November 7, 2015 |
Hana Saeidi, the bright young niece of Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi, climbs into the taxi that her uncle is driving on the streets of Tehran. She is holding a camera, excited about her first film class in school. Her teacher has provided a list of rules to make a "distributable" movie. Among the key rules: "No sordid realism. " In the small and brilliant Jafar Panahi's Taxi , the internationally renowned director has been reduced to making his own brand of "sordid realism" on the sly - that is, realism free of the restrictions of Sharia law. With a small camera mounted on the dashboard of a car, Panahi drives along, picking up passengers and recording them as they debate politics and religion, crime and punishment, Woody Allen and Akira Kurosawa.
October 30, 2015 |
PHILADELPHIA police union leaders jumped on the boycott bandwagon of filmmaker Quentin Tarantino, a few days after the New York and Los Angeles police unions announced a similar boycott, because Tarantino attended a rally against police brutality last weekend. "Mr. Tarantino has made a good living through his films, projecting into society at large violence and respect for criminals; he, it turns out, also hates cops," read a statement from Philly's Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5, which represents about 6,500 officers.
October 16, 2015 |
AARON SORKIN'S hotly debated script for "Steve Jobs" avoids biopic formula, instead looking at the Apple co-founder in the context of three product launches. Sorkin talked with Daily News movie critic Gary Thompson about the movie. Q: "Steve Jobs" is about a particular individual, but it also fits a tradition of movies about American industrial titans, men with whom Jobs has things in common. A: In a way, this character has been around forever. William Randolph Hearst became "Citizen Kane.
September 6, 2015 |
A Camden man who faced potential prison time for using a gun as a film prop pleaded guilty Wednesday to a lesser charge, which will allow him to avoid incarceration, his attorney said Friday. Ta'Quan Allen, 19, had faced a minimum of five years in prison with the original charge of unlawful possession of a weapon, said his public defender, Lou Presenza. After pleading guilty to improper disposal of a firearm, Allen will receive probation, his attorney said. Allen said he was filming a movie with friends in May on a vacant property next to his home when several police officers approached with their guns drawn.
May 12, 2015 |
A PHILADELPHIA filmmaker with deep ties in the local independent film community was fatally hit early yesterday by a motorist in North Philadelphia. Jay Mohan, 26, of 26th Street near Thompson, was headed home about 12:05 a.m., biking on Ridge Avenue crossing over to Girard when a Buick Roadmaster headed westbound on Girard struck him, police said. Mohan was taken to Hahnemann University Hospital after suffering multiple fractures and head trauma, and he died at 2:46 a.m. He may not have been wearing a helmet, NBC10 reported.
May 12, 2015 |
At Philly CAM, which runs the city's public-access television station, people take classes or rent equipment and facilities. The person who helped them with their independent films and TV shows was Jay Mohan. "He was very welcoming and able to communicate technical things to people who didn't have much experience in a way that would make everyone feel comfortable," said Gretjen Clausing, executive director of Philly Community Access Media. Shortly after midnight Sunday, Mohan, 26, was riding his bike on Girard Avenue near Ridge when he was hit by a 1993 Buick Roadmaster traveling west on Girard, police said.
April 17, 2015 |
DISNEY'S "Monkey Kingdom" had me wondering if documentary filmmakers have finally run out of cute animals. The subject of this movie is a Sri Lankan creature called a macaque, which is the noise you make when you have bronchitis and cough up a phlegm ball. The macaque embodies that sound. Picture a blond chimp with eczema and a bad toupee and you have the macaque, a species that has also built for itself a rather oppressive social order. "Monkey Kingdom" follows the story of Maya, a female who's a "low born" macaque, and thus excluded from access to the best food, even to interested suitors - when a handsome young bloke expresses interest, he's chased off by the alpha male, who then proceeds to ignore Maya (men!
March 9, 2015 |
The filmmakers ask Richard Norcross to pull over at the house where he was shot five times - the house where his younger brother and another law enforcement officer were gunned down 20 years ago. "It's a very eerie feeling," says Norcross, who was a Haddon Heights police detective when Leslie Nelson's bloody rampage made national headlines. Glancing at the innocuous two-story dwelling on Sylvan Drive where his life changed forever on April 20, 1995, Norcross adds, "There are no good memories here.
February 24, 2015 |
When a refugee working to oppose one of the world's most repressive regimes tried to leave, the Eritrean government found him and held him in an underground prison for six years until he escaped. His job at the jail had been to sell the kerosene that inmates buy for cooking. He said he saw some use it to set themselves on fire. "That was one of the first stories we heard," said Chris Cotter, an aspiring filmmaker in West Chester. "It was tough. " Cotter, a 37-year-old musician, is almost done making a documentary - Refugee: The Eritrean Exodus - to share people's stories and raise awareness about human rights abuses in Eritrea, a country slightly larger than Pennsylvania on the Horn of Africa.
January 20, 2015 |
WALLY SHAW took up residence in Philadelphia in 2001, and in just two years, he was on a mural. Might be some kind of record there, but Wally didn't really want to be on the mural at 18th and Callowhill streets that depicts elderly people taking up new skills in their golden years. Artist Donald Gensler called it "Lifelong Learning," and as it neared completion, he felt that Wally, who was in his 90s and helped plan the mural, needed to be in it. He is shown holding a video camera, with which he made films in his senior years after a long career as a physician, teacher and researcher.