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.
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Film: Die Schneider Krankheit

This 2008 film was written, produced and directed by Javier Chillon of Madrid, Spain.  The director of photography was Luis Fuentes.  Artistic direction by Ángel Boyano.  In the fifties, a Soviet cosmonaut chimpanzee crash-lands in West Germany.  Within weeks, a deadly virus has spread across the country and confounds all the scientific experts.  The film is composed of entirely original footage made to look like a fifties documentary or newsreel.  The very first shots with the camera tilting down through the trees to show us the crash site at long range is a nearly prefect rendition of old documentary style right down to how the camera would move.  You have to really know what you are doing to come up with shots like that.  Very fine work.

This is science fiction that is a deadly accurate portrayal of the calm, governmental, ponderous yet urgent, carefully-framed and full-of-import quality found in mid-century documentary films.  The humor is sly and builds its effect gradually.  It’s also somewhat frightening.

Found at No fat clips!!!

Animation: E.T.A.

E.T.A. was directed by Henrik Bjerregaard Clausen, with character modeling and animation by Søren Andersen and Michael la-Cour.  The production company is called Junk.  The film gets the whole thing with the orbiting spaceship and the cockpit just perfectly.  It’s short and sweet and funny.  I love sci-fi with grungy control rooms and crap lying around.  And of course I bet GM built the poor guy’s ship.  Definitely.  It’s a junker.

Animation: The Terrible Thing From Alpha-9!

Cartoon Brew TV is showing this student animation called The Terrible Thing of Alpha-9!  It was directed by Jake Armstrong as his thesis for the School of Visual Arts.  It’s got a very free drawing style and combines a great sci-fi sensibility with gentle humor. If you head over to Cartoon Brew, they’ve got a full interview with the director with lots of information about the making of the film.

The Hunt for Gollum: Lord of the Rings Fan Film

The Hunt for Gollum is a 40-minute fan-made film that will be available for free downloading on May 3, 2009.  The film was made through open collaboration of enthusiastic fans working under the leadership of director Chris Bouchard.  The all-volunteer production looks so much like a Peter Jackson LOTR movie that it’s almost scary.  One wonders why all the big budget money was spent if the films could have been produced by this crew of hard-working talented volunteers!  This film looks like it’s going to be a serious lot of fun and will be a great addition to the LOTR world for its fans.