Jonas Mekas, the filmmaker often referred to as the ‘godfather of the avant-garde’, who pioneered the diary-film through his intensely personal works such as Walden (1969) and Lost Lost Lost (1976) and a new generation of young, eager artists came along for the ride. His focus was on diary filmmaking, a style of personalised cinema in which actual events in the life of the filmmaker are documented in a quasi-documentary mode, but are more openly subjective and impressionistic, more poetic. New York-based Lithuanian Jonas Mekas is the leading exponent of this cinematic form to create a poetic record of moments in people's own lives, and of their families, while learning how to shoot on 16mm film using a Bolex H16, the camera used by Jonas for nearly 40 years. The Bolex is a camera renowned for its myriad functions, enabling multiple creative possibilities for shooting spontaneous effects in-camera. Mekas is an integral figure in the history of what used to be called underground cinema, not just as a film-maker, but as a writer, a curator and a catalyst. His career is peppered with the names of the more famous people he worked with in the golden age of avant-garde film-making in the 1960s, from Yoko Ono to Jackie Kennedy, Allen Ginsberg and the Beats to the Warhol set. Many of these figures ended up in his films, which have in turn influenced the likes of Jim Jarmusch, Harmony Korine, John Waters and Mike Figgis, along with influencing new filmmakers such as l'enfant terrible Fabrizio Federico, ''His films are like a breath of fresh air, he just goes along with the flow, records life as it is and isnt interested in being stressed out by commercial success, he's his own cinema planet, I identify completely with his relaxed poetic attitude to cinema.'' Mekas also befriended the Velvet Underground, allowing them to rehearse in his loft and filming their famous gig at the New York Society for Clinical Psychiatry. Legend has it that it was Mekas and his friend, experimental film-maker Barbara Rubin, who introduced Warhol to Lou Reed.
His films are all, to one degree or another, impressionistic biographical diaries. Rejecting drama, suspense, storytelling and linear narrative of any kind. Mekas prefers to document what he calls "the small, intimate moments that describe daily reality without being poetic". His art is one of the jump cut and the fleeting, flickering image, which is often caught on faded colour on a Bolex 16mm camera, then woven into a bigger fabric of moments and memories. In New York, Mekas encountered a burgeoning underground culture of artists, writers, musicians, photographers and film-makers, regularly crossing paths with the likes of Allen Ginsberg, film-maker Maya Deren, Robert Frank, John Cage and musician La Monte Young, many of whom came to his Manhattan loft for his regular film evenings. "Virtually everything I created or helped create was done out of necessity," says Mekas. "Film Culture magazine, for instance, was born because we met and discussed films regularly, but there was no voice for us like there was in Britain, which had Sight & Sound magazine, or France, which had Cahiers du cinéma. It was the same with the screenings, which I organised simply because there were so many films that needed to be shown. And, when we started showing them, I then had to put the information out in my column in Village Voice. All of it was driven by necessity."
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The brilliance of 1920s cinema is that the movies were a novelty art form, there were no rules, the norm was experimentation because there was nothing to base the art form on. The 20's saw plenty of the experimentation in camera and editing technique, outrageous performances, increasing narrative ambition was also growing just as Buster started making movies. Few cinematic experiences are as joyous as watching Keaton's films with fresh eyes. His incredible films during the 1920's 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 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 filmmakerFabrizio 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 the first film Buster directed. 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. 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.
4. The Goat (1921) The gags come thick & 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, some of the humour transcends age.
Cops (1922) As his friend Fatty Arbuckle was on trial, Buster set to work on this keystone-cop's kapper which features some phenomenal on-foot chase scenes between Buster and hundreds on police extras, all chasing him down the screet, which must have been exhilarating for him to film, he was a sensational athlete. Of course he did all his own stunts which he suffered for later in life, but he was such a fast sprinter, he's like a bullet.
5. 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 character's 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 even knocking off his father off one of their roofs! The whole local population came from all over to watch the most expensive single shot in all the silent cinema history, the destruction of the train off the tall bridge. People even freaked out because they thought the dummy Buster put in the train drivers seat was a real person. I still cant believe how bad the film reviews were when it was originally released.
Our Hospitality (1923) His first feature film, and also the one where he almost drowned in a wild river stunt, which they also kept in the film. You can see when Buster realises he's in trouble. His cameraman filmed the whole accident because Buster never yelled ''cut'', maybe cose he was too busy drowning. He never used scripts, ideas & gags 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 ages to get right he'd still never give up, he was truly heroic in that sense. OFFICIAL WEBSITE
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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.
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” IMDB PAGE FACEBOOK PAGE
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