Tag Archives: documentary

What love smells like

Wow, what a wild 3 days! My directorial debut with our company Gulbadan Talkies. It was such a pleasure making this video for Ital Veloce‘s Valentine’s Day launch.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ds_1s67dJDw

We went to Kala Ghoda Art Festival, Mumbai, for our shoot in order to get some beautiful backgrounds to suit the mood of the interviews. We also got lucky because the festival drew a cross-section of Mumbai society that was open-minded and expressive, and were ready to take on the challenge of answering our question, “What does love smell like?”.

We shot 21 interviews in total, and spent some time wandering around to get some stimulating b-roll images that had an aromatic feeling to them. After that, it was a whirlwind of editing and sound until posting it online 4 hours before Valentine’s Day.

Thank you so much to our team. Gulbadan Talkies wouldn’t be the same without you!

What does love smell like? Ital Veloce

Directed by: Paula McGlynn
Production: Sarang Sathaye
Cinematography: Aditya Divekar & Aniket Gaikwad
Sound: Ashish Shinde
Edit & Sound: Joe John
Thanks to Henny Gurnasinghani

Also please check out our first video, directed by Sarang Sathaye of Gulbadan Talkies.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DqhUNPgToGM&feature=youtu.be

Canadian Frame(lines)

If you have ever wondered what it means to be a Canadian, you aren’t the first. Whenever I have travelled around the world, I am often asked why Canadians think they’re different from Americans when we look and sound almost the same. The best answer I can produce is usually that being Canadian means I’m basically American but without all the bad characteristics foreigners assign to people from the USA. One might also say that to be Canadian is to be multi-cultural, but really that makes no sense at all. Just because I’m Canadian doesn’t mean there is any Chinese, Indian, Spanish, or African in me at all.

Many people from the above mentioned categories also define themselves as Indo-Canadian, Chinese-Canadian, or Afro-Canadian. As a caucasian and first-generation Canadian, I often have to refer to my own ‘roots’ as well but am usually only asked by other caucasian-Canadians.

Apart from our aboriginal population, Canadians have all come from somewhere else in relatively recent history. At least this is the feeling you get when you live in an urban metropolis.

However, two filmmakers from Vancouver are trying to search deeper for what being Canadian means to people living in rural areas. The project is called Canadian Frame(lines). Alexandra Caulfield and Ryder T. White spent a year refurbishing a school bus they have aptly named their “Pet”, and then took off on January 1st 2013 to start a one-year journey across the small town of Canada in search of answers.

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Their method is artistic. They are taking the old format of super 8 mm film and teaching communities across Canada how to shoot and process 8mm film while they take their cameras home and shoot what they think defines life in their community. At the end of the year, they will take their footage back to Vancouver and create a walk-through gallery installation, allowing the audience to take a walking tour across the smaller communities of Canada.

ImageThey have been thoroughly documenting their process with weekly update videos on youtube, as well as their own mini web-series of documentaries featuring interesting people they have met along the way. You can check them out on their youtube channel, and also see their blogs and videos through their website. This will culminate in the gallery installation, but they are also working on other projects.

ImageAlong this journey, they have also been finding odd jobs like shooting a music video in New York for Marcus Aurelius, an electronic music artist based out of San Diego, and creating a documentary called Coming Home, featuring people who have left Newfoundland and returned home to their community for various reasons. On top of all this, they are also writing fictional feature film scripts and experimental shorts to be executed when they return to Vancouver in 2014.

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Soon they will be starting a fundraising campaign to help them finish the last leg of their journey across Canada. I highly recommend that you follow them on facebook and twitter as well as Alex and Ryder are both social media gurus who are constantly providing a wealth of information about what is happening in the Canadian arts.

Perhaps you might even get an idea of what it means to be a Canadian.

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Canadianframelines.com      Youtube.com/canadianframelines

Facebook.com/canadianframelines         Facebook.com/caulfieldwhite

Twitter.com/cdnframelines      Twitter.com/arcaulfield      Twitter.com/ryderwhite

Bollywood Unmasked: The Director’s Chair

Today I have a guest article published in The Director’s Chair online magazine, an online E-Zine with Film Directing Tips, Film Making Articles and Online Resources for the Independent Filmmaker.

Bollywood Unmasked: The Real Potential of BC Film and Media Collaborations with India

In the five months I have spent researching the Indian film industry, I learned that there is huge potential for more film and media related business between British Columbia and India. With a grant from Western Economic Diversification (WED), I went to India twice with the SFU India Initiative to look for ways to increase ties with BC and the Indian film industry.

With no previous knowledge of India and coming from a Scottish-Canadian background… Click here to continue reading

 

A big thank you to Peter D. Marshall for the opportunity.

DOXA Delivers: Anticipating the 2013 Program

I’ve been lucky enough to be in Vancouver during the DOXA International Documentary festival the last three years and have seen some really amazing and inspiring stories brought to the screen.
Last year I participated in the Kris Anderson Connexions Youth Forum and had a full festival pass and got so many great workshops with female mentors and started my Flyryroo 2012 project.
This year the Forum is not running but I’m still going to splurge on a few tickets as it only comes once a year! The festival runs May 3 – May 12. Make time.
Here’s my list of films that tickle my fancy and hopefully yours as well. (Taken from the DOXA festival website)

Click on the titles for links to the film’s page on the DOXA program website for a full synopsis and trailer.

Lost Rivers

Looks like a eerie and beautiful film about sewers and underwater passageways that have been rediscovered and explored by people called “drainers”.

lost_rivers1_aeFree the Mind

About brain training… the neurological effects of meditation and brain exercises are studied on two veterans with PTSD and a preschooler diagnosed with ADHD.

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Rent a Family Inc.

Super excited for this one: A character documentary about a man who acts for a living in real life stories. He is often hired to walk brides down the aisle and meet in-laws, but his own family seems rather indifferent to his existence.

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The Manor

I hope it’s not like Pawn Stars, but I always like a good family drama. Two brother’s daily struggles as they try to run the family strip club they inherited from their father… who is still trying to be involved from the backseat.

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Furever

Taxidermy, egyptians, funny cats… how can you go wrong? A doc that follows human’s attachment to their pets.

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The Great Hip Hop Hoax

Two boys from Scotland (oh motherland) pull an elaborate prank on an American Hip Hop team by pretending to be two Californian skater boys called Silibil n’ Brains. Not sure what to expect, but DOXA is doing two screenings so that nobody misses it.

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The Mosuo Sisters

Two girls from rural China arrive in Hong Kong to be absolutely overwhelmed by urban life. For example, they think that skyscrapers are individual houses. They try to make a life but it might not be what they had wanted.

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The Mechanical Bride

I have always been fascinated with sex dolls. This film not only goes into the current story about sex dolls in society, but also delves into what sex might become (and is becoming) in the future.

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Boredom

The scourge that invades our schools, our relationships, our jobs, our lives. What is boredom and how does it effect us and our children? Focusing on the educational system and the implications for society.

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Rose Colored Glasses

Watch the trailer on this one and you will have to go to the theatre to see it. Sonia Suvagau is an SFU film grad from Vancouver and this is her debut feature. A character piece (I love character pieces) about a life-long eccentric who runs a gallery called the Pink Prison and takes on different personalities such as Pink Hitler. I want to know what’s up with this guy.

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Oxyana

Oxycontin and Oceana. Appalachian fatalism. I’m not a big fan of drug documentaries but this is about how pill-popping has been spread through generations of families in Oceana and observes the lives of those who live in a city so drugged up it’s name has changed.

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Father Figures

I am most looking forward to this film above all. The filmmaker watches as her 70 year-old father marries a 23 year-old Philippina named Girlie. They have some strange symbiotic relationship but Gillian Hrankowski knows what lies are being told to make it work. Does she intervene and potentially hurt her father and ruin Girlie’s life?

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Leave a comment and let me know which films you’ll be checking out!

Flyryroo 2012

“That’s that dude! That’s Flyryroo!”

-Flyryroo Ryan

Since May 2012, I had been anticipating the date of December 21st, 2012 because of a documentary I have been making about a fellow named Flyryroo Ryan. I paid my way through university by working as a lifeguard at a swimming pool in Vancouver. I kept on hearing about this guy whose name is Flyryroo who had been an attraction and source of staffroom gossip because he would come to the pool three times a week to workout and swim. He lived out of this van that had “Join the 2012 A-team” on the size and a website, http://www.2012iscomingtour.com. He was rumored to be living in the Capilano University parking lot and making apple smoothies for students and blazing in his van when he wasn’t playing trombone around campus dressed as jesus.  When I finally saw him for the first time, I had heard enough to make me cautious about starting a conversation with him. Being a lifeguard can be a pain because if you get stuck in a conversation with a patron on deck, you have to stay there and chat until your guarding partner comes to give you a break. Flyry was infamous to us lifeguards for starting conversations about ghosts, aliens, and the like and even getting verbally agressive when disagreed with.

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Flyryroo2012 Van

Fast-forward three years and I am now preparing for my final year of film school and writing the script for My Uncle Terry. I was inspired to write the film because I wanted to get to the root of what could make somebody believe in something as extreme as a real-life zombie apocalypse. I wanted to find a real-life subject but unfortunately couldn’t find anybody who was right for a documentary so that made my decision to write a mockumentary script. I had finished writing my script and was in the middle of pre-production in August 20122 when I had a brainwave working at the pool. I thought, “I should have just made a documentary about Flyry!” Here’s a person who really believes in the 2012 apocalypse. Albeit it isn’t zombies, but aliens are pretty extreme too. I was also dying to know what he would do if nothing ever happened on December 21st.

Too late, I was set on making My Uncle Terry because I was in love with my script. Regardless, when I was working at as an M.C. at the Deep Cove summer concert series Flyry showed up with his trombone. I could see him standing at the top of the hill when I made my announcements before the show started. I cringed at the though of him busting out his trombone when the reggae band Mostly Marley was in the middle of a set. I crossed my fingers, and while the band gave a little nod to his presence Flyry never tooted his horn.

I approached him during the second set to pitch my documentary idea to him. I introduced myself assuming he didn’t know who I was, but he recognized me from the pool. I told him I was very interested in him as a person, and would like to make a biographical documentary about his beliefs in 2012 apocalypse theory. He was pretty excited about the idea and was interested in the publicity it could create for him as a public personality. Then as the summer wound down, film school got crazy and I threw myself completely into my final year as a film student. I worked so hard I got whooping cough, and needless to say I didn’t have time to pursue Flyryroo.

In May 2012, I got to participate in the DOXA Kris Anderson Youth Connexions program. DOXA is a documentary film festival in Vancouver and the program took six female youths and gave us a week to produce a 1.5 minute documentary, attend exclusive workshops and seminars with female industry mentors, and all the free movie screenings we could handle.

Flyryroo 2012 still

The theme for our 1.5 minute documentaries had to be “The Glass Ceiling”. It was the second year they had introduced a theme to the workshop films, and the first year’s theme was “The City”. I didn’t think this was very fair, because I had already set my intentions on making my doc about Flyry as an intro to a larger project. I fought back and ended up making the only non-female documentary by arguing that Flyry was fighting his own kind of glass ceiling.

Flyry and I got together and filmed three hours of footage in two days. I learned that he is an self-titled “Infotainer” (someone who entertains but also gives information pertaining to a new world consciousness, peace, love, and urban farming). He had been planning three world-tours to take place in 2011, 2012, and 2013 where he would get a band together and infotain at festivals and sow the seeds for an enlightened world and prepare the public for the day the aliens finally became public.

Flyry and I

The end-result was a trailer for a documentary webseries, Flyryroo 2012. The intent was to release a 5 minute video on the 21st of every month as a countdown to the bookmarked day of the apocalypse: December 21st, 2012. I learned that Flyry didn’t actually believe that December 21st was a definite day of doom, but rather that aliens would make their presence known to humans on earth sometime that year and help enlightened people ascend to the fifth dimension. Still, the date was fixed in my head as the wrapping up point of the film and it stayed that way.

Well, things didn’t turn out as planned. I went to India for 2.5 months and was prepared for this by making (in-advance) 2 videos episodes to release when I was away. When I came back, I had 2 weeks to shoot enough material for another 3 video episodes. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out with Flyry and I’s schedules and he was starting to feel too pressured by my time constraints and I had to change plans.

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I went off travelling again, taking My Uncle Terry to the Montreal World Film Festival and then playing the Indian groupie at TIFF in Toronto since I knew some filmmakers whose movies were playing for the City to City program special on Mumbai cinema. I took off for a month to South Africa and played the tourist, and then stopped over in England for my cousin’s wedding in London on my way home.

During this time, Flyry and I did not keep in touch. I had seen on facebook that he had his van broken into and his computer stolen, and gave my condolences but nothing more. When I got back to Vancouver in November, I settled myself in for a couple of weeks and then finally got in touch. Flyry was now living in a house!

So we got together and made a plan for finishing the project. We agreed to shoot December 21st and see what happens. Flyry’s views on 2012 had actually changed quite a bit since we had last filmed so I was definitely interested in what had brought that about. Flyry had no big plans to ring in the new age of Aquarius but I encouraged him to think of an event or something he would like to do. The day before the big moment, I called Flyry letting him know I was prepared with my camera batteries charged and he told me he couldn’t get anyone together for an event.

He said that he didn’t mind because he would rather just do laundry, because even though it was December 21st, in the grand scheme of things it was really just another day. I didn’t mind this attitude, but wanting to see him put himself out there and make connections with people like him I told him about a facebook event I had been invited to by a guy called Eric Bullock. The plan was to hang around Science World all day meditating in groups, playing music, and wrapping it up with a flower ceremony. Flyry thought about it, but as he was on his way to work he didn’t give me an answer and we agreed to reconnect later.

Flyryroo2012 Swimshorts

At 10:30 pm, Flyry called me back and said he thought about it was down to go to the event at Science World and do his laundry later. So the next day I filmed a quick video update, grabbed my camera and went to Science World and Flyry and I participated in and filmed the event. We went back to his house later and did a personal interview. I included myself in this since I realized that I was no longer just observing Flyry but actually participating in his story and having an influence on him.

So here we are now. I have just finished importing the footage and am cringing at seeing my face on screen after a day of freezing rain outside at Science World. My hair is a mess. Regardless, the shooting for Flyryroo 2012 is now finished and I will get a chance to edit it in March 2013 when I get back from my next India trip.

I hope you all stay interested until then. This is my first real project since finishing film school and I’m dying to see it succeed in some way. Honestly, I just want it to be seen. I have a feeling the film will be a short documentary that is not only about a strange guy with extreme beliefs and a curious yet cynical documentary maker interfering with his process, but about the way the process of making the documentary transformed both of them up to the day December 21st, 2012 and beyond.

To see all the Flyryroo 2012 videos, visit the youtube channel.

Follow Flyryroo 2012 on Twitter

Like Flyryroo 2012 on Facebook

Reality Becomes Fiction with “Crulic: The Path to Beyond”

The film “Crulic: The Path to Beyond” is an animated documentary of a young man who died at the age of 33 from starvation in a Polish prison hospital because of a hunger-strike in opposition to his unfair treatment by the Polish and Romanian law system and his false conviction of theft. The film is beautifully animated on multiple platforms including paint, stop-motion, photography, and composited pieces of video and drawing. The sound design brings to life the character of Crulic and his family, and immerses us in the multiple worlds such as Romania, Italy, Poland, the Prison, and the Hospital.  It also brings to life Crulic’s hunger-induced hallucinations in combination with surrealist design in animation.

The film illuminates injustices in the prison and legal systems in Eastern Europe, and has been funded and supported by many national film commissions.

An interesting discussion followed the film as my fellow Connexions colleagues and I discussed how it can be classified as a documentary as supposed to a drama. One of the arguments brought up against it were the “dramatizations” of the story of Crulic. The film gave a disclaimer at the end stating that it had taken liberties in the creation of characters and dramatization of events in order to tell a more compelling story. However, I find that that dramatization of a story does not remove all documentary aspects or any of it’s credibility as a documentary. If one were to tell their life story, they would paint it in colors that would make it interesting for the listener. With that said, the fact that Crulic is deceased means that there is no verifying how “dramatic” the events leading up to his death were.

The other argument against Crulic being a documentary was that it had none of the tell-tale signifiers of a documentary film such as archival footage and interviews. Information about how the story was constructed is not explicitly given during the film. However, it is implied that much of the story was taken from Crulic’s writing from his imprisonment as well as interviews with his sister and mother. I think that taking a person’s diary and rewriting a story based with the inclusion of details gathered from interviews is just as valid as a personal interview. The animation and characterization of the animated people in the film is just as relevant to us as our own imagination would be if someone told us the story through a radio broadcast. Just because it looks like a cartoon, doesn’t mean it isn’t as real as our own memories. Since “Waltz with Bashir” is a documentary consisting of the animation of memories recorded in interviews; “Crulic: The Path to Beyond” is a documentary consisting of the animation of someone’s diary consisting of their memories. Perhaps it is even more accurate since the medium of a diary is much more personal, and one is less likely to censor and embellish their story if it is only being recorded for the sake of their own memory.

In the end, the consensus of the group was that there are no black and white lines defining a documentary as opposed to a drama or narrative film. In the end, we are all telling stories of life and the human condition whether it be how large corporations are inhibiting the rights of free speech of a Swedish filmmaker, or telling the life story of a man who died of self-induced starvation while fighting for his rights.

The Website

Interactive Storytelling and Bear 71

Over the last year or two, Interactive Documentaries and Films have been discovered as a new and exciting way of telling stories. With the levels of interaction varying between complete user control to a slideshow, interactive films are an interesting way of telling stories in a non-linear way.
The NFB’s website has many interactive films that I recommend you check out, but I suggest you start with this documentary that premiered at DOXA 2012 with a live performance and installation to add appeal to the festival crowd. I wrote a blog on the experience when I was participating in the Kris Anderson Youth Connexions forum which you can check out as well. FYI, the total Bear 71 experience is about 40 minutes.

Bear 71

The NFB’s Interactive Film ListImage