Friday, July 24, 2015

A Robot at Radcliffe

We really enjoyed meeting Francesca Rossi and her robot friend at Radcliffe last may. Francesca is a computer science professor at the University of Padova in Italy and her research focuses on artificial intelligence.

She introduced us to Pierre, a NAO humanoid robot made by French company Aldebaran. Pierre is designed to be a companion for elderly people, children, and others needing help around the house.  Francesca borrowed Pierre for the day to show him off at the Radcliffe Fellows certificate ceremony for the 50 fellows.

We interviewed Francesca briefly as part of a new video we are producing for the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard - a signature video that the institute will use for their capital campaign.

In 2012 we produced a series of 10 videos which included portraits of fellows Radhika Nagpal and Douglas Rogers.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Land Memory Bank and Seed Exchange

A new grassroots organization, the Land Memory Bank Collective, has sprung up in Southern Louisiana. It emerged out of a series of informal salons focused on environmental and cultural information sharing and solution-seeking in the Mississippi River Delta. Multidisciplinary artist Monique Verdin (Houma) is project manager.

The collective's first activation is happening this Sunday March 22, 5-7pm on Lost Islenos Cultural Complex side lawn Called the Land Memory Bank and Seed Exchange, it's a community-built photo/shelter/sculpture and site-specific data exhibition. There will be plant and seed swapping, storytelling, a screening of documentary My Louisiana Love (which I co-produced and edited), a scanner, and portrait service to capture historic photos and stories.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Celebrating Student-Centered Learning

Last night I was up at Pittsfield Middle High School - where I've been producing a series of 6-7 in-depth videos about different aspects of the district's transformation - to film a lively celebration of Student-Centered Learning. The evening was sponsored by Nellie Mae Education Foundation, which has been a major funder of reform in this district (and of the documentation project we are undertaking there).

One of the highlights of the evening was hearing from students in the school's Site Council, a governing body made up of students, faculty, and comment members.  Ryan, Quinn, Colby, Madison, and Jess (pictured above) shared personal stories of how their learning experiences changed for the better over the years that PMHS has moved toward student-centered learning.

After they spoke, Superintendent John Freeman introduced a panel of important guests, including Fred Bramante, president of the National Center for Competency-Based Learning; Paul Leather, Deputy Commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Education; Tom Raffio, Chairperson of the New Hampshire State Board of Education, and Mike Wolfe, Chair of the Pittsfield School Board. Below, Tom Raffio is expressing how he was going to "fly, not drive home" after hearing the students' great presentations.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Auditions for RISD Student Films

We are holding auditions tonight for my Intermediate Film students at Rhode Island School of Design. I am excited to have Casting Director Annie Mulhall of LDI Production Services coming to talk to us about how to get the most out of the audition and to help us run the audition.

My eight students are each making their own film, in 16mm. Shooting in film makes scripting, casting, and shoot planning all the more important.

Last semester as visitor came to RISD and told students he believed that casting is 95% of narrative filmmaking... maybe it's a slight exaggeration, but it is definitely a crucial part of carrying out a director's vision.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Tweeting from Death Row

I have recently become a more avid user of Twitter (tweeting @juliemallozzi for my film and non-profit work and @thecircledoc for my documentary-in-progress The Circle). As I explore restorative justice issues related to The Circle, I've been struck by the number of inmates tweeting and blogging from death row.

They write poetry, spiritual mediations, political advocacy pieces, and stories from prison life. You can read more through the hashtag #LifeOnDeathRow or individually from Jodi AriasBill Leonard, or Travis Runnels, among others. 

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Claudia Quintet at Jazzmandu

Just in the nick of time for a December 31 deadline, I've finished editing an 18-minute music travel doc for The Claudia Quintet, led by award-winning drummer John Hollenbeck. It was a lot of fun to weave together their amazing music, beautiful photographs, concert footage, and spontaneous cell phone videos into an online journey through Nepal.

The tour and the video were funded by USArtists International and the Doris Duke Performing Artist Awards.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Field trip to Cinelab

I took my Intermediate Film students from RISD on a field trip to Cinelab today. We arrived to the old mill building in New Bedford, which looked exactly as I had imagined over the past twenty-five years of working with them (remotely) as a student and teacher. I thought it would be a great opportunity for my students to see how their film is developed and printed - in one of only about a dozen or two motion picture labs still operating in the United States.

Brad Chandler took us on a tour of the facilities. It was definitely cool to see all of the love that goes into film, and all of the highly engineered, vintage analog and mechanical equipment they have kept running for decades. But I couldn't help but feel a sense of the impending extinction of the medium... it feels like just a matter of time before all the companies give up the ghost. It will be a great loss. I have truly enjoyed immersing myself and students in the discipline and beauty of cinema.

I've put a lot of thought into the question of Why Film? lately... what are the types of projects that make sense to shoot in celluloid, in the age of infinite digital possibilities? Here's what I've come up with so far:
  • You’re interested in the particular aesthetic - the grain, the color response, the beauty, the  softness
  • You like the physicality: chemical rather than digital process means something to you... holding the film in your hands
  • You’re making a reference to photography
  • You want to shoot black and white with full richness
  • You're trying to evoke a historical period
  • You’re referencing a film genre (such as Noir)
  • You're incorporating archival material and generating your own to match
  • You like the process or workflow, and want the discipline that the preciousness of film requires: you have to conceive of things ahead of time, it’s expensive so you have limited stock, you can’t see what you are getting.
  • You’re interested in the chance factor (also double exposures) and happy accidents
  • You’re going to work with the film itself (hand processing, optical printing, etc.)
  • You’re going to do something conceptually with the medium (for ex., shooting the length of a film roll, double exposures, etc.)