Congratulations to Zaheed Mawani on the Canadian Screen Award nomination for THREE WALLS: A Documentary about the Office Cubicle in the short documentary category. This remains one of my favourite films to have ever been a part of.
You can read more about the project, process and related press here. The awards air Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 8pm on CBC.
In 2009 I had the privilege of shooting SATURNIA, a feature length documentary, for directors/producers Lilia Topouzova and Ferdinando Dell’Omo. The film chronicles the lives of Italian immigrants across Canada – from Vancouver and Edmonton to Toronto, Montreal and Halifax – whose lives share a common thread: they all arrived between 1950 and 1965 via the SS Saturnia.
Lilia and Ferdinando’s elegant and poetic filmmaking sensibilities translated into a visual language of carefully composed static frames and slow, contemplative camera movement. In a film that’s a thematic blend of nostalgia, heartache, celebration and resilience, this was the perfect interpretation for five stories that range in narrative and emotional tone. I am eager to celebrate the film’s premiere as part of opening night at the Moving Image Film Festival in Toronto this Friday, November 2nd at the Royal Cinema. Screening times are below.
Friday, November 2nd 2012 at 11:30pm the Royal Cinema on 608 College Street West, Toronto.
Sunday, November 4th 2012 at 9:30pm the Annex Live on 296 Brunswick Avenue, Toronto.
Nadia and I created this behind the scenes documentary on the set of our buddy Jared Raab’s innovative new music video for Arkells’ WHISTLEBLOWER. Spinner launched the doc yesterday – click on the picture to see how Jared’s holographic masterpiece came together:
Special thanks to Vulture Culture’s Pete and Josh for bringing us on board!
Big congrats to Zaheed Mawani for taking home the award for Documentary Short at the Atlanta Film Festival. Great news for all involved with THREE WALLS.
11/08/23: Read a great opinion piece in the New York Times that discusses the documentary and related ideas, as well as the nature of office design here.
Spring is one of my favourite times to be in Toronto for many reasons but mostly because HOT DOCS takes over a bunch of theater screens and everybody in town flips through the schedule and makes a list of things to see. I’m happy to say that this year THREE WALLS will be screening at the festival, marking its Canadian premiere. Zaheed Mawani’s doc about office cubicles (and the people who spend their days working in and making the most of them) will be screening on Saturday, April 30th (9pm) at TIFF Bell Lightbox and on Monday, May 2nd (1:45pm) at the ROM. It will play alongside Abner Benaim’s MAIDS & BOSSES in the “Workers of the World” program.
You can read more about how we shot THREE WALLS in this post, which I wrote in July 09 after we wrapped shooting.
Here’s a frame of one of our participants, Dionne, in New York City:
Chelsea McMullan, Alejandro Coronado, producer Heather Phenix and I followed Rae Spoon on their tour through the Canadian prairies in September and early October for Chelsea’s new doc. I joined them in Calgary on week 2 and from there we hit the road in a minivan (and took the occasional 16 hour voyage on a Greyhound) and shot Rae’s shows in Jasper, Prince George, Edmonton, Calgary again, Brandon and Winnipeg. I can’t say much more about it yet as there’s still shooting to do, but here are some 35mm stills from the trip (and if you want to see more, please visit my flickr album!):
Yes, that is a 40′ Jesus statue in the background. Drumheller, AB.
Icefields Parkway, AB
If you’re in Calgary and want to check out SLIP, it’ll be screening at the Calgary International Film Festival on September 28th as part of the “You, Me & Everybody” programme. Coincidentally, Chelsea McMullan and I will be touring Alberta shooting her next doc while on tour with RAE SPOON between now and early October.
So back in late May I went on tour with Slakah the Beatchild because Nadia Tan and I (now known as SIX NINE THREE – we have a website and everything) were putting together a PromoFACT EPK on Slakah’s tour, his music and his diverse collaborations. Slakah is awesome, inspiring, and very much in tune with his creative vision. He was a pleasure to profile in this documentary. Also featured in the piece are Tingsek (from Sweden) and Ebrahim (Vancouver), joining Slakah in Toronto and Montreal for the first time for this unique Slakadeliqs mini-tour. I must also thank the wonderful and talented Jared Raab, a good friend of ours who did some beautiful additional shooting. We shot this on the Canon 550D T2i and it was the perfect choice for a visually-driven film using mostly studio recordings of music, casual conversations captured on the fly with camera audio and sit-down interviews going single-system with the Juicedlink Box. ENJOY.
The video’s been blogged about on dozens of music sites already, but read about it here from the man himself on SLAKAH’S BLOG.
I’m in Banff at the moment wrapping up MADE IN CANADA at the International TV Festival here. So far we’ve got tons of insight from some interesting people in TV, like Kenny Hotz (Kenny vs. Spenny), Sharon Lewis (ZeD, a show that inspired MANY of us back in the day), and a personal hero of mine, Ricky Gervais, all against the stunning backdrop of Banff, Alberta. I’m sitting in the delegate lounge anxiously awaiting an interview with Jason Priestly (of 90210, in case you didn’t know).
On another note, while you’re here, you should check out the new teaser for THE CHESTER KIDS!
UPDATE: The Chester Kids found its way onto /Film with a very insightful review by Christopher Stipp (he definitely gleaned many accurate details from just the trailer alone). This guy definitely gets what we’re doing. Another review can be found on Quiet Earth, also very supportive of the film.
The Slakadeliqs, that is, including Slakah the Beatchild, Sweden’s sensational Tingsek and Vancouver’s Ebrahim. Their tour kicks off this week, and luckily for me Slakah got in touch about capturing it all as they navigate Southern Ontario and Quebec in an RV, jamming, performing and coming up with amazing stuff together. So far Nadia and I have shot some rehearsing in Slakah’s studio, and the fusion of r&b, funk and soul is mindblowing. These musicians are so diverse that simply being in a room with them is inspiration enough to get the camera rolling… so we’re making a doc about them.
More to come soon.
I’ll be heading to Vancouver and Edmonton this week with Lilia Topouzova and Ferdinando Dell’omo for the documentary SATURNIA, a feature doc project we have been shooting together since early 2009. The documentary weaves together the stories of Italian-Canadians from Canada’s East coast to the West as they recount their journeys to Canada via the SS Saturnia. The subjects, who have been in Canada for over forty years (the Saturnia was scrapped in 1966) , offer heartwarming and often heartbreaking insights into what their ideas of life in Canada once were in relation to how the stories of their lives ultimately unfolded. I haven’t been out to Vancouver since Deadman wrapped back in the summer of 2008, so I am very eager to return and get some great scenic shots of the city.
On another note, SOAP will be screening at the 2010 Palm Springs International ShortFest in June- if you’re in the area and want to see the short (which has already screened at FIVE festivals including Toronto International and Cinéfest, with another two fast approaching!) you should definitely check it out. If you are in Canada and want to see the film you can catch the TV broadcast on the CBC’s Canadian Reflections program starting July 4th, 2010.
And finally, Sunday marked the wrap of the short film HAEDO… more pictures from the 550D shoot coming soon!
Much time has passed since my last post as this fall shaped up to be a busy one. Since the TIFF screenings, SOAP has gone on to screen at Cinéfest Sudbury, and DEADMAN played at the Vancouver International Film Festival as part of the NFB’s 70th Anniversary Program. SOAP has also been sold to the CBC, so I will be posting broadcast dates and times as they come up.
I’ve been shooting a really fun new documentary with a good friend of mine, director Scott Boyd. It’s called MADE IN CANADA and we kicked off our eight month shooting schedule at TIFF. The documentary will be exploring the logistics of “making it” as a filmmaker, and Scott is inserting himself into the narrative as a means of illustrating the ups and downs of trying to realize his goals at home in Canada.
The project is being produced by Marva Ollivierre of DOE EYE MEDIA PRODUCTIONS and will be broadcast on SUN TV in 2010.
Follow Scott and MIC on Twitter.
I also did a little mobile film in October that got a prize! Nadia and I will buy camera equipment with that prize and make more videos. Here it is:
The Toronto International Film Festival will be screening two films that I had the pleasure of shooting, “SOAP” and “DEADMAN”. Both will be presented in the Short Cuts Canada Programme 3.
You can find more info on both of these films on the old NEWS section of my website
SOAP was directed by Dusty Mancinelli and shot on S16mm. DEADMAN was directed by Chelsea McMullan and produced by Vision Entertainment and the National Film Board of Canada.
See the schedule and synopsis for SOAP and DEADMAN by clicking on these links.
Director Zaheed Mawani and I spent some time in New York City and Chicago in June shooting footage for his new documentary project “Three Walls: a documentary about the Office Cubicle”. The film takes a humourous and poignant look at the changing shape of white collar work in North America. The style has been a pleasure to work with, as I have been picking up where other talented DPs have left off and continue to share the cinematography on the project with Jared Raab. The visual concept of the piece is to highlight the spaces in which people spend the majority of their adult working lives, the office cubicle, by placing the subjects within static frames composed for the office environment that surrounds them.
In New York we met with architects who lent us their insights on various office models and the psychological effects they have on employees. We also spoke with cube and pod workers, explored their workspaces and found surprising beauty and visual interest in their own personal corners of the corporate world. In Chicago we covered the NeoCon exhibit of office furniture and adopted a fly-on-the-wall approach to unveiling some of the latest innovations in office design.
Post-production on the documentary is expected to wrap in Winter 2010. In the meantime, here are some screen grabs of our scenes from New York City and an office furniture manufacturing factory in Albany, NY: