The SUBVEX film company opens its doors with an international film project, bridging a gap between some true legends of avant-garde cinema, and emerging, young talent of contemporary cinema: the 'Exquisite Corpse' 8mm experiment.
Confirmed on this project are Jonas Mekas (USA), Amos Poe (USA), Nina Menkes (Israel), Bill Morrison (USA), Nico B. (USA), Jeremy Moss (USA), Alex and Niko (France) Jesse Richards (USA), Tobe Morgan (France), Ian Helliwell (UK), Lav Diaz (Philippines), JP Carpio (Philippines), Jonathan Douglas Duran (USA), Galina Myznikova and Sergey Provorov (Russia), Sam Spreckley (Scotland), Luis Alguera (USA), KJ Farrington (USA), Ruse 23 (UK) Nabil Shaban (UK), Dean Fernando (USA), and Nicolas Alcala (Spain) with other established and revered filmmakers in the independent field to be confirmed.
All filmmakers shoot separate short films, which will eventually be stitched together to form a longer whole. This footage is shot on Super 8mm or regular 8mm film, developed, scanned and finally, edited by each filmmaker digitally. Each contributing filmmaker will shoot two (2) rolls of 8mm or Super 8mm film (depending on the type of camera they receive) – The producers will then determine the overall order of the separate shorts within the larger, whole piece, and the financiers will all be given an equal vote on the order in which the films appear together as the whole. We will post descriptions of each short online for the financiers to consider and vote upon the concept or intent of the pieces.
We will also use the concept of “limiting” each filmmaker with different parameters they must adhere to while making their film. For example, one filmmaker may only be able to edit in-camera, another may not be able to use any dialogue. Regardless of what these parameters end up entailing, they will be suggested by the financiers and entered into a pool from which each filmmaker will draw one obstacle before the start of filming. This will force the filmmakers to reach outside the comforts of their normal working aesthetic and make something outside of their trademark styles.
It is, as title suggests, a game of Exquisite Corpse; each autonomous piece is put into an order next to another completely autonomous piece, thus creating an otherwise absurd and implausible (for all intents and purposes) context and/or meaning to not only the original piece, but also the piece touching up against it. The juxtaposition of disparate elements is the game itself— it is the concept: the disarming of meaning, the incongruity of memory, the inconsistencies of consequence, the abstraction of composition, puppeteered by the people who help fund the project, creating a unique, abstract narrative structure which plays with the concepts of cinematic convention.
The concepts, set-pieces, story lines – ALL content (as long as it works around the specific obstacle they were issued) will be 100% up to each individual filmmaker. There is no predetermined, overall connecting thread between the separate films. The contexts will be created from the editing of all the short pieces into one larger whole. This project therefore announces the basic tenets of the Subvex collective– free collaboration, improvisation, punk-lyrical film making, and an eagerness to experiment with the basic conceptual constructs of film: the deconstruction and symbolic disintegration of cinematic languages.
The prospective costs involved will be for:
1. Film stock. Both regular rolls of 8mm film and cartridges of Super 8mm.
2. Development costs associated with said film (including scanning) and post-production.
3. Shipping costs incurred by sending cameras and rolls of film around the world.
4. Venue booking and subsidiary promotion for the premiere screening in New York
Otherwise, there is no actual production cost to shoot the films. It should be of considerable import to understand that this is a not-for-profit film. All the cameras used in the making of this film are the property of members of the Subvex company and all equipment used will be only that already in our possession. We will release this film at a premiere in New York (venue to be confirmed) and thereafter for free online under a Creative Commons license (encouraging further remix to cross-platform formats via a cutting edge online video editor to be hosted at http://subvex.com. None of the filmmakers will be monetarily compensated for their involvement. Every cent of money that comes in for this project simply funds the logistical counterparts of the project.
Subvex founder and core member Tobe Morgan, speaking from Paris, France says “In so far as being called 'subversive' - it's less about that and more about returning to the roots of cinema, beginning again- building a seriously grassroots culture, rediscovering what has been lost in the cold-blooded push towards a new world of digital-centric film making, where the hype about the camera, technology and effects often blinds the investor (and audience) to the nature of the film itself. It's furthermore about forming a direct connection between the act of watching and experiencing. Some deem that to be subversive. We think of Subvex as representative of that which is underground, typically un-monied, given token attention by mass media, buried in a landfill of Hollywoodisms and a mad scramble for hype-- and that vexes us. It is about building a sustainable culture around new waves in contemporary film making. Post-collapse of festival acquisition model, the whole independent film industry is in crisis, and leans heavily, perhaps too heavily, on the idea that 4k cameras and more digitization is the answer. We, as filmmakers, feel that the craft is getting smothered in a swaddling cloth of CGI, and 3-D cinema, spectacle and a xerox machine of copycat ideas.'
Remodernist filmmaker Jesse Richards, who is also a founding partner and one of the directors of the project says, “We’re all people that care very deeply about film making and about cinema. We’re not here to insult anyone, to talk down to anyone by spoon-feeding them. We don't assume that people are stupid and we’re not going to make assumptions about an audience or their expectations. That ends up being simply insulting. Unfortunately we all get out of practice when it comes to deeper connection because we’re not used to it in our dominant media landscape: passive non-interaction and token attention dominate. But in the end when we do engage- we’re healthier, more whole as individuals, and that in turn becomes the foundation of a stronger, more vibrant culture.'
So this is where you, the viewer, the fan, the lover and supporter of film-art becomes the most important part of this project. If you choose to donate to the production of this film we will allow you, as a producer of the film to take part creatively. The incentive program for producers is as follows: (please note that each consecutive incentive contains all legacy benefits of the monetary threshold that came before, i.e., if you donate $50.00 you receive everything listed under the $10-$20 and $30-$40 benchmarks as well as what is listed under the $50 benchmark)
For anyone who donates
$10.00 – $40.00 (USD) – You will receive a “Special Thanks” listing in the film’s credit sequence. You will receive an “Executive Producer” credit. You will be given the opportunity to submit a title for the film and a vote on the final selection of the film’s title.
$50.00 – $80.00 (USD) – You will be able to make suggestions for and vote upon editing decisions regarding the order in which the separate short films will be connected together into the larger whole. You will be given the opportunity to propose an obstacle for the filmmakers and have it entered into the drawing process the filmmakers will go through to be issued their specific ‘limitation’.
$90.00 or more (USD) – You will receive a hand-made, personalized and signed copy of the film on DVD, a “Producer” credit, offered a free pass to the theatrical screening premiere (more info to come at a later date) and a spot on a panel discussion/pod-cast with the filmmakers discussing the creation of and your impressions of the final film. You will also be entered into a drawing to win one of the cameras the film was shot with.
Also, worthy of note: This project continues to evolve and we have many interesting aspects that we have not yet revealed, but you should be aware that new perks and features will be added to increase the value of this project as it progresses for you, the producers. We are still in discussion with various other filmmakers about taking part in this project and will hopefully have some very intriguing names to add to the list of official directors on this project very soon.
SUBVEX: KEY INFORMATION
Subvex (http://subvex.com) is an international collective of filmmakers, directors, cinematographers, screenwriters, musicians, composers, actors, producers and critics operating a direct-to-cinema screening model and cinematheque program. Currently based in Paris, London, Los Angeles and New York (but with cells now opening in Moscow and Tokyo), Subvex produces independent films, advocates the occupation of new spaces for the projection of films that would otherwise struggle to receive distribution in a mainstream market, and emphasizes the development of ground-level cultures around new waves in contemporary film making.
An eclectic, globally disparate family of cinema creatives with wildly differing views on most things aesthetic, they nonetheless all share one key perspective— they understand that the mainstream film industry is a largely written book, dictated by money and the pursuit of profit.
Subvex then exists to commission, curate, showcase and produce cutting-edge media and vanguard cinema— to give life blood to a new wave of creative action in film production. We collaborate. We pool funds for film productions. Often we pitch not just one production at a time, but multiple productions that share the monies raised between the directors.
The broad-sweep emphasis is on encouraging independent control of the means of production, improving upon economies of scale and seeking alternative tactics and routes for distribution, including (but not limited to) live events and screenings outside of the traditional cinema/theatrical environment. The ultimate goal is the creation of a global platform for new and sometimes radical work by filmmakers and audio-visual artists.
We then aim to bring a wider context to this work so that the work may thrive, and allow the filmmakers to build a direct relationship with a dedicated audience through the development of cutting edge media websites and professional networks.
Subvex is an international film production studio with three key areas of action:
1. Screenings, through which the filmmaker can earn money direct. We focus on developing niche works of cinema: foreign, independent and (in this case particularly) new ventures in experimental film making- emphasizing work that will otherwise struggle to receive distribution, promotion or exposure.
2. Editorial: a program of video interviews, podcasts, articles and seminars featuring world class industry professionals, vanguard experimentalists and contemporary theorists, educators and critics, including live broadcast and behind the scenes video notebooks (covering ongoing productions as they happen).
3. Groups. Many Subvex projects are dependent upon a spirit of collaboration and cooperation between different skill sets and disciplines. To aid in this, Subvex encourages filmmakers and creatives interested in engaging with film and video art to cluster together and form mini-companies, sharing ideas and approaches. Subvex facilitates these groups through its websites and by advising on ways in which members can organize their content, frame their ideas and help with the transfer of necessary files and data across the web via a secure and privacy controlled FTP server and voice/ video communication application.
Furthermore, Subvex houses brands within the context of its products (independent, global, cutting-edge cinema), and creates custom identities, strategies and experiences for those brands: including (but not limited to) screening events, editorial, independent and online festivals, viral marketing strategies, unique film trailers and other cine-centric media.
In development are the setting up of a central 35mm laboratory, through which we will telecine digital work, process and print our own celluloid reels and begin distribution direct to neglected independent cinemas globally (almost all of whom are suffering from a distribution stranglehold dominated by mainstream studios / the multiplex media complex, and 75% of whom still use 35mm projectors). Subvex aims to cut out the middlemen of cinema and re-energise dormant and dying cultures in contemporary independent film: given the vast reach of our network, this is immediately on a global stage.
Subvex is currently in Beta, and the first of the three Cinema sites is in development. Cinema 1, the grassroots micro budget studio element, can be viewed at http://1.subvex.com as an open demo. Cinemas 2 (the distribution platform and online screening room) and 3 (a specialist cyber gallery space for audio-visual artists) are being constructed/coded right now.
If you have questions for Subvex, please contact us—
Tobe Morgan (Subvex Main Studio)
Subvex / Sabotage Studios
5-7 rue d'Hauteville 75010 Paris France
Jesse Richards (8mm Project Director, USA)
Jonathan Douglas Duran (8mm Project Director, USA)
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