Like my short film "Celeste"

Sunday, January 29, 2012


I've just re-watched The Dark Knight for the first time since watching it originally in theaters.

The parts shot on IMAX make such a difference. I watched on my Sony 46" TV on Blu-ray and the IMAX shots are so much sharper and rich!

And of course, it got me looking in the future and dreaming of one day shooting in the digital cinema equivalent of an IMAX camera. The RED 65 sensor perhaps? Because while IMAX is amazing, it's still super expensive and the cameras are very cumbersome.

So I'll just keep dreaming, for now.

Couldn't Resist

Stopped by the Taschen store in Soho on my way back home and couldn't
help buying this amazing book.

In it you'll find some amazing gems, like the photograph of an 8 year old (or so) Hitch on a horse next to his proud father in front of their family's store.

But another picture grabbed my attention: Hitchcock's self-portrait. It reminded me not only of his incredible illustration and design talent but also his keen sense of branding. The book explains that in one discussion in Hitch's earlier days his friends were talking about who they made films for. Some said "for the audience", others "for distributors" and Hitchcock said "for the press." Because they influence audiences and in turn audiences influence distributors. Apparently, Hitchcock consistently kept close ties with the film critic community, wining and dining them, much to the likes of Godard, who having started as one, often would have film critics do cameos in his films.

Ah, there's still so much to learn from Hitchcock!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Top Films of 2011

In my humble opinion, here are the top films I most enjoyed in 2011, in no particular order:

The Descendants
Once Upon a Time in Anatolia
Tree of Life
Girl With the Dragon Tatoo
Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
Ides of March

Disclaimer: I have no seen a lot of other acclaimed 2011 movies yet, so this is a short list from the list of films that I've watched from this year.

Scorcese, Baz Luhrmann and Festivals

Recently, thanks to the Lincoln Film Society, I was invited to a special member event. A surprise screening from a legendary filmmaker.

I was secretly hoping that it was David Fincher, being my favorite living director. But when my buddy and I got there, I heard some people mention Scorcese. And then when they handed out 3D glasses, I got even more confused. "3D? Is it Spielberg and Tintin?"

For some reason, amidst an avalanche of trailers I somehow forgot about "Hugo."

And then Peña came up to the stage and introduced Scorcese, to a standing ovation. He got such a reception! It was inspiring to see him in the flesh. Such an amazing director and yet so humble.

Having been showing my own film, "Celeste", to people for around 4 months now, it was awesome to see him say the same things I have been telling people. "Please, it's just a work in progress", "there's no final mix", "no final visual effects." It was comforting to know everyone goes through the same.

The film was great - this was in October 10th of last year - but I thought the pacing didn't feel quite right.  Granted it didn't have Howard Shore's soundtrack, but I'm hoping that he tightened the cut since then.
I'm very excited to watch the final piece and compare it to the earlier cut I saw.

That was a great moment as a film fan and student of film. One of those moments where I'm very happy to be in New York. It is truly a privilege.

And speaking of "Hugo", last week I met Baz Luhrmann. What does "Hugo" have to do with Baz? Well, Baz and I started chatting about VFX, since I was working in Autodesk's Smoke when he popped up in my office, and the conversation drifted to Stereo (3D) because he just shot The Great Gatsby on RED Epics in Stereo and I mentioned "Hugo." He said "Marty had me over to watch some scenes while they were editing." "Marty" - I thought. That awesome! I hope one day I can call up Marty or get a call from Marty wanting to share cuts!

Meeting Baz was fun. He has so much energy, it's crazy. I thought of giving him a screener of my short film but I just wanted to be cool at that moment. Maybe if he stops by my office again I'll hand him a screener and see if he likes it. Having him review my film for me would be amazing. I'd love to hear what a director that I admire thinks of it.

Because so far, film festivals have not selected my film, aside from Lucerne back in October. I'm not sure why, because it's been getting a great honest reaction from people - filmmakers and "civilians." I woke up today thinking that I should try to cut half of the film and make it a 15 min film - more film festival friendly. But that's maybe for next year. I'll stick with the 30 min version this year, see if it flies.

Here's hoping it does!