Archive for the ‘2 Dope Botz’ Category

Indeed these last two Sundays were really neglected but even partially neglected since I was helping a friend shoot a documentary about one of the most traditional neighbourhoods in Mexico City called Colonia Doctores. The shooting was exhausting and we are merely in the beginning. The documentary is of course still in production but you can have a look at my friend Andrés Villela’s previous work and yours truly’s behind the camera at:

I couldn’t even tell my readers I was out since the schedule was really tight but I’m here!

I had the chance to see several other movies in the Cineteca showcase and here is a brief review of them.

Aleksandr Sokurov‘s version of Faust is indeed interesting although a little bit heavy. Considering that the source text by Johann Wolfgang Goethe can no longer be understood even by German-speakers, this film is another version, this time by the Russian filmmaker. The camera work is excellent since it looks like an enormous tableau vivant, the choice of using a 4:3 frame creates a more claustrophobic environment and the deformed eerie images in certain takes also gives the film and interesting look. This is a fine interpretation of Goethe’s text that becomes at times overwhelming.

I was not familiar with Tony Kaye‘s work. He is indeed a very interesting character by himself. By doing research to write this collaboration I found out he directed American History X, a film I didn’t get to see, but this time he made one of the best films I’ve seen in ages. Detachment is a film about the education system. It hasn’t been released in the States and I am not really surprised. It is a great film but it shows another America: the Amercia of the shattered dreams where people are just average and ordinary. Adrien Brody is a fine actor, one of the best, and in this film he gives one of his best performances as Mr. Barthes, an enigmatic substitute teacher who inspires his students but in the anti-Dead Poets Society dimension (and of course without the obnoxious presence of Robin Williams) where it questions if it’s worth the effort teachers do. It really moved me since I’m a teacher myself, it made me writhe in my seat, I felt this film in my guts as a good film should do to viewers. Apart from certain predictability in one of the characters and a little over-the-top madness of Marcia Gay Harden’s character, several great performers appear as they’ve never been seen before: CSI‘s William Petersen, James Caan, Blythe Danner and even Lucy Liu (an actress I’m not particularly keen on) and joined by a non-pro cast who give a great retort to their famous and experienced counterparts. Magnificent acting, magnificent script, a film that every teacher must see since it gets to be a universal topic.

Another Russian filmmaker present in this showcase is Andrei Zvyaginstev whose 2003 debut film The Return is a remarkable piece. This time, Elena is a film about a middle aged couple and their dynamics: Elena is the house wife, Vladimir a welthy man. They come from different backgrounds and have offsprings from their previous marriages. The relationship starts to crumble until it gets to an abrupt end. This film echoes Fiodor Dostoievsky and Robert Bresson. The mise-en-scène tends to the latter’s minimalism.

What is there to be said about a legendary band like The Doors? Aparently not much. Tom DiCillo is responsible for great 1990’s films like Living in Oblivion or The Real Blonde, banners for the American independent cinema. That’s why a film like When You’re Strange: The Doors is a bit of a disappointment since it doesn’t offer new insights or even a new documentary language. In short, it doesn’t contribute with something new to the genre. Johnny Depp is the narrator and it has great stock footage but it’s all the same. A film I could have watched on The History Channel, VH1 or something like that. Indeed it is a film with great intentions but remember what they say: the path to Hell is paved with good intentions. The good thing about it is that I got to see it with my 12-year old son, the Angry Young Man, who is also keen on great music and wants to be a filmmaker. To sum it all up, this is a film for the die-hard fans and whoever wants to be introduced to The Doors’ music.

And that’s it, those were the films I got to see during this great cinematic feast in Mexico City. December is a good month to be in the cinemas with a fistful of interesting releases and the fact that it’s cold out there makes me want to be in the safest haven of them all: the movie theatre.

Even the omnipresent new Muppets movie gives an interesting message: no matter what you do, what you love to do eventually will get you, so I am a filmmaker, I’m no longer in the filmmaking closet so I’m out!

Hanukkah is just around the corner and my best present will be to continue making films. I really wish that. To film is to live!

If you have no idea what to get your friends and relatives a great Hanukkah present just remember a sweater is a lousy gift. Give people the best present of the all: a film or better yet, a gift that will pass the test of time: a book!

Besides, let’s all cheer up for the Bald Guy since his birthday is also around the corner! I’ll have a cold one in his honour and hopefully you will too!

Have a great week and remember: in the cinema, the guy who has the final word is always the one who sells the pop-corn!


Zach Braff is coming to Israel

Posted: December 14, 2011 by Two Dope Boyz in 2 Dope Botz, Videos
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Ok, not yet, but hey, he might. And if he will, we’ll make a video together.

Here’s the story – a while back I made two videos for Zach Braff’s competition. For those of you who don’t know Zach Braff, he’s the actor of Scrubs and director/writer/actor of Garden State. I am a big fan of both, and I decided to apply for the competition.

While one of them got great feedback, but didn’t make it, the other made it to the finals, with 9 other videos. It’s the only one from Israel, and it’s out of hundreds of videos.

Please do me a favor, go on this link: and like it. Then share it with everyone you know, and ask them to like it and share it and so on. If Zach will come here we’ll do a video of our day together and I’ll try to do another video with him as well. We’ll see.

We have till December 18th, midnight- LA time.

Thank you!!!

On November 16th I attended a media conference. The conference was hosted by one of the cellphone companies in Israel, maybe the big one, and it’s the 4th one they have made. It’s the first one I attended. Actually, I wasn’t sure that I would get accepted, as I just quit my job (I still had the name of the last company I worked for on the name tag) and I am just starting my walk on the media-path. Never-the-less, I went there. The reason I applied is because of the list of lectures, and even more – the list of lecturers.  I thought to myself that if at least I got the chance to be there (among 1,499 other media people) I might as well write some notes and upload to the blog. Let me just say that all of the lectures were 30 min’ long, some felt like they went too fast, some felt like it went forever. Some were interesting, some were people only talking about themselves/their companies.I bring to you part I:

 The first lecture was by Gunther Sonnenfeld, a Digital brand strategist, ‘ThinkState’. His lecture was about ‘The next thing in the content world’.

In a nutshell, what Gunther said is that these days culture defines business, and more importantly, that if not so long ago content was king (and maybe afterwards – consumer), now the king is dead. Hail the new king – context. Content is still relevant, but context is what makes it relevant to the individual.

The way the studios used to make films or TV shows was first making the pilot/film, then get a focus group, and the studio representatives would sit behind a two-way-mirror and write the marks and decide how to proceed. That’s not the case today. These days the studios get the vibe before even shooting.

The next lecture was by Brian Graden, who is the former President of Programming at MTVVH1 and few others channels. But what strike the audience the most about him is that he was the guy who brought Southpark to our lives (you can debate if it was good thing or not, I say it is good, but none of us can ignore that this step changed the way animation is made today). He was a producer in Fox at the time, and he saw a short video Trey Parker and Matt Stone made. Back then they were film students. He asked them why they don’t make another one, and the reason was funding. So come Christmas he contacted them, gave them $20,000 and asked them to make a short Christmas-card animation. And they came up with The Spirit of Christmas which became Southpark as we know it.

What was interesting about this was that Comedy Central, a niche channel back then, which barely had 500,000 views, was airing that show, and on the first episode they had more than 6 million viewers. The buzz was so big. Apparently the Spirit of Christmas video was virally spreading on the universities network, that it created the buzz for the first episode.

Actually, Brian said another interesting thing. When they showed the show to the focus group, they hated it. If the production company had gone with their opinion, Southpark would have never been created.

Two more things he said about creating content are:

  • Invent before they demand it.
  • Play with people’s head.

I think those two topics, among the change SP have brought to the animation world, is something I need to address separately on one of my other posts, shall there be a demand.

So that was part I. I hope you enjoyed it and maybe post a comment, start a discussion, and of course – share.

Brian Graden telling how Soutpark started

It’s Friday

Posted: November 11, 2011 by Two Dope Boyz in 2 Dope Botz, Angry Man, Neglected Sundays, Photos, Videos
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We added a new page, of Neglected Sundays, where we’ll centralize all of them.

More updates of videos and photos are to come. Lately I have been busy making videos for contests. More about that in the near future. We are also working on some new updates for the blog. We have some cool ideas (Neglected Sundays was one of them and it’s on the air now) and we are working hard to bring them to you.

Please let us know if there’s anything else you would like to see, comment and share!

Losing fingers is easy…

Posted: November 4, 2011 by Two Dope Boyz in 2 Dope Botz, 600D, Canon, Videos
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So this is a part of an upcoming shot. Ok, wait, let me rewind a bit. A while back few friends of mine and myself formed a small group for making videos. Nothing serious, none of us is a pro, but we do it for fun. Most of the videos are for competitions (I will post few of those very soon) and the rest are just for the sake of making them.

A week ago, while working on another video, I thought it would be nice to make an extended version. Usually in those competitions they give you a time limit (30, 60 or 90 seconds for each video), and sometimes we just want to show a bit more than what they allow us. This case is exactly it. We shot it while knowing that it probably won’t make it to the final version,  at least not that graphically, but we sure liked the idea.

So this is not perfect, but it is what it is:


Antonio’s videos have been updated on the Videos page. You can check out the work of a true artist!

There’s more to come. In the near future we plan to updated the pages more often with videos we made/will make, some photos and specially – the Neglected Sundays column, which we had a great taste of, thanks to the post Antonio made on Sunday.

Please make sure to leave a comment or a request.


Like like you mean it

Posted: October 28, 2011 by Two Dope Boyz in 2 Dope Botz, Angry Man, Face of Israel, Photos, Videos

Yes, this blog is still taking its first breath, have yet to learn how to walk, but it’s in progress. Later on this weekend we’ll post some videos by the Buntman (aka Angry Man) in the video page and we have still more to come. It’s a work in progress, but it’s a promising beginning.

We did encounter a problem with the Like button, but it doesn’t mean you can’t Like us. If you do like  the stuff we are publishing (and believe me do, when I say there’s more to come) and our videos/photos, why don’t you click here. We do appreciate it.

So keep on checking the blog, as we have more to come. Cheerios!