LEDA (my sci-fi feature) is in the top 15% entries (7,511) of the 2014 Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting.
For all science fiction movies have managed to become in the last decades – bigger, broader, better – there’s an adjective that’s too often missing from the descriptions of this genre: poetic.
To reverse this trend we find the fatigues of one-man-show writer/director (and practically everything else) Shane Carruth. His debut film, Primer (2004), anticipated his streak for abstraction with a complex, super low budget time travel tale. With his second movie, Upstream Colour (2013), he has stepped up the game and brought us a dreamlike, visually stunning story of loss and survival.
The science fiction element in the movie – an eternal parasitic round worm that travels from human, to pigs, to orchids and back – it’s quite intriguing in itself, but it’s the storytelling process that it’s the most fascinating. Scarce on dialogue but richly textured on sound, the film releases information with frugality, each step unlocking a mystery of three or four scenes before.
Amy Seimetz (a face borrowed from TV) plays Kris, a recovering ex-host whose life has been shattered by the experience, and is soon joined on screen by Carruth (as Jeff), a fellow victim that shares with her a mysterious bond. Their expressions and reaction to the world, their search for answers and meaning are the map that leads to the sense of the film.
Upstream Colour has been said to resemble Terrence Malick‘s Tree of Life, but if they share the bleached, overexposed coloring and some narrative techniques, Carruth’s work is void of the self-indulgence and pretentiousness of Tree of Life, and presents instead a world whose complexity and oddity wash over us as unsettling but fascinating waves of otherliness.
With Upstream Colour Carruth has managed to convince the indie scene that he’s not a once-in-a-life-time prodigy and that his unique voice can be carried from one film to another. A third work, The Modern Ocean, seems to be next on the filmmaker’s list and even if I try not to raise my expectations it’s hard not to wonder what he’ll cook up this time to keep us so hypnotized and entertained.
If you’d like a deeper look into Carruth’s mind have a go at this interview by Damon Wise.
“The film is made in the editing room. The shooting of the film is about shopping, almost. It’s like going to get all the ingredients together, and you’ve got to make sure before you leave the store that you got all the ingredients. And then you take those ingredients and you can make a good cake – or not.”
Philip Seymour Hoffman
One of the best advice to the people who want to become directors is: make movies. I agree. However I have another advice for them: become an editor. And I’m not saying be the editor of your own movie – everybody does that – but rather learn to edit other people’s films, because that’s the tricky bit.
Being an editor is not easy. On the one hand you have to embrace the director’s vision, who might not be able to communicate it clearly, on the other hand you have to let the story flow through you, feel its rhythm, find the right images in a sea of footage, that handful of frames that adds the missing colour to your story.
I’ve started editing out of necessity and having spent the best part of this year writing, I had forgotten what an incredibly satisfying process it is. Lately I’ve geared up my softwares and sat in front of the editing suite again. And the happiness it gave me made me write these few lines.
There’s something mystical about the editing process. It requires a mix of concentration, technique and intuition. It’s long hours, dark rooms and very little sleep. The editing room is where the naked film lies. It’s a reverse vivisection. And it’s also the place where each and every flaw of the movie surfaces: missing scenes, wrong pace, misdirected actors. I’ve learned more about story structure and directing in the editing process than in any book I’ve read or on any course I’ve ever taken. If you learn to edit under another director’s supervision this will not only make your communication skills with editors better but it will also teach the very valuable lesson of humility.
Today I couldn’t bring myself to be productive, so I decided to play a little bit with my new Pantone. =)
Great photographer and model Mouradi Nassereddine asked me to do a portrait of hers. I’m so honoured! Here is the result, I hope she likes it:
This is a layered piece, I started on the iPad and finished on my computer (Photoshop). Below you find the gallery to the WIP: click on it for the step by step process! If you want more illustrations click here.
The experience of the Writers Room at National Film and Television School
I’m an emerging writer. Which means that I spend my days polishing my talent with the hope that, one day, my humble work will attract the attention of an All Powerful Producer/Agent, a superior being that will take my creations to the silver screen so that I can… pay the bills. Meanwhile, I do all I can do: I read, I write, I network and I go to school.
In 2012 I graduated from Sydney Film School, Sydney (AU), which immersed me in the magic world of moving image. This year, returning the the Old Continent, I decided to attend a Short Course at the NFTS: Writing the Pilot.
One of the reasons I decided to become a writer is that I always feel awkward around people and I’d thought a writer would spend a lot of time alone. How naive of me. Not only writers HAVE to network, but feedback is a pretty important part of the process.
I went to the course thinking that I’d get a complete episode (which I did) and a the key to becoming a writing goddess overnight (which I didn’t) but in the end the best thing I got was unexpected: the awareness that working with other people is quite amazing.
Everyday I would write a piece of my script and read it aloud in class. So did the others (9 people, 8 projects). Each of us had a very different stories and Peter Ansorge would co-ordinate us and give us input. Honestly, I don’t know if I learned more from the comments to my story or from commenting the others’ pieces. What I know is that I fell a little bit in love with each of their characters, and even if at the end of the course I’d heard their pitch a thousand times, I never got tired of them.
To all the shy writers out there, here’s my advice: go out of your rooms, find pals, talk about your story but, mostly: listen to their stories. You’ll find that writing in a room full of people is much better than sitting alone by yourself, and your own characters will benefit of it.
And if you’re curious about this experience, you’ll find the pilots created during the course here: Seven Pilots
As Christmas present for my family. With reference.
OR: BAFTA in numbers
Yesterday, for the first time I watched the BAFTA. And it was not only the first time I watched the british awards, but the it was the first time I’ve ever watched ANY kind of film/television award. Given that moving picture is a great part of my life, I’d say it was about time.
How was it? As any first time, it was fast, slightly amusing and with a lot of afterthought. Fry provided a big part of the amusing bit, especially when whipped pretentious David O. Russell’s English, while Cate Blanchett’s homage to Philip Seymour Hoffman made my icy heart melt a little bit. In terms of show, I found it compelling, fast paced and rightly star packed.
But let’s put aside the fluff and consider the reason we were all sitting in front of a luminescent rectangle for: the awards. Oh, awards… Rinding in tandem with the Winter Olympics, TV is overflowing with competition’s juices. The trill of the race, the adrenaline flowing, the house wrecking bets on with which actress/swedish snowboarder deserves to climb the podium (or has the best pair of breasts). Let’s admit it, we all live to point our big fat thumb up or down, and see the winning gladiator raise his sword and cut off that looser’s head.
And here is were the BAFTA disappointed me the most. I may repeat the words of whom, before me, has seen this awards many times, but people: are we kidding? A handful of movies steals away all the prizes and all the fun! Good movies and undoubtedly excelling in the categories in which they have been nominated/awarding.
Since I like numbers, I’ve taken out my calculator and pushed a couple of buttons. If some of the data/consideration is wrong, please don’t kill me but kindly point it out, and I’ll fix it.
In 2012, 647 films were released for a week or more in the UK and Republic of Ireland. I can assume a similar number was released in 2013.
275 were the entries for the BAFTA, which means around one third of the movies screened in the UK.
For my calculation I’ve divided the awards in 2 categories: 18 “That’s what we want to see awards”, which were divided by a share of film, and “Other stuff awards” (Animated film, Documentary, Foreign film, Short animation, Short film) which doesn’t mean were less inter ending but that were not comparable in terms of nominations with the previous categories. I’ve also excluded EE Rising Star Award (won by adorable Will Poulter, which starred in Wild Bill – watch it!).
So, of 275 entries only 48 movies were nominated. Further more almost half of the entries were divided into 5 categories (with only “The act of killing” nominated twice), while the other half competed for the 18 remaining awards. This means that basically, 28 movies out of 275 (1 to of ten) made it under the spotlight.
Here is a little hand made chart:
28 films is not a bad number however, but when we look the distribution of nominations (91 in total), we see that only a handful of films collected almost half the nominations:
And when it comes to the awards, Gravity + American Hustle collect HALF of the “That’s what we want to see” awards, with 12 years a slave stealing the juicy ones (Best film and Best actor). Here is another chart – and yes, I have chicken writing – showing the distribution of film/awards.
Did the winning movies deserve the nomination/awards? Yes, I think so. Were the nominated/winning movies the only choices? I don’t know, but maybe not. I don’t know the eligibility of the entries for each category (e.g. how many shorts, etc), but I ask myself if, out of 275, there were only 28 feature films in the English language worth of nomination, even in one little category.
I understand why only a handful of movies catches the jury attention, and maybe it’s wishful thinking on my part that even this more formal awards – and not only the indie ones – would give more space to the unexpected, the innovative, the different.
Anon is a short film directed by Hannah Klassek. For the film, I created the graphics for the animations. Below you find some screenshots and the original illustration. For other illustrations, click here.
As a present for my family, I decided to make three paintings. This is the first one. I’m really in love with the gold/blue pairing, so I found this picture really inspiring and used it as a reference.
A quick new piece, playing with textures. Dedicated to the love of my life, Michele Lancione.
After a couple of months from the Opera House screening at TEDxSydney 2013, Everything is made of colour has reached 10,000 views! Its a small but gratifying reward for all the people involved in this project =)
A big thank you to all who have made this possible! And if you have missed it, here is link! Shall we go viral?
Have you enjoyed the super-ultra-exclusive broadcasting of Merry go Round on Virgin Radio? If you didn’t, don’t cry…
In the meanwhile, you can listen to the awesome soundtrack the HANA B have created for “Everything is made of colour”!
If you don’t know them, you better get up to date. Because London based band HANA B (http://www.hanabofficial.com) is releasing their new album. This four lads not only are bearded (therefore handsome), but they are also talented musicians. And their new tune ROCKS!
Luckily, I was chosen to create the video for their single “Merry-go-round“, which will be out soon.
So, while you wait, you can stalk their flickr or have a look at their last video:
My new short, “Everything is made of colour” has been screened at the Opera House during the TEDx 2013 event! Here you can watch it and learn more about the project :)
This is my entry for the Yohioloid contest “YOHIO wanted the Vocaloid fandom to be a part of the release by having PowerFX hold a illustration contest for the cover art. Contestants submit an illustration based on a photo of YOHIO available below and YOHIO will select the winner.”
Here is the website: [link]
I thought about keeping my entry unpublished until they announced the winners, but since they are days late for that I decided to publish this now. In any case, I don’t think I have so many chances at getting selected.
I’m really happy with the design, thought
Photoshop C6, wacom tablet, 7hrs.
Winner announced, congratulations to Sartika Nurhasanah!
A Prince Knight, after a long battle, mourns the death of his best friend.
Realised with iPAD 2, Sketchtbook Pro.
I don’t know how long it took since this is a piece I’ve been dragging for years, never satisfied of the result.
I have been involved in “Baby Baby” (short) by award-winning director Billie Pfleffer. I created some props for the scene, and I also served as stand-by costume. Click here to see the images :-)!
I’ve created a Show Reel of the Shot Films I participated as 2nd camera assistant/continuity during the 2012. I really enjoyed editing it since it brought back so many happy memories from the past =)
For more information click here: Camera Work
Only downside: I can’t get the Radiohead music out of my head…
Since I’ve discovered the drawing app for iPad, it seems I can do very little but draw. I’ve revived my old sketches and never-ended drawings and it seems like I can finally hope to empty that folder!
This drawing has had a really long genesis, it started as a submission for a contest (which I never sent) with a completely different subject. I decided to change it and make it something I’d felt more close to my heart. My major aim for this piece is to give a sense of profundity, which I know I’ve obtained only partially.
I’ve started drawing on my iPad, and it’s just sooo much fun!
“New Ark” is my full-lenght screenplay, written under the auspicious of the Sydney Film School. It won the Spirited Award Best Feature Screenplay Award at SFS Film Festival 2012. At this page you can find more info about it and watch the trailer too!
I have been writing and directing a short called “The Carer”. I will use it to participate to Festivals, so I can’t show you now… but you can watch some screenshots here!
These are four digital drawings representing the four seasons (spring, summer, autumn, winter). If you like them you can buy them card or poster size.
If you see any image you like in my gallery contact me - they are available to print.