Archives for November 2013

Musical Interlude: Happy Birthday, Tina Turner!

Here are a few movie/music videos, in honor of the lady’s 74th birthday.
Enjoy!

Goldeneye (Goldeneye)

What’s Love Got To Do With It (What’s Love Got To Do With It)

We Don’t Need Another Hero (Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome)

A Look at “The Mirror” with Filmmaker William Dickerson

Last week, I linked up with Los Angeles-based filmmaker William Dickerson about his latest feature, The Mirror. Check out the trailer here:

Who is “Taylor?” Blurring the lines of what is real with what is “reel,” William (as himself) tries to answer this question in this metafictional satire about a lifestreamer. “Taylor” is seemingly an open book who effortlessly draws others into his world, a world where public and private life are one and the same. As Dickerson pushes Taylor to delve deeper into his past, the story takes an unexpectedly dangerous turn.

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themirror

After screening the film, I sat down with some questions for William; here are some bits from our conversation.

ILC: This film starts with your declaring the loss of your passion for film? I am more interested in where that passion started?

WD: When I was in 6th Grade I chose to direct a film adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Ten Little Indians in lieu of writing a book report.  It was a big hit.  From that point on, I filmed everything I possibly could.

ILC: This film talks a lot about the world of social media and its impact on getting your message out there. One area of social media that has helped aspiring filmmakers are crowd sourcing resources, such as Kickstarter. How much of an impact do you feel vehicles like these are to anyone trying to break into the business?

WD: I think crowd-funding is a terrific stepping stone for new filmmakers.  But, you still have to hustle.  It’s the same as writing letters to your friends and family in an effort to raise money for your movie, just on a wider scale.  I think it’s rare when a crowd-funding campaign goes viral; filmmakers are still depending on their network of supporters, and potentially the networks of that network, for funding.  But I still think it’s a good thing and a step in the right direction.

ILC: Last month, you had the World Premier screening at the Yonkers Film Festival, as an Official Selection. Overall, what has been the response/reaction to this film thus far?

The response has been great.  We opened the festival and the reaction was really great.  Some loved it, there were some who didn’t; but that’s what this movie is: it’s polarizing.  Is it real, or is it staged?  Does it matter?  I want the film to be tough to wrap one’s head around; I think the majority of movies these days are missing that “element” that makes the audience think.

ILC: This film comes off the heels of your first feature, Detour, which I know was a labor of love, time and treasure. Beyond the monetary, has Detour gained the attention from the majors or independent film circuit?

WD: DETOUR was well-received critically and the attention it garnered has definitely helped my career.  I was just hired to direct another feature, on the strength of DETOUR, which I begin shooting in December!  

ILC: Just how cynical are you about the movie making process in general and Hollywood’s “business of show?” Did making this film alter your perspective in any way?

WD: It has certainly made me see clearer.  Making a movie is often like controlling chaos.  It’s never been an easy thing to do, but making “indie” films used to be infinitely easier; there used to be studio money funding them.  Not so anymore.  The “indies” of the early 90’s have now become “microbudget” films that filmmakers literally make themselves for peanuts in the hopes of getting the final product picked up by a production company or studio for distribution.  

ILC: Do you have any new or upcoming projects in the pipeline?

WD: In addition to the film I was just hired to direct — a psychological thriller — I have another project with Neil Hopkins (DETOUR) looming and other projects in the pipeline with Taylor McCluskey.

ILC: Lastly, what is Taylor up to nowadays?
WD:
In a sense, Taylor is still lifestreaming.  His persona is out there in the electronic world: he’s vining, he’s youtubing, he’s tweeting, he’s auditioning for movies, getting ready to produce his own movies, he’s playing music with his band, The MFIC’s, and all while surfing the waves of the internet on his cyberboard.

The Mirror premiered in October and is available for OnDemand streaming:

VIMEO ON DEMAND: www.vimeo.com/ondemand/themirror; also be sure to check out Will’s web, Facebook and Twitter pages.

themirrorwd

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THE MIRROR

FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/themirrormovie

TWITTER: www.twitter.com/TheMirrorMovie

Giveaway: IndieFlix – An Outlet for Indie Film [CLOSED]

As regular readers of this site may know, I am constantly in search of discovering new avenues for artists’ creative expression in the world of film. It is with this in mind, that I am please to introduce an opportunity for you to also explore this world via the new streaming service, IndieFlix.

Below is their mission statement:

Founded by filmmakers, IndieFlix is part champion, part curator. We’re so inspired by independent filmmakers and the work they produce, we’ve created a stellar platform for you to discover the best and quirkiest around.

But it’s still up to you to watch and poke around and discover and learn …

What’s more …

Filmmakers dedicate themselves to making movies and they deserve a cut—and that’s exactly what they get. Through our unique revenue-sharing Royalty Pool Minutes (RPM) model, filmmakers get paid for every minute watched by an IndieFlix subscriber. The more you watch, the more money they make. And more money = more movies.

200kSo as you can see this venture has a wonderful upside for both creator and consumer. With that in mind, the good folks of IndieFlix are offering my readers the chance to receive a FREE ONE-YEAR subscription to its service (valued at $49.00). To qualify for this offer, simply drop a line (or several) about your favorite independent film (past, present) in the Comments section below. I am accepting comments until November 15th at noon, at which time I will draw and announce the winner.

Even if next Friday does not prove to be a lucky day for you, you can still check out what IndieFlix has to offer by signing up for a monthly or annual streaming subscription plan, with the first 7 days for free.

So let the games begin! Share your favorite indie flick(s) with me below….

 

An Appreciation Post: Dorothy Dandridge

Today, in honor of what would have been Dorothy Dandridge’s 91st birthday, I to take a moment to share some of my favorite resources that feature the groundbreaking actress and performer, who made history by becoming the first African American woman to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress (Carmen Jones).

dorothy-dandridge-necklace-01-close-sepia

A true beauty, her life reads like a mournful tragedy. Taken from the world all too soon at the age of 42, the artifacts of her life’s work serve as a constant reminder of an extraordinary talent, as well as provides a glimpse of a dream deferred, of what could have or might have been in a different place and time.

For a more comprehensive survey of her life, I highly recommend the book Dorothy Dandridge, written by Dr. Donald Bogle. You may also want to check out the 1999 HBO production Introducing Dorothy Dandridge, starring Halle Berry, in a Golden-Globe/Screen Actors’ Guild/Emmy awards-winning role. Fun Fact: Television impresario Shonda Rhimes, shared a teleplay writing credit with Scott Abbott, itself based on the book Dorothy Dandridge: An Intimate Portrait of Hollywood’s First Major Black Film Star, written by Earl Mills.

 

Dorothy Dandridge Biographies

Clip 1 (via bio.com)

 

Clip 2 (In Concert – full episode)

 

Clip 3 (A&E’s Biography – full episode)

 

 

Dorothy Dandridge Performances

Chattanooga Choo-Choo (with the Nicholas Brothers and the Glenn Miller Orchestra):

 

The Colgate Comedy Hour:

 

Cow Cow Boogie:

 

*Special shout out to YouTube Channel, dorothyjeandadridge for posting and making available many of the clips I have included in this post.

 

Selected Filmography

Carmen Jones (1954)

Island in the Sun (1957)

Porgy and Bess (1959)

Uncredited performances in A Day at the Races (1937, featuring the Marx Brothers), The Big Broadcast of 1936 (1935), Irene (1940, featuring Ray Milland and Irene Dunne), Since You Went Away (1944, featuring Claudette Colbert and Jennifer Jones).