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I have a lot of films that I want to check out this month, but I have already seen the one film that really matters. Without a doubt, I can tell you that it is the way to spend your money. The rest of the films might as well give up now. You know I have some complaints of films as of late, but I like to take my remedy straight, no rocks or filters. Cinema, pure and unbridled. You know what I am talking about?
You know when you go to the movies and that jerkhead cuts in line? Don’t you sometimes wish you could smash his friggin’ face in? With a ten pound wrench? Don’t do it. Don’t sell drugs either. Or molest children. Or even put on a costume and attack those that do such vile acts.
You know when you go to the movies and everything seems incredibly programmed and test-marketed? You know how you are starting to really hate that? You know how sometimes you watch a film and wish you were living back in the days when occasionally you could see something that felt like it burst from an unbridled mind that didn’t give a fuck what anyone else thought and it was just going to go there no matter what? Wouldn’t you just love to have that type of movie back?
SUPER is a blood-splattered comedy that will make you cry real tears. SUPER is a film that will have you saying WTF! more than once. SUPER is filled with the sort of go for broke committed performances that will have you worshiping the ground that these thespians grace. SUPER is the shrieking plea in your ears all these years to finally let the lunatics run the asylum. Go ahead, drink the kool-aid. All it takes to be a superhero is to say you’ve had enough. Shut up, crime.
I am not going to lie. I produced this film. But what I produced (with MIranda Bailey) is 100% James Gunn, our writer, our director, our resident mad man. We have had incredible screenings of SUPER everywhere. No one can be lukewarm about this film. It opens on Friday April 1st (no fooling) and you want to make sure you are there.
It is not for the faint of heart or those who don’t like to have a bit of blood with their humor. Or want their entertainment sanitized of non-PC content. This ain’t that, but it is a blast. I promise you that. Several blasts as a matter of fact.
Just about this time two years ago, I was frustrated by how engineered all films felt to me. Even the indie work I was seeing felt devoid of the sort of unbridled craziness that initially lead me to fall in love with cinema. I wanted a return to jaw dropping moments and moments of questionable intent. Where had all the WhatTheFuck gone in film? Could film still be made from what appeared to be a wonderfully warped mind? Haven’t we had enough of the beautiful minds by now?
Simultaneously I was pondering what the psychological effects on society our national obsession with super heroes was having. If the high esteem we deem upon supermodels was undermining some women’s self-worth, what did the pinnacle we placed costumed crime fighters on do to a man’s perception of masculinity. Let’s be real, superheroes and war are our two top exports — there’s gotta be a connection, right?
I started scouring the development pipelines for a project that might do justice to both. I was coming up empty-handed, but had heard tales of just such a morsel by a filmmaker whom I admired that had almost gone into production years earlier for a whopping cost of $25M. Then I saw Rainn Wilson tweet that he “and james_gunn were going out with a low-rent f’d up Watchmen” — and I pounced. One year after we went out for financing, we premiered it at Toronto, where it was the first film sold in what later proved to be the tipping point out of a three year down market downturn.
This is one time where I have distributors who, despite some extreme stuff, have no fear of what this film is. Our poster and trailer truly represent the work as we intended. It’s been an amazing experience, and I am thrilled to bring to you, my film friends. It opens on Friday, April Fools Day, and I would love your dollars and support.
Watch the SUPER trailer.
Check SUPER out on facebook
Follow @SUPERthemovie on twitter.
Watch the Crimson Bolt patrol the streets of Austin.
Read one of the many good reviews for SUPER!
Rock your block out to the SUPER soundtrack at http://bit.ly/Superitunes
You can’t be a movie without an app. Check out the app for SUPER.
Yesterday around this time I participated in a podcast with Rex Sikes. It’s about a one hour interview almost entirely about SUPER. You can hear all the secret details about every and any aspect? How did it we put it together? How did we keep it together? How did it fit together? It was a fun talk. And it available for free right here: http://bit.ly/dybBsU.
I once had dreams that our movement away from an impulse buy based entertainment economy, over into one based on choice and commitment, would lead to greater demand and thus increased funding for diverse, ambitious work of quality. Sigh… It seems, though, that the planet I live on asks those of us who care about such things to do more for less. Unlike some, I think there is a surplus of immensely talented folk out there with great stories to tell in interesting ways. Unfortunately, it is really hard for most artists to do great work on their own. And that’s where producers come in. So it’s completely frustrating when we are trying to do more work, but there is far less funds available to work with. What are we supposed to do?
Fortunately, not only does the technology improve, but there are some people out there who keep coming up with good ideas for our benefit. Today, I have a new one of those for you, one that can help you produce good movies for less money: scoreAscore.
I am going to let xcoreAscore’s founder tell you all about it:
I’m Jordan Passman, founder and CEO of scoreAscore.com. I created scoreAscore to connect professional music composers and quality media producers.
Why scoreAscore? There are big project owners who can pick up the phone and call one of the top film composer agencies to find what they need. On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are film producers scrounging through overwhelming music libraries looking for great music.
With our Name-Your-Price system, scoreAscore.com gives you original music in an easy-to-use, safe and efficient environment. Each composer is a professional who has been personally screened; some have even won Emmys and been nominated for Academy Awards.
We offer 24/7 access to composers and their music, with a mission to pair the next John Williams with the next Steven Spielberg. Our current clients include: Directors, Producers, Ad Agencies, Video Game Publishers, Trailer Houses, Music Supervisors and more! Check us out. Feel free to reach out to me directly at anytime.
Take 50 seconds to check out this animation, explaining how scoreAscore works: scoreAscore.com/learnmore.php
Jordan Passman launched scoreAscore.com in May 2010. Born and raised in LA, music has always been a huge part of Jordan’ s life. In his early career, he worked in the entertainment industry throughout college (Creative Artists Agency, Warner Bros. Studios & Warner Bros. Records). After graduating from Pitzer College, Jordan joined the Film/TV Membership Department of ASCAP (American Society of Composers Authors and Publishers) in New York.Tweet
Eventize. It’s a goal of filmmakers and programmers alike these days. And it isn’t really even a word yet. With all the different options out there competing for our leisure time attention, a movie has trouble standing on it’s own feet these days. We struggle with what we can do to make it pop. How to give our screenings that extra oomph?
Today, Shade Rupe shares a few of his experiences as both a fan and an organizer in making the most of a movie to transform it into a memorable event.
There just ain’t nothin’ like a good show! As Edgar Wright so displayed with his sequel to his previous triumphant week of screenings at the New Beverly Cinema, and reported at his website, kids just love comin’ out for the movies, especially if you give them something to come out for: an event!
I long ago likened myself to Samuel Lionel “Roxy” Rothafel, the father of the grand experience of the movie palace, and the namesake for the original Roxy Theater at 50th and 7th, the Cathedral of the Motion Picture. Roxy managed the grand screens of Broadway including the Strand, Rialto, and Capitol, and opened Radio City Music Hall with his “Roxyettes,” later dubbed The Rockettes. Sharing all three initials with my unmet forefather, my love for the dark of the movie theater grows and grows even during the diminuation of those black spaces where excitement and imagination unfurl.
Roxy’s main purpose in life was to heighten the movie-going experience, including the innovation of syncing music to silent films and seamlessly melding separate reels of film by using multiple projectors. Roxy cared about his audience. Today there are several of us lovers of filmstrips, haulers of heavy film cans, locaters of rare prints, and we love nothing more than hosting film presentations on the nation’s single-screens, at venues ranging from 60 seats to 3000. Los Angeles hosts the American Cinematheque’s Egyptian and Aero theaters, wonderful huge rooms for the flickers to ignite our passions, the cinephiliac-run Silent Movie Theatre, and the homey New Beverly Cinema, passionately run for years by the great Sherman Torgan and now helmed by his son Michael. Quentin Tarantino honored his filmic passions with a two-month preamble of ’70s-era grindhouse films in 2007 before becoming the new landlord in 2008, and New York is gifted with Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade, one of the best facilities in the country, second only to the Academy screening room in Santa Monica. Managed by a cinema-loving staff, the 268-seat, stadium-seating venue hosted the grand Ken Russell during his Russellmania! summer tour, selling out all nine director-attended screenings with surprise guests, and loving fans.
And this is where you experience the real prize of live motion-picture exhibition. Walking into the auditorium with 83-year-old Mr. Russell first created a stir of silence, a mass intake of breath. As we made our way to the reserved seats, the clapping began. Which grew into thunderous applause. Ken turned and faced his appreciative audience for opening night, a rare 35mm print screening of his masterwork The Devils, and waved. They clapped, stood, and cheered. Ken took the mic and introduced the woman sitting next to him: Ms. Vanessa Redgrave. The applause was deafening. She stood up, waved towards the front, swirled herself in a circle and the entire crowd was elevated. Ms. Redgrave’s appearance was a marvel of luck. Amazingly, Vanessa was in town for one night only, the night of our screening, and she chose to spend it with us. Lincoln Center made the next call to Mr. Tommy Tune for The Boy Friend. Tommy was so happy to experience the film with his friend and mentor, Ken was able to convince Tommy to take the stage and dance one of his numbers from the film.
More healthy applause. While the audiences kept lining up, selling out show after show, the final night, Tommy, included a performance from local artist Bliss Blood with a ukelele serenade to Ken with a song from The Boy Friend.
And while all of these events seared the neurons of all who attended, the most memorable moments, even stronger than talented celebrity guests, were the films themselves. Ken Russell’s films are events in themselves. Well before the lazy scourge of computer graphics, well before cell phones interrupted film sets, masters like Ken Russell were able to create their art. For the first time in my filmgoing life, well over thirty years now, and for many in the auditorium during the screening of The Music Lovers, we knew what it was to be human. To feel. To know. Sitting next to Ken, as Tchaikovsky’s strings filled the room and images of a couple strolling through a sunlit forest greeted our retinas, I felt the film. A surge of warmth, and coolness, started from my groin and worked up through my heart, and by the happy sobs around me, I knew I was not alone, and I let the tears come out. All of us, everyone at the screening, felt the movie. We didn’t need loud sounds or digital relays. We had the film, and filmmaker, the man who knows how to interact with millions by the use of a camera, and actors, and music. The film as event in itself. With an audience.
Many more films and screenings have occurred since then, having now helmed several midnight-movie introductions at the Landmark Sunshine, including a great screening of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World with a new special intro written by Edgar Wright for us to read out, and moderating a spirited Q&A with Gaspar Noé over his extended cut of Enter the Void at the IFC Center. Yet the one that still haunts me is that evening double feature of The Music Lovers and Women in Love. The one where we all further learned what it is to be alive. It’s something that doesn’t happen with a portable digital viewing device. It happens in the theater. With an audience.
– Shade Rupe
Shade Rupe is the author of Dark Stars Rising: Conversations from the Outer Realms (Headpress, 2011), a 568-page collection of 24 years of interviews with Tura Satana, Divine, Crispin Glover, Alejandro Jodorowsky, and 23 more innovative creators. He presents and attends theatrical film events in New York and abroad.Tweet
One Hundred Mornings screened at Slamdance 2010. It then won The Workbook Project‘s Discovery & Distribution Award. We hosted it at our Goldcrest Screening Series to great success. It is now having a NY run and the NY Times honored it with a Critics’ Pick notice. When we screened it I noted:
“End of the world scenarios come in all forms, but rarely are they dressed in such human(ist) clothing. Big concepts too often forget that it is all about life and how we live it. One Hundred Mornings keeps the characters (and all their foibles) front and center in the most relatable of manners. As much as we need each other, we are still only human. Society may have broken down but the every day stuff of love, jealousy, betrayal, and jerky neighbors is still what it takes to get through the day.”
I dig the film and love the use of genre to get to deeper subjects.
Now that everyone in NYC has a chance to revel in this tale, I reached out to Conor and asked if he could share some of experiences. He’s come up with a list of what he learned that helped him reach and hit such a high mark.
One question really stood out to me at the Q&A following the Goldcrest screening of One Hundred Mornings in New York last year. It was a simple one, but hard enough to answer: what did I learn from making the film? As I recall, my answer at the time ended up being about the virtues of the Red Camera (we were the first Irish feature to shoot on it) but I know I learned much more than just how to work with a new piece of kit.
Now that we’re back in New York, with the film playing this week at the Rerun Theatre in Brooklyn, I thought I’d have another go at it- so here are a few of the things I learned from making One Hundred Mornings.
Use the limitations
We wanted to make a realistic film about a modern Western society on the cusp of a complete breakdown, but with a tiny budget. We ended up making the absence of things part of the world of the film: the characters have very different takes on what’s going on, and as there are no communications they can’t find out otherwise. The cast wore the same clothes much of the time, and most of the story takes place around one central location. There is almost no music and many of the scenes play out in a single shot- indeed, a lot of them were shot from only one angle in only two or three takes (which actually really helped the actors give such focused performances – they knew they had to take every chance they could)
This all helped us shoot within our resources, sure, but let’s face it – the audience could care less about the size of the budget. What this approach also did for us was something really important– it helped the world we created within the film feel very believable, almost to the point of feeling inescapable. I’m certain that if we’d made a cutty film full of music from the same script we wouldn’t have found the same kind of intensity.
By the way, the other reason there’s hardly any music is that when I was thinking about what I’d miss most in a world without electricity, it was beautiful, complex music that came pretty close to the top of the list. After the minor details of food, water and shelter, of course.
Don’t always play to my strengths.
Really? My background as a photographer, sometime DoP and director of many TV spots gave me a lot of experience in making things look good on camera. It also showed me that for a lot of my early career when things weren’t going too well on set I tended to start concentrating on what I was most comfortable with – the camera. And when I say things weren’t going too well, that almost always meant with the actors – I didn’t really know how to talk to them to get what was needed. One Hundred Mornings is my first feature, so I really wanted to try something different.
I had to leave my comfort zone far behind, which meant taking a couple of acting classes. After getting over the embarrassment ( which took a while) I discovered that I wasn’t quite as terrible at it as I’d feared, and could actually even enjoy it at times. I’m very grateful to a friend who subsequently cast me in a small role in one of his short films, because that experience really helped me understand what actors most need from a director – understanding, honesty, respect and compassion. Or in other words, a bit of love.
Try to remember what it was that inspired me.
It’s surprisingly easy to forget. Directing this very ambitious film was an intense, almost hallucinatory experience. As I ricocheted between the triumphs and disasters that happened every single shooting day, there was a real possibility I might lose my way and end up making a film that bore little resemblance to the one I started out making.
What I found that really helped me was this: I had a central question that was always the heart of the film for me. I mentioned it to the people I was working with but didn’t make a song and dance about it – I just needed a kind of a touchstone that I could return to when I was in the thick of it. I really hoped that keeping this question in the forefront of my mind would help make a coherent piece of work, that might speak to people in some way. So you can imagine how happy I felt when I opened the New York Times on Friday morning to find a version of that question, rounding off a terrific, insightful review of One Hundred Mornings. Which shows that when you stay true to your inspirations, people will really get your film.
After spending time as a pizza chef, puppeteer and geo-electrical surveyor in the Northern Rif Mountains of Morrocco, Conor Horgan trained as a photographer before going on to direct experimental, documentary and drama films. He lives in Dublin, Ireland.
I am thrilled to be the only active filmmaker with a regular column on one of the film industry trades — well, not really thrilled, more disappointed, but if there is only going to be one, I am glad I can belong to the club. You know what I mean, right?
And yes, I do mention that I am a blogger in my bio now. But still, first and foremost I am a film producer. Which means that sometimes I devote myself to getting my movies made. Last week I went to LA for the SUPER premiere, casting on a new film and some financing meetings. I then jumped to San Fran to judge The Disposable Film Fest, meet some more money, and strategize with collaborators. I took the red-eye home from Arizona last night, where I gave an all day seminar on the state of the film biz. Whew!
But as a result, I did not get to post at all last week. I had been on a roll. I will do my best to get back on that blogging horse and provide you with prior notification in the future when I plan to disappear for awhile. The same of course goes for anyone who’s email I have yet to back to, all 500+ of you. Eek.