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Old 06-13-2017, 10:51 PM   #1
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Recent Inspirations & Recommendations

I'd like to have a thread where people can post something they've seen, read, heard, anything they've come across recently that inspired & made them excited to start or get back to work on their project. Sometimes you just need something good to remind you why you're putting in so much time & effort on something.
Please tell me if there's a thread like this already.

I'll start this off with a set of books about Orson Welles by Simon Callow.
Orson Welles Vol. 1: The Road to Xanadu
Vol. 2: Hello Americans
Vol. 3: One-Man Band
Vol. 4: (Not published yet)
I've read Vol. 2, which details the films & projects Welles did after Citizen Kane & before he left America to live in Europe. I wanted to find out how such a great filmmaker always seemed to get in trouble with the studios he worked with, & how almost every film he made after Kane was taken out of his hands & re-edited into more average fare. To sum it up, Welles was a genius in how he constantly experimented, not only in movies, but in all forms of media. That was his main goal. Unfortunately most of the time he was careless about money, his own & the studio's, so they became increasingly afraid to bankroll his projects, & he had to finance them himself, with some films taking years to finish.

Though his movies usually lack the emotional connection that makes me care about the characters, his technical innovations influenced many films that came after & to this day. And his films which were reissued in Director's Cuts are always better than the studio's versions. Welles is fascinating because he really lived for his work, & would usually be working on 3 or 4 projects simultaneously. His family life suffered because of that, but it was a gift to the world from one of the first great & truly independent filmmakers.

The (finished) books are available in the L.A. Public Library, lapl.org
And this video of Simon Callow giving a lecture on Welles got me interested in reading them.

Last edited by buscando; 06-21-2017 at 10:34 PM.
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Old 06-19-2017, 10:22 AM   #2
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Nice commercial about the Syrian War for the Save the Children Fund
Save the Children is an international non-governmental organization that promotes children's rights, provides relief and helps support children in developing countries.
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Old 06-21-2017, 10:30 PM   #3
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Baadasssss! ('03) & Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song ('71)

Made by Mario Van Peebles, Baadasssss! is a film about filmmaking. It's the story of his father Melvin Van Peebles making the 1st black power movie, Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song. Melvin had made a successful comedy for Columbia Pictures & was offered a 3 picture contract. But he wasn't interested in making another safe mainstream film. He was driven to make something important.

Melvin was bothered by how minorities were mostly portrayed either as weak characters like slaves, or like Sidney Poitier in In The Heat Of The Night, which seemed to say blacks had to be super intelligent & exceptional just to be considered equal to whites.

Whenever he worked at the studio lot, Melvin saw minorities were only given jobs like cleaning or getting people coffee. So for his own indie movie, he made half his crew minorities. At that time, there were very few minorities who did film work because the unions wouldn't let them in. So the experienced people on Melvin's crew trained them on the job.

Aside from the usual money & production problems, the inspiring thing here was Melvin's passion, obsession, & willingness to do anything to finish the film. He endangered his health & treated some people badly because he strongly believed in its importance. He's no saint, but maybe that's what it takes when you have so many things going against you.

Watched today, Sweetback's low budget is very evident. But it showed something never seen before, an empowered black man on screen who defied crooked racist cops. Before that, any black man who went against white authority always died at the end of the film. It became the highest grossing indie film of its time. Studios saw the money they could make, & started the wave of blaxploitation films. Minorities started to get hired to write those stories, design costumes, etc, & they began to enter the unions. The long road to equality never ends, but pioneers like Melvin keep pushing forward.

Baadasssss! itself didn't make a profit. But it's pretty cool, especially for indie filmmakers.
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