September 30, 2008
The Muff Academy Is Back For Our Third Year Running! This Event Is An Important Film Industry Sidebar For All Indy Filmmakers Out There. We Are Keeping It Simple In 08: Just $10 A Day For Three Speakers A Piece At Noise Bar. So If You Attend Two Days, Its Only $20 Or One Session Just $10. What
. Can Offer You Such A Price For A Two-Day Forum? None But Muff! So Sit Back And Learn At The 3rd Muff Academy, Our ‘Anti Film School ’ Diy
Check Out The Line Up On Talent To Advise You How To DO It Yourself In This Industry!
1pm / Sat 11 Oct / Noise Bar Legends
3pm / Sat 11 Oct / Noise Bar
5pm / Sat 11 Oct / Noise Bar
1pm / Sun 12 Oct / Noise Bar
3pm / Sun 12 Oct / Noise Bar
5pm / Sun 12 Oct / Noise Bar
September 23, 2008
Well, I like to stay ahead of the curve. But this is ridiculous. There is a big Hollywood film shooting called The Beautiful and the Damned. Note, the added ‘the’. Yes, (nearly) the same name as that of my own completed Indy Australian feature!!
With director Nick Cassavettes coming on board this Keira Knightley project, The Beautiful and THE Damned, its going to be out late 09 or 2010. It’s set to shoot next year in April and the film is NOT an adaptation of the book, as is my film. But instead a bio of F.Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda Sayre. See here and here.
With a little over two weeks to the sneak preview of my own completed feature The Beautiful and Damned at MUFF 9, see here, the timing couldn’t be better. To have a finished low budget film that is younger, more dangerous, hipper and ready for festivals, as a big budget similarly named film and project that is about to unlens, well, it couldn’t be better.
I studied the relationship of Zelda and Scott in biographies as research and used my reflections in my own film. The book indeed does reflect the actual lives of Zelda and Scott greatly, it is deeply prophetic. Of course, I have moved their ennui into the 21st century, a move that only makes the tale more presecient and lucid. Finally a timeless F.Scott Fitzgerald freeeing him from the shackles of the twenties. It’s as if Shakespeare could only be tied to his era! The 20’s obsessed Fitzgerald fans can’t see his universal appeal. Scott and Zelda were the ‘it’ couple of the 20’s. The Brangelina of the Jazz Age, albeit with more substance. Their story is timeless and it will be great to see what Cassevettes does with his The Beautiful and the Damned.
I find this news simply further proof that I am indeed taping the zeitgeist as a good director should. Australian directors are years behind the International scene and yet here I am, ahead of it. 20 years now as an adult reflecting on cinema, art, literature, philosophy, classic and contemporary music, it pays off, if you have your head screwed on right. Indeed, that is real role of a director!
I feel my The Beautiful and Damned is just the beginning, I have three other feature projects, and a TV series, I want to to do, all ahead of the curve, and they will be so for another five to ten years at least. Check out the Manifesto below for further proof of what I am saying.
September 21, 2008
Here’s my little review of the Sydney Underground Film Festival, which the crew at SUFF were nice enough to bring me up to Sydney for, and give me a cool hotel room, so I could drink the bar fridge dry with Matty Clayfield, etc.
As those in the know know SUFF had an odd beginning after Stefan Popescu and I agreed to do a Sydney version of MUFF together at the 2006 festival, and then he went ahead and did it on his own. But in retrospect, I’m damn glad he did! SUFF is different to MUFF and that couldn’t be better. Stefan has gone the more traditional underground film festival route, a path that MUFF has been criticised occasionally for not following. Its a path that I’m glad we didn’t follow at MUFF, but that I’m glad someone has in Oz screen culture. To our critics we can say, hey, got a problem with MUFF, then check out SUFF! Also, Stefan really is a nice chap all things said, well spoken, a rebel and a real go-getter. His SUFF program focuses on experimental, Indy and avant-garde works, lots of shorts (not many features), some cult cinema retro’s and plenty of well meaning documentaries. Not only that Stefan has a female team, to do a lot of the work for him, all the while he gets to boss them around and look like a feminist at the same time. Ah, the cunning post modern male!
One thing should be said, though SUFF is well organised. Stefan’s femme’s have the place running better and more efficiently than Bergen Belsen. Staff run around with walkie-talkies officiously making SUFF run like clock work and ‘shhhing’ the likes of Kristen and I, as we get pissed in the lobby during a short we didn’t like. If anything I was a little jealous of the efficiency of it all. MUFF has always been a tad too shambolic for its own good, especially considering my liking for disziplin und ordnung!
Anyway, what were the films and program like? For a start George Gittoes Miscreants was a masterpiece and real coup for SUFF. I tried to get it for MUFF, but after Georgie boy said, “Yes!” on the night, some distribution snafu means a MUFF berth is apparently out of the question. But fuck it; you should have been at SUFF! Miscreant’s rocks. Think Jodorowsky making a documentary on contemporary Pakistan. George Gittoes has major balls with this film, too. Really, this mad bastard goes into Taliban held Pakistan territories, which would make Morgan Spurlock shit his diapers, to make a film against censorship and fanaticism. A bold and brave film is the result. He is clearly in danger about five or six times. Like cutting off your head style, in danger. What’s funny is that the film is meant to be anti Bush, etc., but these Taliban cocksuckers are portrayed as being so Evil…and they are by the way…that you leave the cinema thinking, well if you have to take out a few innocent villagers to get at these pricks, so be it. And forget water boarding, lets torture these Taliban bastards like they did during the dark ages, a time they are obviously so fond of still living in! I’m serious that’s the message of the film, apart from, a few umming and ahhings about the complexity of the situation. Gittoes starts his film at some mosque with a bunch of silly cunts on both sides killing each other. You have to admire Gittoes cahones for getting in amongst it. Then suddenly the film turns surreal and brilliant, as Gittoes discovers these cool wacky weird Bollywood style genre flicks, all made on the cheap, featuring loads of violence and sexy dancing gals. Gittoes rightly digs the fuck out of these flicks, seeing them as fellow artists, and decides to commission, make and act in two films. But of course wowser wankers at the Taliban hate these films, and literally bomb the local DVD stores that hold them. Like the OFLC but with plastic explosive. Gitteos then turns his film into an anti Taliban crusade, as they are revealed as being little more than barbaric animals, worthy only of Kurtz’s dictum, “Exterminate all the brutes”. Don’t believe me? Well, the Taliban replaces these cool Pakistani genre flicks with, wait for it…snuff movies, yes, snuff movies. No shit. We see a terrifying glimpse of one, with a twelve year old boy (!!) going to cut the head off some Taliban offending man, we are told he happily does saw it off for five minutes with a grin, and we see him afterwards lifting it up gleefully, all smiles. Gittoes does rightly cut this out, because it is a snuff movie. I’m sorry but liberal humanism leaves me here. I say send in the search and destroy troops, Pakistan or not! Jack Sargeant and I chatted in the lobby about it. He had mixed feelings saying he didn’t know what he felt the film was trying to do. To be a doco on Pakistani troubles, a documentary on these cool genre flicks, or an anti Taliban tirade. I see what he is saying, but felt in a sense, its no sense, made sense. The world in Miscreants is totally off ‘the axis’, if you know what I mean? An almost literal vision of the end times. Gittoes fearless bravery to get this footage and his deep political analysis, beyond the touchy feely left wing crapola, i.e. that we should do nothing but mercilessly hunt down these retrograde and devolutionary bearded creeps, is spot on. Be sure to see this amazing doco when Madman releases it in the future!
The rest of the program? The Anthony Hopkins’s film Slipstream was surreal and interesting, but an odd choice for SUFF. I heard great things about the Sex Galaxy film and Mock up on Mu is brilliant, which I saw at Revelation. Aussie Asylum had some really cool local shorts better than most short fests like advertising troped Trop Fest.
The God Bless America doco section I found a little painful. Homeless Keg Party was simply a depressing group of lost souls getting loaded on free piss. It reminded me of Bumfights, without the fights. I mentioned, I played Bumfights at MUFF to Stefan and he said, “Oh, but that’s exploitation”. I’d said sure, but so is this! Most documentarians are exploiting their subject. At least with Bumfights you know its cruel exploitation. Most documentarians hide it much better. The next film was about depressing things happening to a kid in a wheel chair, which was a barrel of laughs. And Trailer Trash had Kristen and I, inadvertently in hysterics, as things went from bad, to worse, to much worse… for some poor family. Literally it was like, my Nan had cancer, then on the way to the hospital my cousins got killed in a car accident, then my uncle died falling off the roof of the house and hitting my mother on the head and putting her in a wheel chair, and on and on. We left the short and started making up the most outlandish misfortunes that could befall people, then we would hear on the soundtrack in the next room the film echo these very things. It was outlandish, and I couldn’t help feel what is point of documenting this misery on tap? Not my cup of tea.
But it was soon forgotten in SUFF’s second coup the Polyester scratch and sniff program. Watching John Waters bizzaro family values masterpiece, actually with a scratch and sniff card, was a brilliant idea for SUFF 2, and a near full house to boot! The audience laughed and smelled the roses, then the farts, then the air freshener and then the poo. Classic William Castle style fun. Katherine Berger the co director of SUFF found them online years ago and waited for this opportunity. A great idea and real ace screening!
Lovesick shorts selection had a cool Larry Clarke short and the Closing Night flick Song Sung Blue finished up the festival. While it suffered from the fact that it took a bunch of freaks, a couple who do crazy Neil Diamond and Patsy Cline covers, and then stood by and watched like voyeurs as major bad shit happens to them. It’s supposed to be touching but I found it like watching a car accident with a bus full of retarded people. Interesting perhaps, but depressing. It was semi poignant at the end. But you know these peoples lives will only will get worse (those that survive or still have limbs) and the message of the film is the uplifting, “Don’t pursue your dreams, it will end in hell”. But still many people of taste like Jamie from the Mu Meesons and Jack Sargeant liked it, so what do I know…
I also did my lecture on the Tuesday as part of the SUFF Symposia, a series of forums not dissimiliar to the MUFF Academy, but done classly at the Sydney College of the Arts. The SCA campus is a beautiful old series of buildings, that used to be a mental asylum! It would make a great location for a movie. I delivered an hour lecture and Q&A about MUFF, the local Oz inudustry and various related topics. It was filmed by one of Stefan’s crew, so will hopefully turn up somewhere one day, as I thought I spoke pretty well. I also did more than preview The Beautiful and Damned. As the hall wasn’t being used after my lecture, I played the latest version right through to the end, which is still missing a grade and official credits. That was one of its first sneak peak viewings before playing overseas festivals, so thank you to SUFF for that….
I rounded SUFF out with a trip to the MCA in the rocks, where I saw a brilliant Phillip Brophy installation. He has altered video clips and added new soundtracks to make Elton John, Celine Dion, Billy Joel and even Mariah Carey seem amazingly menacing. A totally brilliant show from Brophy, amongst some video art crap, with his signature surround sound perfection.
Also, I went to the Mu Meesons Monday nights at the Annandale. I saw the Incredible Melting Man, a personal 70’s fav, on a 16mm film print and a great mini feature Future Shock, a doco about the Alvin Toffler book, made in the 70’s and featuring Orson Welles as the host no less. Brilliant! The Mu Meeson’s archive is an Australian screen culture national treasure… and should be funded by the Government I might add!
That’s it from Sydney. I also went to Matt Clayfield’s 23rd which was a hoot . I saw some amazing films at SUFF, I worked on MUFF, all good, all round. Thanks to all the SUFF team for having little old me, they have a great festival that should grow well in future years. SUFF and MUFF complement each other, and provide much needed diversity in Underground and Indy screen culture in this country.
September 19, 2008
I have written a new Manifesto being published in the MUFF catalogue.
Here is an Idea Fix, preview, and its first official publication. Enjoy!
Comments please afterwards.
The Manifesto for Ontological Cinema (1st Ereignis)
The following is a non-dogmatic manifesto theorising and thinking the notion of an Ontological Cinema. A cinema of Being. Ontology is the field of philosophy that studies Being. We have applied reflections on ontology toward defining and expanding on notions of cinema as it is presently understood.
Cinema is not a mere film or video, a mere medium, or even a mere moving image. Cinema, at its finest, is the possibility of the Ereignis – the Appropriating Event.
PART A: Founding statements
1. We declare mainstream and Independent cinema worldwide to be in a state of crisis and entropy.
2. We declare that cinema has not died as is suggested by filmmakers likeand others. It has merely lost its way in the forgetfulness of Being.
3. We declare that cinema must find it’s way again. It must do this by pulling itself from the wreckage of this ‘forgetting of Being’.
4. We declare the need for a cinema that recognises the importance of fundamental ontology, a project best explicated in the philosophy of.
5. We declare that cinema is being polluted by technology and special effects, poor stories and storytelling, a culture of moronic celebrity, computer game models, and many other examples of how “the wasteland grows”, as a one Friedrich Nietzsche put it.
6. We declare something must be done about this in thought, cinema, philosophy, and praxis.
7. We declare that this ‘something’ must be done beyond the realms of good and evil and the sickening metaphysical humanism that infects 90% of all cinema.
8. We declare that we must prepare the way for the coming of ‘The new god’.
9. We found in this document the Manifesto for Ontological Cinema. It is not part of the Melbourne Underground Film Festival, just previewed here to the public for the first time.
10. Naturally, we do not claim to have invented Ontological cinema, only to provide our own humble attempts to better define and describe an already existing phenomenon, and further propagate its practice.
11. Cinema is not ‘cinema’; it is really aiming for the Ereignis, the appropriating Event or Act. There are many types of Ereignis, individual, cultural and singular historical/political. The later is The Ereignis, the founding of a second beginning in Western/World – culture/history. Another Greece, a second Athens, a new god. The last Ereignis is a goal one can only wish and hope for at present, given our dark world picture.
12. Cinema must change to become the appropriating event that founds new truth in our present age.
13. As one of the most dynamic art forms, cinema, as an art form, must for the first time become as the Greek temple is to the Greeks or the Gothic chapel is to the Middle Ages. It must found, revel and uncover the truth of being.
14. We acknowledge the philosopher Martin Heidegger as being the inspiration and genesis for much of this Manifesto. Essentially, it is attempting to apply the ideas of Martin Heidegger and others to cinema.
15. We acknowledge the Dogme 95 Manifesto and agree with many of its basic tenants as being advisable, and another way to approach filmmaking within its historical destiny. But we disagree with certain tenants of Dogme 95. For example, the idea that hard rules, certificates and other factors are what defines a film as Dogme is clearly a sadistic, Von Trierian prank. While we salute and recognise Von Trier’s sadistic-fascistic predilections, and indeed consider him a fellow traveller in Ontological Cinema, we take the subject of cinema too seriously to wish to impose some form of personal subjective prank upon it. Therefore, this manifesto is non-dogmatic (indeed, non-Dogmetic), has no hard rules, and is merely a movement toward a thesis for the idea of Ontological Cinema.
16. We acknowledge the following filmmakers as Ontological filmmakers or pre-Ontological filmmakers at whole or in part: Terrence Malick, Stanley Kubrick, , David Cronenberg, Werner Herzog, Pasolini, Henry Jaglom, Lars Von Trier, Nicolas Winding Refn, Todd Field, Kenneth Anger, David Lynch, Stan Brakhage, , Kieslowski, Polanski, , Martin Scorsese, Paul Schrader, Quentin Tarantino, Thomas Clay, Ivan Kavanagh. We do not say that these filmmakers are the only Ontological ones or that their work is pure and free from metaphysics and morality but they display at times purely and at other times less so major tenants of ontological cinema.
17. Ontological cinema is an existentialist cinema.
18. Ontological cinema is a future of cinema.
19. Ontological cinema aims to reveal the being of something in its essence.
20. There are many strategies for achieving this, not all correlative.
PART B: Major Tenants and practices of Ontological Cinema
21. A new streamlining in filmmaking techniques. No adverse or unrealistic digital effects, no sets when possible (preferably the use of real locations), small crews, a feeling of realism and documentary but aiming to go beyond these forms to something deeper – to Being itself.
22. Simplicity and purity of story. Stories and subjects chosen for cinema should be intense, holistic, and aim to uncover the inherent truth of Being to be found in the subject matter. All the filmmaker’s energies with the cast and crew should be focussed on this one goal: to reveal the ontological essence of what ‘is’ on screen.
23. Many cheap DV (and now the exciting Red cameras) are available to the public and cheap editing software, also. This provides almost anyone with facilities better than that available to anyone in the first 30 years of cinema to create new works. There is no excuse apart from the dumbing down of world that is Legion, why there should not be many more great filmmakers emerging from this arena. Hence our own efforts to inspire and foster such voices with this manifesto and also locally to engage practically by supporting such ideas with the Melbourne Underground Film Festival.
24. Cinema should be personal and have intense, extreme and provocative reflections of the director/auteur. Anof intersubjectivity is much needed, beyond the psychoanalytic limitations of ego.
25. We reaffirm the auteur theory of filmmaking without being pretentious or taking away the vast importance of collaboration in the filmmaking process.
26. Cinema should reflect, make manifest and develop the themes, concerns and the purpose of philosophy and literature. Indeed cinema expresses the concerns of philosophy and literature quicker and with more ontological truth than mere words.
27. The language of cinema is the language of images and sounds in time. Against Derrida it exists beyond the text.
28. Be honest when you make a film; do not lie. Uncover the truth of Being, do not observe it as an object.
29. Be aware of the superstructure elements of cinema like the role of cast, crew, writers and director. From a directorial perspective avoid morality in all its forms. Be aware of the superstructure dictatorial nature of cinema.
30. Cinema is in some senses inherently fascist at a deep level. The role of the director is fascism at its purest, a dictator of a cinematic world, with total power. But it should be noted that many, many directors are not tyrants or authoritarians and are truly and deeply transcendental fascists. Acknowledgement of the benevolent dictatorship of many directors, and its lessons, can be learnt for the application of ontological political power in the real world. Anyone who says this is not possible, has never experienced the reality of truly leading a cadre of cinematic actors and technicians. The fascistic nature of cinema itself, should be recognised, a singular dictatorial succession of images in time, that does not change once a film is complete. This static nature and respect for the complete film is a major mantra of film conservation and a vital duty for cinema lovers. An understanding of cinema’s fascist essence can help further turn it toward
something more transmogrifying and palingenetic in its nature. A true cinema of Being. There is nothing inherently wrong with ideas of hierarchy, authority and leadership as long as they are applied along lines of meritocracy and existential ontology.
31. We should be aware of the potential for cinema to be poisoned and perverted in a negative sense by metaphysics, humanism and morality. Indeed, this the normal state of cinema. All cinema, as Robert Farrell (Phd, La Trobe), once said, is in a way ontological. But not all of it is authentic or attempting to uncover the ontological realm itself.
32. We must be wary and constantly on alert for the metaphysical distractions that make a film less and less authentic ontologically. This is not something you can learn in film school. It is something that can only be learned only from life and Being.
33. Filmmakers and cinema lovers are all invited to debate and discuss this manifesto. It is neither meant as a dictatorial statement on cinema, nor as a list of caveats or rigid instructions a filmmaker should attempt to strictly follow. There are many paths in the forest of Being, of which this is just one. Some of course go nowhere though. But there are many authentic ways toward an ontological cinema. I hope this manifesto can be something of a contribution toward the noble end of making manifest such a cinema I have been outlining here.
From Heidegger and the mystics we are told that human beings are here to be witness to the awe and spectacle of Being itself. But when we the witnesses create through film our own witness using the elements of Being itself, the result is something third, neither purely human or purely Being. We have created something other, an alchemy of the two world, through the ereignis. We have created, dare we say it, something holy.
This manifesto is a first reflection. A second, expanded and more definitive version will be released at a later date.
September 16, 2008
Our call for a new trailer has produced a Winner directed by Raul Palomar. I think its pretty tasty and spooky, yes? Raul’s prize is to have his short Sin Shoes played on Closing Night at MUFF 9, as he is from Melbourne.
September 13, 2008
Hi Idea Fix crew,
Yes, I’m here in Sydney for SUFF. There program is here. Check it out. Its been great so far. I will be filing a review after the festival. I’m having a cool time and causing all kinds of trouble up here, at the same time checking the MUFF catalogues that’s going to print next week.
Standby for more posts from Syd soon…
Don’t miss my lecture at The Sydney Film School on Tuesday. See below or at SUFF site.
Ciao for Now, to busy having fun…
September 10, 2008
But there I was innocently looking up gardening tips on the web, when to my horror I came across this image (from a gallery of many). It shows a girl called Julia from a site called Punished Brats, who bares an uncanny resemblance to Paris Hilton, being spanked.
So until someone does what humanity as a whole calls upon him or her to do and soundly slaps Paris Hilton’s derriere. Then this will have to do.
Apparently, she likes it, I read that somewhere on the web, too. But no one yet has an image or video. Surely, this won’t do!
Is there any female celebrity more deserving of a spanking than her? None comes to mind…
September 10, 2008
CERN didn’t blow us up (yet). We are still here…
How remiss of me, Science is cool in some respects, sure. Medicine and Health, of course. And, I mean who else develops all those beautiful weapons to enslave the other 3/4 of the planet, so we can live like kings.
All good then, at least for now.
There something exciting about an Apocalypse, though, almost desirable…
September 9, 2008
Nothing is probably going to happen!… But still this whole CERN thing seems like a massively bad idea to me. Recreating events that surround the Big Bang, sounds like one hell of a fucking bad idea. I mean is that the same Big Bang, I’m thinking about, you know, that Big Bang that like EVERYTHING came out of. That’s a pretty Big Bang. Maybe fucking around with those energies to find a new fucking particle or prove some obtuse theory of radical physics is not such a good idea.
I just want to go on record before they switch it on a few hours from now, and say, “Don’t Flick that switch!”
Anyway, Cern are webcasting the (potential) end of the world here.
I’m a big Sci Fi. It seems like a time loop could be in play, maybe switching this on causes a Big Bang AND a rupture in time, thereby causing the actual Real Big Bang trillions of years ago. Of course then its destiny to switch it on then. Great idea for a film. And if I’m right, as we blink out of existence, who will ever know?
If Idea Fix is suddenly terminated, I apologise in advance to our readers. Tic Tock, Tic tock. Let’s get ready to rumble!
September 8, 2008
By now you are all well aware of John McCain’s uber right wing running mate, Sarah Palin. She makes Maggie Thatcher look like Che Guevara. She wants to ban abortion, give everyone a gun, build a fence around the US, mine Alaskan wilderness for oil, and in a new revelation she’s also a good ol’ fashion racist. See story here.
She apparently made the comment, “So Sambo, beat the bitch?” in a restaurant to a colleague, and was overheard, while eating her lunch. A white roll no doubt.
Calling Barack Obama ‘Sambo’ in this day and age, well it makes you laugh. You can just imagine her sitting in a limo with John McCain saying, “How we gonna beat that damn Nigger, up north in ‘Laska we’d sink him in a God fo’saken fishing hole”.
All in all though, Palin is a clever choice for the outdated McCain. She is female, not bad looking, a family women, has a 17 year old pregnant daughter and a gaggle of kids. She is xenophobic and ignorant but looks good in a pants suit. In fact her racism might even win people over subversively, those who are tired of politically correct attitudes, and enjoy clandestine racist jokes and speech i.e Middle America . She might just pull female voters away from Obama too, who has made the mistake recently of touring the world like he already won November’s election.
America is a racist place, lets be honest, and McCain and Palin might just upset Obama’s little red wagon. Anyway, its going to be fun to watch the schamozzle play itself out either way.
Sarah Palin now…
and at 24
She might even win a few male voters over?