Saturday, April 25, 2015

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Recent review in Variety focuses on Miscreants

An excerpt:
The challenges besetting the American independent film scene are nothing compared to those faced by Pakistani filmmakers, who also have the Taliban to contend with. In "The Miscreants of Taliwood," Australian artist George Gittoes samples the eccentric Pashto pics, which meld over-the-top gunplay with impromptu Bollywood-style numbers, and even ventures to make one himself, mostly as a pretext to poke around those corners of the country Westerners seldom witness. This ragged chronicle of his experience falls somewhere between performance art and gonzo journalism, with Gittoes risking his neck on a stunt few beyond the festival and gallery sphere will see.


Go here for complete review:

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Role of a Documentary

Having done some recent reading in class I am called to question the role of a documentary in the world of art. The role of recording history was described as being fiction in the article "Notes on Transformation," by Eleanor Antin. This calls into question what it means when we call this video a documentary. Can we call anything a documentary or are we stuck calling it a documentary because though is may be a fiction as she stated we have no other means of producing an accurate description of events?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Q & A With George

This is a transcript of a SKYPE interview with George Gittoes and producer Gabrielle Dalton. The interviewers are college students from the ASU Art program who's teacher, Dan Collins, had them do an academic screening of the film The Miscreants of Taliwood.

Q: How did you find your second camera man?
GG: He was my second choice, I had to go into Pakistan as a film teacher. The first guy was a rather large guy body guard type, but he had no natural talent. I was later talking to a guy who would be come my second camera man who was looking at what the other guy was doing and just said that it was stupid. He had never picked up a camera before but he had a natural talent for the camera, its like being able to paint, you can understand how to move a brush but you have to have some natural instinct.
GD: He was very courageous.
GG: a little bit to courageous. We really did end up in front of the the Red Mosque. It was illegal to be there and I had to ask him if we were even allowed to be there. The people in the Mosque though we were involved and tried to surrender to us.
GD: and he was only 23 right?
GG: I think he lied, I think he was really 22.
GD: We took him to Australia to have some real training.
GG: He has a pretty good job now, not in film but it is still good. He had three brothers one was of the Taliban, one was head of the Police, and the last was a brilliant librarian. We needed all of the tools they had to offer. We got arrested at the Red Mosque and his police head brother got us out.
Q: How many hours of footage did you shoot?
GG: I had two cameras because then I would always have a copy in case things got damaged or lost on the way back to Sydney. I had to smuggle out the tapes. I would give the footage to people who live in other provinces. Who have then have to connect with and export company in Sydney who has nothing to do with film. We never labeled them correctly. They would say things like it was for a wedding. It's like the Bourne Identity you have to hide everything.
Q: I always thought of 2 cameras as a way of having different angles but these were copies? Just how many cameras did you bring?
GG: I had 3 HD cameras, and a mini DV.
GD: We tried to shoot this entire movie in HD because we knew that was how it was going to need to be presented.
Q: How much story boarding did you do or was it more intuitive?
GG: I would have to make trips to Chicago and each trip we would do a kind of rough assembly, and it took me only 2 trips because this one I really understood what needed to be done.
GD: It's a very interesting style we work with. We know anything that George passes with the camera will turn to gold. We knew when this was going to do great things.
Q: Can you talk about Nick?
GG: We work very close together, he is like a great tailor. We have never had a disagreement. It was a very complex edit and we and to make the effects.
GE: It was all done on Final Cut Pro, we didn't have all this technical stuff.
GG: The only thing I've got to say is that it's really a joy to edit when you have 2 cameras. You never have a problem with flow. Just having that second point of view makes it that much better in production standards.
GD: We got to look at the film as it was coming back to us in Sydney. Nick just liked to let things simmer, but the best was when we received the Taliwood films.
GG: They are, getting them was a bother and it creates a dialogue about what they are doing. I would never take someone in there with me. It would be irresponsible. So the people there are very important.
GD: George had these super powers to foresee things. He pointed to the map and knew where this was going to be, but if you go back 3 or 4 years ago you never would have known that this was going to be the hot spot.
GG: I had an obligation to do it because no one else had the kind of incite I've got about all these things, but I don't know where are all the balls are going to bounce, but at least I have the balls. I though we would have gotten into a bigger conflict in the mountains during the shooting of the drama. All I had to do was pay them off with 8,000 rupees ($120).
GD: We don't go into this we much money.
GG: That's a lot of money to them. That's a fortune to a local. Had they felt I was a foreigner they would have tracked me down. I don't think I would have gotten out.
Q: Why did you pretend to kill yourself in the beginning? What was the motivation in creating death in a setting where it was real?
GG: People are really ghoulish, and I thought I would just give it to them. I have a special effects guy and so I used him. I wanted to put up a road sign where you don't know where things are real or not real. No one actually knows what is real like the weapons of mass destruction.
Q: Was the violence a sensitive subject or did the people just laugh it off? The people in Pakistan?
GG: They love any kind of spectacle it was more interesting to than the real people dieing. It is better to create than destroys.
GD: It brings up the issue that the play of stress. That because they don't have an outlet they have to keep it all bottled up.
GG: It was like an exorcist because I have already killed myself and I had the relief of going on with the documentary.
Q:How about the paring of the Pakistan drama with the authenticity of the documentary, and the power in the paring?
GG: The big Idea for me and it was huge,that I could have made it here to western standards, but the goal was to make a Pakistani drama that would sell. It would have been selfish to make a western drama. So we made a Pakistani film and it was a best seller. The sold over 40 thousand copies. We find four film and keep the message as true as possible. We are going to go to Afghanistan in the future to make a werewolf movie. There is going to be a lot of werewolves in Kabul when we get there.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Study Questions from Arizona State University

Students in Collins's "Issues in Intermedia" class developed the following list of questions.  A discussion with filmmakers George Gittoes and Gabrielle Dalton was held over Skype Wednesday evening, Sept. 16.  A transcription of the filmmakers responses will be forthcoming:

1.  How long were you in Pakistan?
2.  Did you have a plan?  A set of expectations?
3.  What was the most dangerous circumstance you found yourself in?
4.  What cameras and recording medium did you use?  How did you get the raw footage out of the country?
5.  Are you still in contact with the actors and other people involved in the film?
6.  How did you find your 2nd camera operator?
7.  How did George actually get people to agree to be on camera?
8.  Are there dramatic aspects (Like the "servants" and "Fire" films) included in any of your other film projects?
9.  What was the motivation for using special effects (e.g., having yourself "shot") in the context of the Documentary proper?
10.  How to you justify the "pretend violence" featured so prominently in the dramatic portions of the film?
11.  Please discuss the relationship of the "fiction" of the Pashto "dramas" and the authenticity of the Documentary?
12.  Comment on the post-production process.  What software do you use?  What role do Gabrielle and Nic Meyer (editor) play in the final shaping of the film?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Miscreants and Time

In seminar this week we are confronted with the idea of art in relation to time; Montano and Hsieh address time with the duration of their One Year Art/Life Performance. We also are presented with revisiting the Gutai group now that their work may be viewed in a new context. What do you think of the filming duration of the Miscreants of Taliwood, is it evident in the presented work, how does it affect the message and its significance? How would the film be different after a decade, a century?