Saturday, April 28, 2012

Young Talent - revisited

Demo Reel 2011 by Nareg Kalenderian

We featured Nareg back in 2009. Few years later, Nareg is proving his talent once more with his new short animation. Nareg is an artist who taught himself the different techniques in 3D animations (textures, materials, lighting, modeling, rigging, animating, rendering, ...). Even though self-taught, his art is, without any doubt, of great quality. He managed to improve his techniques thoroughly by working in local and international film industry (which includes Pixar). He worked on some animations in local and regional ads and effects in some foreign movies. But his skills surpasses these of an effects artist, and deliver some great costumes, makeup, sets design, cinematograpy all gathered with an outstanding art direction. Simply he showed himself talented in every film crew job, and more importantly he proved himself as an authentic director who takes care excessively of all details in a scene. Unfortunately, the infrastructure in Lebanon is holding him back, in more than one instance, he mentioned that the rendering of the reel took around 6 months with no possibility to run the bake 24/7 because of the regular power cut-off, which delayed significantly his result and reduced his productivity (note that the reel is done in his spare time!). We hope that his talent would get regional investors' attention to produce soon a first long animated feature from our region, with an attractive style and mood similar than those found in his reels.

Nareg in a picture taken by DFI

Sunday, April 22, 2012

33 days (Drama) - ٣٣ يوم

Trailer for the drama 33 days

Not to be confused with the documentary, 33 days is a historical drama that attempts to build a feature during the start of the Israeli war against Lebanon in 2006. It depicts the first few days at Ayta el Chaab during the 33 days of the war where Israel mercilessly shelled and bombed indiscriminately Lebanon, especially the southern villages. The armed resistance and the population manages to fight back. As advertised, the joint Iranian-Lebanese production resulted in a big budget movie bloated with high comparse number and special effects such as explosions and computer-generated imagery (CGI). The integration of the effects enjoyed an elegant level of realism. The cast members included some acclaimed actors and some young ones. Carmen Lebboss acting dwarfs all the other performances, this huge gap is somewhat annoying to the viewer. Darine Hamze is proving her talent as an actor by selecting a role that differs radically from her previous ones each time. She manages to deliver some acceptable performance despite the use of the Hebrew which she learned to play the associated role. Unlike the cast and the special effects, the script lacks polishing and reviews. This experience should help the movie makers in the future to learn from current mistakes to produce better films. While this movie may entertain the viewers, personally, I find the same titled documentary a more educating and mind catching reel. Note that while the documentary focuses on the war away from the front line from refugees and civilians perspective for the whole 33 days, this current drama point the camera almost exclusively on the fought battles in the southern villages for the first few days only not 33 days as the title misleads. Another note, the finishing credits doesn't use Arabic at all in the role description of the crew.

Update: Some theaters in Lebanon canceled or postponed the screening of the movie. This is sad news, it can be only considered as a form of censorship, not a government censorship, but rather politically motivated one.