Directed by Danny Madden, Euphonia follows a bored, K-Mart employed high school boy, Will (Will Madden) who for some reason or another hates every minute of his white, suburban existence. The film, which was well done, is a must watch for any sound recordist or designer and that’s why we’re so interested in it here at S&P.
As the minutes pass closer to the all conclusive fade to black, Will’s days of hanging out with his friend (Bejnamin Papac) and trading notes with a female classmate (Maria Decotis) become bleak. So he turns to what any teenage boy does to fill his loneliness-porn (kidding, but just a suggestion, Will). Nope, he actually buys a sound recording device, a Zoom H2, to be exact and starts to capture the audio world around him. Now consumed with his newly found obsession it eventually becomes so intense it slips him into a world of discontent.
Shot outside Atlanta, Georgia with a near zero dollar budget, Danny Madden, created a plot through sound imagery that’s engrained with inventiveness and passion. Though Will is center stage, the real characters are the sounds that begin to take over his life. Besides directing and writing the project, Madden also cut the film and looked to Steve Bissinger for additional sound re-recording and theory. We were able to sit down with the two storytellers to see what it was like creating a character we could only hear.
Director and writer Todd Strauss-Schulson slapped the internet a few weeks ago with his film Valibation. It’s a dark comedy that depicts a man who becomes too fixated with his smartphone. If you haven’t seen it, watch it above stat? Then come back and finish reading.
Todd hooked up again with producing partner Ken Franchi, and the self-financed project tapped cinematographer Elie Smolkin to help elevate the mood and visual stylings of the project.
S&P recently sat down with the director & DP to see what it takes to make an independent short with little budget and not a lot of time.
Directed by Ric Roman Waugh, Snitch focuses on John Matthews (Dwayne Johnson), an owner of a construction company whose 18-year-old-son, Jason, is framed for dealing drugs by another kid who is trying to save his own skin. John, now devastated that his son will receive the mandatory minimum 10-year sentence in federal prison, looks for answers and is willing to do anything to reduce Jason’s sentence – including going undercover himself.As the story unfolds, U.S Attorney Joanne Keeghan (Susan Sarandon) works out a deal with John to cut down jail time if he produces evidence against someone else in the drug trade. As John infiltrates a violent gang led by Malik (Michael Kenneth Williams), he unexpectedly exposes a major player in the Mexican cartel (Benjamin Bratt) turning the already dangerous venture into something deadly, putting himself and his family at risk.
Inspired by true events, the screenplay written by Waugh and Justin Haythe (Revolutionary Road, The Clearing) illustrates how far a loving parent would go for the safety of their child. Tapped to lens the film was cinematographer Dana Gonzales who sat down with us to talk about the project and how he’s evolved from camera assistant to fulltime DP.
Mad Men was doused with 17 Emmy nominations this year, including one for Outstanding Cinematography. Created by Matt Weiner, the one-hour drama takes viewers back to the 1960s and centers around the lives of a group of advertising agents. Stepping in since the start of season two, DP Chris Manley, ASC, found some down time to let us inside one of AMC’s most sought out television series.
Chris Manley, ASC
S&P: This is your third Emmy nomination for Mad Men. Has your reaction changed over the years?
Manley: Well, the thing with Mad Men, for me, is the pilot episode was done by Phil Abraham. He eventually was nominated and won the Emmy that year. It’s very important for me to at least be nominated to feel like I’m maintaining the high standards Phil started. When I don’t get nominated, I feel like I dropped the ball somehow. On the other hand, there are so many great new beautiful shows out there. Like Boardwalk Empire. Game of Thrones. That have multiple DPs. I always expect those guys to lock up the nominations, so when any of the other shows, including ours, gets a nomination, I’m surprised.
DP John Simmons, ASC
When it comes to giving back to the film community, cinematographer John Simmons, ASC, would be found near the top of the list. Besides working in the field, John has been teaching at UCLA’s film school for over 20 years, crafting the next generation of young, enthusiastic minds. When Simmons nabbed his nomination for Disney XD’s Pair of Kings, a kid’s show about two teenage kids who are heirs to the throne of an island nation, S&P sat down with him to talk about his work.
S&P: Congrats on your second Emmy nomination in a row for Pair of Kings. How does it compare to last year?
Simmons: When I got a call at 6 am from Ralph Berge, my rep at Montana Artist, last year congratulating me for being nominated for an Emmy, I had no idea it could happen. Were kid’s shows even nominated? I wondered if anybody was going to take a kids show seriously… That year, two Disney shows were nominated.