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You don’t shell out thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions just to let the film bury itself inside the can, that dusty DVD container, or the inner workings of your dying hard drive.

Whether you intend the film to be watched for commercial purposes or you want it to be merely seen and touch lives of people for non-commercial film screenings, festivals, and other artistic endeavors, you need to let the people know there is something to watch out for.

Creativity and networking are crucial to effective marketing. From PR materials to merchandising items, they play significant roles in making the film better known; while actually earning additional money from sales through branded materials.

Classic examples of a film franchise’s merchandising items include books, shirts, button pins, bookmarks, keychains, bags, caps, paperweights, and school supplies (especially for children’s movies like “Harry Potter”and “Ice Age”) — where the film’s title or its sample art work gets branded into specific merchandise items. Sponsors also receive product placements in movie projects and their logos and contact details can even be placed at the film credits. The major sponsors can even be provided advertisements and write-ups in newspapers, magazines, websites, blogs, and sometimes, even the film’s poster. Events and advanced screenings to further create buzz also become welcome sources of sponsorship goods.

Press people are invited to conferences and advanced screenings. They are provided physical and/or digital press kits containing publicity photos, production notes, poster, bonus articles about the film, film trailers and other media files. There are also fun stuff sold to a number of stores and Internet sites, where more than just merchandising materials, actual props used in films get auctioned or sold. Sponsorships and ex-deals on children’s films are also common in fast food chains and other commercial establishments where merchandise items are sold or given as freebies.

Marketing sounds pretty commercial, but even independent films practice marketing in one way or another. It is quite clear how the marketing arm of a mainstream production goes. Now, taking the idea of marketing in an independent production: a person talks about the film with friends, then friends-of-friends, and so on. The filmmaker and his/her team build profiles of the project in various online networks, create a website, a blog, or a Facebook page, put trailers on video sites like Youtube, and even collaborate with certain musicians for the scoring and coming out of music videos with mutual benefits for both parties. They promote the movie posters or even create memes and even artistic and viral calls to action in as much venues as possible. People get screening invitations through post cards, phone calls, text brigades, emails, e-groups, and social networking sites.

More often than not, a motion picture clings on to reviews and words from those who watched it in advanced/press/block screenings. The idea is, “if the film is really good, people will start talking about it.” With Hollywood productions and even independently-produced films like “Little Miss Sunshine” and “Once,” words coming out from those who initially saw the films affect their box office power.

In the Philippines, the main difference between Hollywood films and most of the country’s local films is how the value of marketing gets practiced and taken into account. To compare, it is still Hollywood and other developed countries with successful film industries that are able to market their films effectively, as they have ample budget and they have the support of their own governments, as well as many private institutions. However, this doesn’t mean that Filipinos should hamper their creativity in marketing strategies. Being creative and resourceful people, Filipinos, whether involved in commercial or independent films, can come up with great ideas and innovations on how to go about it. This also applies to struggling independent filmmakers and small production companies anywhere in the world. In fact, by this time and age, basic marketing strategies abound with or without a big budget. In this era of fast-paced communication and information technology where it is already very feasible to reach the greatest number of people through viral campaigns in the internet, film marketing is just a matter of setting priorities and putting effort and creativity to it.

It is as simple as: “If you have a film, you have to let other people know about it.” You have to reach out and let others share their thoughts about it. It is a storytelling medium anyway… so just tell them you have a story that they may want to check out, and hopefully, they enjoy it and tell more people about it.


Marketing as a Vital Part of Film Production
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Film: A Collaborative Art

Most of the time, the only person who seems to easily get that ultimate right to be called a filmmaker is the director. But come to think of it — film is a collaborative art, an audio-visual medium created out of moving pictures. This means to make a film requires the director to work with producers, artists, artisans, and technicians from varying fields in order to translate the script and the director’s vision into a moving picture. Each has his/her own expertise that becomes an asset for the film project.

The Filmmakers

On a personal note, any person involved in a film production are filmmakers, regardless of the specific work s/he does in the production. Since “filmmakers” are the people behind making films, this supports my conviction that everybody involved in the filmmaking process earns the right to be called a filmmaker: whether the utilityman, the members of the art department, the lighting crew, the production manager, the actors and actresses, the producer, just to name a few. All of them are filmmakers, just like the director.

With advocating the conviction of calling film workers as filmmakers, it’s a matter of perspective and respect. This is not to say that I am making an absolute statement of what’s right or wrong in this culture- and art-driven industry. This particular concern simply means living up to a particular stand in an industry I am part of.

The Profession

Unlike professions requiring professional examinations and getting licenses prior to practicing, the filmmaking profession primarily depends on the outcome of one’s work in order for the person to have the “guts” to say that “filmmaking is my profession — that I’m a filmmaker.” Yet, at this time and age, anybody who has a video camera or even a mobile phone camera can come up with a film and put it up in Youtube… Ergo, “I’m a filmmaker.”

Claiming oneself as a filmmaker is really a matter of perspective and paying respect to the work. Like the issue that anybody who can play the guitar who can easily call himself/herself a guitarist or a musician, there is often that issue of some people branding themselves as a filmmaker in a manner that is more appropriately utilized by serious film students, amateurs, and professionals. Actually, being called a filmmaker is not about being an amateur or a professional. Either way, one can be a filmmaker. It all boils down to paying respect to the craft, being sincere about the profession, and being confident of one’s work.

Film Workers as Filmmakers
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Provocative and absorbing but without any pronouncement, “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” is a thinking person’s demon possession film. This hybrid of horror and courtroom drama approaches its compelling subject matter with metaphysical horror within a courtroom procedure format. It presents both the scientific and religious sides of the controversial exorcism case of a 19-year old German girl battling a terribly neurotic or psychotic disorder or a dreadful possession of six demons. It discusses the intersection of faith and science and makes both a person’s mundane and spiritual foundations shake.

This relatively gore-free film is an intelligent inquiry about the limitations of belief and faith in defense to a more scientific interpretation of things. Though the marketing of the film obviously tried to ride on with the prominence of Linda Blaire’s “Exorcist” films, it is not exactly a rip-off. Its flashback style gives justification to the courtroom set, which paves way to a more solid ground of putting arguments in their own places. This validates the aim to make the audience think and really use their heads in coming up with their own judgments concerning faith and spirituality vs. objective truth and secularism.

This psychological thriller presents both the scientific and supernatural insights in the case of Emily Rose, which is based on the true-story of the life of Anneliese Michel. Overall, it is more psychological than the horror an audience expects for an exorcism movie. Unlike the usual demonic-possession movies wallowing in the gore of green vomit, 360 degrees head turn, and levitations, this film stays in the natural world with its own kind of realistic sense of gore and trauma. But still, the subtle but striking supernatural and horror elements presented here tend to give goosebumps of another level.

The story evolves around a negligent homicide case involving Father Moore (Tom Wilkinson) who has performed an exorcism to the late Emily Rose (Jennifer Carpenter). Ironically, the church chooses hotshot criminal attorney Erin Bruner (Laura Linney), an agnostic and ambitious lawyer, to take on as the defense attorney. On the other side of the courtroom is the prosecutor Ethan Thomas (Campbell Scott), a devout Protestant.

Jennifer Carpenter’s incredible performance is the film’s major asset. Seeing Emily possessed as she shouts latin words in demonic voices, scratches walls with her nails, twitches robotically and falls to the ground so realistically, is absolutely terrifying. From her physical features to her acting chops, she turns out perfect for the role. Her twitching and snappy moves when possessed or when having unusual epileptic attacks, the way the doctor and the prosecutor see it, require great physical skills and are considerably stunts of great proportion — and they all turn out so creepy.

The subtle parallelism of Emily’s experiences to the physical manifestations of the dark forces on defense lawyer Linney as Bruner makes an effective ground on inquisitive prodding of objectivity, insanity, and spirituality. It adds cinematic dimension to the film without going too much. Her ending speech is commendable. Its content could have been a melodramatic monologue without Linney’s acting prowess. Wilkinson gives a dignified performance as the embattled priest. He plays the character well as he exudes his faith in God in battling the dark, powerful forces surrounding Emily Rose even until the court trial. However, Scott’s interpretation of his role as the prosecutor makes him more like an antagonist. He could have performed the role more objectively and not in a too antagonistic way. Emily’s family and close friend Jason effectively stays on the background, yielding to the story’s focus on the trial and the real reason for Emily’s death. The internal struggle of each character shakes the viewers’ own physical and supernatural struggles as human beings.

“The Exorcism of Emily Rose” is not for those who want gore “Linda Blaire-style.” The type of scare it brings doesn’t rely on horror stingers and music and physical gore. Its utilization of silence speaks much more. The devil’s presence is simply a shadowy figure in a robe. The scare factor includes simple movements of door, flickering lights, breaking glass, and animals going crazy over fear of the devilish presence. The most scenes that rely on some visual effects just include the slight morphing of images and human faces.

Playing around basic lighting and camerawork, the juxtaposition of shots of Emily during the build-up of the possession and exorcism scenes where the demons manifest themselves in Emily’s physical body and mention their names turn out very engaging both cinematically and spiritually — minimalist, yet striking.

As a cinematic presentation, it could have added some dramatic license to the storytelling, but the good thing about the film is that it presents the two opposing sides quite well. It makes the audience think about the possibility of a demon possession but leaves room for one’s own judgment, whether it’s really a spiritual or a physical battle. And yet, it doesn’t end there. This motion picture imparts an engaging issue about life and spirituality for the audience to think about.

‘The Exorcism of Emily Rose’ Film Review: Courtroom psychological horror
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Behind its eerie theme, Tim Burton’s “Corpse Bride” presents a morbid and romantic trip between the cold dwelling place of the living and the colorful nderground world of the dead. Fun, genial, expressive, and charming, this semi-musical stop-motion piece is set at death’s door, saluting the liberating power of true love and sacrifice.

The story revolves around a young groom-to-be who mistakenly weds a girl from the grave and complicates his upcoming marriate to the womaan he loves.

The directors paint death as a more colorful plane of existence compared to life, as literally shown on the visuals — a bitterly cold presentation of the world of the living as compared to the colorful and musically vivid world of the rotting flesh. It turns out there is more life at the dead’s company.

The engaging story, the expressionistic visuals, and the heart for the very statement it wants to insinuate make an overall witty animated tale. It is whimsical yet eerie, funny but melancholic. On a light, side-splitting note, it promotes a necrophiliac entertainment which can find a good place at the hearts of people who like watching a pile of bones set in an ironic and animated space, whether or not it is the Halloween season.

Tim Burton, along with co-director Mike Johnson, ventures into the world of stop-motion animation for this motion picture, rendering that tedious job of hand-manipulating characters that move incrementally to be shot frame by frame.

So how tedious can this work be? A film is a moving picture. Each frame is shot. Each shot becomes 1 frame. From 1 frame to another, the movements are incrementally shown over a certain period of time. For a TV show, there are generally 30 fps (frames per second). In film, the standard is 24fps. Taking it from here, one can just imagine the challenge of shooting each frame of “Corpse Bride” with 24 shots to be done for a 1-second clip of the film, 48 shots for a 2-second clip, and so on. Each frame is carefully shot with human hands, rightfully moving the different parts of the body of each character for 1 frame, then move all the body parts very incrementally to shoot the next frame and make sure everything complements the previous movement of one particular character. Each frame requires very dexterous hands moving the subject creatively and effectively. According to IMDB.com, instead of film cameras, tthe filmmakers used 31 commercial digital still photography cameras, particularly the Canon EOS-1D MARK 2 SLR, interestingly with Nikon lenses.

The musical score by Danny Elfman, just like Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham-Carter who are Burton’s frequent collaborators, makes a delightful mix of flight of fancy for the film. A stylistic and touching moment to create a more human tone on the love story is shown in many ways as the accurately presented piano scene of Victor and the Corpse Bride. Overall, the musical parts are very flourishing. As usual, Burton’s team makes up a new world out of the dark and expressionistic style Burton is known for.

The story is not as refined as the usual art-house works. But this film makes a poetic form out of what it has. Its minor flaws are easily overlooked as the eyes roll over its Burtonesque-style of storytelling. Its imaginatively done puppetry promotes a dark and grand fairy tale brimming with quirky characters and gothic sets.

“Corpse Bride” is a darkly enchanting tale about the celebration of love that is told in a quirky, gothic, and ironic style. It has the courage to address issues about love and sacrifice and life and death in a shadowy, poetic, and creatively bizarre way.

‘Corpse Bride’ Film Review: A charming grave fairy tale
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