NZFF2014_06 The Internets Own Boy

If you use rss then you know one tiny part of Aaron Swartz work and rss really illustrates what a prodigy he was, making huge contributions to its development when only 13 years old! His involvement in developing & then selling Reddit for a significant amount, but remaining altruistic in his focus and motives for work also reflect hugely on his core values. But while there are any number of successful computer geniuses, it was his evolution into a political lobbyist that upon reflection is our greatest loss.

I wasn’t really aware of him in his earlier life, but I clearly remember the successful anti-SOPA protests and can only imagine what Swartz would have gone on to achieve in later life if he hadn’t been ‘made an example of.’ This is an excellent documentary, well worth seeking out to both appreciate the huge contribution Swartz made in his short life and the huge cost he paid. While the US government would presumably like his persecution to be a permanent reminder for anyone considering breaking any form of laws via the use of computers, in the end it just reveals the very sad truth that justice is for those who hold power & can access/afford any scale of legal costs. Test it and it will likely bankrupt you, but even more so it will be at your personal psychological expense, and I suspect for any reasonable human being that personal cost would rapidly escalate to being untenable.

For me, the true test of any film is revealed through the residual effect it has on me. Powerful films stay with me for days and weeks, some are permanent. Some come & go, like they never even existed. Seeing The Internets Own Boy made me appreciate what an ephemeral concept ‘freedom’ is, and with SOPA, just how close the perceived freedoms we have online were, to being lost in the aid of big business. But here is the real residual unease: the motives for SOPA have not been defeated & disappeared. They will have licked their wounds, gone away & regrouped, and then continued to invest huge sums developing new strategies to achieve the same desired result.

In my country this currently takes the form of the TPPA, the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, a trade deal being negotiated in secrecy between the USA and 12 other countries. Why is it being negotiated in secrecy? Presumably because one persons idea of a ‘free’ trade agreement does not equate to many, many others idea of freedom. But thanks to Wikileaks, draft documents revealing some of these hidden intentions have come to light. Now that is the deep sense of unease I feel more clearly now, that big business is lobbying via political entities to spread their idea of ‘freedom’ (i.e. control of freedom) outside their own borders. And while acts of war are usually more overt & abhorrent, these insidious stealthy attempts at political manipulation are equally disturbing.

See this movie

 

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NZFF2014_05 Boyhood

I won’t say too much about this film, BOYHOOD by Richard Linklater, other than that I enjoyed it. I’ve read rave reviews about it and I don’t really have any criticism of the film but I suspect your relationship to it is very much dependent on your stage in life, attitudes to family, life experience etc…

It is a great concept/premise & I really enjoyed how seamless the time jumps were – a few times I realised about 2 cuts after the time jump that one had just gone past… I very much appreciated that this & many other aspects of the film were not overhyped…

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Detritus 310

 

> the saddest photo

 

“I can’t act. I can’t lie.” (Cocteau Twins)

 

 

> Hammer time?

 

TELEPHONEME | MK12 from MK12 on Vimeo.

(thanks Phil)

 

> interview with Frank Bretschneider, artist in residence at Elektronmusikstudion (EMS) the Swedish centre for electroacoustic music and sound art

 

> beautiful, scary, apocalyptic lake (thanks Guy)

 

> The beauty of old audio tech Thanks Samuel!)

 

 


GoPro gaffer taped to car wheel!

 

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Scattered Light 136

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Mana Island

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HISSandaROAR Tortured Wood sound library released

Phew – time for a lie down! And then a massive clean up….

TORTURED WOOD is now available at HISSandaROAR.com – there’s an early bird discount available until August 8th

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Spaceship ambiences

Need to relax? or focus/study without the real world interfering? Try these:

some back story here and a youtube playlist here

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shot on 6th Match 2011 in Savai’i, Samoa with Canon 7D and EFs10-22 lens

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NZFF2014_04 Everything We Loved

Everything We Loved is a feature film written & directed by Max Curry and tonight it has its premiere in Auckland at the NZ Film Festival. But in a first for the film industry in New Zealand, it is also available simultaneously via Video on Demand, so you can stage your own premiere at home, or wherever you are. Check out the trailer:

The film was one of four created last year via the NZ Film Commissions Escalator scheme, which is for film projects that can be realised for a total budget of NZ$250k. Such constraints would crush some peoples ideas, but any time someone rains on that particular parade I always ask if they have seen the excellent film TAPE which was released in 2001 and shot in a single hotel room. Have you seen it?

While it contained only three actors (admittedly very, very good actors/stars) that wasn’t what made it brilliant, it just provided a little familarity. What made it great was the concept & the story. If you haven’t seen TAPE then you really must, just so you have a point of reference as to what is possible. I firmly believe that had that trio of great actors not been available, an equally great film would have been made with three complete unknowns who were up to the task… It isn’t the technology that enables great ideas – it is great ideas that enable technology (TAPE would have been shot on DV, the ‘first (supposed) digital revolution’) Without great ideas technology is about as much use a tinfoil hat, which might appear ‘great’ for a brief fleeting moment, but…

Anyway, the point is constraints are only a creative negative factor if you don’t understand them. Give Michael Bay $250k and I doubt he would get out of bed (and frankly who cares) But this project has a lot of heart & also poses ethical & human questions that are very, very difficult to answer should you find yourself anywhere near such territory. The ideas behind it & the core team are what made me join the impossible task of realising a feature film project made for less than the likely cost of a months worth of coffee for the Hobbit crew…

And succeed the film does. As with TAPE constraining the core cast to three people was a smart move, presuming they could get the casting right, VERY right ( & they did, Sia Trokenheim is heart breakingly brilliant, and makes her later role in TVs Step Dad seem like complete nonsense) But writing the film around one of those cast being 5 years old is also very, very brave and reflects directly on how grounded the director is.

Delivering a score for a film with such budgetary constraints was a secondary conversation. First I had to be 100% clear I was the right person to even try, and that the expectation was realistic and achievable. Thankfully we were all on the same page from the outset, and despite sitting with my fingers crossed all through my first run through of draft cues, Max liked what he heard & was an open minded collaborator & very clear with his direction.

In a funny way today feels a little like the future. As an entree before the virtual premiere I watched two great works by Ryoichi Kurokawa that I discovered today & had never seen before, at a new platform for video art: Sedition.com

In the end I don’t think anyone who actually matters wants to support piracy, but it is up to the content creators to support platforms that provide equally convenient modes of delivery. And today I got to enjoy two!

 

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Ground

Ryoichi Kurokawa: Ground

 

(best watched full screen in a darkened room)

 

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Little Huia

Little Huia

Little Huia

Shot in pre-dawn Kaikoura at 5.50am on 27th April 2008 with Canon 7D, EFs10-22 lens (and undiagnosed glandular fever while on a South Island road trip!)

 

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