Daniele Napolitano plays with Stop-Motion in “Notte Sento”

Up and coming Italian Director Daniele Napolitano has successfully put a fresh spin on the cortometraggio (short film). Creatively using stop-motion photography, his 2008 film “Notte Sento” has become a cyber phenomenon around the globe. The film was made with 4500+ still photographs shot by a Canon EOS 30D camera. Napolitano’s short love story revolves around the one night a deaf Italian girl misses her train to Milan and the man she meets. This charming film was recently chosen as one of the top 5 projects of the Seagate Creative Fund, won the second prize at CortoWeb 9.0 in the Arcipelago Film Festival in Rome and won 1st prize at RomaEuropa Web Factory Online Contest for Best Commercial and Best Viral Video.

Ethics & Journalism

In Haskell Wexler’s Medium Cool (1969), John Cassellis (Robert Foster) loves “shooting film.” His ability to emotionally detach himself from that which, and who, he is shooting is exemplified in the opening scene of the film. Cassellis and a fellow television reporter calmly film a car accident and the victim’s body, strewn like a ragdoll on the ground nearby. Once they have shot all they need for their piece, they walk back to their car, pack up their cameras and decide to call for help.

Violence as a result of socio-political discontent occurs throughout the film, and Cassellis wants to capture it all. One of the burning questions Haskell’s film raises is whether moral responsibility applies to reporters covering events where others are in danger.

Several months ago, when a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck the Republic of Haiti nearly a quarter-million people were killed in seconds. The devastation brought an outpouring of support and news coverage. One of the first journalists on scene in the capital of Port-au-Prince was CNN’s Anderson Cooper. Days after the quake, the capital was the scene of a number of food and goods riots. During one particular riot, looters broke into a convenience store through the roof. Once inside, they began stealing candles and proceeding to sell them on the street right in front of the store.

During the chaos, debris was thrown off the roof to keep back a growing crowd. As a result, a young boy was struck in the head with a large piece of concrete. Bleeding badly on the ground, the boy was nearly unconscious and still in harm’s way. Immediately, Cooper put down his camera (while another cameraman captured the event) and was able to move the boy to safety. Below, Cooper recounts his intervention in the event he was capturing. Cooper assumes a moral responsibility Cassellis was wholly free of.

Jim Jarmusch’s Golden Rules of Filmmaking

The director of such acclaimed independent films as “Stranger Than Paradise,” “Dead Man,” “Coffee and Cigarettes,” and “Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai” offers up his list of rules to make it as a director:

Jim Jarmusch
Jim Jarmusch

Rule #1: There are no rules. There are as many ways to make a film as there are potential filmmakers. It’s an open form. Anyway, I would personally never presume to tell anyone else what to do or how to do anything. To me that’s like telling someone else what their religious beliefs should be. Fuck that. That’s against my personal philosophy—more of a code than a set of “rules.” Therefore, disregard the “rules” you are presently reading, and instead consider them to be merely notes to myself. One should make one’s own “notes” because there is no one way to do anything. If anyone tells you there is only one way, their way, get as far away from them as possible, both physically and philosophically.

Rule #2: Don’t let the fuckers get ya. They can either help you, or not help you, but they can’t stop you. People who finance films, distribute films, promote films and exhibit films are not filmmakers. They are not interested in letting filmmakers define and dictate the way they do their business, so filmmakers should have no interest in allowing them to dictate the way a film is made. Carry a gun if necessary.

Also, avoid sycophants at all costs. There are always people around who only want to be involved in filmmaking to get rich, get famous, or get laid. Generally, they know as much about filmmaking as George W. Bush knows about hand-to-hand combat.

Rule #3: The production is there to serve the film. The film is not there to serve the production. Unfortunately, in the world of filmmaking this is almost universally backwards. The film is not being made to serve the budget, the schedule, or the resumes of those involved. Filmmakers who don’t understand this should be hung from their ankles and asked why the sky appears to be upside down.

Rule #4: Filmmaking is a collaborative process. You get the chance to work with others whose minds and ideas may be stronger than your own. Make sure they remain focused on their own function and not someone else’s job, or you’ll have a big mess. But treat all collaborators as equals and with respect. A production assistant who is holding back traffic so the crew can get a shot is no less important than the actors in the scene, the director of photography, the production designer or the director. Hierarchy is for those whose egos are inflated or out of control, or for people in the military. Those with whom you choose to collaborate, if you make good choices, can elevate the quality and content of your film to a much higher plane than any one mind could imagine on its own. If you don’t want to work with other people, go paint a painting or write a book. (And if you want to be a fucking dictator, I guess these days you just have to go into politics…).

Rule #5: Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is nonexistent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery—celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from—it’s where you take them to.”

Source: MovieMaker Magazine, January 2004