Battleship Potemkin is the dramatized telling of a Great Russian naval mutiny that turns into a police massacre wgen people create a street demonstration. This Russian directed film is a classic among cinema goers, one that Charlie Chaplin refers to as his favorite, that is known for its violent nature and exaggeration of war. It’s iconic shot of a baby in stroller rolling down a flight of stairs into the city where the police massacre is occurring. This shot has been played homage to in many films including the Kevin Costner movie The Untouchables.
The Great Train Robbery is the simplicity and poorly paced tale of train burglars robing said train. This is how this silent film would be reviewed in today’s market. But in actuality the Great Train Robbery was monumental and innovative for its time period. The Great Train Robbery or what I’ll refer to as TGTR, is one of the first lengthy motion pictures. Essentially every idea and aspect about it for its time was innovative, exciting and completely new for the American public. It’s about American as it gets, being about burglars and guns and to top it off they had the grand scale of a train! This film was the first to feature any movement with the camera, in this case being a slight pan. Subtle yet effective and innovative. While this camera move didn’t necessarily push the story forward, instead just showed the robbers going from the water tower to the train, what it did do was inspire a new generation of film makers to now attempt camera movements. We all know today camera moves can add extreme amounts of production value. By TGTR attempting this at such an early stage in cinema it allowed so much time for advancement with the camera move technique. TGTR also features the use in what we know today as Chroma Keying. Most average cinema-goers can recognize a green or blue screen, where a select actor or object is placed in front and the bold color is masked out to eventually be replaced with something else. This is common practice among major blockbuster films of today. It has opened the way for films like Marvels The Avengers and the Transformers Saga. This is all thanks to the masking done to the literal film in TGTR. Instead of actually riding a train behind the main set they just marked up the literal film where the windows would have been and then went back with the same film roll and filmed a train riding into station. These clips then merged to give you one of the iconic shots of TGTR. This practice today would be asinine because the process is much simpler. But without these innovative techniques we would have the same cinema that we know of today. And this is why The Great Train Robbery is considered a classic among modern American Cinema.
It Happened One Night is an iconic movie that inspired any films to come, especially comedies. IHON is often referred to as the first screwball comedy. This talkie featured iconic actors such as Clarke Gabel and Claudette Colbert, who also performed in Gone with the Wind and Since You Went Away, respectively. This alone is enough star power to draw an audience for its time period and to deem it as a classic in today’s cinema. The reason for the title of screwball comedy is because of its silly nature and antics that the main characters endure. While the plot line at its purest isn’t necessarily silly, the people that Clarke Gabel and Claudette Colbert’s characters run into are. Along with its star power, IHON, also was the first to win the Grand Slam at the Academy Awards. Those awards are Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor & Actress and Best Screenplay. Only two other films have completed this task. But even with those awards the feelings on set were not mutual. Reports say that both actors were skeptical of the film and did not enjoy creating. Particularly Claudette Colbert, who is on record for having difficulties with the young director Frank Cappra. Cappra maturely and professionally continued on with the creation of the film. Colbert then said on the filming’s wrap date that “I’ve just finished making the worst picture I’ve ever made.” (IMDB.com) Six actresses prior to Colbert turned down this film. Some other cool directorial aspects made by Cappra were the Walls of Jericho. Claudette Colbert refused to undress on camera so he restructured the script to incorporate this which blocked the view of Clarke Gabel’s character and the audience from seeing her change. These elements of star power, Oscar nominees and director elements are what make It Happened One Night a cinema classic.
Citizen Kane! Referred to as one of the greatest movies of all time. Most share this similar opinion and rightfully so, but I wanted to mention of the faults with Citizen Kane. By no means am I saying is this a bad movie, on the contrary, I believe this film may have inspired many filmmakers for the future. Citizen Kane starts out with great visuals of Charles Foster Kane’s home, followed by the plot point that drives the movie forward. We see and older, sicker Kane on his death bed when he utters his final word “Rosebud”. This final utterance is the driving force of the whole movie, where journalists and investigators attempt to figure out the significance in the said word or person, Rosebud. The issue for me right of the bat is who actually heard him say Rosebud. From the establishing shots of the scene there was no one in the room. Not only that but Director/Writer/Star Orson Welles made the directorial and decision to then show Kane’s nurse enter the room, just after his final utterance. He decided that the very next thing I the film would be to show someone else entering the room, for what appeared to be completely empty before. So my question is who heard Rosebud? As an average movie-goer I would simply be able to get past this fact and move on with the story and forget it but this simply isn’t the case when it comes to a future film maker breaking down what is deemed on of the greatest movies of all time. Orson Welles must have made a conscious decision why he wrote and directed that part into the film, which is essentially the driving force of the film.
Okay, so maybe I am being picky with this detail in the film and should just get passed it. Fine, but even if I get passed that there is a structural issue with the inciting incident in the film. The action takes places within the first minutes of the film. And to abide by Three Act Structure this shouldn’t be the case, it would have to appear around the 20-25 minute mark. The points aside, Citizen Kane is still the classic film that its reputation makes it out to be. Other than breaking boundaries for its time of release by casting most unknown actors, it flourished in cinematic aspects and techniques too. Its cinematography was fantastic in my opinion, not only for its time of release but even in to today’s standards too. It managed to capture light within its scenes flawlessly. The scene that got me was one of the first ones in the entire movie where the journalists were sitting in the theater watching tape on Kane. The light poured in from the projector room above and was complemented by the smoke from their cigarettes. Another cool aspect was within story structure where the audience finds out their main character dies in the beginning of the film. Lastly they pioneered the non-linear story from which it appears that they were one of the first to tell a story out of order. These elements are just some of the many that make Citizen Kane the classic that it is considered today.
I hope everyone has enjoyed (Un)wanted Interviews. While there will be a little hiatus period, don’t be alarmed, we are just in the process of gaining new equipment. We should be back soon and better than ever.
I’ve learned that this was a great medium to meet new people and connect with other independent filmmakers, and most importantly have the audience connect too. The purpose of (Un)wanted Interviews is to have our audience connect with our interviewees and hopefully take something away to help further their respective careers.
Here’s a look back at (Un)wanted Interviews and the future only looks brighter.
(Un)wanted Interviews are powered by Equinox Cinema
In the world of indie filmmaking, the passion is drawn for the love of film but the dedication and resources are drawn from the heart. Independent, or indie, filmmaking is an art form that is created by independents themselves, without assistance from major market corporations.
In most cases independent filmmakers create content for sheer love of the art form, sometimes in hopes to be noticed by companies to potentially be hired by. In the process, these individuals also take on other responsibilities like work, financial, school, and family all while keeping their film dreams alive. Many can make a living off of working within the film industry but for those who have other commitments how do they prosper?
A southern New Jersey native, Robert Kwasniak, says “I’ve been dedicating every last bit of energy I have into this career”. This self-proclaimed editor and indie filmmaker sat down with us to discuss this very topic of how hard or easy is it to be an indie filmmaker with other commitments? He currently is enrolled into school and still loves to find time to create short films.
Kwasniak believes that “you’re going to see failures” when talking about indie filmmaking. He goes on to say how it’s natural and that there will be a lot of “setbacks” and hard work before one can finally proclaim that “it was worth it”.
Kwasniak’s film partner Phil Long, who was already featured on (Un)wanted Interviews, believes the indie filmmaking process can be a strenuous reward. “It is hard to balance school work… along with being social and being an indie filmmaker”. He and his crew at Equinox Cinema keep producing content while balancing other commitments because “[they] don’t want to juggle just one”.
For Phil, filmmaking is very personal because, he told me that, from a young age he felt it gave him purpose. But believes it comes down to the choices that you make as a filmmaker. “The more content you make, and the more people you meet, and the more stories you tell, the better you will get”.
While this question could be answered in many shapes and forms by different independents, Robert and Phil gave the best response, in this situation, because it was their own responses. That’s the beauty about the art of filmmaking; everyone is right and wrong in their own way. Subjective and objective are relevant terms, but are thrown out the window when it comes to creativity.
Any artist, within any medium is allowed to express their creativity in anyway. What stunts those possibilities is other financial, mental or other physical commitments that have to be attended to. The community of filmmakers and other artists are very accepting and almost always willing to help peers. While it may be scary to think what the future holds it has to be slightly satisfying to know that others are there for you, just like you’d be there for them.
(Un)wanted Interviews are powered by Equinox Cinema
Ed Wasser | Actor | Philadelphia, PA
Ed Wasser is an actor from the Philadelphia Pennsylvania. He works in all types of media from short films to features to theater.
On set, in a Philadelphia Library, for the short film “Momentous”, Ed is prepping for his role as a unfaithful married man.
He is currently enrolled in a Philadelphia branch acting school where he creates connections with other actors, also associated with “Momentous”.
Julie Stackhouse | Actor/Producer/Director | Philadelphia, PA
Julie Stackhouse is a Philadelphia born actress who is the lead in the short film “Momentous”. The film script was revised by her and a few fellow writers.
Playing the main character Maggie, she portrays the confused character who connects with other film characters through a library book.
She also is an alum from a film school in Philadelphia that’s has graduate names such as James Franco and Jeff Goldbloom.
Kirill Keslev | Writer/Director | Philadelphia, PA
Kirill, who goes by the nicknamed K, directs the same short film “Momentous”. He also co-wrote the film with Julie Stackhouse and Italian writer Vincenzo Stagliano.
He is currently working on a handful of other films at the same time as Momentous.