Power to the pixel
By Charlie Phillips 22 October, 2008
Today is the start of the two-day Power To the Pixel where lots of fun people will invade the London Film Festival and bring it into the modern age right good.
I'm not there, but I will be here, which is a bit like being there, but in a comfy chair. You can rave about all the technology you like, but what really impresses me at an event or a festival is not coming away with a bad back.
By Charlie Phillips 20 October, 2008
So me and my marketplace compadre Madeline spent the weekend devising the schedule for the MeetMarket which is no small task, individually putting hundreds and hundreds of meetings into the system. It's a big do. There's obviously a lot of automated system stuff that makes it quicker and shaves off some of the time but the essential bit of matching 200 peoples' preferences for 2 days of meetings basically needs a very-human human in charge of it. And we are those humans.
Anyway, as well as doing that this weekend, I managed to watch docs, pretty randomly. The first is a testament to the goodness of youtube - me and the lady (my girlfriend, not Madeline - we marketplace people did spend some time apart this weekend, honestly) searched for "Northern Soul" on youtube to see if we could find some good videos of Northern Soul/Mod dancing. As you do. And look what came up - something that will very much excite any of you out there who have secret soul boy hearts...
If you're not that hot on Northern Soul, this may not seem that exciting, but even if you're not, isn't it a good doc? A bit ropey in parts, forcing the 'industrial North/industrial dancing' parallels repeatedly but it's a fair comparison to make I think - it's no coincidence that Northern Soul prospered (and sort of still does) in places where people were losing their jobs and needed something else exhausting and immersive.
Anyway, then last night, I unintentionally watched Alan Yentob's final episode about guitars, The Story of The Guitar, mainly because the trailer said it would feature The Who (so we'd see guitars getting destroyed) and Johnny Marr from The Smiths (so we'd see guitars being played like no-one else is capable of doing). And it certainly did.
But then there was also a clip of a peculiar video which invaded my dreams last night, so I woke up feeling like I had spent the night on Mars. Actually, Mars in the 60s. You'll see what I mean. Apparently these people changed the face of the guitar...
And if that's not disturbing enough, here's a sneak peak of what we at Doc/Fest all got up to LAST weekend...
Bad Idea...Good idea
By Charlie Phillips 15 October, 2008
There's a lot of good magazines out there on the streets, what with it being very hip to self-publish these days so i hear. And one of those good magazines is Bad Idea, which comes straight outta Dalston, with a take on literature and intelligent pursuits coming from young, clever and opinionated people who write beautifully.
I'm a serious fan of Bad Idea, their magazines always look gorgeous and the range of writers is exceptional, with a selection ranging from pervy to polemicised, and a few things in between (I'm only interested in the pervy and polemic obviously).
Anyway, the point of this nod is to tell you that their website now has a massive amount of regularly-updated often-hilarious and frequently-revelatory stories, articles and general musings and it's becoming quite a regular haunt for me. They seem to really hit the credit crunch business on the button, with a wry take on economic nonsense that's a bit like listening to the dwellers of a liberal Viennese century coffee house in the 1930s. Ideal for me.
And can you argue with any blog that starts a piece with the line "Anyone notice the Bonhams ad in the Telegraph today?" You know you're in damn safe hands there.
Roman Polanski: Wanted And Desired
By Hussain Currimbhoy 13 October, 2008
Tomorrow night is def a night to stay in watch a doc.
Marina Zenovich's ROMAN POLANSKI: WANTED AND DESIRED screens on BBC 4 at 10:00 pm, Monday Oct 13 - its first screening in the UK after it premiered at Cannes in May.
This is one of the most anticipated docs of the year - one that I'm dying to see and not just because I'm a fan of Polanski. I don't think it will break down any myths or act as a rethink of our attitudes towards a great director. But I've only ever heard fragments of his life story - the connections to the French New Wave, the story of how he got KNIFE IN THE WATER made, his exile from America - this will be a concise history of everything Polanski.
It will be interesting get an account of his life in one hit and to not just be focussing on a dip in a hot tub.
He is one of the very few from that period of cinema still running around today. He doesn't do a lot of interviews any more and he is well into his 70s so this could be one of the few insights into his work.
Doc/Fest T-Shirts - Buy Them while they're hot
By Charlie Phillips 12 October, 2008
And boys and girls, they are HOT!
What you see here is the chance to buy for just £10 a very fine item of clothing with the Doc/Fest horsey on and everything.
Not only will you impress your friends beyond all belief with your support of such a fine festival as ours, but you'll look mighty fine too. These t-shirts are proven to make you better-looking hundred-fold.
It's just £10, and you can order yours NOW before there's a run on them and stocks run out.
Pitch your cross-platform project - deadline TODAY!
By Charlie Phillips 10 October, 2008
So today is the deadline day for getting your cross-platform pitch in for the NFB Cross Media Pitch Competition - get your entry in!
This is a totally unique pitch, aimed at those developing innovative, interactive, socially engaged content with applications for mobile and broadband, where one producer will win a £5,000 co-production development deal with the award-winning people at the National Film Board of Canada. The theme this year is environmental.
We're dedicated to cross-media ideas here at Doc/Fest so this is a pitch we want as many people as possible to apply for, so if you're working on something totally new and groundbreaking, we'll be very excited indeed to see it.
And last year's pitch winners, Grant Keir and Virginia Heath, have gone on to now being selected for this year's MeetMarket so there's a definite line of progress this pitch gets you going on. This pitch is a chance to really be nurtured by people who know and understand what's special about cross-media projects.
So here's the info, and no waiting around, today's the deadline!
Interview with producer of MAN ON WIRE, Simon Chinn
By Hussain Currimbhoy 07 October, 2008
The Doc/Fest programme couldn't be complete without MAN ON WIRE.
Surely, you've seen it - but here's a rare interview with producer, Simon Chinn.
Truth Out There
By Charlie Phillips 07 October, 2008
The Truth really is out there. Thanks to Optimistic Productions for these.
MeetMarket Project Selection is go
By Charlie Phillips 04 October, 2008
It's all happening now on the website - film schedules (what a programme, Hussain!), packed schedule of sessions, a searchable buyers list. And now, we're delighted to announce the project selection for this year's MeetMarket.
There's 53 amazing projects there, with the standard being so high that we decided to take a few more than we were initially planning to. It's a really cosmopolitan list that we hope reflects the very best of international documentary creativity going on today, with a very strong non-UK European representation there as well as the choicest new US and Canadian ideas. In fact, 18 different countries will be represented by producers at MeetMarket. And it's especially exciting that we have 4 brilliant cross-platform projects in that list.
So now we just wait and see how they all get on at MeetMarket. For those of you who weren't selected, I really hope you'll come to the festival anyway - remember, aside from the MM, all events are open to all delegates, so there are plenty of opportunities to meet buyers and decision-makers.
And just to say that the decision to get down to 53 was so very hard - there were honestly at least 150 projects that could hold their own in the MM easily, and which it was heartbreaking to end up having to put to one side. But that's precisely why I'm so keen that everyone who applied with a great project should come anyway, because there will be people who are interested in your plans, and you can talk to about investment or ask for advice, whether funder, co-producer or general advisor. And as far as possible, if you come to the festival as a delegate and pick up a buyers guide and grab us, we'll try and help you to strategise to do just that. I mean it.
The guys who wrote the book on documentary
By Hussain Currimbhoy 02 October, 2008
8.40pm, two of the most exquisite docs ever made, An Engineer's Assis
tant and On the Road, both by Noriaki Tsuchimoto, are on, again at the BFI Southbank.
If you are around at the BFI at about 8:40 Thursday Oct 9th and you want to see one of the best docs I have ever seen check out ON THE ROAD: A DOCUMENT by Tsuchimoto Noriaki from 1964. Its playing with AN ENGINEER’S ASSISTANT – both will be introduced by Mark Cousins who curated a Tsuchimoto retrospective at Doc/Fest last year. After I saw ON THE ROAD it leapt into my top 5 of all time. Those kinds of films, that just capture so much just in the editing, simply aren’t made any more! Since Tsuchimoto passed away this year the screening is all the more poignient.
Also, this new sense that film critics are becoming the hunted has been taken up by the last Sight & Sound with a cover article featuring the thoughts of some of our most prominent thinkers. To give the matter a little more flesh, a debate at the BFI on Wed Oct 8th at 6:20 will be hosted with the likes of Jean-Michel Frodon, Mark Fisher, Nick James and Mark Cousins to debate what makes a good critic – so head down and let it all out. Bloggers vs critics, author vs authority – this is going to be lively to say the least.
Speaking of Mark Cousins, his new book is out this month too: Widescreen: Watching Real People Elsewhere (released by Wallflower Press) It consists of essays that Mark has written for Prospect Magazine since 2001, and also some unreleased thoughts that will certainly cause a stir. He’s a dedicated man of doc that will have something powerful insights on a genre in flux.