film

Jecheon International Music and Film Festival, Korea: Celluloid, Souls, and Lots of Hot Peppers

Monday, August 26th, 2013

The Jecheon International Music and Film Festival Poster with Drying Green Onions
This has been a difficult blog post to write.  Not that the subject matter is hard, it is more that the experience in Jecheon was one of the moments that put my life, and my work into perspective.

There will be other posts and images from my short time spent in Korea, but this entry will focus on those people that I came in contact with and helped me to see more deeply into myself and to the artistic work of others.

Our little film KRS ONE:  Brooklyn to the Bronx opened the door for me to visit Korea and reason with other souls from across the planet.  I was treated with respect for being a humanistic artist. I sometimes loose touch with from time to time, but the great people and the organizers of the festival helped it all to come into sharp focus.

Each of the foreign guests were assigned a bilingual (or even trilingual) volunteer to help them with interacting with those that could not speak Korean, and with any matter related to the festival and beyond.  My fabulous host was, Minju.

My Most Amazing Volunteer and Me

 

I might as well say this now, and I am sure I can speak for the others at the festival that the core of 12 interpreter/volunteers took our foreign guests communal experience at the festival.  The drivers, hosts, guides, and all hustled to make their guests feel at home.

I arrived and Minju met me at Inchon Airport and we set off for the three-hour drive to Jecheon.  The first night I decided to check out the Boogie Nights outdoor event, this is where I met some of the other directors later that night.  They quickly became known as the three brothers, Guillermo from Uruguay, Rodrigo from Argentina, and Matti from Finland.

Minju and David took me to the outdoor film and concert event and ordered up some of the food stall treats before entering the venue.  In proper Korean culture David scooped the fresh sweet Makori rice beer for me, and I retuned the favor.

David Serving a Cup of Fresh Makori

It wasn’t until the next morning that I would begin to feel my family grow with the addition of these filmmakers.

Director Rodrigo Vila, with Volunteer Eunbin and a Korean Portrait

Alena, who is the subject of the film Appasionata, approached me at breakfast.  I was a bit surprised that she knew who I was and wanted to talk a bit about Japan.  I felt a connection with her almost immediately and knew that I had to see the documentary that was directed by Christian Lambart.

 

Next, Guillermo, arrived at the table with a bombilla, a gourd, and a bag of mate herb.  In his joyous nature he went on to instruct me on the proper brewing techniques to make a gourd of mate tea.  Rodrigo, jokingly told everyone at the table that it was Guillermo’s personal stash of marijuana.  Which we all replied with a round of laughter.

Guillermo in front of his Poster for, Solo

 

I discovered that both Appasionata and Guillermo’s Solo were screening that day, and once arriving at the MegaBox Theater, Minju, booked tickets for me.  Our film screened with the shorts followed by a question and answer session with a professional interpreter.

The City of Jecheon, Korea

 

Appasionata was so moving.  Alena’s gift is opening her heart to the world.  She could be playing a piece of Bach or talking with her parents, she spoke truth from her heart.  I was so moved at one moment in the movie.  The scene hit so close to my home in Japan that it pierced my heart, and the tears streamed down my face.

This film was followed by the drama Solo.  A moving look at one man’s struggle to reconnect with the musician within himself that he let grow cold so many years ago.  I was surprised that such a thought provoking film could come from the young man that was keeping us all laughing at breakfast.

I related to the film because it is a struggle for me to keep in touch with my inner artist.  I never would have seen either film or met the directors if it wasn’t for the JIMFF.

Matti, Christian and Rodrigo after the Screenings

 

 

Christian Kicking back at the after Hours Party by the Lake

 

Alena and I went to the evening screening of the silent film The Kid Brother starting Harold Lloyd and accompanied by the amazing Philip Carla.  It was a great cathartic release to laugh communally with Alena and the rest of the outdoor audience. Carla’s live scoring took the event to the highest level of art and entertainment.

Philip Carli Conversing with Us

After the film, Alena, Philip, Matin I and sipped on some beer and talked into the night drifting between wine, music, Fukushima, and gardening.  It felt wonderful to be surrounded by culture and just to be able to reason.

Martin In Conversation

 

 

Elena Deep in Thoughtful Conversation

I was speaking with Hana about the incredible time I was having and told her that it was hard to believe that the directors were in competition for a prize.  She responded saying that she had never seen the foreign guests become so friendly and hanging out together s

Guillermo Opening a Bottle of Makori for Elena

In addition to the wonderful international directors the Korean staff were fantastic.  They made all of our time in Jecheon so special.  The translators, the helpers, drivers, were superstars in their own right.  I cannot thank them all from the bottom of my heart!

I could go on, but all things must come to a conclusion.  The festival has reignited my artistic passion.  I even began to shoot some video while wandering around the countryside.  Being surrounded by such beautiful souls reached far beyond time space and the bounds of culture.  I feel that my family was with all the wonderful people I encountered.

tof Krysztof Enjoying the MakoriEnjoying the Makori

I thought I had given up on art changing the world nestled between the hills and the lake I rediscovered art’s power for change even if it is only one soul at a time.

 

Special shout outs to JIMFF staff:

 

Hana, for dealing with a multitude of technical projection issues for my crew.

Yoonsun, for my many emails back and forth, and for organizing our helpers.

Jinsu, for finding our doc at the SXSW Festival, and leading me to Korea.

Phoebe, for sharing with me her collection of shaved ice pictures.

Kim, for being the man!

Hailie, for meeting a DVC girl in Jecheon.

Eunbin, being a great host!

Sohee, providing a great dinner with all the filmmakers

Heejung, welcoming me with open arms and heart.

David, for being a great guy, and serving the good Makori wine.

Minju, she made my time not only in Jecheon, but also in Seoul so extra special.  I feel like I have adopted her as my niece.  Thank you so much for all that you did for me in your country!

I wish all the staff the best of luck in the future.  I apologize if I left anyone out.  You all are rockstars!

 

The filmmakers:

Rodrigo Villa, www.cinema7.com, director Mercedes Sosa: The Voice of Latin America

My Argentinian brother!

Guillermo Rocamora, director, Solo

For teaching me how to make proper mate, and his moving film Solo.

Matti Kinnunen, director, www.periferiaproductions.fi . Miss Blue Jeans

My other brother from Finland, hope to see you in Tokyo soon.

Christian Labhart, www.rinkercommunications.ch , director Appassionata

For creating a film that moved my heart and touched my soul.

Martin Le Gall, www.avalonfilms.fr director Pop Redemption

for the lovely late night conversation and beers!

Krzystof Gierat, Juror and director of the Krakow Film Festival www.krakowfilmfestival.pl 

 

The pianists:

Alena Cherny, www.alencherny.ch

One very special woman.  Thank you for sharing your life and the makori.

I hope very much that we can create art together.

Philip Carli, www.philipcarli.com

For bringing back part of my youth and for some stimulating reasoning.

 

As usual this is more of a beginning than an end.  There is always more 2 come.

My Shabbat Morning Hike

The Last Sunset over Lake

KRS ONE: Brooklyn to the Bronx Documentary is Coming to SXSW Film Festival

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

KRS ONE in Studio with Headphones

 

The world premiere of the short documentary KRS ONE: Brooklyn to the Bronx is coming to the SXSW festival.

I hope to be able to get out to Texas to be a part of the premiere.  I must give a big shout out to my fellow producers and directors Jerry Kolber, and Seth “Brimstone” Schere and co-director/editor Joshua Moïse.

It has been a long time coming, but the first chapter is ready to go.  I love working with my documentary brothers on this project.  A special shout to the teacha KRS ONE and the Temple of Hip Hop!  And special production by PATH.

See you all in Texas!!!

More information to come when SXSW releases the actual dates and times.

20 Years Ago There was Hurricane Named Andrew

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

Krome Avenue Post Andrew 1992

20 years ago, Hurricane Andrew was a category 5 storm that hit South East Florida on August 24, 1992.  I was living in Tampa, Florida and only experienced some bad weather, my family and many others suffered through the storm of the century as it was being called.

Countless property was lost and Miami, especially Homestead, Florida was an utterly appalling  disaster area.  Water was scarce, tempers ran high as people struggled to provide the survival necessities.  My family’s home was severely damaged in the storm forcing my family to relocated to North Miami while the repairs were being done on the home.  I still regret for not realizing the extent of emotional and physical damage to my family.  I should have packed up my Bronco with supplies and headed to Miami, but I didn’t.  And, for this I am deeply sorry.  One positive outcome of the hurricane Andrew was that my beloved brother and I grew much closer cultivated our brotherhood.

I am not exactly sure when these pictures were taken.  It was sometime later probably in Autumn of 1992 when I took a drive around Homestead to see the damage with my own eyes.  The streets were unrecognizable, I couldn’t tell one from the next.  All of my childhood landmarks were gone.  The Miami that was part of my soul was blown away as the 175 mile per hour winds (280 k/ph) hit the city of my birth.  When I drive Krome Avenue these days, it still looks more barren than it ever was, except for all the cookie cutter developments that was sprouted over the last 20 years.

All these years later Miami has become a greener city again.  Many of the trees have grown back and some of the neighborhoods look lush as they used to, but not the same.  There are neighborhoods you can visit in between Miami and Homestead where the only the foundation of buildings remain.

It is hard to believe that 20 years have passed since that day.  These pictures were taken with my beloved Nikon FG, and a taped up and reloaded disposable panorama camera.  They were also hand printed in my university’s darkroom.  Some of my first prints to be done in color.  My color balancing skills were not as good as they are now.  As I can now use my digital darkroom to work on my pictures, part of my heart still belongs to the magic of watching an image come alive in the developer.

Looking back now I have come to the realization how much this event changed my life.  Hurricane Andrew not only tore down buildings but it ripped some families to shreds. I am thankful that my family was safe, and that we all survived to be together.

Let us not forget this tragedy as other storms barrel their way across the Caribbean and the American South, especially the land of my birth, Miami.

137 Street Homestead Post Andrew 1992

 

After Andrew Homestead Racer 1992

 

 

The Simple Pleasure of Dropping off a Roll of Film

Sunday, July 31st, 2011

There really is quite no other feeling like dropping off a roll of film to be developed.  The only thing better would be to do the processing yourself.

In this digital age we are all living in, analog has been freed from the masses, and the artist can indulge in film however they like.  Don’t get me wrong.  I still love my digital work.  To be able to process the work so quickly is fantastic too.  But that method of popping a roll in the back of a camera, being selective in what you shoot, then to finally walk down the street to the processing store is a great feeling.

The roll I dropped off today, has pictures going back to last August of last summer to a few pics I snapped Monday night this week.  I only selected two images to share today and both are from last summer when Tomo and I went out to Narita Temple in Chiba, for a day of shooting.  Other images include some of my work with the Hip Hop scene in Miami.

as usual more to come…

so go out and shoot a roll or film, you’ll thank yourself for it.

AC WIndow and Wild Side Garden

Narita Temple Garden 2010

Snorkeling at John Pennekamp State Park

Monday, April 4th, 2011

I had a chance to go down to Key Largo’s John Pennekamp State Park with my family to do a bit of snorkeling.  I hadn’t been snorkeling since my wife and I had been on the Hawaii’s Big Island.  The water was a bit cold, but nothing that couldn’t be overcome.

The focal length on my little disposable camera, was a bit longer than I thought; therefore, a few of the photographs came out rather blurry.

I look forward to being under the sea again.

Coral Reef Fish, John Pennekamp, Key Largo Florida

Coral Reef Sea Floor, John Pennekamp, Key Largo Florida

Snorkler, John Pennekamp, Key Largo Florida

Coral Reef Fish, John Pennekamp, Key Largo Florida

Coral Reef, John Pennekamp, Key Largo Florida

Okitsu, Village Side

Sunday, August 1st, 2010

More from the Olympus Pen’s trip to Okitsu a few weeks ago.

These are from the little town.  Lovely decay, in the salty sea air.

Christ by the Sea

A Place for Everything

Waiting for the Signal

Lean Backside

The Olympus Pen Goes to the Beach, Okitsu

Saturday, July 31st, 2010

I finally finished the roll of half frame pictures from my Olympus Pen camera.  This time the Pen came with me to the beach is Okitsu, Chiba Japan.  The lovely little pics to warm up my love of analog.  All things considered this little camera, is a great companion.  We both had a great time at the beach.

Sunning Yakuza

Shelling

Bicycle Down

Seaside Shelter

Okitsu Canal

Okitsu, Low Tide

Thinking About Summer

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

It is cloudy and they say snow, and icy rain is on the way.  Thinking back to the long walks in summer.  To walking until my feet burn.  These are both from Yurakcho just behind Ginza.

Corner Ramen Shop, Yurakcho

Layers Under the Bridge, Yurakcho

Photography by Any Means Necessary

Sunday, December 6th, 2009

Been going though old negatives today.  So many rolls that have been shot over the years.  Light that has inscribed on to bits of celluloid memories.  Sheet after sheet of film of hand developed black and white.  I long to go into the darkroom again.  For now I have to be content to keep on clicking and expanding the medium that I love best.  Photography, by any means necessary.

Urban Stacking, Tokyo, Ninjyocho

Door and WIndow, Ninjyocho

Umbrella and Scribblings, Yurakcho

Necessary

1 a : of an inevitable nature : inescapable b (1) : logically unavoidable (2) : that cannot be denied without contradiction c :determined or produced by the previous condition of things d : compulsory

2 : absolutely needed : required

Signs of Hawaii

Sunday, October 4th, 2009

The first film roll came back from my local friendly photo shop.  The roll is from the Olmpus Pen EE S, half frame camera.  My Ricoh died on my once we got to Oahu, so It was like the old days, using a simple point and shoot to capture the environs that surround myself with.  Most of these were taken in the little north shore town of Haleiwa.  Home of surfers, laid backs, and all around chill people.

Look and See.

Grass Skirt of Haleiwa

Right to Beach

Red White and See

Cafe Haleiwa

Barber 5550, Honolulu

Kayaking Kealakekua Bay Hawaii

Saturday, September 26th, 2009

Dreaming of those blue waves, and orange cliffs as we paddled across the Kealakekua Bay.  

The water so cool, the sky so clear, our minds opened and became refreshed.

Kayaking Across the Bay

Three Layer Landscape

Ocean, Sky, it’s all Blue to Me

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

As the Autumn Equinox has passed, the days will grow shorter, as the nights grow longer and colder, my dreams drift back to the warm enveloping waters of Hawaii.  As we swam in the emerald seas, watching the horizon bob in and out of vision, the blues entered into our souls.

The blue skies, melting into the minty blue seas, or is it the other way around, as the seas, evaporate inot the richly hued skies.

Blue, Blue, Blue

The Sky Under the Waves

Bubbles Delight

Sky into Sea

Election Day, Tokyo Style

Sunday, August 30th, 2009

The elections in Japan are short and sweet compared to those from back in the US.

There was only a few weeks of heavy campaigning and the trucks driving around the hood

blaring the “VOTE FOR ME,” rhetoric.

The streets are busy, in the morning as people rush out to vote before the heavy rains to come.

I started to take a few steps back when the political posters were the subject.

These are the results.

If you are here, in Japan, go out and vote.

Last Ditch Effort

Window Watching

And then the Door Opened

Here Comes Another Classic

Monday, August 24th, 2009

Here comes another classic in the shape of a vintage Olympus Pen EE S half frame camera.  Those of you

might remember from a few months ago I tried to liberate some dusty cameras from a store display in Ichikawa.  I wasn’t able to, but I found this Pen EE S at the camera show in Shinjuku on Friday.  Its a solid point and shoot camera that first appeared in the late 50’s and was widely used by the Japanese public.

These are the first images, shot mainly in and around Shinjuku and Okubo.

OH Love

Yellow Arrow

Golden Gai

Red Arrow

C Units

Illumination

Sunday, July 12th, 2009

Light illuminates all.

Turning the mundane beauty in to surreal

golden treasure.

illumination

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