Tag Archives: Documentary

Go Get ‘Em! Geek Girls, Documentary Review

18 Mar

Upcoming Shows:
AUSTRALIA –
Demand Film
March 19-April 9, 6:30pm

CANADA, WINNIPEG –
Winnipeg Cinematheque
March 21-25 & 29

UK, LEEDS –
Left Bank Leeds
March 29, 8pm

BELGIUM, BRUSSELS –
Millenium Documentary Film Festival
March 21, 7pm & March 25, 5pm

Geek Girls is a documentary by filmmaker Gina Hara (Your Place or Minecraft), chronicling her journey on why life as a female nerd is tough. A brief background about her childhood explains her motivations, and to see her interview other women (11 in total) who have found occupations by keeping true to themselves is inspiring no matter what the gender. This 80-minute production looks at how nerdom is a badge of honour instead of a sign of shame.

Sometimes the gender issue is not always in focus, as nearly every child played with dolls (Barbie, Transformers and GI Joe all belong in the same category), read comics, traded baseball cards or played some kind of video game. The labelling happened when peers in high school knew these secrets. Though back then, etymologists will note the words nerd and geek meant different things. The modern definition is more synonymous, and with this work, looks at these ladies deal against so-called societal norms.

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Foley Artists are the Actors of Sound, A Documentary Review

20 Feb

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Coming to VOD and iTunes on Feb 27th.
Also continuing to play at select Film Festivals. Please check local listings.

Actors of Sound is a solid, insightful and fascinating documentary about one stage of the process which makes cinema come alive. Without it, the cute waddle we hear from E.T. the Extraterrestrial moving about would not be there. These days, part of the sound mix is created on the computer and fully assembled. Back in the golden age of cinema, the talents had to innovate. To come up these nuances with limited resources and splicing magnetic tape was a real thing! In the early days of cinema, the work was difficult. People were most likely recruited from radio since timing was important — and the history of this art can be traced to the pioneer of the craft, Jack Foley.

Other talents this full-length feature includes are John Roesch, the mastermind behind giving life to E.T., and Ross Taylor who led the work behind The Exorcist. Twenty-three talents from around the world were interviewed. Each of them offers their own unique perspectives on how this work is done in their native country. India is unique because of the extravagance some of their films are made. Back home in America, Kitty Malone became the first female Foley Artist to work in Hollywood. She did all the dancing we hear (not see) in Liza Minnelli’s movies. They were not recorded as the microphones were intent on catching the vocal tracks than ambience.

This feature is not about the secrets. Instead, it’s about the life and times of those dedicated to this craft. It also becomes part of the romance. Relationships emerged and having a connection to the actors in the film is just as important. A lot of these talents become the celebrity when recording the same footfall they make. These audio artists describe the work as a joy. This exploration shows people “playing in a sandbox and having fun” with it. They are essentially painting a picture with sound.

A gentle plot helps guides viewers to this visual thesis. The threat of going completely digital — using huge sound libraries to put in each sound we hear in a television show or film — to replace these talents is mentioned. An answer is given: the human element is important. The pros and cons are weighed in. Although the stance these talents reveal is obvious, hopefully a revolution can happen to keep this aspect of film/tv production ongoing.

5 Stars out of 5

The Vintage Tempest’s Top Picks on What to See at the 2018 Victoria Film Festival

11 Jan

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By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

The folks behind organizing the movies at the Victoria Film Festival (taking place Feb 2 to 11th) never fails to amaze with the diversity offered. The 2018 show will not only enthuse independent film aficionados but also appease with movies not only from the land of the rising sun but also the emerald isle. The quirky documentary School Life was previewed. Anyone interested in a lesser-known version of Hogwarts life (sans magic and adventure) will find a different story here.

The opening gala promises to whisk audiences to Scotland with Waterboys. This comedy-drama will make its Canadian premiere here in Victoria, British Columbia. Not to be confused with the band of the same name, perhaps we might get surprised with the party taking place at The Bay Centre‘s Centre Court following this movie.

Special events like Sips & Cinema and the Virtual Reality Workshop are added bonuses. The special guest this year is Armistead Maupin (Tales of the City). Aiden Gillen (Game of Thrones) and Cory Bowles (Trailer Park Boys) round out the initial round of announcements. Gillen can be considered to be playing himself in the film Pickups, a drama about the bizarre life of a jobbing actor suffering from insomnia. Bowles is making his feature film directorial debut with Bad Cop. (link goes to showtimes)

My picks from this year’s show include:

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Last Halloween, A Short Documentary Review & Where to Find It

28 Oct

last halloweenBy Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

O. Corbin Saleken
‘s short documentary, Last Halloween, takes a very simple approach to explain what the holiday means to youths. The opening narration says it all, and what’s recounted is a one family’s journey. Unlike other treatments about this festive day, we are not concerned with the origins and how it changed throughout the years. Instead, this piece is looking at the here and now.

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