Saturday, April 24, 2010

Summer 2010 Internships

After three tremendously successful internship sessions last year, we are happily embarking on our second year of internships with the 2010 summer session, once again hosted at Hampshire College.

See here for the details. Applications are due May 3 via email.

A little info on both summer projects can be found at their respective websites:

Bassam Kurdali's film Tube (with shouts out to amazing international interns Jarred and Pablo)

Evan Viera and Chris Bishop's film Caldera (which YOU can help fund via

We're looking forward to reviewing your applications. Don't miss out!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Thanks, Harriete at Comcast!

Wow, I just had the most terrible and hilarious online chat experience with a Comcast "customer service" representative. The screen grab of the transcript pretty much tells the whole story.

A few assuring words and then BAM, thrown to the sharks. Time to look into satellite TV!

Monday, April 12, 2010

April fest news, batch 1

Tower 37 was playing all over the country this weekend: Oregon, Florida, Connecticut, and California (LA). I was able to get to the Environmental Film Festival at Yale on Thursday, for both the Dan Rather interview and our screening that followed it. Many thanks to the projectionist who actually gave a damn about what the film looked like. He called me up to the booth to confirm his projector settings and make sure I liked what I saw. I can't think of anything more comforting before a screening than knowing you're in good hands.

We were paired at Yale with the documentary The End of the Line, about the overfishing of the world's oceans. It was chilling. My sushi ordering habits will not be the same.

My story about the Yale trip would not be complete without mention of Ikea. Before hitting the festival, Kevin (the mad genius behind most of the video on Hampshire's website) and I buzzed through the New Haven Ikea. Now this might sound bizarre to those of you near urban centers, but since our closest Ikea is two hours away it makes sense to go by anytime we're within striking distance. The purpose of the visit, other than hot dogs and Swedish chocolate, was to find the centerpiece for the basement screening room that's rapidly coming to life chez moi. The mancave, as it is known locally, was in need of a couch.

Well we found it, a 2.5 seat leather number that met the major requirements: very comfortable, and not too wide for the runway-like basement. Great. Done. The helpful (?) warehouse workers talked about how this was a new item that needed "lots of assembly," which at Ikea is kind of an odd thing to hear. I was psyched, though: assembly meant smaller packaging. You just can't stuff a big couch into a Forester.

But sometimes you have to. Despite the musings of the employees, it came pre-built. Wrapped in cardboard and plastic. A full six feet long and 2x3 feet on the other dimensions. Oops. So with just a few minutes before the Dan Rather interview, Kevin and I rapidly eviscerated the car, and when the back seats were laid down--oh boy!--we were able to get about 80% of the couch in.

Having a couch stick out the back of a car would be fine if we weren't about to park on the streets in New Haven for 5 hours. The Yale kids don't have to worry about urban crime too much since their buildings look like they could withstand an assault by the huns if they couldn't get their hands on pirated electronic key cards (no, seriously, they look like impregnable medieval structures). Luckily, before pulling out of Ikea, we had the wisdom to try pushing the front seats forward and jamming the whole thing in. And it worked. So we drove to the venue with the ass of the couch jutting out, parked, and in the middle of 5pm foot traffic around the Yale campus we casually exited the car, smashed the seats forward and pushed the beast all the way in. Then left the overstuffed ride on the streets while we learned about fish, news, and how to make a Wiskey Sour the New Haven way. Going home was a breeze, literally, with the couch peeking out towards the south like it wanted to return to Ikea the whole time.

I don't have any feedback from Oregon or Florida, but at least one person caught at least one of the Los Angeles shows this weekend. Producer Daniel kindly scanned the stub you saw at the top of this page after he watched Tower 37 at the Laemmle's Sunset 5 in Encino. His report follows:
Went to see T37 at the Leammle this morning. The film looked great and sounded even better. I don't know if this theater had the best sound system of any of the theaters I have seen the film in, or if the DCP just has amazing audio quality, but I've never heard the soundtrack sound so vibrant and full. It was a really immersive experience, also I had the rare opportunity to just watch the film and enjoy it rather than having my attention on gauging audience reaction.
I'm so glad we've now had multiple confirmations of the success of our home-grown DCP; see this thread for information about our process if you're in search of making your own DCP.

This coming week includes more screenings in Florida and California (Sonoma and Beverly Hills, in particular). So there's sure to be news to share after they've come and gone.

Monday, April 5, 2010

A year and counting

Tower 37 concept painting by David Cahill, 2005

Producer Daniel reminded me last night that Tower 37 began its festival run with a screening in Providence on April 4, 2009 -- one year ago (yesterday). What an incredible year it has been, and contrary to what I anticipated when this all started, in many ways we are just warming up. Our success at certain festivals has translated into invitations to other fests, so with luck Tower will be showing even more broadly as 2010 continues.

Marking the anniversary was a wonderful review in Southern Oregon's News Source, the Mail Tribune. Writing about the Ashland Film Festival (we are a part of their Animation Shorts program), Bill Varble writes:
Passing on the usual templates for computer animation — the innocuous "family cartoon" and the special-effects blockbuster — director Chris Perry has crafted an quirky, eye-popping little narrative with a point.

Tower 37 is (a) a super-size water tower and (b) an example of hubris. It is monitored by a low-level functionary unaware of (and probably indifferent to) its disastrous environmental consequences. Then one day it's struck by (a) terrorists, (b) heroes, (c) inexorable fate.

This is a visually stunning little film that proves political stories can have some punch.

So happy birthday of sorts to our little film, with thanks and congrats to everyone who has been a part of it!

Tower 37 concept painting by David Cahill, 2005