Archive for 2011

Hell and Back Again- Absolutely Amazing

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

I knew Hell and Back Again was going to be an amazing documentary after I began crying within the first five minutes. The film is focused around the life of a US marine who was shot in the hip in Afghanistan. Half of the film is about his recovery process and the other half is actual footage of his squad in Afghanistan. The director did an amazing job at showing both of these stories.

The first thing that really impressed me about the film was the way the story switched back and forth between footage in the US and Afghanistan. One scene in particular comes to mind because the use of sound was so different from any other documentary I’ve seen. It was showing the recovering marine in his car struggling with pain and nausea. His head is down and the sound is of guns shooting and people yelling in battle. As he continues to struggle the scene then switches back to Afghanistan in the heat of a gunfight with the Taliban. Showing the marine in his car with the sound of war in the background made the scene ten times more intense for the audience. The director used techniques like this for the entire documentary and the effect was amazing.

The second part of the film that really made it stick out from other documentaries was the complete realness of the problems with the Afghan war. Two thousand US marines were dropped in the middle of a Taliban controlled area with the goal of taking it over. They invaded the towns and told civilians to leave their homes and send their children away, because there was going to be heavy gun fighting on a daily basis. It’s hard for me to think of what it would be like to have heavily armed men show up at my door and tell me to leave. On top of that they also were informed that the marines were going to be living and using their homes while in the area. The marines move their personal belongings and even kill some of their livestock, the very thing keeping their children alive. I don’t think the documentary tried to make these marines look bad, but in some cases I couldn’t help but feel like these men are doing the wrong thing. It’s a hard situation because there aren’t many places for the marines to go, and likewise for the Afghan civilians.

Aside from the marines invading the homes of these people, the film shows a different side of the marines that one may not normally think about. Marines are trained to be these hard core, no feelings, no remorse type of people. However when they get back to the United States they often feel alone and deeply depressed about the things they have seen and done. For a marine to show that they are anxious or depressed goes against everything they have been trained to be, because it is portrayed as a sign of weakness. The documentary is different from many I have seen about soldiers and war because it follows them after they are back home. The documentary is one that I believe everyone in America should see in order to understand the strife of our soldiers, and the conflict with the war in Afghanistan.

Sundance Video: Tubing on the Snow?

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

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Here’s the video I made for our Sundance Snow Tubing adventure!

WOO! Enjoy.

Where to Go: Yellow Snow

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

For those of you caffeine addicts who, like me, love coffee but feel guilty giving those corporate bastards at Starbucks and Einstein’s your money, do not despair- I have found us a watering hole!  Just steps away from Prospector Square, Yellow Snow is coffee shop with offerings  as unique as it’s name.  From artisanal roasted coffees to dank sandwiches, Yellow Snow has a diverse menu set at affordable prices (especially for Park City). Mostly frequented by locals, Yellow Snow is rarely crowded, making it a great place to escape the bustle of Main St. Equipped with free wifi and ample seating room it is perfect for working/studying. Big blue velvet couches and yellow walls give this place a cozy vibe and even if you forget your headphones it’s not that bad because they play pretty decent music ( i.e. Ratatat, the Doors, and Peter Tosh). The service is fast and friendly and there is live music every weekend but the best thing about Yellow Snow is no doubt the homemade ice cream. It is made fresh every morning by the owner himself -Italian gelato style in exotic flavors like chai tea latte, blueberry muffin, and local Utah brewery’s very own Oatmeal Stout. Even in the dead of winter ice cream has never been so appealing.

Sundance Film: We Were Here

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

After the first ten mintues of David Weissman’s We Were Here, I contemplated walking out of the theatre. I felt the urge to disengage, simply because I didn’t know if I could take another telling of the catastrophic effect of AIDS on the gay community. But We Were Here is not content filling the viewer with the overbearing horror and outrage it evokes-the juxtaposed beauty and courage of the Haight-Ashbury community shines triumphantly the entire length of the film. (more…)

Banjo fills the streets of Sundance:Bramble video

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

Pacing up and down Main Street as my friend James wait listed Magic Trip at The Egyptian, I made an extended stop to listen to Bramble. Perched on the street corner, these Salt Lake City natives employ a repertoire of instruments including banjo, charango(?), guitar, accordion and percussion. (more…)

A Day on The Slopes

Monday, January 31st, 2011

5 Sundancers hit the slopes of Park City to enjoy a day of skiing and snowboarding.

Here is our day. <-click to view the movie

Featuring:

Hannah Feigin, Chris Werre, Frank Arcuri Jr, Lindsay Comins, and Travis Tyler

Sundance Review: Shorts Program

Monday, January 31st, 2011

Me with the makers and voices of Marcel the Shell

Me with the makers and voices of Marcel the Shell

I’m not sure if any of my fellow Sundancers from Eckerd had the pleasure of sitting through a Shorts Program, but I was lucky enough. I got there with just a few minutes to spare and found a seat inside the Holiday Village Cinema Theater.

Shorts are 3-20 minute films that can be anything from talking snails to ghetto noir films. The shorts are a nice way to break up the Sundance experience and try something different. It doesn’t allow you to get too involved in the plots or the characters, which offers a chance to try something really experimental.

One of my favorite shorts was titled Love Birds. Besides being aesthetically stunning, it managed to have me laughing my ass off. (more…)

Sundance Summary

Monday, January 31st, 2011

They say you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone. I hate to say it, but that cliché consumes my mood right now. I’m sitting on the flight from Salt Lake City to Houston right now reflecting on how incredible this experience really was. Anyway, this trip was about a lot of things: the blogging, the Hollywood star sighting, and figuring out the stupid (yet handy) bus system. But for me, what was most important was the personal interaction with admirable artists. (more…)

Sundance Film: Life in a Day

Monday, January 31st, 2011

Most touching film I saw.

Most touching film I saw.

If alien life forms were to invade this world and come face to face with the human race, they would be utterly confused. Let’s face it, we are strange creatures. Kevin Macdonald, with the help of YouTube and the Sundance Film Festival, has assembled and created Life in a Day, which honestly defines and depicts what it means to be human.

Here’s how it worked. In 2010, Macdonald planned on making a feature length documentary taking place in just one day, July 24th. Enlisting the entire global community, people from around the world were asked to film a day of their own lives and submit it. Macdonald and his team of editors sat down and sifted through about 5,000 hours of footage from places like Tanzania, Brazil, England, New Zealand, Australia, and many more to compile what they believed could tell an exceptional story of their day.

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Sundance Film: The Green Wave

Monday, January 31st, 2011

I still cant stop thinking about The Green Wave.

I still can't stop thinking about "The Green Wave."

“Iran? Wait, that isn’t Iraq. Oh, it’s the big one next to it? I don’t know anything about it,” I thought as I purchased a ticket to The Green Wave. Until this movie, I’ve never seen a person get murdered. And I mean an actual person dying in front of my own eyes.

In early 2009, the youth of Iran (which is a large percentage of its population) organized into a massive movement. Attempting to challenge the political and social systems in place, the Green Wave (as they called themselves) found a unique and liberal candidate who promised change, Mir Hossein Mousavi. As the movement grew, it seemed impossible that his opponent, Islamic fundamentalist, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad even stood a chance at winning. When voting day came, something strange was going on. Ballots were almost incomprehensible and very confusing. Voting centers were allegedly running out of ballots early in the day, and many closed down. When the results came in, the numbers were the exact opposite of what the majority of Iranians predicted.

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