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Vanity

Posted by Rina Svet:

Vanity is a short story of a girl and her vanity. Shot on 16mm film, it is a beautiful piece of art that teaches a lesson about the darkness inside each of us.

Vanity was directed by Chris Cazavilan and edited by Rina Svet as a thesis film for The School of Visual Arts.

Slam Poem: Taylor Mali - "What Teachers Make”

Guest post by Taylor Mali!

The first thing to notice about this performance, which comes from the final stage of the 2000 National Poetry Slam in Providence, RI, is how loud the audience can be BEFORE the poem starts. You can hear someone yell out "I love you Taylor" before I begin; but that's tame! Sometimes that good-natured hooting and hollering can last almost 30 seconds, and if you're not prepared for it you can lose your focus.

The second thing I notice is how short my hair is. I really do look like a Republican! The quirky laugh that I give to the lawyer twice is something I have stopped doing over the years because I think it's distracting. Notice that when I take the mic off the stand, which I always do at the exact same moment, the sound quality becomes appreciably worse. I wonder why I didn't hear that and move it closer to my mouth?

Lastly, of course, a pirated version of this exact performance has been on YouTube and received close to 4 million hits. Consequently, whenever I begin this poem today, depending on the venue, the audience is filled with people who either clap in excited anticipation or roll their eyes and groan, "Not THIS old poem again!"

This poem is part of the 2000 National Poetry Slam!

SlamNation DVD   SlamNation Trailer

And check out Taylor Mali here!

2002 French Open Teaser

Posted by Paul Devlin:

I love those calls: “Hey can you come to Paris for a few weeks, and help us edit some tennis.” Hell yes!

The call came from Woods Communications, who had been hired by ESPN to help them cover the 2002 French Tennis Open (Roland Garros). I met Tom Woods when I was working for ABC/ESPN/ESPN2 editing World Cup Soccer in Paris. Tom and his brother Ian, are two Americans who set up shop in Paris years ago, servicing American sports networks in Europe. Fantastic business model and very clever guys. I also worked with them covering the Tour De France for CBS.

All that work in France made me fall in love with the place and I try to get back at least once a year, even when I’m not working there.

Power Trip - War In Abkhazia

Posted by Paul Devlin:

While I was shooting Power Trip in Tbilisi, I kept hearing about a war that nobody seemed to know of outside Georgia. The territory of Abkhazia had split away from Georgia and many young Georgian men headed north in a fever of patriotism to take it back. Unfortunately, these ragtag militia were mismatched against far superior Russian-backed forces. The result was massive casualties and many horror stories for the Georgians.

One of the characters in Power Trip, Datto Tabidze experienced this conflict first hand. As can be seen from this piece, the trauma was too much for him to talk about. Now of course, a more recent, much higher profile conflict over Abkhazia between Georgia and Russia has brought this issue into worldwide consciousness.

Datto was a compelling character. In addition to working for AES-Telasi, he was an entrepreneur. On the side of a hill above Tbilisi, the rock had been hollowed out as a passageway between two park areas. Datto had developed a huge project to convert part of this cave area into a giant dance club. Unfortunately, some unsavory characters wanted a piece of the project and Datto refused to pay the extortion. On camera, he showed me the scars from the bullet that went through his knee and out the back of his calf.

The project was never completed and the segment did not make the final film.

Power Trip DVD
Power Trip Trailer

Slam America Bus Tour: Shappy Seasholtz - "Butterfly"

Guest post by Shappy Seasholtz!

Hello, poetry lovers! My name is Shappy Seasholtz and this here is a video of me performing my poem "Butterfly". At this point in my illustrious "spoken-word career", "Butterfly" was considered my "signature poem" meaning I performed this ridiculous piece hundreds of times. To me, it was the "Satisfaction" of my poetic repertoire, like when you go to a Rolling Stones concert you expect them to play "Satisfaction". Sometimes I don't even understand that metaphor since I'm really more of a Kinks fan.

I wrote "Butterfly" for a Rod McKuen tribute show that famous rock poet Thax Douglas put together at the Lounge Ax in Chicago sometime in the late 90's. Rod McKuen was probably the last poet to show up on prime-time network television. He was a huge phenomenon in the late 60's and early 70's reading sappy love poems behind canned music. My mom had his books and an 8-track called "Listen To The Warm." I figured what could be a more groovy topic for a poem than a butterfly? Especially one with a drinking problem? I have since performed it with jazz combos, punk bands, at comedy clubs and, of course, poetry slams.

When this video was shot we were in the last miles of Gary Glazner's SlamAmerica 2000 bus tour. A crazy poetry experiment in which a rickety tour bus drove various slam poets across the country to perform a slam poetry revue in support of Gary's Slam anthology that had just come out from Manic D Press. Somehow it had Grand Marnier as a sponsor which meant us broke poets could drink as much of the syrupy orange liqueur we wanted. I haven't touched the stuff since.

We were all psyched to be performing at a NYC venue. Everybody turned it up to 11 that night. In 2000, I was on my first ever slam team (despite having been around the slam scene since 1991) representing the Mental Graffiti team out of Chicago so I had a huge chip on my shoulder and was ready to kick ass at Nationals which were in Providence, RI that year. I ended up in a 3-way tie for 11th place in Individual Finals tying a former National Champion and a NPR radio host which was impressive but kept me from the Finals stage. Our team got to semi-finals hosted by New York City poet Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz. She thought I was an asshole because I refused to shake her hand as I walked on stage. Needless to say, I feel heads over heels in love with her, and later moved to New York City to be with her. We've been together for 11 years.

But back to this vid: I think Paul caught me at great point in my poetic path. This was my New York coming out party. I'm cock-sure, a little buzzed and fucking with the slammers heads in this video. Who knew that a year later, I'd be moving to Gotham to help Bob Holman open the Bowery Poetry Club or that two years later I'd be on the first team fielded from the BPC, and that we'd win the 2002 National Poetry Slam with the Urbana Slam team?

So I guess you could say this performance really helped me earn my wings! Get it? Wings?

Thank you! I'll be here all night!

Uncle Shappy's Chuckle Parlour!

Follow Shappy on Twitter!

SlamNation DVD 
SlamNation Trailer

Kenotia – “Decorating for Cinco de Mayo”

Posted by Rina Svet:

Happy Cinco de Mayo! 

Seems like the perfect day to share this music video with everyone! This was one of the really fun projects I’ve worked on.  If you're at all familiar with my AMV background, you may know that I started off editing mainly music videos set to anime, and somehow after film school I've drifted away from my roots and now I mainly work on short videos and corporate projects, which are fun in their own way of course!  

This was a project I edited during the summer before my senior year of film school, and I really had a blast doing it!  No pun intended! :)

Syncing up visuals to music is just, well, awesome.  Despite the long and sometimes painstaking process, there's not many other words for it... and the result is so satisfying.  You won't find yourself watching that 20 minute medical corporate video you just finished editing together on loop for a day and a half for fun, but a music video is a whole other story!  So I hope you enjoy this one!

The band is Kenotia, and this is the official performance piece of the song, from the album "You’ve Dug Your Grave, Now Lie In It"  The official music video came be found here and was edited before I came on board, so I didn't edit this one.  Both videos were directed by Erica Ford.

Freestyle - "Unwritten" (2 of 14)

Posted by Paul Devlin:

Previous episode  Next episode

The classic debate – what is Freestyling? No better demonstration than P.E.A.C.E.’s performance in this excerpt.

The Making of Freestyle (continued)

After being inspired by Sage Francis, I decided my next movie would be about freestyle hip hop. I got started by shoot performances and interviews with talented Freestylers, including Sage in Brooklyn, Juice in Chicago and Jerry Quickley in Los Angeles.

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

BLAST! - World Premiere at Hot Docs

Posted by Rina Svet:

Thank you so much everyone for your recent support of BLAST! in our On Screen/In Person tour!  It was a fantastic run, and we'll have more updates for you soon!

In the meantime, a walk down memory lane... in this extra from BLAST! at our World Premiere... at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival in Toronto in 2008!  BLAST! was shown twice during the festival, and we had an amazing time. Check out the video for all the details! 

The festival this year starts April 26th and runs through May 6th! They have some fantastic movies showing, so if you're in the area, make sure to drop by!

The group at opening night!

BLAST! DVD
BLAST! Trailer

BLAST! On Screen/In Person Tour

BLAST! has received a grant from the National Endowment of the Arts, through the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation for a two-week tour in April, as part of the On Screen/In Person Touring Film Program.

Director Paul Devlin with be appearing with the film on the following dates. Come join us! (You can also buy the DVD here).  

Check out the video interview above from Erie, listen to this podcast from the Program, and check out more interviews here!

Follow Paul's tour on the On Screen In Person blog!

Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Movies at the Midway, 29 Midway Shopping Center
Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971
Friday April 20th, 7:00pm
Join the event on Facebook
Read Paul's recap on the On Screen/In Person blog!

 

Claire's Legacy

Claire & Paul at Premiere of BLAST! - Hot Docs Film Festival, Toronto, 2008One year ago Claire Missanelli died after a long struggle with breast cancer. She was my friend and producing partner. We were in touch with each other almost every day for 10 years, while we worked together on our movies.

It has been difficult to adjust to her absence, both professionally and personally. Making independent films has never been easy, but it has been so much harder without her.

Claire left a magnificent legacy – her work continues to entertain and to educate audiences, and our next film will carry her name as well. I know she would love it, and be delighted that it is finally nearing completion.

I miss you, Claire. Next week, I’ll meet with some of our friends near your home to celebrate your life. Your spirit and wisdom will inspire us as we continue to create.

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