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2779 Minutes and Counting...

Posted by Daniel / June 12, 2007

Once upon a time, if an artist had a creative itch to scratch, painting, or writing, or singing, or composing, or dancing, or stitching, or gluing or--well you get the idea. Artists can afford to be poor, because all you really need is an idea and an outlet. Movies however, have always been a rich man's sport. Sure experimental films have been alive since the inception of celluloid itself--and movies have long been entrenched in the underground almost as much as the overground. But film has always been expensive--to shoot, to develop and to blow up. Andy Warhol shot the Empire State Building for 8 hours because he could afford it.

With Hollywood budgets reaching astronomical proportions and independent films being shot for a cool mill considered the "low-budget" end of things--it would seem as though becoming a director should be nothing but a pipe dream--on par with, oh let's say, becoming the next Pussycat Doll. But as anyone with a Macbook and a cellphone camera can attest, filmmaking is coming home--literally.

Filmmakers no longer need a big cast and crew, a 2 month shooting schedule and a budget that will leave you sucking back Ramen until you're fifty. With the advent and domestication of digital technology, everybody and their grandmother can make a movie--all you need is a cheap digital camera, a computer with editing software, and a kickass idea (not required, but recommended). According to Godard all you ever needed was a gun and a girl but I digress.

A perfect manifestation of this ongoing demystification of filmmaking is Montreal's annual 2880 Film Blitz, which celebrates its 5th year anniversary this coming weekend. This year's competition features 14 teams (as opposed to 12 in previous years), each with 48 hours (2880 minutes) to write, shoot and edit a short film with the hopes of winning over a jury composed of various members of the NFB, the CBC, festival organizers and independent directors.

The daunting challenge is heightened this year by the addition of a 5 second video clip that filmmakers will have to include in their entry, either in its original form, or all mashed up--something festival director Karl St-Victor likens to the musical remix. A playful twist no doubt.

Another interesting addition is the festival's new mantra "Anything Goes"--a literal embracing of filmmaking's new guerilla, do-it-yourself, youtube generation. This year teams can shoot on super 8, film, digital and yes--even cell phones.

The event is a fundraiser for DOC-Québec (the Quebec chapter of a Canadian non-profit that lobbies and campaigns for increased doc visibility, public funding and recognition). Watch the final products Sunday, June 17th at La Tulipe. Festivities get underway at 7pm.

This is definitely one of Montreal's most unique cinematic events. The teams are driven by a passion and fearlessness to indulge and experiment with the medium (think Harmony Korine before he went all mainstream). The format is popular all over the world and has been known to produce some pretty outstanding work so don't sleep. I can pretty much guarantee you these guys won't.



Chester Hotter / December 21, 2009 at 10:39 pm
I love this Flip HD. I've tried many other camcorders (DXG, Samsung, Kodak, Sanyo, Panasonic) in this same category and NONE have compared to the video quality of the Flip HD. Each time I tested a different camcorder, I made sure I did it in the evening with the lights on in my livingroom. Each time, the others were dark, grainy and had difficulty adjusting to the lamps - took several seconds to focus again. The Flip HD had no issues, and provided clear and bright video. I should mention that my livingroom is painted a rose color with burgundy furniture, so I feel this was a true test of video quality. By the way, the reason I kept trying other camcorders was that the FlipHD is video only, whereas the others took photos too. However, it wasn't worth the compromise. Besides, I can always create photos with the FlipShare software that's built into the unit.As far as the battery, I too had the problem with the battery pack erroring out when charging. So, I got rechargeable batteries to use and have had no issues. I recently used this to record my grandson's first birthday. I was able to capture all the important moments of the day on a single charge. Bottom line is that I am very pleased with this camcorder and recommend it highly.

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