Actress Rebekah Miskin
Talks First Feature ‘Records for Magnolia,’ Producing Independent Films and More

By Amber Topping



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At just 18-years old (Actress, Writer, Producer, Dancer and DJ), Rebekah Miskin made “Anya,” one of the only short films in history to actually make a profit. She was only 17 when she wrote the film and soon after filmed it as a collaboration with friends. “It was just one of those funny things. I guess the ultimate thing with that project was that it got bought by a television network [Moviola TV Network].” But what began as a “passion project” for Rebekah turned into something more.

According to Rebekah, “Anya” helped her grow as an artist. Inspired by Ira Glass and his ideas on the gap between the space when you're an artist and the space between your taste and your ability, she explains, “when you first start out you kind of have to make crap and it's really frustrating ‘cause you don't understand why what you're making isn't as good as what you want it to be…and you know where you want it to be but you don't know how to get it there. And the more and more that you create stuff, the easier it is to close that gap and you just have to hang in there. I think that [Anya] was one of those awesome projects that really helped me hopefully do that. Hopefully I'm almost there closing the gap between what I like and what I'm making.”

“There was no dialogue in the short and we did it all through Voice Over. So it was really about the internal thoughts of the paradox between what you might be outwardly presenting and what you're thinking in your head and the space between those two things. And when I look back on it, it was actually a pretty cool concept.”

While she thinks she can do better than that now, it’s what got her “into the idea of making my own movies.” From there, the sincere, talented and funny Rebekah Miskin has gone on to do many more projects developing her talents as a storyteller.

Background and Storytelling

Raised in Toronto by supportive hippie parents, Rebekah started out as a dancer in primary ballet when she was only three years old. “I loved dance, and danced pretty seriously for a long time professionally until when I was 19 I injured my knee really bad, so that was sort of the end of my professional dance career.” But dance wasn’t her only passion. In high school, Rebekah went to an art school in Toronto called Rosedale Heights which helped broaden her artistic interests. “We didn't have to pick a particular art that we majored in, so I took dance and drama. And that was sort of the moment that I realized that this was something I could do for the rest of my life.”

It was this broad interest in the arts (she ultimately also earned a BA in Arts and Contemporary Studies from Ryerson University) that developed her interest in various avenues of storytelling. “For me there's really no difference between doing film or theater or TV—the medium isn't really a factor for me; it's just about telling great stories. And I think that's really the root of [where] the passions come from, and then also performing because it's such an amazing rush. There's nothing like that feeling when you see a smile brought to someone's face or you make them think or you make them laugh. It's awesome.”

“I really just love finding great stories,” Rebekah clarifies.

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A Quintuple Threat

From dancing to acting, writing, producing and even working as a DJ, Miskin is a ‘jack of all trades.’ In fact, she “loves all sorts of factions of all of the things that [she’s] passionate about.”

“I would say that DJing is sort of like a hobby for me. I just started collecting records when I was in high school, and that's sort of where DJing started…It's just fun. It's not something that I expected to be a career move. But then I started getting gigs and people started offering me money to DJ…It was kind of like an incidental happening.”

However, Rebekah explains that acting and film remains her “number one passion” (with acting luckily being the profession that’s come together the most for her and has given her the most experience), and that it goes back to wanting to connect with people. “I think that there's nothing like that feeling when you walk out of a great movie or you see a great play or an amazing performance. And that's the feeling I want to give people. That's what I want to dedicate my life to.”

"Murdoch Mysteries" and "Reviving Ophelia"

511bsW7Y2ML._SL500_AA300_.jpgAs an up and coming actress, Rebekah has had the opportunity to work on some popular projects. She did a guest spot on the Canadian series “Murdoch Mysteries,” which she illustrates as a positive experience. “Everyone that I worked with on that show was amazing. The director was a guy named Harvey Crossland who's just one of the coolest, most inspiring people. And that was really welcoming. I think that's always the thing when you're doing a guest spot, or you come on to a show for a few days, you don't know how the regular cast is gonna be...if they're gonna be welcoming, or if you're like the odd man out, and so that was a really validating experience. And it was a lot of fun.”

But “Murdoch Mysteries” wasn’t her only great experience. She co-starred in “Reviving Ophelia,” a Lifetime movie that turned into an “unexpected hit.”

“I think it was the most popular movie for Lifetime in that year in 2011. And we didn't really think that at all obviously. You have no idea what's gonna happen—if the project's gonna be well received or not. But the cast and crew on that was unbelievable. I'm still in touch with Bobby Roth, the director to this day. He does a multitude of things. He's working on a documentary right now, but he directs a lot of television. He just finished a few episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the new Marvel show. But yeah, he's such an inspiring person. I just feel like everyone, every experience that I've had acting, I just see such incredible people. I've been very lucky on sets. I hear other actors tell stories about being on sets that are unfriendly. But I've just lucked out. I've never had those things.”

She clarifies: “When you just go into something honest rather than with your ego and be humble about things then people find it easier to relate to you…it is important to be nice and to treat people with respect. And you know, it's entertainment, it's not brain surgery.”

First Feature “Records for Magnolia.”

“Records for Magnolia,” is an independent feature starring Rebekah Miskin which she also co-wrote. According to Rebekah, the film is about Maggie (short for Magnolia), “whose life is falling apart at the seams. She's in the same boat as a lot of people in their early 20s in 2014. She graduated from university with this random arts degree and doesn't really know what to do with it…And then her Dad, who's this really special guy, he owns a record store that's world renowned for selling rare and collectible records, dies really, really suddenly; and her life sort of goes from bad to worse. She has to find a way to move forward with her life and figure out what she wants to do in the face of not only the challenge of being in your early 20s in this day and age, ‘cause it's a rough time and the economy's really bad, but also in the face of her father's death. And so she finds this creative record that he indirectly left for her. She finds this box of records with her initial on the top of the box and it sets her off on this journey to discover the mystery behind the records and the legacy behind her Dad, which ultimately inspires her to figure out how she's gonna move forward and find out what she's gonna do with her life.”

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Not only is it a great story, but it is also an amalgamation of a lot of Rebekah’s passions: her passion for music and for film. “I can't even tell you how stoked I am for this project,” she says excitedly. She’s also proud to point out that the film is a multigenerational story as well. “So it's a story of her as the protagonist but then also her Dad and her grandmother and how she sort of goes back in order to go forward…I feel like in our culture we don't really appreciate how much wisdom our elderly folks have. And my Grandma in real life is such an inspiring and amazing person. And I think it's really cool that this story kind of focuses on that a little bit.”

The Future of Women Filmmakers

Inspired by other women filmmakers like Lake Bell and Lena Dunham, Miskin has a positive outlook on the future of women in the industry and of female characters. “I just think it's so cool that there's a lot of women filmmakers and actresses and stories that are being told that are just really real and give an honest portrayal of female protagonists that we haven't really seen yet.” While she doesn’t think we’re there yet, she sees a trend in the right direction. “I think there's more interesting stories being told and I think that women are being portrayed more frequently as multi-dimensional characters on the screen.”

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Producing Independent Films

As for producing her own independent films (she looks to actors who also produce their films like Brad Pitt and Drew Barrymore as encouragement), Rebekah in a word describes the experience as “hard.” She started off with “Anya,” and then moved on teaming up with fellow actress Katie Boland (“The Zack Files,” “Reign”) who she hopes to work with again in the future. Together, they produced the short “A Subsequent Life,” which went on to many film festivals worldwide.

As far as producing, “it's a really stressful experience,” she says. “I think that in the film industry there's not a lot of vertical integration, meaning if you're involved in pre-production and let's say you do casting, you probably don't know much about post-production or it would be rare that you would. Or if you're an editor, you might not know anything about casting or directing. The producer is really this through line, the one constant thing all the way from development to post, or really to screens. And so I think that's the difficult [thing] about it, is that you are the continuity of the film production as a whole. And that's really intimidating, but also really amazing and probably the most rewarding thing that you can do.”

Story and Music Inspiration

As an artist, Rebekah Miskin has many things that inspire her from books to movies and even music. Right now she’s reading “50 Great Short Stories,” which she describes as having “epic writers” in it. “I want to turn this one into a short film, and this one into a short film, and if I combined these two short stories they could totally be an awesome feature,” she says excitedly. She also loves Sarah Silverman’s book “The Bed Wetter,” which she claims turned her into a “diehard Sarah Silverman fan,” and Camryn Manheim’s “Wake Up I’m Fat.” But it’s not just the biographies she loves; she’s also really into the classics. “I've been reading a lot of Steinbeck which is weird I guess, it's like old American classic. But I really love John Steinbeck. What an amazing writer. And I feel I've sort of missed out on some major classics and I'm kind of trying to catch up, so yeah, I've been reading some James Joyce and some Steinbeck. I think it's really important to read.”

As far as movies she loves everything David O. Russell does. “I thought “Silver Linings Playbook” was one of the best movies I've seen in possibly years, and “American Hustle” as well. He's sort of my dream director to work with.”

Being a lover of music she points out she has “really broad taste that goes from house music to ‘90s rock and roll.” Right now she loves Drake’s most recent album, which she thinks is “awesome.” She’s “also been listening a lot to a band called Tame and Power, they're from Australia. And [she’s] always listening to Jeff Buckley who's just a classic.”

Causes Close to the Heart

Telling stories isn’t the only important thing to Rebekah. “I also tutor kids with special needs and learning disabilities” which she finds to be “super, super inspiring.” She continues, “For kids who regularly get underestimated a lot, man they blow me away constantly…I have this one kid, who I won't mention by name, but who has a severe learning disability. And then sometimes on the flipside he'll just say these amazing things that are so inspiring and so wise and insightful. And it's really, really cool to be able to feel like I have maybe a tiny bit of influence on his life and the lives of the kids that I tutor.”

On top of the tutoring, Rebekah is also trying to get involved with the DAREarts foundation for children. “I think that's a really cool leadership program…it's basically just about using arts and education to empower youth and to unlock their potential to be leaders.”

What’s Next

While there’s a bunch of projects Rebekah can’t yet talk about (including news about her first feature “Records for Magnolia”), she’s excited for what’s next. Recently, season one of “Long Story Short,” about three friends on the path to adulthood (starring friend Katie Boland) premiered on February 15th on Hulu. Rebekah appears in a couple episodes and at this point is uncertain about a season 2. However, she thinks “it might be in the works which is exciting.”

“I'm working on a short right now on editing another short film that will hopefully get submitted to this year's round of film festivals. I've also just written a television show which I can't talk about yet, but look out for that as well!

Rebekah Miskin is an artist who continues to close the gap between what she likes and what she creates. “I would hardly say that I'm where I wanna be, or anywhere close, but I'm fighting real hard to be there.”

To learn more about Rebekah Miskin head on over to her website: www.rebekahmiskin.com

You can also follow Rebekah on Twitter @rebekahmiskin

To learn more about Amber Topping, check out her vintage inspired (yet modern) media blogzine: www.silverpetticoatreview.com

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Breann Johnson
Working With Hollywood's Finest

By Mende Smith



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In 2013’s Red Wing, a film adaptation of George Sand’s epic novella,The Country Waif (Francois Le Champi), we find an up and coming actress who is not holding back. Washington-born actress Breann Johnson gets to shine in her supporting role as the mother the boy never had—Maddie Blanton—a young farmer’s wife. Johnson talked with Reap about her exciting career and the opportunity to work with a handful of Hollywood’s finest. “It was something working with Francis Fisher and Bill Paxton,” Johnson says. “It was really fun. They were both really, really nice and welcoming towards me. Frances Fisher was super nice. She would always compliment me after we’d do a scene and stuff like that. There was this one scene where I literally had one line in a scene between her and Luke Perry and she was like, ‘Oh, I can sense your strength in your acting’ and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, thanks.’ [Laugh] Yeah, she was really nice and Bill was very into his work and that he wanted the character to be very realistic. So that was good. It was interesting watching the pros work.”

red wing xlgJohnson attended a class with the actor/filmmaker Will Wallace about two years prior and said that "he kept her in mind for the role. When the money came in for the script, he auditioned me and cast me.” Red Wing came out last year on a limited release but still come on DVD. Johnson landed a Best Actress Award for her performance at the Idyllwild Festival of Cinema. "They gave an award for Best Actress in a Leading Role in a Feature to someone else and so I thought, 'Okay, great' and then they said there’s another person and I was like, 'What?!' Because they normally don’t give out two for one category. What they said was that so many people decided to vote for, because the director, Will Wallace, is also a co-founder of the festival, that they kind of felt like they needed to disqualify me. But, because so many people ended up voting for me anyway they gave out too awards. It was definitely a big surprise,” Johnson says.

In support of the film, Johnson and her cast members have been doing a lot of promotional work on the film festival circuit: Laughlin International, Idyllwild, Sundance and related events. Recently, Johnson wrapped another Wallace film called The Appearing. Of the horror genre, Johnson says she has always liked scary movies and was thrilled to portray a cop searching for missing girls in the film. Theatre acting since the tender age of eight, Johnson says she has always loved being on the stage or in front of the camera. “I always wanted to be an actor, ever since I can remember basically. Yeah, for some reason I never thought to come out to L.A. to be a film and television actor until recently. It’s going really well. I’m actually surprised at how lucky I've been so far, with many people it takes years before they get anything.”

When she is promoting her career, she relies on another one of her passions, cosmetology, to get her own hair and makeup ready. Johnson is also passionate about her vegan diet and the study of martial arts to stay fit inside and out. “I don’t take exercising too seriously, but I’m a very active person naturally,” Johnson says. “I love going on walks, hiking, jogging, swimming. I love basically any physical activity. I love doing it, which is a little unusual but I’m just naturally active. I pretty much find at least a little exercise every day.”

Johnson is happily married, doing the work that she adores and has happy endings all around her. The traits she most prides herself in, she says, is her ability to meet the right people, learn from her mentors, and multi-task. Her high level of energy is also paramount in this business.

“I get to know new people, whether it’s through workshops or classes or table reads or events, auditions, whatever it is, just get to know new people because everybody has something to give and hopefully you have something to give them too and that’s when it’s best,” Johnson says. One of Johnson’s goals is to play in a musical. She loves to sing and says it is a dream of hers to do a musical film in the future. “Oh man, I would do musical theatre but if I did a musical movie, that would be a dream come true. That would be just so much fun. I think, I don’t know, I just think, I feel like I have more to offer in acting. I feel like I could sing and be good at it. Acting is a way of life for me and singing is fun,” Johnson says.

Of her fortune in the business and the study of acting, Johnson asserts that luck "definitely has a lot to play in it." It may be that ‘luck’ was that she just happened to be taking Wallace’s class for two years, and inevitably happened to land a role in one of his films. She laughs at how many ways she has stayed active in the community of Hollywood, and ultimately how it pays off. 

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K-12 + The Arts = The Future of Innovation

By Alexander Ostroff



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Technology has accelerated our society to hypervelocity. Public and private educational institutions have launched an unprecedented effort to make sure that every student does well in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). Makes perfect sense, these subjects give birth to all technology. Moreover, America must compete and when it comes to STEM our educational system is way down the list in comparison to other countries.

Educational funding is finite so administrators have been given (or have given themselves) the green light to make room for STEM. The bloodiest victims of this diamond encrusted chainsaw have been the arts. Private schools have a financial advantage, at least that’s the assumption. In reality many private K-12 institutions have followed the same blueprint; drastically defunding the arts in order to focus on STEM.

The reasoning seems logical enough: the future is based on STEM, the highest paying jobs will be in STEM, and therefore STEM should be the priority. Ironically, by eradicating the arts from K-12 we will destroy exactly what STEM hopes to achieve. Innovation.

Today we use advanced technology to build more advanced technology. The role of the human being in this process is increasingly that of feeder of information and data. The great innovators of the past had to create everything from scratch. The Wright brothers did not test aeronautical theories on a computer. Nicola Tesla, perhaps the greatest inventor in modern history, pushed his mental faculties to the edge and beyond. Einstein didn’t have an app to help him, only his brain and a piece of chalk. Edison had his mind wrapped around everything that came out of his lab. Entrepreneurs of the past were also innovators. John D. Rockefeller, Henry Ford and Andrew Carnegie are a few examples of self-made businessmen who built entire industries. All of these disrupters had countless disadvantages over the innovators of today and yet, relatively speaking, accomplished far more. In terms of innovation, the 18th to 20th centuries brought more changes to the world than at any other time in modern history. Why?

Neuroscience is revealing the powerful impact that the arts have on the developing brain, when neural connections are rapidly being generated. The arts offer not only expression and emotional well-being, they are deeply cognitive and develop critical thinking skills for the future. The arts enable us to really see and feel the human experience and explore different ways of thinking.

Innovators in the past were not distracted by the internet or mass media. Reading and the arts were the only form of entertainment, even for average people. It’s easy to assume that life was simpler back then and more time was available for the arts. On the contrary, every professional and personal activity required more time and effort. This magnifies the further back we go. For innovators the arts were not merely a form of entertainment, but also a means to relax, relieve stress and set the mind free.

The arts help develop the most important skill of them all: a powerful imagination.

We have become a society obsessed with the acquisition and regurgitation of information and data. Instead of teaching students how to use their brains to blaze new paths, our educational system is pushing standardized tests and rote memory; essentially transforming students into human hard drives.

Einstein once said: “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”

From an early age Einstein was a dedicated violinist. Later in life he took up painting. Both of these activities were critical to his work in physics. Einstein himself said: “After a certain high level of technical skill is achieved, science and art tend to coalesce in esthetics, plasticity, and form. The greatest scientists are always artists as well."

The arts train the brain to develop the process of imagination and creativity. Given the opportunity to be unrestrainedly creative, a child will develop a way of thinking that is best suited for innovation, regardless of what profession they eventually go into.

The arts also play a critical role in battling the single greatest threat there is against humanity. Stress. Exposed to enough pressure, the most brilliant and capable person can be rendered dysfunctional. As the population increases and resources decrease, the fight for a “piece of the pie” is driving global stress levels off the charts.

Art Therapy has been scientifically proven to be extremely effective in reducing stress and enhancing well-being. Working on an art project takes your mind off of what’s stressing you. Studies have shown that focusing the conscious mind on a creative task offers the same health benefits as daily meditation.

We have a duty to teach our children about the value of freedom, and the importance of doing everything possible to preserve it. Exposing them to the arts at an early age is a critical first step. An enlightened, thinking society cannot be suppressed and controlled. Freedom must be felt and experienced by a young mind otherwise it will remain an amorphous concept.

The arts promote thinking. Seems a bit obvious? Not if we notice that thinking is rapidly being replaced by reacting. Government and the multinational corporations that employ it is thrilled that we are concerned about threats to our freedom of speech, because it takes our attention off the real threat—endangerment to our freedom to think. After all, speech comes from thought. It’s far easier to have psychiatry label daydreaming and creativity a mental disorder, to be chemically treated until rendered harmless. It’s far easier for the powers that be to defund and/or remove the arts from K-12. Once our natural human curiosity and desire for intellectual enlightenment is extinguished, they will no longer need to expand resources to keep us in the dark. We’ll be there without noticing it.

What does the future hold if educational institutions will continue to view the arts as a nuisance?

The theory of singularity predicts that one day artificial intelligence will supersede human intelligence. At that point the human mind will no longer be necessary or even relevant.

What makes this prediction frightening is the insufficient lack of fright it evokes. Perhaps society wants autonomy from itself. Contemptuous of the intangibility of the spiritual and chronically dissuaded from individuality, society will embrace singularity as means to free itself from introspection. Imagination will become a liability. Social discourse will be reduced to an exchange of data, instead of an exchange of ideas. We will emulate our masters by judging each other by numerical scores, instead of our unique traits and abilities—the very elements that built civilization in the first place. We will enter a super advanced version of the Dark Ages. A cynical and pessimistic view of the future? Well, it’s already happening.

We have the power to prevent this—as long as we choose to use this power. The arts train our minds to never accept a constricted consciousness as being a normal. The arts promote the very thing that makes us human. Individuality. If we lose that, we lose everything.

To contact Alex Ostroff email him here:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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Is Film Really Dead?
An Interview With Steve Cossman

By Tara D. Kelley



While conventional wisdom predicts the death of film as we know it, the next generation of filmmakers are creating, experiencing, and exploring photochemical film at MONO NO AWARE workshops. Founder and Director Steve Cossman, expands on the organization’s vision, future plans and their need for a home base. 
 
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After a successful week at the Tribeca Film Festival, where workshop instructors and former participants ran the Handcrafted Film Atelier with Persol, attention must be paid to MONO NO AWARE. If you’re wondering what MONO NO AWARE is and how it got started, you’re not alone; Steve Cossman answered this question during our first conversation:
 
MONO NO AWARE began as my own curatorial effort and over the last 8 years grew into a multi-faceted organization. I moved to New York in 2006; I had just returned from film school, and I was looking for a way to engage with local filmmakers…
 
I thought a good way for me to get engaged with the community would be to organize some sort of exhibition or festival. I had seen a lot of festivals - thousands of festivals, actually - listed everywhere for every genre and subgenre and micro-genre – on T-shirts, tote bags, and posters. I set out to do something that was unique to my interests and meaningful. I wanted to focus on what drew me to cinema in the first place. You know, that gathering of strangers sharing this common experience; tension in the air, laughing together, or being in shock. There is a kind of magic that happens there that I felt was missing my visits to fine art galleries. I set out to do something that focused on the gathering, where the emphasis was on that cinematic experience. So, the initial idea for MONO NO AWARE, the exhibition, was: expanded cinema performance, with projected film prints only to kind of over-emphasize that idea of the artist being present, the audience being present, and the work being a one-time experience...
 
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...which kind of leads into the concept of Mono no aware, the Japanese expression having to do with this emotional connection with something that’s fleeting, an attraction to the ephemeral. The environment created by expanded cinema performance, or even by an installation which has that moving image element, is kind of this temporal experience. The group of people that you share it with is unique in that sense, too, so…. It seemed to fit the event.
 
MONO NO AWARE started with just me organizing the festival the first three years. From there, with the help of dedicated friends, and now a small staff, it’s built into a dynamic arts organization with educational initiatives 6 months out of the year, a monthly in-person screening series called Connectivity Through Cinema, film related field trips, an equipment rental program, and one of the premiere platforms for expanded cinema performance and installation work with almost 650 in attendance in 2013. 
 
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MONO NO AWARE offers amazing workshops led by local filmmakers which include Expanding the Frame; Handmade Emulsion (with a second class using an eco-friendly seaweed/agar emulsion recipe to be offered this fall); 16mm Pinhole Filmmaking; and Alternatives to Projection. For information about the workshops click here.
 
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Workshops sold out? No fear. You can still include the group in your summer plans, especially if you enjoy field trips outside the city. On Sunday, July 27th, MONO NO AWARE takes a return trip to the Thomas Edison Museum. While last summer’s visit included a tour and use of the museum grounds, on this voyage you have the opportunity to shoot film inside the museum’s replica of the Black Maria as well. MONO NO AWARE will offer this workshop - shooting, processing, and projecting on the grounds of the park - to both trip participants and museum visitors. You can visit the Warwick Drive-In Theater in July and August too. As an added perk, short films created by MONO NO AWARE’s spring workshop participants will be digitally projected onscreen before the main feature. 
 
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While digital technology is an important tool, MONO NO AWARE pursues ways to make film and film technology available and affordable at a time when the infrastructure of industry-supported film is being stripped away. One of their initial plans, a film equipment rentals program, has generated such high demand that the organization is now seeking permanent space. At present, coordinating equipment pick-ups and drop-offs is organized around the group’s full-time work, so a fixed address would help consolidate their efforts and allow more time to develop programs. As a natural extension of their rentals program, MONO NO AWARE recently began to sell 100’ loads of reasonably priced 16mm color reversal Agfa stock (200D) and ORWO UN-54 (100D) black and white, which can be processed as negative or reversal. 
 
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However, one can’t ignore the impact that the industry shift has had on filmmakers. Advocates like filmmaker Tacita Dean (savefilm.org) and the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA Film Advocacy Task Force), continue to raise public awareness around the issue of creative choice. In the past, I’ve asked Steve to respond to what now seems to be the annual question on the future of photochemical film. As always, he’s realistic, yet remains positive:
 
I’m as much in the hands of the material and the manufacturers as anybody else. I certainly can’t single-handedly change the direction of a large manufacturer. As an organization we can certainly make a small contribution in sales for these companies, but we really can’t start a revolution – we need to work together.  
 
It’s a strange situation, because if they stop making oils, painters use acrylic or gouache or mix berries if they are desperate. They have options. But, in the case of working on film, if Kodak stops making film, you can make your own emulsion (and we are happy to show you how), but there are very few other people producing film commercially.
 
The future of film is an uncertain one, which might be a factor of why people are excited about it again. I remember while in high school reading about the vanishing number of record pressing plants in the US, with headlines shouting that vinyl is dead. This morning I saw records for sale at Whole Foods. DJs love vinyl, Film makers love film.  
 
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People, generally speaking, love mystery and chaos, so as technology automates everything around us, we sense that something is missing. There are filters and applications that, at the push of a button, create a sepia tone effect or a solarizing effect or anime-eyes effect - but it’s all binary and the results are still encoded. There’s no room for accidents and experimentation, and there’s no room for things to be out of control… 
 
Sometimes I’ll be shooting with my Bolex, and people will say “Those things are so hard to find!” or “Too bad you can’t get projectors anymore” or “The parts are going to be harder to come by, and soon you’re not going to be able to shoot anymore.” So much of which is a misconception; it’s no wonder film is foreign to so many children and young adults. I feel like we’re at a point where the common person believes that digital and technologies have replaced analog machinery all together. My response to that is, ‘Have you seen what a 3D printer can do?’ At some point, I’m going to be able to 3D scan my entire Bolex and print out a Bolex then shoot film with it! I can replicate almost any EIKI part I need; I’m going to be able to build an optical printer in Rhino. I’ll be able to build custom gates and trick it out in any way I want. I think certain advancements in technology make it possible to sustain analog practices and improve upon them.
 
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It hasn’t come to that point just yet. Right now, film equipment is more accessible than it’s ever been. So many schools and filmmakers are just unloading equipment. They’re either giving it away or selling it cheap – happy to see it put to ‘good use’. If, twenty years ago, you wanted to shoot on film you’d have a hard time budgeting a camera rental, and certainly you wouldn’t buy one. Now, you might fall into one for less than a grand or possibly free. Equipment is collecting dust on closets and shelves; all you need is some simple maintenance to get it running again. How are you going to say that it’s difficult, or more expensive, to shoot on film when someone hands you a camera for free?
 
Every time we meet, Steve is excited, energetic, and focused. There is always a new workshop and a future aim for the organization. What keeps him this positive?
 
Coffee! 
 
It’s all the connections that we are able to make with people from all over the world… 
 
It’s the new work that is so creative and inspiring - and then to have the ability to share it with others. Receiving an email for an upcoming screening or performance by two artists who met in our workshops -- that’s such a great feeling! While at Tribeca, a former participant came up to me, excited, and told me that her workshop film screened at a festival in Italy. On the street, I’ll run into at least one person a day either who I met from a workshop or from the annual exhibition -- it makes the entire city of New York feel like home.  
 
If you’re an artist or filmmaker and want to have your work considered for the eighth annual MONO NO AWARE, the  call for entries is open. As a nonprofit, MONO NO AWARE can accept donations of equipment, building space, and generous contributions of time. If you would like to help in any way, please reach out to them. After all, “The future of cinema is ours.”  
 
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Top 5 Expected Changes To The iPhone 6

By Kia Dargahi



Just a few hours short of WWDC, we know that Apple are about to heat things up with some new software, iOS 8 and OS 10.10 being the stars of the show. This being said, a new iPhone won’t pop up at Apple’s yearly tech showcasing. This hasn’t stopped the rumor mill going crazy with iPhone 6 leaks however including the supposed back housing. There is a lot to be learned merely from this back panel as well as a few rumors of features of this phone and I’ll be naming the top 5 most probable and to some extent beneficiary changes to the iPhone 6 so let’s kick it off with number 5:

5. NFC

This particular rumor appears nearly every time a new iPhone has been mentioned, dating back to the iPhone 5 (that was 2 years ago!!). The seemingly ancient technology has allowed for third party accessories to easily sync with the phone with the battery draining of Bluetooth or the nuisance of cordage. The rumor has a little more backing to it in that if the above image is indeed the back housing, there is a cutout in the Apple logo which would indicate a pretty ideal location for an antenna of some sort or in this case, the location in which NFC would be effectuated. All in all, it appears that NFC accessories is just a royalty to users but it has been a feature missing from iPhones but present in the competition for some time. Following this precise trend, let’s move on to number 4.

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4. Water/Dustproofing

I personally think that this is the least likely of the list to make it onto the final product (perhaps we’ll see this on the iPhone 6S as an incentive to upgrade). This being said, the android competition has recently made water and dust proofing somewhat of a norm on flagships such as the Xperia Z2 or the GS5. Having such a practical feature on an iPhone, even if limited water/dust proofing, would make the iPhone a better rounded product for the mass markets and would allow for an incentive for android users to switch over to Apple’s flagship. Common in nearly every major revision to an iPhone’s design, let’s move on to number 3

3. Better Form Factor

It seems that the phrase “the new iPhone is blank percent thinner and blank percent lighter” is somewhat of a norm to the major design updates to iPhones. In the photo shown above, an alleged iPhone 6 aluminum mold (consistent with the first photo of the back shell) is being compared to all previous iPhones. The rear shell is allegedly 6mm in depth, a considerable drop from the iPhone 5S’s 7.6mm depth. The result is an ultra-thin handset with, more importantly, rounded edges. I myself use an HTC one and can appreciate its curvature, as it feels excellent in hand. When I hold iPhones for extended periods of time, I notice that my hand starts to cramp and is remarkably uncomfortable in comparison to my android device. These newly rounded edges and overall increase in size should prove better to hold in hand and use in general, but we’ll save the size increase for another number… Let’s move onto number

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2.2. New and Improved Camera

Take a look at the cameras of the iPhone 5S and alleged iPhone 6 in the photo above; notice anything different? That’s right! The iPhone 5S has a dual LED flash while the iPhone 6 appears to only have one. “Are they mad? Have they gone completely bonkers?” I thought the same too at first glance; however, with a recent patent release from Apple, the one LED flash sort of excites me. Apple is supposedly preparing a sensor that will be able to capture colors so well even at night that a regular flash will suffice and in fact will complement the new camera. This, in a nutshell, means that the camera will be hugely impressive, even though it is rumored that it will remain at 8MP. If anything, it’s a good thing that Apple isn’t caught up in the MP specs race with the other android competitors and appears to be taking an HTC route, as I don’t think that anyone will argue that the iPhone takes great looking pictures and videos. So we’ve finally made it, I hinted at number 1 earlier so perhaps the surprise element of it isn’t quite there but we’ll be keeping true to number 1 right now!.

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1. Increase in Screen Size

Man oh man I never thought that I’d see the say that Apple finally increase the size of their phones significantly. The bump up from 3.5 inches to the 4 inches of the iPhone 5 was a joke to say the least. In comparison to the android titans of today, the iPhone 5S appears to be a toy made for a child; it is way too small in the current market. Heck, even in 2010 handsets were around 4.3 inches big and Apple was still adamant on 3.5 inches (but those were the days of Steve Jobs may he R.I.P.). Who knows, if Jobs was still around today, we may not even have had the increase from 3.5 to 4 inches! But I digress, This screen size is significant in a number of ways. First and foremost, it is evidently important in that there will ultimately be a more user friendly feel to the device in that your fingers will not be cramped in trying to type even the simplest thing (don’t try and convince me typing is easy on iPhones, it just isn’t). The 4.7 inch screen is a great size for a device and has been seen on previous handsets such as the Moto X and HTC one, phones that have received praise for their feel in hand. There is no doubt that Apple will use the increase in screen real estate to their advantage, perhaps by adding an extra row to their home screen just as they did with iOS 6 and the iPhone 5. All in all, if there was ever a reason that I left iPhones, it was the screen size, and now that it’s relevant in size once more, who knows, I may be due for an early upgrade…

In conclusion, Apple is trying to draw attention to its flagship once more by adding elements that honestly should’ve been on the previous iterations of the iPhone. Updates such as increase in processing power were somewhat evident and were thus left out of this list as these are more or less novel additions to Apple’s cellphone. So, are you excited for the imminent launch of the iPhone 6 (rumored to be early September)? Not impressed by Apple’s improvements? Chime in down below!

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