Sunday, June 10, 2012

From Tommy To Tornados

I am exhausted but I am still awake. My camera and computer gear is sprawled out across a dining room table. A dim lamp sits in the corner. Listening to My Bloody Valentine. I'm processing raw video files. We are mid-production on Storm Surge. A documentary film about communities rebuilding after natural disaster.

This is my first meaningful documentary film since my first effort, Tommy Dean & Friends.

I'm wondering how we're going to piece this film together. I'm wondering how this new project fits in with my personal development as a filmmaker. And I'm totally anxious about where this going to take me into the future.

The Tommy Dean film were somewhat high concept films. They were about Tommy Dean, the singer songwriter. As a character driven meditation on a theme, the narrative was free to jump back and forth and spiral out of control. Each scene revealed a new aspect of Tommy's world and the film held your interest for as long as you were interested in that special world I had to share with you.

Storm Surge is a different kind of film because we have important information we want to convey. First, we have the stories of survival. Personal testimonies of surviving natural disaster. Then we have the social and economical issue of disaster preparedness. We look at what people to do protect their families. And third, we have a call to action, inviting individuals to get involved with their communities in building something new.

Survival, resiliency and recovery.

I'm starting to wonder in what ways is Storm Surge also a high concept film. Is it about storms or is it about communities? Its about how storms shape communities. Storms can take the form of the literal natural disaster: a hurricane or tornado. Or in a more broad sense, a storm can be a man made disaster: oil spills. And in the most abstract sense, we can interpret storms as the clash of communities themselves: industry, capitalism, politics, religion, whatever, ect... everything breathing in and out and communing with the creative and destructive powers that be.

And like the Tommy Dean film, music is going to be the glue that keeps it together. More than that, music is the TARDIS that enables the narrative to jump from emergency responders to social media mavens to political figures to survivors.

This film is going to be a total psychic blast. A spiritual journey. And a tome to the human spirit. All that happy stuff.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Two Films I'm Pumped About

These two films are meditations on Detroit, the economic problems that face Detroit and the people who continue to live there.

The first, Street Fighting Man seems to be the most character based story of the two. It follows three characters in their struggle to rebuild the community they once loved.

Detropia is a personal project from the acclaimed filmmakers behind Jesus Camp. If this film is anything like Jesus Camp, I expect to see a fresh and surreal look at a subject that is at the front of American politics.