Friday, December 10, 2010

10 Films presents CHOOSE NOT TO FALL

Parkour is the epitome of panache. Like bungee-jumping, BASE jumping, and all those other extreme sports where men make suicidal leaps to prove their worth, parkour (also known as free-running) emboldens, it makes the heart soar. The name itself is derived from parcours du combatant, the obstacle course French army cadets are required to master as part of basic training. In parkour, the city is an obstacle course, which must be overcome by the most efficient means. Practitioners of parkour are known as traceurs (they "make haste"). They’re young and daring, and they scale walls like cats. The short film, Choose Not To Fall, is about Daniel Ilabaca, traceur par excellence; a Nike-wearing Cyrano de Bergerac.

The first shot sees Daniel passing over us. He’s aloft. We’re below. It’s hard to think of a more eloquent expression of the transcendent feeling parkour evokes in observers; the splendour of expert movement, how it lifts you even to see it. He jumps – so deftly – it’s as if it was impossible for him to fall. Daniel is fearless, super-humanly agile. The short sets him against the brutal grey of London. He’s dressed in black, an insurgent. The city is his oppressor. But the tone of the film isn’t harsh; it’s soothing. The director, Matthew Marsh, wants to show how parkour beautifies a concrete jungle. When Daniel moves, you’re like the kid watching the plastic bag in American Beauty: you see “the life behind things”.

Daniel is a good speaker too. He talks of how: “in the world in general, imagination and creativity has been lost, and [it’s] been slowly fed back...through computer games…and kids are addicted to games because it’s an easy way to achieve.” Parkour is, from his perspective, a life-threatening response to the great failing of modern life: our wish to abolish the stakes… to lose, and not to suffer for it. In computer games, if you die, you press “Play”. In parkour, you can’t afford to slip. Once you volunteer for risk, you also volunteer to accept the penalties. This is why parkour is for the brave; not because the feats are courageous, but because the practitioners abide with injury and pain. It’s not a sport for whiners. If you fall, you abandon blame. That’s the nobility of these guys: the heroic refusal to demand assurances. Parkour obliges you to be captain of your life.

Matthew Marsh’s film has the steely grace of an Anton Corbijn photo. His black and white images are suffused with strength. You can’t look at Daniel Ilabaca in motion and not see an athlete, and a rock star, mated. He’s city-born, city-weathered, and city-cool as anyone on the cover of Dazed and Confused, or ID. Marsh, like Corbijn, understands the power of black and white to make a subject enduring. Like a photograph of musicians, the film is an attempt to emboss something that is ephemeral by nature. Parkour is over, mostly, by the time you catch sight of a traceur. So the film slows that motion, seeking to capture the image Ilabaca creates in your mind – the wonder – rather than the harum-scarum of free-running.

No-one in London seems to notice Daniel taking risks. Jaded city-dwellers occasionally afford him a second glance, but they rarely stop to look. In a telling moment, Daniel executes a perfect summersault as people walk past him, oblivious to his prowess. He could be on fire… He could be flinging bolts of lightning… and Londoners would ignore him. In this context, parkour becomes even more an act of rebellion. Not only do practitioners defy death, they also defy the life-throttling metropolis: they refuse to blend in. This is not to say parkour is about garnering attention (though, let’s face it, Daniel did want to be filmed); it’s only acknowledging how lifeless we all seem…how we look down... in contrast to traceurs.

Those who’ve seen District 13 (a French action movie from 2004) will be familiar with David Belle, the man who invented parkour. He was the guy who made you want to renew your gym membership: the one who outran thirty assailants; leapt through narrow windows; vaulted staircases…and, all the while, looked so serene, it was as if the chase was his morning work-out. You never saw Belle sweat, in District 13. He had panache. He stowed fear, and doubt, and thoughts of personal safety… until, to see him move, you’d think it was effortless. With this in mind, Choose Not To Fall is made with a traceur’s attitude: the leap doesn’t matter; it was (and is) always possible. At heart, in parkour, the aim is to be braver.

James Tatham, Movie Waffle for 10 FILMS


John Ketchum, Filminute’s co-founder and head of jury singled out CHOOSE NOT TO FALL as the most quoted film in the festival, with many references and comments from online voters and Facebook fans repeating Ilabaca’s line “If you’re afraid of falling you fall because you’re afraid.”

About the director

Matthew Marsh graduated with BA degree in animation from Kingston University. His graduation film went on to win numerous awards including a Royal Television Society award for best animation. His work has been screened in the V & A, The Barbican and on the Southbank and is part of BFI’s film collection. Matthew also works with live action producing and directing the documentary The Next Explorers and Choose Not To Fall which was an instant success winning a number of international awards.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Alice Dancing Under The Gallows

ALICE IS NOW 107 YEARS OLD. She is the world’s oldest Holocaust survivor. A concert pianist and lifelong musician, she lives everyday to the fullest, imparting her optimism and wisdom on all those around her.
"Alice Dancing Under The Gallows" is a new documentary short that will take you on an emotional and inspirational journey reliving the life of this amazing woman.

For more information about the film, go to:

Directed by Oscar winning director Malcolm Clarke
Produced by Nick Reed, Malcolm Clarke, Chris Branch, Larry Abramson, Jasmine Daghighian

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Quote of the day

“When motion pictures were first invented there were a lot of critics saying that it is a novelty act and it would never amount to anything nor will be able to make any real money once the novelty wears off – last time i checked Avatar has grossed 2.7 billion dollars world wide. Most recent example is MTV and Internet but then you know those stories well enough. Virtual Universe is the next logical step in world entertainment and although there are a lot of critics and people shaking heads it is here to stay and take its ranks among the greats.”

Yan Panasjuk, the man who paid a record $335,000 for virtual property

How to train a perfect 10

Working on something I've discovered this amazing video from 1984 Olympic Games. It shows the battle for the Olympic gymnastics title between Ecaterina Szabo and Mary Lou Retton. As you will see it is not about physical and technical abilities, it about mind and heart strength. And the hero of this moment is Béla Károlyi, the unbelievable gymnastics coach who changed the face of this sport starting with Nadia Comaneci and her perfect 10.

And the first perfect 10

Béla Károlyi (born September 13, 1942) is a Romanian gymnastics coach. Born in Cluj, Károlyi and his wife, Márta emigrated to the United States in 1981 and both have dual citizenships for Romania and America. The Károlyis have coached both United States and Romanian Olympic teams to medal-winning success.
Among the gymnasts Béla and Marta Károlyi have trained are Nadia Comăneci (first 10), Mary Lou Retton, Betty Okino, Kerri Strug, Teodora Ungureanu, Kim Zmeskal, Kristie Phillips and Dominique Moceanu. In total, Károlyi has coached nine Olympic champions, fifteen world champions, sixteen European medalists and six U.S. national champions.

More about his story in this 1986 documentary.

Two films about the other side of art

The Art of the Steal

Directed by Don Argott
Produced by Sheena M. Joyce
Editing by Demian Fenton

The Art of the Steal is a 2009 documentary film about efforts to break Albert C. Barnes's will and relocate the Barnes art collection from its longtime home in Lower Merion Township, Pennsylvania to Philadelphia.[1] The collection of late-19th- and early-20th-century art includes 181 Renoirs, 69 Cézannes, 60 Matisses 44 Picassos and 14 Modiglianis. The 9,000 piece collection is valued at over $25 billion.[2]

In his three-and-a-half star review of the film, Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times wrote, "It is perfectly clear exactly what Barnes specified in his will. It was drawn up by the best legal minds. It is clear that what happened to his collection was against his wishes. It is clear that the city fathers acted in obviation of those wishes, and were upheld in a court of appeals. What is finally clear: It doesn't matter a damn what your will says if you have $25 billion, and politicians and the establishment want it."

In response to the film's release, Bernard C. Watson, chairman of the Barnes Foundation board of trustees and one of the figures targeted in the film, published an editorial letter in the Philadelphia Inquirer claiming the film "lacks objectivity and perspective."

As of June 2010, the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported that 85% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 52 reviews with an average score of 7.2/10. The site's consensus of reviews was:
"Deeply esoteric and unapologetically one-sided, The Art of the Steal proves a documentary doesn't have to make an objective argument as long as it argues well.."
However, according to the film, many of the so called "guilty parties," e.g. Rebecca Rimel (CEO of the Pew Charitable Trust, the group which purportedly benefited financially from the Barnes' move), Raymond G. Perelman (a powerful local billionaire alleged with orchestrating the move), and Bernie Watson (the president of the Barnes foundation who allegedly handed control of the museum to the Philadelphia authorities), declined to be interviewed for the documentary.

Exit Through the Gift Shop

Exit Through the Gift Shop: A Banksy Film is a film which tells the story of Thierry Guetta, a French immigrant in Los Angeles, and his obsession with street art. It is presented as a documentary, but reviewers have questioned its factuality. The film charts Guetta's constant documenting of his every moment on film, to his chance contact with his cousin, the artist Invader, and his documenting of a host of street artists with focus on Shepard Fairey, and also Banksy though the latter's face is never shown, and his voice is distorted to preserve his anonymity. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on 24 January 2010. It is narrated by Rhys Ifans. Music is by Geoff Barrow. It includes Richard Hawley's "Tonight The Streets Are Ours." It has been nominated on the longlist for the Best Documentary Feature Oscar for the 27 February 2011 Oscars.

The documentary received overwhelmingly positive reviews, holding 97% on Rotten Tomatoes.One consistent theme in the reviews was the authenticity of the film: Was the film just an elaborate ruse on Banksy's part, or did Guetta really evolve into Mr. Brainwash overnight? The Boston Globe movie reviewer Ty Burr found it to be quite entertaining as a farce and awarded it four stars. He dismissed the notion of the film being a "put on" saying "I’m not buying it; for one thing, this story’s too good, too weirdly rich, to be made up. For another, the movie’s gently amused scorn lands on everyone." Roger Ebert gave it 3.5 stars out of 4, starting his review saying that "The widespread speculation that “Exit Through the Gift Shop” is a hoax only adds to its fascination." The New York Times movie reviewer, Jeannette Catsoulis, wrote that the film could be a new subgenre, a "prankumentary".



Saturday, November 20, 2010

Floating observatories design was influenced by the sci‐fi computer gaming culture

Floating Observatories is an Innovative New Tower for Taiwan with Zeppelin-like Elevators

Reblogged from

The Floating Observatories proposal by Romanian team Dorin Stefan’s DSBA, Mihai Carciun, and wins the Taiwan Tower Conceptual International Competition

“Starting from the ‘geographical’ visual of Taiwan ‐ which is an island resembling a leaf ‐ we have developed the concept of the technological tree: we have designed 8 spatial leaves (with eight being a propitious number in the local culture) in the form of zeppelin‐like elevators which glide up and down the ‘tree trunk” and which serve the purpose of observation decks / belvedere. I have called these elevators floating observatories because each has a nacelle which can take 50 to 80 people; they are self‐sustained by helium balloons and are built from lightweight materials (borrowed from the spacecraft industry) and are wrapped in a last‐generation type of membrane (PTFE) and they glide vertically on a track positioned vertically in a strong electro‐magnetic field” ‐ Dorin STEFAN, Principal, DSBA

The tower layers underground and ground level spaces as well as in its vertical reach, the functions required by the conceptual theme: information center, museum, office and conference space, restaurants, fixed observation desks. Apart from the fact that we aim to design a tower whose silhouetted out of line echoes the local symbolism and has great impact in terms of visual identity, our solution is at the same time a model of green architecture: minimum footprint at land level; maximum green area surface; all circulations are vertically integrated (main and secondary functions for both services and tourists). The “chimney” effect is used for the natural ventilation of various functional areas. The office and services areas in the tower have a 360° orientation, which offers the possibility to minimize the green‐house effect through the use of cross‐ventilation. The electrical energy is produced by: a system of axial turbines located along the vertical central core, an adjustable photovoltaic panels on the whole height of the tower. The lighting of the basement areas and of the museum spaces under the sandwich slab (structure‐plants earth‐pedestrian traffic) is done through a fiber optics dome system. Heating of the floating observatories are done through an electromagnetic field using the electrical power created by the new generation membrane which wraps the helium tanks and captures through photovoltaic transmission. The rain water is collected from all platforms into a tank situated in the basement.

“Even though the floating observatories design was influenced by the sci‐fi computer gaming culture they are feasible and play a major role for the pathway of the tower’s museum by adding a new vertical dimension. Seen from above, the city itself becomes the key exhibit for the Museum of Taichung City Development. Seen from inside the museum, when they are nested, the floating observatories become themselves exhibits, fascinating proof of the present technological achievements.”‐ Bogdan Chipara, DSBA Architect














Friday, November 19, 2010

BETTER THAN LOVE: Hurts, a love of ballet, Romania, Romanian girls and subtext.

This post is dedicated to a very special friend that I am sure will remember the love romance with my country :)


I am completely fascinated by the concept behind Hurts, this "post-Renaissance" duo from Manchester, UK. They have a kind of visual music with a mix of influences that makes my inner teenager scream out loud of joy: a strange brew of Depeche Mode, a glimpse of Bros, even a sparking Pet Shop Boys energy , fashion , cinema and "heavy, emotional, and atmospheric love songs" ...
Their videos are lessons of cinematography and style. If they will continue in the same direction, soon I will watch an entire Hurts music film.

And being a romanian this is "everything I ever dreamed of, and nothing like I expected." :)

~Enigmatic duo Hurts have shed some mystery by revealing what they call a "pistol crack" of a debut single. Better Than Love is the first release by the duo, who have been called 'Tears For Fears, as shot by Anton Corbijn'. The track has a lush video which singer Theo says was born out of "a love of ballet, Romania, Romanian girls and, most importantly, subtext."
He added that the beautifully shot film was "everything we ever dreamed of, and nothing like we expected."~ BBC

A new video from Hurts, the post-Renaissance duo who look like dapper thugs, a gang based on love, and sound similar, as though they wander the streets despondent, singing aggressive love songs, blaspheming false pop deities. Their words on their elegant new video are below, as they are infinitely better than any attempt of our own

And so,
Here we are.
We travelled from Manchester in England to Bucharest in Romania in 3 Trabants.
We visited sporting outlets, bars and casinos.
We toured the city, stroked dogs and forgot to sleep.
We hired lots of specifically Romanian models and made a video.
We shaved heads, waltzed with mirror images and faced many rhetorical romantic questions.
We didn’t leave Romania for a very long time.
And eventually, we present for you, Better Than Love.
Buna Scumpo!

PS And because eventually everything connects, I've just noticed that in the theatrical trailer is Laura, a beautiful actress that I discovered years ago when I was casting in Bucharest.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wide distribution digital platform is looking for talented writers/filmmakers to create several flagship photo stories to be published in Spring 2011.

Photo stories, my next big passion .

Here is a very cool contest challenging you creativity and imagination.

Call for entries: Photo stories - £1000 + royalties.

Wide distribution digital platform is looking for talented writers/filmmakers to create several flagship photo stories to be published in Spring 2011.

The rules are simple: photo + text that tells a story, either fiction or factual. It can be based on a script, book, short story or even an existing film or short. An episode should be 10 minutes reading time. We are looking for fun, captivating, inspiring material that would be suitable to create a series of 10 episodes (or more).

Final work can be created in a number of programs (InDesign, Photoshop, Comic Life, etc.) and submitted as PDF. Selected artists will receive £100 per episode plus revenues share of any sales proceeds.

Please submit a 100-200 words treatment together with 3-5 photos to illustrate your vision to with your name, a short bio (50 words max, it can include your website if you have one) and the subject line: 10.1 .

You will hear from us with a confirmation or feedback within 3 days of your submission.



And some inspiration :)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Kevin Spacey on Being Succesful. Pure Inspiration

There is always a chance to be yourself, to discover your talent or to be passionate again. Don't let it go.

Star Wars: The Legacy Revealed

A must see.

You can watch the next episodes on YouTube .

Star Wars: The Legacy Revealed is a documentary about the impact the original 1977 Star Wars film has had upon society and filmmaking, with a focus on the place of the series in the continuum of cultural mythology. The two-hour program debuted on The History Channel on May 28, 2007, coinciding roughly with the 30-year anniversary of Star Wars. It featured interviews with journalists, filmmakers, critics, academic experts, and politicians, including Newt Gingrich, Tom Brokaw, Peter Jackson, Joss Whedon, Dan Rather, and Nancy Pelosi.

It was the #1 highest rated History Channel program among viewers aged 18-49, and #2 among viewers aged 25-54, and has been nominated for three Emmy awards.

Eric Berlow: How complexity leads to simplicity

Ecologist Eric Berlow doesn't feel overwhelmed when faced with complex systems. He knows that more information can lead to a better, simpler solution.

Friday, November 12, 2010

In the future, everybody is going to be a director.

In the future, everybody is going to be a director. Somebody's got to live a real life so we have something to make a movie about.

Cameron Crowe

Happy Birthday , Perfect 10 !

She was my childhood inspiration - Nadia Comaneci, the first gymnast ever to be awarded a perfect score of 10 in an Olympic gymnastic event.

"...Romania, 1976.In a communist country where our very few happy moments where the Saturdays "Dallas" episodes or-for the children-the Sundays 20 minutes (only) of "real cartoons" from Disney, Nadia helped us to dream again about what you can do if you have the determination needed.
During the nights of Montreal Olympics (there is 7 hours deference between the East Coast and Bucharest), we use to stay late in the nights to see Nadia competing. Next days, most of us were felling asleep at school or work. My older family members said they didn't have so much emotions and excitement (and late nigh TV broadcast) since the first landing on the Moon back in 60's. I think these both events are somehow connected because they show how much the human being can progress and do for the benefit of the whole world."
Nadia Comaneci- the very first "Perfect 10" World Citizen



"The world's first perfect gymnast"
from "Top 100 Sport Stories of the Century"

"The silence was broken only by the sounds of clicking -- hundreds of cameras capturing the moment.
What they caught was perfection. Nadia Comaneci, the 14-year-old Romanian, arched in midair for an instant on her dismount from the uneven parallel bars, then the feet supporting her 4-foot-11, 86-pound body landed softly on the mat.

The silence was shattered by an explosion of cheering and applause that, after a few seconds, turned to consternation. Flashing on the electronic scoreboard was 1.00. It took a moment for the 18,000 spectators at the Forum to realize that Comaneci had, in effect, outperformed modern technology."
Read full original story here.



Monday, November 8, 2010

To Claire; From Sonny - a review

"You can’t make great movies if the world doesn’t amaze you."
A quote that stays in my mind from the moment when I've read a review about The Fall in 2008. After two years I had the chance to meet the author, James Tatham, the name behind Movie Waffle, one of the best written film review blogs from Wales, UK. James is also an english teacher at a college in Cardiff.

Here is the result of our first collaboration, probably the first film review for an youtube short film created by a teenager.

To Claire; From Sonny – A Review
by James Tatham for MovieWaffle and IO.1

Young love is like dying: a total, blissful, elegiac sense of the world. Youth itself is a finite state; unlike adulthood, which drones on and on. Youth – like pop music – is emphatically present. It crackles: “Now”. And that boldness of feeling floods young love. To be in love at sixteen is to be awash with feeling: filling up and up and up. Again, it makes for that death connection: the tsunami-life, where living surges so fast that death seems like the only possible corollary. Shakespeare didn’t kill off Romeo and Juliet because he set out to write a tragedy; he killed them because young love can only die…or else it cools… or else you grow up. Josh Beattie’s short, To Claire; From Sonny, is a small masterpiece on the subject.

“Dear Claire,” he writes. And then we see her. She’s posing at the back of a ferry, in Brisbane, Australia. The city is behind her. She’s young and beautiful. Sonny’s narration takes the form of a letter to Claire, telling her of his life since their break-up. He writes in a reverie. Claire was his first love. Like all first loves, she gave him the sense that all life’s questions had been answered. But they broke-up, or else… something happened. So now Sonny rides the train, and thinks of his new girlfriend (who, to his bemusement, “voluntarily eats celery”), and Claire is dearer to him than ever, now that she’s gone. He writes to evoke her. He wants her memory to crash over him. The hurt she brings is a powerful love.

Unabashed feeling is valid here, because, to render young love accurately, you can’t dodge feeling with cynicism. In some respects, To Claire; From Sonny is reminiscent of the kind of heartfelt movies Alejandro González Iñárritu makes, where the shimmering beauty of life is constant, and death is like a complimentary space. There’s always death in an Iñárritu movie, because, without it, life wouldn’t glisten. Iñárritu makes elegies, and To Claire; From Sonny shares that wistful sentiment. Director Josh Beattie is remarkably deft at avoiding maudlin overtones, or the threat of despondency settling over the short. Again, like Iñárritu, he’s able to make you feel transported rather than entombed. Half the pleasure of watching the movie comes from the life it catches: from Claire’s eyelashes brushing Sonny’s chest, to the way the world flows past a train window, silently unmooring passengers’ thoughts.

The young actor who plays Sonny looks a little like Nicholas Hoult, the young actor who played the embodiment of youth in Tom Ford’s A Single Man. The actress who plays Claire looks a little like Gossip Girl’s Michelle Trachtenberg. Neither is required to speak in To Claire; From Sonny. But they do look like they could be a real couple; you believe in their romance. This isn’t meant to be an actor’s showcase, after all; it’s a director’s calling card. What stands out most, watching the short, isn’t the brilliant quality of the acting; it’s the prodigious skill with which the film is made. A graveyard sequence is shot in panoramic miniature, as if it were a diorama, illustrating grief. Time-lapse photography depicts Brisbane as aloof.

At seventeen, director Josh Beattie displays the kind of instinct a twenty-year professional should envy. Like all natural film-makers, he knows intuitively when to cut and how long a scene should play. He frames his actors wonderfully: one shot in particular, of Claire walking down a suburban road, has her centre-frame – insistently pacing toward us – moving closer and closer to the camera, until she’s so close… we lose sight. When Sonny thinks back on his favourite moments with Claire, intimacy is conveyed through close-ups of her feet, eyes, hands. The film isn’t a moment too long or too short. It takes up only the space of a letter, saying the one thing every letter says: Now, I’m thinking of you.

Young love isn’t about marriage, or having children. It’s a two-man show, where every night you both split your heart open, and every morning you both treasure the pain. Nothing competes with love when you’re sixteen. Homework doesn’t hold a candle to the heart-stricken wait for his-or-her next call. When you grow-up, love is clouded by other love affairs: the heart gets paunchy, balconies are rarely scaled. Jobs come to pummel love. Routines set in. Years chip at certainties. For a spark to be a spark, it can only last a short while. To Claire; From Sonny is about the tumult of love, the part that’s most exciting, and the shortest lived. We all cherish our first love. We all mourn the loss of our heart-quaking youth.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

In Loving Memory of Andy Irons

Philip Andrew Irons (July 24,1978 – November 2, 2010) was a professional surfer. Irons learned to surf on the dangerous and shallow reefs of the North Shore in Kauai, Hawaii. Over the course of his professional career, he won three world titles (2002, 2003, 2004), three Quiksilver Pro France titles (2003, 2004, 2005), two Rip Curl Pro Search titles (2006 and 2007) and 20 elite tour victories including the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing four times from 2002-2006. On September 3, 2010 he won the Billabong Pro in Tahiti.
He and his family hosted the Annual Irons Brothers Pinetrees Classic, a contest for youngsters. The governor of Hawaii declared February 13 forever 'Andy Irons Day'.
His younger brother, Bruce Irons, is a former competitor on the World Championship Tour of Surfing (WCT). During his childhood Andy regularly lost to Bruce in contests, but that changed once he entered the World Championship Tour.
Billabong produced an "Andy Irons" line of board shorts.
Irons married Lyndie Dupuis on November 25, 2007 in Princeville, Kauai. She was seven months pregnant with their first child at the time of his death.
He was inducted into the Surfing Walk of Fame in Huntington Beach, California in 2008.[3]
He is the only surfer to have won a title at every venue on the ASP calendar.


The 2004 movie Blue Horizon (directed by surfing filmmaker Jack McCoy), paralleled his life on the WCT tour with that of free surfer, David Rastovich. The film also touched on his long-time rivalry with ten-time world champion Kelly Slater. Although the film was created in a documentary-like style, there has been some debate over whether or not the film offered an accurate and fair portrayal of Irons' surfing lifestyle. In addition to "Blue Horizon", Irons was also a subject of many other surf films, including his last screen appearance in Trilogy, which starred himself, Joel Parkinson, and Taj Burrow.

Surfing king Kelly Slater found the perfect way to highlight his incredible career and then dedicated it to rival and friend Andy Irons who died last week. Slater marked his unprecedented 10th world title victory with a 10 out 10 wave score to also win the Rip Curl Pro Search event in Puerto Rico on Saturday.

The ASP World Tour paid its respect to Andy Irons with a massive memorial paddle-out in Puerto Rico on Wednesday, 3 November 2010.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

My Dream Flower Machine created by Angelo Vermeulen

Angelo Vermeulen is a visual artist, filmmaker, biologist, author, activist, and DJ.
How you can name him in a single word ? Probably the language has to adapt itself for the complex human beings of the future.
I name Angleo a IO . IO (10) is my tag for all the 2.0 Renaissance people.

And the "Ultimate Flower Machine" is the dream computer for my film.

Watch Angelo Vermeulen's presentation on his project, Biomodd – a computer that coexists with a living ecosystem.

Discover more ! You will be fascinated.

Many thanks to WILDCAT2030

Saturday, October 30, 2010

A film that it was dropped into the London Film Festival at the last moment.

"From Academy Award® nominated filmmaker, Charles Ferguson ("No End In Sight"), comes INSIDE JOB, the first film to expose the shocking truth behind the economic crisis of 2008. The global financial meltdown, at a cost of over $20 trillion, resulted in millions of people losing their homes and jobs. Through extensive research and interviews with major financial insiders, politicians and journalists, INSIDE JOB traces the rise of a rogue industry and unveils the corrosive relationships which have corrupted politics, regulation and academia. Narrated by Academy Award® winner Matt Damon, INSIDE JOB was made on location in the United States, Iceland, England, France, Singapore, and China."

Read also

Film blames financial crisis on 'inside job'


My eyes are on Wim Wenders this weekend. And it seems that we share the same love .

From Wim Wenders website:

Our story starts with a postcard and a rather cryptic message:
"Dear Phil, I cannot continue m.o.s.! -- S.O.S.! -- Come to Lisbon with all your stuff a.s.a.p.! Big hug, Fritz."
Who is who? And what do all those abbreviations mean? The SOS of course, is obvious, and a.s.a.p. only strengthens the urgency: come AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. But m.o.s.?
Only if you work in movies you might know that M.O.S. is an old and rather strange word for "silent," and that the expression came up in the late twenties meaning "mit-out sound."
Anyway, we soon understand that the postcard was sent by a film director, Friedrich Monroe, to his friend Phillip Winter, a sound engineer. Friedrich has started a movie in Lisbon on a very romantic notion -- he wanted to do it "as if the whole history of cinema hadn't happened, shooting all on his own, a man alone in the streets, with an old hand-cranking camera, just like Buster Keaton in THE CAMERAMAN."
Well, Friedrich failed, and when he realized he had painted himself into a corner, he called Winter for help, hoping "that your microphones could pull my images out of their darkness, that sound could save the day."



The director Friedrich Monroe has trouble with finishing a silent b&w movie about Lisbon. He calls his friend, the sound engineer Phillip Winter, for help. As Winter arrives Lisbon weeks later, Monroe is disappeared but has left the unfinished film. Winter decides to stay, because he is fascinated of the city and the Portuguese singer Teresa, and he starts to record the sound of the film. At the same time Monroe cruises through the city with a camcorder and tries to catch unseen pictures. Later they meet and Winter convinces Monroe of finishing the film. Written by Christoph Blendinger

Wim Wenders

Wim Wenders

Director of Photography:
Lisa Rinzler

Peter Przygodda

Musical Score:
Jürgen Knieper


Production Design: Zé Branco

Rüdiger Vogler Patrick Bauchau Teresa Salgueiro and Madredeus

Guest Appearance: Manoel de Oliveira

Ulrich Felsberg, Paulo Branco

Road Movies Filmproduktion/Berlin

Length: 100 min. Format: 35mm Colour

lisbon,lisbon,25 abril,25 abril,portugal,portugal


"Ah não ser eu toda a gente e toda a parte!". This phrase (roughly translated as "Would I be everybody and everywhere!"), written in one of the walls of the house where Winter's staying, is the last verse of "Ode Triunfal", a poem by Álvaro de Campos, one of the three main heteronyms of Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa.

Monday, October 25, 2010

80s visual aesthetic

HURTS - Wonderful Life (Official new version) [HQ] from Four Music on Vimeo.

Do YOU KNOW ?????

Do you know that Josh Beattie is 17 y old ?

Do you know that he've written/directed/edited this wonderful short film ?

Do you know that he is a great music composer ?

TC;FS - When Bodies Memorise Each Other (Interlude) by Josh Beattie

Do you know that he and his friends have a production company ?

Do YOU know that YOU have to ENCOURAGE Josh's generation ?


I am just asking ...

"Cause you know what… I’m not doing well… life is actually pretty shit…" To Claire; From Sonny ...

Just found this on tumblr ... It’s phenomenal.

“I totally saw the ending coming, but I still cried like a baby. Very good short film, might be taken off YouTube soon so watch quick!”

To Claire; From Sonny
Written/Directed/Edited by Josh Beattie
DoP & Cinematography: Shuwei Zhang

Starring Henry Orr as Sonny
Emmie Seaton as Claire
Gianna Gillies as Jess

Music composed by Josh Beattie
"If I Knew (Claire's Theme)" performed by
The Indooroopilly State Primary School Senior Choir
conducted by Margaret Hoey
"Let There Be Light (Main Theme)" performed by
Max Fowler-Roy (bass)
India Ghariss (cello)
Oscar Jemmot (viola)
Shuwei Zhang (violin)
Josh Beattie (brass and percussion)

Saturday, October 23, 2010


EXPO Water city from martin de thurah on Vimeo.

Director Martin de Thurah
Dop Kasper Tuxen, Martin de Thurah
Edit Adam Nielsen
Producer Malene Dyhring / Bacon

Part of the Danish pavillion
EXPO Shanghai 2010


One - Swedish house mafia (Your name) from ldelarosa on Vimeo.

Rebooting Business and the World

Friday evening I had the opportunity to attend a great event for my future : Don Tapscott's lecture at London Business School.
He is one of my favorite digital thinkers, not only because he wrote "Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation is Changing Your World " , but mainly because he advocates listening to young people and acting on their input. This is for sure the main focus of my current life challenge.

At LSE "he talk “Rebooting Business and the World” argued that many established institutions have become atrophied because of the global financial crisis but that a new open network model built around collaborative technologies available through the web provide incredible opportunities to address key challenges in the environment, transport, government, education and health care."
You can read here a short brief of his talk written by Geoff Riley, formerly Head of Economics at Eton College and he is also co-Founder of Tutor2u.

The lecture has finished with a beautiful introduction of “Smart Swarm: Using Animal Behaviour to Organise Our World”.


Also listen The Economics of Mass Collaboration (HBR Podcast)

BusinessWeek special report on Macrowikinomics, Don Tapscott's latest book written with Anthony D. William.

Many thanks to Don Tapscott for invite. He is a genuine pioneer, as Lucian Tarnowski describes him ;)

You can’t make great movies if the world doesn’t amaze you.

I have to recommend you a great film reviews blog and a fantastic writer.

I've discover it two years ago while I was surfing on web about THE FALL. Moviewaffle was at the beginning at that time but now after two years it looks like a everybody loves it ...It was longlisted for Wales Blog Awards 2010 (Best Writing) .

Here is one of the best reviews of The Fall directed by Tarsem Singh written with passion and truth by ...


The Fall – A Review

The greatest special effect is the close-up. Every vista pales in comparison with the human face. Because without that face – what do you connect with? What moves you? The desert might be a character in Lawrence of Arabia, but its performance is opaque. What makes Lawrence is Peter O’Toole. The same way – in Apocalypse Now – Marlon Brandon shows you what the jungle is thinking. In director Tarsem Singh’s breathtaking movie, The Fall, there are sights that equal anything David Lean or Francis Ford Coppola accomplished. And there is also a little girl (Catinca Untaru), whose face knocks every other wonder into a cocked hat.

The story is about a stuntman in Hollywood in the 1920s. He has fallen, both literally and metaphorically (the movie – while breathtaking – isn’t subtle). He’s in hospital. A famous actor has seduced the stuntman’s girl. Of all his injuries, this cuckolding is the worst. The stuntman becomes addicted to morphine. Bedridden, it’s hard for him to maintain a constant supply. He befriends a little girl (hospitalized after – you guessed it – a fall) as a ruse so she’ll steal morphine for him. In return for her help, the little girl keeps bugging the stuntman to tell her a story. He does – and it’s breathtaking – but as the story unfolds, the morphine takes over…

Tarsem Singh spent four years making The Fall. In eighteen countries. With his own money. And Catinca Untaru still steals the show. In interview, the director speaks of how he couldn’t have made the movie till he found the right girl. And he was right. When a movie is this dazzling, it needs reality. Untaru has never acted before. With luck, she will never act again. Not for Sophia Coppola-type reasons, but because: she’ll never be this good. Non-actors get one shot at a perfect performance. Then they become actors. There are reaction shots The Fall catches from Untaru that one actor in a million could replicate. Tarsem Singh’s best decision was to let this little girl dictate how every other actor behaves. When Lee Pace (the stuntman) is with her, you’re watching an actor unlearn acting. And be better for it. Because acting is play time. Would that every movie had the luxury of children playing children instead of “child actors”.

So what do we see? Some examples: the desert; a wall of sand that looks a thousand feet high; a lone rider like an ink smear on the dunes. Or how about an island in the shape of a butterfly; blissfully white; set it in a billowing blue ocean. Or a dead tree sprouting into flames. Or an aqueduct designed by M.C. Escher. Or a wedding couple ringed by whirling Dervishes. Or tiny birds flying out of a man’s mouth. Or – Beauty. In essence. The Fall is “the full meal” (as a wise teacher of mine once phrased it). It is absurd, sensual and (my favourite) unabashed. It puts me in mind of movies like The Fountain, where the audience has to have the right appetite. You either gorge on such movies or you’re bored by them. Cynics will only gag.

While spirituality might seem ham-fisted in Singh’s handling of it (“Are you trying to save my soul?” the stuntman asks, repeatedly), like Darren Aronofsky, the soul of his movie isn’t there in words, it’s grasped holistically, through the movie. To put it another way, The Fall would be about the soul if the stuntman and the little girl talked about cornflakes. Like a great song which leaps the boundaries of its form; the message isn’t the words, it’s the music.

It’s easy to wear-out a word like “breathtaking”. How good can it be? we long to sneer. But great movies come from a director’s childish awe at the world. You can’t make great movies if the world doesn’t amaze you. How else to explain the power of the close-up? To look at something so intently that – for a few seconds, a lifetime – it engulfs you. Human faces are the best kept secrets told by close-ups. Most of us still retain the capacity to be awed by a desert or an ocean. And the deserts and oceans of The Fall are awe-inspiring as any in movies. But that one little girl. We’d miss her. She and everyone else who’s ever given a great performance on-screen. Because great acting is only half of it. For the other half: you have to look close.

About MovieWaffle in 2008

I am an English teacher by day, and I’m often fairly busy, but a friend kept bugging me to write and so write I did (let that be a lesson to anyone who ever had a dream for someone else).

As far as intentions for the site go, I intend to write about movies I have seen. Some of them will be new releases, some of them will be old favourites and some of them I’ll review because my friend asks me to (I’ll bet he has plans). These reviews will not be fact-checked and will often, doubtless, contain inaccuracies and things I’ve remembered wrong. But they will also, hopefully, contain some thoughts you may agree with, and they will be written carefully, with care for the movies as much as where the commas should go.

If this site were a cinema it would be a small one, with only sort-of comfortable seating. It’s a pre-multiplex site: you come for the movies.

About MovieWaffle in 2010

The closest I ever came to getting shot was in Florida.

It was summer, and I had an AK47 pointed at my feet. The gun wasn’t mine, but it was my finger on the trigger. I had been handed a machine gun by a friend – partly for fun, partly to test my masculinity – and now, with a paper target taunting me like a raised middle finger, I was aiming low, in order not to lose control of the gun and kill everybody.

AK47s are lighter than you expect. They’re nearer the weight of an empty body bag, rather than a full one. However, far from being emboldened by the unexpected lightness of my gun, I was convinced that, when I pulled the trigger, the bastard thing would leap for my chin like a dog with iron teeth. So I pointed it down, as if ordering: “Sit”.

I was already nervous, after being told that I could burn my hand if I touched the barrel after firing. But the image of me, post-massacre, breaking my chin with the murder weapon…was too much.

I paused. There was something at stake beyond hitting the target. If I handed the gun back, I’d be coward. Not in the he-left-his-buddies-in-a-firefight sense; not even because I feared killing everybody, but because I’d have avoided risk.

Pulling that trigger was necessary to my life.

I gripped the gun, asserting control. My arms were rigid. The paper target was twenty feet away, but I wasn’t aiming for it. My aim was to fire. I willed my toes safe. I willed my friends safe. I willed the witless, molten AK not to catapult into my chin.

I fired…

(This is pretty much how I’d describe reviewing)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Mass Observation Archive

Oscar-winning director Kevin Macdonald visits the Mass Observation Archive to talk about the inspiration behind Life In A Day.
I could stay there for years :)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Someone may know the BEGINNING :)

You can watch the other 4 parts on youtube.

Cosmologist João Magueijo has tried to make sense of the universe for the past 20 years. For his efforts he has been called an anarchist, a heretic, a radical and even a moron.

In JOÃO MAGUEIJO’S BIG BANG the controversial theoretical physicist explains the Big Bang theory, the Horizon Problem and his controversial idea that the speed of light is variable.

But, if he's right, he'll undermine hundreds of years of ideas and research including Einstein’s iconic E=mc2.

Executive Producer Graham Booth
Tigress Productions for Science Channel

Joao Magueijo

Was Einstein Wrong?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


TRIANGLE is a video work done for the book 'Black Material' which showcases Robert Knoke's artwork.
Curator Jens Karlson asked me to make a short animation and get Robert Knoke's black and white artwork as base for video. I chosed to create tense harmony between geometrical forms and organic movements. Combustion helped me to expand possibilites of Black material with his strong music and sound design

TRI▲NGLE from Onur Senturk on Vimeo.

Trailer for Gus Van Sant’s RESTLESS

Description: The story of a terminally ill teenage girl (Wasikowska) who falls for a boy (Hopper) who likes to attend funerals and their encounters with the ghost of a Japanese kamikaze pilot from WWII (Kase).

“From Imagine Entertainment comes a powerful and emotional coming of age story, a remarkable film told with honesty and originality that will leave audiences moved. In the film, two outsiders, both shaped by the circumstances that have brought them together, forge a deep and lasting love. Directed by Gus Van Sant, one of the most astute observers of people living life on the edge, comes a take on friendship and young love as engaging and true as it is provocative and stirring.”

Rabindranath Tagore and a new business model of film

"Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up
into fragments by narrow domestic walls;
Where words come out from the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason
has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action -
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake."

From the English Gitanjali by Rabindranath Tagore (1912), the main work for which he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913.

Apparently you will not find any link between this wonderful piece of poetry written by Rabindranath Tagore , the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, and a new business model of film.
But if you will read about "The Shyama model - A commercially viable film business model based on Free and Creative Commons licensing" you will understand how Obhi Chatterjeen was inspired by the spirit of Tagore in creating a new way of financing movies.
Plus The Hollywood Reporter's note : 'Shyama' gets fresh distribution spin / Dance musical available at users' preferred price

And also don't forget to watch another indian free story :)
Sita Sings the Blues
"Sita" had its premiere at Berlin in February 2008, where it won a Silver Bear, and had its U.S. premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in April 2009.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Limit To Your Love

No limits. Love it.

James Blake - Limit To Your Love from James Blake on Vimeo.

Video for James Blake's track 'Limit To Your Love'. Directed by Martin de Thurah
Released on 8 November

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days

I was born in Romania in 1975 and I can tell you that 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days is not a fiction. This film is a masterpiece of a tragical reality.

A digital filmmaker’s map to the web

Heather Menicucci, Director, Howcast Filmmaker Program, is writing weekly guest posts for the YouTube blog on filmmaking in the digital age. This is her third post, shared on Twitter by Pinewood Studios

20+ sites every digital filmmaker should know

Sites to help you....

be in the know
learn new tricks
make some money

A portuguese sense and sensibility: MOMENTOS

Here is a beautiful 6 min film directed by the portuguese director Nuno Rocha commisioned by LG. Kudos also to the first time cinematographer Pedro Negrão.

As a personal note, the casting is perfect.

"It actually reminded me a lot of a beautiful short animation called "Father and Daughter," by Michael Dudock de Witt, which won an Oscar about a decade ago and deals with a similar theme" Paxson Woelber

An homeless man sleeps in front of an empty store when suddenly a vehicle stops and two men start to carry cases inside. Meanwhile the man tries to understand what is going on.



Saturday, October 16, 2010


Made by Everynone (in Collaboration with WNYC's Radiolab & NPR)

Directed by Daniel Mercadante & Will Hoffman

Supervising Producer: Robert Krulwich
Original Score: Keith Kenniff (

"The internet is the most powerful potential source of enlightenment ever created."

Internet access is 'a fundamental right'

Almost four in five people around the world believe that access to the internet is a fundamental right, a poll for the BBC World Service suggests.

The survey - of more than 27,000 adults across 26 countries - found strong support for net access on both sides of the digital divide.

The findings in detail [477 KB]

We are the people of the internet ....

and together, we are shaping the future of human kind.


Today while reading Twitter ,two different tweets have revealed me a real perspective of the humankind.
Probably here in the binary world I have the unlimited power and the freedom to connect worlds, stories and moments of life that have nothing in common.
Here I see one single tragic story about ourselves. I see a woman dying and a choir of blind angels singing. I am watching both videos in the same time. One is silent and one has music. I recommend you to watch them in the same way...

We preach the online communion of intelligence and emotion, but we are incapable to experience the real communion in the real life. We are the creators of the unlimited social networks , but we are living in a such disconnected world. We are developing fabulous technologies to fly in space and to read our minds, but we know so little about our souls.
What we want to achieve ? Where we want to go ? How we define a human value ? How we define ourselves ?

"Maricica Hahaianu was taken off life support and pronounced dead"
32 year old Maricica Hahaianu got into an argument with an Italian over a ticket in Anagnina metro station. She hit her head when she fell to the ground after the 20 year old aggressor punched her. A video shows her lying on the floor for a long time as no one in the metro station intervened to help her.

masakepic , Brighton, England
I'm amazed people ignored it completely, in broad daylight, especially when she didn't get up. Not everyone is like that. / ajnabee equally sad was/is the total indifference to it by the part of bystanders, the government, and the public in general.

Eric Whitacre put together a choir of 185 singers from 12 countries who never sang together until their voices were edited together. Here they perform Whitacre’s composition Lux Aurumque.
via Sorin Grumazescu

In the end, I will kindly ask you to stay HUMAN, to stay AWAKE, to stay GOOD.

We have Time by Octavian Paler

We have time
we have time for all.
To sleep,
to jog right and left
to regret our mistakes and make a mistake again
to judge others and we absolve ourselves
we have time to read and write
to correct what we wrote, to regret what we wrote
we have time to make plans and do not respect them
we have time to make illusions
and rummage through their ashes later
we have time for ambitions and diseases
to blame destiny and details
we have time to watch the clouds, advertisements or some accident
we have time to get away questions
to postpone the answers
we have time to crush a dream and reinvent it
we have time to make friends and lose them
we have time to take lessons and then forget them
we have time to receive gifts and not understand them
we have time for all
Is no time for a little tenderness
and when to do it, we die.

The Wounded Angel (Finnish: Haavoittunut enkeli) (1903) is a painting by Finnish symbolist painter Hugo Simberg

'SixthSense' is a wearable gestural interface that augments the physical world around us with digital information and lets us use natural hand gesture

"So, as a last thought, I think that integrating information to everyday objects will not only help us to get rid of the digital divide, the gap between these two worlds, but will also help us, in some way, to stay human, to be more connected to our physical world. And it will help us, actually, not be machines sitting in front of other machines.

That's all. Thank you."

Pranav Mistry

Many thanks to Obhi for this post.

Friday, October 15, 2010

33 men on 13.10.10

Thanks to 3duardo, I 've noticed that always a miracle has its magic symmetry

33 men rescued on 13.10.10 >> 13+10+10= 33


The son of Chilean miner Florencio Avalos, seven-year-old Bairon, shows a drawing depicting the rescue of his father, as he is examined by doctors after being brought to the surface on October 13, 2010. (ARIEL MARINKOVIC/AFP/Getty Images) #

A STORY IN PICTURE (49 photos)
Rescued from a Chilean mine
Over two months have passed since the August 5th collapse of the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile, when 33 miners were trapped 700 meters (2,300 ft) below ground. The men were kept alive over that time by supplies delivered through narrow holes drilled down to them, and kept hope through video conferences with family - until last night, when the first of the 33 miners was successfully lifted to the surface in a specially-designed rescue capsule. Friends and relatives, many of whom had camped nearby for months, slowly let their cautious optimism become joy as they were reunited with their loved ones. As of this writing, at 9:30 pm, Eastern time, all of the 33 men have now made it safely to the surface.

All of these peoples teach us that there are other ways of being, other ways of thinking, other ways of orienting yourself in the Earth.

With stunning photos and stories, National Geographic Explorer Wade Davis celebrates the extraordinary diversity of the world's indigenous cultures, which are disappearing from the planet at an alarming rate.


You know, one of the intense pleasures of travel and one of the delights of ethnographic research is the opportunity to live amongst those who have not forgotten the old ways, who still feel their past in the wind, touch it in stones polished by rain, taste it in the bitter leaves of plants. Just to know that Jaguar shamans still journey beyond the Milky Way, or the myths of the Inuit elders still resonate with meaning, or that in the Himalaya, the Buddhists still pursue the breath of the Dharma, is to really remember the central revelation of anthropology, and that is the idea that the world in which we live in does not exist in some absolute sense, but is just one model of reality, the consequence of one particular set of adaptive choices that our lineage made, albeit successfully, many generations ago.

And of course, we all share the same adaptive imperatives. We're all born. We all bring our children into the world. We go through initiation rites. We have to deal with the inexorable separation of death, so it shouldn't surprise us that we all sing, we all dance, we all have art.

But what's interesting is the unique cadence of the song, the rhythm of the dance in every culture. And whether it is the Penan in the forests of Borneo, or the Voodoo acolytes in Haiti, or the warriors in the Kaisut desert of Northern Kenya, the Curandero in the mountains of the Andes, or a caravanserai in the middle of the Sahara. This is incidentally the fellow that I travelled into the desert with a month ago, or indeed a yak herder in the slopes of Qomolangma, Everest, the goddess mother of the world.

All of these peoples teach us that there are other ways of being, other ways of thinking, other ways of orienting yourself in the Earth. And this is an idea, if you think about it, can only fill you with hope. Now, together the myriad cultures of the world make up a web of spiritual life and cultural life that envelops the planet, and is as important to the well-being of the planet as indeed is the biological web of life that you know as a biosphere. And you might think of this cultural web of life as being an ethnosphere and you might define the ethnosphere as being the sum total of all thoughts and dreams, myths, ideas, inspirations, intuitions brought into being by the human imagination since the dawn of consciousness. The ethnosphere is humanity's great legacy. It's the symbol of all that we are and all that we can be as an astonishingly inquisitive species.


And just as the biosphere has been severely eroded, so too is the ethnosphere -- and if anything at a far greater rate. No biologists, for example, would dare suggest that 50 percent of all species or more have been or are on the brink of extinction because it simply is not true, and yet that -- the most apocalyptic scenario in the realm of biological diversity -- scarcely approaches what we know to be the most optimistic scenario in the realm of cultural diversity. And the great indicator of that, of course, is language loss.

When each of you in this room were born, there were 6,000 languages spoken on the planet. Now, a language is not just a body of vocabulary or a set of grammatical rules. A language is a flash of the human spirit. It's a vehicle through which the soul of each particular culture comes into the material world. Every language is an old-growth forest of the mind, a watershed, a thought, an ecosystem of spiritual possibilities.

And of those 6,000 languages, as we sit here today in Monterey, fully half are no longer being whispered into the ears of children. They're no longer being taught to babies, which means, effectively, unless something changes, they're already dead. What could be more lonely than to be enveloped in silence, to be the last of your people to speak your language, to have no way to pass on the wisdom of the ancestors or anticipate the promise of the children? And yet, that dreadful fate is indeed the plight of somebody somewhere on Earth roughly every two weeks, because every two weeks, some elder dies and carries with him into the grave the last syllables of an ancient tongue.


And I know there's some of you who say, "Well, wouldn't it be better? Wouldn't the world be a better place if we all just spoke one language?" And I say, "Great, let's make that language Yoruba. Let's make it Cantonese. Let's make it Kogi." And you'll suddenly discover what it would be like to be unable to speak your own language.

And so, what I'd like to do with you today is sort of take you on a journey through the ethnosphere -- a brief journey through the ethnosphere to try to begin to give you a sense of what in fact is being lost. Now, there are many of us who sort of forget that when I say "different ways of being," I really do mean different ways of being.

Take, for example, this child of Barasana in Northwest Amazon, the people of the anaconda who believe that mythologically they came up the milk river from the east in the belly of sacred snakes. Now, this is a people who cognitively do not distinguish the color blue from the color green because the canopy of the heavens is equated to the canopy of the forest upon which the people depend. They have a curious language and marriage rule which is called linguistic exogamy: you must marry someone who speaks a different language. And this is all rooted in the mythological past, yet the curious thing is in these long houses where there are six or seven languages spoken because of intermarriage, you never hear anyone practicing a language. They simply listen and then begin to speak.

Or, one of the most fascinating tribes I ever lived with, the Waorani of northeastern Ecuador, an astonishing people first contacted peacefully in 1958. In 1957, five missionaries attempted contact and made a critical mistake. They dropped from the air eight by ten glossy photographs of themselves in what we would say to be friendly gestures, forgetting that these people of the rainforest had never seen anything two-dimensional in their lives. They picked up these photographs from the forest floor, tried to look behind the face to find the form or the figure, found nothing, and concluded that these were calling cards from the devil, so they speared the five missionaries to death. But the Waorani didn't just spear outsiders. They speared each other. 54 percent of their mortality was due to them spearing each other. We traced genealogies back eight generations, and we found two instances of natural death and when we pressured the people a little bit about it, they admitted that one of the fellows had gotten so old that he died getting old, so we speared him anyway. (Laughter) But at the same time they had a perspicacious knowledge of the forest that was astonishing. Their hunters could smell animal urine at 40 paces and tell you what species left it behind.

In the early '80s, I had a really astonishing assignment when I was asked by my professor at Harvard if I was interested in going down to Haiti, infiltrating the secret societies which were the foundation Duvalier's strength and Tonton Macoutes, and securing the poison used to make zombies. In order to make sense out of sensation of course, I had to understand something about this remarkable faith of Vodoun, and Voodoo is not a black magic cult. On the contrary, it's a complex metaphysical worldview. It's interesting. If I asked you to name the great religions of the world, what would you say? Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, whatever.

There's always one continent left out, the assumption being that sub-Saharan Africa had no religious beliefs. Well, of course, they did and Voodoo is simply the distillation of these very profound religious ideas that came over during the tragic Diaspora of the slavery era. But, what makes Voodoo so interesting is that it's this living relationship between the living and the dead. So, the living give birth to the spirits. The spirits can be invoked from beneath the Great Water, responding to the rhythm of the dance to momentarily displace the soul of the living, so that for that brief shining moment, the acolyte becomes the god. That's why the Voodooists like to say that "You white people go to church and speak about God. We dance in the temple and become God." And because you are possessed, you are taken by the spirit, how can you be harmed? So you see these astonishing demonstrations: Voodoo acolytes in a state of trance handling burning embers with impunity, a rather astonishing demonstration of the ability of the mind to affect the body that bears it when catalyzed in the state of extreme excitation.

Now, of all the peoples that I've ever been with, the most extraordinary are the Kogi of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in northern Colombia. Descendants of the ancient Tairona civilization which once carpeted the Caribbean coastal plain of Colombia in the wake of the conquest, these people retreated into an isolated volcanic massif that soars above the Caribbean coastal plain. In a bloodstained continent, these people alone were never conquered by the Spanish. To this day, they remain ruled by a ritual priesthood but the training for the priesthood is rather extraordinary. The young acolytes are taken away from their families at the age of three and four, sequestered in a shadowy world of darkness in stone huts at the base of glaciers for 18 years. Two nine-year periods deliberately chosen to mimic the nine months of gestation they spend in their natural mother's womb, now they are metaphorically in the womb of the great mother. And for this entire time, they are inculturated into the values of their society, values that maintain the proposition that their prayers and their prayers alone maintain the cosmic -- or we might say the ecological -- balance. And at the end of this amazing initiation, one day they're suddenly taken out and for the first time in their lives, at the age of 18, they see a sunrise. And in that crystal moment of awareness of first light as the Sun begins to bathe the slopes of the stunningly beautiful landscape, suddenly everything they have learned in the abstract is affirmed in stunning glory. And the priest steps back and says, "You see? It's really as I've told you. It is that beautiful. It is yours to protect." They call themselves the elder brothers and they say we, who are the younger brothers, are the ones responsible for destroying the world.


Now, this level of intuition becomes very important. Whenever we think of indigenous people and landscape, we either invoke Rousseau and the old canard of the noble savage, which is an idea racist in its simplicity, or alternatively, we invoke Thoreau and say these people are closer to the Earth than we are. Well, indigenous people are neither sentimental nor weakened by nostalgia. There's not a lot of room for either in the malarial swamps of the Asmat or in the chilling winds of Tibet, but they have, nevertheless, through time and ritual, forged a traditional mystique of the Earth that is based not on the idea of being self-consciously close to it, but on a far subtler intuition: the idea that the Earth itself can only exist because it is breathed into being by human consciousness.

Now, what does that mean? It means that a young kid from the Andes who's raised to believe that that mountain is an Apu spirit that will direct his or her destiny will be a profoundly different human being and have a different relationship to that resource or that place than a young kid from Montana raised to believe that a mountain is a pile of rock ready to be mined. Whether it's the abode of a spirit or a pile of ore is irrelevant. What's interesting is the metaphor that defines the relationship between the individual and the natural world. I was raised in the forests of British Columbia to believe those forests existed to be cut. That made me a different human being than my friends among the Kwagiulth who believe that those forests were the abode of Huxwhukw and the Crooked Beak of Heaven and the cannibal spirits that dwelled at the north end of the world, spirits they would have to engage during their Hamatsa initiation.

Now, if you begin to look at the idea that these cultures could create different realities, you could begin to understand some of their extraordinary discoveries. Take this plant here. It's a photograph I took in the Northwest Amazon just last April. This is ayahuasca, which many of you have heard about, the most powerful psychoactive preparation of the shaman's repertoire. What makes ayahuasca fascinating is not the sheer pharmacological potential of this preparation, but the elaboration of it. It's made really of two different sources. On the one hand, there's this woody liana which has in it a series of beta-carbolines, harmine, harmaline, mildly hallucinogenic. To take the vine alone is rather to have sort of blue hazy smoke drift across your consciousness, but it's mixed with the leaves of a shrub in the coffee family called Psychotria viridis. This plant had in it some very powerful tryptamines, very close to brain serotonin, dimethyltryptamine, 5-methoxydimethyltryptamine. If you've ever seen the Yanomami blowing that snuff up their noses, that substance they make from a different set of species also contains methoxydimethyltryptamine. To have that powder blown up your nose is rather like being shot out of a rifle barrel lined with baroque paintings and landing on a sea of electricity. (Laughter) It doesn't create the distortion of reality; it creates the dissolution of reality.

In fact, I used to argue with my professor, Richard Evan Shultes -- who is a man who sparked the psychedelic era with his discovery of the magic mushrooms in Mexico in the 1930s. I used to argue that you couldn't classify these tryptamines as hallucinogenic because by the time you're under the effects there's no one home anymore to experience a hallucination. (Laughter)

But the thing about tryptamines is they cannot be taken orally because they're denatured by an enzyme found naturally in the human gut called monoamine oxidase. They can only be taken orally if taken in conjunction with some other chemical that denatures the MAO. Now, the fascinating things are that the beta-carbolines found within that liana are MAO inhibitors of the precise sort necessary to potentiate the tryptamine. So you ask yourself a question. How in a flora of 80,000 species of vascular plants, do these people find these two morphologically unrelated plants that when combined in this way, created a kind of biochemical version of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts?

Well, we use that great euphemism, trial and error, which is exposed to be meaningless. But you ask the Indians, and they say, "The plants talk to us."

Well, what does that mean? This tribe, the Cofan, has 17 varieties of ayahuasca, all of which they distinguish a great distance in the forest, all of which are referable to our eye as one species. And then you ask them how they establish their taxonomy and they say, "I thought you knew something about plants. I mean, don't you know anything?" And I said, "No." Well, it turns out you take each of the 17 varieties in the night of a full moon, and it sings to you in a different key. Now, that's not going to get you a Ph.D. at Harvard, but it's a lot more interesting than counting stamens.

Now, (Applause) the problem -- the problem is that even those of us sympathetic with the plight of indigenous people view them as quaint and colorful but somehow reduced to the margins of history as the real world, meaning our world, moves on. Well, the truth is the 20th century, 300 years from now, is not going to be remembered for its wars or its technological innovations, but rather as the era in which we stood by and either actively endorsed or passively accepted the massive destruction of both biological and cultural diversity on the planet. Now, the problem isn't change. All cultures through all time have constantly been engaged in a dance with new possibilities of life.

And the problem is not technology itself. The Sioux Indians did not stop being Sioux when they gave up the bow and arrow any more than an American stopped being an American when he gave up the horse and buggy. It's not change or technology that threatens the integrity of the ethnosphere. It is power. The crude face of domination. Where ever you look around the world, you discover that these are not cultures destined to fade away. These are dynamic living peoples being driven out of existence by identifiable forces that are beyond their capacity to adapt to. Whether it's the egregious deforestation in the homeland of the Penan -- a nomadic people from Southeast Asia, from Sarawak -- a people who lived free in the forest until a generation ago, and now have all been reduced to servitude and prostitution on the banks of the rivers, where you can see the river itself is soiled with the silt that seems to be carrying half of Borneo away to the South China Sea, where the Japanese freighters hang light in the horizon ready to fill their holds with raw logs ripped from the forest. Or in the case of the Yanomami, it's the disease entities that have come in, in the wake of the discovery of gold.

Or if we go into the mountains of Tibet, where I'm doing a lot of research recently, you'll see it's a crude face of political domination. You know, genocide, the physical extinction of a people is universally condemned, but ethnocide, the destruction of people's way of life, is not only not condemned, it's universally -- in many quarters -- celebrated as part of a development strategy. And you cannot understand the pain of Tibet until you move through it at the ground level. I once travelled 6,000 miles from Chengdu in Western China overland through southeastern Tibet to Lhasa with a young colleague, and it was only when I got to Lhasa that I understood the face behind the statistics you hear about. 6,000 sacred monuments torn apart to dust and ashes. 1.2 million people killed by the cadres during the Cultural Revolution. This young man's father had been ascribed to the Panchen Lama. That meant he was instantly killed at the time of the Chinese invasion. His uncle fled with his holiness in the Diaspora that took the people to Nepal. His mother was incarcerated for the price of -- for the crime of being wealthy. He was smuggled into the jail at the age of two to hide beneath her skirt tails because she couldn't bear to be without him. The sister who had done that brave deed was put into an education camp. One day she inadvertently stepped on an armband of Mao, and for that transgression, she was given seven years of hard labor. The pain of Tibet can be impossible to bear, but the redemptive spirit of the people is something to behold.


And in the end, then, it really comes down to a choice. Do we want to live in a monochromatic world of monotony or do we want to embrace a polychromatic world of diversity? Margaret Mead, the great anthropologist, said before she died that her greatest fear was that as we drifted towards this blandly amorphous generic world view not only would we see the entire range of the human imagination reduced to a more narrow modality of thought, but that we would wake from a dream one day having forgotten there were even other possibilities.

And it's humbling to remember that our species has, perhaps, been around for [150,000] years. The Neolithic Revolution -- which gave us agriculture, at which time we succumbed to the cult of the seed, the poetry of the shaman was displaced by the prose of the priesthood, we created hierarchy specialization surplus -- is only 10,000 years ago. The modern industrial world as we know it is barely 300 years old. Now, that shallow history doesn't suggest to me that we have all the answers for all of the challenges that will confront us in the ensuing millennia. When these myriad cultures of the world are asked the meaning of being human, they respond with 10,000 different voices.

And it's within that song that we will all rediscover the possibility of being what we are: a fully conscious species, fully aware of ensuring that all peoples and all gardens find a way to flourish. And there are great moments of optimism.

This is a photograph I took at the northern tip of Baffin Island when I went narwhal hunting with some Inuit people, and this man, Olayuk, told me a marvelous story of his grandfather. The Canadian government has not always been kind to the Inuit people, and during the 1950s, to establish our sovereignty, we forced them into settlements. This old man's grandfather refused to go. The family, fearful for his life, took away all of his weapons, all of his tools. Now, you must understand that the Inuit did not fear the cold; they took advantage of it. The runners of their sleds were originally made of fish wrapped in caribou hide. So, this man's grandfather was not intimidated by the Arctic night or the blizzard that was blowing. He simply slipped outside, pulled down his sealskin trousers and defecated into his hand. And as the feces began to freeze, he shaped it into the form of a blade. He put a spray of saliva on the edge of the shit knife and as it finally froze solid, he butchered a dog with it. He skinned the dog and improvised a harness, took the ribcage of the dog and improvised a sled, harnessed up an adjacent dog, and disappeared over the ice floes, shit knife in belt. Talk about getting by with nothing. (Laughter)

And this, in many ways, (Applause) is a symbol of the resilience of the Inuit people and of all indigenous people around the world. The Canadian government in April of 1999 gave back to total control of the Inuit an area of land larger than California and Texas put together. It's our new homeland. It's called Nunavut. It's an independent territory. They control all mineral resources. An amazing example of how a nation-state can reach -- seek restitution with its people.

And finally, in the end, I think it's pretty obvious at least to all of all us who've travelled in these remote reaches of the planet, to realize that they're not remote at all. They're homelands of somebody. They represent branches of the human imagination that go back to the dawn of time. And for all of us, the dreams of these children, like the dreams of our own children, become part of the naked geography of hope.

So, what we're trying to do at the National Geographic finally, is, we believe that politicians will never accomplish anything. We think that polemics -- (Applause) we think that polemics are not persuasive, but we think that storytelling can change the world, and so we are probably the best storytelling institution in the world. We get 35 million hits on our website every month. 156 nations carry our television channel. Our magazines are read by millions. And what we're doing is a series of journeys to the ethnosphere where we're going to take our audience to places of such cultural wonder that they cannot help but come away dazzled by what they have seen, and hopefully, therefore, embrace gradually, one by one, the central revelation of anthropology: that this world deserves to exist in a diverse way, that we can find a way to live in a truly multicultural pluralistic world where all of the wisdom of all peoples can contribute to our collective well-being.

Thank you very much

Last of Their Kind: What Is Lost When Cultures Die?
The world's cultures have been disappearing, taking valuable knowledge with them, but there is reason to hope
From the September 2010 Scientific American Magazine
"The Buddhists of Tibet spend their life preparing for a moment that we spend most of our lives pretending does not exists:death" Wade Davis
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photographs by Wade Davis