March 22nd, 2014 by xagudo

Test

 

ttTest is set in San Francisco during the eighties when there was a HIV spread amongst the gay community.  This makes you feel like it’s a story you have heard a million times but Test isn’t. Test has taken a story we are accustomed too and flipped it on it’s head.

Test is about a young dancer who worries he has contracted HIV. This premise leads to some amazing choreography and makes for some beautiful cinematography. Director Christopher Mason Jason a former dancer him self based this film on his life. This is the reason why he felt he needed to tell this story and this drive really shows on screen with what his achieved.

The way he uses colors and lights to tell this story is mesmerizing.  It gives the dance a life on camera and also tells a story.

The film is set in the eighties in the dance scene, so music must have been a big topic and the Director again delivers. His selection of eighties track help tell the story and also the believability of the setting.

The lead actor Scott Marlowe was also only a dancer doing his first job acting and he does an amazing job. For a first time actor he does great job taking the audience with him on this journey.

I am not a big fan of the term Queer Cinema as all cinema is cinema but if i was too use this category am sure this film will be on top of the list. With the success of films like Blue is the Warmest Color at Cannes and Dallas Buyers Club at the oscars, I think it’s now time more films told stories from a gay male perspective. This is why I think we will be hearing a lot more of Christopher Mason Jason in coming years.

This film was shot on a shoestring budget and for that reason I feel like what they’ve managed to achieve is commendable. It feels like if Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan was directed by Gus van Sant this will be the end product.

 

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March 3rd, 2014 by xagudo

An interview with Felix Knoche, winner of Shortcutz Berlin January 2014 with his short film “Hit the Road”

How did you become a filmmaker?Portrait_Felix_Knoche_1000x1000

After working since 2000 as an animator in the field of moving images I decided to go a step ahead – combining my screen-abilities in postproduction with telling exciting stories, work with actors, communicate.

How was ”Hit the Road” born?

As a directing student at the Filmarche Berlin, I was searching for a location that could inspire me for a story. I arrived at a bridge above a freeway and stopped. Concrete, real, no magic, no nature, unreal somehow. To create contrast I thought about bringing something completely non-solid into this setting – a ghost!

How did you finance the short?

 My team and I financed it by ourselves. It was around 500 Euros.

Hit_the_Road_Still_1How did you make the short (Technically, artistically)?

For me it was important not to create a typical horror short. It should start quite “normal”, nothing should be associated with a spooky film – until the end, where we learn who “Marie” actually is. So, switching cinematically from one genre into another was my aim.

We built a fake rail that has been placed onto a real bridge above a freeway. So we could shoot that two actors where separated by the rails without having an actor standing outside in reality. Further we used green screens to create the illusion of a character standing outside the rails.

Where did you hear about Shortcutz?

I visited it in 2012 for the first time. Nils Strueven, a directing colleague at the Filmarche entered “Hit the Road” for me.

What are your plans for the short?

Handing it to short film festivals, finding a distributor.

What are your next projects?

I’m working on a short, that should evolve the mood for my first feature film. It will be a dark drama in the style of “Black Swan”, “Pi”, “Sixth Sense”.

February 28th, 2014 by xagudo

Chilla-40 Days Of Silence

hiller40 days of silence tells the story of four women in different age groups during key moments of their life. This film has an all women cast with no men present but their presence is constantly felt in the film. This is what I think director Saodat has done brilliantly.

In Uzbekistan it is a known tradition to take a vow of silence for various reasons such as being pregnant, losing a relative or even the change of weather. This film follows Bibicha a young girl who has just taken the vow of silence after loosing her aunt.

The film looks into traditional cultural conventions, which might make it a little strange for modern audiences, but what the director does is use cinematography to tell the story beautifully.  The cinematography of this film is captivating, which is also helped by the location. It is used to emphasize the loneliness of the character.

With all this having been said the story in the film does move along very slowly. It felt like sometimes the director was so concerned with all the beautiful cinematography that the story was neglected, which you can’t do, if your main character has just taken a vow of silence.  It felt like there should have been more time for the audience to build a relationship with Bibicha.  This makes it hard for us to follow her when we don’t really know her; it also leads to confusion as to who the main character is as the grandma ends up doing most of the talking. At the end of the film she is the character we know the best.

New director Saboth has definitely touched on how to tell traditional stories in a modern way and it will be good to see where she goes from this.

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February 13th, 2014 by xagudo

The Grand Budapest Hotel

 

The Grand Budapest HotelWes Anderson (The royal Tenenbaums, Moonrise Kingdom) is a name that’s known to most people because the world he creates in his films are so eccentric and unique to him that no one else can do it.

The Grand Budapest Hotel is a Wes Anderson film down to it’s very core. It has all his classic techniques such as push in, whip pans, camera moves with dialogues, title cards etc. The films draws on the writing of Viennese intellectual Stefan Zweig.

In The Grand Budapest Hotel we are transported back to 1932 by Mr. Moustafa (F. Murray Abraham) the owner of The Grand Budapest Hotel. He tells writer (Jude law) how he came into possession of the hotel.

Wes Anderson has not only mastered the art of auteur directing he has also made a name for himself as a story teller this is why there is a big line up of Hollywood stars begging to be in his film.  He definitely uses this to his advantage as we can see The Grand Budapest hotel has one of the most colourful cast list of the year.

Wes Anderson has provided Ralph Fiennes with one of his most distinguished roles playing Gustav H the powerful concierge at the head of the establishment. He is a well knowledged, well dressed well-spoken and well-mannered man. He also has a dirty habit of bedding old rich ladies most notably Madame D (Tilda Swinton). She passes away and wills her priceless painting Boy with Apple to Gustav H leading to a fighting frenzy with her son Dimitir (Adrien Brody) and Jopling (Willem Dafoe).

During this fight he is helped by Zero (Tony Revolori). Newcomer Tony Revolori has definitely made a name for himself as an actor to watch out for. His on screen charm with Ralph Fiennes as they travel the countryside with various forces on their tail is mesmerizing.  During this journey is where we see why The Grand Budapest hotel is the ultimate Wes Anderson film. The travelling is similar to that of The Darjeeling limited as it mostly takes place on trains, the goofy romance that zero has with Agatha (Saoirse Ronan) is very similar to Moonrise Kingdom.  All Wes Anderson fans will bow to the wonders of this film and non fans will be automatically converted.

December 6th, 2013 by xagudo

2nd Boddinale: Call for entries

Boddinale

Boddinale is a local film festival in the heart of the creative Berliner Kiez Neukölln. Its name comes from the street where it is hosted, Boddinstrasse and what makes this festival particularly interesting for independent filmmakers is that it takes place during the big boys festival: the Berlinale. What could that mean for you? Well, all the film world has its eyes in Berlin during the Berlinale, so if you have your film playing somewhere, even if it has nothing to do with the official event, if you´re savvy enough you can get attention to your film.

But this is not the ultimate goal of the Boddinale, in the end the purpose is to give independent filmmakers a room to showcase their work. It is an event from the community for the community and it is absolutely free.

So they have an open call for entries until December 31st. Head off to www.boddinale.com to submit!

October 14th, 2013 by Madhvi

Nina and the Kung Fu Adventure

My children’s book has just been published!

Nina’s schoolfriend Lee is in trouble, so she must borrow her aunt’s travelling spice shed and head to Beijing. Together, they set off on a great  adventure involving

a kung fu master

a yellow snake

and a mysterious riddle . . .

nina and the kung fu adventure

Perfect for both boys and girls aged 7 +.

For more info check out the Tamarind Books Blog.

Buy it on Amazon or Book Depository

Like the Facebook Page!

(And if you’d it signed, bring it along to the next Lemontown meeting.)

May 30th, 2013 by Madhvi

Photography by Karin Kunzo: Road trip

Ooh-la-la Lemontowner Karin Kunzo has just been published in Le Journal de la Photographie. We’re so proud!

© Karin Kunzo

© Karin Kunzo

Click here to see more of her images from the Austrailian Outback.

On that note, at yesterday’s Lemontown meeting, a few of us discussed where we would go if we could travel anywhere in the world, like my children’s book character Nina, who has a magical travelling shed!

I’m currently looking for inspiration for the next book, so if you have any great ideas, suggest via the Nina and the Travelling Spice Shed Facebook Page!  Awesome destinations will be collected on Pinterest so check it out!

April 25th, 2013 by Madhvi

Lemontown Meeting 24th April 2013

At yesterday’s Lemontown Meeting, we met film-maker Mehmet. Click here to see his short film.

We also met Karin, who talked a little bit about her photography, women’s toilets and mirrors… check out some of her images here.

And remember that Gallery Weekend is coming up in Berlin! Visit the official site so you can plan your weekend….Have fun!

March 17th, 2013 by Mandrup

Manufactured Landscapes

In our last meeting I talked about the opening scene of a documentary, where they are filming the rows and rows inside a production facility in China. I now found out that it is “Manufactured Landscapes”

manuland

You can find the documentary here : documentarystorm.com/manufactured-landscapes/

February 17th, 2013 by xagudo

Berlinale 2013 day 10

On the last day at the Berlinale, Juliane Block goes watch an Indonesian film for kids: Eugene Pandi´s “Stepping on the flying grass”. Then she meets Xavier Agudo for the final line up of this year´s festival: Joseph Gordon-Levitt´s “Don Jon´s Addiction” and Steven Soderbergh´s “Side Effects”.

www.berlinale.de

Twitter.com/berlinfilmc