Tag Archives: xtinctfilms

Papa est la!

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I am a single father and I’m gonna let you in on a little secret…I’m Batman!

Baby-Doll_WithdrawalEvery parent, whether lone or in a relationship knows that feeling. You have to be everything and anything to this little person, you GET TO BE everything to her. The car breaks down, you fix it, a toy splits in two, you put it together, she’s hungry, you provide food, she’s sick, you provide medicine, she cries, you provide comfort. You hold your baby until she feels better and all the tears have dried up and her one toothed smile re-appears.
To her, you are the single most powerful being in the universe, the one with all the answers, the one who carries all her stuff like a pack mule, the one with the silver coins that are used to obtain goods and especially the one with all the tasty snacks.
Your utility belt contains calpol, nappies, wipes, breadsticks, petit filou, oranges, cauliflower cheese, brocoli, spaghetti and all the major food groups (that you don’t even eat) but for her, you provide everything.son_of_the_demon_by_axlsalles-d4v2i2h
Your biggest weakness is your heart, the way it breaks when she’s teething and you know there is nothing, with all your power and might, there is nothing you can do to soothe her, you can only hold her in your arms and share her pain. The only thing you want from God is to be granted the ability to take away that pain even if it means transferring it to yourself just so that your baby doesn’t have to suffer anymore.
Your neck stiffens when you’re at soft play and the bigger kids are running very close to her, nearly knocking her over, it takes every ounce of patience you have to fight the protective impulse coursing through every fibre of your being but you can do this, you’re a dad, her dad, you have to set an example.
You are the first man she knows, you are the unachievable standard that she will set for her future partner/spouse and who she will use as comparison when she sees TV dads & her friends’ dads. If you you are in a relationship, your daughter will see that as the standard of how things should be. How I treat that woman, how I speak to that woman, how I hold that woman will register in my daughter’s mind as ‘normal’, as ‘standard’ therefore Dads must be conscious of our actions and words, for our baby sees everything we do and will inevitably copy it.  She must not ever see a person undermined because of her gender or her looks or any other characteristic. Instead our daughters must see us celebrate the women around us,for their achievements, their triumphs but also during the harshest of times, when our partner is suffering, our daughters must see us holding them and helping them through it.
For that is the kind of man you have to be when you are a father. Your legacy won’t be the house/car/savings that you leave behind, your little girl can get all of that on her own, your legacy will be the way you lived your life and the way you treated those around you.
robian-toddler-damianI don’t fight crime but I fight other battles in everyday life. I win when I see that smile when picking her up from the minder after a long day at work. She doesn’t care for my suit, my car or my gadgets, she just needs me to be there. I am grateful to be able to feed and clothe my child and that she has not once seen me cry while I look at my bills and think of how I will cover them this month.
So dads and mums, treat yourself when you can, remind yourself of how good a job you’re doing and ignore those that would put you down.
You are Batman!
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Hoo boy! Its been a while.

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_20160816_114806.JPGWhere to begin? Its been practically two years since my last post. I’ve clearly been busy with personal and professional ‘things’. I joined a meetup group called lets make a scene last year and participated in a number of fun short films, I even got to act in a couple of them, granted I was typecast as ‘Thug #1’ but I liked it and made plenty of friends along the way. Some have gone on to make some amazing shorts, others realised that filmmaking wasn’t for them. We all got something out of it. Thank you Mandana for running a tight ship!

Set1The group was on hiatus for a short while but has now started back up with a new leader at the helm, I haven’t attended any sessions yet but I hope to do so soon. You can check out the group here: http://www.meetup.com/LetsMakeASceneLondon/

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Or have a look at our past films on vimeo: https://vimeo.com/groups/266496/videos/136675324

I also had a small part in a Tinder related short from the West London Film Group, it felt good to act again. I produced a short comedy written by Chris Waller: Counsellor(s) a few weeks back which is now in the editing stage (set photos embedded). I cannot wait to share that one with the world, Chris is very talented and I look forward to reading his future scripts. The team got along very well and we all hope to work together again soon. Thank you Chris, Richard, Ranmal, Tugba, Ed & Ed for a great shoot!

A la prochaine, les amies…
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What is happening with PFZ?

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Clipboard01How long does it take to edit this bloody thing? Our main edit has been completed for just under a year now. In order to fully realise our vision, we wanted to add some animated transitions between the scenes to add a bit more originality to the episode. The preferred method being rotoscoping, check out the Keanu Reeves and Robert Downey Jr film ‘A Scanner Darkly’ for an example http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4E9zMVocnys.
Rotoscoping on a budget is a right pain in the **** in that it takes a lot of manual effort to produce just one frame (there are 24 frames in a second of video). So for a five second transition, you need 115 frames and if it takes half an hour per frame, it would take roughly two whole days of work to produce 5 seconds of footage.
It took us a whopping 6 months to find someone who was interested in working that hard on a lo/no pay basis and the reason why they came on board is that they thought the PFZ story is one worth telling.

You can see our animator’s blog here: http://denisantanasblog.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/last-project-of-year.html

The talented Deni Santana has spent the majority of December working on our transitions, half of them are done and she is currently working on the other half. Thank to Deni’s dedication and creative flair, we have also asked her to be involved in creating the Title Sequence once the transitions are done. Deni is juggling our work among other paid work, check out her blog for more on her current projects.
To be frank, it sucks to have a great piece like PFZ in hand and not be able to share it with the world ASAP, sucks to have to spend so much time on post production, it is downright depressing when i think that we finished shooting this in 2012 and its still not out in 2014. But it will be done, we won’t give up.
I would like to thank everyone who has worked on this and is currently working on this on top of their full time job and family responsibilities, your help is really appreciated.
PFZ will be worth the wait.
Your’s,
Zaeem

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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.

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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.

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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