Revolution. Televised.


As a Director of Photography, I have never had the privilege of being on one of those lists like “50 filmmakers to watch” although many of my directors have. I figured that was because although I contribute to the making of their films, I am not the originator (auteur) of the content. So I was beyond delighted and surprised to receive an email from Fader Films/Current TV saying I was selected as one of 50 filmmakers considered the emerging talent in non-fiction films. And we were being invited to a full day symposium, The Future of Non-Fiction Film, would be able to chat philosophically & pragmatically with such notable people as Albert Maysles (“Grey Gardens” “Gimme Shelter”), Barbara Kopple (“Shut Up and Sing” & more HBO shows than you can shake a stick at).

So of course, I attended and it’s virtually impossible to mention every single incredible industry veteran there. There were people from Magnolia Pictures, POV (PBS), Alex Gibney (“Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room”)… I’m out of breath. Plus, what ended up being 53 other filmmakers all of whom had very impressive resumes and whose work I had already seen.

And the piece de resistance? The keynote speaker was Al Gore. He gave us a very personal, passionate and heartfelt speech on why Current TV and why us. It was amazing. (By the by, that man is too smart to be President. Remember this kids, when you don’t get what you want, you usually get something better.)

During Mr Gore’s speech, I was sitting next to Albert Maysles. He tapped me on the knee and gestured at all of us filmmakers in the room and said something like “This is the revolution” or “We are witnessing the revolution”. Something like that. And all I could think of was wow, that he thinks we are capable.

My new signature on my email is “Cinematographer for directors who want to change the world”. I always half-joke that I am an Eastern European 70 year old DP trapped in a much younger black girls body. I say this because I feel like I should have been shooting films in the late 60s – 70s. I like the texture of the films, the political intrigue, the social commentary. I also envied/admired how all of those filmmakers worked together.

After yesterday’s event, I felt like I got my wish after all. Only better. I have created that exact working environment: a group of like minded friends/colleagues and we certainly have enough social commentary & political intrigue stories to keep us all working for a few decades.

On a final note, I met M dot Strange last night who gave me DVDs of his work. He is already a YouTube viral phenom, but I was new to his work. His animation is absolutely incredible and hypnotic.


~ by Cybel Martin on November 7, 2007.

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