From New York City to India

The Corra Films team with The Dalai Lama on location in Dharmashala

In April we had the incredible opportunity to meet with The Dalai Lama and follow him on his travels through India.

The re-invention of Non-Fiction

“Carrère’s true subject isn’t evil, but rapture, its precarious presence in our lives; how it disappears, how we become blind to it, how we seek it, how we become its prey and how, if we are fortunate, it at last catches up to us.” – Wyatt Mason How Emmanuel Carrère Reinvented Nonfiction

 

McKinley Nolan at the Smithsonian

We are honored to announce that our film THE DISAPPEARANCE OF MCKINLEY NOLAN is part of the permanent collection at The Smithsonian’s new National Museum Of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. Tremendous validation for McKinley Nolan and the Nolan family and friends.

 

Filmmaker has some questions for Amazon

Corra friend Alex Ross Perry has an interesting take on Neon Demon and the current role of the art house theatrical run. “The art house is a layover you are lucky to have between your premiere and the film’s ultimate fate as one of a million options streaming on VOD,” he writes. This is the brief window where filmmakers et al try to make the biggest impression they can, with the aim of being recognizable when the title flits past on the Netflix or Prime screen. But is there a use for theatrical runs beyond a publicity stunt, or should we just be grateful that we can still see the stranger offerings from the indie world on the big screen?

Required reading: DFW on Lynch

“While I can’t help but respect and sort of envy the moral nerve of people who truly do not care what others think of them, people like this also make me nervous, and I tend to do my admiring from a safe distance. On (again) the other hand, though, we need to acknowledge that in this age of Hollywood “message” films and focus-group screenings and pernicious Nielsenism—Cinema By Referendum, where we vote with our entertainment-dollar either for spectacular effects to make us feel something or for lalations of moral clichés that let us remain comfortable in our numbness — Lynch’s rather sociopathic lack of interest in our approval seems refreshing/redemptive (if also creepy).” – David Foster Wallace, A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again

Summer reading, August edition

“Cassavetes made a film the way sculptor cuts stone or a writer writes a novel – responding to the previous day’s work, discovering new directions and possibilities, allowing his material to teach him. The way Cassavetes put it was that the more he worked on the film, the more possibilities he saw in it… As an actor himself, Cassavetes was a master at ‘making a scene’ to change the mood or get emotions into the place he wanted them. He adapted his technique to the needs of the individual actor. Gina Rowlands once said that ‘some actors need to be loved, others antagonized and others ignored.’ Cassavetes would adapt his directing method to the particular emotional needs of the actor and the scene. It wasn’t always pretty. There were screams and fights, stares and enraged silences. Cassettes did whatever it took: sometimes gentleness was the way to do it; at other times it might take harshness. He might make a scene by picking a fight with a crew member to take the pressure off an actor; he might unexpectedly call off the production for the day and try again the next.” – from “Cassavetes on Cassavetes”

From York to New York.

My name is Elizabeth-Valentina and I’m the new intern at Corra Films. I’m a student at the University of York (UK), studying Film & TV Production, so New York’s bustling atmosphere is a far cry from the vast countryside of my campus. I’ve been in New York for just over a week and have spent half of my time in movie theaters, taking advantage of the earlier release dates here in the U.S. Yesterday I went to see ‘AMY’, Asif Kapadia’s documentary about the troubled life of Amy Winehouse, which has broken the record for a British documentary’s biggest opening weekend. Kapadia uses lyrics that she wrote as a narrative map which reveals more about the inner workings of her mind than the archive footage and interviews. The film is remarkable and will captivate audiences, whether you’re a fan of her music or otherwise.

‘Getting started,’ new and old

This weekend, a real-people advertising classic was born with Hilary’s unique campaign announcement. Last name needed? I don’t think so. With that, let’s go back to another classic of real-people political advertisement – Henry’s campaign for Bill Bradley in 2000. Talking to real voters, chatting in the elevator – Bradley demonstrated his connection with humans by getting out in front of them and, you know, being a human. In an era of demon sheep and “men standing in front of red backgrounds,” it’s not something we see a lot of. But I think Hilary’s gamble paid off – you?

Kordale, Kaleb, and Nikon

We’re a Canon company, to be sure, but I can’t refrain from posting this beautiful Nikon spot from Kentucky-based director Douglass Gautraud. It’s a great story with sweet characters, well visualized and well told. What else can you ask for?

“Stand Clear of the Closing Doors, Please”

Here’s a short doc about someone you might recognize, although not by his face: the voice of the New York City subway system. A radio vet and Bloomberg News reporter, Charlie Pellett has made a living off his speaking talents, but perhaps his most lasting contribution to his city will be the one day of MTA work he did. The noticeable difference in clarity between his announcements and the ones on the older trains may explain why some people become voice stars, and others become train conductors – you can actually understand him! Directed by Vici Shaweddy.

Inspiration from a master

We all know the “Herzog voice,” whether it’s narrating the imminent death of a small penguin, answering yet another question about his relationship with Klaus Kinski, or reading children’s books aloud. A Tumblr genius has brought this trope to its logical conclusion with Werner Herzog Inspirationals, a blog of stock images transposed with “inspirational” Herzog quotes. Frame them on the wall, stick them on your desktop, just don’t try to tell me you’re not reading them with a lilting German accent.

photo cred Tumblr

Cinematographers in space

Here’s a beautiful video tribute to the cinematography of space, with images culled from 35 Hollywood and indie films, edited by Max Shiskin. But where is the line between an iconic image and a cliché? Is every space image an homage to Kubrick & Unworth’s work in 2001? Even the film selections that are narratively unique (my favorite, Moon, is well-represented here) feature the orbiting satellite, the lone astronaut going through the hatch into the unknown, etc. I hope this means we’re due for a good indie space film that twists all of these and rethinks them. Maybe a documentary?

A man, a baby, a beard, a…what?

Just in time to shave your Movember acquisitions, here’s a great short doc by the Williamsburg-based duo Blurry+Hinge. Luke is a young father who realizes his beard is getting in the way of his relationship with his daughter. You might be disgusted by his solution, but at least he (and his wife) seem reconciled. Watch here to see what he does. Is it just us or does it look a little like a merkin?

Farewell to all that

We are very excited to release the theatrical trailer of Farewell to Hollywood, coming to Cinema Village East in New York City, Spring 2015, and hopefully many places beyond that. Directed and shot by Henry Corra and Regina Nicholson, edited by Jeremy Medoff, music by Eben Bull. Enjoy!

A New Way to Appreciate the Old

 

From 1935-1944, the Farm Security Administration — Office of War Information (FSA-OWI) undertook the largest photography project ever sponsored by the federal government.  In order to build support for and justify government programs, the Historical Section set out to document America. The FSA-OWI produced some of the most iconic images of the Great Depression and World War II.  Through Photogrammar you can view the 170,000 photographs in the collection.  Using a cool interactive map, you can even search photographs in certain areas and see what life was like in your hometown back in the day.

Sabrina’s (not) Goodbye

As I sit here writing my final blog for Corra Films, my head is swimming with all of the memories, experiences, and unexpected adventures I had over the course of the summer. How do I condense into a limited space, all that Corra Films has come to represent to me? I think back to Henry’s advice as I began my internship, “jump in where you see a need, suggest solutions where you see problems, we are workers, not teachers”…I remember feeling more than a little trepidation, and thinking “what does that mean?” And now, as I come to the end of my internship, I recognize that those were gems of advice. The people at Corra were more than receptive in allowing me to jump in, and by doing so, I was given multiple opportunities to learn. I learned a great deal about the production and process of filmmaking, from the intricacies of telling a story, choosing a subject/location, lighting, editing & subtitling, to the practicalities of marketing and promotion. More importantly by being around the day-to-day environment of these “workers”, I learned about motivation, commitment, and balance in life. In my last week, and as a parting gift, Henry was kind enough to take me and the crew out to lunch. As I sat at the table on that beautifully crisp summer day, and talked and laughed with those sitting around me, I felt like part of a family. I want the people at Corra Films to know that I will always appreciate how they made me feel included, and all that they have taught me. By being exactly the “workers” that they are, they turned out to be the very best of “teachers”. Thank you, Corra Films. Though this is my final post, I will be following and supporting Corra Films for many years to come.

What is Change?

“Change is inevitable” -Jeremy Amar, Producer

At Dokufest Kosovo, Layla Baraké asks one simple question “What is change?”  Her beautiful portraits are accompanied by poignant statements from filmmakers, directors, volunteers, and audiences.  Although change is universal, it means something different for everyone.  So what is change to you?

 

To see more of the series click here.

Sabrina’s Penultimate Blog Post

It is hard to believe that I have finished my last full week as an intern. The week was a busy one, encompassing a range of tasks/activities. The sign painting I was working on for the food festival took a couple of days. Though this job did not allow for an over abundance of creativity, I spent a lot of time working on making the boards look polished and professional. The workers for the building were very helpful (especially Freddy, who bought and brought to me the paints and brushes I needed). Back in the Corra office, I was busy helping with research for upcoming projects, and Jeremy Meddof was kind enough to come in on Thursday to help guide me through the basics of the camera and mic I was to use to interview my grandmother. I ended up filming her on Friday, and am now mixing the audio and video. She was wonderfully open about her life, and I got some good footage. Having spent that time with my grandmother listening to her stories, I realized what a gift Corra Films gave to me by suggesting that I undertake this project from the start. Everyone in the office has been really happy for me, and they have encouraged me to share the film with them when I am finished. Check in later for my final post, dedicated specifically to the people at Corra Films and what they have taught me.

Unexpected Artistry

As a student with a strong interest in graphic design, I enjoy attempting to create more eye-catching presentations of rote material. When Henry asked me to create a “cheat sheet” of Kosovo for his upcoming trip, I did just that. To the left is one of the pages.  I spent several days researching it’s history, culture, key phrases/gestures, and even traditional cuisine, and I now might actually know more about these aspects of Kosovo than I know about America! In the end, I think I came up with a presentation that is both engaging and will actually help Henry during his stay. The team was very appreciative and encouraged me to use it in my blog. Henry also took notice of my interest in design, and connected me with the building’s landlord who asked me to paint 6 booth signs for an upcoming food festival. They are supposed to be simple signs with the booth’s cuisine country of origin, so I’m trying not to get too elaborate, but I also have no intention of making them just plain & boring. When I’m done, I’ll take pictures and you can decide for yourself.

Publicity in Motion

How do you most effectively reach your audience to promote a product, idea, or event? In the vast world of the Internet, what is it that makes someone click on a link? I’ve thought a lot about these questions in the last several weeks as I’ve watched and been a part of the publicity machine at Corra films for Farewell to Hollywood. Why are so many of my friends and I inclined to click on every Buzzfeed quiz that comes our way? True, through these quizzes I have discovered that: “I attract artsy people, I have a martyr complex, Pocahontas would be my Disney best friend, I have astral projection, I’m 27 years old, and I should change my hairstyle to an afro,” but aside from this journey of self discovery, why do I click there and yet often never read many of the posts on my newsfeed or the random emails from companies asking for some kind of support? How do you make what you are promoting stand out? I have been watching the Corra team hard at work in the last several weeks as they get ready for yet another round of screenings, this time at the Sidewalk Film Festival and at a festival in Kosovo. As I’ve sat putting stickers on hundreds of promotional postcards, I honestly feel guilty for ignoring those posts and emails because I now see how these amazing artists spend countless hours racking their brains on how to really get the message out there. It really makes me respect the success that they’ve had thus far, because watching publicity in motion I can see the company’s true dependency on the audience, and the vulnerability that they’ll always have because of that.

What I’ve Learned so far

You never really know what’s coming next at Corra Films. While I do help with tasks such as disassembling a tent put up in the office, and running standard errands, I also have been made to feel a part of a team in the more technical aspects of the duties at Corra Films. It made me feel included and proud to have been asked to subtitle Farewell to Hollywood, or to be asked to screen and give my opinion on some of their prior films, or to be a part of discussions on methods for promoting their film. So this week, I’d like to use my blog to write more in-depth about one of these experiences, and the learning I am taking away from these opportunities, namely, the process of subtitling Farewell to Hollywood. In order to subtitle this film, I basically spent 4 full working days continuously re-watching scenes. Not only did I have to work meticulously to get the timing of the dialogue correct, I also started seeing the film in an entirely different way. Farewell is such an intense story, but my job made me really listen to the words and not just get swept up in the emotions. While it was difficult to objectively study some of the most tragic scenes, I feel as though I really know the story now. It definitely sparked my focus on detail, and has made me actually want to tell a story. Thankfully I might be able to make that a reality as one of the editors is actually helping me with a personal project to interview my grandmother. I am excited to attempt to emulate some of Henry’s style & ability to really get the most out of the person being interviewed, especially since I consider my grandmother’s story really one to tell. More to come, stay tuned!

One Month in and still Loving it!

If you found my first post engaging enough to return, thank you, and welcome back! Now that I’ve been at Corra Films for a month, I would like to recap some of the amazing experiences I’ve had so far. When I started, another intern named Claudia (a rising freshman at Skidmore) was already working here. She showed me the ropes for tasks like researching to help publicize festival screenings and worked with me in cleaning out Henry’s office — shredding about 7 garbage bags full of old files, pitches, scripts, you name it. Along with completing similar tasks, we also got to take part in some really fun and exciting events. We all cheered on USA against Belgium during the World Cup craze, bonding over some American burgers and some Association football (Wikipedia’s hip term for “soccer”). We also got to help work on a commercial pitch, which involved location scouting, “modeling”, and scooter shopping (naturally the best prop for a shoot). Neither of us had professional photos taken of us before, but despite my nerves and lack of posing knowledge, I thought it was pretty cool. Now, even though I am the sole intern, I am happy to say that valued memories continue to be made, and tremendous learning experiences/opportunities continue to be had.

Hello, from Sabrina

Have you ever been to Wonka’s chocolate factory? A place of wonder and confusion to you, with eccentric workers whom are wiser than you could imagine – and work extremely hard – but that often mask it all with goofy demeanors ? A place that you can see pushes societal boundaries and challenges the pallet. By the end you are so enamored with the factory that you never want to leave. My name is Sabrina Kleman, and I have sadly never been to this factory, but I happen to work at a place I would consider quite similar. I am Corra Films’ summer intern. I currently study Cognitive Science and Computer Science at Vassar College, with other passions ranging from graphic design to contemporary dance, from anime to games (video, card, board, you name it). When given the opportunity to have a blog on the Corra Films site, I was immediately grateful for my somewhat obnoxious desire to document almost every day of my life – whether it be in my journal or pictures on my phone that I keep mostly to myself (though as a youth in the world we live in I will admit to avid instagramming). After all, it was that sly documentation that brings you this small visual glimpse into the Corra Film factory, if you will. For now these picture will remain a mystery as the gates of my first blog entry close, but follow me and you’ll see more of this world of pure imagination.

Heartwarming

Elena Shumilova’s fusion of natural light and the world around her creates stunning photography that highlights the heartwarming intimacy of children, animals, and their surrounding.  Natural phenomena and the changing of the seasons inspire the Russian artist, who prefers natural lighting as it “…gives visual and emotional depth to the image”.  Her charming collection of photographs is outstanding and accentuates the beauty of rural living.

See more pictures here

“You’re Not the Only One”

As Joseph Gordon Levitt finishes the first verse of a song, a chorus of hundreds ring out, “You’re not the only one”. Each of these chorus members, whether they’re professionals, amateurs, or just a person singing on their bed, are collaborators on the new show, hitRECord on TV. Though narrated by JGL, each segment is a collaboration of music, video, art, and story by anyone daring enough to submit their work to Levitt’s production company, hitRECord. A counter aptly depicts how many contributors there are in each segment and further promotes the ambition of the project. The collaborative aspect may be different than your average Hollywood production but isn’t that what art is about? It certainly doesn’t detract from the beautiful story about the first time a woman saw the stars nor from the delightful cartoon about Music defeating its enemy, Silence. The contemplative segment on the macro organisms, the Pando Forest and the honey mushroom, brings up a very important question. Human beings are 99.9% genetically identical- so if we’re kind of like one single living organism than what kind are we- the life sucking mushroom kind or the harmonious forest kind?

How To Non-Interview a Film Subject

1. Be the cameraman and interviewer and the soundman all at once.  They feel sorry for you having to wrangle all that equipment and trying to talk at the same time.

2. Bumble a lot too.  This also invokes sympathy.  They want to help you and – in fact  – you really need it.

3. Never ask questions.  Babble about yourself incessantly so your subject can’t get a word in edgewise. They will wonder if you are ok – which you aren’t – and try to calm YOU down – then they will become slightly annoyed.

4. Now a collaboration has begun.

5. If your subject seems nervous drape your leg or foot nonchalantly over a table or chair.  It ‘s confusing (especially to Europeans) but disarming and cute.

6. If this doesn’t work take off your shoes and plop a bare foot right up near them and rub your face a lot– now they are sure to reveal themselves.

7. Once they finally do start talking go silent… don’t utter a word.  Let your silence be deafening.  The pregnant pauses are priceless and cinematic. They will sense this.

8. From awkwardness comes grace.

9. From grace comes revelation.

10. From revelation comes collaboration anew.

11. Never apologize for intruding. Be proud that you are creating a great work of art together.

-Henry Corra

and I like you a lot

Inspiration comes from all places – especially a South African rap-rave band’s collaboration with longtime photographer Roger Ballen. The new book “Roger Ballen: Die Antwoord” is a collection of his photos of the band that later became a part of their viral video hit “I Fink You Freeky,” plus an still photography exhibition, plus your subconcious for all of 2012. Henry says, “This is a true inspiration of B&W photography, lighting, casting, art direction, styling, lensing hair, make-up, EVERYTHING. Now I know it’s nothing like what we want to do, but the attention to detail and artistry (freakiness aside) are astounding.” Or maybe freakiness especially?

Do What You Love.

How often do we hear that? Do what you love. Do you ever take it to heart? Listen to Hal Lasko tell his story of how he became a “Microsoft Paint” painter – virtually creating pictures from scratch. Hal began his virtual painting career as he was becoming blind, losing sight of details and instead seeing blobs of color. But in his paintings, you are able to see every tiny detail and individual pixel. And in his eyes, you can see Hal’s deep passion for this unique form of art. Watch this short visual narrative directed by Josh Bogdan and Ryan Lasko.

Love, bravery, & magic at Rockaway Beach

This is a deliciously tight and compressed example of Living Cinema in action. If you look at the first shot of me alone on the beach left out of the young ones fun circle. Within two minutes the group was enlisted in the proposition of collaborating on not just a snap but an “important” work of art together! Something new and beautiful and full of meaning. Barely a word was spoken. It happened spontaneously through body language and quick glances – but somehow everyone “knew” we were participating in a magical process together. Everything I do is a kind of conditioning process to be ready when these living moments that can never be repeated present themselves. – Henry Corra

One question for…David Greg Harth

Question: A lot of your current projects have to do with experiences (making them, having them, documenting them) – how does that translate to your life? Is everything you do or enjoy fair game for a future project? Is anything off limits?

Answer: It seems a lot of my work requires the participation of someone else in order for the work to exist. It seems like my life has become art. Or art has become my life. I’ve been carrying around this Bible with me for the past 16 years, that certainly has affected my life. When I started the photo booth project last year, I said I would do it for the rest of my life. It seems like everything I do, I do it for art. But I’m sure there are moments when I’m not thinking art-art-art. It’s just rare. Certainly not everything I do or enjoy is fair game for future works. My time spent with family I cherish for myself. My time spent with a significant other (when I have one!) is cherished for myself. But there are things, objects, experiences, in life that do inspire art works. I can’t prevent that. Love and lack of love inspire. The art world inspires. Music inspires. To me, there are no limits. But I would never automatically put another person in an art work or project without their consent. I do respect that.

David Greg Harth is the artist behind The Holy Bible Project, “Every Person I Know and Every Person I Don’t Know,” and more.

justice for all: BOOM

This morning i decided to get up.

I gave footage to kids to see if they mess it up.

Told them “justice is for all”, i lied and lied and had them pay the toll.

-de Talhouet-

What can Anton Corbijn do in one second?

In honor of the release of the stunning Waits/Corbijn book, here’s a Corbijn-directed curiosity: Smallest Shortest Film, which lasts approximately 1/27th of the time it takes to introduce it on this Vimeo clip. Produced with agency Kesselskramer for the Dutch postal service TNT, it is luckily more accessible than his new book with longtime collaborator/subject Tom Waits, of which only 6,000 copies are being printed. If only it starred Waits instead of Carice van Houten.

A true New Yorker

like i said, footage, New york, a clip that did itself as pigeons died on the metro, as i passed by not so silently. You wish you were here, but you’re happy you’re not.

Hundreds of suns under which to burn, making it a tragedy when there is no harm, fail to fail, succeed to forget, remembering the things that haven’t happened yet.

– an introductory poem from the French boy at corra films inc.

Composer/Editor strums on guns

Mexican native Pedro Reyes has taken social stance against global violence in his collection Disarm currently on display at the Lisson Gallery in London, England. After collecting inactive weapons, Reyes transformed them from instruments of torture to instruments of music, tuned and ready to inspire musicians including Eben Bull, composer and editor for Corra Films. Pieces of machine guns were used to construct a harp, xylophone, and guitar; a positive message that even the most terrible inventions can be recreated into components of peace. Click here for the performance

Have Any Morning Rituals?

Jason Kittelberger

I always spend the am with my dog and coffee. Then a workout before class starts and yoga yoga to center my mind with my body.

Jason Kittelberger
Dancer

NYC

Watch this now: Oma & Bella

There are so many things to say about this movie, but first, a confession – it completely did me in. You are warned. Two kicky old ladies (one of them is director Alexa Karolinski’s grandmother, or Oma), living together in Berlin, shopping, having parties, cooking, cooking, cooking – and dealing with their memories of the Holocaust, which they survived, unlike almost everyone else they knew before the age of 12. As Bella says, “Everybody became a bit modern. Not me. I stayed exactly the way I was.” These are the ghosts of war, truly marching on. Streaming now on Amazon.

Have any morning rituals?

Hmm, morning rituals:

Look in the mirror, tell myself I am one day older from yesterday, remind myself that I am living in New York City.

Korakrit Arunanondchai

Artist

NYC

A Visual Narrative

PORTRAIT OF ALISON STARLOW

By Forsyth Harmon

 

FORSYTH HARMON is a New York-based artist and writer. She’s currently working on an illustrated novel called The Woo. She’s inspired by everyone from William Blake to Anders Nilsen. She spends most of her time drawing and listening to certain songs on repeat.

See more at
www.forsythharmon.com.

Have Any Morning Rituals?

Shower. Tea. Stare at yesterday’s work. Thinking is done here…
Steven Charles
Painter
NYC 


Wonder Woman Extrordinaire

Meet Kelly Thompson, our super Production Assistant who on Friday displayed not only strong navigational skills when she picked up a cargo van in Midtown, drove through evening rush hour traffic all the way to Eastern Lights in Brooklyn and then back over the bridge to Xeno Lights in lower Manhattan, but also a bold  style. Just look at her peter-pan collared plaid shirt and daring red pants!

Have Any Morning Rituals?

I just spring out of bed every morning full of hope and possibility. The day becomes more and more chaotic and crazy. Most days are fun and hilarious and other days are tragic.

Henry Corra
Filmmaker

Tess & Kramer–Bringing the Past to the Present

Things to Come, is a live sound and visual collaboration between Kramer, a pioneer of NYC’S  down town avant-garde music scene and his daughter Tess. She’ll be 21 next month, and is studying film at NYU, (but was only 16 for the making of this piece). The duo designed their work for musical improvisation which measures and comments on the nature of both the live environment and the video projection.

Tess sought out horror and sci-fi imagery, imagery that she vigorously diluted and amplified until arriving at its weightlessness. The resulting piece guides viewers/ listeners toward accepting the “feedback loop developing in the performance space and entering an unfamiliar state in which their own respective pasts emerge and disolve chromatically,” according to Kramer.

PASSWORD SALAD

Felix Aarts, a Dutch multimedia artist, explores the visual form and function of language. Aarts arranges letters, words or phrases of disparate Indo-European origins on found material, canvas, and most recently paper.

Weekly Weekend

During Beethoven the other day

Inner peace was too destructive

Fuck you was not the right word

If sex were weird I would be a nerd

The image is not talking

My chair is cleaner than my mind

The coffee cup has three rings

Ed Koch to haters: Fuck ’em!

I did a long in depth interview with Mayor Koch in 2007 for our film NY77:The Coolest Year in Hell. I asked him about his controversial run for Mayor in 1977 where opponent Mario Cuomo’s campaigners plastered the city with posters: VOTE FOR CUOMO NOT THE HOMO. This is his reply, never before seen. RIP, Mr. Mayor. As the New York Times says, he is survived by his sister but also the wonderful city of New York. – Henry Corra

HERE’S A CHARACTER FOR YOU

Eugene Kotlyarenko has a radical sense of the funny and an encyclopedic knowledge of film that serves him well as the writer and director of MOCA tv’s  first original web series, Feast of Burden. Born in Odessa, Ukraine, raised in NYC, this 26-year-old filmmaker is as endearingly absurd as his FOB personae, Jimmy Yukon.  Like his character Kotlyarenko loves Asian women and struggles with his plight of mid-20’s hair loss, though he seems less self-aware than Yukon and shows no trace of social anxiety.

The piano stands alone

From the New York Times’ excellent Op-Docs series, Anthony Sherin’s “Solo Piano-N.Y.C.” is a lovely, haunting short piece about the fate of one upright piano, abandoned on a street corner in Washington Heights. Fortunately, the corner is also Sherin’s, and this tribute is a fitting elegy to a nice-looking but unwanted instrument.

The video is not embeddable but please click through here for the short film and an intro written by the director.

NYC Changes at 7

Dakota, Jeremy Amar’s 7-year-old son, made this beautiful piece with our editor Jeremy Medoff. We couldn’t help but share his vision, and our amazement that his grasp of color codes is almost as good as ours. Inspired!

Stormy Weather

“Should we take this storm seriously?” I asked Joe, our post-production supervisor while googling the “Frankenstorm” that he had joked about at lunch. Ominous clouds roamed the sky. Winds picked up in the early evening. It was time to get down to bedrock and prepare for Sandy’s arrival. Annmarie, our associate producer instructed us to batten down the hatches. “Gird your loins East Coasters. Duck tape yourself to the nearest building,” Henry announced as he and Sam raced to return to NYC before the storm hit. All of us at Corra Films weathered the storm, unharmed. Our hearts reach out to the thousands of those who were less fortunate.

Netflix alert!

Floating around this week at Corra Films is ‘L’apollonide: Souvenirs de la Maison Close,’ directed by Bertrand Bonello, screening now on a Netflix Instant screen near you. This is what Bonello calls a “brain film,” and what we call “wisdom filmmaking” – an awkwardly intimate look at life in a Parisian brothel in 1900, focusing on the girls who make it all happen. Dirty, violent, glamorous, with an incredibly slow but rewarding payoff – it’s a completely contemporary story set in a different life. How have we never heard of Bonello before? Next up, I’m watching his 2001 Cannes winner Le Pornographe.

Privet, Yekaterinburg!

“Isn’t it wonderful how we find commonality and ways to share despite politics?” asked Henry Corra during an impromptu speech about the importance of culture at the inaugural Rossiya Film Festival in Yekaterinburg, Russia. The first American filmmaker invited to the former Soviet Union in 23 years, Corra screened two films: Jack and The Disappearance of Mckinley Nolan.

Although creative non-fiction narratives are rarely presented in Russia, Corra was pleased to encounter “sophisticated audiences,” at the festival that “craved thought provoking, artistically innovative work.”

yum

“It seems I’m filming my life, in order to have a life to film. Like some primitive organism that somehow nourishes itself by devouring itself, growing as it diminishes.” And with that, folks, we are on Instagram. Look out for @henrycorra, @gkilkis, @redactedap, and @joeviolette for the latest in us devouring ourselves.

Picture courtesy of Gulce Kilkis

I Don’t Know What My Life To Do With

Couldn’t have said it better ourselves. Steven Charles, breathtaking painter and “Artist In Residence” at Corra Films—-no literally, he lived in our closet for six weeks—has been showing his work (“I Don’t Know What My Life To Do With”) at the Stux Gallery in ‘Piping Down the Valleys Wild.‘ Steven is awesome, bottom line. As Art in America Magazine says, “it’s as if for Charles the act of painting is more like breathing.” A long time friend of Corra Films, he speaks with us often about his philosophies on life and on art, as he does in this interview with Elle. Charles has clung to a life minimal in expenses and frivolousness in order to make as much room for painting as possible. “I’m not married, I don’t have kids, and I never will. I just want to paint!” says Charles. Go check out his work at the Stux before the show closes on August 3rd. And to Steven, our closet door will alway be open to you.

Sigur Rós’ New Experiment

Whether or not Sigur Rós’ experimental music tickles your fancy, one has to admit the utter creativity this project suggests. Upon the release Sigur Rós’ new album, Valtari, they have decided to link up with a dozen filmmakers, each creating a film inspired by a track on the album. Receiving no prior instructions from the Icelandic band, some of the videos are campy and seemingly silly, while others are strikingly moving—all of them, however, are bizarrely paced as they play congruently to the chosen song. ‘The Valtari Mystery Film Experiment’ is a brilliant one as far as we’re concerned, but if for no other reason, check it out to see Shia LaBeouf at his best.

The Beasts Within

Like everyone else, we’re obsessed with Beasts of the Southern Wild, but if you’re reading this then you already know all about it, so. After some very minimal online digging, we now present director Benh Zeitlin’s 2008 short film Glory at Sea, lovingly uploaded to YouTube by the Wholphin dvd series. Filmed in New Orleans, it inspired the Court 13 film collective’s move to the Gulf, and you all know what happened from there. BOSW opens in New York on the 27th, be there.

The fine line between moving and boring

So, here’s the question: at what point does a melodramatic score and an epic voice over become overkill as opposed to deeply moving? Perhaps it’s when you’re talking about plywood. As a pro-DIY company, there’s something oddly satisfying about watching a short film on a type of wood that so gracefully caters to amateur carpenters (no pre-drilling? we can stand on it? awesome), but from a critical perspective, is this film moving, or boring? These extreme close-ups of pieces of plywood in a harsh spotlight, seem to fall somewhere in between poignant and a total snooze-fest. Watch this short film, ‘Love Letter to Plywood,’ by Tom Sachs and you make the call. Maybe I’ll scratch my idea for a short film on already chewed gum. Or maybe not.

I see Brooklyn in your future….

Starting June 14th, the Northside Festival can hook you up with a multimedia experience bursting with music, art and film. And as far as I can tell, it looks like the place to be for ambitious film-goers this month (does this sound like your horoscope?) They are showing over 65 films, including ‘Girl Model’, which all of us here are pumped about—looks fascinating. The lineup is literally packed with up and coming, must-see projects. Check it out here and see if it’s in the stars for you….

Weekend Plans?

Okay, remember that part in ‘Waltz With Bashir’, when a story is told about an Israeli man who feels protected by the camera he holds? Maybe not, but in any case, it reminded me of ‘5 Broken Cameras’ directed by Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi opening this weekend at the NYC Film Forum. The synopsis sounds heart wrenching, and reviews say nothing less. Looks like it’s going to be an important piece of documentary work, and one that may change the game with personal accounts of non-violent Israeli Army opposition. Watch the trailer and go see it.

All we do is win

While most of our crew carries around their Canon 5D’s and C300’s, CFI Production Manager Gulce Kilkis prefers a much lighter camera – her iPhone 4. We love her stills, and now, so do the iPhone Photography Awards, where she’s a 2012 award winner in the Lifestyle category! But the best part about this is looking back at the 2007/2008 winners – cameraphone technology has come really far. In case you’re wondering, Gulce recommends the Pro HDR and SnapSeed apps.

Cindy’s in the Centerfold

Recently at the MoMA’s Cindy Sherman show, the ‘Untitled Film Stills’ room was impassable (Cindy Sherman has groupies? Apparently.) So I was happy to spend some time with her later, lesser-known works – particularly her Centerfolds series. Commissioned by Artforum but never featured, they’re a re-interpretation of the kinds of images seen in other magazines – but awkward, embarassing, hinting at the kinds of scenes you would get from real women in a centerfold situation. Uncomfortable, but fascinating. Not going to make it to MoMA by June 11th? There’s a book, too.

Can you see my Tanlines?

Experimental pop band Tanlines has a new music video, “Brothers,” with a twist – literally. Shot panoramically in a small room, the duo lets you enter the room with them and rotate as you feel. Want to watch signer/guitarist Eric Emm sit on the couch? You can. Feel like watching Jesse Cohen wander around playing other instruments? You can. Want to ignore them and watch a different version of their video on the tv? That too. And the song isn’t bad, either. Check it out on their website here, the first video down.

The Sheik and I

Another big congrats to our good friend and post-production supervisor, Colin Nusbaum, whose film “The Sheik and I” will be premiering at SXSW next month. Directed by Iranian-American-Brooklynite Caveh Zahedi, the documentary was commissioned by the Sharjah Art Foundation in the UAE but never shown. (Long story, and you can read more about it in the Times.) It’ll be playing as part of the SXSW International Competition, but if you’re not in Texas you can find out more about it on their Facebook page right here.

The “process” of Louis CK

Pretty much the only person our whole crew can agree on is Louis CK (we mostly like him, and are jealous of his $2 million payday last month.) So it was enlightening to find an old post of his kicking around this here internet describing how he went about pitching and writing his Lucky Louie show for HBO a few years ago. He says:

“So you go off and take as long as you need to churn out a first draft. I think this took me a couple of months. Only about three days were spent actually writing. The other fifty seven were spent driving myself nuts while ruminating about what the show is and how to do it. That’s me. Some people write every day, just pounds and pounds of words. I do a lot of work in my head and then just shit it out like fast diarreah.”

You can check out the full essay here.

A million boobs, marching

We are tickled to hear this week about the upcoming “Great Nurse-In,” scheduled for this August in DC. We first dove into the world of breastfeeding rules and regulations while working on the Breast Milk Counts campaign for the Texas Department of Health, and were blown away to discover the many obstacles, from laws to dirty looks to meddling family members, that keep new mothers from feeding their babies the way they want to. As one annoyed mother/subject put it, “Do you cover up when you eat?!” We don’t, so we encourage you to check out the Great Nurse-In on Facebook and stop by if you’re, well, hungry for some truth.

Oscar season, once again

Congratulations to our good friends Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky (Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory) and Marshall Curry (If A Tree Falls) on their Oscar nominations. If we weren’t in love with Undefeated we might even say “good luck!” But seriously, best wishes to everyone on making it through a long campaign season, and we hope you all win, somehow.

Girl Walk // All Day

I’m not gonna lie, I think this is the best thing I’ve seen all year – in 2012 so far at least. It’s exuberant, super fun to watch, and one of a very few indie films where the people making it actually look like they’re having a good time. Also, it has exactly the plot :: dancing ratio that I always want from cheesy dance movies but never get. It’s presented by Gothamist, so you can watch the whole epic thing here. Also: Director Jacob Krupnick and producer Youngna Park will be teaching a Skillshare class at Grind this Friday night – I think I’m going! You?

Form-alism, with Lynne Ramsey

“There’s a lot of assholes in the world, you know? So you need to walk quietly but carry a big stick,” director Lynne Ramsey tells Tribeca Films. I won’t say any more about this interview, because you should read it yourself, but I know I can’t wait to watch this movie and see how all of her complex, sometimes-conflicting ideas come together on the screen.

We Need to Talk about Kevin is at the Angelika now, with more theaters to follow. You can find them here.

Agnes Varda, On-screen

This week we’re watching Agnes Varda’s Daguerreotypes, recently available on Netflix Instant (it was released in France in 1975 but never in America). The “Grandmother of the New Wave,” Varda’s doc focuses on the small collection of neighbors and shop owners outside her door on Rue Daguerre in the early 1970’s. It’s a fascinating cultural study of people who probably seemed mundane at the time, but they’re so interesting now because this way of life and these people no longer exist. Here, see an interview with Varda from 1956, discussing her first films and her directorial process.

“Whiskey Stones”

Love this short doc about Teroforma’s whiskey rocks, made with soapstone and the help of a cement mixer in Perkinsville, Vermont. Directed by Galen Summer; you can see more of his short-form work here.

Self-perception in gallery form

Carsten Höller’s work is first and foremost concerned with altering our basic assumptions about what we see, feel, and understand about ourselves.

Just got a chance to check out Holler’s survey exhibition at the New Museum.  His carefully controlled participatory experiences are at once playful, thrilling and disorientating, and leave you with important questions about subject/audience, expectation and perception.  Highly recommended.  Also enjoying the teaser videos that m ss ng pieces put together of the installation process.

Truth or Dare?

Conversation in the office today turned to Madonna’s Truth or Dare, one of my favorite 90s docs & currently streaming on Netflix. Henry’s take?

 

“As a film, it didn’t change history, but the juxtaposition of her family life, her family of collaborators, and this very slick spectacle of her concerts was amazing. As a character, she’s a wonderfully funny obsessed person.”

Gardens of Earthy Delight

A modern alchemist falls prey to a magic darker than his own. The Antichrist’s mother goes on the run in Spain. In his garage a physicist builds a tribute to his beloved.

Currently reading: this exciting new set of short stories by George Williams, a longtime friend and inspiration to us here at Corra.  A whirlwind of a read & thrilling to discover “At The Chamkar Café,” a story inspired by our doc, The Disappearance of McKinley Nolan. Read the review by Pop Matters & order via Amazon here.

Instagram in Afghanistan

Instagram, with its inbuilt network, ease of use and range of filters has quickly been gaining traction as the mobile photo tool of choice for those about town.  But how wonderful to see it put to such gorgeous and thrillingly unexpected use in a New York Times Afgani photo-spread by Ben Lowy.  The spread documents the everyday actives we tend to forget about when discussing ongoing violence in the region, seen through a lens that feels disarmingly immediate.  More pictures from Lowy’s Middle Eastern travels on his website.

HD: love / hate

This HD Pro Vimeo playlist by Carlos Molina just came to our attention as Carlos included our piece Kodak: Film. No compromise.  It’s a great, eclectic collection of videos from short films and commercials to behind-the-scenes interviews that exemplify what’s great, and what isn’t so great, about working with hi-def.

For the past few years, we’ve been shooting on the Canon 5D system, but we love shooting on film whenever we get the chance (the Kodak project was shot on their 7217 stock – beautiful, no?)

Like it says

This is one from the archives, but just as a reminder, no.   We’re all for artistic encouragement and collaboration but it doesn’t matter whether you bring us doughnuts, overnight it via Fedex from across the country, dump the file in my inbox or turn up on our doorstep – I do not want to read your screenplay.  Here, screenwriter Josh Olsen definitively explains why.

Short film to branded content: moving across formats

An epic piece of branded content for Sony, based on Arev Manoukian’s short film Nuit Blanche and set to the lyrics of Cohen’s A Thousand Kisses Deep.

Exciting to see how seamlessly the filmmaking and branding come together here – Cohen is a Sony artist, but really, if it weren’t for the logo at the end, you would never know.