Movie City Indie Archive for July, 2008

An hour with Matt Dentler on digital distribution

From Los Angeles Film Festival’s YouTube Screening Room account, an hour of Cinetic’s’ Matt Dentler in conversation with YouTube about emerging initiatives. As they prepare to release their first batch of titles to various portals, Cinetic Rights Management also offers a list of sites that currently support shorts and features, including Amazon Unbox; iTunes Movie Store; Hulu; Jaman; Netflix Watch Instantly; YouTube Screening Room; imeem; Veoh; Joost; Babelgum; Caachi. Fred Schuer’s backgrounder on Cinetic Rights Management, from Portfolio in June, is here.

Burn After Reading's international teaser

Via “Universal UK Trailers,” who’s only ever uploaded this video. “Good.”

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Katharine Hepburn? Removalist.

From the same interview, Ms. Hepburn rearranges the set to her substantial satisfaction. “Or put a rug over it! A green one!”

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Interview of the… week? Zabriskie Point's Mark Frechette, Daria Halprin in conversation with Dick Cavett, Mel Brooks and Rex Reed

Several strained interviews linger in my memory, but this 8-minute clip from “The Dick Cavett Show” is almost otherworldly, and I mean that in a good way. Thirty-eight years ago was another planet. [Below, the same points made by other means by Signor Antonioni.]

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Taking snapshots in the rain and getting struck by lightning

Thirteen seconds of “don’t try this while leaning out your window in the Pacific Northwest in a gloomy pouring-rain dusk.” “Jessica Lynch was filming lightning strikes from the window of her home last week when the storm she was documenting got a little too close for comfort. Actually, it got a lot too close for comfort: Lynch got tagged by a thunderbolt that struck near her house in Guemes Island, Washington.” [Via Underwire.]

The Wackness' Jonathan Levine on sense of place in movies

More in an interview to be posted shortly. [Apple Store, Michigan Avenue, Chicago, June 19.]

Chris Doyle's Olympics commercial for Coca-Cola China

The corporation describes.

The making-of, in Chinese, with Mr. Doyle looking uncommonly healthy with tall clean hair.

More reflections on Bruce Conner

BruceConnor_Caulfield_2927800-1.jpgThank you for your thoughts about Bruce. We have lost an amazing artist… Bruce was firmly opposed to display of his films on-line, and on his behalf as an attorney I made numerous requests for removal. Now that Bruce has died, all copyrights are now held by Jean Conner (Bruce’s wife), and she has explicitly directed that I request and otherwise take action to have all on-line postings of Bruce Conner movies removed immediately.

That photo alone! Godspeed Bruce Conner. Writes Mike Plante: “He took film leader, a ‘secret’ part of film, and reedited it as featured content. He reinterpreted found footage into his own heavily political – and often hilariously entertaining – short films… In his shorts, you see the roots of today’s political satire, music videos and commercials, from slick editing that gives meaning under the surface, to landscape emo moments… Successful in the art world, he stayed DIY his entire career. Often fighting for his work to be displayed or projected correctly and with his personal attention, he never sat back and simply sold items…. When hired by San Jose State to teach a painting class, they wanted a set of his fingerprints and signature. He stated he couldn’t sign their forms as his signature made something art, according to galleries. Not to mention his fingerprints and touch appeared on artwork and was his property. They agreed to make a limited edition of his application with fingerprints and signatures, forcing the government to play by new, esoteric rules… Conner was cantankerous and one-of-a-kind. He would wear an American flag pin. When asked why, he said, “I’m not going to let those bastards take it away from me.” Sigh391685445_c29683db67.jpgAn obit by Kenneth Baker, art critic at SF Chronicle: “Asked once by a critic to mention some artists who influenced him, Mr. Conner said, “I typed out about 250 names,” and instructed the writer to add that “limited space prevents us from printing the remaining 50,003 names on Mr. Conner’s list of influences.” Mr. Conner announced his own death erroneously on two occasions, once sending an obituary to a national art magazine, and later writing a self-description for the biographical encyclopedia Who Was Who in America.” Conner’s punk portfolio, “Mahubay Gardens,” is up at the Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archives, and at the link. The Walker Art Center blogs. Conner may have influenced George Lucas. John Yau talks to Conner at Brooklyn Rail. Conner: “ArtNews had a regular series, with pieces like “Jean Dubuffet Makes a Painting.” It included the artist’s signature and photographs documenting the product being produced. As I saw it, it was a product being produced because the camera was there, and, when somebody is observing the performer’s action, that always alters things. I decided it would be interesting to submit an article to ArtNews about Bruce Conner making a peanut butter sandwich, peanut butter being one of my favorite foods and main standbys during periods of economic distress. I also decided that it should be compulsively and precisely detailed… I asked Tom Garver to come to my apartment and take photographs as I built this sculpture and also while I ate it, which I didn’t tell him I was going to do. I set up a tape machine to record the entire process so we could time every action exactly to the second so that, in the article when it says the time is 11:35 and 10 seconds a certain action is happening. By timing the tape after the fact, it was possible to do that as precisely as possible. I then wrote the entire article. I wrote about building the sandwich and then about eating it. I asked Thomas to put his name on it because I knew ArtNews would not print it if it did not have an established, professional voyeur commenting and presenting the event. He said fine. However, he would not put his name to me eating the sandwich, which took place precisely at noon.” Exhibit photos by Steve Rhodes. Conner’s artist page at LA’s Kohn Gallery. Prints at Gallery Paule Anglim. A Conner ink blot. Prints at Magnolia Editions. Bio at Carnegie International. More photos at Flickr.

Maddin on Savage in My Winnipeg

maddin window.jpgSavagery! Where’d Guy Maddin rent his mom? Pic and interview from The National Post: “One of Maddin’s more bizarre fabrications is the inclusion of someone he identifies in the film as his mother. In fact, the woman is 87-year-old actress Ann Savage, who retired in 1955. “Ann Savage is without a doubt the fiercest femme fatale in the history of film noir,” says Maddin, “the savage centre of the most famous Poverty Row film ever made, Detour (1945), and so she means a lot to me symbolically. She is my mother, she is Poverty Row filmmaking.” Maddin recalls that when he started to write My Winnipeg, he told a friend in Los Angeles: “If only Ann Savage were alive to play my mother. And he said, ‘Ann Savage is alive, she was just at my wedding and I have her phone number.’ “

Bruce Conner was 74

Thank you for your thoughts about Bruce. We have lost an amazing artist… Bruce was firmly opposed to display of his films on-line, and on his behalf as an attorney I made numerous requests for removal. Now that Bruce has died, all copyrights are now held by Jean Conner (Bruce’s wife), and she has explicitly directed that I request and otherwise take action to have all on-line postings of Bruce Conner movies removed immediately.

'Report' title card.pngArtforum reports Bruce Conner, in declining health in recent years, has died, age 74. “Bruce Conner, a San Francisco–based artist known for his assemblages, films, drawings, and interdisciplinary works, passed away Monday afternoon. Conner moved to San Francisco in 1957 and quickly found his place within the city’s vibrant Beat community. His gauzy assemblages of scraps salvaged from abandoned buildings, nylon stockings, doll parts, and other found materials gained him art-world attention, as did A Movie (1958), an avant-garde film that juxtaposed footage from B movies, newsreels, soft-core pornography, and other fragments, all set to a musical score… 'Report' target leader.png Conner was active in the Bay Area’s 1960s counterculture scene, designing light shows for Family Dog performances at the Avalon Ballroom, and in the ’70s focused on drawing and photography…” There will be no funeral. A set of links to Conner’s visual arts is at the “Beats In Kansas” site. From the Larry Keenan Gallery. Wiki. A wowza extended appreciation by Dennis Cooper is here, including the notation that Conner had asked for embedded video to removed on June 12 of this year. Cooper quotes at length from a fine Kristine McKenna LA Times profile: “Conner’s last burst of intense art activity came in 1978 when he became involved in the San Francisco punk scene as a staff photographer for fanzine Search and Destroy. A corrosive aesthetic of outraged idealism that Conner had anticipated by decades, punk was tailor-made to his sensibility, and he spent most of 1978 at a punk club called the Mabuhay. “I lost a lot of brain cells at the Mabuhay,” he laughs. “During that year I had a press card so I got in free, and I’d go four or five nights a week. What are you gonna do listening to hours of incomprehensible rock ‘n’ roll but drink? I became an alcoholic, and it took me a few years to deal with that. “I’ve always been uneasy about being identified with the art I’ve made,” he concludes. “Art takes on a power all its own and it’s 'Report' leader 3.pngfrightening to have things floating around the world with my name on them that people are free to interpret and use however they choose. Beyond that, I’ve seen many cases where artists have been defeated because the things they made came to be perceived as being more important then they themselves were. De Chirico struggled to develop a new style of painting, but nobody was interested-they only wanted to show his own work. This is something I’ve experienced myself, and it’s a highly unbalanced situation because essentially the artist is denied a voice about the course of his own life and work.” Caveh Zahedi got video of Conner appreciating Louise Brooks in 2006.


A Movie (1958)


America Is Waiting.




Breakaway (1966) (with Toni Basil)


Valse Triste (1977)

bruce conner by dennis hopper.jpg



The White Rose


Take the 5 10 To Dreamland.


A link to Conner’s Mea Culpa [Removed.]. A linky, fact-filled appreciation from July 5 (diggin’ the hood ornament on that Rolls!). Conner is part of the 7th Gwanju Biennale. Below: detailed and fact-filled information about Report. {Stills from Nathan Austin’s blog.]

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Two Tom Disch poems, two weeks before his suicide

dischwordofgod.jpgScience fiction savant and swell poet Tom Disch committed suicide on the Fourth of July, age 68. He’d been committing his poetry to his LiveJournal page rather than suffering submission anxieties. (His novella, “The Brave Little Toaster,” became a Disney animated short.) Here’s an ominous pair he penned two weeks before his death.
The Tablets of Common Knowledge 1
Two of them appeared in a perp-walk
on Channel One tonight, looking tough and stoic–
but still young enough to serve as someone’s
bitch once they’ve been bled by their lawyers
and whoever may be able to spare them, a while,
the horrors of an enforced sodomy. That.
as we know, is what prison is there for
and that is why there is an interval
between the sentencing and the first rape.
Kill yourselves while you can, guys.
It’s what I would do.
The Tablets of Common Knowledge 2
BraveLittleToaster.jpgPeople regularly disappear.
Some simply return to the burrows
they’ve lived in and die among friends.
Some take holidays: you may have received
their postcards and seashells. But many more
are murdered. The numbers are astonishing.
Corpses disintegrate in woodland graves
or, submerged, are home
to the seaworm and the ray.
We are entering an era
when men will die like flies,
swept off by floods, shoved
into pits by bulldozers, or starving
en masse as they cling
to the prison bars. Oh, the world
is a terrible, unkind place. But wasn’t that
always the case? Let’s sing something
together. Maybe that will help.

Consummated love via woodpecker

A Brazilian child's remake of The Shining

I think I like the More 4 trailer for the Kubrick season better.

John Waters calls him "the gay Citizen Hearst"

The Los Angeles Times website is almost impossible to find things serendipitously on a given topic, such as this Claudia Eller profile of entrepreneur Paul Colichman and his burgeoning media empire. A few days late, but still of note: “Cult filmmaker John Waters calls him “the gay Citizen Hearst.” … Five years ago, Colichman and his business partner launched Here, television’s only premium gay cable network. Now, with an eye toward building their empire, they recently made a $6.5-million deal to buy the popular news magazine the Advocate, style monthly Out and other sister publications… “People say, ‘Why would you buy a print publication when you’re really in the television business?’ ” said Colichman. “But our point of view is that everything is cross-platformed now — we are in the content business, and to generate profit you need to be everywhere.” Colichman, 46, and his odd-couple business partner, Stephen P. Jarchow — a straight family man from the Midwest — also produce and distribute low-cost films and TV shows at their 13-year-old company, Regent Entertainment… “We realized that if you’re self-financed, we had to pick a niche if we were going to truly be successful,” Colichman said. “We knew that going head-to-head with the studios, we’d get our head handed to us sooner or later.” [More at the link.]

Movie City Indie

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon