. He is the founder of the United Stuntmen’s Association, the International Stunt School, the Society of American Fight Directors and is a member of The Hollywood Stuntmen’s Hall Of Fame. J.R. Beardsley continues to work with creative artists in search of challenging projects. He offers Swashbuckling for the Silver Screen Workshops for film festivals as well as produce, direct and act in independent productions.
Contact J. R. Beardley
Universal Film Issue 1 - 2012
g l u o nS
i r e y k a a PFilmm
e h T
By Daniel E. Springen DGA Director / independent producer.
t’s easy to lose track of the important things in life that bring great joy and career-affirming accomplishment when we wander month-to-month taking on repetitious industry jobs and drowning in complacency.
These days it seems that with the economy declining, careers encountering elimination, and marketing dollars being cut along with long term employees, the freelance gigs that we normally take to “pay the pocket” have become far more scarce than in previous years.
This directly effects our ability to “pay the soul” or in other words, take on pet projects. We see commercials on-air now created by companies that have reduced their costs by using low-budget video techniques in order to cut “the bottom line” down considerably; however, they are effectively derailing the memorable commercial moments that keep consumers talking about their products for weeks on end if not decades. If someone green-screens another non-union semi-actor and posts them against a white background to sell their pharmaceutical, insurance, or mortgage product, I may just end up needing some of the antidepression, can’t die without, low-interest-rate garbage, that’s become a unfortunate part of our social vernacular; (results may vary, use as directed). What has happened is that a gateway has opened for delivering ultra--low budget marketing messages to the clamouring lambs of branding that we have all become.
Thanks to the hand held, home-video style of so-called marketing gurus, the need for skilled technicians has declined dramatically and has caused a riff in the very fabric of filmmaking communities that once supported their families and paid back that good fortune by shooting projects that furthered the careers of aspiring artists and delivered common side effects such as the warm and fuzzy feeling associated with true creativity. Just because you may be pulling focus on a multi--million dollar film today doesn’t mean that you won’t be sitting on your couch a month from now wondering if you’ll ever work again. Two weeks of dealing with that type of uncertainty will guarantee your hoping that an independent project pops up so you can remind yourself of why you became a filmmaker in the first place. It happens to all of us who choose to live the no-guarantee, gypsy-like lifestyle of an independent filmmaker. A select few have the rock-steady paycheck associated with an ongoing television series or even the unlikely good-fortune of being in the stable of a sought after producer or production manager, but the majority of filmmakers work catch-as-catch-can. So the next time you see a static, single-camera, green-screen commercial with no location scouting, no art department, no special effects, and possibly no crew other than some recently graduated marketing prodigy and his iPhone, think about the qualified filmmakers that are at home going through stacks of bills and wondering if they’ll ever be able to pay their past due mortgage let alone have the financial freedom to once again “pay their filmmaking souls.”
re a e p s Scholarship - International Shakespeare Project in Russia ke sia! 2012 a Sh us l a nR n o ti i t a jec n r ro e t In P There are several ArtUniverse scholarships available for filmmakers, film directors, arts managers and performers from different countries. IUGTE & ArtUniverse hold a series of introductory labs in Austria, Italy and Russia. Participation in the introductory labs will be free of charge for admitted candidates. The introductory labs open the door towards the new collaboration project in Russia in autumn 2012: the six-week period of performance creation in a Russian repertory theatre together with Russian actors and performers from different countries! The working language is English. For more details, please send your CV/resume with cover letter to Ivan Rosenthal, Project Coordinator firstname.lastname@example.org www.iugte.com
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Universal Film 1st Issue - 2012
of the Directors Guild of Great Britain It’s almost thirty years since I joined the Directors Guild of Great Britain, freshly-minted, and with my first two professional credits to my name. Since then, I’ve been a staunch supporter of the Guild, an almost uniquely crossmedia organisation that recognises directors do the same thing whatever medium we work in. We develop our projects and scripts, we work and rehearse with writers, designers, technicians and performers and it’s only the last third of our work that diverges into our particular field; screen, stage, radio, games, opera, new media ... And what else do directors have in common? No training. Don’t get me wrong - there are many graduate and post-graduate training courses for directors in the UK, through university courses and film schools, drama and art schools. Same around the world. But I’m not talking about starting out. Once a young, would-be director graduates, or a talented DOP steps away from the lens, or an AD thinks “I can do that” – how do they further their
Script change “Okay, lights … camera … action!”
skills? There was a time when film studios, ad agencies and TV companies had slack for trainees, had room to develop their directors and wanted to do just that. The same is true in theatre. Some of the UK’s greatest film directors have come from a theatrical background: Sam Mendes, Phyllida Lloyd, Danny Boyle, Roger Michell, to name just a few. But that time was over twenty years ago, and today’s leaner, meaner and cash-strapped workplace means few trainees and fewer mentors, and little place for learning on the job outside the realms of self-funded shorts and the occasional small grant. And that means no [BuzzwordGenerator=ON] “Continuous Professional Development.“ It’s an ugly phrase, but it says it all. To a greater or lesser extent, it is true the world over. Most directors don’t “develop” in a formal sense - development is what you read and watch and try out as you work – and it has never been truer to say that
“you are only as good as your last job.” Looking back, I can see that the big steps forward for me as a director were in two categories: learning from my mistakes and trying to avoid them, and learning from other directors and trying out their methods myself. Which brings me back to the Directors Guild. Today, we run more classes and seminars, workshops and conferences for directors than ever before, at the highest level, developing the craft skills that develop us as artists and practitioners. We look at new methodologies in directing and new media, new acting styles, casting issues, new techniques in visual effects and 3D and working with everyone from fight choreographers to casting agents. Why so much of an emphasis on new skills? Because good directors never stop learning. Ivor Benjamin Chair - Directors Guild of Great Britain & Trustee - Directors Guild Trust
by Christopher Moore
sat back in the director’s chair and observed as shooting began. His actors were more than rising to the challenge as principal photography unfolded. Nodding his head, he watched contentedly as the plot took shape visually before him, everyone playing their part to perfection. Gabe, Michael, and the rest of the crew hovered about, making sure everything flowed smoothly, and leading man Adam was as dependable as G had expected him to be, setting events up with a stunning opening that facilitated continually building momentum, leading to a climax nothing short of perfection. Almost too perfect … With a frown, G realised that the longer he watched, the less contented he began to feel with the narrative. There was no adversity, no obstacle, no difficulty to overcome. No reward in seeing fine actors overcoming challenges to their patience and professionalism, and
emerging out the other side as consummate performers. It just wasn’t satisfying enough… And then he noticed D hanging around on the periphery of the set, giving off that constant air of a potential troublemaker, neither use nor ornament to anyone interested in shooting a professional movie. But maybe that was just what G needed… “Okay, people,” he announced. “Script change. Let’s do this thing.” Presently, the cast took their places again, committed to playing out the more subtle, complex narrative that had now been handed to them. Adam and his leading lady stumbled at a major hurdle early on, and G thought it was good. Noah and Abe emerged as surprise stars, and G thought it was good. D wreaked mayhem at every turn, and
even tried to upstage J when he finally came on set for his big part, but failed to dim the latter. And G thought it was good. Matt and Mark framed the narrative beautifully, as did John and Luke. G nodded and felt a warm glow as he observed the cast’s triumphs and tribulations, the former all the sweeter and more satisfying for the latter. All things concerned, it made for a much better film. Oh, he knew it would be panned by some critics. That much was inevitable. Anything new and innovative, or “too dark’”in places was bound to be savaged. But he also knew there would be others singing its praises. Singing his. They would be the ones who appreciated it was his story. His vision. And that only he could see it from all the angles.
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Universal UniversalFilm Film Issue 1 of 2012
THE SIX FATAL ERRORS IN SCREEN WRITING
THE SIX FATAL ERRORS IN SCREENWRITING
If your leading man/lady has fewer lines after page 20, shows up on fewer and fewer pages, and maybe even disappears altogether for ten or more pages at a time, you have switched protagonists and your screenplay will fail. Another character has taken over the screenplay. Your leading man/lady reappearing on page 80 or 90 or 100 will do no good at all. Rule #1: Stay with the horse you rode in on.
Not enough conflict
Every scene, even in a comedy, must have conflict. Two people have to fight over something, each at the expense of the other, for a scene to come alive. What are they fighting over? How do they get in the way of one another trying to get it? Nice, agreeable characters make for very bad screenplays. Give everyone trouble and don’t stop.
Having a weak, passive leading lady/man
Maybe your protagonist is there on every page but just sits and watches or says inane things like “Oh, my. That is not good,” while quietly sipping his or her beer. Not good. A protagonist, even one whose innate character is passive and iconoclastic, must act. Small actions matter: crushing a flower with the heel of a boot, getting drunk, kissing a mirror, stealing a $20 bill. On screen the audience can only see action, not what is in a character’s head. If your leading man is thinking and feeling up a storm but the audience has no way to see it, your screenplay will fail.
Too much exposition
Talking heads are, mostly, boring on the screen. Show don’t tell. Use action, move characters through various unusual changes of scenery, if nothing else, anything you need to keep the story moving forward. Movies are moving pictures, so keep your scenes and characters moving along.
Having a weak, passive or nonexistent antagonist
A protagonist can only be as strong and interesting as his or her antagonist, the person he pushes against, the person he fights, e.g., the Joker in The Dark Knight, who literally made that movie. An antagonist must be a very strong character, not an institution, not a feeling and not an idea, but a flesh and blood embodiment of antagonism, who shows up early and gives the protagonist an extremely hard time.
Not enough action
The audience can only tell the nature of a character in a play or screenplay by the way the character acts, the choices he or she does or does not make. The writer must dramatize what is in the character’s head with actions, because on stage or screen the audience cannot be inside the character’s head, the way one can, for instance, through the words of a novel.
In my career as producer and script developer, I have read over 5000 screenplays. So many promising concepts fall by the wayside because of errors that a knowledgeable screenwriter can easily avoid. The errors screenwriters make are always the same, whether the writer is a novice or a professional. Most of all, keep writing!
Paula Brancato Full-time Lecturer, University of Southern California Mobile: 310-429-5181 Oﬃce: 212-249-0255 http://www.thewritersplace.org/script_ consultation.shtml TWPBrancato@aol.com
Switching protagonists midstream
Issue 1 of 2012
Universal Film Issue 1 of 2012
Lise Birk Pedersen’s “Putin’s Kiss” Attempt to Give a director Lise Birk Pedersen’s D anish “Putin’s Kiss” was a hit at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, nominated for a Grand Jury Prize for World Cinema. The film is a tale of shifting loyalties and political manipulation, especially poignant as Vladimir Putin eyes his third presidential term. It tells the story of young Masha Drokova, a teenage spokesperson of the stridently nationalistic Russian organization’s Nashi Movement, who soon learns of their dangerous methods employed against its political opponents, (cynically deemed as “enemies.” )Young Masha is first seduced by the movement’s perks, offered in return for her loyalty. Her friendship with a liberal journalist Oleg Kashin--who compares Nashi with “Hitler Youth” forces Masha to choose whether it is worth staying within the movement, as she uncovers sinister methods, particularly toward Kashin. These dangers are a part of the political milieu in modern Russia during the Putin era. Many outsiders see Putin as
a modern-day dictator, but Russian politics requires greater historical context since the Soviet era. “When Putin came to power, he was seen as normal and seemed young and strong enough to manage the country,” says Olga Khvostunova, a Visiting Scholar at the Harriman Institute at Columbia University. Khvostunova also used to work as an editor at the influential Russian newspaper Kommersant, as a colleague of Oleg Kashin. The film’s portrayal of the political milieu within Russia “was really accurate, actually in depicting the political situation of the youth policy. It was captured precisely - the idea that the young should be educated, based on Soviet methods, in a summer camp. This used to be very popular in Soviet times.” This Nashi Movement was created in 2005 by Putin’s Youth Affairs department as a means to drum up nationalism and loyalty to the state among young people. But, as the film demonstrates, Nashi seeks to eradicate its political “enemies,” like Oleg Kashin
who gets savagely beaten by unknown assailants as captured by surveillance video. “He broke his jaw in two places, and he does not walk well and is [still] missing lots of teeth,” Pedersen said at the New York screening. The director illustrates the dangers of contemporary Russia, where journalists are treated as political foes, rather than as government watchdogs. The film fails to address complexities of Russian politics and the dialogue among its protagonists often seems perhaps played up for the camera. “The audience does not really see her doubts. [Director Pedersen] should have asked more questions,” says Khvostunova. Pedersen admits she never knew whether Masha would change after Kashin, her friend, is beaten up. “Before she spoke to Masha, she conversed with others, and found Masha’s story to be the most interesting,” Khvostunova says. The audience never learns whether Masha is completely disenchanted with the movement or if she retains dual loyalties. “After all, she may have just changed her mind,“ says Khvostunova. “Masha is not a celebrity.” While the film may have provided “an expose of youth manipulation, ‘politics’ in Russia is not seen as a subject in the political agenda. Politics is, essentially, what Putin says.” Pedersen admitted her lack of knowledge of Russian culture in an IndieWire interview: “I don’t speak Russian, and secondly, making any film in Russia, speaking the language or not, is not a walk in the park. But I think the biggest challenge was how to balance the many levels in my story. I had the ambition to tell the big story about modern Russia through the eyes of my young protagonist with a classic coming of age style.
Universal Film Issue 1 of 2012
s Subjective Morality Tale about Contemporary Russian Politics “But as the film progressed, I realized how the film also became this very symptomatic story of the bad political climate we find in Russia these days …” The film seeks to explore relevant and timely observations about contemporary Russia and its politics, however fails to deeply delve into the complex relationships among politicians, journalists, protest movements and citizens. However, the film succeeds in hinting at the shifting loyalties and political manipulation rampant in today’s Russia. As for the current anti-government sentiment within the country: “I hope the protests are the beginning of something bigger. And yet as a journalist, it is unfulfilling,” Khvostunova sighs, describing the deep psychological and philosophical strain on those in this profession.
Masha Drokova (right) meets her idol, Vladimir Putin.
by Jared Feldschreiber
Universal Film Issue 1 of 2012
TIME VS TECHNOLOGY
ith Eastman Kodak filing for bankruptcy, the writing seems to be on the wall for the future of “film” as the primary medium in an increasingly digital world. But before we get too excited about a digital future, there are some valuable lessons to be learned from the last one hundred plus years of film history.
Currently, films are being archived on polyester film stock and put in cold storage (which is supposed to last for hundreds of years) and on digital formats, which brings us back to the problem at hand: the preservation of digital media. The National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program along with other partners and cooperatives are endeavoring to find solutions for more efficient and enduring archival methods.
The recent pronouncement from the Science and Technology Council of the Academy of Motion Picture limited Arts & Sciences about the limited lifespan of digital lifespan media may have come as a surprise to some filmof digital makers, but this has been pretty common knowlmedia edge to people in the music industry, where digital has already taken a solid foothold. Long--term storage of digital media is a complex problem that has not yet been resolved. At its core: “bit preservation” and the ability to monitor for “bit loss”. Currently, the most reliable digital archiving relies on a complex system of multiple back-ups on multiple systems which need to be repeated regularly to prevent bit loss and to keep adjusting for emergent digital storage media and formats. In the short term, the digital revolution has been so focused on workflow, it has overlooked this serious issue. Without significant attention, cost and effort, the current crop of digital filmmakers’ projects will not survive the duration of their own copyrights! (In fact, bit deterioration can compromise digital data in less than two years.) But this wouldn’t be the first time that the film industry has had to face this kind of a realization. Remember the days of the “Silver Screen”? That term derived from the silver nitrate stock used on all films until 1950. This highly flammable and unstable medium is extremely sensitive to environmental conditions, and has rendered eighty to ninety percent of all silent films to ash and dust. Fifty percent of all films shot before 1950 have already disappeared. The acetate stock used after 1950, while more stable, still deteriorates and is subject to irreversible color fading (“Vinegar Syndrome”). The tapes that were used for broadcast television were often recorded over and suffered wear over time. As a result many old movies and television shows have been lost forever.
Whatever the larger implications or developing technologies that continue to emerge, filmmakers will need to take precautions that their own digital works are safely and accurately copied and stored. The road from dailies to distributed film can be long and hard. It is important for filmmakers to do their best to back up and preserve their hard work so that it can make that journey and remain a part of the culture and cinema for as long as possible. Even the Great Pyramids have begun to lose fragments of thier history, ravaged by looters, weather and time. We must remember that it took an enormous ammount of effort to design and construct structures like the pyramids that could endure for centuries. It is even said that grain stored inside them remained well preserved for thousands of years. In a sense the ancient Egyptians were doing the same thing we are doing as filmmakers: attemping to take aspects of our lives and preserve them for as long as possible. It is likely to take a lot more effort and development to achieve better digital archival solutions for the future. Perhaps one day, we will be storing the records of our lives, art and music in great data pyramids ourselves. In its own way, this dilemma is a humbling reminder of our mortality and the ephemeral nature of all things. Despite the rapid growth of our technology, like the lost civilizations whose stone remnants only reveal broken fragments of their history, the celluloid and digital documentation of our current world can just as easily turn to dust and disappearing digits. T. Reed - Composer @TAOXproductions
Issue 1 of 2012
Universal Film Issue 1 of 2012
The Short Film Corner SHARING SHORTS by Paul W Smith
aking a short film in the first place is half the battle , but the other half is getting people to watch it. So, where do you find your audience? How do we like to watch our films? In cinema or online? These questions formed the basis of the Festivals vs. Internet debate at this year’s FFresh Student Moving Image Festival of Wales, hosted by Newport Film School in February. The panel brought together Liz Harkman, managing director of Bristol’s Encounters Festival, which has successfully showcased international short films for 17 years; filmmaker Em Cooper; Matt Lambert, Editor-in-chief of Motionographer, a webzine that creates an online community forum to share content; and Pawel Jaskulski from Mubi which offers access to a virtual arthouse library as well as links into film festivals.
But how does a short filmmaker get the exposure he or she needs, especially if they want to attract funding for future projects? It all comes down to how we choose to access our movies. It’s rewarding to know that you have received 10,000 hits on YouTube and a global set of invisible eyes to boot, posting their appreciative comments for all to read. However, that’s not the same as watching it in a cinema where you can get immediate audience response - their views, their support, their feedback shared at a screening or over a drink in the bar. Festivals are reeling out across the UK so that a short film can take itself on a celluloid tour from city to city, as well as embark on a programmed journey across the world. Some of those festivals will only programme shorts, too. With luck the filmmaker might even be able to accompany it and meet with an enthusiastic audience. Only when it’s spooled out from Brazil to Toronto to Croatia and Australia, could it be time to put its feet up and offer itself up to a wider audience through the internet, creating a much greater awareness and phenomenon. Em Cooper revealed that she found commissioned work as a result of showing her film in public arenas.
Then again, Encounters also has a competitive element, so does Rushes Soho Shorts in London, and the Iris Prize Festival in Cardiff offers £20,000 to the best international gay and lesbian short. These are Incentives not just to submit material but also to participate in person, savour the atmosphere and even make friends. Those festivals, too, might even create their own viewing platform, a TV station to share the festival experience by streaming a selection of work along with panel discussions. Whether it’s the challenge of telling a story in a limited period of time, or finding an outlet form more experimental ideas, short films can be wonderfully varied and reach out in a multitude of directions. Pop videos are essentially short films, a factor that the Edinburgh International Film festival celebrated with its Mirrorball strand back in the 90s, aimed at celebrating the directors of music promos in their own right. Then there are events such as the 60 Seconds of Solitude event in Estonia in December 2011, when one-minute films from various filmmakers from around the world were given a unique outdoor screening and then ceremoniously destroyed as a protest against the commercialization of cinema- a dramatic way of endorsing the power of cinema that would be tricky to replicate virtually. We’re not living in a world in which we benefit only from multimedia support for a short film. Festivals still play a vital role in supporting short filmmakers as part of their overall programme celebrating cinema in all its forms. Our increasingly diverse viewing habits should be embraced as allies not opponents. Let’s find time to enjoy them both.
The more canny filmmakers might even be able to charge a nominal fee much like iTunes, each hit putting a few pennies in the bank. However, that’s where support from businesses such as Distrify and Netflix can help. They have opened up online distribution possibilities, reaching out to appreciative viewers through social media networks and offering alternative revenue streams in the process. Short films are not in, well, short supply. They can be a necessary part of a graduate programme so students hone their knowledge, skills and inspiration into making them. Indeed, the main philosophy of Ffresh is to bring together selective work from each of the colleges in Wales, so that there is a shared environment to showcase the work, with the added delight of an award ceremony to celebrate the best in a number of categories and friendly rivalry enhanced by that festival atmosphere.
Issue 1 of 2012
Universal Film Issue 1 of 2012
Digital Video Piracy, Merely A Socia iracy has been with us for many years and more so nowadays than back when you had to copy a movie from one video cassette to another, put it on the street and hope it sold to someone who knew exactly that what they were buying was a knock off. Today, media pirates have no problem ripping through Blue ray disc DRM with ease, using a plethora of freely available tools. It’s come to a point that the same companies who build the technology to protect the DVDs from piracy are also in the business of helping home users hack DVDs.
He’s also the inventor of the technology, so I thought it best to speak directly to him as I needed to understand what made this system different from everything else that was on the market. I immediately agreed that most DRM solutions on the market targeted by pirates generally lack the ability to be archived, or shared. The social issues have never really been tackled by technology developers. What drew me to this company in particular was that they boasted so loudly about never having a file hacked, cracked or patched.
Such is the story of most of the DVDs on release; its DVD encryption is ripped within months of its release using software created by the same company who created the DVD protection in the first place. One particular company has decided to sell software to the general public that can rip through its own protection with ease, and allows a complete novice to copy DVDs to blank discs and hard drives.
“Technically, digital media has never really been protected, if you think about it. The absolute main issue with every other protection system on the market is that the encryption has always been listed, created by someone, someone had access to those keys, somewhere in the world, and that gave risk to that information being leaked even a day after they had been created,” Scott said.
And so began the struggle between film-makers and digital pirates, with the consumer being shafted in the wake of it all. It’s funny to think that the general conception of digital theft by a consumer is that if it’s available online and can be downloaded, then it must be free. Law-makers and congress scramble to create and enforce new rules regarding copyrights and copying that do nothing substantial to rectify the problem. The power and money that was once so prevalent in the media industry is slowly slipping from the grasp of the four big studios and the internet is playing a major role in their ultimate demise. It would seem that movies are now following the demise of the music industry
Again, he was correct. In my research I came across numerous big-name companies all using the same type of encryption system, all of which used the old method of creating keys and storing them somewhere. But Xelleon’s technology didn’t do that; their encryption is defined and created at the time a single file is encrypted, then destroyed. This is done by a computer-sitting in the cloud. Dale also explained that by layering the encryption it made the decoding run as quickly as with 256-bit encryption but protected with over 5020 bits of true brute strength, one of the reasons the technology received a Stealth certification. I’m not very technically savvy, so when Dale was discussing the eleven technical issues their company has solved, most of it really went over my head. But I will vouch for the fact that social issues that are not being answered by any other technology have been hindered by the general acceptance of any new DRM system by the public at large.
Marketing companies now spew out propaganda showing how digital theft has become a great marketing tool. It makes me laugh when I see a story about how popular a leaked movie becomes once in a blue moon, and how it increases overall sales at the box office. The problem is that situations like that are not the norm. They are one-offs, spun into media hype with exaggerated numbers and diluted backlash reports. The fact is absolutely clear in report after report. Media piracy is killing the film industry, and the powers that be have no clue how to stop it. During my search for the answer I ran across a small company based in the UK called Xelleon PLC. They are a fairly new (three year-old technology, one year old company) startup with some very interesting views on the piracy problem, and the solutions that they believe their technology offers.In speaking with the president of the company, it was apparent that these guys have done their homework. They explained to me the four social problems and eleven technical setbacks that previous piracy-protection technology had ignored. Dale Scott president of Xelleon PLC, explained “Socially, movies and digital media in general need to be shared, resold, archived and accessible for a consumer to even want them.”
I couldn’t leave without seeing the technology work for myself, and they were proud to point me to a couple of companies using the technology, and even downloaded a full length HD video right to my MacBook. I was actually surprised I had no problem whatsoever running the film. The video opened up to a screen, with my name on it, which kind of took me back at first, but it’s understandable since it’s mine. Had I purchased the movie myself it would have completely passed me by. I entered my secret code, and the movie began playing full screen. There was a chapter menu where I could jump from one chapter to the next, the HD was smooth and crisp, as it should be, it had all the controls I would expect from a movie, and some extra things I’d never seen before. When I minimized the movie, lo and behold there was a BUY button, and a share button embedded on the player. It was only then I realized that the file I had was only a three day rental ,and if I clicked that button I could actually buy the movie. What I really liked was the share button; apparently upon signing up to download the movie, I was automatically added as
Universal Film Issue 1 of 2012
al Problem? by Ken Tucker an affiliate for any of the movies I purchased, and this share button let me post my affiliate links to the same movies up on Facebook, Twitter and that other Google social thing. I decided to put it all to the test and let my movie expire. And when I came back to watch it after four days, all I could access was a screen asking me to click on a link to purchase the video. I thought I would be clever, and I back dated my computer clock, so I could watch the video again. Guess what? There was no movie there when I tried opening the file again and all I got was an error message. I ended up going back to Xelleon to ask for another copy of the movie, this time for my PC. I explained to them I was just testing things out, and they readily offered me another three day rental. This time I decided to forgo the purchase again and just record the screen with Snagit. But every time I opened Snagit to carture the screen, it would shut down and a message would come up saying I wasn’t allowed to record the video being played. So, I decided I was going to connect my DVR and see how well the video turned out; that didn’t give me any decent results either, I had a black screen recorded but I could hear the audio fine. To me it looked as though the system also used some sort of hardware protection as well. I was rethinking my stance on the whole ability to move the movie wherever I wanted to move it, when I contacted Xelleon one last time to tell them that I wanted to move the file to my home theatre computer and watch it from there, and possibly take it with me to my friend’s house to watch it there. That’s when they introduced me to the gifting feature embedded in the film. I simply logged in to the web store, sent my friend a gift of the film I owned and he downloaded it there. I then clicked my re-download button from my theatre and the film went straight to the tablet in my home theatre. In all, I really didn’t notice the protection except when I was trying to copy the movie to test it. I think that is the whole point of the technology in the first place, to make it so user-centric that it was practically unnoticeable. So the social issues that held back previous DRM, dare I say ... were gone.
We will keep you posted on developments.
Universal Film Issue 1 of 2012
So You Want to Run a Film Festival? by Scott Rosenberg Director, Phuket Film Festival
o you want to run a film festival? Or maybe just work for a film festival? You think it is a fun, glamorous job where you get to meet interesting, artistic people from around the world, party hearty at luxurious food and beverage affairs and watch lots of great movies.
techniques, and complaining about lack of government support for their film industries. This festival was not that difficult to put together and run – I had massive infrastructure (BOI) behind me.
Forget it! The reality of the situation is a 24/7, sleepless job, where you get to watch lots of mostly boring/awful movies, deal with some really great but often really egotistical people that work in the film industries of the world ,and you’re so exhausted at the parties, you can’t eat or drink or have any fun. Being a director of a festival is a physically and mentally exhausting job – I know, I am (was) the director of the recently shuttered Phuket Film Festival.
But then, in 2004, when we first tried to put a Phuket Film Festival in place, the reality of the job became apparent. However, let me backtrack a moment. Lots happened between 1995 and 2004. First, in 1997, there was the 30th Anniversary of ASEAN, A Private Sector Salute, that we put on through the auspices of The Brooker Group. First, a gala laser show in Indonesia-host nation of the ASEAN Secretariat before then Indonesia President Sukarno – and then a two-day series of meetings between the heads of state of ASEAN and business leaders from around the region.
PART ONE My long tragic story begins back in 1995 while working for the Board of Investment of Thailand as a consultant. I convinced then Secretary General Staporn Kavitanon to add a bit of culture to his gigantic, industrial BOI Fair at Lamchabang.
Despite the Asian economic meltdown, we cautiously moved ahead with the event. The importance of having good partners/sponsors and the need to identify everyone’s needs, and allow them the “face” necessary to make their investment worthwhile, helped save the day for this event.
Khun Staporn said, “Scott, how much do you need?” I said “2 million baht.” He said “Okay” and the Greater Mekong Region (GMS) Film Festival, Thailand’s FIRST film festival was born. You see, at that time, Thailand was at the forefront of the movement to help develop its neighbors in Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam and Lao PDR – build roads and ports and help develop a sustainable private sector that could integrate with world markets. Surprisingly, the filmmakers of the region had never met and never had an opportunity to view each other’s artistic work. We brought in film-makers from around the region and screened about fifteen films to people that attended the Lamchabang shindig. It was really great to see the film-makers talking together, comparing notes on the latest equipment and shooting
Leapfrog forward to 2003 when our Thai PR and marketing company AMW International Co. , Ltd., was handling the on-the-ground operations for the international CineAsia confab. CineAsia organized (at the time) by VNU out of New York, brought together distributors and exhibitors from all around Asia and major movie distributors from Hollywood to discuss the latest in film exhibition programming and technologies.
into a brick wall – we failed to consider the timing of the event. CineAsia was held annually at the beginning of December – the height of Phuket’s “high” season. Thus, we found no hotel rooms available, and those that were available were dramatically overpriced. We called off planning for the festival – and lucky we did. The festival would have ended exactly one week before the tragic Boxer Day Tsunami; some of our people would still have been on the island, and who knows what would have happened. Fate has a strange way of playing its hand.
Promoting a good business code of practice for film festivals One of our clients at the time, SF Cinema, was just opening the first modern multiplex on Phuket (at Central Festival Phuket) and we thought what better way to celebrate the opening of their theater AND expand the reach of CineAsia to include the production side of the business than to combine the two events? We began to plan to put the film festival together on Phuket but we ran
It took three years before another opportunity presented itself on Phuket to stage the festival: the opening of the SF theaters at Jungceylon in October 2007. But first, why even bother trying to stage an international film activity
Universal Film Issue 1 of 2012
The Phuket Film Festival can take up that role.
As everyone knows, Phuket has already developed into a stand-alone international tourist destination with a diverse culture, which would be enriched by a major international film festival. Phuket already runs neck and neck with Bangkok for the number of international films (documentaries, music, videos, motion pictures, commercial shoots) filmed annually in Thailand.
Major film festivals in Asia operating today include the Pusan (Korea) International Film Festival (October); Tokyo International Film Festival (October); Bangkok International Film Festival (September) – Bangkok has fallen from grace in recent years because of lack of government support due to scandal several years ago; Goa (India) International Film Festival (November) – national film festival of India; Singapore International Film Festival (April to May).
And, of course, many major international film festivals have “beach” (or water) locations – Cannes, Venice, Pusan, Hawaii and others. The beach atmosphere tends to lend a relaxing, fun mood to the event. Asia lacks a major “fun” film festival along the lines of the Sundance Film Festival where film-makers and movie lovers can go for relaxation, vacation and FUN!
And it goes without saying that movies are an international cultural outlet – everyone loves the movies! The first Phuket Film Festival-hosted by SF Cinema and Jungceylon in October 2007 and organized by AMW International as by any means a resounding success. The Festival took place over seven days, screening 40 films from fifteen countries, with seven hosted parties, two seminars, including one on preservation of film at which UNESCO gave their prestigious Silver Fellini Award to the Thai National Film Archives (accepted by Thailand’s Minister of Culture) thirteen foreign film-makers attending in support of their film screenings, and over 3,600 theater visitors, with a recorded 100% approval rating - all for a budget of a little over 7 million baht.
The high-end demographic living on the island would certainly appreciate the stimulation of interaction with audio/ visual artists from around the world. There is also a number of property developers on the island that would appreciate the opportunity to showcase their exclusive properties to the “Hollywood” types and other “A-listers” that would attend a Film Festival on Phuket.
Universal Film Issue 1 of 2012
On the media side, PFF 2007 received world-wide attention from articles written in at least seven different countries (there may be more that we do not know about), and attendance at the Festival by over 30 press representatives. Several special Phuket Film Festival segments of “Destination Thailand” (totaling about 36 minutes of airtime) were independently produced and broadcast in Thailand and abroad. These significant milestones don’t even mentioning recognition by Disney International, who supported the Festival for the first time in major film exhibition history in Thailand, -opening two films in Phuket BEFORE releasing in Bangkok. Thanks to Disney, PFF was the second film festival in the world to feature the Golden Globe and Oscar nominated “Across the Universe.” Now, there were behind the scenes problems. Both SF and Jungcelyon are not in the business of putting on Film Festivals while we, the organizers, are professionals in the field but they were the bosses – they were paying the bills. After serving on juries at international film festivals and traveling to festivals around the world, I have some expertise in the “business” of film festivals. I encountered projection booth problems where SF staff had no knowledge of how to use equipment that was different from what they were used to, new SF staff members not knowing what to do or where to do it, but most of all, problems with the host hotel. The Millennium Hotel adjacent to Jungceylon was supposed to be ready for the Festival, but it was not. SF & Jungceylon had to find replacement hotels for the people coming in for the Festival. The main host hotel became the Mercure, which itself had only opened a month or so before the Festival began.
What a fiasco that hotel was!. Aside from rotten sewage odor seeping into most rooms, two, TWO guests on different floors awoke to find more people (one a woman, another a man) in their rooms. An oversight on the part of someone at the front desk in making key cards? Who cares, what extremely poor security. And what about two of our film-makers observing a man and woman fornicating in the first floor swimming pool at about 11:30 at night? Film makers were loving it - envisioning movies that could be made of the experience. But come on, what a representation of Thailand! Why didn’t staff tell the fornicators to go to their rooms? Okay, okay – Thai staff are shy and reluctant to intervene. Training is the operative word here. Why aren’t staff trained better? Shall I throw in the problem of the lock on my door which kept me locked out of my room for 45 minutes, or of the hotel Assistant Front Desk Manager that entered my room without my permission and had staff empty a can of aerosol deodorant in my room to cover up the foul odor, destroying open food, my toothbrush and about 2,000 baht worth of medication in my bathroom? And if that’s not enough, how about the continued knocking on my staff ’s door and finding no one there when they checked through the peep hole, and the refusal on the hotel Assistant Manager’s part to rectify or acknowledge the situations. When asked to write a letter apologizing to the Festival VIP guests that had odor problem in their room, the Assistant Manager admitted that the oder had been a problem from the start of operation of the hotel, and asked that I provide email addresses of the VIPs. I asked the guests, prominent directors and producers who told me that they did not want their private email addresses given out - I told him “No.” So he refused to write a letter.
Universal Film Issue 1 of 2012
I later found out from another hotel staff person, that the email addresses would have been used for marketing purposes, the Assistant Manager denied it only to be confronted at a later conversation in which the staff member made the marketing claim in front of the Assistant Manager, who told him to “shut up” (in Thai). Like I said, what a fiasco! PART THREE After taking a year off to gear up for a bigger, better event in 2009, AMW International Co., Ltd. moved to organize the Phuket Film Festival in a more strategic time frame in June – situated right after the Festival des Cannes and right before the Shanghai International Film Festival, offering film festival professionals an opportunity to visit Phuket between the two major film festivals. Many film festival professionals plan a “circuit” over a short period of time – we know that film professionals come into the spas of Thailand after Cannes, and we hoped to capitalize on this. And, in fact, this turned out to be true, as the Shanghai International Film Festival was going to play “Cadillac Records” after we did and have Adrien Brody travel to the fest after visiting Phuket. We would split the cost of Adrien coming out - same with Danny Boyle (“Slumdog Millionaire”), who is chairman of the Shanghai jury. We were negotiating with his people for him to visit Phuket a couple of days before flying off to Shanghai.
stream which helps support the festival – I thought). We had to decide whethre to keep the Festival afloat or cancel it. On Wednesday, May 6th, I was so stressed I asked my assistant to take me to the hospital – but we never went. There was too much work to be done (sad, but true). Anyway, we decided it would be best to cancel the festival, and over that long weekend, we emailed major partners, including the Tourism Authority of Thailand, and told them a decision would be made by 5.00 p.m. on Tuesday on (May 12th) whether to close the festival or not. A draft press release was also sent to everyone. On Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. I received a phone call from a contact at TAT who was a bit miffed that we were going to close the festival (don’t know why - they had only authorized funding of around 500,000 baht for the festival), and after talking about the government’s plans on Phuket and how we could not operate under martial law (almost) conditions, she asked that we postpone – something I responded would be difficult to do. However, I agreed to check it out and found a free period in August just after the Thai Queen’s birthday.
So what happened? Why was the Phuket Festival called off? Problems started during Songkran, with the violence on Bangkok’s streets. We began getting email from festival participants asking if everything was okay, if the problems in Bangkok would affect the Phuket Festival. Disruption by Red Shirts (and others) were happening in select places in Bangkok, not against tourists (foreigners), and would have no effect on the Festival, they were told. Adrien Brody in particular was concerned about the violence, as he and his partner had planned to travel around Thailand after the Phuket Festival. The long week of holidays beginning May 1st was the beginning of our downfall. When the central government announced the ASEAN meeting would be on Phuket, a partner on the island asked what we would do. I asked him what he thought we should do and he said – “Go on, it wouldn’t affect the Festival”. But then, almost daily, Deputy PM Suthep Tueksuban speaking from Phuket and Bangkok, began talking about the strict security measures that would be in place for the June 13th – 14th ASEAN meeting. Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva added his two cents, talking about imposing the Internal Security Act, finally Defense Minister Prawit Wongsuwon talked about sending 5,000 troops to the island to help local police.
Now you’d think this security build up would have to start at least a week before their meeting, which would put it smack in the middle of the Festival. That week was filled with sleepless nights – it was an emotional and physical roller coaster. I spent the days analyzing news reports of how the government was going to handle the ASEAN meeting on Phuket, what the armed presence would mean to the Festival and our VIP guests, and any inconveniences that might be caused, and I also surveyed partners on the ground in Phuket who were feeding us information about how foreigners on the island may take a vacation during that period (there goes our boxoffice revenue
Universal Film Issue 1 of 2012
I immediately contacted our big-name talent from Hollywood to explore options with them. Award-winning director Darnell Martin (“Cadillac Records”) who was going to bring her eight year old son with her to Thailand said, “Thanks,”but she would have to pass, as she did not think it appropriate to introduce her son to real guns and soldiers. Academy Award -winning actor Adrien Brody expressed deepest thanks for inviting him and expressed a desire to come to Thailand one day, but backed off from attending just in case the situation turned bad like during Songkran. Adrien was not able to travel to Thailand in August, as he was shooting a movie at that time. The only big name not concerned about the military was Academy Award-nominated director Gus Van Sant, who was going to attend the Festival with three of his actor/director buddies. Gus would also be available to come to Thailand in August. His message was that he had heard so much about Thailand and Phuket, and he really wanted to experience it. To compound the situation, we learned that the World Comedy Film Festival, first slated for April in Bangkok but then cancelled, was raising its head again from June 10th – 17th, overlapping the Phuket Film Festival by two days. Now that is no big deal - two very different film festivals - but TAT knew about our fest, why overlap? Something sinister was afoot. This feeling goes back to when they first were scheduled for April. Because of our Spotlight on Taiwanese film, we were trying to program “Cape #7,” Taiwan’s entry into the Foreign Language category of the 2009 Academy Awards. We were told by the producers that the Comedy Festival had already requested the movie. We dropped our request for the film, as all Phuket Film Festival movies (with few exceptions) must be at least a Thailand premiere. Well, I got the distinct impression that Comedy was now going to try to “borrow” the film after we played it along with the film star Chie Tanaka whom we were hosting in to the Phuket Film Festival. This feeling was spurred on by an email from one of their directors asking us to “cooperate” with them. ”Cooperate” with them? We were operating on a budget of 4 million baht, of which only 500K was to come from TAT. They were operating on a budget of 14 million baht granted them by TAT (another sore point but a political decision which I don’t agree with). Why steal from us to save them money?
“Thai Air Asia, Aleenta Resort Spa, have sponsored a VIP welcome or, post-flight ‘Rest and Recovery’ package in the beautiful island of Phuket. Celebrities will be treated with spa and health treatments as well as Phuket Marina Boating trips”. Smack in the middle of the Phuket Film Festival they were bringing their VIPs down to Phuket? I don’t understand, EXCEPT we were planning a yacht party for our VIPs on June 7 th (to be paid for out of TAT sponsorship). Was TAT trying something sneaky here? Don’t know, and now that we are closed, don’t care. Anyway, we had begun to gear down over that long weekend (May 8th -11th) and Wednesday, May 13th, I mailed out over 1000 press releases. Fifteen minutes after the last press release left my email box, Khun Dumri, a reporter from the Thai Post, called and said, “Hey, have you heard? The government has postponed the ASEAN meeting until October?” The next few words that came out of my mouth are not quotable. I felt like I was in a high powered chess game and I had just been check-mated. I’d like to believe that the letters we sent to the Thai Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister and the ASEAN Secretariat had some effect and caused them to move the ASEAN meeting, but they should have done it sooner. We contacted them in late April. Why not go on with the fest and recall the press release, some have asked. How stupid would that look? We already lost our Hollywood contingency; certainly we could go on without them, but would our funders be happy with that? For now, I am going to sit back, decompress and not worry about the Phuket Film Festival. It is a shame! The people of Phuket, the people of Thailand deserve more than the bungling way that TAT and the central government operate. For them, it is politics above cultural activity which helps educate and entertain the populace.
A side story that relates to my opening on why you don’t want to run a film festival: as I said, Chie Tanaka was going to attend - we were going to award her an Emerging Asian Star Award. Her manager confirmed her attendance but said that she must travel business class, her assistant must travel with her as well as the manager AND a makeup person and hairstylist, AND the Festival would be responsible for paying the makeup and hairstylist person per diem at the Festival. I said F**K that! Business class okay, can do that but no assistant, no manager and certainly no make-up and hairstylist. Thailand has a vast amount of great make-up and hairstylist people. Let her try our professional crafts people. This is what the festival is all about promoting Thai locations, movies, production services. We were still negotiating when we cancelled the Festival. Another reason behind this bad feeling about the Comedy Film Fest came from the Schedule on their website: 7-10 June : VIP welcome in Phuket.
Universal Film Issue 1 of 2012
Will the new magazine help filmmakers choose the right film festival? To the Editor: In any discussion of film festivals, one question seems to occur repeatedly: how to choose the best festivals to enter? Since the costs of entry are a big factor, producers can’t afford to enter many. Then, acceptance of an entry will entail further costs of time, money, and human resources. So how do you pick the best showcases for your film? Is there any reliable way to decide? Most of us don’t even know what questions to ask to evaluate a festival, except for the most obvious: “What is this festival’s track record for getting its entries sold?” But then how do you check that out? You would need a list of the films showing in a specific festival for the last, say, three years. Is that available on a web site for the festival? If not, where? Do the festivals keep track of how many of their entries are marketed? Do some highlight certain genres? How can you know? Does the festival have special requirements? Is this magazine going to help with evaluations and ratings? I, for one, am hoping that this new magazine will become a resource for all of us with pertinent information on the festivals. Maybe it will offer some badly needed guidelines about all of the above! Let’s hope so! Anne L. Gibson Filmmaker
What Makes Indie Filmmakers Tick - At Least This One It was July 21st 2006, and I was at the opening night party in Hollywood for Dances With Films. Nearly 30 years after I received my bachelors degree in motion picture production I had finally gotten around to making a film that was worthy of screening in a film festival. So there I was with my lengthily titled feature, “Sixes and the One Eyed King”. I was ecstatic , with all kinds of fantasies of distribution deals and future project funding dancing in my head. The future seemed bright.
Fast forward five years. I’ve yet to sign any great distribution deals nor have I had any big offers to finance my next film. Yet, I have made several other micro-budget films in the past five years, and I have had over 30 other film festival screenings. So yes, despite my lack of filmmaker dream fulfillment, I continue working on more films and entering more festivals. I just can’t seem to stop myself. I guess I always knew that having films in film festivals and even winning festival awards doesn’t guarantee any financial success. The fact that I find deep satisfaction in producing and directing films seems to be enough success for me, and I know that filmmaking is something I will do until I am no longer physically capable of doing so. From what I have seen, being an independent filmmaker means that either you are a filmmaker who is independently wealthy or you are a filmmaker who works a regular 40-hour-week job and makes films in his spare time. I am the latter. As an independent filmmaker, the ultimate success for me would be creating films without any funding concerns or limitations. I’m pretty certain I have a better chance of winning the lottery than fulfilling that dream. So it must be the film festivals that keep me going. Having one of my films shown in a theatre before a paying audience is thrilling, and I am so grateful that so many film festivals have given me that opportunity. Film festivals are to filmmakers what art museums are to painters and sculptors, and without them I might have given up as a filmmaker several years ago. So I really just want to take this opportunity to thank all those festivals that have honored me by screening one of my films. by Ray Robison
Universal Film Issue 1 of 2012
Review of the Miami Film Festival by Tim Wassberg
iami is known as a town of beaches, clubs, sand and tropical warmth. However, in recent years, it has reclaimed its celluloid presence with a bevy of films and TV series, most notably “Burn Notice.” What is sometimes unknown in the process of filmmaking is that the city is spread among a multitude of different neighborhoods from the always trendy South Beach, to the intensity of Downtown Miami to the Latin American-fueled diversity of Little Havana, which boasts a distinct connection to the massive Cuban community in South Florida.
Within the idea of the Miami International Film Festival, this cultural balance is necessitated in the programming which highlights both American art house possibilities in the historic Gusman Theater as well as Spanish-tinged foreign film entries so relevant to this area of the country, in Little Havana’s Tower Theater. With the festival headquarters located at the Standard Hotel on Bell Isle, the intermingling of filmmakers within the community is less manic than at other festivals with the quiet lapping of the bay playing host to intrinsic cocktail hours meant to burgeon relationships without having to shout over them. As for the films, while Europe/USA coproductions dominated the galas, the best narratives came in under the radar, melding classicism with magical realism. “I’d Receive The Worst News From Your Beautiful Lips,” a Brazilian film directed by Beto Brant and Renato Ciasca, tracks the tempestuous nature of a woman saddled by sexual possibilities she cannot control. The linear path of the picture follows the notions of an addict who herself does not know how she arrived on this path. The paradoxical use of both intense sex scenes contrasted with an utter
desolation of spirit even when the male lead attempts to track her down after discovering her infidelity to her husband, is tantamount. The disconnection of all characters involved paints a very vivid portrait which, although not infinitely commercial, shows the burgeoning mentality of filmmakers in this South American country. “Annalisa,” like Guiseppe Tornatore’s “Malena” before it, uses adolescents’ idealization of woman to fuel a sense of wantonness, but not necessarily reality. Director Pippo Mezzapesa understands that the balance is in making the lead female character both unattainable and yet reachable. His use of both the heat and the lusciousness of Sicily gives rage to the “lightning bolt” mentality of romance in the region. Ultimately, the story is about two sides of a male friendship burrowed by Zaza and Veleno , who are mirror halves of one coin: one physically powerful and the other intellectually superior, both discovering different ways to pursue something they cannot attain - not for lack of their own trying but because of the very nature of the beast. The three galas experienced each track - different ideas of disconnection in their own ways, but all transpire to the notion that life is fleeting despite all intentions of the characters against it. “The Diary Of Preston Plummer,” starring Rumer Willis and Robert Loggia, invokes the story of a family permeated by a dark secret in a resort town. The film’s strength resides with Trevor Morgan as the almost autistic title character, unable to pull away from discovering truth, no matter where it leads. “Someday This Pain Will Be Useful To You” also explores a disenchanted and further unconnected youth (played by Toby Regbo) who is unable to form true relationships, while his mother focuses on her third marriage, yet cannot truly relate to her children. The intrinsic
“I’d Receive The Wo ensemble cast, including Marcia Gay Harden, Stephen Lang (“Avatar”), Lucy Liu and Ellen Burstyn boosts the picture’s credibility while still keeping the idea both intimate and contained. “Darling Companion,” having already locked distribution with Sony Pictures Classics, offered the most dexterous landing, with star Kevin Kline and director Lawrence Kasdan, a heralded pair, introducing the film to a packed house. The film, a love letter of sorts that Kasdan wrote with his wife Meg, on the surface, plays as a canine story with the lead character Beth (played with sardonic idealism by Diane Keaton) focusing all of her energy on her pet after her children leave home and her relationship with her husband (Kline) becomes more distant. The wedding of her daughter at their mountain home, and subsequent disappearance of the dog, provide possibilities (while searching in the woods) to address their inevitable shortcomings. While this could become
Universal Film Issue 1 of 2012
Film Reviews by Tim Wassberg “Eden” The psychology behind “Eden” [Dir. Megan Griffiths/Narrative Competition/SXSW 2012] places it in the ideology of survival of the fittest within a male-controlled world. While the tone might be considered sexist, the intent of the director (a female) remains steadfast and draws out richly detailed performances from both the captive (Jamie Chung) and captor (Matt O’Leary). While these two leads are mostly known from their more pop art pictures (“Sucker Punch” and the upcoming “Lone Ranger” ), the idea here is creating nuance without negating the necessity of the film’s thriller underpinings. The narrative, based on a real life story of a girl who was able to escape her captors by essentially joining with them, walks the tightrope between condonement and retribution. Ultimately, the requisite intensity of “Eden” breathes forward because of the inherent maturity shown in Chung, who helps anchor the picture. Director Griffiths maintains a tone of both fear and assertion while injecting humor (and thus humanity) into some very harsh situations. An interesting supporting turn from Beau Bridges as a corrupt US Marshall adds credence to the picture, and the folm’s slick and arid landscapes create a sense of isolation that supports the overall theme.
orst News From Your Beautiful Lips”
Two other films of note, each completely different (but nonetheless interesting) in its approach, simply because of their dichotomy of words and silence. “The Student,” from Argentina, uses the aspect of universitybased politicking as a springboard to notions of revolution. The verbiage, despite the language barrier, comes fast and furious, using notions of crime and corruption as power against the student body, masked as progress. The pinpoint direction of Santiago Mitre shows an inherent understanding of the danger of information, depending on how it is skewed. “The Last Christeros,” by comparison, is a quiet and methodical journey that follows Mexican Christian Freedom Fighters in the Badlands of their country in the 1930s. Peppered with homages to Spaghetti Westerns and minimal sound design, the film depicts the isolation and determination of these men balanced by their undying faith - a vision both inspiring and disconcerting. The Miami International Film Festival tries to balance these different worlds while continuing the themes that progress through their selected films. The festival’s penchant for providing a cultural gateway remains constant... and growing.
boring, Kasdan’s quick-witted humor and Kline’s delivery save the film from obscurity.
The intent of agoraphobia shown within a pseudo-supernatural structure works to certain advantages in “Citadel” [Dir. Ciaran Foy/Midnighters/SXSW 2012]. However, the reality of the underlying supernatural elements reveals some plot holes, both actual and perceived. The narrative follows a newly single father whose would-be wife is injected in cold blood by supposedly feral-looking creatures. What transpires is a journey of faith, resolved in the lead character of Tommy (played with sunken aplomb by Anuerin Barnard) ,who transports himself through a barren wasteland in urban Ireland, that may or may not be only in his mind. Director Foy, using his own experiences after being attacked and suffering some of the same circumstances that his lead character, goes through, creates an atmosphere of claustrophobia that works well. The eventual resolution involves returning to the scene of the crime, almost as if it is a journey into Purgatory, aptly signified by a tall, dark building. Tommy, aided by a rather dark-minded priest and his blind, child cohort, must come face-to-face with his fear, which points back to a simple human connection that he might have missed. Employing a minimum of visual effectss and make-up, Foy imbues the film with a “Did I see that?” mentality and his dexterity with visual cues incorporates both American and Asian film influences. However, it is Barnard, clutching his young daughter, pushing a stroller through burned out landscapes, who draws the audience, emotionally into his character’s toil.
Universal Film Issue 1 of 2012
Film Festival Boot Camp
by Patricia J. Pawla
o, you have gotten into your first film festival. F i r s t comes the joy, then the panic (Do I need a publicist? give aways? a party? will anyone show up to my screening?). Film Festival are a joyous celebration of film and a way to get your film noticed, but you do need to be prepared in order to succeed. With a low budget mindset, think like a major PR team and be creative. You can do it. A major can have a $400,000 budget for party and it’s ho hum. I have seen it over and over again. You have $2,000, so have to use your imagination to make the party a success. Creativity and fun can trump a big budget. First of all, are you going to attend? Did your screening budget include a few nights’ hotel stay and plane fare for you, the director, and the producer? If not, call the festival and ask them if they are offering any accommodations. Don’t be afraid to ask; remember, the festival is charging for tickets for your film. It is a wonderful, reciprocal relationship. Believe me, they want you there so you can promote your film. Charm them, tell them how necessary it is for you to be there and how hard you will work to fill those seats. Let them know that despite your budgetary restrictions you are there to make sure those seats are filled. Befriend the person handling the accommodations. There are so many people behind the scenes working valiantly for the film festival to be a success, and they are important to know. Compile a small list of questions before you call (especially if you are going to a foreign country and arriving at 2:00 a.m.). Is there a shuttle to pick you up at the airport (a lot of festivals offer this). If you are going to a foreign country make sure that you exchange some money before you leave, since some of the smaller airports don’t have change booths open all night. Do you need a Visa? (Make sure you have a passport now!) Will there be a Q & A? Who might be handling it? Ask them what you can do to facilitate your participation. They want film makers there who will create magic and make their lives easier. Now, I did say small list, as you don’t need to worry about your room, sunken tubs, your view, etc. Think of questions that will ease the process of making your screening a success. Get the names of everyone that helped you along way. Here’s a big tip: make sure you give all of thoes people a little gift. It can be a give-away from the film, a small box of chocolates, a t-shirt, a mug, anything but visit them personally, make sure they know how much you appreciate them, and you might get invited back.
Find out what materials the festival needs to promote your film, and get materials out as soon as possible. Start planning your campaign. Have a terrific press kit. Why a press kit? You may think the answer is obvious, but I recently posed that question to a group of young film makers at a seminar that I was giving, and their faces were all blank. A press kit is important for several reasons. At a festival, ideally, someone from the press will review your film. To start, a press kit is your compilation of facts about the production including the names of cast and crew (correctly spelled) for reference. With IMDb now, facts are immediately at hand. But maybe you have an actor who gave a fabulous performance but is not listed on IMDb, yet, and the journalist wants to give them a nod. They have your press kit for reference. Include some terrific stills in the press kit so that the journalist can use a photo in his review. I have had directors come to me, so upset because the trades didn’t include a photo of their film. Well, if you don’t have one, it can’t be included. Include some biographical information, something interesting that may pull in a journalist, and include other reviews. Have someone proof-read the facts and names. Press kits are helpful if you are looking for a distributor, especially if they contain reviews. It will give your film credence. Check out other press kits then enjoy making yours. Give it your uniqueness and style. What abut a publicist? If you do have the money to hire a top notch publicist, go for it, but make sure that they are not already handling five other films with bigger and more demanding clients. (I once hired one of the top PR firms to make the press kits for a film that I was distributing and showing in a festival, but the kits showed up at the festival five days late because whoops, they had a big star who was taking up all of their time). Now, ask yourself, what do you want to get from this festival? Take some time. Is it about promoting your film, getting another deal, getting a distributor or do you just want to see the Riviera or go skiing? Only you can answer those questions. How do you want to present yourself? As an “artiste”, you might not be thinking about clothes, but what image do you want to project. Is there something about yourself that might help you be more recognizable? You do want to meet as many people as you can, and it’s great if they can find you. Now, I am not saying, guys, that you need to sport a bow tie, or gals you need to have a Betty Boop persona, but it is worth a thought, (even if it’s casual chic or indifferent chic). In other words, start branding yourself. Make it fun, you’ll have fun and people will want to meet you. This is important. Don’t walk around with your nose in the air, with the cool factor. You never know who that person is next to you, who they know and how they may help you on your journey. Be kind. So your goal is to get as many people to see your film, but how do you compete with so many other films and parties? You find your uniqueness and the uniqueness in your film, and you work, work, work...
Universal Film Issue 1 of 2012
Let’s go over what we have so far. 1. Find out what the festival is offering in terms of accommodations and air fare. 2. Make sure you have gifts and thank you notes for the people who got you there. Introduce yourself so they know you; they’ll be more apt to help you with any little snags along the way, and maybe some special invitations. 3. If the festival needs any materials from you, send them out ASAP. 4. Get an excellent press pit. Have a couple of people proof read it. 5. Ask yourself – Why am I attending? What is my goal for this festival? Make a list of what you’ll need to prepare. 6. Do I need a Publicist? Can I do this myself? What’s my PR Budget? Next month…Your campaign. Getting Noticed.
(Patricia J. Pawlak is a veteran of festivals around the world from Berlin to Shanghai, and has attended Cannes for twenty years, distributing and marketing films.)
Universal Film Issue 1 of 2012
Movie on Britain’s Most Dangerous Criminal by Tyrone D Murphy
Killed 40 People Certified Insane 3 times 42 years in prison
t is said that “Mad” Frankie Fraser is one of the most vicious professional killers from the last century. From the 1930s through to the 1990s he is reputed to have killed 40 people, and although he had 26 convictions, spent 42 years in prison he was never convicted of murder. Three separate home secretaries claimed that Fraser was the most dangerous man in Britain. Francis Davidson Fraser was Born on the 13th of December, 1923, in Lambeth, south London. He is of Irish and American Native American descent. His criminal career began during World War II, and with the lack of professional policemen due to conscription there were many criminal opportunities. Fraser later joked in a television interview that he had never forgiven the Germans for surrendering. After the war, Fraser was involved in a raid on a jeweller’s store, for which he received a two-year prison sentence. It was during this sentence that he was first certified insane, and was
released in 1949. During the 1950s, his main occupation was as bodyguard to well-known gangster Billy Hill. Feaser took part in a number of bank robberies and spent more time in prison. He was again certified insane while at Durham Prison, and was released in 1955. In 1956, the British crime boss, Jack Spot, and his wife, Rita, were savagely attacked on Billy Hill’s orders. Fraser was later given seven years in prison for the attack. It was in the early 1960s that he first met Charlie and Eddie Richardson, members of the notorious Richardson crime family and bitter rivals to the Kray twins’ crime family. Together they set up the Atlantic Machines, a one armed bandit enterprise, which acted as a front for the criminal activities of the gang. In 1966 Fraser was charged with the murder of Richard (Dickie) Hart, who was shot at the Mr Smith’s club in Catford, London, while other members of the gang were charged with affray. The witness later changed his testimony and the charges
Universal Film Issue 1 of 2012
were eventually dropped, though he still received a five year sentence for affray. Fraser has always maintained that, while he fought with Hart, he did not shoot him; however in an interview for a recent documentary on his life, he admitted the killing. He also threatened the interviewer during the making of the documentary when he was pressed on the killing of so many people. Mad Frank was also implicated in the so-called “Torture trial,” in which members of the South London Richardson Crime Family were charged with burning, electrocuting and whipping those that a kangaroo court found guilty of disloyalty to the gang. Mad Frank himself was accused of pulling out the teeth of victims with a pair of pliers. In the trial at the London Old Bailey in 1967 he was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment Fraser has served 42 years in 20 different prisons all over the UK. He was involved in riots, frequently fought with prison officers and fellow inmates, and attacked various prison governors. He claimed in his book that he hung one prison governor and the governor’s dog in a revenge attack; the dog died but the governor survived. Fraser was released from prison in 1985, where he was met by his son in a Rolls Royce. The documentary is said to be the most compelling film ever made on the gangsters life to date. A feature length movie is now in development on the infamous criminal’s life.
Mad Frankie Fraser the Documentary available now at email@example.com
Universal Film Issue 1 of 2012
Two Sides of a Film Festival Coin by Christina Kotlar
fter a Sundance Film Festival kickoff during a very mild winter in the US Northeast, spring season for film festivals continues with two very different varieties within an hour’s traveling distance: Garden State Film Festival (GSFF) in Asbury Park, New Jersey and Tribeca Film Festival (TFF), New York City.
GSFF just finished its four day event from Thursday, March 22nd through Sunday March 25th, celebrating ten years of a regional New Jersey film festival. It was not an easy feat, especially during the past four years where economic development was practically abandoned in Asbury Park. However, the Jersey shore area comes alive this time of year. Over a nice-weather weekend a destination film festival such as GSFF draws crowds of up to 30,000 for its homegrown, independent range of programming. It started as a brainchild between two friends, Diane Raver (executive director) and the late actor Robert Pastorelli screening films at a then deteriorating Convention Hall complex containing the Paramount Theatre and Convention Hall designed by New York architect Whitney Warren in a decorative Beaux Arts style. As renovations continued over the years, the festival expanded to a total of seven venues spread out among local businesses to make GSFF a happening film festival, with a diverse downtown area amid surrounding historic, residential neighborhoods. With a tribute to Pastorelli, in place on Thursday, the official Opening Night was a red carpet Gala Cocktail party for just about everybody in the Grand Arcade of the Convention Hall. The rest of the weekend was packed with screenings at seven venues, with panel discussion events on topics ranging from “Reel Jersey Girls: A Century of Women Filmmakers” celebrating the centennial of first woman filmmaker, to Alice Guy Blache’s Solax film studio, built in 1912 in Fort Lee, New Jersey, birthplace of the motion picture industry, to the “Real History of Hip Hop in New Jersey. “ It’s a balance between nostalgia honoring Ed Asner with a Lifetime Achievement Award and the new “I Want My Name Back,” a story of Hip Hop’s original, break-through artists, The Sugarhill Gang, behind the scenes of the cutthroat world of music, trying to reclaim their identities, and legacy in music history. Following the screening, Wonder Mike and Master Gee performed in a concert event, featuring their renamed band, Rapper’s Delight. An eclectic mix to be sure, but it worked, and the many awards given out at an Awards Dinner on Sunday, March 25th ended in a love fest in Point Pleasant, New Jersey. On the other hand and across the bridge (you can take the Verazzano if coming up from the Jersey shore), there’s the Tribeca Film Festival running for twelve days, April 18th
through to April 29th in New York City. Established in 2002, the film festival sought to lure business and people back to the Tribeca neighborhood after the devastating 9/11 attack and destruction. Tribeca Film Festival went through their ten-year milestone last year, but it will feel like another huge event because in the last couple of years, this festival has grown into a monster. Coupled with mega-sponsors like American Express, festival promotion is already in progress with kickoff cocktail parties – one already happened in L.A.– celebrating the film lineup and upcoming theatrical releases along with their new corporate partners Hilton Hotels & Resorts and Conrad Hotels & Resorts. Passes and ticket packages are expensive, the parties and events are exclusive, and getting credentials can be challenging. The credentials I received gave me a Chambers pass, and that won’t get me into any of the film screenings at the venues. While I have access to the screening library and P&I screenings, who wants to watch films in a dark basement, or with press and film critics? I prefer seeing a film with a real audience and gauge their reactions and opinions with my own. We will see whether there will be opportunity to get in on the action on the Rush lines. The screening venues have expanded and are spread throughout the city. Best way to get around is mass transit, but that can be a learning curve if you’re coming from out of town. The festival website (www.tribecafilm.com) is a wealth of information and getting through it all will take the next several weeks. So I will be setting aside time to disseminate the plethora of film, panels, events and technology that are making this all happen in a very short time. Christina Kotlar is a writer and blogger at doddleNEWS and filmfestivalreviews.com
Issue 1 of 2012
Fest COP arrives