Maybe we worry too much... at

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Old September 6th, 2002, 07:32 PM   #1
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Maybe we worry too much...

Talk about just going for it...not worrying about permits...not worrying about lighting...just grabbing the camera and getting down to it. Director Henry Jaglom fits that bill. In an interview about his film, "Festival in Cannes," he says:

-Did you have to get permits for filming in Cannes?
I've never used a permit in my life and certainly not there. No, because then you've got an artificial look of people pretending to be what they are. I don't use extras, I use real people. It's much more effective.

-And you used natural lighting?
I didn't use one light in this film, not one light. Cannes takes place outdoors, it takes place in the cafes, it takes place on the avenues, on the boulevards, in cabanas - so I thought, Why shoot it indoors, show the real Cannes.


The complete interview can be found at
John Locke
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Old September 6th, 2002, 10:05 PM   #2
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I agree with him.

Recently I saw Shogo Ishii's "Angel Dust". Not a great film, but what he did a few times was film an actress "dying" in the middle of a crowded public space and then he filmed the real people's reactions. Highly effective in what wasn't a very interesting film otherwise.

If I had to get a permit in Vancouver for a street scene it would cost me upwards of $800 including cop. What I hear from New York is that there are certain areas where student filmmakers do not need a permit; I haven't heard this about Vancouver.
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Old September 6th, 2002, 11:37 PM   #3
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Last Spring, a friend and I decided to revisit Monument Valley, on the Navajo rez, to collect some footage of one of the most photogenic landscapes in America. Not wanting to be inconsiderate of Native American sensibilities, I asked the Navajo gate attendant what the rules and courtesies were around camera work on the rez. I submit the following story about my experience:

>I had the occasion on this past weekend to make a monumental journey to Navajo Country, Monument Valley that is. I observed that the ravens grow to quite astonishing size on the Rez. While I've lived in the southwest since high school,(I hesitate to think back as far as growing up in Tucson, 1964-1966) , I had not spent any time in MV, other than driving thru to other places. This return trip was my first visit to the Dineh since my perspective of the world has "matured", "aged", or adverbs to that effect.
I had some curious experiences that have led me to believe that some Dineh have discovered the mystery of belagaana bureaucracy. The following is my relating of the experience. You may continue reading or move on to other daily activities, as you are led. I am moved to write this story, regardless, noting(with a small chuckle) the human condition of us all.

Upon entry to the "park", I informed the Dineh attendant at the booth that my travelling companion and I were photographers and wished to photograph the valley without being offensive to any of the local residents. ( I had particular interest in Yei'bi'chei because I had stood at the base of the totem in 1975) Perhaps I was being somewhat naive with the concept of consideration because he proceeded to inform me that any photographic equipment that exceeded the mundane 35mm camera would require a "special permit" and, therefore, aimed me to his supervisor inside the visitor's center. Furthermore, many areas of the Valley were "restricted", apparently the result of rampant tourism to the area. I honor the Navajo for their choice to not install the ubiquitous casino, therefore, I accept that other ways of generating income are necessary.

At this point, I began to have a strange feeling that my attempt at honesty and consideration was being challenged. When I found the supervisor, (a Native bureaucrat worthy of the highest accolades of federal service) he proceeded to interrogate me as to my motives. "What kind of cameras?", "Are they for commercial or personal use?",etc., etc. When I told him they were for personal use, he apparently decided I was much too slick to be
believed, or he decided to weild his mighty influence, because he informed me that the
only place I could obtain the required permit would be in Window Rock and that the price of the permit was $250. BUT, he added as an afterthought, I could avoid the long trip to Window Rock by employing a Dineh guide to accompany me thru MV. (UT-OH, I thought to myself)

At this point, I realized that my initial instinct to NOT ask the original question might have been a more appropriate tactic. It's been said that if one doesn't want to hear the answer, one should not ask the question. I purchased my entry ticket and proceeded down the 17 mile loop thru MV.
Well, this story fades off into inner considerations of my integrity and conscience. Let me just say that I returned home with more than just memories of that incredible place. I observed many travellers filming, photographing and recording images with all manner of equipment, so, I rest somewhat comfortably with my "dishonesty", but, I still feel the pangs of my choice. Surely, *intent* is the deciding factor, and intent is not something the average bureaucrat can discern nor judge.

In general, I found the Dineh to be like most people, reserved and cautious until one is recognized and trusted. Recognition is the first step, trust takes a wee bit longer, que no?
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Old September 7th, 2002, 08:14 AM   #4
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On my cross-country trip, I didn't declare the camera after the first reservation - $30 for taking pictures!

What's the saying? It's easier to ask for forgiveness than permission Sounds crass but unfortunately it turns out to be a very practical tactic.

Of course when I make my first $0.01 of profit I expect a lawyer and a cop to show up at my door asking for all of it back :-)

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Old September 8th, 2002, 12:52 PM   #5
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Keith, you'd think Vancouver of all places would have a film student permit-free zone, huh?

I've been doing a lot of investigating as far as permits and legal responsibility goes. I'm starting to get the "it's easier to ask forgiveness than permission" concept.
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Old September 12th, 2002, 03:22 PM   #6
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The only downside being that you only get to ask forgiveness once. The rangers for the open space area around here have been very forgiving about permits, but they ask for ID's and make notes of names.
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Old September 12th, 2002, 04:35 PM   #7
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I think you might be right. Maybe we do worry too much. I read the full interview regarding "Festival in Cannes." I found the following interesting:

And the dialogue is all improvised?
That's Henry[film's director]. He tells you what the character basically is, what the scene is, and you start to improvise it. It's tremendous fun and a unique way of working.

Is it scary?
Not at all. It's very liberating.

I've read about other directors doing this. I've never had the guts to try it. I guess I worry too much!
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