Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Benh Zeitlin


Benh's Benefit Screening was very good. He is truly talented. I almost cried. I think Courtney did cry. The turn out was small but we went to the late show. There were seven films by a few different people; Benh Zeitlin, Ray Tintori and Max Goldblatt all of whom are very talented.

"The Egg" and "Origins of Electricity" by Benh Zeitlin had a Brother Quay feeling while his most recent work "I Get Wet" was very innocent, fun and very well constructed. The child actors were amazing i smiled the whole time. Max Goldblatt's "Kinetoscope" was disturbing in its Psycho-esque voyeur world where the line between reality and the dream is blurred, twisted, filmicly reflective and sometimes funny.

But, the one that got me the most was, "Glory at Sea". It had to have been shot shortly after Katrina in a devastated part of Louisiana. It was the story of a man who lost his girl friend in the flood. In his torment he makes a raft and inspires others to help in his effort full well knowing that those they seek are already dead. It was very moving and stylized. Poetic in its narration and beautifully shot. I'm still thinking about it, it was gorgeous. Everyone should see this film.

Benh Zeitlin was badly injured in a car wreck during SxSW this past year on the way to a screening of his films. After a replaced hip and 80,000 dollars later he is in the process of recovery. Proceeds from tonights screening have gone to help pay his medical bills.

Adam Moroz
Cita Mag
Editor

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

TXMPA Event


Attended the TXMPA incentives "Texas Got Game" happy hour held at the Action Figure Studios on East Cesar Chavez. Enjoyed mingling among friends - and yet disappointed at the lack of crowd. There were maybe up to 100 attendees, and while that isn't horrible I've seen bigger parties of film enthusiasts in Austin! I learned that Michigan passed an incentives law of giving back 40% to those who make their films in Michigan. It sounds insane to me - but at the same time I kept questioning how on earth Michigan was able to pass such a bill when Texas has such a "strong" community and yet struggled to pass our 5% return. There is talk of this turning to 15% within a year which I'd love to see happen - I just hope those who are involved and want to thrive in Austin show up!

Iron Man +


Last night I had the privilege of seeing the premiere of Iron Man complete with the Jet Pack guy to raise the spirit of the crowds at Alamo Draft House South Lamar. First of all I'd like to say that I loved the Jet Pack guy - sure he was only in the air for about 90 seconds - but it was a single man flying alone with no parachute or airplane completely choosing his direction - now how cool is that?! For a girl who's drafted blue prints for wings since she was in elementary school - I was pretty excited!

The film was entertaining and while it didn't leave an impact on me where I was running through the various scenes or whatnot throughout my head the rest of the evening or dreaming of it all night - I had a good time and was definitely enthralled for the two hours.

The one thing that did leave a lasting impression on me was the female characters in the movie. According to statistics, men 18-36 are the highest rated attendees of movies and with that logistic studios understand the male interest movies will bring the highest dollar. I am a female, and I definitely enjoyed the film, but I do think the film had an overall lower impact on myself due to my non-association with a single female character. As an actress I definitely wouldn't want to play a single one of those roles except to earn a pay check - and as a young woman I definitely wouldn't want to embody any of the female characters either.

These would have been my choices:
A) Screaming Afghanistan woman as her village is bombed
B) Intelligent sexy reporter who ends up sleeping with Iron Man right off and was considered "trash" the next morning
C) Mousy assistant to the genius who has worked for him for YEARS without him even knowing her birthday
D) Sexy woman at casino that is pushed out of the way when the men come to talk about more important things/sexy airhostess/sexy dancer on plane

Just a note to the movie industry - films like this create the audience that is currently considered "high dollar" - create more films that women can associate with equals more female viewers. I think this is definitely being recognized now that the teen girls are creating billionaires like Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen and Miley Cyrus. We are a huuuuge market.

I believe its time to create Rainbow Brite the movie folks. Now who wouldn't be into that?

Friday, April 25, 2008

Maxim VIP Party


Last night I attended the Maxim Magazine party at the Barr mansion north of central Austin. I was confused the entire time, just what was the purpose of this party? I’ll tell you. Promote the beer and promote the magazine, but to whom?

From what I could gather every former frat boy and delusional princess found their meager way to this party. I am sure that there were some industry professionals and respectable people there, I just didn’t meet any. Wait, sorry, I met six people of the 200 or so there that had anything interesting to talk about.

This was a see and be seen kind of shin dig. When I walked in I saw any number of girls trying with all their worth to be noticed by the production wrapping up a commercial shoot that tied in with the party. The fray was impossibly cliquey. There was even a group of guys doing beer bongs while a group of screaming girls cheered them on. It was quite remarkable seeing as how this party was supposed to be high fashion and classy… Sorry I started to laugh but I am okay now. IT FELT LIKE HIGHSCHOOL! All the jocks and cheerleaders, equally simple, jostling for some kind position over one another as if they commanded that kind of attention. It was really sad.

The illusion of class and aristocracy was the pungent odor of the night and it stank. But upon thinking a little harder I realized that this is Maxim’s target audience, so, good show, bong some beer and drive home you peoples of the upper crust.

By the way production value and the staff were superb, wonderfully accommodating and polite. Cheers.


Adam Moroz
Cita Mag
Editor

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Beats at the Ransom Center

Recently I braved the hordes of college students at the University of Texas on my way to the Harry Ransom Center which is located directly in the center of campus. For the next six weeks the center will play host to the writings, rants, manuscripts, sketches, paintings and music of Beat Era Icons such as Alan Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Ted Joans, Lester Young, Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie.

The beat movement is hard to pigeon hole into specific dates but can easily fit between late 1940’s and well into the middle 1960’s. These years were riddled with racial tension and post World War Two idealism. It was the beginning of the cold war and the nuclear family; mother in pearls cooking dinner while little Johnny feeds the dog is how history remembers these golden years before Vietnam. Ginsberg and Kerouac were disgusted with the blatant paper thin idealism that shrouded the country at the time. Such structure and form confined their freer sensibilities. They were the ideal deviants.

Enthralled by the Jazz music they frequently listened to in the dives bars of Harlem, the Beats latched onto the musician’s ability to create new rhythms as they went allowing for development in any possible direction. They rejected structure for free form, content for process, statics for motion, and careful planning for improvisation. Jack Kerouac assimilated this strategy in the book, On the Road. Before writing he took many sheets of paper and taped them together to create multiple scrolls of more than one hundred feet each. The idea was that while typing using his scrolls he would not be confined with having to reload his typewriter after each page. This would allow him to write continuously without interruption in a manner we would term today as “stream of consciousness”.

They seemed to be on a constant quest for “here and now” never concerned with past or future. Education on a subject served only as a template for revision. Beats struggled to create and live outside of societal norms in an effort to ponder their purpose while still being delighted to exist within them, for without these norms they would have nothing to question. “I am learning by the week, but my poesy is still not my own. New rhyme new me me me in words. I am not all of this carven rhetoric”, Ginsberg writes in a letter to Kerouac during his years at Columbia expressing his frustrations with accepted written forms. Ginsberg delivers “Howl” October 13, 1955 at the Six Gallery six years after graduating from Columbia.

Beat filmmakers struggled with similar issues of form and content. How does one access the unconscious and spontaneous in a medium that requires such careful consideration? Filmmakers such as Stan Brakhage, Kenneth Anger, Christopher Mclaine and Maya Deren all dealt with these questions differently. Brakhage attacked the acceptable structure of “story” form from such a different angle that people weren’t quite sure what to make of his work. He would paint and glue things on clear leader. The result was a flash of color and a shape unlike anything ever done before it. Must a story be a linear tale of people or can it not be the transition from blue to red over the course of hundred frames. Kenneth Anger dealt with cultural acceptance of sexuality and innocence in an era where anything homosexual was considered to be socially deviant, almost criminal.

Beatniks where labeled by FBI director J. Edgar Hoover as one of the greatest “menaces” to the stability of America in 1960. I wonder what he would have to say about them now.

-Adam Moroz

The exhibition runs from Feb. 5 to Aug. 3 in the Ransom Center Galleries at The University of Texas at Austin.

Beat Film Series screenings take place at the Alamo Drafthouse at the Ritz at 7 p.m. consult www.hrc.utexas.edu/events/2008/beatfilm for show times.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Do You Know Your Local Casting Directors?

The 1st annual Alliance sponsored Casting Director Q & A gave me more insight into the local casting directors than I had thought I'd gather. There were the extraneous check list of actors do's and don'ts in a casting office: make sure you have a head shot and resume, make sure you bring multiple copies, make sure there are more in your car just in case, make sure you LOOK like your head shot - the list goes on; and usually I go to these events more to make sure my agent knows I care and to socialize but I actually picked up a few things:

1) Do not spend your money or your time on sending the CD's random promotional items or gifts. It's better to use the money on new head shots or classes and they'd prefer if you were just memorable in your audition.

2) They do not remember how you sucked at an audition....forever.

3) You CAN actually ask them to let you do it again if you know that you didn't do it as well as you could have or if you have another take you'd like to try. Remember it is YOUR audition and even if it feels rushed in the office if you have something else to offer, ask. Apparently they only say no if you try to do this 4 or 5 times.

4) The CD's and other people in the room are on your side. They want you to be the one for the role, they want you to be perfect for the part. They're on your side.

5) Try to dress more simply. It's not about your hair or your accessories. When they pull you into an audition they want to see specifically what it is about you - your essence. The way your voice is, your body, and your face. What you give off as a person just as you are without all the stuff. Be natural.