Archive for March, 2011

IFCO – Celluloid Junkies 2011 – Revisited

March 26th, 2011 No comments

One of my main reasons for starting to blog – other than it gives me a forum to hen-peck and squawk about things that ruffle my feathers  – was to open some dialogue and learn from the masses that might just perch here for a bit.  I really enjoy engaging in conversation with others.  I’ve been honoured in my short time blogging with some great feedback from reader Doug Smith (check out some of Mr. Smith’s comments).  Most recently a friend of mine, Patrice, sent me an email regarding some of my comments concerning independent film.  With her permission, I’d like to share her comments because they are insightful, educational and provide some counter-commentary to my musings.

I’d like to make the following observations of my own for clarification as well, which if you approve; I’d like to post on your blog.

  • Super 8/16mm/35mm are ORIGINAL filmmaking technologies, they’re not just “traditional film-making technologies”, because a significant amount, actually most movies nowadays that make it to mainstream cinema screens, most dramatic content, commercials, music videos on television, are still predominantly shot on FILM; Super 16 and 35mm to be exact.  Most reality television, daytime soaps, talk shows and news serials continue to be digitally shot.  Also, there are ONLY but a few dramas on television that are shot on digital, case and point; the new season of HOUSE;
  • Also digital filmmaking does not really exist.  digital is a technology, just as film is its own technology; they’re both completely separate mediums as such.  So I’d venture to say that there’s digital cinema/digital production, but there is no film that is made from digital and vice versa.  digital is either tape or memory cards; film is celluloid based; a very intricately constructed material with endless stock options and possibilities;
  • Digital media is consuming the mainstream consumer markets, which means that the technology is more readily available to the average consumer, and there are a lot of festivals and online options for digital producers to exhibit their works; although I would warn against this, if artists are focused on developing a more professional portfolio, and also if they’re hoping to be compensated for their work.  Digital media has made significant headway in certain commercial industries as well; but I’d caution for viewers to pay close attention to the fact that again the overwhelming technology used in the Oscar and Genie Award nominated and winning films, is still film Super 16mm or predominantly 35mm;
  • Digital projection is steadily being phased into mainstream cinema chains, but still today ONLY about 5%-6% of the world’s screens actually have digital projectors installed; so that also means that most of the screens on the planet, are still using 35mm projectors.

In closing, I would say that IFCO’s filmmakers are actually cognizant of just how extremely viable FILM as medium is in contemporary society.  IFCO’s filmmakers are using FILM because they’re excited by the medium and its possibilities, and not so much because they’re “protecting a threatened art form from slipping into obscurity”.  Audiences need to be more active viewers and not such passive viewers; they need to be better informed as to the creative processes involved in bringing a piece of art to the screen, be it digitally produced/film based imagery.  Yes, digital technologies have attempted to sell the possibility to the average consumer that digital camera in hand, immediately gives them credibility as a filmmaker.   We really as a society however, have to be cautious about prescribing social pressures on art and artists to jump on bandwagons so to speak.  Just because the technology is cheaper, and more accessible, doesn’t make it any more or less relevant than existing technologies.  Filmmakers should also be happy to know that through a centre like IFCO; they can produce mostly short films at really affordable rates, in an extremely supportive environment.

“The medium is the message.” – Marshall McLuhan”

Thanks to Patrice and all my readers who comment via email, Facebook and in the comments section of this site.  I truly appreciate the dialogue and hope we can have many more virtual conversations in the future!

Cheers, M. xo

Categories: Society and Culture Tags: ,

When pets live better than you do…

March 22nd, 2011 No comments

I’ve always said that if I had to be reincarnated as an animal that I’d want to come back as one of my cats.  Why?  Mostly because I think my cats rock, but also because they are spoiled rotten (which I’m sure has something to do with the fact that we don’t have children and they’ve been relegated to our “fur babies”).

People love their pets and businesses know how to tap into that adoration.  Recently, while spending some time in the pet aisle at our grocery store (because I do spend a lot of time and money in that aisle) I stumbled across this tantalizing tidbit for my felines:

Needless to say I was quite amused, and immediately had to buy the treat for our kitties.  Seems despite having a background in marketing and psychology that I, too, succumb to the messages that my pet deserves the absolute best.

While I agree that we may spoil our kitties, we haven’t gotten to the point of investing in cat spas that boast chauffeur service, private verandas and bird watching or cat cottage retreats offering private suites, adjoining suites for multiple cat families, “extreme bird watching”, and organic catnip.  Maybe our cats do live a bit more of a humble existence than some with wealthier “pet parents”.  Certainly, they live more humbly than those cats and dogs who have the title of being Pet Millionaires.

Pets have steadily become a windfall for businesses capitalizing on our love for our furry family members.  It’s little wonder that in our consumer-driven society that even our pets are keeping up with the the furry Joneses next door.

I’d love to hear what the most extravagant gift was that you ever bought your pet.  Incidentally, ours was a 9 foot cat perch made from bamboo and rattan.  Quite impressive, and quite loved by our three kitties.

A kitty by any other name is still just as cute… cheers to our kitty families!

Osiris aka “Wusser-Si” aka “The Cat from Hell”

Buddy aka “Monkey Boy” aka “Boo Boy” RIP

Bijoux aka “Fluffernut”

Kalifornia aka “Kali” aka “Monkey-Bits”

KatStevens aka “Brat Cat”

Yums aka “Yum Yums” aka “Yummies” RIP

Miss Missy aka “The Real Miss Missy”

Valentine aka “Val” – honourary cat, and because she’s a jealous doggie…


God is so… what?!?

March 14th, 2011 No comments

I struggled with whether to share this video via my blog because frankly I don’t think ignorance like this should be acknowledged; however, this is exactly the kind of cancerous commentary I have been blogging about that is infecting religious and spiritual dialogue.  Make no mistake, tamtampamela is clearly not representative of the majority of Christians.  She’s in the same category as the Pat Robertsons and Jerry Falwells of our society.  In my opinion (and I’m sure many others would agree), these apocalyptic doomsayers have perverted and distorted an ideology that for all intents and purposes was founded on love, compassion and community spirit.  I hardly think that Jesus had this kind of message in mind when he was prophesying  to his disciples.  Further, I find it unfathomable that any G-d, or creator, would destroy and cause the suffering of thousands of innocent souls merely to prove some sort of divine point, despite what might be written into many religious myths/legends.  Clearly, the woman has a pretty skewed vision of God – made all the more dangerous by a self-righteous ideology that has little to do with love, compassion or community spirit.

I realize that attempting any type of dialogue with this breed of religious fundamentalist is pointless, but this kind of fanaticism is exactly what is fueling the poisonous discussions that perpetuate ignorance and misunderstanding among different religious/non-religious adherents.  These discussions often escalate into verbal assaults and in some cases violent attacks on the “other” group.

And one final comment – let’s not start labeling this as a problem with the religion itself.  This kind of hatred isn’t indicative of the religion, but rather of an ignorant human being who clearly has a distorted view of what it actually means to be human.   It certainly ruffles my feathers when I come across this kind of unenlightened discourse, but more than anything it makes me very sad that one person can be so callous toward the plight of fellow human beings in a time of great tragedy.  Using the events in Japan as propaganda for a holy war is just inhumane…


Source: YouTube

Categories: Religion Tags: , ,

IFCO – Celluloid Junkies 2011

March 13th, 2011 No comments

Last night I had the pleasure of attending the Independent Filmmaker’s Co-operative of Ottawa (IFCO) 19th annual gala, Celluloid Junkies.  IFCO is an artist-run centre that assists its members in cultivating the art of traditional film-making using Super 8, 16mm and/or 35mm films, hence the reference to celluloid for this year’s gala.

If you live in the Ottawa area, and haven’t checked out this annual event, you’re missing out on a opportunity to experience a different side to this oft-labeled sleepy city.  You’ll experience the work of some talented filmmakers, some of whom are presenting their work for the first time to an audience.  All the films are unique and are testaments to the individual spirits of each of the filmmakers .  They’ll be films that will stir base emotions, such as joy and sadness.  They’ll be other films that will make you uncomfortable with their content and themes.  And, there will be films that will leave you so perplexed that you’ll feel like your mind has just been on an all-night bender and it woke up next to some stranger.  Guaranteed though – you will experience something different than your usual Saturday night out at the movies.

With the advent of digital media consuming the film-making industry, artists such as those found exhibiting their work at IFCO’s gala,  are rebels protecting a threatened art form from slipping into obscurity.  I’m quick to support artists that are brave enough to hone a craft that takes, I’d argue, a lot more patience than its modern derivative.  Working in this medium also isn’t cheap.  It’s substantially more expensive than working in digital formats; however it seems to me that there is more raw honesty and integrity in these films than in some of the digital counterparts I’ve seen.

I also fully support the rise of digital films, but I think it’s important for consumers and future artists to stay connected to the roots of the art form.  Inexpensive and easy-to-use digital cameras have made it such that anyone can easily record, edit and screen (via the Internet) a film.  This fast and easy approach should make movie goers, and movie makers, all the more appreciative of artists, such as the IFCO group.  These folks nurture and keep alive the predecessor to modern day film-making that has made everyone a critic, director and producer. Clearly, there is something extremely valuable in keeping a piece of history alive.  We learn to understand where we’ve come from and the strives and struggles made in making art more accessible to the masses (whether that’s a good thing is entirely another discussion).

Kudos to the staff, volunteers and artists at IFCO on another memorable evening of films!  This chick can’t wait to see you next year!


Categories: Society and Culture Tags: ,

Religion vs. Law – Revisited

March 8th, 2011 No comments

A few weeks ago I blogged about how religion and the law don’t always play so well together.  I meant to provide some follow up comments on this much sooner; however I became sidetracked with work, midterms and my other hobby – painting.  Now that I’ve provided sufficient enough explanation for denying you – my adoring readers – your weekly peck of squawky goodness, I’ll move forward with a promise not to make promises about when I’ll post next.  That being said, I promise to post at some point in the future – always 😉

I have many thoughts on the subject of law and religion.  So many that I think this is going to be an ongoing conversation.  Where I’d like to start is on the subject of polygamy.  There’s been a lot of debate in the last year about whether polygamy should be legal or whether it violates the institution of marriage as between one man and one woman.  This sounds awfully familiar to me.

I appreciate that many religions hold that marriage is a sacrament; however I don’t believe it’s fair to attest that marriage is exclusively a religious institution.  Sure, it may have been that way long ago when society was essentially bound by religious notions; but I’d like to believe that we’ve evolved as a society.  We are no longer bound by a single religious ideology – at least those of us fortunate to live in “free” (more on this later) societies.  Plenty of non-religious people marry.

If anything, marriage has become a government institution.  It allows two people to be intertwined such that they reap financial and legal benefits of being married.  In some countries, two people don’t even have to be legally married to enjoy the same benefits that those who sign the paperwork do.   Merely living together, as a couple, for a prescribed length of time allows for reaping some of the advantages that legal marriage does.  So, if marriage really isn’t a religious institution the idea of any faith holding exclusivity over it falls flat.

Where does this leave polygamy?  Is there anything fundamentally wrong with plural marriage?  There are arguments that women and young girls are exploited, but I fail to see how this is mutually exclusive to plural marriage.  Wouldn’t more protection be afforded to those women and girls who may be being exploited by plural marriage if it were somehow legislated like more traditional marriages?  As it stands now, a woman who is in a plural marriage and not legally married has little in the way of protection should she choose to leave that marriage.  Through making plural marriage a legally accepted practice, I believe we’d be making it more transparent and thus actually protect more people.

Truthfully, this conversation could go on at great length.  I’ll leave it here for now, so you can digest it.  Often those things that are unusual or unfamiliar to us make us uncomfortable.  I think we’ve got to break out of our bubbles and realize that there’s a bigger world that doesn’t necessarily conform to the nice little confines of our bubble.  It’s time to burst out and start seeking out grander truths.

I’ll close with comments from My Dad that sum up rather nicely how I feel about these matters we’ve been discussing:  “Marriage is a man made institution created by religion to support it. I say marry whom ever you want, pray as you choose to. Protect childhood at all cost, stand up for what you feel and try to keep an open mind”. So glad to have a Dad that taught me to burst out from my bubble and experience a grander world.

Categories: Religion Tags: ,