Thursday, January 7, 2010

Miracle Valley, there and then

Lately I’ve been moving away from a strictly cinematic approach toward a reportorial approach. As in, TV news report. Maybe uncomfortably close. Because cinema is artistic and lasting and TV reporting is boring and damn fleeting. A lot of this move is practical, and reflects less a stylistic choice than it does my failure as a filmmaker to make something interesting and good. It reflects failures of vision, craft, of work ethic, of organization, of mental toughness. In short, it reflects my failures as an artist and also as a person.

With that out of the way, I can also say this: Some shift in my perspective of the documentary, of movies in general, and of my perspective on life called for a different approach. At this point in the project, and in my life, I don’t want to spin tales. I want to be here, in the present, talking, telling, and reflecting in as honest a way as I can.

At it’s most basic, I think this means that the film is both closer to writing and closer to radio. And blogging. It’s writing accompanied by pictures accompanied by sound. An audio-visual presentation. It’s basically a movie. Maybe this is just a convoluted way of getting back to where I always was. I don’t know. Maybe I’m just in a Ta-nehisi kind of mood. I do sense a difference, though. It’s more reflection than action. Maybe I’m making the film-essay that I never made in Eisenberg’s class.

Stylistically, I want to stay away from fancy graphics. From visualizing for the sake of visualizing. I wanted the presentation to be more immediate. Not “immediate” in terms of shaky camera, which is where I think I went wrong initially. Immediate in terms of being engaged with my audience as they watch the piece in the present. I’m not sure I am explaining myself clearly, but this is a hell of a lot more, a hell of a lot deeper, than I ever got with my thesis committee.

What you will see here on out on this blog will pretty much be the script to the film. I’m going to try to organize the film along a series of blog posts, for lack of a better term. Short, concise statements and stories reflecting on the events in Miracle Valley and my experiences researching those events. I think I was long searching for a method of sharing all of that stuff that was outside of the story, on the edges, and the best way turned out to be just to say it.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Evanston Screening: Wednesday, September 23

A rough cut is screening Wednesday, September 23 from 6pm-7:30pm on the Northwestern campus.

Wednesday, September 23
Louis Hall Rm. 119
1877 Campus Drive
Free parking available in the nearby garage.
Map Here:

Gun Shot Valley

A 7-minute segment from the film. Not everything is finalized, but this is getting closer and closer to the flavor of the entire film.

Gun Shot Valley (Work in progress) from Thomas Castillo on Vimeo.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Gun Shot Valley: The Intro, Version 2.0

This is my second cut of the intro to the film. Still extremely rough, and I hope to do dozens of more versions before it is all said and done. But, I needed to get some timing laid down. At this point, it's on to a rough of the rest of the movie while coming back to this maybe once a week. For the next few...months? Well, I make no promises on a release date, but work is being done...

Friday, November 7, 2008

Miracle Valley Documentary: The Playlist

Musical influences for this film, via Youtube:

-Gene Martin
-I've got it
In the morning

-Sylvester Haynes/David Davis
-music alive

-Eugene McDaniels
Headless Heroes of the Apocalypse album
Some songs:
Lovin' Man
Freedom Death Dance

John Coltrane

Brothers on the Slide

Joni Mitchell
Hissing of Summer Lawns

Ennio Morricone
Once Upon a Time in the West-harmonica theme

Friday, September 12, 2008

Miracle Valley News Footage

Channel 4 news report. 3.5 minutes.