Thursday, June 20, 2013

Shooting the Orbit Video

When my good friend Dania aka Stacian asked me to make a music video for her song Orbit, I was excited to work with her. I was also in the middle of two projects and needed to make a creative turn to make the video. Since this was my first project with Dania (but not the last! She is composing the score for Reds and Blues), I wanted to start small. I wanted to see how we would work together and I wanted to do something personal that reflects her character and music.
One of my favorite videos is Nick Cave's Deanna, which was mostly shot in his living room in Berlin. While I was developing the concept for the video I knew that I wanted to do something where I could use a camera and lights that I owned, no large crew, no large equipment rental package.   Simply show Stacian in her space and neighborhood, using a lot of different quick and easy set-ups. So it was just the two of us for most of the day, except when a friend stopped by to make us some tea.

Stacian's music is minimal synth, with textures and tones. I wanted to capture that "electronic" feel in the video. I wanted it to look very "video".  The piece was shot on one of my old 1 chip mini dv cameras. But most of the effects were rendered in post. I really enjoyed experimenting with the various degrees of video noise and textures and hope to do more in this vein. We actually shot a whole bunch of extra footage that day; we were very efficient, Stacian is a great creative partner : ) So I may even have enough left over to make another video!

Before the shoot we walked over to get some coffee. First things first : )

Monday, May 6, 2013

Orbit Stills

Stills From the video I shot for Stacian's 'Orbit'
Watch here

Friday, May 3, 2013

Orbit by STACIAN

Here is a video I directed for STACIAN

Orbit by STACIAN
From the album Songs For Cadets on Moniker Records


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Blacks and Grays

Romaine Brooks was an American painter who lived and worked primarily in Paris. I love the tone of her paintings. The contrasts and the blacks. She often worked within a limited palette and she was known especially for her grays. Although somewhat of a loner, she could be included in an expatriate lesbian intelligentsia that lived in Paris during the prewar years. She often painted her friends, imbuing a strength and quiet calm in her portraits.
Moving away to Europe can be a freeing experience. I went alone, and what was initially uncertain, strengthens and solidifies character. I wanted to go away somewhere to a new place and new language. Where I knew almost no one. I felt free and catatonic at the same time. I went to what would be a contemporary Paris today. I went to Berlin where the rent and coffee were still pretty cheap. Berlin is the grayest city, with cool contrasts and blacks. I found my identity as an artist there and when I returned to the states I asked the muse to  Never Let Me Go.

A documentary about women in Paris during the prewar years - Paris Was a Woman

Chasseresse, 1920, The Cross of France 1914, Peter, A Young English Girl 1923, Self Portrait 1914

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


L'inhumaine is a French science fiction film from 1924. The title translates to "the inhuman woman". Directed by avant-garde filmmaker Marcel L'Herbier (L'Argent, Le Bonheur), the film had distinctive sets created by a design team of architects and fine artists. Fernand Léger and René Lalique were some of the more notable names involved. An Opera singer named Georgette Leblanc requested that L'Herbier create a vehicle for her. She promised that she could provide American financing but the project couldn't be too abstract...
The story is a romantic melodrama ( fiction melodrama!). Leblanc plays an arrogant woman who carelessly shrugs off multiple marriage proposals. "She cares nothing for humanity!” taunts the stylized title cards. Through ridiculous circumstances and after being bitten by a snake, she dies but she is brought back to life in a suitor's laboratory. Leblanc's scientist lover promises to make her famous by filming her and transmitting her voice over the radio, and then through a magic screen in his laboratory she can watch images of the people who are listening to her. She can become more humane by seeing who her music touches.
I had wanted to see this film for a long time. I'm always interested in early science fiction films and this emotive and woman centered story intrigued me. The sets are the best part and L'Herbier's compositions and bold mis-en-scene are striking. Architect Robert Mallet-Stevens designed the exteriors of the character's houses.

Aside from set designers, Marcel L'Herbier brought in a diverse group of contemporary artists to contribute to the film. Paul Poiret even designed the costumes. L'Herbier wanted the project to bring together different disciplines of modern art and showcase cinema as a complementary and distinctive art form in its own right.
The end result evidently pissed a lot of people off. The premiere enjoyed a Rite of Spring-like reaction. Supposedly there was a lot of fighting and arguing during the screenings. And the screenings evidently weren't much different from the production of the film itself. There was a huge formal soiree that was supposedly attended by Picasso, Jean Cocteau, Man Ray, etc. But real life parties are frustrating to incorporate into filmmaking and can test the patience of a crew. Evidently the documented party dissolved into arguments and scuffles too. (Filmmaking tip: start drinking after the shoot).

There are so many awesome pictures and graphics from this movie I can't stand it!

Here's a clip-

And here's the whole movie!

*at about 2 hrs the reanimation scene takes place. It's the most exciting part!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Je T'aime Je T'aime

A science fiction movie by Alain Resnais...!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Ruth Chatterton

Ruth Chatterton, what an edgy Old Hollywood gem. She was an actress, writer and pilot- or to put it more charmingly, an aviatrix. Briefly a marquis name, many times her roles reflected her nerve and intellect. She worked during the 1930s, an era when Hollywood was not afraid of smart women. Bette Davis co-starred in a couple movies with her and Davis described her as talented and intimidating. Bette Davis was intimidated. Precode productions took advantage of her assertive sexuality. Ruth Chatterton made three films with Dorothy Arzner one of the only woman director's of the 1930s-40s working in Hollywood. At times her films were melodramatic, with dizzyingly scandalous convoluted plots but Chatterton's talent would carry things along. Pauline Kael called her "the great Ruth Chatterton".  She made her screen debut at 35 and worked in film acting for about ten years. She reached a point in her career where she could choose which projects to sign on to, an accomplishment during the contracted studio system years.  Prior to her cinema career Chatterton worked on Broadway. She went back to theater when she "aged out" of working in movies. Known internationally, she also worked in Europe and translated French plays for the American stage. In her later years she retired to write novels.
Oh and she flew solo across the Atlantic- twice.

Ruth Chatterton films to check out-  Female 1933,  Dodsworth 1936

Further Information on Ruth Chatterton-

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Friday, January 25, 2013

I want to hold up a ship

I want to be like water, I want to slip through fingers but hold up a ship.
-Michelle Williams

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Last Year's 1 Reel shoot

About a year ago I wrote about how I made a short film with my brother Brennan and my friend Heather Vernon. Well Brennan just sent over some pics from that day. We shot 1 reel of film : ) & there was a sequence where Heather was hanging out the back of the minivan-which explains the last shot.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Celluloid like champagne

Reality doesn’t impress me. I only believe in intoxication, in ecstasy, and when ordinary life shackles me, I escape, one way or another. No more walls.

-Anais Nin  



image  Joanna Pallaris

Monday, January 21, 2013

How can I keep it?

"What can I do with my happiness? How can I keep it, conceal it, bury it where I may never lose it? I want to kneel as it falls over me like rain, gather it up with lace and silk, and press it over myself again." -Anaïs Nin,  Henry & June

image - Sofia Ajram

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Ripley's Briefs

In my post about Michael Kaplan's wardrobe for Flashdance, I wondered if "cotton ever looked sexier"? Well can't forget about Ripley's cotton briefs in Alien-

Monday, January 14, 2013

image  Pauline Frederick