Max Schreck is just a click away

Yes, given that F. W. Murnau’s Nosferatu (1922) is now in the public domain, Google video is hosting a digital copy. For those who may not know about this film, it is the first popular telling of the Dracula story on film. Though a silent film, its haunting gothic imagery and the other-worldly creepiness of … Continue reading “Max Schreck is just a click away”

Yes, given that F. W. Murnau’s Nosferatu (1922) is now in the public domain, Google video is hosting a digital copy. For those who may not know about this film, it is the first popular telling of the Dracula story on film. Though a silent film, its haunting gothic imagery and the other-worldly creepiness of Max Schreck in the role of Count Dracula became archetypes of the horror genre.

Schreck proved so convincing in the role that it inspired a fictional film, Shadow of the Vampire (2000), that suggested the actor really was a vampire.

Th original Nosferatu was faithfully remade, though with sound, by Werner Herzog in 1979 with his alter-ego Klaus Kinski playing the Count.

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2006 Sundance Shorts – 47 titles available online

The online collection though extensive represents just a sample of the entries and includes just a couple of the prize-winners. The Jury Prize in Short Filmmaking ended in a tie between BUGCRUSH, directed by Carter Smith and THE WRAITH OF COBBLE HILL (video unavailable online), directed by Adam Parrish King. The Jury Prize in International … Continue reading “2006 Sundance Shorts – 47 titles available online”

The online collection though extensive represents just a sample of the entries and includes just a couple of the prize-winners.

The Jury Prize in Short Filmmaking ended in a tie between BUGCRUSH, directed by Carter Smith and THE WRAITH OF COBBLE HILL (video unavailable online), directed by Adam Parrish King.

The Jury Prize in International Short Filmmaking went to THE NATURAL ROUTE (Spain)(video unavailable online), directed by Alex Pastor.

Honorable Mentions in Short Filmmaking went to BEFORE DAWN (Hungary), directed by Bálint Kenyeres; PREACHER WITH AN UNKNOWN GOD (video unavailable online), directed by Rob VanAlkemade; and UNDRESSING MY MOTHER (Ireland)(video unavailable online), directed by Ken Wardrop.

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Obit: Garrett Scott, Documentarian, 37

Garrett Scott’s most recent film Occupation: Dreamland is about the lives of army personnel fighting in Fallujah, Iraq. It is slated to air on the Sundance Channel next month.In 2002, his first film, Cul de Sac: A Suburban War Story (VHS 7270), was released. This unusual film starts with the news story of Shawn Nelson, … Continue reading “Obit: Garrett Scott, Documentarian, 37”

Garrett Scott’s most recent film Occupation: Dreamland is about the lives of army personnel fighting in Fallujah, Iraq. It is slated to air on the Sundance Channel next month.
In 2002, his first film, Cul de Sac: A Suburban War Story (VHS 7270), was released. This unusual film starts with the news story of Shawn Nelson, who emerged from a mineshaft dug in his backyard to seize a 60 ton tank and rampage through the streets of his San Diego neighborhood. This story segues to the larger story of a defense-industry boomtown, which flourished for decades but eventually declined leaving a desperate suburban wasteland in its wake.
Mr. Garrett suffered cardiac arrest while swimming in his local community pool in Coronado, California.

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CIA Films at the National Archives

The CIA, like many other government agencies, declassifies documents (including films) occassionally and relocates them to the National Archives. Freedom-of-Information-Act sleuth Michael Ravnitsky was able to obtain the list of CIA films currently in the Archives. It contains many, many titles with historical import such as Brainwashing, How Free Should the Press be?, Psychology of … Continue reading “CIA Films at the National Archives”

The CIA, like many other government agencies, declassifies documents (including films) occassionally and relocates them to the National Archives. Freedom-of-Information-Act sleuth Michael Ravnitsky was able to obtain the list of CIA films currently in the Archives. It contains many, many titles with historical import such as Brainwashing, How Free Should the Press be?, Psychology of Imprisonment, and Unidentified Flying Objects. The full list, almost 400 pages, along with details on requesting copies of the films is available at The Memory Hole.

DC Independent Film Festival currently underway, March 2-12

“The DC Independent Film Festival showcases world premieres, award winning features, shorts, animation and documentaries by local, national and international filmmakers. “Founded in 1999, the DC Independent Film Festival showcases each year up to 100 features, shorts, animations, and documentaries that represent the best in independent film. These films include ones that have won awards … Continue reading “DC Independent Film Festival currently underway, March 2-12”

“The DC Independent Film Festival showcases world premieres, award winning features, shorts, animation and documentaries by local, national and international filmmakers.

“Founded in 1999, the DC Independent Film Festival showcases each year up to 100 features, shorts, animations, and documentaries that represent the best in independent film. These films include ones that have won awards in renown festivals such as Sundance, Toronto, Cannes to World Premieres.”

This year’s festival includes An Impression: Dischord Records about the DC-based record label whose cut-rate pricing policy and charitable activities flew in the face of nearly every other record company’s practices. The 15-minute film, co-directed by School of Communication faculty member Leena Jayaswal and alum Kylos Brannon, will be screened at the DC Jewish Community Center, Friday, March 10 at 11:15pm. It’s part of the Midnight Madness program along with the film The Razor-Eaters. Cost: $6. To get tickets online and/or to see what else is playing these last few days of the festival be sure to look at their website.

World Cultures on video: Roma

Roma or Gypsies are among the most historically persecuted ethnic groups in Europe. Stereotyped as thieves and con men, Rom groups still find it difficult to peacefully exist in many towns, particularly in Eastern Europe. Yet there is much to admire in their fascinating culture. Their traditional music and dance can be simultaneously joyful and … Continue reading “World Cultures on video: Roma”

Roma or Gypsies are among the most historically persecuted ethnic groups in Europe. Stereotyped as thieves and con men, Rom groups still find it difficult to peacefully exist in many towns, particularly in Eastern Europe. Yet there is much to admire in their fascinating culture. Their traditional music and dance can be simultaneously joyful and haunting. Their devotion to their extended families, their nomadic lifestyles, and their pride and resilience in the face of humiliating discrimination are essential elements to their character.

Media Services has several very good documentaries and feature films on this intriguing but often secretive group.

Documentaries
American Gypsy: A Stranger in Everybody’s Land VHS 7478
Latcho Drom VHS 6510
Porraimos: Europe’s Gypsies in the Holocaust VHS 7464
The Romany Trail VHS 3270
Suspino: A Cry for Roma VHS 7428

Feature Films
Black Cat, White Cat VHS 6547
Gadjo Dilo= Crazy Stranger VHS 7076
Time of the Gypsies VHS 5751
Vengo DVD 972

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Obit: Gordon Parks, 93

Parks, a multi-talented artist, first gained recognition as a photographer for Life Magazine, often focussing on individuals dramatically affected by living in poverty. He also directed two films of historic interest. His first feature, The Learning Tree (VHS 4291), was based on his autobiography and was among the first 25 films selected for the National … Continue reading “Obit: Gordon Parks, 93”

Parks, a multi-talented artist, first gained recognition as a photographer for Life Magazine, often focussing on individuals dramatically affected by living in poverty. He also directed two films of historic interest. His first feature, The Learning Tree (VHS 4291), was based on his autobiography and was among the first 25 films selected for the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress in 1989. His second feature, Shaft (VHS 3134), became a cultural landmark both as a pioneer of the Blaxploitation genre and for an unforgettable theme song. It too was eventually named to the National Film Registry.

Also of interest: Videos featuring interviews with Gordon Parks
I Remember Harlem, Part 3: Toward Freedom, 1940-1955 VHS 5113
Remembering Life VHS 1231
Malcolm X: Make it Plain VHS 2508
Baadassss Cinema: A bold look at 70’s Blaxploitation Films DVD 539

Masters of Cinema: Your guide to high-brow cinema on DVD

A group of five contributors with a predilection for serious world cinema sustain this highly-informative site. Bresson, Dreyer, Ozu, and Tarkovsky are among their favorites. Foremost it’s a blog of important and often esoteric DVD releases but it also hosts several good articles focussing primarily on topics related both to cinema and the DVD medium. … Continue reading “Masters of Cinema: Your guide to high-brow cinema on DVD”

A group of five contributors with a predilection for serious world cinema sustain this highly-informative site. Bresson, Dreyer, Ozu, and Tarkovsky are among their favorites. Foremost it’s a blog of important and often esoteric DVD releases but it also hosts several good articles focussing primarily on topics related both to cinema and the DVD medium. A couple that caught my eye were: Overlooked? DVD gems that might have escaped your radar and Unavailable? The most wanted on DVD – a survey. It’s been around since Summer 2003 so there’s lots to peruse here.

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The J Marimba Ponies

I couldn’t resist noting this guilty pleasure – my favorite piece of streaming video from the last couple of weeks. The Ponies perform the Sabre Dance. For those old enough to remember, this piece of music, composed by Aram Khachaturian, was used on the Ed Sullivan show to accompany spinning plate acts and more recently … Continue reading “The J Marimba Ponies”

I couldn’t resist noting this guilty pleasure – my favorite piece of streaming video from the last couple of weeks. The Ponies perform the Sabre Dance. For those old enough to remember, this piece of music, composed by Aram Khachaturian, was used on the Ed Sullivan show to accompany spinning plate acts and more recently has found its way into an episode of the Simpsons and segments of Late Night with Conan O’Brien.

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Suggested viewing: This Divided State – DVD 1678

When filmmaker Michael Moore is invited to speak at Utah Valley State College, local residents and conservative students pull out all the stops to try to pre-empt the engagement. Neither protests, threats, bribery, or a last-ditch speech by Fox News commentator Sean Hannity can sway the determined student government leaders though. Driven by their plain-spoken … Continue reading “Suggested viewing: This Divided State – DVD 1678”

When filmmaker Michael Moore is invited to speak at Utah Valley State College, local residents and conservative students pull out all the stops to try to pre-empt the engagement. Neither protests, threats, bribery, or a last-ditch speech by Fox News commentator Sean Hannity can sway the determined student government leaders though. Driven by their plain-spoken belief that in a democracy people should have an opportunity to hear dissenting points-of-view, their story plays like a real life Frank Capra/Jimmy Stewart movie. First-time filmmaker Steven Greenstreet’s work is a bit long-winded but vividly captures the many elements of this engrossing story that received little attention outside of Utah at the time.

The filmmakers have a blog worth reading.