Friday, June 27, 2008

"Karma Generator" review

John Serba of the Grand Rapids Press had some nice things to say about our film "Karma Generator," recently, when it played the Waterfront Film Festival.

From the review:

"Karma" is a must-see for fans of Vander Ark - it offers insight into his songwriting process, and the unique creative relationship he developed with famed producer Bill Szymczyk."

"Karma Generator" is currently available as a bonus feature on the DVD Brian Vander Ark: Live at Aquinas College and a bargain at only $17 for a really well-produced concert film if I do say so myself! (Full disclosure: I was the Director, Co-Producer and DP.)

Up on the catwalk before the show

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

"The Best of Playomatic" screening at the Griffen in Salem

A collection of Playomatic short films, most of which I was involved with in one way or another, usually as director of photography, will be screening this weekend at the Griffen Theatre in Salem, MA. Sadly, I'm out of town and unable to attend but maybe you can and help support my good buddy Steve Stuart and his family.

Here's the press release:

"The Griffen Theatre at 7 Lynde Street in Salem presents The Best of the Playomatic: A Hilarious Short Film Screening on Friday, June 27th and Saturday, June 28th at 8 p.m.

There is a $20 suggested donation at the door as the evening is a benefit for the filmmaker and his family, who plan to move to Western Australia next January to work for Create International, a cutting-edge ministry organization in Perth that provides culturally relevant Christian video and web materials to different nationalities throughout the world.

Beverly-based filmmaker Steve Stuart has won several awards at Boston's 48 Hour Film Project for his zany shorts, filmed mostly in Beverly and Salem. The shorts feature North Shore actors and one pesky yard gnome that pops up in each of them. Featured short films include: America's Next Top Superhero, Opening Night Jitters, Sneaker Double Feature and the most recently shot Deadly Deja Vu.

According to the filmmaker, these 'strange, little films' represent his alter ego. Stuart's 2007 film Hope for Uganda screened this year at the first Salem Film Fest."

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Brian Vander Ark: Live at Aquinas College


June has been a big month so far!

First, "Karma Generator" screens at The Waterfront Film Festival and now the Brian Vander Ark concert my brother and I produced and shot has been released on DVD!

I used five cameras to capture Brian Vander Ark in all his full-band glory premiering the material from his new self-titled album, plus some Verve Pipe chestnuts for good measure.

You can order the DVD for $17 (or autographed by BVA for $22) from Vander Ark's website and view some clips there in the "Videos" section.

The stage and lighting looked great, and included Brian's touring Airstream trailer as a backdrop, after Brian JUST managed to shoehorn it into the arena. You think Brian is a talented musician? Well, you should see him drive!

The band is really crankin' and the sweat is palpable as they deliver the goods to several hundred fans (and countless more via the magic of DVD) on a very special night.

Brian Vander Ark:  Live at Aquinas College

From Brian Vander Ark's press release about the DVD:

"It's also very exciting to be able to announce that the new DVD, Brian Vander Ark: Live at Aquinas College is now available for purchase. The concert was recorded by my friends Brian and Brad Kelly. It was a five camera shoot, and I consider it to be a companion to the new album. All of the songs from the new album were performed, along with songs from the other solo albums, as well as some Verve Pipe songs as well. You can watch a sample of it at the new web site in the "Video" section."

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Karma Generator at the Waterfront Film Festival

This is a big weekend for "Karma Generator." The documentary my brother and I made about Brian Vander Ark recording his new solo album with legendary knob-twiddler Bill Szymczyk in North Carolina.


Our movie has been screening at the Waterfront Film Festival, held each year in the summer artists haven of Saugatuck, Michigan.

Screen Actor's Guild Magazine named the Waterfront Film Festival one of their Top Five Favorite Film Festivals and it's in mighty fine company: Cannes, Sundance, CineVegas, and SXSW being the other four (I'm sure it has something to do with plying visiting filmmakers with dune rides and jetski's on Michigan's sandy west coast, but hey, all's fair in the film-fest game)!


Film Threat has also named the fest one of the top "Ten Fantastic Film Festival Vacations." Unfortunately, work commitments kept me in Boston this weekend, but I'm sure my co-director brother has been soaking up enough glory and cocktail shrimp at the filmmaker buffet for the both of us (at least his gloating Blackberry messages text'd from ground zero in Saugatuck would lead one to think so).

Karma Generator is screening with another documentary, The Linguists, about the effort to preserve and document the world's rapidly disappearing indigenous languages.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Hanna's Gift and Queenvick at BIFF

Victoria Englemayer, star of many a Playomatic 48 Hour Film Project is now an LA based actor. However, she's back in town for the screening of the movie Hanah's Gift at the Boston International Film Festival tonight at the AMC Loews, Boston Common. Victoria scored a lead role in what looks to be an intriguing horror film (appropriately premiering on Friday the 13th!).


In Hanah's Gift, she plays the childlike, "Toby." In 2005 she played Heike Koller, European pop star, in our NYC 48 Hour Film entry.

Portrait of the Artist as a Frightened Young Immigrant.

Hal and Victoria during the "Squeeze Your Thumbs" shoot.
Young Artist transforms into Star.
Hal B. Klein and Victoria during the shoot in New York City.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Corporate Video As Art

Suppose you were given 10 minutes to explain a company's new product in a promotional film. Suppose it had to be surprisingly technical but also engaging to the non-technical viewer. Suppose you were also a great artist and designer...

Behold, an instructional film created for Polaroid by Charles and Ray Eames in 1972 to introduce the landmark SX-70 camera.

Charles and Ray Eames were not only famous industrial designers, they were also filmmakers, creating more than 100 short films over the course of their career for clients like IBM and Polaroid, most of them painstakingly artful, yet communicating complex ideas in profoundly clear terms.

Ray and Charles Eames at work.

Eames Lounge Chair debut in 1956 on NBC


As an addendum to the above post, you can watch Ray and Charles Eames unveil their soon-to-be iconic lounge chair live on the "Home" show with Arlene Francis on NBC, in 1956. Charles also discusses their famous modernist house and working with Billy Wilder on the Jimmy Stewart movie, "Spirit of St. Louis."

But the real star is the chair--and also remarkable is Charles' almost abashed sense of modesty.