Donald M. Morgan, ASC on the set of The Red House (photo © 2014 Peter Switzer)
Written and directed by Jiaqi Lin, a Chinese film student at the New York Film Academy, the short film The Red House is the story of a 25-year-old prostitute, Fangfang, and her struggle to save enough of her earnings to buy back her freedom. Set in 1915 rural China, the sudden arrival of a 6-year-old child, Amei, being sold to The Red House by her desperate parents soon changes things. The brothel’s madam puts Fangfang in charge of Amei’s training, including the painful ritual of binding her feet to keep them small. Fangfang, who became a prostitute in very much the same way, soon realizes she cannot let it continue, and decides to use her savings to buy Amei’s contract and her freedom … something she now will never have.
Shot by Emmy®-winning cinematographer Donald M. Morgan, ASC, The Red House utilized Kodak film to capture the drama and angst of the story.
writer/director Grant Scicluna
Hurt's Rescue is the latest short film by writer/director Grant Scicluna and producer Jannine Barnes. Based on Todd Grimson's story of the same name, Hurt's Rescue is a short film that explores the moral maze of masochism and negotiation. It is a UK-Australian co-production funded by the prestigious Iris Prize in Wales. The Iris Prize, supported by the Michael Bishop Foundation, is the world's largest gay and lesbian prize and offers the winning filmmaker £25,000 in cash to make their next film. Scicluna's film The Wilding won the prize in 2012 and he was thrilled to have the opportunity to make his next film in Cardiff taking DOP Laszlo Baranyai, ACS HCS along with him.
The decision to shoot on film was an easy one. "Shooting in black and white, film was the natural choice for Hurt's Rescue. I was after the maximum depth of detail and levels of tonality that only film can give" states Scicluna. Adds Laszlo "To achieve a rich, atmospheric and natural B&W look, film was the only logical choice".
Susan Sarandon and Melissa McCarthy in a scene from Tammy (Photo by Michael Tackett.)
When a sample film clip on screen drew a collective, audible gasp in the screening room, director of photography Russ Alsobrook, ASC knew he would be shooting the comedy Tammy on KODAK Film. The cinematographer and the film’s principals had been at Burbank-based lab/post house FotoKem during preproduction doing digital versus film origination comparisons.
“It’s like we’ve forgotten how great film looks when you see it in comparison,” Alsobrook remarks. “We looked at each other, and it was a done deal. There was no question we were going to shoot fi lm. It has a rich, creamy look to it that you just can’t get any other way.”
Susan Sarandon. Photo courtesy of Gravitas Ventures.
Super 16mm was always the optimal format for Ping Pong Summer, according to writer/director Michael Tully’s Sundance-premiering feature about a family vacation in the summer of 1985. He and director of photography Wyatt Garfield wanted to make sure they weren’t making fun of the ‘80s, but rather wanted it to feel like an actual movie from their childhoods.
“We were going for a sincere take on the bizarre, indulgent aspects of the 1980s,” says Garfield. “We wanted to embrace the colors of that decade, but we knew that if we shot it digitally all those colors would come through too saturated, and it would quickly become a contemporary, synthetic homage. We relied on film to contain and soften all the saturated colors and keep the palette nostalgic.”
On the set of Snowpiercer
The Los Angeles Film Festival celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, staring on June 11 with screenings of over 200 films programmed to entertain. Produced by Film Independent, the fest revels in showcasing independent and international cinema – from narrative films of all genres, to short films and international fare. This year, sections of the LAFF showcase upcoming independent movies releasing this summer as well as community screenings for the public and a look at daring, unique storytelling by some of today’s emerging filmmakers.
Snowpiercer opens the festival, making it the English-language debut of writer-director Boon Jo-Hong. This sci-fi fantasy stars Chris Evans and Tilda Swinton who live in a world covered in ice after an attempt to stop global warming fails. Survivors live on a supertrain circling what’s left of Earth. Inside, the poorest live in pathetic conditions, while the rich live in luxury, until one of the oppressed decides to change the state of affairs.