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A sense of place

Monday, 10 July, 2017 0 Comments

Landscape is a mirror that reflects life. Those fields, woods, rivers and mountains reveal the soul of a place. The English filmmaker Max Smith began his “Sense of Place” series of videos in the Argyll Forest Park on the Cowal peninsula in the Scottish Highlands, and he’s just added the Cairngorms, a mountain range in the eastern Highlands that forms part of the Grampians. The two clips offer a combined seven minutes of sublime place.


Joshua Cowan’s Alpine Adventure

Thursday, 16 February, 2017 0 Comments

“In January i took a road trip through Europe visiting mountains, frozen lakes and steam trains in the forest,” says London-based video-maker Joshua Cowan, whose clients include, Under Armour, Adidas, Maserati, Vice, Sony and Visit Britain.


Mesmerising Kilauea

Saturday, 11 February, 2017 0 Comments

The “the fire hose” lava flow continues to gush from Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano and pour into the ocean Kamokuna. As the “Lava viewing guide for the Big Island” puts it, “Hawaii wouldn’t exist if it were not for the continuous volcanic activity that created all the islands in the state.” Going with this flow, Givot Media, a creative agency based in Los Angeles, made the spellbinding “Hawaii — The Pace of Transformation.”


Tweeds and tweets

Saturday, 3 December, 2016 0 Comments

Hackney-based filmmakers Jack Flynn and Nick David are Dog Leap and their fashionable clients include Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen, Sons Of London and the Harris Tweed Authority, which represents the weaving traditions of the Outer Hebrides islanders of Harris, Lewis, Uist and Barra. “The Big Cloth” is a short Dog Leap documentary about an industry that is transforming itself with new looms, young weavers, lighter tweed for the needs of a global market and tweets.


JT Singh and the art of high-impact storytelling

Tuesday, 25 October, 2016 0 Comments

The amazingly talented JT Singh describes himself as “city geneticist,” studying interactions, collisions and opportunities. A mix of urban futurist and media artist, he focuses on bridging the gaps between technology and storytelling.

“Shanghai’s iconic skyline is symbolic of its presence as a premier global city, but below the towers, the intimate, and human story that unfolds is what will always be part of the city’s core DNA,” he says. This is special.


Is there an app for this?

Wednesday, 19 October, 2016 0 Comments

The director of Never Happened, Mark Slutsky, says: “Never Happened is set in a world much like our own, just a little different. A world in which we can manipulate our thoughts, our lives, just a little more than we already can. The technology in the film is fictional, but in many ways, I think we have always applied the same principles to the way we view our lives, the way we selectively tell ourselves our own stories.”


Paula Radcliffe: “The ability to run is a gift”

Saturday, 10 September, 2016 0 Comments

“The thoughts that occur to me while I’m running are like clouds in the sky. Clouds of all different sizes. They come and they go, while the sky remains the same sky always.” So writes Haruki Murakami in What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. Clouds of all different sizes and big sky are constant presences in Run by the filmmaker Jack Weatherley. His subject is Paula Radcliffe, the English long-distance runner and holder of the women’s world record in the marathon with her time of 2 hours 15 minutes and 25 seconds, which she set in the Chicago Marathon on 13 October 2002.

After competing in the London Marathon last year, Paula Radcliffe announced that she had decided to end her long-distance running career. But she keeps on running.


Hey, you wanna hear a good joke?

Thursday, 25 August, 2016 0 Comments

Joshua Paul “Josh” Davis is better known by his stage name DJ Shadow and he’s said to own an exceptionally large record collection consisting of more than 60,000 albums. Run the Jewels is a hip hop supergroup formed by New York City-based rapper El-P and Atlanta-based rapper Killer Mike in 2013. Their “fist and gun” hand gesture is iconic and beloved of graffiti artists. Nobody Speak is the title of their remarkable joint venture.

The lyrics are intriguing and the language is cryptic. This is English evolving.

“What more can I say? We top dealing it
Valiant without villainy
Viciously file victory
Burn towns and villages
Burning looting and pillaging

Murderers try to hurt us we curse them and all their children
I just want the bread and bologna bundles to tuck away
I don’t work for free, I am barely giving a fuck away”


“Put it off for a bit. All life is putting off.”

Tuesday, 9 August, 2016 0 Comments

“I am a storyteller, using film, animation and a peculiar imagination to solve problems, connect people, and make change,” says Stuart Langfield tongue-in-cheek, using all the clichés of the trade. He’s fond of that story one, though: “I’m also developing a brand storytelling system for Shopify’s product marketing films,” he says. That should help pay the bills. The Ottawa-based e-commerce software maker more than doubled its sales in the second quarter of this year to $3.4 billion.

When storytelling was young and commerce was not preceded by an e plus a hyphen, Thomas More said, “What is deferred is not avoided.” Some 500 years later, Anthony Burgess said, “Put it off for a bit. All life is putting off. Well, not entirely.” In that spirit, Stuart Langfield tackles that most unavoidable of chores: Procrastination.

“But indefinite visions of ambition are weak against the ease of doing what is habitual or beguilingly agreeable; and we all know the difficulty of carrying out a resolve when we secretly long that it may turn out to be unnecessary. In such states of mind the most incredulous person has a private leaning towards miracle: impossible to conceive how our wish could be fulfilled, still — very wonderful things have happened!” — George Eliot, Middlemarch


Intelligence: artificial and emotional

Thursday, 4 August, 2016 0 Comments

This short clip about an AI unit that is “anything but artificial” is the the creation of Dennis Sung Min Kim. He describes it as a “First year film at the University of Pennsylvania, taking around ten months for completion.”

Empathy has been termed the cornerstone of emotional intelligence. In his best-selling book Zero Degrees of Empathy: A New Theory of Human Cruelty, Simon Baron-Cohen, Professor of developmental psychopathology at the University of Cambridge, writes:

“It allows us to tune into how someone else is feeling, or what they might be thinking. Empathy allows us to understand the intentions of others, predict their behavior, and experience an emotion triggered by their emotion. In short, empathy allows us to interact effectively in the social world. It is also the ‘glue’ of the social world, drawing us to help others and stopping us from hurting others.”

Simon Baron-Cohen? Yes, he is the cousin is the actor Sacha Baron Cohen. Why no hyphen in the latter name, but one in the former? It’s because of a typographical error in Simon Baron-Cohen’s first professional article. He didn’t correct the publisher’s misspelling, but he did adopt the punctuation mark.


Fjord watching

Monday, 18 July, 2016 0 Comments

“These timelapses are all recorded in the western part of Norway, where the mighty fjords Geirangerfjord, Hjörundfjord, and Storfjord sits quietly and waits for anyone who wants to seek something else than watching the latest show on TV.” So says the Norwegian photographer and videographer Jonas Forsberg.

Watching TV these days is not very good for the soul, especially given the news from Nice, Turkey and Baton Rouge. Fjord watching, like whale watching, offers a temporary, healing respite from the woes of our troubled, tele-visual world.

Nerd note: The 4K resolution standard was created for digital cinema and computer graphics. It was so named because it offer 4000-pixel horizontal resolution (4K is technically defined as 4096 x 2160 pixels). 4K provides higher image definition quality, more detailed pictures and larger projection surface visibility.