Monday, April 24, 2006

Film Production

RED ONE Camera on the Location-Set

Set Production Assistant

"The Birthday Party"
A Short Film by Véronique N. Doumbé
Veronique was kind enough to hire me to work on this
modern-day urban tragedy.
It was a fantastic weekend, except for thatdamned birthday cake.
I was also the first film I've worked on since about 1994!
I finally got the chance to see the RED ONE Camera in action up close.
Sergei Franklin, the Director of Photography
was kind enough to give me an technical tour
and I was able to observe the Data Management process up-close!

Cinematographer Sergei Franklin preparing for a take with the
RED ONE Cameramounted on a Steadicam on location on
Veronique Doumbe's
"The Birthday Party"

The Birthday Party from Veronique Doumbe on Vimeo.

Winner of:

* The Dikalo Award for Best Fiction Short at the 2009 Pan African Film Festival in Cannes (France).

* The Award of Merit in the category Contemporary Issues, Ethics, Religion in the 2009 Accolade Competition.

* The Micro Mini Award at the 2009 Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival.

Veronique N. Doumbe currently serves on the Board of New York Women in Film and Television.

That's me, Victor Taplin on the left, there's Eny Hanson in the center being assisted
with her costume and the Director Veronique Doumbe on the right foreground.

Production Assistant
A Short Film by Véronique N. Doumbé
2006 Ndolo Films

It was a lazy Saturday Afternoon in the summer of 2005 or 2006. I don't remember which year, everything is becoming a big, fat blur. Eny was bugging me about going on some film shoot she was working on that night. I was not excited. Other so-called "film" projects she had dragged me to in the past were nothing of the sort. They were just delusional fantasies of untrained and disorganized MNN Producers who did not know their asses from a hole in the ground. I had nothing else to do so I went. When we arrived at the Newark Airport location I was pleasantly surprised to see people who actually knew how to execute a motion picture. I pitched right in to assist and I had the excellent fortune to meet the Director Veronique Doumbe and her husband Cinematographer Sergei Franklin. Their kids acted in the film and also shot stills. Very cool people. Very cool film. I had a great time.

Eny Hanson and Rachael Jones
as the Post-9-11 Airport Safety Patrol in
A Short Film by Véronique N. Doumbé
2006 Ndolo Films

Luggage from Veronique Doumbe on Vimeo.

I am a Complete Filmmaker.
My film career has been tumultuous,
more battle than art.

For me it began at an Amateur Film Competition in 1978. Soon after I started shooting Super 8mm movies and with each new movie I became more ambitious.

Eventually I went to Film School at New York University and started meeting other Film Students not only from N.Y.U. but also from Pratt Institute, School of Visual Arts and Jersey City State College. We formed a group and began to collectively work on each other’s projects.

We had a lot of adventures during those years.

Here is some of the work from those bygone days.

“Knight of Swords”
(Feature) 1993

It all started with this ‘kid’ from Israel; I don’t remember his name. He wrote a film entitled “Knight of Swords” about a Mossad Agent trying to stop an arms shipment to the Middle East on the eve of the first Gulf War.

The ‘kid’ was collaborating with Nick Manning on the project. Nick Manning was the former head of the Film Department at Pratt Institute so my friends and I knew him from our days when we used to hang out there working on our films. When the ‘kid’ got the money from his backers, Nick hired my friends and I to work on the picture.

We worked as the Cinematographer and Camera Operators, Second Unit Director, Sound, Stunt and Fight Choreographers, Pyrotechnics and Weapons handlers, Actors, Grips, Extras and other stuff.

I was the Post-Production Coordinator. My job was to work with the lab making sure the negative was processed and transferred to video properly. I later transferred and synced up the Betacam Video and 1/4 inch Audio Masters and made VHS time code dubs from these.

In 1993, Non-linear Editing for 35mm motion picture films had already arrived however the Producers could not decide on how they wanted to edit the movie. It almost came to blows in the middle of a Soho street one afternoon.

The ‘kid’ had enough money to complete the film, but being a first time Director and Lead on a project that complex, he was too inexperienced to effectively manage the production. This caused problems. Guess who the crew called to rescue the situation?

I spoke to the Producers and suggested solutions on how they could save the project, but they refused to listen to me.

I returned to my friends and gave them the news. We discussed the situation and came to the conclusion that the film would never be completed. My friends were angry because they would have nothing to show for all of their efforts. They wanted a coherent copy of the film for their reel and who could blame them. Since I had all of the video masters, they suggested I come up with a plan. I did.

I went back to Nick and the ‘kid’ and suggested that if we make a trailer and show it to the investors, that they might like it and give them the money to complete the film. They agreed, but there was just enough money in the budget for one hour of online room, editing time!

I spent about 4 days screening all of the VHS time code dubs and making a paper edit.

The day of the edit arrived. Picture, Sound, Music and Titles for the trailer were completed. The entire online edit was done in 59 minutes.

The investors released the money and we finished shooting the film. After that we lost track of the ‘kid’. Manning moved out west shortly thereafter. We never saw the film.

Later we heard a rumor that the film was released under the title of “Orphan of War”. We never saw a finished film or the 'kid' again.

(Feature) 1991

This was our film. My friend Griff aka Scott Rhodes, wrote, directed, starred and choreographed all of the stunts and fights. Theo Pingarelli was the Cinematographer. Louis Richardson was Associate Producer handling the logistics. Greg Remoundos was Associate Producer and did the Effects.
Griff’s friend Walter Brennan put up the money. And all of our friends Jim Glen, Glen Rothenberg, the Henkels and our families worked on the movie. We hired the Actresses to play murder victims and the female lead was played an Australian actress by the name of Debra Morrison.

I was the Producer, Editor, Production Sound, Second-Unit Director, 3rd Camera Operator and had a small part in the picture.

The film was about and obsessed Cop hunt a Serial Killer with a demented sense of humor.

We spent about $8,000 dollars to make the 90 minute, 16mm film. It was shot in about 20 days and it took about 2 months to edit and prepare packages for the distributors and the press.

I cut the film using a 6-plate flatbed moviola at Film and Video Arts in New York. After the cut we transferred the work print picture and sync sound to 3/4inch videotape using a videola. Its like a moviola but with a video pickup mounted inside the picture head. We would have preferred to have the transfer done at the lab using a Rank Cinetel Film-to-Tape transfer system with color correction to Betacam SP, but we ran out of money. I still regret that because Theo Pingarelli did a beautiful job of photographing the movie. Griff and I recorded sound effects, foley and music tracks and mixed them down with the picture and sound. We made VHS dubs of the completed film. Griff and Greg designed the press kit and I cut the trailer.

We launched an effective publicity campaign in both print and broadcast media and distributors wanted the film. There was only one problem; they did not want to pay us for the movie. Not one penny!

Though we were tempted, in the end we decided not to give in to their greed. The film never made it to the market.

click here to view the large QuickTime Video

Embedded Flash Video


(Feature) 1991

Here are the Television Interviews we did for the film.

Social Life

Despite the fact that I am constantly working and studying and training,
occasionally even I get out.

Here I am with the magical Ilda Santiago, Director of the Rio de Janeiro Film Festival at one of the parties for the MoMA 2009 Rio de Janeiro Film Festival in New York। Thanks to our Hosts, Richard Kandel and Marjorie Andrade.

WOW! Here is a moment from the Cocktail Party on the roof of the MoMA during the 2009 Rio de Janeiro Film Festival। From left to right are Manuela, Lola Magdalena and Malvica from the MoMA Film Department. I'm the good-looking man in the back. Thanks to our Hosts, Richard Kandel and Marjorie Andrade.

That's me with Tom Cruise at the
The Gala
black-tie Salute celebrating Tom's
25 year career in Motion Pictures
was on Tuesday, November 6, 2007
at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City.
It was a fantastic evening!
And Tom was very cool.Thank you, Richard Kandel and Marjorie Andrade.


Here I am with the beautiful Sonia Braga at the private party for
"O homem que engarrafava nuvens
(The Man Who Bottled Clouds)"
at MoMA's Premiere Brazil, 2008 Film Festival.
I love those ciapirinhas!
Thank you, Richard Kandel and Marjorie Andrade.

And here we are again a few nights later at the MoMA cocktail party.
Yes, I am slightly tipsy.
Don't worry, I am of legal drinking age and besides, Sonia didn't seem to object. Thank you, Richard Kandel and Marjorie Andrade.

Here I am with the Beautiful, Powerful,Talented and
Famous Brazilian Executive Film Producer
Vilma Lustosa
at the Premiere Brazil Film Festival at the MoMA, New York in 2008.
She has Produced such films as "If I Were You", If I Were You 2", "Lucia, Lucia.",
"In Therapy", and many many more.


Here I am at The Miss Brazil/USA Beauty Pageant 2007.
The young Lady holding me is Daisy,
she's from Rio de Janiero.
Thank you, Richard Kandel and Marjorie Andrade.