7 Things I Learned From My First Film Festival

Andrew Robinson recounts some tips when going to a major film festival like the Toronto International Film Festival

This was my first time going to TIFF, going to Canada, covering and even attending a film festival. It’s a lot of firsts for me to handle – I hope I did okay.I watched a grand total of 35 films. I posted reviews for 22 films and did 1 interview. I took in 4 movies and 3 cups of coffee a day. I walked out of 2 films, fell asleep in 3 and couldn’t complete 2 due to projection issues. I saw my first film ever projected in 70mm (The Master, of course) and overall had a blast. I’m still trying to figure out how to go back to “normal” everyday life after that, but so it goes.So here are some things I learned from my very first film festival:
1. Wear Proper Shoes
I’m pretty sure for people who frequent real cities, this is already understood, but for a person who stupidly woke up an hour late for his airport taxi and forgot to pack his jogging shoes, I found out the hard way how important they are at a festival. After day one, my feet were blistered and calves burning. By day six I found it hard to run (which was necessary to catch a few screenings). I pushed through and after two days of post-fest rest, I’m totally fine but damn me for thinking I could do that level of walking as easily as flipping a switch.

Film School Rejects | Read the Full Article

Deluge (1933) – the first disaster film to wipe out New York City

1933 saw King Kong scale the Chrysler building and a Film where New York City was completely destroyed by an unexplained earthquake and tsunami. This film was thought to be completely missing until an Italian dub surfaced in 1981. The film is also a departure form the disaster fare we have today in that the catastrophe opens the film and the remainder of the story is the survivors coping with the circumstances.

Deluge is a film with a strange history. Produced independently by a small outfit called Admiral Productions, Incorporated; sold to RKO (who were looking for a suitable cash-in follow-up to King Kong); and released during August of 1933 to a mixed but generally positive critical response, the film went through a successful cinema run and then, apparently, vanished from the face of the planet. The only evidence of the film’s existence lay in the vivid memories of those who had witnessed the cinematic destruction of New York during Deluge’s first and only run, and in the occasional reappearance of that spectacular special effects footage, which somehow ended up in the possession of Republic Pictures, and was integrated by that notoriously penny-pinching studio into a number of films and serials, most famously the climactic episode of 1949’s King Of The Rocket Men. Otherwise, Deluge seemed to have joined the tragic ranks of “the lost film”, until the serendipitous discovery of what is to all evidence the sole surviving print of it by the late Forest Ackerman, during a visit to a cinema archive in Rome during 1981 – which explains why all existing copies of the film are dubbed in Italian. English subtitles were subsequently added to the dialogue, but such internal signifiers as signs and newspaper headlines – and, for that matter, the film’s titles – remain untranslated; an arrangement that adds a distinctly surreal edge to a contemporary viewing of what is indisputably the progenitor of all modern-day disaster movies.



The Hollywood Deal – Common Terms for Writers and Directors

Genevieve Jolliffe outlines some of terms a writer or director would expect when working on a Hollywood Studio film.

If you are hired to write (whether this is your own idea or someone else’s) you will get paid your writing fee in steps.

THE TYPICAL DEAL is two drafts and a polish (three steps). Each step has two stages, commencement and delivery. You get paid half your step fee upon commencement and the second half upon delivery. The studio has the right to end a writing deal, but they generally have to pay the writer a penalty if they do so.

This is when the studio thinks the screenplay is very, very close to being ready, but still needs a little work to hit it out of the park. Often studios bring in different writers to do a polish on a standing screenplay.

If you are being hired to ‘re-write’ a screenplay that did not originate with you, you may be looking at a Page One Rewrite.  This is when a screenplay really isn’t working and it needs to be reconceived. The idea is in there somewhere but it needs an overhaul. Often in this case, you may be able to negotiate a better rate than just a rewrite.

What does SCALE PLUS TEN mean?
When a writer is a first time writer in Hollywood (in other words, this is the first screenplay that a studio is interested in picking up); their deal will most likely be scale – which is the WGA’s minimum fee – plus 10%. The 10% is usually related to the 10% that is your agent’s fee – however as most likely you will have an agent, a manager and a lawyer on board – you’re looking at 25%! But that 10% certainly helps towards paying those fees.

If you have an attachment – say a well-known director is going to direct the film – then you have an advantage when negotiating your QUOTE (fee). If you’ve made a film already, then the quote that you received for that film, will be your starting line in negotiating your fee for this film. Generally a screenwriter or director will get a raise from one job to the next. If a well-known director has attached themselves to your film, you have an advantage when negotiating your quote.

Chris Jones Blog | Read the Full Article

An important next step in transitioning from Film to Digital Cinema: FilmConvert

Vincent Laforet discusses the bridging step from silver particles to zeros and ones.

I love film.

Most of us love film.

In fact when I told my father I wanted to follow in his footsteps and become a photographer (my father was a photographer for Gamma Press, and then the Director of Photography and principle photographer for Premiere Magazine in France)  more than 22 years ago – he was so against the idea, that he sent me to the 3 consecutive darkrooms over 3 summers, to try to dissuade me from my career choice…

The first summer was spent in a black and white darkroom with one of the top french master printers, named Guy Ben… the next summer was C-41 and C-41 printing… the last was at an E-6 lab, where I learned to process the film, and also Cibachrome printing… after 3 summers, he finally gave me his blessing because his efforts to dissuade me had failed…

These days, I hate to say it, but I do get frustrated when I see the Kodak ads in film trade publications.  Not because I think they are wrong or irrelevant.  But because I feel like they’re not only losing sight of the bigger picture (and the inevitable realities) but also ignoring the potential of what is truly out there…

There is no arguing that film gives you an incredible image that in most cases far exceeds what can be accomplished with a digital sensor (notably when it comes to highlight retention… However – when you look into the shadows, or into high ISO cinematography… it’s hard to argue against digital cinema cameras.)

At the end of the day however, I get frustrated for the following reason:  there is no arguing that film has a unique quality.  One that in some ways CAN’T be matched by most digital sensors TODAY.

BUT – I am absolutely convinced that in the coming years, that will all change.   I am convinced that digital sensors will come to exceed the dynamic range of celluloid in time… and that it is in every DP’s interest to focus on learning how to best master the emerging (and future) technology (namely digital sensors) – as opposed to fighting what I consider to be a lost battle, in trying to clench onto their (completely justifiable) love of film.

Vincent Laforet | Read the Full Article

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