Author Archives: alazebnik

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Will Someone Please Put a Diaper on that Kid?

A Hot Mess…

That is all I can say about the short film, “The Wasp.” How this film won an Academy Award in 2005 is beyond me. This live action film depicts Zoe, a woman who makes Charlie Sheen look functional, and her four children. After watching the 2010 nominees, Andrea Arnold’s short film looks mediocre at best.

A Loving Family

After reading that descriptive paragraph, I bet one would love to read to a snopynosis of this film.

You have been warned.

The Wasp depicts a young family from the U.K, who are on the outskirts of life. They are not the wealthiest and they are not what you consider civil.  When Zoe meets an old flame, David, she plans to set up an arrangement in the most romantic place a person can imagine, a pub. Now where do the children fall into this picture. Well, they’re stuck listening to generic 80s music behind the pub. As any good mother, Zoe brings her children some food. The only problem is that she barely has five dollars to her name. Before Zoe and Dave make “fireworks” in the front seat of a broken down car, she is alarmed with screams from her children.

The youngest child, who throughout the movie is either in his birthday suit or a blanket, has a wasp enter his mouth as he is sleeping. The wasp leaves before doing any damage to the poor baby. The wasp is symbolic to any child. When it is in fear, it will use its stinger as a way to show that is afraid.  When a child is afraid, they begin to cry until their mothers come to save the day.

You should get the point by now. I really tried to find something positive about this film. That says a lot about it.

Posted in Independent Film, Oscar Shorts | Comments Off on Will Someone Please Put a Diaper on that Kid?

Na Wewe: The True Rwanda Story

“Na Wewe,” Ivan Goldschmidt’s dark visualization of the Rwanda Genocide, means you too in Kirundi. Because of the historical context of the film and its underlying allegory of self-identity, viewers may just be left with vertigo.

As a director, a film editor, a theater stage director, and more recently a sculptor and a painter, Goldschmidt is an exemplar for diversity. His resume includes the short film, “Ketchup,” and the TV series, “François the Bachelor and his Terrific Friends.” He can now add that his recent short- film, “Na Wewe,” was nominated for an Oscar.

Accompanied with co-writer Jean-Luc Pening, Goldschmidt both wrote and directed Na Wewe. Although Jean Luc- Pening is from Belgian descent, he lived in Rwanda with his wife and child until the Rwanda Genocide took place. As a former UN agent for Africa, Pening captivates the realism of Na Wewe.

Civil unrest results in genocide in Burundi

After returning from his plantation one day, Pening was stopped by a military truck.

A soldier shot him at the temple. With his right eye torn off and his left optic nerve damage, he became blind.  He began to write a screenplay, which led him to remember a certain classmate. “I received this text by email and I told myself it must be done. It’s a universal story,” says Goldschmidt. Pening’s “vision” became Goldschmidt’s stage.

This stage took place in Burundi in the year 1994. Burundi, which is located in Eastern Africa, borders Rwanda. In 1994, the Rwanda Genocide took place. Within a matter of months eight hundred thousand Rwandans were killed!

Does any one have a choice of where they come from?

Most of the causalities included the Tutsis, who are at the forefront of Na Wewe. A bus carrying several people, including one Belgium man, who is played by Renaud Rutten, gets stopped by rebel Tutsis, who pillage and kill anyone who is a Hutus, the main perpetrators of the heinous act. What is a Tutsis? What is a Hutus?

How am I supposed to know that without Google?

This Belgium film was very well done, especially in terms of production, but there is a slim chance that lines of people are going to watch this film. With a cast of unknowns and a language barrier, many film goers may feel empty handed by Na Wewe.

Na Wewe hopes to follow Toylands success. Toyland, the 2009 Academy Award  winner for Best Live Action movie depicts the story of a Jewish family and an Aryan family who are friends and neighbors. As the deportation of Jews takes place in Germany, both families are impacted greatly. Both Toyland and Na Wewe are historical pieces that should not be forgotten. Their messages are to prevent future corruption and share the stories of the fallen causalities that should never be forgotten.

Will Na Wewe win the Academy Award on February 27th? Watch the Academy Awards on ABC at 8:30 PM to find out.

Posted in Independent Film | Tagged , | 3 Comments

A Date With…Independents

Imagine walking into a movie theater.  To your surprise there is a huge line of people. After you pick up your ticket, you go purchase some candy at the concession stand. Now imagine if you didn’t keep a diet that would not let you feel any guilt as you splurge on M&Ms and milk duds. Once you have your candy, you enter your section, where lively and high-spirited moviegoers surround you. Finally imagine your significant other sitting next to you.

Now open your eyes to see nobody next to you except your man purse. If that is not pathetic enough, you are at a deserted theater where there are only 4 guys watching a movie.

That was my Tuesday afternoon.

On February 15th, I went to the to see the live action short films that were nominated for an Oscar. The short films included: The Confession, The Crush, Na Wewe, Wish 143, and God of Love.

Wish 143 can be found in the following link

323 Avenue of the Americas New York, NY 10014-4403 (212) 924-7771

My trip was actually pretty good because I actually knew where the IFC Theater was located.  I think being lost that one time in West 4th paid off.

I took the F Train from Avenue X and spent an hour listening to J. Cole and the RX Bandits on the train.  With fifteen minutes to spare, I hoped to see fellow classmates.

What I found was a man eating popcorn while reading the New York Post.  The first sign of human life were two attractive women that accidentally came to the live action section while looking for the animated shorts. I should have brought my love dart 3000s but I left them at home (STORY OF MY LIFE). After two other guys came, which makes for a really pathetic sight, the short films finally begin.

Follow Raymond Goodfellow as he becomes a modern day Cupid. Can he make the girl of his dreams fall in love with him?

By Na Wewe, I was mostly thinking about one thing, food. The concession stands were not an option. Before I start talking about how I hate being on a diet, I have a confession to make. In the name of Milton Hersey, I confess that I ate a salad. I’ll admit that was not funny.  Without hurting my masculinity any further, I really enjoyed most of the short films. For 13 dollars I saw five well-written movies that surpass what Hollywood typically produces. “Independent films are where you really get to cut your teeth and have some fun and do the things that mainstream Hollywood doesn’t want to do,” says Comedian/Actor Anthony Anderson. I really had a fun time. I hope to see more from the IFC Theater.

Posted in Independent Film, Oscar Shorts | 6 Comments

A Battle of Webisodic Proportions

Kings reign supreme!

The “kings” have the loudest voice. Their voice can be heard beyond any village and any country. The “kings” of the media have included prominent web-video sites and sponsors. These sites and sponsors generate millions of dollars. Just like a King would subsidize his legions of workers, prominent web sites and their sponsors have subsidized the media. Any dynasty or hierarchy will be tested by opposition.

Because of the Internet, many individuals can find different venues of entertainment. These venues are explored in different blogs and articles.

Mike Hale, a blogger from the New York Times Blog, “Arts Beat”, has recently created a new Watch List, a blog where Hale provides several links of videos, called “Web Series with Polish.” Web Series with Polish includes two links that indicates the vast differences between two different webisodes. The first link includes the web series Oh Inverted World. Directed by Terence Krey and Daniel Fox, Oh Inverted World is not your typical show or series.

Oh Inverted World is a black and white production that follows the life of Mina and her Bearded Three. Pamela Bell plays Mina, a girl in her mid-twenties who wakes up at two-o clock in the afternoon everyday. As she looks at her New York University diploma with resentment, she always knows that she has her Bearded Three, which includes: Art, Finn, and Rob. It is not filmed in a huge set. It is an independent production that hopes to use their sarcastic and hipster appeal to reach the masses.

Although it is somewhat comedic, the show has solemn music which is made by Dan Cohen. Solemn music is played throughout Mike Hale’s other link, which includes Lifetimes’s web series, Suite 7.  Suite 7, stars Shannon Doherty, who is known for her work in the original Beverly Hills 90210.

The show is sponsored by the Better Sleep Council

Shannen Doherty plays Adrienne, a woman who is coping with a loss of a boyfriend. As she stays in a hotel, she finds comfort with the hotel manager, who is played by Wilson Cleveland. Unlike Oh Inverted World this show is sponsored by “The Better Sleep Council,”who can be followed on Suite 7 is directed by Mark Gantt and is produced by A CJP Digital Media. Even though Suite 7 was more well done, I actually liked Oh Inverted World much better. Ying Chan agrees with my sentiment. “It felt different. Suite 7 is the same thing as most other shows,” says Chan. Sherese Francis disagrees with the both of us. Francis said that she liked Suite 7 more because she felt that the “acting was better.” There will always will be a disagreement between what is better. That is for you to decide.

Posted in Independent Film | 1 Comment