“It’s between frames where cinema speaks.” -Peter Kubelka, 1967

“Hollywood,” sometimes known as “the dream factory,” makes ritualistic-dramas in celebration of mass memory–very like the rituals of tribal people […] But the amateur photographs the persons, places, and objects of his love and the events of his happiness and personal importance in a gesture that can act directly and solely according to the needs of memory.[…] He is free, if he but accept the responsibility of his freedom, to work as the spirit of his god, or his memory, or his particular needs, move him. It is for this reason that I believe any art of the cinema must inevitably arise from the amateur, “home-movie” making medium.” – Stan Brakhage

The Empathy Engine

A friend of mine, who works primarily in theatre, recently derisively described his experience as a movie audience member as “watching people have feelings.” He was speaking from a certain frustration and incomprehension. Theatre actors DO things. Film actors just FEEL things. This idea has stuck with me. Is it true? And if so, why? This also gets at the overarching…

The Archetype of the Sociopath

There is perhaps no more popular character in modern television (and to a certain extent, the movies) than the Sociopath. Going back at least as far as The Sopranos, but probably much further, writers and showrunners figured out that a charismatic, successful sociopath is a great character to build a show around – perhaps because they’re willing to make questionable…

Narrative Without End

The Hero’s Journey says, more or less, that if you go on this quest and take these risks, it will cost you something, you will learn something, and you will get to come home stronger and more mature. In other words, you will win. Beowulf, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings – all of these fit the template. It is not,…

Compare and Contrast

MacroCinema is hierarchical, product-oriented, and an attempt to make the world conform to a directorial / studio / corporate vision. MicroCinema is relational, process oriented, and an attempt to make something that reflects and responds to the world as it is at this moment – objectively or subjectively speaking. MacroCinema attempts to rigidly conform to a schedule and a budget – it…

The Violence of Narrative

“You can not narrativize a topic without doing violence to it” – that phrase keeps running through my head, from an excerpt I posted here a few weeks ago. An ex-girlfriend of mine used to get upset about phone calls in movies and on television – “they never say hello or goodbye!” – it would drive her crazy. Once you…

Gendered Cinema

There are so many status quo filmmaking supposed “norms”—questionable militaristic language like “point” and “shoot” and “cut”—”CAPTURE” a moment. But the truth is: I came into most of my power as a filmmaker when I realized that all I needed to do was make a safe space for people to have feelings. This keynote address by Jill Soloway has been popping up…