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Jeremiah Kipp (#110 of 9)

The Hell She Knows: An Interview with Contact’s Zoë Daelman Chlanda

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The Hell She Knows: An Interview with Contact’s Zoë Daelman Chlanda
The Hell She Knows: An Interview with Contact’s Zoë Daelman Chlanda

What does it mean to connect with another human being? How fragile is one’s grasp on sanity, and self? Is it our families who give us our core identity, or do we find that elsewhere? What is the price that must be paid in even looking for answers to these questions? Director Jeremiah Kipp’s latest film, the 10-minute long Contact lives in the disturbing (nightmarish) atmosphere of these realities, the space between knowledge and wisdom, the abyss between making a youthful mistake and tragedy. Produced by Alan Rowe Kelly and Bart Mastronardi, and shot by Dominick Sivilli in beautiful black and white, Contact is a compressed journey of horror and revelation, with a core of emptiness, the echoing aloneness of Self, that jolts the audience at the finish, reverberating.

A pair of young lovers, high on each other and their love, decide to take a mysterious drug they procure somewhere in the underbelly of New York City. The drug trip goes bad, and the horror here is actual and gory (what is real, what is hallucination? and who can even know when you are tripping?), as well as psychological. The goal of the drug trip, for the lovers, was to connect in a new and intense way. They get more than they bargained for, although in a way they get exactly what they were seeking, and that is more horrifying than anything else. Be careful what you wish for. They wanted to connect, right? In a terrifying scene, they do. Literally. Contact depicts a loss of identity, the rupturing of trust, and the shattering of youthful hopes. Kipp’s gift is in the depths to which he is willing to go, and the specificity in which he films his story. It is clear, yet mysterious at the same time. There is very little dialogue. The story is told in images, one flowing to the other, and through the cuts, evocative and simple, an entire world opens.

God’s Land—Production Diary #3

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God’s Land—Production Diary #3
God’s Land—Production Diary #3

Days Three and Four

Like most of the others working on God’s Land, I have a day job that has nothing to do with filmmaking or entertainment. I depend on the job to support my wife and two kids, the youngest only three months old. Shooting must be done at specific times, usually on weekends so as not to interfere with the cast and crew’s money jobs. This means that even though a shooting schedule exists and is constantly modified, not everything that’s listed on a certain day will actually materialize. It’s up to me to see it all the way through. When resources are temporarily missing, I have to come up with solutions to keep this train moving lest the riders decide to jump off.

God’s Land—Production Diary #2

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God’s Land—Production Diary #2
God’s Land—Production Diary #2

Day Two

Our director Preston Miller had a clever idea—we have scenes involving the Asian cult giving a press conference for journalists, and Preston thought it would be meta to cast several film critics (many of whom were supportive of his first feature, Jones) including House Next Door editor Keith Uhlich and contributors Dan Callahan, Kevin B. Lee and Vadim Rizov. In my email blast to my colleagues, I mentioned there would be free beer and BBQ, that Preston created a lively and fun atmosphere of good will, and that it would be a pretty easy day. Little did I know almost everything I said in these statements would be a lie, but at least the most important ingredient remained in place, namely, the free beer…

God’s Land—Production Diary #1

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God’s Land—Production Diary #1
God’s Land—Production Diary #1

Day One

The 8-year-old boy, Matthew, is clutching his mother’s sleeve tight and holding her hand. He looks very pale. As the director of photography, Arsenio Assin, sits on a nearby couch inspecting the Hi-Def camera, which is state of the art and still has that “new car smell,” and the filmmaker, Preston, assembles the costumes, which are, to say the least, quite bizarre (a white cowboy hat, white zip-up hoodies, white sweatpants and Texarcana cowboy boots), the boy seems to wonder just what he got himself into here. We load up the passenger van and drive out to the shopping mall, where we will proceed to shoot these actors in these strange costumes moving through this consumer-driven space. Matthew barely says a word to us; he is going through something completely interior—and completely personal.

Lichman & Rizov “Live” at Grassroots Tavern: Episode 7, “Will Smith Is a Gay, Hitler-Loving Scientologist” with Jeremiah Kipp

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Lichman & Rizov “Live” at Grassroots Tavern: Episode 7, “Will Smith Is a Gay, Hitler-Loving Scientologist” with Jeremiah Kipp
Lichman & Rizov “Live” at Grassroots Tavern: Episode 7, “Will Smith Is a Gay, Hitler-Loving Scientologist” with Jeremiah Kipp

This week’s episode is a tad bittersweet, as later in recording we get onto the topic of independent cinema (well, indie cinema, not Indiewood) and how it is being covered less and less in mainstream publications. The Hollywood Reporter ran a piece last week detailing how “more and more indie films have flooded the market (up from 501 in 2006 to 530 last year), [and] they are overwhelming critics.” Tack on the recent cut-backs at Tribune—as we did last week—and a discussion on the state of freelance vs. staff critic is born. (This was before news came Monday from The Reeler that Nathan Lee had been let go from The Village Voice due to “economic reasons.”) Vadim and I do spar a bit on the topic, so you’re warned. On the brighter side, that’s after the ten minute mark, when we know you all stop listening and go to Defamer or GreenCine.

Also this week, fellow House contributor and Slant Magazine reviewer Jeremiah Kipp stops by to discuss the news that Peter Berg is being given the keys to the remake of Dune (so Mickey D’s will probably be slinging “Spice Shakes” in 2010), the Noel Murray Stop-Clock makes another appearance, and Vadim says something extremely pretentious (and hilarious in hindsight) when it comes to how great “his industry” is going.

Joining us next week will be Kevin B. Lee (THND, Slant Magazine, Cinema Scope) and director Preston Miller (Jones). So if you happen to see Vadim or me at the bar, please buy us a drink. JL

 

Out of the Shadows: An Interview with Ron Perlman

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Out of the Shadows: An Interview with Ron Perlman
Out of the Shadows: An Interview with Ron Perlman

In the new issue of Shock Cinema, House contributor Jeremiah Kipp interviews unconventional leading man Ron Perlman. Topics include Perlman’s collaborations with Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro (City of Lost Children), Guillermo del Toro (Cronos, Hellboy) and Larry Fessenden (Wendigo); his experience playing a romantic lead under heavy makeup in CBS’ Beauty and the Beast; his decision to go on the lam to avoid $5000 in parking tickets, and his strange interlude working with Marlon Brando on The Island of Dr. Moreau:

You ever watch The Honeymooners? You ever see Ralph Kramden when he gets into a situation where he’s a little over his head. ’Hummana-hummana-hummana-hummana!’ And every moment I was in Brando’s presence it was like that. I know there’s a lot of people like me who have an unhealthy fascination with Brando, and I say unhealthy because it’s completely over the top, it dwarfs all rationality. The fact that I was just going to be in his presence meant so much to me. What he was able to achieve as an actor during those certain parts of his career where he decided to apply himself—which was only three performances, really, as far as I’m concerned—he accomplished things that no one else will ever be able to touch, unquestionably. To me, he’s a God. What do you do when you get near a God? You just watch them. I spent so much time observing Marlon on that movie that I kept missing my own lines. I would hear him say (Brando imitation), “It’s your line.” And I said, “I wonder who he’s talking to.” Then he’d say, “Hey you, the blind guy, it’s your line.” I went, “Oh shit, it’s me!”...

Cinema, Dead and Alive: An Interview with Godfrey Cheshire, Part Two

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Cinema, Dead and Alive: An Interview with Godfrey Cheshire, Part Two
Cinema, Dead and Alive: An Interview with Godfrey Cheshire, Part Two

Do you think that the Death of Film, and the major changes in the world, have been an impetus for documentaries to gain the level of attention and prominence that they have? The death of film leads to the emergence of video, and the proliferation of video has allowed a lot more documentaries to be made.

The technology of low-budget filmmaking through video has allowed more people to make documentaries. It has made the whole food chain of documentary production, exhibition and distribution much more cost effective and easier for people in terms of making the films and getting viewer access to them. That has definitely stimulated things. Also, documentaries allow people to engage with what’s happening with the world, as I said before. Documentaries in many cases aren’t being produced by TV networks, which are doing the same sort of thing but very much under the corporate mandate. People understand that. You’re able to presume that what’s represented will be an independent viewpoint. In most cases, it’s a liberal or progressive viewpoint, but the key thing is that it is individual. A lot of that is in reaction to how corporate the media has become, especially television media, because whether or not Edward R. Murrow was the great hero that George Clooney would like us to believe, there was a greater chance for a strong individual point-of-view in the [news and nonfiction programs] of decades past. The corporate mandate has soured people on recent TV, and they distrust the coverage of such things as the War in Iraq [seen in such theatrical documentaries as Occupation Dreamland]. TV has tried to make up some lost ground with its Hurricane Katrina coverage, which has been the answer to Iraq. Michael Moore or Barbara Kopple or any individual documentary maker and can go out with relatively little money, make something, and get it in front of people that is heretical to any corporate party line. This is why movies are going to retain a certain cultural importance for a long time to come—specifically because of this.

But the rise of documentaries is related to the decline of European auteurs, and the failure of significant American auteurs to arise from and remain in the independent world in very significant numbers. If you look at the whole Sundance phenomenon, there was such promise there, but while you’ve got a few interesting directors coming up, most of them just go on to the majors or whatever. In the past, people would go to the independent theaters and art theaters for foreign films, and specifically the great tradition of European films. That has dried up.