Author Archives: wdr staff

Power Trip Excerpt: “Krazy Kiosk”

Posted by Paul Devlin:

This was one of the most talked about scenes in Power Trip.  The dangerous tangled web of illegal wires is a strange surreal image for people living in wealthy countries.  All too familiar for those in poorer countries.

The element of social collapse is vivid, and the sense of danger inherent in such a milieu, brought to the foreground by the very real threat of accidental electrocution. Personally I was so exhilarated by the great shots I was getting, I was probably less careful than I should have been.

This was shot on my 2nd trip to Tbilisi.  I wasn’t sure I had a movie yet, but capturing scenes like this made me realize there was a fascinating story unfolding here.  The struggle over electricity in Georgia might provide a manageable metaphor for the overwhelming story of traumatic post-Soviet transition to capitalism.

Power Trip DVD
Power Trip Trailer

Slam Poem: Jessica Care Moore – “Box This”

Posted by Paul Devlin:

Can a white person born in the U.S with family roots in South Africa identify him or herself as “African American?”  What about an American with Morroccan or Egyptian ancestry? Also African American? Why do we often use the term African American to describe a black person, but rarely use European American to describe a white person?   Besides, no one is really white or black – we’re all flesh color (I can prove it with the scopes that measure color in my edit room).  When you start to examine it closely, the language collapses.

Years ago, I read an interview with Marlon Brando, who said that when asked to identify his race on a form, he wrote “Human.”  I’ve followed his lead ever since.

Jessica Care Moore takes on the absurdity of racial labeling in this burst of energy performed at the finals of the National Poetry Slam in Portland, Oregon.  

SlamNation DVD
SlamNation Trailer

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The Vestrymen – Backyard

Posted by Paul Devlin:

My buddy from high school, Billy Donohue (formerly of The Blasés) hooked me up with The Vestrymen, when he joined the band as the keyboard player.  I became friends with the band and this music video of their song “Backyard” came out of a last minute shoot at the parents' house of bandmember Andy Boose (aka René Risqué).

I enjoyed making it and really like the song.  Very creative guys.
 

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BLAST! Extra – Werner Herzog Visits BLAST Team

Posted by Paul Devlin:

While I was in Antarctica shooting BLAST!, Werner Herzog was also there, shooting his movie, Encounters at the End of the World.

He came to visit the BLAST team and interviewed my brother for Encounters.  When he showed up with his cameraman, Werner was surprised to discover a couple of our cameras trained on him, turning the tables.  I really enjoy this piece – we often hear Werner’s voice in his movies, but this is a rare glimpse of him in action, interviewing.  

The interview with my brother did not make the final cut of Encounters.  Werner was definitely in search of the quirky, edgy element at McMurdo station. Mark was unfamiliar with Werner’s work and played it too straight.
 
Werner wanted to use some of our footage of balloon launches in his movie.  We tried to work out a footage trade, but he was under contract to Discovery and had to be careful about what he released.  By the time his team decided what they wanted, we were under contract to BBC and advised also not to release any footage.  Looking back, I wish we had been able to accommodate him.

Werner and I were on the same flight back to New Zealand.  It was delayed leaving Antarctica and we chatted on the Ross Ice Shelf – which also served as the landing area – for about 45 minutes.  Priceless career advice from a Master.

BLAST! DVD: http://bit.ly/9bS6yL
BLAST! Trailer: http://bit.ly/ccGAmS

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Slam Poem: Beau Sia – “Give Me a Chance”

Posted by Paul Devlin:

Beau performed this pop poem during the New York City stop of Gary Glazner’s cross-country SlamAmerica bus tour in 2000.  I caught up with the bus on several legs of the tour and worked with the documentary team to justify my place at the party.  The tour had a rotating membership depending on the region and it was great fun traveling with all sorts of clever characters around the U.S. 

The tour was captured in Gary’s movie Busload of Poets.  We’ll share more fun performances from the mighty SlamAmerica tour, so stay tuned.  

 

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Slam Poem: Taylor Mali – “Like Totally Whatever”

Posted by Paul Devlin

 

Taylor Mali is ON FIRE in at the finals of the National Poetry Slam in Portland Oregon. I enjoy the utter self-confidence, sharp intelligence, and almost evangelical energy he brings to the stage – perhaps the best-ever performance of this popular piece. I’m also impressed by Taylor’s clever technique of showing, not telling through devastating caricature. His final illustration by example of the importance of language is utterly convincing.

This poem climaxed my film SlamNation. Many more great ones by Taylor and others on the way.

SlamNation DVD

 SlamNation Trailer     

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