Culture Digital Films News Tablets, , , , , , , — February 5, 2012 20:20 — 1 Comment

Spike Lee tells Sundance Film Festival why he shot his latest movie on an iPad

Spike Lee

Do the right thing: Spike Lee has publicly apologized for his rant at the Sundance Film Festival, even saying that his wife was furious at him.

The veteran film director Spike Lee premiered his new work Red Hook Summer at this year’s Sundance film festival and revealed that he shot part of the film on an iPad camera as well as usinglow-cost digital cameras including the Sony F3.

At the post-screeningQ&A that turned into an angry rant (see clip below), the Observer reports, he explained his reasons for not making the film with a big Hollywood studio in terms that suggested there were more than creative differences at play. “They know nothing about black people,” he said. “And they gonna give me notes about what a young black boy and girl gonna do in Red Hook [a neighbourhood of Brooklyn]? Fuck no! We had to do it ourselves!”

Technology is also speeding up the production process and features, particularly those made without studio interference, are able to respond to newsworthy topics with greater speed and freedom than ever before, writes James Rocchi in the Observer.

Red Hook Summer was shot in a mere 19 days and is just one example of how digital video, smartphones and tablets are making movies cheaper to produce, which meansindependentfilm-makers today are less reliant than ever on the studios for help.

The Sundance Film Festival, which ran for 10 days in Utah and closed on Sunday 29 January, is the largest independent film festival in the US, but has come in for criticism in recent years for forgetting its roots and pandering to Hollywood influences with celebrity parties and big budget movies in its programme.

As if to atone for the years of excess, writes Rocchi, the festival recently added a new out-of-competitionsidebarcalled Next to its programme, to serve as a launching pad for ”low-to-no-budget” films. It’s already yielding results. Last year’s controversial entry Bellflower, a film about homemade weapons shot on a homemade camera, had an impact entirely disproportionate to its budget.

The effect of digital technology was also felt strongly in the documentary section at this year’s Sundance, where films addressed contemporary issues with fierce urgency, says Rocchi.

Veteran filmmaker Kirby Dick exposed the secret and hidden epidemic of rape in the US military in his hard-hittingfilmThe Invisible War, while Chasing Ice constructed a vivid picture of global warming out of chilling time-lapse photographs showing the retreat of glaciers. More sensational, but no less relevant, was Lauren Greenfield’s opening-night film The Queen of Versailles: it captures the rise and fall of a wealthy couple, David and Jacqueline Siegel, whosehigh-flying lifestyle is upended whentheirtime-share and resort empire falls apart. (The couple reacted differently to the film: David Siegel tried to sue everyone involved including the festival over the language used to publicise the film, while his wife Jacqueline chose to attend the premiere.)

Speaking in 2010 on how Sundance became a victim of its own succees, the actor and festival founder Robert Redford said: “It kind of engulfed what we did. You end up with parties and celebrities and Paris Hilton and that’s not us. Sundance has nothing to do with any of that.”

Will 2012 be seen as the year when the festival finally got its mojo back with a programme of challenging, low-budgetfeaturesand outstanding documentaries? Who knows, but all of a sudden, the Sundance Film Festival matters again.





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About the author

Tony Myers has written 866 articles for Smart Movie Making

Fooling around with the iPhone since 2010. Taking it to the next web by writing about new media, new technology, new wave cinema and the digital revolution.

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