Film Activism: Film Forum Renovation

In my last post I said there’d be more site update news, but something more important came up, so I’m sharing it.

As any film lover who has been to New York knows the Film Forum is an institution. In my mind it is such a mecca that one time when I went on a bus trip to Manhattan with a number friends they mostly went to see Broadway shows and I went to the newly-restored complete cut of Metropolis at the Forum.

2020 will be the theater’s fiftieth year as a cinematic hub in New York. To commemorate, and let’s be realistic to remain relevant, they will be renovating the theater an adding a fourth screen next year. The Forum is a 501(c)(3), so they thrive and show outstanding repertory series and unique independent films thanks in large part to (tax-deductible) donations. This is a huge undertaking, so every little bit helps. Chip in to keep one of the places that truly puts the art in art house.

You can find more information at their website including a brief video, as well as the donate button. Anyone who had ever viewed a film there will welcome these changes I’m sure.

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Film Activism: Beyond Terror Lucio Fulci Book & DVD

Typically when I’ve written about these crowdfunding efforts it has been about campaigns that have not been funded. This reissue of an expanded, gorgeously packaged book is happening but the stretch goals are coming fast and furious, and I suggest you hop on the bandwagon as I have. Here’s what this package about one of the members of the Italian Horror Trinity is about:

 

Here’s what the next stretch goal will add:

Having announced the addition of an illustrated booklet with the trailer DVD after surpassing the £55,000 milestone, here is what everyone gains if we can find more people who want to own the ultimate edition of the ultimate Lucio Fulci tribute package:

Just 30 to 35 more people will bring us to a total of £62,500 raised. If we hit this target everyone will receive a set of postcards featuring the four iconic 1980s British quad poster designs – The Beyond, City of the Living Dead, The House By the Cemetery and Zombie Flesh-Eaters.

Having already added one goal, they announced further add-ons:

£70,000 – Everyone’s package will include a stamped hard enamel badge with the Eibon symbol in black against a polished copper metal finish.

£80,000 – We go into a recording studio, where Stephen Thrower will record a commentary track for the trailer DVD.

Spread the word!

 

Film Activism: Vitor Kaingang

Since the advent of the internet the news cycle has gotten woefully short, which is part of why I unearth this video on my site nearly a year after I was asked to add English subtitles to it.

The video is of  Brazilian woman of indigenous descent, Silvia Nobre Waiãpi, reacting with visceral, righteous indignation at the fact that a two-year-old was beheaded in a town square and this person did so with impunity. To best of my ability to search there is still no resolution to this case.

It’s a harrowing reminder that struggles against gross injustice for indigenous populations is not just an American concern, it’s a global one. It’s not something that will be addressed adequately with one series of protests or rallying cries. These peoples still struggle everywhere just to be afforded basic human dignities and rights. Sharing this video, even though it’s supposedly “old news” by this point, is the very least I can to to increase awareness and continue dialogue.

Film Activism: Jan Švankmajer’s Final Film Insects

Sadly, the last Film Activism title I featured did not get fully funded. Since I was a backer, this is especially disheartening and  I hope Kamikaze ’89 finds its way to a new audience by other means.

However, i just learned of a new worthy project that is already well on its way to being funded. I have featured the works of Jan Švankmajer on this blog a few times. Now he’s taken to crowdfunding, this time via a flexible funding Indiegogo project to make his last feature. There are quite a few great perks. Furthermore, with how close it is with 20 whole days left there may be awesome stretch goals. Check it out.

 

UPDATE!

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It is 0ver 100% funded. However, stretching past its goal will expedite the process and take care of more of the costs involved in making this film. Read the update!

 

Film Activism: Kamikaze ’89 on Kickstarter

Yesterday, I was pleased to learn  about (and back) this Kickstarter for an American re-release for Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s final starring role in a cult film called Kamikaze ’89 (1982). This is a re-release both theatrically and on DVD/Blu-ray.

At this time, we’ve organized the North American theatrical premiere on June 3, at BAMcinématek in Brooklyn, NY. Where it screens next is, partly, up to you – although we can’t guarantee bringing the film to every town, with your support we can reach theater operators all over the map. Any funds raised in excess of the initial $20,000 will go towards expanding the film’s theatrical impact, or investing into future stages of the release cycle, like making the best possible DVD and Blu-ray package. This film is truly an unsung classic and we can’t wait to bring it back to the public eye with your support.

Here’s the campaign blurb:

Kamikaze ’89 was the final acting role of its star (and master filmmaker) Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Directed by his friend Wolf Gremm, the film is not often cited among Fassbinder’s important achievements. That’s due for a change. Set in a dystopian, futuristic Germany (actually only 7 years after its 1982 production date), Kamikaze ’89 is perhaps Fassbinder’s crowning achievement as an actor. The film also marks his last collaboration with longtime muse Brigitte Mira, and co-stars Franco Nero, of Django fame as well as Fassbinder’s final project as a writer/director, Querelle. It is also the only film in which he wears a leopard-print suit in every scene, which we think is reason enough to consider it more than a mere “footnote to film history,” as Vincent Canby said in his original New York Times review. Finally, you’ll love the electronic score by Edgar Froese of Tangerine Dream, who as a band defined the sounds of many cult classic films, from William Friedkin’s Sorcerer to Michael Mann’s Thief to Kathryn Bigelow’s Near Dark.

They’re seeking $20,000 (this is NOT a flexible funding project). Here’s their statement on the funds:

In order to bring this film the attention it deserves, we’re planning a nationwide (and Canada!) theatrical re-release. Although Film Movement has a long track record dating back to 2002, this will be our first large-scale theatrical re-release under the Film Movement Classics banner. We know from handling new releases over the past 13 years that putting a film into movie theaters and on Blu-ray is expensive. We figure $20,000 is the minimum we need to raise to get it out there for the theatrical release alone. If we can raise an additional $10,000, we’ll put it towards the creation of a brand new 35mm print, made with the utmost care from the new 4K digital master. The true cost for this is actually significantly higher – closer to $35,000 to do it right – but if we meet this goal, we will have the generous assistance of Ziegler Film, Kamikaze’s original production company, in covering the balance for this vital asset. Finally, if this campaign is a hit, we’ll be able to invest further in new restorations and releases; you’re not just backing this film, you’re backing our mission to celebrate classic cult and arthouse cinema.

For more about the rewards and to back the project visit its page.

Shameless Self-Promotion and Film Activism: Crossover

Hello all,

It’s been a while since I’ve done either of these posts, or a site update either for that matter. However, as things tend to do there’s a confluence right now. So let’s get to the announcements.

THE BLOODMASTER TRILOGY

Bloodmaster (David Rosenthal)

The last time I did a bit of Shameless Self-Promotion was to announce my forthcoming short stories. Well, those stories are now out and are available on Amazon for Kindle devices and the Kindle app.

This my previous novella, and any other forthcoming releases can be found on my author page as well.

RISE: COMICS AGAINST BULLYING

RISE: Comics Against Bullying (Northwest Press/Prism Comics)

The second project I’m promoting is also a bit of activism, as it is a non-profit venture in the world of comics (My journey with that medium is chronicled here).

It’s a Kickstarter campaign for RISE: Comics Against Bullying.

What this project is:

RISE, a multi-issue anthology comic book series written and drawn by a collection of established names and up-and-comers, aims to spark conversations and provide resources for at-risk youth in an accessible and engaging format.

The goal is:

To get this issues of RISE to those who need them, we’re aiming to raise enough funds to print the first two issues in large enough quantity that we can distribute them freely. Our initial plan is to provide:

Print copies of RISE for Stand for the Silent to distribute in schools

Flyers with digital download codes of the series for Stand for the Silent to distribute after their presentations

Print copies of RISE for Prism Comics to use for fundraising and distribution to those who need them

Northwest Press will make copies available for sale at low-cost to comics retailers through Diamond Comic Distributors.

Additional stock will be made available to our current and future nonprofit partners, moving forward.


My history with this project:
One my good friends Joey Esposito a while back rounded up the troops to see who’d be interested in contributing comics and some prose as well for an anti-bullying anthology. Joey through his time reviewing comics helped me get back into the artform, and more so than I ever was before. I was glad to help out in any little way I could.

While Joey’s been working tirelessly on projects he’s brought to fruition with great success like Footprints, Captain Ultimate and Pawn Shop he’s also been lining this project up and got it some great support like GLAAD, Stand for the Silent, Prism Comics and Northwest Press and now the next step is on the whole interwebs to fund at least the first two issues.

WRITTEN IMAGES

Written Images (Mike Krumlauf)

My third and final piece of film activism is another Kickstarter Campaign.

What This Project is:

An experimental coming of age film that follows two gay men in Chicago as they find themselves and each other.

Steven, an emotional introvert has recently moved to Chicago from Europe to further his education. Undecided at what his major should be, a class project helps him discover his vocation in life and make the friends he was always yearning for. Nick, a young photographer suffering addiction in multiple forms, has his morals put to the test when he meets Steven. Together they begin A journey of self discovery, love and redemption in the backdrop of modern Midwestern America.

Written Images plans to deliver an honest, heartfelt story of finding yourself, falling in love, and growing up in the likes of Mr. Hughes. Visually, the film is being shot on Mini DV, HDV, & RAW. The film is utilizing the different formats to convey the disarray both character’s lives are in.

Why This Can Work: First, it inspired the actors to create the following (at the link below) in an impromptu fashion.

Unofficial Teaser Trailer

Secondly, what Mike Krumlauf has done all leads towards using multiple video formats and telling an experimental narrative.

Here were some of the standouts on his vimeo:

A taste of his visual style:

Darkness Falls 2 from Mike Krumlauf on Vimeo.

His first feature was a doc that implemented similar techniques in a doc:

A Place to Call His Own – Amazon Release Trailer from Mike Krumlauf on Vimeo.

Some passage of time editing/visual storytelling:

A Year In Review 2013 from Mike Krumlauf on Vimeo.

Lastly, this film can work because it has the likes of Jelle Florizoone (North Sea Texas, Allez, Eddy! and Headlong) attached. And as evidenced above simply with voice over and images of Chicago, this could be a very intriguing artfully rendered feature with those involved if it only gets off the ground.

So while it can be a bit daunting to see I clumped these three together give each of these a look (especially the Kickstarters) and see if they interest you, my books are cheaper and don’t have a limited shelf-life.

Film Activism: Narnia Sweepstakes

I am a huge fan of The Chronicles of Narnia both as books and on film (see proof here and here). On the official Narnia site they just announced a contest to name a character in the upcoming film adaptation of The Silver Chair. This is the film I had wanted to be next, there was a time when The Magician’s Nephew was slated to be next but that fell through.

The reason this contest is actually something that makes sense cinematically is well-explained on the site:

The Lady of the Green Kirtle, also called Queen of Underland and Queen of the Deep Realm, is the main antagonist in The Silver Chair by C. S. Lewis. She is sometimes called briefly the Green Lady (an analogy with Jadis, the White Lady), and she is known also as the Emerald Witch; none of these names, however, appear in Lewis’s text. She enslaved Prince Rilian of Narnia and a horde of gnomes by her witchcraft, and plans to use them to take over Narnia. She is foiled by three friends of Aslan: Eustace Scrubb, Jill Pole, and Puddleglum.

We are inviting Narnia lovers everywhere to take on a simple challenge – write a name for Lewis’ character that will be used in the forthcoming The Silver Chair movie. Being known only as The Lady of the Green Kirtle doesn’t make for easy dialog. We want to add a name for this character by which other characters can address her in the script. And, we’ve opened the door for anyone to submit a suggested name for this character.

Here’s a little background:
Race: Unknown (Northern Witch)
Nation: Underland
Gender: Female
Title : Queen of Underland

Mark Gordon, Producer, David Magee, writer, and Douglas Gresham, C.S. Lewis’ stepson, will make the final choice on which name will appear in the final movie. Good luck fans and Narnia lovers everywhere—let the names begin!

So there is room for a proper name to be chosen and why not open it to fans worldwide who have kept the film series alive. I’m made my submission, if you so choose, you can too!

Film Activism: RiffTrax Movie Requests

This has been a theme I’ve wanted to do a lot more of, however, how better to keep it alive than to throw it out there whenever it strikes me as useful. Typically I will focus on preservation efforts or crowdfunding, however, it’s really about getting you the film enthusiast more involved in what’s on screen in one way or another.

For those who don’t know, RiffTrax is the same team that brought us Mystery Science Theatre 3000. If you’ve ever had the misfortune of seeing something they should have lampooned before they did you know how useful this can be. My personal case being Birdemic, seeing it spoofed was greatly therapeutic (slrpnls).

If you have a title you’d like to see them handle, go here.

Film Activism: The Dreamlands

During this past 61 Days of Halloween I discovered a new, and great Lovecraft adaptation. It was produced in Germany and titled Die Farbe, or as it is know here The Color Out of Space. Albeit another adaptation of this oft retold tale it has its own slant and a great take.

As it turns out that same production team, including writer/director Huang Vu are embarking on a new Lovecraftian journey. This one entitled The Dreamlands purports to be the first feature-length film treatment of Lovecraft’s dream cycle.

While this other side of Lovecraft’s oeuvre has also inspired writing, most notably Brian Lumley’s Dreamlands Sequence; this would be a cinematic treatment of a very visually conducive subset of Lovecraft’s writings.

The Dreamlands has an interesting, fitting set-up:

Roland, an orphaned boy with a troubled past is led into another world by a mysterious old man. A world that has been created by the great dreamers of mankind in their sleep during the preceding thousands of years. There the old man rules as a king and he wants to educate Roland to be his successor. But Roland is unable to overcome the dark shadow that weighs on him, and he must decide whether he wants to use his abilities to further expand the Dreamlands, or to destroy what others have built.

The production team has released a teaser trailer:

I am posting about this early to spread the word ahead of the unveiling of this film’s Kickstarter campaign from March 1-31, 2014 because all too often these crowdfunding opportunities sneak up on us and don’t give us, prospective donors, time to prepare. Therefore, I wanted it known early so that the word could spread. Based on what this team did with The Colour From Out of Space they should definitely get a shot at The Dreamlands which would incorporate elements of Celephaïs, The White Ship, The Strange High House in the Mist and The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath.

Be on the look out.

Film Activism

The term arcmchair activism has recently come into being and while it may sound like it has a negative connotation, it can get things done. Online petitions and chatter have brought about small changes in reaction to public relations disasters. The only downside I’ve seen of this activism is that for the most part it seems to be extremely reactionary. What I’ll propose in this post, or these posts as the case may be, is more of a proactive approach.

There are good causes in the film world where your support is easy to show and it could make a difference. So here are the three that came to mind for this first post.

Greed on DVD

Greed (1924, Metro-Goldwyn Pictures)

I’ll readily admit that what prompts me to think of this right now is my heinous mismanagement of my DVR, wherein I lost my unwatched copy of Greed from when it aired on TCM last year.

Any film, not on DVD, has a vote prompt on TCM. The votes tally up and a rank is presented. It’s concrete data, though a small sampling, that shows an interest in the film exists. Film, like most everything, is a demand economy. Go here and vote for a Greed DVD release. Or better yet, search your favorite currently undistributed or under-distributed older film and vote for it in its stead.

“Save” films on Netflix

In the Family (2011, In the Family)

Even before Netflix was facing stiff competition from other streaming sources, its policies about acquiring and distributing indie films shifted. They have been more inclined to stream them but in general terms it does take into account how often you save to your queue before deciding whether it’ll pick a film up. I save many films to my queue just to get it out there at times.

One of my favorite films from last year, In the Family, which has been traveling North America for the better part of two years will finally hit home video in May, so it needs this support. If the story appeals to you please do save it and help this great story be seen by a wider audience. As with above, if this title doesn’t work for you consider this method with another film.

Bakshi Kickstarter

Last Days of Coney Island (2013, Ralph Bakshi)

Ralph Bakshi is a renowned and respected animator. I’ll admit not knowing him by name until recently. I haven’t seen many of his films, but I think many saw his animated Lord of the Rings. The character design of the Hobbits irrationally freaked me out when I was very young. I know some of his other titles and have had them on my nearly-infinite watchlist for some time. I’ve always known, even if not knowing him by name, that he was on the forefront with regards to rounding out animation proving it to be a medium rather than a genre; meaning it’s not just for kids.

He is also one of the more renowned artists I know of who is using Kickstarter to fund a project. It becoming a more popular avenue. It’s not a free option, but if you know a deserving artist this is a good way to go.

So there are the first three concrete and easy ways I found to be a film activist. There will likely be others, seek them out, find something you’re passionate about and support it. The interwebs is great for that too!