Our New Open Call For Experimental Films Launches With Evan Prosofsky's Directorial Debut
Artificial waves crash and swimsuit-clad patrons frolic in the strange suburban utopia of World Waterpark in Alberta, Canada, in cinematographer Evan Prosofsky’s first directorial effort, launching an open call for submissions to our new Shorts on Sundays series via the NOWNESS Vimeo channel. The aquatic playground cast as the uncanny protagonist in Waterpark is located inside the West Edmonton Mall, North America’s largest shopping destination. “I never seemed to adjust to the absurdity,” says the director of shooting in his hometown’s famous fantasyland. “Even as a kid, I just couldn’t believe we had flamingos, submarines, roller coasters, and pirate ships in our mall.” The increasingly sought-after cinematographer became known as the lensman behind several of last year’s most shared music videos, including Grimes’ “Oblivion,” Bat for Lashes’ “All Your Gold” and Grizzly Bear’s “Yet Again.” Sound features prominently in Waterpark, too, with the soundtrack composed by Prosofsky’s friend Alex Zhang Hungtai, aka Dirty Beaches, infusing the innocent family environment with a seductive, contemplative undertone. “[Evan] told me of his experience there as a child,” says the Taiwanese-born Canadian musician of the effort. “That helped me understand his perspective, and I liked how neutral and non-judgmental it was.” Shot over a span of three years, the labor of love hints at the anxiety that lays dormant behind an otherwise glossy North American leisure culture. “Once I was in there,” Prosofsky recalls of shooting in plain view. “No one paid me the slightest bit of attention.” We asked Emily Kai Bock to share her thoughts on her collaborator's uncommon vision and process.
Waterpark is an early glimpse into the way Evan has structured his life around the craft of cinematography—being a typical teen working at the West Edmonton mall, but using his money and time off to go to the expense of documenting the space for hours on 16mm. It's rare to find that kind of devotion and love for the craft with a cinematographer. I've led him into many situations on several videos where his equipment could have been confiscated or ruined by the conditions. When we were shooting Grizzly Bear's "Yet Again" I remember watching him as he read the manual for a HydroFlex underwater housing before dropping it into a swimming pool with his own 35mm camera inside. The camera was safe, but it demonstrated that getting the shot was more valuable to him then his own equipment. His knowledge has provided an unwavering buoyancy through our sink-or-swim shoots.
Visit the NOWNESS Vimeo page for more information on how to submit to our Shorts on Sundays open call.
A Young Artist Slides Off the Grid in the First Installment of our "Shorts on Sundays" Series
Crisp mornings and solitary fireside evenings punctuate My Friend Kills Time, a contemplative short from emerging Norwegian filmmaker Jakob Rørvik that portrays a young man's self-imposed exile in rural Britain. The work’s star is Thomas Duggan, a friend of the director and a design graduate from Central St. Martins who has made sets for London theatre company Shunt, as well as his own products and installations such as chandeliers made from test tubes, sofas from hemp and trays of crystal-forming liquids that catch the light as they transform. In Rørvik’s film, however, he appears as a handsome man with high cheekbones and plush lips who attempts to go about a daily routine in an isolated cabin, whittling down his character to its core. Rørvik’s sensitive narrative films include Scratch, which won the Best Fiction award at the Aubagne International Film Festival 2010. My Friend Kills Time marks a step towards a looser and more documentary form of storytelling for the director—and ushers in NOWNESS' “Shorts on Sundays” series, dedicated to premiering innovative work from emerging filmmakers. As Duggan’s protagonist builds a house of cards and watches them collapse or drums his fingers on the table to pass the hours, the only interruption is the occasional ring of his mobile phone, reminding him of the outside world. “I wanted to bridge something naturalistic and spontaneous with something poetic,” explains Rørvik of his process, which involved working with Duggan to draw out a fictional character. “The idea of not being around people and the hustle and bustle of London frightened me. Questioning that fear was my starting point.”
A Quick-Witted Love Letter From Indie Hollywood's Favorite Cousins
Film royalty Roman Coppola and Jason Schwartzman conspire with YouTube virtuoso Graydon Sheppard of “Sh*t Girls Say” fame to create today’s videogram, which features the cousin duo bantering on love and obsession. Shooting six-second vignettes on the iPhones inspired by Twitter’s new mobile app Vine, Sheppard pays homage to Coppola’s latest feature A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III, whose comic flavor hinges on absurdist amorous pursuits. The film stars Charlie Sheen as an unrepentant LA playboy who spirals out of control when his girlfriend leaves him and enlists the help and guidance of best friend Kirby Star—played by Schwartzman—to win her back in a 1970s-style romp complete with surreal revenge fantasies and winking parallels to Sheen’s own very public meltdown. A recent Academy Award nominee for Best Original Screenplay, Coppola is the son of polymath Francis Ford and brother of fellow filmmaker Sofia; Schwartzman, meanwhile, has made a name for himself starring in Wes Anderson films from Rushmore to Moonrise Kingdom, on which Roman collaborated, and cousin Sofia's Marie Antoinette. From major film production to casual smart phone clips, Coppola and Schwartzman know how to keep their sense of humor, while keeping it in the family.