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my two films at the Toronto Film Festival


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#1 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 19 September 2005 - 12:49 AM

Here's a coincidence... according to Terry Lawson in the Detriot Free Press, I have the honor of having shot his or her two choices for "Best Bad Movie" at the festival...


BEST BAD MOVIE:

"The Quiet," about a 15-year-old orphaned deaf-mute (sad-eyed Camilla Belle) who discovers that her new foster father is sexually abusing her snotty and possibly murder-plotting new sister ("The Girl Next Door" sex-bomb Elisha Cuthbert) while her mother ("Soprano" Edie Falco) stumbles around in a prescription narcotic haze, is luridly ridiculous.

Yet it can't top "Shadowboxer," a blaxploitation-inspired melodrama starring a frequently naked Cuba Gooding Jr. as the partner and lover of hit woman Helen Mirren, who is dying of cancer.

She decides not to honor the contract on the wife of a sadistic gang lord (frequently naked Stephen Dorff, whose mob seems to have been recruited from a male modeling agency) after the pregnant target's water breaks. It's so deliriously absurd as to be an instant cult classic and a rebuke to anyone who thinks festivals are for film snobs.
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#2 Chance Shirley

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Posted 19 September 2005 - 02:56 AM

At least he didn't badmouth the cinematography!

I've read some bad reviews of my first feature (I wrote and co-directed) that went out of their way to slam the screenplay and/or the directing. Ouch.
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#3 Justin Hayward

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Posted 19 September 2005 - 10:35 AM

That sucks.
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#4 Richard Boddington

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Posted 19 September 2005 - 11:01 AM

Oh well that's show biz.

On the plus side bad reviews have never stopped the public entirely from handing over vast quantities of money to see a film.

R,
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#5 Jon Rosenbloom

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Posted 19 September 2005 - 11:40 AM

What do you do when you interview to shoot scripts like that? Do you still have to say you love the script? What would happen if you said "This is a real stinker, but I need the work"?
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#6 Greg Gross

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Posted 19 September 2005 - 12:29 PM

I think I'll do a film entitled- "Stop Biting The Bullet And Learn To Love Film Festivals".
I would love to see what the top contenders had to show. I have yet to see a film fest-
ival where I could guess the outcome. I'm sure the cinematography was superb. Now
I'm really wondering if some cinematographers should get together and produce a film.
I know that old line-"you have to have a strong story". Lets face it though,how many
stories are really that strong. I thought "Broken Flowers" was a strong story, hell if I
would have listened to the critics I never would have seen the film. Its was a great film.
The cinematography fit the mood of the story superbly. Maybe we should push for best
cinematography catagories at film festivals. I remember back to when Mr. Eastwood
did "Million Dollar Baby",saw an interview with Clint about his travels to sell the film.
It impacted me greatly about how this business operates. Hell, Clint has more going
for him than all the producers put together. Well I guess I'll go back to working on my
story now,you know trying to make it stronger. Maybe if I make my story stronger I'll
win at the festival?

Greg Gross
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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 19 September 2005 - 01:46 PM

No one really wants a DP's criticism of a script during a job interview (even if they say they do), so you focus on the positive aspects and how to tell it visually. Now if I'm working with a regular director friend of mine, I may be more candid, but within limits.

Of course, sometimes critics are just wrong, or I've done scripts I thought were fine yet ultimately were not popular with viewers. I tend to judge a script more from what it needs cinematography-wise.

I've only really rejected a script based more on subject matter that I did not want to deal with. "Shadowboxer", for example, had more and more sex added as we worked on the project, so I didn't go in knowing how much nudity, etc. there was going to be. So when I got another script with similar elements but much more graphic and disturbing sex described in it, I turned it down. It's just not something I feel comfortable shooting. I'm not really interested in pushing the edge in terms of doing art house material that gets an NC-17 rating.
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#8 Tim J Durham

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Posted 19 September 2005 - 02:32 PM

Yet it can't top "Shadowboxer," a blaxploitation-inspired melodrama starring a frequently naked Cuba Gooding Jr. as the partner and lover of hit woman Helen Mirren, who is dying of cancer.

She decides not to honor the contract on the wife of a sadistic gang lord (frequently naked Stephen Dorff, whose mob seems to have been recruited from a male modeling agency) after the pregnant target's water breaks. It's so deliriously absurd as to be an instant cult classic and a rebuke to anyone who thinks festivals are for film snobs.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

None of the women were "frequently naked"?
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#9 Laurent Andrieux

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Posted 19 September 2005 - 06:53 PM

You know what I like with professionnal critics : they can allow themselve to pee on what makes them live !

Never shoot a foot of stock, and get money saying a film is crap !

Brilliant !

And when they do shoot, they sure give us pure chef d'oeuvres, don't they ?
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#10 Matt Lazzarini

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Posted 19 September 2005 - 08:22 PM

Well, don't feel so bad David. I shot the pre-screening commercial that runs before every screen at TIFF, directed by my friend Stephen Mavilla for a contest Motorola sponsored.

According to Indiewire.com :

"Only four days into the Toronto International Film Festival and losers and winners have already been declared, trends have been spotted, and the perennial complaining about the pre-screening official trailers has reached a fever pitch. This year's "turn off your cell phone" spot, directed by student filmmaker Stephen J. Mavilla, has elicited the occasional death threat and produced quite the opposite effect: industry-ites and journalists appear to be revolting with more cell phone beeps, twitters and jingles than ever before. "

Always nice to hear the critics uttering death threats, eh?
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#11 Mike Williamson

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Posted 19 September 2005 - 09:26 PM

David, does it bother you more to have your films themselves bashed or to have your photography criticized? Obviously you're always working to make the best film you can, but it seems that having your specific contribution singled out might feel even worse. On a more positive note, would you rather have your photography praised or the film as a whole?
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#12 F Bulgarelli

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Posted 19 September 2005 - 11:07 PM

David,

How do you personally feel about the films?
Are they really that bad? I mean, they were accepted at the Toronto Film festival if that means anything.

Francisco
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#13 Josh Bass

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Posted 20 September 2005 - 01:20 AM

"I've only really rejected a script based more on subject matter that I did not want to deal with. "Shadowboxer", for example, had more and more sex added as we worked on the project, so I didn't go in knowing how much nudity, etc. there was going to be. So when I got another script with similar elements but much more graphic and disturbing sex described in it, I turned it down. It's just not something I feel comfortable shooting. I'm not really interested in pushing the edge in terms of doing art house material that gets an NC-17 rating."

Then I guess you won't be shooting "9 Songs 2: 10 Songs".

Thank you, thank you. I'll be here all week. Tip your waitresses.
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#14 Algis Kemezys

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Posted 20 September 2005 - 08:40 AM

Still 2 for 1 at the TFF I think Congradtulations are in order. Did you go to the festival ?
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#15 Mike Williamson

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Posted 20 September 2005 - 01:07 PM

Still 2 for 1 at the TFF I think Congradtulations are in order. Did you go to the festival ?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


You're right, we seem to have brushed over the fact that two of his films are in a premier festival, congrats David!
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#16 John Thomas

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Posted 22 September 2005 - 06:46 AM

David,

The director I'm working with went to a screening of Shadowboxer to check out Gooding. He didn't love the film but said that the film had a very lush look and must be the result of a big budget and a long schedule. I'm sure that you had neither, way to go! Please don't come to work in New York ;) .

Regards,

JT
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#17 Matt Pacini

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Posted 22 September 2005 - 04:29 PM

I'd like to see a film festival comprised entirely of films made by critics.
We could all volunteer as crew, just to get the films made for them, so they can see how hard it is.

Let me know if you ever hear of one, I'll bring the eggs, tomatoes, tar & feathers.

I have some respect for Roger Ebert, since he actually had the balls to put his money where his mouth was, and wrote what was to be known as one of the great eternal stinkers; Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.
Must have been a humbling experience!

MP
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#18 Laurent Andrieux

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Posted 23 September 2005 - 07:13 PM

I assisted a guy recently, as an AD/technical supervisor on a doco. This guy pretended he had directed a few educational films. He is a critic, known here, has written books etc.

There was no continuity written, the guy didn't know he had to call "roll them" and wait till it rolls 'fore he goes "action"...

You see in France, an AD would never say "Roll them, Action" (we had a thread about that recently) unless it is a big budget, and you would first see the director sign his AD before he yiels it. An AD who would say "roll them" or "action" without the director telling him to, would just cause averybody to laugh (Hey man, you think you're the director ?) and might just get fired !

So I had to do it all the time !

At the editing, the editor had nearly a nervous breakdown because of continuity problems and we had to shoot more material so that he can edit...

Just don't let them direct !
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