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A lot has happened since last post ! cant believe it went so fast and here I am like a year later !??

At least it means a lot to share

The year has been pretty exciting for my movies, the ones I have directed as well as the ones that I worked on as DP.

Regarding “ON LOCATION”,  was very happy to see that its Festival career even if slowly fading still provided a couple of Days ago a SPECIAL FESTIVAL MENTION from the Delhi Shorts International Film Festival. I believe by 2018 it is going to be the time to switch to the VOD and possibly TV purchase.

For “BECAUSE THEY ARE THERE”, a lot of selections and prizes !! I am very proud about the outcome of that project, thinking it was a sort of “minor” movie ; my great producer was convinced of the opposite and she was so right. The proof ? An amazingly successful Festival career and I bet more to come.

My project “NEW LIGHTS” got postponed, if not cancelled. I like to think about it like it is postponed. The initial researches were fruitful (too fruitful ?) and gave me answers to the clues I had when starting the entire writing process. The theme is complex, the participants too fragile to not be handled with the proper support team, which in current budget didn’t make sense. I very often wrote that, when shooting a documentary, you got to give as much as you hope to get from the places and people that participate ; in this case, there was a true miss-balance on my side and I didn’t want to make anyone unhappy or suffer from opening wounds I wouldn’t be able to close.

But who knows, maybe a new upgraded version of the project will rise soon ?

 

It gave me time to focus on a photographic project called “FELT”. Making it short, I tried through Portraits of persons and items to recreate a moment of grace we all tend to look for. A moment in time where nothing and everything happens. Project is still on and it might run into Spring 2018 with an exhibition, and for sure a book later in the year.

 

Time was on my side, promoting my movies, changing mind on projects, going back to photography and …Music Videos !!

I had a great gig – 3 music videos, 2 as DP and one as Director – with the great musician Richard Pizzorno. Great time, excellent journey together on the making of his new album. Our collaboration lead to the following images and clips that I am very proud of , both in the making of the images as DP and as Director  part for the last one. That last one was the stepping back into animation and drawings… 3400 drawings later, the Music video is there…and already two Festival Selections !!

https://www.facebook.com/richardpizzornoconnections/

As DP

As Director

 

That gave me the opportunity to another gig with Jazz and Music : Francelet Moser are another great band I am very happy to have collaborated with, and their new release rocks. On the side, the double Bass player offered me a photo session with another project he works on : Wise and Young (WY). I felt back to my first love of music and fashion photography.

as DP

WY Photo sesssion

https://www.facebook.com/wiseandyoungofficial/

 

 

We re early november and I realize the year has been quite of a full and successful one. Promised I will step back into a more regular update and writing, as other projects are on the go ! yes got some extra gigs and  feel very enthusiastic about !

 

Like always, stay tuned for more !

 

Click, send, apply, register, wait for approval : these last weeks have been made of that. Time in front of the computer, exporting the movie “On Location” in every possible format, contacting Festivals, subscribing for screenings…and every now and then an escapade to the mountains for the shooting of ” Because they are there”, my new project about the mountains.

Once on the locations, it is just a happy time, heavy backpack, tripod, camera and accessories…in other words just the pleasure of a kit on the back somewhere in the wild. However, now that I am collecting more than a couple of hours for every shooting day, I started to fill (again) another hard drive and can’t imagine how much I will have by the end of the shooting in July. So when back home the computer is again smiling to me and transfer, copying, duplicating starts over. What starts as well is the brainstorming on how am I going to make a movie out of all that footage. Indeed – and like my producer says ” I know the movie is there, we can see it but what it’ll be like is still a mystery” – during the hours of sitting next to the camera on the location I am just in the moment ; and when back home I am sitting in front of TV watching a couple of mountain related movies. My choice “narrowed” down to all the recent productions that are :

1) produced by a super duper cool brand of liquid sugar / energizing / amazing packaging drinks

2) produced by a brand of gear / hardware / so hot equipment that is blank enough to allow stickers on it

3) have the same type of dressed up people acting / performing / stunting in it

4) dressed up with club lounge music as a background for more than 75% of the time

5) spent on the sleepy moments in tents or old VW vans

When starting my new project – “Because they are there” – I questioned myself about the videos of extreme sports having the mountains as a background. I am (am I still ?) a big fan of those videos, as it reminds me when I started snowboarding some 20 years ago. I remember on how difficult it was to find that material, how tricky and expensive it was to shoot them. By that time I was a lot into photography and I remember being asked for doing some of a group of snowboarders. It was a hard task as material was finishing wet, film rolls were expensive and even more the development. Ultimately who else apart from your pals would have a look at the pics ? …Slowly the fun of riding became more than a financial niche and as much as the kickers gained in size, so did that niche and turned into a juicy profitable business. Ultimate level of recognition is the shift from happy fellows into great athletes, still happy…but is it from the fun of the runs ?

Half lying on my couch I am binge watching extreme / mountain / snow sports channels ; waiting for my footage conversion on the editing machine, I am getting absorbed by those movies on my second screen. Sometimes I don’t look at the screen for a while and when turning back to it, it seems like nothing has changed : did I really miss some minutes of the movie ? By the way, is it still the same one ? I have to confess this is where I started with my new project. I had the feeling that every single movie became formatted, with the same frames, music, stunts and even jokes. Am I getting bloody old and so of a complainer ? At least I don’t have the feeling that “in my times” it was better. I am just surprised on how the seek for freedom and fun is now a recognizable business format, with its clothing, attitude and codes. Images are very often mind blowing : helicopter views of the most remote places on earth, spots that no one has easy access to, fancy colours of both the places and athletes…and logos of course.

Yes that is the key…logos !! Of course it is still expensive to make those shootings. It costs not only the helicopter, the crew, building the kickers and the movie kit (mmhh some 6k HD…can’t imagine the post production) ; no there’s a human cost too as what seems so easy and cool on screen needs the greatest training both physically and mentally. All jumps, dives, figures, climbs are done with perfection ; the misses and failures are kept for the end credits or for a behind the scenes bonus on Blu Ray disc packs. We actually look at some highly trained athletes performing to their best. And in most of the cases, this is the only interesting bit : do your perfect run, we add the music and we promote the fun.

In those moments I can help thinking and feeling that I am watching long / mid feature commercials. Big image and big sound as a claim and my brain turns into passive..before having this little voice whispering into my ear : you could do it too..it takes the only the gear, the gopro cam, a friend who makes some clubbing sound and a credit card. And what the guys are doing on screen is anything but being passive on a slope (no matter if going up or down) : not only they often risk their life for their job , but they are as well having an activity at the mountain. You could change the location and they’d be probably doing anything else with the same spirit…

Actually I just watched a movie – french one – about a group of handicapped people (mentally ill) that made it to a 5200m summit trek in the Himalayas – in french it is called the “la caravane des sages”. A mix of voice over, people interview and effort images for a quite pleasant movie where the head guide at some point of time said : ” It is a great experience as with this trek we had to take it easy, forget about the speed and achievement of records in speed. We had to acclimatize and live the journey at a normal living rhythm of the locals and still we made it to the top like we would with any others. And I realized on how it is a nice (re-)discovery of the mountain. Usually we go to the mountain to achieve something, and this time we just were in the mountain to experience it.”

I was looking for a moment about the definition of my project, which the first time I phrased it, during a winter hike this winter was : ” I want to try to show and share the intimacy of the relationship we build with the mountain when we experience it”. I’ve been thrown a couple of jokes on the intimacy word and since was still waiting to understand the deep purpose of this new movie.

In my binge watching I started to realize that a lot of the reels are redundant. And in a market where everyone looks the same and depends on the fashion of the decade ( I am generous…it s more for every season a new fashion) , you need to differentiate yourself. So a new emerging trend is to show part of the vulnerability of the heroes on their quest. Broken bodies, major doubts about the quest, financial struggles : when the script doctors meet the sports challenge and the broadcast specs. Sometimes it is a success, like the movie “The Crash Reel”. But this movie isn’t about the fun or riding ; it shows the business side of it and how a severely injured athlete is part of that gigantic cash machine…and so what is this fragile human component of a never ending profit race (and not only financial profit). Other films that are about great expeditions or attempts of a record (personal or not) are now facing the need of adding the human factors doubts and fragility as after 10 minutes, we have already seen it all in terms of scenery and breathtaking images. So with a lot of chance and  very often goofiness you enter the moments when athletes are down. You see them not being the super human beings they were once on the show. They pity themselves..before to making it at the end. A moment of doubt before the final resolution of their conflict. Sometimes it just misses the little sound of a soda can getting opened to make you understand they could make it thanks to a fuzzy hormonal drink. By the way, did Popey ever made any mountain sport ?

In that range of movies that are trying the trick, I could randomly quote “The two million foot man”, “Cerro Torre”, “Mount Infinity”, “Dejame Vivir”, the “Peace Park” videos or the Level 1 “Less” movie. All of them enter at some point of time the human side of the adventure. Some in better ways than others. Some in a meaningful way. Some just to ameliorate the bond you’ll have in your seat with the person you see on the screen. And yes that relationship can as well be the winning ticket for the sponsors…. But it wouldn’t be clever to say it is the only purpose : in weird ways it can show you as well what is possible and what is not from your armchair.

So now that I am entering the group of movies about the mountain, all these hours watching what’s around gives me clarity on where I am going. I am not the kind of person that usually believes that watching movies will make you shoot one. No I believe that because you have something to say you make a movie. And having something to say not only as a movie maker, but in general. That your perception of a moment or a place or an event in one’s lifetime is worth and needs to be shared with your own perspective. It comes from the inside.

In this new project, I want to touch that inside thing. I have something personal to share about the mountains. I don’t want to sell you any gear, apparatus or feelings in order for you to buy them. I am sharing my feeling of being there, of hiking hard, skiing down, snowboarding high ; cold days and summer days, in a group or alone. Happy times, sad times ; easy times and painful times. Sharing what comes from the inside and living the moment : not just consuming what will be on screen. Maybe this is why I prefer and get excited about the live feed of ski contests or climbing people…they are in the moment…

The present can’t be defined by the movement ; it is defined by our ability to maintain a steady and out of time connection between our inner self and the outdoors. That’s the magic when you are there..and it happens “Because they are there”.

 

 

 

movies quoted captures :

Capture d’écran 2015-05-21 à 16.17.51

Capture d’écran 2015-05-21 à 16.18.19 Capture d’écran 2015-05-21 à 16.20.52 Capture d’écran 2015-05-21 à 16.22.07 Capture d’écran 2015-05-21 à 16.22.46 Capture d’écran 2015-05-21 à 16.23.46 Capture d’écran 2015-05-21 à 16.47.14 Capture d’écran 2015-05-21 à 16.47.22 Capture d’écran 2015-05-21 à 16.56.21 Capture d’écran 2015-05-21 à 17.09.32 Capture d’écran 2015-05-21 à 17.29.31

 

 

Long time no seen !

And the reason has been an overload of work. I realize that last post goes back to December and since….well one main focus :

ON LOCATION (un décor naturel), a documentary project that kept me busy for the last 2 1/2 years, and its post-production for the last 3 months. But this effort was worth as…there we have a beautiful 54 min movie with amazing sound and image – thanks to C-Side Productions in Geneva – and available now in every possible format.

Want to have a look at the trailer ? just click here below !!

The movie has been sent to many movie festivals and now the waiting period had started : where will it be screened ? To which movie market will it take part?

So far….I can only tell you to stay tuned for April 1st new post.. 😉

And again a big thanks to all the people that took part to this project ! It wouldn’t be what it is without them !

vaulruz - poster_anglais PAPER CUT light version

V_3c52e608c0

After a year of diet, here I am again at the Visions du Reel movie festival in Nyon. The main focus of the festival are documentaries somehow linked to direct cinema theories (to make it simple and quick…if more check http://www.visionsdureel.ch)

Today was my first day at the Festival that actually started last week. But due to Easter and the usual Polish trip linked to it, I missed the first days…and so far I would say for good. Indeed Recently I am wondering on how to move on with the editing of the movie On Location, as 98% of the shooting is completed. And after a lot of mountaineering and that family trip, I am now more than opened for advice and ideas.

So perfect timing to go back to a movie festival, to get inspired by what is being screened to find solutions to this usual  tricky bit I am having now as the post production begins.

Today it was rainy and cloudy. Cold and windy. It starts to be the standard for the Nyon’s festival. Indoors a packed cinema room – probably the weather’s effect – and the first movie of the day was Modulations, a short movie about a hip hop crew’s studio recording session. I am a fan of hip hop and the movie brought me back some…well 25 years ago , days of my life when I was deeply immersed into the freshly growing hip hop culture in Switzerland. So on the screen the entire process on how to set up a beat, adapt it to the lyrics and then the recording / mastering in what has become more than familiar to anyone since “we are the world” video clip and more recently all the home studios happily sold by Avid, M-Audio, Steinberg, etc etc have been heavily promoted.

Unfortunately to me, I think the movie was a nice high quality capture of a moment in life…and nothing more. I could feel the director being overwhelmed not by the emotions of the topic but by the fact of being fascinated by it. Sort of “let me show you the WOW” instead of “let me share with you the WOW that is happening on-screen. A lot of images of mixing devices, peak meters close-ups, tweek switches being processed, headset and mic covers just for the sake of the nice picture. A feeling that the movie director rediscovered what MTV broadcasted widely in the 80’s. Maybe is she too young to know it ?

Following it was another medium length documentary called Maximum Pleasure. A polish movie about five retired woman in a Polish town that are getting crazy buying every possible expensive household gadget that the TV Shopping channel has to offer. And indeed the weakness of the ladies is that all seems to be an offer : special expensive prices but with discount on supposed high quality life lasting products. The official synopsis defines the movie as a cruel documentary comedy about a widespread phenomenon in Central Europe…and it is true. And so does the point of view. There is very little empathy with the 5 characters. We are stuck in the showing of  how they are trapped into this craving for buying themselves a living and an eternity via selfishly spending the money they don’t have. Obviously it is hard to build and show the true complexity of the characters, specially if we consider how much History , from WW II to Communist Times, had a strong impact on people’s lives and perspectives. Some scenes are truly hilarious and are worth watching the movie. But if the main joke of such scenes are blowing you off on their first appearance, they become as well like gadgets when being repeated later on. Again hard to understand what the movie director wanted to share there. And this is why it becomes cruel and unfortunately to me reduces the “plot” to some people who run no matter what after fulfilling their egos. Some melancholic bits and general background locations (their houses, their partners) help in giving clues on how stretched they could be. But nothing apart from money seems to be the stretch. At the end the feeling that the director is pointing a finger towards them and this irrational race they embarked in.

Lunch break – fast one and back to the cinema where…well…I must say that both short movies of the morning are definitely worth being watched and my comments could be seen as picky…but the one I had at 12.00 GMT+1….I still can’t believe I’ve seen such. It was Les Tourmentes.

I actually chose to go to it as it was being presented as some magic, mystical outdoors mountains, Shepard, animals and voices mashed movie. A must see. Yes a must see in the 70’s with all the artificial voice over, shaky frames, super loud deep bass sounds (btw thanks Mr David Lynch…..if in your movies all the suction sounds effect are great, it actually polluted the mind of generations and generations of movie directors…I am joking of course but such cool effect is being used over and over and over in whatever situation…). So or I became sort of sensitive about what the experience of the outdoors is, or the movie has been mixing to many things…and only in someones brain. A true lack of content from the heart. It was an essay , again fascination first and power of the topic much after and hidden in a rigid copy/paste form, where every 10 min the same was happening with pretty similar images and sounds effects. A lot of work definitely, but not touching me. For sure other people have been, as this is the beauty of the world : all tastes are equally available and good.

Half sleepy I got out of the cinema to move to another location where I would enjoy the two last movies of the day : again shorter ones. The first , Autofocus, is a great little Croatian movie where you spend your time watching, from a couple of yards away , one of the most visited touristic attraction that is located on a small hill. Worldwide languages, comedy situations : tourists being spied by a sort of sniper hidden far away from his victims. We laugh, sometimes too much if I consider the content and the audience’s reaction ( I ll explain it later), and at the end we feel like having had a nice time. Nothing more. A true candid camera moment that makes you feel some kind of better than the average tourist. And this is a true discomfort to me. Sounds like I haven’t enjoyed a lot my day…

Last movie of the day : Hotel and a Ball. A movie bravely crafted in Latvia , presented as ” The film is about wondering why the world is the place it is”…”A masterful quiet dialogue of worlds and points of view”. To put it back into the context, imagine an old sport resort, you know the communist times jewel of the 50’s. Fine. You’re there ? Ok so imagine nothing has been refurbished since and still every type of young sports people use it for football, athletics, strong men preparation contest. The employes on the fields have made their careers there too. So have the equipment. A hotel is still opened and welcomes all those brave sportsmen and women. Interesting topic. Interesting movie. And again just a camera that , thanks to close-ups makes some normal, everyday’s details appear like the ultimate poetry. A very normal things that I remembered happening in a small swiss village’s football field in the 80’s were so attractive to an overcrowded cinema as all is happening now in Latvia… I am still puzzled. But nice movie, specially if you don’t read or consider the synopsis.

All in all a nice start with a lot of work in every movie. But an overall feeling, and not the first time, that there is a trend taking us on the shore of a risk free movie making. I hardly felt anything else but the fascination of the movie makers in their proposals. Most of the time I felt like empathy and the translation into images of the personal experience was missing. As if we got too well-trained in being “objective” when shooting the movie, which leads to similar objects at the end. No space for little mistakes of the heart. Those little imperfections where you melt as it is the fragility of the person behind the camera sharing a moment of brotherhood with what is being recorded. I believe as well that editing is being very much influenced by a 15 years of real tv shows : as long as it serves the plot, let’s forget the deep emotional coherence for a cheaper superficial action/reaction principle. Maybe are we getting lazy on sharing the true hard to grasp feelings and we replace it by the most exquisite verbal lies ?

So tomorrow another day in the dark rooms, where an audience of 50+, hipster style and loving the exotic of a non perfect swiss-like reality and I would again have this great experience of watching the hard work of passionate people.

The movies :

http://www.visionsdureel.ch/festival/programme/jour/s/2014/4/28/

PS:

Some weeks ago a schoolmate contacted me as a student she’s in charge of was planning a movie about the university we went to. In our days there, I made a little documentary (26min) about our class and what we were facing those days of hard work and learn. So here is the movie for those who are interested in it – the others can share it !. It was in 2007 – all the guys there have now found their successful path into the cinema industry !

A safe landing 2 days ago. The feeling of an uncommon jet lag. We arrived home after our holidays. We came back home after work as well. 3600 km in 10 days. Our plane was a car. Our trip back in two times. Our vacations in four movements and 8 bits.

Now time to start the week. In fact not – we are Thursday. Weekend is close and no time to breathe. The air feels different. Probably the mountains, the altitude. It was flat over there. Never ending horizon. A vaste space where thoughts get wiped away by the wind. Here the mountains are hermetic. Here the heights are a barrier. We should feel safe. We do feel home.

Working time. Restless. Something changed. The landscape changed. Snow in the Alpes and rain here down. I feel like it is time to rest. But the rhythm is an new one. Actually like an old friend we knew that came back to our place. 3 steps for the movement. Then immobile. Time to think. No need to hurry before the next step.

The rain goes on outside and I know the digestion time started. A lot happened between the road trip, the memorial visit and the Festival. So many different things. So much in common. We are moving and entering a new phase of our lives and it is right. It sounds right.

All experiences are worth. Every new person you know completes you. Sometimes it is hard to see it, sometimes it is easy. Just natural. Just the way it should be.

I remember something from a deep past that goes beyond my own existence. It is rare.

I shared time in every possible way. It is rare.

I had the greatest professional time ever with amazing people. Every jury member. Every staff member. Thank you guys

Bounds are created.

Lace is woven.

Life can grow further.

Image

Image

Image

If reading my short bio, you’ll see that I was born in Chile, and then that I travelled a lot of miles to cross an ocean and land in Switzerland. I am one of those that, in the 20th century, was commonly affected by some political crisis in his motherland and had to leave in order to have a future, or simply a life.

When I think about it, I realize that this story doesn’t belong to our new century. That, of course and we have seen it, wars are bringing their quota of emigrants, but as well does the climate change. If I say my story doesn’t belong any longer to this century, it is because it was still the legacy of the Communist / Capitalist blocs fight, in its most standard way. Nowadays we have an East / West, North / South but politics aren’t the front line.

If maybe it isn’t from this century either, it is because, after 29 years in Europe, 29 years in Switzerland, the feeling of being from abroad tends to disappear. I have, since a couple of years the Swiss citizenship : it means a lot to me.

Chilean living in Switzerland becoming Swiss…and in order to makes things easy married with a Polish woman. Think about our children !

And actually, I do think about them. Even more as just yesterday, a new law allows Polish citizens to have another nationality. So many ones. Where will they be from ? Everywhere.

What about the roots ? Everywhere as well ! And my way of connecting their future with, is my new movie project : ON LOCATION, or the chronicle of the small village where I grew up in Switzerland.

Between my 3 and 14 years old, I lived in a small village in the beautiful Gruyere region. A perfect place to grow up. Nothing in common with our life back in Chile, from work to landscape, from language to food. For good and bad.
I left that place 18 years ago…and my parents left the country back to Chile 13 years ago.

Some 3 years ago, I was invited by a dear friend, he’s more like family actually, to assist to the play his theater troup was playing. A local troup. From this village. In the village. I recognized and met some almost forgotten faces. Discussions, thoughts. And the feeling that there was a real beauty in those amateurs acting on an improvized stage for the locals.

It took me 3 years to move away from the simple fascination on what can be seen as a particular phenomenon to enter the real interest of it : almost 20 years went by, my family history, the one of the village, the History with a capital letter.

And the village, as a main character. Its life, its habits, its changes, its inhabitants. Add four beautiful seasons, local activities and a new theater play, a brand original creation, that strangely enough approaches what a life is made of. How it was, how it will be.

It is called ON LOCATION and will ask a full year of shooting and editing. I have a great crew to work with : small but efficient, people that I believe understand the fragility of such project. I have a great sponsor and who knows, if it makes you feel like being part of it, well stay tuned as some crowdfunding could be requiered by the end of next year.

I always tell myself that I prefer an average or failed movie but a great personal experience and improvement. I have the feeling that for this one, both will be successful.

ON LOCATION, a movie by JP Fuenzalida Lorca

Official release date : ***SEPTEMBER 2013***