Posts Tagged ‘films’

‘Lifted’ Begins Production

Monday, August 17th, 2009

In 2003 director Lexi Alexander teamed up with Hunter Films to produce Johnny Flynton, a short-film that went on to receive an Oscar nomination. Now, Alexander returns to Alabama to shoot Lifted, a feature that centers on a young boy striving to make life better for himself and his family through his passion for R&B music. This production will be taking advantage of the filmmaker tax-incentive legislation that was recently passed by representatives in Montgomery. Hopefully, Lifted will mark a new surge in film production across the state.

The film starts shooting today and will run for the next three weeks. I will be on set for at least four days shooting behind-the-scenes footage that will ultimately be used in the film’s marketing efforts. Our goal is to capture the southern flavor of the locale and highlight the capable and talented Alabama crew that will be working tirelessly to see this film through to completion. Not only do we hope to promote the film as a whole, but we want to promote Alabama as a great place for filmmakers.

Bookmark and Share

Review: Public Enemies

Monday, July 13th, 2009
Johnny Depp as John Dilinger

Johnny Depp as John Dillinger

Throughout 1933-1934, the United States fell under attack not to any foreign power, but to a host of notorious gangsters. For 18 months, these criminals wreaked havoc on cities throughout the country, robbing banks and killing dozens. The individuals responsible for such acts would become legends in American folklore: Machine Gun Kelly, Baby Face Nelson, Pretty Boy Floyd, Bonnie & Clyde, and John Dillinger.

The film Public Enemies, starring Johnny Depp and Christian Bale, gives us a glimpse into the lives of two men, both headed on a course that will lead them to inevitable confrontation and infamy. In one corner is the notorious John Dillinger (Depp), “Public Enemy Number One” – a thief and a murderer at the height of his career. In the other corner is Melvin Purvis (Bale), the FBI agent given the task of bringing Dillinger’s reign to an end.

For those already familiar with the historical accounts of Dillinger and his exploits, the events in the movie will come as no surprise. Ultimately, this is Dillinger’s story and so the film spends much of its time focused on his actions. But its attention to the events comes at the price of character development. Insights into the man behind the legend are just as interesting as the historical facts, but this film provides only a few glimpses into Dillinger’s humanity. When we do see those moments, they are compelling. We watch as he struggles with the realization that gangsters like him are finite and that more sophisticated crimes make his bank robbery methods obsolete.

In contrast to the recklessness and charm of Dillinger’s character is agent Melvin Purvis, the man in charge of the Chicago field office. Bale’s Purvis is a man with razor-sharp focus and unquenchable determination. Although Purvis is mostly one-dimensional, we are exposed to his imperfections. His impatience often leads to errors in judgment, which gives Dillinger opportunities to esacpe apprehension.

From a story perspective, Public Enemies is a solid gangster film, not lacking in the type of action one expects from the genre. Its focus, however, mainly centers on historical fact at the expense of well-rounded characters. From a technical standpoint, the movie falls short. The video shooting format was not handled well in some places. Although it did provide some nice deep depth-of-field compositions, some interiors were flat and underlit, and I couldn’t help but compare some action sequences to re-enactments one might see on TV documentaries. Good film, but it could have been incredible.

6 out of 10

Bookmark and Share

Michael Bay’s PR Damage Control

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

For marketers and PR professionals, timely communication with your audience is important to maintaining a strong brand. In a world where news, opinions, reviews, and customer feedback is almost instantaneous, issues must be dealt with now, not later. You must actively engage in an upfront and honest manner. Consider the following story about director Michael Bay’s recent PR mishap (from

Never keep hundreds of people waiting in the rain for hours. Michael Bay, Shia LaBeouf, and Megan Fox did just that in South Korea on June 9. An estimated crowd of 600 fans and press lined up in Seoul early to see the red-carpet premiere of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, according to Screen Daily, and were then disappointed when the Transformers entourage arrived 80 minutes late, spending only a few minutes with the crowd. Members of the press were further distressed when the group arrived 30 minutes late to a scheduled news conference the next day, and some staged a walk-out.

Bay has now issued a written apology, explaining that “traveling from another country, and not allowing enough time for airport delays, city traffic and hotel check-in,” and that the press conference delay was due to the “serious pain” he was experiencing from a pulled back muscle. (The group traveled directly from the premiere in Tokyo, Japan.) Damage control was necessary, not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because bloggers had started a campaign to boycott the film in theaters, while local distributor CJ Entertainment insists that interest in the film remains high.

As in the U.S., Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen opens in Korea on June 24. The first Transformers made even more money outside the U.S. than within, so it makes sense to court international audiences, but this incident demonstrates once again that no one likes to be shortchanged or taken for granted.

I particularly like the last line of this article, “No one likes to be shortchanged or taken for granted.” Let your audience know you appreciate them. Communicate with them. Ask for their ideas and input. And utilize the power of video to get your message out to a mass audience.

Bookmark and Share

Welcome to the World of Competitive Eating

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

Bill Simmons competes in the Wing Bowl

Bill Simmons competes in the Wing Bowl

SnagFilms is an excellent place to find documentary films, including the one I saw over the weekend -  Swallow Your Pride, a story about the rising popularity of competitive eating. What I love about documentaries is their ability to expose viewers to subcultures that the general public doesn’t notice, like a group of people totally committed to eating as much as humanly possible.

The film follows five competitive eaters as they prepare for and compete in Philadelphia’s annual Wing Bowl, an event wherein contestants eat as many wings as possible within a certain amount of time. The winner receives a crown and a brand new car.

The important thing about this documentary is that it avoids becoming superficial. The upcoming Wing Bowl drives the movie forward, but directors Josh Camerote and Brian Dwyer do a nice job of rounding out the story with great character insights and solid subplots. The film resolves around issues such as the motivations driving each eater, the impact on their health long-term, the credibility of eating as a sport, and the organization and governance of competitive eating. And all of the above is portrayed in an entertaining, humorous, yet honest way.

Swallow Your Pride has all the right elements – a good pace, a strong story arc, firm direction, unique and off-beat subject matter, and interesting characters. Anyone else craving chicken wings?

7 out of 10

Bookmark and Share

‘If Only’ Production Stills – Day 1

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

Sunday marked the first day of shooting for our latest short film, entitled If Only. We were able to shoot at Cafe Dupont in downtown Birmingham. I want to extend my appreciation to them for their hospitality. Also, I want to acknowledge my cast and crew who worked extremely hard to ensure that the shoot was efficient and productive. Here are a few shots from the first day of filming.








Bookmark and Share