THE BIFF IS BACK – BIFF 2019 PART III

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Following on from catching Memory: The Origins of Alien and Little Monsters on Friday night, the next day I set off to Dendy cinemas in the inner Eastern suburb of Brisbane Coorparoo to check out two more films at BIFF 2019. At 1pm I saw my first film up in Cinema 8.

 

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MAKING WAVES: THE ART OF CINEMATIC SOUNDFor any film buff this is a great introduction in the history of sound in cinema. I would struggle to explain what foley, sound editing and sound mixing all mean? I do know sound is layered in film and that it is a creative aspect like anything else in filmmaking. Such differences are explained and shown clearly in this documentary which for the most part is well paced.

Also director Midge Costin and his team have done a fantastic job cutting together sequences that showcase the power of good sound being added to an image and building up to some wonderful examples of where sound was so important to great cinematic moments.

It features lots of baby boomers and fixates a little too much on the 1970s but this was a pivotal era. Central figures of the American film renaissance like Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and David Lynch are all on hand and along with their sound guys Walter Murch (The Conversation, Apocalypse Now) and Ben Burtt (Star Wars).

There are also efforts made to go over the change from the silent era to the advent of sound. However stuff I had been unaware of proved the most fascinating and it was mostly centred around pioneering women. Although I enjoyed hearing about the full scope of Walter Murch’s work in THX 1138. How many sound guys are also credited screenwriters?

For example you can thank Barbara Streisand for Dolby Stereo Sound in cinemas of the modern era. When reinventing herself and stepping into producing with A Star Is Born in 1976 she fought for the new technology to roll out in cinemas for her film to try to capture the energy of stadium concerts in the film.

Babs put her money where her mouth was too, insisting on a dramatically increased post production schedule for the sound mixing and editing out of her own pocket. When the film was a hit, Warner Bros paid her the money – history had been made.

Taking a leaf out of Ben Burtt’s book, Cecelia Hall added distorted animal sounds to the jetfighter plane sound effects for Top Gun and subsequently became the first woman to become nominated for Best Sound Effects Editing. She won four years later for The Hunt for the Red October. I enjoyed the stories of these pioneers and salute them all for their creativity.

 

My next film ran in the same cinema interestingly almost an hour later after I left cinema 8. I did talk to the one of the BIFF Vollys sporting a snazzy coloured T-shirt and advised me I had once done work as a Volly and was happy to see them back.

I asked if they still had the practice of letting Vollys sit in on films at the back after they had started and he told me they did. In fact they get passes to 4 screenings which is fantastic!

I took a seat and ordered a cheese platter, I highly recommend the chutney paste and some orange cheddar cheese that hit the spot. Nearby I could hear young people hanging around between sessions, working on creative projects on their laptops and discussing themes and the creative process. This was the joy of going to BIFF for the first time in 2004 and it made me happy to see evidence that some things never change.

 

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CHAINED FOR LIFE: At 3:30pm I went back into Cinema 8 and saw my last film of the 2019 Brisbane International Film Festival. Following on from an American/Mexican doco, two American documentaries and an Australian/U.K./U.S. zombie comedy I closed out the festival with an American film with a very unique British leading man.

Chained for Life is a satire about how we define desirability and disability in our culture and on film. Starring Jess Weixler and Adam Pearson as two actors on a film set for a horror movie. Interestingly child actor Charlie Korsmo makes a return to our screens as the eccentric “German” film director of the piece.

Weixler is the beautiful actress and the central focus of the film, and the film within the film. Pearson has been cast for his disfigured appearance as the monster of the piece that has a lot of passing references to Frankenstein. Also on board is Stephen Plunkett absolutely nailing it as a absolute wanker of a leading man who thinks he’s so cool and nice to everybody as they’re rolling their eyes at him. One scene with him and Pearson made me exclaim at the screen which just goes to show how good the film is.

There is also a lot of playing around the narrative and I will come clean and say at times the film may be went over my head and stopped resonating a bit but for the most part I was really enjoying what was being depicted and poked fun at.

Pearson with his gentle clear voice is an effortless star and this is the kind of role that lets him play beyond just how he looks while clearly addressing it. Check out an interview below that shows off how much of a pro the guy is.

The film reminded me of the personalities and dynamics of a small film set and not for the first time am I grateful for my older sister and how she gave me an insight and an understanding that others have to search for. A really good and interesting film to check out.

Well that’s it for another year at BIFF, gone too soon. Congratulations to Artistic Director Amanda Slack-Smith for another great programme and to the entire team. If I had to pick a favourite out of the films I saw it would easily be Midnight Family but I enjoyed all the films for different reasons and once again thank you for sharing in the journey.

-Lloyd Marken

EXCELLENT LEADERSHIP IN TEACHING AND LEARNING NOMINEES FOR 2019 TEACHX AWARDS AVAILABLE AT QUEENSLAND COLLEGE OF TEACHERS

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The 2019 TEACHX Awards are to be held on the 23rd of October and will recognise some of the most outstanding teachers working in the profession across Queensland. The event is run by the Queensland College of Teachers (QCT) who have received over 200 nominations across six categories.

In the lead up to the event, the media arm of QCT has published pieces on nominees and I was most fortunate to be placed on what was ultimately a 10 week secondment to their area to write some of these. In the end I wrote just over half with 115 pieces all up.

I have previously posted about the five other categories Outstanding Contribution to TeachingFor Innovation in TeachingExcellence in Beginning to Teach, Outstanding Contribution to School Community and Excellence in Teaching.

The final category published is Excellent Leadership in Teaching and Learning with 32 nominees of which I wrote pieces for eight.

They were Jeff Jepson, Jacqueline Mikami, Christopher Niven, Matthew O’Brien, Nicole Peltonen, Anthony Ries, Carol Ruskin,  and Tina Watson.

The event is a huge undertaking requiring a lot of work from a group of strong professionals. Like all things done by this team, it is done to recognise some of the great work that teachers are doing and to help elevate the profession. Being called upon to write full time, pieces that support these aims was a dream come true for me.

The people I got to work with were experienced, talented and extremely hard working and I hope I effectively contributed and learnt a thing or two.

Feel free to check out all the nominees and comment on what you liked. All 32 have made an extraordinary contribution to bettering the education of students.

-Lloyd Marken

THE BIFF IS BACK – BIFF 2019 PART II – ‘MEMORY: THE ORIGINS OF ALIEN’ AND ‘LITTLE MONSTERS’ REVIEW AVAILABLE ON WEEKEND NOTES

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I went into the final weekend of the Brisbane International Film Festival 2019 having seen the excellent documentary Midnight Family about a Mexico City ambulance crew.

MEMORY: THE ORIGIN OF ALIENS: Then on Friday night I went to Reading Cinemas at Newmarket to see a 6:15pm session of Memory: The Origins of Alien. I film A found interesting for the stories of the film I was unfamiliar with like the involvement of screenwriter of Dan O’Bannon.

 

It was an interesting film even if it seemed a little underfunded and dwelled on some points too long. I’ve been lucky to have a review published over at Weekend Notes that you can check out here https://www.weekendnotes.com/memory-the-origins-of-alien-film-review/

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Exiting Reading, I hopped in the car and drove over to New Farm cinemas who long term readers will recognise is an establishment I have some affection for. Catching a mocha with a mate over at the nearby 24 hour café Death by Decaf frequented by emergency personnel, hipsters, shift workers and young people out on the town. They make a damn fine mocha.

 

LITTLE MONSTERS: Then it was time to take in the late night 9:30pm screening of Aussie zombie comedy Little Monsters starring Lupita Nyongo’o. It was the kind of screening great for a film like this, close to full and with a Friday night crowd who wanted to be there and enjoy themselves. At a point when Neil Diamond’s classic Sweet Caroline featured somebody in the crowd voiced the bassline much to the delight of everyone else.

You can my review that was published on Weekend Notes as well here https://www.weekendnotes.com/little-monsters-film-review/

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Weekend Notes are a growing online magazine with a wealth of contributors based out of several cities across the United Kingdom, Australia and New York. Articles are leisure related and can include a wide variety of subjects from rainforest hikes to cultural festivals, from what hot new play is on at your underground theatre to a ultra trendy eatery. Writers are paid for their work based partly on how many views their articles get so please feel free to stop by and show some love.

-Lloyd Marken

EXCELLENCE IN TEACHING NOMINEES FOR 2019 TEACHX AWARDS AVAILABLE AT QUEENSLAND COLLEGE OF TEACHERS

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The 2019 TEACHX Awards are to be held on the 23rd of October and will recognise some of the most outstanding teachers working in the profession across Queensland. The event is run by the Queensland College of Teachers (QCT) who have received over 200 nominations across six categories.

In the lead up to the event, the media arm of QCT is publishing pieces on all the nominees and I was most fortunate to be placed on what was ultimately a 10 week secondment to their area to write some of these, all up I wrote 115 pieces.

I have previously posted about the categories Outstanding Contribution to TeachingFor Innovation in TeachingExcellence in Beginning to Teach and Outstanding Contribution to School Community.

The next category is Excellence in Teaching which received the second most amount of nominations of which I wrote 38 pieces on.

They were Natalie Bell, Lee Freeman, Georgia Gibbons, Morgan Gibbons, Kellie Gill, Clair Goodall, James Gynther, Lissa Gyte, Karen Hamilton, Jason Henry, Rachael Heritage, Julie Hirst, Gina Lyons, Ruth MacLean, Tiffany McCarthy, Suzette Meiring, Tabitha Mojilip, Catherine Nicholson, Brenton O’Neil, Alana PattersonRowena Petersen, Jae Phillips, Lauren Proctor, Michelle Ragen, Amy Rankin, Kristy Raybould, Katrina Riley, Desley Sadler, Raymond Scott, Megan Thirkill, Carla Trott, Paul Trotter, David Turner, Vince Wall, Casey WaltonMargaret Warren, Renee Wilkie and Courtney Wolbers.

The event is a huge undertaking requiring a lot of work from a group of strong professionals. Like all things done by this team, it is done to recognise some of the great work that teachers are doing and to help elevate the profession. Being called upon to write full time, pieces that support these aims is a dream come true for me.

The people I got to work with are experienced, talented and extremely hard working and I hope I effectively contributed and learnt a thing or two.

Feel free to check them out and comment on what you liked. All 65 have made an extraordinary contribution to bettering the education of students.

-Lloyd Marken

THE BIFF IS BACK – BIFF 2019 PART I – ‘MIDNIGHT FAMILY’ REVIEW AVAILABLE ON WEEKEND NOTES

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BIFF IS BACK! The Brisbane International Film Festival is back for another year and long term readers will recall my affection for it. I volunteered at BIFF in 2004, 2005 and 2007. In 2008 I was down to see over 20 movies and met my future wife on the steps of the Palace Cinema on James Street. We lost a BIFF for a while there but it returned in 2017 where I attended with Karen for the first time Opening Night. I was also on assignment with Scenestr magazine to review Australia Day and then last year I was on assignment for Scenestr on opening night.

This year I was wrapping up a work secondment writing for the Queensland College of Teachers so missed Opening Night and ended up sitting out the first few days of the festival.

 

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New Farm Cinemas foyer after seeing ‘Midnight Family’. Copyright Lloyd Marken.

 

Yet on Wednesday 09OCT2019 at New Farm Cinemas Karen and I attended a 6:15pm session of Midnight Family missing the first few minutes. All up, I have bought tickets to see five films at BIFF 2019 with three of them being docos. I can’t wait to see them all and share with you.

 

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Midnight Family was a great documentary about private ambulance crews in Mexico City. I was lucky enough to have my review published at Weekend Notes which continues on from my first reviews published with them last year being reviews for films I saw BIFF. You can read my review here https://www.weekendnotes.com/midnight-family-film-review-brisbane-international-film-festival-2019/

Weekend Notes are a growing online magazine with a wealth of contributors based out of several cities across the United Kingdom, Australia and New York. Articles are leisure related and can include a wide variety of subjects from rainforest hikes to cultural festivals, from what hot new play is on at your underground theatre to a ultra trendy eatery. Writers are paid for their work based partly on how many views their articles get so please feel free to stop by and show some love.

-Lloyd Marken

 

SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK REVIEW AVAILABLE ON SCENESTR

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I was lucky enough to be on assignment for Scenestr magazine to review the new film Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark produced and co-written by filmmaker Guillermo del Toro. We were over at Reading Cinemas in Newmarket which have a first rate large cinema.

 

 

 

I will admit horror films are not my forte but I think there are a few admirable qualities in this film even if it remains a little under served by its own ambitions. My review can be found here http://scenestr.com.au/movies-and-tv/scary-stories-to-tell-in-the-dark-review-20190926 and I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.

Produced by Eyeball Media Enterprises Scenestr is an online national magazine with local offices around Australia. Having started in 1993 they’ve excelled at moving into the digital realm but they remain at heart from the streets. They still publish magazines in print for Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland every month.

-Lloyd Marken

OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO SCHOOL COMMUNITY NOMINEES FOR 2019 TEACHX AWARDS AVAILABLE AT QUEENSLAND COLLEGE OF TEACHERS

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The 2019 TEACHX Awards are to be held on the 23rd of October and will recognise some of the most outstanding teachers working in the profession across Queensland. The event is run by the Queensland College of Teachers (QCT) who have received over 200 nominations across six categories.

In the lead up to the event, the media arm of QCT is publishing pieces on all the nominees and I have been most fortunate to be placed on secondment in their area to write some of these, all up I wrote 115 pieces.

I have previously posted about the categories Outstanding Contribution to TeachingFor Innovation in Teaching and the category that received the most nominations – Excellence in Beginning to Teach.

The next category is Outstanding Contribution to School Community with 15 nominees of which I wrote about six.

They were Matthew Barber, Thomas McKenna, Tamika Megawatt, Kirsten Mullan, Mitchell Robertson and Joel Ward.

The event is a huge undertaking requiring a lot of work from a group of strong professionals. Like all things done by this team, it is done to recognise some of the great work that teachers are doing and to help elevate the profession. Being called upon to write full time, pieces that support these aims is a dream come true for me.

The people I’m working with are experienced, talented and extremely hard working and I’m doing my best to learn as much as possible from them. Case in point is the design work you see above which was done by one of my colleagues for the event.

Feel free to check them out and comment on what you liked. All 15 have made an extraordinary contribution to bettering the education of students.

-Lloyd Marken

SINCE ALI DIED REVIEW AVAILABLE ON SCENESTR

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The second week of September this year Karen and I were particularly lucky to be busy attending events for me to review. That Monday night we were in the Brisbane CBD at the Myer Centre for a preview screening of the hilarious Good Boys, Tuesday night we were at QUT’s Kelvin Grove campus to attend Truthmachine playing at the Theatre Republic as part of BrisFest 2019.

We closed out the week Thursday night back at the Theatre Republic to see Since Ali Died by Omar Musa. All of this was on assignment for the amazing Scenestr team. I’m in third year of working for them and I feel very blessed continuing to do this work while I’ve been busy on my secondment with the Queensland College of Teachers.

Also performing as part of the Brisbane Festival was Strut & Fret with their show Blanc de Blanc and comedian Sam Simmons who I was lucky to interview for Scenestr.

Since Ali Dead is for the most part a one-man show from rapper and spoken word poet Omar Musa, son of Malaysian immigrants who grew up in Queanbeyan. A brown Muslim boy who found something to be inspired by and comfortingly familiar in the proud iconic figure of sports and culture.

Afterwards there was a Q&A with Omar who talked about finding the right balance in his work between light and dark, friendly and provocative, funny and heartbreaking.

For me, he got it right and you can read more of my thoughts here http://scenestr.com.au/arts/since-ali-died-review-brisbane-festival-2019-20190913

Karen and I took in our surroundings afterwards at the Theatre Republic which had many different interesting displays which I enjoyed. I grabbed a toasted sandwich at the local bar they had set up and walked up the stairs into an eating area that sat on top of construction scaffolding while local musicians sang beautifully. I’m quite taken how simply spaces can be transformed and little moments can satisfy in big ways.

 

 

Produced by Eyeball Media Enterprises Scenestr is an online national magazine with local offices around Australia. Having started in 1993 they’ve excelled at moving into the digital realm but they remain at heart from the streets. They still publish magazines in print for Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland every month.

-Lloyd Marken

EXCELLENCE IN BEGINNING TO TEACH NOMINEES FOR 2019 TEACHX AWARDS AVAILABLE AT QUEENSLAND COLLEGE OF TEACHERS

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The 2019 TEACHX Awards are to be held on the 23rd of October and will recognise some of the most outstanding teachers working in the profession across Queensland. The event is run by the Queensland College of Teachers (QCT) who have received over 200 nominations across six categories.

In the lead up to the event, the media arm of QCT is publishing pieces on all the nominees and I have been most fortunate to be placed on secondment in their area to write some of these.

I have previously posted about the categories Outstanding Contribution to Teaching and For Innovation in Teaching. The next category Excellence in Beginning to Teach received the most nominees with 76 and I wrote pieces on 39 of them.

They are as follows: Ayden-Skye Au Quay, Taryn Allen, Gerard Atzeni, Angela Barkle, Mathew Barling, Victoria Barrett, Peita Bates, Morgan BerryAidan Bosworth, Dylan Bowyer, Nikki Boyd, Jamie Brown, Breye Buckland, Mackenzie Burn, Alana ButcherCaleb Chaves, Ashleigh Fuller, Angela Gibson, Mikayla Giuffrida, Kirra Gold, Carolina Gomez Isaza, Georgia Goodwin, Cherie Grace, Katherine HansonAngela Hendry, Stephanie Holmes, Ashleigh HopkinsDesiree HughesDean Jacobs, Brittany Sauta, Taylah Savins-Harrison, Nicole Schirripa, David Seymour, Susanne Sprungala, Lisa Stewart, Karen TaylorJami Thomas, Matthew Tobin and Jade Travis.

The event is a huge undertaking requiring a lot of planning and work from a talented team. Like all things done by this team, it is done to recognise some of the great work that teachers are doing and to help elevate the profession. Being called upon to write full time, pieces that support these aims is a dream come true for me.

The people I’m working with are experienced, talented and extremely hard working and I’m doing my best to learn as much as possible from them. Case in point is the design work you see above which was done by one of my colleagues for the event.

Feel free to check them out and comment on what you liked. All 76 have made an extraordinary contribution to bettering the education of students.

-Lloyd Marken

TRUTHMACHINE REVIEW AVAILABLE ON SCENESTR

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I returned to the Brisbane Festival in 2019 following the chance to attend and review Ode to Man in 2018. I was on assignment again for Scenestr magazine and found myself at the Theatre Republic at Kelvin Grove campus of the Queensland University of Technology. I’ve studied and worked at QUT over the years and always find myself a little happy to make the rare trip back.

Truthmachine itself has won awards and acclaim travelling throughout the country and I found lots of positive things to acknowledge in my review but I left a little disappointed. You can read my review here https://scenestr.com.au/arts/truthmachine-review-brisbane-festival-2019-20190911 and I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.

Produced by Eyeball Media Enterprises Scenestr is an online national magazine with local offices around Australia. Having started in 1993 they’ve excelled at moving into the digital realm but they remain at heart from the streets. They still publish magazines in print for Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland every month.

-Lloyd Marken

GOOD BOYS REVIEW AVAILABLE AT SCENESTR

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Part of the fun of being a freelance writer is you grab your opportunities where you can with some unexpected surprises. On assignment for Scenestr, I attended Good Boys which had good talent involved and some funny trailers but I was cautious.

Thankfully Good Boys, primarily the work of Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky, I really liked a lot. You can read my review here http://scenestr.com.au/movies-and-tv/good-boys-review-20190910

 

I’m grateful for opportunities I continue to have with Scenestr and really enjoyed the night. We were back at a preview screening in the Myer Centre and this time along with a complimentary glass of wine being offered was a cordial drink in a party cup. Hot dogs wrapped in pastry were dispersed through the crowd too and at this early evening screenings some food before you go in is much appreciated.

Of more importance, the film is one of the best gross out comedies I’ve seen in the past decade and an instant classic. I will be interested to hear what you guys and gals think.

Produced by Eyeball Media Enterprises Scenestr is an online national magazine with local offices around Australia. Having started in 1993 they’ve excelled at moving into the digital realm but they remain at heart from the streets. They still publish magazines in print for Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland every month.

-Lloyd Marken

INNOVATION IN TEACHING NOMINEES FOR 2019 TEACHX AWARDS AVAILABLE AT QUEENSLAND COLLEGE OF TEACHERS

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The 2019 TEACHX Awards are to be held on the 23rd of October and will recognise some of the most outstanding teachers working in the profession across Queensland. The event is run by the Queensland College of Teachers (QCT) who have received over 200 nominations across six categories.

In the lead up to the event, the media arm of QCT is publishing pieces on all the nominees and I have been most fortunate to be placed on secondment in their area to write some of these.

I previously posted about the first category of nominees to be published on the QCT website – the 15 nominees for Outstanding Contribution to Teaching Award.

The next category published was the Innovation in Teaching Award of which there are 23 nominees, 12 of which I wrote the pieces for. They are as follows: Adam Juang, Amanda Kelk, Catherine Wilson, Elizabeth Wilson, Helen Spanos, Jacinda Kontoleon, Kiri Pearce, Nicole ChristianPenelope Couch, Rebecca Goodes, Theo Skordilis and Wendy Goldston.

The event is a huge undertaking requiring strong project management to prepare for the event and have it run smoothly on the night. Like all things done by this team, it is done to recognise some of the great work that teachers are doing and to help elevate the profession. Being called upon to write full time, pieces that support these aims is a dream come true for me.

The people I’m working with are experienced, talented and extremely hard working and I’m doing my best to learn as much as possible from them. Case in point is the design work you see above which was done by one of my colleagues for the event.

Feel free to check them out and comment on what you liked. All 23 have made an extraordinary contribution to bettering the education of students.

-Lloyd Marken