Ax Movie with Trailer

Do you like thriller films? How about Indie shorts? Well, have I got a film for you.  It’s called Ax and the official synopsis says, “What drives a man to madness? James is left to ponder this as he faces the reality that he just killed his wife Christie with an ax.”  I found the film to have a few possible meanings.  The “madness” to me could represent a few things. It could be a man’s struggle with addiction or a man who is struggling with not wanting to be in a relationship any longer.  

This is one of the things I love most about Indie projects, they are usually not structured like traditional films and aren’t tainted by formulas devised for the purpose of making money.  They can be much more like good novels, where the reader (or in this case viewer) has some control over the interpretation of the art based on their own feelings, needs, and opinions.  I think in the case of Ax, and films like it, people can watch it together and come up with different ideas of what it was about because it allows for some personal interjection of opinion.

The film was written and directed by Michael Coulombe and this is what he had to say about it:

PROJECT BACKGROUND (Director’s Statement)

Ax was a short story I wrote one day as a writing exercise. I wanted to write a story of a man who felt controlled by something simple; yet powerful: such as an Ax. When I started in the film industry as a script supervisor, I wanted to take the knowledge I had learned from my craft and my experience on-set and apply it to my own projects and writing. Ax seemed a good start as it was simple project. A man, James, kills his wife with an ax, but doesn’t know if it was his inner desire to do so or if he felt compelled by the power of the Ax. I wanted to explore the killer’s psyche with this movie. James fascinates me as a character. He is so complex. He is seriously faced with so many demons all at once that it begins to drive him mad. That was why I chose to write the entire movie in Voice Over form. When I made the decision to direct the film I knew I needed to find an actor who was not only good at reading the inner thoughts of the voice over but who could also show that he was slowly heading into the descent of madness without ever saying a single word on camera. Ax took over a year and a half to film. It was difficult to find a location that could give the tone that the story really needed. The cabin we found in the Angeles National Forest was so perfect for the tone of the movie that I truly felt it was its own character. It was secluded and so rich in depth and personality that it was so easy to see why James may feel that he is on the brink of madness and in the grips of trying to understand why he may be losing control. Ax is my writing and directing debut. I am truly proud of the cast and the crew that pulled together and believed in this film. It is a true labor of love and a testament to what independent filmmaking is and stands for today.

Please check out the trailer and visit the site to find out more info.  Then you can decide what Ax means for you.

Ax Trailer from Michael on Vimeo.

Lana Del Rey Shoots Short Film ‘Tropico’ in Los Angeles

Lana Del Rey Shoots Short Film ‘Tropico’ in Los Angeles (via NewsLook)

Video News by NewsLook Indie rock singer Lana Del Rey has been on set for her new short film, “Tropico” in Los Angeles with director Anthony Mandler. Could this be her transition to the silver screen?


Continue reading “Lana Del Rey Shoots Short Film ‘Tropico’ in Los Angeles” »

What’s New and Hot from Artistic Analogies Film Co

I recently had a chance to speak to producer Kevin Slee about his upcoming projects in Television and Film.  He is working on a few new interesting projects that I thought we might all be interested in hearing about.  Kevin has produced films like: The King of the Jews, Election Day, Talon’s Rant, Franky, Frankly, Grey Matter (a short), Imprints (short), and The Sublime and the Beautiful

Kevin is also an experienced director and writer and is currently working on the following  from Artistic Analogies Film Co:

  • A television Pilot: “Options” – described as Entourage meets Wall Street
  • A feature Film: Running, from writer Gregory Goyins and produced by Kevin
  • And a feature Film: Fool For Love (Based on the play by Sam Shepard), where he directs
I was happy to be able to ask Kevin a few questions about the industry in general as well as get his opinion on a few of the things currently going on in the entertainment world.

Q: You have recently worked on a TV pilot (Options), feature films (Running and Fool for Love), and a short film (Franky, Frankly). From a producer/directors point of view what are the differences each platform?

A: The main difference is pace… Working on feature films is slow, meticulous and only a few pages are shot a day — this is because you’re spending months creating a singular creative output. With television you have a pilot and you need to continue with the same style and maintain the same structure which is expected by the fans so there isn’t much room for creative input… Each director is more of a “work for hire”. Thus, the process is quick because a lot of the decisions are made for you (you being the director). If you direct the pilot you get to establish that but if you come on later you have to follow the same track. Also, and to clarify, a lot of these projects sit in development for a while — this is the case for “Options” in terms of television and “Running and Fool For Love” in features. Of the features I have worked on, I have Dispatch and Sublime & Beautiful. In the studio realm there’s Saving Mr. Banks with Disney and Tom Hanks, etc.

Q: The television industry has changed so much in the past few years. With cable TV, Netflix, and Hulu we have seen some major competition for the traditional networks. Do you think this is a good thing or not so good?

A: I love it! “Options”, which is Entourage meets Wall Street, is being developed for Netflix or Redbox — the new platform. Seeing the success of House of Cards, etc. has really motivated me to enter that medium.

Q: What do you think of the growing popularity of Crowd Sourcing for Indie projects?

A: I think it has its place and it’s great. That being said, I do not agree with celebrities going to that course (i.e. Zach Braff). I think it is for the new filmmakers, the filmmakers without studio hook-up, private equity, etc. and it should stay that way.

Franky, Frankly | Trailer from Artistic Analogies Film Co. on Vimeo.

www.facebook.com/artisticanalogiesfilmco

 

Let Us Lead You ‘Through The Woods’

‘Through The Woods’ is a short film by Mike McAleer which stars Amy Ryder, Lindsay Pearce, and Kelly Lester.  This is a particularly interesting Indie project for many reasons, including the fact that the leads are all female.  The themes explored are voodoo and the supernatural plus the effects of deep depression.  As soon as I read the synopsis, I wanted to find out more and once I found out more, I knew I wanted to share it with my online family.  As with all Indie projects, it is very important to share the projects you love because that is one of the ways to get the word out to others and have it seen by as many people as possible.

Here is the official synopsis and what follows is my interview with Mike:

Suffering from deep depression after the death of her husband, Marilyn, a middle-aged woman, starts a new life for herself in a
quiet, rural town. Feeling guilty and desperate to reconnect with her long-estranged daughter, her new voodoo-practicing
neighbor helps spark familial reconciliation through supernatural means. But as is the case with all decisions in life, Marilyn
quickly learns there are dangerous consequences to her actions, and she must choose between her daughterʼs safety and her
mental well being.

Q: Some of the themes of your movie are Deep Depression and the Supernatural. Both of these topics have had their share of stigmas associated with them.  Do you feel a sense of responsibility to explore these subjects and perhaps remove some of the stigmas?

A: There is no doubt that both of these topics are oftentimes misunderstood in society today.  With depression, I think it is extremely difficult to truly understand the disease and empathize with someone affected by it if you have never personally experienced it.  Similar to the supernatural, I think we generally tend to write-off people that are “possessed” by symptoms of a mental disorder, despite the unfortunate truth they live with on a daily basis.

Of the stigmas, one associates “brokenness” and lifelong assistance to those formerly afflicted by depression.  While I do not know this to be true one way or another, I do believe that these people exhibit extreme strength and fortitude.  To be able to deal with such a debilitating disease, especially while surrounded by others that do not understand it, has to be one of the toughest obstacles the human experience can throw at us.

I do feel a sense of responsibility to explore this theme, and I hope for better understanding, but I do not actively aim to sway the audience’s mind one way or another.  I want people to come to their own conclusions on their own terms.  My goal is to at least get the conversation started.

Q: Do you believe in the Supernatural and Voodoo?  If you could harness these to have whatever you wanted, what would you go for?

A: The supernatural… yes.  Voodoo specifically… not sure.

I know it’s a cliched and somewhat flawed argument, but I always defer to the concept of gravity when rationalizing the presence of the supernatural.  Just because we cannot see something, doesn’t mean it isn’t there.  I honestly feel that most people agree with this, but, barring religious iconography like angels and saints and the devil, most people are quiet about the subject.  Yes, it’s true that early man is known for placing their inexplicable phenomena in the “hands of the Gods” (now known as science… weather, disease, the sun, etc.), but I don’t feel their ignorance negates the countless firsthand accounts of spirits and the paranormal witnessed in the present day and throughout history.

Voodoo is a religious practice that deals with conjuring spirits that can influence people/events in the natural world.  I think the Hollywood system has typically portrayed voodoo as an evil act, but just like every other religion of the world, Voodoo has an equally present “positive” to its “negative.”  I don’t subscribe to the specifics of the Voodoo religion, but I do believe in a positive/negative balance… the yin to the yang, if you will.

With that being said, I wish I knew the absolute truth in regard to the supernatural.  If in fact it’s all true the way I understand it now, I would of course only conjure the “good” spirits and make them do good things for people… and if they had time, I’d ask them to maybe fund my next film… and help parking enforcement realize the evil that they do to the good people of LA on a daily basis…

 Q:  Another theme of the movie is Familial Reconciliation.  You have said that your own relationship with your parents was detached.  Was writing this film cathartic for you?

A: Cathartic is probably the best word to describe all of my work (acting, writing, directing).  I am both fascinated by and somewhat terrified of human psychology, and I constantly strive to understand it, especially my own.  As a storyteller I get to explore the hearts and minds of multiple characters (all of whom I view as real people), and in doing so I get the added bonus of discovering and better understanding things about myself and how my mind works.

With this film, my main characters and their situations are loosely based on experiences from my childhood.  As I talked about earlier, it is extremely difficult to understand depression if you’ve never actually been depressed, and looking back, I think I was exposed to someone affected by depression at a time when I had no way of understanding it.  Psychologically we tend to fill in the blanks when trying to understand the motives and behaviors of those around us, so I created a main character that was deeply depressed in order to explore this possibility.  After spending time inside this character’s head on the page and seeing these behaviors realistically played out by the actor (Amy Ryder) on set, I was able to find some peace and resolution.

As they say, try walking a mile in someone’s shoes in order to understand them.  Whoever “they” are, they’re right.

Q: You explore the concept of actions having consequences in both the Supernatural world as well as in everyday life. Do you believe this is to keep some sort of cosmic balance?

Absolutely!  The first law of motion (also the title of one of my favorite books by K.R. Moorhead) is the first thing that comes to mind when I try to explain my thoughts in this area.  Basically I think our actions/inactions carry weight.  Each choice we make leads us in one direction or another at a constant velocity until acted upon by another force (an action or inaction).  There are definite consequences to our actions, but instead of viewing actions and consequences as good or bad, I view them as neutral.  How we perceive these consequences dictates their good and bad values.

In short, everything we do on a daily basis has consequences.  One should make choices based on their desired consequence.  A “bad” decision can be corrected by performing a U-turn of “good” decisions!

 Q: Even today, films with strong female leads are rare.  Does this put extra pressure on you to make it extraordinary?

A: Among other factors, I definitely felt pressure to make Through the Woods extraordinary in order to effectively portray strong female leads that were not the typical Hollywood “lesser characters or sex objects.”  I wanted them to be dynamic.  I wanted to make them memorable.  I wanted them to be someone we all know despite their extreme circumstances.  I also wanted to accomplish this in a genre that seems almost impossible to change… horror!  (Although I refer to my film as a supernatural drama, there are horror and thriller undertones throughout.)

Lars von Trier’s Melancholia and Aronofsky’s Black Swan were two strong influences while crafting this screenplay.  Both explore the pathology of strong, dynamic, female leads that suffer from mental disorders.  I think what’s unique about my film, however, is that my main character recognizes from the start that she has this problem, and she desperately fights to overcome it in order to salvage a relationship with her daughter.

Q: Do you and the film have an online presence? If so, where can we find you and more about the movie?

A: Yes!  We have an official IMDb title page. Also, please, stalk us here:

www.facebook.com/TTWthemovie

Twitter:   @mistermcaleer     @_physiognomic_     @michaelcoulombe     @laurasaurusrex     @lindsayhpearce     @thesingingceo

Check out the teaser here: www.vimeo.com/mistermcaleer/ttwteaser

Q:  Will there be any fundraising campaigns that people can get involved with?

A: Oh, now you ask…  haha

I ran two fundraising campaigns for Through the Woods during pre-production and post-production on Indiegogo.  I did not reach my goal either time, but I still call the campaigns a success, and I think those that see the film will be impressed by how much my cast and crew (especially my director of photography, Lauren Haroutunian… look her up!!) accomplished with such a limited budget.

With that being said, my team and I are more than open to the idea of some motivated investors out there that want to help get this film out to all the major festivals!

Q: Have you begun casting? Who would be your dream leads? Did you write the characters with any specific actresses in mind?

A: The film has already been shot and is just about done with post-production (just a little more sound tweaking).  My three female leads were Amy Ryder, Lindsay Pearce, and Kelly Lester, and I cannot believe how lucky I was to find actors that were so strong and perfect for the roles I had written.

I often write roles with somebody in mind (not necessarily actors), but with this script I only had a partial “dream list” for my lead characters.  I definitely wrote the 300 year old, voodoo-practicing witch character with Sally Kellerman in mind.  I know that sounds kind of rude, but I swear I mean no disrespect!  I had the privilege of watching one of Ms. Kellerman’s cabaret shows at Vitello’s in Studio City, and I was immediately drawn to her energy…almost as if she actually did put a spell on me.  I was so impressed with her, that I went home and re-wrote this character to match her exactly.  Through a mutual friend I got the chance to ask her to be a part of this film, but she was already booked on something else.  This was a little upsetting, and I thought I would never find another match for this role… and then I saw Kelly Lester perform on stage in Spring Awakening, and I knew I was back in business!

My main character, played by Amy Ryder, was actually written with nobody specific in mind.  Even when it was ready to cast the film, I had no idea who I even wanted to play the role.  As an actor myself, I never really understood it when directors claimed they “don’t always know what they’re looking for in casting, but they know it when they see it.”  Now I do understand, as I really had no idea, and then I met Amy Ryder, and I “knew it when I saw it.”

The main character’s daughter, played by Lindsay Pearce, was written with a young Maggie Gyllenhaal type in mind.  I needed somebody who could appear hard on the outside with subtle vulnerability.  I also saw Lindsay Pearce in Spring Awakening, and I knew she had this amazing quality… and she was perfect for the role!

Q: What’s up next for you and ‘Through the Woods’?

A: Well, the immediate goal is to get it out to the festivals.  I’m hoping to have its world premiere here in LA, but I also want to hit up the European markets as well.  It is currently in consideration for the Burbank International Film Festival.

I wrote this short as a prequel to an already-written feature in hopes of obtaining investor interest, so that is the big picture goal.  Hint, hint… angel investors, inquire within!

Through the Woods – Teaser from Mister McAleer on Vimeo.

 

48 Go Green: International Eco Film Competition

CALLING ALL FILM MAKERS: I am very excited to be able to bring you this information about  48 Go Green Film Competition.  The project began as a pilot live project in Athens, Greece in 2009, the same time as the Copenhagen conference on climate change.  It was designed to address the serious issues that face our environment via film.  48 Go Green is brought to you by Executive Producer Francesco Vitali and Producer Christos Siametis.  As many of you know, I am an avid supporter of Ian Somerhalder‘s IS_Foundation because of the work they do for our environment, so this project was something I wanted to be involved with as soon as I heard about it.

Here is the official Press Release, so that you can learn how to get involved:

48 Go Green is the Ultimate online international ecological short film festival, consuming the world in creativity for 48 hours. We are a film making competition where each team has to create a complete short film, with an ecological message in 48 hours.

Feel free to visit www.48gogreen.com to learn more about the project.

48 Go Green began as a pilot live project in Athens, Greece in 2009. This was parallel with Copenhagen conference on climate change, and we immediately recognized the need to address such serious issues via film.

48 Go Green is brought to you by Executive Producer Francesco Vitali and Producer Christos Siametis.

The next 48 Go Green adventure was in 2011. It was mainly an online competition with participants from 130 cities all over the word. It included a live event component in 8 Major US cities and in collaboration with 48 Hour Film Project. We had the vision to unite every city in every country, all over the world in parallel online and live events.

330 teams transformed the Globe into a film set for a whole weekend – 48 hours!

18,000 registered members and filmmakers from 130 cities, from all around the Planet, shooting their films simultaneously! At exactly the same time, everywhere on this Earth people were shooting their short films.

From Vietnam to Paris, from Los Angeles to London, from Tel Aviv to Mongolia, from Belgrade to Benghazi, from New York to Athens, from Beijing to Rome and many other cities all over the globe, thousands of filmmakers created magic within a weekend. The climate of creativity was enormous. Visit our screening room to see 2011′s films http://www.48gogreen.com/videos.

The teams competed and a united vision was shared, all over the world: SAVE!

The planet, the animal, water, sea, forests, earth, energy, the next generation, and a free choice to SAVE anything that the filmmakers felt deserved saving.

Last year we provided the winners the chance to truly see their films shine on an international market. The Top 5 winners screened their winning films in the Short Film Corner in collaboration with Cannes International Film Festival, while the top 16 finalists’ short films were screened at the NAB show in Las Vegas.

This year we take you UP, this year we take you to Hollywood.

The top 15 films, along with the People’s Choice film, will all be screened in Hollywood. Also at stake is thousands of dollars in prize money to the winning filmmakers. The Grand Prize offers a cash prize of $10,000 and a chance to attend the Hollywood screening. The First and Second Runners-Up will each receive $1000, and the People’s Choice awards will receive $500.

In 2012, we are turning our focus exclusively to the online portion of the festival, because we believe in the power of the virtual world to bring about progress and positive change for the rest of the planet. Our competition brings focus and attention to a diverse group of filmmakers. 48 Go Green attracts unique participants from all walks of life, from fresh beginning filmmakers who have only access to a laptop, to seasoned professionals with years of experience in the business. Such a variety of people are brought together by that shared vision of a greener world.

Anyone, anywhere on earth can enter.

All you’ll need is a camera, a can-do attitude and a spark of creativity.

Imagine showcasing your talent in a prestigious screening of your very own film in Hollywood!

A divine project has already established a reputation as a unique and inspirational opportunity for ecologically-minded film enthusiasts worldwide. What better way to explore the environmental challenges we face, than to channel that adrenaline, enthusiasm and intense creativity into powerful and thought-provoking short films?

COMPETITION PERIOD:

Group A: 48 Go Green will commence on Friday, March 9, 2012 at 7 PM local time and end on Sunday, March 11, 2012 at 7:30 PM local time. All ready completed

Group B: 48 Go Green will commence on Friday, June 29, 2012 at 7 PM local time and end on Sunday, July 1, 2012 at 7:30 PM local time. Entries now open.

Group C: 48 Go Green will commence on Friday, September 28, 2012 at 7 PM local time and end on Sunday, September 30, 2012 at 7:30 PM local time.

So what are you waiting for? Assemble your creative team of camera-equipped eco-warriors and prepare to make a stand against the destruction of our planet. Create a masterpiece of a cinematic message, a 48 Go Green Short Film!

For more information, check out www.48GoGreen.com.

I wish you all the best of luck and look forward to seeing the entries! Don’t forget to tell them that I sent you! :)