The Dublin 48 Hour Film Festival 2014

Got some good news today.  Back in September, my team, The Sessioneers, had a scant 48 hours  to write, film, edit, and deliver a film with three prompts in it - a line of dialogue, a prop, and a character as part of a filmmaking competition.  We were up against some great films, and they all screened October 7th.  Today I got word that our film, "My Mother Met Someone Who Saw the Ocean" won the following awards:

  • Best Graphics
  • Best Musical Score (to my wife Sarah)
  • Best Sound Design
  • Best Directing (to Rj Buckler - that's me)
  • Best Film

The whole team is very delighted, honored and surprised.  The other entries were so amazing we couldn't believe that we had won.

My Mother Met Someone Who Saw the Ocean will play against other city finalists at Filmapalooza in 2015 in L.A., and from there the top 3 will go to Cannes.   Great work, everyone!

Volunteer Ireland Awards

Recently I had the privilege of meeting Mary and Brendan Price of the Irish Seal Sanctuary.  They had a great story to share about their efforts to protect threatened seals in Ireland.  Mary Price is a candidate for the 2014 Volunteer Ireland Award.  For the event, I produced these nominee portraits.

(Click on the image to see a few selections)

Kyoto Firedancer

Overdue for an update!  While looking for a chance to use the new camera some more, I luckily chanced across a firedancer named Kousuke while on a trip to Kyoto.  He let me upload a part of his routine.  I enjoyed trying the 5d out in low light conditions.  

Robert Taira Wilson - Genes and Memes

I wanted to get my new 5d Mark iii some use the day before my two week trip to America.   Robert Taira Wilson, a musician from London living in Japan, gladly agreed to come play some songs on Nakanoshima.  Sean Gregor and I shot several of his songs at various places around the park.  I was very happy with this video (not edited at all), shot at that perfect moment when the sun decided to work with us.  

Filming the Magic Perfume Youtube Contest Winner

When I first began doing video work in 2009, I had a lunker of a camera - a shoulder-mount Sony HD1000U camera.  Shortly after getting it, my good friend and roommate at the time, Myk Martello (of the excellent Chicago band The Nothingheads) asked me to film an entry for a contest held by Charlyne Yi for the movie Paper Heart.  The film is an indie romantic comedy featuring Michael Cera.  She asked artists to cover the song Magic Perfume, which is in her film.  I'm glad to report Myk won!  He received an iPod and some other cool things, including a standing invite to play a show with her.  I still like this short and simple video, and really like his version.  

WEAPON by Imagos Films at Windie City Shootout

In 2011, a 72 hour film race started in Chicago, called the Windie City Shootout.  Entering was enticing: there were promises of cash prizes and cred in the indie film community... all with the stipulation it had to be written, shot, and edited within a scant 72 hours, including a prop, line, and location specified at the starting time.  It would all end in tumult and scandal, but that wouldn't be apparent til much later.  A film crew I was particularly fond of and had worked with before, Imagos Films, happened to be competing while I was back in the States.  They wound up producing WEAPON, which was ambitious venture for a three day race, including car chases, throwing a stuntman off a bridge, and copious amounts of blood.  During this time, I got aboard to help out however I might.  Here is the final product, in which you can see me as "Sullen Man". 

There was finally a two day set of screenings where a wide variety of filmmaking talents were put on display.  They were held at the newly renovated Thalia theater in Pilsen.  The films ranged in quality (I remember one was just a woman filming her cat for 10 minutes).  WEAPON won best producer and I think another award too.  A D&D musical entitled Role Initiative took top prize.  Enjoy.  It's genuinely funny and one that I really appreciated (as someone who played D&D every Thursday with the makers of WEAPON):

I mentioned earlier that the fest all ended in tears.  Why's that, you'd like to know?  Because the organizer of the event, a "Mr. Kenny Arron," was a notorious con man and there was never any prize money to begin with, as I learned one day, by way of coming across the winning filmmakers' post on Reddit.   My heart goes out to them.  I filmed an interview with this con man the first night of the festival and I remember my first instinct was that there was something up with him. 

A fashionable proposal

Congratulations to my friends Scott and Janet, who recently got engaged.  While I keep a busy schedule, some friends and I still made some time the day before the proposal to put together a last-minute guerilla-style proposal video.  The soon-to-be groom, Scott, who is a programmer, dutifully recreated one of Janet's favorite fashion blogs (Wendy's Lookbook), which she reads daily.  His recreated version can still be found online here.  I'm glad to report she watched the video, starring my friend Rory as a flamboyant fashion designer, and fell for it hook, line, and sinker.  

The mockup of Wendy's Lookbook, with our post inserted, for the wedding proposal.  

The mockup of Wendy's Lookbook, with our post inserted, for the wedding proposal.  

The video, which she watched unsuspectingly, features a new guest mens fashion correspondent, who happened to be speaking on the matter of black shoes worn with a gray suit - an issue Scott and Janet frequently deliberated.  The video can be found here:

When he appears in the video and begins eating popcorn, that's when real-life Scott was proposing.  I suggest skipping ahead to the last few moments.  And best of all, here is Janet's reaction:

Success!

Success!

Special thanks to Sean Gregor Creative.  I'm also glad to report the happy couple is heading off to live in France for awhile.  

The Sweeps - 1600cc Engine

For my first post, here is a music video I directed earlier this year for The Sweeps' upcoming album, Swift Armour (releasing 3/26/13).  Make sure to watch in full-screen at a higher resolution.

Many people who watch this video can't walk away from it with a comfortable meaning or interpretation.  While I don't want to explain it too thoroughly, I will say that I wanted the video to explore the pain and absurdity of lost realities.  And every day when we turn on the news, we throw away peaceful, true personal realities for loud, sponsored, nonsensical, and often outright false ones.  And I love to do that as much as anyone, but when we look back and find the falsity at the core of our culture and the worsening political and social inequalities, we might wonder how it came to exist.  I suggest turning to books, fact-checking, documentaries, anything with an attention span longer than 2 minutes.  And watch this music video again and again and again.

Special thanks to DP Justin Hutchins, Yohey Yamamoto (an Osaka DJ), and Yoko Honaga (a Tokyo dance artist).

Dawn Xiana Moon - Strong

This is a music video I directed in 2012.  I had already moved to Japan at this point, but was lucky enough to put this shoot together during a month I had back in Chicago.  Special thanks to the crew, and Imagos Films for helping with equipment.  Make sure to watch in full screen at higher resolution.  

At the premiere, some mysterious person claiming to be me did an afterword to the video.  Or maybe it was me, I can't remember.   I'm not the most confident public speaker, but I was happy with how it went.