Archive for the News Category

New Website On The Way

Posted in News with tags on September 3, 2012 by N.W. Douglas

I’m pleased to announce that this blog, which has been my writing and promotional space for the last four years, will be moving soon to a new website associated with my production label Stoneridge Films. You might have even been bounced here by the new stoneridgefilms.com URL. The new site isn’t quite ready at the moment, so if you’re new, please have a look around at the About page and the information pages for my short films Bread of Heaven (2012) and Brother’s Keeper (2011).

In the meantime, keep an eye out here for the announcement that the new site is live. Exciting times ahead…

Bread of Heaven

Posted in News with tags , , on August 17, 2012 by N.W. Douglas

Image

My new short film, BREAD OF HEAVEN, will be premiering at the Montreal World Film Festival next week as part of the Canadian Student Film Festival competition. In lieu of an actual website, which I’m sorely behind on, I’ll be using this page as the locus for all things BREADish, or BOH for short.

News and updates will be posted as they occur. If inclined, hop on over to Facebook and “like” BOH’s official page to receive updates in your news feed. You can also follow the film on Twitter. And, if you still can’t get enough, there’s always IMDB.

In the meantime, please check out the trailer down below, and spread the word!

Where did I put that saddle?

Posted in News with tags , , , , on May 16, 2010 by N.W. Douglas

Well, that was quite the semester.

ASSISTED LIVING, the film that my partners and I have spent the last eight months working on, is finished.  It screened two Tuesdays ago at the Pacific Cinematheque, along with seven other wonderful 16mm shorts produced by my second-year film production class.  That’s the screening’s poster at the top of the page.

The year ended on a beautiful, bittersweet note.  Our class is the last in SFU’s film program to have a completely film-based, table-edited post-production.  Next year’s second-year group will be editing digitally.  Wrangling the workprint isn’t without its frustrations: heaven knows how many hours were spent in those small creaky rooms splicing, trying to fix the sync, re-splicing, trying AGAIN to fix sync; pulling one’s hair out after a core falls out, and then, 30-hours later, attempting to stay awake while waiting for the damned thing to rewind.

And yet, we got to hold our film.  We got to feel it, to build a relationship with it.  It is a real thing, millions of images that exist not just in time, but also in space.  You could touch every single one if you wanted.  Editing on the table reminds us that the craft of film editing, of shaping the work of art, began as a physical process.  I don’t mean to overly romanticize the old way.  I wouldn’t want to edit a feature this way.  But I’m still terribly sad to see it pass by the wayside.  Final Cut offers its own thrills, and retains the foundational pleasure of editing itself, but by losing the tangibility of the process, something intangible and profound is also lost.  There is a spiritual aspect within the craftsmanship of table editing that is not nearly as strong — perhaps not present at all — in a digital context.

This, I feel, has been one of the unique strengths of SFU’s film program as it has moved more deeply into the digital world: offering its students the means to understand, from the very beginning to the very end, the roots of filmmaking itself.  And not as a means to just “appreciate” the old ways of doing things, but to know them inside and out, and on a deeper level, to become a part of this strangely organic way of making dynamic art.  It’s the formation of a true discipline.

Already the digital cinema is developing its own discipline, and film students decades from now will learn that as reverently as we have learned the ways of 20th century filmmaking, but I do feel an extra gratefulness that I could be here at the end of the era, to get my taste of sweat and pain, wearied fingers, grease pencils, spaghetti wheels, and always, the satisfying marriage of a slate’s clack and its corresponding image.  The pleasure of syncing image and sound is not lost in digital editing, but the anticipation; the sudden tension at the thought of losing sync between workprint and mag stock; of seeing two separate “X” marks racing towards the gate and having their brief, glorious moment together, and then the next moment, and the one after that — that is a joy, and an anxiety, and a relief that those future students will not know.  I’d like to think on a logical level that I have learned much from the experience.  But there are no answers from the mind, only from the gut.  All I can really acknowledge is that something is different, the sort of something that sits deep in the heart and soul and only really lights up after a period of intense, difficult struggle – whether it is through work, or relationships, or spirituality.  The insides have been stretched and stressed, every last drop of innovation squeezed out and into the work, every ounce of energy poured into its thirsty, needy mouth, and then, finally, this awful and beautiful turmoil ceases.  The film is finished.

And now it’s time to share it.  I’ll post info on where it’s playing, whether in the flesh or online, as it develops.  In the meantime, this space is going to be much more lively than it has been for the last month and a half.

Other happenings:

In between editing sessions, I had the privilege of writing a few (hundred!) words on The Virgin Spring, for the Arts & Faith Top 100 site.  Take your time and explore the 99 other pieces (they’re mini-essays, really). It’s quite the formidable collection of concise and insightful film writing, on dozens of the greatest films ever made.  And if that piques your interest, come on over to Arts and Faith and join the daily discussions.

Two Thursdays ago, SFU Contemporary Arts‘ graduate films were shown in a massive screening at the Granville 7 in downtown Vancouver.  Nineteen shorts and one installation were displayed.  It was a powerful showcase of talent and vision, and if you see one of these popping up at a festival near you, you might want to check it out.  Details on each film and filmmaker here.

The Arts & Faith Top 100 Films List

Posted in Lists, News with tags , , on March 12, 2010 by N.W. Douglas

This is way, way overdue, but I would like to note that something happened on February 28, 2010, and it had little to do with Olympic hockey (though that was one heck of a good game, and no, the thrill of the outcome still hasn’t worn off).

What happened?  The Arts & Faith online community, with the help of Image Journal, published the latest version of its Top 100 Films List (the first in four years).  Compiled from a pool of hundreds of nominees and voted on by Arts & Faith members (including yours truly), the Top 100 List both reflects the diverse tastes of the community and offers an invitation to further discuss what it is that makes a “great” film.  If that sounds like your cup of tea, stop by A&F sometime and have a look; better yet, sign up (it’s free) and join the conversation!

Without further ado:

Jeffrey Overstreet’s introduction to the list.

The Arts & Faith Top 100 Films List.

Down Periscope

Posted in News with tags , , on February 7, 2010 by N.W. Douglas

Things are going to be fairly quiet here over the next few weeks.  I’m this close to finishing Part III of my Public Enemies series, but it’s expanded considerably from where it started – of the pieces I drafted in the summer, this one was the most incomplete and as I’ve tackled it anew, it’s only gotten deeper and more intriguing.  I’m not keen on rushing it, though, despite my initial plan to finish it quickly.

Overall, this blog may get quiet because of a major sporting event’s commencement in my city, combined with my involvement with said event.  I won’t have much time over the next three weeks to do much writing, though I will try my hardest.

In the meantime, I’ll note a couple bits of belated Letters To Father Jacob news.

1. The bad: it did not make the Academy’s Foreign Language Film shortlist, let alone the actual nominees.  What this means for the chance of future North American distribution, on home video or in theatres, I do not know.  I doubt we’ll see a theatrical release in Canada.

2. The good: it cleaned up at the Jussis – the Finnish film awards – with wins for Best Picture, Director, Actor, and Score.  And while he didn’t win for his lensing of Father Jacob, cinematographer Tuomo Hutri took home an award for another film, The Visitor. Hat tip: Peter T. Chattaway.

Dispatch From The Wild(s)

Posted in Miscellaneous, News with tags , , , , , on November 22, 2009 by N.W. Douglas

After a solid two weeks of almost non-stop work on one production after another, with another 2-3 weeks left to go, I think this video accurately sums up myself and my classmates’ mental situations.  It is glorious work and I love it dearly, but sleep is the currency of this trade, and becoming accustomed to an average five hours per night has its consequences.

All of which doesn’t distract from the fact that this post is a dressed up placeholder.  Yes, CINEMA TRUTH is still kicking around out there, and I really truly can’t wait to share my currently gestating Decade series – focusing on my favourites, of course, and the major trends that I find interesting enough to write about.  And I’ve listened at least 12-15 times through the new Switchfoot album, HELLO HURRICANE, and have thoughts on this new, very very worthwhile addition to their discography.  There are other good things being planned, slowly, but I want to do right by them, so it will take a while to pop them out, fully formed and readable.

Until then, let’s spend some time answering the following question: What is one of your favourite little scenes of the decade?  What’s that one scene that no one else cares about or remembers, but makes the film for you?

I ask because tonight I was thinking about MINORITY REPORT (2002), and a wonderful scene between Tom Cruise and Lois Smith.  It’s the bit where Cruise finds out about the minority report, which should help him prove his innocence – you can hear the plot wheels grinding into a higher gear – but it’s also a great showcase for Cruise and Smith as actors, and for the dialogue by Scott Frank and Jon Cohen.  Their words have sharpness and poetry, and enchant somewhat while getting lots and lots of exposition done.  By the end of the scene, you don’t really care that it was all talk about “this history,” and “go there, do that.”  Smith is a treat, not so much chewing her dialogue as holding it on her tongue, sucking the juice out at certain intervals.  It’s one my favourite little moments in film from this decade.

I couldn’t find a video of the clip, but here’s a shot of Lois Smith as Dr. Iris Hineman, the Mother of Precrime.

The future (i.e. December) looks promising.  See you on the other side.

Video H/T: My good bud Aaron May, who doesn’t have anything I can link to, as far as I’m aware.  His regular site is down for the time being.

Cannes and Sad Cemeteries and Speed Racers, Oh My!

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on May 19, 2009 by N.W. Douglas

1. Cannes is in full swing, and some of the best coverage can be found via Roger Ebert and Mike D’Angelo.

2. Devan Scott and Will Ross have launched a new film blog, Sad Hill Cemetery.  Devan and I got to know each other a bit while taking a film history class this past semester, and he’s easily one of the best film conversationalists I’ve had the privilege to bandy words with.  I haven’t met Will, but I’m sure he’s a swell guy too.  Looking forward to seeing what you guys have to say!

3. Just for kicks, and to get the revival going so that my future kids and their friends will regard it as a classic: Dennis Cozzalio’s year-old essay on the Wachowski’s Speed Racer.  Even if you hated the film, it’s a brilliant read.