bracing bull's eye... a tightly wound narrative that's part genre
suspense, part bad-boy psychological sketch... results are very
much in the tradition that stretches from Godard's "Breathless"
through the '99 Aussie hyperventilator "Head On."
A scheme is a dream with street smarts
. but doomed to
fail. A modern urban film which recalls I VITELLONI or THE LIZARDS,
SCHEME C6 is a film about people with a plan, a self-defeating mechanism,
a reach which exceeds grasp.
Bid is a self-styled urban commando, determined to live outside
the system and the law. A hustler in high end auto parts, he is
homeless by choice. All his gear in a storage locker, he plies the
city on a motorcycle, counting coup on the cops which include his
father who is trying to get him to reconcile with his family --
including his grandfather Ponto. His friend Grey is older and on
the decline. A white rapper, with a plan to promote hip-hop acts,
he works as a chauffeur, using his limo to help Bid transport stolen
is Bid's girl friend: bi-sexual, ambitious but without direction.
Neither she nor Bid want to make a commitment, and their high energy
relationship mates guerilla warfare with a high tensile romantic
innocence. Neither wants to compromise, but their friendship always
seems about to go up in flames. Bid's sister Reva, an aspiring singer,
is having an affair with Rico, a lawyer Bid believes is fleecing
the family and nobody understands Salowitz, Ponto's eccentric assistant.
Bid sets up Grey to ask Ponto to fund his music scheme which sets
off a tragic series of events. Finally schemes and dreams both give
way to something stronger: accident, fate, it's hard to say how
the story lines we choose for ourselves suddenly dissolve and we're
face to face with a disaster we never saw coming.
.... Monica Cortes Salowitz
.. David Fine Grey
MC Mars Qually
.... Bruce Marovich Ponto
Ciara Arnette Rico
.. Mark Douglas
9 at Night - A
Cinema of the Streets 9 from the '90s... bodies in limbo and souls
on the lam, in pain or out of pocket, dreamers on a roll and lovers
out of luck, secret seekers and losers weepers, at home in the streets
but strangers to themselves... nothing you've ever seen before and
everything after... NINE AT NIGHT.
nine stories of NINE AT NIGHT all take place in the homes, streets
and shadowy places of an American city in the '90s. They all begin
at 9:00 PM as last light leaves the sky and night begins. Every
film is linked in some odd way. Maybe its just a stray detail, something
seen outside a window, where characters may witness strangers who
look back at them from their own film. Or maybe there's a larger
context wherein a particular film may affect the circumstances of
one or more of the others. Or the lives of characters can be extended
from film to film, clarified or made more mysterious by their varying
roles in this nocturnal universe. A pattern will emerge for those
who see all the films, but it will not be the solution to a puzzle.
It will be itself an enigma which sends us back to check on details
which continue to haunt and tug at us, as we recognize how the singular
and odd blend with the common and universal in human experience.
The cinema as we know it has become obsolete. As a multi-billion
dollar business, Hollywood continues to prop up its unnecessary
economic apparatus with more mindless spectacles as executives,
gradually aware that the public is getting fed up with the same
old pomp and circumstance, pack their golden parachutes and edge
towards the exit.
are witnessing a technological, digital, virtual, cyber- revolution.
Pioneers like Lucas' Industrial Light and Magic have ushered in
an era where we can as easily browse realistic visions of prehistoric
times as look into future eons guided by contemporary P.T. Barnums
who make it all look safe and easy. The promise of this technology
has already forced Hollywood to buy off the young techno wizards
who invented it and jam- fit their anarchy into a form wired for
But on the
for those still grounded in the mysteries of our animal natures
as they are played out on the concrete and at the ground zeros
of homes, work places, bars and clubs, playgrounds and street
corners, back alleys and main streets of the world we still live
in, this new age also offers amazing opportunities. Here too,
the cinema as we know it is obsolete. The budgets, the casts of
thousands, the fleets of trucks, the large and inefficient crews,
the disruptive and avaricious impositions of pushy producers with
laptops and officious undergraduates with walkie talkies herding
citizens out of the shot ... all of this is no longer necessary.
All of the equipment, mobile dressing rooms, portable soup kitchens,
the camp followers of agents, personal assistants, and sycophantic
fans which accompany even a smaller movie for TV on location,
are now completely superfluous. Why? Lightweight digital video
cameras can now shoot complex, fascinating scenes about the human
encounter virtually anywhere, unobtrusively, efficiently and with
no more lighting than that provided by a single match. Sound technology
can pick up a penny dropped on a pavement a mile away.
moving stripped down film crews, carrying actors with them can
move from location to location in a couple of cars, or a small
mini-van, unencumbered by the tons of ordnance required to support
a traditional film set. Three people can now do the work of thirty
on location and without the endless cachinnation inevitable as
cinema armies confront the everyday world which must stop what
its doing so that Eddie Murphy can have his scene, or Jack Nicholson
complete a temper tantrum.
is now becoming possible and even inexpensive to send footage
shot in fast guerrilla strikes directly into the hard drives of
waiting AVID digital editing machines back at base, so that editing
and shooting are virtually simultaneous. Fast moving, increasingly
inexpensive equipment is beginning to make on-line editing, sound
cutting and mixing a desk-top task, making today's filmmaker a
virtual three or four man band, capable of producing world class
cinema (given world class talent and vision) at minimal cost and
in almost no time. And the end result of working this way will
have a spontaneity and originality impossible to achieve in traditional
filmmaking. Space age blow up techniques transfer these video-based
films to 35 mm. film, still the standard in feature film delivery,
and, if done well, even seasoned professionals can't believe it
didn't originate on film.
those not yet ready to surrender human feeling,
intuition and the adventure of our short life spans to the mind- numbing
ministrations of an industry which wants to anesthetize our pain,
reduce the conundrums of living to easy dualities of good and evil
and make us forget who we are... for those who are tired of profiteering
pushers who will provide us our drug for the price of a monthly cable
bill, or an eight buck movie ticket and a tub of popcorn... for those
who still feel we are travelling through a mysterious universe filled
with beauty and terror, blessed with moments when we feel one with
it all and attached by invisible fingers of empathy to all living
things... then 9 AT NIGHT FILMS is the sort of cultural work we invite
you to support.
THE WORK IN
1991, the Tenderloin Action Group (now the Tenderloin Ygroup) was
born. A drama workshop for homeless people and inner city San Francisco
residents, it has met every Wednesday night for almost eleven years
in an atmosphere crackling with challenge and emotion. The Ygroup's
videotapes of those Wednesday night sessions are a collective cry
of humanity's pain, outrage, humor, joy and personal catharsis.
People from all races and nationalities, bad luck, no luck and down
on their luck, people with limited material means but rich in human
capacity sit in the "circle of protection" and tell buried truths,
look for emotional bridgeheads to blow, encounter the 10,000 selves,
the blood, sweat and tears of human confrontation, and bring their
personal cries, songs, rants, tantrums, brainstorms, unique visions
and quixotic poetry into the circle.
In 1996 the
first feature film cast from this pioneer group of seekers was completed.
CHALK had its U.S. premiere at the San Francisco Film Festival,
in April, 1996 and its International debut at the Locarno International
Film Festival in August '96. It has since played to sold out audiences
at the Toronto International Film Festival and has played theatrical
engagements in 15 American cities, making the Village Voice's Top
Ten Film list in 2000. Last year the Mill Valley International Film
Festival hosted a Special Tribute to Rob Nilsson's work and sponsored
three World Premieres of his films, including two, SINGING and STROKE,
from the 9 @ Night series. Made with the contributions of labor,
services and equipment from top flight San Francisco film artists,
technicians and film/video facilities, these films were also financed
by the contributions of generous believers in the cause The long
standing dream of a cycle of feature films as close to the street
as to the bone, made with a committed troupe of unknown street actors,
and a top flight crew of dedicated professionals, has now been realised.
Acting Workshop has now been transformed into a rehearsal and production
session, where the new films are being developed and produced. Future
acting workshops and other community outreach programs are being
contemplated and will be announced.
and Direct Action
Francisco based director, Rob Nilsson won the Camera d'Or at Cannes
for NORTHERN LIGHTS and the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film
Festival for HEAT AND SUNLIGHT. He is the first American film director
to have won both awards. Nilsson is a pioneer in the techniques
of video to film transfer which led to today's digital revolution.
In 1985 SIGNAL 7 was the first small format video feature to be
blown up to film and distributed around the world. CHALK, his first
feature with the Tenderloin Action Group (now the Tenderloin Ygroup)
a San Francisco inner city acting workshop is now in theatrical
distribution around the country and has streamed live over the Internet
on ifilm.net. Two of Nilsson's 9 @ NIGHT film package, nine digital
features cast from the Ygroup, were finished in 2000. STROKE and
SINGING had their World Premieres at the Mill Valley International
Film Festival and two more, SCHEME and NOISE, are in the final stages
of post- production. ATTITUDE has just finished principal photography.
In collaboration with studio malaparte in Japan, Nilsson recently
completed a digital feature film shot on Sagi Island off the coast
of Hiroshima. WINTER ORANGES had its world premiere in March at
the Fukuoka Film Archives in Fukuoka and its US Premiere at the
Mill Valley International Film Festival in October 2000. In September
2000, Nilsson shot another digital feature in Jordan, working with
a cast of young Jordanians assembled by ZENID, a Jordanian institute
for social development.
directed A TOWN HAS TURNED TO DUST, a feature film for TV, from
a script by Rod Serling. Rob Nilsson's film criticism has been featured
on Ifilm and the Adobe Motion Channel and he has a regular editorial
column on RES, the world's leading magazine on digital filmmaking.