Archive for May, 2007
One of my smartest friends has just sent me a hilarious plea via email, re: the facebook issue.
At 9 am, Eric wrote:
SUBJECT: BE MY FACEBOOK FRIEND, PLEASE
The kids are onto something. And now I’m undertaking the task of getting my Toronto pals onto Facebook.
It’s not going to be easy, but I’ve been coming up with a strategy, I made a chart.
I scored you all on several factors. Here they are:
- Has common friends on Facebook.
- Is internet-savvy.
- Understands the power of networks.
- Has no reason to worry about blurring the professor/student divide.
- Is sociable.
- Is able to resist persistent begging.
You scored the highest so I’m working on you first. Step by step I’m going to get to my final quarry. Victory will be mine only when I have Abdel as an online friend. I like to set impossible goals, but with your help, and if I refine my strategy along the way I think can do it.
So Katerina, will you be my Facebook friend?
May 30th, 2007
Silva, Rob, Branden, Loc and Sean posing for Gerry’s blackberry last night
I couldn’t be there to congratulate them, so here’s a big shoutout to our web partners and gurus Subject Matter. Last night, they picked up a statue at the Canadian New Media Awards in recognition of our FIR website. I don’t even know in which category we won yet.
I’ve also had other great awards news from friends in the Philippines: An award for best theatrical human rights doc is being named after dear friend and colleague Joey Lozano. It’s presented at the Silverdocs festival in Washington DC, and given out by WITNESS. The first WITNESS AWARD in memory of Joey Lozano will be handed out next month during the fest.
May 29th, 2007
Whatever you may think of him, Michael Moore is about to make another very big political impact with a documentary — this time in health care.
His new film, Sicko, an indictment of the American health care system, premiered last week at Cannes, and is set for theatrical release on June 29. The release of the film is closely connected with state-level and national Health Care Reform movements, and promises to do “More for health care, than “An Inconvenient Truth” did for climate change.”
The NYTimes has speculated on the impact the film could have, while the San Fran Chron has foretold how activists will piggyback on the film’s success.
While the international reviews of the film are glowing, the Canadian response to the film has not been so thumbs up. The Toronto Star has itemized the criticism of Moore’s portrayal of the Canadian health care system. When he heard Canadians were not so happy with the film, Moore apparently said: “
In another Michael Moore-related debate, check out Peter Wintonick’s recent defense of the documentary within the context of attacks on Moore’s whole approach.
May 28th, 2007
I’m editing. Two projects at once. One is a straight up verité-ish edit, and the other is constructed from still photos and audio, so its a good mix. There’s even a backlog of other projects to cut.
Editing — when it’s going well — is such a meditative, intuitive practice.
I’ve been thinking back to a chapter I wrote for VIDEO FOR CHANGE, a book put out by WITNESS. I interviewed many filmmakers about the alchemy of editing, and specifically what is so special about “editing for advocacy.”
There’s a few quotes in particular that never made it to the final edit of the book (speaking of editing!). One is from a favorite interview book of mine, The Conversations: Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film, by Michael Ondaatje.
Walter Murch, one of Hollywood’s great editors said: “Many of the editors of early films – back in the silent days – were women. It was a woman’s craft, seen as something like sewing. You knitted the pieces of film together. And editing has aspects of being a librarian, which used to be perceived as a woman’s job.”
And another quote is from a friend in Tel Aviv, Avi Mograbi, when I interviewed him via email. He told me, “For me editing is when I really start to write the story of my film. Until then I was a collector, sometime of things I initially did not plan to collect, sometime of things that I had no fixed idea what they will serve for, and a lot of things that I thought would constitute my film. But I was only a collector then. My collections start making sense once I start sorting them out, suddenly scenes begin to create connections I was not aware of when shooting, this is the point when I can sit down and really make up the story I was after when I started. The best part of it is that never ends up to what you thought it would be when you set of. This is how the editing is a crucial stage in making a good film. Every film is the end product of a process in which you collect a lot of data, process its meanings in your head and spit it eventually into the timeline. Without the process of meanings, films would not be interesting - editing is this process and each and every person/filmmaker has his own individual way of processing (thanks god).”
I’ve been thinking a lot about ethics too, and how they are so central to editing for advocacy. In the book, I wrote:
“How may editing strategies differ if you are editing for advocacy?
In conventional editing, the story is king. Often, conventional editors have little or no direct relationship to the people they film or to the issue. In editing for advocacy, the focus shifts to:
* Speaking to your audience
* Navigating ethical concerns
* Respecting the people with whom you’re making the film
Certainly, developing a good story plays a crucial role in fulfilling these responsibilities, but the triangle between the subject, the editor and the audiences becomes a delicate balance in editing for advocacy.
One key is to know for whom you are making your film, and understand what you want this audience to do. An audience of teenagers will respond differently than a judge sitting on a tribunal. There are a thousand ways to edit, and another thousand ways to edit for advocacy. As you explore ways to encourage your audience to ‘do something’, you may believe your greatest strength lies in the power of art, of empathy, or the power of overt persuasion, or all three. Across the board, video images and stories have the unparalleled capacity — beyond the written word — to put a human face on any issue, on any human rights story. It is the challenge of the editor to make that story come to life.”
May 21st, 2007
This is getting ridiculous! We’re getting noms for awards all over the place. The latest one comes from the Ontario Ministry of Health. We are a finalist with I WAS HERE in the “Innovations in Health Promotion” category at the Celebrating Innovations in Health Care Expo 2007. The expo runs May 23-24 at the CNE. Congrats expecially to Catherine Moravac, our gentle, wise and wonderful research lead, advisor and friend.
May 16th, 2007
I’ve just received my umpteenth invite to join facebook.
What’s going on!? It’s actually insidious. If you’re not careful, as you join in, facebook has the potential to raid your email address book, and it’ll automatically send out emails to everyone in there inviting them to join as “your friend”. It’s piracy! And potentially quite embarrassing. Imagine what old email addresses you may have lurking in your black book. And imagine what Facebook will do with that huge database of addresses they’re amassing.
I bumped into an old friend at a real-live event the other night (she had invited me to join facebook months ago), and she said “How do I get a hold of you… you’re not on facebook!!!”
OMG its so high school. And I dropped out of high school.
It’s creeping up the generations. University teachers are signing up just to keep in touch with students, ’cause no one under 25 checks their emails anymore.
Can I hold out? Can anyone?
May 14th, 2007
Kudos to pal and co-conspirator Alice Gorman for her honorable mention in the 2007 Nightingale Awards, given to nurses who go above and beyond. Alice has been the powerhouse behind I WAS HERE, along with other great projects at Young Parents No Fixed Address Network.
Meanwhile, the participants of I WAS HERE, have won their own award, called the Frankly Bob Awards, and Mayor David Miller will be on hand to pass over the prize to them on May 29th.
It’s an honour to work with you all, you award-winners!
May 7th, 2007
Our I WAS HERE photo exhibit is remounted and looking good at North America’s largest Photography Festival. CONTACT is in the air, in the gallerys and on the streets throughout Toronto for the whole month.
Here’s some FIR picks for the fest, I seem to gravitate to local explorations:
Welcome to Regent Park Canada’s largest public housing complex was originally designed to become a “garden city”. That didn’t quite happen, and it’s now undergoing massive demolition and re-invention. These “Photographs do not aim to highlight the area’s deprivation, and instead capture the diverse makeup of the changing face of Regent Park in a creative and inventive manner that interests and captivates a contemporary audience.”
In Evolution, lakeshore youth “travel through photographic history and explore its artistic adventure”.
From the Inside Out documents another revitalization project. “In this exhibit, the Lawrence Heights residents are both the subjects and the archivists, empowered to reclaim their own identity, public images and history.”
Toronto Buildings, Gardens and Statues. Who says Toronto isn’t beautiful?
We even have the Don Valley (no, not the parkway), and here’s the photos to prove it: Survey the Valley.
Village by the Rails documents the squats in Manila, lining the rail system. This exhibit is mounted in association with the Filipino Students Association of Toronto.
In Gathering the artist is “photographing people of various faiths to show the part of ourselves that cannot be measured or defined.”
Also, another fascinating medical photographic project. This one’s online: www.portraitsofthehumanspirit.com
May 5th, 2007
The great thing about having a short film in a festival is discovering the films with which you co-screen.
Our film, The Bicycle plays at the Bicycle Film Festival on May 20, 3:30 pm, with three other interesting films including Hunger in the City ( a short about people using bikes in downtown LA to deliver food to the homeless) and Ayamye: Goodness, Kindness, Generosity (about the impact of recycled bikes in Ghana).
May 1st, 2007