Slumdog Millionaire Disney Style

Finally saw Slumdog. Loved it, probably my favorite movie for 2008, even though I saw it this year. And I’m of course kicking myself for not seeing this in Toronto.

Paul saw it and said I looked like Jamal, the lead in the hot seat. My first reaction was, “There’s a movie about Who Wants to be a Millionaire?”

But I was sort of flattered that he thought I looked like him, even though after seeing the movie I think there’s zero truth in that statement.

However, there’s more truth in that I have been on Millionaire. At least the Disney version (which is now a Toy Story ride). Twice. In Disney World and Disneyland. Yes, I have some very fast fingers.

Here’s a snapshot my mom got before she got busted for taking pictures.

millionaire-2

Unlike Slumdog, there was definitely some cheating going on in this version.

“I think I’ll go with C.”

From the audience (my mom): *Cough* “B”

“Actually, I’m going to go with B, final answer.”

I was young, I could get away with it. Got all the way up to 32,000. Scored some pins, a hat and a shirt, which I guess are worth more now that the attraction is gone. Though doubling zero is still zero.

As for Slumdog, I was moved and blown away. Everything was great: the story, the style, the cinematography, the music. I’ve had the soundtrack playing on a loop for three days now.

I’ve been trying to find video and articles on the making of the film. Couldn’t come up with much, but bottom line is it was very guerrilla, go with the flow. They shot on location in the slums of Mumbai, hired local people to try to play crowd control a little bit, and used locals as extras. There’s some decent info in this CNN article.

The most interesting tidbit was how some of the crowd and chase scenes were shot with a Canon DSLR at 12 fps. The thought was people wouldn’t think of a still camera shooting video, so they wouldn’t stop and look.

*Minor Spoiler (Funny Story)*

At the very end, when “It is written…” shows up to answer how Jamal won, the person behind me says, “Of course it’s written, there’s a script.”

They then pulled out their iPhone and figured out how much 20 million rupees is worth. It’s something around $500k.

How to Make a Movie – Start to Finish

Jenny_Hicks-3

Just when I thought there would be a dry period of stories after I graduate ((More on this soon)), Thoth gives me a goldmine. I’ve been asked by a recent graduate to co-produce a short film she just received funding for.

This film (tentatively title Undercover) will be the largest production I’ve ever worked on. 26 page script, 8 days of production, RED camera, a budget. It’s sort of the equivalent of shooting an episode of The Office (minus Steve Carell and Jenna Fischer).

In the past it’s been hard to follow the filmmaking process when I’m working on 6 different movies, doing something different each week.

But this time I’m just producing, from pre-production all the way to post and exhibition. So fasten your seat belts, because it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Update: To add to the full process, I am now also the editor.

This post is an anchor post which will be updated with new adventures that are part of the Moviccino series:

Pre-Production

Production

20 Amazing Movie Posters

Movie posters are the main visual representation you have to get someone to see your movie. Most are safe. Some, however, push beyond a simple advertisement to a work of art.

These are 20 posters that dare to be different, all from films released in the past year or so. Be inspired and enjoy.

Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father

IMDb

Bottle Shock

Trailer | IMDb

Zack and Miri Make a Porno

Trailer | IMDb

(more…)

Jumping the Gun: 10 Future Cult Films

Perhaps it’s too early to predict which films gain cult status, but here’s 10 recent movies fighting for the honor.

Waltz with Bashir

One night at a bar, an old friend tells director Ari about a recurring nightmare in which he is chased by 26 vicious dogs. The two men conclude that there’s a connection to their Israeli Army mission in the first Lebanon War of the early eighties. As Ari delves deeper and deeper into the mystery, his memory begins to creep up in surreal images.

IMDb | Wikipedia | Netflix

Midnight Movie

As the movie starts, the kids heckle the black-and-white movie, but are jolted when the movies gruesome killer butchers one of their friends on screen! Caught between the world of reality and the screen’s flickering shadows, these unsuspecting viewers confront their gruesome fate in the locked theater.

Trailer | IMDb | Wikipedia

JCVD

JCVD Poster

Between his tax problems and his legal battle with his wife for the custody of his daughter, these are hard times for the action movie star who finds that even Steven Seagal has pinched a role from him! In JCVD, Jean-Claude Van Damme returns to the country of his birth to seek the peace and tranquility he can no longer enjoy in the United States.

IMDb | Wikipedia | Netflix

DeadGirl

DeadGirl Poster

Two teenaged boys exploring an abandoned insane asylum find a naked woman tied to a bed. When it turns out that she’s not dead, the boys must decide whether to release her or give way to the dark thoughts in their minds.

Trailer | IMDb

Singh Is Kinng

A small town Sikh boy turns into a sinister underworld gangster.

IMDb | Wikipedia | Netflix | [amazonify]B001I7HLTW::text::::Amazon[/amazonify]

What We Do Is Secret

The true-life story of Darby Crash, who founded the Germs and became a Los Angeles punk icon before taking his own life in 1980, provides the background for this gritty musical biopic.

Trailer | IMDb | Wikipedia | Netflix | [amazonify]B001ECDVIG::text::::Amazon[/amazonify]

The Machine Girl

The life of a young, Japanese schoolgirl is destroyed when her family is killed by a Ninja-Yakuza family. Her hand cut off, she replaces it with various machines-of-death and seeks revenge.

Trailer | IMDb | Wikipedia

Craig

Craig is left all on his own when his parents die in a fire; when he loses his medication, his world is turned into terror and fear.

Trailer | [amazonify]B001G9CNU4::text::::Amazon[/amazonify]

Adventures of Power

An epic comedy about a mine-worker named Power whose love of drums and lack of musical skill has turned him into the ridiculed “air drummer” of his small town. But when Power’s union-leader father calls a strike at the mine, Power discovers an underground subculture of air-drummers who just might hold the key to changing the world..

IMDb | Wikipedia

Detroit Metal City

Soichi Negishi moved to Tokyo to chase his dream of becoming a musician playing stylish, Swedish-style pop. Instead, he finds himself leading the death metal band Detroit Metal City, or DMC, as the costumed and grotesquely made-up “demon emperor” Johannes Krauser II. Although he hates the role and the things he has to do as a member of the band, he has a definite talent for it. Adapted from the hit Japanese comic book by Kiminori Wakasugi.

IMDb | Wikipedia | Netflix

Uber thanks to Becca for help with the list.

25 Movies About Music You Haven’t Seen

As the title says, this is a list of movies about music that you’ve probably passed over or never heard of. They all have some sort of cultural relevance, either about the piece of music history they explore or the film itself.

So when you have a free weekend and are wondering what to do, here’s the answer (you can even watch number 1 right now for free). Big thanks to Patrick who helped put this list together.

1) Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story (1987)

Possibly the only movie staring Barbie dolls. Soon after it’s release, Richard Carpenter sued the director, Todd Haynes, for failing to obtain the music licensing from either him or the Carpenters’ label, A&M Records. As a result of the lawsuit, all copies of the film were to be recalled and destroyed – as if that’s actually possible. The highly stylized film has been bootlegged and distributed via the Internet, and for your viewing pleasure, you can watch it in its entirety below.

Wikipedia | IMDb

(more…)

American Teen and How it Was Made [Documentary]

I loved this movie. It was by far my favorite film at Full Frame. I’ve noted before how I’m on the fence about going into narratives or docs. This proved you can accomplish both.

Following four high school seniors, American Teen was like watching all the best high school classics – Sixteen Candles, Fast Times, Risky Business, Mean Girls – but it’s all true.

The film feels so much like one of the above movies that I forgot these were real people, my age, that had a history before the film and a life after.

This main shock came when I looked at their Facebook fan pages and they had the usual ‘my life in an album’ pictures. This is just a testament to how well the film was made.

Hopefully this will be one of those few docs that will break its way into the mainstream and hold its own against the Hollywood blockbusters.

I really wondered how Nanette Burstein, the director, got such candid shots and access to these teen’s lives, so the Q&A was quite enlightening.

There were lots of pre-interviews and location scouting to find high schools that would cooperate. In the end 10 high schools agreed. They did a casting call to pick who they would follow.

They started following quite a few students, but once the school year and stories unfolded, Nanette was able to focus on who she would feature.

In the beginning the students were still getting used to having a camera follow them, so none of the footage was usable.

Eventually they got used to the camera, and a second camera crew was around all the time, allowing for some nice cutting. Nanette had a small camera on her just in case.

Some of the most intimate moments caught (like filming the girlfriend of one of the main characters cheating on him during a late night swim) were a matter of coincidence and being at the right place. There were a lot of times when the students didn’t want her filming, but what they thought was private didn’t really interest Nanette.

I did stumble across this photo, which looks like they had some serious toys for B-roll (and a serious budget).

I strongly encourage you to watch this any way possible. It’s on a limited theater run, and if it’s not playing near you, since A&E produced it they’ll be screening it.

And of course there’s Netflix. The only thing there isn’t is an excuse, so check it out.

[This post is part of a series about the documentaries I saw at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival]

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