Category: Inspiration

Alive in Joberg

Posted by – April 11, 2009

When I was staying with Kent in San Francisco a few weeks back I was talking about the doc style of Ghosts and he recommended the phenomenal “Alive in Joberg” by Neill Blomkamp. Blomkamp grew up in Vancouver but was born in South Africa, and makes great use of the style of movies made about SA and Africa in general.

When I got home I saw this great lo-fi sci-fi discussion thread referring both to Infest Wisely and Blomkamp’s short, so obviously I was meant to see it. There’s lots of interesting shorts on the thread, including others by Blomkamp, but “Metalosis Maligna” is my favourite. It’s a pretty amazing surrealist approach to lo-fi sci-fi, with the crazy growth on the x-rays giving the viewer a chance to imagine what the condition looks like.

Just typed up the notes from the brainstorming session and workshop we had last week. Some really great ideas to explore. I’m wondering what an Asian-dominated future will look — when most of my previous near-futures assume the continued ascendance of western-style capitalism, a more intense corporation-mediated reality. I’m also going to be looking into how people in India have developed their outsourcing foothold.

If you have any thoughts/suggested links or reading on this, email me or post a comment. And if you get a chance to read the script, I’m soliciting feedback until April 20th at which point I’ll be diving in again.

The Advantage – Complete Outline

Posted by – February 26, 2009

UPDATE: We have ditched this idea in favour of this one! Here’s my first kick at it. Skeletons are pretty plain and stark, but it feels solid. Feedback, suggestions, reactions encouraged via comment or email. I’m starting the actual script Monday. Speaking of Monday, that evening I will be at this event, featuring a trailer co-directed by our own Tate Young, if you feel like giving feedback in person! More

Dead Set and Slumdogs

Posted by – February 13, 2009

Colin recommended the excellent 5 part British miniseries, Dead Set. If I were you I wouldn’t read any further, just download it and watch it without any spoilers…

Ok, now that you’ve watched it, you know it’s a zombie apocolypse where the only safe house left is the Big Brother house. The main character is a PA on the reality show, and she’s recently cheated on her boyfriend and is about to break up with him when the world starts to end.

My favourite part with this is that the boyfriend doesn’t know and risks his life to meet up with her, taking boats and running through fields and losing friends along the way. The traditional “loves separated” thing so familiar in post-apocolypse movies is given a new bittersweet flavour. The most interesting part about this is that the boyfriend does eventually meet up with her, but they never talk about her infidelity because they’re too busy being eaten. So essentially, that whole element is just for the viewer and never has to play out.

The way it includes and somewhat critiques a specific brand of pop culture that must have been sanctioned at some level is something that Slumdog Millionaire does too. I enjoyed the cinematography in SM, especially the part where the little girl’s getting rained on outside the pipe where the brothers are hiding. Also of interest to our project is the fact that SM has co-directors, Loveleen Tandan and Danny Boyle. He promoted her at some stage, according to this. Pretty unusual move on his part.

Alley Tour Report, Culp/Picastro on Friday

Posted by – January 26, 2009

Seven of us braved the weather yesterday to go on a guided laneway tour led by cartographer and alleyologist Graeme Parry. We found lots of ideas in the nooks and crannies of the city & took some neat pictures. It was too cold to do the shooting skillshare afterwards so it’s been postponed to Sun, Feb. 15th, 1pm (weather permitting).

There’s another opportunity to meet up with some of the people involved with the lo-fi sci-fi project this Friday. One of the ideas we had to get musicians we know to watch a rough cut of the movie and improv along to it, and use the recording of the jam session as a soundtrack or soundtrack elements. That’s still something we’re curious about, and Jon Culp has a Super 8 screening that might give us a sense of how it could work.

Cutting between faded (“red shifted”) Eastmancolor industrial films, classroom-film curios, and Hollywood imagery old and new, the pictures interlock with the haunting semi-acoustic dissonances of local band Picastro, performing live with the film. Red Shift is a slowly disintegrating nightmare of utilitarian media gone wrong.

It’s a 40 minute non-narrative piece, however, so depending on how you feel about experimental film you might need to bring your patience as well as your $5 to the Trash Palace (89-B Niagara Street, just west of Bathurst). It’s this Friday Jan. 30th, 9pm.

Smart, Generous and… from Hollywood?

Posted by – January 10, 2009

John August is a guy who’s written a bunch of fantastical big studio scripts, and I just came across his website when he released a webisode he wrote/directed during the strike.

The Remnants from John August on Vimeo.

Don’t let the Reservoir Dogs-eque type treatment put you off, it’s 11 minutes of funny lo-fi sci-fi goodness even with the gloss of Hollywood connections giving it a slightly waxy taste. I also quite enjoyed his other lo-fi sci-fi directorial debut The Nines, and especially appreciate his sobering post-mortem on it. It reaffirms my belief that zerobudget is the way to go, as even Sundance-buzzed indie films aren’t making their budget back.

His how-to section is excellent, too.

Edit: Sorry, not Reservoir Dogs, Godfather-esque. Also worth checking out is August’s QandA section.

Skillshare #2: Shooting Up Alleys

Posted by – January 5, 2009

We’re having our second skillshare on Jan. 25 at 1pm. Want to improve your camera shooting skills? Do you have some skills you’d be willing to share? I’m thinking it’d be fun to shoot this trailer, though it doesn’t mean that’ll be the concept we’ll be going with. (It’ll give us some footage to edit for February’s editing skillshare.)

At 4pm we’ll have an alley tour with Graeme Parry, who gives tours like the one above and who Sean Lerner suggested when I was talking about making a movie with alleys. It’ll be an hour, and then we’ll go to dinner somewhere.

If you’d like to join us for some or all of the day, add a comment. Location is to be announced.


Posted by – January 5, 2009

I’d bet that a number of you have seen Primer, but for those that haven’t, it’s a great example of a low-budget sci-fi feature that was shot for very little ($7000 and they shot FILM) over a short period of time with a tiny crew (most crew doubled as actors), but made a terrific, suspenseful mindbender of a film.  Great inspiration, I’d recommend renting it.

If you want to know more, check out any of the following: — Good info on production, but contains some early plot spoilers.

I’m not a huge fan of the trailer, but it’s at:

The Boys From Brazil (1978)

Posted by – December 15, 2008

Bob suggested this one when I mentioned the Play’n concept. A nazi hunter stumbles across a plot in South America where the remnants of the Reich are implementing a socio-genetic plan using “the world as [Joseph Mengele’s] laboratory”. This might give you a hint as to what they’re up to:

A definite lo-fi sci-fi movie. This kind of plot could easily have slid into B-movie schlock, but it’s a good deal smarter and subtler. It’s not good enough to be great, but not bad enough to be funny — which is why I expect I hadn’t heard of it.

Bittorrent Link

Film Fort

Posted by – December 12, 2008

Winston Hacking, who got in touch to offer help on the movie, organizes a movie night that looks great called Film Fort. I’m gonna go to their next one on Tues the 16th (263 Adelaide West, Apt 404), maybe see some of you there!

TMFA Soundtrack

Posted by – December 11, 2008


I’d like to share this song with you. I’ve been working a job, a 9-5 desk sorta job. It’s not bad. I’m video editing, it’s a creative environment, the admin girls and I sneak dance parties when the boss leaves the room, but still I’m rattled. I find myself sneaking a read of the Time Management For Anarchists download… while listening to this track and planning my next move.