Tuesday, 16 July 2013

HANNI EL KHATIB - 'FAMILY' - INTERVIEW WITH DIRECTOR NICK WALKER

'PG-13' / SLIGHTLY TOO CHEEKY FOR WORK: Features unruly Japanese people, motorcycles, and octopus wrangling.


INTERVIEW WITH DIRECTOR NICK WALKER

Here at Future-Rocker's Bikini Atoll base, a big buzz went round the office over this spectacularly fun video from rising garage rocker Hanni El Khatib. Hanni, an LA resident and product of Filipino and Palestinian heritage, is one of the most exciting Alt Latino artists current on the scene.

The cheeky - and hilarious - promo is directed by LA photographer Nick Walker. We caught up with Nick to find out more.

- Nick, the 'Family' video that you did for HANNI EL KHATIB is one of most stylish & memorable we've seen for a while. As a photographer and film-maker, who are your influences?

- Obviously the legends... Penn, Avedon, Malick. But I think the influences I appreciate the most are the people that I've been fortunate enough to work for, and develop friendships from. Robert Maxwell, Hilary Walsh, Emmett Malloy, and Doug Inglish. They have taught me and supported me so much.

- The promo looks like it was shot in California. Is that where you live?

- Yes, I'm based in LA. Trips to NYC periodically, but I pride myself in being based here.

- Judging by the cast and credits of Hanni's promo, the team you had working with you looked pretty sizeable [ - it included 'octopus wrangler' & 'nutritionist'! ], was this an expensive shoot?

- The video was expensive. But I had a great team behind me, and couldn't have done it without them. Hanni's record label Innovative Leisure is incredibly supportive and made everything come together seamlessly.

- Was the promo influenced by any particular movie / genre? It reminds me of one of Tarantino's homages.

- In the end, the video paid homage to 'Japanese Pinky Violence' films [ - Japan's homegrown grindhouse / exploitation sub-genre ].  I had the idea years ago and developed my own story to what I thought it could be. Once Hanni and the label gave the green light, I did more research in found so many gems in that genre of film.

- The actors are great.

- The producers did a great job in helping cast the actors all locally in LA.

- What's been the reaction, so far?

- The video was really well received and since then, I've been writing treatments for other projects. I'm just planning on staying busy creating new content for both photo and video. 
To see more of Nick's work, click here.


BEYOND THE BLACK RAINBOW - A TALK WITH DIRECTOR PANOS COSMATOS

'It's been gratifying having the movie seen by more and more people who are attuned to its very particular frequency'



For those of you who feel that thoughtful, experimental - and even stylish - Science Fiction movies died with the advent of Star Wars and the proliferation of mindless summer blockbusters, FUTURE-ROCKER presents you with the antidote: The hallucinogenic world of Panos Cosmatos' BEYOND THE BLACK RAINBOW.



Set in the bold and futuristic year of 1983, the film features a young woman ( Eva Allan ), who finds herself trapped in an experimental lab watched over by the sinister Dr. Barry Nyle, played by the superbly twitchy Michael Rogers ( possibly channelling ubiquitous 80s genre star David Warner ). The film's exceptionally druggy atmospherics are augmented by the throbbing chromatic lighting and pulsing synth tracks of 80s-revivalists Sinoia Caves. Even the DVD cover art is styled in faux-VHS packaging. Beyond The Black Rainbow caused quite a stir at Cannes, and immediately got picked up for North American release by Magnet Films, purveyors of edgy horror, sci-fi and Asian cinema. FUTURE-ROCKER talked to director, Panos Cosmatos, currently in-between projects.




 - Panos, the film's attention to detail, regarding the feel of pre-Star Wars film-making, is astonishing. You are obviously deeply fascinated by this whole period.

My mother Birgitta Ljungberg was a huge inspiration to me. She was an avant garde sculptor with a very open and experimental imagination. No matter what crazy music I was into that I'd play for her, she would always listen intently and comment thoughtfully on it. She always encouraged me creatively, and even though she passed away many years ago, she is still an influence. My father taught me about film history. He had an impressive Betamax collection, mostly recorded from HBO, Showtime and Z Channel, that exposed me to every era and style of film-making. Through general exposure to him, and by watching him work, I learned about the film industry. I gleaned a lot from overhearing his phone conversations with various producers and executives.  Even though at home he was a very sentimental man, at work he was a hardened realist.

- Talking about your dad ( blockbuster film-maker John Cosmatos ), he directed Rambo First Blood II, a seismic cultural hit that bisected the 80's, so how did that huge mainstream success impact on your family, and on you as a youngster?

It was astounding, and somewhat frightening, to watch the Rambo phenomenon ripple across the cultural landscape. On a personal level it had the effect of exacerbating my already extremely shy nature. Since I grew up in Canada, away from Hollywood where such a thing was more commonplace, it made me feel incredibly self-conscious. It's interesting to look back now and see it all with the clarity of hindsight.



- BEYOND THE BLACK RAINBOW is definitely the vision of a Betamax / VHS obsessive, as if you filtered the Andromeda Strain, Kubrick, Cronenberg, Colossus The Forbin Project... you seem to have nailed those aesthetics. Explain why you wanted to tell the story in that way.

In many ways the film was an experiment. An attempt to take an abstract idea and make it crystalline. I wanted to try and capture my memory of how a film felt, seeing it for the first time at a young age, on late night cable television or a random tape. The story grew out of that notion, and as a result it ended up reflecting the landscape of the era in more ways than just aesthetically.



- How do you feel it was received - by both critics and audiences?

When we first started showing the movie, it felt like people were perceiving it as a straight sci-fi genre piece, and didn't quite now how to take it in. It wasn't till we showed it in New York City, that the influence of experimental and underground film was picked up on. It's been gratifying having the movie seen by more and more people who are attuned to its very particular frequency.




- The film is such a strong stylistic statement, that as a viewer, I'm left wondering ''what's next?'' - I hear the follow-up is a 'bit bigger', so will it have the same art direction and style, or have you gotten that out of your system?

There's stylistic and tonal aspects of Black Rainbow that I'd like to continue to explore, but I'm not interested in making the same thing twice. Each idea is its own organism and that has to be nurtured for it to flourish. Movies are an unlimited dreamscape, and it feels like the medium has barely scratched the surface of what it's capable of.




- Is sci-fi / horror your main interest, or do you ultimately want to try other genres?

Various forms of science fiction, including sci-fi horror, were my favorite genre for most of my life, but recently my obsessions have shifted more towards horror. In a way horror is the purest genre there is, and it's incredibly flexible, expressive and diverse. I love genre cinema and feel inclined to dedicate my life to trying to contribute to it. When you love something, it's almost a moral imperative to do so. Horror and science fiction have always been ghetto genres, and that's one of the things I love about them. I feel at home in the cultural ghetto.

- Finally, who would you most like to work with?

I'd most like to continue working with people who are creative.






'In a way horror is the purest genre there is, and it's incredibly flexible, expressive and diverse'
- Panos Cosmatos


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BONUS FEATURE! - Panos recommends his favourite cult classics!

- Features, The Fly 2, Ben Hur, Black Rain & Motley Crue - 







FRANK SAUER - PROMO FOR 'SLEEPLESS' BY SCHILLER




- Hi Frank, good to catch up. We saw your work [ LED Freerunning ] in the first edition of FUTURE-ROCKER. Like its predecessor, 'Sleepless' is a relatively simple idea, stunningly executed. The backdrop of both videos reminds me of Tokyo's Roppongi district. Is that where it was shot, or did you use a variety of locations?

It wasn't Japan at all. Simply beautiful Bangkok, Thailand. We filmed in the centre of this vibrant city as well as in some districts in the suburbs.

- How big a crew do you need for a shoot of this sort?

We were a team of 5 people - director, Director of Photography, model and two LED runners.

- It looks very lush - not to mention, expensive - how was it financed?

We were asked by Universal [ the record company ] to do the job, and of course we got paid! ;). Due to my experiences with LED Freerunning, we knew the location, and the way we would shoot it to get the best out of the time that was given, in terms of budget.

- How long did the shoot take?

The shoot took 9 days plus additional 4 days of post-production.

- What are you working on next?

There will be some interesting sh*t coming up pretty soon!




The Future-Rocker: Pic by Axel Ki


SYNTH YOU'VE BEEN GONE: ANTHONY SCOTT BURNS - PILOTPRIEST





Anthony is a movie director ( see his work with TENDRIL, in the recent MONOBLOG, and our BONUS FEATURE, below ), as well as an accomplished musician, and as you may have gathered, since childhood he has been immersed in the polished-chrome ambience of 1980's films and soundtracks.

His beautiful debut album PILOTPRIEST - ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK is available to buy now, and is due out on vinyl shortly. You can hear the whole album on FUTURE-ROCKER right here, while we chat with Anthony:





- How long have you been playing? Has the synth always been your instrument?

I’ve been playing for 20 years. I play drums, bass, guitar,and keys. I started with synth. 
I’ve always been into this sound ever since I was 5. I loved the way it was so odd, yet popular. I have been writing this style since I started... I’m lucky it came back into style.

- Explain the titles - you wrote all the music, so they're not cover versions. Did you watch the films first, then write the music?

I just titled the tracks based on the film from my childhood that the song made me feel the most.

[[ PILOTPRIEST - TOP THREES

ALBUMS 

3. Lou Reed – Transformer
2. Jeff Wayne – War Of The Worlds
1. Michael Jackson – Thriller

SOUNDTRACKS

3. Repo Man – Various
2. The Thing – Ennio Morricone
1. Bladerunner – Vangelis ]]

- Any scoops on the collaboration with artist / designer Ash Thorp?

We are developing numerous films right now... All different types of genre stories. We are really trying to bring back the realism of character, that was in stories put to film before the studios got scared of new untested ideas.

- Apart from that, what's next from you?

I’m always working on new music, and I’m trying to develop the next album as an oculus rift experience [ - meaning a head-mounted, high-field-of-view virtual reality device ].
I'm mostly focusing on directing... This month I’m directing an episode of a new horror anthology series.




Pilotpriest - Bodydouble (Phace Remix) / Neodigital 001


BONUS FEATURE! ANTHONY SCOTT BURNS' 'TRON: DESTINY' - FAN VIDEO




WE HAD TO ASK - 

- Your TRON: DESTINY fan video looks like a teaser trailer for a real mega-budget movie. Did you do it just for the hell of it, or with a show-reel thing in mind?

I did it because I wanted to show my love for the world of TRON... And show Hollywood that us nerds with cameras were hot on their tails :)

- Did it get you any interest from the real TRON producers?

No, but Disney shut our film down numerous times on Youtube. I did get some really nice words from designers and vfx guys involved with TRON: LEGACY though.

- If you were going to do another fan video, what would it be? Glen A. Larson's TRON rip-off 'Auto-Man' by any chance?

Buckaroo Banzai. No question.

'G' FORCE: THE ART OF BRADLEY G. MUNKOWITZ

Bradley G. Munkowitz is a much in-demand movie visual FX artist, introduced to FUTURE-ROCKER by fellow designer Ash Thorp. He has worked on Disney's TRON: LEGACY, and most recently, on this summer's Tom Cruise vehicle, OBLIVION. We caught up with G-MUNK - as he likes to be called - to talk about movie designs, and his new abstract art poster series.


GMunk, the graphics that you design for films like OBLIVION and TRON: LEGACY ( I'm thinking of the hologram displays, especially ) look incredibly complicated. For example, the 'TRON Throne Room' graphic: Not only is it a great cinematic sequence, but it contains some of the most beautiful and enthralling abstract art I've seen. Describe how these sequences come together. Every little speck of visual information seems to have a journey on the screen. How does it go from your roughs to the finished sequence? Who works on what?

It all starts with a brief from the Director, then a long process of research, reference, style frames, storyboards, animation production and finishing. Yes I do appreciate and strive for a high level of detail in my work and push very hard to make sure that isn't compromised in the final product...

I always like to talk about creating what you love, and savoring the process in doing so... The work that speaks to you, deep into your soul, is the work you should be creating... I've been doing this over 13 years, and have finally, in the past few years, found that magical spark that's more inspired than I've ever been.

ART BY GMUNK


How did you create the art in your OpArt and GEO poster series?

I create them using Generated Geometry that is taken into Maya, my 3D software of choice, and rendered using either mentalRay or vRay…

My main Inspiration is the great Andy Gilmore, who is the modern-day master of this style... I'm also greatly inspired by the great Victor Vasarely's artwork, and the copious usage of psychedelics in general... 

OCCULUS PERUZZI, 2013



PONY STYLE, 2013


OCCULUS PERUZZI, 2013


PONY STYLE, 2013


MILLER'S CROSSES, 2013


[ Editor's note: There's more GMUNK art in MONOBLOG - out at the end of August 2013 ].




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[ FOOTNOTE FROM GMUNK ]

I've been living by a few quotes as of late, and I'd love to share them with you:

"Nothing is original.. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, lights and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work ( and theft ) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is nonexistent. And don't bother concealing your thievery - celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: 'It's not where you take things from - it's where you take them to.'" 

- Jim Jarmusch.

"To progress in life you must give up the things you do not like. Give up doing the things that you do not like to do.. You must find the things that you do like. The things that are acceptable to your mind." 

- Agnes Martin.

and my favorite:

The Law of Detachment

''In detachment lies the wisdom of uncertainty... In the wisdom of uncertainty lies the freedom from our past, from the known, which is the prison of past conditioning...

And in our willingness to step into the unknown, the field of all possibilities, we surrender ourselves to the creative mind that orchestrates the dance of the universe...'' 

- Deepak Chopra.

The Future-Rocker: Pic by Axel Ki


SUMMER SHORTS: THE FLYING MAN and PUNISHER mini-movies!

NEW!! FUTURE-ROCKER regular Anthony Scott Burns returns as cinematographer with this eerie superhero clip, directed, produced, edited and written by Marcus Alqueres.


Thomas Jane reprises his role as Frank Castle - The Punisher - in producer Adi Shankar's 'gift to the fans' of Marvel's vigilante hero. WARNING: CONTAINS ULTRA-VIOLENCE.



[ Additional: The producer also has stated that while a Dredd sequel is 'unlikely', there will definitely be a short for fans of the British anti-hero ].


Keep scrolling, for our secret-track, people! 
Click on 'Older Posts', below >>>vvv


BONUS FEATURE! HANNI EL KHATIB - 'FAMILY' - UNCENSORED VERSION

'R' RATING: Features naked, unruly Japanese people, motorcycles, and octopus wrangling.


The Future-Rocker, Pic by Axel Ki