“In the true tradition of independent film, Cold Turkey is a dialogue- and character-driven movie,” explained director of photography Lucas Lee Graham. “We wanted an intimate, personal look with a really shallow depth of field and nice portraiture so that the visual emphasis would be on the characters and what they were doing.”
Great stories, in reality, aren’t the only ingredient needed to make a successful documentary. Filmmakers also need patience, perseverance, creativity, luck and, of course, funding. To say that co-directors Pamela Green and Jarik van Sluijs have a great story to tell is an understatement: largely unknown and unappreciated, Alice Guy-Blaché was, without question, one of the most important figures in motion picture history. Now, Green and van Sluijs are using digital cinema technology to gather, assemble and organize a wide range of information to get Guy-Blaché’s story ready for the big screen. And what a story it is.
Facing Fear is first-time director Jason Cohen’s powerful documentary short about the unlikely friendship between a former neo-Nazi and the gay man he victimized decades earlier. Kent Pritchett of Colorflow performed final color grading for the doc, which recently made its world premiere at Outfest Los Angeles where it won the Audience Award. Facing Fear is scheduled for a theatrical run at the Laemmle Music Hall Theatre in Beverly Hills, August 9-15.
One solution to a common challenge of independent filmmaking is to use multiple cameras to ensure scene coverage – especially of action scenes – to ideally save time and money. Unfortunately, because camera manufacturer settings vary, the end result can be contrasting images depending on which camera is used. This was the case with the new action sci-fi thriller Alien Hunger. Producer Jack Tucker, and editor Nancy Brindley Bhagia, had concerns in how the “horror look” would be created in the film due to lighting issues within some of the footage.
Despite the fact that most of the digital cinema theatres around the world are projecting in 2K-resolution and that the vast majority of TV broadcasters in the world have not yet adopted even digital HD, a growing number of production professionals strongly advocate that all filmmakers shoot in 4K. One such advocate is Jeff Blauvelt, owner and founder of HD Cinema, a boutique rental house that also provides post-production services to a growing number of independent filmmakers from its two locations in Los Angeles and Westport, Connecticut. In Blauvelt’s mind, shooting 4K digital cinema just makes good creative and business sense.
The Kill Team, which won for Best Documentary Feature at the Tribeca Film Festival and earned the Golden Gate Award at the San Francisco Film Festival, tells the story of a group of U.S. soldiers stationed in southern Afghanistan who, motivated by fear and boredom, take to murdering Afghan civilians and then staging those killings to look like good shoots.
It’s taken several years for cinematographer Lan Bui to bring Redemption: The Darkness Descending to completion. But it’s been worth the effort. The multi-platform project began as a 24 episode web series that allows the audience to enter an underground world and become part of the story through a groundbreaking interactive app, and has since grown into a feature film.