Amir Motlagh

Rainbow Season - The Film

While we initially wanted to release both Rainbow Season, The Album and Rainbow Season, The Film simultaneously, we (KidGusto and I) decided to stagger the releases, with of course, the record coming out first.

The last few years I’ve been releasing films with the records I produce, starting with the release of CANYON in 2016, though I had tried to do it with Spin Cycle back in 2010, but I didn’t have the infrastructure to execute.

Films with music is becoming standard practice to varying degree, and so with this effort, we tried to push that idea further, melding the experience between the two forms in a slightly different envelope.

The first trailer for the new feature length work went live today and we’re having a limited VOD soft release starting on Thurs 07-11-19, It’ll be available shortly after on other platforms, but we priced it to make it a no brainer for anyone interested in an early, ad-free experience. You can of course, buy it to own as well (DRM-Free). It’ll roll out to other platforms shortly after.

(ps: if you buy the film on pre-order (not rent), shoot me an email & I’ll get out the record to you in 320kbps mp3, DRM Free as a bundle. i’ll honor this through the pre-order period as a sincere thank you for the support ;) )

RAINBOW SEASON - Friday, May 24, 2019

TrueGrooves presents Rainbow Season, the Mirs debut full-length album, a collaboration with KidGusto available on all digital and streaming platforms worldwide on Friday, May 24, 2019.

Executive produced by Pejman KidGusto & Amir Motlagh (Mirs).

©2019 TrueGrooves / ANIMALS

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A hiatus, a subtraction - Things w/ Amir Motlagh Ep 14

Well, that’s all she wrote for the immediate. To be frank, and if I were to search a pattern, this particular “Things” comes and goes, and for now, it’s a go.

I’ve been very selective with my time for the past few months, as a set of project tasks demand more and more refined attention, which gives me two options. Cutting the excess is the one I chose.

Subtraction is an area of life we overlook, replaced by addition. We do more, instead of doing less. And doing less is where the asymmetries are found, because ultimately, focus is an act of subtraction.

So far now, farewell. Though, in place of this, other things shortly to come, with exponentially more use case.

Life, Like A Fingerprint (or: Why Ted Never Wanted To Be Marlon Brando)

In my very late teens, I took up acting by chance. I had been interested in movies (grew up on foreign cinema), and had no direction in my life (aside from snowboarding), and it fell into my lap in the way most things do. One part, get out of trouble card, the other, channeling the trouble. It was sort of necessary, however brief.*

One of my earliest teachers, Ted Jones (an alias) was a white-bearded man in his sixties. He had bit roles in several major movies, and did regional theater most of his life. And for extra money, he was a licensed taxi driver. He emphasized that the profession of acting was an ill-advised path, whether you “make it or not” and like many actors, he found the line of work accidentally, to get out of trouble himself. Nevertheless, he was good at it, and I believe he actually liked it. At his point though, he might not have had a choice, habits are hard-worn.

One day after some standard, silly actor exercises, while we sat in some weird meditative sit down position, while giving a lecture, Ted Jones blurted out tangentially, “I would never trade my life for Marlon Brando’s”. I felt he had ruminated over this many a time before. Marlon Brando was of course, at that time, and to this day, regarded as one of the greatest movie actors in cinema history (if not the greatest). This is of course, a consensus popular type of “greatest” because people hardly ever know what they are talking about when describing performances. But Brando was mythicized in acting circles, much of that owed directly to the hands of director Elia Kazan, most notable, when Brando played ex pugilist & has-been Terry Mallow in the exceptional film, ON THE WATERFRONT. The myth was solidified, specifically in one scene romanticized to death, that in which Brando plays with his co-stars (Eva Marie Saint) glove in a naturalistic, off- the-cuff, improvised way. To this day, there is neither a film school nor an acting class unwilling to sell you on the regurgitated magnitude of this moment, frozen in time. Kazan was certainly a sound director (a personal favorite), and one that became infamous in the black listing scandal during the McCarthy era, which seems to be in the zeitgeist again. Brando of course rose to fame prior, playing Stanley Kramer in A STREET CAR NAMED DESIRE, first on stage, then on the big screen.

Brando always disparaged his profession whenever given the opportunity (as do other well-known actors, possibly as a mimetic homage to other great actors, or possibly something more internal, though I don’t want to speculate), and barely prepared for his roles as his career went forward and fame overwhelmed. A story comes to mind is that he had a microphone in his ear, reciting lines feed to him over radio waves. Though, he certainly was a natural, and his naturalness was something we like to see on screen. That’s usually what differentiates actors that we prefer. Something about the personality and ease in front of a camera. The rest of it, the spectacle of losing weight or becoming physically something altogether different, those actions have a tinge of superficiality attached, though they make great press and help win awards. But that extra stuff often has less gravity then a mere smile, a face never too pretty nor too ugly, and a certain charisma we call star power for lack of the right words.

But coming back to Ted Jones remark - Brando’s life was full of tragedy. He hit the highest highs, and the lowest lows, and for Ted, life was more than a career. That kind of thinking is irrational, or rather, incomprehensible for a 20-year-old would be artist. Glory is after-all, the immortality that we seek. To change the world, blah blah, ego blah! But, we all learn of the tradeoffs of these grandiose illusions as time marches forward, and with every level up, after a brief period of ecstasy when going up, the psyche neutralizes and you deal with life in much the same way as any other period. There is a clip of an older, more mature Mike Tyson dismissing all his championship belts as meaningless. And a life filled with excessive tragedy and suffering, even when the highest peaks were reached, was too much of a net negative tradeoff when the macro lens was applied as far as our subject Ted was concerned.

Of course, there is an additional argument to be made here, one that we can’t skip over, one in which the great writer, & lover of the twitter argument Nassim Taleb calls an example of “sour grapes”. That Ted Jones, never achieving the status he craved consoles himself through an illusion, or rather, delusion to protect his ego. Of course, this is a psychological possibility, but also, a weak, projected judgement about the wants and needs of another human being, with another fate, and an individual path like a fingerprint, as valid as all others, and inseparable from all others. All of the upside, and limited downside is nice, but the universe is a trickster. (a side note here, Taleb has major distaste for actors and the acting profession, which is ironic in that it is the king of Lindy when it comes to professions).

Which brings me to this: the highs will bring the lows, and like a roller coaster, up and down it goes.

*Post script - I quickly found my way out of that career because the auditions I got called in for and the opportunities at the time where horrendous (terrorist shit). I had decided that my stories where essential & no one but myself could tell them (immigrant shit), so I moved into another realm, just a hop, skip & jump away. This trajectory is partly why I have such fondness for John Cassavetes to this day.

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

When you get your voiced dubbed because you lost your tongue

In May, I got asked to do an interview on a new show highlighting Iranian (American) artist/entertainers/entrepreneurs living in Los Angeles titled IRANGELES.

The shows producer (a real nice dude, Ben) told me it was for a London based broadcaster, so I figured it was BBC Persia. I was mistaken (no big deal though I should be more diligent), instead it was for a new Iranian Satellite Broadcaster (out of London) who I’m not familiar with.

In any case, the show went live on the broadcaster (just the other day), and I got a call from my father, signaling a bit of irritation in his voice. The back story is as follows:

Turns out, my cousin saw the episode (other side of the planet), who then alerted my uncle, who then called his sister (aunt), who then called my mother, who then told my father, who then called me to lecture me about my lack of Farsi. And why was that?

Because my Farsi has gotten so inarticulate that they ended up dubbing my voice.

Keep sharp the native tongue my friends :)

Below is the episode on YT which includes my segment starting at 12:04 in Farsi.

A meta episode in the vein of Seinfeld, not much happens - Things w/ Amir Motlagh Ep 13

This is all meta and in the vein of Seinfeld; nothing happens, and all bundled with 99% less laughs. Anyways, as I had feared before I revamped this, that bottlenecks would thwart my consistency. And, yes, they have. So, while I have been perpetually aiming at making these better, or rather, more value oriented & better researched, that has not happened. Will it, who knows? To be honest, it is what it will be.

Though, I do like to talk freely like this, so, maybe I’ll just keep at it. The volume has been increased as my friend Jonathan implored me to bump the gain knob. I noticed that I was mixing it at a volume that film dialogue would be at, and that is probably to low for the web.

What happens in these 7 minutes? A quick chat about the last couple weeks, the weather is spectacular and why you should read ZEN AND THE ART OF MOTORCYCLE MAINTENANCE by Robert Pirsig.

As always, come say hello and subscribe if you’re feeling generous, if not for these, but for all the other more important stuff.

With love,
am

Additional Screening Dates set for MAN & THREE WORLDS

After a great THREE WORLDS screening and panel (moderated by Omar McClinton) at VAiFF, we picked up two additional dates in Chicago to see the films screened.

We will be doing a “Filmmakers Friday” at IFP CHICAGO 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 Flashpoint Chicago at the “Screening Room” followed by a discussion. Please contact with appropriate heading to be included in the guest list for this event.

"Three Worlds" invited to screen as a "Festival Spotlight" film at VAiFF

Three Worlds screens once again in Chicago as a “Festival Spotlight” film for the annual VAiFF. Screening takes place at 1:30pm, Sunday Oct 7th at Fort Knox Studios. Producers will be on hand to take questions. Tickets for the event are part of the festival pass. Click here:

30 Days to Equanimity - Things w/ Amir Motlagh Ep12

In this episode, we talk a bit about how we can develop a practice to increase overall equanimity, and bring more peace into our lives. The episode functions more like a podcast (its long, pacing is slower which fits the theme), so if you prefer, drop in your own background music if it helps. I didn’t want to force you into anything.

This discussion has no political overtones, nor does it try to usurp therapy or other methods. It has worked for me after a long search and experimentation period and is very simple and extremely easy to implement into your routine. It has also worked for several friends who sought assistance.

What is important here is that you stick through it for 30 days. The science into the why's is less important than the practice. The practice and its focus are what will bring about an easier way of handling the constant stressors that is life itself.

The video also dropped out after a few minutes due to a technical glitch, and you are left with photos of doggos (Roscoe + Buckley), which again, made the edit more in line with a podcast, and less jump cut orientated. I think this accident made for a much better video in either case.

Have a lovely day.

THREE WORLDS Reviewed by Premier Arthouse Cinema Site PINNLAND EMPIRE

When you make art & you put it out into the world, it becomes a vulnerable time if you haven’t done the necessary work to detach. Essentially, equanimity is the only barrier between this raw period and the world. I seldom read or look at reviews, but this one was a bit different because I felt the reviewer got it (the essence), for lack of a better term, and that connection is wonderful.

So, when you got a moment, check out this THREE WORLDS review from the stellar arthouse cinema site, PINNLAND EMPIRE.

Amir Motlagh dispels some of the superficial stigmas put on Los Angeles while at the same time embraces the very real superficialities associated with L.A. (outside of Los Angeles being the epicenter of the entertainment industry, it’s a very cool city unlike any other if you know the right people).

And putting all Mekas/Malick comparisons aside, this is very much Motlagh’s own film. The movie is filled with obvious autobiographical content that comes off as genuine & organic as opposed to pretentious. That’s not an easy task with a film like this (ambient, sprawling, artistic and sometimes chaotic). A young filmmaker could easily get self-absorbed & pretentious with a movie like Three Worlds but that’s not the case here.

This will definitely require a second (or third) viewing. And that’s a good thing. This isn’t something to fully digest in one sitting.
— Marcus Pinn

Three Worlds Upcoming Screenings

Three Worlds” screens Sept 23rd at the Mockingbird Cinema, Birmingham UK as part of the B’ham Sci-Fi Convention Fest. Then back to Chicago, as the “Spotlight Film” for VAiFF Fest Oct 7th (location info coming shortly).

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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.