The good folks over at Canon were sweet enough to send their new C100 Mark 2 to Shark Pig so we could take it for a spin. Fortunately, we were busy doing a bunch of different random jobs at the time, and we got to test it out pretty thoroughly. I’m proud to work with Canon gear, and it was a fun opportunity. I had to grow out a frail stash for the interview though. Too nervous otherwise.
Cause that’s what our company is: A fish, some fries, a dog, and the Golden Gate Bridge.
A while ago, my old friend and colleague, Jonathon Narducci asked me to go to Bali and shoot a wedding for him. Mike, a South African who’d been living in Australia, was getting married to Svetlana, a Ukrainian woman whom he’d met through a dating service where you can essentially meet a “mail order bride.” I would go shoot the wedding, but also film for one chapter of a feature length documentary, Love Me, which follows a few different lonely men on their search for love through the modern mail order bride industry in Ukraine. The film is done and coming out on Valentines Day! Check out the trailer:
I was prepared for it to be weird, but certainly not in the way that it was. I expected to meet a chronically obese man who would be marrying a hot 18 year old or something. I found out Mike was a widower. He had children from his previous wife, who died of Leukemia. The kids were grown up already, and he was lonely in an empty house. He didn’t know how to meet women at this stage in his life. Svetlana had also been married before, and she told me, or the translator told me rather, that she was looking for security and a better life for her children. At a glance, it didn’t seem that strange. But then things took a turn.
Since no one other than me and the translator spoke English, Mike was very open with me about what he was feeling and thinking. He woke me up at 5 in the morning to tell me he had received an anonymous letter saying that the entire wedding was a scam, intended to be nothing more than a way of stealing his money. On the day of the wedding, I came to work, but no one could find Mike. He had disappeared. The film makers caught up with Mike & Stevtlana, all the way back to the Ukraine where things unexpectedly got pretty dark. I can’t tell you anymore because I don’t want to spoil it!
I’m so proud to have been a part of Love Me. It’s presentation of these people’s stories is very even keeled, and the movie has a great follow through with the characters. It’s wonderful. They’re doing a Pre-order campaign right now with an amazing drawing: you can win a trip to the Ukraine and a tour with the dating service, A Foreign Affair! Seriously! If you’re interested in seeing the film, please consider doing the pre order. Who knows – you might just end up with a bride out of it. Haha. Pre-order HERE and you can enter the contest HERE
P.S. Pappin worked on this film a little too at a different wedding. It wasn’t the weirdest wedding he’d ever shot, but it WAS the weirdest first kiss that he or any of us has ever witnessed. That moment alone is worth seeing the film.
Check out Her Lovely Heart if you want to know about the dumb things rattling around in my head.
Photo by Rainbeau Tharp
Check out this video we did with Tara Maxey of Heirloom LA and Jet Tila of Stir Market for Takepart.com!
It would be fair to say that I wasn’t much in to food before I moved to LA. I was pretty picky and had excuses like “overly sensitive tastebuds” at my disposal to get out of eating things I thought were weird. Now, having spent 5 years in this City of Angels, I am proud to say my horizons have expanded. With so many options and a spectrum of cultures to choose from, I have been exposed to a whole new world of culinary experiences, and I’m loving it.
On The Line is a project I would have never imagined myself doing 5 years ago, but now I couldn’t have been more interested in what shooting a video like this had to offer. Jet Tila of Stir Market (and Food Network fame) is a LA native with a wealth of knowledge about the different culinary worlds of our city, and I couldn’t get enough of what he had to say. His expert tour of Thai Town has filled my vocabulary with restaurants and trivia that I fully intend on using on friends and family to make me seem more impressive. Not to mention he is just an all around great guy, and welcomed me and my team of filmmakers in to his world with open arms.
Then we did things like ride the metro at rush hour, hopping from one culture to another, and strolling through Thai Town with Jet as our guide. He hooked us up with the fine people at Ruen Pair, and while you can watch most of that interaction in the video, the thing you won’t see (and what I love about working on cooking shows) is that we were able to feast on some of the best Thai dishes in LA after everything had wrapped. Every production should have the entire crew sitting around a table and enjoying their 2nd meal family style at the end of the day. Right?
Stills by Rainbeau
I’ve been a fan of David O. Russell’s work for a long time. I can definitely say that his films were a direct inspiration on both my and Lynch’s desire to become film makers ourselves. He was super busy casting his new film Joy the other day, but he still made time to sit and talk with us for a few minutes about Ashby. Before the interview began he started asking us all where we were from and who we were in high school. Which was hilarious because we’re all from the west or mid west and our director Amy Scott was literally the prom queen.
Shooting Once I Was has already put me in the room with a fair amount of cinematic greats, and hollywood classics. That said, I haven’t felt as excited about the project in awhile as I did after talking with David. He spoke about film making in emotional terms, saying that he could relate to Ashby because he falls in love with the characters in his movies, and that he recognized some of the actors in his films as soul mates. He spoke about utilizing music in film from the inside out, that you have to feel it. That he never truly understood that Rolling Stones track “Out of Time” until he watched Coming Home. That the image of Bruce Dern running on the base made him understand the song from his toes to the top of his head. It was a quick interview wrapped inside a hectic situation, but it was one of my favorites so far. The more we get immersed in this project, the more interested I am in Ashby’s approach to cinema and the influence he had on the business in general. It was really fun to listen to a director like David O. Russell, someone I’ve looked up to for so long, speak about what an amazing director Hal was.