Shardul Pandey: I welcome you Lorelei at SANGKRIT.net, please tell our netizens about yourself.
Lorelei Lanford: My love for the cinema came at a very young age. I remember being 5 or 6 years old and watching the movie “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” with Marilyn Monroe and thinking “I want to do what she is doing” I was lucky to be born In a very artistic family.
I had a fun and exciting childhood. My grandparents were actors/singers at the Royal Theatre of Belgium. My grandmother used to teach me numbers from Operettas. I loved watching my grandfather memorizing his lines for his next play or movie or being at my father rehearsals with his rock band “The Mec-Op Singers”
At the age of 10, I moved from my homeland to the exotic island of Tahiti. I taught myself Tahitian dancing just by watching local dance groups perform then running home to practice in front of the mirror. I later won the title of “Best Dancer of the Year” A first for a European girl!
I came back to my first love, thanks to my dad, Guy Bodart, who had started directing feature films. I learned everything from him. I was taking the sound, working the fog machine to editing the film. In 1991 I got the lead role in the film “The Antichrist” but I am much more at ease behind the camera than in front.
I now produce, write scripts and am involved in the casting for all IFA Pictures productions. And I am the 1st assistant director on our next feature film “All Hallows Eve” which is something I am really excited about!
Shardul Pandey: What do you personally think is one thing which is god gifted in you, one thing you thing in which you are best.
Lorelei Lanford: I am my worst critic but definitely directing. I love reading the script and visualizing the film. In film directing, you have to be creative but also have great managerial skills. That is my forte.
Shardul Pandey: Did you always have plans for production or it just happened? How exactly you got interested in production work?
Lorelei Lanford: No! I thought I was going to be a movie star (Laughing). I never really liked watching myself on-screen and I became much more interested in the making of the film. Producing came naturally to me.
Shardul Pandey: Is film-making an easy job or more strenuous than people realize?
Lorelei Lanford: It is not a glamorous job at all.. People only see the Academy Awards and do not realize how tough of a business it is. And when you do get a job, you better be prepared to work extra long hours..
Shardul Pandey: Do you have any ultimate goal to fulfil as a film-maker?
Lorelei Lanford: Make better films with bigger budgets
Shardul Pandey: So when you are planning to announce your next feature film “All Hallows Eve”?
Lorelei Lanford: We are having our Premiere here in Las Vegas in April. I do not know of the exact date yet but it will be our website and we are going to the Cannes Film Festival in May.
Shardul Pandey: Would you like to tell us something about your next film “All Hallows Eve”, may be a little about the theme, story and characters or what-so-ever you like, anything?
Lorelei Lanford: I do not want to give too much away but it is based on why and how Halloween or All Hallows Eve as it was called, started. I have always been fascinated with history..
Shardul Pandey: What do you find to be the most gratifying aspect of film making?
Lorelei Lanford: To see people enjoy what you created.
Shardul Pandey: Would you like to tell us about other projects in which you are currently working on?
Lorelei Lanford: I am currently working on 2 other projects. One is a vampire film entitled “Inmortuorum” which means “The Undead” in Latin and “Wings of Glory” which is very dear to me. It is based on my Great Uncle Stephane Stolz who at 16 escaped the Germans and enlisted with the RAF to become a fighter pilot during the 2nd war. He had an incredible life and I hope I will do him justice.
Shardul Pandey: Is there any other creative mediums you like working in? Any hidden talents?
Lorelei Lanford: If I have any hidden talents, they are really well hidden!!! (laughing)
Shardul Pandey: Explain the time commitment you put into your movies. What do you do for entertainment? Do you have any peculiar interests?
Lorelei Lanford: Yes I can easily work 12-16 hrs/day during production. During my down time, I like to read, do photography and I am also an animal activist. My pets are all rescues. I am working to have my animal foundation.
Shardul Pandey: So do you get to travel for your work? What’s your favorite city that you have visited?
Lorelei Lanford: Yes, I do get to travel a lot. My favorite city is Paris…. But there are still many countries that I have not visited yet.
Shardul Pandey: Tell me something about your city, your favourite hang out spots there ?
Lorelei Lanford: Las Vegas is definitely a city that never sleeps. I am not into clubs but I do enjoy going to the shows. In the spring and summer, you will find me boating on Lake Mead.
Shardul Pandey: And what’s your dream holiday destination?
Lorelei Lanford: Lay on a beach in Tahiti. I am an island girl :)
Shardul Pandey: Now a few question related only to you. What are you likes and dislikes?
Lorelei Lanford: I really cannot be around people who lie. You lie to me once and you are in my little black book (laughing). What I admire? Generosity and kindness..
Shardul Pandey: Tell us about your favourites.
Lorelei Lanford: My favourite colour is RED. Favourite film? So many films that I love! Sound of Music, Some like it Hot, The Godfather, White Christmas.
Favourite Actor: Cary Grant. Favourite Actress: Marilyn Monroe. Favourite Singer: Michael Jackson. Favourite Author: Moliere
Favourites in International music: I grew up admiring French singer Daniel Balavoine. He had such inspiring songs.
Favourite holiday destination: I really would love to go back to Austria for Christma. Favourite festival: Cannes!
Favourite hobby: I love gardening. I am still decorating my house and of course my first love which is dancing!
Favourite food? I LOVE to eat. Italian, French, Indian and Chinese.
Shardul Pandey: How would you like to be remembered?
Lorelei Lanford: I would like to be remembered as a woman who has taken each day as a new experience, who had a good life and great family and who did everything her way without regrets and hopefully made a difference in this world
Shardul Pandey: How you communicate with other netizens? How often you reply to them?
Shardul Pandey: I welcome you Vivek at SANGKRIT.net. How are you? On what new projects you are currently working on ?
Vivek Sharma: Hi Shardul. I am good. Hope you are good too.
As you must have heard that I have opened my own production house, Filmzone Creations Pvt Ltd.
And now I am producing and directing many films. Making one film in 8 Indian languages, first of its kind and each language will have different actors, locations and music. Its like creating history. Its a commercial film, black humor on recession.
Shardul Pandey: I am fine. Thanks. Yes, Priyanka told me about your new production house, Filmzone Creations Pvt Ltd.
It seems to be very interesting. So did you always know you were going to be a movie producer ?
Vivek Sharma: Yes, I was a story teller. Ma Saraswati blessed me with creative human ideas. So in my childhood I decided to become director producer writer and I became:)
Shardul Pandey: So how your journey has been, starting from your childhood when you made up your mind to become a director-producer-writer that has finally grown into this climax of yours ?
Vivek Sharma: Well I can give a brief points as I am writing a book on my journey. Mahanagry 1094 up, details will be in that.
But it started from Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh from where I did my masters in physics.
Trained in martial arts..a football player.
Stage dance performer.
And a dream of making difference in people’s life..
Came to Mumbai with Rs. 250 in pocket.
Struggled..worked hard…learnt a lot from common people and survived on my own.
Lived in pipe lines, spent nights in watchmen’s cabin…corridors..station platform..
But zeal to achieve pushed me to continue. And here I am:)
Shardul Pandey: Likewise you are working on many big movie projects so when you are planning to announce your next film. I mean, would you like to give any rough idea of next big announcement from Filmzone Creations Pvt Ltd. ?
Vivek Sharma: Filmzone creations will be announcing 3 big projects around December..but pre-productions have already been started.
Shardul Pandey: I read somewhere (but I did not save the references) that Yash Johar And Karan Johar were not sure to use Rani Mukerjee’s original voice in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. It was you who stood by her and forced makers to use her real voice. Is it true or a rumor?
Vivek Sharma: Yes I convinced Karan and Yash uncle to retain Rani’s original voice and stood by her. Worked very hard on her dubbing. I was the post production designer for ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’. I did as Yash ji and Shakhan(srk) wanted me to.
Shardul Pandey: You started your career from ‘Kuch Kuch Hota hai’, worked in various capacities and then ‘Bhoothnath’ was your directorial debut. So what was it like to film your debut movie? Was it different from other experiences you’ve had?
Vivek Sharma: I was blessed to have worked with great talents like Mahesh Bhatt, Shah Rukh Khan and many others. I learnt and learnt and learnt. When I was starting Bhoothnath I had no fear. It was clear what I wanted. Amit ji and shri Ravi Chopra supported me through out. I can not ignore contribution of Juhi ma in my life and in my career. She has been there for me as a guide as a sister. Yes making film on your own is different than designing filmz for others. Its an awesome feeling to witness to see your own creation. :) I loved it. I will always cherish it.
Shardul Pandey: Bollywood seems to be experiencing a renaissance of sorts, with new directors and new subjects ? Would you like to say anything on that ? Any advice for future filmmakers?
Vivek Sharma: I consider this phase of Hindi cinema THE WORST phase where anybody is making film and anybody is becoming a star. Cinema is a platform for talents and artists which has disappeared completely. Its very sad. Corporate and certain banners have made it a mere business thing.
I feel we as film makers must make filmz which has good content and better craft. New film makers should not get into this trap of so called “new age cinema” its the worst phase.
Shardul Pandey: Sometime back I read on Filmzone Creations social media news feed that you are launching a Music Company ?
Vivek Sharma: Yes, Filmzone Creations is launching its music company as I have many film projects, in many languages and trying to bring back Indian classical and melody back on the horizon, a good class music is a promise.
Shardul Pandey: Movie making can be a time-consuming job so would you like to explain the time commitment you put into your movies. What do you do for entertainment? Do you have any peculiar interests?
Vivek Sharma: I am not just a film maker, I am a shayar too:)I am ready with my shayri book which will be published soon.
I love music so I am not only discovering new singers and music directors but also learning classical music.:)
I love sports. I cycle a lot. I am a fitness freak, very regular in gym.
I use every second of my life to create, share and cherish:)
Shardul Pandey: Where netizens can find you on Internet, your official blog is no more active ? Do you own a domain as being online actually means having a domain of your own because that is your real web-address, it saves you from straying homeless on Internet ?
Vivek Sharma: I was writing on the same platform where Mr Bachchan was writing blogs. My blogs were widely read but bigadda sites crashed and now I will write on “vivek sharma’s creative gallery” which will be launched soon but people can find me on my page “Vivek sharma’s official fan page” on Facebook.
Shardul Pandey: Got it about your weblog. Yes they scaled down their social networking and blogging services in July,2011.
It is always better to work from the domain your own because there you get to ultimately control everything that happens in your webspace and others get excluded from doing anything without your permission.
Shardul Pandey: What is your ultimate message for netizens ?
Vivek Sharma: Message for all the lovely netizens that.. make a positive difference in you, in the society and in the world. Its one life. Live and cherish. Create and gift. Share and luv :)
Shardul Pandey: And from personal experiences what do you say to young people out there struggling to get into the film industry?
Vivek Sharma: I never consider journey as “struggle”. Its a process, its all about passion for cinema. I think youngsters should spend more time with themselves rather than sitting in coffee-house or in gym. They should read more. They must use their energy in constructive work and most important is focus dedication and faith.
Shardul Pandey: I welcome you Luís at SANGKRIT.net, please tell our netizens about yourself.
Luís Caracinha: I’m Luís Caracinha, a Portuguese communication designer living in Faro, south’s Portugal. I’m 24 years old and after 6 years working on design projects I decided to make a own project in cinema. In November 2011 I started developing the concept for a short movie based on a poem written by a Portuguese poet, Tiago Marcos, which talks about the story of a child and a old woman who have with them a common thing, a rope. The short film wants to invite you to think about your relation with your memories and the way we look and act about other’s life.
The rope’s project started full-time on February 2013 when We Make Productions decided to hug the project. In few months we got a 40 members team counting with camera men, director of photography, costume designer, story-boarders, translators, production assistants, press team, hairstylist, make up, etc. Also Original Features, an important film producer in Portugal, decided to support this short.The project is now in post-production and we are counting to launch it on the first semester of 2014. We have people working with us in countries such as Spain, Italy, France, Switzerland, Germany, England, Greece and Russia.
The team is made by young professionals who have a great talent and got this project as an opportunity to show how good they are and how many talented people exists in our country.
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Shardul Pandey: What do you hope audiences take away from your film ‘The Rope’ ?
Luís Caracinha:The Rope is an invitation to build a review of our life until now. To look around, to think out of our routine and to ask ourselves how we want it to be in the future and how we treat those around us, who have a so much to share and teach. We think about our future in an specific way, almost all the time. We have a goal and a path. The thing is, the possibilities to reach your inner “self” are infinite. You must choose and think about what you are becoming every day. And that’s because you are constantly changing.
Shardul Pandey: You said you are developing the concept for a short movie since 2011 so what are your experiences ? What advice can you give for first time filmmakers?
Luís Caracinha: When I have an idea, I need time to let it grow. When you want to express it and put people thinking about it you should take a notebook and write all the possibilities. Talking to people about your ideas is also very important. That’s why I started working in this short-film in November 2011 but just started to materialize it in February 2013. Before this year I wasn’t prepared to make the short film. I hadn’t a team, and I hadn’t support. When I shared my idea with We Make Productions and its production team, a bright green light turned on in my mind, and here we are!
During the filming, our main “enemy” is time. Time is money in a production with 40 people and you are always feeling that you could do it better. Basically you always want another take. That’s when the producer come sin and shouts “No, your late!”. Time management is crucial in order to have the team working well and with enthusiasm. Oh, and also a lot of food and water!
As director, when you write a script and start imagining it on the screen you don’t have any limitations. You imagination can go wherever you want. This is one of the best parts of creating a film. You are always looking for the best and most beautiful way to show people what you want them to feel. And everything looks easy until you get a producer. In this point everything changes and you start looking to your script, and then to your storyboard and after, to your budget. Here comes the funny part of the creative process: to adapt what you imagined to the best way of showing it, using your budget.
In this stage, it is only normal to feel a lot of desolation, but as director, you must know how to work with it because it’s very hard to put on the screen the exact same image you dreamed of.
My advices are: Be flexible to changes. Accept other opinions because your are making films for people not for you. Think out of the box and let a personal mark in your project. Learn how to work under pressure and with a real budget. Look always for beauty, even when it must look ugly. Be clever when choosing the right team for work.
Shardul Pandey: What is your ultimate message for netizens ?
Luís Caracinha: I hope this short film gets the possibility to touch the audience. I would like to invite everyone to follow our work in the social networks and on our website www.therope.pt. There you can find all information about what we’re doing. Until Februrary/March 2014 we will be working on post production, the original soundtrack composition and promoting the short film. Unfortunately, there are a lot of investment that we need in order to improve the final result of the film. We are still looking for donations. If you believe in our work and want to support this project contact us by sending an email to email@example.com. Thank you Shardul for your interest.
Inspired for acting by Yash Chopra’s Shahrukh Khan starrer superhit Hindi film Dil To Pagal Hai, stage dancer Shriswara is at first seen upon celluloid screen in Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s period film, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag before to fully act Nafisa in D-Day as RAW agent Wali Khan(Irfan Khan)’s Pakistani wife. Her own early life experience at Lucknow helped her in naturally doing so since Indian sub-continent is still so similar at the core.
Shardul Pandey: I welcome you Shriswara at SANGKRIT.net, please tell our netizens about yourself, your story.
Shriswara: I don’t have much of a story to tell and am quite far from the climax of my career. I grew up watching many films which influenced me towards the performing arts from a very young age. I’ve given nearly a thousand auditions in the last four years with ads sprouting from some and one main one resulting in “D-Day.”
Shardul Pandey: Think back to your first audition. What was it like?
Shriswara: My first audition was for Samsung with Aamir Khan. I was a little more excited about Aamir than the ad itself. There was a long line at Nirvana Studio 97, Shreeji. There wasn’t anything scary, actually, at that point. I had waited quite long to give an audition and internally was prepared. I gave the audition and went home keeping my fingers, toes, eyes, feet, laces, brain, everything crossed for the next week, but of course, nothing happened. That was a bit of the hard part, as that happened 250 times again before I landed my first ad eight months later.
Shardul Pandey: So what advice would you give to newbie actors and someone who wanted to do what you do? What do you like most about this profession ?
Shriswara: I would say to a newbie that they’d better want this with every last electron in their soul. If luck is on your side then yes, things fall in place coincidentally, else you can do everything in your power without any positive result, and despite obsessive desire, it’s usually the later most of the time. You have to keep your heart and mind open to failure but remain tenacious, else it will eat you alive from within. What I love about acting the most is acting itself. When you finally act in something you love, in my case, D-Day, all the complaints, all the frustrations, all the tried patience become worth it. You become free of everything, including yourself.
Shardul Pandey: After acting in D-Day, what you learned about yourself from the experience? What are cushy and hard parts of acting? What is your profession’s greatest challenge today?
Shriswara: After acting in D-Day I’ve learned that I still shouldn’t lose my patience. I’ve graduated, perhaps, to level two of the video game. Challenges have also graduated and this time in different disguises. The difficult areas in acting for me is making sure what I feel internally reaches my face and body language. My heart can be pounding in my chest in the scene, but the audience cannot see or feel that unless I emote correctly. Getting that balance is difficult. My professions greatest challenge is staying afloat outside and inside of the industry. Choosing desired work, waiting for desired work, achieving that work and still be able to eat and pay rent in Mumbai; plus balancing the pressure from those related to you. It’s hard to explain to them why it takes so long and requires so many interviews before you’re seen on screen consistently.
Shardul Pandey: I must applaud you for your phenomenal instincts in acting. What you feel is your strength as an actor and how would you like to be remembered ?
Shriswara: I believe my strength as an actor is that I’m emphatic and emotional. I’d like to be remembered as being a good human being.
Shardul Pandey: So now what’s next for you? What can we expect from you this year or in the next few years ? What kind of character roles do you prefer and where do you see yourself in future ?
Shriswara: I have no idea what’s next for me. What characters are in line for more, which will be taking birth in scripts that I may be a part of in the future, I haven’t any idea and perhaps, it’s better that way. This year of 2013, you can expect a low profile from me. Inshallah, I’ll pull a bunny or two out my hat next year. I’m not too limited on roles, except for the fact that they have to have a reason for being in the story. I have to feel what that person is feeling without the emotions being forced or cliched. As long as I’m not type casted or limited to one particular role, I’d like to play any type of any age that I can genuinely pull off.
Shardul Pandey: What is your ultimate message for netizens ?
Shriswara: मानो तो सब कुछ है, ना मानो तो कुछ भी नहीं. ख्वाब और हकीकत में कोई फर्क नहीं है सिवाय सूरत के , और उनकी अपनी कोई उमर नहीं होती (Mano to sab kuchh hai, na mano to kuchh bhi nahi. Khuab aur haqeeqat mein koi farq nahi hai sivaye soorat ke, aur unki apni koi umar nahi hoti). Be practical about your dreams, but not cynical. Be dreamy about them, but not completely careless or gullible. Be flexible where required and rigid when needed. Don’t give up; what is desired will come.
Shardul Pandey:Yours is an exotic name almost unique upon world-wide-web and that creates highest possible value upon largest media of humanity i.e. the Internet.
Internet is distributed in to domain names. You must have one like shriswara.com as that would indeed be accommodating your fan-following independently to make some value for you. Have a domain, use WordPress, integrate all social networks from within that to regularly keep on blogging about little things of life. This works wonderfully in show business.
Kenneth Mader is known for his strong visual sense of storytelling, along with musician’s sense of timing and a knack for working with actors, Kenneth Mader is a multi-award-winning writer-director-editor and skilled cameraman recently nominated into the NBC Universal Directing Fellowship. He has a successful feature in release through 20th Century Fox that premiered on the SyFy Channel and another picture he worked on recently won Best Feature in the New York International Film Festival as well as the Audience Choice Award at the Idyllwild International Festival of Cinema.
He wrote and directed an award-winning 35mm short film starring Andrea Thompson (“NYPD Blue”, “24”) and the late Don S. Davis (“Stargate SG-1”, “The X-Files”), directed a romantic comedy starring Michael Sorvino that premiered at the Method Fest film festival, wrote an award-winning screenplay “Deep Focus” that took home Best Feature Screenplay in its category at the Action On Film Written Word Awards, along with Excellence in the Craft of the Written Word for his action-adventure script “Razer”.
He was born and raised in Chicago where he began his film career as a young production assistant, moving to Los Angeles in 2001 after securing distribution on his first feature film “Carnivore”, which went on to become a domestic home video and international cult hit. He is a founding member and former President of the Chicago Screenwriters Network (co-founded along with “Criminal Minds” executive producer Edward Allen Bernero) and has made his living in L.A. as a writer-director-editor and cameraman ever since.
He recently cut a music video for Lakeshore Records and CBS Films’ “Beastly” motion picture soundtrack and directed another music video for indie label Dark Star Records that landed on the Top-10 of the national CVC rock charts.
His development & production shingle Maderfilm has numerous projects in the pipeline, currently in production on his next feature film “Displacement”. He is also a RED Digital Cinema Professional now offering full RED production and post capabilities.
A tireless creative force with an intense passion for the medium that shows dramatically in his work, he is repped by Jo-Ann Carol and Jason Dravis at the Monteiro Rose Dravis Agency –SOURCE (IMDB)
I welcome you Kenneth at SANGKRIT, Did you always know you were going to be a movie producer ?
Yes, pretty much from the womb.
I joke, but as early as I can remember I wanted to be a filmmaker. My father bought me my first Super-8 film camera when I was 8 years old and I never stopped making movies, just graduated to bigger and more expensive equipment as I got older. So from early childhood I’ve been obsessed with filmmaking and all things movie-related. In fact seeing J.J. Abrams’ SUPER 8 a couple of summers ago was a truly surreal experience for me. I grew up in the late 70’s (okay, yeah, I’m dating myself) and was enormously influenced by Steven Spielberg’s early work so I totally connected with the “Spielbergian Zeitgeist” of that film and its characters in a profound way. I basically was those kids in that movie, making films in the suburbs of Chicago with the very cameras they used in that picture, reading the very same Super8Filmmaker magazines (in fact I believe I have the exact issue featured in the movie on a shelf in my office — the same shelf I have my old super-8 cameras on display; I call it my “museum”). I even built model train sets in my parent’s basement, blew them up with M-80s and filmed the destruction. And just like the teenage director character in the film, I had an obsession with “Production Value!” that carries on to this day.
You are a multi-award-winning filmmaker so starting from your first film to “Displacement” how do you see your journey has been?
In many ways my journey has echoed other filmmakers and in other ways it’s been quite unique. Despite starting as a kid, I’m a bit of a “late bloomer” compared to many, having not begun shooting my first indie feature until my late 20’s (“Carnivore”) after a number of false starts and financing debacles on other projects… which then took over a decade to complete and finally get released! Yep, 12 years from start to finish, raising money as we went, funding it with credit cards, building sets in my producing partner’s basement and my parent’s garage, the works. It was nuts. Took 2-1/2 years just to get it shot and in the can – imagine the continuity nightmares – then another 9 years to find completion funds and deals to finish post-production. It was quite the trial by fire and an exercise in extreme perseverance. But we ultimately landed a sales agent and a number of international deals, with distribution through 20th Century Fox and a premiere on the SyFy Channel, so in the end it was worth it and provided me the impetus and opportunity to move to Los Angeles, start working in the industry and ‘upping my game’. I’ve since produced and directed over a dozen films, many of them award-winning, all of them leading to this, my first theatrical feature.
Have you done any extensive research for your film “Displacement” ?
Very extensive. I spent nearly 4 years researching and writing the script, going through numerous drafts and consulting with a good friend of mine who is a quantum physics expert. He has been incredibly helpful with the science aspects of the screenplay which has also helped tighten the story and add some interesting and intriguing elements. Time travel is a tricky genre to write in, dealing with non-linear storytelling, “Grandfather Paradox” and the like, making sure the science is both accurate yet accessible and understandable for an audience. It’s a delicate balancing act. Plus with so many great films that have come before, it’s challenging to find an original take on the subject. But I believe we have, and focusing more on the characters and their journey plus the fact that it’s my most personal screenplay to date has helped.
What do you hope audiences take away from your film?
My desire is that audiences come away from the film renewed, having experienced a deeply emotional journey with our characters that explores a range of issues, not the least of which is losing a parent and the grief and sometimes guilt associated with that. I’ve lost both my folks now over the last few years which was a major motivating factor for me to write this script and make the film. At its core Displacement is a story about letting go of the past. It’s about making oneself whole, using the metaphor of quantum physics and particle pairs to tell that story. I hope it can touch audiences in the same way it’s touching me and my team, and perhaps help some people heal in the process. At the very least I hope they’re entertained and enjoy the ride!
You already shared the easiest parts of filming so now tell us about the hard parts of filming ?
The hardest part for me is actually raising the money, and consequently working within the confines of a limited budget. Though at times it can be liberating as you don’t have money to throw at problems, rather you need to be inventive and creative, it is also frustrating and the bane of every independent filmmaker’s existence. The “money thing”. Hence why we’ve launched a crowdfunding campaign to help raise at least part of the funding we need to complete the film, with the rest coming from equity deals and investors.
How important is it for you to have your films screened at festivals ?
Festivals to me are very important and have become a large part of my filmmaking experience over the last few years. They are typically the first time you get to screen your film in a theatrical environment for an audience of complete strangers. It is both exhilarating and nerve-wracking. A crucible of sorts. But it provides enormous feedback and an opportunity to see if your picture is working for an audience. Festivals can of course also be a launching pad into securing distribution for your film. Plus they tend to level the playing field and set you on even footing with other artists, even A-Listers and celebrities who may also be screening their films in the event, so opportunities abound to meet and create relationships with people you otherwise would never get a chance to speak with. And then if you’re lucky enough to win some awards and gain some recognition, who knows where that might lead.
What do you feel is your strength as a director and how would you like to be remembered ?
I would hope to be remembered as solid visual storyteller who at the very least entertained a few people, inspired some thoughtful conversations, touched audiences emotionally, enlightened some perhaps, communicated a few interesting ideas, and at best helped affect some positive change in the world or humanity at large (sounds lofty I know, but I believe movies have that power). I take great pains to create an interesting visual canvas for the audience to experience and seem to have this innate ability to achieve very high production values regardless of budget. But even more important is an ability to work with actors and help guide them to deliver award-winning performances. I really enjoy collaborating with great actors to bring a character to life on the screen and create authentic emotional moments. Working with actors is sadly something that is not a major focus of film school, and it should be. The actor is your portal to the emotional heart of your picture. If as a director you don’t understand the actor’s process or how to talk to an actor, I believe you are missing a crucial element of the filmmaking process, perhaps the most important element. So working with actors to create emotionally authentic characters and strong visual storytelling is how I would like to be remembered.
What’s next for you? What other projects you are currently working on ?
My next film is a bigger budget supernatural thriller I wrote entitled DEEP FOCUS which has an Academy Award-Winning actress attached to play the lead role that we’re currently seeking financing on, as well as a psychological thriller ZALI’S CRUSH that I’m packaging with producing partner Michael Sorvino (son of famous character actor Paul Sorvino). I also just landed a directing gig on another short film, have been in post-production on a celebrity documentary that should be completed soon, and am developing two Transmedia franchises, one an action-adventure entitled RAZER and the other a supernatural series called AFTERLIFE based on my award-winning film PASSING DARKNESS.
What does success mean to you?
That’s an interesting question. The cliché answer might be “to win an Oscar” or “Palme d’Or” at Cannes or “Independent Spirit Award”, which of course would be amazing and is every filmmaker’s dream, but realistically I just want to continue to be able to do what I love, build my production company and filmmaking career to reach wider and wider audiences with my work, and make great films.
You Can Support Kenneth Mader To Complete His Movie ‘Displacement’.
Keith Curtis dropped out of University of Michigan to become a proprietary programmer at Microsoft, to quit and become an author and film-maker about free software. He talks on conflicting choices that any user today makes with the State and the Internet.
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Shardul Pandey: These days when the world is gripped in to Snowden syndrome, people are getting cautious and confused about the conveniences, internet is giving to them. Sometime back Dr Richard Stallman said to me, “I see that the Internet is turning into a scheme that gives people convenience in exchange for their freedom. Disservices such as Facebook invite people to share lots of personal information with a company that can make use of it, and hand it to the state as well.” Before also he used to say like that more often than not but with Edward Snowden’s act almost all his apprehensions are established as absolute facts. On 11 June 2013 in his political notes he said, “This man is a hero comparable to Daniel Ellsberg and Bradley Manning.” How do you asses it?
Keith Curtis: RMS is right that the Internet is to some extent exchanging convenience for freedom, but that is also a simplistic perspective. The Internet is changing everything: education, business, science, culture. How many know of the Harlem Shake phenomenon? That is a trivial example, but it demonstrates a global mind and that physical distance is no longer a barrier to the exchange of (generally good) ideas. Billions have heard of Wikipedia and benefit from it, either directly or indirectly (you use a Boeing airplane and a Boeing engineer used it).
In the case of Facebook, there is nothing on that site that I wouldn’t post on any other as well, and often do post to multiple sites. If what I write and like allows them to pick custom and more targeted advertising, I have no problem with that. I’d rather someone try to find things interesting to me than just purely random content. Rather than just railing against things, it is better to have more specific criticisms and suggestions. Facebook has greatly improved their privacy settings.
As for Snowden, I am torn between the idea that the government must do dirty things to keep us from getting blown up, and protecting privacy and freedom. Terrorists must talk to each other over the Internet like the rest of us do. I don’t think that mass surveillance is a good idea, but I do like the ability for the government to be able to listen to particular conversations sometimes. If your job was to protect other people from being killed, you’d want some surveillance capabilities. Unfortunately, because it isn’t being run in the private sector, they end up building more than they need. There is absolutely no need for them to listen to my phone conversations. If they are bothering with it, then they are just stupid and wasting resources.
When I think about how the government is taking away my freedoms, I don’t worry about them listening into my phone calls as much as I think about how they are creating massive debts which I will have to repay, they are devaluing the currency to “stimulate” the economy, the retirement systems are going bankrupt, they create policies which have the unintended consequence of making healthcare very expensive, they have stupid energy policies which raise the cost of travel, food and everything, etc. A national healthcare system takes away a lot of freedom.
Shardul Pandey: Internet is not only about taking away freedoms but it has given many unprecedented freedoms to people across all countries. May be it has become a double-edged sword in the hands of humanity so how to further it for not to harm the privacy of individual user ?
Keith Curtis: Yes, the Internet is a double-edged sword. At the same time, we can try to fix things with specific suggestions. If you are worried about Internet freedoms and other freedoms, then vote for libertarian leaders who will do a better job balancing the tradeoffs. Obama is the opposite of a libertarian. A 50-page piece of legislation would fix our healthcare system. Obama’s was 2,700 pages and which puts the government in even greater control and overall makes the system more expensive and worse. Given he doesn’t care about freedom in healthcare, you can be sure he doesn’t care about it for the Internet either. So many people have cellphones because of the free market, not because of any government mandate. We need programs to help the poor, but single payer healthcare controls everyone. Surveillance is a minor issue. Anyone who gets upset about it clearly doesn’t realize all the other ways government is taking our liberty. The lack of freedom, in software, and in society, are the biggest challenges that face us.
Shardul Pandey: Obviously surveillance is a minor issue that certainly doesn’t upsets that much but the major issue, people of all countries are getting upset about, is that the ability of US Government has evidently invaded the sovereignty of independent governments of other countries by compelling American internet companies for stealing and sharing users’ data across all countries alike. For instance as per the laws of land in India, American companies functioning here could even get booked in a strong case of cross-border espionage if political will persists here at any point of time so where it is going to end after all with what ultimate universal solution?
Keith Curtis: I’m not exactly sure what you are referring to. There are terrorists in every nation, and governments need to be working together to listen in on the bad people making plans and recruiting. This can be done in a way that respects the law, and sovereignty of every nation, in a targeted manner, and even with the checks and balances of a judge like what happens with the FISA courts in the US.
One of the consequences of Obama’s expanded drone program is that we are blowing up rather than capturing and interrogating terrorists. Obama is happy to kill where there is no risk of Americans losing their life. Death of Americans brings decreased poll numbers and donations. However, if we aren’t interrogating and getting the contact lists of the terrorists, there is little point in having a surveillance program.
I can imagine that governments will always have the ability to listen in on particular people. Surveillance is a limited but very useful power. Libertarians aren’t anarchists. Instead of the NSA building a $2B datacenter, it could just build a small cluster. How much computing power does it take to track 1,000 dangerous people?
The solution to getting rid of the greatest need for surveillance is to end terrorism. Given this is a problem that goes back decades, it will take a while to fix as well. Today, There are schools and cultures that teach hate. And in the many countries where there is economic stagnation and misery, people are much more prone to be radicalized. Governments use hate to distract citizens from their own misery. The US economy has been pretty stagnant since 2008, but in general the opportunities for an average American are still much better than what exists for most young men in the Middle East.
Many countries have terrible economies because the government has created laws with bad unintended consequences. Obama’s policies are uniformly if unintentionally creating negative economic results. Unlike in software, where you can test if your idea is a good one, an economist would have to run for office or invade another country to learn if their grand scheme is a disaster or a good idea. Therefore, most today are quacks and have no idea what they are talking about. Most of the economists in the world today would be complete failures if their theories were ever actually implemented. Paul Krugman is probably the most famous genius-idiot.
The reason why so many countries have misery and bad economies is because so many countries have Marxists in their economic departments. The philosophy of higher education in one generation becomes the philosophy of government in the next. The key link many don’t understand between freedom and prosperity is that when the government gets out of the way, more people will have jobs and will be happier. If societies could purge themselves of Marxist thought, and the people who govern according to it, happiness for average citizens would increase, and terrorism would mostly disappear.
Ultimately, it is the responsibility of every citizen to pick leaders who will create policies that bring them hope and happiness, but unfortunately, most sources of media advocate liberal economic policies and liberal politicians, and so people often unintentionally vote against their own interests.
Suppose I stated that Sarah Palin would be a better President than Obama. Many reading that assertion would question my grasp of reality to make that statement. I believe it to be true, but the point is that the mainstream media and culture turn some people into a Messiah (ignore the shortcomings) and some people into the devil (exaggerate the shortcomings) and for the most part, even very intelligent people don’t notice propaganda. There is inaccurate and pervasive propaganda and groupthink in every country.
Shardul Pandey: Yes the misinformation has been very much a case along with governments unnecessarily wasting enormous public money. That is why some people are sacrificing all their conveniences just for opening up the governments in public interest. Actually implementation of INTERNET PROTOCOL got a global public trust established by making global networking open, free, fluid, live and ONE although prior to that our governments only failed in building any mutual trust among people across the political geography, while wasted a lot of public money in the name of protecting us from each other. Now if we fail in keeping ourselves one and open, we can not succeed in fighting misinformation that all governments yet use to spread.
One internet is sure to reinvent business, technology and media worldwide. Not only GPL, GNU, Linux or Android but google.com, wikipedia.org or twitter.com are also global faith structures. Ever-growing readership of SANGKRIT.net is getting global. It has already attained far greater internet influence than both major-most political parties of India have despite expending a lot of money for that.
You see people across all time zones have started believing more in internet companies than in their own respective governments as through every crisis caused by this or that government, domain registrants bothered more for not to trade-off social privacy of individual users rather than any respective government did so. Consequently isn’t it a case coming up that domain registrants now be given some sort of limited sovereignty so that they can safely refuse to disclose user information out of their domains?
Whether an international law can help for protecting internet users’ individual freedom and social privacy for ascertaining further growth of internet as open, free, fluid, live and above all as one thing in general?
Otherwise the US usage of concurrent internet for FREE SURVEILLANCE may consequently lead in to BALKANIZATION of INTERNET since it violates the sovereignty of so many independent nations so how to resolve this upcoming threat once forever along with addressing the lack of freedom in software and society as biggest challenges that face us?
Keith Curtis: The Internet exists, and yet lies by governments are still pervasive. Fixing misinformation requires a different strategy than just focusing on an open, etc. Internet. Who decides whether a politician is a Messiah or a fool? Why are so many governments running massive deficits without citizens demanding better?
It is true that in the marketplace of ideas on the Internet, the good ideas will eventually win out, but there are new lies being produced daily:
Here is another reason why bigger government provides a more just and moral society.
Listen to the latest dumb thing a conservative said.
Here is another anecdote that proves the tea party is racist.
There are also generations of journalists who are taught that their job is to report stories that conform to their world-view. A story that Obama is a Messiah is news, an event where he did something poorly is not reported because he’s doing his best and it must be someone else’s fault. Obviously in other countries there are lies with different names and circumstances. Note that the pervasive lies in the news media do infect things like Wikipedia and Twitter.
I think it should require a court order for domains to be forced to give up user information to the government. Otherwise, what information about a user is made public is up to the user and the website. On Facebook, I make my profile public. Other people can make other choices. Facebook would refuse you if you asked for private information about me. Privacy is a bigger topic than government surveillance.
I think there are many laws that could be passed to further improve the Internet in the ways that you desire: laws that would decrease the use of DRM would help with the spread of content. Outlawing software patents and genomic patents would help with the faster spread of science. Governments creating laws that force themselves to use and contribute to free software would also help. Governments getting out of the business of producing news would also help. I think the government could get involved in fostering standards in healthcare, which would help with the sharing important medical records in a reliable, secure and private way over the Internet. Also governments can keep building up more-unified resources of information about medical research like the NCBI (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/). It could require that all public funds for research never be given to a proprietary technology or be patented.
I’d like to pass a law that would outlaw Marxism in universities and government. Of course, such a law is hard to implement, but I do believe that the people who make up the Internet would be much happier if such a thing could magically happen. The more prosperous and free the society, the better the Internet will become.
Shardul Pandey: Massive public usage of Internet certainly curbs down all misinformation. German Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger called for new European Union laws on data protection and a ban on American companies that violate them although in recent weeks, German foreign intelligence service BND was under attack for its own collaboration with NSA. German Justice Minister has to say that BND must finally put all the facts on the table. To protect user information, Jimmy Wales challenged entire industry to make encryption a human rights issue.
A few days back in Berlin during ceremony of Internet Hall of Fame, when Aaron Swartz was posthumously inducted, the rest of living inductees gave an standing ovation. He could not be there because US laws didn’t permit his creative freedom. John Perry Barlow accepted his induction on behalf of Assange, Manning and Snowden. Chairman of BJP Parliamentary Party in India L K Advani greeted and complimented Richard stallman for encouraging other champions of freedom like Julian Assange, Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden. RMS thanked and said he is very gratified that LKA admires them whom he too admires. John Perry Barlow tweeted, “How the hell can we put someone away for most of his life when about half the country thinks he deserves a medal?” Misusing Internet for free surveillance is an international crime since it violates the sovereignty of other independent peoples.
Still how for a free society we can make arrangements of individual freedom with social privacy? Whether encryption be made human rights issue or domains be allocated virtual sovereignty or ICANN be given diplomatic immunity so that internet industry can refuse from compromising any user information on the basis of one international law or should we simply start an Internet Hall of Defame by voting for Obama to start with?
Keith Curtis: It is true that increased usage of the Internet curbs down misinformation, but when there is so much of it produced every day by governments, government-sponsored media, and journalists who advocate for government, that the trends might be in the right direction, but progress is very slow. The Internet is a great mechanism for the broadcast of lies as well as truth, and many journalists don’t even realize when they are unintentionally spreading lies. Students who go to University in the US don’t realize that they are being taught almost exclusively liberal political and economic ideas. There are billions of people who think Sarah Palin is stupid. I can’t defend her here, only use it as an example of how groupthink is pervasive even over the Internet. People in Cuba are “sure” Karl Marx is the best economic philosopher and the Internet hasn’t changed that. There are countless other examples, and different ones in every country.
I don’t think a ban on companies is a great idea. Why not try to work things out? There is a lot of anti-Americanism and anti-capitalism. Don’t quickly follow what some liberal Eurocrat advocates. I don’t think encryption as a human right is a good idea. It is so low on the priority list of ways to make human life better it isn’t even worth discussing. And again, companies are improving. Facebook has dramatically changed their privacy settings over the last years, presumably with input from privacy experts.
Aaron Swartz’s situation is tragic, but the US has laws to protect creative freedom. There is a balancing act, and different perspectives on how to do that. I agree the US government should have lead in pushing for open access, but in general, these are private entities producing the journals, and it is private companies and universities like MIT that got it wrong. The question you have to ask is, why wasn’t everyone at MIT already pushing for open access?
Each case of Swartz, Manning, Assange, Snowden, etc. are different. I’m not going to argue they are all guilty or innocent, only that the question of what someone did is complicated and I think grouping a bunch of people together as all heroes requires a lot of work. You are welcome to your set, but I don’t worry about the increasing freedom achieved by leaking documents, for example, as compared to the fact I live in the world where Social Security has been going bankrupt for decades and yet nothing to reform this 1930s law has been done. This is another infringement on my freedom, much worse. It is common knowledge that half children in Detroit schools are functionally illiterate in the 8th grade. I wish documents would leak that would show the US is bankrupt. Maybe then American liberals would focus on it. You don’t even need leaked documents, the US government publicly announces that it has $100T in unfunded liabilities. Are any of these leaks providing us with any new knowledge that could be used to improve the quality of life for average citizens? Something isn’t valuable just because it was secret.
As for laws to protect freedom and privacy, I don’t encourage many laws that cross countries. It decreases the sovereignty of each nation, and there are many examples of international laws that have made things worse such as the situation in the EU. I really think that governments need to be cooperating to protect us from those who would blow themselves and others up. Laws which pretend that risk doesn’t actually exist are a mistake. Governments need to be trying to cooperate to stamp out terror, but in the meanwhile, we need to be finding terrorists. Can you imagine life if the police disappeared? There are embassies between every country. It seems like working through these issues would be one of their biggest jobs. Doing that in a limited and effective way is key.
Shardul Pandey: I am certainly not carrying a bunch of (my set of) heroes. I always try hard to help so-called great men meet some ordinary self.
Actually it is secrecy and sacrifice that leave awesome effect on everybody else up to the extent that mostly people become hesitant to say anything against the ideals involved. Sometimes an aura gets made around even not so wise things. Hero worship hasn’t ever helped any society in practice. All of sudden America is evolving a lot of heroes only because the US Government has become good enough in playing great villain.
Consequently what you find doing best for America in concurrent circumstance?
Keith Curtis: I think that hero-worship of the right people is a fine thing. It is good for children to be instilled with the right values, done through stories.
The problem is finding the right heroes, and many of today’s ones and the values promoted in modern society are wrong. We live in a technological age, but are culturally devolving. In every big city in America, there are many children who go to a “free” school, but are illiterate. Why aren’t these schools improving? Why doesn’t this get talked about much more than Snowden? Why do history majors at Universities learn that Gorbachev “won” the Cold War? Why isn’t every programmer already writing free software, which is in the tradition of science? Why is a President picked because of the palpable excitement around his skin color? Obama might be popular currently and considered a success, but the biggest thing he’s doing is hastening the demise of the welfare state, which is what he actually believes is the role of government.
Social Security has been going bankrupt slowly for many decades, but faster since he took office. The deficits are even bigger. The unemployment is 2% more than Bush’s average. Many people are part time, and high gas prices, higher food and everything prices, a stagnant housing market, and none of the longstanding social and societal problems are actually being fixed. We are moving towards the abyss faster. One day, there will be a big mess to clean up. Congress is basically dysfunctional with a Republican (libertarian) house and a (Marxist) Democrat Senate. The Republicans in Congress are ready to pass laws to unwind the welfare state, but they couldn’t get through the Senate. Obama believes that the job of government is increase redistribution so he would veto every one anyway.
I think calling the US a villain is over-stating things. A lot can be explained by incompetence. And there are a lot of times with past Presidents where the conventional history on what they did, and what they actually did, are very different. Anyway, whether the US is a villain is complicated because you need to analyze a lot of actions and the results and compare it to what would have happened if the US hadn’t been involved.
Milton Friedman’s solution is to turn the welfare state into a negative income tax, privatize everything, and pass laws that encourage competition (get rid of software and biotech patents) and also cooperation (invest in free software, open access journals, etc.) The idea that teachers should be working for the government is extremely ingrained in culture. There is the list of what needs to be done, and there is also the issue of (re)-educating people on the limited role of government so they can vote in people to do this.
Shardul Pandey: I find you politically very capable to hold on. Our this talk has already become very popular. It is being read globally alike. You make very good statements. Your country should be proud of you.
I do not consider United States as villain. Internet was born with its father’s salary coming from US treasury. Unfortunately US Government has given a chance to an entirely spy-managed state like Russia to become the hero of Internet. Hackers haven’t ever been dangerous guys but the world they tried to help has been dangerous to them.
Once free trade and free speech made American dream possible but now free surveillance has made furthering that difficult. I think US must not be getting short on free speech and free trade. One new book I’ve read is called The Liberty Amendments by Mark Levin. He describes some of the political solutions which can help enable the economic ones. It also give more context to some of the problems.
Other countries would require different political solutions, but they might also find some inspiration from this.
Svitlana Manoylo is from Ukraine, she came to India few years back to become a model then worked in Dashvihaniyastarring Vinay Pathak, Neha Dhupia, Rajat Kapoor, Ranvir Shorey, Brijendra Kala, the film was produced by Shashant Shah. Now she is living in Mumbai, Maharastra. She likes Mumbai and loves Indian food specially paneer dishes with naans and rotis. She is working in another movie by Shashant Shah starring Vinay Pathak and same group of stars who worked together in Dashvidhaniya.