Baris Azman / Filmmaker

Teaching screenwriting at the International Film Festival Breda

Posted in Teaching, Workshop by barisazman on March 28, 2009

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I was asked by the people of International Film Festival Breda, to participate as one of seven teachers at the program called ‘The filmXperience’.  This is a collection of workshops throughout a single day, where young students (ages 15 – 27) can learn more about filmmaking in all it’s facets. From writing (which I thought), to acting, directing, etc.  At the end of the day, there were two masterclasses taught by Dutch director Erik De Bruyn (WILDE MOSSELS, NADINE) and actor Hugo Metsers (SIBERIA). These workshops were all part of the film festival which was held from the 25th till the 29th of March, 2009.

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ID CIRCLES presskit

Posted in Exhibitions, News, Workshop by barisazman on March 27, 2009

During the exposition of ID CIRCLES (ID CIRKELS), there was a magazine and DVD presented to the public. It was a behind the scenes look about what happened during these workshops. Robert Andriessen was commissioned to make the DVD. Duration of the video is 08:31 minutes. Dutch language.

You can watch the video in a larger size on Robert’s Vimeo site.

More on the workshop ID CIRCLES that I did, in an earlier post.

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WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE workshop and exposition

Posted in Exhibitions, News, Workshop by barisazman on March 27, 2009

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At the start of 2009 I was approached by Karlijn Koenen (project designer) to be one of three artists (alongside Anouk Bax and Tijs Rooijakkers) give a workshop  to a group of 12 year old children. We had seven weeks (one day a week) to make a short film together. The name of the project was ID CIRKELS (ID CIRCLES) and was organised together with The Krabbedans (platform for professional artists, located in Eindhoven, The Netherlands) and Advicepoint Discrimination (Adviespunt discriminatie) and The Safetyhouse (het Veiligheidshuis). The main theme was to introduce the children to the creative arts and have them reflect on issues such as self-identity and prejudices.

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POLSHOOGTE

Posted in News by barisazman on March 26, 2009

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I was asked by the Krabbedans (platform for professional artists, located in Eindhoven, The Netherlands) to attend an interactive cultural programme called POLSHOOGTE (Pulse Height). Where artists can present their work for a live audience and interact with the audience concerning the created works. I attended the project with a workshop called ID CIRKELS (ID Circles). More on ID CIRKELS in the next post.

More on The Krabbedans website (in Dutch).

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Archive: THE BEAUTIFUL WASHING MACHINE: James Lee interview

Posted in Interview by barisazman on March 21, 2009
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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 first of those I will reprint here.

MEI LI DE XI YI JI / THE BEAUTIFUL WASHING MACHINE (2005)

A film by James Lee

What happens when your washing machine breaks down? You get a new one. Only the lead character of THE BEAUTIFUL WASHING MACHINE, Teoh, a young guy with a simple job, after looking off into the distance for a long while, decides he’s gonna get that used one on discount, yeah that in the corner over there. After installing it at home he cleans his clothes and just goes about his regular business. But when the washing machine starts going off in the middle of the night by it’s own accord you know something’s up.
Only nothing can prepare you with what that is. One morning, there is a young woman next to the washing machine and Teoh just kind of goes with it and asks his mysterious new friend to do the washing of the clothes. When she doesn’t complain, Teoh decides he’s gonna let her do other choirs too. It isn’t before long that Teoh even starts pimping out his new friend. The mysterious woman never speaks and silently goes along with everything.

beaut-wash-machine1People have mentioned that the film has a certain Buster Keaton comedy vibe to it, while Bunuel wouldn’t be misplaced either. Scenes tend to last several minutes and sometimes even in the same shot. You try and predict how a certain scene will end, but more often you’re just flabbergasted and in stitches at what Lee just comes up with for his characters to do. Teoh is the ultimate slacker and the ultimate asshole to boot. He misuses his new friend to the extreme and rarely regrets anything. When a pimpdeal goes wrong he loses his mysterious friend and she ends up in someone else’s car. This ends up being a rather caring father who takes her in and in no time gets used to the fact that she does all the cleaning. The man’s daughter has of course her doubts about what this new ladyfriend of his father’s motives actually are.

James Lee’s ultra low budget digital film is something of a gem. With so many digital films playing at festivals, it’s hard coming across one that actually makes you forget you’re watching a ‘videofilm’. The attention to the framing is something that most digital filmmakers can learn from. It’s beautiful use of space and mise-en-scene is something that elevates the whole look of the film. Usually digital filmmakers just run around with the camera and point it in eachother’s face. Hoping to get some sense of direct contact with the viewer. While in some cases this might work, the audience is usually just left numb and overdosed on immeadiacy. THE BEAUTIFUL WASHING MACHINE is the perfect example of good films that are shot on no budgets with (partially) unprofessional actors. You just need the creativity (and digital video creates that independent freedom) and some friends and time, maybe even spruce up some money and you could make a quality film.

Interview with James Lee

Baris Azman: Being a starting filmmaker myself, I was wondering about the more productional side of the film. What was the budget and how long was the shooting schedule of the film?

James Lee: It was close to 50,000 US dollars and a ten day shoot. Pre-production was about two months and the post was the longest.

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ONE NIGHT STAND

Posted in News by barisazman on March 20, 2009

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Hand delivered my application for the Dutch ‘new filmmakers’ competition called, ONE NIGHT STAND . This is the second time I am applying. Felt pretty good about this year’s application. Keeping my fingers crossed.

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Teaching screenwriting at St. Joost, Breda

Posted in News, Teaching by barisazman on January 29, 2009

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I was asked by coordinator René Bosma of the St. Joost Arts Academy to do a lecture on my experiences as a filmmaker and screenwriter and do a crash course on the art of screenwriting. The class took a total of four hours and was attended by first, second, third and final year students. We covered basics such as what constitutes a screenplay, working visually, but also breaking the rules after knowing them. Also, how to keep writing, different approaches (outlining or not) and more.

Unfortunately due to delays in the overall programming, we didn’t get to do my running commentary on Joel & Ethan Coen’s NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN. But the students and René liked what I did, and there’s a possibility I can come back in the near future to discuss and examine what makes the film so good. Personally, I’d also be interested in doing a longer workshop type seminar with students, where we actually take a few weeks and write a short screenplay together. As in, every student writes their own and even I join in with a screenplay of my own, where we can discuss our progress together.

More on the St. Joost Arts academy: http://www.stjoost.nl/