March 3rd I will be holding a presentation, about an as of yet undisclosed subject, at the PechaKucha Night in Breda.
For those who are not familiar with the concept:
PechaKucha Night was devised in Tokyo in February 2003 as an event for young designers to meet, network, and show their work in public.
It has turned into a massive celebration, with events happening in hundreds of cities around the world, inspiring creatives worldwide. Drawing its name from the Japanese term for the sound of “chit chat”, it rests on a presentation format that is based on a simple idea: 20 images x 20 seconds. It’s a format that makes presentations concise, and keeps things moving at a rapid pace. From the official website.
From the Dutch Centrum voor Beeldcultuur (CBC) website:
Afgelopen 2 december was hij sinds ruim een jaar weer terug in Breda; de PechaKucha Night. En het was meteen weer een succes! Elf sprekers namen je mee in hun wereld die varieerde van grafisch vormgeven tot het vormgeven van kapsels en lessen voor het leven tot het op de kaart zetten van je scheetjes.
PechaKucha Night is in 2003 in Tokyo bedacht door Klein Dytham architecture en betekent zoiets als “prietpraat”. Maar prietpraat is niet wat je kunt verwachten tijdens een PechaKucha Night in het Centrum voor Beeldcultuur! PechaKucha Night geeft iedereen de kans om, aan de hand van beelden, zijn of haar verhaal te vertellen. Of dat nu gaat over een nieuw ontworpen huisstijl, een evenement wat iedereen moet leren kennen, een inspirerende reis, een apart bedrijf, of de verzameling gekke bloempotten die je in je huis hebt staan; het mag allemaal. Zolang het maar interessant en de moeite van het vertellen waard is.
Ook deze editie krijgen vooraf geselecteerde sprekers 20 slides en per slide 20 seconden de tijd om hun verhaal te vertellen. Geen saaie, lange presentaties dus, want na 6 minuten en 40 seconden is de volgende spreker alweer aan de beurt. Een unieke kans om in een korte tijd veel creatieve, nieuwe, inspirerende ideeën en verhalen te horen en zien.
Wil je graag als spreker deelnemen aan een PechaKucha Night? Laat dan hieronder je reactie achter en we nemen z.s.m. contact met je op.
Aanvang: 20.20 uur
Laat via facebook weten of je er bij bent!
PechaKucha Night is devised and shared by Klein Dytham architecture.
I am very proud to announce that Fonds BKVB is supporting my feature film; THE MAN WHO GOT LOST. The film is getting a pre-production grant, supporting it with the research and development. A few weeks ago I held the presentation for the fund and the above image is a collection of the ‘mood story board’ images, representing the whole film in 160 (found) photographs. I pitched the whole film in ten minutes, using the images as mood support. I present them here as a very small sneak peek, at what the film will become.
MUBI, formerly known as The Auteurs, has a section of the site with an emphasis on ‘encouraging independent control of the means of production, improving upon economies of scale and seeking alternative tactics and routes for distribution’. There is a Screening Room (focusing on ‘finding niche works of cinema that will otherwise struggle to receive distribution, promotion or exposure), The Production Notebook (a program of video interviews, podcasts, articles and seminars on filmmaking) and Groups. EFENDI and IT HASN’T HAPPENED YET have been selected for the Screening Room.
Here’s a location photograph from one of the main areas where the film (THE MAN WHO GOT LOST) is going to take place. Just to give a teaser of the locale. Still working on the rewrite of the film with my producer and things are slowly picking up steam.
Also, check out the newly added Quotes page on the right side bar.
In 2005 I had the opportunity to conduct a few interviews with filmmakers who were presenting their first, second or third feature film at the International Film Festival Rotterdam. These were done for a magazine called YDN (Young Designers Network). This is the third and final one I will reprint here. (The first and second interview are located on the site too)
CRÓNICAS /CHRONICLES (2005)
A film by Sebastián Cordero
A serial killer who preys on children, but treats his son and wife with the utmost care and love. A journalist who’s out for personal gain, but seeks to find out the truth at whatever cost. Put these two together in a room and you may get some heavy headbutts along the way.
Cordero’s second feature (premiere at Cannes’ Un Certain Regard in 2004), is located in one of Ecuador’s most grimy and poor areas and stars John Leguizamo (CARLITO’S WAY’s Benny Blanco) as Manolo Bonilla. An American based reporter working on a local story about ‘Il Monstro’, a killer who roams the Ecaudorian mainland. When Vinicio, an old victim of a local lynching asks for his help in making a tv item about him that has to prove his innocence, Manolo is not interested. When the man in return offers some very interesting information about ‘Il Monstro’, you know heads are gonna turn.
What follows is Manolo trying to pry as much information out of Vinicio and Vinicio trying to tell as little as possible. Shot mainly in the dungeon-esque cell of Vinicio, the film still manages to hold your interest partially because you actually find out the identity of the killer really fast, but it becomes a search for when it will all be revealed and more than that, how the main character will react to it. The film shares some elements with Michael Mann’s THE INSIDER in that it exposes the media as not really caring about the truth, but just in presenting it to the public. The news show that Manolo works for is even called “Una Hora con la Verdad”; An Hour with the Truth. Recalling America’s famous news show ‘Sixty Minutes’. The interesting element is that neither the good nor the bad guy is actually all good or all bad. They both posses human qualities and they both are incredible bad persons. In the end you just sit back and watch what’s happening and you wonder how far human beings are willing to go to get what they want. Plus the matter of fact is that this goes on everyday, the media and the killings. You end up with a rather pessimistic film that tries to show you the way of the world and better yet, the dark roads many people take while they try to find their way.
Shot in a fashion very reminiscent to the early seventies cinema of the United States, CRÓNICAS pulls you in with it’s hand-held camera work and sweaty film stock. You’re there in the wet jungle and you can smell the stink of the jail cell. What brings CRÓNICAS just over the edge of just being a ‘serial killer and the media’ film is the ending. And that just knocks you down and on your ass and makes you leave the theatre in a rather depressing mood. Because you know that this is the way it usually goes. Because you know that the so called truth is rarely revelead, but still the reporters have to sell you something, so they sell you ‘their truth’.
John Leguizamo as Manolo, Leonor Watling as Marisa and José María Yazpik as Ivan. Picture on top: Damián Alcázar as Vinicio. Copyright Palm Pictures.
Interview with Sebastián Cordero
Baris Azman: Could you tell us something about the themes of the film? Is there too much evil in the world?
Sebastián Cordero: Well, when I started writing the screenplay I did a study on arrogance and how human beings think that they can own the truth. That was my starting point, but at the same time, one of the things as a writer and as a filmmaker, to which I was very attracted to, was, the idea of making a story, with characters who are very complex, who have good and bad sides to them, who can have a very normal side and at the same time be very corrupt or really monstrous in their nature. And yes, it is a film that shows a very depressing world and in the end the idea is to have the spectator be very unsettled and have them ask themselves many questions. As a spectator myself, that’s the kind of cinema that I like.
Had a great time again this year at the International Film Festival Breda. I taught two classes where the majority of students were over twenty, so we were able to go a little bit deeper into the subject mattter. At night I was able to pitch my film to some people, which is in the middle of rewriting and I was pleased to see that it went over really well.
Check out the Film Festival Journal, made in part, by my former students of the St. Joost: http://www.filmfestivalbreda.com/festivaljournaal/
IFFB 2010 trailer by Studio Smack.
On the 27th of March I will be holding a lecture/workshop on screenwriting again at the filmXperience, which is a part of the International Film Festival Breda. The filmXperience is a podium where young starting filmmakers, actors and actresses, can learn more about the filmmaking process. There are workshops on animation, film and finance, improv, acting and screenwriting (by yours truly).
At the end of 2009 I had finished a promotional book about my planned feature film THE MAN WHO GOT LOST.
I sent it to producers and managed to get invited for meetings with several of them in January 2010. Overall the reactions were really positive and I was very fortunate to be in the position to actually choose out of several producers who wanted to work with me on the film. After long deliberation I decided on Martin Lagestee and his Amsterdam based independent production house LAGESTEE FILM BV. I’m very thankful for all the people who I met and talked with concerning the film and hopefully will get a chance to work with them on other projects in the future.
But as of now, we’re official. Let’s go to work.
As of January 2010, I will be an advisor for the Fonds voor Cultuurparticipatie / Cultural Participation Fund. Based in Utrecht, The Netherlands the fund promotes participation in culture, especially by encouraging people to engage in the arts and culture themselves. The fund does this, for one thing, by means of arrangements with the provinces and municipalities and by subsidising institutions. The Fund also encourages debate, initiates research, and ensures knowledge-sharing in the field of cultural education, the amateur arts, and popular culture.
Zafer Turgut as Mister Osman. Photography by Kasper van de Pavoordt.
My composer for EFENDI, Marcus Fjellström, recorded a commentary track for the film, sharing his thoughts on the production. You can find the video on the following link and on the navigation page on the top right side.
Marcus Fjellström’s website: http://kafkagarden.com/
Finally figured out how to get larger Vimeo sizes in WordPress, so here are the two short films again, for your larger viewing pleasure. You can watch them on their respective pages. (upper right side of the navigation, or click on the links under the posters)
Go to the EFENDI page. (info,video and pictures)
Go to the IT HASN’T HAPPENED YET page. (info, video and pictures)
In 2005 I had the opportunity to conduct a few interviews with filmmakers who were presenting their first, second or third feature film at the International Film Festival Rotterdam. These were done for a magazine called YDN (Young Designers Network). This is the second of those I will reprint here. (The first one is located here)
LES REVENANTS / THEY CAME BACK (2004)
A film by Robin Campillo
What do you get when you cross a zombie film with a social drama? You get a film like LES REVENANTS, but that still isn’t actually a totally accurate description of Robin Campillo’s directorial debut. Campillo, who has worked frequently with director Laurent Cantet, either as a co-writer or an editor on such films as L’EMPLOI DU TEMPS (2001) and VERS LE SUD (2004) (and four years later on the Palme D’Or winning ENTRE LES MURS) finally has a chance to step up and do his own thing and the toned down and rather offbeat LES REVENANTS shows an interesting look into the zombie genre. Only this time instead of chomping on human flesh, the newly returned dead must somehow get back into society. The harmless zombies have been put in camps at first, but that doesn’t seem to solve the problem, so now the people are faced with the problem of these ‘undesirables’.
After a little over two months, the screenplay classes I taught at St. Joost are finished. Students received their grades last week (overall good). It was a great chance to teach for a longer duration and on a regular basis. To be able to develop screenplays with the 3rd year students, watching their ideas grow and finally realize into a workable shooting script.
Definitely an experience I’d like to repeat after a while. Congratulations to all the students, it was a great experience.
“I wrote it. It’s done. Now I just got to type it up.” “Type it up? It’s not finished until you type it up. We’ve got to read it.” - ZODIAC (2007)
As of a few minutes ago, I finally finished the first draft of my feature film screenplay. It’s been a long time in the making and it’s one of the hardest things I have ever written I think. It’s taken me quite some time too. But there’s a tremendous sense of relief too. Finally that first draft. Beginning to end. Clocking in at 108 pages. Next up, real quick, is the second draft and then it’s going out into the open.
Things have been pretty busy these past weeks. Aside from working on my screenplay, working on a current corporate project, editing for another filmmaker and discussing future projects, I have been teaching a lot. We’re nearing the halfway mark with my class at St. Joost. The plans are really taking shape for the students and I am looking forward to the end results. It’s great to see all kinds of different approaches too.
Film By The Sea Festival was a great experience. I had three different classes on one day and I had a chance to visit a ‘black tie’ premiere party. Unfortunately, I was the only one not in black tie. Nonetheless it was nice and I had a chance to talk to some old friends. Thanks to the festival and the filmXperience for their hospitality.
Classes have officialy started. This is my class for the next 8 weeks. We’re meeting once every week for a whole day. Most of the students are third year, but there are a few final year students who wanted to join the class too.
We started with running and gunning through my screenwriting 101 lecture (for the few who weren’t present at my guest lecture a few months back) and then proceeded to discuss several opening shots/scenes of films.
The objective of this semester is, to write a fully presentable and working short screenplay. Some students are a little less versed in the tradition of screenwriting, so everyone will probably have their own pace. Every week we will discuss eachother’s work and comment on it. We don’t have a specific theme for the screenplays, but the students are encouraged to write their ‘dream film’, as in, no restrictions of budget. So they don’t have to think about whether they can actually get a chance to be able to finance it. It’s strictly focused on the writing, hopefully freeing up the creative flow. Though, who ever wants, can write it in such a way, that they can actually get to shoot it, maybe even later on in the same school year. Final year students will write and fine tune their graduation film.
Aside from writing and workshopping, there will also be moments where I will discuss film theory and we will watch films or parts of films.
At the end of August I was an assistant director on a commercial done for Forum Istanbul. Europe’s largest indoor mall. The production was a mix of Dutch and Turkish professionals. I was approached by Dutch company Boegbeeld to work as an assistant director, which comprised of me overlooking the duties of the day on the set, communicating with the different departments (lighting, catering, security, production) as a translator. And in directing the Turkish actors, since the director himself was Dutch and didn’t speak Turkish. It was a very fortunate thing, because the production was looking for someone who had experience in filmmaking, knew Dutch and Turkish and had worked with child actors before.
It was a really great experience, met lots of good people, had a very pleasant stay in Istanbul. The whole production was top notch (hotel, transportation, catering) and the collaboration was smooth and relaxed. I also had a chance to work with Willem Nagtglas again, my cinematographer on EFENDI, who was shooting this commercial too. During the shoot I was asked to act a small part in the commercial too, so look for me when the commercial airs in Turkey somewhere next month.
I could talk more about the project, but I will let the pictures to most of the talking. Click on More to see some other pictures. (If you’re a friend of me on Facebook, you can see more pictures there)
On occasion I will post some of my photography work. Most of them can be found on my Flickr page, but my cinematic favorites will show up here too.
The lecture I did at the St. Joost Arts Academy in Breda, The Netherlands, went over really well, with students and the board, that I got the call back to actually teach there next school year. I will be teaching screenwriting to third year students at the ‘Audio-Visual department’ at the start of this September, for one whole semester. It’s really interesting teaching and talking about screenwriting, film-making and film theory and I look forward to this opportunity. And I hope to inspire students with diverse subjects and approaches to screenwriting.
The specific approach of the classes is still under wraps, but I will tell more as the classes start.
On the 15th of August, I will be attending a debate with other up-and-coming filmmakers at the LiteSide Festival in Amsterdam. And I will be showing clips of my films during the debate. Program starts at 8 pm. There’s tons of other stuff going on too, so I think I will be there throughout the day.
From the press release:
Four remarkable filmmakers will go into discussion with eachother about their personal experiences as a writer of a different ethnicity. Orhan Sahin (GANGSTER BOYS, 2010), In-Soo (CARMEN VAN HET NOORDEN, 2009, MADE IN KOREA, 2005), Baris Azman (THE MAN WHO GOT LOST, 2010) and Fedor Sendak (WOLF 2003, FOR THOSE AND OTHERS, 2009) will share their personal experiences and answer questions from the audience. The debate will be led by Sander Jansen, filmmaker and founder of the Dutch Directors Guild.
Date: 15 Augustus 2009
Location: Videolounge @ Machine Gebouw, Westergasfabriek, Amsterdam
The festival is held in Cultuurpark, Westergasfabriek in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Here’s more about the festival from their website:
“The latest and hippest oriëntal and western cross-overs with international performances of dance, music, literature, visual art and film. And the coolest Amsterdam’s underground DJ’s and delicious oriëntal food and drinks!”
Film critic and filmmaker Matt Zoller Seitz (The New York Times, The House Next Door) made a terrific video essay series on the works of Michael Mann. They can be viewed over at the Museum of the Moving Image website. He was gracious enough to credit me in it (research). Even though it’s all his hard work. The series is done in five parts, focusing on various aspects of Mann’s work, ranging from existentialism, reflections, women and the pre-Miranda police procedural. View Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5.
I love the planimetric framing used in the shot above.
On Saturday 12 September, I will be teaching screenwriting at this year’s Film By The Sea Film Festival, held in Vlissingen, The Netherlands. Again, as a part of a program called ‘The filmXperience’, which consists of workshops and lectures about filmmaking. People who are interested can apply at the website of the festival. The festival itself will be from 11-20 September. I will be present at the festival on 11 and 12 September.
I saw on their website, that in an earlier edition of the festival, they screened THE BIG LEBOWSKI on an outside location. So I am curious if I can watch something interesting on the Friday before my class.
THE MAN WHO GOT LOST has it’s first promotional image. The photo here is by Kate Peters, who has graciously granted me permission to use her work as a teaser for my feature film. This image will accompany the official synopsis of the film and most probably the screenplay. It will be used for the official website of the film until we start shooting and are generating our own visual content.
I came across this photograph on the cover of the magazine EXTRA, published by the FotoMuseum in Antwerp, Belgium. It captures, in a single image, the mood and themes of my film and it’s since then, become one of the main visual inspiration tools for when I am writing. I want to tell more about what comes up in my mind when I look at the photograph, but I will let everyone interpret it in their own way. For now.
Kate Peters’ official website: http://www.katepeters.co.uk/
I was asked to be an external advisor for the graduating class of the ‘Video & Photography’ department at the Deltion College in Zwolle, The Netherlands. Daan Hartoog, a friend and co-producer of my graduation film EFENDI, is teaching there and together with two other teachers we had to decide on which students passed and with what grades. What I saw were very diverse films, ranging from fiction, documentary and even a spec tv-show. I was very surprised at the quality of the films and was glad to see that Fikret Koç, one of the actors of EFENDI, who was in the class also, is becoming a filmmaker in his own right.
They all graduated. Congratulations to the class of ’09.
The meeting day SCRIPTDESK: DE PROEFTUIN, where directors, writers, producers and distributors were able to discuss eachother’s work was a great success. It was really good to give comments on other people’s work and get interesting feedback on my project. I got a lot of great insights and some interesting viewpoints on the synopsis of THE MAN WHO GOT LOST. I was particularly glad that the main themes and visual approach got across to most people. It’s really hard to compress an entire feature film plan into two pages, but with all the comments I think I now have more of a grip on how to put my idea on paper in a more concise fashion. Thanks to the people at Scriptdesk, LEV Pictures and everyone who participated and to all the people I got businesscards from.
My feature film plan THE MAN WHO GOT LOST was selected among 23 other film projects to participate at the SCRIPTDESK: DE PROEFTUIN (rough translation: THE SAMPLE GARDEN) in Amsterdam. Organized by Lev Pictures (film producers) and Scriptdesk (Script Editors), it’s meant to give directors and screenwriters a chance to meet and get to learn more about eachother and to help out each other’s plan, idea, synopsis or screenplay. So that they may advance a step further in the process. There’s also a chance to meet producers. It’s also meant to get some inspiration and feedback and to meet new people and work on your network.
Today I received all the other film projects and I look forward to reading them all and making notes during the next week. Because, as I understand, I will also be commenting on the other participants projects. I get the same rush as I had when I attended the NISI MASA Script & Pitch workshop last year in France. It’s good getting together every once in a while with serious filmmakers and discussing each other’s work and I hope to meet some new and interesting contacts along the way.
This good news gave me a big boost today with my writing. I also got a very interesting and positive comment from a critic today (concerning my previous films), which will be published soon in the promotional booklet for THE MAN WHO GOT LOST. It actually gave me a helluva lotta insight in the writing of my film. More on that quote at later date.
– On the outskirts of the industry
Since I didn’t want to top the blog with a downer, I thought I’d let everyone know I was officialy writing again on my feature film; THE MAN WHO GOT LOST.
Fate has decided, unfortunately I didn’t get selected for the ONE NIGHT STAND (this is the second time I applied), so I am going ahead with RELATIONSHIP; as in, my feature film project THE MAN WHO GOT LOST. Back to the writing table. Congratulations to all the people who got selected.
On a side note: extra congratulations to Jochem De Vries, whose short film MISSEN got selected and nominated for the Palm D’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.
I was a guest on the radio at a program called ‘7th Heaven’ (De 7e Hemel) of the NMO (Nederlandse Moslim Omroep/ Dutch Muslim Broadcast) in Amsterdam, where I was one of four guests of emerging filmmakers. We were chosen because of our films that dealt with ‘social issues and topical matters’. Alongside me where filmmakers Beri Shalmashi, Bram Vergeer and Camiel Zwart. The host was Abdellah Dami, who asked us questions ranging from why we make films, to what our creative process is. All in all we talked for an hour, which seemed to fly by really fast.