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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...

The Indie Bible

Monday, November 15, 2021

Erykah Badu’s “Window Seat”, LUWTEN’s “Sleeveless”, Metallica’s therapy and Therapeia by M.Q. Powell

Can I take a seat?
Frankly, I could use your company now
 - Sleeveless by LUWTEN 

Window seat 
Don’t want nobody next to me 
I just want a chance to fly 
A chance to cry 
- Window Seat by Erykah Badu 

The music video for Erykah Badu’s Window Seat ends with an assassination: “…Badu’s bare stroll is cut short by a sudden gun shot that appears to kill her instantly” writes Simon Vozick-Levinson in his article “Erykah Badu’s new ‘Window Seat’ video stirs controversy: Is the JFK imagery offensive?” 

The way the “Sleeveless” music video begins is rather similar to the “Window Seat” video ending. LUWTEN’s singer ricochets back and forth, to the rhythm of the four opening shots…I mean, beats. Then she implores us with jazzy, soulful vocals: 

Don’t call the police 
I know it must be strange 
To be seeing me there 

It must have been strange seeing Erykah Badu walking near the famous grassy knoll, shedding her clothes. “Indecent exposure” is a crime and it’s quite possible that someone who saw her slowly stripping must have thought of calling the police. Erykah Badu explained in a video that: “the nudity I think scares the nation as a whole or people in the world as a whole because we are taught nudity is bad. But what I learned is that when it was packaged the way I was with no high heel shoes or long hair or spinning around a pole…people have a hard time processing it when it’s not packaged for the consumption of male entertainment. So they don’t know quite what to do with it or how to place or or what to say.” (Window Seat: Erykah Badu’s explanation” by Kalinda Productions, 2011

Sleeveless is “about letting go. You’ll literally see singer Tessa Douwstra wearing a large knitted sweater, that is getting unravelled - she’s getting Sleeveless.” 

 “The unravelling of a band? And then there were two?” asks Lars Ulrich, drummer of Metallica, in one of my favourite rockumentaries “Metallica: Some Kind of Monster”

In a Psychology Today article by Hara Estroff Marano titled “Rock Around the Doc: Metallica in Therapy”, the more laid back member of Metallica, Kirk Hammett, revealed that: “along the way I got seduced by the mythology of being a rock star…I was a victim of that myth of being in a rock band for 15, 18, 20 years and having any sort of behaviour instantly justifiable….It became really empty. It was hurting my relationship with my wife. I got into a vicious cycle of wanting to medicate with more booze and drugs.” When Kirk stopped doing the destructive activities “ a lot of the depression went away. The therapy helped me see clearly why these things were happening to me.” 

Look for an unlocked door 
‘Cause there’s something I need to 
Talk about 
Just hear me out 
- Sleeveless by LUWTEN 

 Erykah Badu explained that metamorphosis can be scary: “peeling back layers of things we have learned and separating ourselves from the group is also horrifying because we are afraid of being ostracized and assassinated by the group, if we have our own thoughts and our own mind and our own will and our own direction…Groupthink is actually the term I was protesting.” 

 O, presently I’m standing 
Here right now 
You’re so demanding 
Tell me what you want from me
 - “Window Seat” by Erykah Badu 

Therapeia, directed by M.Q. Powell, begins with the main character standing by a window in her therapist’s office. “Clara Jordan (Marquita Goings), a smart, witty and beautiful business woman is faced with the challenge of her life; Her perfect storm marriage. In the quest to save her marriage with her hard working and ambitious husband, Bobby Jordan (Devin Robinson X), they seek out therapy to confront the very root of their never ending issue.” 

James Hetfield, frontman of Metallica admitted that: “There’s still a part of me that doesn’t want to give away our innermost fears - our big fear of intimacy. I still struggle with this every day. But I know this has the potential to help other bands and other people to just blow away that mystique of the rock idol who leads the perfect life.”

Watch "Sleeveless" by LUWTEN:

Monday, November 8, 2021

Clay Calloway of Sing 2 and Ellery Demarco of One-Hit Wonder (Directed by Amanda Dow)

One-Hit Wonder: “A cab driver takes a former pop star on a one way Twilight Zone-like ride.”

Together with Jane Petrov, Andie Ximenes produced “One-Hit Wonder” and also plays the main character, Ellery Demarco: “As a sci-fi, Twilight Zone–type short, featuring an original song, “Humma Humma Ding Dong,” composed just for the film, I believe that “One-Hit Wonder” will speak to both movie and music lovers, leaving them humming as they exit the theater and pondering what it means to be an artist.”

According to the Sing wiki: “Formerly a rock star legend, Clay isolated himself from the rest of the world after the death of his beloved wife. He later meets Buster Moon and his friends, who aim to persuade him to perform on stage again.” Director Garth Jennings talked about Bono playing Clay Calloway in Sing 2: “He plays this big, old lion called Clay Calloway who was a legendary rock star but has been a recluse for 15 years ever since his wife died. He has just vanished off the face of the Earth.” - New Sing 2 trailer: Director Garth Jennings on casting Bono and working through the pandemic (exclusive)

One-Hit wonder opens with the sound of applause. Emery appears, walking though what seems like the tunnel of a stadium but is probably just an alley. This scene is similar to the one in the Sing 2 trailer where Clay Calloway walks through a tunnel-like section on to the stage. This happens right after the crowd sings along to a U2 song, spearheaded by Scarlett Johansson’s character, Ash: “Johansson’s punk porcupine also comes back for the second film, playing a key role in coaxing Clay Calloway out of his reclusive state.”  

The U2 song is the anthemic “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for”

“In Ayn Rand’s ‘Anthem’, the protagonist, Equality 7-2521, lives underground in a darkened tunnel. However, he emerges, possessing both the symbolic light of his intelligence and an actual light bulb….” - “The Symbolism of Tunnels in Literature" by Linda Emma. When Emery walks through the darkened passage, there is a point of light behind him and he smokes a cigarette. (Check out this article I wrote in 2016 about cigarettes and cinema.) 

Andie Ximenes and Florin Penisoara

Linda Emma notes that: “in the novel and movie “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” the tunnel represents the protagonist’s growth. The movie director, Stephen Chbosky, said that “the tunnel scene is a symbolic rebirth, whether people look at it as a spiritual rebirth or a coming of age.”

Amanda Dow’s Director Statement: “While the film has adversity, it’s about beginnings and a man wanting to find his way back to his love of music at any or all cost to his own. As the director of One-Hit Wonder, I wanted to provide a window into the collision of these worlds.”


Amanda Dow, director of One-Hit Wonder

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Interview: Max Sparber - one of the screenwriters of Tomi Thirteen

ROFFEKE: What inspired you two to write Tomi Thirteen?

Max Sparber: We've been working on one version of this script or another for a long time. I think the original idea, which has always been central to the story, was that in a post-apocalyptic future, even ordinary jobs would have to be superheroic. Once we settled on the story being set in a city contained inside an entire building, it seemed quite funny to us that the superintendent would have to be a literal superhero.

ROFFEKE: What are the benefits and challenges of working as a duo on one script?

Max Sparber: The benefits are that we have very different imaginations, and so the story is enriched by unexpected details and ideas. We work quite well together, so if we have any challenges it is that we have a lot more ideas than we have time for.

ROFFEKE: Max, you are in your 50s. What has been your screenwriting journey? How long have you been a screenwriter? Highest point so far? Lowest point so far?

Max Sparber: I have been a professional playwright for a long time, but have always wanted to pursue screenwriting. I only began to do it in earnest a few years ago, with my writing partner (and girlfriend) Coco Mault, and almost entirely through the festival circuit. It has been very rewarding -- at this moment we have won 18 contests and were flown out to Los Angeles to pitch a script at a number of different companies. Of course, it's much easier to write a screenplay than to get one produced, and so we are patient, knowing the process is slow, but it can be frustrating trying to attract the attention of agents and managers.

ROFFEKE: Any advice for upcoming screenwriters?

Max: Write the movie you would want to see. There is no way to predict what the market is going to be, or what scripts people are going to want to buy, but if you write something you care about, at least you will have done something that will have been worth doing even if it takes forever to get made.

ROFFEKE: What lessons did 2020 teach you?

Max: That it's important to pursue the things you care about, and to surround yourself with the people and projects that really move and interest you.

Check out Anime, Rock and Tomi Thirteen screenplay by Max Sparber and Coco Mault

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