Eggs and Soldiers, written and directed by Imelda O’Reilly

Eggs and Soldiers: Christian, a single Irish father, forgets to buy the tree on Christmas Eve. Ned the older son’s humanity is challenged as he risks everything to have his younger brother Marco experience a real Irish Christmas. The script for Eggs and Soldiers has been short listed for Sundance Institute | YouTube New Voices Lab. The film will premier in August at FLICKERS: Rhode Island International Film Festival.

IndependentFilmNow sat down with writer/director Imelda O’Reilly to discuss her short film Eggs and Soldiers. The following are excepts of that interview.

Mike Fishman for IndependentFilmNow: Where did the story first come from about an Irish man living with his two sons from different mothers in New York City? Can you tell us about Christian’s backstory and his inner conflict as a man who has the potential for violence while at the same time we see him complain to a friend that his youngest son’s mother was hitting her son?

O’Reilly: The inspiration for Eggs and Soldiers came from wanting to capture a silent explosion in the life of a teenage boy when finds himself in a moment of crisis where he has to make a difficult decision. Another inspiring image I had was of a teenage boy who couldn’t afford a tree on Christmas Eve. The third was stories I remember hearing as a child growing up in Ireland about people drinking too much at Christmas time causing family feuds to break out. The character of Christian is full of contradictions. I wanted to create a character that despite his flaws he still made the right moral decision when it came to being a father for his children. Christian has a violent rage that alternates with him playing the victim of his given circumstances and in rare moments he tries to be a loving father despite his failures. Yet his character also has this dark sense of humor. I also wanted to play around with the notion of an unreliable narrator, so when we hear Christian speak in the pub to his friend Mick the audience are unsure as to trust what he is saying about his younger son Marco’s mother. Christian is deeply wounded from his past and like a hungry wolf he searches the night for companionship or friends who will listen to his sob story. It is clear that Christian came from a broken home, and his deepest struggle is not to repeat the past and repeat the sins of his own father.

IndependentFilmNow: Color is obviously important to you. The palette of the film is muted favoring brown and grey until Ned, the older son, trades the gift he was going to give his girlfriend for a Christmas tree and things start to lift emotionally for Ned and we see Christmas lights, the tree seller sporting a red Santa cap, and even a red blanket draped over Christian, Ned’s father, asleep on a sofa at home. Can you tell us about your use of color and how that informs the viewer, on a conscious or subconscious level, about the emotional state of the characters?

Imelda O’Reilly: I wanted a gritty aesthetic for my film; Christian, the Dad, is scraping by a living ducking and diving social services, employment and also his apartment crisis. I wanted muted colors to show how their world is bleak, but also through the dialogue some humor is added intentionally which helps them pull through. The slow introduction of color as you artfully mention comes when Ned’s character manages to get a tree for the family toward the end of the film. By having the characters dress in muted colors helps give the film a visceral dimension to the characters making them more three dimensional as opposed to one dimensional. I am referencing the cinema of moral discontent and also the melodramatic tropes of realism. The internal world of the characters is communicated through the use of the camera as narrator.

IndependentFilmNow: Tell us about your choice of lenses and hand-held camera versus a mounted camera to give different scenes their urgency or a more observational feel.

O’Reilly: In filming Eggs & Soldiers I wanted to be able to create two different visual styles for the film that would correspond to the two contrasting worlds that Ned, the main character, is caught between. I have a long working relationship with my cinematographer Joe Foley so we discussed at length the world of the characters. The film depicts Ned with an easy and amiable relationship with his younger brother Marco and also in a more contentious relationship with his father Christian. In order to have the audience have a better understanding of how Ned is feeling we used longer lenses with a more stable camera to portray the stability and ease with which Ned and Marco relate to each other.

I choreographed with the cinematographer longer panning shots of Ned as he moves along the street or Marco within the apartment to indicate the mostly pleasant and congenial world that they have created together. In contrast to that we used a handheld camera and wider lenses to show the less stable environment that is created when the father Christian is in the scene. At the beginning of the film when the three of them are riding in the car and then unpacking all the Christmas presents the camera is always moving following Christian’s sometimes erratic actions. This was done to illustrate the unease and instability that Christian’s personality is creating for his sons. They are not brought into their apartment and cared for, instead they are dropped off on the street corner and left-holding bags full of unwrapped presents and headed into an apartment with an empty refrigerator.

Later in the film I discussed with the cinematographer the choice of using a handheld camera during the confrontation scene between Christian and Ned. We used a shutter effect that was set to 45 degrees in order to give the scene a more jarring, disturbing feel. This ‘Private Ryan‘ effect and the handheld camera help the audience feel more of Ned’s shock and terror at his father’s anger and violent outburst.

IndependentFilmNow: How long was the shot and how did you get the locations?

O’Reilly: The shoot was seven days. It was difficult enough to find the locations. However I decided to focus my locations around Inwood in Manhattan. Christian’s character is a super in a church but as he mentions briefly in the film he is being kicked out because the pastor is moving his daughter into his apartment. Again Christian’s character tends to play the victim. There is a Church on 181st on Bennet Avenue, which was a perfect location. At the time Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance had their offices there so I had to transform the space to look like an apartment where a family lived. I got a vanload of furniture through a connection that worked at Saturday Night Live, which was amazing. They gave us curtains, pictures and all the necessary pieces to build the set. Thank goodness for the New York community when it comes to indie filmmaking. The Christmas tree location was kindly given to us for free and they were very cordial in helping us make our film.

IndependentFilmNow: The film is set on Christmas Eve and unfolds over a few hours of time. How did you decide on the time frame and Christmas Eve?

O’Reilly: I wanted to use one central action to reveal character what Aristotle calls a “simple plot.” In Jaws the one central action is killing the shark and through this one central action the characters within the film are revealed. I wanted to depict a nuanced slice of life within a non-traditional family and this structure seemed to fit well for the film. I choose Christmas Eve because that is a time in Ireland when tension is high; there are a lot of expectations and usually a time when agro within the home or family feuds tend to break out. It seemed a good day to set the story of my film.

For more information visit: http://www.imeldaoreilly.com

Posted in Filmmaker Profiles

Camden Love/Hate, directed by Daniel Meirom and Ron Lipsky

Camden Love/Hate
The Untold Story of Camden and Its Youth

SYNOPSIS: Camden Love/Hate follows six teenagers from Camden, New Jersey as they document the story of their city from the glory days of the postwar boom to today’s violent and fraught reality. The teenagers learned film-making skills at a last chance high school, CCYD, and use their newfound skills to express complex feelings about one of the most dangerous cities in America. From a white minority left behind in the 60’s to rampant drug tourism, to active community leaders, we see both the beauty of Camden as well as the parts that feel abandoned. Through the lens, the students become aware of a history they never knew and a future that looks at turns hopeful and bleak.

CONTACT US at: CamdenLoveHatefilm@Gmail.com

WHO WE ARE

Camden Center for Youth Development
An independent, last chance High School providing an alternative academic environment for
students challenged by public education.

Students/Filmmakers
Shanell Nesmith, Tamysha Jackkson, Shamiera Andersen, Kimel Hadden, Anthony Williams & Ja’far Mohammad were all students at Camden Center for Youth Development when they took an active part in creating the film. This involved taking cameras into the community, shooting interviewing with the most interesting people they encountered and exploring the history of Camden.

Directors
Daniel Meirom
An Israeli-American filmmaker. At 18 he won a prize at the Jerusalem Film Festival for his first short film. Some of his creative projects include Nowhere Else, a one-hour drama about Israelis in New York City, Xchess a reality web series that promotes chess and its scope as a game. Meirom also directed Green, TV series about teenagers in Jerusalem.

Ron Lipsky
Spent much of his adult life in Israel, but who was born in Camden and has seen the city degrade before his very eyes. His grandfather was a rabbi in the city in the late 40’s, and Ron grew up viewing the city from the safe haven of Cherry Hill, or across the river from Philadelphia.

Visit the website: CamdenLoveHate.com

Posted in Filmmaker Profiles

Khelna Bati (My Toy World), written and directed by Diganta Dey

Khelna Bati (My Toy World) is a short animated film done in chuckimation genre Which is also India’s first chuckimation film on stop motion animation. Recently this film was Officially Selected in 6th Dada Saheb Phalke Film Festival 2016 in Delhi will screen on 30th April. Khelna Bati (My Toy World) is officially selected in Momentum Experimental Art Festival on 2nd April 2016 premiere at Kolkata in India. Festival details: http://littlei.in/momentum/

Language-Bengali
Direction & Story-Diganta Dey
Producer-Koushik Bhattacharjee
Cinematography-Arkajyoti Ganguly
Music & Sound-Kaushik Roy (Paw) & M.H.R
Edit & Effects-Smrijeet Ghosh
Production-Teammate Workers

Film Synopsis- There was a country which had no name. All countrymen lived together happily.One Day a ‘Civilized Human’ country came to know about them & also about their petroleum power. They captured the place but another human country attacked on them for that petroleum.’Gollu’ a countryman appealed to stop the war but died by a bullet at last.

Director Biography – Diganta Dey was born on 9th May 1994 in a small villege ‘Tufanganj’ in Coochbehar district of West Bengal. From class 9 he started writing short stories. After schooling he came to Kolkata for pursuing higher studies at the age of 18. From this time he started film making without proper film training & made short films by his own student film production ‘Teammate Workers’.

Director Filmography- 3 Seeds of My Life (2014) Short Docu Fiction; The Silent Wheel (2014) Experimental Short

Posted in Filmmaker Profiles

Scammerhead, written and directed by Dan Zukovic

Synopsis: A Global Film Noir with dark comic elements about Silas Breece, a legendarily unorthodox business hustler who travels the world seeking capitol from bizarre investors,mobsters and government officials for a series of increasingly elaborate projects.

Scammerhead was written and directed by Cult indie film director Dan Zukovic (The Last Big Thing), and produced by Jeremy Dyson, Brendan Keown and Mitch Mayer (Dark Arc).

Scammerhead had it’s World Premiere in the Main Competition at the 2014 Montreal World Film Festival, the only FIAPF endorsed competition festival in North America (http://www.ffm-montreal.org/en/317-en_scammerhead.html), and was nominated for the Prix des Ameriques. It recently won “Best Narrative Feature” at the Berkeley Film Festival, as well as the Trenton Film Festival, and the “Visionary Award” at the Lake Champlain Int’l Film Festival. The film continues on the festival circuit, and willbe playing Mexico’s Cine Pobre Film Festival in May.

An ambitious Global Film Noir with dark comic elements, Scammerhead was shot for over 7 years in numerous international locations, including New York, Chicago, London, Seattle, Vancouver, Toronto, Dallas, Atlanta, Washington DC, Memphis, Liverpool, Cleveland, Paris, Berlin, Rome, New Orleans, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Havana, Tokyo, Mexico City, Elba Island and Alcatraz Island. It features one of the final performances of legendary Hollywood character actor Alex Rocco (The Godfather, The Friends Of Eddie Coyle), as well as performances by other legendary Hollywood character actors Bruce Glover (Chinatown, Diamonds Are Forever), and Duane Whitaker (Pulp Fiction).

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Scammerhead/492649894163215
Twitter: https://twitter.com/scammerhead

Posted in Filmmaker Profiles

The Playground, written and directed by Edreace Purmul

The Playground, Winner, Best Feature at the San Diego Film Awards 2016.

Film synopsis
A New-Ancient thought-provoking thriller: Five vastly separate inner-city lives struggle against their limitations in an interlocking story assembled by a dark orchestrator. All five characters play their hand in an obscure playground they find themselves in. As answers begin to unravel, so does their sanity…

Film featurette:

Visit the website: http://www.theplaygroundfilm.com

Posted in Filmmaker Profiles

Comic Fingers directed by Aneek Chaudhuri

SYNOPSIS
Comic Fingers is based on the cartoonist, KV GAUTAM and his contributions to cartoon art form in India. Beside this, the film involves a great level of World Cinema experimentation, not used anywhere in world. The film includes the usage of three colors of the Indian Flag as contextual settings, hence, the chromatic background keeps in accordance the flag colors at appropriate moments.

THEME
KV Gautam is one of the cartoonists who is still pursuing his political satires in the age of hypocrisy when BRUTUS is always there to criticize him and we all know that Brutus is an honorable man. Moreover, the film comments on Indian cartoon form that is beyond Disney, MGM, SUKUMAR RAY, RK LAXMAN AND CHARLIE HEBDO.

Watch the trailers for Comic Fingers:

TRAILER 1

TRAILER 2

INTERVIEW

Posted in Filmmaker Profiles

The Bandit, directed by Jesse Moss

The following is from an e-mail interview we did with legendary actor Burt Reynolds about the new documentary, The Bandit, an inside view of the friendship between Mr. Reynolds and stuntman extraordinaire and Smokey and the Bandit director Hal Needham. Thanks to Todd Vittum for coordinating this exclusive interview.

Mike Fishman for IndependentFilmNow: How did Burt Reynolds and Hal Needham meet? What drew them to become such close lifelong friends?

Burt Reynolds: We met on the set of Have Gun Will Travel. He was doubling Dick Boone and was already in demand on many shows. I was on the studio lot and doing Riverboat but my day was short so I would see what some of the other shows were doing. Later he doubled me on my show.

IndependentFilmNow: How did Hal come to direct Smokey and the Bandit? Did he write it specifically for Burt?

Burt Reynolds: He didn’t say that but I think he did. It was the studio that told him if you can get your roomie, we can do it.

IndependentFilmNow: What was the most challenging stunt you and Hal devised?

Burt Reynolds: The car canon in McQ – it was supposed to flip over twice – Hal used too much black powder and it flipped more than a dozen times.

IndependentFilmNow: Where did the idea for the film The Bandit come from? Was director Jesse Moss (The Overnighters, Full Battle Rattle, Speedo) involved from the start?

Burt Reynolds: He’s big in the documentary world – it was his idea from the start. I opened up my archives and did a few days of interviews and we just got along so well. He’s a good one!

IndependentFilmNow: Are there any screenings coming up (Note: The Bandit screened in March to enthusiastic crowds at SXSW)?

Burt Reynolds: We’re showing the film at Nashville, San Francisco and a few other festivals.

Follow The Bandit.

Posted in Filmmaker Profiles

Eggs and Soldiers, written and directed by Imelda O’Reilly

Synopsis: Eggs and Soldiers: A single Irish Dad forgets to buy the tree on Christmas Eve. Ned the older son’s humanity is challenged as he risks everything to have his younger brother Marco experience a real Irish Christmas.

Eggs and Soldiers is about broken people trying to stay alive in a broken system. Nobody is perfect and everyone in one way or another has different sets of issues.

The title comes from a food game from Ireland and England where you cut the bread to look like soldiers and then dip the soldiers in the egg. It was to help get children to eat their food. I have been developing this project and in terms of visual references I used Gary Oldman’s Nil By Mouth as a starting point. We used a lot of long lenses to create the world of the characters. The tone of the film has a rugged and gritty feel to it. We shot mostly in Washington Heights in New York City. The colors in the world were muted greys and browns.

Christian wants his younger son Marco who is biracial to experience a real Irish Christmas. He buys Selection Boxes, Christmas Crackers and plum pudding which is what a typical Irish Christmas would be like back in Ireland. Christian even manages to mess that up when he forgets to buy the tree and bring it home. Christian drinks himself out of despair to alleviate the constant haunting of this displacement and the struggles of being a single parent.

During the fight sequence we used a hand held camera to show the destabilization of Ned’s world. The series does include evocative visual angles, vibrant use of shadow and light with cinematography that alternates between tranquil and edgy. Christian is living on the edge and I wanted the camera to emulate this edginess.

Director’s Artist Statement
As a writer and filmmaker I play with the borders between my relationships to reality, mystery and tension. The act of seeing and how story unfolds in the narrative. I am chasing subconscious thoughts that inform imagination and behavior and how they intertwine.

My intention is to engage viewers, lure them into a world on the surface that appears joyful but underneath I create a subtext that destabilizes the viewer using words and images as counterpoint in aesthetic and tone. When I work I begin with words but then delve deeper into images. Wallace Stevens says, “the poem is the cry of its occasion.” Poems have always been blue prints for me, in poems time is condensed and moments have more clarity. Later on when I am editing the footage I have another opportunity to reshape my ideas.

As a child growing up in Catholic Ireland I spent a lot of time climbing trees and dreaming myself out of the countryside. I invented stories and characters shaping a fictional universe they could inhabit. It is this transcendental space that drew me into a point of creating my own work process and practice. I believe creating is a form of meditation. Imelda O’Reilly.

Posted in Filmmaker Profiles

Dark Passages, web series

Dark Passages, the Web Series, is an anthology type series similiar to the old Twillight Zone.
Each webisode is approximately 10 minutes long with a different strange and bizarre tale from filmmakers around the world. We are preparing to launch Season 2 but the first Season is avaliable at:
YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1xaJLni_O34Z5rDFsY_bOA
Website: http://darkpassages0011.wix.com/dark-passages
Facebook Page: Dark Passages the web Series

Posted in Filmmaker Profiles

Interview with filmmaker Aneek Chaudhuri

1. Charles Abraham: Aneek Chaudhuri, do you truly believe that happiness in life is impossible?
Ans. I might be the most optimistic person on earth while saying this, but indeed my perspective on life is quite different. No, I believe happiness in life is extremely possible and one deserves to be happy. When I see people around me earning humongous bucks and yet they sleep off the day with gloom faces, I feel pity. I mean that’s what they aimed to be, to be successful, to earn huge and lead a happy life. But, to me life is not about money at all; moreover, I believe that more a person would be inclined toward money, the less happy he/she would be in life. My childhood was not a delicious cupcake, but I always sensed a ray of hope.

2. I think it’s safe to say that most people would disagree.
Ans. I think almost everyone today will oppose this, but ones who are reading this will actually think of life to be quite easier.

3. What are your views on love?
Ans. I am quite neutral about love, as for me my creation is my love. Now giving a personified form of the same, if a person actually fits into the character, I would prefer to fall in love with the person. I mean, here I mean the platonic bond between me and the girl. So, for me it’s no inertia that I should be in love with a girl, it’s something more than a compulsion and my films are based on similar themes where the protagonist actually craves for a platonic bond rather than getting sexually attracted to someone.

4. To say, if you need to choose Cinema over your girl, whom would you choose?
Ans. Of course Cinema! See, both have their own places in life, but Cinema is immortal for me or something that corresponds my life-span and my Cinema will die along with me and is set to accompany me even after death; not the same with a girl. However, I can also prove to a good lover.

5. Now, let’s come to the person as a director. Aneek, you have been involved with movies based on sexuality, homosexuality etc. So, what made you choose such subjects?
Ans. Not on homosexuality, but my movies made in the recent past, were based on identifying sexuality and its realization. Well, I am a straight guy, but was put to think by the relative nature of being homosexuals. There are friends, who are homosexuals by nature, and according to them it is quite normal (I think the same); however, there are persons who may have been in bed with the same sex partner and hence, was confused about their sexual orientation. My movie that got screened at an International Fest, Embrace deals with the same and the design is based on Salvador Dali’s The Great Masturbator. Hence, I derived that one can also be bi-sexual and that’s nothing but the overpowering of feminine nature in a person over its masculine part. I choose subjects as a chapter of realization and make others do the same through my films.

6. What inspires you to make films?
Ans. Life is a great inspiration in choosing films. Cinema is not a tiring business for me at all, it’s all about an enjoyment of life to its zenith. I do not go to social clubs, but Cinema provides me with the same intoxication. Isn’t that enough to inspire someone?

7. Aneek, I also came to know that you have made a feature length movie Cinema Bid Adieu. The name itself is quite interesting; please give your take.
Ans. No, actually I am working on a project that would help to nullify the usage of language from Cinema and starting with Bengali Cinema, I want to achieve it at a global platform. Cinema Bid Adieu is the first project and is almost complete now to be screened. It deals with the context of Lumiere Brothers’ Arrival of a train and combining it with the content of ‘Shrinking nature of war’. In this, I have defined how the crisis is slowly getting at a micro-level and in future, it will be applied to sustain you on earth. Quite tough to establish my opinion that quick in India though, but I will not accept quick turn comments.

8.Would you ever act in any film, or your film?
Ans. Not in my film, though! But if I ever get the opportunity to play the role of a lunatic character, or an artist (not the usual kind), or someone who is not me then it would be nice to play such a role, It would be a challenger for me and it had been a dream for me to play such roles. In my film, I would prefer to stay behind the camera.

9. You are quite young to be a filmmaker. Do you face problems in instructing people or any kind of barrier?
Ans. Well, my thoughts are quite matured, so there’s no barrier in making films.

10. Will you take a retirement from films?
Ans. Not until my death! This is the thing which I enjoy, the day I will leave making films, I will live my part of life; hence, that symbolizes death. I have lots to gain and lots to bring to India. I feel energetic, and I can even stand out there holding the film camera, in 45 degrees in summer and capture event, I can lie down the ground in winters, and I can craft a film, even if am just out of OT. It’s out of the question of retiring from films.

11. Aneek, before leaving, some words for aspiring filmmakers.
Ans. Enjoy your work, and don’t always treat Cinema as a commercial venture for revenues. Cheers!

Posted in Filmmaker Profiles

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