Writer Director David Michod cut his teeth in the International Cinema arena with his critically celebrated ‘Animal Kingdom’ a film that won the World Cinema Award at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. Michod also co-wrote the feature ‘Hesher’ starring Joseph Gordon Lewitt and Natalie Portman which also debuted at Sundance and his next feature ‘The Rover’ was amongst the official selections at Cannes 2014. He was here in India for just a day, to promote his Brad Pitt starrer ‘War Machine’- a quasi humorous absurdist satire on America’s never-ending involvement in Afghanistan. He talks to Film Critic Johnson Thomas about how that came about..
How difficult was it for you to adapt the book ‘The Operators:The Wild and terrifying inside story of America’s War in Afghanistan’ into a script for cinema?
It was quite tricky. The book was written by a war correspondent, Michael Hastings, who was hanging out with a four star general in Afghanistan- through his process of writing the article in Rolling Stones and later on, the book. I was drawn to the character of the General and knew that I wanted to take it away from just the General’s experience and make it much bigger in context, about the entire American War Machine. That’s also how the title came about.
How difficult was it getting to that point?
I had been thinking for a long time about making a movie set in either Afghanistan or Iraq. A movie about the experience of modern American war but I hadn’t been able to find that story. So when Jeremy Kleiner and Dede Gardner from Plan B brought me Michael Hasting’s book and I started to see that movie that I wanted to make, it came out of me very quickly because I had been thinking about it for a long time.
How long did it take ?
I had been thinking about this for around 7 years but I couldn’t find the story that I wanted to tell or that anyone would let me make, War movies aren’t cheap. They involve a huge cast and have unimaginable production costs which a medium budget filmmaker like me would not be able to command. Right from early on in my career I have been aware of the things that are and aren’t achievable. I had a few ideas germinating in my mind over the years but they were all dark films and required bigger budgets. I always knew that the combination of darkness and big budget wasn’t really going to work.
So the idea behind the absurdist tone was because of that? The tone of the book was far more forthright- strikingly different from the one you chose to highlight in the film.. ?
It wasn’t for financial reasons but because the other resistance I had to these dark stories was that they were all stories set on the battlefield with soldiers and I feel they are the only movies being made on war today. Those films are usually about the battlefield experiences and they don’t ask larger questions of the architects of those battles. What attracted me to Michael’s book was the fact that it was about the people who were actually dictating the war and not merely about those fighting it. It painted an overwhelming picture of delusion and vanity of men with an overblown sense of themselves. And that for me and Brad, said absurdity. From the earliest days of our discussions we started playing this movie as a war satire leading up to the ridiculous.
How did you decide on Brad Pitt for the eponymous role?
Brad’s company had the rights to the book so when I was writing it, I was writing it in the hope that it would be for Brad. But he would never commit to a project before the script was written. I could say, through the many discussions we had on the subject, he was highly interested. So as soon as the script was written he committed to it very quickly and said ‘I wanna make this movie and I want to make it now!’
He plays a character that appears to be a caricature – ridiculously absurd in his pomposity. How did that come about?
We had discussions about how big the character would be played. One of the things that was important to me was to project what was happening on the decision making table in America and what was happening on the ground in Afghanistan. And I wanted that separation to be felt distinctly. And we felt , to achieve that, we needed to play the ground very straight while playing the top as absurd and big. And let the characters delusions be writ large.
So would you also say that throughout the movie it’s your voice that’s coming through – about America’s role in Iraq and Afghanistan?
Yes. My voice slips in every now and then. It feels now, as though the movie is asking the questions that I was asking myself for years -while I was reading and researching about the futility and unremitting extravagance of war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Both America and Australia have been involved in this war that has gone on for 16 years now, with no clear end in sight. The question I keep asking myself is how is this possible? I presume that the men ( and it’s always men) running, orchestrating the show from within the comforts of their drawing rooms, must be intelligent and capable people. How can they not see the futility of this as clearly as I do. And when I discovered Michael’s book I realized that the lived inside these bubbles of delusion and personal ambition. That’s why I wanted this movie to be asking those same questions. An hopefully answering them too.
So you could say you identified with Michael Hasting’s point of view?
You could feel on every page that the time Michael was spending with these guys was extraordinary for him. Partly extraordinary because he couldn’t believe that they were behaving the way they were behaving. That they seemed so full of themselves, so full of hubris that they couldn’t see that they were incriminating themselves in front of a Rolling Stones reported.
That’s probably because they did not take him seriously I guess?
They either did not take him seriously or they took themselves far too seriously to care about what anyone thought or some combination of both. That was what I could feel on every page. That he, like me, couldn’t believe that these intelligent supposedly capable architects were so blind, almost oblivious to the devastation caused by seemingly perpetual war resounding with their footprints in the world they stomp through so callously.
Do you feel there’s a kind of resistance to such kind of critical cinema in the world today.. because in India we would never be able to make a film denigrating the army or the establishment to such an extent?
It very tricky. All the movies made in America about war, are all very particular in expressing the experiences of the troops and hey are made out of respect and with reverence and they don’t ask larger questions. And we knew that this movie would be difficult to make in the studio system because the studios would be afraid of it. They would be afraid about the economics and wonder at it’s ability to play all over America. But we felt it was important that this kind of movie becomes a part of the conversation on war too. And we were happy to get Netflix on board to achieve that purpose.
Hindi Film Review
An Emotionally charged Experience
Film: Sachin : A Billion Dreams
Cast: Sachin Tendulkar, Anjali, Arjun, Sara, other family members, cricketing greats and commentators from across the world, Ramakant Achrekar etc.
Director: James Erskine
Rating: * * *
Runtime: 148 mins
A Bio-docudrama on the ‘God Of Cricket,’ this film was of course expected to be a winner even before it got off the floors. With a billion and more fans clamoring for a dekho, it was expected that even a hastily put-together success story would make do. James Erskine’s film though is a well thought out, sterilized effort that focuses it’s might on the demigod’s strengths- his virtuousness, his respect and love for family, friends and his unswerving commitment to the game of cricket. Director James Erskine (EMR, Pantani: The Accidental Death of a Cyclist , Shooting for Socrates) did not have a tough job at hand, seeing that every moment of this great man’s life and career as a sporting hero was well documented. All he needed was to source the material and that got done quite easily because Sachin himself has endorsed this effort.
Sachin has always led an exemplary life as a dedicated cricketer, a conscientious captain, loving son, devoted brother, caring and committed husband and father and steadfast friend. All those roles come through quite vividly in Erskine’s documentary. Home videos, archival clips, montage moments, commentaries from the greats and nail-biting record breaking and needle thin match finishes from the sporting field are skimmed through with the efficiency of a well oiled clock. Erskine allows the viewer to dwell briefly on Sachin’s losses in life and the game and also embraces you in his numerous record breaking victories. They are of course thrilling moments and could even get you emotional. From his very first step into the sport to his very last on the National and International level, Erskine gets us involved in Sachin’s story.
From being the hope of a struggling nation, to the emblem of a country ready to take on the world, from his first 200 in an ODI to the World Cup win in 2011, the film takes you on a fairy tale journey with Sachin. As the narrative progresses you not only experience Sachin’s growing prowess as a cricketer but also see him getting more and more confident of his Self-worth.
Erskine of course doesn’t get Sachin’s childhood friend Vinod Kambli to talk about him, neither does he dwell deeply enough on the captaincy controversies, his tiff with Greg Chappell is papered over, the Ferrari ‘Tax’ controversy doesn’t come up, his stint as a Rajya Sabha MP is not even hinted at and the absence of Dilip Vengasarkar who was one of the many selectors during Sachin’s reign, was sorely felt.
The editing is fluid, the present and past mix of home videos, archival match footage and present day shots are definitively emboldened while the background score rises to every proud moment with a symphony of sound and song.
Sachin, the leading run-scorer and century maker in Test and One Day International cricket , the youngest Bharat Ratna Awardee, comes across as so squeaky clean that you might begin to think that he’s not human. In fact by skimming through the surface of Sachin’s great life, Erskine does disservice to the sporting hero even if his ‘He’s so good’ fan fable may just be what the fans ordered.
#Aasra's #JohnsonThomas was an invited speaker at a #TEDxTalk organised by #UWCMC
Monday, May 22, 2017 #Aasra's #JohnsonThomas was an invited speaker at a #TEDxTalk organised by #UWCMC #aasradotinfo #aasraSuicidePrevention24x7Helpline912227546669 #BefriendersWorldwide #SamaritansUK #IASP #UN #WHO #AFSP #INFOTES #LifelineInternational #Google #Facebook Aasra's #JohnsonThomas was an invited speaker at a TEDxTalk organised by UWCMC
Now watch unlimited NEW movies for 30 days
At Carnival Cinemaswith MoviEcard at just Rs149*/-
Carnival Cinemas to introduce this service in over 60 cities across India on May 22 for movie buffs
MUMBAI: One of the largest multiplex chain,Carnival Cinemasis set to revolutionize the film exhibition business withIndia’s first movie subscription based service ‘MoviEcard: Haqq se dekho’for silver screens. Available from May 22 across 60 select cities across India, this card is priced at Rs. 149/- for a period of 30 days. Patrons will be able to enjoy unlimited new releases in any Carnival Cinemasin those cities between Monday to Thursday.
In the last few years, the biggest of the films with bankable stars have seen only 2 to 4 per cent of the total population watching the film on the big screen. The ticket prices have compelled the majority to stay away from the big screen and await the premiere of their beloved movie stars’ films on television. The choice of watching a grandeur on 5-inch phone screen or satisfying the urge to see the latest movie’s pirated version may be available, but it can never replace the experience of the 70 mm screen.
With its visionary outlook, promoter and chairman of Carnival Group, Dr. Shrikant Bhasi led Cinema Chain - Carnival Cinemas, aims to ‘democratize movieviewing experience’by making it accessible to all movie lovers across the country. The intent is to be able to offer month long cinema entertainment at the cost of a single movie ticket.
Speaking about this new product, Dr. Shrikant Bhasi, Founder and Chairman of Carnival Groupsaid, “At Carnival Cinemas,MoviEcard fits in perfectly with our vision of making movies accessible to every Indian. Over the years we have noticed that while people would like to enjoy a great film at the nearest Cinema Theatre, the regular ticket prices have always acted as a deterrent. Our endeavor with this MoviEcard is to break theentry barrier and allow all our patrons to enjoy as many movies as they wish to watch at the cost of ONE MOVIE TICKET. In order to be able to give this benefit to patrons all over the country, we are increasing our footprint rapidly and aim to reach 1000 screens by 2018.”
Dina Mukherjee, senior spokesperson,MoviEcard Sales Pvt. Ltd., firmlybelieves that “MoviEcard is a one of a kind program, that intends to shift the audience from 5” screens to the real magic of 70mm silver screens. Today only 2% of the overall population actually visits movie theatres. We intend to democratize the way we watch new movies or look forward to original content. Our intent is for every movie to get 60-70% occupancy, every Indian tobe able to watch all new releases and every movie lover should carry a MoviEcardto enjoytheir favorite stars in their full glory. The card has been designed to integrate all aspects of entertainment including F&B with nominal costs so that everyone can enjoy an enriching experience.All this at the cost of ONE MOVIE TICKET!”
Customers can purchase and renew the MoviEcard within no time either by logging onto www.moviecardindia.com or visiting the nearest Carnival Cinemas. One can also obtain the card by calling at toll free number 1800 102 5060 and mobile number +91 7710097900, Carnival’s helpline numbers. Bringing back the mesmerizing feeling of watching a film on 70 mm screen, Carnival is steadfast in creating a gratifying ambience for the patrons.
So just grab your MoviEcard and enjoy the enthralling experience of watching latest movies of your favorite stars on the big screen enjoy diverse genre of films every month uninterrupted.
Carnival Cinemas is currently present in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi NCR, West Bengal, Telengana, Uttarakhand and Chandigarh.
About Carnival Group
Carnival Group is a Mumbai based corporate with diversified business in Hospitality, Media, Real Estate, Entertainment, Multiplexes and Event Management. Carnival has already established its brand in movie production, exhibition & distribution along with Food courts, Events, IT Park, etc. Carnival Films Pvt. Ltd., operates cinema chain under the brand ‘Carnival Cinemas’ with over 330 operational screens at 119 locations in 89 cities in India.
Carnival Group was in the news for the acquisition of L&T Realty’s Chandigarh based mall-Elante for INR 1785cr, one of the largest deals in the realty sector in recent times.
Ministry of I&B, Govt. of India, explores opportunities to increase the global footprint of Indian Cinema
Given the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting’s (I&B) crucial and effective role in the development of the film sector in India, especially the International Film Festival of India (IFFI), the Film in India initiative of the Film facilitation Office (FFO), the National Film Development Corporation’s (NFDC) Film Bazaar, the NFDC tied up with Marco Muller – Artistic Director, Pingyao International Film Festival, to introduce these initiatives to acclaimed international filmmakers and representatives of various National Bodies from Countries that have an international coproduction with India.
Speaking on this occasion, the Joint Secretary, Ministry of I&B, said “This meeting enabled us to introduce internationally celebrated filmmakers to IFFI, which is in its 48th year and thus showcase the latest critically acclaimed films. We would be delighted to have these eminent personalities conduct master classes and workshops in Film Bazaar and visit different locations in India, which is in sync with our Film in India initiative under the aegis of the Film Facilitation Office. We also had the opportunity to speak about international collaboration between talent and co-creation of content since we have signed coproduction treaties with several countries.”
He also went on to inform the filmmakers that the setting up of the National Centre of Excellence in Animation, Visual Effects and Comics in Mumbai and a new Film and Television Institute in the North Eastern State of Arunachal Pradesh, will enhance the skill of the film sector. The congregation was also informed of the Ministry’s ambitious National Film Heritage Mission through the National Film Archives based in Pune and the National Museum of Indian Cinema in Mumbai under the aegis of Film Division, as an endeavour on the part of the Government’s effort to preserve the century old cinematic heritage of the country. The meeting also discussed how the Directorate of Film Festival could promote Indian cinema across various cities in the UK and Poland and at the same time give their films a footprint in India.
His Excellency the Ambassador of India to France, Dr Mohan Kumar who was present during the deliberations said, “We had very useful discussions centered around two fundamental objectives: how to achieve greater visibility for Indian Cinema worldwide and how to promote India as a destination for foreign movies. Discussions with Directors, Producers and Policy-makers from UK, Italy, Poland Germany and China proved fruitful and a possible road map to increase the global footprint did emerge”.
Names of the International Filmmakers and Delegates in attendance at the India Pavilion of the Ministry of I&B -
1. Fatih Akin (Director/Producer - Germany)
2 Nurhan Sekerci (Producer - Germany)
3. Bady Minck (Director/Producer - Austria/Luxembourg)
4. Simone Gattoni (Director/Producer – Italy)
5. Heather Stewart (Creative Director – British Film Institute
6. Izabela Kiszka-Hoflik (Head of Film production and Project Development - Polish Film Institute
7. Michel Pradier and Marielle Poupelin – Telefilm Canada
About the India Pavilion
The India Pavilion is organized by the National Film Development Corporation Ltd (NFDC) on behalf of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting. The India Pavilion is set-up by the NFDC at the Cannes Film Festival. The Pavilion is a fully equipped and functional business center during this period and provides Indian delegates with an opportunity to meet and conduct business with leading members of the international film fraternity.
The Pavilion shall host knowledge sessions with various filmmakers and also facilitates the publicity of films produced by Indian filmmakers. The Corporation has published an India Guide with details of Indian professionals registered with the Cannes Film Festival & Market.
About the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting
The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, through mass communication media—radio, television, films, press and print publications, advertising and traditional modes of communication such as dance and drama—plays an effective role in helping people have access to free flow of information. It is the apex body for formulation and administration of rules, regulations and laws for the same.
It also caters to the dissemination of knowledge and entertainment to all sections of the society, striking a careful balance between public interest and commercial needs, in its delivery of services. It is responsible for international co-operation in the fields of mass media, films and broadcasting, and interacts with its foreign counterparts on behalf of the Government of India.
Opening in US/Canada on VOD May 23
BAD RAP which will be released
on VOD in the US and Canada on Tuesday, May 23.
Viewing links are also available by request to this email to consider reviews/interviews.
https://youtu.be/FdsReM8ZY9c - Awkwafina and Dumbfoundead
https://youtu.be/l223iRK-24U - Lyricks
https://youtu.be/GXMObOnb_hs - Rekstizzy
https://youtu.be/HSFoeDl1oJw - Dumbfoundead
More information also follows:
Premiering on VOD Tuesday, May 23 on all major platforms including:
iTunes (US & Canada)
Google Play (US & Canada)
Film’s VOD release timed to Asian Cultural Heritage Month (May 2017).
VIEWING LINKS ARE AVAILABLE BY REQUEST TO CONSIDER COVERAGE.
INTERVIEWS: FILMMAKER SALIMA KOROMA, PRODUCER JAEKI CHO AND RAPPERS REKSTIZZY AND LYRICKS FROM THE FILM ARE AVAILABLE BY REQUEST TO EMMA@EG-PR.COM.
Hip-hop culture has transcended many racial and cultural boundaries after its founding in the ’70s by African-American and Latino youth in the South Bronx. Since then, rappers have emerged as legitimate pop culture stars around the world and hip-hop’s global movement has become increasingly more diverse. Yet the face of rap in America remains primarily black, brown, and white.
BAD RAP follows the lives and careers of four Asian-American rappers trying to break into a world that often treats them as outsiders.Featuring dynamic live performance footage and revealing interviews, BAD RAP will turn the most skeptical critics into believers.
From the battle rhymes of crowd-favorite Dumbfoundead to the tongue-in-cheek songs of Awkwafina; the unapologetic visuals of Rekstizzy to the conflicted values of Lyricks—BAD RAP paints a memorable portrait of artistic passion in the face of an unsung struggle.
Director: Salima Koroma
Produced by: Jaeki Cho
Featuring: Dumbfoundead, Awkwafina, Rekstizzy, Lyricks and many more.
81 Minutes / English / USA / Documentary
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Web Series Pioneer
Presents its latestHorror Comedy Sketch
'Passion Ka Bhoot'
In association with HDFC LIFE
Watch it now on www.TVFPlay.com
May 2017 -- After a series of super successful web sketches like Tech Conversations with Dad, Daaru Pe Charcha, Truth or Dare, Barely Speaking with Arunb and TVF Bachelors comes yet another web sketch -- Passion Ka Bhoot-- presented by TVF in association with HDFC Life.
TVF's Passion Ka Bhoot is inspired from TVF’s popular horror comedy series, TVF Bhootiyapa–Bachelors vs. Ghost which made its mark online garnering over 3 million views ....and still counting!
TVF's Passion Ka Bhoot is written by Chandan Kumar and is directed by Harman Wadala.
The popular web sketch also stars leading TV & theatre actors -- Ashish Verma, Tarun Singhal, Shivankit Singh Parihar, Trupti Khamkar, Ranjan Raj, Sudhir Kumar, Abhinav Anand and Anant Singh.
The web sketch is a satirical take on the fad of 'Following Your Passion' It’s a story aboutManu (Ashish Verma) who works in an MNC, in a standard 9 to 5 job. All is going well until, one day he gets transferred to another cubicle in his office, one that is 'haunted' by a 'Passion Ka Bhoot'! And, in the midst of following his passion to be a photographer, writer, travel-blogger, actor and singer his whole life goes for a toss!
It’s hilarious when the web sketch adapts quirky lines from the movie 3 Idiots andRockstar. The message it sends out is clear -- that the only way to perform and do great work is to love what you do! In the throes of pursuing your passion, today’s youth wish to live in the moment without thinking much about the future.
The web sketch ends with a remarkable note to young Indians -- 'Follow your passion' in whatever you choose to do! However, whatever you decide to do, requires discipline and planning
keeping in mind that family security is also important. Moreover, a 9 to 5 job is not 'detention', but it helps to discipline you and bring stability in whatever you choose to do.
You can watch the video here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMzki7i28Z4
At the forefront of the web series revolution with five of India’s most successful releases --Permanent Roommates, Pitchers, Tripling , Humorously Yours and Bisht, Please! -- with over 100 million views -- The Viral Fever (TVF) is India's premier digital entertainment network. Founded by Arunabh Kumar, Creative Experiment Officer (CEO), the Company is creating headlines globally and within India, revolutionising the way Indians access entertainment. Loved by India's youth, TVF is a pioneer in the new genre of online entertainment, with a focus on progressive and new-age content.