Assassins & Teamwork: Filmmaking (and Break-Making) for Cooper Brothers’ Film “Five Windows”

Sometimes, feeling useless can feel quite nice–particularly on a movie set.  Hurry-up-and-wait sums it up, of course.  But if you’re just lurking like I tend to do, watching former students do their thing, you can be quite invisible and love every minute of it. As an extra in Gran Torino, on the other hand, I felt useless even though I did have a job to do.  I was told to walk down the street toward the Grosse Pointe hardware store and act like that wasn’t Clint Eastwood in front of me.  It took me five times, but I did it.  And when the camera stopped rolling, I quickly came to realize that I wasn’t a person, really–I was a prop, a prop that could be replaced much easier than the rake in the window I was instructed to examine, pretending that wasn’t Clint Eastwood in front of me. In the clip below, I’m the blurry guy on the right walking my usual odd… Read More…

For Kids, Many Voices Become One at “Twenty Feet from Stardom” Benefit Screening & Concert

Few third graders have been heard to proudly announce to their classmates… “I hope to be fourth cellist in the New York Philharmonic.” “I’d like to be a situational middle-inning relief pitcher for the Yankees.” “I want to be an Indy pit crew member.” or… “My dream is to be an editor.” Not many editors get a standing ovation.   Even at the Oscars, its award is sandwiched between Best Costume Design and the latest Revlon commercial.  And you are more likely to be mistaken as that fourth cellist before someone says, “Aren’t you an editor–of documentaries?” Twenty Feet from Stardom honors the teammate, the supporting role–in effect, the glue behind some of the greatest songs of the last fifty years.  And someone had to convert 700 hours of interviews and archival footage of these amazing women into 90 minutes.  Enter Doug Blush, who last Friday embodied the spirit of this movie to help young… Read More…

Support the Next Spielberg: The Michigan Student Film Festival and Joining DAFT

Support the Michigan Student Film Festival by December 31st to be eligible for a 2013 deduction by clicking here. Not a bad vibe.  A room full of students who had just been honored at the 45th Michigan Student Film Festival talking with a past winner, soon to be premiering Pixar’s latest hit, Monsters University. In May, Dan Scanlon, of Clawson High School, flew in from Hollywood  carrying with him a special showing of Monsters University–nearly a month before its release.  Pixar allows its directors to select a charity for a special screening benefit and Dan selected three non-profits:  the Assistance League, Friends of Detroit Film Theatre and Digital Arts – Film & Television (DAFT). Mr. Scanlon was only nine when DAFT first recognized his gifts of storytelling and animation.  Julie Hinds of the Detroit Free Press noted: DAFT board member John Prusak, an award-winning cinematographer, was one of Scanlon’s early… Read More…

Free Trip to Hollywood this Saturday–Join Talented Young Filmmakers at the Michigan Student Film and Video Festival

You know their work.  And they all started right here in Michigan. If you’ve seen the Star Wars prequel trilogy you’ve seen one–Oscar-Winner, Doug Chiang If you’ve seen the recent Oz the Great and Powerful you’ve seen one–Aaron Lebovic One worked on Iron Man 3 this past summer–Kale Davidoff Two of them wrote and directed the cult zombie/comedy/road-trip/buddy Deadheads that’s been doing great on Netflix right now–Brett and Drew Pierce One works for the gaming division of a prestigious LA Agency–Blake Rochkind One of them just sold a screenplay after being selected by Robert Redford to attend his Sundance Writers Workshop–Dan Casey This Summer, one of them from Clawson, Dan Scanlon, has directed the May’s Monsters University from Pixar and you can meet him at a special benefit screening This Saturday, for free at the DIA’s gorgeous Detroit Film Theatre, you’ll have a chance to welcome more students into the ranks of… Read More…