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    Top Movies of the 2016: Heart of a Dog

    Posted on Aug 4, 2016 2:07:32 PM by Jordan Wippell in 2016, in animation, in artistic, in best, in Blogs, in Digital Video, in laurie anderson, in movie, in music, in Philosophical, in top, in University of Advancing Technology, in drawing, in experimental, in favourite, in feature, in film making, in UAT

    2016 has been a fairly decent year for cinema so far. I found it to be particularly strong in the independent cinema front or perhaps my taste is learning more towards more unseen releases. Either way I decided to put together a cliché list of my favorite films that I see throughout the year. Below is the second.


    I discovered the musical and storytelling talents of Laurie Anderson back in 2010 and have been a huge fan ever since. Her avant-garde approach to composition and multimedia projects have made her an important voice in the independent art world. If your unfamiliar with her work, Anderson’s most famous and accessible piece of music can be heard here:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vkfpi2H8tOE

     
    If this gives you any indication of her unique artistic abilities, it is no surprise than when she announced a feature length film I was extremely excited.

    Heart of a Dog takes traits of Anderson’s previous works and combines them into a poetic exploration of image and emotion. The film travels down many philosophical avenues, but her beloved terrier Lolabelle is very much the heart of the film. The dog is used as a gateway to explore broader ideas about grief, death, art and the animal/human connection.

    These ideas are presented through live action footage, animation, drawing and other fascinating experimental imagery. All the while Laurie narrates in her naturally soothing tone to take the viewer on a journey through her personal life in poignant and comical ways. Those who are used to Laurie’s style will find themselves falling under her storytelling spell fairy quickly, others may take some time to adjust to the sporadic nature of the film.

    Lolabelle playing keyboard

     
    I was incredibly moved by this slice cinematic poetry and it quickly became one my favorites films of the year. It’s quite hard to define exactly what makes this film so affecting and think a lot of this is due to Laurie's mastery at melding together personal ideas and making them universal. Anyone who has tried to create, lost a loved one or owned an animal will surely walk away with something very touching and real.

    In one particular sequence Laurie speaks about the little “squiggles things” we see in the corners of our eyes when we catch it in the right light. She relates this concept to that of a mini experimental movie that is created by the body and mind intended to capture the simple beauty of seemly inconsequential things.

    Another hilarious scene finds Laurie telling the story of her live performance piece in Sydney, Australia were she used certain frequencies to perform to a crowd of howling hounds and yapping puppies. Her vocal delivery alone invites the viewer into her strange world of performance and dogs. There is something thrilling hearing an artist speak un-apologetically about her passions and art.

    Animated Laurie

     
    One of the reasons Heart of a Dog works so well is because of its intimacy. Laurie has a knack for making the film feel as though we are having a cup of tea with and old friend that seems to love discussing simple ideas with philosophical implications. When the film came to a close I felt like I had connected with Laurie on level that many filmmakers can only dream of achieving.

    Heart of a Dog isn’t a film for everyone, but getting to spend 75 minutes with an inspiring figure like Laurie Anderson makes it something worth cherishing.

    https://youtu.be/v37BnyHefnY

     

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    Top Movies of the 2016: Swiss Army Man

    Posted on Jul 21, 2016 3:02:31 PM by Jordan Wippell in 2016, in Blogs, in corpse, in Digital Video, in film, in movie, in okay, in swiss army man, in University of Advancing Technology, in buddy?, in comedy, in daniel radcliffe, in daniels, in death, in dv, in farting, in filmaking, in Paul dano, in soundtrack, in UAT

    2016 has been a fairly decent year for cinema so far. I found it to be particularly strong in the independent cinema front or perhaps my taste is learning more towards more unseen releases. Either way I decided to put together a cliché list of my favorite films that I see throughout the year. Below is the first.

     
    Marketed as a film about Daniel Radcliffe’s farting corpse, Swiss Army Man gained hype from its first few screenings at Sundance and Cannes. The men behind the flatulent magic are Daniels, directors who created the infamously bizarre music video for DJ Snake and Lil Jon’s Turn Down for What.

    Swiss Army Man contains some of the elements seen in their previous work (moving body parts), but also solidifies the Daniel duo as an important new voice in independent cinema.  The film tells the story of a stranded man on the verge of suicide who finds a friend in the undead corpse of Daniel Radcliffe. The two embark on a journey of fart jokes, love and the challenge the idea of what it means to be human.

    Swiss Army Man is so well crafted that the insanity of the plot is completely believable and unexpectedly touching. I found myself laughing more at the ridiculousness of the situational humor than I have at any comedy film in a long time. Some sequences are so strange that's it's hard to convince how somebody thought of the images on screen, however the key to the success of these scenes is that they are never boring and provide a well throughout commentary on social taboos. Daniels expertly combines these taboos with the profound to create one the most unique cinematic experiences I have ever head.

     
    Each moment of poignancy is punctuated by something hilarious. Swiss Army Man spends most of its time throwing ideas at the wall and having almost 100% of them stick. I soaked up the film with a huge smile on my face and was sad to see the end credits. I felt as though I was leaving two good friends behind and that’s a pretty incredible emotion for a film to provoke.

    Technically, Swiss Army Man is brilliant down to the minute details. The cinematography takes its time to indulge in the beauty of the forest, but also moves rapidly through each of the imaginary scenarios to put the viewer in the minds of the two characters. This is combined with extremely clever editing that makes me want to see the film a few more time to make sure I didn’t miss anything in the details.

    It’s also hard to walk away from Swiss Army Man without being enchanted by the soundtrack. Dano and Radcliffe both feature prominently in each of the meta songs and add a genuine sense of intimacy. My friends and I couldn’t help but listen to the soundtrack as soon as we got in the car to drive home and I’ve had to on repeat ever since.

    https://youtu.be/VrYCAHIccc8

     

    Swiss Army Man also delves into fascinating ideas about mental illness, social anxieties and the complexities of being human. None of these concepts are shoehorned in, each is earned with brilliant performances and intense build up. Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe are both heartbreaking and grounded, with Radcliffe stealing the show as the dead best friend. If it were my choice, I'd give Radcliffe an Oscar nomination for his portrayal.

    Swiss Army Man is a pretty incredible debut from the Daniels. He is very much a product of the now. He uses death and humor to deal with absurdity of modern human interaction and speaks to something that is deep inside anyone who has ever felt socially awkward or out of place. It takes a real master to tackle themes this confidently and completely succeed in all facets.

    https://youtu.be/yrK1f4TsQfM

     

    If there is any movie you seek out this year, please let it be Swiss Army Man. Okay, buddy?

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    Captain America: Civil Warning

    Posted on May 18, 2016 1:14:12 PM by Jordan Wippell in actors, in antman, in black widow, in Blogs, in film, in hawkeye, in heroes, in iron man, in movie, in new release, in set pieces, in spiderman, in superhero, in vision, in captain america, in civil war, in fight, in new, in propaganda, in russo brothers, in scarlet witch, in theatres, in war machine

    https://youtu.be/QGfhS1hfTWw

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    The Greatest Science Fiction Movie NEVER Made

    Posted on Apr 6, 2016 10:16:32 AM by Jordan Wippell in Alejandro Jodorowsky, in art, in artists, in Blogs, in Digital Video, in documentary, in filmmaking, in frank herbert, in Jodorowsky’s Dune, in mick jagger, in movie, in tusk, in University of Advancing Technology, in adaption, in david lynch, in dune, in el topo, in inspiring, in pink Floyd, in Salvador Dali, in science fiction, in short film, in the holy mountain, in UAT

    In 2014 I saw an independent documentary that has always stayed with me to this very day. I saw the film just before I was about to head to the U.S in pursuit of my film career. Part of me was a little terrified at the prospect of leaving my home and trying to find my footing as a filmmaker in another country.

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    Toppled - A UAT Digital Short Film

    Posted on Mar 30, 2016 10:17:13 AM by Jordan Wippell in american sniper, in Blogs, in charmed, in cinematography, in dictator, in Digital Video, in mask of zoro, in movie, in University of Advancing Technology, in Ayman Samman, in drama, in official, in once upon a time, in paul denigris, in program, in short film, in stargate, in thriller, in tony amendola, in toppled, in trailer, in UAT

     
    It seems like only yesterday that the UAT Digital Video team were driving out to the Casa Grande location to setup the first shot of Toppled. A month or so later, the trailer for Toppled has been officially released online and the hype has already begun.

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    How to Get Selected for a Film Festival

    Posted on Mar 16, 2016 10:30:01 AM by Jordan Wippell in audience, in awards, in blog, in Blogs, in crowd, in digital, in Digital Video, in film, in film festival, in film freeway, in laurels, in movie, in University of Advancing Technology, in a girl walks home alone at night, in degree, in meat, in official selection, in screening, in short, in submission, in UAT, in vimeo, in withoutabox, in YouTube

    One of the most common questions I get asked when I meet other college filmmakers is; how do I get a film into a film festival? Often most filmmakers have had experience making short films, yet none have been shown or found the resources to get those films into the public eye. Now obviously getting into a film festival is only important if you want it to be and in my mind, you shouldn’t make films that seek the validation of others. There are plenty of other online options in terms of getting your film seen, however the great thing about festivals is that there is a chance to possibly win awards (and money to fund your next project) and gain real time audience feedback. These things will help you grow as a filmmaker and that in of itself is invaluable.

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    Kill Bill or: How I Learned That I Wanted To Be A Filmmaker

    Posted on Mar 3, 2016 1:38:48 PM by Jordan Wippell in action, in advancing technology, in art, in blog, in Blogs, in Digital Video, in dvd, in film, in film maker, in kill bill, in kung fu, in masterpiece, in movie, in Student, in the bride, in uma thurman, in University of Advancing Technology, in anime, in film making, in short, in tarantino, in UAT, in volume 1


    I was never allowed to watch violent movies as a child. My mother did such a good job scaring me away from them that when my friends would ask to watch Child's Play at a sleepover, I would lie and say I’d already seen in it.

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    The New Faces of Film: Top 5

    Posted on Mar 2, 2016 9:15:31 AM by Jordan Wippell in advancing technology, in Ben Wheatly, in Blogs, in Digital Video, in directors, in filmmaking, in Jeff Nichols, in list, in movie, in movies, in storytelling, in experimental, in Hollywood, in Horror, in Jennifer Kent, in Lenny Abrahamson, in style, in top 5, in UAT, in Yorgos Lanthimos

    In the ever expanding age of accessible filmmaking, the movie market is experiencing a larger influx than ever. For the first time low budget indie feature films can break through and become just as successful as their Hollywood counterparts. Not only is this an exciting era for budding filmmakers, but it also means that the quality of storytelling is constantly on the rise.

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    Help Falls: Production Diary – Malice

    Posted on Feb 24, 2016 4:06:48 PM by Jordan Wippell in Blogs, in blood, in Choices, in director, in film, in filmmaking, in ghosts, in help falls, in j-horror, in malice, in movie, in needle, in not guilty, in student film, in Student Innovation Project, in birthing, in Horror, in hospital, in interaction, in japanese horror, in SIP, in writer

    Malice - The first of six short films

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