Metáfora, written, directed and music composed by Sebastian Wesman

Metáfora (2015)
Synopsis written by
Leila Goldberg

Metáfora is the first feature film of the filmmaker and composer Sebastian Wesman. It is a symbolic voyage inside the dream of an old woman. With an innovative cinematographic language, Metáfora takes us to a state of meditation where we experience different characters looking for the same answer.

Metáfora was filmed in Estonia during the four seasons of the year and it is in the Estonian language.
The film is divided into three stages each of which represents a stage of sleep, the depth of the dream of the old woman. The film unites elements of sculpture, music, theatre and photography – arts through which the director has transited before.

Subtly modified natural spaces create a scenography that is both real and unreal at the same time. An equilibrium from which rises a new aesthetic. The film encounters us with compositions for soprano, string quartet, orchestra, solo violin and intervened ambiental sounds. All of which are original pieces composed for the film by its director.

Metáfora includes the presence of professional actors and people who had never acted before. These opposite forms give an interesting dimension to the film. In other moments it is the landscape that becomes the main character.

The film is written in a reflective and intimate narrative tempo. Represented in the film by the voice-over of the old woman. This voice blends with the different elements of the film, creating something similar to a cinematographic mantra.

With a cinematographic language that is hypnotic, meditative and innovative in its aesthetic form, Metáfora is a film, an experience, a new encounter with the senses.

Technical information:
Written, directed and music composed by Sebastian Wesman
Producer: Anneli Kõressaar, Sebastian Wesman, Otros Parámetros Films
Sound engineer: Grete Schneider
Editing: Sebastian Wesman
Soprano: Mai Liivamäe
Technical assistant: Martin-Eero Kõressaar
Poster: Sparrek

Cast:
Mart Aas
Laine Taalberg
Siiri Sillat
Frank Elvedon
Dmirti Lihhatshov
Anneli Kõressaar
Original language: Estonian ; Subtitles: English
Length: 82 minutes ; Format: DCP, DVD
Otros Parámetros Films 2015

Metáfora will have its first screening at Lago Film Fest in Italy in July and will thereafter begin its tour at the festivals of Europe, South America and Asia.

See the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2mJsl4Cxppw

Posted in Filmmaker Profiles

This Used To Be Our Dream, directed by Ashleigh Coffelt

Synopsis: A very important decision leads a young man to ponder the possibilities of a future that could have been. A short film starring Courtney Birk and Marc Schöttner.

Director, Cinematographer, Editor & Writer……Ashleigh Coffelt
Starring……Courtney Birk, Marc Schöttner, Rashieda Awan
Special Thanks……Holli Baum, Greg Birk, Gabe Coffelt, Josiah David
Score Written and Performed……Hal Rosenfeld

See the film here: https://vimeo.com/129696958

Posted in Filmmaker Profiles

The Badger Game, written and directed by Josh Wagner and Thomas Zambeck

The challenge with any horror film or psychological thriller is to remain unpredictable up to the very end where audiences hope, and expect, one final twist of the real/metaphorical knife. And The Badger Game does this brilliantly, after taking viewers on an intense, occasionally gory often harrowing 99-minute journey. The acting is strong and committed throughout and the filmmakers wring impressive tension out of the basic revenge/kidnapping plot and limited locales. Sweet-faced blonde Alex (an appealing Augie Duke) convinces ex-friend Shelly (an excellent Jillian Leigh) to become part of a scheme to exact revenge on Alex’s married boyfriend Liam (Sam Boxleitner) who dumped her. The plan: kidnap him and hold him until he agrees to wire money from his fat savings account into Alex’s and then let him go, no real harm done and lesson learned for Liam (don’t fuck with Alex; in fact, don’t fuck around at all anymore, return to the fold of your faithful wife and family).

Unfortunately for their not-best-laid-plans, Alex relies on Kip (Patrick Cronen), her psycho brother, for the muscle who, if he were a driver, would be referred to as having a lead foot. In other words, it doesn’t take much for Kip to flip and bash someone over the head or strangle them to death whether he knows them or not (a third co-conspirator, the alluring Jane (Sasha Higgins) meets a very unfortunate fate not long after Kip flirts with her). Without giving too much away, Liam turns out to be a hemophiliac, thus reacting badly to some rough handling from Kip; a detective Liam’s wife had hired to spy on him gets in between Kip and a lawn tool; and pretty soon Kip realizes his co-conspirators are potential witnesses and, well, there’s only one away to truly get rid of potential witnesses. Kip is resourceful, too, and one can pick up a few pointers here about how to properly dispose of a body sans fingerprints and identifiable teeth.

In The Badger Game (the term refers to a means of blackmail, extortion or intimidation, especially one based on a sexually compromising situation) filmmakers Josh Wagner and Thomas Zambeck keep the tension riding high with occasional moments of slow if still labored breathing. While it’s easy to root for Shelly and Liam to survive, Duke’s Alex is a more complicated case. She’s the instigator of the crime and must know what her unbalanced brother is capable of. When things start to spiral out of control, she struggles with her desire for revenge and the love she still feels for Liam. She didn’t want Liam dead after all, she just wanted some easy money and to teach him a hard lesson. How things will end remains uncertain to the very (satisfying) end, the tension augmented nicely by the music used throughout, ranging from unsettling dissonant jazz to punk, punctuating the very dark doings.

Review written by Mike Fishman.

Visit the website: The Badger Game

Posted in Film Reviews, etc.

The Badger Game, directed by Thomas Zambeck

Synopsis: Liam is a successful advertising executive with money to burn and a healthy appetite for infidelity. Alex is his scorned mistress, hell-bent on revenge against the married man who wronged her. Matched against each other, the two quickly fall into a downward spiral of sex, extortion, and murder.​

At first, the plan seemed simple: take Liam hostage and threaten to expose his indiscretion, lest he pay a healthy sum of money. But Alex knows she can’t do it alone. Enter Kip (her unhinged brother), Jane (an exotic dancer), and Shelly (a desperate wallflower). With the table set and the team in place, Liam soon finds himself held against his will – his perfect world about to crumble.​

But Liam won’t go down without a fight. Forced to reckon with four mysterious captors and impossible odds, his only hope is to turn the quartet against each other and make it through the night alive.​

Lust, suspense, violence, and cynicism go head-to-head in THE BADGER GAME, a crime-comedy that will have audiences holding their breath until the very last frame.

A press release and trailer can be found at the link below, and additional info on the film can be read at www.thebadgergame.com

http://www.dreadcentral.com/news/95033/the-badger-game-exclusive-trailer-premiere-and-distro-news/

Posted in Filmmaker Profiles

The Return

The Return is a psychological thriller set in and around Glossopdale and follows a film crew who come to Glossop to make a documentary. On their arrival they discover that there is something strange about this sleepy little town…are there ghosts? Parallel dimensions? Or is it all a hoax?

The film’s psychological angle draws you in, whilst building the suspense, and feeding you information to keep your mind racing and questioning what is going on…

The Return is a unique film as it is made by ‘Life you Choose Productions,’ an arts and multimedia group for people with learning difficulties. Our members have all participated in the storyline, camerawork, equipment and acted in the film.

Watch The Return here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_oPQXDsA8w

Made by Life you choose: https://www.facebook.com/lifeyouchoose

Posted in Filmmaker Profiles

Game of Thrones, Season Five

The season premiere of Game of Thrones (Season Five) airs on April 12 and there is more excitement and anticipation surrounding the HBO show than any film coming down the immediate pike. Has the state of cinema become so dismal that the smaller screen at home (or computer screen or iPad) beckons more strongly than the big screen? It’s getting close, when long-form TV shows like Game of Thrones are giving audiences what certain kinds of films increasingly are not: majestic sweep, epic scope, unpredictability and faces they haven’t seen a hundred times before. HBO itself is largely to thank for this, going back to The Sopranos, that elongated opera of conflicted mobsters that was engrossing, amusing and disturbing. Adjectives that once upon a time described films like Seven Sarmurai or The Godfather or Kill Bill Vol. 2 and are now used to promote the interchangeable entries in the X-Men franchise.

Even as its limited budget occasionally shows its seams (the meager giants in Season Four), Game of Thrones has a certain and undeniable take-no-prisoners authenticity that remains true to tone, from the Season One shocker of Ned Stark (Sean Bean) getting beheaded to the Red Wedding in Season Three, when you could practically hear a collective gasp in the atmosphere outside your living room. When was the last time you heard a collective gasp in the cinema? Perhaps during last year’s powerful Ida, (directed by Pawel Pawlikowsk ) when Wanda (Agata Kulesza jumped out the window. And to be sure there are smaller films that can pack surprises (Ana Lily Amirpour’s A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night comes to mind). This is not intended as a slam against the current state of film but more a note on the evolving nature of long-form television. With more advanced TV sets being developed, movie ticket prices climbing, and a paucity of truly stunning films making it through the financially-dependent development process, what many of us used to seek out in movie theaters can increasingly be found in the comfort of our homes. Perhaps we even need a new name for this long-form television, which is perilously close to replacing the film experience in theaters. Filmovision? Kidding. Still, when was the last time you walked out of a movie theater shaking your head and saying “Wow”? I’m willing to bet that lots of people will be doing just that come 10:00pm this Sunday night. Comments welcome.

Mike Fishman

Posted in Film Reviews, etc.

Science Fair

Posted in Front Page

Searching for Camelot, directed by Roger Paradiso

Searching For Camelot Trailer from Nicholas Dewitt on Vimeo.

Searching For Camelot is a documentary about a group of millennials who explore the romantic fantasy of “Camelot”. Why did Jackie choose Camelot to frame her husband’s thousand days in Office? What was the connection to Camelot? Was there a secret love affair in the White House? How did Jack and Jackie influence and inspire generations, including the current generation appearing in this film? You will see and hear things you never knew, told by people who are only interested in finding the truth behind the myth.

Jack and Jackie Kennedy rocked the world with their campaign for Peace, Equality and Culture, forever changing the course of History. We see these events through the eyes of our young searchers. They may have heard about some of these events, but by listening to our experts and by doing their own research they present an interesting and original perspective on the Kennedy legacy. This is a celebration of a great love story and two remarkable people who brought America into the New Frontier of hope and dreams that in time changed the World.

“A man may die, nations may fall, but an idea lives on” – John F.Kennedy

Find out more and follow the film on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Searching-For-Camelot/627770000646959?ref=bookmarks

Posted in Filmmaker Profiles

Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), directed by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, written by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris and Armando Bo

Review written by Mike Fishman

In Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), Michael Keaton plays Riggan Thomson, a nearly washed-up actor best known for playing a Hollywood super-hero called Birdman (not unlike Batman whom Keaton famously played in the first two films of that franchise in 1989 and 1992 directed by Tim Burton). Riggan is desperate to escape the shadow of the role that made him famous and he puts everything he’s got on the line (financially, emotionally, mentally) to direct and star in a dramatic play based on a short story by Raymond Carver that he desperately hopes will salvage his reputation if not resurrect his career. Along the way, Riggan battles with everyone around him (his co-stars, his lover, his daughter) and with Birdman himself, who appears like a specter or perhaps more accurately like one of those little devils floating above cartoon characters’ heads whispering evil encouragements, here life-size and with huge menacing wings. All the while, Emmanuel Lubezki’s camera literally follows Riggen, mostly through the dark interiors of the St. James Theater where the film is set in extremely long shots edited together as if in one long take, creating a powerful sense of propulsion and urgency.

Keaton gives a committed performance, ironically playing down his usual squinty-eyed disapproval of everyone and everything around him, portraying a man who is put-upon by the world and trying to do just one good and worthy thing. Naomi Watts and Zach Galifianakis turn in typically strong performances while Emma Stone as Riggan’s daughter Sam leaves little room for shades of gray in her exaggerated role as a druggie pessimist. The plot is as contained as the set and some scenes feel forced or even unnecessary. To what purpose other than titillation do we see Naomi Watts and Andrea Riseborough lock lips? And the casualness with which Riggan finishes a joint he finds on Sam after ripping into her for still using drugs feels like a weak attempt at portraying hypocrisy. Yet just as often there are remarkable scenes, such as when Keaton and Ed Norton as Riggan’s co-star in the play run through a scene in rehearsal, Norton’s infamous bad-boy stage actor Mike flashing his acting chops to a fiery yet receptive Riggan.

Through it all runs a magical realism that finds Riggan floating in the air and moving objects with his mind. The effects are outstanding, particularly a scene where Riggan literally flies over New York City. This reflection of Riggan’s Birdman, both the character and the inner demon, is potentially undercut by the film’s final scene in which Emma Stone’s Sam is seen staring out a window breaking into a smile apparently observing Riggan floating in the air. The impossibility of that occurring in real life can perhaps best be explained as being imagined images flashing through Riggan’s mind as he lay dying on stage after shooting himself in the head. Or perhaps he died earlier, jumping off the roof in the afore-memtioned scene that feels so real it’s shocking until Riggan re-appears soaring over the city street. The director himself has been mum on explaining the film’s ending except to say that it replaced an earlier “bad” ending. One has to wonder if that earlier ending was the more expected if not predictably satisfying one in which Sam, in a rare display of affection, lays her head on Riggan’s chest in the hospital where he lay recuperating from that gunshot wound that turned out to be a minor injury. Though even that defies logic as the way the gunshot is filmed, it seems clear Riggan is holding the gun directly to his head; in the hospital he’s told he shot his nose off but when he removes the bandage all we really see is a huge bruise. The ending will surely divide its audience and that’s not a bad thing as ultimately Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), infused with questions about the value of art and the power of criticism, certainly gives viewers much to chew on.

Mike Fishman has an M.A. in Film from American University and has worked for ICM, IFP, Tribeca Film Institute, Hamptons International Film Festival, and the Columbia University Film School.

Posted in Film Reviews, etc.

Trymester, directed by Ashleigh Coffelt, written by Courtney Birk and Ashleigh Coffelt

Synopsis: Trymester is an experimental film about a man who is caught in-between his wants and responsibilities.

Watch Trymester here: https://vimeo.com/118258523

Bio: Ashleigh Coffelt and I have been making experimental short films for about a year now. After two full length features, and 15 shorts later we are now sponsored and have moved over to California to continue making our dream happen. I always told myself that I could be anything that I wanted to be, but never did I think that an independent filmmaker would be in the mix somewhere. I have finally found my passion. I just hope that everyone who watches this short appreciates it as much as I do. Courtney Birk.

Posted in Filmmaker Profiles

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