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Adventures, Sundance, Trips

SUNDANCE FEST 2014

Just arrived in Salt Lake City, headed to Park City in T minus 2 hours.

Sundance has a magical aspect about it that I cannot fully describe. Whether it’s “the place to be”, or a feeling of being in the right place at the right time; from the sense of camaraderie or excitement of film premiers (that I will most likely hit theaters a few months later) – I have never felt something like Sundance before. Although this is only my second year, and haven’t been to many festivals to compare it to, I definitely plan on coming year every year.

Cannot wait to see what’s in store for me this time- and be able to share it with you.

 

 

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Inspirations, Projects, Trips

LGBTQ Short Film – “GIVE ME CHILDREN”

I’m currently co-producing a short film titled “GIVE ME CHILDREN“. I am working with an amazing team consisting of filmmakers from both Portland and Salt Lake City, and am ecstatic to be working with such great people on such an amazing project.

Synopsis:

GIVE ME CHILDREN is the story of Jake, a gay teen living in a conservative community. Jake learned to internalize his personality, and spends most of his time in his own head. Rejected by his family and friends, he ditches school and wanders around town alone, drugged up on anti-depressants. He has plenty of love to give, but harbors secrets that make him distrustful of people by default. Upon delving into the world of online dating, Jake finds consolation in Nephi, a middle-age Mormon man who is equally desperate for affection. As a devoted husband and father who is searching for the strength to come out of the closet, he is prepared to give up everything to pursue a future with Jake… only he has yet to discover his true love is actually underage.

GIVE ME CHILDREN is the story your best friend tells you and expects you to keep secret. It’s a story about falling in love in a religiously conservative community, and the secrets people will keep to experience genuine human connection. We hope that our story will bring catharsis for many gay youth who have had similar experiences across the United States, and to facilitate dialogue for our local Salt Lake community and beyond on the themes of this film.

Please checkout the website for this project and help support in any way you can. Simply reposting/retweeting would be amazing, and will really help get our project out there.

Thank you so much friends.

-OSCAR

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Adventures, Projects, Trips

Ashland Independent Film Festival

I will be heading to Ashland with my brother Evan and two best friends Atom and Jesse to see films, meet new people and to delve into the vibe in Ashland.

Will post more soon!

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Adventures, Inspirations, Trips

Post Sundance

Sundance 2013 was a blast!

The camaraderie I felt there was unlike anything I had ever experienced.  It was like summer camp for filmmakers. I felt as if I could talk to anyone at any time. Everyone I encountered was incredible. I made many new friends from both near and far, and even a few amazing professional connections that I hope will last a long time. I hope to be there next year – either having worked on a film, representing a production company, or even just working the festival again.

I had the chance to see many amazing films. Here is the list with my thoughts:

Toy’s House - A fun coming of age film about a few boys and the home they build. Extremely funny and awkward at times, but really taps into the heart of the message. The director,  Jordan Vogt-Roberts wore a fur coat the entire time at Sundance, so he was easily able to spot in a crowd. He’s a really laid back down-to-earth kinda guy.

The Crash Reel - Another amazing doc by the lovely Lucy Walker (Wasteland, Countdown to Zero). Yes she is really lovely, I was able to sit right in front of her and listen to the small comments between her and Kevin Pearce. Amazingly enough, he hadn’t seen the whole cut until the premier that night, adding another dimension to the reactions coming from behind me. This doc was all about Kevin’s accident just months prior to competing against olympian Shaun White. The most interesting part about the film was how Walker captured the family dynamic and especially the comparative emotions between Kevin and his younger brother. A bit longer, but definitely worth seeing. I also need to add how great of a soundtrack the film has.

Interior. Leather Bar. - James Franco and Travis Mathews’ exploration into the ideas of gay sex on the screen. This film is a reenactment of a scene that was removed from William Friedkin’s film “Cruising”, starring Al Pacino. It was apparently taken out to avoid an ‘X’ rating. The film was an interesting take and pushed limits- leaving me uncomfortable at times, which is extremely important to do in these times. The film conjured up questions that I often had to think about during the college film theory course, in terms of the viewer and how we have been trained to accept certain images without any hesitation. I also had the opportunity to talk with Travis Mathews at one point- he’s extremely intellectual and pretty much plays himself. Two things to know before seeing: 1. It does show content that is definitely NSFW, and 2. -it isn’t a documentary, although it may appear so.

After Tiller - This is a documentary spotlighting the lives of the only four physicians who can legally perform third-trimester abortions. After the assassination of Dr. George Tiller in 2009, they are often the targets of pro-life radicals and protesters, putting their lives on the line daily. I really encourage everyone to see this, whether you are pro life or choice, as it makes you think about  these people and the ongoing stresses they deal with. Upsetting at times, but helps give a sense that these people are human beings with feelings and families. The documentary doesn’t take a stance either way, and I applaud the two young women who made this.

Metro Manila - This was an amazing drama about the hardships of a family struggling to survive in the Philippines. This story is familiar and most certainly true. But it’s the cinematography and editing that really makes it. Beautiful images of 3rd world life are portrayed here- definitely putting your life in perspective. The acting is amazing, and a really well made film with a twist ending. It was a Sundance 2013 World Dramatic Audience Winner, and I can understand why.

The Way Way Back - It was really fun. It had an amazing cast, and I  was extremely excited to be at the premier with them. Toni Colette is always great it whatever she’s in and is also one of my favorite actresses. Allison Janney was hilarious! Coming of age films are just the best. See this film on a summer night with a group of friends. That is all I have to say about this bigger budgeted Sundance film submission.

Oh- and it sold $10 million.

Lovlace - Although Amanda Seyfried kind of annoys me (mostly her high singing voice), she did a great job portraying Linda Lovelace. The acting was great- but what was even better was the styling and design of the film. I felt it was very true to the era (at least my perception of it), and I would love to be the person to research and design the style of a biopic like this. It was also fun to see James Franco (he was in everything this year) and Adam Brody’s character was hilarious- especially in the ‘deep throat’ reenactments. For some reason, actors trying to act badly are the funniest to me. (think John C Reilly’s Dr. Steve Brule)

I would wait for this to come out on dvd or netflix or something though- and its probably not great for dinner and movie.

Fruitvale - Just see it. This was an amazing portrayal of a story that many don’t know much about- and the director/writer Ryan Coogler is definitely someone to keep your eye on. And he’s only 26! The acting is amazing- especially Octavia Specner’s performance. (The Help)

I don’t even know what else to say. It won the Audience Award and Grand Jury Prize at Sundance- well deserved.

The East - Directed by Zal Batmanglij, it is a thriller about a girl working for a private intelligence firm who is then asked to follow an anarchist group called The East. The story twists and makes you question who the real “good guys” are. Includes an amazing performance by lead actress and producer Brit Marling. Ellen Page was cool- and I stood next to her in the booze line at the awards ceremony. So short!

Twenty Feet from Stardom - Another must see! Fun and insightful look into a few very prominent backup singers who have sung on more records than you realize. Directed by Morgan Neville, I was continuously amazed and enjoyed where the film took me. Great soundtrack (obviously) and energetic pace/editing. It was also fun to see all the performances and appearances. Nominated for the Grand Jury Prize, sold to the The Weinstein Company. Unfortunately the producer Gil Friesen died right after the film was accepted into Sundance- but his amazing work lives on in the film.

Upstream Color - I ran into the sound designer Johnny Marshall for this film at the Redtouch Media party- not knowing that this film would eventually win the Special Jury price for Sound Design at Sundance. He does great work! The soundtrack was amazing. The film itself is an experimental look into the connections we have with other people. When this connection is a real organism, the odd actions that the characters do reminded me of the mashed potato scene in ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’. Weird!

The film constantly had me trying to connect and understand what was happening- keeping me extremely engaged- an aspect that I feel the sound design had a big part of.

Also nominated for a Dramatic Grand Jury Prize.

The Summit - I need to see this again in order to have a good opinion of it. I felt like I was either too tired or extremely confused. I talked with a few other friends about it and some of of us agreed that the combination of language barriers, too many characters and too much information confused us. I almost wanted a character map to study during the film.

“On August 2008, twenty-four climbers from several international expeditions converged on High Camp of K2, the last stop before the summit of the most dangerous mountain on earth. Forty-eight hours later, eleven had been killed or had vanished, making it the worst K2 climbing disaster in history.” – IMDB

It sounds interesting though, right?

The editing was great enough to win 2 editing awards at Sundance- which I can agree with.

In A World - Hmmmm. This one was funny, but conjured up the same feelings I had for ‘The Way Way Back’. I felt like this was a fun summer flick. Fun concept, definitely memorable, but maybe I’m just biased because I like interesting/different films that aren’t in your normal movie theater. The type that you look for on Netflix, and if it has a Sundance award logo, you watch.

It won the Waldo Scott Screenwriting Award. I think I need to see it again and really pay attention to the script.

Don Jon’s Addiction - I saved the best for last. This Joseph Gordon-Levitt picture was amazing. Written, directed-by and starring Joe, is a great example of hard work that most definitely shows. The script kept me engaged, acting was superb (yes Scarlett Johansson really can act) along with the awesome pace of editing, which, IMO added to the film greatly. Gordon-Levitt is another guy who knows what he’s doing, and I suspect will continue doing great things. Extremely down to earth and believes in creativity. He would even hang out on main street almost daily representing his online collaborative project site, HITRECORD. If you’re creative at all, you should check it out and try to contribute. Some of the projects even made it to Sundance! It’s pretty cool!

The story has a great message, its funny, witty, and includes well seasoned actors Julianne Moore and yes, Tony Danza. It has an almost “Scorsese-ian” feel to it- and I love that.

SO, those are my thoughts on the films I saw. I would recommend that everyone either visit or volunteer for Sundance at some point in their lives. They really take care of you- housing (for second years and lucky first years), unlimited film viewing (when you’re not scheduled to work a 6 hour shift), food, parties, and amazing opportunities to network and make new friends.

http://www.sundance.org/festival/volunteer/

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Adventures

Sundance Cont’d

I apologize I haven’t updated everyone on my adventures at Sundance in the last few days, but I will soon!

I have had the chance to see almost a dozen films and I’ll share my thoughts when I have the time to do so.

In the meantime, please take a look at this work that is showing at the New Frontier venue at Sundance 2013.

http://www.antivj.com/cityscape/

http://www.antivj.com/empac/index.htm

Thanks,

Oscar!

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Adventures, Projects

Sundance: Day 2

It’s day 2 of my Sundance adventure! Warehouse work is mostly more of the same- delivering and stocking all print materials, signage etc. I’ve accumulated lot of swag already- so I may have to check in another piece of luggage on the way back! Anyway- it’s very excited reading all the buzz on twitter and seeing posts of people who are arriving this morning (Paris Hilton, Joseph Gordon-Levitt). I had the chance to see the premier of The Crash Reel, and sat in front of the director Lucy Walker (Wasteland). Sitting beside her was Ex-snowboarder Kevin Pearce, who the film is all about. I thought it was a well made production and had a great sense of pace throughout the film. Some really interesting connections were made and it was awesome to see them unfold. It was also really interesting to hear/see the reactions of Kevin and Lucy sitting behind me as it was the first time Kevin had seen it. I also saw another film called Toy’s House by Jordan Vogt-Roberts. He showed up dressed in a fur coat that gave me the exact opposite impression upon our meeting after the show. It was a fun movie with some great writing and awesome characters and cameos (Megan Mullally, Nick Offerman). I feel I would only see the film one time though.

I gotta go- but I hope to see the premier of Don Jon’s Addiction, Escape from Tomorrow or the new Pussy Riot doc!

Seeya!

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