Thoughts

Name dropped in a trailer for a film about a Werewolf Philosopher, a first for me

In what is now a first for me, I got name dropped in a trailer for a DIY film from NY based filmmaker/blogger Sujewa Ekanayake about a Werewolf philosopher solving the case of a string of dead art filmmakers turning up in NY.

Yes, in fact, that is the synopsis.

I received an early version of the film (was informed that some changes will be made) and sat down with it last night.

Again, I’m biased (see the trailer below), but knowing Sujewa’s work over the years, he reminds me of a living, breathing indie music fanzine from the 80’s-90’s. If you know anything about that time, you know that it was a labor of love, & it was the underpinning that drove that scene.

“Werewolf” never takes itself serious (its absurd comedy after-all), and Sujewa spends time through the Werewolf expressing his love for the things he’s interested in, centered around his influences, while imbuing the film with a workable philosophy that translates to the real world. It also has several legit laugh out loud moments sprinkled throughout.

This type of filmmaking is certainly not for everyone (long transitional cutaways/ long single take dialogue sequences/ a certain DIY wandering edit / no budget), but I can’t help but respect his drive and his passion for the scene he nurtures in it.

I think, in a different timeline, we would have had more variety of this type of work, but the indie film world never shaped up like the indie music scene; still, we have Sujewa keeping the fanzine alive with his particular vision.

“Werewolf Ninja Philosopher” is playing Oct 25-31st at 7pm at the Maysles Theater in Harlem. You can order it on VOD here as a pre-order.

Things w/ Amir Motlagh Ep11

Slowly turning into a pod(web)cast, lol. This was longer than I wanted, but much quicker to get through on the backend. Still working it out. Fixed the audio drop-out issue, which is a weird Premiere Pro bug.

I have been feeling under the weather (not emotionally man!!), but pushed through to keep consistent.

This episode is more free flowing, as I go through some history of filmmaking in the last couple decades. Again, my preparation is next to nil, which is why so many important points where skipped over. The tradeoff is that I can actually deliver these in a weekly manner.


The Passing of A Friend - Things w/ Amir Motlagh Ep10

Was not going to do one of these this week, but then I figured that, knowing Chris, he would have been like, "fuck you dude, do one of these on me!" 

I just pulled up our last text message, in which he states that I owe him a Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles dinner. I can't seem to recall why?

Still working out some audio drop-outs, but I think I figured that out. If you're interested in getting your weekly (bi-weekly) dose of these, please subscribe. 

Christopher Ad Castillo: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm1779820/?ref_=nv_sr_2

Celso Ad. Castillo: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0145036/?ref_=nv_sr_1

MIRS video we co-directed on the set of his film LosAngeles7: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_lyA...

RIP Christopher Ad. Castillo

The Resurrection of THINGS W/ AMIR MOTLAGH

A long while back, I tried my hand at creating an ongoing Youtube series that I titled, "Things w/ Amir Motlagh'. At the time, I was so excited about the start of a new journey into a world that had been closed off to me, as I was driven by a singular, inflexible focus for many years prior. It seems so completely innocent looking back, but it was shaped by some heavy things.

My life was in transformation, largely from a new desire to learn, non-fiction literature, some meditative practice and a general flexibility and openness that I had shut out completely. So, with unbridled enthusiasm, I started a Youtube series (on my main Youtube Page that was primarily for film/art) that lasted a few episodes and disappeared. At the time, I decided to turn my focus inward and started subtracting and an ill-conceived YT show was an easy, superfluous thing to scratch out.

Since that time, platforms have changed drastically. While I prefer Twitter as the purest broadcast channel, I'm going to test out YT again, in a similar capacity, though with more headroom of course. As I talk about on the video, I'm not quite certain if I can actually add any value, but at the least, it affords another opportunity to speak out, instead of leave in. It's selfish. We all need a nice mix of both.

I, like many other filmmakers of my generation never pursued YT, as the platform is personality-driven, and demands consistency. With self-contained film, you make one or two (if very productive) works a year, and that is no way to build on platforms that demand consistency. Plus, I came from the school of arts that championed mystery, not transparency. Though at the same time, I like the idea of a community, and a bottom-up approach is the new wave towards prosperity & understanding.

Click the image, go to the video. As they say, please "like & subscribe"!

Anza-Borrego and the desert soul (soil)

i enjoy desert hikes in the night. the landscape & fauna take on a completely different character. the quiet, the darkness, and the enormity of the space swallow you up. we humans often feel like aliens, as if we were put on this earth, a separate from, forced to survive the inhospitable. the desert represents that essence well. it is a faulty, modern feeling of course. we are as much part of the earth, as the earth is part of us. 30k years ago, a human walked on this very part of the earth, not feeling as distant to the soil (aridisols) as we do know. of course, this is a presumption, but, it's a bet i'd be willing to make.

below is the night study (anza-borrego 03.05.18 - 10:30pm)

IMG_1354.JPG
IMG_1353.JPG
IMG_1352.JPG

Double Feature Screening....

Looks like both the new features will be screening together late April. While MAN is locked, still working on finishing THREE WORLDS. My big aim all along was to be able to screen these two works along with CANYON in a single show. Basically, the THREE MARKS, TOO MANY SIGNALS series as one piece.

A long road indeed. Stay tuned. If all works well, I should be able to announce the location and date. One really big thing to note, it's not an LA show. We don't do arthouse well in LA :) 

MAN_poster_final.jpg
ThreeWorlds_Officialposter.jpg
3marks_Page_2.jpg

On Thin Skins & Dreams of the 21st Century Cinema

Any time I write directly about film as a 20th century media living in a 21st century world, people get upset. My feeling is that the emotion is tied to a sort of existential anxiety about identity and career, coupled with nostalgia for something we hold dear. I get it.

I love cinema. It’s one of my most beloved passions. But, massive changes are upon us, both on the business end, and even more harrowing, the loss of cultural influence of a media that has absolutely dominated the 20th century. But, if we are to keep this thing moving forward, we all have a responsibility to create a clear vision of the road ahead. This is not a community effort, which would be impossible, but an individual one which demands honesty, projection and ACTION.

What this means is that a) the content has to change b) the delivery of said content (don’t be hurt by the use of that word) has to change c) the form of said content has to evolve d) all of the above. Does this mean VR, does this mean 4D, or the end of the movie star and lower budgets, or does this mean something else all together. 

I often hear people complaining about the lack of interesting movies being made. The classic, “they don’t make em like they used to” phrase. Bullshit. If they did “make em like they used too”, we would collectively be bored out of our fucking minds, because we would still be stuck getting sequel 300 of ON THE WATERFRONT (and I love that damn movie). Second, and more important, a ton of fantastic movies are made every damn year. This is without question. There is no lack in storytelling. That is the easiest and laziest fallback to a more complicated challenge. One that I hear time and time again. You cannot make this argument without context.

The real problem is an existential one. A question of supply and demand, and of a now, classical art that is too frightened of the future and too in love with its past to break through the noise. What does this mean? Without experimentation, and I mean real gritty experimentation we cannot know exactly, but, if we continue along the same path, this thing we all love so much will go the way of OPERA. And when it does, the good ol days is all we got.

People often point to studies done years ago about how the cinema is as strong as ever. This is misguided, because again, supply has increased, demand has decreased, while ticket prices have increased. It’s a shadow show. The decline of the American people going to the movies over the years has fallen drastically, while at the same time, the growth of media has increased tremendously. This is why Hollywood bets on the tentpole comic book franchises, those giant movies with endless sequels and stories cultivated years ago. That is where they have a true competitive advantage for now. Scale above all else.

But if you aren’t aware of Moore’s Law and exponential growth, its a good time to use wikipedia because those massive CGI movies are not far off to being replicated at home, with but a few talented people. We are already seeing that stuff being reproduced by small teams and sometimes individually on Youtube. We are not on stable grounds, and nothing, not even the most beloved, is safe. 

Build the future, and bet on your vision. Cherish LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, but please, don’t remake it.

______________

article originally posted on Medium

of things which seemed impossible at first....

While doing a surface redesign of the site, I got a bit nostalgic when I ran across this item.  SHANKS AND THE DREAMERS "Instrumentals for Illegal Aliens" was the first bit of music I recorded as a conceptual whole, to be shipped out into the market. I did some soundtrack work for my film STILL LOVER, but the soundtrack was never intended to stand alone. The images drove the music.

The backstory to this record is one I will always cherish because of the many physical and emotional hurdles it entailed. It took much longer than a year to complete and I had no clue of the recording process. All of it was new.

And on top of that, I was completely self taught and didn't start playing instruments till later than most. At one point in my development, I was playing guitar for about 12 hours a day. My roommate at UCLA wanted to kill me, but he had no choice but to stay out of the apartment. I also surely skipped some classes, driven by my desire to understand how this damn thing worked.  

But, the recording process taught me a few lessons. One was that if you want something, you can make it happen regardless of the challenges. The other lesson was that setbacks don't mean anything in the long run. A hurdle is just a small physical barrier, or a psychological abstraction that is solvable. There will be many others to take its place along the way, but taken in small pieces, they don't amount to much. And they can almost always be defeated by ACTION.

Now, I know this isn't all that much, but for a kid who never had any musical experience, and without any knowledge of the tools of recording, I went from 0 to 1 pretty fast all because of a desire to try, learn, execute and ultimately, not give a shit of critical opinions. Because you cannot ship anything if your afraid of peoples reactions.

I'd love to hear your story. Send me message, and play this forward.

Also if you happen to need some introverted tracks to go along with your coffee, your creative work or a long drive, please pick up a digital copy of this ancient work (2007) right below:

4.00
Add To Cart