Archive | April, 2013

Issue of Identity in the ‘PolinArts and the Outsiders”

28 Apr

ImageFrom the beginning of making this documentary, the issue of identity was one of the main subjects of the film.  How do Polish people (or more precisely -artists) form and establish their identity after leaving the country where they were born?

As I continue conducting the interviews, I am amazed how differently we all look at this topic. The younger migrants form their identity around their personal choices and modern life experiences, rejecting some traditional values and embracing the new ones. The representatives of the older emigration, who left the country mostly for political reasons and often wasn’t allowed to go back, cultivate the traditions. As with all generational conflicts, there is a lot of emotionally charged clashes and misunderstandings.

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Yet, there are also some people who can take a more objective view and understand arguments from both sides of the barricade. One of such individuals is a very experienced theatre director Helena Kaut Howson, who’s been directing plays across the whole Europe, including UK, Poland and France. Her recent production –Sons without Fathers has just had its premiere in Coventry.

As we spoke on the phone, she shared a number of very thoughtful and wisely formed observations about the identity and values of both groups. I was impressed by the quality of her language, which put mine use of Polish to shame.

At the time of our conversation, due to time restrictions (Helena’s and mine) we were unable to do an interview in front of the camera. However, now, with a changed deadline, I hope that I might be able to meet with Helena before the short version of the documentary is finished.

Change of deadline for PolinArts and the Outsiders, my new documentary

22 Apr

If you are following the blog, you’d noticed that the countdown to the deadline, which was positioned on the right hand side, is gone now. That is because we have recently found out that the festival we were aiming at would not serve the film very well. We have been advised by Agnieszka’s ( my co-producer) industry contacts that certain festivals are better to premier a film, than the others. That is because of the likeliness that the film will be spotted by distributors and other festival programmers. As the project gets wider publicity and gathers more interest, we were advised to withhold and submit to another, more prestigious festival, which can help promoting the film.

For us, it’s a good news. It means we have a bit more time for the edit and we can do few more interviews.  The newest artist who agreed to meet us is Slawa Harasymowicz! So stay with us and keep on reading, please :)

4th week of filming for PolinArts: Philip Filipczuk and Soma Ansamble

21 Apr

Philip FilipczukDuring the fourth week of filming I spent a load of time with Philip Filipczuk, the founder of Soma Ansamble.

Philip is a Buddhist and a philosopher.  Some of our conversations went beyond the subject of the film and covered life, death and spirituality.

However, Philip is mostly a musician. His main instrument is a silver saxophone (positioned behind him on the picture). Aside from his sax, he also owns and plays a range of other wind instruments, some of them are self-made (check out the pipe he’s holding).

I was allowed to follow Philip through his daily work routine and was invited to the rehearsal of Some Ansamble. Now, that was a treat! As I was there, enjoying a private concert, I was immersed by music. It made me slow down, forced to relax.

The band consists of 6 musicians, who come from different parts of the world, and has been gathering faithful following  for the past few years. On the day when I visited them, the boys practiced pieces from their other project- Cut Out From Now.

Whilst I’m editing the material from the rehearsal, have a look at this video from one of their gigs at The Others, 2010 (video made by Andrzej Szolomicki):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m2HQCR6yAsQ

Documentary making continues: DIY animations

14 Apr

I have only 16 days left to finish my documentary, PolinArts and the Outsiders and submit it to the festival. So the pressure is on.

Unfortunately, I could  not find anyone who could do/help me with making animations for the documentary, so I decided to do them myself.

Here is how I am making them.

I had a cut out man already in my storage. I made him a year or two ago for another project. At that time I just shoot him with a green backdrop and presented against a white screen. It worked but was very flat in the way it looked. This time I wanted to make something more advanced.

At first, I made simple sketches as a story board, so I knew what I needed.

Sketches for PolinArts and the Outsiders

The I began creating background, to add a more 3 dimensional feel.  Below are some pictures from the process:

IMG_20130413_180900 IMG_20130413_194347 IMG_20130414_000147 IMG_20130414_091949 IMG_20130414_092018

Documentary making: Third week of filming- introducing Oskar Krajewski

11 Apr

A new post in “PolinArts…”, this time about Oskar Krajewski, an artists I have interviewed last week.

In the meantime, I have made few improvements to both blogs. I added a heather to Mallywini Films, which is a still from my film “Where is Harry?”. Ups, that reminds me I still need to finish writing about its making off. Oh my, so much to do.

Moving on. I also created a new heather for “PolinArts…” blog AND (following an advice from one reader- I’m happy to say I have few now) I  created a FB fan page for the project. Please LIKE it on: https://www.facebook.com/polinarts

Finally, after months of hesitation, I have joined the twitter. You can find me @mallywini_films

Now, back to the post from “PolinArts..”. Enjoy!

Third week of filming: introducing Oskar Krajewski.

Mallywini Films School: Scriptwriting and London Screenwriters’ Festival 2012

6 Apr

As I am preparing the script for the short film challenge I set myself- I’d like to write a bit about scriptwriting.

Call me slow, but I have only recently realised how much effort goes into a good script and that screen/scriptwriting requires a continuously developed and mastered craft. The only thing that can excuse my ignorance, was the fact that even though I made number of short films based on my own ideas (put down in a form of a script of course), I have never called myself a script/screen-writer. My writing was done at a spur of a moment, out of a sudden inspiration or out of a need to come up with a story. The work was never really developed, advanced or polished. I simply didn’t know how to do it nor I really felt the need for it. Each script was the best I was able to do at that time. What the scripts lacked, I developed while directing and then made the best of everything in editing.

London Screenwriters Festival 2012

This changed after I went to London Screenwriters’ Festival (LSF) last year where I took part in number of sessions on screenwriting. I saw hundreds of writers at different stages of their career and their understanding of writing. I learned a lot and the best thing was that at the end I felt like I was part of something, something big, something exciting. It was a good feeling. Most importantly, the sessions gave me the tools for analysing scripts and developing them.

Here are two speakers I remembered most and short summaries of what I learned from them ( if the pictures look familiar, they probably are – they were stolen from the LSF official website but all in the good cause- I hope that Chris Jones won’t chase me down for that):

Kate Leys at LSF 2012

KATE LEYS (www.kateleys.co.uk), a feature script editor, was the first speaker I listened to. I was lucky to snick into her session despite the fact that the room was full and a couple before me was turned away.

Kate was a very humble and entertaining speaker. I have like 9 pages of notes from her session, but here are the most important ideas:

1. What makes a good protagonist is the struggle she/he deals with BEFORE the story begins.

2. Act 1 takes place when that struggle reaches its peak and the character needs to do something about it.  Act 2, in Kate’s own words, “delivers crap to the center character”

3. Another quote about writing dialogue: “Sometimes it’s the right line, just the wrong person saying it”

4. “It’s not what characters do, that makes a good story, it’s what they WANT.(…) Think what’s missing in their live, what’s on stake?

5. Key questions to ask yourself:

Whose story is it? ________What does this person want? _______Why can’t they have it?_________ What do they need to realise it? _________ What stopping them from learning it?

Pilar Alessandra at LSF 2012

PILAR ALESSANDRA (www.onthepage.tv) was another memorable speaker. But Pilar is more than a speaker, she is a teacher. A very good one. Being a teacher myself, I can tell a great teacher when I see one.

Her session was about dialogue and how to make it more dynamic. Here are few tips from Pilar:

1. Each character has a different agenda/objective. Each line of the dialogue should come out of the need of this character.

2. Each character has different strategy in achieving what she/he needs. The dialogue should consider such strategies, e.g. flattering, avoiding the subject, complaining, wise cracking, silence (!)

3. Then there are techniques or as Pilar calls it “Actions”. This include moaning, whimpering, shouting etc.

4. Finally, as very useful note for beginning screenwriters about Exposition:

“Your character already knows things, no way to communicate them out loud.”

Needless to say, I am planning to attend the 2013 edition of LSF. If you are going to be there too, please say ‘hello’, a canteen full of 300 networking writers can be an intimidating place to enter at first, as I experienced at first hand.

LSF 2012

The last session of the festival. I’m at the front to the left.

Schedule for the next two weeks = short film challenge

2 Apr

Easter break means few things for me- firstly, it’s a time without paid work; which sucks… However, it also means that I have time to get on with what I really love- filmmaking. So, I crack on.

PolinArts is of course at the top of the list, clearly because I hope to get it finish for the set deadline, which is at the end of the month! Help! The looooong list of smaller tasks includes:

  • organise and conduct interviews with the rest of the PolinArtists and the others from the list
  • prepare animations
  • find suitable music/composer (ideally)
  • organise interviews in Poland (but stay in UK- magic!)
  • set up Twitter for the project (scary!)
  • find a designer for opening credits (brief is already written) and for a logo/promotional materials
  • film b-rolls from London
  • log footage
  • make transcript from interviews
  • edit…

Not much, eh!?

Apart from the above, there is one or two more projects I’d like to do. I’d like to make a short film. Correction- I NEED to make a short film. It’s been too long… I have a script from a young screenwriter that’s been waiting ages for it to be turned into a decent film. The script unfortunately needs some work, but once it’s finished it shouldn’t take more than two days to film it. But organising the production will take probably most of the remaining timMallywini 2 weeks challengee.

Yet, I’d still like more. Sometime ago, I have offered to make a music video for a band I know. We discussed it last month, but there was never enough time to do it. The Easter holiday seem perfect for it…

So, a challenge begins.  Having a tendency of being over ambitious, can I actually do everything I set up for myself? Let’s hope so…