Friday, June 20, 2008

Silverdocs this week!

IMG_6888silverdocs crew

It's that time of the year again in suburban Silver Spring, MD!!! Silverdocs Film Festival is full on again this year. Last year i had the honor of serving on the jury, while this year, i'm attending... mostly in hopes of inspiring myself to have a completed film ready for next year's fest. For anyone that doesn't know, Silverdocs is the Discovery Channel/AFI Documentary Film Festival that is currently in it's fifth year now, and kicking ass. This is by far the most cerebral of all the doc fests i have attended, with an always amazing film programming schedule.

This year's highly anticipated symposium special guest speaker was Spike Lee, who was vacantly inspiring, speaking about his documentary work in particular. Unfortunately, most of us felt that the discussion fell flat, partially due to the disappointing performance of the moderator/interviewer, a reporter from The Denver Post.

In any case, i've been running around with festival regulars/doc gurus Ryan Harrington, Danielle DiGiacomo from IndiePix, Liz Ogilvy from Docurama, Simon Kilmurry from POV, Andrew Mer, Mark Rabinowitz from Cinelan, Sadie & Jill from Full Frame FF, etc having an inspired week full of films, parties, discussions with Paul Miller (aka DJ Spooky) about his new hi def art film project about the "sound of ice" in Antarctica, checking out Oscar winner Alex Gibney's panel discussion, and more...

So far, my year's pick is "The English Surgeon" by Geoffery Smith, an unflinching look at a friendship between two doctors tied through brain surgury (bonus: music score by Nick Cave).

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Judging at Jackson Hole Film Festival


This year, i was honored to be asked to return to the fifth annual Jackson Hole Film Festival as a judge for the 2nd year in a row.

This year i also had the pleasure of DJing the filmmaker's party, helping bring Big Sky Award winner "Class C" to also win in it's category at JHFF, and also participating in the Q&A for Virginia Williams' film "Frontrunner," which we happened to help shoot, designed graphics, and handled the music supervision/score for.

It was a pleasure to spend time with the JHFF crew again (Mel, Cevin, Jason, Audrey, Diane, Eben, Noam, Todd, Erika...), as well as HBOs Greg Rhem, "Frontrunner's" Virginia Williams, "Volcanic Sprint's" Steve & Angie Dorst, actor Bill Pullman, and the whole "Class C" crew!

Outside of seeing some amazing films (don't miss "Man On Wire"!!), and being set in one of the most beautiful towns in America, this festival has grown exponentially over the three years i've attended. Despite being a festival for both narrative as well as documentary, they have put an enormous focus on their "Global Insight" category, and making the festival as conscious and green as possible. This year, they even managed to get United Nations Secretary General Moon to attend and make remarks and meet filmmakers. I've been hearing people mention that this year's JHFF is much like Sundance was 15 years ago! Great programming, great staff, great sponsors, great parties...

Branchage and the UK island of Jersey

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In efforts to promote the upcoming inaugural Branchage Film Festival on the UK Channel Island of Jersey, taking place this September 25-28, we directed a series of 7 trailer spots. These spots will be online, local TV, and running before every film screening in the festival. We wrote them in 3 days, and within another 2.5 days (on NO budget), travelled to Jersey, crewed, cast, and shot them all. Many thanks to Jerry for help with the music and Nikos for help with the animation.

Im pretty happy with the way they turned out as well. Please feel free to comment on what you think about them. Watch them here.

Shooting Kate Pierson of The B-52's for Pancake Mountain!

The Mountain continues onward...
Too bad the other band members backed out at the last minute. Thanks for being a trooper, Kate!