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Hollywood Film Festival Beckons! August 25, 2015

Hello! For this Media Monday on Tuesday, we have an exciting announcement – our film, F For Franco, has been selected to be shown at the Hollywood Film Festival in Los Angeles in September! The theme for 2015 is, “What is the Future of Hollywood?”, and CF’s experimental journey into the creative mind and process of the art of multi-faceted James Franco is a perfect fit for discussing the possibilities of film beyond the tried-and-true formulas. More details to follow, but we are very pleased to show our film there! Here are just a few stills from our film – have a wonderful day!

Valentino2(1)

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Videostills of Douglas Gordon's and James Franco's collaborative Film Project "Rebel" for the Venice Biennial 2011. Film produced at Cinegate Studios Berlin, actor: Henry Hopper, camera George Geddes. Still images show take "Crayons"

Videostills of Douglas Gordon’s and James Franco’s collaborative Film Project “Rebel” for the Venice Biennial 2011. Film produced at Cinegate Studios Berlin, actor: Henry Hopper, camera George Geddes. Still images show take “Crayons”

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HFFBlkLaurel

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Forgetting the Past June 30, 2015

Hello and Happy Media Monday on Tuesday. It’s rather late in the evening to post this, but it’s been a busy day! Francisco, as you may know, hails from Cuba and had a very interesting childhood (that video to come), going from Cuba to Spain to NYC by the time he was nine. In this short film, Francisco discovers a book from his childhood education and ruminates (in the contemplative definition of the word!) on the past and the present and wonders whether or not the past has a role in today’s society.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hYMm8nypXEs&w=700&rel=0]

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Of Routine and Expectations, then and now May 13, 2015

It’s Media Monday on Tuesday plus one again, and here is a short essay showing that no subject is off limits when it comes to discussing life and art. Not so very long ago, people had certain expectations of a particular kind of lifestyle – if you wanted this in life, you would have to do that, but you could achieve it; if you wanted something else, you had to be prepared to give up certain “creature comforts.” Almost everything fell into well-defined categories. These days, that’s not so much the case – it’s all a mixed bag. In this post, Francisco literally takes us on a drive with him and extemporizes on all of this, and how it pertains to Art. 🙂

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Defez4HvGgo&w=700&rel=0]

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Orson’s Birthday, F For Fake, and F For Franco May 7, 2015

Hello! Happy Birthday to Orson Welles, who would have been 100 years old today. Our film, F For Franco, takes its title from Welles’ F For Fake. F For Fake is about an art forger and a faker, while our film discusses how James Franco uses his experimental art and film projects to fake and forge his own identity. I came across this article today about Welles and his efforts in experimentation, which is precisely what Conceptualist Films is about.

The videos below are from our Youtube channel and begin with a short clip of Orson himself from F For Fake, followed by some of our work on our film – Enjoy!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7BCfhUMZl8&w=700&rel=0]

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aln-Ou6fCQM&w=700&rel=0]

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_xNQ1XwN0AY&w=700&rel=0]

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eHd1wQ5jHyg&w=700&rel=0]

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDNpPOFWw4I&w=700&rel=0]

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=goCQQw4AS6M&w=700&rel=0]

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGDvUOVO15g&w=700&rel=0]

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Until Something Else April 30, 2015

Hello! It’s been awhile, but I have a post for you this…Media Monday on Tuesday plus one? The music alone will make you sit up and take notice with its eerie otherworldliness (composed by Francisco), as will the subject of this short film. In the 1960’s, some of the best filmmakers of the French intelligentsia turned briefly to the new genre of the avant-garde sci-fi film. The two most oft-cited examples are Jean-Luc Godard’s Alphaville and Chris Marker’s La Jetée. But as these works were presented more as experiments in pushing narrative form than as commentary on society, Francisco saw this trend as both an inspiration for the medium and yet, ironically, a lost opportunity to use film as a fictive essay form. Reflecting on the pervasive ways that cyberculture has transformed art and identity, Francisco made this “sci-non-fi” film essay, the first of a series in the spirit of those French experiments. Enjoy!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sx6l418S2fY&w=700&rel=0]

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Francisco*s Guitar Improv March 26, 2015

Hello, all! A Thoughtful Thursday piece of music for you. Francisco’s many talents include guitar, and here is a short, colorful yet transparent rendering of him improvising. Feel the quiet energy of his guitar as dancers move in the background. Enjoy!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fo5srIkxBRo&w=700&rel=0]

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The Conceptualist and Casablanca February 18, 2015

Hello! We return to our web show with some art by Andrew Neumann.  Neumann’s art often consists of a melding of different types of media; for example, combining photography, machines, and film into a single work that can’t be easily categorized, but is mesmerizing to experience. Rarely are any pieces static, something is almost always in motion in some fashion. In Episode 5 of The Conceptualist, Francisco shows us some of his artwork. It’s a quiet reflection on the space, order, and distance in a room of his installations. Fans, machines offering soothing words, and That Moment in Casablanca come together in this latest web show in the series. Enjoy!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdyjDZwkKlM&w=700&rel=0]

 

 

 

 

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A Study in Magic and Artifice February 11, 2015

Hello Everyone! It is well past time for a post, and I shall endeavor to be better. I write this particular piece from LA, where filmmaking is literally all around us. Our film F For Franco is still in post-production because we feel that it’s more important to get it into a shape we’re happy with than to just call it good enough, only to look back on it later and say, “We could have done more.”

Lately, we’ve been working on some reflections on our film, particularly about the spectacle of celebrity. As we set up to shoot some of Francisco’s ideas, I looked at the room and saw the spectacle of what we were doing. No documentary or news program is without its share of artifice – even just standing in front of a camera lends a slightly artificial air to the whole thing. The tricks employed to eventually produce a “flawless” film are amazing. And sometimes just funny. Here are 14 seconds of a take that got up someone’s nose, quite literally:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AN8E3VWANNw&w=700&rel=0]

As you can see, nothing is perfect the first time through. That’s the magic of editing, giving us a error-free delivery of eloquent thoughts and ideas. In setting up the shoot, we did more to make the magic “meta.” What you saw was my cell phone camera looking at a TV set up as an external monitor, so Francisco can look at the camera and talk, and we can monitor what he looks like, how he’s framed in the shot, etc. A bit of fakery to add to the mix. Here’s the setup in all its glory – some behind the scenes before the film is out!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5nJu8yrmTM&w=700&rel=0]

It’s the art of making film. See you soon with Orson Welles!

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Boxing Day with Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg December 26, 2014

Hello and welcome to Boxing Day, or Kwanzaa, or Friday. Today I indulge in a bit of wordsmithery (well, that might not be a word). We have a short video for you from F FOR FRANCO – a short segment featuring Francisco talking with Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg about the TV and film industry. It’s a conversation which, in light of the recent problems with the immense hack of Sony and the once-cancelled, now limited-release of “The Interview” now seem to be more relevant than ever (certainly one of the hot topics of the past week).

Firstly, of course, we’re glad that the threats made to any theater showing the film on Christmas came to nothing, as that is how it should be.

Secondly, as you know, our film has nothing to do with “The Interview” – it is about James Franco’s creative process behind his own art and film work. However, a short talk with Rogen and Goldberg revealed their insights into the state of affairs today. In short – they feel the lines between reality and entertainment have been blurred, and that major film studios don’t want to take chances on original work, preferring to stay with tried-and-true formulas, as though no one would ever want to see anything break away from the mold.

There’s no need to go over how North Korea ought to have seen this film for what it is, how this blurring of lines (in using a real country and a real leader as its focus instead of creating a country like MadeItUpOnTheSpotia) was never meant as a blueprint for assassination. Art and film might reflect life, satirize or criticize it, but it will never be life. A photo of a plant will never replace having one in one’s home. Art can explore new areas, new ideas, and give rise to new questions and expand one’s imagination without worry about being “correct”; it never can be. There is always some artifice in the art.

Those possibilities for what art (including film here) can be and do ought to be encouraged, for its originality if nothing else. That’s what Conceptualist Films is about- making documentaries (or film essays, or pieces of art, even) that are original and experimental, interesting and thought-provoking, The film world is a business world, and while it’s understandable that a reliable, oft-used formula for creating a successful film is comfortable and safe, we believe that there’s an audience out there waiting for something new.

Click the photo and expand the screen to watch!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPncYbJUK48&w=700&rel=0]

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Surprise Saturday December 13, 2014

It’s the wee smalls of Saturday the 13th of December, and all is very quiet. Listening to a little Christmas music and thinking about the end of the year. By then, our Franco film will be in its “locked” form, and we’ll be going full-on with our other projects straight into 2015! I’ll get started with a Surprise Saturday video for you! This track, “Trailsel” is another by Francisco, but it didn’t make it onto his album, Adding and Subtracting. The video can really only be described as an adventure down the rabbit hole (see if you can spot a Boston baseball landmark somewhere in there), and the music is deliciously and energetically hypnotic. Click the photo and enjoy!

Don’t forget to check out our other videos to accompany the album:

Fabienne Super-G
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gzkBV54Thxw&w=700&rel=0]

Automatic Message
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nB0H_6o44LM&w=700&rel=0]

A Soundcloud track (the title track) – Adding and Subtracting
[soundcloud url=”https://soundcloud.com/conceptualist/adding-and-subtracting” params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /]

Sample them all on the sidebar of the website, or on iTunes and Amazon:
iTunes

Amazon

See you soon, and have a wonderful weekend!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y96FWpkYfWg&w=700&rel=0]

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