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June 8th, 2012

Everynone’s “Symmetry” Takes Top Prize at Vimeo Video Awards

Wil Hoffman (l.) and Julius Metoyer of Everynone accept the Grand Prize at last night's Vimeo Awards.

“Symmetry,” a visual tour de force of split screen juxtaposition, took the Grand Prize at last night’s Vimeo Video Awards in New York City. The short video was created by the directing collective Everynone, which includes Daniel Mercadante, Will Hoffman, and Julius Metoyer

In accepting the award, one of Symmetry’s creators described the on-the-fly, do-it-yourself aesthetic that was essential to making the prize-winning video.

“We often approached people on the street and asked that they do things that they might think are crazy (for the video),” Hoffman said. “I only hope that they see the work so they know how much they were a part of it.”

Symmetry, shown at the bottom of this story, also won the Lyrical Category in the Vimeo Awards. For winning the Grand Prize, the Everynone collective will receive $25,000 in addition to $5,000 for the Lyrical award.

“I hope Everynone is ready to be busy, because winning this award is going to change their lives,” said Eliot Rausch, who won the Vimeo Awards Grand Prize in 2010 for his movie, Last Minutes with Oden.

Rausch, who presented the Grand Prize to Everynone, said that he’s generated major video work from the attention he received after winning the 2012 Grand Prize award and is currently directing his first feature film.

Here’s a full breakdown of 2012 Vimeo Awards category winners with links to the videos:

1.    Action Sports: Dark Side of the Lens
2.    Advertising: K-Swiss Kenny Powers – MFCEO
3.    Animation: Umbra
4.    Captured: Sweatshoppe Video Painting Europe
5.    Documentary: Amar (All Great Achievements Require Time)
6.    Experimental: Prie Dieu
7.    Fashion: Skirt
8.    Lyrical: Symmetry
9.    Motion Graphics: A History of the Title Sequence
10.    Music Video: Manchester Orchestra: Simple Math
11.    Narrative: BLINKY™
12.    Series: Often Awesome The Series
13.    Remix: Rear Window Timelapse

Reggie Watts (l.) and Beardyman entertained the crowd at the Vimeo Awards with a live musical mashup.

Vimeo Awards judges included actor and director James Franco; Parks and Recreation star Aziz Ansari; 2012 Oscar Nominee Lucy Walker; Radiohead’s Colin Greenwood; Scott Pilgrim vs. the World director Edgar Wright; snowboarding star Travis Rice; Thierry Mugler and UNIQLO creative director Nicola Formichetti; Shelley Page of DreamWorks Animation; Barbara London of The Museum of Modern Art; advertising legend David Droga; and others.

Reggie Watts and Beardyman were the featured live performers at the awards, mashing up comedy, music, and spirited silliness.

May 1st, 2012

FujiFilm to Increase Film Prices 20 Percent in US Market

After announcing last week that they would increase prices worldwide for their film and single-use camera products, FujiFilm’s North America division has clarified what those increases will mean for the markets in the United States and Canada.

In an announcement today, the company said that prices on all film would rise “approximately 20 percent.” The increase will take effect in August 2012. The company had originally announced that the increases would be effective beginning in May of this year.

“The price increases are a result of the continuing decline in demand for film products, the high costs of production, and the increased expenses associated with raw materials, including silver and petro-chemicals, and energy,” the company explained in its announcement. “Fujifilm is unable to absorb these costs entirely and must implement price increases at this time.”

Prices for FujiFilm’s one-time-use cameras, often called disposable cameras, will increase 15 percent, the company said.

Related: FujiFilm Announces Price Increase

April 25th, 2012

FujiFilm Announces Film Price Increase

Earlier this week FujiFilm announced that a price increase will take effect starting in May for its color negative films, color reversal films, black and white films and QuickSnap single use cameras.

Though the announcement (full text below) was short on specific details, it did say that the increases would be “substantial” and would be in the “double digits” for some films depending on where they are sold.

FujiFilm noted that, “The demand for film products is continuously decreasing, yen’s appreciation and the cost of production, such as raw materials, oil and energy, continues to rise or stay at high level.”

A representative for FujiFilm told PDN the company would issue specific information about increases in the US market in the next few days, so stay tuned.

For more on the future of the film photography business, be sure to check out our report coming in the June issue of PDN.

Press Release, April 23, 2012

FUJIFILM Corporation announces price increase of Photographic Films

FUJIFILM Corporation has announced that it will implement a worldwide price increase for its photographic films. The price increases are substantial and it would be double digit, but will vary depending on products, markets and regions.

1. Products: Photographic Films: Color Negative Films, Color Reversal Films, Black and White Films, and Quick Snap.

2. Date of Price Increases: Effective from May 2012

The demand for film products is continuously decreasing, yen’s appreciation and the cost of production, such as raw materials, oil and energy, continues to rise or stay at high level. Under such circumstances, despite our effort to maintain the production cost, Fujifilm is unable to absorb these costs during the production process and is forced to pass on price increases.
To sustain its photo imaging business, Fujifilm has decided to increase the price of photographic films.

Fujifilm remains committed to photographic products and asserts that even with the new price. Its photographic products remain exceptionally good value compared with other system products.
The new pricing structure will be applied to each market based on its individual conditions.

Related: Kodak Files For Bankruptcy Protection

February 23rd, 2012

PDN Video Pick: New Documentary Shows Gregory Crewdson at Work

Photographer Gregory Crewdson, who is famous for his cinematic depictions small-town American life, is the subject of a new documentary that will premiere  March 10 at the SXSW music and film festival in Austin, Texas. Directed by Ben Shapiro, the film is called “Gregory Crewdson: Brief Encounters.” It takes viewers behind the scenes of the elaborate productions of some of his best known images, and if this trailer is any indication, the film shows what a regular guy he is–knocking over lamps, waking up sick with worry that things might go wrong–in his search for the perfect moment.

January 30th, 2012

Greenfield Wins Sundance Director Prize

Lauren Greenfield won the prize for best director of a US documentary at the Sundance Film Festival for her film, “The Queen of Versailles.” The prize was announced January 28 at the end of the festival for independent films.

Greenfield, a photographer and director whose previous documentaries include “Thin,” an HBO film on anorexia, was honored for her direction of a non-fiction film about a real estate mogul who tried to build the biggest house in America, only to be hit hard by the 2008 financial crisis. Earlier in the week, Magnolia Pictures bought the rights to distribute “The Queen of Versailles” in North America, and plans to release it this summer.

Reviewing the list of other award winners at the Festival, two more photographers’ names caught our attention.

“Chasing Ice,” directed by Jeff Orlowski, which documents how nature photographer James Balog has used time-lapse photography to show the shrinking of arctic glaciers over the years, won the award for Excellence in Cinematography in a US Documentary.

In the World Cinema category, “Valley of Saints,” written and directed by Musa Syeed, won the Audience Award for dramatic film. The director of photography on the film was Yoni Brook, a photographer and filmmaker known to us as a former PDN‘s 30.

The full list of award-winners is available at the Sundance.org Web site.

Related articles
Photographers’ Documentaries Debut at Sundance

Lauren Greenfield Sued for Defamation by Documentary Subject

January 19th, 2012

Photographers’ Documentaries Debut at Sundance Film Festival

Image from photographer Lauren Greenfield's "The Queen of Versailles"

© Lauren Greenfield, from "The Queen of Versailles"

The Sundance Film Festival, the 11-day festival of independent films, kicks off today in Park City, Utah, with a roster that includes documentaries by two photographers-turned-filmmakers.

“The Queen of Versailles,” a documentary by Lauren Greenfield, which will debut on the opening night of the Festival, has already been touted as a must-see at the Festival. In the film, Greenfield, whose 2006 documentary “Thin” also premiered at Sundance, documented a time-share developer and his wife as they attempt to build the biggest house in America, and then struggle in the economic downturn. The subject of the film, David A. Siegel, has already brought legal action—not about the movie, but about the wording of the press release for the film, which claimed his timeshare business had “collapsed.”

Also debuting at Sundance, though not included in the competition for festival prizes, is “About Face: The Supermodels, Then and Now,” by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders. Greenfield-Sanders expanded a piece he shot for Vanity Fair, shooting video interviews with former supermodels Jerry Hall, Carmen Dell’Orefice, Christy Turlington, Paulina Porizkova, Beverly Johnson and others, who discuss the issue of age in the beauty industry.

The trailer shows that all the former models still look pretty damned good. Yet Rossellini, for one, laughs that she’s no longer invited to A list parties; her daughter is.

Related story
Lauren Greenfield Sued for Defamation by Documentary Subject

January 12th, 2012

Lauren Greenfield Sued For Defamation By Documentary Subject

Photographer and filmmaker Lauren Greenfield is being sued for defamation by the subject of her new documentary, “The Queen of Versailles,” which is set to premier on the opening night of the Sundance Film Festival. The Sundance Institute is also named in the suit, filed on January 10 in Florida District Court, as is Greenfield’s husband, Frank Evers, the executive producer of the film. The suit, which seeks $75,000 each from Greenfield and Sundance, as well as unspecified damages, was first reported by The Salt Lake Tribune.

The content of the film is not at issue; the lawsuit is over the press release for the film.

The plaintiff is timeshare developer David A. Siegel, whose family is the subject of Greenfield’s documentary. “The Queen of Versailles” tells the story of the billionaire Siegels as they attempt to build the biggest house in America, only to struggle as the economic downturn threatens their business and their 90,000-square-foot dream home.

The suit claims that the original press release made three false and defamatory statements: That “[the Siegel's] timeshare empire collapses”; that “[the Siegel's] house is foreclosed”; and that the film tells a “[rags-to-riches-to rags story."

Lawyers for Siegel took exception to the wording of the press release. It was amended and publications that covered the news, including The New York Times, were contacted to correct the information. However the suit alleges that the damage to Siegel's reputation, and that of his timeshare business, Westgate Resorts, LTD. had been done because the original description had already spread far and wide via the internet, appearing on more than 12,000 Web sites, according to the complaint. The suit also alleges that Greenfield kept the false description on her personal Web site after receiving notice from Siegel's lawyers.

"Taken individually and collectively, these [false] statements portray Siegel and Westgate as essentially broke and out of business,” argue Siegel’s lawyers, GreenspoonMarder, in the complaint.

The suit alleges that Siegel and Westgate Resorts have suffered damage to their reputation. It also states that “various owners” and “potential customers” have questioned the financial security of Westgate as a result of the press release.

October 19th, 2011

Leica Sells 44% Stake to Private Equity Firm Blackstone

US-based private equity firm The Blackstone Group has reached an agreement to buy 44 percent of Leica Camera AG in a deal to be completed by the end of the year, Blackstone and ACM Projektentwicklung GmbH, Leica’s parent company, announced today.

Blackrock investment funds will acquire the stake through a holding company, the announcement said.

In a statement, Dr. Andreas Kaufmann, the chairman of Leica’s supervisory board, called Blackstone “an experienced and internationally established strategic partner.” The deal, which is likely to be completed by the end of the year pending approval from government regulators, will help fund Leica’s “growth plans into new markets such as Asia, South America and the Middle East,” he added. Leica is coming off a 2010/2011 fiscal year when they turned record profits, the company reports.

Axel Herberg, Blackstone senior managing director, also emphasized a focus on emerging markets in his statement. “We are very excited about supporting Leica to secure long-term commercial relationships, specifically in emerging markets, and help strengthen the company¹s operational and retailing capabilities globally,” he said.

October 14th, 2011

Photog’s Motion Project Built Using 48 DSLR Cameras Firing Simultaneously

With the help of a grant, 48 interconnected DSLR cameras, and some long hours of editing, Ryan Enn Hughes produced a pair of videos that combine thousands of still photographs into a 360-degree look at ballet and “Krump” dancers. Check out the results and the behind-the-scenes production video below. We corresponded with Hughes via email to find out a bit more about the project, and how and why it was made.

PDN: What interested you in creating these 360-degree videos?

Ryan Enn Hughes: The 360 Project stems from a proposal I wrote and received for a Chalmers Arts Fellowship—a funding body in Canada that supports extraordinary research and creation projects in the Arts. My proposal was to “explore the structural elements of the moving image,” which is in its essence the still photograph. My background is in Film Production/Cinematography —it wasn’t until late in University that I immersed myself in Photography. Over the last few years, more than ever, Motion Pictures and Photography have started to cross-pollinate—digital capture, digital software, and digital presentation methods in both media make the integration of the two fields seamless. Coming from a film background, I’ve always had a desire to push the still image further. The 360 Project is where I ended up.

Working with dancers is something I’ve been doing for a few years now (RGB Move, Ballet!, C-Walk, etc). I’ve always been taken by the concept of capturing a “peak moment of action,” and dance really lends itself to that concept. The way I view the project is like this: it is constructed of still photographs that when assembled like a flip-book create a motion picture, which end up resembling a type of rotating digital statue, which we in turn edited together.

PDN: Can you give me a rundown of the equipment you used?

REH: The gear used was 48 Nikon D700′s, 4 Broncolor Pulso G 3200J Lamp Heads, 4 Scoro A4S Packs.

PDN: How long did you spend editing the project?

REH: Post-production was a very big undertaking. There were several steps necessary to get to the end product. Before we could get into any actual editing, each frame in every 48-frame set had to be Photoshopped—painting out all the cameras that were visible in the original captures was a time consuming process, but enabled us to have greater control over the images. The editing process and sound design (Zelig Sound) was undertaken at the same time—it was a back and forth process exploring various editing techniques and sound design elements. Fortunately this project was not on a hard deadline, and our timeline was designed to allow our team to explore creative options.

PDN: In applying for the grant, what was your pitch in terms of the value of the project as a technical and creative innovation?

REH: I suppose the biggest factor in pitching this project was its interdisciplinary approach—the fact that it combined ideas, tools and methodologies from a variety of media. Another exciting factor was that what I proposed wasn’t a normal method of production—the gear, software, and know-how to create a project like this hasn’t been overly accessible in the past for arts based projects—it has certainly been around, but the availability, particularly the software to handle this type of project, I feel is new to a broader group of creatives.

PDN: Now that you’ve completed a pair of these projects, how do you imagine using this experience and this style of production in the future?

REH: This has definitely been the most technically challenging project I’ve undertaken to date. It’s definitely set a new bar for me personally in terms of where I want to take my work—both technically and creatively. I’m very interested in pushing the editing style used in “Krump 360″ and “Ballet 360″ further—making edits more complex, faster, and integrated with sound. I’m very interested in taking this style of production and applying it to Music Videos and Commercial Work.

KRUMP 360 (The 360 Project) from Ryan Enn Hughes on Vimeo.

BALLET 360 (The 360 Project) from Ryan Enn Hughes on Vimeo.

The 360 Project – Behind the Scenes from Ryan Enn Hughes on Vimeo.

August 31st, 2011

PDN Video Pick: On Assignment with Jimmy Chin in Yosemite

Adventure photographer Jimmy Chin recently shot a feature story for National Geographic about the derring-do of modern day rock climbing, and Renan Ozturk of camp4collective.com made this behind-the-scenes video of Chin at work. It’s full of spectacular views, sweaty palm moments, and insight about how Chin works while dangling from a climbing rope on El Capitan and other Yosemite cliffs.