The XL1 Watchdog
updated 13 July 04
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more than 120 pages
part of the DV Info Net
Feature Filmmaking with an XL1
The affordability of the latest Digital Video camera offerings readily enables a new breed of independant filmmakers to achieve their vision. The XL1 is currently employed by a variety of artists doing low-budget and no-budget features and shorts. While this list is by no means exhaustive, it does mention a few narrative projects which are in (or have recently completed) production. In the Reports section, we've heard from Kent Williamson and his XL1 experiences while shooting his film, When Love Walks In. I've met Kent and his brother and co-director Brad, and I'll be adding more material to their report in an upcoming Watchdog update.
The number of experienced and new filmmakers shooting in DV is growing at a fast rate. New productions are surfacing all the time, and I believe this to be a very good thing. I've included seventeen projects below in addition to the ones that were already listed. If you sent me notice and I didn't post it here, then by all means let me know. If you know of any other features that are actually in production, are being shot with an XL1 and have a website up, please advise me as well.
- Honestly, I simply can't get enough of Shakespeare. Here's Greg Salman's adaptation of MacBeth, set in modern times in South Central Los Angeles. I had the chance to see this on VHS and it's simply amazing... superb cast, expert direction and high production values.
- You remember Lita Ford and Joan Jett, right? Explore their formative years as "The Runaways," a feature-length documentary by former band member Vicki Blue of Sacred Dogs Entertainment. Keep an eye on this one.
- Shot in 21 days in Central Texas, Kat Candler's feature about a teenager and her relationship with her brothers and a transfer student shows incredible promise. Links to the online trailer are in the site. Prominent among the professional cast is 10-year old Bryan Chafin, who also has a role in the new Mel Gibson movie, Patriot.
- Split Decision
- Shot primarily in Austin, Chicago, New York and Mexico City, this documentary is the true story of boxer Jesus Chavez, deported from the US during his rise to world championship.
Be sure to go through the online press kit.
- Patrick Hasson's feature comedy about a waiter at a crazy Italian Bistro has premiered at the Conduit Film Festival in Austin, receiving rave reviews as expected, with success guaranteed by an excellent cast (including Ron Jeremy).
- Written and directed by Devashish Saxena, DP'ed by Vu Nguyen, this film explores the structures formed by second-generation Asian Indians who've settled in America. Online trailer and extensive production notes.
- Rock Creek
- A creative twist on the western genre, this is the third project from Elysium and their first to be shot on DV. Written by Wayne Baimbridge and directed by James C. Westwood, it's a period film set in Nebraska about ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances.
- Tailing the Millennium
- Bored housewife Anna Zetchus grabs an XL1 and hits the road to satiate her love affair of conspiracy theories. She explores the "Land of the Lost Story" through an amazing series of interviews with popular middle-American icons in this two-hour documentary.
- The Sport of War
- A feature-length documentary by T. Patrick Murray and Alex Weinress about a season with the Central Bucks West High School football team in Doylestown, Pennsylvania.
- Titus Andronicus
- Filmmaker Richard Griffin correctly reasons that if we can have twenty versions of Hamlet, we can certainly have five versions of Titus. Richard's feature adaption of the Bard's darkest work is now one of these five. After you see Anthony Hopkins, check out Nigel Gore.
- An Intimate Friendship
- Independent feature by Angela Hughey; DP'ed by Jessica Gallant and shot under a SAG experimental contract. Won the Diamond Halo Best Feature Film award at the AngleCiti film festival in Phoenix. Melissa Etheridge contributes to the soundtrack.
- Det Okanda
- Opening in Swedish cinemas later this year, this horror film sports a very stylish website complete with online trailer and a Flash presentation. I did not see an English version of the site. Looks very, very good.
- Ghost Hunter
- Is the ghost of Sir Isaac Humphrey haunting a certain Seattle neighborhood? This film attempts to conclusively and positively document the paranormal. Online trailer, stylish website.
- Steven Kahler provides insight and extensive production notes about the shooting of his feature-length fictional narrative of an incident during the VietNam conflict.
- Warrior Sisters
- It's a typical day on the East London set with two beautiful women in bondage gear running at each other with swords and screaming. Medieval and/or post-apocalyptic mayhem from Frank Scantori and Anthony Holmes.
- Blue Devil
- Yale University film students Aaron Kogan, Pedro Kos and Lucien Lefcourt ask "how far would you go for a 4.0?" Grade average, that is, in this dark tale of academic success -- for a price. Online trailer in RealVideo and QuickTime formats.
- Cinema Sky Productions
- They're working on a horror anthology with the working title of "Creepy Tales." Go check 'em out.
- The Holly Wood Project
- Josh Greene's short is downloadable from this link in either QuickTime or RealVideo formats. He's in the process of shooting several more "trailer" spoofs, and hopes to begin his first feature late this year.
- James Johnston, Co-Director of Photography, reports that production has wrapped for this independant feature and Road Dog Productions expects to have a final cut later this summer.
- Kevin Patrick's short was edited with Final Cut Pro and is viewable online in QuickTime format. The end contains a slow-motion sequence, well worth the download.
- Memorial Day
- Very stylish online presentation and downloadable trailer for this entry into the slasher genre. If its production values match the quality of its internet presence, it will be one to watch.
- The Good Life
- A feature film written and directed by Eric Moyer, best described as "The Breakfast Club" meets "Goodfellas." Currently in final cut, has a trailer already showing on local screens.
- Recent Films by Peter Gray, Dir. of Photography
- The End -- an independently produced feature film by Doug Deluca. Shot on digital video using the Canon XL1 camera, will be blowing up to 35mm film after the edit is completed. The principal photography is completed, and post production is now in progress. A release date has not been set.
- Minus Tomato
- The Blind Spot -- billed as a "shockumentary," this project has recently entered production in the Las Vegas area.
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Thrown together by Chris Hurd