Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Proposing to Join with Others for a Grassroots Indie Film Review Blog

A movie review blog or indie film blog is nothing new under the sun. I'm not proposing something groundbreaking, just a simple blog where several movie reviewers come together, with a narrow focus on low and no-budget grassroots indie films.

There are plenty of indie film sites out there, but for me I have been looking for more coverage of startup filmmakers making a short or feature for the first time with little or no funds and the help of borrowed equipment and friends or film students, not of the so-called indie film made by Hollywood insiders but not backed by a major studio.

If you've paid any attention to my Twitter page (yes, I'm talking to the two of you) you have probably noticed me posting a lot about the movie Fear Town, USA. To me this is an ideal example of grassroots filmmaking. It was made for around $10,000 which was probably put on a credit card for all I know, and made by a group, a large group, of film school students and improvers. What they accomplished was an amazing horror comedy I don't think more seasoned veterans of the industry could have accomplished with ten times the budget.

I'm not looking to set a maximum budget behind a film to qualify it as grassroots cinema. Just something made outside of the circle of Hollywood in a place called Hometown, USA by people who are doing their own thing, many looking for that first break into the industry.

My proposal is to use a free blog service like the one hosting this blog. The reason for that is simply because the group does not have to depend on any one person to hold a domain or provide the hosting, and should something happen to that one person the blog falls. A free blog service allows us to contribute as we can to the content and effectively be an equal partner in the blog.

As you can probably tell from my simple template on this blog, I don't like bloated websites. I live in a small town and in small towns we don't get the best of service compared to big cities. I don't like waiting for ads and heavy graphics to load. My idea is to make a blog easily accessible to anyone. It might not look as pretty as some of the bigger blogs, but it is easy to find one's way around.

It will depend on how many of us get together as to when we can start up a blog. Maybe over a few months time. And of course others would be welcome to join in as we go.

The one thing I don't want to involve in a blog is racist and sexist BS. If someone has a problem with that then they're not welcome to join. I have left a group blog for that very reason. It was a good blog, used to be a good blog, but after a few times of posting a disclaimer that I did not support the views of other members of the community, I got tired of it and just left, and sincerely wished them well on my departure. That is all I have to say about that.

If you are interested in joining with me on a grassroots indie film blog, contact me via Twitter or via email as this comment system is not very reliable.

Toxic Fletch

Monday, April 24, 2017

In Focus with Matthias Von Braun: Dark Surrealist Filmmaker

Matthias Von Braun proudly describes himself as a science fiction fetishist and dark surrealist filmmaker. He has screened his short films at renowned art galleries, film festivals and fetish play parties around the world including Zara duRose’s Welcome to the Pleasuredome party in London and the Friendly Pervs play party in Berlin. He makes his home in London, England, and behind the lens of a camera writing and directing his own short subject films.

His short films include Decay, Decay II, Slave (to technology), Switch, Lost in Transmission, and several short films and an hour long film in production. Matthias works in Black & White which provides an ideal medium for exploring the relations of light and shadow as well form, line, space and texture.

Matthias Von Braun has several upcoming films he is working on. Evolution and Orifice are two ambitious short films, by his very words the most ambitious short films he will have ever made. They are surreal science fiction fetish films featuring male and female nudity. Post-Human Perversions is an hour long film he is working on set in a post-apocalyptic world. More information on his films can be found on his YouTube page, his IndieGoGo page, his IMDB page, his Website and you can follow him on Twitter.

It's always thrilling for me to discover the work of different filmmakers, and I have a particular fondness for indie films. Indie filmmakers like Matthias Von Braun are their own people doing their own thing in the world of cinema. Yes, they are influenced by those who have come before, but that is just the spark, one of them, and the resulting passion from that spark culminates in a very personal work of art put onto a canvas called film.

To learn more about Matthias Von Braun, about his work and the man behind the work, I have asked him several questions, and got some insightful answers.

Fletch: When did you first become interested in filmmaking and how did you get started?

Matthias: I’ve suffered from depression for my whole life and withdrew into television at a young age. I’d watch anything but I found classic science fiction films the most absorbing. I’ve never really taken to reality so filmmaking seemed like a perfect career. I made short films with friends and eventually went to film school. I lived and breathed film for four years working part-time at an independent cinema while at film school. I went through a bad breakup in my final year and emigrated. I currently make disturbing little films in London.

Fletch: Why did you choose to work in Black & White?

Matthias: I make films in black and white for a number of reasons. I love the aesthetic but I also like how it’s perceived by others.

Fletch: People will, as we all naturally do, have their own assumptions about what terms like science fiction fetishist means to them. How would you define it to someone?

Matthias I’ve always been interested in science fiction and I’m also interested in BDSM. I’ve been to fetish clubs and enjoy kinky sex. I find certain ideas in science fiction erotic. 

Fletch: Who and/or what have been your influences as a filmmaker?

Matthias: Ridley Scott’s Alien and Blade Runner, David Lynch’s Dune, Clive Barker’s Hellraiser films, Shinya Tsukamoto’s Tetsuo films, Alex Proyas’s The Crow, The Wachowski’s The Matrix Trilogy, Nice Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson.

Fletch: When I first watched Decay, the first thing that came to mind for me was the work of Wilson Bryan Key who wrote on subliminal manipulation in advertising, and specifically the use of sexually charged images not consciously recognizable as such.

Are you familiar with his writings, or similar writings?

Matthias: Yes I distinctly remember lectures on the subject at film school.

Fletch: Do you incorporate a deeper meaning in your work beyond the imagery, or is the imagery more raw so the interpretation is left to the individual viewer, or both?

Matthias: I would have to say both.

Fletch: Reading on your website I see you have film festivals and fetish play parties scheduled for showings of your films.

What kinds of places show your work (art galleries, film festivals, etc.)? 

Matthias: Screenings of my work include Modern Panic VII Art Exhibition in London, Sexhibition Sex Convention in Manchester and many more.

Fletch: Being you use the word "fetish" in the description of your work, have you ever been denied a showing because they felt it was too taboo?

Matthias: No I don’t think any of my films have ever been rejected for screening.

Fletch: You've completed a film and are showing it at a venue, whether online or at a festival. What is your objective for the audience to get out your work?

Matthias: I’d like the audience to feel something, some kind of emotional response. I don’t care what that response is as long as they feel something.

Keeping Up With Matthias Von Braun

In the works for Matthias Von Braun are two short films, Evolution and Orifice. Evolution will be a terrifying glimpse into human evolution featuring Post-Human cybernetic slaves. Orifice will be his most sexual short film to date. An inhumanly cruel dominant female Post-Human will seduce and destroy her human male victim.

Additionally Matthias Von Braun is working on Post-Human Perversions, a longer feature film of an hour in length. Post-Human Perversions is set in a post apocalyptic underworld inhabited only by Synthetic Androids and Organic Biomechanoids. They are cursed with human sexuality and share our capacity for Love and Depravity in equal measure.

Keep up with Matthias Von Braun via Twitter and YouTube. Check out his credits and works on IMDB and his festival appearances and further information about his work on his Website.

Toxic Fletch