News

"Meditations: ItsOkayItsOkay" to appear at FLICKERS

Pleased to announce that the third short in the Meditations series, “Meditations: ItsOkayItsOkay” will be appearing at FLICKERS, the Rhode Island International Film Festival.

We’ll be a part of their Horror series, our first foray into genre festivals!

FEAR FROM WITHIN: EXPLORING HEARTS OF DARKNESS
Saturday, October 19, 2013
9pm

Bell Street Chapel Theatre
5 Bell Street, Providence, RI

Hope my East Coast folks can make it!

Lay in Wait

Our Kickstarter campaign has begun! We’ve been working on this project for over a year and a half. Support independent cinema, support our dedication, support the creation of art in your community!

Check out our behind-the-scenes look at our recent 35mm camera tests!

“Meditations: Supper” will be coming to the Hollywood Film Festival next month! http://hollywoodfest.com/ October 19th-21st. Stay tuned for more details!

“Meditations: Supper” will be coming to the Hollywood Film Festival next month!

http://hollywoodfest.com/

October 19th-21st. Stay tuned for more details!

"Art of Missing You" wins West Coast Songwriters' International Song Contest!

More good news!

I’ve just been informed by our composer on “Meditations: Supper”, that The Art of MIssing You, one of two original compositions for the film, has won the Miscellaneous Category in the 2012 West Coast Songwriters’ International Song Contest! The competition was judged by an Executive Committee comprised of noted singer/songwriters and industry leaders. Past judges and Conference guests have included hit songwriters and producers Narada Michael Walden, Steve Seskin, Andre Pessis, George Merrill and Bonnie Hayes.

Check out the press release here:

http://www.westcoastsongwriters.org/press-releases

Prometheus

You’ve likely read many reviews already of Prometheus, reviews that are far more comprehensive in taking apart its many inconsistencies/plot holes/logic gaps. After reviewing so many of them myself, I’m convinced that I have little to add, despite the film being a bountiful harvest of such things.

But if you haven’t heard them before, here are a few:

The film ends exactly where it begins. Character motivation is manic and unpredictable. Dramatic scenes are clunky and result-oriented. A cheap theme is stated and restated constantly without any investigation of what the question actually means. The narrative relies both on creationism and evolution in order to work. Flamethrowers shouldn’t be able to work on a surface of a planet that has no oxygen.

These are all, of course, frustrating for a viewer trying to follow a coherent narrative. They’re fun to make light of and take apart. So then why do I feel so utterly disturbed by what I saw? Why is my reaction so strong, so vitriolic?

There’s plenty of successful entertainment that’s mindless and careless. What makes Prometheus different from Battleship, or a Transformers movie? What makes it so different, so much more frightening than those films? And why should we consider Prometheus a warning sign about the future of movies? I’ve been thinking about this a lot in the past 36 hours. Because the film scares the hell out of me, it really does, and not at all for the reasons the filmmakers intended.

Human beings are pattern-seeking creatures, and while I don’t think we’re always seeking harmony and balance, I do think part of what makes us who we are is our ability to organize, consciously or not, our thoughts and emotions. Categorize and differentiate. And this goes for mundane utilitarian ways of thinking as it does for our ways of creating and maintaining the meaning in our lives. I’m talking about emotional meaning, spiritual meaning. We create our truth, our right and wrong, through a development of instinct, through juxtaposition, difference, the inherent comparison that comes with an empathetic response.

It’s why stories can be thrilling, images haunting, emotions telling. Our ability to distinguish makes great storytellers and a great audience.

Prometheus’s narrative and thematic incoherence is a threat to film and art everywhere. Just think. It had to go through a long process and a lot of people to get to the screen.  Why didn’t anyone, during all this time, stand up and say “Hey, this doesn’t really make any sense.”? Why didn’t any of the reviewers call the filmmakers out on their bullshit? Why didn’t the audience walk out when confronted with such brazen incompetence? When tremendous problems exist in halfway serious movies, when they’re allowed to fly under the radar by not only the people who make them, but by the people who watch them, it lowers our expectations, our standards for art and culture and, ultimately, I think, meaning. The search for meaning is not easy, and although we might not ask a lot from our entertainment, Prometheus is not presenting itself as just entertainment. It’s venturing out in the cold, hard world of thematically rich and existentially engaging cinema, and it can only survive if we allow it. 

Every film sets their own internal logic from the very beginning, develops its own vocabulary, and when a film fails to follow its own rules through sheer negligence (and NOT as a deliberate choice), we have to stand up and say “YOU CAN’T FUCKING GET AWAY WITH THIS SHIT. THIS DOES NOT WORK. THIS NOT A SCENE. THIS IS NOT FILMMAKING.” If we don’t, not only will our mass entertainment be mindless, but so will our halfway interesting genre movies, our indie films, everything. A whole generation of people will grow up with this stuff, reference it, make their own homages signifying nothing.

This is not a just a message for filmmakers, but for anyone who cares about the moving image: be alert, be substantive, and be BRUTAL. We have to push back against this kind of thoughtlessness, this kind of narrative dissonance. We need to work harder to develop and maintain our perspective on the world, not just the particularities of what we believe but also how we articulate it, how we relate it to the world. We should expect more of ourselves, and more of our films.

"Meditations: Supper" at Woods Hole!

“Meditations: Supper” will appear at the 21st Annual 2012 Woods Hole Film Festival in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, held from Saturday, July 28th – Saturday, August 4, 2012. It is the oldest independent film festival on Cape Cod and the Islands.

From their website: “The Woods Hole Film Festival is an eight day showcase of independent film featuring daily screenings, workshops, panel discussions, staged readings, special events, parties, awards ceremony and more.”

For all of our supporters in New England, we’ll have more information on the exact screening time and place, and where to buy tickets.

Thanks for your support!

Cine Gear Expo Screening Tomorrow

Hello friends,

If you’re based in Los Angeles and missed our last screening of “Meditations: Supper”, you have a second chance at the Cine Gear Expo Screening series on May 31st. We’ll be in competition with four other shorts and we’d love to see you there!

It will be at The Studios at Paramount in Screening Room #5 at 7pm. You can buy tickets here: http://stores.homestead.com/GearExpo/StoreFront.bok

Hope to see you there!

"Moonrise Kingdom" - Meringue for Dinner

A few years ago, when I saw “Darjeeling Limited”, I expressed my concern that Wes Anderson was in danger of being entombed in his own aesthetic. I was wrong about that. By that point, he had not even reached his full potential, and he’s spent the past five years or so carefully crafting and refining the Anderson touch - carefully composed (and often symmetrical) mise en scene and camera movements, deadpan, reserved interactions (I call it “scenes delivered by telegram”), a delightful sense of wonder and whimsy (restrained wholly within production design and costume), and a pretty good sense of humor. I was wrong to think that he was pursuing a dead end, getting fat and comfortable in his own little indie world. I’ll be the first to admit I was wrong. “Moonrise Kingdom” is the apex of his aesthetic achievement. It really does tickle your senses. It’s sense of design and choreography is first rate, masterful even, and I’m sure it’s giving filmmakers everywhere a nice fat boner.

This makes it all the harder to admit how the movie is his biggest failure to date. For while he’s spent years and years perfecting the visual signature by which he tells stories, he’s allowed the emotional core of those stories to fester and rot away. How telling is it that a coming-of-age film about two young people running away together is so completely divorced of the romanticism that it’s supposed to evoke? We’re told the emotional facts of the film without earning them for ourselves: “These two are in love. It was love at first sight. They’re outcasts. No one likes them. Oh, wait, now they like them. They’ve had a sudden and completely earned change of heart.” We’re told this in deadpan dialogue, shown this in expertly crafted cinematography and production design, but never allowed the risk of experiencing it for ourselves. “Moonrise Kingdom” is supposed to have heart, but instead we’re greeted with a quirky drawing of a heart followed by a caption of what the heart is experiencing (drawn in nice calligraphy). It’s a nice drawing and everything but feels like nothing more than exercise.

Wes Anderson is fast becoming the pastry chef of filmmakers, with a certain talent for meringue, long served as a dessert, that we’re supposed to make a whole meal out of. It doesn’t matter how delightfully sinful and well crafted that meringue is. Someone ought to scold him and tell him that vegetables are part of a balanced diet, that they’re nourishing, that they’re fucking essential to feeling full and healthy. Someone ought to be the adult around here.

"Meditations: Supper" at NFMLA

It’s a been a big past couple of months for the Meditations series.

Last week, on May 14th, “Meditations: Supper” premiered at the New Filmmakers LA screening series. It was a pretty remarkable event. Take a look at some pictures from the event.

Jonathan Ade (writer/director), Alexander Paul (cinematographer), Michael Condro (UCLA researcher), Sylvia Loehendorf (actress), Ray Chao (producer)

Jonathan Ade (writer/director) and Alexander Paul (cinematographer)

Jonathan Ade (distracted) and Alexander Paul (confused)

Jonathan Ade (writer/director), Sylvia Loehndorf (actress), Alexander Paul (cinematographer)

"Meditations: ItsOkayItsOkay" begins its fundraising campaign

Hello friends!

We’ve officially begun the fundraising campaign for the third film in the Meditations series. Despite being one of our simpler stories, “ItsOkayItsOkay” remains our most logistically complex challenge to date. We could really use your support!

Thanks,
Jonathan