SXSW News, How to Shoot a Low-Budget Film and More…

Blog By: Jessica Schellenbach

SXSW Screenings

Today at the SXSW festival, King Kelly by Andrew Neel (Darkon) was screened at the Violet Crown 2. King Kelly is about a woman who’s an ambitious Internet star who runs her own striptease show over the web. One day her jealous ex steals her car that’s fully-loaded with drugs. With the help from her friend Jordan, the adventure starts to go get what’s hers.
The movie is using the found-footage approach, shot exclusively on iPhones. The  iPhone is pretty much their eyes. With unknowing parents in the next room, King Kelly is an example of today’s youth who pretty much record their whole lives on the Internet. If it’s Facebook or other social networks it doesn’t matter, you pretty much put your entire life on the web for the world to see. People record themselves to put on YouTube in the hopes of getting discovered. People post on Facebook everyday what they ate for breakfast, where they are going later that day etc.
On, the film gets an A-.



Sweden’s Own Jonas Åkerlund

The Swedish director Jonas Åkerlund is best known for his music videos such as Madonna’s Ray of Light and Lady Gaga’s Telephone and Paparazzi. Åkerlund joined SXSW with his third feature Small Apartments.


Small Apartments is a bright and colorful film starring Matt Lucas (Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, Alice in Wonderland, 2010) as Franklin Franklin. Franklin lives in the outskirts of Los Angeles longing for his brother (James Marsden) who’s in the hospital. He is described as an unsexy reclusive man who stays inside in his underwear and practices his horn playing, dreaming of a life in Sweden. His neighbors hate him for those reasons and because he is very fond of his deviant spying. He is also hiding the fact that he accidentally killed his landlord when he went to collect the rent from Franklin. The movie also stars: Billy Crystal, Johnny Knoxville, Dolph Lundgren, Peter Stormare, Rebel Wilson and more.
In an interview on, Åkerlund is asked how he landed this film. He says that the reason it was made was because his producer, Ash (R. Shah) wanted to make it. He also says the film needed creative freedom and that Ash is the kind of producer and would give him all the freedom he wanted. Åkerlund is a very busy guy; Last year he did 34 commercials, 5 music videos and Small Apartments, so for him to take on a job like this, he needs to be 100 percent sure. He says, “I’m pretty spoiled. I work a lot. I go from project to project”. Once he knew he had Lucas and Ash on board along with a great script, he knew there was no turning back.
When asked what 2012 has in store for him, he says that he is trying to focus more on making movies. He says that making Small Apartments was a test. The test panned out and he is now reading scripts to see what his next project will be.



Ten Tips On Shooting a Low-Budget Film featured an article that lists 10 ways of shooting a film on a low budget. SXSW put together a panel of filmmakers and cinematographers titled “The Great Cinematography Shootout” Together they talked about how in today’s society you can film your own movie with much lower-costing cameras and equipment that will give you stellar results.


Here is a list of 10 things tips they put together:
1. Let the camera create the atmosphere. For example, a small camera and small crew can change the feel on a set remarkably.
2. Lenses are the new emulsion. Clay Lifford, one of the directors of photography on the panel says, “It used to be stock that you’d want from the same batch, and now it’s lenses”. Lifford is also commenting on how different lenses are in characters and feel coming from different manufacturers and eras.
3. Use the lens you need. PJ Raval, one of the directors, says he used lenses from the same batch but for certain shots he did use another brand. If you need to, do it.
4. Location, location location. Jody Lee Lipes says, “If you don’t have a budget for lighting, the most important thing is to make sure you don’t wind up in a location you can’t make look good”. So as they say in real estate: location, location, location.
5. Shoot if flat. This way you can re-color it in post production.
6. Don’t shoot it flat. Shoot it with color in the camera.
7. Think about focus.
8. Embrace your limitations. Lipes says, “If you can’t fight something, embrace it”.
9. Lighting- keep it simple. Don’t overdo it. Use what light is there, example light from windows.
10. Don’t give up on film. If you can, try and shoot with film.

Click HERE for article.

Keep The Lights On

The semi-autobiographical drama Keep The Lights On by writer-director Ira Sachs was picked up by Music Box Films on Monday March 12. They will handle the Canadian and US release of the movie which premiered at Sundance in January. Keep the Lights On also won the Teddy award for best LGBT film in Berlin last month.


Sachs made headlines when he raised the final $25,000 of his budget for his latest film on Kickstarter. He is also best known for Forty Shades of Blue and The Delta. Forty Shades of Blue was the Grand Jury Prize winner in 2005 at Sundance.
There is no release date set yet, but for those of you who can’t wait and are in the area, it will be featured at the Tribeca Film Festival next month.



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