I was recently invited to attend the Page Turner Panel at The Westdale Theatre as part of the 2021 Hamilton Film Festival. Also on the bill were Colin Chilvers and Aaron Lam. Colin is an Oscar winning SPX artist who’s recently penned and auto-biography : Believing A Man Can Fly. Aaron co-authored this book as well as one of his own delving into the world of soundtracks for action cinema. Many thanks to Nathan Fleet for planning and hosting the event; and all the folks who came out:)
Hey folks, I hope everyone is well. It has been a busy few weeks for your humble author. Between vaccine jabs, medical appointments, and transitioning to a new residence in Montreal it has been difficult to keep the blog updated.
I squeezed in an interview with Hammer D20 that is live streaming this weekend, and I will tell you more about that (and hopefully provide an archive link) on the next blog.
We have a couple of shops selling print copies of : When The Luck Runs Dry in Hamilton, ON. I hope to have some more outlets, including some in Montreal in the future. Alternately, you can read the book by clicking above in the menu; links for e-pub platforms, mail-order service, and for the film LUCKY 7 (2012) all all there for your perusal.
Our friends over at the Paisley Cafe in Westdale have been doing a swift trade selling copies and cappuccinos, many thanks to Sarah (and crew) for helping get the title out! https://paisleycoffeehouse.com
We also are in stock at the very cool James St. Booksellers in downtown Hamilton. Contact Monique for curb-side pick-up of a hard copy and take a peak at the very cool interior that is one of the main locations of the Apple TV Series: GHOSTWRITER: https://www.jamesstreetbooks.ca
As we near the publication in Spring 2021 of: When The Luck Runs Dry, here is some information on the 2011 feature film version of the story. It’s available now to stream or purchase on iTunes in Canada and the USA though Factory Film Studios! If you can’t wait to read it, you can watch it in the meantime:)
Here a little description and info on the neo-noir film:
Given up for dead, Patrick Farley (Lucky 7) returns home to pay a gambling debt to the mob but finds he’s been framed for murder. His luck’s run dry so he makes his own, and it becomes a dangerous game filled with sex, drugs, violence and betrayal. Can he hold on to the beauty he also finds waiting for him here in the heart of this broken down city, and follow its path back home?
Nominated for Best Screenplay -2007 Queen’s International Film Festival
Audience Choice Award -Hamilton Film Festival 2011
Official Screening Shanghai International Film Festival 2012-Focus Canada
EFM Berlinale 2013-Market Screening
Official Selection -BNFF 2014
Showcase Selection-Lucerne International Film Festival 2014
Follow us on FB: http://www.facebook.com/pages/LUCKY-7/36607157098?ref=stream
Hey folks! I hope everyone is well and surviving as best they can in these strange times. I am relocated back to Dundas, Ontario for the Winter. Walking in snow and ice is an issue for me, so Montreal isn’t the ideal place in the colder months for personal mobility.
Things are moving along slowly but surely with the final stages of work on: When The Luck Runs Dry. I am hoping for a March 2021 release, but with the pandemic situation that is a bit fluid at the moment.
Here is a small synopsis of the novel:
Given up for dead, Patrick Farley returns home to pay a gambling debt to the mob but finds he’s been framed for murder. His luck’s run dry, so he makes his own; and it becomes a dangerous game filled with sex, drugs, violence and betrayal. Can he hold on to the beauty he also finds waiting for him here in the heart of this broken down city, and follow its path back home?
Currently Laura Boyle is working on the interior design and typesetting of the manuscript. She’s done many cool book and cover designs including for Dundurn Press. London artist Jeremy Bruneel is currently working on cover art work. He has a unique style which he hopes to meld with a retro pulp detective novel look. You can take a peek at some of work on his Wixsite: https://jeremybruneel.wixsite.com/illustration
Speaking of taking a look at things, When The Luck Runs Dry is based on my script and 2011 feature film : Lucky 7. The film was selected for the 2012 Shanghai International Film Festival, and went on to North American distribution wth Factory Film Studios. You can rent or purchase it in North America on I Tunes so take a look : https://factoryfilmstudio.com/portfolio-item/lucky-7/
I’ll be updating again early in January with more news, and a little feature on my cousin Bob Hayes. He is a retired Wolf Researcher turned writer and he has just published his 4th book. Till then take care and think good thoughts.
Photo Credit- Sabrina Armani
Hey folks, it has been a while since I have been blogging, but it is time to return to it on a more regular basis . I’m working on some blogs now for he next few weeks, so stay tuned. I am also sprucing up the site ,and updating my bio and contact info. Currently, I continue to host Soundtrack on CFMU 93.3 Wednesday’s from 10:00-12:00 EST; although there may be a change of station and city later in the year.I will keep you posted on that. Otherwise film festival wise; last October I attended some screenings at the Festival De Nouveau Cinema in Montreal. Hopefully I will be attending this years Fantasia Film Festival in July and blogging about some of the cool screenings there. Also there is a graphic novel project in the works based on a recent script I penned called Diggers...so there are a lot if things happening ,and coming down the pipe. I will be ack soon with some new blog material. Tschuss.
It has been a while since I blogged, and it has been a busy year w film screenings, writing, and travel. In July, I spent a few days at the Fantasia Film Festival 2017- and the 2018 edition is back again in 3 months time. Recently I attended the Toronto Silent Film Festival and also hosted a screening of my film Lucky 7 at The Royal Cinema in Toronto. I spent Dec-Feb in Europe, and even though I didn’t get to any festivals per se I did see some films at various interesting cinemas in Berlin, Wroclaw, Strasbourg, and Bordeaux. I was also able to check out the Toulouse Cinematheque & the Lumiere Museum in Lyon-which still has a portion of the worlds first film studio. Very cool place. Otherwise, I have been spending some time writing; a new script is in the can plus some preliminary musings on a couple other idea…and radio wise the show on CFMU is still going strong and I acquired a lot of great vinyl in Europe-much to the distress of my pocket book:) Anyways cheers for now and I hope too be back at the blogging on a more frequent basis:)
I was lucky enough to be at the official kickoff of the 10th annual Festiwal Muzyki Filmowej W Krakowie ; and then attend the full festival which ran from May 17-23.
Held yearly in beautiful Krakow,Poland- this is a festival for film music lovers as well as industry and artistic people involved in the ever-changing and growing field of film music.
With an excellent staff and volunteer team and the generous support of RMF Classic , this is a great place to immerse yourself in the world of sounds from the cinema and to get insightfull commentary from the big names in film scoring ;as well as many up and coming composers.
Featuring a full slate of workshops in addition to talks and concerts this is a go to mecca for the film music enthusiast.
Definitely check out their website for video, pics, information, and a very cool link to listen to the new compilation CD released on Varese Sarabande: FMF 2017
Press Conference-Host:Magdalena Wojewoda-in attendance were:Robert Piaskowski, Abel Kornzeniowski,Trevor Morris, and Robert Townson.
Interview w: Jan AP Kaczmarek: go straight to the audio link for an interview w the composer about his music career and the Transatlantyk Festival:
Participants: Eleni Mitsiaki, Jonathan Broxton, Peter F. Ebbinghaus
Opening Night Concert w Abel Korzeniowski- a sold out concert hall at the ICC enjoys a fantastic concert featuring the composers film and television music.
Some Q and A time w Trevor Morris: head to the audio link for a lengthy conversation w composer Morris about his music for film, TV, and video games:
Q and A w Klaus Doldinger and Jean-Michel Bernard- the audio is poor,but a great talk by the composers as well as a cool impromptu jam at the end-audio link is here: Doldinger + Bernard talk film music and jam some jazz near the end
Thoughtful words from Giorgio Moroder- hiatus since the mid-90’s-spent time doing art, photography,a piano concert, and he renovated car-recently he has been back doing DJ work and has scored a series called: Queen Of The South-started doing film music in the 70’s after he was bought to the attention of Alan Parker, this was after he produced Donna Summers: I Need Love.-He scored Parker’s hit film Midnight Express, winning an Oscar for Best original Score in 1977-he talked a bit about the film Metropolis and his struggle to modernize it w new music and a restored print-by the time they could track all the footage down it had been 2 years and the result already seemed dated when it was finally released-it was the first digital sound presentation-says he is not a great keyboard player-never toured much-started as the first DJ in Germany in 1969 and has now come full circle to do live DJ shows(including the outdoor one in Krakow at FMF)-it is fun he says-he says he must have mixed over 1 thousand songs in the studio over the years-says the new digital technology is great-for 2k you can have a good set-up w a laptop-” it’s a democracy of music now”-talked about his hits written for Top Gun-said they recorded a demo w The Motels lead singer which ended up being re-recorded w Berlin for the big hit “Take My Breath Away”-talked about Scarface-now a cult classic-very high expectations when it was produced-Moroder did the Main Theme and 5 songs-cast and crew screening ended in complete silence-the critics hated it & helped kill it-when it came out on video it was a great success especially in the African-American community-big cult movie-Jay Z wanted to redo the songs w some rap and Beyonce-Universal wanted to but DePalma said no-so an album inspired by Scarface came out-Moroder would write more music for it and re-record some stuff if he could-he said 30 out of 100 songs he did were “good” and 10 did well at the charts…to see pictures of his performance at FMF 2017 go to the FMF website at: FMF 2017
All Is Film Music + Titanic shows pack the house at Tauron Arena- there is a lot of interest in film music here in Poland as is evidenced by two packed houses at the 17,000 seat Tauron Arena in Krakow
Standing room only to hear Howard Shore: Shore says he lives in a wooded area in the countryside and this setting really helped him connect with the Lord Of The Rings storyline-this is where he writes and he records mostly in Europe-he starts writing with a pencil and paper then he progresses to digital technology-he studied clarinet and leaned the importance of writing with a pencil-says he doesn’t compose on a computer-he says he writes “away from the film”- he views it once, then writes roughly 45 mins of music after improvising and dreaming about the film-writes more about the “idea” of the film and not so much about the images-writing from the heart-then come orchestration- In Silence Of The Lambs he concentrated his writing on the character played by Jodi Foster rather than the monster character of Anthony Hopkins-In 86 he scored The Fly for David Cronenberg w no electronics-afterwards he started developing his “Opera Technique with Electronics”– for Signs Of Life (89) he used electonic sound with mechanical and underwater sounds and noise and these played the music he had written-this unsettleded the score when mixed with the orchestrated recording- he talked about the challenge of the 13 minute main title sequence for Hugo (2011)-and mentioned a recent film Denial (2016) shot in Poland- Lord Of The Rings– Peter Jackson flew him over to see what they were doing-everything was made by hand for the film-it was a huge challenge for him-he was 9,000 miles away and NZ still only had 56k dial-up internet service-logistical nightmare w over 4 hours of music- he doest have a “team”-he orchestrates, writes, and conducts-wrote for 230 musicians+orchestra+choir+vocalists-he developed a “technique” to control all this-so he took 1 year for each LOR score to write, orchestrate, produce and develop extended versions-he wrote 12 hours of music which took 3 years and 9 months all in…longest production in film history as the films were all shot together and then The Hobbit began..a great talk by Howard Shore!!
More great films here at the goEast FF ,which has wrapped up now with the awards having been given out a few days ago. Here is a little more about some of the films I was able to check out…
The Citizen– d. Ronald Vranik ( Hungary-2016)
Director Vranik returns to the festival after screening his film Transmision here in 2009. This time around he weaves a very human story centring around a African migrant in Budapest ,who struggles to make himself a part of Hungarian society. He comes into the circle of an illegal Iranian immigrant named: Shirin ,as well as a married Hungarian woman: Maria. This trio of characters become intwined in a fluid relationship involving love and loss,as well as racism ,and responsibility.
I found the film had a strong new- realist influence, as the director studies the socio-economic,race, and immigration issues prevalent in modern Hungary. But he never loses sight of the very human story unfolding before us.
Using a cast including a former economist from Africa and a designer from Iran the film grounds itself in an authenticity that again has echoes of the Italian new-realist movement.
A strong feature here from Popfilm in Hungary….
Exiled-d. Davis Simanis ( Latvia-2016)
This is the story of a German army doctor sent to Latvia in 1917 in the midst of WW I. He does so to report on back on the conditions of the facilitiy looking after wounded soldiers in a dilapidated old manor house.
While sporadic fighting takes place in the surrounding area, the doctor finds that the injured are suffering from unknown illness’ and trauma from the horrors of the war; and he seems incapable of healing them. All he can really provide for them is comfort and compassion and his time doesn’t seems fruitless. That is until he rescues a young boy left alone in the forest, and finds that perhaps he can help him find his way back to civilization.
Wonderfully played by Ulrich Matthes, this film is loosely based on the the story of Ovids exile. It is a tough, unrelenting movie, based in historical research on WW I, which was the first large scale mechanized war ;and as a result the first war to unleash a wave of mental and emotional suffering on this magnitude.
Filthy-d. Tereza Nvotova (Czech/Slovakia-2016)
Filthy is a gritty new film from first time director Nvotova. A graduation work for FAMU, this is an impressive film dealing with the topics of sexual abuse, mental illness, and coming of age.
After being victimized by a family friend and raped, our main character finds herself housed in a mental institution as she tries to cope with the trauma of the event.
Shot in the largest mental institution in Slovakia, a facility little changed since the Communisti Era, the director uses actors and real patients in the wards to give the movie the definite realist edge, and to ground it in the context of modern Slovak society.
Th story deals with difficult and serious subject, but we never lose sight of the drama and encapsulation of tthe resiliency of human courage.
An impressive first film from Nvotova, and one would hope for more good things to come from her in the future.
Marina, Mabuse, and Moritori-d. Kathryn Andersen (Germany 2016)
Artur Brauner and his film studio are the subject if this new documentary from director Andersen.
Brauer survived the Holocast in Poland and made it to West Berlin in 1946. Always having been interested in cinema, he convinced his grandmother to sell her fur coat and with this money financed his first film: Moritori.
Shot in the ruins of Berlin, in near impossible conditions, Braurer created a solid drama about the persecution of Jews in WW II. Unfortunately the film was unsuccessful at the cinemas, so Braurer produced a more commercial film next, which proved to be a big success.
With the proceeds from this film, Brauer purchased an old poison gas factory in Spandau mand here he set up his CCC Studios.
These studios were to pump out up to 18 feature films a year in the 1950s, and Brauer was credited with singlehandedly keeping the Berlin film scene alive after most of the talent had fled following the war.
The studio would go on to produce over 700 films, including over 250 made by Brauner himself. Although concentrating on commercial fare the studio did make 24 films through the years dealing with the Holocast. These include Wadjas: A Love Story In Germany and the award wining film : Europa Europa.
Now in his 90s Brauner has handed most of the duties of the studio to his daughter ( and director of this film), Kathryn Andersen.
A very cool look at at the father of ” creative producing” ….
A Hole In The Head-d. Robert Kirchhoff (Czech/Slovak-2016)
A documentary styled as an auteur film. This is an apt description of a new film by director Kirchhoff which is the latest in a series of works that include the award winning film : Normalization.
Here the director has made a film that explores the neglected issue of the persecution of the Roma people’s , and their suffering at the hands of the Nazis during WW II.
Individual stories and remembrances are used to create a film more about the memories of the atrocities of the Roma Holocast, than a researcher-led traditional documentary telling of the story.
This style helps connect the film to its diverse characters knowledge of the past, and to their present day situations; including their hopes for a recognition of their suffering…..
Agnieszka Holland was at the goEast Film Festival on April 30 to present her brand new film Spoor(Pokot). Here, Holland mixs genres to a subversive end, with her story concerning a retired engineer Janine Duszejko who is an amateur astrologist, vegetarian, and teacher with a great love of animals.
She regularly confronts the male establishment in the rural setting of the film, and fights their regular disregard of the laws concerning animal welfare. What unfolds is a murder mystery of sorts that resonates on many political, ecological, social, and existential levels. Beautifully shot and conceived w an excellent score from Antoni Komasa- Lazakiewicz, and Matthias Eklund, with healthy doses of black humour.
Based on a novel by Olga Tokarczuki called : Drive Your Plow Over The Bones Of The Dead. I would highly recommend this flick….
what follows is a brief compendium of notes from the insightful talk by the director and moderators at the Caligari Filmbuhle in Wiesbaden on April 30
Footprints of the extinct thylacine
Spoor is any sign of a creature or trace by which the progress of someone or something may be followed. A spoor may include tracks, scents, scat, or broken foliage. Spoor is useful for discovering or surveying what types of animals live in an area, or in animal tracking.
Spoor won the Silver Bear at 2017 Berlinale- she graduated from FAMU in 71 studied w Milos Forman-worked with Wadja in Poland-She became part of the Polish New Wave, Moral Anxiety-81 left in exile-TV work includes: The Wire, Burning Bush, House Of Cards- book film is based on was written 9 years ago, premonition at end of book and film? Holland quoted “wadja-doing movies from the future”-
this is a bizarre mix of genres: anarchist,feminist,ecological,fairytale,thriller-difficult to finance-German financing was key-shot in Silesia near Wroclaw-Holland just back from Hong Kong FF, big interest in this film in Asia-subversive use of genre w unexpected uses and outcomes
-4 season long process, 2 years, 5 DOP, 2 directors,- who is the killer?,we don’t know until the end-she likes American directors Coen Brothers and Wes Anderson as they speak about issues yet still connect to an audience-
protest by right wing in Poland, criticize it as feminist film,fuck them! Poland, Hungary,Turkey, USA are all turning hard right taking away women’s rights and destroying the environment.-their enemy is ecology and women-they are angry, only Catholic, white, heterosexual men are important in Poland-environmental issues in film are linked to woman’s fight
-Holland is the role model for feminist cinema in Poland-she was accepted in an all male film world in the 70s because she was viewed as a masculine filmmaker w balls, but she took offence as she IS a different gender w a different point of view-
women were never represented at the same level in distribution, exihibition etc-Poland has several good women directors currently-
this film shows the anger in society that is growing, fire is anger both good and bad, freedom has released options-revenge story(django)-hunters are a metaphor to some extent
-good film creates a space for the audience to form their own conclusions from the structure the filmmaker has provided-
William Blake reference adds an existential element and is attached to the area the film is located…
Also see: Spoor-The Guardian
I’m in wonderful Wiesbaden for the Goeast Film Festival. Today is the first full day of screenings and it got off to a fun and interesting start this morning at the very beautiful Caligari Cinema.
The show was a collection of recent short Polish animated films sponsored by the Polish Cultural Intitute. With some children in attendance it made for a great atmosphere for the animations.
The programme consisted of:
The Little Red Paper Ship-d. Aleksandra Zareba-2013
A Little Bird Wants To Fly-d. Maciej Peska-2014
Xavier The Cat-d. Andrej Orzechowski-2013
The Prince-d. Monika Kuczynieka-2013
Leaves-d. Agnieszka Borowa-2011
Spirits of the Piano-d.Magdalena Osinksa-2010
Three King-d. Anna Blaszczyk-2014
Winter Tournament-d. Maciej Pestka-2016
You Dont Know How Much I Love You– d. Pawel Lonzinski (Poland 2016)
Director Lonzinski graduated from the National Film School in Lodz and has gone on to make more than 20 award-winning documentaries shown on the international festival circuit. Included is his highly acclaimed 2009 film : Chemia.
In this new film, Lozinski explores personal +interpersonal trauma and the loneliness inherent in the relationship between an estranged daughter ( Ewa Szymczyk) ,and her distraught mother ( Hanna Maciag). The setting is a series of personal counselling sessions with a therapist played by Bogan de Bardo, who is a professional psychologist in real life.
Stradling the line between real time documentary and narrative fiction, the film uses a loose structure with no fixed script and no certain narrative outcome.
The film relies on the exceptional talents of the two lead actors who delve into their own personal fears and traumas in life to channel their own raw experience into the “characters” which are really them.
It is hard to describe but with three close up shots of the 3 characters, and the occasional pan between mother and daughter, the audience is suspended in this documentary narrative that is a powerful portrayal of modern day angst,despair, and loneliness, and the strength and determination it takes to try and reach beyond that existence.
Goran-d. Nevio Marsovic (Croatia 2016)
This is a brand new Croatian feature that is part thriller, part family drama,and part buddy film. An interesting take and adaptation of a genre film, this tale is set in the snow covered and seemingly idyllic high plains area of Croatia.
The director made his feature film directing debut at the age of 16 ,and after graduating from the Zagreb Arts Academy ,went on to direct and write for a number of feature and TV productions iincluding the 2010 feature: The Show Must Great On
This is an interesting watch that shifts and changes gears on a regular basis but not to the detriment of the viewer. Making excellent use of the small town snowy landscape ,and also local customs and humour ,really grounds this flick in an authentic time and place.
Story line threads and inventions ,such as the visually impaired lead actress ( Natasha Jansic) ,set this film apart from more pedestrian representations of genre bending narrative.