Shortlisted finalists for Ireland’s exciting Catalyst project

Over at IFTN – the Irish Film and Television Network – website they tell us about this exciting sounding competition they are having. Called the Catalyst Project it’s been around since 2007 giving production teams a chance to make a feature with a budget infusion of €350,000.

I like the sound of this competition because it is for production teams. You have to submit a proposal where you’ve already got a producer, screenwriter and director. It reinforces the reality that you can’t make a film by yourself. (Contrast this to how they do it in America).

The only downside – for me – is this:

Priority will be given to Irish citizens and Irish residents with a track record in audio-visual production.

Otherwise awesome.

A new movie search engine, a new search company? OOTU is unveiled

This story kind of came out of nowhere for me. It crossed my desk as a press release.

Basically, there is a new movie search site. It has pretty much the worst name ever. OOTU Movies. OOTU stands for Out of This Universe. Looking at it, I think it is an experimental site being used by this new company OOTU. OOTU are supposedly a new ‘semantic search company’. We all know that movies are great tools for database guys because there is so much data and so much categorizing going on.

Now, normally I would be like, eh, who cares.

Except, that a few days ago I read an article over on deadline.com and blogged about it here. The article was about movie tracking.

It was this comment that caught my attention:

My husband works at Google. Their machine learning group has developed a tool that is startling in its accuracy at movie prediction. Google does not intend to roll it out to the studios as it was developed for a different business need and movie tracking was simply a test.

Now, this new OOTU website is child’s play compared to what this person is talking about, but, semantic searching sounds familiar. Google announced two years ago that it would start rolling out semantic search for its internal algorithms. Hmm. Interesting.

Anyway, these things may be totally unrelated and maybe I am just seeing Jesus in the cornflakes here.

Here’s the press release that started my thoughts

Chinese Indie Film Festival shut down…again

The Beijing Independent Film Festival has had many problems in the past due to its promotion of Chinese films made outside of government sponsorship. (i.e. independently!). This year things were stepped up and festival organisers were detained.

It would be great if the international film community showed some support for these guys!

Updated: The Guardian has a piece on this now

The playlist is patented? Who’da thunk it?

In the litigous wild west state of Texas a series of lawsuits have been brewing that might just blow your mind.

Personal Audio LLC claims to have ‘invented’ or at the very least ‘patented’ the whole concept of podcasting and play lists. This is important to filmmakers for the following reason – the company has not only been suing prominent podcasters but it has also been going after TV Networks and online video portals.

Personal Audio claims to have a patent on this:

Apparatus for disseminating a series of episodes represented by media files via the Internet as said episodes become available

Personal Audio’s predecessor filed this patent in 1996, and it was granted in 2009. Yes, 2009.

A fire has been quietly building about this since 2013, but to me it only hit the limelight when Personal Audio gave up on individual podcasters (incredibly, Personal Audio only just realised that podcasters don’t make money!). Next month the lawsuit against TV networks kicks in.

It’s all a bit incredible.

There’s lots of articles about this, and its a bit hard to wade through, but a good place to start is the below linked page from EFF, who have their own lawsuit pending to nullify the patent.

 

A Z-Boy falls, A Documentary Remembers

Back in the 70s skateboarding was the cool kid thing to do. I, myself, was hopeless at it.

But a group of kids from Los Angeles – and more specifically, the DogTown area of LA – were the infamous group. They were the Z-Boys.

In 2001 a documentary, directed by a former Z-Boy and narrated by Sean Penn, swept Sundance, winning the Audience and Best Directing awards.

Sadly, a few days ago, one of the original Z-Boys, Jay Adams, passed away.

Luckily for us, the remarkable documentary that hilights these kids is available on YouTube. If you are into documentary I recommend checking it out. (Sadly it’s not in HD).

KiwiZombies

Sadly, the movie is not called that, but, Zombies have struck a town in New Zealand. As anyone who reads this blog will know, I love local news stories about indie films.

The article has some great quotes like:

one of Dunedin’s biggest films since Scarfies.

The film was funded with the aid of the New Zealand Film Commission’s great Escalator scheme.