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ROFFEKE is proud to partner with ipitch.tv
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ROFFEKE Values

ROFFEKE Values
Friendship (networking), Fun (experimentation), Freedom (purpose, empowering, transparency)

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ROFFEKE is a member of the Universal Film and Festival Organization

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Comments on "The ABC of ROFFEKE" Screenings (September 2015 at iHub)

I liked all the films especially the one for Superman [“This is Joe”] and the last one which was longer [“ Frontman ”]. I look forward to at...

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Interview: "Fat Punk" director Robert David Duncan

WINNER, MOST AVANT GARDE FILM
WINNER, BEST EXPERIMENTAL FEATURE FILM
WINNER, BEST EXPERIMENTAL, FEATURE CATEGORY
WINNER, BEST WRITER - ROBERT DAVID DUNCAN - FAT PUNK
NOMINATED, BEST NARRATIVE FEATURE FILM
NOMINATED, BEST DIRECTOR - ROBERT DAVID DUNCAN

"A triumph of solo-shot, punk-style D.I.Y. smartphone filmmaking, Fat Punk explores the space beyond life and death, where memories live on even though the world that contained them is long gone. With its themes of love, struggle, loss, coming of age and aging, Fat Punk is a beautiful tribute to the original era of punk, and the special past that lives on in each of us."

ROFFEKE: The opening images of Fat Punk are quite striking. Why graffiti as the opening images?

Robert: I wanted to be able to have a central visual frame or container for the wanderings that the protagonist takes in the film, and the graffiti-filled alleyways provided that. To some extent, he is wandering though the past - both his own, and the physical past of the city where he came of age. He perhaps is even caught somewhere between life and death, which is something each viewer can ponder and decide about, if they wish to. I had fallen in love with the alleyways of downtown Vancouver while wandering around filming other stuff, and I really liked the picture they present of art, anger, hope, decay and a beautiful array of emotions. As the main character, FP, wanders back in his mind through the life-changing summer he had decades before, the alleys seemed to represent a perfect symbol of that journey.

ROFFEKE: What technical and non-technical special effects did you use in Fat Punk?

Robert: Well, one of the first things that the viewer will pick up on is that the film is shot in first-person camera point-of-view (POV), with an unseen main character. I liked this because it meant I could make the main character really larger than life! This meant hand-holding the smartphone camera rig at a height of around 2 metres. I'm already quite tall, so this was pretty easy, and quite fun. You may notice how much everyone else in the film looks up! This also meant I could play the main character as well as the main supporting character Leo. The protagonist is unseen but heard, and Leo is seen but unheard, so it worked with me playing both.

I also faded from colour to B+W early in the film to show the transition from present day back into the memory world that the bulk of the film takes place in. I used a pencil sketch special effect during post-production that gives the film a sort of graphic novel look, which was intended to heighten the dreamlike quality of memory. Are our memories accurate, or are they created in our own minds like a film or comic book?

ROFFEKE: How much of Fat Punk is autobiographical?

Robert: Like most of my films, there is no "me" character in the story. There are, however, elements that I am familiar with, and emotional themes that I feel a real kinship with. For example, I wasn't the picked-on kid, but I was the kid who didn't join a band when I had the chance, feeling more comfortable keeping my bass-playing for home, and being a band photographer instead.

Similarly, I didn't lose my parents young, but I did lose them, and for various reasons I know what it is to feel fatherless. I think so many of us grow up without the parenting we would have wanted, and I do feel that leaves a permanent sorrow that doesn't go away. This is at the root of the relationship between the main character, FP, and his mentor, Leo. Of all the characters in the film, I perhaps identify most strongly with Leo.

ROFFEKE: Who have been the Leos (mentors) in your life?

Robert: Most of them have been teachers of one sort or another! Early on in school there was a special education teacher who took me under his wing a bit and showed me some cool things with music and other activities. I think he may have sensed a lack in my home life, as perhaps did other teachers, who would spend extra time with me, letting me talk with them. I'm still grateful for that, and for how school was a stabilizing influence in my childhood.

The mentor-protege connection is something I enjoy exploring in my stories. I have a theory that both the mentor and the protege have a lack inside them, and they unconsciously or subconsciously seek each other out. The dynamic between FP and Leo is such a positive one, and is almost a story in itself. Hopefully everyone comes across a positive influence like that at some point in their life.

I've been lucky to have other figures who have served as role models and mentors in my adult life. I try to give some of that back as well, by doing talks, teaching, coaching and writing books, sharing my knowledge. As I get older, I realize there are fewer and fewer older people around to be role models for people my age, so it kind of falls to each of us to step up and try to mentor ourselves and others.

ROFFEKE: In Fat Punk, you turned the weaknesses of having no budget into strengths. If you had a big budget, what major changes would you make to Fat Punk?

Robert: The script has gone through so many changes! The original film I wanted to make was set in 1979, a period piece, and would have had actors playing FP as a child, a teen and as a young adult. I was going to play Leo. I realized early-on that it was beyond my capacity at that time to make that film. Believe me, I tried! I did at times also consider sock puppets, shadow puppets, audio plays, a comic book, a graphic novel, a stage play script, even 3D animation which I started but couldn't get the characters to look the way I had hoped.

I started rewriting the script over and over again to try and drive out costs and complications, simplifying the story every way I could. I was getting tired of this failure or "non-success" hanging over me, so I told myself there was no way I was going to carry this untold story with me into the following year. I was either going to do it or dump it, and I think the latter would have been a shame, because I feel it is a beautiful story of love, loss and empowerment.

Around that time I started experimenting with first-person POV shooting, where I was an actor, but also the cinematographer and director. The FotoSafari MoJo-7 rig I have for my iPhone made that quite feasible. We shot my web series "The Four Letter Words" that way, with me playing an integral but unseen character, while filming and interacting with other actors. Around then I must have had the "a-ha!" moment, because I realized I could perhaps shoot "Fat Punk" from the POV of someone my age looking back in time.

It was amazing how quickly the pieces fell into place after that. This story wanted out! I wrote the final script, dropping many of the earlier story elements and some characters, in just a few days. That became the shooting script, and I only ever printed a single copy of it. Actors that I had been talking to about the longer original version were still willing to come out and do some quick cameos, and the rest is history.

In a perfect world, sure, I'd love to be sitting in a cinema or a stage audience someday and see the original period piece, as written, with all the vintage costumes, set decoration, live music and stuff, but for now, I know I've taken the story as far as I need to for the moment and am getting it out there for people to enjoy. Hopefully they like and get something from it. It was made for $500 in the end, so if nothing else, that should be an inspiration!

ROFFEKE: Favourite female director(s)?

Robert: I suspect some of the people I have in mind might prefer to be known simply as directors rather than female directors, but here goes:

Anita George
Jenell Diegor
Lana Read

They are all directors that I have a lot of respect for. I like how they experiment, push boundaries and do great work, while also being positive and supportive influences for other artists. I recently re-watched "The Savages" by Tamara Jenkins and was again really impressed with the awesome telling of such a realistic and human-scale story. I also came across a film from 1971 called "A New Leaf" and was really interested by both the writing and directing of Elaine May. In general, I think writer-directors rock!

***

Robert David Duncan is the author of Microshort Filmmaking



Sunday, December 10, 2017

Rock 'n' Roll, Ageism and Human Rights

If you can change your mind
And see what's there to find
There's rhythm in the Spirit

- Kansas

Today is World Human Rights Day. Rock 'n' roll is over 50 years old. ROFFEKE would like to shed some light on Ageism.

In 2014, Richard Eisenberg wrote an article in Forbes titled "Older Rock Stars Reflect on Aging". He shared highlights of a "fun panel from the San Diego confab: Elder Rock 'n' Roll Musicians Reflect on Aging." He writes: "I found it enlightening to hear what Ringo Starr, Keith Richards and the Grateful Dead's Phil Lesh - all still performing - said about growing older and staying creative plus musings about aging from Joni Mitchell and Grace Slick, who no longer are." Read the interesting article here.

In the opening session of a conference titled "From Ageism to Age Equality: Addressing the Challenges", Loretta Crawley spoke on the topic of "What is Ageism". She cited Butler who defined ageism as "the systematic stereotyping of and discrimination against people simply because of their age." She also cited Palmore who outlined some stereotypes associated with older people. They include: mental decline, mental illness, uselessness, isolation, poverty, depression.

There are many things I like about the Kansas music video for "Rhythm in the Spirit" directed by Emmy-award winner Steven C. Knapp (read his ROFFEKE interview here). Top on my list is that the music video challenges all the above-mentioned stereotypes about older people.

Kansas has been around since the 1970s. The band members are in their late 50s and in their 60s. However, as the music video clearly shows, the members of Kansas are skillful, work well together and are clearly having fun! Indeed, there's Rhythm in the Spirit, not in how old you are. And as Stephen C. Knapp said in his ROFFEKE interview: "Your age is your attitude".

ROFFEKE is committed to promoting positive aging and will adopt the following three actions as outlined by Loretta Crawley in her presentation:
- recognizing and challenging ageist stereotypes
- not ignoring older people
- including pictures [music videos and short films] of older people in publications [the ROFFEKE blog].

In 2008, triplex left this comment about "Combined Ages of the Rolling Stones: 254 Years Old": "For centuries, people have looked for the Philosopher's Stone. It is said to turn led [sic] into gold and keeps you young. The 'Stones' have found it. It's called 'Rock' and Roll! And I love it!"

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Interview: Steven C. Knapp - Director of music video for "Rhythm in the Spirit" by Kansas

ROFFEKE: What lessons did you learn working with a more mature band such as Kansas?

STEVEN: I'd like to answer your question initially through the lens of a subject that I know many creatives struggle with: Self-doubt. My first thought upon getting the gig was, "Who the fuck am I to get to be a part of Kansas' creative legacy?" At the time, I was going through a very nasty breakup and was already feeling very low due to petty gossip being spread around Nashville's film community. I felt like I didn't deserve this amazing opportunity, and doubted my talents, my work, and my existence, really. My awesome producer, the Emmy Award® winning Zac Adams of Skydive Films, and I had made a solid shooting schedule with the very short time we had available, and we stuck to it.

Lesson #1: None of your troubles matter when you have to execute with precision.

The members of Kansas are highly professional, and expect the same. I experienced this in both the pre-production communication, and on-set. Our mutual respect for each other's professional reputations was evident during production; they trusted me, and I trusted them.

Lesson #2: Where there is trust, there is also respect.

As the shoot began, we learned that drummer Phil Ehart, an original member, had limited availability to save his drumming power for the evening's show. We adjusted; no problem. I thought it was cool that even though this video was going to be seen by hundreds and thousands of loyal Kansas fans, Phil's focus was also on that evening's audience. In the end, his on camera performance was just as powerful as his performance that night.

Lesson #3: Always think about your audience.

We knew very early on that we wanted to capture Kansas's music in a very raw form -- no frills, no pedestals, no highly conceptual story. Just rock and roll. Just Kansas doing what they do. That essence has little to do with the number of years someone has lived. These guys rock, their music rocks, and they always will.

Lesson #4: Your age is your attitude.

ROFFEKE: You have done a number of projects for non-profits. Non-profit topics are usually serious and rather "non-sexy". How do you go about reconciling the seriousness of the topics (such as anti-bullying) while still making the film or documentary entertaining, interesting and "sexy"?

STEVEN: I don't believe entertainment always has to be overtly "sexy" or mindless -- it can actually be a force for good if wielded in the right way. It all comes down to story and execution. With HEAR ME NOW, a feature length anti school bullying documentary co-produced with, and directed by, my longtime friend and Emmy-nominated filmmaker Bill Cornelius, it was all about the visuals. We tried to make it as cinematic as possible to catch young peoples' eyes. We tried to have engaging stories that they could relate to, or have experienced themselves. We commissioned a song from a rock band as a title track. These are all things I think all of us [the co-producers] would've liked to see if we were kids watching it. I recently received a business card with definition of entertainment printed on it: "The action of providing or being provided with amusement or enjoyment." I'm a words guy, and words matter. I would argue that giving someone, especially a child, the knowledge that they are not the only person experiencing bullying, and some insight into it, is a positive, enjoyable, and empowering feeling. HEAR ME NOW is available on Amazon Prime.

ROFFEKE: You enjoy "being as awesome as possible". What does it take to stay awesome in a world and in an industry that can be harsh, cut-throat, cynical and soul-sucking?

STEVEN: It takes honesty, integrity, and a sense of humor. The aforementioned breakup really fucked with me in that department and I saw how terrible some industry people could be. Some of those same people, after a certain amount of time, tried to fake nice or act like nothing happened to continue getting work. That is very funny, now. This industry has blurred lines between personal and professional relationships, and do believe one influences another. Believe it or not, how you treat people matters. Maybe that's a Nashville attitude because it's a small town, and word travels fast. To stay sane and on track, you have to keep a good, tight, inner circle of people who share the same values (and it ain't how many followers or likes you have). Having an internal understanding of what you will and will not accept from people is certainly important. Often, people will show you who they really are are and it is best to believe them the first time. I definitely believe that harmful people have to go, the helpful people can stay, and the neutral people are suspect. I had a moment of clarity during all of this when an influential and respected industry friend of mine said "You have to prepare yourself to enter the global film community." It made it much easier to leave the soul-suckers to feed off each other, and not me. I am thankful for them, as I now know what that looks like. People who I thought were torturers, were actually messengers.

ROFFEKE: Your favourite female director?

STEVEN: I really like what Megan Park did with mansionz for their 'Rich White Girls' music video. Hilarious, inane, but also very moving. I also really enjoy Hanna Lux Davis, who does music videos for some of the top pop acts in the world.

ROFFEKE: Advice for aspiring music video directors?

STEVEN: Whether it is music videos, films, or any other creative or personal endeavor.. the biggest advice I can give is: You must be present to win, so show up!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

ROFFEKE Screening at Metta (November 17th)

Philosophy is more than an academic subject; it is a daily practice that helps people to live in a better, more humane way." - Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO


On every third Thursday of November, the world celebrates world philosophy day. In a 2016 article titled Why Future Business Leaders Need Philosophy Anders Poulsen writes:

"The rising demand for both creative and concrete problem-solving as well as abstract and strategic thinking indicates the necessity to broaden the reflectivity-horizon of the narrow business perspective that future business leaders will determine their decisions within. Business tends to seek one rationalised conclusion at the expense of others. This closes opportunities, rather than opens them. Philosophy, on the other hand, can through critical reasoning continually question and rethink the assumed certainties and its basic premises. In this sense, business and philosophy might seem poles apart at first glance and their interdisciplinary potential has for long been largely unrecognized on traditional business schools, but this is about to change."

PROGRAMME

6:01-6:05
Welcoming Remarks
Metta Rep.

6:05-6:10
Business - How much must we sacrifice?
Narissa Allibhai
Feminist, activist, creative, modern Pan-Africanist. Masters graduate from University of California, Berkeley,Founder of #savelaketurkana

6:10-6:15
Goinghomedotcom
David Ogot

6:15-6:20
Screening: Wild Oates
Director: Joshua J. Provost
Synopsis:
John Oates (Hall & Oates) is pushed to the limit during a tedious music video shoot in this retro musical parody.
Philosophy:
Envy is from the latin "invidia" which means non-sight. In the Divine Comedy, Dante portrays the envious as working under cloaks of lead, with their eyes sewn shut with leaden wire.
Business:
"Entrepreneurial envy damages social ties and potential collaborations, and its particularly pernicious because its often unspoken." - Kate Swoboda in "Overcoming Entrepreneurial Envy" entrepreneur.com



6:20-6:30
Screening: On The Floor
Director: Georges Hauchard-Heutte
Synopsis:
An upcoming Heavy-Metal band. Two brothers - singer and guitarist. A fight during a concert leads their band to darker days.
Philosophy:
"At his best, man is the noblest of all animals; separated from law and justice he is the worst." - Aristotle
Business:
"Be kind and generous, be as reasonable as possible, get a prenup, define mutual desired outcomes, factor in an exit clause/have an exit strategy, the heat of the moment, communicate everything. From “15 Tips to Peacefully Break Up With Your Business Partner"

Watch on the Floor here

6:30-6:35
Screening: Rock is not an attitude
Director: Xiaoxiao Tang
Synopsis:
A stop-motion rock band talks about life before their band: Rock is not only an attitude. Our lives are a reflection of our attitudes: just like music, we are all different and unique, but there is no distance.
Philosophy:
"The whole is greater than the sum of its parts." – Aristotle
T.E.A.M – Together Everyone Achieves More; Synergy

6:35-6:47
Screening: Somos Amigos (We are friends)
Director: Carlos Solano Perez
Synopsis:
What would you do if you had to fire your best friend? Somos Amigos (We Are Friends) is a short film that seeks to explore the limits between friendship and work... if they exist at all.
Philosophy: "The rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened." - John F. Kennedy.
Business: CSR, Justice, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)


Somos Amigos (We Are Friends) - Short Film from Carlos Solano on Vimeo.


6:47-6:51
Screening: This is Joe
Director: Francis Diaz Fontan
Synopsis:
During the 70's, in New York, Joe Shuster works as a delivery guy. But it wasn't always like this...
Philosophy: "The rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened." - John F. Kennedy.
Business: CSR, Justice, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)



7:00-7:20
Screening: Frontman
Director: Matthew Gentile
Synopsis:
"In FRONTMAN, we explore and witness the construction and destruction of an American icon, who has one simple goal: to play music for an audience and please his fans. We’ll see the obstacles he’ll face, both internal and external, to do that. My hope in making this film is that we, the filmmakers, and the audience as well, can understand the extremely challenging but ultimately rewarding journey that comes with pursuing your passion." – Director’s Statement
Philosophy: "Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least." – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Business: "having a good work/life balance means that your actions and priorities are aligned in a way that is taking care of what is really important to you." – From 'How to Strike a Work and Life Balance', stephencovey.com

7:20-7:25
Q and A Session
Mildred Achoch

7.25-7.30
Poetry: The philosophy of love
Carmen Tiiri

7:30-7:50
Live Band
Murfys Flaw

7:50-7:55
Vote of Thanks
Mildred Achoch/
Metta Representative

7:55-8:00
Networking/Guests leave at their pleasure

#bizandphilosophy

Monday, December 4, 2017

Spotlight on ROFFEKE Followers: The Texchris Davesaw Massacre

You can listen to Chris and Dave's "weekly ramblings about their favorite movie genre, one bloody film at a time" on iTunes or on:
texchrisdavesaw.wordpress.com

And now, a brief exploration into the soundtrack of the film that inspired their podcast name:

In a Rolling Stone article titled "35 Greatest Horror Soundtracks: Modern Masters, Gatekeepers Choose", The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is number 27."...background noise turned avant-garde soundtrack, foley work gone too far. A huge influence on bands like Animal Collective and Wolf Eyes, it's one of many expertly frightening elements that make The Texas Chainsaw Massacre so singularly scary."

In Spin's article "40 Movie Soundtracks That Changed Alternative Music", Texas Chainsaw Massacre is number 14.Avery Tare of Animal Collective is quoted as saying: "Some of those sounds on there sound like weird violin-industrial errrnwhiirrrrnnn....How does he get those sounds? I wanna know how to make sounds like that." The article goes on to say that "Animal Collective's all-over abstract sound owe to a sophisticated list of influences from '70s and '80s films, but none shot the epochal band into the outré realm of experimental music faster than the scraping, squealing sound-design of the 1974 horror classic directed by Tobe Hooper."

And what of Wolf Eyes? The same Spin article points out that "Wolf Eyes' Aaron Dilloway is a professed Chainsaw fan". A certain self-confessed music nerd who is behind the blog "Evol Kween:A Musical" writes: "Every time I listen to Wolf Eyes, scenes from Tobe Hooper’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre begin flickering through my mind. Vacant desert-scapes; fucked up Hillbillies with rotting teeth; Leatherface slamming a sledgehammer into someone’s head; and that god awful living room filled with bones, chicken feathers and furniture made from left over humans. There are plenty of similarities between the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre soundtrack and Wolf Eyes."

So why subject yourself to such music? Or to a horror movie? Mr. Music Nerd puts it well: "The whole attraction is based on the fun of scaring the crap out of yourself. Just like watching a well-made horror movie."