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Balboni Films

Dissecting Stalker is something that could be (and often is) done in third or fourth year university film programs. There is a litany of ways to look at this film, from simply admiring the atmosphere it creates to character analysis to digging through its larger philosophical point, and this write-up is more a collection of thoughts I had during a recent viewing than any attempt at a thesis-level breakdown. So, with that in mind…

Fyre Festival Posters

Looking at 1999 with the benefit of hindsight, it seems symbolic that Woodstock should die the year that Coachella was born, setting new foundations on which the modern festival circuit would be built. With Woodstock’s roots as a gathering of people brought together for music above all else destroyed in a blast of anger over poor festival management, Coachella was, however unintentionally, given a chance to fill in the crater with something else. A festival where the draw wasn’t simply music, but the experience of participation itself.

Detroit (2017) - Still 3

“Detroit” is not a beautiful film. It’s rough, it’s violent, and it’s uncomfortable. It’s also absolutely necessary.

The Revenant - Balboni Films

A tale of isolation and wilderness survival might work well in a novel (Michael Punke penned the book upon which The Revenant is based) but it’s difficult at best to translate into cinematic form, and The Revenant sat in production limbo for nearly a decade before the script found its way to screenwriter Mark Smith. Even after Alejandro Iñárritu signed on to direct in 2011, it took another three years for filming to begin. Was it worth the wait? Unquestionably.

Welcome To Leith - First Run Features - Balboni Films

“Well this is embarrassing,” someone half-groans behind me in the theater a few weeks ago as a trailer for the documentary “Welcome to Leith” plays. I’m in Bismarck, North Dakota, and the screen shows a wiry older man with frizzy white hair toting a rifle and spouting racial slurs as he strolls through a rural town elsewhere in the state. After finally seeing the full film, I can certainly feel for that other theatergoer. The story of Leith is one that strikes a uncomfortably familiar chord for many in Idaho and Montana.

Over thirty years ago, George Miller used money he saved while working as an emergency doctor to fund his directorial debut, a violent Australian action film titled “Mad Max.” Shot for next to nothing, the film went on to set box office records, launching two legendary sequels that catapulted Mel Gibson to international stardom and influenced decades of post-apocalyptic media. How did Miller follow up such a gritty, highly-regarded trilogy? By producing and co-writing the acclaimed family films Babe and Happy Feet, as well as their sequels.

Holy Hours - Balboni Films

Last year, my good friend and musician Angelo Chiaverini started a groove/thrash metal project and asked if I’d like to be involved. He’s an immensely talented dummer and sound engineer from the same town as myself (one of the first things I ever shot- back when miniDV was a watchable medium- was actually his band in high school), and over the years we’ve worked on a few projects here and there. Our taste in metal has always overlapped nicely so I was absolutely thrilled to contribute vocals, and the final track turned out to be incredible. We decided to create a video for it (with Ben Cleek on acting duties, who provided additional guitar work to the track), and you can find it here. Hope you enjoy.

[Please review the introduction in Part I for context] …Graphic violence and brutality are not at all the only means that horror filmmakers use to manipulate the spectator’s senses. On the contrary, an equally popular trend takes the complete opposite road: A cinema of the unknown. In this mode, the film leaves much up to the viewer’s imagination; rather than show you the monster or killer slicing up their victims, the content is only implied, and the spectator’s own mind fills in the gaps.

During my senior year of college, I took an advanced course in Film Theory. It was the sort of class most people imagine film students taking: lots of extremely obscure films, scholarly discussion of the various philosophical, psychological, and social impacts of films, and so on. For the course final I wanted to see if I could get away with writing a fifteen page research paper on what’s generally regarded as the most juvenile genre of filmmaking, and the antithesis of everything we watched in class: Horror films.