Synopsis: Meet Rich Castagna. Dad. Husband. Nano-Brewer. In September 2012, Rich launched Bridge and Tunnel Brewery from his backyard. Serving 18 accounts in the NYC area, Bridge and Tunnel Brewery has gained a reputation for its original and delicious brews. Stand by and stay tuned because Rich wont be a garage band brewer for much longer.
Curated by Ann Torke and Nanette Yannuzzi, ENACT emphasizes dematerialization of the object, a conceptual framework, and dialogue as a primary motivation for art-making.
ENACT is part of the 25th anniversary of the Cleveland Performance Art Festival, which takes place throughout the spring/summer 2013 with contributions from: Cleveland Institute of Art, Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland Public Theatre, Cleveland State University, MOCA-Cleveland, Oberlin College, SPACES, and The Sculpture Center.
Synopsis: The Days God Slept is a cinematic prayer which uses surrealistic images and non-literal elements to reveal the emotions of its characters. In the opening, we are introduced to a mysterious Gentleman’s Club where John (played by Malcolm Madera) enters looking for Kristy (Lauren Fox), one of the dancers. He sees her with another patron and when they come together, she says “I have something I need to tell you”. In a series of private exchanges, we begin to understand a sense of the connection between the two. Kristy begins a story that she “needs to tell” John and their blossoming intimacy is harshly derailed. As Kristy struggles to tell her tale, the fantasy realm of the club yields itself to a different reality – the less fanciful daylight of a park. The shifting between locations conveys the shifting realities in the characters’ minds.
Kristy cannot continue the story until she has returned to the blue lights and pretty costumes of the club. John wants her to tell him “how it really was” as we glimpse a disturbing flashback. Once the story is told; Kristy, John and the club itself have been shaken by the story. Kristy has opened the Pandora’s box of her past and the film descends into a phantasmagoria of warped memories, surreal imagery, old photographs and a surprisingly normal day in the park that calls into question the very reality of what we’ve seen. Ultimately, The Days God Slept is the story of a man trying to discover the secrets of a woman, which begs the question, “How much do you really want to know?”
Jeremiah Kipp’s directing credits include The Sadist starring Tom Savini, The Pod starring Larry Fessenden, Contact (commissioned by Sinister Six annual screening series), The Days God Slept, Crestfallen, The Christmas Party (Cannes and Clermont-Ferrand), Easy Prey (commissioned by NYC’s annual VisionFest), Drool (commissioned by Mandragoras Art Space), Snapshot and The Apartment (commissioned by Canon to premiere their XL2 at DV Expo 2004). Producing credits include the feature films Satan Hates You (created by Glass Eye Pix, starring Angus Scrimm, Michael Berryman and Reggie Bannister), God’s Land, Let’s Play, In Montauk, The Jonestown Defense and The Bed-Thing (directed by Pulitzer Prize-nominated Matt Zoller Seitz). Assistant director credits include I Sell The Dead starring Dominic Monaghan, Somewhere Tonight starring John Turturro, One Night starring Melissa Leo, and the Sundance Award-winning Man (dir: Myna Joseph).
Feature Film: Hollywood Revelations
Director Jonny Espinoza
Producer: Top Priority Entertainment / Reel-Silence Productions
Filming Location: Inland Empire, CA
Headline Actors: Justin Rigoli, Jennifer Baum, Lance Charnow, Ian Jesse Lasky, Mario Orozco
Synopsis: Is there a secret society that runs Hollywood? At what cost does one make to become a major player in the Entertainment Industry? This Spine tingling thriller explores this not so talked about topic. Aspiring actor John Rizzo finds himself in a tough situation when he encounters a chance in a lifetime meeting with an organization that can turn things around for him. It will have you pondering on rather such a society exist.
Synopsis: Portrait Of a Lady is a internal monologue about a 21st century middle class housewife who romanticizes an overt sexuality so foreign to her while imagining her own transformation and thoughts that float through her head as she poses for a portrait. Starring actress Jaime Wallace.
“Gorgeous” was my first thought when I viewed the trailer for the new film Blancanieves, the Spanish reworking of The Brothers Grimm tale, Snow White. Written and directed by Pablo Berger, it is a black and white silent film in which the actors delivered their performances so beautifully, I barely acknowledged the title cards. I found it amusing that I was automatically lip-reading because I speak Spanish.
In works of art and films that I love, my one demand is that I have to FEEL and do so strongly. There is no lukewarm or tepid. NO. I’m not a fan of in-between. I must feel deeply and passionately.
Snow White has been retold so many times that knowing the story, I felt not much more could be told or expressed. I was so wrong. From beginning to end, I was lost in this hypnotic version as never before.
I was immediately drawn to it because of the cultural and time era elements. I love silent films, the 1920’s setting and the Spanish culture, which is close to my heart. I loved the passionate Flamenco score punctuating every emotion both so beautifully and heartwrenchingly painful throughout. Not a lot of films stay with me, but this one did without question.
The Artist, 2011’s black and white 1920’s era silent gem, was another favorite of mine. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Blancanieves takes elements of what I already loved about The Artist even further. It is by no means a copy, but an additional and welcome homage to the art of silent film. The cinematography is entrancing, darker and more intense, it consistently keeps pulling you in until the end.
There was no question I needed to see this film, and afterwards I left with such strong emotions. It is at times morbid, dark and twisted with a sprinkling of deviance but it is always beautiful.
The darkness and intensity was always present, but lifted and lowered with seamless timing, never feeling forced.
This version is set and opens in 1920’s Sevilla, Spain where we find Carmen de Triana (Inma Cuesta) and her husband Antonio Villalta (Daniel Giménez Cacho) the famous bullfighter. Carmen is pregnant and watching her husband in the ring where he is gored, which sets the story in motion. Moving forward, their daughter Carmencita (Sofía Oria), is now motherless and subsequently raised by her grandmother from birth. Her father re-marries a heartless, vain and sadistic woman who is bent on controlling every aspect of his life to her convenience.
As a little girl Carmencita, has a difficult journey. She does not know her father until several years later when she is taken to live in his house, but he is hidden from her by her evil stepmother who despises Carmencita. This is where she sees the darker side of life, a stark contrast to her life with her loving grandmother, Doña Concha ( Ángela Molina).
This time for Carmencita is riddled with pain and torment, but she is ultimately able to re-connect briefly with the father she knew of, but never knew before. For a moment, their loving relationship blooms and transcends any pain and sadness outside of it. His spirit is renewed and she learns valuable lessons from him which will serve her later. Their brief time together gives her the strength and knowledge she will call upon when she needs it most. I feel the true heart of this story is her relationship with her father Antonio
Several years later “Carmencita” is now a young woman and referred to as Carmen. Due to tragic and horrific circumstances she finds herself alone. Carmen/Blancanieves (Macarena García) is found and befriended by a troupe of dwarves who perform in bullfighting arenas. Her connection to this is immediate and natural, and she comes into her own finding her calling in working with them. All the while, her stepmother Encarna played to evil and over the top perfection by Maribel Verdú, follows her career from afar with malicious intentions.
The dwarves are at times humorous, dark and conflicted, but also deliver touching performances as Carmen’s/Blancanieves caretakers. With them, she finds somewhere she belongs at a time she has no one else.
Ultimately, we reach the conclusion we are familiar with, but it is delivered here in such an atypical beautifully sublime manner. I appreciated all of this film’s visual quirks and nuances which are jewels to be discovered. We are shown the spectrum of the beauty and ugliness of life. We also see that love, hope, determination and inner strength even at our lowest counts for much much more than we may think.
Some may see it as piggybacking on a trend/novelty (black and white, silent film, 1920’s) but this movie is strong all on its own. I just choose not to be that jaded.
Absolutely gorgeous and haunting, the beauty of Blancanieves was not lost on me.
Feuding brothers Ace and Jim collide at a local demolition derby
Synopsis: Derby Kings is a 2012 short film written and directed by Valerie Bischoff, produced by Mayuran Tiruchelvam, starring Tatanka Means (Tiger Eyes, Sedona) and Jerry Wolf (Four Winds). The film follows Jim Sundell (Tatanka Means) as he struggles to make sure his younger brother Ace (Jerry Wolf) appears at an impending trial. Ace, a demolition derby diehard, has other plans. With the local demolition derby looming, Ace makes a bold move that forces Jim to step far outside of his comfort zone. Derby Kings gives audiences insight into the struggles two Native American brothers face and explores how the ritual of the derby reinforces strained family bonds.
After witnessing my first demolition derby at the Nevada State Fair in 2009, I instantly became fascinated by this bizarre American ritual. As I watched the brutal spectacle of crashing cars, multicolored smoke, and a roaring crowd of colorful characters, I was seduced by the inherent drama that was unfolding before my eyes and became obsessed with the idea of creating a film set in this world. Before I could start writing a script I had to understand the motivations of these drivers. Who would partake in this strange ritual and why? Wanting to fully immerse myself, I started making a small-scale documentary on the subject.
My background is in television news and documentary filmmaking. Incorporating these skills into my approach as a narrative director has been crucial. The work I have done within the community has given me an opportunity build relationships and understand the true motivations of the drivers. In rural and impoverished areas of Nevada where unemployment has risen to 12%, the highest in the nation, the derby serves as a crucial family ritual, reinforcing bonds that are strained by bleak external factors including a poor economy, lack of education, and high crime rates. This is especially true in American Indian communities where broken treaties and a lack of resources have further broken the family unit. There can be no future without the strength of the family. Derby Kings will give audiences insight into the struggles these two American Indian brothers face and how the love of participating in the demolition derby is their first step towards reconciliation despite overwhelming external factors.
The brother’s ability to mend broken relationships in the face of hardship will undoubtedly inspire others. I want audiences to connect with their struggle and ultimately gain an understanding of how ingenuity and pride can sometimes trump the most difficult of circumstances.
James Carville once said about his relationship with Mary Matalin, “You can hate the sin but love the sinner.”
I feel the same way about Janusz Kaminski, Steven Spielberg’s longtime cinematographer. Mr. Kaminski is a real artist, a real painter of light. His sin? Working with Steven Spielberg, one of the more heavy-handed (think of a sledge hammer repeatedly whacking your head) directors.
Independent filmmakers almost exclusively use the digital medium, but we can all learn a few things from a master manipulator of celluloid like Mr. Kaminski.
In a recent Wall Street Journal article, Mr. Kaminski described how he made “Lincoln” look like a timeless movie—not by CG effects but by simply moving the lights.
“I felt you had to pull back a bit, so as not to jar the audience,” he explained. “One way of achieving that is to not light the walls. They were not 100% unlit, but enough so that the colors of the walls and carpets were muted. You have to think about the philosophy of light. It’s supposed to be motivated by natural sources. But if that logic doesn’t work for dramatic reasons, you adjust.”
“For example, the gas lamps of Lincoln’s time wouldn’t give enough illumination for the cameras, which are not as sensitive as the eye,” he continues. “You cannot photograph a Spielberg movie using just candlelight. Stanley Kubrick did some shots like that, but with special lenses and just in certain scenes. If you light with just an oil lamp, you will see only the lamp and the face next to it. So I used the natural light in the scene and moved the film lights back. It’s a trick, a cheat. But it works.”
Mr. Kaminski also explained why some people believe that the acting was better during the black-and-white film era.
“In color movies, actors are not always the main objects of illumination. Sometimes they’re not lit much at all, and audiences start appreciating things that aren’t the most important to the story. In black-and-white films, there’s no color to distract viewers. Consequently, actors in black-and-white movies are the main focus of the frame because they are often the brightest element in the frame. Because you’re not lighting the actors in color films, some attention is drawn away by that absence.”
Perhaps the use of black-and-white film in “The Artist” was the nudge that pushed the Oscar into Jean Dujardin’s hands last year.