Barbed Wired Youth (1992)

One of my first short films. Made in 1992 on VHS and edited on two VHS recorders using the pause/rec method. In Icelandic with English subtitles.

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Here we go again: Stories from Beijing productions!

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So once again I’ve signed myself up for a semi-amateur no budget Beijing production, last time was The Chairman’s Wife which I had no time to blog about, the time before it was Little Flower and I had plenty of time to blog and burn bridges on that one, although surprisingly I didn’t manage to do the latter.

This time it’s a music video for DJ Mike Dee and singer Melody, Mike D is an English entrepreneur who Dj’s and makes music in his spare time, Melody is his Chinese muse.

The idea was outlandish, expensive, arty, meaningful and groundbreaking all rolled into one … then came the actual budget, it was ZERO, nothing. So, the idea changed into something more doable, something less meaningful, something more realistic, something less groundbreaking. The idea changed into a tried and tested formula of all great music videos, especially electronic music videos. Put 3 sexy girls in some revealing designer outfits and have them sulk and walk around a city being all pouty and sexy and arty. Shoot it and then put lot’s of effects over the images.

Day 1: Should have started a week ago. Today is day one, I said 2pm EVERYBODY needs to be ready.

Shadow our Chinese designer, that’s her name, forgot the dresses and woke up late and she’s not finished the dresses, she just started putting make up on our actress now, it’s 2.19pm. Jason our cameraman forgot his camera, he’s gone back to get the dresses and his camera.

What we’re shooting today is a scene that involves the sun going down. That begins around 4.30pm. I wanted to be safe and have everybody aim for a 2pm shoot. Just in case nothing went as planned, and nothing has. So will we make the last light of the day or will we still be waiting for make-up?

I have a feeling we’ll just about make the final scene and I have to re-schedule the actress for another day, something I was very adamant that I did not want to do, mostly because I don’t have time for this … one more time. The only way out of these low budget no budget situations is to write a high budget Jackie Chan comedy, I’m starting to see that now… but the mess, the language barriers, the fucking stupidity of it all … is kind of addictive.

Makes for good blogs, we shall see in the coming days.

Whit Stilmann connection

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So it’s come to my attention that I’ve now directed two actors from films made by Whit Stilmann, who made three rather good films in the 90’s. Matt Keeslar (bottom left) was in my first movie The Icelandic Dream and in Stilmann’s The Last Days of Disco, while Tushka Bergen (top middle) is in my latest movie The Chairman’s Wife and was in Stilmann’s Barcelona. People should check out Stilmann’s movies, all three of them very good and very much about the upper classes of New York, he got compared to Woody Allen at the time, but there’s more to the films than just that comparison. I think he then just vanished from the film industry.

Chairman’s Wife (trailer)

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Uploaded the trailer to youtube and tudou (for viewers in China), both can be viewed by going to this link: http://www.filmdouglas.com/chairmanswife.html

Chairman’s Wife Trailer

The trailer to Chairman’s Wife has been edited and now I’m just waiting for the sound files to arrive to me, I’ll put them on and then the trailer should be on the internet hopefully this week.

The Chairman’s Wife

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Is a short film written by Tara Wilkinson and directed by me, shooting finished a few weeks ago and a rough edit will be ready in a few days. It stars Tushka Bergen, Sam Voutas and Georg Tschebull.

Bonsai Girl – Final Verdict

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Well, I was handed a DVD copy of the film by a very nervous director … telling me, “it is what it is” … “maybe they won’t accept it into Cannes” … “but at least the shooting was a learning experience” etc etc, basically all the thing’s I had said during the shoot and right after it. But I had not seen the film, I had not edited it and composed the music and watched the film a 100 times, like the director. After watching the film, I don’t agree with his view – I think the film “is what it is and it’s great”. I think they will accept it into Cannes, if not then they’re just a bunch of stuck up French snobs who think Luc Besson is better than Trauffaut.

I think the film was more than a learning experience, it actually turned out to be a good film, a film the director and everyone else who worked on it can be very proud of. I mention Truffaut because the film verges on sentimentality, but in a good way, in a truthful and real way. Both Truffaut and Spielberg would be proud.

So after everything, after all the fuck up’s and all the misunderstandings and all the blood, sweat and tears. Something great came out of it, the one thing that mattered … not the learning experience, not the contacts gained or lost, but the actual film itself. Yes, it’s very good.

Who can take credit for it? The Director most certainly and then the cameraman, yes – the difficult spaced out cameraman, because the images and the cinematography is amazing. The script was always a problem (he copied it from Kes), but the solutions by our director and his editor are great and the film is much better than the original script – that’s how it’s always suppose to be anyway.

Before the first day of shooting the director asked me, “why do you want to make this movie?” … I took a moment to think about it and then answered, “The script is shit, but I want to make the movie because I believe in you, no matter what, you will make it good”.

Then I went into AD (Assistant Director) mode and screamed abuse at the crew for a week or so … and lost focus of myself as The Producer. I’m glad The Director didn’t lose focus of himself as a director, so here we have it … it’s A GREAT MOVIE!

Shame that the director can’t take criticism. This movie will never be seen by anybody because he can’t handle some idiots on IMDB giving reviews … If you want to be a director then you have to be able to take the shit … the shit and the piss from everybody. If not, then go and have an MBA and become a restaurant critic … You HAVE TO be able to stand criticisms.

It’s a beautiful movie and should be seen … It should be seen by everybody!