Independent Filmmakers/Feature Project Conference 2014

John Water's tributeDelighted to share this snapshot I took with my i-phone. This week I volunteer at the Independent Filmmakers conference at the Lincoln center Plaza in New York city.  The quote from filmmaker John Waters i noticed at a large size billboard when i went to pick up my badge at the volunteer check-in located at the Bunin Monroe Film Center, at 144 West 65th street. The center celebrates the filmmaker with a tribute of screenings.

True, things don’t happen overnight. One has to show up in their industry daily, weekly, monthly, annually with persistence. One needs to also continue producing and exhibiting a significant body of work with consistency. Then the industry will also meet them somewhere, somehow.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

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I am a bilingual screenplay writer

I was born raised at the island of Cyprus, a tiny island as the size of US’s Connecticut. It is actually the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.

My native language is Greek. I wrote my first essays in Modern Greek and read the educational books used in Greece, but I spoke with a dialect. Specialists say that the origins of the Cyprus dialect is rooted to Homer. I can say with certainty that it is hard for Greeks from the mainland to understand our unique fashion in conversational dialogue.

Cyprus is an independent country with strong ties to Hellenism, and, to tourism. English is used as a second language. When I applied for my graduate degree in the US the language prerequisites for admittance,TOEFL and GRE scores, were relatively easy to obtain.

Where I got challenged the most in my transition to a native English country, was with my writing. Expressing myself  in English, shifting from my thinking became a problem in my first year of Film school and screenplay writing class. I addressed my concerns to my professor, an established bilingual screenplay writer, saying “I can’t write well in English.”  “Write in Greek!,” was his response.

I wrote my first screenplay in Greek and completed all writing assignments in Greek. I translated the ones I needed to turn in for a grade. Over time I became less inhibited about expressing myself in English and inevitably I got improved.

Now I can look back at that initial struggle. It was a matter of shifting myself from a thinking-speaking and writing pattern that was my native inheritance. My initial frustration has mellowed down because I have allowed myself to improve -with repetitive edits and re-writes of course. From time to time I still write a poem in Greek, but I don’t need to translate any more. I write directly in English.

I am a bilingual screenplay writer and I will work with the unique skill-set I have. I will make sure my story is structured in three Acts, that my characters are well-developed and my story promotes my mission, which is, to empower and inspire through meaningful storytelling. That much I can certainly do.

 

 

Announcing private business, Creativity Coach

I take pleasure to announce private business as Creativity coach! With upcoming certification in 2015 from the Creativity Coaching Association in CA, I introduce low rate for helping anyone invested in their self-development. I welcome all visual artists or artists at heart that need support to establish or regain their voice through deliberate arts practice.

 INTRODUCTORY RATES June to December 2014

 Ready to commit to yourself and create a life-changing experience?

Take a chance because you matter!

Phone: 716-206-4493

 soteriounefeli@gmail.com

http://www.nefelisoteriou.com

Program commitments: Weekly e-mail communication

Monthly skype communication, In person meetings in New York City

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Dumping old belief systems

I was to spent my afternoon with some folks at the MoMA rooftop last Friday, then walk at a nearby bar. The summer rain forced us at their bookstore instead, drifting our time until the new meeting.

All kinds of artistic work is packaged as commodity for sale, on pencils, t-shirts, puzzles, on hand-made toys and other eloquent designs for home and personal use.  The originals were once created under extraordinary life conditions. “What a shame for the artist that died poor and unrecognized,” I thought to myself.

I know a sculptor that made a deal with a restaurant. He will receive meals for life. As an exchange he produced a series of sculptures for them. Luckily for the sculptor the owners will take good care of him; their food is nutritious and delicious.

Trading goods for value is ancient, some as the Mayans had advanced systems in place. When the artist herself does not place intrinsic value in her product of work it becomes an issue. The artist has a personal belief her work has not real value. As a result she may have difficulty trade her work with merchants,  because she believes they have a trade value of 0. Of course not all crafted goods are worth more than the stuff they are made out of and an honest assessment by the artist is key in all transactions involved.

Believe in yourself, in your value and in your art. Once you work deliberately to shift that mindset, your world can change!

 

Women of the film industry and International Film Collectives

[1]

Film Fatales is a collective of women filmmakers based in New York City. The concept is simple: to support and mentor other women in the industry through meetings held the first Monday of the month.

Firm believers of small gatherings, collectives like theirs provides a safe environment to share industry resources, insights to resolve production problems and ideas overcoming finance obstacles.

All Film Fatales members are writers/directors and have produced one feature length film in the genres of narrative or documentary.

The collective hopes to promote the creation of more stories by and about women. London has already formed its own Film Fatales group, New Orleans and several other cities across the US.

If you want to create your own Film Fatales group, contact the organizers in New York city, they will guide you step by step in the process. I was present last night for the Film Fatales panel discussion organized by IFP (Independent Feature Project) at the Made in New York Media Center.

[2]

Collabfeature is a new collective that connects independent filmmakers to mufti-direct features internationally. Each filmmaker will direct in their own country. How cool is that! I found out about Collabfeature through mandy.com. I am a frequent visitor of mandy.com while searching  for that new opportunity I can be of extraordinary service in my field.

 

 

 

 

 

Technology or dinosaurs?

It was announced most recently, a filmmakers new feature is now available on Vimeo on demand. The rental fee is $5.00.

About a month ago I attended a three-day conference online that was recorded with webcams. In spite the particular audiovisual technology used, I had a rich educational experience.

“Art and technology changes. We need to embrace it otherwise we become dinosaurs.” I heart these words tonight at the Inventing the Night Film Conversation from the cinematographer Anastas Michos. The event was held at the New York Film Academy.

Many artists stumble upon the decisions they have to make in selecting the tools to develop their creative projects. In film, the debate is between the celluloid (traditional film) or digital image quality. I believe it is a bonus, knowing how to use the old and the new, one can decide the tools that suits their artistic vision best.

DINOSAURS

Blaze is an independent dog with a mind on his own!

IMG_3631This is a picture of a strange growth developed at Blazes left paw (the gray and white spot). It is thick skin that grows around the pads.

I freaked out the first day I noticed. A tumor? this and other thoughts crossed my mind. He did not have difficulty to walk. I wanted to sanitize the area with iodine solution for infection. But his fleshy underparts are personal territory to Blaze. He would not let me take a closer look.

When Blaze says “no” he means it. I chase after him in the apartment. He growls if he must, i let him be. Blaze is of the independent ones. Alluring him to the bathroom which is a small area took considerate effort and half a bag of treats. When I reached my goal to sanitize all four paws, I felt I took the first step to help my dog.

Apparently this condition may come with age, Blaze turns nine this year. I reached to that conclusion after online search. I typed “strange growth, paw” at Google’s search engine and got a plethora of medical information on dog skin conditions.

The next afternoon, Blaze was lying on my bed, very relaxed. There was my chance to check on his growth. I approached slowly and pet him to ease him in. He welcomed wagging his tail. To my surprise he allowed me to lift his paw and examine it. When I looked closer, the growth was gone! Blaze chewed it off! He let a trail of small pieces of skin  spread around him.

I suppose my dog had enough of my invasive tactics and took charge of the matter for himself; he cut his growth off.

 

P.S. I am scheduled to check with his vet however. In his mature years he needs preventive care.

Real life and Art

In real life some artists may never proclaim their artistry. They may never distribute their product of work at an art gallery, or be known to a wider audience for their craft.  Successful creative-making is that which brings balance into a person’s life, a product developed through their labor of love.

Karen Spencer is one of my colleagues, a librarian by training, and the designer of this beautiful purse. She surprised me with this gift last August when we met last time, before my departure from Buffalo, New York. I already used the purse in the city of New York and it got attention, because it is simply unique.

This masterpiece is made from different used ties Karen collected over the years. She started sewing at a very young age and I can attest, her technique is flawless. Throughout the years Karen created bed quilts, table coasters, decorative quilts, wash clothes, all from used clothing.

P.S. I took the photography with my 4S i-phone. I did not edit the stills at all, a day light shot right before noon.

 

KS1 KS0

Pedestrian crossings and the city

She jumped right in front of me and punched fists straight in the air. “Got to wait. IDIOT!” My hands were full with groceries. It was Friday afternoon at a busy traffic light in mid-town Manhattan.

The “idiot,” was the driver of a black limousine which had blocked the pedestrian crossing at the short green light. He appeared as if he did not hear the woman who angrily screamed at him, although his windows were rolled down. Thanks to her proactive actions, the drivers behind him pulled an immediate stop and we managed to cross the road last-minute.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0.

The same evening I paid a visit at my friends at the East side. I stopped at a red light, I was on my bike. Moments later a cars horn sounded alarming, but I had no reason to pay further attention.  I was at the right lane, waiting. Immediately after that thought, a car squeezed their breaks right behind me and their horn kept honking.

Surprised on the unnecessary persistence I turned my head to face the driver in a white SUV.

“Why aren’t you on the bike lane? he asked but did not wait for my answer. “You are not allowed to drive here. Ride on the bike lane. Why you ride your bike on the road, eight million people live here. I am not going to hit you, but someone else will. You tourists. You don’t need to ride your bikes in the city.” He spoke so fast, his face got red quickly from not taking a breath.

“I live here” I said in a calm manner.

“You live here? Why you ride your bike on the road?

“Because I am allowed,” I returned. I wanted to say more but he was too busy to let me talk. He was well caught in his preconceived notions about the city of New York, the people who live here and the tourists that visit the city of New York. Clearly, he was oblivious to the fact that bicycles have similar rights as with all other vehicles. We can ride in the road too.

“Have a good night” I said. And the young man went on repeating the same, like a tape recorder. But I was far away already.

Maybe I had it all wrong. It could be that this man got really scared over-speeding and got caught off guard at the red light.

 

 

Really, what else is there?

The most solid relationship in my life thus far is with my art-making. I started young, my parents encouraged. From joining a children’s choir, to choosing to attend a high-school with disciplines in Graphic Arts and Design, I slowly carved out the creator’s path for myself. To perfect my skill-set, I took private lessons and improved my technique in drawing, oil and watercolor. Is been twenty plus years I consciously make art. And yet, my technique is not perfect.

Practicing art requires a tremendous amount of self-discipline. It calls for establishing habitual patterns and willingness to maintain them, while dealing with life. It is a chosen path, the artist’s life.

Throughout the years I learned that my efforts may or not be appreciated by the general public. Other artists may receive that grant I want. Audiences may not understand my concepts. Folks may test my patience with wanting additional clarifications about my ideas and others will be indifferent in viewing my films.  There will be always people that will expect me to produce stories to their liking, including happy endings.

Truth to be told, there was one time I wanted to quit. I snapped out of it when I realized that the only person I compete with, is myself. I learned in time to develop a thicker skin.

After twenty plus years of art practice I have grown to know a few things. I know a lot more than i used to know. I don’t know as much as I am going to know. I intent to keep making art, I plan to continue enjoying this journey. Really, what else is there?