World Cinema

Screening dates and events coming up for THREE WORLDS & MAN!

Our producer Charles Borg hosts IFP CHICAGO’s “Filmmakers Friday” on Friday, November 9th at 4:30pm where we present both THREE WORLDS and MAN, followed by a Q/A and mixer.

On November 14th, at 5:15, MAN screens at Tribeca Flashpoint Chicago at the “Screening Room” followed by a discussion.

Both events are free to the public.

ANIMALS Do Work

THREE WORLDS is HERE!!

You can finally watch THREE WORLDS on Vimeo On Demand starting now!  This is the soft launch, with many platforms coming soon including Amazon Prime. Though, being an amazing first adapter, you don't like waiting.

I don't want to say too much about the film, but it is a unique experience. Like my other film MAN, it benefits from putting the phone and distractions away for 90 minutes. Though, while part of the same series of works, THREE WORLDS is nothing like MAN on a structural/formalistic level. (if you haven't watched MAN, click here).

Additional info:

Three Worlds is a psychological science fiction drama that explores the three lives, or 'worlds,' of a man who undergoes an experiment that triggers haunting memories and alternate life memories.

Written & Directed by Amir Motlagh
Produced by ANIMALS, Amir Motlagh, Charles Borg
Director of Photography: Amir Motlagh

Starring:
Amir Motlagh
Samantha Robinson
Rey Deegan
Keaton Shyler
Gregory Linington

Editing: Bryan Tuck, Amir Motlagh
Original Score by Julian DW Brink

Sound Designer & Re-Recording Mixer: Stephen Holliger

1/3 of the THREE MARKS, TOO MANY SIGNALS trilogy.

Press Quotes:

"It's rare to mix rawness with beauty" - Marcus Pinn PINNLAND EMPIRE / ZEBRAS IN AMERICA

"It's always exciting whenever a distinct new voice makes itself heard on the indie landscape. Amir Motlagh is such a voice...."Honest and soulful" - Adam Schartoff FILMWAX RADIO

“There is without a doubt a definitive boldness to “Three Worlds”, both in its tone and aspirations, and it will certainly require viewers to lean in a little closer, which is never a bad thing…..a curious and
fascinating watch.” - David Fowlie KEEPING IT REEL

The experience of both films (MAN + Three Worlds) is one that any film connoisseur must have. To sit with an awareness of the film, and, an awareness of how you are watching it, is a surreal act that can only be described as “art.” Motlagh’s work is definitely a piece of art in the medium of film.” - Jonita Davis THE IRANIAN

 

THREE WORLDS pre-order is live!

Our second feature film for 2018 (Three Worlds) is now available for pre-order! Please show your support by committing early & locking into our lovingly easy pre-release rates. 

Available on Vimeo On Demand (worldwide) starting Sept 7th, 2018. (i think we'll let it drop Thurs ;) )

Premieres on Amazon Prime Video in the latter half of Sept, with a full digital rollout in the following months.

The full OST (soundtrack) by Julian DW Brink premieres on all music platforms Sept 14th, 2018.

This release marks the conclusion of the "Three Marks, Too Many Signals" series of works. 

PS: If you haven't yet watched MAN yet, now is a good time, after you pre-order this! 💚

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Synopsis

Three Worlds is a psychological science fiction drama that explores the three lives, or 'worlds,' of a man who undergoes an experiment that triggers haunting memories and alternate life 'memories.

Credits

Written & Directed by Amir Motlagh
Produced by ANIMALS, Amir Motlagh, Charles Borg
Director of Photography: Amir Motlagh

Starring:
Amir Motlagh
Samantha Robinson
Rey Deegan
Keaton Shyler
Gregory Linington

Editing: Bryan Tuck, Amir Motlagh
Original Score by Julian DW Brink

Sound Designer & Re-Recording Mixer: Stephen Holliger

Media Quotes

“It’s always exciting whenever a distinct new voice makes itself heard on the indie landscape. Amir Motlagh is such a voice.

honest and soulful.. ”

— Adam Schartoff FILMWAX RADIO

“It’s rare to mix rawness with beauty.”

— Pinnland Empire

““These unique experiences are made even more exceptional for their Iranian-American perspective.” 

...the experience of both films (MAN + Three Worlds) is one that any film connoisseur must have. To sit with an awareness of the film, and, an awareness of how you are watching it, is a surreal act that can only be described as “art.” Motlagh’s work is definitely a piece of art in the medium of film.”

— Jonita Davis THE IRANIAN

“there is without a doubt a definitive boldness to “Three Worlds”, both in its tone and aspirations, and it will certainly require viewers to lean in a little closer, which is never a bad thing…..a curious and fascinating watch.”

— David Fowlie KEEPING IT REEL

Film Pipeline Interviews Amir Motlagh and Charles Borg about the feature film MAN

This is a recent article conducted on Film Pipeline (Script Pipeline) about my latest film release, MAN. Both Charles and myself answer great questions posed by Script Pipeline about the process of MAN. You can read the whole interview by clicking here: 

Here a small snippet:
"Options and possibilities have opened quite a bit. Filmmakers tend to idolize the big names because they like the toys and scale that comes with moviemaking. Most of the time, that’s just a hindrance because it gets in the way of truth."

MAN is available on Amazon Prime (US/UK) and Vimeo On Demand (worldwide) with a host of other platforms coming soon.

MAN is now Available on Amazon Prime

MAN is now available on Amazon Prime (US). If you are a member, it comes free per that service. You can also rent or buy ($2.99-$9.99) if you are not a member.  (Amazon Prime UK is live as well)

If you prefer Vimeo, the film is a bit cheaper for both renting and purchasing. ($2-$7)

My simple MAN viewing guide - Be patient, watch in silence. 

Will be a guest on FILMWAX radio later this month in support of the new projects

As part of the promotional run for the 4/21 double feature screening, I got invited to do the popular film podcast, FILMWAX Radio. The episode should air later this month. 

My producing partner Charles goes in to film an interview segment with CHICAGO FILM NEWS later this week.

All in all, things are moving along on getting these films out into the public space. We have gotten several distribution offers (for the only film we are showing to companies right now), and are weighing our options.

My real drive at the moment is showing these films together since they are all part of the same series along with CANYON. But, of course, I'm flexible on this since this is not all under my control.

In any case, if you're reading this, and program film slots, let's talk. It's a win, win.

First teaser trailer goes live for our latest feature project MAN

Coming sometime in 2018 is my latest feature film, MAN. This is the first available teaser for the project. We are currently creating our release schedule though I have no estimates other than "sometime, 2018". If you'll make some noise about it, the sooner it will find its way. 

The film has yet to world premiere (working on securing dates/venue) although it has won its first award a little over a month ago at a private festival event (CICFF). 

This is 1/3 of the THREE MARKS, TOO MANY SIGNALS trilogy, which features the already released 2016 project, CANYON, and the forthcoming feature film, THREE WORLDS (also a 2018 release).

alternatively, on vimeo if you prefer:

Tomorrow is the LA premiere of "A DYING KING"

Tomorrow starts the limited theatrical run of my friend Bobak's documentary, A DYING KING. I spent a good amount of time on this production, which spanned many years. This was a real passion project for him, and never having made a film before, he took a giant leap of faith & unsurprisingly, saw it to the end. Most people will never realize the difficulty in completing an independent film, let alone a feature-length documentary. The amount of work just compounds & whenever you think you are finished, a whole new set of challenges appear. 

You can catch the film this week in LA, starting Wednesday at Laemmle Music Hall, Beverly Hills; Thursday at Laemmle Town Center 5, Encino. A New York run starts the following week and it will tour through several cities including some European ones.

The online release starts in 2018.  

Here is a link to the LA Times review:
http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/la-et-mn-dying-king-review-20171114-story.html

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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

The "BEST OF" lie....

A NEW YEAR comes, and with that a faux clean plate. But just before the dial switch, we were all inundated by a seemingly never ending orgy of "best of" lists.

Chalked with hyperbole and irreverence; blogs, twitter, magazines and online media outlets who endow themselves with "tastemaker" monikers espoused the loves of the year. 

Most of these lists where "best of" lists, and not the more truthful, "favorites" list. A big difference in meaning. 

Now, a best of list of athletes is probably measurable. And so is a host of other things in which quantifying makes sense. But in the arts, the only true purpose these lists  holds is consumerism or elitism.

Because, "best" is nonsensical in arts. Unless you specify it, and in that specification, it is quantifiable it is meaningless.

If best meant theatrical sales, than you have a measure. If best is "rotten tomatoes" ratings, then you have a measure.

If best is personal, than its favorite. And that's what it all comes down to. Of course, none of us has the time to view 30,000 productions, so, we watch the most accessible or ones that have been picked out. 

Best in the arts does serve a purpose. Award shows, to bring in more business. Or, helping individual careers to obtain more opportunities because of a certain popularity that comes with providing more value than the average. That's it. Nothing more. You cannot quantify the ephemeral, until you actually can.

the lusting after things beyond our control....

One thought of late has been about my relatively recent obsession with animation. Ghibli obviously being the crown jewel of the cinematic version, has my complete undivided attention, a feat of impossibility these attention starved days. My most anticipated movie this year for me, the one that really gets me excited is THE TALE OF THE PRINCESS KAGUYA, and the previous year was Miyazaki's THE WING RISES. 

That happened to be my favorite movie going experience as well. I was all alone in the theater. 

My reasoning can be in due part to Ghibli's scarcity. Miyazaki is retired, and Takahata I'm assuming will too. Takahata is in his late seventies. They are the last of the 2D master's and with them retired, the cinematic art form of traditional animation will suffer a great, incalculable loss.

I also feel that my obsession is driven by the fact that this process is so foreign to me, but such a specialized gift that is not aided much by other things in it's raw sense. It is an expression from hand to screen. And, I also know with almost absolute certainty that I can never personally draw a 2D movie. (However, I would be more than happy to direct. In fact, I have a concept ready to go, so go ahead and hit that contact button if you're a a visionary first, and a super cool investor second. Thanks.)

We often do storyboards in live action, then film it. The process itself is always a reenactment of something. A reenactment of life when we work in the pseudo realism tradition of today. One that is in love with it's scripts.  Of course, cinema is full of examples of people who strove for something else. The Tarkovsky's, Chris Marker's and a grand host of other's rejected this traditional Western reenactment for for something else. I only use these two examples to expedite this thought to page. 

Animation to me is a pure process. Of course, massive amounts of man power and time (often much more time than live action) are needed to make it happen, but in it's purest sense, it lives on a piece of paper. Less tools, less middle men, less technology and much more a translation of a dream.

 this is my favorite studio  logo....

this is my favorite studio  logo....



9.7.14 - 9.14.14 - THE LIST

Film list from the previous week:

1. Steamboy - Kazahuro Otomo 
2. Metropolis - Rintaro 
3. Battles Without Honor and Humanity - Kinji Fukasaku
4. Dodes'ka-den - Akira Kurosawa
5. Galaxy Express 999 - Rintaro (the film version)

This was an anime heavy month for me, as I had to reexamine the form for various purposes. The sensibilities at times are out of sync with what I personally enjoy, but in other moments and depending on direction, the works are spellbinding.  

Some of my favorite films of all time are "anime", although most of those titles fall unto the Ghibli team, which mostly functions in a separate category then "anime" in it's most common associations. It's almost impossible to dislike what Ghibli produces, but I feel hesitant to even write about those works, because to do so feels heavily redundant. If you don't enjoy what Ghibil has to offer, you're probably not interesting in movies in general.  

But there are some other anime classics that remain deeply integrated into my psyche.  The sheer weight of imagery in AKIRA, the collective works of Satoshi Kon, and Shinichirō Watanabe's Cowboy Bebop series are some examples.  Yes, these examples are generally the touchstones for the genre, but again, I'm far from an expert in this subject.   

 just gander at the insanity of this image....

just gander at the insanity of this image....


the future: a robot, the human....

Last night, towards the end of an intimate wedding, three men huddled together at the back of a fancy hotel courtyard, cocktails in hand, discussing THE SINGULARITY. An almost spontaneous conversation with very little pre-talk. Straight faced, and committed.     

Two days prior, in a small downtown bar, the patron and bartender sparked up several conversations. It was obvious that these talks happened quite regularly. As one conversation bounced to the next, THE SINGULARITY reared its once ambiguous head into the dialogue seconds before serialized Japanese Yakuza movies from the 70's.   

A week before this, in a large cafe with a direct path to the Hollywood sign, a man and a women, after a lemonade and espresso chatted about the robotic overlords; one part jest, one part contemplative certainty.  

THE SINGULARITY: no longer relegated to sci-fi dork-hood, or computer scientist savants and futurist with lots of time on their hands.  It is now part of the dialogue. Maybe not with the same rapidity as The Kardashians, but in enough minds to infer that it's manifestation is inevitable. Lets just make sure we can become friendly enough to make room, because our time as the top of the chain is limited.  As Douglas Rushkoff states, "I'm on team human".