Category Archives: Filmmaking

Extended stay

I changed my flight home.  It was supposed to be the 27th and now it is the 31st.  I’m going to get in to Toronto at 10pm.  I will probably miss New Years.  But that is ok.

Christmas was weird.  My nephew was with us and was atrocious.  He had a cold and bitched and moaned about everything.  All his presents were boring and he wanted a million presents and he hated everything including us. I really reconfimed my desire to remain childless.

Also it was our first Christmas without Grandma.  So that was kind of sad.

My so called best friend and I had a fight over text a couple days before Christmas.  She was so cold and selfish and making everything about her and acting like her grief was more important than mine and I just wanted to see her.  Anyway, I got fed up with her shit and unfriended her on facebook.  She was never a good friend anyway.  All she did when we hung out together was tell me about all these men from POF she’s been having sex with.  She’s such a fucker. SO SELFISH! And no compassion.

I am getting excited about school again.  I’ve solved my script problem of needing a more impressive ending. And I’m kind of glad I am working on something more commercial, because even though I’m some kind of video artist, I ALSO want to get into the Industry. I’m glad I didn’t go to another art school for my masters.

Mom and I went to see Into The Woods on Christmas Day.  Turns out the movies are packed on Christmas!  I was entertained. Boxing Day my Auntie Lori and I went to see The Imitation Game.  That was also good, almost made me cry!


While they were trying to crack the Enigma code, they realized they needed to figure out a few constant words being used in the messages.  As it happened, the weather report always ended with “Heil Hitler” so they just had to put that in and Turing’s machine would crack the code everyday! It’s kind of funny to think that Nazi’s saying that phrase would cost them the war.


It’s funny, I really like being a filmmaker. My Grad advisor tells me to go watch movies for inspiration, even bad ones. Which is fun. I’m totally fascinated by films.

My ex-friend used to try and get me to complain about being single with her.  But actually, I don’t really care anymore. I mean love is fun and all, but god, it’s fine being on my own.  I still have orgasms and stuff.  And anyway, I’ve always been more interested in my career.  It’s way more fun and doesn’t let me down. I’m happier just hanging out at home writing, snuggling the dogs, watching shows on Netflix. With the occasional trip to a film festival. Or opening. Or whatever. Being single doesn’t feel like falling into a void or anything.  I don’t feel like I am Less-Than or anything.

I’m excited about the future. I’m not sure what is gonna happen, but I think good things might happen. There is still moving into the co-op, whenever an apartment comes available. And my next contracts/jobs. I’m taking Audio Post Production and Sound Design next semester, so maybe I could get a job doing that. We will see!

It would be nice to sell a script for a million dollars or something too.

Anyway, tomorrow we are going to the casino and then Night at the Museum!  So I should head to bed!



Snowed In

I might be able to go to work at noon, but I will probably stay home and try to shovel us out. So far I shoveled out the back so that the dogs can go out and poop, because they were starting to poop in the porch. The front steps need to be shoveled out and the side door, but I’m not sure if we will be able to open the doors. My cute friend is in BC where there were also blizzards, so I hope she’s okay. I wrote a dramatic email to her saying we could have died. One fun thing I got to do is put the wiener dog in his fleece winter coat, because it is minus 31 degrees.

I have some work to do on my video, but I can’t be creative all the time so I’m going to take breaks to play Katamari and watch Birth with Nicole Kidman. I’m curious about it and I much prefer when she does serious work. She was great in The Others. Dogville was amazing, although intense, but the ending kicked serious ass and made up for the 3 previous hours. I hope Lars Von Trier is out of his abused victimized women thing. He fucked Bjork up while shooting Dancer In The Dark to the point where she says she will never act again, even though she was amazing. I’m glad he kept to Dogma, but I still think Thomas Vintenberg’s Celebration was the best Dogma film made. It was so intense.

If you haven’t seen The Celebration, it’s about a father’s birthday party and his grown son who takes the occasion to confront his father about sexually abusing him and his sister who recently committed suicide. In front of the entire family. And it’s really amazing to watch how they react, because it shows the dynamics of disclosure in families but compressed into 24 hours. I highly recommend it.

I think shooting with a small crew gets some really emotional stuff out of actors that is harder to find when there are twenty people standing around, especially since often they draw from their own life experience to act and can be REALLY vulnerable. I don’t think I ever want to work with a large crew. Kubrick used small crews. So do a lot of the dogma folks. I think there’s more trust between the director and the actors when there isn’t someone having to run around screaming at cast and crew. In fact, film sets are abusive, and I think the way they run counteracts any feelings of comraderie or safety or trust among everyone. If people acted the way they do on film sets in any other employment sector, they would be fired immediately.

I’m also lucky in that a friend I used to work with on shoots is now becoming a DOP, which is cool because she knows my style and if you don’t get along with your DOP then you can’t get the kind of shots you want.

Once another friend was location scouting in a haunted convent and we were looking at her digital photos when suddenly she screamed “There’s a face!” Sure enough, there was a clearly defined face looking right into the camera, yet somewhat, well, it wasn’t solid that’s for sure. It was just disembodied and floating. We were trying to figure out what caused it but we still don’t have a good reason for it being there. If it really is a ghost it’s probably the clearest image of a spirit which I have ever seen.

When my contract on this research job runs out I’m hoping to get an editing gig on Wapos Bay, a stop motion Aboriginal children’s show shot here in Saskatoon. My friend Diana makes the heads for it. The only job I would want in the Industry would be editing. It’s ridiculously fun, although I can see how it would drive some people spare. Especially when you spend five minutes assessing the exact frame which you want to cut at, and when you have to watch the entire thing over and over to be sure it works, and make copious notes about various shots. But I like that for the most part it only involves you and the director, and even though things get stressed when the deadline nears, it’s still better than desperate crew members trying to get a shot before the light is gone. My first job ever was as a production assistant, but fourteen to fifteen hour days wipes me out, can’t do it. Especially now that I have health issues that require good sleep patterns.

I should go do some work now. Or play. I am not sure.

The Canadian Film & Television Industry and why it sucks to be me sometimes

Little Mosque on The Prairie is starting tonight and I’m totally stoked. I saw Zarqa Nawaz’s short BBQ Muslims years ago and laughed my ass off, so I’m looking forward to a good non-white comedy series. If you haven’t seen BBQ Muslims you’re missing out, it’s an awesome short. You can find it at the Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre (CFMDC). And she lives just two and a half hours away from me in sunny Regina. I hear CBC picked it up, which is good because they’ve had a terrible streak of picking up dumb programs, discounting smart programs, and cancelling programming just when it’s hitting it’s stride in audience numbers. CBC was originally approached with Corner Gas and turned it down, because who would want to watch a comedy about a small Saskatchewan town? Ha ha. Not only that, but a friend of mine told me about trying to get a producer she worked for to pick it up, but he didn’t think it would fly. Not only THAT, but some Saskatchewan Film Commissioner advised people to stay away from it because it was doomed to failure. Whoever did give it backing and produced it must be happy as a pig in poop.

Which basically sums up the problem with the film industry. People make really conservative choices and except for some notable producers and having someone intelligent back you up, some really great stuff gets shoved aside for some dreck like Men With Brooms. Canada has some amazing directors and screenwriters, which is why it’s sad to see a lot of them walk around with amazing screenplays and no one willing to stick their neck out to fund it. Even Atanarjuat, which won the Camera D’Or at Cannes, was denied funding from Telefilm for a long time because it wasn’t in either of the official languages. Who would want to watch a movie all in an Inuit language? They don’t take chances. A friend told me Telefilm wouldn’t fund his feature until he got Michael Enwright to say he was a genius.

I was trying to figure out why the film and television industry was so white washed, so written from the point of view of privelege, until I screened at an Industry festival. I mean uber Industry, like some guy running through the bar loudly yelling “I’m waiting for a call from Spielberg” kind of Industry. My friend was there and we were just flabbergasted, so many straight white people with so much money and so little to say. I felt soooo out of place, raggedy poor halfbreed butch, it was weird. But I did understand why t.v. and film is so often about upper class able bodied straight white people.

The other sad thing about Canadian film is that as a culture we just don’t support it properly. We have crap venues and our theatres have no obligation to meet any kind of Cancon regulations. We’re marginalized in our own country! If theatres had to show at least fifteen to twenty percent Canadian films, our culture and film industry would be a lot stronger. But since theatres are privately owned, you can’t impose governmental rules on them. And it’s not that hard to meet Cancon regulations. Even when I worked at the co-op radio station there were so many Canadian artists that playing the allotted percentage was not at all difficult. Something definently has to change there.

I’m mailing off my application to the Canadian Film Centre for the Feature Film Project today. It’s an interesting program but I’m not sure if I’ll get in. Who knows? Basically they put you through three months of development, including piecing together an appropriate budget and doing readings and rewrites of the script. Then if you’ve satisfied them and they think it’s a good project and ready to go, they financially support the production and post with $250 000 to $500 000. In terms of feature film, it’s not a lot of money, but it also gives you some interesting restrictions that make it easier to learn how to direct a full length feature. No Busby Berkely numbers here. But directing more intimate scenes teaches you more than having a bunch of CGI dinosaurs storm through a boreal forest. If I don’t get in I’ll be on the hunt for a producer and funding, sooo, we’ll see. It will get made somehow. The cool thing about the application is that it allows for people to self identify as both male and female.

Oh yes, and I did find my support material for it, although I had to substitute Anhedonia for Through the Looking Glass. Which actually makes sense considering Anhedonia is more of a drama, albeit experimental, and I’m applying to do a drama. Maybe two samples that are comedies would confuse the jury. What I did realize, again, is that I have a crap system for tapes of my work. Everything is on Beta or ye old timey 3/4,” which means I have to go to a professional dubbing place and get new dubs for everything possible, even work I’m not so into anymore. And I have to get my shit together and make my DVD compilation of my work, because I want to start selling the complete collection to universities so I can make much more money. And it would be a steal of a deal, because I would only charge 800 – 1000 bucks for it (institutional sales are usually 250 – 300 bucks for one short). I don’t know if anyone has that much allotted for acquistions to pay for only one artist, but who knows? At least I would have some DVD’s to take with me to artist talks or retrospectives. And goddammit, I am super in need of having a large supply of support material, especially since I want to try and get to the point of being a full time filmmaker. Meeting a deadline and then realizing you don’t have tapes sucks.

Get thee hence to the Straight Path

There’s some new anti-homo Christian propaganda out with the charming title “It’s Not Gay.” It shows former gays talking about the men living the the twilight world, and the unsavory side of homosexual life that gets sanitized from the press. I should be angry, but I find it pathetic, and I feel sorry for the x-gays losing the chance to have fulfilling sex by easing on down the Straight and Narrow. But I admit, I had to crack up at this review:

“This is the a very good video. I ordered this and my son had a girl friend the next day. I couldn’t believe it. I love the part in the movie of the former gays. I wonder if they are still on the straight path?”

I wish I had a girlfriend tomorrow. Boyfriends are too easy to get, they’re not a challenge at all. It’s like the difference of getting into grad school compared to getting into community college. It’s late, my metaphors are falling apart.

I’m applying to the Toronto thing tomorrow, I was really good about it. The last time I was applying and missed the deadline I was hole punching in a frantic and running around shrieking. This time I just had to print stuff out and fill out the form again. However, I did hit a snag when I went to package it all up. My support material walked away. Two unassuming VHS tapes just decided to bugger off. I’ve been tripping over them since October, but now that I’m ready to actually use them, they’re awol. Support material isn’t supposed to do that to me. Support material is supposed to listen to my needs!

Anyway, I still need to get this in Xpress post tomorrow at lunch, but it’s late and I’m giving up the hunt until the morning when they will be in their places with sunshiny faces.

My tattoos are at the itchy part, aaaaahhhh! I keep scratching them without meaning to. Most of the scabby has already fallen off, it’s just those last bits that are just hanging on, I can see a couple places that might need touch ups, but they look pretty good. I can’t see my neck one very well though.

Digital Blehs of the Afternoon

Editing is my favorite part of making films and videos. I even like old school editing with actual strips of 16mm workprint, and destructive linear 3//4″ to 3/4″ editing. But for most of my career we’ve had fancy computer editing programs. I remember when they first came out video art went through an awkward phase of computer editing overload. Every effect possible was used, to the point where a serious look at race or class could be upstaged by a constant fly in transition to another interview subject. I mostly avoided that phase, primarily because I was broke and taking advantage of the fact that the last few linear editing suites were dirt cheap. Generation loss be damned, I was making a 5 minute video for roughly $80.

But I really do like the way editing has changed with technology. When the technology works it’s a pretty intuitive process. There’s a lot more freedom. People compare it to the leap between typewriters and word processors.

That being said, ten hours of editing inevitably involves two hours of troubleshooting and two hours of rendering. If you’re really good it might be a smaller ratio, but you will always always have to spend some of your time tinkering around with settings and so forth. If you want a predictable workhorse, old school editing is where it’s at.

But I kind of like the inevitable problems. It’s like a puzzle.

Unless you have a deadline in four hours and are beginning to suspect a process circle is just an “ahhhh! I don’t know what to do with the program!” circle.

I’m transcoding some video, and when I read the manual for the program I’m using it said something along the lines of “Don’t be surprised for this process to take a day or more depending on your computer.”

It’s like rendering.

Rendering takes a really really really long time. Or it used to, I don’t know if it’s better now. I used to set my video to render and then walk away for an hour and drink coffee and smoke with my film school pals, and the ever suffering intermedia students.

Intermedia students had the shittiest program at Emily Carr. It was a grand idea, but since they never had priority for various media classes they ended up not being able to learn a lot of things, like 16mm film. I remember an ex-girlfriend of mine used to try to compensate for being in crap Intermedia by signing in for twice the allowed number of editing hours by using the name Maya Deren.

She was nervy, that’s for sure. She did it for two years before anyone noticed. How an art school can overlook Maya Deren using the editing suites is beyond me. You practically get assaulted with a print of Meshes of the Afternoon as soon as you walk into the film department. The second film print they whack you with is Un Chien Andalou, which has some creepy misogyny in it and I still get grossed out with the razor and the eye scene.

My friend Elaine and I were having a beer once and talking about film and she said “I know we’re supposed to like Peter Greenaway and oh, he’s so amazing blah blah blah, but he is FUCKED UP about women, it is so creepy! Why do we have to like this guy?” I love Elaine.

It has been two hours and only seven minutes of video have been rendered.

Well, I think I’m nearing the end of this video process, so I should go do other computery things to it. Here’s scenes from Meshes of The Afternoon and other Maya Deren clips set to Aphex Twin care of YouTube.

More “Fuck You” to Mel Gibson’s rampant racism

I got this in my email from the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective, and I thought I would post it here. I read another really good article on Apocalypto from a Mayan Scholar, but I don’t remember where it is. If I find it I’ll link it.


(This first commentary is written by Prof. Gerardo Aldana of UCSB. He is a Maya specialist and a good Mexica brother. The second, below, is from Indian Country Today.)

Having viewed a screening of *Apocalypto *at UCSB on December 3rd, I walked away recognizing three main points within Mel Gibson’s movie. This first colors the entire story, seemingly as a kind of guiding moral: “the good Indian is the savage one in the forest.” There is absolutely nothing appealing about Maya city-life in this movie—no indication that Maya urban centers flourished in the region for hundreds of years. Instead, religious figures are depicted as fraudulent or heavily drugged; political figures are fat and passive (both of these characterizations having been lifted straight from *The Road to El Dorado*); and everyone else seems to be living a nightmare of hard labor, servitude, famine, and/or disease. The “Maya” living in the forest village, on the other hand, are fantasized animations of National Geographic
photos of Amazonian tribes. These “hidden” Indians provide the audience the only possibility for sympathy—and this perhaps restricted to puerile humor or one family’s role as (surprise!) the underdog. For Gibson, it appears, the “noble savage” remains a valid ideal.

Second, for having a completely clean slate upon which to write, the story is pathetically unoriginal. From his decidedly Western constructions of masculinity, gender, and sexuality, to the use of a baseball move in a critical hand-to-hand combat scene, to lifting an escape scene from Harrison Ford’s character in *The Fugitive*, one gets the sense that all of his creative energy was invested in discovering ways to depict (previously) unimaginable gore. In fact, I would be ready to write off the entire movie as nothing more than a continuation of Gibson’s hyper-violent mental masturbation, except for the real-world implications.

This leads me to the third point, and the real crime, which is Gibson’s interpretive shift in his representation of horrific behaviors. Specifically, four of five
viscerally repugnant cultural practices that are here attributed to Maya culture are actually “borrowed” from the West. The raid on the protagonist’s village constitutes the first interpretive shift viewed by the audience.

The brutality and method of this raid directly replicate the documented activities of
representatives of the British Rubber Company in the Amazon Basin during the
late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In the Amazon case, those perpetuating
the human rights violations were European or European-descendents against indigenous
communities; the raiding of villages for human sacrifice is undocumented for Maya cultures.

Next, the slave market depicted in the city constitutes a mirror image of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade in the pre-Civil War United States. In that case, the “sellers” of African slaves were Europeans or European-Americans, dehumanizing Other peoples by treating them as commodities. While slavery is documented for Maya cultures (and Greek, and Roman, etc.), there is nothing that attests to their having been bought and/or sold in public market contexts.

A third objectionable attribution is that of decapitated human heads placed on stakes within the city center. Documented examples of this practice come from Cortes’s entrada into Central Mexico committed by Spanish conquistadors against their
indigenous “enemies.”

Depictions of “skull racks” do exist, but there is no evidence that these
resulted from mass murder or even that they still had flesh on them when they were hung. Finally, the escape portal for the protagonist—the releasing of captives to run toward freedom while being shot at—is straight from ancient Rome (or at least Hollywood’s depictions of Roman coliseum “sports”) and finds no corroboration in records concerning Maya peoples.

Heart sacrifice is the only practice that scholars have “read” from ancient Maya cultural remains—although the scale and performance is Gibson’s fantasy alone.
The attribution of heart sacrifice to the Maya is largely anchored to Spanish accounts of Aztec practices, which raises two additional issues: *i) *Mathew Restall’s recent *Seven Myths of the Spanish Conquest *gives a good overview of how unreliable Spanish accounts may be; and *ii) *Mel Gibson clearly could not have substituted the Aztec capital for his “Maya” city given the same Spanish accounts of it (e.g. Bernal Diaz del Castillo on approaching Tenochtitlan: “With such wonderful
sights to gaze on we did not know what to say, or if this was real that we saw before our eyes. On the land side there were great cities, and on the lake many more…”)

In any event, these perversions of the historical record appear to be Gibson’s alone and cause me to wonder if they reflect an agenda. Whether he meant to claim that
all cultures have been as grotesquely violent or inhumane as the West (and so in some
twisted way, making such behavior “ok”), or if there is a more nefarious attempt at disparaging Mesoamerican cultures in some sort of justification of their “conquest” (implied by the pristine representation of the Spaniards)—this is a question Gibson alone can answer.

Whatever his response, my assessment is that—apart from its “artistic” license—because it takes the worst of the West and “reads” it into one or two days of
“Maya” civilization, this movie comprises an extreme disservice to Maya (and Mesoamerican)cultures past and present, and to indigenous people of the Western Hemisphere. The case is so extreme, I wonder if it might constitute a legally actionable hate crime against Maya people. At the very least, though,with this movie, Gibson has performed a tremendous disservice to scholars who aim at accurate
representations of the past, and to the audiences who will have their perspectives of Maya culture tainted by the agenda of one man with too much money.

Prof. Gerardo Aldana y V

University of California, Santa Barbara


*Dowell: ‘Apocalypto’ is upon us*
Indian Country Today December 08, 2006. *All Rights Reserved* Mel
”Apocalypto,” a movie about human sacrifice among the ancient Maya, premiered Dec. 1 at Chickasaw Nation’s Riverwind Casino amidst Hollywood-style hoopla. Oklahoma Indian actors have been wooed by director Mel Gibson and are about to make a big splash on the big screen with the potential for even bigger and better roles for Natives in film. I understand Gibson’s claim that the movie is about a society’s
excesses and the costs of war (the movie has been billed as an anti-war film). I can
stand with him on those aspects. But what message is ”Apocalypto” really sending about the Native peoples of Mexico and Central America? This is but one thing we Indian people in the North must consider and question before we jump on Gibson’s bandwagon.

I have been to Central America. I have visited the Maya in their homes where
I saw mountains of beautiful fruits and vegetables being grown, not for Mayan consumption, but for export, most likely to the United States. The Maya could not eat those fruits of their labor. They cannot afford to. In the village I visited, the Maya shared a communal kitchen where most days the women cooked meals of beans and tortillas because that is what the family’s hard labor in the fields afford them.

I heard the cries of women whose husbands had been ”disappeared” and murdered by government troops or by paramilitaries. In Guatemala they are struggling to recover after almost 40 years of civil war incited by the 1954 CIA overthrow of a democratic government, subsequently wiping from the face of the earth 140 Mayan villages. The Maya fled to bordering countries and some were held in death camps for removal, much like our own ancestors’ Trails of Tears. This is contemporary history.

The extreme, impoverished lives most Mayans live are not due to the ”excesses of their ancestors,” as stated in a recent ”20/20” special on ABC. It is due rather to the institutionalized racism of the church, military and government, which could not recognize our own Indian ancestors as human, justifying their wholesale slaughter, Christian conversion via boarding schools and the taking of our lands.

Before we rush to pat Gibson on the back we should understand that the same religious, government, military and corporate institutions that systematically conspired to take our lands and destroy our culture here in the North also had a hand in the demise of the ancient and contemporary Maya people. When the Spaniards invaded Central America in the 16th century, ancient Maya texts were burned so that the people would forget their history and a new history, more palatable to Europeans, could replace it.

Because my community work gives me the opportunity to occasionally network with indigenous peoples from below the U.S.-imposed border with Mexico, I am aware that some Maya people are not happy with this film. This pretty much answers the question why Gibson chose to hire North American Indians, making it necessary to teach them a Mayan language. If the film was welcomed by the Maya, he could have hired Maya people, since the film was made in their territories.

How will a film, which depicts the Maya as bloodthirsty primitives, impact their work, their lives, their image and our perception of them? What impacts will that portrayal have on the people in power who have an obligation to make policy for the Maya in Mexico or Guatemala, or elsewhere in Central America, where most policy is implemented at the business end of a gun?

Because we have a genetic, cultural and historical relationship with all the peoples of Turtle Island, we have an obligation to view this film with discerning eyes and a critical mind. The movie opened nationally on Dec. 8. We can use this as an opportunity for raising consciousness and educating about our commonalities with the indigenous peoples from below the border.

For instance, do you know that in some of those countries indigenous peoples
comprise 40 percent to 80 percent of the population? In the case of the Maya, a lot, if not most, speak Maya as their first language. The women still dress in the traditional huipil. In Chiapas, where the Maya communities are occupied by the Mexican government (with aid from the United States), a large part of the region’s resources are sucked out from under the Mayas’ feet to generate electrical power for the rest of the country while the Chiapas Maya live without running water or electricity.

We should remember that some of the brown people coming across the lower border as ”illegals” are probably Maya, or descendants of other Native nations. To justify atrocities against Native peoples (and to manipulate the citizenry into looking the other way), the elite have historically sought ways to portray us as less than human.

Let’s make this an opportunity to learn more about contemporary Mayan struggles as well as the current struggles of Indian communities throughout the Americas. They are among the thousands of indigenous peoples who are going to the international community to seek redress for their grievances.

As we watch this new movie, we are obligated to do so with an informed mind. Our history is the Mayan history.

*J.K. Dowell, Quapaw/Cherokee, is founder and director of the Eagle and
Condor Indigenous Peoples’ Alliance and lives in Tahlequah, Okla.*

Please visit the Indian Country Today
website for more articles related to
this topic.

I’m always baffled when people are still surprised that Maya people still exist. I have a friend who’s Mayan and he saw his family murdered by a US sponsored totalitarian government. People like to think of Indigenous people as living way back in the past, out of sight, out of mind. Maybe Gibson was hoping he could be racist again by singling out a group he thought was extinct. By the way, there are also still Beothuks out there.

I’m also embarrassed that the lead role was played by a Cree actor. I know it’s really amazing to get a major role if you’re aboriginal, but still, it’s important to be ethical in your choices. I would say it’s amazing to be well paid for a film role and be aboriginal, but Mel was very proud of the fact that he could pay First Nations actors less than the going wage. Either way, ethics people. I’m reminded of when Gordon Tootoosis turned down that Jackie Chan movie because it was racist, another Aboriginal actor took it on and has been getting flak from the community ever since, and rightly so. Aboriginal actors should unite somehow in boycotting roles or films which promote racist attitudes towards our people, or anyone really. Let Mel Gibson direct a bunch of white folks in red face. Why should we be puppets to valorize colonization?

Aboriginals in the film industry get fucked over all the time. I know because I’m in there!! I could go off on the Industry’s treatment of brown people, but I won’t in this post. All I’ll say is it’s sad to hear an Aboriginal actor get excited because he finally has a role where he doesn’t have to ride a horse.

Straight people Parties

Eeeenh! I ended up at a straight person party last night, I mean UBER straight, as in a flood of spritzheads came tumbling out of a clown car and then chattered very loudly for a very long time about nothingness. I’m not sure how straight people do it, but they can have like, a two hour conversation about NOTHING! What the hell? It’s kind of amazing to watch, if dreadfully boring.

I have a new favorite film magazine. It used to be Filmmaker, which is a really good magazine, but with a specific way of looking at film, more of a how was it made, why did you write it this way kind of approach. I used to get a magazine from Kodak that was quite excellent in it’s own funny way. It was like “Oooh, House of Flying Daggers was shot with a 55mm lens and on 800T film,” kind of thing. Which is good in it’s own way, if you’re shopping around for the perfect speed of film to get a certain look. Actually I should get Kodak to send me that again. And then I was into Res, because it was more about digital film and video culture and a bit hipper, and the layout was spectacular, but it only comes out four times a year. Creative Screenwriting is okay. But CineAction, that is my new favorite. It’s not all “this is a 400 speed film” or “he wrote the entire script sitting on the toilet” or anything, it’s actually a critical look at films. This issue analyzes V for Vendetta, examines the work of Michael Moore, and links pedophile hysteria with a Post 9/11 world as seen in Palindromes.

We got my dog a shock collar for his barking, but it’s not working, I think it’s not on properly.

I also recently got a double issue of Social Text composed of queer theory essays including the amazing Judith Halberstam writing about White Masculine Gay Male Shame. I love Judith Halberstam. I used to have Female Masculinity and it was my favorite book about being butch, but my mom’s cat peed on it and no one can save it now. So in the garbage it went while I cried and cried.

Sometimes when I’m around very young people I feel like a pervert with a corrupting influence. I don’t know why. Maybe because they are young straight vanilla people and I am very much not.

I bought out the lesbian vampire erotica at McNally Robinson. I’m surprised there’s actually a decent queer section in Saskatoon. When I was a teenager I had to get the bookstores to order in all my lesbian erotica. And a book with me in there is on the shelves. Even a picture!

I got a nice artist fee from being part of a DVD collection of video art by women which is being marketed to universities. Which is why I could afford the freakin’ EXPENSIVE E bra.

Oh man, I’m trying to watch Party Monster, but jesus christ it annoys me. I haven’t been this annoyed with a film since the last time my deadbeat cousin crashed our livingroom and spent 72 hours watching every boy film on the movie channels. I nearly hit him in the head with a remote control and whacked him around with a broom. Male entitlement pisses me off. Anyway, I’m going to start watching Art School Confidential instead, Party Monster may remain forever unwatched.

Beheading Holofernes

I didn’t get into Berlin. Bah! I’m applying to Outfest next, who actually likes me, but I’m not sure if they will take me. The deadline is at the end of January. Toronto’s deadline is in the middle of January. And I need a grant soon to work on something, but I don’t want a bunch of money to make a short. I know, maybe that is bad. But maybe I also just want to keep writing.

I do have an idea for a story that is REALLY dark, creepy, and terribly violent, with the climactic scene referencing Judith Beheading Holofernes by Artemesia Gentileschi. There’s also a scene where a woman comes screaming out of the bushes with a knife in her head. People are going to think I’m seriously fucked. It’s a take on missing/murdered Aboriginal women, but with an I Spit On Your Grave approach to it. Hence the Gentileschi reference. No cutesy funny Thirza, I’m sorry, it will happen again someday. If this doesn’t creep you out, the film I want to do after this WILL end up giving you nightmares.

Anyway, for those who haven’t seen Judith Beheading Holofernes, here it is:

There are some who say this painting was created to deal with Artemesia’s rape by Tassi, who offered to marry her so that she would not have a damaged reputation or be considered damaged goods. When she charged him with rape she was tortured to make sure she was telling the truth. Tassi was a serial rapist and had also raped his sister. Oh, go google it, it’s an interesting story. Anyway, he was found guilty but got a slap on the wrist. Some things never change. Artemesia went on to have a running theme in her work of rape as seen from a female perspective. Of course this was all buggered up in a film made about her where Tassi is her passionate lover who mentors her in painting. That’s fucked up, ugh, I could go on and on about the sickness of a filmmaker who would glorify and romantize rape even admist copious evidence of Artemesia’s thoughts on Tassi. ANYWAY, as you can see, she painted Judith being totally unafraid and determined to behead Holofernes, which was a far cry from other Judith paintings where she turns her head away to avoid seeing the horrors of being an assassin. And this is a good example of why therapy as art is relevant.

This was probably my favorite painting in Art History. If it’s not Baroque, don’t fix it. Oh never mind, that’s a terrible joke.

I don’t know if it will get funded. Native women beheading a white man on screen might push too many people’s buttons, even though Native women are killed on screen all the time. It would be such an excellent image though. So yeah, I want to write that story while I wait for funding on my other film’s production to come through. I would apply to the Canada Council for production funds, but sadly 60 000 is not nearly enough. A screenwriting grant on the other hand would give me a year to write this next script. A year of writing, what a dream!

That’s not love! That’s Stockholm Syndrome!

I wanted a really cool blog to go along with this title, but then I started writing a tired ex girlfriend tirade again and felt dumb so I laid it to rest. But I still like the title. It can stand really well on it’s own. And I think everyone can understand the experience of confusing the Stockholm Syndrome with love.

I felt like a dork today. I’ve been searching for a song from the Shortbus soundtrack for the last two days on Gnutella only to find out I’ve had the damn song this whole time. It’s not like I have THAT many songs, only 1455. And I used to have 80 cds but I have no idea what happened to them.

A deadline I missed in October is coming up again already this January, so I’m hoping to have my shit together. At least the screenplay looks sort of normal now. It has more of a flow and dramatic tension and character development. Actually that’s not true, one character is still pathetically 2 dimensional. He’s practically a prop. I’m considering killing him off. I don’t know what to do with him. I think I fucked myself over by trying to put an ensemble of queer identities all together in an intimate drama. And then I further fucked myself over by pressuring myself to do something stupid like present only “positive representations.”

Positive representations. It’s what organizations like GLAAD are all about. It’s some LA femme getting snarky and bashing bulldaggers as negative stereotypes. It’s what gave us a medley of L Word characters who look the same. It’s what makes queers whisper to each other “Actually I really liked Cruising.”

Pacino and Poppers – Good Times Combination

It’s what leads to obnoxious lesbians in Michigan chasing away girls in leather and transgendered women. Fuck positive representation. I know we have a miniscule number of queer characters/movies and out actors, but god, sometimes you just need a queer villain. I’m not talking Put the Lotion in the Fucking Basket villain, but someone nasty and yet complex. That being said, I really love Silence of the Lambs.

Do you still hear the lambs screaming Clarice?

Some queer filmmakers are breathing a sigh of relief already though because we’re not tied to the positive representations shit anymore. God, isn’t Oprah enough of a positive representation for us all to get by on? Now the rest of us can be dramatic fuck ups while she and Ellen improve the daytime living of bored housewives everywhere.