Archive for August 6th, 2008


For Those About to Film: Five Docs on Filmmaking

Where would the world be without the crazed “filmmaking” instinct? Grabbing a camera and some friends you know, making them do things they would normally not do, then sit back and watch it all unfold. Priceless.


Then again there is bad weather, actor and actress personalities, lack of funding, events you can’t control, script problems… you name it.


Below are the Officially Endorsed Top Five Documentaries on Filmmaking. Watch and enjoy, and maybe learn.


5. “Mule Skinner Blues” – I initially caught this one on Cable, and I put it on my Netflix queue. This is truly the little indie movie that could, or rather, the little group of indie people that tried to. Jacksonville, FL is not your typical filmmaking hotbed but several of the locals could cite to you when and where the “Creature from the Black Lagoon” was shot. A group of them living in/around a trailer park get together and make a film called “Turn About Is Fair Play,” about an armless guitar player who turns into a gorilla swamp creature from “pre-history” in order to exact revenge. Note: you can watch the film on the DVD.


4. “American Movie” – For those struggling to make the Greatest Horror Movie Ever Made, this is your doc. Struggling Wisconsin filmmaker Mark Borchardt has a dream: filming his horror opus “Coven” (pronounced Cove-in). Through documentary footage we see that Mark has made several small films, but this is his baby. He wants to be the next George Romero, and will do it at all costs (including cashing-in his life savings). For those who have dared to dream, Mark Borchardt joins the cause. Note: you can watch the film on the DVD.


3. “Full Tilt Boogie” – Robert Rodriguez (“Desperado,” “Spy Kids”) gave Sarah Kelly the opportunity to capture the ups, and downs, of independent filmmaking on his collaboration with Quentin Tarantino called “From Dusk Till Dawn.” Watching this film gives you a new respect on what Rodriguez/Tarantino had to do to get where they are. Favorite part: when production assistants built the bar (“The Titty Twister”) in Barstow, CA before Rodriguez has secured the location from the town.


2. “Lost in La Mancha” – Terry Gilliam invited filmmakers Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe to film the “making-of” “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote,” since they had done a “making-of” for his previous film, “Twelve Monkeys.” Murphy’s Law is in full effect and what follows is equipment being washed away, jets flying over during a pivotal shot, nearly all of the people funding the film pulling out, etc. On a plus note, there was good footage from Johnny Depp. Speaking of which, he is trying to get the project off the ground again.


1. “Hearts of Darkness” – The “behind-the-scenes” of behind-the-scenes movies. Filmmakers Fax Bahr and George Hickenlooper chronicled the 3-year making of Francis Ford Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now.” From dug use to mistresses to budget and script problems, this is the ultimate documentary of a movie that just barely made it to the screen. I’ll shut up now; the movie speaks for itself.