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Mitchell Block Direct: VI Issue 1: Ethel, Salar, and Columbia University

Mitchell Block Direct: VI Issue 1: Ethel, Salar, and Columbia University

VI Issue 1
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We are happy to add a new feature to SydneysBuzz!  Mitchell Block who, specializes in conceiving, producing, marketing  &  distributing independent features & consulting.  Mitchell will post his commentary on docs and shorts twice a week on Tuesday and Thursday. Stay Tuned!

Ethel a documentary by Rory Kennedy

Ethel is a feature length documentary about the remarkable life of Ethel Kennedy, told from the point of view those who know Ethel best: her family. Produced and directed by Rory Kennedy, the film features candid interviews with Ethel and seven of her children. The film is a personal portrait of Ethel’s political awakening, the life she shared with Robert F. Kennedy, and the years following his death when she raised their eleven children on her own. Ethel offers a personal look inside the political dynasty that helped shape America.

Beautifully directed by Emmy Award winning filmmaker Rory Kennedy, this is her best work to date. Powerful, moving and deeply personal it was short listed for the Documentary Oscar. Produced by Jack Youngelston, smartly written by Mark Bailey, stunningly shot by Buddy Squires, elegantly scored by Miriam Cutler and edited by Azin Samari, this is that rare work that is perfectly crafted and feels like the director did not have to compromise one frame. Compressing an extraordinary life into this one and half ‐ hour work, the film both shares the life of Ethel Kennedy and covers the career of Robert Kennedy who was fatally shot in 1968 leaving Ethel alone to manage her family of eleven children. Never seeming to tire she shows continued strength, intelligence, sensitivity and love for her family and the Kennedys. This work is a tribute to an amazing mom.

The film aired on HBO in 2012.

Director, Producer & Narrator: Rory Kennedy
Producer: Jack Youngelson
Writer: Mark Bailey
Cinematographer: Buddy Squires
Editor: Azin Samari
Original Score: Miriam Cutler
Executive Producer: Sheila Nevins
Producer: Nancy Abraham

Salar a short film by Nicholas Greene

In an isolated Bolivian village, on the edge of the vast Uyuni salt flats, two lives collide: Marc, a jaded American doctor looking to leave, and Carlos, a fiery Bolivian salt miner who’s just been stabbed in the hand.

In this stunning fiction short student filmmaker Nicholas Greene has made a film worthy of an Oscar nomination. This 19 minute film has great production values, strong acting, an amazing cast and, with the Red camera, a clarity of image that gives a great look. Solidly produced by fellow Columbia University classmate Julie Buck and shot by Hilary Spera this work like many of the thesis films coming from Columbia shows how a solid original story can become a solid film. Short listed for an Academy Award, this thesis film is outstanding.

Director/ Writer’s Bio:
Nicholas Greene is a British writer/director. In 2010 he made the short film Salar in Bolivia, working with La Fabrica Escuela, the country’s only film school. The film won the international competition at the Clermont‐Ferrand Film Festival. He holds an MFA in Film at Columbia University. He works as an editor for non‐profit documentaries in New York.

Producer Bio:
Julie Buck is a New York‐based producer and currently works for Rabbit Bandini, James Francos production company, where her co‐producer credits include Child of God and Black Dog Red Dog. She has an MFA from Brigham Young University, a certificate in film preservation from George Eastman House, and an MFA from Columbia University.

Written and Directed by: Nicholas Greene
Produced by: Julie Buck
Co-Producer: Roberto Lanza Lobo
Director of Photography: Hillary Spera
Editor: Faisal Azam
Composer: John Plenge

Columbia University School of the Arts in New York

The Film MFA Programs

Columbia University’s film program has distinguished itself over the last decade by its students winning more Student Academy Awards in fiction than any other training program in the US. Its entries are consistently well written, beautifully produced and strongly directed.

There are two MFA programs in filmmaking, Screenwriting/Directing and Creative Producing, which share a common first year. The course of instruction combines producing, directing, and writing with technical training and even some history and theory to provide students with a deep understanding of all the principles and practice of dramatic filmmaking. All the courses within this unique, integrated curriculum focus on film as a medium for the telling of stories. The graduate programs average 25 students in each class. While Columbia does not “own” the student works they are produced under Columbia’s egis. Since the program is not training camera, sound, editors and other craft areas student films are crewed by friends, colleagues and others interested in working on them rather than the projects being required to use other Columbia University students.

The faculty combines veteran and new members of the New York and Hollywood film communities in both production and writing.

Web site:‐programs

Mitchell Block specializes in conceiving, producing, marketing & distributing independent features & consulting. He is an expert in placing both completed works into distribution & working with producers to make projects fundable. He conducts regular workshops in film producing in Los Angeles and most recently in Maine, Russia and in Myanmar (Burma).

“Poster Girl,” produced by Block was nominated for a Documentary Academy Award and selected by the IDA as the “Best” Doc Short 2011. It was also nominated for two Emmy Awards and aired on HBO. He is an executive producer of the Emmy Award-winning PBS series “Carrier,” a 10-hour series that he conceived & co-created. Block is a graduate of Tisch School and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business. He is a member of Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, the Television Academy, a founding member of BAFTA-LA and has been teaching at USC School of Cinematic Arts since 1979. Currently Block teaches a required class in the USC Peter Stark Producing Program.


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