For my second critique I wasn’t comfortable presenting anything because I was still in the preproduction phase of my project. However, I did share my idea and my influences behind the idea. My peers seemed optimistic the idea and made some suggestions for different story directions. I had previously shared one of my short narrative films so many of them are familiar with my filmmaking style.
For my first critique I shared my most recent work at the time. It was a documentary featuring one of my friends who started his own company. It begins by following his childhood story. Growing up in that time of Russia and essentially parentless was very different. Then at the age of nine he immigrated with his mother to the United States where he had to adapt to a completely new culture. The documentary focuses on the connections between his struggles as a child and the determination and perseverance now as a young adult.
The response I received in the critique was very positive. Many people empathized with his story and felt inspired. They also commented that the editing and pacing was appropriate and added to the story telling. One criticism I received was that the music can be too overbearing and directional.
Although the creator intended the piece to be more of a test, the results are nothing short of stunning. He is able to take ordinary footage from a consumer camera and transform it into a artistic visual that incorporates a sense of surrealism.
A commercial I made depicting the shopping experience in Princeton. It is currently entered in a video contest.
The 2010 first year MFA exhibition “You Are Here I Am” displays a variety of interesting work. While exploring the gallery, two things immediately stood out to me. There are no labels describing each piece and there are many sculptural and video installations. Two pieces that caught my interest the most are “Entrapment” by Stefanos Milkidis and “A Terrible Realization” by Max Ceneno. Milkidis’ piece utilizes the entire room. Each wall displays a projection of unidentifiable figures confined in a small prison like space. My first impression was the feeling of being trapped in a surreal prison. The closer I examined the figures that were trapped with me, the more odd it became. Although the projected figures are presented in an extremely small and uncomfortable situation, they somehow lacked complete facial emotions. I wasn’t quite sure what Milkidis’ message is supposed to be. However, I understand that the piece is trying to deal with the concept of space and illusion. This causes the viewer to be put in an uncertain position because there is no right way to face. Another idea that is quite prevalent in the piece is the notion of boundaries. In today’s society, the definition of private space versus public space has been blurred. Partially due to the progression of technology, everything we do is in some way documented. Similarly, in the piece the projected figures observe the viewer from all angles creating a sense of voyeurism. The concept can be seen as slightly ironic because even in a space where there is no room to move, you are still being watched. The last thing I noticed was the empty space projected on the floor in the corner of the room. Given the circumstances it seems the empty space is supposed to suggest that it’s only a matter of time until the viewer is trapped.
Ceneno’s piece is the focal point in the main space, and understandably so. For me, the boar represents America and the blood symbolizes all the things being lost. Not just the physical lives lost, but also the decline in our economy, agricultural resources, natural resources, and all the other necessities our country no longer produces. America is seen as the most powerful nation in the world, yet the majority of what is considered essentials is either imported or no longer obtainable. Furthermore, the representation of the oil drum, which holds the blood, is appropriate; especially with all the whole BP oil spill disaster. Overall, the piece sends a very powerful message regarding many current issues that affect the world.
This is a guy I have been following for some time. He and his friends have started a small production company out in California and create quality work centered around special effects. I find them to be very inspiring because not only are they good at what they do, but they offer a unique insight and tips on how they accomplish each project. They have also been able to successfully generate a strong youtube following, which everyone knows is invaluable in today’s world.
The movie is receiving great feedback due to its originality and very small budget. Far from the typical Hollywood feature, the making of “Monsters” incorporates first time actors, a loosely written script, and an incredible amount of improvisation. As a young filmmaker, its nice to read stories such as these cause they instill hope. I’m excited to see how well this movie does. You never know, it might be the “Hurt Locker” of this year.