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Thursday, February 27, 2014

How The Her Filmmakers Created A Utopian Los Angeles Of The Not-Too-Distant Future

Good insight on the worked on location of Los angeles in HER:

In the not too distant future, the skyline of Los Angeles will be full of 80-story high-rise towers. The air will be clean, the traffic nonexistent. Parks will thrive on rooftops. It will be a simple bullet train ride to the sea or the mountains. At least that's the LA writer/director Spike Jonze envisions in his new film Her, a Twenty-First Century love story about a man named Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) who falls into a romantic relationship with his computer operating system, Samantha (voiced by Scarlett Johansson).

"The future LA is convenient, comfortable, and bespoke," says production designer KK Barrett, who has collaborated with Jonze on four films. "We cleaned up the city—we took away things that weren't of interest—and celebrated buildings and architecture that were of interest to us. In Herit's a new city with curvaceous buildings and things that amuse us rather than things that felt brute."

Their Los Angeles is a clever amalgam of locations in the real LA and in the Pudong business district of Shanghai, famous for its futuristic skyscrapers and raised walkways. If you look closely, you can see Chinese signage throughout the film. "We didn't hide it," says Barrett. "It's part of what LA is and what LA will become. We embrace the signage."
Barrett says he had a lot of questions when he first read Jonze's script because it lacked "visual exactness. So we collaged buildings together—we found buildings we liked—Pudong had the best visuals we could find—and it didn't matter that it was China. We selectively edited our collection of buildings into our film to make our new world—and we took out things we didn't want to show. And it becomes a new whole."

To read the whole article, click below:

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

New Directors New Films

Great festival:
Dedicated to the discovery and support of emerging artists, New Directors/New Films has earned an international reputation as the premier festival for works that break or re-cast the cinematic mold. Celebrating its 43rd year in 2014, the festival takes place March 19-30 and is presented jointly by the Film Society of Lincoln Center and The Museum of Modern Art.

Tickets go on sale to FSLC and MoMA members on March 3. Tickets go on sale to the general public on March 10.

Click link here:

Thursday, February 20, 2014


Saw this film last night. Beautiful. Best film I've seen in such a long time. Wonderful story, creative, beautifully shot, scored and designed.

If you have yet to see, go!

Principal photography on Her took place during the summer of 2012. It was mainly filmed in Los Angeles with two weeks in Shanghai.[18] During production of the film, actress Samantha Morton performed the role of Samantha by acting on set "in a four-by-four carpeted soundproof booth made of black painted plywood and soft, noise-muffling fabric". At Jonze's suggestion, she and Joaquin Phoenix avoided seeing each other on set during filming.[19] With her blessing, Morton was later replaced by Scarlett Johansson.[20] Jonze met Johansson in the spring of 2013 and worked with her for four months.[9][18] Following the recast, new scenes were shot in August 2013, which were either "newly imagined" or "new scenes that I had wanted to shoot originally but didn't"

The Video GameDirector Spike Jonze talking to Fast Company:“I always end up overwriting because I get so excited about an idea, so that video game had a way, way more complicated story. Like an entire story about going inside the psyche of aliens that had invaded the Earth. I actually want to make that video game because I have a whole premise for it.” 
Production designer KK Barrett talking to the L.A. Times:
"Spike had this drawing of an alien child, and then we had this idea of a dough boy with these minimal features, and then we found an animator to do it. And then he used a voice — it’s Spike’s voice, actually — and we put it together that way.  It’s probably more design than we have in anything else. But it’s comedic so we thought it's OK. I mean, it’s a sassy, foul-mouthed creature. We could give ourselves a little more license." 
Design of Future L.A.Barrett talking to Curbed:"We collaged buildings together — we found buildings we liked — Pudong had the best visuals we could find — and it didn't matter that it was China. We selectively edited our collection of buildings into our film to make our new world — and we took out things we didn't want to show. And it becomes a new whole." 
Below is a great source of interviews/articles with Spike and crew on the film:

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Great short doc (2:45)

Shinya Kimura

This documentary was one of 5 films nominated for a 2010 Vimeo Award. 
Directed by Henrik Hansen
Director of Photography Adam Richards

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

our film culture

“Our entire film culture remains structured around antiquated concepts of cinema, audience and engagement,” -- Ted hope

Does it? Do you agree?

I do. I certainly do. Real indie films hardly ever make it to the big screen, and most of what does it void of real characters wanting real things, thus evoking real feelings in us. Instead we get a story that splinters in a million directions because the "filmmakers" are worried we'll get bored. Characters who look more like cartoon characters than real ones, and such pedestrian, over-the-top direction - I'm talking about the dozens of camera angles on two people taking, the camera always moving for no apparent or aesthetic reason, the machine-like editing, and worst of all, now so many films look like video games! Horrible.

To read the full article go here:

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Berlin Film Festival 2014

Berlin Film Festival 2014

The great festival is underway. Below is a link to a fantastic source which covers the festival:

The Golden Bear is the top award or best film, and here's some past winners:

1957  Twelve Angry Men

1961  La Notte

1964  Satyajit Ray  - Best Director

1978  Gena Rowlands - Best Actress (Opening Night)

1984  Love Streams

Monday, February 10, 2014

A Word Or Two

Saw this over the weekend. Fantastic. Highly recommend seeing it. Extremely well written and CP's performance is amazing.

Academy Award, Tony Award and Emmy Award winner Christopher Plummer will star in a Center Theatre Group special event, A Word or Two, written and arranged by Plummer and directed by Tony Award winner Des McAnuff at the Ahmanson Theatre.
Plummer, who confesses to being “hooked on the intoxication of words,” spent much of his time growing up in Montreal reading Ben Jonson, George Bernard Shaw, Shakespeare, Rudyard Kipling, A.A. Milne, Lewis Carroll, Lord Byron, Dylan Thomas, W.H. Auden and Stephen Leacock and others. His personal take on these literary giants forms a journey from childhood to old age.  

Friday, February 7, 2014


How Did the 2014 Sundance Film Festival Filmmakers Crowdfund (If At All?)

Just a few years ago, it was nearly unheard of for filmmakers to seek funding on crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter (of course, Kickstarter didn't even exist until 2009) -- and even more unusual for those projects to screen at film festivals. Now, according to Kickstarter, 20 Kickstarter-funded projects -- from narrative features to docs to shorts and more -- screened at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, representing over 10% of the festival slate (for the third straight year). Of course, some films used crowdfunding for finishing funds while others used the platforms to raise the entire budget -- and projects' goals varied dramatically. For instance, "Cesar's Last Fast" raised $22,000 on Kickstarter (surpassing its $21,000 goal), while Zach Braff's well publicized (and criticized) campaign for "Wish I Was Here" raised more than $3 million ($1 million over its goal).
And while Kickstarter eclipses IndieGogo in numbers, some of the most lauded films at the festival, including "Dear White People" and "Life Itself," used IndieGogo to raise funds. Meanwhile, now that IndieGogo raised $40 million in financing, it's likely they'll be giving Kickstarter a run for their (crowdfunding) money at next year's festival.

Want to read more and see a list of films which used crowdfunding and played at Sundance, read the full article at Indiewire:

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

12 Angry Men


Watched this again the other night. I don't know how many times I've seen this film, over a dozen? And every time I do I get totally sucked in. Why? Amazing story. Great acting. Simple, but perfect cinemaphotography. Most of all, for me, incredibly well written characters. 

Anyone out there want to make their first indie feature film? Watch this movie and learn how to do it. One location. Don't need a lot of money, just well written characters and good acting. 

  1. In the definitive version of Reginald Rose's timeless script, an all-white jury decides the fate of a youth accused of murder. This tightly constructed searing exposé of prejudice in the American legal system stars Henry Fonda and a pantheon of great character actors.

  2. Release dateJanuary 1, 1957 (USA)
  3. Running time96 minutes

Monday, February 3, 2014

Wong Kar Wai's "Fallen Angels"

Here's a link to a blog which I really like:

This particular post is:

Cinematography: Fallen Angels

Some great pics from the film, which was mainly shot at night. And yes, for all you indie filmmakers out there, this was a film mainly shot handheld and with available light. All on location. Treating the city of Hong Kong as a third character!