InFocus Film School Blog

 

Why Should New Directors Make Horror Films?

Written by Johnny Papan

 

Horror isn’t a genre often associated with prestige. In fact, only 6 freaky films have ever been nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars, the most recent being Jordan Peele’s directorial debut: Get Out. Despite this, as was the case with Peele, horror films have proven to be a launching pad for many of the world’s most renowned filmmakers. James Cameron, Peter Jackson, Sam Raimi, Stephen Spielberg, and even Frances Ford Coppola have all honed their craft making horror films in their early career.

There are a multitude of reasons why this genre is a great place to develop your career as a film director. From the freedom to experiment, to lower financial risk, to a dedicated fanbase and beyond, here are our top 5 reasons why new directors should begin their career in horror.

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Written by Clarence Sponagle

Martha; A Picture Story is a documentary reminding us that one passion can lead to others, one person’s drive can be addictive and that some of the best storytelling is through art.

 

Martha Cooper is a photographer whose pictures of hip-hop graffiti helped share the art-form all over the world. What started off as a conventional hobby turned into a revolutionary career that is still going today, at her age of 75. In the 1970s Martha discovered graffiti art in the Bronx and began taking photos, turning her collection into a book entitled Subway Art. Though the book sold few copies in the 1970s, some were shoplifted and photocopied. Pirated copies of the book were circulated internationally and turned the art-form into a worldwide phenomena.

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AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH HEAVY HITTING HORRORFEST’S FUNNY AND UNPREDICTABLE FESTIVAL DIRECTOR: FEET BANKS

Written by Johnny Papan

 

Whistler’s Heavy Hitting HorrorFest describes itself as a “one night, balls to the wall orgy of horrific, hilarious, and very independent short films.” Their website cautions attendees to “tell your brain to stock up on diapers.”

This now 13-year-old festival has grown into one of the largest and longest running horror festivals in Western Canada. This years festival aims for a more “intimate vibe,” screening at a 300 person theatre, as opposed to multiple theatres hosting 1200 attendees as seen in the past. Event organizer Feet Banks says this will not stop the festival from being “bigger, bloodier, and even more badass than ever before.” The even will feature a Red Carpet pre-party and costumes are encouraged.

The festival accepts film from around the world, and the deadline is September 15. Feet spoke with InFocus Film School about the festival, its origins, and some wild tidbits. Read the EXCLUSIVE Q&A below.

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Lighting at InFocus Film School

 

Lighting is a crucial part of the filmmaking experience. It gives films a special look and style that can be unique to the piece in question. It affects the tone, mood, and can subconsciously control the audience’s emotion as well.

Understanding fundamental lighting is extremely important. Whether you are a lighting expert, or stepping in behind the camera for the first time, here are 3 tips you MUST know as a cinematographer.

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Vancouver is home to a thriving film industry

Vancouver is home to a thriving film industry

Is there a better place to shoot a movie than Vancouver? With its versatile cityscape, beautiful forestry and mountain surrounds, and temperate climate, the city provides the perfect backdrop for almost any story you want to tell. Filmmakers seem to agree, with the city currently ranked as the third largest production centre for film and television in North America, earning the nickname ‘Hollywood North.’

For film production students, this thriving industry is a tremendous advantage. There is regular work available for editors, cinematographers, visual effects specialists and other industry professionals in the hundreds of productions that are filmed in the city every year, as well as in the many permanent studios located throughout the Greater Vancouver Area.

If you’re a film student based in Vancouver, it’s very likely that you’ve seen a movie that was shot in your hometown, even if you didn’t recognize it. Here are a few of the diverse range of productions that have called the city home.

1. ‘X-Men: Last Stand’: Blockbusters Provide Hundreds of Jobs for Film School Grads

The third instalment of the popular superhero franchise used a number of well-known locations within the city during filming, including the University of British Columbia and the Vancouver Art Gallery, as well as nearby sites like Hatley Castle and Golden Ears Provincial Park.

Some scenes in X-Men: Last Stand were shot in Golden Ears Provincial Park

Some scenes in X-Men: Last Stand were shot in Golden Ears Provincial Park

Blockbuster action movies like ‘X-Men: The Last Stand’ typically require extremely large film crews with hundreds of specialized professionals, creating valuable employment opportunities for students that graduate from a film school in Vancouver.

2. Horror Fans in Movie School Might Find ‘The Cabin in the Woods’ Familiar

If horror fans enrolled in film school find the unspoilt forest scenery in ‘The Cabin in the Woods’ eerily familiar, there’s a reason for that. This critically acclaimed 2012 slasher movie was filmed almost entirely in or around Vancouver, with the British Columbia Institute of Technology’s Aerospace Technology Campus also featuring heavily in exterior shots during the film.

3. ‘50 Shades of Grey’: How Film School Graduates Helped Create a Box Office Smash

While the film might divide opinion, there’s no denying the success of ‘50 Shades of Grey,’ which took in over $215 million at the box office, breaking the record for the highest grossest opening weekend for a female-directed film. Scenes were shot in many Vancouver locations students might recognize, including Gastown, Coal Harbour, and Oceanic Plaza.

50 Shades of Grey used Gastown as a shooting location

50 Shades of Grey used Gastown as a shooting location

4. Film School Students Could Work on Indie Hits Like ‘Juno’

This offbeat indie comedy about a pregnant teenage girl earned widespread critical acclaim and an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay in 2007. Shooting took place in various locations around BC – locals might recognize Eric Hamber Secondary School and the Hanna Medical Clinic in key scenes.

Despite its low budget and simple premise, the production crew for Juno still numbered well over 100, again demonstrating the numerous opportunities for trained Vancouver filmmakers to find work in a wide range of productions.

5. How Vancouver Film Students and Graduates Made ‘Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol’ Possible

Another big budget action movie with a large crew, ‘Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol’ used Vancouver to double for several international locations, including Seattle, San Francisco, and even Budapest. Students will find the clever shooting techniques used to transform local streets well worth studying as an example of advanced cinematography.

 

Related Links

InFocus Film School Film Production Program

Starting Your Own Film Production Company

Hollywood is Going to be in Desperate Need of Hollywood Scripts

By Victor van der Merwe

The world of visual effects is becoming an ever more crucial part of the film industry. CGI and 3D modelling is not just for monster movies and aliens anymore and as movies evolve, it is amazing to see what the visual effects departments can do. Having an actor fly on a dragon is impressive, but what can be even more amazing is subtle changes a person in the VFX department can make to make fabricated scenes look realistic. Here are five films that subtly use special effects to enhance their stories.

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By Ryan Uytdewilligen

What’s the motivation for your movie’s location?

If you are going make your on-screen dream a reality, you’ll need actors, props, a screenplay, and a crew. But you can’t forget the most important physical aspect… the very bane that plagues all movie shoots; an answer to the pesky question, “where are we going to film?”

A shooting space can make or break everything depending on many minuscule factors. The job takes talent so that the rest of the crew’s day can run smoothly and the desired scene can be captured with ease.

Here’s the process one should take when finding and securing that sacred shooting space.

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Acclaimed director and film school graduate Ang Lee said: “If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that you can never learn enough.” That is especially true when it comes to film.

The benefits of a formal filmmaking education cannot be overstated. It gives young directors, cinematographers, screenwriters, and other aspiring artists the guidance and training they need to master their craft. A number of the most well-known and successful directors have gotten started at film school. It gave them a chance to develop their unique artistic style and voice.

Read on to find out how film school influenced the work of these three famous directors.

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Written by Ryan Uytdewilligen

 

To film school or not to film school, that is the question! The budding filmmakers of tomorrow are faced with this weighty choice – rush out into the world and make movies on their own or take the time to get a formal education.

 

It’s a risky business seeing how job security at the end of your education is far from guaranteed. A quote from the much loved auteur Quentin Tarantino simply spells out for young filmmakers that “he never went to film school, he went to films” yet respected and renowned director Martin Scorsese as well Hollywood mogul George Lucas have both learned their crafts in an educational setting.

 

So where is the best place to start? If you’re scratching your head and looking for that launching pad, look no further. A diploma may not necessarily be a requirement for stepping on set, however, receiving a formal education in the field might conjure up more opportunities than you many think.

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Written by Victor van der Merwe

 

The one thing all filmmakers have in common is the problem of finding money for a project. Steven Spielberg has that problem, David Lynch has that problem and yes, first time filmmakers have that problem. The reason is because, unlike other art forms, this is a very expensive medium to work in. Of course, Spielberg and Lynch can point out projects that prove they can get the money back to investors. Sadly, your profit margins might not yet compare to theirs. This does not mean that you cannot raise the funds needed to make your masterpiece though. Here are five ways new filmmakers can get funding for their projects.

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