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it has been a while since a post giving an update on the movie side so…

quite a busy and exciting  time, with “ON LOCATION” and “BECAUSE THEY ARE THERE”, my two latest documentaries going from Festival to Festival and winning Awards ! It is such a pleasure to have audience’s and jury’s feedback from almost all around the globe !

It does motivate me for next project, another documentary, called “NEW LIGHTS”, that is still in development phase. All I can say about is that it did evolve from the original form I had thought and did adapt to our new broadcasting environment and audience’s habits. Not every project hits his aim via a standard large screen diffusion…but no worries I ll keep you posted

Otherwise a very cool project for a great local Rock Band – 1989  – where I had to master the skills of director of photography. Small crew, small budget but great fun and a result that I will soon post, once the release gets official !!

And last but not least, another project in both co-writing and directing of an ART MOVIE with a great friend that masters both writing and painting !

That’s all for now, stay tuned for more !!

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It will be close to 9 months since we finished the post-production of the ON LOCATION movie, and since many applications to Festivals were sent, we received great feedbacks, a couple of important selections (Visions du Reel, Nyon. CH / DOCSHOP, Toronto, CA) and since yesterday a amazing 2015 SILVER SPOTLIGHT Documentary AWARD, or as mentioned by the SPOTLIGHT AWARDS :”Silver Awards: awarded to unforgettable films with the third highest scores from our panel”.

We feel proud and honored as it is a major recognition for independent movie makers / producers. This is also a great opportunity for an increased awareness In North America but not only ; it will certainly help for the theatrical exploitation of the documentary worldwide.

But the most important is that the movie has met its audience and that it has even been considered as unforgettable for some. It is a great honor and it is very touching to feel such a level of support, knowing on top that the movie got to the very short list amongst thousands of other productions. We love what we do – We love even more when it touches people.

What other best Holiday’s Gift could have we asked for ?

A big Thanks to the SPOTLIGHT Documentary Film Awards for their trust!!! And let’s keep on making movies !!!

 

film details :

https://www.facebook.com/onlocationthemovie

http://palmtreeprod.tumblr.com/

trailer !!

 

silver laurel spotlight

Great day today !!

I can proudly announce the official selection of the movie ON LOCATION to :

2015 DOCM – Visions du Reel , Nyon – Switzterland

2015 The Docshop – Hot Docs Festival, Toronto – Canada

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Two selections for major professional film markets, where networks buyers, distributors and other Festival scouts will have the opportunity to watch it and offer the movie a career in one of those channels !

Did I say hooray ? If not…..HOOOORRAAYYY

 

So lets see what other surprises will come from other Festivals !

 

 

 

Festival official sites :

http://www.visionsdureel.ch/

http://www.hotdocs.ca/

 

 

 

The Festival is over and the winners have been celebrated

 

Like in every Festival I am going to, I rarely watched the winners. Most of the time only one or two movies out of my own selection are getting a prize, and very often there are ones that I didn’t like as much as the jury. Nothing wrong about it, but it seems like I shouldn’t be a fan of any team as I might jinx them.

So here we are, after a week of movie watching. What have I learned ?

To begin with, the fact that movie making and documentaries is pretty vivid and I believe slowly changes its style. Well in my opinion the change has truly happened, the issue is we don’t see enough of those new and refreshing movies, because of selection and distribution principles. As a comparison I would link it to any business that wants a new communication campaign : internally everyone wants something different and the pitch to the agency is clear – we want something wow ! When agency comes back with the coolest and craziest ideas, we always internally turn down back to the “this is how we do it” safe option as we are afraid of loosing market and consumers. It is identical in the movie industry. And why would it be so different ? It is just another industry, no matter what internally people think they do….or are…

Another interesting learning for me this week has been the age of the audience. Closer to the 45+ (to be nice) , this determines as well the choices of movies and interests pursued by the people who come to such festival. Some days it was even a 55+ , and 2/3 of them wearing a nice badge. Again why the dynamic would be different in that environment than in another. It is just one part of the world and as per se has the same mechanism. This has a great impact culturally, as a person born in the 60s has been influenced by a post-war dynamic and still looks for a reassuring known dynamic and topics. Style and content are influenced. Obvious not ?

All in all not the best year to me in terms of movies and even more in terms of audience : a lot of them being highly judgmental (first time I see such), not interested (well that happens), and totally disillusioned ( I think this one comes from the fact they all wear the same uniform and look so much alike). I think it is just what we see in any other field : chosen ones that spent a lifetime sitting in the passive seat of history (nothing wrong – actually it is even nicer than having lived in a perpetual conflict led world) and therefore not knowing what new can motivates them again. As well if adding the ageing parameter , you have to add the discomfort of changes and that you start calculating what is left rather than what’s around the corner.  Just like a love saying it about politics : you like when your grandpa tells you his old-timer stories, but would you let him decide what your future has to be ?

With all this being said, my personal learning is….that it brought me back on track with my movie and its editing. I realized I have a large amount of material – nice one – and a movie will emerge from it. Probably a miles away from what I initially intended, probably not successful in the way you count the audience and what it means as a financial payback or history of cinema, but it ll be my movie. And I realized that what I like about movie making is to be this responsible guide, the one that takes you to a place you are not familiar with. I doesn’t need to be the other side of the planet. No it can be just nearby, a place you don’t look at it anymore because it became so common to you. I want to take people there, with all the uncertainties of making them satisfied or not ; with all the doubts on how we will make it together. But being sure I talk from the heart, to the heart, with respect and duty for the people and places I have filmed, and a major affection for anyone who wants to be part of these journeys.

 

So see you next year Nyon – editing bench see you right now !

 

 

The winners are :

http://www.visionsdureel.ch/en/festival/prize-winners/palmares-2014/

 

I was planning a 7 movies day and finished with only 4. I’ve got stopped half way as such a rainy day bring people indoors and all venues were full !

However this shortest selection of films proved once again that quality is better than quantity. The first of the day was See No Evil, a modern fable where you go along 3 monkey lives. Actually those 3 characters are stars in their own way, as we have the famous Cheetah, the brilliant science Dr Kanzi and one space chimp. Those animals, that spent their lifetime in the middle of human beings, are now on their old days and enjoying – in a sort of sad way – their deserved retirement. We witness the similitudes with human beings, as those monkeys crossed a barrier. Humans taught them more than they would usually do, but most of them are now stuck in a place where they are wild animals living in an abandoned humanised world. We might find their fate very cruel, as well as we can admire how much anthropomorphized they have become. But it is a mirror of what happens to our seniors : once they are not useful to active society anymore, the poorest of them don’t have a role to play. I cannot tell you how much this movie is worth being watch over and over and over. The movie director found a way of being so close to those animals intimacy that you are in direct connection with them. There you can say his job as a guide was perfectly executed.

It went even beyond completion, as on the Q&A session, he took the time to answer with a true honesty to every single question, and pardon me to say some were more than nonsense. First of all, answering about the why of making such movie, he insisted on not knowing when the idea came from , but more on where : reading fables to his daughter and having seen a picture with a monkey on a chair nearby a swimming pool. Then the magic in his brain operated. The most important as he said, is to be able of compassion and altruism when making the movie. Unfortunately even such statement – the most beautiful to me –  kept the audience in  a more judgmental mood. A bit of  this feeling of real tv shows like diner date or any other where people give marks and say what’s right or wrong. So we had reactions like : Would you show this film to hunters ? Will you show this movie in the US as it is shot there so it ll open their eyes ? Because it is needed…..Hopefully the director continued on the fact that some scenes are beyond his intention, how making a movie is a ll about story telling and that humbly he didn’t have the pretension to make a heavy moral fable. So go and watch it anytime you can ! Makes you feel quite warm inside.

 

Second, in the same location – so nice in/out of the room – was called Garden Lovers, or people loving gardening and loving love and their partners. Mutual passion for gardening within different couples with their own history. From the couple of retired people who met on internet, to the young ones that met on internet too, back to the seniors who are married since 68 years to the ones that lost their son and found a redemption in gardening gigantic pumpkins. A very nice movie, with a jazzy music to make it even more delightful. Just some arrangements aren’t really helping every time. For instance, as I was checking on eBay, the price of an acceptable steadicam or a crane is around 200 USD. And I believe they had a special offer for this shooting , as the choice of making all those amazing flying cams perspective were used in every single shot. Does it bring anything….well the gardens look like the greatest gardens ever, and the people like proud heroes. This is reinforced by the newly fashion of filming portraits of the people, when they are silent, in a pretty thoughtful stature, and to edit it with their voice over.  For me, the only issue with such trick is the fact you put every character to the same level and erase his own personal characteristics. The only other thing the movie could suffer from, and actually it is a hard part when editing : how / when to finish the movie. In this case, we got 3 successive endings, every one of them giving you a different feeling being cut it every time you jump to the next scene as you believed the movie was over. And I know it – as experiencing it – that it is hard to accept that a movie has its own life and end, and that some fancy shots you just love don’t have their place in it. If you are romantic, go for it. And if not, it ll softened your heart, you cold ones !

 

Third : Cabezon. Chilean movie, with the director and actor on stage. Shot in Santiago with a painter, a dog and an art studio. How to capture and draw a dog – a big gigantic drooling dog – when all he wants is to sleep and to eat. Hard time for the artist, that will live with the animal for a week. Every expected event is happening, from the dog not wanting to seat, to the dog wanting to sleep with the artist, to the dog drinking from the toilet, to the dog making massive brown turds in the street (that are so much like painting from a tube) , to the dog drooling in the all flat, to the owner of the dog that isn’t totally convinced by the final result of the painting. All in all a very cosy comedy, to me a short movie with actors, kind of totally upstream vs all the movies I ‘ve seen this week. And it puzzled me. And not sure I am so enthusiastic about it. It looked to me a very neat well executed diploma movie. And nothing more. Looked to well written to me. This boring perfection with the hints of seductive moments. I am being a but harsh I know, but I was expecting more fragility and less convenience.

 

Finally, the fourth : Home Sweet Home. Lebanon. Lebanese family. Money drama. Politics, war, hopes and family happy tensions. A man, head of his family has always been in the eyes of her daughter the perfect man, the perfect teacher that created a school to change Lebanon’s future by teaching freedom of thoughts and love to the children of an unfortunate nation. All collapses when she gets to know that to pursue this ideal, since the 70’s, her father is now in a dramatic financial situation. What can she do to accept that her father is just a man and how to help him for this hero to not fail ? If you like the animated movie Perspolis from Marjane Satrapi, you ‘ll enjoy the bits of cartoons that explain the inner feelings of the daughter. By the way, the daughter is the movie director, which is another big question mark to me : how to use a personal situation to make a movie out of it, without becoming a group therapy where no one can identify himself to the film ? I think it requires a lot of work and humility to not appear like I am just making the movie for myself and I am not talking about a situation but about me, me and a bit of me.

Here we don’t have that problem, as cleverly the animated sections give distance and make sure we don’t feel like it is all about the movie maker’s disappointment. We even keep focused on the history of a man, of a nation where hopes have to be pragmatic, as tomorrow might never come of if it does, not as we thought it will. Nevertheless, it would be wrong to say the movie is only about modern history of Lebanon. It is clear, and touchy and probably already the premise of another movie, that all this is about a daughter, lost between cultures and legacies, that accepts what life is about and that her father is a true hero by being a simple man who have dreams and a great sense of realism. Becoming an adult some might say. I would call it acceptance for your own mistakes. And if the last scene is pretty clear, it definitely makes me feel like wanting to see more of that movie maker. And her on-screen.

 

What a fourth and last day ! Great movies, strange audience and mesmerizing movie directors. Now time to digest it all…and tomorrow the final note : Visions du Reel 2014, a great year or a just another year ?

 

Meantime I use the opportunity for all new followers – check out some stuff I made and some more on :

http://vimeo.com/user7016328

HAVE FUN !

 

the movies :