L'associazione Utopia Rossa lavora e lotta per l'unità dei movimenti rivoluzionari di tutto il mondo in una nuova internazionale: la Quinta. Al suo interno convivono felicemente - con un progetto internazionalista e princìpi di etica politica - persone di provenienza marxista e libertaria, anarcocomunista, situazionista, femminista, trotskista, guevarista, leninista, credente e atea, oltre a liberi pensatori. Non succedeva dai tempi della Prima internazionale.

martedì 29 gennaio 2013

WITHIN THE CITY LIMITLESS COMES TO THE SCREEN (THE MAKING OF A FILM), by Carolfrances Likins


a Red-utopian comrade (screenwriter) in Los Angeles


Making a film and having it become one of the twenty-two finalists in a contest might not seem to be a major event – after all, the running time was less than four minutes. And it wasn’t a film about Che nor a call to the masses to rise up and overthrow capitalism. But then, it was my first completed film, and since I’ve been trying to do this since… Let’s see…

I first learned, long ago, that I was a writer when I found a paragraph of mine in our church bulletin. Having mine chosen out of those of seventy-two second-graders was a child’s version of receiving an Oscar. And much later when I came to realize that movies start off by someone writing down their daydreams, I knew that was the path I wanted to take.
Later still, when I was struck by the realization that there was something rotten in the state of capitalism and that films could help bring about a consciousness of this – together with helping to guide us out of the mess – my determination to contribute to this was born.

These decades of activism and traveling to places that the capitalists don’t want us to go keep evolving into stories for screenplays. Writing them is easy (writer’s block isn’t something I’m familiar with); getting someone to buy them and make them into movies is the part that has not been happening. I pitch a story and I’m told (this was in 2004), “I love your story but, after 9/11, the studios won’t do anything about police brutality; it’s considered unpatriotic.”
I’m founding an organization called Breakthrough! to support filmmaking with a social conscience.

In the meantime, I think about producing my own films. However, I really don’t have any desire to produce and direct; I’d rather find a talented group of people who share my vision who want to collaborate with me. But awhile ago, it occurred to me that I needed to produce and direct my shorts. So I started gathering a group together to materialize my shortest screenplay onto the screen. Two years later, my second film, all of six minutes, is about to be completed.
Did I say “second”? Yes. For while that piece was waiting around in post-production for the people volunteering their time to get to it, another film was inspired, conceptualized, written, cast, shot, edited, and uploaded – in just under a month.

A group I belong to – NewFilmmakers L.A. – sent out a call for films about our city. There was a time restriction: the films had to be under four minutes. They had to be positive, so that means they weren’t looking for us to address homelessness or any of our serious problems, not even if we focused on such positive movements as ex-gang members reaching out to youth to keep them off the paths they had walked. They basically wanted ads for the tourism industry to use to lure people here.
So maybe I was taking a chance by creating a film about what I love about my city instead of highlighting the tourist attractions we have. I might have featured… What? The bust of José Martí in a local park? The amazing Watts Towers, created by a single Italian immigrant in an area that African Americans later moved into en masse and where many L.A. people are afraid to go?

No, that wasn’t what I wanted to do. The name of the contest is “What’s your L.A.?” And what I love about my city is its ethnic diversity. That might not be what the tourism folks want to use to bring people here, but that’s what I would celebrate in my film.
For me, this is it. I have a friend who praises the natural beauty of his paradise in the mountains, and I asked him about the people’s ethnicities. “We’re mostly white,” he answered, to which I replied, “I couldn’t live there.” I love trees but I couldn’t go back to living in an area full only of people who look like me.

I now live in an L.A. neighborhood called “Koreatown,” peopled by Salvadoran refugees and Mexican immigrants and their descendants. There are also a few of us people who are usually called “white.” Oh, and did I mention Korean Americans? We have an Islamic Center and a Buddhist Meditation Center within walking distance of my ethnically diverse little apartment building.
There are ninety-two languages spoken in the homes of children in the Los Angeles School District.
That’s my L.A.

But the first challenge was to come up with an under-four-minute film about that. I’m a screenwriter; I write screenplays for narrative films, not documentaries. But when the idea for a story about children discovering the wealth of diversity popped into my mind, the screenplay just about wrote itself: a story of children wanting to travel the world; since their working-class parents can’t afford that, they take them on the next best thing: a global tour of Los Angeles.
I conceived of the idea and then had to write it into four pages. Writing a feature-length screenplay is easy, but could I shove my idea into so short a screenplay? When I wrote it out, it was five pages: too long if the “one page = one minute” rule actually works. But I hoped I could produce this in the one-month window of the contest and then do a longer version afterwards.

The next step was finding a cast and crew – with a deadline less than a month away and no budget. My other film was filmed in one location in a half day; this one has eleven locations in nine different neighborhoods of the city; could I get a cast and crew to volunteer to run all over with me?
Fortunately, I belong to another group called The Table, a group of filmmaking people who get together to share what we do and what we need. I announced what I needed and soon had a crew who loved my idea and wanted to be at my service for the month.
I then put out an email to a handful of friends who have children; three families with four children gave me my main cast: Ayanna (a few weeks short of 7), whose mama is Salvadoran American and whose papa is African American; Nayelli and Carlos (8 and 12) of Mexican Heritage; and our self-described “Persiapino” (Persian and Filipino) Kamran (10).

That the film was actually made in the month was a stunning act of faith and determination from our dedicated cast and crew. Gary, our cinematographer and editor, was our only professional; when I saw his previous work online I was in awe. As it turned out, he was not only extraordinarily skilled but was also determined that I (who had next to no experience) should be telling him what to do. Besides Gary, we had A-yia, a camera operator who took direction from him, as well as Cindy and Paula who did sound recording (having been trained by Gary), and Mack who later did some vital assistant editing. The parents were great too. Paula also started working as my assistant director in the middle of production, once I found out what an AD is and realized how much I needed someone to take care of problems I hadn’t foreseen coming up. (She’s also my best friend and the woman who long ago introduced me to Cuba.) Finally, my Bolivian friend Mario gave me permission to use a perfect piece of his Andean flute music from his band’s album.
All these volunteers working for the love of the project!
Besides being inexperienced, I tend to be scattered: fiction writers are daydreamers, not necessarily people of the most focused minds. I’d tell the actors where to stand, Gary would tell me what to say to the camera and sound people, I’d say it and wait. Why are they just standing there? Then someone would say, “Carolfrances, call ‘Action.’ ” Oh, that’s right: I’m directing this thing.

Gary taught me – and reminded me until I learned – to look over his or A-yia’s shoulders to see if what’s on their little screens is what I want. He was determined to not only give the best of his vision and skills but to bring out the director in me. I had some overcoming to do: when I’m around people who know so much more than I do, I tend to back off and let them lead. But Gary never let the opportunity pass by to remind me that I was the writer-director-producer, to push me into its leadership.
Thanks.

We finished our filming as the deadline drew dangerously close. The day we had to upload it was the day of our final editing. Looking over Gary’s shoulder at his computer, making decisions with him, I learned much of the science of editing and a whole lot more of the art of it. I felt like a “real” director – which I was, of course, but realizing it was an amazing experience.
We had to cut our film down to length. We removed one great scene and trimmed a lot. But it was done: I had directed and produced my first film, all of 3 minutes and 51 seconds.
When I received the notice that Within the City Limitless was one of the twenty-two entries chosen to be screened, I was exhilarated. We didn’t win any prizes that night, but when I asked how many films had been entered into the contest, we were told “Oh, hundreds!” That’s all we needed to hear. And the children got to see themselves up there on the screen and hear people laugh and applaud for them. And afterwards, many people came up to them and expressed their enjoyment of their work, photographing them, giving them the star treatment. It was a wonderful night.
Besides planning our extended version, I already am playing with ideas for my next year’s entry.

More about our organization at: http://BreakthroughIndies.org.
To see Within the City Limitless, click the link to it at: http://www.discoverlosangeles.com/content/los-angeles-video-project


Nella diffusione e/o ripubblicazione di questo articolo si prega di citare la fonte: www.utopiarossa.blogspot.com

RED UTOPIA ROJA - Principles / Principios / Princìpi / Principes / Princípios

a) The end does not justify the means, but the means which we use must reflect the essence of the end.

b) Support for the struggle of all peoples against imperialism and/or for their self determination, independently of their political leaderships.

c) For the autonomy and total independence from the political projects of capitalism.

d) The unity of the workers of the world - intellectual and physical workers, without ideological discrimination of any kind (apart from the basics of anti-capitalism, anti-imperialism and of socialism).

e) Fight against political bureaucracies, for direct and councils democracy.

f) Save all life on the Planet, save humanity.

(January 2010)

* * *

a) El fin no justifica los medios, y en los medios que empleamos debe estar reflejada la esencia del fin.

b) Apoyo a las luchas de todos los pueblos contra el imperialismo y/o por su autodeterminación, independientemente de sus direcciones políticas.

c) Por la autonomía y la independencia total respecto a los proyectos políticos del capitalismo.

d) Unidad del mundo del trabajo intelectual y físico, sin discriminaciones ideológicas de ningún tipo, fuera de la identidad “anticapitalista, antiimperialista y por el socialismo”.

e) Lucha contra las burocracias políticas, por la democracia directa y consejista.

f) Salvar la vida sobre la Tierra, salvar a la humanidad

(Enero de 2010)

* * *

a) Il fine non giustifica i mezzi, ma nei mezzi che impieghiamo dev’essere riflessa l’essenza del fine.

b) Sostegno alle lotte di tutti i popoli contro l’imperialismo e/o per la loro autodeterminazione, indipendentemente dalle loro direzioni politiche.

c) Per l’autonomia e l’indipendenza totale dai progetti politici del capitalismo.

d) Unità del mondo del lavoro mentale e materiale, senza discriminazioni ideologiche di alcun tipo (a parte le «basi anticapitaliste, antimperialiste e per il socialismo.

e) Lotta contro le burocrazie politiche, per la democrazia diretta e consigliare.

f) Salvare la vita sulla Terra, salvare l’umanità.

(Gennaio 2010)

* * *

a) La fin ne justifie pas les moyens, et dans les moyens que nous utilisons doit apparaître l'essence de la fin projetée.

b) Appui aux luttes de tous les peuples menées contre l'impérialisme et/ou pour leur autodétermination, indépendamment de leurs directions politiques.

c) Pour l'autonomie et la totale indépendance par rapport aux projets politiques du capitalisme.

d) Unité du monde du travail intellectuel et manuel, sans discriminations idéologiques d'aucun type, en dehors de l'identité "anticapitaliste, anti-impérialiste et pour le socialisme".

e) Lutte contre les bureaucraties politiques, et pour la démocratie directe et conseilliste.

f) Sauver la vie sur Terre, sauver l'Humanité.

(Janvier 2010)

* * *

a) O fim não justifica os médios, e os médios utilizados devem reflectir a essência do fim.

b) Apoio às lutas de todos os povos contra o imperialismo e/ou pela auto-determinação, independentemente das direcções políticas deles.

c) Pela autonomia e a independência respeito total para com os projectos políticos do capitalismo.

d) Unidade do mundo do trabalho intelectual e físico, sem discriminações ideológicas de nenhum tipo, fora da identidade “anti-capitalista, anti-imperialista e pelo socialismo”.

e) Luta contra as burocracias políticas, pela democracia directa e dos conselhos.

f) Salvar a vida na Terra, salvar a humanidade.

(Janeiro de 2010)