08 January 2010

Catching Up with Our Talented Crew!

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CircusRosaireOne of the wonderful things about making a film is that you get to work with wonderful and talented people.  In the case of "Pancho" we were truly blessed with an amazing crew.  Most of them are friends of ours from the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts, where I graduated from, and where Amanda Pope is a professor.  U.S.C. graduates or not, our crew's been extra busy with their own projects this past year.  A great example is our director of photography Clay Westervelt.  He just directed and produced a documentary film about legendary B-picture director Jim Wynorski entitled Popatopolis.  (The title, in case you were wondering, derives from the fact that Wynorski's pictures often involve gratuitous toplessness on the part of shapely actresses!)  Wynorski, who has literally directed hundreds of campy films that appear on a regular basis on cable television and in the video store, is the type of incredible character that only a business like Hollywood could produce.  In an era of shrinking budgets, Wynorski is forced to shoot a full-length feature film ... not in three months ... not in three weeks... but in three days' time.  The chronicle of how this film is made is alternatively hilarious, ridiculous and poignant, showing how one person's passion for bad filmmaking can endure against all odds.  An altogether different type of story is related in Circus Rosaire, a film produced by our cameraman Chad Wilson and his wife PopatopolisRobyn Bliley and cut by "Pancho" editor Monique Zavistovski. This documentary follows several generations of the Rosaire family as they struggle to keep their traditional "small top" circus in business.  A truly memorable tale full of trained chimps, horses and tigers and the people who love working with them, this is one doc you won't want to miss.  Another poignant film that involves animals is War Dogs of the Pacific, directed by our other cameraman Harris Done.  I haven't seen this one yet, but I understand that this chronicle of Marine Corps. dog platoons and the bonds made between young WarDogsinfantrymen and their canine servants is absolutely compelling.  Some of the other members of our crew have also been working hard at creative pursuits.  Sound man Stu Sperling recently had a series of photographs chronicling the decay of man-made objects on exhibit at the Santa Fe Center for Photography.  Our composers Nathan Wang and Knox Summerour have both been busy with new projects, and Monique Z. has been cutting a documentary about Japanese-American child custody battles.   Last but certainly not least, Amanda Pope has been finishing up a new documentary film that she co-directed with Tchavdar Georgiev.  Entitled The Desert of Forbidden Art, it documents a fabulous collection of modern Soviet art that was assembled in secret by a dissident museum director.  The film was just recently completed and will make its film festival debut in the near future.  Stay tuned!