Allen's Blog

Posts tagged ‘Academy Award’:

A Tale of Two Titles

It’s the annual Awards Season for movies, and as a voting member of the Directors Guild of America for almost 50 years, I get a lot of screening invitations in the mail, and a fair number of DVDs, too. Also, lots of warnings to not let these discs out of my hands and to destroy them after viewing.
Academy Award screener discs

And as it comes time to vote, I went through the list of 466 eligible films, all the way from Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter to Zero Dark Thirty. In choosing a title for a movie, many producers opt for brevity and simplicity, as in Lincoln, or Flight, or Skyfall. Sometimes a very fine movie comes along with a really awkward title: The Perks of Being a Wallflower (PG-13), directed by Stephen Chbosky and based on his own 1999 young-adult novel, is a case in point. The film may have not made it to your local theater, but by all means put it on your Netflix queue or find a way to see it when it goes to video. Here’s a case where a title change, perhaps to just Wallflower, could have made a difference in attracting theater bookings and audiences.

On the other hand, citing the heading of this post, there’s another strange (more than that, really) title in the eligibility list – Nipples & Palm Trees. If you really need to know more (I’d recommend against it), the trailer is on YouTube, and is most certainly Not Safe For Work.

A Chance Meeting with Ross Kauffman (‘Born Into Brothels’, 2004)

Chris Edwards and Ross-Kauffman at Production Junction

A couple of weeks ago, I was in New York City to visit one of our newest dealers, Production Junction. Its owner, Chris Edwards, describes the company as a ’boutique rental house’ operated by experienced film and video shooters. They’re right — that’s a perfect way to put it, and you should put them in your contact list. Just off First Avenue in the  East Village (and about a 7-iron from Momofuku and other great restaurants), PJ is a prime example of the kind of small but expert companies that independent filmmakers can turn to for every item they’ll need in a production package, as well as for help in securing the permits needed for filming in urban locations.

By chance, during my visit with Chris and his team, I also met Ross Kauffman, whose film Born Into Brothels won the Academy Award® for Best Documentary a few years ago, along with a long list of other prizes. Ross was finalizing his equipment package for a trip to Africa later in the week to shoot a group of short films on education.

Since they’re so light[weight], I always try to have a Rosco LitePad or two with me in my shoulder bag; after Ross told me about his lighting needs on location, I showed the LitePads to him. On seeing the accessory dimmers and AA-battery packs that can power LitePad for hours where there isn’t any plug-in power, he immediately realized that they would be essential for his shoot. So, with a phone call back to our offices in Connecticut, the LitePads and accessories were on their way to Production Junction later in the day.

One of the things I like best about running Visual Departures is meeting other shooters (in all media), learning about their needs and experiences, and being able to introduce them to the tools and resources (not necessarily our own) that will be of real help in the studio and on location. Because we have dealers like Production Junction all over the country, just send us an email if you think we can help solve a problem for you.