Friday, March 21, 2014

Filmmaker's award-winning film on child trafficking opens in India

An award-winning film spotlighting the problem of child trafficking in India opened in cinemas Friday based on the true story of a girl sold into the sex trade who fought to see her kidnappers convicted.
Described as "stomach-churning" by one commentator, Hindi-language Lakshmi was directed by Nagesh Kukunoor who also stars in it as a ruthless pimp.
He said he was inspired to make the film after meeting a girl, whose real name is not revealed, on a visit to a rescue centre on India's southeastern coast.
"A 14-year-old forced into prostitution who, when she got away, had the courage to take her traffickers to court and set a precedent was a compelling story," Kukunoor said.
"When I met her she was 17 and living and working in the rescue centre."
The director said the verdict in the girl's case was the first of its kind in his home state, Andhra Pradesh, and there have since been more than 100 successful cases of girls bringing their abductors to book in the state.
Tens of thousands of children are trafficked within South Asia every year and India has become a hub in the trade of girls for prostitution.
Kukunoor said he heard "story after story of inhuman behavior" from women at the rescue centre.
"In spite of the abuse they had endured, these women were having a normal conversation with me which was a testimony to their resilience," the director said.
Lakshmi, an independent film that won an audience award at the Palm Springs Film Festival in the United States this year, has been certified for adults only when it opens across India on Friday.
"There is no way to sugarcoat child trafficking and yet I do not show any sexual activity – it is implied," explained Kukunoor.
"However I have made it uncomfortable and disturbing in parts because we are numb to statistics and until I met these women I was also desensitized. I needed to serve the story and not sensationalize it."
Social commentator Shobhaa De wrote in a recent column in the Mumbai Mirror that the film was "a savage story, savagely told".
"I could watch just 70 percent of what was being projected in the darkened theatre, without throwing up or rushing out of the screening, unable to take any more of the relentless, stomach churning and exceedingly graphic brutality on screen," she wrote. AFP

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Gravity Wins The Award For Best Visual Effects At The 2014 Oscars!


Gravity got off to a strong start in the technical categories as it won the award for Best Visual Effects at the 2014 Oscar
The film managed to beat out some strong competition, including The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Iron Man 3, The Lone Ranger, Star Trek Into Darkness!
We can't really argue with this pick here! Those effects were out of this world!!

Oscars 2014: List of winners at the 86th annual Academy Awards

List of winners at Sunday's 86th annual Academy Awards presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Best Picture: "12 Years a Slave."
Actress: Cate Blanchett, "Blue Jasmine."

Supporting Actor: Jared Leto, "Dallas Buyers Club."

Supporting Actress: Lupita Nyong'o, "12 Years a Slave."

Directing: Alfonso Cuaron, "Gravity."

Foreign Language Film: "The Great Beauty," Italy.

Adapted Screenplay: John Ridley, "12 Years a Slave."

Original Screenplay: Spike Jonze, "Her."

Animated Feature Film: "Frozen."

Production Design: "The Great Gatsby."

Cinematography: "Gravity."

Sound Mixing: "Gravity."

Sound Editing: "Gravity."

Original Score: "Gravity," Steven Price.

Original Song: "Let It Go" from "Frozen."

Costume: "The Great Gatsby."

Makeup and Hairstyling: "Dallas Buyers Club."

Animated Short Film: "Mr. Hublot."

Documentary Feature: "20 Feet from Stardom."

Documentary (short subject): "The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life."

Film Editing: "Gravity."

Live Action Short Film: "Helium."

Visual Effects: "Gravity."

Honorary Oscars:

— Peter W. Anderson.
— Film-processing labs over past century.
— Angelina Jolie.
— Angela Lansbury.
— Steve Martin.
— Piero Tosi.

Friday, February 21, 2014

The man who discovered the 3D visual effect couldn't even see it because he was blind in one eye.

Dr. Carl Pulfrich was an early pioneer in the design of sterescopes, images that appear to be three-dimensional that are composed of two separate two-dimensional images. (like a View-Master toy). He’s well-known for observing and documenting what is now known as the “Pulfrich effect”. 

The Pulfrich effect is the illusion of depth created by our brains when viewing an object with a dark filter applied to one eye. This effect is the basis behind the 3-D movies that we can see today in theaters. 

In Pulfrich’s own words: “I have never been able to observe these effects myself, for I have been blind in the left eye for 16 years.” 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Channel 4 goes out of this world with the VFX company behind 'Gravity' to promote Live from Space season

Channel 4 has partnered with Oscar and BAFTA award-winning VFX company Framestore, the company behind last year's blockbuster Gravity, to create the marketing campaign for next month’s Live from Space season.
The on-air campaign, directed and produced by 4Creative, invites viewers to ‘Go to space with Channel 4’ and will air from today (Wednesday 19 February) across the Channel 4 portfolio and during The Brit Awards 2014 on ITV this evening.
“We wanted to remind people how being an astronaut is the most dangerous, insane, rock 'n' roll job on the planet,” said heads of 4Creative, Chris Bovill and John Allison of the campaign.
Fronted by Dermot O’Leary Live from Space season includes three hi-spec shows from Arrow Media which deliver unprecedented access to NASA and gets up close and personal with real-life astronauts. Astronauts: Living in Space and Astronauts: Houston We Have a Problem will broadcast ahead of interactive TV event – Live from Space: Lap of the Planet – broadcast from the International Space Station (ISS) and Mission Control in Houston as the ISS completes an entire orbit of the Earth.

Courtesy :

Thursday, February 13, 2014

British Animation Awards 2014 Finalists Announced

The biennial British Animation Awards have announced their slate of nominees for 2014. This year sees the introduction of two new categories: Best Voice Performance and Student Excellence; the latter stands in addition to the existing Best Student Film category, while the former led to the BBC website opening a news report with the brilliant sentence “Nighy was nominated for his voicing of a corpse in a short film.” The category for stop-motion commercials, meanwhile, has been dropped.

The awards, which are one-of-a-kind pieces of sheep-related artwork created by a who’s who of the animation communitiy, will be presented on March 7th at the BFI, Southbank. Here is the complete list of nominees:

Best Voice Performance
Morwenna Banks in Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom: Nanny’s Magic Test
Bill Nighy in The Hungry Corpse
Tim Dann in Compost Corner

Best Long Form
Room on the Broom (Max Lang & Jan Lachauer)
The Pirates! In An Adventure with Scientists (Peter Lord)
The Snowman & The Snowdog (Hilary Audus)

Best Pre-School Series
Peppa Pig: “Mr Bull in a China Shop” (Philip Hall & Joris van Hulzen)
Q Pootle 5: “The Groobie Woogie” (Adam Shaw)
Sarah & Duck: “Bobsleigh” (Tim O’Sullivan)

Best Children’s Series
Shaun the Sheep: “The Stand Off” (Lee Wilton)
Compost Corner (Westley Wood)
Amazing World of Gumball: “The Apology” (Ben Bocquelet & Mic Graves)

Best Mixed Media Children’s
Baby Jake: “Popping Peas” (Maddy Darrall & Rafa Canales)
Num Tums: “No 5” (Steve Smith)
Get Squiggling Letters: “Letter A” (Dan Edgley & Adrian Hedley)

Best Music Video
Benjamin Scheuer: “The Lion” (Peter Baynton)
Atoms for Peace: “Before Your Very Eyes” (Andrew Thomas Huang)
Savages: “Marshal Dear” (Gergely Wootsch)

Best Commissioned Animation
NPSCC: Sarah’s Story (Moth Collective)
Apodemy (Katerina Athanasopoulou)
RSPB: Vote for Nature (Morgan Powell & Neil Kidney)

Best 2D Commercial
Barclays: “Life Skills” (Marc Reisbig)
WWF: “We Don’t Farm Like This” (againstallodds)
Mindfull” (Shay Hamias & Will Barras)

Best 2D Commercial
TSB: “The Story” (Marc Craste)
Talk Talk: “Model Britain” (Daniel Kleinman)
Honda: “Hands” (Smith & Foulkes)

Best Film/TV Graphics
Filth Credits (Frater)
BBC Olympics: “Stadium UK” (Pete Candeland)
Gumball Machine” (Damian Hook & Daniel Fuller)

Best Short Film
Marilyn Myller (Mikey Please)
Everything I Can See From Here (Sam Taylor & Bjorn-Erik Aschim)
In the Air Is Christopher Gray (Felix Massie)

Best Student Film
Anomalies (Ben Cady)
Shirley Temple (Daniela Sherer)
The Day I Killed my Best Friend (Antonio J Busto Algarin)

Student Excellence
The Laughing Policeman (Marcus Armitage)
Gutenberg (Amalie Vilmar)
I am Tom Moody (Ainslie Henderson)

Best Motion Graphics
Handle with Care (Jun Iwakawa)
Darkside (Darren Dubicki)
Apocalypse Rhyme (Oliver Harrison)

(BAA illustration by Katerina Athanasopoulou)

courtesy : 

Balu Mahendra, who made his visuals speak, dies at 74

Balu Mahendra, a pioneer cinematographer feted for his use of natural lighting and film-maker who explored offbeat subjects using realistic portrayals, died at a hospital here on Thursday. Mahendra, who inspired and mentored a generation of directors, was 74. Doctors said he had renal problems and had suffered a heart attack.

Mahendra worked in all south Indian languages and created enduring works in each, as also in Hindi. His best known works include 'Moonram Pirai', 'Veedu' and 'Sandhya Raagam' (all in Tamil), 'Olangal', 'Oomakuyil' and 'Yathra' (Malayalam), 'Nireekshana' (Telugu) and 'Sadma' (Hindi).

Born Balanathan Mahendran to a Tamil family in Sri Lanka, he was drawn to cinema after watching the shooting of David Lean's 'The Bridge On The River Kwai' while on a school field trip. This inspired him to take a course at the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune, where he earned the gold medal in the cinematography course in 1969.

Mahendra entered the film industry as a cinematographer at a time when studios were in decline and mainstream entertainment was being reinvented. He came into the spotlight with 'Nellu' (1974) directed by legendary film-maker Ramu Kariat, who saw his diploma film at the institute and was impressed. 'Nellu' fetched him praise and best cinematographer award at the Kerala state film awards.

"He had a knack of letting his visuals speak several emotions. His visuals could create more impact than any lines in a film," said director K Vishwanath, who had used him as cinematographer for Sankarabharanam.

Mahendra went on to handle the camera for landmark films before graduating to direction. Although he remained within the popular format of film-making, he attempted to subvert genres with his study of character and psychology. His film-making career began with 'Kokila' (Kannada, 1977), which won him the National Award for best cinematography and the Karnataka state film award for best screenplay.

His next venture was 'Azhiyadha Kolangal' (Tamil, 1979), a coming of age story of three boys that the director has said was autobiographical. It did well at the box office and he moved on to 'Moodupani' (1980), a psychological thriller inspired by Alfred Hitchcock's 'Psycho', which was also a huge hit.

But the film that brought him the most acclaim was 'Moonram Piram' (1982), which ran for almost a year in theatres and won him the National Award for best cinematography and best actor award for Kamal Haasan. It also won a host of Tamil Nadu state film awards and Filmfare awards. He remade it as 'Sadma' in Hindi the next year; it did not prove to be successful but attained cult status much later.

Not surprisingly, filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar posted on social media on Thursday: "Sad to hear the demise of master of innovative camera style, natural lighting, maker of my favourite Hindi film Sadma. Balu Mahendra, RIP." Mahendra went on to make landmark films such as 'Veedu' (1988), which won the National Award for best film in Tamil, 'Sandhya Raagam' (1989), which won the National Award for best film on family welfare, and 'Vanna Vanna Pookkal' (1992), which won the National Award for best feature film in Tamil. Other notable films were 'Marupadiyum' (1993), an adaptation of Mahesh Bhatt's Hindi film 'Arth', and the rip-roaring 'Sathi Leelavathi' (1995), in which he proved that comedy was also part of his repertoire.

His later films - 'Raman Abdullah' (1997), 'Julie Ganapathy' (2003) and 'Adhu Oru Kana Kaalam' (2005) — failed to make much of an impact, which prompted him to turn to teaching. He began the Balu Mahendra Cinema Pattarai in 2007, offering courses in cinematography, direction and acting and mentored filmmakers, such as Bala, Ameer, Sasikumar, Vetrimaaran and Seenu Ramasamy who have won multiple National Awards between them.

But with 'Thalaimuraigal' (2013), a tale of an old man's relationship with his grandson, he sort of redeemed himself, with the movie coming in for praise from critics and audiences alike.

One of his biggest regrets was that though Tamil Nadu had many chief ministers who hailed from the film industry, none of them had taken an initiative to preserve cinema. At many forums, he lamented the lack of a archive for Tamil cinema after the negatives of his film like 'Veedu', 'Sandhya Raagam', 'Marupadiyum' and 'Sathi Leelavathi' were destroyed. It's time one of Mahendra's illustrious students takes up the task of preserving his memory.