Nov 16 2017

November 16, 2017Author: JasperNo Comments

Check out this feature article on Porto from MovieMaker magazine, which delves into the filmmaking procedure done for the film.

Porto is a love letter to the timelessness of great cinema. Director Gabe Klinger is a scholar of cinema history, and he was keen to invoke the textures and traditions of older films and filmmakers for this project.

The story didn’t have to be told in Portugal, but it had to take place in an old city that was lost in time. Depending on where you turn a camera, the city of Porto can transport you to any decade or century, and this was essential in creating a feeling of drifting through time and history. It was also essential to Gabe and I that we shoot on film (as opposed to digital), because film has a way of distancing the image from the present.

The film is about two people on separate paths that intersect for one cataclysmic night in a foreign city. We wanted Porto to evoke both the feeling of time passing throughout their lives, and of events happening in the present, and we worked with a variety of film formats to achieve this. Super 8mm was used for the more fleeting memories throughout their lives, almost like home movies. Super 16mm was our verité format, used to document the important events in their lives leading up to and following their night together. We used 35mm for a more formal real-time feel to show the encounter itself, unfiltered by time and memory. Initially these were to be separate chapters, but in the edit they were integrated to strike more connections between the past, present, and memory.

For the 8mm footage, we tested a half dozen cameras and settled on three different consumer models which slowly fell apart as the shoot progressed. We developed our tests with a hand-processor in Porto, something that we were very excited about initially, but the results were too unstable. In the end we sent our final films to ColorCity, a lab in Paris that at the time was still processing color reversal.

For the Super 16mm, we were watching a lot of direct cinema and verité films, and we were determined to get into the minimal, essential headspace of those filmmakers as much as possible. We even looked into reviving the sound-on-film cameras Robert Drew and associates were using, like, the Auricon, which scribbled the location audio directly onto the camera negative with a pulsing, shuttered light. Ultimately we decided that if those filmmakers were shooting today, they’d be using the lightest and most liberating 16mm cameras, and it was more important to honor their intention than to reanimate the technology. We used an Arri 416 for all the handheld and long-lens scenes following the two lead protagonists, Mati (Lucie Lucas) and Jake (Anton Yelchin), through their solitary existences. After filming several of these scenes, I found I was having a hard time falling into step with Anton. At last, he revealed that he had been honing a nearly imperceptible limp in his right foot for the role, as though Jake had been injured in his youth but hadn’t healed properly. I just had to learn the limp, and from then on we were in perfect sync! Anton was extraordinarily immersed in the role, even limiting his diet to local junk food like “Francesinhas” (meat and cheese sandwiches that are typical in the region) the entire time we were in Portugal, true to his character, who at one point in the film tell us that he doesn’t take care of himself.

For the scenes that take place in real-time the night of the encounter, Gabe wanted to jump up to 35mm ‘Scope to make it feel grander and more immersive, as the evening is experienced for Jake and Mati. We wanted it to feel less dated than the other material, so we shot with cleaner lenses (Cooke-S4s) and designed all of the scenes as single shots or series of shots with as little coverage as possible. Even the lovemaking scenes were designed to feel continuous and unyielding, unlike many love scenes which are minced together from a variety of angles in order to feel discreet. We did, however, shoot them very dark, keying two and a half stops under and filling three stops under from the key side, which veiled them in grain and rendered them in simpler forms, so that the nudity was not awkward and distracting.

The thing I love most about shooting film is that it removes everyone from the immediate results. With digital, you’re constantly seeing how the image will be rendered, which takes you out of the moment. When I look through an optical viewfinder and hear film whirring through the gate, I become totally tuned into the event happening in front of the camera, which is the essence of filmmaking. Each take is a unique event which cannot be repeated. An actor cannot do the same thing twice. This is true with digital, but somehow it’s easily forgotten. Seeing the picture on a monitor makes you think you can refine it endlessly, and that the final, flattened image is most important. It’s not. Good directors can maintain that immediacy and intimacy of the event when working with digital systems, but with film cameras it is inherent in the technology. This is why so many films we love from the last century feel so spontaneous and “raw.”

For us, it’s not about the aesthetic qualities of film (though those help); it’s the way film changes the process. With Porto, Anton and Gabe wanted to get back to this kind of filmmaking, which embraces chance and acknowledges that a movie can never be made the same way twice; that it is a product of who you cast and work with, and where and when you shoot. Thousands of factors influence the events that happen in front of the camera, and it becomes a cultural and historical artifact as soon as it is captured. Unfortunately, with Anton’s passing, this philosophy became even more real for Gabe and I. We’re very grateful to have the film as a recollection of our time with him.

Tech Box

Cameras: Arri 416 and Arricam Studio and Arri LT

Lenses: Zeiss Ultra16s and Cooke S4s

Film: Kodak 7219, Kodak 5219, Kodak Ektachrome and Fuji Velvia MM

Jan 24 2017

When Anton Yelchin was killed in a freak car accident last June, the 27-year-old actor left behind five unreleased movies: “Star Trek Beyond,” the romance “Porto,” the delayed missing-son drama “We Don’t Belong Here,” a sci-fi mystery called “Rememory” and the twisted psychodrama “Thoroughbred.” We’ll now spend the year bidding Yelchin another bittersweet farewell with each release.

The latest sendoff came this weekend at the Sundance Film Festival, where the sensational “Thoroughbred” premiered. Yelchin has a supporting role in the movie, a “Heathers”-meets-”Persona” psychodrama depicting two wealthy teen girls (Anya Taylor-Joy and Olivia Cooke) who concoct a twisted murder plot in suburban Connecticut.

“Thoroughbred” wrapped production two weeks before Yelchin’s death. It was the last movie he shot.

“He is truly a phenomenal actor and an unbelievable person, and I think all of us feel incredibly lucky to have spent time with him and to love him and to allow him to inspire us,” Taylor-Joy told The Huffington Post on Sunday as Cooke nodded along with her sentiments. “It’s really a testament to his ability as a performer because [Tim, Yelchin’s character], in the script ? it’s not that he’s not fleshed out, but I think a lesser actor would have made him more of a parody. The sympathy and the love that we feel toward him? He’s just having a rough time. [Our characters] grab him and pull him into something, and you really feel for him.”

The “something” Taylor-Joy alludes to is the aforementioned murder of her character’s savage stepfather (Paul Sparks). Yelchin plays a registered sex offender and local drug dealer. Because he has a gun, the girls lure Tim into their devilish scheme ? he joins “Team Estrogen,” as Cooke put it. Yelchin is dynamite in the role, frazzled and wide-eyed with paranoia.

“It was incredibly sad to hear the news,” first-time writer/director Cory Finley said, referring to Yelchin’s death. “I think I can speak for everyone in saying we felt very, very fortunate to have worked with him. He was, first, just a consummate artist on set. He did a lot of improvisation and came in with a lot of really specific character work done and really had a vision for the character and had a huge role in shaping that part.”

After a slew of enthusiastic reviews for “Thoroughbred,” Focus Features purchased theatrical rights for around $5 million, a decent sum for a Sundance title without much pre-festival buzz. No release date has been announced.

“He was also just the kindest, funniest and most playful guy on the set,” Finley said. “We always really loved him. It was a huge loss, but he was an amazing actor and a great guy.”

Oct 26 2016

The organization that presents the Academy Awards is dedicating a performance of promising new screenplays to late actor Anton Yelchin.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said Tuesday that its annual Nicholl Fellowships live-read event will be presented in Yelchin’s honor.

The “Star Trek” actor performed at the first Nicholl live read in 2013. He died in June when his Jeep rolled down his driveway and crushed him. His parents have sued the vehicle’s manufacturer.

Yelchin’s “Star Trek” co-star John Cho, as well as actors Cary Elwes, Aja Naomi King and Alia Shawka are set to perform selected scenes from this year’s five winning screenplays on Nov. 3 at the film academy’s headquarters in Beverly Hills, California. The winning screenwriters were announced last month.

The Nicholl Fellowships is the academy’s annual, global screenwriting competition. Winners receive $35,000 and academy support toward the completion of a feature-length screenplay during their fellowship year.

Winning Nicholl scripts have also been produced and released theatrically, including 2006’s “Akeelah and the Bee” and “Stockholm, Pennsylvania,” which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival last year.

Source: Page Six

Oct 12 2016

Anton’s co-star, Felicity Jones, from the 2011 film, Like Crazy, recently spoke with the Hollywood Reporter, wherein she opened up about Anton’s passing.

Then, in 2011, she got cast as a lead in Like Crazy, playing an English girl in Los Angeles who falls in love with an American boy — played by the late Anton Yelchin — before getting deported. The film became a Sundance darling and got Jones noticed by Hollywood (and upstaged Jennifer Lawrence in the process), even if it didn’t exactly explode at the box office (grossing only $3.7 million). It also began a friendship with Yelchin that lasted until his death in June, when his Jeep Cherokee rolled down the driveway of his L.A. home and crushed him against a gate. “It’s been devastating,” Jones says of the tragedy, obviously still shaken. “It doesn’t feel like there’s any justice or there’s no way of understanding it, really. It’s just been a very difficult time for his family. They’re very dignified, beautiful people. He was just like no one else. He really was a unique soul.”

Aug 02 2016

August 02, 2016Author: Jasper1 Comment

The parents of actor Anton Yelchin will file a wrongful death lawsuit against Fiat Chrysler on Tuesday, their attorney announced.

The “Star Trek” actor was killed June 19 when his Jeep Grand Cherokee rolled backwards down the driveway at his Studio City home and pinned him against a brick pillar. He was 27 years old.

Yelchin’s vehicle was under recall, after Fiat Chrysler and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration received numerous complaints about confusion caused by the gear shifter. Some drivers have exited the vehicle believing the vehicle was in park when in fact it was in neutral, leading to “rollaway” crashes. The NHTSA is aware of nearly 700 complaints about the issue, including 266 accidents, of which 68 involved injuries. Yelchin’s crash is still being investigated, but is believed to be the only fatality related to the issue.

Yelchin’s parents, Viktor and Irina Yelchin, will file suit against Fiat Chrysler as well as retail chain AutoNation and ZF North America, which manufactured the gear shifter. Yelchin’s attorney, Gary Dordick, is expected to announce the lawsuit at a press conference on Tuesday morning.

Source: Variety

Jul 21 2016

“There’s something missing. There’s someone missing. Anton should be here.” So said JJ Abrams tonight before the world premiere of Star Trek Beyond at San Diego’s Embarcadero Marina Park Amphitheater about the late Anton Yelchin. The actor, who plays Pavel Chekov in the rebooted Star Trek franchise died June 19 in an automobile accident at his Los Angeles home.

“There’s something missing. There’s someone missing. Anton should be here.” So said JJ Abrams tonight before the world premiere of Star Trek Beyond at San Diego’s Embarcadero Marina Park Amphitheater about the late Anton Yelchin. The actor, who plays Pavel Chekov in the rebooted Star Trek franchise died June 19 in an automobile accident at his Los Angeles home.

Yelchin had played Chekov since 2009’s Abrams-helmed Star Trek that rebooted the franchise with new actors in the roles created for the 1960s original series. Tonight’s tribute came just hours after Abrams, who also directed 2013’s Star Trek Into Darkness and now executive produces the series, confirmed that the role of Chekov won’t be recast with a new actor. “I would say there’s no replacing him,” Abrams said in an interview with the Toronto Sun. “There’s no recasting. I can’t possibly imagine that, and I think Anton deserves better.”

Source: Deadline

Jul 15 2016

With the imminent release of Star Trek Beyond – the third of the J.J. Abrams-era of Trek films – a fourth is already, “100% yes,” says producer Abrams.

But what happens to the character of Ensign Pavel Chekov, following the freakish auto mishap that killed 27-year-old actor Anton Yelchin a month ago?

In an exclusive interview with Postmedia Network, Abrams said the filmmakers have begun talks on dealing with his loss in the script. But one thing that is certain is that Chekov will not be recast.

“I would say there’s no replacing him. There’s no recasting. I can’t possibly imagine that, and I think Anton deserves better,” Abrams said.

In Star Trek Beyond, directed by Justin Lin, Yelchin’s character gets his most screen time thus far, as an encounter with a malevolent alien swarm forces the Enterprise crew to abandon ship and survive on a planet in small teams – Chekov and Captain Kirk (Christopher Pine) among them.

We have testimonials to Yelchin from Pine and other Star Trek cast that are to come.

Meanwhile, Abrams says, “We knew going into this movie it would be a bit of a heartbreak just because of Leonard (Nimoy, the original Spock, who died as Star Trek beyond was in pre-production, and whose death is noted in the plot). We had no idea just how devastating events would become.”

Is the character of Chekov himself going to be killed off? “I have thought about it, we’re working on it, and it’s too early to talk about it,” he said.

Source: Toronto Sun

Jun 24 2016

Anton Yelchin’s tragic death Sunday came just three weeks before the 27-year-old actor was set to start shooting his directorial debut, “Travis,” which he also wrote.

The crime thriller was scheduled to start production on July 11 in what Yelchin called “the lonely landscape of the San Fernando Valley,” said his friend and collaborator Keith Kjarval, a producer on the movie. Callum Turner was set to play the title character alongside co-stars Alia Shawkat and Milla Jovovich. The film centered on an actor and amateur photographer who witnesses the murder of a young woman after following her back to her apartment.

“We were calling it a voyeuristic crime thriller,” Kjarval said. “It was neo-noir, very urgent in morality, like a Dardennes brothers film.” Marilyn Manson was in talks to do the score for the movie, which was going to be shot by director of photography Sean Price Williams (“Heaven Knows What”).

“The patient exploration of the moments where we are the most human is what Anton was interested in with this film,” Kjarval said. “It was a deeply personal film and I’m convinced it would have been one of many films he directed.”

“Travis” would have been the third collaboration between Yelchin and Kjarval, who produced 2015’s “The Driftless Area” and 2014’s “Rudderless.” Yelchin named the lead character in his directorial debut after Robert De Niro’s character Travis Bickle in Martin Scorsese’s “Taxi Driver,” Yelchin’s favorite film.

“I know for sure that this film was going to reveal the undeniable and indisputable fact that Anton is a very rare and exceptionally gifted artist,” Kjarval said. “The amount of research and photography and art that he was pouring into this film was inspiring.”

For producer Gary Schultz, who co-produced “The Driftless Area” and “Rudderless” and was also working on “Travis,” Yelchin’s future as an actor-director seemed inevitable. “A lot of the time when actors say they’re going to direct a movie, you kind of roll your eyes, but with Anton, he was such a student of film that I just assumed someday he would,” Schultz said. “He had such an interest in storytelling.”

Yelchin’s passion for acting allowed him to be one of the busiest actors in Hollywood, taking role after role with little or no break between jobs. “Anton was always really into the way the old studio actors would work on four, five, or six movies a year, going from project to project, just immersing themselves,” Schultz said. “That’s why he had such a big body of work at 27.”

Yelchin was also obsessive about film history, watching two to three films per day at times, according to Kjarval. “When he becomes interested in something, he immerses himself in it and becomes somewhat of an expert in it,” Kjarval said. “The thing that he loved most was film and cinema.”

On the day Yelchin died, Kjarval spoke to him on the phone about his plans to watch a Gaspar Noé movie as a part of his research for “Travis.”

“He said, ‘There are a couple of shoes that I remember a character wearing that I think I want Callum to wear in this film,’” Kjarval said. “That’s kind of Anton. He had such a meticulous vision for the things he was interested in and the stories he wanted to tell.”

Source: IndieWire