Not a film review: Hitchcock

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OdinthumbI wouldn’t call this a film review, rather a random collection of  thoughts on a film I saw over two months ago. I hope to write more of these though, if I feel they’re any good.

I haven’t seen silence of the Lambs, in fact the only film I’ve seen Anthony Hopkins in is Thor. I’d heard of his legendary acting chops but hadn’t seen him in action. As for Helen Mirren, I’d seen RED, National Treasure, heard samples of her voice work but nothing of substance. I’d like to think that my being unfamiliar with the actors’ past performances gave me the ability to enjoy the film without thinking of them as actors but rather as the characters they portrayed.

Come to think of it, I haven’t actually seen Psycho, which is the backdrop on which this story is played out. We’re introduced to Hitchcock unceremoniously as he is coming down from the high of his latest release North by Northwest. He seems in equal parts a bumbling fool, an intellectual and a mischievous child.

I found myself distracted by the details put into the sets and costumes of the golden era of film. Studios were at the forefront of the economy, raking in the cash and creating jobs but film was still a risky business and studios rarely took chances even back then.

Hitchcock and Vera appear to live a nice cushty life in their mansion but we get a sense of unease in the marriage as Vera appears to be quietly suffering in the background but of what? The film misdirects us constantly when it comes to Vera, showing her as alternating between the stand that hitchcock constantly leans on to keep him going and as an adventurous free spirit who is always only a moment away from packing her bags and leaving for good.

Helen Mirren manages to convince us that Vera was as multi-faceted as her husband, and in a way, she was much Hitchcock-Helen-Mirren-Alma-Revillemore ‘real’ than the larger than life Hitchcock character. Vera was unwavering in her support for her husband but he was always too busy fussing over his leading ladies, fighting the censors, bargaining with studio execs to ever notice how essential Vera was to his accomplishments.

Hitchcock, ever stubborn, takes on the studio system when they refuse to finance psycho, he uses his mansion (re-mortgage or some other term that I don’t understand) to finance the film and he still manages to spend time ogling at buxom blondes. All the while noticing that his wife is drifting but he still chooses to focus on his film.

This is a biophical story after all therefore the audience wouldn’t be faulted for expecting a dull tale but the filmmaker manages to make the private side of the protagonist’s life just as exciting and thrilling as the bombastic scenes set on a film set (pun not intended) or within production/censorship offices. There are a few wink & nod moments but they’re done amusingly enough so as not to induce cringing.

Watching this made me want to go and purchase a Hitchcock boxset to see what all the fuss is about when it comes to his films.

Verdict: Watch it in cinemas if you’re into any aspect of filmmaking (acting/directing/writing/producing), otherwise rent it.

Hitchcock

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I’ve got mail!

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          A month ago I posted yet another ad on Mandy.com for a 2d animator, I didn’t have much hope as previous ads hadn’t generated any replies at all. You can imagine my surprise when I received 20+ replies to this ad. 20+ Applications to become PhatFyterz’s(?) 2D animator, that’s what I call a result. This weekend I will be going through the various showreels on vimeo and youtube and selecting a few for an informal chat.

Although I am pleased by the popularity of the ad, it is also concerning that so many of the applicants have around a decade of experience in the industry and are still struggling to find work. I suppose with the pervasiveness of visual media these days, a lot more people are interested in getting into that industry, demand for animators is short but supply is very high. I will be ’employing’ one of the guys/gals at no fee as it is a not for profit project at this point.

However, after seeing so many experienced artists out of work, it has renewed my interest in turning this project into a commercially viable one in the near future so that I can actually employ one of these people without the air quotes. What’s also cool is that the artists are from all over the place, some in London, Birmingham, Ireland, Spain and even Georgia! I didn’t realise mandy.com was so commonly used.

I look forward to watching your work and speaking to you all very soon!

Your’s,
Z

Creative Collaboration?

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I recently sat down with Goolshun Belut, one of the founders of the Old Mauritia facebook community page. We were shooting ideas back and forth regarding the variety of posts on the Old Mauritia page.

I felt that it needed more multimedia content to compound the amount of news links that were being posted. My favorite idea to come out of this discussion was that of producing short videos to hype up the community page. Creating a bunch of memes inspired by mauritian culture was also a strong contender.

Incidentally, two, as yet, unnamed members of Old Mauritia produced a short vidéo titled ‘Bus Beaters’. The latter is a transliteration of the ‘Battere Bis’ expression used in Mauritian Creole to signify ‘scroungers’.

They had unintentionally amalgamated the video and meme idea. Here it is:

Right,  so how do you follow that up? I suppose you could attend a Sega Festival and then sing (shout) at the top of your lungs: http://en-gb.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10152679912785385&set=vb.349501278499910&type=3&theater

A New Hope?

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OldMauritiaA friend and supporter of XtinctFilms recently started a small venture. And that venture is ‘Old Mauritia’. An old continent was recently discovered by researchers and it turns out that its sitting directly under the island of Mauritius.

Who knew?

A couple of people then decided to raise awareness about this discovery by linking to news articles on a website. What started as a news portal about the discovery soon turned into a rallying point for the mauritian community on Facebook.

On 30.03.13 a month’s worth of rainfall occured in just under 2 hours in the capital city of Mauritius, Port Louis. The flash flood caused irreperable damages to houses, stores, roads, schools and also took 11 lives.

Mauritius_flood_2013

Neither city nor country was prepared for such a disaster hence why public services did not manage to act on time to warn the population and avoid casualties. The death toll rose as the water subsided, bringing to light the extent of the damage. There was another light however, one which arose from within the people, in a rare act of solidarity, people from all communities banded together and started a clean up operation alongside government employees.

Flood1From all over the country, donations were coming in, food, clothing, domestic appliances and funds. People were checking on their neighbours, elders and youngers, the spirit of unity and patriotism was overwhelmingly felt by the population.

Mauritians abroad started getting the news, the OldMauritia facebook page was bustling with activity as the updates kept coming in regarding the flood. One of the OldMauritia team members was on the ground at Le Caudan Waterfront as the events unfolded. She managed to escape to safety but not before she took some striking images of the events unfolding around her. She was a changed person by the time she made it out.

The next day, she took it upon herself to post a short video about what she had seen in order to get more people informed. She then joined the clean-up operation and has been keeping us up to date ever since.

CandlesA candlelit vigil was held in Trafalgar Square on Saturday 6th April, attended by Mauritians from all over London and outside. It was a time for reflection on the deaths of our fellow contrymen and on what we can do to help our country in these dire circumstances.

It gives one hope to see us all united in facing this act of nature, I continue to hope that this unity remains, not only in the face of adversity but also in times of normality.

Un Mauricien avant tout,

Zaeem

Photos courtesy of http://www.euronews.com and http://www.facebook.com/OldMauritia

Discs out?

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Hey Friends and Fans,

We have sent out a copy of their best scene to the majority of our actors and the feedback has been very good so far. It has given us a moral boost in continuing the endless task that is editing. We did not find a decent editor in the end so we’re trying other avenues and looking for a 2D graphic artist instead so that we can add a bit of ‘zing’ in the scene transitions rather than sticking with traditional fades and zooms.

Should we not find one, what do we do? I guess we’ll be learning 2D animation then!

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Helloooo Nuuuurrrrssse,
We are very close to a working cut of the pilot episode, with cutaways being worked in for good measure. While we’re dying to show you the episode, there is still the not so small matter of color correction.

With that in mind, we have placed an ad on gumtree to find an intrepid video editor who would be willing to join our team and grade the footage.

 

Fingers & toes crossed, watch this space!

Z

Color Grading, anyone?

Guest Post – Samantha Sheratt as Allie

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Hey all, editing is still in full swing and going rather well, I must say. Here is a little post that our lead actress wrote during filming, enjoy! – Zaeem

“So. Phat Fyterz. I had the phone call last week from Zaeem being told I had just been cast as the lead character of Allie in the Pilot of Phat Fyterz, the new TV series.

My auditions were filmed by my friend on her iphone in some rather interesting locations (a secret door through the disabled toilets that leads into the pipe and storage room) so I was quite impressed my acting managed to be good enough to overcome the weird location and iphone camera.

After a colder than it looked rehearsal in front of the London Eye last Sunday, today we went to London Bridge to hang about in front of a shop and look like we were generally up to no good (again, definitely colder than expected).

I got to tell a man off for eating too many bananas (in the short time we were there I saw him eating 3 – that’s just too many bananas for anyone and who knows how many more he’d eaten before I saw him) Allie stole booze from a poor bespectacled man and also had a piggy back race and won, and I generally ran around trying not to freeze.

After a warming drink in a pub afterwards we sorted out all the shoot dates and watched the Wakefield Wildcats (my home town team) lose a rugby match really badly and also introduced Mo who plays Toby to the wonderful warming drink that is Baileys.

My fingers are really crossed that we get some of that beautiful sunshine back into our lives for the next outside shoot dates. Can you tell I don’t like being cold?!

Bring on the next scenes!-Sam”