Wednesday, 14 November 2018

THE CINEMATIC GENIUS OF BUSTER KEATON


The brilliance of 1920s cinema, is that the movies were a novelty art form, before there were any rules the norm was experimentation because there was nothing to base the art on.
The 20s saw plenty of the experimentation in camera and editing technique, more naturalistic performances, increasing narrative ambition. 

Few cinematic experiences are as joyous as watching Keaton's films with fresh eyes. His incredible films during the 1920s are revelations, filled with clever social insights and, of course, an array of how-did-he-just-do-that stunt work. His screen presence remains one of cinema's most poetic: the hapless everyman whose indefatigable and reckless impulsiveness remains the source of great inspiration and comedy for contemporary viewers. The moods and emotions conveyed resonate today just as they did in the early 20th century, a testament to Keaton's keen understanding of the human experience.

Cinema geek & provocateur filmmaker Fabrizio Federico lists his Top 5 Buster Keaton movies:

1. The Navigator (1924) I loved this film so much when I was a kid, especially his miniature sized cannon that he uses on the cannibals. Two socialites get stuck on a ship and have to survive. Its priceless seeing him covered in a bed sheet thrashing about looking like a ghost, plus the films also features the first underwater sequence ever filmed, which took four weeks to film due to the early technology. Because the water was too blurry under the sea they had to go to Lake Tahoe which is famous for having crystal clear water.

2. One Week (1920) This was Keaton's first film made on his own. Inspired by a documentary he saw about how you could purchase a house-lot and then build your own portable home in a week. I love how with Buster you never knew what was coming next, he'd trick you into feeling secure then pull the rug from under your feet - BAM!! The way the train misses his house on the track, only for the second train coming in the other direction to smash into it,must have cracked-up those 1920's audiences with it's unpredictability.

3. The General (1927) Based on a true story from the Civil War and filmed in Oregon.  Using real gun-powder they accidentally set fire to a forest during shooting, which delayed the production. Although he was called ''The Great Stone Face'' he brings the audience into his characters pride, panic, frustration and yearning, all the while performing miraculous stunts that even Jackie Chan would envy. My fav improv bit is when he throws a piece of wood at the cannon. Between takes he would play baseball on the roof of the locomotives. I still cant believe how bad the film reviews were when it was originally released.
4. The Goat (1921) The gags come thick and fast in this masterpiece as Buster gets mistaken for murderer Dead Shot Dan. It's hilarious when he recognises himself in the huge mug-shot poster on the wall, his reaction is priceless, along with the clay horse falling on him
Cops (1922) As his friend Fatty Arbuckle was on trial, Buster set to work on this keystone-cop kapper which features some phenomenal on-foot chase scenes between Buster and hundreds on police extras, which must have been exhilarating for him to film. He was a sensational athlete having to perform all his own stunts and a very fast sprinter.
5. Sherlock, Jr. (1924) This is Buster's cult movie. A dreamlike masterpiece full of early special effects and the film also works as a thesis on cinemas philosophical wisdom, of how making and watching a movie are linked. He also broke his neck on this film without even realising it until decades later. The scene where he shadows his suspect with incredible comedic timing is still one of his finest moments.          
Our Hospitality (1923) His first feature film and also the one where he almost drowned in a river stunt which is in the film. His cameraman filmed the whole accident because Buster never yelled ''cut'' cose he was to busy drowning. He never used scripts, ideas just came to him and he'd follow through with it until he got the sequence right, even if it meant having his stomach pumped after the famous upside down waterfall sequence took many takes to complete.

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Monday, 12 November 2018

DAZED & CONFUSED - FILM TACKLES INSANE CELEBRITY 'IT' GIRLS


Filmmaker Fabrizio Federico is that rare anomaly of everything that is anti-fashion that he becomes fashion. He is culturally relevant, part of popular culture. And he speaks to the outsider, non-conformist side of the film industry and transcends cinema. His audience reaches the outside of the movie industry. They are the people and influencers shaping our landscape. He is like a man child, vulnerable yet tough. Recently featured among the best independent filmmakers of 2018, he’s very of the moment but timeless as well. Fabrizio feels like change in a good way. Lets follow him, he’ll rise as a new star with his new motion picture Teddy Bears Live Forever.


Perma-wearing his sunglasses and pink beret he is a London film brat who represents the mystery and allure of the hard-edged British style re-packaged and taken global following the movie Anarchy In The UK: The New Underground Cinema. Mixing car crash cinema sportswear and poetic too-cool-to-care louche glamour beneath his dark-ringed eye sockets. It’s a lewk, darlings.
Fabrizio is no doubt more than what meets the eye… Known for showcasing his most personal thoughts and feelings in his films, Fabrizio has also been speaking up for real-life issues. If you ask us, there’s nothing better than a rebel with a cause. Following his own path of artistic freedom.
April is a young faded ''It girl'' suffering in exile from multiple-personality disorder (brought on by a UFO Cult & Hollywood) and she decides that one of her six personalities must lose her virginity.
As April suffers bizarre flashbacks in a solitary room, sleepwalking, telephoning rent boys, listening to The Carpenters and terrorising her old guardian with her untamed sex appeal. She ultimately set's out to become a modern saint.
''I made the film on intuition and a sensation to focus on some powerful messages (trauma, anti-establishment, false idolatry, existential angst and spirituality) wrapped up in an isolated feline martyr quality.
The main character April is fighting to regain a state of grace that she lost as an ''It girl'' living in a superficial society obsessed with illusion while working in Hollywood. April is trying to penetrate the essence of her problems by being brave, screaming & articulating her pain through the film. She's trying to release the poisoned fragrance of her trauma. She's deprogramming her self by losing her mind.
In the beginning of the movie we're shown a glimpse into her former ''It girl'' pop-culture life, at the complete absolute zenith of her fame, which is full of tacky excitement, flashes, games, disciples, vibrations and action.
But then the film moves to the aftermath of all that, and to her current isolated life in London after rejecting her followers. But now she is battling her six personalities, so in a way she's leading six different realities and levels of consciousness. Each personality is a different level of consciousness, but music is her true prayer. She listens to The Carpenters while in exile, because she identifies with women who suffered, like Karen Carpenter, Judy Garland, Marilyn Monroe etc... but she also enjoys hanging herself by visualising her suicide.
The film is also an insight into gurus, and how they deal with their followers problems, whether they are suffering from family or social suffering. The movies about spiritual terms instead of adolescent terms.

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Interview with filmmaker Caster Fagan

Still from the motion picture 'Subject A Male'

What gave you the idea to make this film? 
From an early age, and as I get older, I have been to a variety of doctors and medical professionals. As many know, medical buildings and doctors’ offices have a plethora of waiting rooms. Sometimes, while waiting in these rooms alone, you get the feeling that you have been forgotten. In my case, my mind flips through countless scenarios of why I am alone in this room. One of these happens to be the premise for “Subject ‘A’ Male” (S.A.M.). 

How did the films shoot go, what was it like working with the cast? 
Filming has been great! I have been of several sets before, but this is the first time that I have written a feature. So, to be involved in the technical aspects of filming as well as the creative, it is truly an amazing learning experience. The cast is wonderful. The acting chops are more than impressive. They have really “become” the characters, giving them so much life. I am blown away by their interpretation. The crew is also incredible. I am truly blessed to be working with all those involved. 

Did anything weird happen during production? 
My God! Did it ever… all funny though. The set construction was an experience. We used a very limited space in a warehouse on Long Island for the main facility filming. The set was fluid in the sense that we had to move walls around and arrange them to match the floor plan for all the shots — reusing walls for the different “rooms.” At one point, we were trying to add a partial drop ceiling in the main room. The only problem was that the walls were not exact, and the tiles fell numerous times before we decided to screw, wire, tape and wrap… let’s just say we used ten screws in place of the normal one on each piece. Not only that, but there were a row of windows on the very top of the 20 foot warehouse east and west walls which led to drastically different lighting issues from morning to sunset. We used tarps, wood, green board, anything we could stack to prevent shadows. Perhaps the funniest and most frustrating circumstance was the day job work never ceased while we were filming. The other half of the warehouse had constant truck noise, foot traffic, loud sounds, you name it! Not to mention, we were right on the service road of the L.I.E. But, we did manage to get great sound regardless, even though we had to stop on several occasions because of a toilet flush or truck horn. 

What will be your next project? 
At the conclusion of this film (2019), we (same crew, different cast) jump right into the next feature I have written. It is called “Breathe Me In” and is a parallel story to “Subject ‘A’ Male” (S.A.M.)… another surreal, psychological thriller. My personal goal is to take this to a trilogy of parallel stories, connected without being sequels or prequels, etc. 

Who are some of your favourite filmmakers? 
I would have to say that my favourite filmmakers would be: Rian Johnson — loved “Brick” Vincenzo Natali — “Cube” is one of my favs Paul Mones — mainly for “The Beat”

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Tuesday, 30 October 2018

THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD FROM PSYCHOTHERAPIST TO SINGLE MOM TO FEMALE EMPOWERMENT ADVOCATE TO AWARD WINNING FILMMAKER FOR SMALL TOWN GIRL



DANBURY, CT, – Back in 1992, Stephanie C. Lyons was in her second year of grad school studying psychology. Little did she realise that 26 years later she would be working on what would be hailed as the “cult classic of all time” (even though virtually no one has seen it yet) – The History of Everything Circa 1993 to the Present: Formerly Known as Kissy Cousins, Monster Babies and Morphing Elvis – as co-producer, co-director, and co-writer.

As Robert Frost famously said, “Two roads diverged…” only there were more than a few twists and turns for Ms. Lyons. 
Fast forward from her work as a psychotherapist and later the director of a women’s work release program, to marriage, four children (and a divorce), to living for an extended period with her parents. Like J.K. Rowling, at the time, she utilised one of her best skills – writing -- and became a freelance journalist and reporter so she could be home to raise her children.

During a chance newspaper assignment, she had the opportunity to meet her soulmate, lawyer and filmmaker Wayne J. Keeley, who was a bit older than Stephanie and had a stockpile of scripts that had never been shopped, as well as a 26-year-old unfinished film – Kissy Cousins, Monster Babies and Morphing Elvis – that had been collecting dust on a shelf. The two found they had more in common than just like-minded visions of life. They began working together almost immediately on multiple entertainment projects. Their work relationship eventually led to a romantic one – and now they’re touted as the “Dynamic Duo.”



Since they have been together, Stephanie and Wayne have written, produced, and directed four Off-Off Broadway plays, produced and directed an Emmy-nominated public service campaign, co-written two novels, created the highly popular blog Pillow Talking, which focuses on reviews of theatre and film, and last, but not least, updated and retooled the 26-year-old film Kissy Cousins, Monster Babies and Morphing Elvis. In fact, the film has just received its 90th film festival laurel including THE STRAIGHT JACKET GUERRILLA FILM FESTIVAL.

But wait. There’s more! Stephanie has now branched off into independent screenwriting and created a horror script which focuses on female empowerment titled See Evil. While the screenplay is in the horror/thriller genre, it also has an LGBTQ focus (she and her husband are ardent advocates and supporters). It involves married female protagonists who must fight reapers that threaten their loved ones including their unborn child. “I believe that See Evil falls squarely within the sweet spot of films like Get Out – which are both horrific and socially relevant,” says Mr. Keeley, her multiple-award winning filmmaker husband. “I just hope she hires me in some capacity when it gets rolling!”

At present, See Evil is hot off the press and just received its first Official Selection laurel in the Diabolical Horror Film Festival. For certain, this genre-satisfying tale will be the one to watch!


THE NEW REBEL VOICE OF CINEMA


Filmmaker Fabrizio Federico is that rare anomaly of everything that is anti-fashion that he becomes fashion. He is culturally relevant, part of popular culture. And he speaks to the outsider, non-conformist side of the film industry and transcends cinema. His audience reaches the outside of the movie industry. They are the people and influencers shaping our landscape. 
He is like a man child, vulnerable yet tough. Recently featured among the best independent filmmakers of 2018, he’s very of the moment but timeless as well. Fabrizio feels like change in a good way. Lets follow him, he’ll rise as a new star with his new motion picture Teddy Bears Live Forever


Perma-wearing his sunglasses and pink beret he is a London film brat who represents the mystery and allure of the hard-edged British style re-packaged and taken global following the movie Anarchy In The UK: The New Underground Cinema. Mixing car crash cinema sportswear and poetic too-cool-to-care louche glamour beneath his dark-ringed eye sockets. It’s a lewk, darlings.

Fabrizio is no doubt more than what meets the eye… Known for showcasing his most personal thoughts and feelings in his films, Fabrizio has also been speaking up for real-life issues. If you ask us, there’s nothing better than a rebel with a cause. Following his own path of artistic freedom.



Wednesday, 24 October 2018

PSYCHOCANDY - TOP 5 Inspiring Films About Madness

Movies about madness, psychosis & mental breakdowns go as far back as the 1920's as a thematic concern in cinema. Each director approaches insanity with gusto on screen, it's possibilities of dramatic tension are limitless, and to celebrate another cinematic link in this tradition here are underground filmmaker Fabrizio Federico's Top 5 inspirations which brought to life his new berserk film 'Teddy Bears Live Forever'.  OFFICIAL WEBSITE