Just a few more days, and with that, I will have (mostly, if not completely) wrapped up several projects that have been, works in progress for several years. What a beautiful relief.
Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Years :)
I'll leave you with a picture of my fathers bunnies, Mr Totoro and Marshmellow.
(if inclined, please watch the work first...it runs 15min.)
Tomorrow marks the online premiere of my latest work (today for you) which I have conveniently embedded the link in this post. (if you prefer, on vimeo here)
Two birds, one stone on the shallow end, a postmodernist twist on a Rene Magritte expression on the pretentious end. Both, equally as valid.
This is the working synopsis or thesis put through a press release blender: "The film captures an intimate sliver into an Iranian American Sufi Muslim poet (Mahsa Hosseini) as she goes about finding meaning in her life. The visual narrative, shot in a classic cinéma vérité style, provides a strong counterpoint to the hidden, synth-driven, processed vocals in "Moonlighting Mission Man". The video eludes to a dual narrative between the film & the music, though kept hidden from plain sight."
Ultimately, this project started with this question, "Is this a short film or a music video?". And for me, ended with identity. (an ephemeral thing, with real-world consequences).
But back to Magritte, and equally, Jean Baudrillard. Why is the opening question important to me? Media (and its contents) by in large is an open-ended question nowadays, and while I'm personally working through the details of this new paradigm, doing so with a dichotomous media might be my best way of processing it. What is a film? What is a tweet? How are they different? These are important questions in hyperreality when words have less direct meaning, and content rules all.
You can finally pick up an awesome t-shirt in many different sizes for my ongoing music project MIRS by clicking the image below (15% off for the time being). All sales feed right back into the project, so, not only a good way to support but more important, a fresh way to get outside and stunt on your neighbors. Love yall :)
Tomorrow starts the limited theatrical run of my friend Bobak's documentary, A DYING KING. I spent a good amount of time on this production, which spanned many years. This was a real passion project for him, and never having made a film before, he took a giant leap of faith & unsurprisingly, saw it to the end. Most people will never realize the difficulty in completing an independent film, let alone a feature-length documentary. The amount of work just compounds & whenever you think you are finished, a whole new set of challenges appear.
You can catch the film this week in LA, starting Wednesday at Laemmle Music Hall, Beverly Hills; Thursday at Laemmle Town Center 5, Encino. A New York run starts the following week and it will tour through several cities including some European ones.
The online release starts in 2018.
Here is a link to the LA Times review:
To be perfectly honest (which is my aim these days), & I've said this for many years & truly believe it, awards in the arts are incompatible. No exceptions. They are structurally made of other things, and those things do not fit.
The other reality is that I want you to see my film. I really do. And so, I'll play the rules as they are (though bending what I can), so that, in the end, you have access to this work & and that it reaches as wide an audience as is possible for an undeniable arthouse experience. And an award or two, might help that cause.
It is what it is, but, I believe this film has a much wider reach than at first might appear (we have been told that as well from industry people in Los Angeles, an unlikely place for such a reaction to this type of work).
With that said, MAN wins an "Outstanding Achievement Award" for best "Postmodern Film" at CICFF, in Kolkata (formerly, Calcutta) and with it, our first "laurel".
We still have yet to world premiere the film as this was an industry private showcase, and we are thankful to the organizers of this event to acknowledge our work. Festival programmers, and open-minded distributors, *makes hand into 90's cell phone*, call me.
Dropping a new project late Nov, or early next month titled, "what do you know of waters worth while standing on the banks of the euphrates".
For the last couple years (actually, since the beginning of this), I've compartmentalized my music projects and my film work into separate spaces. And, I'll continue doing that, but with some important changes.
For one, MIRS is turning into as much a visual project as music, but with music as its fundamental core. The last record we did, CANYON, was a visual album and the imagery was co-tangent with the music. It played as a dual narrative.
In fact, I have been trying that since I started MIRS, with the debut release, SPIN CYCLE. But, I came short of the resources required to pull that off. That was essentially a visual album (before that became a mainstream thing), without it ever becoming a visual album, strictly because I couldn't pull it off (resource wise). Truth is, an idea is just an idea, and they are a dime a dozen.
Every time I start writing music, I preface it as a final act. The last record was supposed to be the final songs I write, and then, this last single, MOONLIGHTING MISSION MAN became the last piece of commercial music I write. Eventually, there will be a last, but I think I'm do for at least one more effort, as a new concept came my way, and I want to attempt bringing it to life. This feeling might change, but, my mouth doesn't want to shut yet.
Though, this one has larger ambitions, which means, I will be up against bigger barriers.
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Hello friends -
The time is coming in which I will start actually writing mid-length thoughts here again. With twitter existing, I've found it a bit meaningless to verbose upon things that can be delivered with precision.. (my personal preference)
But, post-production is almost wrapped for both the feature films THREE WORLDS and MAN. We will certainly hit the targets, which are both before the year is up. What to do, what to do next. If you program festivals, now is the time to ask. Certainly, before I make a hasty or ill-advised decision to go the self-distro route. I think a mutually beneficial deal is in order. So yourself, friend.
But, before you can see those, I have another project releasing before the year is up, which, I think will premiere web first (my preference unless someone wants to step up and screen a day earlier), titled: What Do You Know Of Water’s Worth While Standing On The Banks Of The Euphrates. Shot the project in September, locked picture yesterday. I'll give context once it's released. This project is in conjunction with MIRS and produced in-house by ANIMALS.
Ok, the time has come. I'm nearing the finish line. And, at this point, all options are on the table.
The first of which, a crowdfunding campaign to help raise the finishing funds for my two feature films (THREE WORLDS / MAN) that are near complete.
These two finish my THREE MARKS, TOO SIGNALS series of works that includes the 2016 release, CANYON. Please consider helping. Please join the mailing list. Please pick up one of these great perks. Please spread the word.
If all goes to plan, launching next week or the one after.
Almost done with the poster art for MAN. This is beta v2 (partial view), but just waiting on final proofs. Should be complete this week.
Currently wrapping up the final post production on two long-form projects, both set for release in 2017, of which are titled MAN & THREE WORLDS respectively.
They are grouped together for multiple reasons, most of which are not important for me to state on paper, though, I believe, will be somewhat self-evident upon inspection. Even maybe an ah-ha moment at a later date. As Ozu was once heard remarking, "The end of a film is its beginning". I stand firm on his statement, at this time.
This body of work is somewhat hard to define in the current media space as it exists today. MAN and THREE WORLDS are closely related to feature films, but, share some space with the concepts of internet defined new media, and also, classic single channel works. The division of labor hierarchy, a stalwart of fiction filmmaking was not really present, and nothing in the process was ever too familiar. Simply put, it was a bottom-up effort (of course, with ample help, without which, all three, non-existent). With that said, all three were created with different methodology, defined by their own individual worlds, under a larger, unified universe.
But, I am at the state where I do need to raise a bit of capital to see this through completely into a shippable, or at least, releasable product. Very little $$ comparatively, but enough so that I am seriously considering a CROWD FUNDING CAMPAIGN. In fact, unless someone comes along this week and puts up used car money, I'll go that route, not so begrudgingly anymore, because I think the urge to share overrides my conditioned response to crowd sourcing fiction. On second thought, I hardly call these works fiction in the common language sense ( language is never 1 to 1) so most importantly betweeen the two parties involved, you need to see them, but first I must finish.
Also, to really ride #skininthegame to its conclusion, here is some prototype artwork for the projects. I have never shared this early in the art direction process, as art is historically done when presented in its final form. But, art is now software, as art is a product of its time and software has eaten the whole, entire fucking world in its time. Also, software is always beta.
So, here is my beta version artwork posters for the collective of THREE MARKS TOO MANY SIGNALS projects. These are again another collaborative effort with my long time friend, artist Ali Sabet who puts up with my art direction barking, which often gets reversed by better instincts. Note that CANYON is already released, but will be updated with a film poster as well to go along with the album art.
NOTE: Everything in this post is temporary. Except, the fact that the projects are releasing.
Sometimes, i come over to this space, and realize, I'm upkeep is abysmal. Thoughts belong in short concise form, like on twitter. But, maybe that's a bit of laziness, or procrastination, but often, I think, a website is the worst platform imaginable these days? I could be wrong. Let me know. :)
Was just reflecting on the emergence of "Visual Albums" after this article was brought to my attention highlighting CANYON. Truth be told, I did not want to label CANYON as such since it comes at the heels of amazing visual releases, but i've been personally trying to put together a "visual album" since 2010, and failing to execute until CANYON.
My first attempt came at the release of my first MIRS solo EP, SPIN CYCLE. I couldn't pull resources together to execute. The second time came with the release of MEAT ON YOUR LONELY BONEZ, and again, while a treatment was prepared and some meetings arranged, we never went ahead and executed. Which, in hindsight proves valuable, since I feel those concepts lacking cohesion now. But, thats the truth with any work from the past done, or undone.
The interesting question here is how this one came about and why the other two attempts failed. Simply, we reversed the process of production. We first shot CANYON, the film, then we got to finishing the record. Of course, both these things were happening concurrently, but we got the visuals in the can in November of 2015. In fact, a couple rotting pumpkins show up on frame for the astute observer. The rest of the process took the time it takes for any project to develop, especially exasperated by the fact that career responsibilities lay elsewhere.
I'll leave you here with CANYON if you haven't seen it or are just coming across this. My recommendations include a) headphones b) some quiet downtime c) fullscreen. Also, afterwards, check out this mini doc below with the incredible artist. ALI SABET, describing the process of creating the artwork for the whole project.