How Many Ways Can We Collaborate Around A Single Film?

We will work together to build it better.  We will use the tools we have, but not let them restrain us. Let's turn our limitations -- financial & otherwise -- into assets (may our chains set us free).  We will not let ego drive us away from an ambitious and interesting cinema.  Let's acknowledge that defining a true author in cinema is hard, and the act of creation is rarely original. Everything is a remix.In an era of Grand Abundance, it is best practice to be even more generative, but less authorial.  And if all that is where we are, where does it leave us?

I am always looking for new methods of collaboration and new ideas of how someone else might riff off of one artist's work.  Multiple authors have multiple arms and louder voices; their success is everyone's & their failure no one's.  If we encourage others to use our work for their own work, everyone wins.  Our work will get more traction and enter the cultural dialogue more fully, and the artist behind the secondary work is remaining productive, inspired and given new room to experiment with a tad less judgement swarming around it.

I love collaborative works like Star Wars Uncut.  I love cover songs for the same reason (but unfortunately the laws in this land are more restrictive for cinema artists than musicians).  I got inspired by Electric Literature's Single Sentence Animations for the same reason; the author picks a favorite sentence from a work, and then the animator and composer go to town.

But this is just the tip of the iceberg.  A leaping off point.  I want to see work travel and evolve in other people's hands.  How many ways can we collaborate?  Do we know our tools? Our potential?

Hal Hartley had mentioned to me recently that he was doing a series of shorts by the greatest American playwrights.  I was thrilled to then read about in the NY Times last week.

To celebrate its 50th season, Baltimore’s Center Stage has commissioned a series of 50 short films, written by 50 established and emerging playwrights, starring well-known stage and screen actors directed by the indie filmmaker Hal Hartley (“Henry Fool”).

Mr. Hartley shot the films in New York and Los Angeles over the course of about three weeks. Mr. Kwei-Armah said all the participants were paid “a token couple of dollars,” and several people donated their money back to the theater. The entire project cost about $50,000, which came from donations made by the theater’s subscribers and patrons.

Read the whole article here.  Watch the first video here, written by Anna Deavere-Smith.  I think it is great, harrowing, thrilling.  You'd be a fool not to stop reading this now and go watch it (just wish I could have embedded it).

As I said these are all just the tip of a magnificent iceberg. The YouTube Symphony was just the beginning. We are sure to have many more such experiments in the years ahead. Some will be full on narrative features.  Some experimental tone poems. Others scandalous hilarious sketch pieces.  The gates have been stormed.

The tools are being built.  On a similar note, Clay Shirky recently expressed the hopes that the Internet can now transform government and truly advance democracy (hat tip: Chris Dorr).

"T.S. Eliot once said, "One of the most momentous things that can happen to a culture is that they acquire a new form of prose." I think that's wrong, but -- (Laughter) I think it's right for argumentation. Right? A momentous thing that can happen to a culture is they can acquire a new style of arguing: trial by jury, voting, peer review, now this. Right?

A new form of arguing has been invented in our lifetimes, in the last decade, in fact. It's large, it's distributed, it's low-cost, and it's compatible with the ideals of democracy. The question for us now is, are we going to let the programmers keep it to themselves? Or are we going to try and take it and press it into service for society at large?"

Political change.  New art forms.  A better world. It all takes my time, but we do push it forward, together.

Animated Docs: One of My Fave Genres

Whether it is "Doc Ellis And The LSD No No" or "I Met The Walrus", I have a unique spot in my heart for Animated Docs.  It may just be  because on the surface it doesn't seem to make sense: how can truth be animated? But then, ultimately my mind rebels against itself and determines that it makes more than sense: it makes truth.

Today's installment, further enhancing my affection for the genre as a whole is, Sascha Ciezata's (iT'S ALIVE! ANIMATION) "When Herzog Rescued Phoenix"

When Herzog Rescued Phoenix from Sascha Ciezata on Vimeo.

Oh Yeah Wow! Great work with a great name.

Rippled from Oh Yeah Wow on Vimeo.

My friend Dan McGuire tipped me to this great video that ThisIsColossal.com sourced. Beyond being truly beautiful and incredibly well executed, the animators have a name ("Oh Yeah Wow")I am jealous of -- and that doesn't happen too often.

I love that I can be inspired every day and still know that I am not seeing even close to all there is. There's so much great work out there. May it never end. Oh yeah wow.

Films Are Magic

How great is it to be lost into a short, transported, and then to recognize -- know again -- what you have known for so long: that movies are magic.

Out Of A Forest from Tobias Gundorff Boesen on Vimeo.

Okay I really like The National, and I really like stop motion, and beautiful lighting -- and yes there is a part of me that is a sucker for both nostalgia, innocence lost, and cute furry animals, so...

(via Flavorpill)

One Of The Best Short Films EVER!!!


Frank Film, Frank MOURIS, 1973 by shortanimatedworld I can't believe I have lived so long without having encountered this film before. It won an Oscar in 1973 for Best Animated Short. Even with the commercial interruption and poor resolution it made my list of Best Shorts ever. What's on your list?

The First Pixar Short

Hope The Younger and I believe we have seen all the Miyazaki films now, including Animal Treasure Island, Lupin The 3rd, and Pom Poko. Our UrgeToComplete is turning us to Pixar, and luckily Anne Thompson tipped us to this the other week. "The Adventures Of Andre And Wally B" was the first Pixar short, way back when Pixar was a division of Lucas Film. Now the question is, have we seen every Pixar film? Once we check these boxes, we might as well move on to TheEntireHistoryOfFilmEVER!