As a thank you gift for his work on "Star Wars", George Lucas gave art director Roger Christian 25,000 pounds in 1979 to make a short film. Christian used the money to shoot a 25 minute medieval fantasy titled "Black Angel". Lucas liked the film so much that he had it precede theatrical showings of "Empire Strikes Back" in the UK, Australia and Scandinavia. In the intervening years, the film was thought lost until a negative was discovered at Universal Studios in 2011. The film was restored and given a premiere at the Mill Valley Film Festival in Marin County last October. It will be shown again later this month at the Glasgow Film Festival and will eventually find its way to a streaming services like Netflix later this year. The BBC recently talked to Christian about the film and its rediscovery.
SSS is a 1988 experimental film featuring rapid-fire clips of dancers on the streets and junkyards of New York's East Village, "painstaking synched" to improvised music by Tom Cora (cello), Christian Marclay (turntables), and Zeena Parkins (harp). It's by filmmaker Henry Hills, whose official site is here. More collage films here, including Radio Adios, the quick cut-up KINO DA!, Money ("a manic collage film from the mid-80s when it still seemed that Reaganism of the soul could be defeated," with appearances by John Zorn, Fred Frith, Arto Lindsay, Ron Silliman among others), and Gotham, one of three films Hills made for Zorn's Naked City project.
Rioting robots on the streets of Brixton, a gorgeous sci-fi/architecture/animation short film by architecture graduate Kibwe Tavares. [more inside]
He invented or popularized a startling array of the fundamental elements of film: the dissolve, the fade-in and fade-out, slow motion, fast motion, stop motion, double exposures and multiple exposures, miniatures, the in-camera matte, time-lapse photography, color film (albeit hand-painted), artificial film lighting, production sketches and storyboards, and the whole idea of narrative film.
By 1897, in a studio of his own design and construction – the first complete movie studio – his hand forged virtually everything on his screen. Norman McLaren writes, "He was not only his own producer, ideas man, script writer, but he was his own set-builder, scene painter, choreographer, deviser of mechanical contrivances, special effects man, costume designer, model maker, actor, multiple actor, editor and distributor." Also, his own cinematographer, and the inventor of cameras to suit his special conceptions. Not even auteur directors such as Charles Chaplin, Orson Welles, John Cassavetes, and Stanley Kubrick would personally author so many aspects of their films."Inside: 57 films by Georges Méliès, the Grandfather of Visual Effects. [more inside]
The Oscar-nominated "Mysterious Explorations of Jasper Morello" is an "adventurous tale of a navigator’s journey to save his ailing wife set in a beautiful world of Victorian science-fiction" and one the many fine film shorts and videos available to watch at shortof theweek.com - a site dedicated to "finding those few [video] gems amongst the enormous heap of garbage they're buried in..." [more inside]
Rustboy, a short film about a Pinocchio/Frankenstein-esque robot child almost a year in the making thus far, has up until recently been illustrator Brian Taylor's personal side project. He's been keeping a diary of the process on his site and posting movie clips, storyboard sketches, and descriptions of how he achieves various effects the whole time. Followers of the site recently got the good news that Taylor has received funding to work on Rustboy full-time beginning in April. I've bookmarked it so I can check in every so often and say, "MAN, I wish I could do that!"
There are some new cops out on the street. Yes. Its Eric Stoltz starring in "Jesus & Hutch". Just in time for Christmas. *Warning* This is a movie so if you are on a dialup like I am, sorry.