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Power Trip - Zaal's Winemaking Tour

Posted by Paul Devlin:

Zaal Kikodze was a wonderfully colorful and popular character in my movie Power Trip, as is clear from this excerpt at his farm in the hills near Tbilisi, Georgia. He was also a scholar, a professor of archaeology and an accomplished mountain climber. I was happy to be his friend and enjoyed his company whether it be on the jeep adventure we took in the mountains of northern Georgia near Chechnya with journalists Wendell Steavenson and Lika Basiliai or just sipping vodka in his warm and friendly apartment in central Tbilisi.

In July of 2005 Zaal Kikodze and a climbing companion were caught in a storm high up on the difficult Ushba cliffs in the Georgian Caucasus where they lost their lives.

Zaal has been dearly missed by the friends he made all across the world.

Power Trip DVD
Power Trip Trailer

BLAST's Christmas Launch!

Happy New Year, DPers!  We wish you all the best for 2013!  Also, a little bit of news we've been sitting on.... this Christmas, Mark Devlin, the star of our film BLAST! has launched the BLAST telescope from Antarctica for the 3rd time!  Check out the video of the launch here as well as the article below for additional information!

 

The telescope is still in the air! You can track BLAST’s progress here!  Follow the scientist’s blog here.

Freestyle - "Cypher" (7 of 14)

Posted by Paul Devlin:

Previous episode  Next episode

Get inside the “cypher,” the energetic core of freestyling, climaxed with an exhilarating performance from Mos Def!

The Making of Freestyle (continued)

Kevin was in California much of the time, so Henry and I collaborated on the re-edit in NYC, first working in his apartment near CBGBs, then finishing up in my apartment in Stuyvesant Town. The challenge was to find some kind of a story within the random performances and interviews. We started by organizing the material into chapters. Then we dug deeper into the footage. We found an interview of hip hop impresario Bobbito, which had never been digitized or synched. It was a goldmine!

Check out Freestyle: The Art of Rhyme.
Buy the DVD.

Slam Poem: Bill MacMillan & Corey Cokes - "Main Street"

Posted by Paul Devlin:

The Providence Team at the Portland National Poetry Slam were masters of the “Group Piece” poems. This duet by Bill MacMillan and Corey Cokes, excerpted in SlamNation but complete here, is just one example of their talent.

SlamNation DVD 
SlamNation Trailer

Music Video: Naughty by Nature - "Written on my Kitten"

Post by Paul Devlin:

I was a “fixer” on this music video. Treach, of Naughty by Nature, was not happy with the cut. It had been through several editors by the time it got to me. If I remember correctly, a record company rep supervised the edit rather than the director. Treach sat in the back couch with his girlfriend at the time, Pepa, from Salt n Pepa, and did not speak to me at all, only addressing the rep, who then gave me instructions.

For me the problem became clear fairly quickly: the video was overcut. Fast cuts can be a crutch for music videos. It’s a sure-fire way to add energy, so when in doubt, make more cuts. But it can also make a mess. Apparently, the previous editors had a lot of doubt, because the over-editing was interrupting the flow and distracting from some great shots. My solution was to remove some edits and let the nice shots play out, especially the evocative shots of Treach in the darkeness. For example, the shots at about 2:17 might have had 4 or 5 quick cuts interrupting Treach’s move in and out of the shadows. I got rid of all of them.

I knew I was on the right track when I would preview an edit, and Treach would exclaim his approval from the back. But always to the rep, never to me. When the edit was over, Pepa had already left, the rep went to retrieve the master tapes, and Treach and I were alone in the room together for the first time. As he was walking out, he surprised me by giving me a big hug and a Thank You.

“See you on MTV,” I replied. And I did.

 

Slam Poem: Evert Eden - "Mandela"

Guest post by Evert Eden aka Adam Ash!

This poem was originally called Two Fathers but everyone called it "that Mandela poem”, so now I call it Mandela. It was a useful slam poem, perfectly pitched to disarm black judges. One of my best moments in slam poetry was when I performed it for an audience of over a thousand slam poetry enthusiasts at the Ann Arbor Nationals in 1995, where Deb and Steve Marsh let me read it the evening of the finals, as part of a few pre-show readings.

This was barely a year after Mandela was elected president of South Africa. I remember doing a very relaxed reading, like gentle story telling, as if I were some raconteur, and saving the emotional fireworks for the very end. Well, the crowd went wild, what with Mandela's ascendance to the presidency very fresh in people's minds. Besides, your bourgeois armchair revolutionaries really love to be milked by social justice rhetoric, whether they come from limousine liberal America, Africa or elsewhere. I should know; I'm one of them.

When I walked back to my seat, I saw people in the audience with tears in their eyes, including some cynical, hard-bitten buddies of mine who normally needed a poke in the gonads with a sharp stick to activate their tear ducts.

Another time I read it in Winston-Salem, where a black friend of mine from New York listened and then fled the venue into the night, because it reminded him too much of his own father problems. We remain good friends to this very day, even though we've never shared any confidences about our fathers beyond this poem that apparently stabbed him in the heart as fiercely as it had stabbed me. Sometimes you only find out how powerful your subterranean emotions are by writing them down.

OK, some links. My book of poems, Suck My Poem, is available here, and my novel Vagina Rebel is available here.

These days I've reincarnated myself as Adam Ash, singer-songwriter, who performs solo and with his band the Dingbots. Check out my band's CD here and follow my music career here, where you can also listen to three of my songs, including the rather bizarre My Girlfriend Got Freaky with a Strap-on.

BLAST! - Wammo - "Give It Hell"

Posted by Paul Devlin:

Wammo is the multi-talented front man for one of America’s most distinctive bands, The Asylum Street Spankers.

Wammo was also featured in our film SlamNation.  He visits often when he's in New York City and offered to write a theme song for the movie, BLAST! while it was still in post-production.  The result is this charming, exclusive performance edited by Rina Svet in her early days with DevlinPix.

BLAST! DVD
BLAST! Trailer

Freestyle - "360" (6 of 14)

Posted by Paul Devlin:

Previous episode

This excerpt shows how the art of Freestyling infuses all aspects of hip hop - “that fleeting moment of escape.”

The Making of Freestyle (continued)

It took me awhile to decide whether or not I would join the Freestyle team. Technically the project was a mess – all sorts of different formats, several editors, many iterations. It was going to take a long time just to get it ready for a re-edit – guaranteed brain damage. By then I was working on my next project, Power Trip, and wasn’t sure I wanted to dilute my time. There was a lot of negotiating, and stalling, but finally I decided the movie deserved to find its audience. I signed on as “Producing Editor” (or Preditor, as I preferred to be called).

Check out Freestyle: The Art of Rhyme.
Buy the DVD.

SlamNation: Marc Smith - "Steel Mills"

Posted by Paul Devlin:

This piece is from one of the daytime showcase events at the Portland National Poetry Slam. It’s a exuberant, fanciful rumination on nuclear destruction from the man who got it all started – Marc Smith, Father of the Slam.

Marc Smith is the founder of the Poetry Slam Movement and is featured in SlamNation.

SlamNation DVD 
SlamNation Trailer

 

Georgia’s President Concedes Defeat in Parliamentary Election


 

Posted by Valeri Odikadze:

(Valeri Odikadze is the Georgian co-producer of Power Trip.)

These elections were the most important in my life.  Bidzina Ivanishvili seems like a good choice to lead our country and I am really glad the Georgian Dream coalition won the election.  After all, almost all of Georgia wanted change.

For the last 4-5 years Mikheil Saakashvili lead Georgia in the wrong direction.  There were too many problems with free media, human rights, free law, and a huge high level elite corruption and business monopoly.  There wasn't any economic growth.  Ivanishvili promises a lot and Saakashvili is now in opposition. Saakashvili will try to come back in several years or even earlier and the USA and Europe consider him a very democratic President.

Last year I worked for Ivanishvili ever since he started his party.  I filmed all his pre-election actions and provided a live TV signal for his campaign.  I also had several ongoing contracts with TV9 and I provided them with consulting services and video production equipment & cameras since the government had damaged his equipment at customs.  Many people were afraid to work with him under the pressure of the KGB police revenue service.

At the beginning of last summer the Revenue Service started an urgent 2-phase audit of my company, Videoscope, as a result of my cooperation with Ivanishvili and the Georgian Dream coalition. They initially fined Videoscope a penalty of GEL 120,000, rougly $72,154 USD - a huge and unjustified sum of money for my small company that nearly bankrupted us.  The fine was over allegedly unpaid taxes, but my company had paid several thousand GEL in advance tax payments so far.  The 2nd audit was concluded in August 2012 and I am still waiting for the results.

But I continued working with Ivanishvili and hope that I will someday get this money back. Even more importantly, I hope that Georgia will become a better country under the leadership of this fantastic new team!

Read some details about the election here!

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