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PostPosted: Sat Jun 20, 2015 12:52 pm 
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Frederick Wiseman's latest film IN JACKSON HEIGHTS is seeking funding on Kickstarter.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2015 1:58 am 
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I pledged generously, both because of my esteem for Wiseman's body of work and the desire to see it continue for many more years, but also because if I'm honest, he's owed the amount I pledged many times over for the films of his I've seen over the years through backchannels (and I say this as someone with 7 or 8 Wiseman/Zipporah DVD-Rs - and one BD-R that has never played - on my shelf). Nevertheless, I couldn't help but chuckle at the stinginess of the "10 day streaming view" reward.

I'm also rather skeptical they will raise anywhere close to the target $75,000. Far too many filmmakers on Kickstarter these days; when this model inevitably falls apart because it no longer scales (I feel like we've passed that point already if you look at the lukewarm-at-best reception for the Welles, Ferrara and now Wiseman campaigns, among many others) what comes next? Some kind of cinematic dark ages, I reckon, or is that too extreme? Once European funding for these kinds of projects and filmmakers dries up I hardly expect the unwashed masses to pick up the slack.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2015 5:32 pm 
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Judging from Kickstarter's own stats, funding of films is still going very strong. That and music are far and away their top two categories in terms of number of projects funded per year. Still, it's never a good idea to just put up a lackluster crowdfunding campaign and wait for people to back it, even if you're a respected filmmaker with fifty years of work behind you. A Wiseman film may not be something that lends itself well to attractive prizes for backers, so they'd need to make up for that in other ways to encourage people to back it and spread the word. I don't mean to criticize Zipporah for their efforts, but on the whole this looks pretty half-hearted to me and the very beginning of the campaign has already shown that vital ingredients were really lacking and it probably would have been better to go with a flexible funding Indiegogo campaign to raise what they could and adjust fundraising goals as needed.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2015 2:19 am 
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I'm also a little confused when they wrote in their campaign update today that Wiseman is currently "mixing" the film, which to my thinking would imply he's already locked picture. Surely he wouldn't be mixing dailies, aside from establishing sync if they shot dual-system. Maybe it's just a poorly written update.

In general, I find Kickstarter campaigns that are asking for 'finishing funds' and the like (the film already having been shot some time ago) are particularly hard sells. I do understand editing and post have very legitimate costs; I just mean in the mind of the public, it's kind of counterintuitive to say "We need your help to make this film! Well - we already shot it, but we could really use some extra scratch while we put it all together..."

And sadly it does have kind of a lackluster vibe, this campaign. They couldn't even be bothered to edit out the camera person saying "action" in the campaign video.

People really seem to underestimate the amount of effort and social media savvy it requires now to stand out above all the other crowdfunding noise. That's more what I mean by 'not scaling' - a few years ago, simply the fact of being an established filmmaker with some real pedigree on Kickstarter was enough to get people talking. Now everyone is doing it, and it's a model that's by definition going to skew more towards projects with active, vocal 'fandoms' (god, do I hate that word) over those who have a smaller, albeit critically-endorsed reputation. So rather than crowdfunding being some kind of techno-utopian end-run around the drawbacks of the Hollywood system, we're going to see exactly the same kinds of market forces and appeals to the lowest common denominator, crass commercialism winning out here (even if it has a slightly different appearance, with various niche audiences funding vanity projects about themselves). All the respect and legacy in the film world count for very little compared to people who have strong Twitter/Facebook followings, it's no substitute for the kind of funding sources that used to exist for these filmmakers.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2015 12:37 pm 

Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2008 12:49 pm
Fred can Kickstart all he wants to but until he releases The Cool World, or licenses it to Milestone, I ain't giving him the lint out of my pockets.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2015 7:51 am 
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French label blaq out is to release in November the first volume (1968-1979) of the director's complete(?) works ('Intégrale'). The 13-DVD set is up for pre-order on Amazon.fr, which is the source of this info.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2015 4:08 pm 
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JAP wrote:
French label blaq out is to release in November the first volume (1968-1979) of the director's complete(?) works ('Intégrale'). The 13-DVD set is up for pre-order on Amazon.fr, which is the source of this info.

That's going to be an amazing release. Fourteen films (presumably) for the approximate cost of any two of them on DVD-R direct from Wiseman. Let's keep our fingers crossed that the subs aren't forced.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2015 4:17 pm 
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I wonder if this bodes well for releases in other territories? It would be nifty to see Icarus or someone like them.


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 Post subject: Frederick Wiseman on DVD
PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 9:52 am 
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Any reviews up yet on the blaq out set? Any word on whether the subtitles are forced or not?


Last edited by subliminac on Thu Dec 03, 2015 8:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 10:06 am 
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subliminac wrote:
Any reviews up yet on the blaq out set? Any word on whether the subtitles are force or not?

Amazon are reporting a two week delay No reviews yet. Will post when my set arrives


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 2:46 pm 
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Blaq out showing December 1st. now


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2015 7:52 am 
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I emailed Blaq Out directly and asked them about the subtitle situation. The response was "Unfortunately, the subtitles are forced due to contractual obligations." Bummer, although not unexpected.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2015 12:34 pm 
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I wonder if they are forced at the DVD player level or burned into the video master? Because at least there are ways around the former.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2015 12:24 am 
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So, I just received the Wiseman set from Blaq Out. On some of the discs, the subs don't seem to be forced. I haven't checked all of the discs, but on Titicut Follies, for instance, the subs are removable, while on Juvenile Court, they are not. Coding error? I have no idea. If anyone's interested, I can post more as I work my way through the set.

Most of these are movies that I've seen before, but wanted to own legally without paying absurd prices. Some of them, like Primate, are ones that I've been burning to see for a while. Fortunately, I don't mind seeing the subs. (Hey, I'm trying to learn French, so . . .)

I ordered from Amazon.fr. The box arrived in perfect shape, and is sturdy and attractive.

Update 1: The subtitles on Welfare are not forced. I'll update the list below as I go through the discs. (At some point, I'd love to revive a conversation on this thread about the movies themselves. A quick note: anyone who admires Juvenile Court should also make an effort to see Tattooed Tears by Nick Broomfield and Joan Churchill. Inexplicably, it's a movie that few people ever seem to talk about, but it's one of the best Wiseman-school documentaries of all time -- a movie that's impossible to forget.)

Titicut Follies: Removable subs
Juvenile Court: Forced subs
Welfare: Removable subs


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2015 12:14 pm 
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Thanks for the info. I was thinking about getting this set, but if too many films have forced subs, I may reconsider.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2015 12:17 pm 
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Blaq Out Has released boxed sets with mixed sub statuses before, so it shouldn't be too surprising. Thanks for the updates on affected titles though!


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2015 2:57 pm 
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I've been a member of this forum for 8 years, and this is the first time I've been able to share (marginally) useful information about a video release. You guys are always eight or nine steps ahead of me (or in Domino's case, twenty or thirty).

So here's the full report:

Movies with completely non-removable subs (printed on the image rather than encoded on the disc):
* High School
* Essene
* Canal Zone
* Meat

Movies with forced encoded subs (which should be easy, I assume, to remove by copying and re-burning, etc.):
* Sinai Field Mission
* Juvenile Court
* Law and Order
* Hospital

Movies with removable subs:
* Welfare
* Basic Training
* Primate
* Manoeuvre
* Titicut Follies

(If you wanted to turn lemons into lemonade, you could consider the eight movies with subtitle annoyances "bonus material." That would leave you with a spare but affordable box set of five of Wiseman's best.)

Other notes:

I'm sure DVD Beaver or whomever will put up an assessment of the video quality. My early impression is that it varies. It seems to be worst on the four movies with subs printed on -- Meat actually looks like a VHS transfer or something.

In other cases -- e.g., Welfare -- the image quality seemed fine to me. I would much prefer to have clean, high-definition transfers of these movies -- the recent Rohmer set illustrated for me what a difference it really makes, even w/talky/cerebral movies -- but I can also love a movie in a murky transfer. It's clear, in any case, that these discs are probably in no way an improvement on the overpriced and crappy Zipporah discs, and in several ways are a step down.

On the other hand: for less than 60 euros, you get serviceable copies of some of the greatest documentaries of all time. I'm not complaining.

All I want at this point are comprehensive, English-friendly Jean Eustache and Straub-Huillet sets so that I can pass the quiz to get into film-geek heaven when I die.

Spoiler:
[Reveal] Spoiler:
Welfare is about welfare administration in New York, and Basic Training is about soldiers going through basic training. I could spoil the Shyamalan-esque secrets of Aspen and The Store, but I won't.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2015 3:36 pm 
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Too bad about High School's subs, it's probably one of his best films but non-removable subs isn't the worst thing in the world.

Of these, I've also seen Welfare, Basic Training (which feels like a definite inspiration on some scenes in Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket - can't remember if he ever admitted to that or if he even saw the film) and Primate, all good, but Welfare is hands down my favorite of all of these.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2015 3:54 pm 
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My Man Godfrey wrote:
I've been a member of this forum for 8 years, and this is the first time I've been able to share (marginally) useful information about a video release.

That's anything but "marginally useful" - it's very very useful indeed. And it may well have sold another copy (I can live with a minority of the films having fixed subs given the set's other virtues), so I'm sure Blaq Out will be grateful for your efforts as well.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2015 5:39 pm 
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hearthesilence wrote:
Of these, I've also seen Welfare, Basic Training (which feels like a definite inspiration on some scenes in Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket - can't remember if he ever admitted to that or if he even saw the film) and Primate, all good, but Welfare is hands down my favorite of all of these.


Welfare is incredible.

That last big scene, in which Wiseman makes the comic pan from the narcissistic "mind-control researcher" to reveal the eye-rolling woman, and then comes back in close on mind-control-dude for the rest of his "prayer," is like nothing else I've seen in a movie. We empathize with everyone: the demoralized welfare administrator who just wants to be left alone; the educated, mentally ill man who has been reduced to stealing Hershey bars and making Shakespearean rants; the bewildered woman patiently enduring the bullshit. We first feel a mix of dark amusement and pity at the speech, then start to get drawn into it, then become moved by it, then laugh at it -- and laugh at ourselves, for having been drawn in -- and then get hooked all over again. The scene, like the whole movie, flickers between funny, scary, infuriating, and sad.

Even if they're playing up to the cameras, I love some of these administrators for the lengths they're willing to run in their bureaucratic maze to put food on the plates of people who are in imminent danger of actually starving. My favorite is the bearded, bitchy gum-chewing guy; when I end up on Skid Row, I want him to be my case worker.

(And thanks for the nice comment, MichaelB.)


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2015 3:36 am 
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Received my set direct from Blaq Out today - packed well and still in pristine condition. Just wanted to put a good word in about the booklet itself, it is a nearly-100 page treasure trove of excerpts from interviews, original writings and reviews (so long as you read French well enough).


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2016 10:23 am 
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Image

Volume 2 up for pre-order. May 3rd.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2016 3:44 pm 
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Just noticed Zipporah is selling Domestic Violence and Crazy Horse on DVD for $12 each. Domestic Violence is one of Wiseman's finest.

Also, Blaq Out is selling Vol. 2 for just €40 on their site (€54 with shipping to the U.S., or about $60).


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2016 6:11 pm 
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Has anyone gotten Vol. 2? Do any of the features have subs that aren't burnt-in like the first set?


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2016 6:43 pm 
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Ribs wrote:
Has anyone gotten Vol. 2? Do any of the features have subs that aren't burnt-in like the first set?

Not yet but I'm not going to miss on that promotion !


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