Tag Archives: Film

Talented Cinematographer Brings the Film “Dirty Laundry” To Life

Cinematographer Guy Pooles
             Cinematographer Guy Pooles shot by Michel Copeland Toft

A common theme among many Los Angeles transplants is a desire to make it big in one aspect or another of the film industry. Whether it is because they were a big fish in a small pond who have been told since they were young that they belong on camera, or they have worked their whole life to be accepted as a filmmaker in Hollywood, there is so much more to film than just being talented in one’s creative field; film is a collaboration between countless departments who must individually put their egos aside in favor of the story they are creating for the audience.

For internationally respected cinematographer Guy Pooles, this foundational aspect of filmmaking is basic knowledge; and, the process as a whole is something that allows for a level of fulfillment that far surpasses anything that stems from ego-driven motives.

According to Pooles, “Cinema is a fusion of many different art forms, from writing, to music, to costume design and so on. Good cinema is brought into being by every one of those crafts working in harmony to achieve a collective vision.”

An incredible asset to every production to which he lends his name, and believe me, there have been many as he has worked non-stop over the last five years in both the UK and the United States, Pooles is the kind of cinematographer who is not only able to bring stories to life in an extraordinary manner, but he is also heavily conscious of how is work will blend with the work of each and every other department in the final product, the mark of a true collaborative genius. He explains this necessary attitude toward filmmaking by saying, “If I’m too preoccupied with how I’m lighting a scene to notice how it destroys the subtlety of a set design, or how it distracts from an actor’s performance, then a couple of audience members might leave the cinema saying “I liked the lighting” but no one will be saying “I liked the film”.”

Originally from England, Guy Pooles reached international acclaim after working as the cinematographer on the film Dirty Laundry, which was released in 2013. Directed by Aaron Martinez (Substrata), Dirty Laundry received incredible praise, as well as an impressive list of awards last year at film festivals around the world. To name a few, Dirty Laundry garnered an award from the Directors Guild of America for Outstanding Directorial Achievement, a Golden Starfish Award at the Hampton’s International Film Festival, as well as was an Official Selection at the BUSTER Children’s Film Festival Copenhagen, LA Shorts Fest and the DC Shorts Film Festival, and a Special Mention Award at the Oberhausen International Short Film Festival. Pooles was also honored on an individual level for his cinematography work on the film with the Linwood Dunn Heritage Award from the American Society of Cinematographers.

A beautifully shot film, Dirty Laundry follows a young boy named Sam (Zander Faden) as he traverses his beyond heartbreaking childhood full of real life bullies and those of which only he can see like that of the laundry monster. After Sam’s father abandons his family, and Sam’s mother falls into a dark and paralyzing depression, the young boy is forced to fend for himself on every level from the unrelenting bullies at school to the monster inside the ever piling dirty laundry within the basement. The level of collaboration and creativity that went into Dirty Laundry all the way down to the way the team managed to bring the laundry monster to life is staggering. Using miscellaneous clothing pieces, all of which were chosen by color and texture in order to fit the film’s palette, and a hand & rod puppet that required three performers to operate, they miraculously brought the laundry monster to life in a way that was not only believable, but frighteningly beautiful as well.

Shamim Seifzadeh, the production designer on Dirty Laundry, says, “I removed the common purpose from each piece of clothing, only to re-assign them to the monsters body parts. In the end, pants became the head; back pockets became his eyes; a zipper became his mouth; and socks became his fingers…. The final design concept became a giant, hunch-backed creature. His weight would not allow him to run fast but his sheer size made him intimidating. It is important to note that the Laundry Monster isn’t evil, but rather, misunderstood.”

Pooles used his expertise as the film’s cinematographer to create a dark and eerie atmosphere within the film that fully supports Sam’s mother’s debilitating depression and the cold world Sam lives in by using little, if any, artificial light. The film is shot solely from Sam’s point of view, a choice that posed challenges, but ultimately made Dirty Laundry a riveting masterpiece that allowed the audience to feel Sam’s struggle and experience his reality with little effort.

In reference to the technical cinematographic decisions that went into the film Pooles recalls, “Our first rule was that the camera would always be at the exact eye- height of Sam… This meant that when the other characters of the film towered over Sam in height, they were towering over the camera, and thus, the audience too. Another tool we utilized was to maintain the relative distance of objects and other characters. So if Sam sees something that’s on the other side of the room from him, the camera will then observe it from the other side of the room.”

While these elements combined to create the film’s general perspective as it unfolds before the audience, there was another more philosophical approach that went into providing the film with its capacity to touch the audience emotionally.

“The strongest tool we utilized was the notion of Pathetic Fallacy, where we render the world surrounding Sam, not how it would realistically appear, but rather how it feels to Sam. Examples of us doing this were: lighting each scene to feel de-saturated and overcast, helping the audience to feel the lack of warmth and colour in Sam’s life,” explains Pooles. “We would also often place Sam in a frame so that he was very small in relation to his empty environment, allowing the audience to understand the extent of the isolation that he feels.”

An even greater testament to this talented young Englishman’s auteur is the fact that Pooles wrote the film in addition to working as its cinematographer, no small feat, but one he seamlessly accomplished as proven by the shear number of awards the film received. Aside from Pooles’ work on Dirty Laundry, he has worked as the cinematographer on the films Happenstance, Martha, Jobe, What Must Be Done. What The Monkey Saw, Wake, Chronophobia, as well as the music video for Bryarly’s hit song ‘In The Bright Daylight’ and the documentary Best of The Pacific Northwest.

Guy Pooles is undoubtedly a cinematographer whose creative vision, backed by his highly specialized technical skills, will continue to impress for decades to come; and frankly, we can’t wait to see what he comes up with next!

 

Advertisements

French Film Wizard Emeric Le Bars!

Emeric Le Bars
Editor Emeric Le Bars

Although they are never seen on screen, film editors select every single shot the audience sees, a role that holds the power to make or break a project. Something of a film wizard, Emeric Le Bars is among the best European editors working in the entertainment industry today.

Originally from France, Emeric Le Bars has been honing his skills as a professional film editor for more than a decade. The talented young editor has continued to expand on his already impressive repertoire of work since moving to the United States a few years ago.

Le Bars is currently working on a feature film entitled Perception of Art, directed by German filmmaker Roana Wullinger (Moonflower, Rain Day, Brown Bag, Second Date?, Soul Bird). Set for release in February 2015, Perception of Art is a dramatic comedy about a spoiled yet struggling Italian painter who receives an opportunity to bring his art into the spotlight, but to his dismay, the opportunity requires him to collaborate with a cleaning lady. In addition to his work as lead editor on Perception of Art, Le Bars is also working as a colorist for the filmLe Bars explains, “In the film two worlds clash together and the entertainment value is impeccable.”

Emeric Le Bars first met director Roana Wullinger at Smile TV, where he is employed as an editor. Two incredibly talented individuals, Le Bars and Wullinger intend to continue collaborating after the release of the film. They have already started the groundwork for their next project, a documentary that focuses on the lives of children in the Middle East, and Le Bars says, “We want to keep working together for as long as we can!”

While working as an editor for Smile TV, Le Bars has lent his creative talents to more than 15 interstitials for PBS SoCal and 2 segments through the series LAaRT, which highlights the Los Angeles art scene and airs on PBS Southern California. Proving his incredible diversity in the industry, Le Bars served as chief editor and director of photography on an episode of LAaRT entitled “Homeless Karaoke.” He describes the episode like this, “After a day of quietly asking for change, this diverse group of people comes in from the street to hear and be heard.” At a venue that enables the homeless population of Skid Row to lift themselves up through music and companionship, Le Bars admits, “The talent will surprise you!”

Over the years Le Bars has displayed his passion and talent for editing in numerous projects, and he continues to give life to the footage he edits on a daily basis. “I love creating a story from nothing, sharing emotion and feeling,” remarks Le Bars. “There are thousands of ways to edit one video and you choose the one you want. You decide how you want to tell the story and what feelings you want to share.”

In this way, Le Bars accurately describes just how important someone in his position is to the production process, and we look forward to seeing what he creates next.

Composer Spotlight: Alex Redfern!

Composer Alex Redfern
Composer Alex Redfern

UK born composer Alex Redfern is a master of blending music and visuals for film and television. Alex Redfern is known throughout the international entertainment industry for having created emotive scores for the films Happy Face and Tumbleweed: A True Story, as well as for contributing to the music departments of Walt Disney Picture’s upcoming feature Cinderella, which stars two-time Oscar Award winner Cate Blanchett, James Franco’s Holy Land, Penguin Trek, Larson’s Field, and many others.

The young yet highly skilled composer is currently working on Sisterhood of the Red Garter 3D, as well as the film Varanasi, which stars Adil Hussain from Life of Pi.  Directed by Richard Connew, the film Sisterhood of the Red Garter 3D is a UK comedy film that is scheduled to be released next year. A feature film about a mysterious cult set in Northern England, the film stars Brian Woodward from Peaky Blinders, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, The Theory of Everything and Hollows Wood 3D.

Redfern admits, “it’s fun writing for comedy, but you have to be delicate with the timing to make sure it has the right effect.” He adds that the music in the film ”is a cross between light-hearted and dark, and mysterious. It is mostly orchestral, but it has a few surprises thrown in.”

One aspect of Alex Redfern’s career that sets him apart from other composers is his incredible ability to bring diversity to all of his musical creations, something audience will notice in his other upcoming project Varanasi, where he is working as the film’s orchestrator. According to Redfern the film is “a dark thriller set in the holy city of Varanasi in India. It uses orchestral and Indian instruments together.”

Alex Redfern was also a key contributor to the music department on Mark Marchillo’s film The Curse of The Un-kissable Kid. A comedic and whimsical coming of age tale, The Curse of The Un-kissable Kid follows a young boy named Josh, played by William Leon from the hit television shows True Blood, New Girl and Modern Family, who finds himself in a sticky situation after taking a potion from a fortune teller at a local carnival without reading the fine print. After swallowing the potion Josh realizes that the bottle says it will make him disappear if he doesn’t find true love’s kiss within 24 hours. In an effort to keep from dissolving into nothingness, the desperate teen sets up a kissing booth and soon finds himself in a passionate lip-lock with a boy named Clark, played by Christopher Bones from the shows One Life to Live and My Name Is Earl. Redfern used his musical talents to heighten the fantastical elements of the film with his subtle orchestration of instruments.

A truly talented composer, there is no doubt on anyone’s mind that audiences around the world will be seeing, or rather hearing, a whole lot more of Redfern’s musical creations for many years to come. Be sure to check out the video below to see Alex Redfern conducting one of his original compositions “Riding Out West” with a 47-piece orchestra at Eastwood Scoring Stage at Warner Brothers Studio in Los Angeles.

From the Stage to the Screen, Actress Maria Bosque Wows Audiences!

Maria Bosque in "The Seagull"
                                                                           Maria Bosque in “The Seagull”

Originally from Mexico City, Mexico, Maria Bosque is an actress whose extraordinary range and versatile look has put her front and center as a go-to talent for film and theater productions in both Latin America and the United States.

Over the course of her career Maria has landed starring roles in the films Ellas, Solo Yo, Final Test, Oh Jesus and many more. In her most recent film, Oh Jesus, Maria Bosque touches the hearts of international audiences in the role of Violet, a young woman who is made to feel shame over her homosexuality. Riddled with theological and sci-fi influences, Oh Jesus follows Violet on a journey spearheaded by a chance encounter with Jesus who leads her back in time in order to decipher and repair the ill-fated event that brought about her homosexuality. However during her journey with Jesus, Violet discovers something much more valuable than the anecdote for her homosexuality– self-love and acceptance. After realizing that she cannot spend her entire life running away from herself and her problems, Violet comes out of the closet with confidence professing her true feelings for the girl she is in love with.

A film with a powerful message for audiences across the world regardless of their individual sexuality, Maria Bosque brought Violet’s struggle to life in a way that is honest, relatable and downright beautiful. She explained, “I love playing strong female roles, and I love doing things that have an important message, especially for those girls that are going through a similar thing in their one lives.”

In addition to her work as an actress on film, Maria Bosque is renowned for her talents on stage as well. She got her first taste of the theater in the production of The Wizard of Oz in Victoria, Canada, and has since gone on to star in countless productions including Titus Andronicus, The Marriage of Bette and Boo, and The Seagull, as well as the plays Six Degrees of Separation, Waiting For Godot and Middleton, which were directed by Oscar winner Milton Justice.

“I like to choose characters that are very different from me, ones that I haven’t done before,” said Bosque.

In the production of Anton Checkov’s The Seagull, Maria played the starring role of Masha, an affluent young woman who repeatedly refuses the affections of Medvedenko in an effort to hold out for Konstantin the man with whom she is in love. A sad melodrama about unrequited love, Masha eventually gives in and marries Medvedenko and has his child, a choice that dooms her to live a depressed and unfulfilled life as she continues to harbor feelings for Konstantin.

“There is something very sad and beautiful about her. I guess I like the darker side of things because I am always very drawn to these types of characters,” admitted Bosque.

Audiences will have the opportunity to see Maria Bosque on stage in New York in March 2015 at the La MaMa Theater in the production of The Beach of Joseph K. Directed by multi-award winning director Elia Schneider, The Beach of Joseph K is an experimental work derived from the writings of Franz Kafka.

Actor Yohan Lee in the film ‘Runaway Dream’!

A talented actor whose ease and grace on film have landed him roles in numerous productions, South Korean stud Yohan Lee proves he has what it takes to make it in the American film market.

Born in Seoul, South Korea, Lee discovered his love for acting at a young age. Having starred in the films Runaway Dream, The Phone Call, Comfort Girls, Road to Utah, Clippings, With Love to this Crazy World, and many more, this hot young actor has already created quite a buzz for himself in both Korea and the United States.

In the film Runaway Dream Lee plays the leading role of Mark, a hotshot Beverly Hills real estate broker who appears to have it all, a beautiful blonde wife, a 10 million dollar home in Bel Air, luxurious cars and astronomically priced watches. Runaway Dreams shows how easy it is to have everything you want one second, and lose it all within a heartbeat’s time. The film’s climax comes when Mark unassumingly leaves his office to meet a client, but is intercepted by two ruthless criminals instead. The thieves strip him of his shiny Rolex, thousands of dollars in cash and his brand new Mercedes Benz. Mark, who is left stranded and bitter, embarks on a mission to find his assailants and bring them to justice, however, after finding his Mercedes in a pile of burned scraps he must come to terms with his broken ego and figure out how to move on with his life.

Lee is incredible in the role, which displays his ability to move through drastically different emotions as his character progresses throughout the film. Written and directed by Daniel Abreu, who is also known for the film James & Quinn, Runaway Dream was produced by Daniel Anthony Films. Yohan Lee stars alongside well-known actress Lisa Jai in the film. Jai, who is known for a long list of films and television series’ including Creed, Resident Evil, Balance of Power, Tales from the Cryptkeeper, The NeverEnding Story, and Pillars of Freedom, plays the role of Linn in the film.

One of Iran’s most talented actresses, Nazli K. Lou, opens up about her career and upcoming projects!

Nazli K. Lou
Actress Nazli K. Lou

Originally born in Tehran, Iran, the breathtaking actress Nazli K. Lou is a force to be reckoned with both on and off the silver screen. Her most recent film For the Birds has brought to light the traumatic and true story of a young Iranian woman named Atefeh, who was wrongly accused and put to death in a public execution. Read more about this gifted actress in our interview below!

PL: Can you tell us a little bit about the film and television projects you’ve done?

NKL: I was cast in an independent feature film called Parts of Disease where I play the wife of a potential terrorist and FBI agent who is heavily involved in an investigation.

I also starred in the film For the Birds, which has been incredibly successful on the festival circuit. The film has won several awards and was recently screened at Cannes.

PL: Can you tell us about the making of the film For the Birds, and some of the festivals it’s been to?

NKL: It was a challenge to prepare for this part, but my entire being was dedicated to perfecting this character. I play a 16-year-old girl who is getting publicly executed; not only is she a minor, but she is also innocent.

We wanted to make sure we captured the essence of the girl, so there were a lot of rehearsals and discussions that went into the character’s development. As the lead, I had a lot of one on one time with the director, which made the filming process go smoothly. On the first day of shooting I arrived on set and it was still dark outside. I will never forget the moment where I stood in front of the justice sign and the feeling that ran through my body. I knew I could not change the past, but I was thankful to have the opportunity to do this tiny act that will hopefully change the future.

Our movie won best short at Cleveland Film Festival, Spokane Film Festival, Best Female Director at both the Directors Guild of America and the World of Women Cinema in Sydney.

The film was also an Official Selection at the following Film Festivals: Cannes, Montreal, Vancouver, Sedona, Rome, Bend, New Port beach, Hollywood Reel, New Film Maker LA, Cinequest, Denmark, and the list growing each month.

PL: How did the fact that you were playing a non-fictional character affect your feelings about the role and your overall preparation for the part? (ie: were you more motivated to bring the trauma and truth of the character’s experience to life etc.)

NKL: I wanted to portray this character in a way where the audience could feel the every emotion that was going through this child who was wrongly accused of crimes against chastity and was executed with no chance of having legal representation nor her family informed of her sentencing. Yes, it did affect my feelings and made me more determined to make sure I delivered the message.

PL: How do you feel about the finished product of For the Birds?

NKL: I am very pleased. As you can imagine, just like any other project, we had complications during shooting the movie. However, I can’t stress enough how much all the cast and crew did to make this movie happen. It was almost like the purpose of this movie was pulling us all together to give our 100%. Of course the response we have had so far speaks for itself.

PL: Can you tell our audience a little more about the film Parts of Disease, and how you prepared for the role?

NKL: Four Graduate students travel to various sites of US terrorism for a school project. After one of them disappeared, and was discovered to be linked to people on the terrorist watch list, there is suspicion that he may have been plotting a terrorist attack of his own.

I had to create the character of Kalila who is a Middle Eastern woman married to a potential terrorist and also an undercover FBI agent. Obviously she is torn between decisions and plays a very significant role in how the story evolves.

PL: Your roles in theses films are very different, what made you choose to participate in them?

NKL: When I auditioned for the film For the Birds I was very touched by the story. I felt like it was my obligation and duty as an Iranian woman to use my skills to bring the story to the attention of the world and raise awareness about child executions, which are still happening in many countries around the globe today. What better way to bring such horrific act to the attention of people than through the power of film.

PL: You get approached all the time to work on projects with people, what makes you pick one role over another?

NKL: Its important to me who I work with, and what message I am conveying.

PL: What do you feel has been the most important role of your career?

NKL: My part in For the Birds, because of the film’s message, as well as the amazing cast and crew. Everybody involved in this project did an excellent job and I believe that we were all touched by the story and that is what brought us together.

PL: As for genre, what is your favorite? (Comedy, Drama, Horror, etc.)

NKL: I am open to all genres, however I have been involved in dramas mostly. I was recently selected out of approximately 600 people to be a part of the Persian version of SNL. So I am very excited about that. I am too scared to watch horror movies, but I would love to be in one. Maybe after a part in a horror movie my fear of watching them will disappear too.

PL: What projects do you have coming up?

NKL: My SNL Persian comedy that will be broadcast internationally on a weekly basis.

PL: Can you tell me a little more about the show? Has the name been announced, and will you be a regular star?

NKL: We are at the early stages of creating this show. Very similar to SNL style, so we will have skits and involve current affairs in our work. Yes I will be a regular and am very excited to explore comedy.

PL: What do you hope to achieve in your career as an actress?

NKL: Difficult question. Basically to do the best I possibly can. I think for any job or career to succeed you must deliver your best efforts and fight your battles. It is important to me to be part of projects that make a difference, whether they aim to raise awareness or serve as entertainment.

PL: Why did you choose this profession?

NKL: I love the fact that I can tell a story and bring a character to life.

Mac Arellano, Far From a One Trick Pony!

Image

All too often we see actors who get pigeonholed early on in their careers playing the same redundant roles over and over until they’ve completely worn out the genre and the role, leaving the audience to believe that as far their talent goes they are nothing more than a one-trick-pony. Comedy actors are a great example, however that will never be the case with the incredible Mexican actor Mac Arellano. While Mac is a stellar comedy actor, he has made diversity a point in his career appearing in all genres of work from horror films like The Hunted, to heart-breaking dramas like the film Graduation.

 In Alec Baer’s The Hunted Mac plays Frank, the deceased best friend of co-star Sydney Beltramini who comes back to haunt Sydney and remind him of the unforgivable sins he has committed throughout his life as a criminal.  Frank (played by Mac) appears before Sydney covered in blood in Sydney’s broken down motel room, a scene that reminds Sydney that his actions were responsible for the death of his best friend.  Mac’s portrayal of Frank was mind-blowing. The role not only proved his ability to tap into the subtle traits of a feared ghost, which are more often than not overdone in a way that makes the character come off as corny, but also displayed his knack for the horror genre overall.

In the film Graduation, written and directed by Jeffrey Prosser, Mac’s performance in the starring role of George brought audiences to tears with his dramatic rendition of a middle-aged man who struggles to move on as a single father after the untimely death of his beloved wife. George (played by Mac), who was married and began a family in his 20s, is a hard worker who dedicates his life to providing his daughter with all tools she needs to get a solid education and build a life worth living, but his world gets flipped upside down once again when she gets pregnant and drops out of high school. The film is yet another testament to Mac’s extraordinary capacity for playing a wide range of roles, as well as his ability to realistically portray characters far outside of his age range.

Mac Arellano’s staggering talent is sure to keep him working for decades to come, and a feature that will keep him from ever falling into the feared category of one-trick-ponies.