Documentary: Los Angeles Meets the Megalith

Artist Michael Heizer’s enormous new work on the grounds of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art required a 340-ton boulder as its centerpiece. The boulder had to be transported over 100 miles from its quarry. At first, I was very interested in this rock. It’s huge! But soon I became more interested in the city’s reaction to the rock. So this film documents the final few miles of the rock’s journey, but it also documents the people who came out to be a part of the great Los Angeles rock transport. The film is part documentary and part personal impression. The simple fact of the matter is that the rock’s arrival is an unusual milestone in the life of this city. You can tell that simply by looking at the faces in my film.

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Detective City Angel: A Film by Alessandro Cima


 

MATURE CONTENT AND LANGUAGE
First, here’s a nice review and interview about the film at Dangerous Minds. Want to follow a secret identity artist through a dangerous Los Angeles as he escapes and hits like a criminal? Hang on and watch carefully. You may need to watch it 14 times to catch the drift. But you’ve probably got that kind of time anyway. This is a Los Angeles crime film. But it’s as if several films on celluloid fused together and what you end up with is an art film that gets overwhelmed by urban documentary and then collapses into a narrative thriller. It’s filled with hints, clues, evidence and misdirection. Images, ideas and sounds bounce off each other, mirror each other. There are secrets in this film. You have to watch carefully, through layers to catch things. I’ve tried to make a film that moves like disjointed thoughts toward the preordained ending. During part of the shooting we found ourselves quite amusingly right smack in the middle of what was obviously a criminal lair. We had to leave quickly. But we returned with a very rapid coordinated sneak attack to film at the place several hours later. You’ll never guess which scene in the film I’m talking about. Underneath everything is the city of Los Angeles and its power over the imagination. The grimy and false facade of the city distracts observers and its inhabitants from the deep power of its mythology. If there is any American city where the ancient gods play, it is Los Angeles. In my film, the increasing association of the artist with criminality is central. The artist as a secret identity is a perfect and unexplored area for film noir. This is probably the overriding concern of the film. The artist constantly under threat but using that threat to drive the creative impulse, even in the face of death. The dark, gritty elements of film noir, especially that of the Los Angeles brand, inform everything in this piece. Various personas or aspects of the personality fight for identification even while running for cover. One part of the mind kills off or suppresses another, wants to be dominant and unknown at the same time. Unconscious forces create images that reflect one another, contradict, and foreshadow. Secrecy, identity, escape, art as crime, artist as troublemaker, the anonymous creator who controls events, the protection of the delicate and easily destroyed creative impulse, the conflict between experimental and narrative film, the inescapable instinct toward narrative, the mask worn as both expression and protection. These are some of the themes I am at least touching upon. It’s a sort of psychotic noir film. The noir of dreams. With a couple of brief exceptions, everything in color was shot in Los Angeles over the past 11 months. The music is by Kevin MacLeod who offers his incredible compositions through http://incompetech.com. The actors in the narrative portion are Joshua Fardon, Renato Biribin, and Laral Cima. This is a Screen Actors Guild (SAG) production. Filmed in Los Angeles December 2010 – September 2011 Canon DSLR and HDV cameras Produced by Candlelight Stories, Inc. Music by Kevin MacLeod at incompetech.com Music is licensed as Creative Commons non-commercial – no derivs – attribution Digital B&W archival footage from the Prelinger Archives at the Internet Archive – archive.org/?details/?prelinger and from the public domain feature collection at archive.org. However, some B&W footage was projected from 16mm directly into certain scenes as they were filmed.

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Wall – Ethos: A Film by Alessandro Cima

Brazilian artist Claudio Ethos works on his first Los Angeles art piece. I happened upon him down on Main Street and thought he was a worker about to paint over a painting of a face. I started shooting and after several minutes realized that he was the artist.

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Glass Boulevard

Filmed in the dullest imaginable environment of shops along a major Los Angeles street at night when the shops were closed.

My Christmas film.

The music is a public domain recording of Artie Shaw and his orchestra playing ‘There’s Something in the Air’ in 1936. The singer is Peg LaCentra. I found it at the Internet Archive.

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Horror Short: Helping Hand

Adult Content – Not For Children Under 13

This is a graphic horror film.  It’s not intended for young children.  If you are under 13, do not watch this before discussing it with your parents!  Seriously.  Also, you should probably not watch it if you are at risk from sudden fear, anxiety or shock.

A woman answers the phone late at night and does not recognize the voice on the other end.

This is my own contribution to the specific horror genre exemplified by the series of Saw movies.  It also has some of the qualities of the moral warning fairy tales in which awful things happen to innocents because of relatively minor errors in judgment.

It’s really fun to make a hardcore scary little movie for Halloween!  I’ve wanted to make a horror film for quite a while and just never had the perfect opportunity.  It’s a very simple film but it can really give some people a bad scare.

I set out to make a horror short the way I might have done it as a twelve year old.  In fact, the film pretty well sums up my thoughts on what horror films really are, how they build suspense and anticipation through a series of ordinary events and actions viewed as slightly askew.

Of course, horror should always have some kind of payoff.

This was filmed entirely without digital effects.  It’s all analog like the old days!  Lots of fun.  I love horror shorts and will try to make another one soon.

Enjoy and have a Happy Halloween!

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Film: Yellow Plastic Raygun

Well I’m just very pleased about this. The Downtown Film Festival Los Angeles has given my film, Yellow Plastic Raygun, the award for Best Experimental Film. I was having quite a nice week attending various parties and screenings at the festival. Its use of multiple locations in the heart of downtown Los Angeles gives one a real sense of taking part in the life of the city and being involved with something that’s helping to foster the exploding art and film scene in downtown. Most of the short films were screened in the new Civic Center Theater at the intersection of First and Main Streets, in the shadow of the famous City Hall tower that has appeared in so many crime shows and film noir classics. I attended the screening of my own film this past Saturday evening and was amazed at seeing it large since I had put so much work into it on small monitors. What’s great about the Downtown Film Festival is that it shows a wide range of filmmaking styles, crew sizes and budgets. They show films made with lots of production resources right alongside films made by individual artists working with inexpensive HD cameras and even cell phone cameras. I am very proud to have won this and I look forward to more great festivals in downtown Los Angeles from the people who put this together.

Creative Commons: Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

You can watch in resolutions of 360p, 480p, 720p HD, and 1080p HD. I think the best compromise for quality and loading speed is the 480p resolution. You can also watch it in HD on Vimeo.  Visit my YouTube channel for more films.

I may do a part two of this film. For now, this is the film in full.

The film is science fiction because it concerns the use of memory images for time travel. The powerful imagery of the singular event – the horrific event – is etched forever in the mind, yet it becomes fluid and its influences cannot be entirely trusted. What led up to the singular powerful event? What course was set following it? In what way would the entire world be different if the event had been avoided or not seen? Not recorded? If, as scientists say, the fundamental particles of existence change location or cease to exist when observed or not observed, then what about events in memory? Or events simply residing in the past?

If one asks ‘why are we here?’ Well, I think the answer is obvious. We are here to remember things. We are memory.

It’s difficult to see a star clearly if one looks straight at it. Looking just off to the side can clarify the star in one’s perception. Going back in time to recover something lost is very much the same. One is sometimes forbidden to look directly at the object sought. One must keep one’s gazed shifted slightly or risk losing the memory entirely. This principal has been understood for a long time.

So putting one’s eye on something like a yellow plastic raygun, or a car, for example, might in fact sharpen one’s vision and allow an accidental recovery or a transfer to take place.

Odd thoughts? Yes, well maybe so. Very much like the thoughts that run through one’s mind before sleep completely obliterates consciousness.

The film uses a mash-up of archival footage, drawings, digital painting, new video and video I shot many years ago. The imagery is very layered and attempts to duplicate the way images move through my mind as I circle around my ultimate objective which is sometimes nearly unknown. There are a multitude of connections and meanings to be drawn from the sequence of images. Some meanings might be very obvious, others would be almost impossible to predict.

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Film: Rain On My Flower

My new film is a silent one about wet, foggy colors. It was raining in December and the roses looked droopy under the weight of the water droplets. Then the camera started going in and out of focus and I thought it made a good color show so I started to learn how to make it happen more and how to make the focus flutter. So I think that what is out of focus in the film is more important than what’s in focus.

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Film: Revisit November North Five

Here’s a new film for the film fans who happen to stumble by. It’s a film about memory shifts, searching, losing something, trying to find the old image, trying to regain an old feeling or impression, capturing a season of life or the mind. As if one were thinking, “I can almost remember how it was and what we did that day so long ago. Where were we again? North somewhere? It was dark? No, the sun was out… wait, it was cold… I think.

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The Visit: Animation in Progress

The Visit is a short animated film I was working on about 5 years ago. I was unable to finish. However, the story is so captivating to me and my drive to finish projects so strong that I am gearing up to complete the thing sometime this year (2014). The story is my adaptation of an old Ukrainian folk tale about a little girl who is cast out of her home to live in the forest. It’s a pretty serious and tough little story. No laughs really.

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New Film: Lunch With Bardot



My latest little film. It’s actually a cinegram. The subject is trains. Time. Memory. The present doesn’t exist. You can’t find it with measurement. You can’t even define it. The future is not there yet. You cannot see it. The only thing that really exists is the past. I say that because we can all see the past – some more clearly than others. But we can most certainly see it.

A cinegram is a short motion picture that uses images and text that are packed with meaning and suggestion. It’s my new word for things I once referred to as film poems.

Here’s the poem from inside the movie:

Lunch With Bardot

Trains run on time
With passengers asleep
Temporarily forgotten
Between observation points
Colliding lines
Of fictional transport

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Horror Movie: Do Not Try to Find Me

A real screamer of a fright movie! Venture, if you dare, into an old, cold mansion. This movie chronicles the growing awareness of something… haunting. May be too scary for children under 12.

CLICK TO WATCH

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Horror Movie: The Re-Gen Project

The Re-Gen Project movie recreates an experiment in raising the dead. May be too scary for children under 13. Watch with care.

CLICK TO WATCH

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Animation: Wise Man of the Forest

Go into the forest if you dare. Seek your fortune and beware! A scary Halloween treat for the strong of heart. Make sure you turn your sound on for this one! You must hear your fortune told.

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Animation: Velocity

A plane goes on a dangerous night flight. A man jumps. He
places an urgent call…

CLICK TO WATCH

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3D Animation: The Giant and the Tailor

Travel into unknown lands with the adventurous tailor who
meets a giant. This animation is a fairy tale classic from the Brothers Grimm.

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Animation: Stone Age Robot – Episode 2

He’s made of stone. He’s a stone age robot and he’s trapped in prehistoric times. He really, really needs to get to the modern world where he knows he truly belongs. But how can he learn to deal with these cavemen?

We made this one back in 2005.

CLICK TO WATCH

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Animation: Stone Age Robot – Episode 1

He’s made of stone. He’s a stone age robot and he’s trapped in prehistoric times. He really, really needs to get to the modern world where he knows he truly belongs. But how can he learn to deal with these cavemen?

We made this one back in 2005.

CLICK TO WATCH

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3D Animation: Dracula’s Prisoner

Part 3 of the vampire films.

Alessandro Cima has written and animated this continuation of the Dracula series. In this episode, a frightened soldier meets the terrifying Count and finds that he will never be the same.

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3D Animation: Dracula’s Message

Part 2 of the vampire films.

We continue the story on from Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’s Guest.’ Alessandro Cima has written and filmed this episode of our horror machinima series.

In this episode, Dracula has written a message to the solicitor character from the first film.

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3D Animation: Dracula’s Guest

Part 1 of the vampire films.

Starting with Bram Stoker’s orginal tale, ‘Dracula’s Guest,’ we’ve continued with our own Dracula story in this series of machinima animations about the horror of the vampire!

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