Cinema

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 Reviews...

Here is a quandary. I don't subscribe to reviews nor read them. The good or the bad weigh  equally in my book.

However, they provide value to those who are interested. And, in my personal case, anything good that comes down the pipeline is a tool to possibly get others interested. And for that reason alone, I share the good that comes down the pipeline.

Our Chicago screening went well. A film critic from THE IRANIAN (Jonita Davis) was sent to review the films, and she had a favorable impression.

You can read the whole post here: 

Some take away pull quotes:

This was a film that turned the job of “watching” back onto the audience, forcing them to reflect on the things seen, heard, and felt….

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
3marks_Page_1 smaller_pullquote1.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

leaving projects behind or always finishing.....

I recently picked up footage from a shoot we did over a year ago. We had some hiccups immediately during post, mostly because the world we were going to build in the box was a bit too complicated and time consuming without a larger team. This was an in-house production, so we aimed high, but the cost analysis did not add up.  A little after that realization we actually continued forward with some progress, but life got busy and other important priorities took over.

Now, this happens now and again. Personally, I just move forward without the burden of the past. If the ship is moving, why hit the brakes?

However, deep down, I'm often bothered by projects left to burn in their own ashes. Mostly because other people put in the time.

This is different than long term projects that are continuous and take time because of aesthetics, strategies or just out of necessities. I'm specifically talking about projects abandoned. Nine times out of ten, these are just scripts, treatments or half baked ideas that get pushed aside for newer scripts; but every once in awhile, its actually raw footage being tossed. You took the time to write something, got people together, and you shot the damn thing, and without any hesitation, you just threw it away. 

But here is where everything gets tricky. We are in the throes of "content world" now. Everything counts. The golden goose, and the piles of trash. They all have utility, serving the purpose of fulfilling the highs and lows of our culture. The stream of life is not historical. The origin story is now. Do you have enough material to feed this voracious monster?

With that in mind, I just salvaged some visuals locked away in harddrive hell.  Conceptually, the idea has changed, I'll be honest. But, the adjustment actually makes more sense now, since it's more in line with a certain creative process I'm dealing with, NOW.

Here is a still from the upcoming MIRS TAKE AWAY visual. The record is two years old and the footage, recently rescued from the depths of a harddrive in Burbank California, is over a year old. Who the fuck would know if I didn't say anything anyways.

Visuals from MIRS TAKE AWAY

Visuals from MIRS TAKE AWAY



creatives in a world of more creatives....

It's hard to imagine sustaining the creative class as the numbers inflate and the capital diminishes.  But, we are also in the throws of the chopped hierarchical tree, in which a select few where given the whole share of resources and attention for their creative endeavors.

Length, size, genre, mediums, fidelity, production values are just some of the things that seem to matter less and less, as ultimately, attention becomes the trophy creatives seek, sometimes in the most desperate ways.

The death of the critical class is inevitable because the distribution of the voice is constant. An opinion is an opinion after all, and control of content doesn't exist.  What you ultimately get is the good with the bad.  Then this naturally follows, "what is good and what is bad". Nobody gets to decide for you anymore. 

a thank you to Roger Ebert.

I'm pretty sure everybody that has had, at the very least, a sliver of interest in the movies and the language of cinema has a story to share about Roger Ebert.  

Whether it was about influence, or insight, or passion, or disagreement, Roger Ebert was big time.  

He loved movies so much, that it's inconceivable to think of any figure in these modern times, to exhibit the same anti-cynicism and commitment to cinema.  Almost all of us are in a sort of ambivalent love affair with movies these days.  For all the never ending enthusiasm and commitment to reach higher, there is always the death knell, the Holy Motors sign off.  Which was quite convincing by the way (btw ya’lls).

Somehow, both views fit.  But, it is fitting and sad, that Ebert, along with the rest of the classicist have now passed.  These were figures of what can be now called, "the good old days".  And we can cherish that, because its history has been written.  A place exists for the past.  It has happened, and it was witnessed.  The future however, is always a place of uncertainty.  Anxiety is birthed from the unknown.  And humans, given a dose of evolutionary psychology, always feel mixed about that which cannot be controlled.

The beauty of Ebert was that the man always committed to passionate thinking.  He was not afraid.  Nor was he afraid to change his mind.  

At his older age, he became a king of new media. With twitter, he could troll with the best of them.  His stance against video games as art was legendary.  Here was a man, not afraid of the consequences of thought, nor its expression.  Nor was he scared of being bullied for thinking.

Bombarded by children angered by an opinion, he pressed forward with what I can only assume was a grin.  Remember is beef with Vincent Gallo.  The man didn't back down from insults.  A classic game of "yo momma".  And he did this with a smile.  That's respectable. That’s heart.  

And no other critic could circumnavigate the mainstream all the while, championing the independent quite like Ebert. Who will ever have that leverage?  Who will ever care enough?

What a sincere love of something.  It was poetic to witness.  RIP Roger Ebert and thank you.  My mother thanks you.  She loved you.  

See you at the movies; home theater actually, because we all know that's where this is all leading, right?

Video Killed The Movie (at least for today)

Video is the new mainstream form.  I've been saying it for a few years now, but as it's producers have gotten more savvy with technology and techniques, they can mimic, but more importantly, innovative trends and styles in the visual medium at a hyper kinetic pace.  This is why individual music video directors are not as sought out as before.  Because, anybody with some visual map can do it.  And they are.  In droves.  You get the good and the bad, but, you get it all.  And fast.  And new, and fresh.  TV anyone?

That in lies the huge challenge for Hollywood and feature films in general (especially ones that really on novelty and gimmicks).  The human appetite for novelty knows no bounds.  And video quenches that thirst weekly, for 1/100th of the price.  Plus, for its consumers, hell, it's free.

That's why, in some weird essence, a movie like SPRING BREAKERS competes with RiFF RAFF and his once a week music videos (the man who I believe is the genesis of the film, even if it be subconscious).  RiFF RAFF has been around for a few years, doing videos which are in the same spirit of the feature film.  For people familiar with his work, the movie feels tedious and outdated.

Of course, I'm exaggerating to make some point.  But, we cannot turn a blind eye to this phenomenon.  It exists.  Just today, I watched a well made, action POV music video that is buzzing the net. Comments include, "best thing I've ever seen", or "hollywood can never touch this".  Of course, this happens almost weekly and is a by product of internet hyper hyperbole. And, once the surface of the video is scratched, the novelty wears off quick.  But, the savvy generation has seen it, internalized it and moved on.  

You can no doubt see that this is where the wellspring of ideas originate these days.  And, by the time Hollywood or some indie director rips it off and places the same scene in a larger context, it's already old news for the next generation.  They've seen it, experienced it, and moved on to about 20 other new things.  This generation doesn't place the same importance on scale as they did before.  In the game of originality, who done it first is as important as who done it better.

For feature films to keep a footing in its proper place, it must rely on it's core strengths, that of unique storytelling, expression and originality no matter how difficult. The rerun, sequel game is not a long term strategy.  If it is, ruin is almost guaranteed.  Once the nerds turn away because there favorite comic book video game is better than the movie, well, then what?  You don't think that's going to happen?  

Long form films must also adapt to a faster distribution strategy.  One that keeps it fresh in a market that changes faster than a blink of an eye. Certainly not an easy task.

35 YEAR OLD MAN plays at IFF

Just got back from a short trip to SF to catch 35 YEAR OLD MAN screening at the 5th annual Iranian Film Festival.  I did miss my screening as usual, but catch the tail end of the program.   I meet Saeed Shafa, the festival director (he also runs a few other festivals), whom was a very cordial and nice man, from my brief estimation.  This has become a very literal update.  And, here is an obligatory picture from the Bay Area.

A nice picture, with a nice filter.

A nice picture, with a nice filter.

The Plans

With this newest website update, I made some commitments to myself.  One is that I will keep this journal section more active.  Before, I would only post promotional stuff, and with a bit of lazy infrequency.  I am putting an end to that by diversifying content.    

I want to keep it interesting, and document different things of interest.  However, it will never get political.  

Also, I'm starting the process of making another feature.  And my thoughts on this are that instead of keeping the whole process hidden, I'd also like to document it.  From this initial point of just finishing the screenplay, to all the other things involved in making it come to life.  Although, I am not sure where to stage it yet, but the most likely place is in the FILM section under CAMEL WEST.  That's probably a good place to start.  This CAMEL WEST journal will most likely be included in some form when the film gets released  as an ancillary addition.  On my journey, rest assured, no real names will be used in this ongoing journal until completion, and unless formally agreed upon, anonymity will remain a very important component of trust.  Coming from someone who's life is always described as "mysterious", this is a good time to change the habits, since, that type of methodology doesn't resonate with people in todays world of hyper sharing.

I also want to make these two journals separate from one another in content.  CAMEL WEST will only focus on the filmmaking process, and the one you are reading now will be more diverse in scope.  Although, I'm not sure that's the best way to go?  Got to ask around.  But, if you have a suggestion, I would love to hear from you.

Best
am

WHALE screens at the Indies for Indies Film Festival in March

With the DVD launch in progress, WHALE screens at the Independent minded film festival screening series, Indies for Indies. Indies for Indies is curated by Lucas McNelly, talking the freshest films from the Independent film circuit and screening them at the Hollywood Theater in Dormont Pennsylvania.


This is the perfect type of supplemental screening opportunity to further support my newer ideas towards releasing WHALE and possibly other projects. As I focus more towards the DVD and digital distribution options, screenings further support my main objectives. I am not relying on the festival first, then see what happens method. Those were my ideas previously, but as I spent more time finishing the project then I ever expected, I felt no need to further delay the existence of the film. Its here, if you want it, you can buy it. But, you can also see it screened if you are in the right place, at the right time. I'm hand choosing where this film goes, no blind festival submissions. Why lose money? Why not make money? The economic and industrial world we live in is a bit different, so why really on the same old approaches? Is it because it worked for so and so in the past? Well, fuck that, every case is different, time has passed, so I'm opening up to new possibilities, and so far, so good.


Also, another reason Indies for Indies is a fascinating case study, is that the festival proposes to give back some of the box office to the filmmaker. Now, isn't that a novel idea, one in which should have been implemented 10 years earlier. I applaud these types of positive approaches to the stagnate film festival infrastructure. Whether they work or not isn't the final question, but whether people have the initiative to try to do something different, something vital to resurrect a dying form which is losing younger audiences daily. Indy film will start to be vital again when filmmakers stop thinking they are Quentin Fucking Tarantino or Kevin Smith, and make work which truly speaks to their generations now. That's what was going on with Tarantino and Smith in the nineties. There was personalty, a fuck you attitude, a vision. Look at how loyal audience fan base were. Think about how Harmony Korine spoke to millions of young adults his age. People gave a shit then, they really did. And most importantly, it was the youth who admired the auteur. Nowadays, we lost them to Avatar and the newest Vince Vaughn comedy (not making a judgment on the quality(in fact i really was quite taken by Avatar), but on the fact that values have changed). Indie film nor the arthouse is hip anymore culturally, lets face the fact. But that doesn't mean that it cannot be again. Lars Van Trier proves the case, with personality, insight, radicalism, and again, a fuck you attitude. Hate the guy, or love him, you cannot deny the magnetism he draws on the form. He makes you go see the work. Of course, I'm talking about the little guys right now, who, if you support them, can grow into the next generation of filmmakers who speak directly to you, the audience. A stale, dying infrastructure will only drown the voices without peoples support.


So, get to work, and support films which speak to you. Support them the same way you support bands that you love. Go buy their shit, ask your local "arthouse" theaters to bring you new shit, make your own screening series of indie films at your local bar, or your own house. Indie film nights, coming straight to the couch. Buy some obscure DVD from someone you heard about, then invite a bunch of people for drinks and enjoy the night. Stop being a critic, a cynic, a negative asshole. Be good, be kind, be helpful. And last but not least, go see WHALE, or buy the damn DVD!


Whale screens:


Saturday, March 6th @ 4:30pm

Monday, March 8th @ 7pm

Tuesday, March 9th @ 9:30pm


For additional info please visit Indies for Indies and try the facebook fan page at Indies for Indies on Facebook