Posts Tagged ‘Script Notes’

  • Real to reel: Finding fun for future film stars

    By Helen Stephenson It’s almost summer, which is … blockbuster movie season. We’re running to the theater to watch the new “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” movie, (yes, really), “Warcraft,” “Ghostbusters,” “Independence Day: Resurgence,” “Ben Hur,” “Pete’s Dragon.” See a theme here? Hollywood is living off the bones of old stories, relentlessly re-booting, sequel-ing and prequel-ing their film slates. Why? Movies are huge business run by corporations and committees that include accountants who are averse to risk and not prone to originality. Where does that leave original film ideas? Enter independent film. Every summer, the Prescott Film Festival brings unique indie films, free workshops, guest filmmakers, and more to town. This year, during the festival, teens have a chance to express their own creative and unique ideas via a one-week intensive Filmmaker Boot Camp. There will be two sessions. The first is July 11-14 at the Yavapai College Verde Valley Campus. The second is July 18-21 at the Prescott Campus. Student created films from both sessions will screen the final day of the Prescott Film Festival, July 24. Future auteurs start the week with basic film terminology and crew positions. Next, they watch and discuss high quality short films and learn about the visual language of film, dialogue, and editing. Camera language, coverage, and then screenwriting will be covered. And that’s only Day One — whew! The rest of the week

  • Opportunities: For indie films, filmmakers

    By Helen Stephenson As the Prescott Film Festival moves closer to its sixth annual event, things are gearing up on all fronts: programming, event planning for parties, special events, and a few surprises. At the core of the activity is coordinating volunteer needs, including new volunteer opportunities. At 2 p.m. Saturday, April 25 come join the folks at the Prescott Film Festival as they appreciate last year’s volunteers and welcome new friends to help support and celebrate the art of independent film. There will be snacks plus a few great short films. (Want to know what they are? Attend and find out for yourself!) Prescott Film Festival submissions for all filmmakers are open through April 15. Submissions for the High School Film Competition are open through May 19th. If you know of a high school student who’s a budding filmmaker, please urge them to submit. The High School Student Film Competition is a new part of the annual festival. The film fest is held on the campus of Yavapai College. One of the reasons it was created was to bring students onto a college campus in a fun, engaging, and positive environment. This exposure could open their minds to higher education, and may just encourage them to attend college themselves. Students are housed in the dorms and eat in the cafeteria, giving them the full campus experience. Arizona ranked 40th

  • Seeing red

    By Helen Stephenson EXT. YAVAPAI COLLEGE PERFORMING ARTS CENTER – NIGHT – ESTABLISHING SHOT The outside lights are on, and the trees twinkle with white lights. A red carpet has been rolled out and antique and classic cars surround the entrance. Men in tuxedos and women in high heels and sleek formal gowns start to arrive.  Photographers snap photos and videographers capture moments. Two friends, Dorothy, Caroline, walk up the red carpet. They are around 65-years-old, bubbly, excited, and having the time of their lives. There is an interviewer at the end of the red carpet. INTERVIEWER Good evening ladies! Are you ready for a great evening at the Academy Awards telecast? DOROTHY We are dressed to the nines and ready to win! INTERVIEWER (laughing) Win? Are you nominated in one of the categories? CAROLINE (laughing) Not an Oscar! Passes to the annual Prescott Film Festival! DOROTHY That’s right! We’ve watched almost every film that’s  been nominated, including all the nominated shorts! CAROLINE And don’t forget “Boyhood”! It had a HUGE Oscar buzz, so we saw that one, too! INTERVIEWER How did you ladies see all the Oscar-nominated short films? DOROTHY The film festival screened them in February! CAROLINE All three categories for the shorts: animated, live action, and documentary. INTERVIEWER So it sounds like you are both going to be prepared to fill out your ballots! DOROTHY Yep! And

  • That’s a wrap: Reflections and reflections on reflections

    By Helen Stephenson The fifth annual Fest broke attendance records and the buzz in the community was consistently positive — that Yavapai County now sees Prescott as a part of the fabric that makes us such a unique place to live. Some volunteers work as ushers and greeters and do occasional films. Others, like those in the programming department, work for six months every year. And some, like the hard-working board of directors, even work year round. The festival also enjoyed a new level of support from county businesses and foundations. From the James Family Trust, J. W. Kieckhefer Foundation, Margaret T. Morris Foundation and Great Lakes Airlines, to almost every hotel in the Prescott area, to restaurants like El Gato Azul, Bill’s Pizza, Murphy’s, and The Gurley Street Grill, there was an amazing show of support. All are appreciated. Without any of those components, there simply wouldn’t be a Prescott Film Festival. It really takes community support to shore up an all-volunteer organization like the film fest.   Onward and upward Moving forward, the festival is back with its monthly series. We are absolutely thrilled to present a very special film that’s been touching film lovers around the world, “Life Itself,” about the life of Robert Ebert. Acclaimed Steve James (“Hoop Dreams”) and executive producers Martin Scorsese (“The Departed”) and Steven Zaillian (“Moneyball”) present this beautiful documentary that recounts

  • Field trip: Sedona Film School fest

    By Helen Stephenson It’s May, and that means it’s time for the Sedona Film School at Yavapai College’s annual student film fest. Film students have been working long and hard this year honing their craft, absorbing information from faculty and staff, and preparing their thesis films. Students write, produce, direct, edit, and do the sound on their films, each with a unique vision. This is the time for them to find their individual voice and practice putting that on film. (Or, 1s and 0s, actually.) This year, thanks to the generosity of the Sedona International Film Festival, the event will be held at the Mary D. Fisher Theatre at 2030 W. State Route 89A, in Sedona. Ticket/pass prices vary and are listed on the Sedona International Film Festival website. The fun starts at 6 p.m. Friday, May 23 with the Opening Night Gala at the Sedona Rouge Hotel. Come in formal attire, full costume or just “dress your head” from your favorite, (or least favorite!) film. A day of film screens begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 24. All student films from this year’s graduates screen at least twice. Narrative films include the post-apocalyptic thriller “Walter” from Lindsay Thorton, “Dark Shadows,” a horror film from Daryan Burguan, “Key Frame,” a tense mystery from Shane Kennedy, “Alone,” a psychological thriller from Stephen Laughran, “The Scientist,” a sci-fi thriller from Sam Worseldine,

  • All the world’s a staging area

    By Helen Stephenson Ext. Sunrise Three filmmakers sit on a hillside overlooking the old Senator Drive-In.  The marquee says “Happy 50th Anniversary Margie! Remember when we used to make out here?” Kathleen is around 25, dressed a bit “retro” with a 1920s hat perched jauntily on her head and a script on her lap.  SAM is around 23, a “hippie-type” with tie-died t-shirt, holey jeans and sandals, a “Film Production” book at his side.  ANDY is 20, clean cut and sits military straight, conservative polo shirt and khakis but with red high-top tennis shoes.   KATHLEEN Did you hear what happened with Hanna’s short film?   ANDY The creepy one about the student and the teacher?   SAM (sitting up straight, an  imaginary newspaper between his hands,“reading”) You mean the one reviewers call “tantalizing,” “draining,” and “out of control?”   ANDY OK – what???   KATHLEEN It’s been picked up by HBO as a series.   ANDY (Slapping his forehead) I knew I should have shot my action flick about an aging martial arts master.  I could have gotten Jackie Chan to star. I just know it.   SAM Instead you shot a homage to Alfred Hitchcock’s shower scene in “Psycho.”   ANDY (Sighing happily and leaning back) Best production day ever.  The crew paid me just to be there.   Kathleen slugs him in the stomach.  He sits back

  • Seeing red & gold

    By Helen Stephenson From Groundhog Day to Presidents Day to International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day, February is crammed with special days. And, oh, there’s that other February holiday that people either love or hate. Yep, Valentine’s Day. If you’re in a fabulous relationship you float around all day smiling, deeper in love. If you’re single or in a rocky relationship … well, it may not be your favorite day of the year. It’s said that the roots of Valentine’s Day come from the martyr Valentinus. During the time of the Roman Empire, soldiers were forbidden to marry. But Valentinus went ahead and performed those ceremonies and, as an additional crime, also ministered to Christians. He was summarily executed and became a martyr. So, apparently, love and death are the themes of the day. Sounds about right. If suffering for love isn’t how you’d like to celebrate Valentine’s Day, the Prescott Film Festival has a unique offering this year: a dinner on Tuesday, Feb. 14 at the Yavapai College Performing Arts Center. Diners will enjoy live violin music from our own wandering minstrel, the talented Phoebe Agocs. After dinner, the fest presents an evening of romantic short films. There will be comedy about relationships, missed opportunities (that, in the end, could be a good thing), a hilarious film about dating, and even one with a martyr for those who want to

  • A directing duo known to me

    By Helen Stephenson Picture the old Doublemint commercial: “Two, two, two mints in one!” Not a gum person? Try Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups: “You got your peanut butter on my chocolate!” “You got your chocolate in my peanut butter!” OK. So, you love movies and you love books, right? What if you could squeeze both of them into the same project? Welcome to the creative world of filmmakers Stephanie Argy and Alec Boehm of Mental Slapstick Productions. They’ve embarked on a journey to create an 11-part serial adventure that uses both graphic novels and films to tell the story of Mahoney & Porter, a legendary detective agency circa 1895-1905. At 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6, at Peregrine Book Company, Argy and Boehm unveil the first film in the series, “A Person Known to Me.” They said it’s perfect to have the screening at a bookstore and both are scheduled to attend alongside two actors from the film, Peter and Kaya Wiant. The screening is free, but seating is limited. It’s first come, first seated. This is “one big story, like a serialized Dickens epic,” Argy said. “We’re asking people to follow the story back and forth from books to movies.” Best case scenario, that’s what’ll happen Friday. “We’ve been eager to have conversations with both readers and movie fans to find out ways to make the experience of going back

  • Choice films, choices

    By Helen Stephenson To wit, two completely different films screen in Prescott on Wednesday, Nov. 13. First, the award-winning documentary “People’s Park” screens at 7 p.m. at Prescott College. Director Libbie D. Cohn will be at there for a Q-and-A. Cohn paired with J.P. Sniadecki to create this 78-minute single-shot film made in a public park in Chengdu, China. The film is co-sponsored by the Ecosa Institute, Prescott College, and the Prescott Film Festival. There’s no admission fee, but donations are requested. In a quote from an article in the New York Times, Cohen said that the film was influenced by Chinese scroll paintings, particularly the Song Dynasty-era panorama “Along the River During the Qingming Festival.” From ancient China, we travel to the Yavapai College Performing Arts Center, where the college presents a Civil War symposium in honor of the sesquicentennial of the “Gettysburg Address.” The six-day event takes place at Yavapai College’s Prescott and Verde campuses. The college offers live music from the Civil War era by Bobby Horton, lectures by Yavapai College faculty ranging from “Infectious Disease During the American Civil War,” by biology professor Paul Evans,” to “Native Americans and the Civil War: Roles and Consequences,” by history professor Deborah Roberts, plus three films. The Gettysburg Symposium is a faculty endeavor organized on behalf of the Yavapai College Liberal Studies Department. Films are introduced by Deborah Roberts,

  • Symphonic voting, horror

    By Helen Stephenson Something absolutely terrifying is coming to the Prescott Film Festival in October. More on that in a moment. First: the Manhattan Short Film Festival. This is a unique event. At most film festivals, there are jury awards before the fest and then there are audience choice awards during the festival. The Manhattan Short Film Festival is different. It’s a worldwide festival held in the span of one week each year. The same films screen across the world for more than 100,000 people. That audience votes for the best short film. This year’s event received 628 entries representing 48 countries — a field narrowed to 10 finalists. The films selected come from the Australia, England, Finland, France, Ireland, and the USA. The Prescott Film Festival’s screening is 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 6, at the Yavapai College Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $8 or $5 for Yavapai College Employees and students from any school. And now, a local favorite. At 630 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 31, the festival is screening the classic silent horror film “Nosferatu.” (I can now spell and pronounce that title without hesitation. It only took six months.) As is traditional, Jonathan Best is playing live piano accompaniment to the film. And he doesn’t use the music created for the film. Instead, he improvises throughout the movie putting special flourishes into the piece really feeling the ebb

Celebrating art and science in Greater Prescott.

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