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"Neighbors"

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I know this forum doesn't get used a lot, but I thought I would post this in hope that perhaps one day, this part of arts and faith might pick up.

This is my most recent documentary short that was just released

It was shot in Jos, Nigeria and addresses the conflict between Muslims and Christians

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Posted · Report post

I am hoping this area picks up here one day as well. It just might now that it is connected to Image. Here's to hoping (raising glass) - I know I have tried.

Thanks for keeping it coming Nate. Clicking to vimeo in just moments.

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Posted · Report post

Thom - one of these days when I am in Chicago we need to connect

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Posted · Report post

I wonder if part of the problem is that there is an entirely different forum out there for "Christian Filmmakers."

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Posted · Report post

Which forum is that??

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I believe I am thinking of christianfilmmakers.com.

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Thom - one of these days when I am in Chicago we need to connect

Yes, I would like that. Keep in touch.

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All meetings in Chicago by A&F personnel and immediate family are subject to approval by the current duly elected Dean of Meeting, Rendezvous, and Chance Encounter - CAFKANFaSDBG

Just FYI.

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Yes I recall hearing about CAFKANFaSDBG

Does that mean that Mleary is in Chicago as well?

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Posted · Report post

I am not. But that is no reason to abandon rule and order.

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All meetings in Chicago by A&F personnel and immediate family are subject to approval by the current duly elected Dean of Meeting, Rendezvous, and Chance Encounter - CAFKANFaSDBG

Just FYI.

So who is it these days? Hert hides in JPUSA, JBOB is AWOL (unless you're strolling through Hyde Park), you're in St Lewey, Thom Asher is on pills or something. So is it me? Yeah, but I'm a halfy, I only show up for the films and then I go hang out in GR. Maybe it's EJ? I think he got detained or something. I think this group is dead.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

All meetings in Chicago by A&F personnel and immediate family are subject to approval by the current duly elected Dean of Meeting, Rendezvous, and Chance Encounter - CAFKANFaSDBG

Just FYI.

So who is it these days? Hert hides in JPUSA, JBOB is AWOL (unless you're strolling through Hyde Park), you're in St Lewey, Thom Asher is on pills or something. So is it me? Yeah, but I'm a halfy, I only show up for the films and then I go hang out in GR. Maybe it's EJ? I think he got detained or something. I think this group is dead.

Msteves migrated to Florida. However, we did get our own little migrant in M Dale Prins and have yet to make that connection.

As for the CAFKANFaSDBG, I wasn't aware that little ring of pseudo film mafioso was still around.

Lastly, I have checked out/lurked a bit over at ChritiansFilmmakers.org and I like how the forums are designed. The topics are wide and far reaching, specific to filmmakers, but I haven't dug in enough to it. I don't know how varied the members are or film conversation is. What I like about the possibilities here at "Arts and Faith" is the potential to mix the conversation up with the film-thinkers/watchers. To engage in a healthy dialog between the audience, critic, and the filmmaker. To really dig into interpretation and intent. Also, I think the potential to mix with filmmakers who made not identify with Christianity may be better or at least there is room for the outspoken, marginalized Christian thinkers and artists here.

I do not want to hijack Nate's film thread so I bid adieu to this for now.

Edited by Thom

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Posted · Report post

But isn't that the ol' motto? "We will hijack your thread. Semper Hijack."

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Nate-

Beautiful images, truly stirring.

When you are working on a story do you work from a transcription of the interviews? Do you storyboard? or do you shoot from a script of the transcript?

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Nate-

Beautiful images, truly stirring.

When you are working on a story do you work from a transcription of the interviews? Do you storyboard? or do you shoot from a script of the transcript?

Thom,

It really depends.

With this piece, I didn't really know what the story would be when we arrived in Jos so there was no preconceived script or storyboard. There were shots I knew I needed to get (mostly in the category of establishing shots) and at each location I make sure I get a combination of wide angle shots and some nice closeups, but for the most part the narrative develops on location.

I begin to piece together a loose script in my head and that helps me figure out what questions to ask in interviews.

Then I get everything transcribed. Generally at this point, it's important for me not to just take the transcripts and write a script. I want to make sure that the visuals are driving the narrative as much as the interviews. I've found that if I go from transcript to script to timeline and then add b-roll to cover the breaks in interviews the piece feels very wordy. So I look for authentic or observational moments that help develop my characters or advance the plot. This was less necessary or possible with this piece as it is telling a story in the past.

That's my basic workflow - although it changes from project to project - particularly if there is more observational stuff shot.

Here are some thoughts from my blog about this project.

On another note, I like the idea of this part of the forum being where filmmakers and film thinkers / reviewers / afficiados connect. What can we do to get more of the latter category to respond? We know they exist (they are the active ones on this board) perhaps if we get them active, the filmmakers will come.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

All joking in this thread aside, I finally got the chance to watch this. This is an excellent short.

When things like this get focused on the interview in a bland way, they lose their "fourth line" impact (great name by the way). That doesn't happen here. There are a lot of great angles and transitions. The voiceover and interviews really cohere to tell the story well. The soundtrack was slight distracting at times, but I can understand the impulse to use it relative to the short format.

Are there going to be more of these? Is there a long term relationship planned here between your filmmaking and CT/Crouch?

An aside: Have you seen Munyurangabo? I am too lazy to go check if you commented in that thread or not.

On another note, I like the idea of this part of the forum being where filmmakers and film thinkers / reviewers / afficiados connect. What can we do to get more of the latter category to respond? We know they exist (they are the active ones on this board) perhaps if we get them active, the filmmakers will come.

We used to have several filmmakers participate here that came in via Flickerings at Cornerstone. We tried for a while to drum up the practitioner/afficionado conversation, but it petered out after a while. I'll just be frank, but it seems rare in the Christian filmmaking community for a filmmaker to be a fan of the esoterica of theory and cinema history, which is kind of our default mode here. So I think it was hard to connect to each other's issues. I talk very frequently with independent filmmakers across the country that are in the business because they love the heady stuff of cinema, and I only encounter that every now and then while talking to filmmakers who self-identify as Christian filmmakers.

That sounds elitist, snobbish, whatever. It isn't. People gravitate towards film and filmmaking for different reasons. I really wish we could practice that joint conversation more effectively here.

Edited by M. Leary

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Posted · Report post

Just got a chance to see this. Thanks for making my sermon prep more difficult as now I won't be able to focus.

Seriously, though, Nate, that's a nice piece. So what's happened? And, I don't want to trivialize the real people involved, but there's a wonderful narrative in there aching to be drawn out to feature length.

I'll have to go check out your blog (next week, I tell myself, next week. Good thing I'm not doing a sermon on willpower).

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Thanks for the comments. I would actually welcome comments in the category of "esoterica" especially if it makes me a better filmmaker.

I also agree about the music issue - I went back and forth on that. If I was creating this for a theater audience I would have gone with a very different tone, but given how people watch video on the web, it felt it was important to keep some sort of audio energy going. This raises a really interesting (and perhaps disconcerting) issue for me and that's how web has changed my filmmaking in particular and visual storytelling in general. I find that I have to really pack in the first 20-60 seconds with a strong hook to keep peoples' attention. My preference would be to use that time to begin to develop a character or hint at the plot. Instead I have to be like a bulldozer into peoples' attention spans and say, "This is why you need to stop everything else you are doing and watch this piece."

In terms of future work with CT / Crouch, I have several pieces that are coming out over the next couple months. 2 or 3 I really like. There is also this piece which while not technically excellent, is one of the pieces I have done that I am most proud of.

Unfortunately, the violence of Nov 2008 that we documented in this piece, flared up again in January 2010. The bad news is that the catalyst for this flareup was not an election. They are still a little uncertain about what exactly caused it, but it seems the animosity between tribes / religions is rooting itself deeper into the culture.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

This raises a really interesting (and perhaps disconcerting) issue for me and that's how web has changed my filmmaking in particular and visual storytelling in general. I find that I have to really pack in the first 20-60 seconds with a strong hook to keep peoples' attention. My preference would be to use that time to begin to develop a character or hint at the plot. Instead I have to be like a bulldozer into peoples' attention spans and say, "This is why you need to stop everything else you are doing and watch this piece."

Is one way to do this to postpone the credits sequence (or whatever its technically called, but the logos and such) to the 30s mark? Lead in right with imagery from the film?

Maybe I'm ADHD or something, but the bulldozer approach works for me--just the same way I hate reading two pages of email at work, I don't really want to have to wait on a slow boil to decide I want to watch this or not. Put the hook right up front. I don't think you lose much in terms of narrative flow, but you've sure roped me into to figuring out what's going on. (On the other hand, if your conclusions are posted on the bottom of page two, you can bet I've probably never read them).

FWIW.

And the shot where Ibrahim, I think, is just looking around his old house. Tragic and potent.

Edited by Buckeye Jones

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Posted (edited) · Report post

On another note, I like the idea of this part of the forum being where filmmakers and film thinkers / reviewers / afficiados connect. What can we do to get more of the latter category to respond? We know they exist (they are the active ones on this board) perhaps if we get them active, the filmmakers will come.

As someone who considers himself (and my desires) firmly planted in both sides of this connection (film thinker/afficiando-nyophyte and filmmaker), this is a connection I would really like to see as well. This connection could serve to further distinguish the Arts and Faith forum. It could definitely provide a unique and inviting interaction, regardless of the size of the community involved in the discussion.

We used to have several filmmakers participate here that came in via Flickerings at Cornerstone. We tried for a while to drum up the practitioner/afficionado conversation, but it petered out after a while. I'll just be frank, but it seems rare in the Christian filmmaking community for a filmmaker to be a fan of the esoterica of theory and cinema history, which is kind of our default mode here. So I think it was hard to connect to each other's issues. I talk very frequently with independent filmmakers across the country that are in the business because they love the heady stuff of cinema, and I only encounter that every now and then while talking to filmmakers who self-identify as Christian filmmakers.

That sounds elitist, snobbish, whatever. It isn't. People gravitate towards film and filmmaking for different reasons. I really wish we could practice that joint conversation more effectively here.

I see your point and agree that this might take some effort on the part of those who would like to see this happen. However, I wonder how quickly a divided energy would kill the conversation and potential.

I think you bring up an intriguing point regarding the Christian Filmmaking community and involvement in the "esoteric of theory and cinema history." I agree that this sort of combination is rare to begin with, much less in the community identifying as Christian Filmmakers (still an interesting moniker), but it feels so necessary. At least the conversation does. Brakhage and Bergman seemed to have this conversation within their own heads. Maybe that is where it should exist but I don't think it needs to remain there. Plus, the potential to invite filmmakers who look at the filmic expression as transcendent or an expression of the human condition/spirituality, regardless of the point of origin, is very attractive. I would also love to provide a place for those identifying with the Christian identity to explore some esoterica as well as hear their thoughtful perspectives on filmmaking and communicating through visuals and story.

Edited by Thom

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