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Caught up in an information culture.


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Up There (2010)

Still from Up There (2010).

Still from Up There (2010).

Watching the Beck’s Edison Bottle reminded me of a short doc I saw a while back at IFP’s Film Week – Up There is a twelve-minute short doc on the fading art of hand-painted billboard signs in New York.

It was written by the filmmaker and funded by Stella Artois, but they’re never mentioned in the film.  Instead, they’re the subject of the handpainted sign we see the painters working on.  This is branded content as truly valuable content in its own right, where the filmmaker rather than the brand crafts the message, and both come away happy.  When I saw the makers of this doc interviewed at IFP, you could see the funding model opening up whole mental vistas of possibility for all the starting doc filmmakers in the audience, but this is a tough gig to find, and the right funder and the right content is a tough match to make. Continue reading

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“It’s liberating [to have extra footage], in a way, because you have this wonderfully demonic circle: every scene is holding a loaded gun to the head of every other scene, saying, ‘only one of us is going to get out of here alive.’  [You] think, ‘Do we really need that scene?’ Or, ‘What if we put it in some other location?’  When a film has [fewer shot scenes], the scenes are smug, in a way, because they all know they’re going to wind up in the finished film… the film-makers aren’t forced to re-examine everything – all our hidden assumptions.”

–Walter Murch, interview from Minghella on Minghella by Timothy Bricknell


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Behind the scenes of Walkabout, from Criterion.

Behind the scenes of Walkabout, from Criterion.

“Nicolas Roeg set out into the Australian outback with a skeleton crew and a script just fourteen pages long. Working as his own cinematographer, Roeg used only natural light to capture his young stars interacting with the mysterious and beautiful landscape.”  Criterion has a fantastic image gallery behind the scenes of Walkabout – and this intriguing bit of information on how the film was made.