It’s been a roller coaster ride of a month for us at Digital Bolex! We started the year off with an amazing holiday sale, and a week later Variety and The Wrap announced the finalists for our Fearless Filmmaking showcase at the 2015 Slamdance Film Festival, which sold out immediately when tickets went on sale in early January.
The team arrived for Slamdance’s opening night on January 23rd, and it was a blast to meet all the filmmakers, jurists, and fellow sponsors lending support to an amazing and innovative festival. Feature films in competition at Slamdance require a first time director and a budget of 1 million dollars or less, preserving a place for outsider and emerging filmmakers in Park City every year. Shorts are served up in multiple categories, from experimental to anarchy to standard narratives and documentaries.
On Monday 1/26 we premiered FEARLESS FILMMAKING to the world. The screening was packed to fire capacity, and our only disappointment with the screening was how many people were turned away. This event was a huge undertaking for us and we’re so grateful for the turnout, and now we know that next time we do this we’ll either repeat the block or do two programs, so that everyone who wanted to see the films on the big screen has a chance to!
The fifteen short shorts included in the Fearless Filmmaking lineup for Slamdance were:
ALPHAVILLE: A REMIX – James Kaelan (USA)
Lemmy Caution seduces himself in this shot-for-shot feminist remix of Jean-Luc Godard’s lo-fi science fiction masterpiece starring Caitlin FitzGerald.
COURTESAN – Misti Boland and Jeremy Osbern (USA)*
Two strangers meet on Christmas night… for sex and the exchange of money.
REDUX20 – Paul Rachman (USA)*
An experimental doc that steps into the spiraling frenetic journey of actor and artist Jason Cairns with whom the director worked 20 years ago on the film Drive Baby Drive.
THE PERILOUS FIGHT – Nedra McClyde (USA)*
A father wrestles with the decision to allow his young son to enter the world without him.
THE CHARACTER STUDY – Luke Pelizzari (Canada)
When an actor takes his character off the set and into his everyday life, he learns a valuable lesson about pretending to be something you’re (definitely) not.
JKTV – Elle Schneider (USA)
A documentary exploring the work of webcam artist Joey Kim.
ISOBEL – Marie Jamora (USA/Philippines)*
Isobel lives in the Philippines and has been acting and painting since she was four — now at the age of twelve, through conversation and archival footage, we see a portrait of her growing up.
THE DAMMED – Fernando Frias (Mexico)*
Ulises Zarazua has an American Passport but lives in Mexico city; I have a Mexican passport and live in New York. He made a song. I made a video.
COMING TO – Lindsay Haun (USA)
A man wakes up in a Koreatown hallway, naked except for a cock ring and frilly scarf.
FINGER GUNS – Bryan Chojnowski (USA)
Eve moves back to her hometown and it totally sucks, so Jack is going to make her smile — even if it kills them.
LOVE & I – Heather Kasprzak (USA)
A true story about a young woman who sets out to find the father she hasn’t seen in 30 years.
SALT WOUND – Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine (USA)*
A collage of four artists creating and purging with some dirt, dolls, a blanket and a goldfish.
AQUARIUM – Ben McCrea (USA)
A couple drive to the beach to say their final goodbye — one does not return.
AN UNEXPECTED FAREWELL – Fredrik Ekholm (Sweden)
A desperate man comes across a golden frame, which takes him on an unexpected journey.
PASSPORT – Lisa Demaine (USA)
Off on a bender, a Hollywood legend escapes an unhappy film set only to discover there’s no escaping your own myth.
The shorts block, running a brisk 90 minutes, included music videos, experimental films, documentaries and narratives in three different languages, shot in 5 different countries. Seven of the fifteen shorts were directed by women, and for many of the directors, it was their first time working with the D16. A few members of the Digital Bolex community, including DP Ari Davidson (AQUARIUM), and directors Fredrik Ekholm and Luke Pellizzari, had their work shown, with Luke taking home one of the honorable mentions for his Vancouver-set THE CHARACTER STUDY from our judges Amber Benson (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Todd Berger (It’s a Disaster), Damon Russell (Snow on tha Bluff), and Kent Osborne (Adventure Time).
The Grand Prize winner selected by our judges to take home a 512GB Digital Bolex was COMING TO, by Lindsey Haun, a long time friend of the Bolex family of whom we’re incredibly proud. Her DP, Spencer Rollins, shot the 5-minute long COMING TO in five single takes with actor Jacob Demonte-Finn, nailing the 5th to nab the Best Picture award, given for the film’s humor, mystery, and inventive cinematography.
An additional honorable mention was given to Marie Jamora’s documentary ISOBEL.
Digital Bolex also hosted a panel on 1/27 featuring Jendra Jarnagin, DP and guest of the latest episode of the Cinematography Podcast, Todd Berger, actor/director, and Jacques Thelemaque, director of numerous award-winning shorts and feature THE DOGWALKER. The panel, moderated by Elle, discussed the importance of choosing the right cinematographer for your project. Listen online below:
There were a handful of cameras floating around Park City this year, including a cherry-plated D16M used by Youtuber Flula Borg to film his movie-within-a-documentary JOHNNY FIST, which was previewed at the IndieGoGo Lounge at Sundance. (The project still has 13 days left, so kick in now for some fun rewards!)
But our troops on the ground in Park City were definitely Ben, Pasqual, and Kevin of Slamdance TV, who shot & edited six very artistic filmmaker portraits during each day of of the festival.
You can see their hard work here:
BRIGHT IDEAS: ISSUE 3
We were psyched to celebrate the launch of BRIGHT IDEAS Issue 3 at the festival with our friends at Seed&Spark. We collaborated with S&S and fellow Kickstarter-funded Syrp in November to create a gorgeous photo spread in the magazine and accompanying video to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Godard’s ALPHAVILLE, which premiered as part of our Fearless Filmmaking showcase. You can see the video, shot on the D16M, online now:
And pick up your copy of BRIGHT IDEAS at a major film festival near you, or at the Ace Hotel in Downtown LA!
If you weren’t able to make it out to Park City this year, don’t feel left out—we’re going to be releasing all the Fearless Films on our site soon, and spotlighting one project per month to discuss its production, starting with Lindsey Haun’s COMING TO next week. (Want a head start? Check out DP Jeff Gatesman’s post on Passport from this past August!)
We’re also planning to team up with the Downtown Independent theater in Los Angeles to do an encore presentation of the Fearless Filmmaking shorts, followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers and a reception. Stay tuned for more information!
Til then, we’d like to give a special shoutout to all the Fearless Filmmakers who were able to make it out to the fest, and we can’t wait to share you work. We had an amazing time partnering with Slamdance, and we can’t wait for that partnership to grow!