VF48Hours Forum

Gregg MacPherson
From: Auckland
Since: Apr 2011
Posts: 232

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Ratty Crack Bride rules. Beyond 48 hours etc.

Maybe most people on the forum are entrants in the competition and it's difficult to get an honest or in depth critique or discussion. Maybe I am a 48 hours resistant outsider. I tuned in to the screening room to look at entrants for the last couple of years (this years winners not being accessible yet). There are only two films in the last two years that I remember as honestly watchable, the Grand Cheval child jumping movie from last year and the Ratty Crack Bride pencil animation from this year.

The Child Jumpers, I honestly cant say how it got though my defences, but it did. Ratty crack bride I think knows its medium, was unaffected by this bizzare time constraint (48 hours !@#$%^&*), and has no flaws that compromise the core idea. And the core idea is good. It feels like a really personal, well familiarized fantasy. And it takes itself fully seriously, whereas most other entrants don't.

What is this irritating thing about Independent NZ cinema (which 48 hours is part of) where we have to treat everything with at least a faint layer of self parody/mockery or allow possible resopnse in a commedic vein. As if serious film is dead. What a joke. I blame it all on those Flight of the Concord fuckers, Eagle vs.. ..and Taika W., but it must have it's roots deeper than that.

I think people can create a little universe for themselves anyhow and anywhere they like, fiddling away while Rome burns etc, but for every action there is a reaction or an effect. There will be some new film makers who may represent the new Vincent Wards, Roger Donaldsons, Peter Jacksons of tomorrow and the environment you guys have created with 48 hours will actually hold them back. So I think there is a responsibility towards the future.

I heard some guys talking about what lies beyond 48 hours. Some of you already have your answers to that. Others don't. In case this shockingly obvious thing has not been stated. Having 48 hours to conceive, develop and execute is a bizare and extreme constraint. It's almost a formula to produce a high volume of mediocre or seriously flawed films. All of which is fine if it's a lot of fun. But I seem to witness industry professionals who are involved, who simply want to validate this, rather than help explain the broader context - help people to find what lies beyond.

Anyone who thinks that the Make My Movie idea is what lies beyond is completely wrong. The idea of film making being popularized or democratized is alreaday a notion at least half realized. Can this really be cool or subversive anymore. No, just forget about that.

You need something to encourage really high quality short films that are not basically goomed by the NZFC or anyone else. Frankly, short films that are made as compliant promos to an individuals entry into the main stream NZ industry are not of high value in the big picture at all, unless by some accident they are totally amazing films.

In conclusion. Fuck democracy (in art and film). No two things are created equal. Yes we can have "structures in place" (modern vomit speak) that allow the infusion of new ideas into the established status quo, the slow morphing of the film industry and the product it creates. But I am convinced that the real leading edge of change is always embodied by artists, most of whom may not even be positively identified right now with film medium. And this is never recognized by the incumbents, who are always too busy excusing themselves and validating the way that things are right now.

For those of you who believe that this is all taken care of, that all is as it should be...I looked over the applications process to Creative New Zealand about a year ago and most of what I read was political stuff about the Treaty of Waitangi. Should an artist be left to navigate the depths or should they be scurrying around on the surface of life negotiating the modern political concerns. Only one possible answer for me.

And I really respected Ratty Crack Bride.
Hey is Francie Murray's daughter. Well done. Hope I catch up with you to chat about it.

Cheers,
Gregg.

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Gregg MacPherson
From: Auckland
Since: Apr 2011
Posts: 232

in reply to mikedensem:

True artistic expression is mostly the result of time spent in refining, contemplating, and ‘feeling’ your way through a work. The 48Hours criteria is the worst recipe for enabling this process.
I believe the philosophy at the heart of Gregg’s argument is incompatible with 48Hours. Aside from a stroke of pure luck, a film in this competition is never going to produce the aesthetic that is required to be considered art. I would suggest the two are actually mutually exclusive.

Talking about real art can be like going down the rabbit hole (C S Lewis). The art that I love is art which peels back the surface of life and reminds us of what we deeply are. The art I'm iffy about ...it's more like analytical exercises that feel like dissecting the dead frog so to speak. Then, having claimed it's life, claiming authorship of its organs. Sorry, I know that may sound obscure but that's all I've got.

Film as real art may not properly come until the passing of the cinema, with everyone busy enjoying something else, maybe Matrix style with a connector jammed right up your skull. So a few artists, oddballs and students will trot along to the museum or gallery to see a film. Hopefully in the flesh, unplugged.

If we are talking about the infusion of "art" into film, which is what interests me, then I think it can be to any degree, from a beautifully nuanced or visualized narrative (Pride and Prejudice by Joe Wright) through to stuff approaching simple art (Koyaanisqatsi). In terms of the difficulty of this or that form,, the density of idea and the time needed for development or execution.....Ideas that are dense so to speak require time. You could simply argue that they have no place in the 48 Hour contest....but it may be an important thing to allow within the 48Hour culture.

Suggestions to help allow that might be...A limb on the forum that nurtures ideas, people and projects beyond 48 hours. The intellectuals, writers, artists, anti artists, film makers need an identified (as in well marked) place for discussion. And creative film making needs all those elements. And sometimes those elements are all or mostly expressed in one person. On a practical level people developing or prepping projects might find it easier to connect with the resources and people they need. People wanting to help or work on more intensively developed and crafted films will know where to look.

I'm sure there are other things. Expand the Best Disqualified category? Maybe one or two teams might deliberately target winning that.

Coming back to the issue of whether infusing "art" into film is a bad idea in the 48 Hour contest, akin to attempting production values that are too difficult.....Not all efforts in that direction need time. The imagined deliberate version of Third Wheel seems like a flukey example, but that may be just because no one is thinking in that direction. It does need insight, receptivity, flexibility etc....so yes, bring on a new limb for the forum where divergent thinkers can feel safe.

There was this amazing cool film (at least in my memory) where Salvador Dali is larking around with some pretty young people. I remember a small geodetic dome. Dali in a frenzy painting the inside of it. The camera was very loose I think. At the end Dali had the running camera and threw it up into the air. If I could find this film maybe we could guess whether it was as improvised as it felt. Not that important really. Just a good illustration of potent use of form, easily created, where form can take over and feel like art.

Regarding more subtle nuanced art in more conventional films in the contest.. If the idea enables it and the cinematographer is up for it then it can happen.

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Gregg MacPherson
From: Auckland
Since: Apr 2011
Posts: 232

in reply to nzmick:

Winner of the smarmiest comment in the screening room. Clown.

I guess anything can be useful or fun. Clowns can be anything from the silly to the downright sinister.
These notes from a dreamlike imaginative state.

Clown Waving in the Bouncy Castle, or, Just Clowning Not Waving

.................as if dreaming, with the colorful clothes, dressed like a party clown. In the slow-mo bouncy castle. Vivid, intense undifferentiated color. In the distance, tiny dots. I'm bouncing and waving. Small isolated figures, squatting, hunched, half embryonic, fearful, gobbling the rubber while dreaming. Very dark glasses. Oddly, one of them, raising their head, suddenly close, looking right through me as though I'm invisible, thinks "I dream in color". Not true I think, you've never seen it (color). But somehow it's meaningful. And then they're gone. I'm still bouncing and waving...................


Mostly for Drama Mike I have the following notes, which may spoil it completely.

The bouncy castle stands in for the waking world, or what the world could be.

Gobbling the rubber is deliberately ambiguous or confused. Take it as meaning.... eating the bouncy castle, eating or ingesting the waking world while dreaming. Turning color into black and white Taking it the other way is just meant as a vivid expression of self absorption, and that not being safe, hence needing a rubber.

The entity projecting the thought "I dream in color" stands in for Drama Mike.

Just Clowning Not Waving is a joke borrowing form from the poem title Not Waving but Drowning, by Stevie Smith. I read that when it as published in a small Kiwi journal...somewhere..

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Gregg MacPherson
From: Auckland
Since: Apr 2011
Posts: 232

in reply to Craig Parkes:

Gregg it's interesting, because I think the art side can evolve from either directions. I would say that this year there was more 'art' in the Auckland finals than in previous years, ......you can approach entertainment from an artistic perspective, and an artistic work can also be entertaining,......
....it's HARDER to execute compelling sincere art?
....as an incubator, I would categorically claim that V48HOURS has enabled artists and created a venue for displaying their works..........
....if the end result leads to a work that appears flawed to its audience then the artist has almost certainly failed to deliver a work that is complete.
... Abandoned incomplete works are not art, just practice.

Responding to Craigs ideas

Your first paragraph doesn't feel contra to me at all. Like I think I said before, if a change is already afoot then, good. The last bit. .... It may well be harder to execute compelling sincere art....If we are talking about very carefully controlled tones of experience, or observation of character or surface....yes. But I think attemptedly high end photo-realistic narratives have the same problem within the brutal 48 hour time frame. So to me, it comes back to how early creative thinking at the inception of projects leads to a formal means that enables something really cool or exquisite. In the process of becoming exquisite, narrative forms in film and art forms in film can morph towards each other, or mix. I think you are saying that. I would be happy if a handful of even failed attempts at this (sincere, art infused films) appeared each year, provided they were not almost impossible to find.

The incubator, and what it's incubating or allowing. I haven't seen yet this years tittles that might change my mind, but looking at the last couple of years....If 48 Hours is enabling artist then where is their art? I almost can't see it. Either they and their work are lost in the confusion or there are alarmingly few of them. Maybe we have different criteria for what this art in film thing can be. So again, I think that some safer, marked place on the forum might be good to enable that discussion.

BTW I think I am on record as saying or inferring that Peter Jackson would not have thrived through the 48 Hours thingo. This is of course patent nonsense. I think I was just too desperate to include him when holding up the names of some great kiwi film makers. While this was wrong, it's not fatally contradictory to what it was trying to illustrate.

Regarding the idea that formal flaws might be less visible in more abstract less narrative films. You may be misperceiving my idea. If a more abstract work had a form that happily or usefully contained something which would otherwise be a defect in a more narrative work...then yay.. score...it may be easier to make. I don't know why people would assume that an art infused film can more easily accept visible flaws. Or that visible flaws can for any reason be perceived as anything else. Perceived flaws are bad. I'm sure we agree.

In the Dali film I referred to before, the camera was (I think I remember) quite agitated. This was not a flaw. In District 9, for example, the agitated camera (intended or not) was a near fatal flaw. I nearly vomited (physically). If I have not remembered the Dali film clearly, then we'll find another comparison.

Unfinished or abandoned works. A precise example to contradict this. If someone finds an unfinished piece by Tarkovsky, perhaps incomplete or with a flaw he perceived. The devoted will beg to see this art. They will consider it art even if it was never exhibited. IMHO this idea of yours falls over. When I saw Dune, I was a bit derailed by some of the worm SFX and the oddly compressed war that Paul waged to win back his kingdom, planet, control of the spice. It looked unfinished to me, but he had put a lid on it and it was done. Seriously flawed or just essentially unfinished, who can say, but it was the most concentrated infusion of art into a film that I could remember at the time.

More broadly on this, art in general,, not just film. Ridley Scott was interviewed ....spoke about his paintings and speaking for painters generally, considered paintings never to be finished. Interesting thought. Not directly contradicting you ....at this point in history.

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Craig Parkes
From: Auckland
Since: Mar 2011
Posts: 135

Gregg, I won't do a line by line reply, but give my thoughts in response - so yeah, everyone else, this is likely to be rambly:

Whether high end photo realistic narratives are as difficult/more difficult than well executed sincere artistic expressions, my argument as to their greater prevalence would be that the majority of contestants are far more exposed to high end photo realistic narratives than they are well executed sincere artistic expressions.

Irrespective of the merits of either form or the strength of attempting either in the competition, the more familiar form is going to have the overwhelming number of entries. I.e the vast majority of entrants to the competition are trying to enter a body of work that fits within what they already know.

This is simultaneously promoted and subverted by the allocation of random genres by the competition - promoted because many of the genres are very familiar - subverted in so far that those teams given less familiar genres may have no existing knowledge to ape them and thus come up with their own interpretations OR teams may choose to go a non obvious route with the genres they have been allocated purposefully subverting it themselves.

Examples of this occurred in this years Auckland final, including teams which subverted the fact that some genres offered a choice of genre to the contestants by creating films which were a combination of both those genres.

People aping tropes in popular genre are always going to exceed those trying for something more wholly original for this reason - as people who don't regularly make narrative OR artistic stories are going to some extent copy what they know about existing genres/artistic forms and ideas in an attempt to learn how to make films, and the majority are going to be copying narrative forms because they are simply more familiar.

However increasingly I find the finals are filled with teams with more original ideas that are less tropes on other films, especially as over the years the repeat entry teams have built upon their ability to create V48HOURS films.

The only issue one may be wary of here is that some of the most successful teams who are repeat finalists by nature of working together across many years are building bodies of work that build upon the tropes of their own work.

That's a perception that is difficult to avoid in any collaborative art form I feel, because avoiding a level of similarity from prior works is often difficult for teams, comparable to the case of a single artist experimenting on their own.

Instead a V48HOUR team as a collective group of people must convince themselves to try something dramatically different from what they have done in the past, which is unlikely to be desired by successful teams or even allowed simply due to group dynamics, as the nature of V48HOURS is such that the team itself is assembled before the idea is generated.

If you want a safer place in the forum to start a discussion about what is more artistic sincere or not, make a thread, call it "Films I find artistically sincere" and start from there and post links to the films you find suitable in the screening room.

If you openly discuss the examples you find to work as sincere artistic films you may encourage other like minded people to attempt similar films because they know there is an audience and place where they will get commentary/critique outside of the competition itself.

If you simply complain about the lack of exposure given to such films by the competition or worse, appear to slight films which you perceive to have a lack of sincerity as somehow lesser works than other films, you will likely continue to attract antagonistic responses because while the discussion of the value of artistically sincere films may be constructive, complaining about a lack of them really isn't, it's just complaining.

Everything about the films that are made for this competition has evolved from people talking about the competition. Popularity and success of the overall competition can be put down to incredibly hard work by the organizers - but the nature of the films themselves are down to the entrants, and outside of the obvious constraints of the rules I would say the competition's overall judging hasn't shown a bias that would actively discourage anyone from making anything other than the sort of film they want to make.

If you talk positively and sincerely about the aspects of films that you like, you are more likely to see those aspects developed further by the people who made those films, especially if it those posts are visible to people who are like minded.

If you find very few other people are like minded, then feel free to accept the fact that you have different tastes from the majority and it's not the role of the competition to promote your own tastes.

I think any flaw in a film is either a visible flaw, or a happy accident that unintentionally improves the viewing, whether the film is intended to be art or not.

However in entertainment I find that happy accidents are more easy to appreciate than in art films, and things I perceive as flaws often easier to overlook - that's a personal bias, probably based on my thinking that it is easier and simultaneously less necessary for the audience to infer the intention of a creator of a film designed to entertain over the intentions of an artist trying to make art.

In essence, it's easier for me to appreciate the fact that I am being entertained by what I am watching then it is to appreciate a piece of art if I have no idea whether the flaw that I am perceiving in an artistic work was intentional, a happy accident, or just a facet of the time limitation of the competition.

Were there no time limitations, and the entry was simply posted as an example of the artists work on their own accord, then I would assume it was intentional. Either because it was deemed finished by the artist, or the artist abandoned it but still wanted to show it; which is a scenario that speaks to the concept of a painting/film never being finished. Either way the decision is in the hands of the artist.

It's just that the extremely time limited nature of the competition will always leave me doubting the artists intent if I perceive something that is hard to determine as intentional or a flaw.

For me a lot of the joy of viewing artwork is experiencing my own reaction to, and perception of, an artists intent. Works that try and be artistically sincere and fail in my perception because of the time limited nature of the competition make it harder for me to form my own view of the artists intent, which in turn will lower my appreciation of them unless my lack of understanding is overcome by the sheer strength of the works overall aesthetic.

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Gregg MacPherson
From: Auckland
Since: Apr 2011
Posts: 232

in reply to Craig Parkes:

Gregg, I won't do a line by line reply, but give my thoughts in response - ......
.....the majority of contestants are far more exposed to high end photo realistic narratives than they are well executed sincere artistic expressions.
.....For me a lot of the joy of viewing artwork is experiencing my own reaction to, and perception of, an artists intent.

Craig, There are things we could argue about, but I'm just not feeling the urge to go back and forth on this. Maybe later.
Edit: Responses that exercise the more useful "synsergistic" quality are often not quick. End Edit

A Correction. (me correcting myself)
To anyone who has been reading and was perplexed or misdirected by the following (from page 4)

"One way is the way of debate, anything from the civilized to the raging shit storm. It leads to winners and losers, or compromises. Another way is a sort didactic or synergistic thingy. Ideas get expressed and we all just morph together into whatever new thing we need to be collectively"

Not didactic. I meant dialectic. Not sure how I blundered, the debate vs dialectic idea was something I had just been thinking about a couple of months ago. So apologies to anyone who was perplexed.

Cheers, Gregg

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iafilm
From: Manukau
Since: Apr 2012
Posts: 8

Thanks Gregg and co for the comments on "Laputa". About "Beyond 48 Hours" - some news. "Laputa" (Version 2) is now complete and just yesterday, 06 Sep, I received a "congratulations" email that it has gained selection in the "Pollygrind Underground Film Festival" in Las Vegas in mid-Nov. Also says that selection was very competitive with over 600 submissions. This Festival seems to have a similar vibe to NZ's "Incredibly Strange" with an organiser Chad Freeman who comes across as a lot like Ant Timson. Makes me wonder if Ant has been cloning himself in Las Vegas?

Pollygrind requests "Likes" for its Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/pollygrind

"Laputa" v02 not online yet because we are still doing submissions for festivals and some of them have a no-online rule.

Team MITCIT are lecturers, students, ex-students and friends of the Manukau Institute of Technology ...
(2015 year off busy with our indie feature. MITCITers participated in teams "Path2Dreams" and "Blacksands Broadcasting")
2014 Best In The World - Musical
2013 Notice of Seizure - Race Against The Clock
2012 Attack of the Mutant Fruit Flies - End Of World - nominated Auckland Graduate Massacre Incredibly Strange Award
2011 Laputa - Quest - Auckland "WTF? Award"
2010 Lara Para and the Fabric of Time - Time Travel - nominated Auckland Best Worst Movie
2009 Doctor Who and the Dragons of Earth - Parallel World
2008 How Europe Got Its Name - Juvenile Delinquent
2007 Dancing With the Pollies - Romance
2006 Escape From Cassius - Science Fiction
2005 The Case of Bodil de Resny - Film Noir
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