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principal photography early summer 2015, we've already begun the
post-production (editing) phase on MAN WHO "SAVED" THE MOVIES with an
eye towards the Fall / Winter 2015 - 2016 film festival season. Keep
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* PAGE 1 (HOME) STEVE VERTLIEB: THE MAN WHO "SAVED" THE MOVIES:
Synopsis / Crew Personnel / Shooting Schedule/ Teaser Trailer
* PAGE 2 - Daily LOG / BLOG; SPECIAL ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
* PAGE 4 - THE MAN WHO "SAVED" THE MOVIES: Production blog #1 - Shooting begins, Mars, PA
* PAGE 5 - THE MAN WHO "SAVED" THE MOVIES: Production Blog #2 - "Phase 2", Los Angeles, CA
* PAGE 6 - THE MAN WHO "SAVED" THE MOVIES: Production Blog #3 - "Phase 3", Philadelphia, PA
A Message From Director / Writer /
Co-Producer CRAIG ELLIS JAMISON
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Hitchcock once opined ... "In a narrative film the director is God; In a
documentary film God is the director". And over the last few months,
while putting this project, STEVE VERTLIEB: THE MAN WHO "SAVED" THE MOVIES, together I've had constant questions - from managers to film crew and everyone in between - asking "what will be the thrust
of the film". And while I've given them the outline / "narrative shot list" of sorts - the "this will be followed by this and by this", I've also attempted to stress Mr. Hitchcock's extremely well perceived axiom by saying ...
HOOP DREAMS (1994)
"Y'know, with the best documentaries - like say director Steve James' 1994 HOOP DREAMS or David Gelb's 2011 JIRO
DREAMS OF SUSHI, very often the 'central thrust' (the "thematic central
nervous system" of the piece if you will) is DISCOVERED while doing it; while filming it. Like Dr.
Frankenstein culling together all of his parts - which are then one day
struck by lightning and brought to life (not unlike writing a screenplay by the way - where one day,
usually 1/3rd of the way in, it suddenly comes to life and begins speaking back to you
in it's own voice saying, 'No, THIS is what I'm about'), so will our docu - perhaps in defiance of plan or script,
assert it's OWN voice and reason for existing ... as we actually get into the physical act of making it. Expect this, and embrace it when it happens".
JIRO DREAMS OF SUSHI (2011)
Humans that we are, we wish to (and futilely believe we always can) have complete grasp and control of that within our nifty little "world-space". And such a concept as "it will reveal itself as we go" is often hard to accept. But sometimes (as did the old Clipper pilots when traversing the Atlantic) we must plan our projects to the nth degree, but at the same time learn to "wait for and catch the wind" when it unexpectedly blows in from whence we may not have anticipated. Such a wind has entered our flight path, and has (exemplifying that "God is the director" element) to a degree ordained a new subtextual motif to our documentary's narrative.
Over the last few weeks (since appearing on a genre message board or two) our hyperbole-laden title, THE MAN WHO "SAVED" THE MOVIES, has generated a great deal of emotional feedback - both positive and negative. As negatives tend to garner all the press (have you watched the evening news lately?) so shall we address some of these concerns. The film itself will do the same.
Steve & legendary Hammer Studios composer James Bernard
I believe there are at least
two kinds of documentaries - what I call the "What Is?" docu and the "Who Is?"
docu. The "What Is?" are those which relate how something got done,
like AMC's wonderful old series BACKSTORY, or those consistently
engaging feature length docus by Laurent Bouzereau (JAWS, CHINATOWN,
BACK TO THE FUTURE, the restoration of REAR WINDOW, etc.). The "Who
Is?" focuses more on an individual (or group); and WHAT they do (the
hook which at first captures the audience's interest) is ultimately
secondary. WHY they do the WHAT is that which becomes the ultimate focus.
With HOOP DREAMS the
subject of an inner city teen with a shot at making it in the NBA
is a fascinating story indeed. But that of the young man's morally upright family, eaking out a
day to day existence in a low income urban neighborhood, and how the parents' years long selfless sacrifices for their children may now rescue them from the squalor of poverty - IF they're willing to "play the game" in some regards - is a hundred times
MORE fascinating. Also, with the "Who Is?" type of docu, the person
under the "spotlight / microscope" need not necessarily always be
lionized. Ray Muller's THE HORRIBLE, WONDERFUL LIFE OF LENI RIEFENSTHAL
is one of the most fascinating docus ever ... about a person who's
character compass ranges from self delusional to morally
The central theme of STEVE VERTLIEB; THE MAN WHO "SAVED" THE MOVIES has
been, since it's inception (and still continues to be) two fold. On a microcosmic
level it posits "Why would this soft spoken, elfish, whom some (though not us) would call a 'social
outcast of a little man" spend his life obsessed with film ... and
genre film in particular?". And on the larger scale macrocosmic level -
"Why, after being historically derided as a 'non-legit' art form, does
genre continue to not only stubbornly survive but thrive, ... especially during
times of social fear and unrest?". The answer to both is a simple one for those who know and love the form - it allows us as both a society
and as individuals to face real world demons as well as "exorcise" those even more despicable internal ones (fears, hang ups, etc.) lurking within our own hearts