Posts Tagged ‘Alejandro Adams’

“Inception” See it 4K and in a D-BOX Seat

I don’t get out to the movies as much as I used to, but “Inception” is one movie that I want to see on the big screen.

Camera 7 has 4K Digital Projection on their big screen. I asked Dominic Espinosa, Camera Cinemas District Manager, what was the advantage of 4K. Dominic explained that the old 2K resolution put out 2,000 pixels and that the 4K projector puts out 4,000 pixels. Double of anything sounds good to me. Camera 7 is also the first movie theater in Silicon Valley to have D-BOX motion effects seats.

Alejandro Adams, Camera 7 General Manager, had invited a select few of us to experience a D-BOX demo. After we got settled in the special bright red extra wide seats, we were given our instructions. A control is mounted on the right side of each seat. The seat motion is synchronized with the action of the film. The Settings: High – Medium – Low – Off.

As we viewed the trailers for “The Expendables”, “Tron: Legacy”, and an action piece from “Fast and Furious”, it was easy to adjust to the amount of seat motion intensity that I was comfortable with. I kept it on the highest setting for most of the time.  The seat motion effects did bring added excitement to the hard hitting scenes. The movement was not over done, distracting or annoying.

Thanks to Alejandro and Dominic I found the perfect theater. By going on the Camera Cinemas website I was able to purchase 2 tickets for “Inception” – $8 was added to the ticket price of each D-BOX seat.

Camera 7
Inception D-BOX – New this Week!
Now offering D-BOX Motion Effects Seating option! An $8 per ticket surcharge applies for this experience!
Daily at 12:15pm, 3:30, 6:40, 9:45

Buy Tickets

Camera Seven on twitter ~ see information about special events and promotions.

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D-BOX flickr set.

“The Expendables” (plays with sound) and 3D “Tron: Legacy” (plays with sound) will be released with the D-BOX motion code.



Writer/Director Alejandro Adams returned to Cinequest for the third year in a row to astound the SJ Repertory Theater audience with the World Premiere of his film BABNIK.  After last year’s controversial CANARY, many in the audience last night were not sure what to expect from Adams third film, but BABNIK is a perfect blend of suspense and Adams’s trademark confusion.  BABNIK is a winner. (more…)

My life as an Extra.

San Jose Metblogs’ favorite director Alejandro Adams has been filming two movies at the same time. We have already told you about Amity, but he was also shooting Child of God. The final scenes were shot on Saturday, and the Metblogs crew, as well as many others, were invited to be extras on set. So what was it like to be an extra on a film set? Many in the group had expected it to be boring, but instead it was a pretty pleasant and interesting experience.The request for extras was put out by Adams through Facebook, Twitter, and word of mouth. We were requested to wear church clothing and to show up at the Foxworthy Baptist Church around 3:30pm. Among the group who showed up were part time actors; students and one teacher from Milpitas and Evergreen Valley high schools; Joann Landers, Gary Wiens and yours truly from Metblogs; some Cinequest fans; and even some people who had heard the call through Metblogs. There was definitely a wide range of people there.

Alejandro Adams give the extras instructions

Alejandro Adams give the extras instructions

Our first job was to sit in the church sanctuary pretending to be the congregation while two actresses, Jennie Floyd and Marya Murphy, sang some hymns and read church announcements. This was a very easy job to perform while they shot it over and over from different angles. I’m not going to lie, it was HOT outside and we were all happy to just be sitting in the air conditioned church. Some of us agreed later that after a few takes we sort of were paying about as much attention as one usually does during church announcements and hymns, so our vaguely pleasant but bored looks should come off as very realistic.

Next they asked to film us entering the church. This took several tries as we all sort of single file walked quickly through the church doors and into our seats, as if we had all been outside the church chanting “Open-Open-Open” and couldn’t wait to get in. Adams and crewmember Ali Allie patiently asked us to please walk slower and in smaller groups, and eventually we got it.

Walking around outside the church was the next scene. We were put into groups and stood in different spots on the grounds; Allie would say “Action!” and each group was asked to walk to a different spot. These scenes were harder to get through as the temperature was far into the 90s that afternoon and we were sweating up a storm. At least most of us women were wearing dresses, but most of the men had long sleeved shirts, some with jackets. My group also had to walk up several stairs to a dead end balcony about three times; a friend I had brought complained that I had not told her she would be doing cardio work! But we all survived.

Jennie Floyd speaks with Alejandro Adams

Jennie Floyd speaks with Alejandro Adams

At different points during the day we were let into the Fellowship Hall where there was a bounty of snacks and drinks set out for the crew and extras. I noticed the teens especially were thrilled with all the chips, granola bars and sweets available; the adults were mostly interested in the cold water, juice and soda. All in all it was a very relaxing few hours we spent at the church and we were well taken care of. Alejandro Adams was polite and soft-spoken as usual, and the crew was professional and did their jobs as quickly as possible.

When the main shooting was over Adams explained that we were able to leave, however he did need a couple extra people to shoot one final scene. Joann Landers and I were included. About six of us plus the two actresses went into a small church room where we sat down around a conference table. We had to pretend to be discussing the “sermon” we had “just heard” and then Jennie Floyd was to pipe up with a line that was completely shocking, insensitive and inappropriate. The extras just had to go silent as Marya Murphy then had to respond in a manner that was so heartbreaking I wanted to get up and give her a hug after each take. Luckily we only had to do that scene a couple times over; I don’t think any of us could take Marya’s increasingly heartrending performance.

Marya Murphy takes a break from filming

Marya Murphy takes a break from filming

We were let go after that. Jennie Floyd assured me her character was not the insensitive jerk she appeared to be in that scene, and Marya has told me the movie is not depressing; I’m not sure I believe either of them, but there are certainly 20-25 people at that church who cannot wait to see this movie when it comes out! We all would like to thank Alejandro Adams for inviting us into his movie family and letting us be a part of his film. His crew are wonderful people and those he casts are always incredibly talented. We certainly wish him much success with Child of God!

Alejandro Adams’ films:
Around the Bay

Child of God

Students Catalina Corral and Lizette Calderon enjoyed being stars for a day

Students Catalina Corral and Lizette Calderon enjoyed being stars for a day

Alejandro Adams Film: Extras Needed

Steve Voldseth

Steve Voldseth

It was during Cinequest 18 that I first met Steve Voldseth. He was starring in the Alejandro Adams film, Around the Bay. I am so pleased to report that Steve and Alejandro are once again teaming up. And to top it off, extras are needed!!!

Date: Saturday, June 27th. Location: West San Jose. Time: 3:30 – 5:00 PM. All ages welcome.

Contact Alejandro – for the, location, wardrobe and scene details.

See Variety

Around the Bay, a film by Alejandro Adams

Viewed Saturday, June 12 at the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum, along with Passion Flower (review following).

Daisy rides the train with her brother Noah

Daisy rides the train with her brother Noah

If TS Eliot came back to life reincarnated as a filmmaker, he would be Alejandro Adams. This is what I wrote on my notepad halfway through this movie, and while I firmly believe this comparison, it also makes a review of his movies very difficult. How could you write a one page review of Eliot’s The Waste Land and make the average reader understand the greatness of the work? I missed this film when it played at Cinequest 2008, so I was very happy to have this second chance to see Adams’ first feature film.

Like The Waste Land, it is difficult to adequately review an Adams film without writing an entire 10 page essay. His films defy a one or two paragraph blurb; there is far too much going on, too much you have to figure out yourself. This is the beauty of his first two films; he will never tell you what is happening, and nothing will be explained to you. You are merely an observer in the film’s world and it is up to you to decide what the story is about. While this film had more of a beginning-middle-end configuration than did Canary, his second film, it is still just a section of time in the lives of these characters.

Around the Bay is a movie with four main characters: all four are protagonists of their own story, and antagonists in another. Such is real life. The four characters are all interrelated in some way: you have a father, a daughter and a son by two different ex-wives, and a girlfriend. The truth of this plot is that none of the four characters really know any of the others as they should, and they battle through the film trying, and failing, to understand each other. I could spend time explaining the intricacies of the plot, but the experience of watching the film is much more important than the details of the story.

Little snippets of scenes spliced here, there, and everywhere; some with jarring blackout cuts, some scenes and their dialogue simply overlapping each other. An unsettling puzzle of quiet scenes that ensure you will never know for sure what is coming next. Such a quiet movie with so little written dialogue, but it also contains so much noise; there is a constant stream of crickets or train noises drowning out everything else. Adams knows how to manipulate this minimalist use of sound to create a cacophony of unrest. If you took out all background sound and dialogue, and replaced it with Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, you would still have the same experience watching this film.

Instead of written dialogue, many scenes are spent watching the characters sit silently; it is up to us to read their thoughts. This can frustrate the average moviegoer, but is also the beauty of Adams’ films; like a great poem, the viewer must interpret what is going on in the minds of the characters. This contributes to the feeling of being a voyeur into this world. At times the screen just goes silent – often when the character of the father is almost experiencing some emotion, as if he’s trying to use silence to drown it before it surfaces.

Will Alejandro ever get rich with his films? Probably not with this film, but I don’t think he cares. He is a true artist-slash-genius such as many literary authors who were never given the fame they deserved while alive. I predict his films will be taught in film school one day, but this does not mean the average viewer should forget his name. If you ever get your hands on a DVD of Around the Bay I suggest you set aside 96 minutes of quiet time to sit and observe the entire film in one viewing. When it is over you will be happy that you gave the film the attention it deserves.

I also saw the documentary film Passion Flower, by Jarrod Whaley.

Skip Cisto prepares the tattoo for Ann Law

Skip Cisto prepares the tattoo for Ann Law

This was a beautiful film about a woman with a double mastectomy who decides to get a passion flower tattooed around the area of her scars. The woman, Ann Law, is a dancer who has decided against being fitted with prostheses or submitting to reconstructive surgery. The entire film is set in the tattoo parlor, and Ann arrives with friends while chatting happily. Throughout the film she explains her story as tattoo artist Skip Cisto proceeds with the process. We see everything from the drawing being transferred to her skin, to the coloring in of the tattoo. Cisto treats Ann and her story with great respect, almost reverence, and appears to be aware of the part he is playing in this metamorphoses. Ann even chats happily about the rain outside. She says that the rain makes her glad she’s there in the parlor, that if it were sunny she would want to be playing outside. But of course the rain is also a symbol of rebirth, and it marks the transformation of Ann from cancer survivor to a work of art. When it is over she stands up and admires with the rest of us her perfectly smooth torso that is now a canvas for the passion flower. There is no cringing or wincing from anyone on film or in the audience as she displays her bare chest, just as there is no longer any sign of a scar. Her metamorphosis into a whole woman again is complete.

Bay Area filmmaker Alejandro Adams‘ first feature, Around the Bay, appeared on several critics’ top ten lists at the end of 2008. His second feature, Canary, prompted Dennis Harvey of Variety to hail him as “an arresting talent.” Babnik, a Russian-language sex-trafficking thriller, is currently in post-production. Amity and Child of God are currently being filmed.

Jarrod Whaley of Oak Street Films currently resides in Chattanooga but preparing for his move to the Bay Area this summer. He has also written and directed the upcoming dark comedy Hell is Other People.

My afternoon on the Amity film set (My house)

I met the very talented director Alejandro Adams and his brilliantly artistic wife Marya Murphy at Cinequest this year.  Their second film Canary had its premiere there and had a greatly divided audience reaction.  I was in the “I LOVE IT” camp and am still quite fascinated with its meaning and implications three months later.  Their first film, Around the Bay, was highly regarded at a previous Cinequest and by critics everywhere, and will be showing again at the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum on June 12.  I was not able to view it at Cinequest and am quite excited to see it in June.  Their third film Babnik is currently in post production.

Alejandro and Marya have kept in touch with me since the festival and I knew they were preparing to begin their fourth film, Amity.  So when Marya recently asked if they could use the front of my house to shoot some scenes I jumped at the chance.  I had no desire to be in the film myself, but I am a firm believer in Alejandro’s genius and was honored to be able to help.  I offered to supply refreshments while they were there and just planned to stay out of the way as much as possible.

Of course, the reality of having your house in a film shoot in June means that you should finally take down the Christmas lights that are still hanging, and wash off the fake window snow (oops).  Also make sure your lawn is mowed, flowers trimmed, driveway swept, porch washed and cars parked elsewhere.  In addition, the cast and crew need access to a bathroom, and don’t forget you volunteered to provide snacks.  It was a lot of hard, happy-to-help work getting the house prepared.

Actor Michael Uimari eyes craft services as Sam Lopez takes still shots

Actor Michael Uimari eyes craft services as Sam Lopez takes still shots


Cinequest Film Festival 19: Transform


February 25 – March 8, 2009 Cinequest will transform a three block area of San Jose through celebration, innovation, humor, love, provocation, and inspiration.

Opening night: ‘Wake’ (as in funeral) starring Bijou Phillips, Danny Masterson, and Jane Seymour makes its world premiere here in San Jose. Mezcal at 25 W San Fernando and Billy Berk’s at 99 S. 1st St. are hosting the post screening party(s). Will actors and filmmakers show up at both? General admission price of $12.00, or $40.00 if you include the party. 7 PM at the California Theatre.

Closing Night: The world premiere of ‘The Nature of Existence’. What a deal. A documentary that explains it all… Why are we here? Does God exist, etc.? All for only the general admission price of $12.00, or $40.00 if you include the party – appetizers, desserts, cocktails and entertainment at E & O Trading Co. 7:30 PM at the California Theatre

Maverick Spirit Recipients:

* Louis Gossett Jr – Academy Award winner® – ‘An Officer and a Gentleman’.

Award presentation and screening of ‘The Least Among You’.

March 3rd, 7:00 PM – California Theatre – General Admission $10.00

* Kevin Pollak – The Usual Suspects’, ‘The Whole Nine Yards”, ‘That Thing You Do’; ‘Casino’

The evening includes stand-up film comedy by Pollak.

March 4th, 7:00 PM – California Theatre – General Admission – $20:00

* Diablo Cody – Academy Award winning® screenwriter – ‘Juno’.

March 6th, 3 PM – San Jose Repertory Theatre – $15 ticket for the conversation – moderated by Lew Hunter.

Local Filmmakers World Premieres:

* ‘All About Dad’ by, Mark Tran a Vietnamese-American comedy.

* ‘Canary’ by, Alejandro Adams (Around the Bay, Cinequest 2008) Organ harvesting.

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