Northside DIY Filmmaking Competition: Shorts Program #1 and Funeral Season with Three Envelopes

8pm: Short Program #1

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Unstrung by Meerkat Media CollectiveUSA, 2010, 5 minutes

What happens when the lights go down at the Puppet Kitchen? The Meerkat Media Collective is a self-organized community of makers committed to creating innovative and thought-provoking films through shared authorship and consensus process. Since 2005, the collective has produced and distributed over twenty short films and two features. Their first feature documentary, “Stages” (2009), was awarded Best Documentary and Audience Award at the HBO New York International Latino Film Festival, their short “Brooklyn Boondoggle” won Best Documentary of the 2009 Red Hook International Film Festival and “How Wal-Mart Came to Haslett” and “Every Third Bite” were both featured in Arts Engine’s Media That Matters Film Festival. They are currently working on their next feature documentary “Brasslands” which chronicles the growing Balkan brass movement from NYC to a tiny town in Serbia that plays host to the world’s largest brass festival. Meerkat Media also pioneers sustainable filmmaking methods by operating a like-minded production company to help fund its passion projects, and is proud to be a Brooklyn-based organization.

You Have the Right to an Attorney by Matt Bockelman
USA, 2011, 12 minutes

*Director Matt Bockelman will be in attendance along with two attorneys from the film.

You Have the Right to an Attorney enters the daily grind of two young public defenders in the South Bronx as they strive to resolve hundreds of client cases, while facing the weighty emotional burden of working within a system they consider fundamentally broken.

You Have the Right to an Attorney is a documentary set in the offices of the Bronx Defenders, a non-profit organization in the South Bronx comprised of public defense attorneys, social workers and community organizers. The film gives a glimpse into the passion that motivates the defense lawyers and the seemingly never-ending caseloads they shoulder in their day-to-day work. Through client meetings, candid interviews, and routine office work, You Have the Right to an Attorney portrays Matt and Scott as they search to find a balance between their ambition to change a system they see as fundamentally broken and the immediate, numerous, daily needs of their clients. Matt is a New York-based documentary director and cinematographer. His most recent projects include The Unofficial House Band, about a music and arts program at Sing Sing Prison (commissioned by Rehabilitation Through The Arts), Communitas, an experimental documentary about theater director Richard Schechner’s famed performance workshop, and Meet the Gardeners, a web series profiling the employees of Madison Square Garden. Matt founded Fly’s Eye Films in 2010 with the goal of creating substantive documentaries, objectively rendered and with a strong visual aesthetic. He started production on You Have The Right To An Attorney after receiving a 2011 Cinereach Film Fellowship.

Kitty Kitty by Michael Medaglia
USA, 2010, 10 Minutes

*Producer David Woods will be in attendance.

There’s something VERY wrong with Val’s boyfriend. Kitty Kitty is a short horror film about love, cats and brain parasites. Inspired by a true-life disease, which affects over a quarter of the world-population. Portland-based filmmaker Michael Medaglia is uniquely prepared for this new era of film innovation. With a background in computer programming, it’s no surprise he is particularly adept at combining multiple technologies to tell a story. Utilizing an idiosyncratic palette, his films tend towards the surreal, the dark, and the unexplored sides of the human psyche. When he’s not spending too much time in front of a computer, Medaglia is directing promos, music videos and documentaries for broadcast and internet. His work has screened internationally in festivals, art galleries, on television, and even in public restrooms.

Lullaby for Ray by Marina Shron
USA, 2011, 18 minutes

The film attempts to capture danger and wonder inherent in intimacy. Christina, a young girl of unidentified age and origin and her partner, Ray, who transforms in the course of the film from her “daddy” to her “lover” to her “pimp”, wonder the streets of New York, the Big Apple, like modern day Adam and Eve after the fall. As the characters shed one disguise after another, so does the film — evoking a broad range of genres from cinema verite to film noir to art film — and stripping them all in search for the moment of “naked truth” which may or may not strike at the film’s disturbing climax. The landscape shifts from the external and familiar – to the internal, increasingly surreal terrain. It is as if the audience is forced to get inside the characters minds and look at the world through their eyes – without getting a chance to ever figure them out…

For the Children by Roxanne Kratt
USA, 2011, 24 minutes

*Cinematographer Edward Herrara will be in attendance.

A brother and sister inherit a haunted townhouse from their missing father, and are forced to defend it against a development company who want to knock it down to build a condo. Dwayne and Anabelle, an estranged brother and sister find themselves living together under the same roof in a decrepit townhouse inherited from their missing father. When a predatory real estate development company wants to buy the house to knock it down and build a condo, the house’s various hauntings begin to appear. Roxanne Kratt was born and raised in New York. When not writing and directing films, she works as a production designer, prop fabricator and monster maker.

Jeannie by Olivia Jampol
USA, 2010, 13 minutes

*Director Olivian Jampol will be in attendance.

A girl, a boy, and game of hide and seek. In a world of endless summer and effortless play, 13-year-old Jeannie finds it difficult to fit in. On this hot summer day, during an ordinary game of hide and seek, Jeannie finds herself under the bed with her 16-year-old neighbor– and the childish game quickly becomes an ambiguous sexual encounter. Confused, Jeannie turns to the one person she trusts, her Dominican nanny, only to realize that her love for her is more than just filial. Not knowing how to make sense of her feelings, she acts in ways that leave her isolated and alone, unable to give up the innocent eccentricities of her childhood. Olivia Jampol’s work combines images from her childhood in Costa Rica and emblematic exports of Americana. She is a 2010 graduate of Harvard’s undergraduate Film Production program, where she produced JEANNIE as her Senior Thesis. She now lives in Brooklyn.

Not Too Thin by Brian Paul Butnick
USA, 2011, 2 minutes

*Director Brian Paul Butnick will be in attendance.

A lonesome fatman finds a hot date in the classified ads only to discover he’s bitten off more than he can chew. Brian has been living in New York City for nearly eight years as a writer and producer for film, art and photography. A graduate of NYU’s Department for Dramatic Writing, he is currently based in Williamsburg working full time as a creative director.

Hello I Like You by Mixtape Club (Chris Smith, Michelle Higa, and Jesse Casey)
USA, 2011, 1 minute

*Co-director Michelle Higa will be in attendance.

What better way to express our happiness than to distill the essence of our craft, to serve up a creamy shot of artistic espresso? When we were prompted to do a short film conveying happiness, we thought what better way to express our happiness than to distill the essence of our craft, to serve up a creamy shot of artistic espresso? The goal here was simply to explore materials, themes, and techniques that have always made us happy – the things that drew us to filmmaking in the first place. So we’ve gone back to the basics, the simplest of inanimate objects, and transformed them into a tapestry of playful, choreographed dance for your enjoyment. Too technical for the arts, too creative for the sciences; Chris Smith, Jesse Casey, and Michelle Higa knew they had to work together as soon as they met. They funneled their collective love of music, computer science and semiotics into the world of animation, and Mixtape Club was born. The members of Mixtape Club believe their diverse interests and talents together produce something more powerful than the sum of their parts, leading to inevitable arguments as to whether they more closely resemble Voltron, Captain Planet or the Wu-Tang Clan.

Mermaids of New York by Ilise (The Lady Aye) Carter, Mica Scalin
USA, 2011, 15 minutes

*Directors Mica Scalin and Ilise Carter will be in attendance.

Where the seas of imagination collide with the streets of New York and mermaids live in enchanted grottoes everywhere from the East Village to Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. You may not believe this now, but it is true; real mermaids are living in the greatest metropolis on earth! Since Henry Hudson’s crew first spotted the mythical creatures off the coast of Coney Island, mermaids have captivated the imagination of this city’s inhabitants. Mermaids of New York is a documentary project created by filmmakers Ilise S. Carter and Mica Scalin. This film introduces some of the truly amazing, beautiful and genuine mermaids that live on and around the island of Manhattan. A vérité style narrative is woven from conversations and observations of New York’s most mermaid obsessed artists, performers and environmentalists, to create a beguiling portrait of these unlikely urban sirens. The film features some of New York’s most noteworthy sea creatures: Bambi the Mermaid, a burlesque performer and “Mermaid Queen of Coney Island”; Pam, the “Brooklyn Babydoll,” a pinup model and go-go dancer; and Dame Darcy, an author, artist and singer of sea shanties and Mara Haseltine environmentalist and sculptor committed to preserving the cities aquatic creatures. Ilise ‘The Lady Aye’ Carter is a well-known New York fire eater, sword swallower, and emcee; and noted burlesque producer and writer. She holds the unique distinction of being the world’s only Jewish female sword swallower. Her film background includes a BA from Columbia University in American Film History and post-graduate work at NYU-SCPS; award nominations for her screenwriting from The Sundance Screenwriters’ Lab, The Chesterfield Fellowship, and others; and production credits with Todd Haynes, PT Anderson, Ron Howard and more. Mica Scalin is an artist, filmmaker and enthusiast for all things awesome. Credits include Associate Producer for feature documentaries Same Sex America (Showtime Networks/Corra Films) and Thinking on Their Feet: The Women of The Tap Renaissance (JamJam Productions).

10:30pm: Three Envelopes, Funeral Season (ou La Saison des funérailles)

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Three Envelopes by James P. Gannon and Joseph K. Gannon
USA, 2011, 14 minutes

*Co-director James Gannon will be in attendance.

“These are my parents, one day they are going to die.” Concerned about the inevitable death of their parents, filmmakers Joseph and James Gannon sit down with their parents for an intimate conversation about death. Hoping to get answers from them before its too late. They ask what its like to go through the loss of a parent and how to deal with it. What follows is a very personal observation of the open wounds that never fully heal from the loss and the realization that your parents are thinking about their own death as much as you are. Joseph and James Gannon are from Levittown, PA and are the 4th and 6th of 8 children. In 1998 Joseph moved to NYC to pursue acting, James followed in 2005 to pursue directing. James’ film “Cochran” screened in a dozen film festivals in 2009 including SXSW. This is the first film that they have directed together.

Funeral Season (ou La Saison des funérailles) by Matthew Lancit
Canada, 2010, 87 minutes

The dead are not dead. In this comedic ghost story, a Canadian Jew wanders through an African culture where “the dead are not dead.” Embarking on a road trip across Cameroon’s most joyous funeral celebrations, the foreigner befriends his guides and becomes increasingly haunted by memories of his own ancestors. Matthew Lancit grew up in Toronto, Canada before leaving for New York to study filmmaking at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, and the liberal arts at Sarah Lawrence. Since graduating, his experimental works have been invited to screen at Chasma and the Film Anthology Archives in New York, the art department at UCLA, and on the Saatchi Gallery website. His short fictional film Death of a Gentleman competed in festivals like: Rhode Island International Film Festival, Montreal World Film Festival, San Francisco International Short Film Festival, and Festival International de curtas-metragens de Sao Paulo. After leaving his advertising job as a director/producer in a New York based animation studio to live in Africa, Lancit embarked on the making of his first feature length documentary (Funeral Season), for which he was a recipient of the prestigious 2011 Rising Star award at the Canada International Film Festival. Aside from making film and video art, Lancit has published heavily personalized essays on a wide range of topics – from the art of cartography to bibliotherapy. He currently divides his time between Toronto and Paris.

DIY Filmmaking Competition Guidelines:
The winning feature and short will receive a Rooftop Films screening held on Friday, July 1, on the lawn at Automotive High School in Williamsburg, along with a Canon 7D Deluxe Kit week rental (or equivalent equipment/post services) courtesy of DCTV. The runner-up feature and short will each be awarded a pass to to IFP’s Independent Film Week, September 18-22, at their new home at Lincoln Center.The short winner will be selected by our jury: independent producer Ted Hope, actress Rosie Perez, MoMA Chief Curator Rajendra Roy, concert organizer Todd P, and Patricia Swinney Kaufman of the NY State Governor’s Office for Motion Picture and Television Development. The feature winner will be determined by audience vote.

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  1. […] Sauret’s DIRTY PICTURES. Other docs that I haven’t seen yet include PRESSPAUSEPLAY, FUNERAL SEASON, ECHOTONE, and LA FAUTE DES […]

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  2. […] UnionDocs, The DIY Film Festival 10:30pm Three Envelopes (James Gannon and Joseph K. Gannon, 14:47) Concerned about the inevitable death of their parents, filmmakers Joseph and James Gannon sit down with their parents for an intimate conversation about death. Funeral Season (ou La Saison des funérailles) (Matthew Lancit, 87 min) In this comedic ghost story, a Canadian Jew wanders through an African culture where “the dead are not dead.” Embarking on a road trip across Cameroon’s most joyous funeral celebrations, the foreigner befriends his guides and becomes increasingly haunted by memories of his own ancestors. Filmmakers James Gannon and Joseph K. Gannon in attendance. Tickets […]

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  3. […] for the screening are available here. It will be held at Union Docs, at 322 Union Avenue at Maujer, in Brooklyn, tonight at […]

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