Sunday, March 31, 2013

James Franco does Gus Van Sant and tells Film Comment's Gavin Smith

James Franco does Gus Van Sant and tells Film Comment's Gavin Smith why. Chatting after the New York Film Festival screening  of MY  PRIVATE RIV ER. Franco  explains why he took the out-takes Gus gave him from  MY PRIVATE IDAHO  and remixed them to create  MY PRIVATE RIVER. His post-modern queer studies training is  all over his explanation but the remixed reconstruction is fascinating to watch. Franco is so naked in his candor (or ego)that he disarmed the cynics and sneerers at the Walter Reed. and held captive the audience

Gus Van Sant and James Franco post-screeningof My Private River  at the Palace theater in Portland, Or..Gus's home town

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Troubling Doc on Internet piracy surfaces at SXSW 2013

Reel Deal SXSW 2013 review

TPB AKA (The Pirate Bay Away from Keyboard)
director: Simon Klose (Sweden)

Troubling film about the most successful creative work piracy website ( the Pirate Bay) based in Sweden. The US government pressured the Swedish Government to prosecute the stealing of and distribution of copyright work and profiting from it.. What is troubling is the the film makes heroes of the three founders and sees them as bravely fighting to keep the Internet free from government control by censorship and protection of copyright The downloading of creative work owned by an artist is quite different I believe from downloading a diplomatic cable, a corporations cover up game plan or posting a video that shows a government or an agency or corporation or an individual is lying or breaking the law. Not one frame that I can remember dealth with the ethical question of if you you think you have the right to download without compensating the creative work of anyone be they a Hollywood studio or an individual poet or indie rock musician, how is the creator to be economically compensated for their creative labor?

TPB AFK is well crafted and structured with the rhythm of an action film shot by a smart slacker complete with a sound track that would also work for a classy horror film.

TBK AKF is a necessary, must-see film to understand how non-creative people (computer geeks are essentially scientific technicians. Science geeks even when gifted with genius are not, in my view, artists.) feel they can profit ( usually by sex industry adverts) from the "free" distribution of an artist's creative work be it film, writing or music or visual art without the artist's permission because their tech skills create a pathway. The conflating of what many artist call “thief” with freedom of expression and unregulated Internet is the the core and nexis of the ethical problem. I fear what will ultimately happen is the diminishing of artistic authenticity and originality because of the lack of economic protection and incentive and the devaluing of artistic and creative labor.

This kind of disconnect will fundamentally diminished both the incentive to create and the quality of creative work if the common ethic is it is OK to "steal" or upload anything on the Internet without respect for copyright. There is no discussion of revamping of copyright a la Creative Commons in the film except for a one sentence throw away line.

What is documented in TPB AFK is how the arrogant academic driven definition of free is practiced in real time, not theory, by 21st century creative work thieves.

In the post screening Q&A (attached) the director lays out why he spent 5 years following this story. When asked how were artists to survive, the best he could say was; " I don't know. A new distribution steam needs to be developed that answers that question, " He did say from day one he has made his film available for free on the Internet (YouTube etc) . His producer who paid for the work and the theatrical distributor both present in the audience did not participate in the Q&;A .                                             
                                        (cc) jim fouratt March 9, 2013

Su Freidrich talks with Reel Deal's Jim Fouratt about her new film Gut Renervation...

Award winning indie film director and Professor at Princeton 

talks about the making of Gut Renovation where Freidrich 
and partner and roommates lived until almost overnight when the politicians led by Mayor Bloomberg and Speaker Christine Quine destroyed a neighborhood by changing zoning laws. It is a common story in many cities  Freidrich lived thought it and film it almost from beginning to the end. A sad human story told in cinematic images that capture the grief of gentrification for those who were living in a community so targeted, A must see for any local activist involves in trying to save a community fron disappearing

My Reel Deal: Movies that Matter review

publish : WestView News March 1st

Gut Renovation dir Su Freidrich

Prize winning experimental and avant-garde film maker Su Friedrich is best known for making art-driven films based on her experience as a girl, daughter, woman, and a lesbian.  She seems to be inspired by the story telling technique of shappic savant and award winning film maker Barbara Hammer.  Yet her new film is anything but arty.  Gut Renovation is a study of the policy of Mayor Bloomberg and City Council under the leadership of Christine Quinn that allows real estate developers to go on a rampage of destroying neighborhoods like in Coney Island, Hunters Point in the Bronx, and parts of Brooklyn in order to let real estate developers build luxury housing.  This is just like what happened in  Greenwich Village with St. Vincent's Hospital. 

Gut Renovation is shot in a traditional documentary format.  It is more personal and intimate. Friedrich puts herself front and center as she sees the working class neighborhood she had moved to with her partner, after having to flee SoHo rising rents. The place is Williamsburg where she had moved in 1989. At first she and her fellow working artists were invisible in the manufacturing-heavy, working class family community. However, as she integrated into her community together with her partner, her roommates, and other artists, they became more visible. Things really began to change in 2005 when City Council made a major change in the zoning, opening up the largely manufacturing neighborhood to residents.  The changed started almost immediately.  Buildings mostly owned by members of the Orthodox Jewish community started to be sold and the businesses they house were forced out. Freidrich has two stories she is documenting.  Firstly, the change in the physical neighborhood and secondly, how it was affecting her home, her relationship, her roommates, and her friends and neighbors.

Nothing about Gut
could be called "arty;” and yet it is artful.  It certainly has the clarity and sensibility of an artist.  Freidrich also has a sense of humor which permeates through the reality of the destruction of neighborhood. She began, with her partner, mapping the zone boundaries and labeling the buildings and whorehouses around her as they were sold, cleared of tenants and renovated, When she got to 173 ... yes, 173 buildings,  she knew it was time to move as she would not be able to afford the new building.  A sad story rooted in politicians’ insensitivity to what makes a community and how greed ruins almost everything. Sad, yes, but necessary viewing if you want to fight NYU or know we need a full service hospital back in the Community

Friday, March 8, 2013

SXSW 2013 update and trailers

We have arrived in Austin after a wild day of air cancellations and flight re-booking  took 12 hour and three changes of planes. Causing me to loose my voice (still) Yesterday it was 80 and beautiful. Today it is raining and will it is predicted thru Monday  Perfect weather for movie viewing and computer geek intrigue. Music doesn't start till Wed, so film and interactive up. 

Looking forward to seeing P.J. Ravel's  documentary on Gay Male Elders  BEFORE YOU KNOW IT,  Stephen Silha and Eric Slade's  documentary on the legendary James Boughton BIG JOY: THE ADVENTURES OF JAMES BOUGHTON

Jeffery Schwartz's I AM DEVINE ( yes  THAT Devine!) . 

Steve Brown and Jessica Deeter's SPARK: A BURNING MAN STORY, 

Michael Marczak's FUCK FOR FOREST (!), 


Penny Lane's OUR NIXION,  John Anderson's BORN IN CHICAGO,  Sini Anderson's THE PUNK SINGER (katheen Hanna) 

 our SUNDANCE faves: Yen Tan's PIT STOP 

and the most challenging and rewarding narrative film of the year: Shane Carruth's UPSTREAM COLOR.

Marina Abromovitc the Artist is Present ,  nominated for an Academy Award is one of the most emotionally intense documentaries I have ever seen, Here is an excerpt featuring her former companion and art maker Ulay . He left her and she was devastated  Her life and art continued . Here they come face to face in her MoMA art piece. He has recently been diagnosis with 4t stage cancer. This clip to me is the essence of art and life