Saturday, November 20, 2010

Mad City Chickens Screens in Savannah Tonight

~November 20th Savannah, Georgia - Public Screening presented by Savannah Urban Garden Alliance - 6:30pm Starfish Cafe, 719 E. Broad Street.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

MCC to Screen at Alexandria Film Festival

Mad City Chickens is heading to the DC area tomorrow, November 7th for the Alexandria Film Festival in Alexandria, Virginia. Our film will close out the 4-day festival with a 5:10 pm Sunday screening at 1605 Cameron St.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Mad City Chickens Returning to the Bay Area!

Tomorrow, October 31st, Mad City Chickens returns to the Bay Area! Public Screening in Albany, California sponsored by Transition Albany - 1:30 pm chickens outside. 2:00 pm movie starts inside. Location: Albany Library, Edith Stone Room, 1247 Marin Ave.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Back By Popular Demand: Oshkosh to Screen "Chickens" This Afternoon!

~October 26th Oshkosh, WI - Public Screening presented by Oshkosh Backyard Chickens and UW-Oshkosh Student Environmental Action Coalition.

3:00 pm Reeve Union Theater, 748 Algoma Blvd., Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

DC Shorts Fest Tips

Robert was part of the Angry Filmmaker Workshop which continued today in Madison with guest speaker Jon Gann. Jon is the director of the DC Shorts Film Festival, and he shared secrets and strategies for getting your movie into festivals and beyond.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Kelley Baker Filmmaking Workshop

Kelley Baker, the Angry Filmmaker, is back in Madison for another workshop hosted by the Wisconsin Film School. Joining him is Jon Gann, the founder of the DC Shorts Film Festival. Students are getting the basics of how to create a short film--everything from story development to production equipment and techniques. Robert is teaching the camera and lighting aspects of production.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Mad City Chickens Screens Tomorrow Night in Oshkosh

~October 22nd Oshkosh, WI - Public Screening presented by Oshkosh Backyard Chickens and UW-Oshkosh Student Environmental Action Coalition - 7:00pm Reeve Union Theater, 748 Algoma Blvd.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Tonight: Michael Moore and the Bioneers Screen Mad City Chickens!

~October 16th Traverse City, Michigan - Great Lakes Bioneers Conference. Public Screening presented by Michael Moore and the Great Lakes Bioneers - 7:30pm State Theatre, 233 E Front Street.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Scouting Continues for Last Look

For the fun of it, we've been scouting locations for Last Look, a potential story idea for a short film. We're searching for a spot at the edge of a woods with an inner forest trail. Here are a few pics and vids of what we found earlier this morning within the University of Wisconsin's Arboretum. This location has potential because the gravel parking lot will allow easy access and room to set up a camera dolly.

Trail head with sign. If we choose this location, we'll actually need a signpost in the shot (with our own signage), so this one could work out well.

After our little girl character gets frightened, the camera moves into forest. Hand-held test shot of where a dolly move might be set up.

Inner forest trail shots.

Scouting for Last Look

Fellow filmmaker Michael Haven has been tossing around some ideas with Robert for a potential short narrative. One concept is a ghost story they outlined and are calling Last Look. Yesterday they scouted two different outdoor locations in search of the right setting.

Below is hand-held scout video of a small remote chapel built in the late 1800s that might pass for a caretaker's graveyard hut needed in the story.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Carriage Classic Footage

Research clips for the Forgotten Journal film...

Even for a limited-budget project like ours, there's real potential for incorporating live horses, authentic carriages, and wardrobed drivers into a 1890s story.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Carriage Classic Research

At yesterday's Carriage Classic, we made a few connections with owners/drivers, shot a little test video, and got a better idea of what we are--and are not--looking to do in regards to horse-drawn carriages for a potential Edwardian-era film project.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Film Scouting Tomorrow at Villa Louis

We are planning to attend the Carriage Classic tomorrow to do a bit of research for our potential project, The Forgotten Journal of H. H. Munro. Looking to connect with a few costumed carriage drivers/owners to learn some logistics of shooting with live horses and to see what it would take to get them into our film.

Built in 1868, Villa Louis is an Italian villa-style mansion set along the banks of the Mississippi River in southwestern Wisconsin. A National Historic Landmark, the home and grounds have been restored to their 19th century Victorian life splendor and are open to the public.

Even better, each September...
...the annual Villa Louis Carriage Classic recalls the era when fine horses and elegant carriages convened on the broad lawns surrounding the Dousman Family's famed country estate. The event is the largest competitive carriage driving event in the central US. 
Image and info via Villa Louis website.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Forget the Film, Watch the Titles

Forget the Film, Watch the Titles is a website dedicated to motion picture end titles. As the name implies, even if a movie doesn't quite live up to its expectations, the end credits may still be worth checking out. Case and point--Brad Silberling's 2009 Land of the Lost.

Before we delve into the title sequence, just a few words about the film itself. OK, no one would ever go to The Land of the Lost expecting some kind of Oscar-worthy material.

The project from the outset was obviously designed as light entertainment. So as Tashai points out, if you view the film simply as a series of short sketch comedy skits rather than a complete story, the acting is quite good at times. Nuff said. Onto the end credits.

As always, a title sequence at the end of the film must have an impactful musical accompaniment, and this one does. “The composer is Michael Giacchino who took [the] animation and created the amazing score for the titles.” Combined with an a stellar animated sequence produced by the creative team at Alchemy/Axiom, the end titles bring to mind retro images of the old Jonny Quest cartoons from 1964-65.

See the complete end title sequence at Forget the Film, Watch the Titles or at the Alchemy website.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Animation Backgrounds

We're big fans of animation and have a couple of ideas for potential animated projects (e.g. The Strange Tales of Uncle Charley). We'll see how things pan out over the next few years in this regard. In the meantime, we suggest you check out Animated Backgrounds, a great blog featuring background artwork from classic animated films.

 From Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Images via Animated Backgrounds. Copyright Disney.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Mad City Chickens Screens in Lansing Tomorrow

The official Michigan premiere of Mad City Chickens takes place tomorrow, August 26, in the state capital of Lansing. Public Screening sponsored by the The Allen Neighborhood Center and The Mid-Michigan Environmental Action Council - Meeting at 7:00pm, movie at 8:00pm, The Jason Homestead, 1406 Prospect Street in Lansing.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Perseverance: The Lesson of the City Chicken

Back in December of 2007, when we were in the thick of post production and racing to meet the film festival deadline on our documentary Mad City Chickens, we were contacted by Doreen Proctor. She was asking for help as she was being told by her County Supervisor to get rid of her small flock of chickens. As we have for people facing similar situations in other communities, we wrote a letter of support but never heard what happened--until now. Here's Doreen's recent email...

Hi Tashai and Robert,

This has taken me a long time to get back to you with the good news.  However, it took almost two years to accomplish my goal.  The goal was to be able to keep my chickens.

You may not even remember me, but a neighbor complained that I was raising chickens.( Filed a complaint anonymously, but I figured it out pretty fast)

I was told by the County Permit and Resource Department that because the zoning code said nothing about having chickens, it meant I couldn't , even tho' they were all over my unincorporated county neighborhood. After many letters to the Editor, phone calls, visits to the County planner, code enforcer and zoning departments, and calls to the County Supervisors, I got a call from the two local newspapers.  They sent out a reporter to collect information on my situation.  also a photographer came out and took front page color photos of me and my chickens.

One of the editors took my case under his wing and got on the phone and got the same answers I got.  Then he talked to the County Supervisor for our area.  He wrote a fantastic editorial about the little community of El Verano that I live in and in which everyone that lives anywhere near here knows that there are many feral chickens roaming the neighborhoods. This area has a rural atmosphere, there are no sidewalks, people have chickens and assume it is okay in the county outside of city limits.  (Ironically you could and can, have chickens in the City of Sonoma)

Several well known people from Sonoma, came out with the Code Enforcement Officer to see my chickens and discuss the issue.  The "enforcer" was adamant.  No chickens. I got a notice giving me 30 days to get rid of them.

Then came a phone call from the Supervisor's office.  She had convinced the Board to make an amendment to allow 6 hens on an R1 zoned lot, low density one unit.  My lot is 7500 Sq. feet.  I just about fainted, I was so happy, and notified the papers.  More interviews, more pictures, in color "Chickens can stay".  I owe this to the Editor of the Index Tribune, because he pursued this cause and now everyone in the county can have the 6 hens, if they are on an R1 zoned lot.

So now my neighbors that have chickens also can breathe a sigh of relief.  I did have to find homes for my roosters, which were very nice guys, real pets and the young ones are real clowns.  I enjoy my chickens so much and am so grateful.

If someone is in my situation, they should not give up, they should, as you mentioned, find chicken friendly people in local government, and in newspapers to help you fight your fight.  It works.

Thanks for your letter of December 6, 2007.  It was about a year ago that the amendment took effect.

Doreen Proctor
Sonoma (El Verano), California

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Art of Lotte Reiniger

Lotte Reiniger was the master of the silhouette animated film. Here's an interesting vintage video on her technique. Also a clip from her masterpiece, The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926).

Video posted by phernandokhatz.

Video posted by moviemartyr.

For more info on Lotte and her work, see our earlier post.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Grim Natwick Betty Boop Festival

Betty Boop Festival Poster

We attended the first annual Grim Natwick/Betty Boop Festival yesterday in Wisconsin Rapids. Natwick, the main animator of both the original Fleischer Studios' Betty Boop character and then of Disney's Snow White, was born and raised in this small central Wisconsin municipality. In honor of their most famous resident as well as Betty's 80th birthday (August 9th), the entire town threw a party. Here's what we saw...

A youthful Grim Natwick.

Natwick info pamphlets; Ms. Boop cardboard standups.

Natwick character design from the very first BB cartoon Dizzy Dishes (1930). Patterned after singer Helen Kane.

At the heart of the fest was the Grim Natwick artwork collection on loan from the ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archives. Also "on loan" from the Archives was its director Stephan Worth who gave talks and tours throughout the weekend.

 Stephan Worth leading a discussion on the Natwick animation collection.

The story of Bimbo the dog and his new girl friend as shared by Stephan Worth... 

In 1930, Bimbo the dog was the star character at Fleischer Studios. Director Dave Fleischer asked Grim to design a girlfriend for Bimbo in the upcoming short Barnacle Bill. Natwick went to work and created the design sheet (below). When Fleischer returned, he saw that Grim had simply "retooled" the Helen Kane character from the previous short Dizzy Dishes. The director argued, 'Bimbo is a dog. Don't you think he ought to have a dog girlfriend?"

Natwick quickly drew a dog body on the sheet with the Helen Kane head and asked, "Would you rather have this," he circled the dog, "or this," pointing to the human form, "as Bimbo's girlfriend?" Fleischer gave in and thus was born a character soon to become a bigger star than Bimbo would ever be.

Character design from BB cartoon Barnacle Bill (1930)

"A dog or this?"

Yes, it was the Betty Boop Festival, but Natwick drawings were on display representing his entire career including the Snow White animation rough below...

  Natwick Snow White animation rough, close-ups.

The festival also included screenings of Betty Boop shorts, other films by Grim Natwick, animated treasures from the ASIFA Hollywood archives, and special showings of Nina Paley's Betty Boop-ish Sita Sings the Blues. We had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with Nina whose animation art was on display throughout the day.

Nina Paley's Sita Sings the Blues artwork.