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).
The Playground, Winner, Best Feature at the San Diego Film Awards 2016.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
I am happy to report that 2015 was another vibrant, inspiring year for cinema. While the year’s film landscape may be dominated by the fairly stellar return of the galactic juggernaut better known as the Star Wars franchise, the idiosyncratic, singular visions of a score of filmmakers would better represent the year’s achievements. From Mali to Mexico City to the South Side of Chicago, important films were made outside the Hollywood system and at a remove from genre conventions.
As we approach Oscar night, it should be noted that the nominees for the Academy Awards once again highlight how lacking in true diversity the industry remains. Whether it relates to which artists receive award nominations or, perhaps more important, which artists are supported in creating work, Hollywood remains a (straight) white boys’ club, one desperately in need of a greater variety of voices and perspectives.
As with any year, there were promising films I simply have not gotten to yet. To name a few: Brooklyn, Creed, In Jackson Heights, Son of Saul, and Taxi, are 2015 movies I still look forward to viewing.
Without further ado, here is the 2015 film list:
TOP TEN (in order):
Timbuktu (Abderrahmane Sissako): Sissako’s masterpiece looks at this famed multicultural city of learning and trade as it suffers during an occupation by fundamentalist invaders. The movie’s patchwork of incisive stories and its quietly poetic style demand a world of tolerance, humility, and forceful humanism.
The Assassin (Hou Hsiao-Hsien): Hou’s plot may at times confound, but this wuxia-inspired martial-arts flick set in medieval China brims with cinematic lyricism via textured, potent visuals and expert, tone-setting sound design. A consistently powerful lead performance by Shu Qi paces this elliptical, mesmerizing, dream of a film.
Carol (Todd Haynes): Haynes’s astounds with this flawless, finely orchestrated love story of two women in a world (1950s New York City) not ready to accept who they are. The grainy, expressive Super 16mm cinematography of DP Edward Lachman reminds us that celluloid is far from dead.
The Revenant (Alejandro González Iñárritu): This is no perfect film — the third act feels too much like a Liam Neeson revenge vehicle — but it is undoubtedly a work of art, an epic-scale canvas detailing early 19th Century fur trappers and foreign armies overtaking the west, thereby destroying the cultures of indigenous America Indians and despoiling the natural environment.
Mustang (Deniz Gamze Ergüven): A well-crafted debut feature that serves up a classic tale of societal and generational conflict in provincial Turkey. Ergüven sustains the sort of originality of perspective and freshness of voice often lacking in such early-career films.
Tangerine (Sean S. Baker): Baker’s exuberant, zany comedy about transgender prostitutes in Los Angeles functions as American independent films more often could — with non-traditional casting, crafty filmmaking, a nitty-gritty sense of its world, and, deep down, a big, generous heart.
Ex Machina (Alex Garland): An expertly performed, dexterously executed sci-fi thriller set in the hermetically sealed, middle-of-nowhere palace/laboratory of a billionaire software CEO/mad scientist. Hitchcock meets Philip K Dick.
Chi-Raq (Spike Lee): Lee’s re-imaging of Lysistrata to violence-plagued Chicago is at times overly campy and caricatured, but the film is likewise bold and humorous, inventive and necessary. Where are the other filmmakers confronting the scourge of gun violence?
The End of the Tour (James Ponsoldt): Jason Segel impresses as late writer David Foster Wallace, and Ponsoldt’s movie resurrects the art of conversation, embracing the power of its tête-à-tête, writer-on-writer bull sessions.
Güeros (Alonso Ruiz Palacios): The spirit of Godard is repurposed in Ruiz Palacios’s rollicking, clever coming-of-age picture set during a student protest in Mexico City, 1999. So many scenes stand out and remain with you, months later.
HONORABLE MENTION (in alphabetical order): The Big Short (Adam McKay); The Diary of a Teenage Girl (Marielle Heller); Love & Mercy (Bill Pohlad); Sand Dollars (Laura Amelia Guzmán & Israel Cárdenas); Spotlight (Tom McCarthy)
BEST GENRE FLICKS (not mentioned above):
Creepy Thriller: Goodnight Mommy (Veronika Franz & Severin Fiala)
Horror: It Follows (David Robert Mitchell)
Historical Drama: Bridge of Spies (Steven Spielberg)
Sci-Fi: The Martian (Ridley Scott)
Action-Adventure: Everest (Baltasar Kormákur)
Action-Crime: Black Mass (Scott Cooper)
Action-Geo-Political: Sicario (Denis Villeneuve)
The Coin, Short film – Directed by Fabien Martorell – Starring Christopher Lloyd, Kathryn Morris
Based on the short story “Soul Murder” by David Mamet
Trailer Edited by Scott Butzer
Watch the trailer for The CoinHERE
The Coin is an absorbing short film based on the (very) short story entitled “Soul Murder” written by David Mamet, published in Granta Magazine. The entire story is about two pages long and observes a boy being berated by his stern mother; a man watching fantasizes about approaching the boy while his mother has stepped away and telling the boy he is his guardian angel and giving him a coin that is symbolic of the boy’s goodness. Mamet, a masterful writer, is able to paint a portrait of a troubled family dynamic in two short pages with deft brush strokes of dialogue and description. Since the man’s thoughts are purely internal, it would be near impossible to depict them as written in film unless one relied on voice-over. Instead, filmmaker Fabien Martorell and co-writer Golan Ramras opt for taking the mother and son inside a grocery store where the man actually interacts with the boy, handing him a coin and impressing upon him the belief that he is, in fact, good not bad. That the man is played by Christopher Lloyd lends an immediate likability to the character who otherwise might be suspect as he is apparently homeless. Mamet’s version conveys a deep sadness for the child who seems to be (rightfully so) depressed and disturbed. In the film, the child appears to have more internal strength and while the mother castigates him, he seems determined to remain his own person. In the end, in the film, we think the child will be ok; not so in the written story. As a result, the film captures a certain magic in the man handing the boy the coin (a magic further suggested by the film’s end suggesting the man may have been an actual angel after all) while presenting a recognizable dynamic in this angry, frustrated mother and her young son who may or may not have done something worthy of her wrath. A remarkable short film inspired by a remarkable very short story. Mike Fishman
6 AWARDS – 5 NOMINATIONS – 24 FESTIVALS (including 4 Academy-qualifying festivals, and 6 festivals voted Top 50 by MovieMaker Magazine)
WINNER 2013 & 2014: “Best Short Film” Sunscreen Film Festival West, “Best Short Film” San Pedro Int’l Film Festival, “Best US Short Film-Audience Award” Champs-Elysees Film Festival, “Best Director” Festival Int’l du Film de Court Metrage d’Avignon, “Best Short Film-Jury Award” Big Bear Lake Int’l Film Festival, “Best Concept” The Brightside Tavern Shorts Fest
NOMINATIONS 2014 & 2015: “Best International/World Cinema” Portobello Film Festival London, “Best Short Film-Drama”, “Best Director-Drama”, “Best Cinematography”, “Best Concept” The Brightside Tavern
OFFICIAL SELECTIONS 2013, 2014 & 2015: Palm Springs Int’l ShortFest, LA Shorts Fest, Newport Beach, Cleveland, HollyShorts, San Antonio, deadCENTER, Big Bear Lake, Avignon (France), Champs-Elysees (France), Scarborough (Canada), Portobello London (UK), SNOB, San Pedro, Sunscreen West, Saint-Cloud, Gold Coast Int’l Film Festival, Enfoque (Puerto Rico), Short. Sweet. Film Fest, Speechless, Philadelphia, Hyart, The Brightside Tavern
WORLD PREMIERE June 2013: Palm Springs Int’l ShortFest