Welcome to the ICM Forum. If you have an account but have trouble logging in, or have other questions, see THIS THREAD.
NOTE: Board emails should be working again. Information on forum upgrade and style issues.
Podcast: Talking Images (Episode 22 released November 17th * EXCLUSIVE * We Are Mentioned in a Book!!! Interview with Mary Guillermin on Rapture, JG & More)
Polls: Favourite Movies (Results), 1998 (Results), DtC - Ratings (Apr 26th), Coming of Age (Apr 30th)
Challenges: Doubling the Canon, Animation, Middle East
Film of the Week: Moya lyubov, May nominations (Apr 30th)

New Year, Old Roads (Justin Kelly, 2021)

Post Reply
User avatar
prodigalgodson
Posts: 850
Joined: July 30th, 2011, 6:00 am
Location: Los Angeles
Contact:

New Year, Old Roads (Justin Kelly, 2021)

#1

Post by prodigalgodson »

Hey you lovely people, I just finished my latest film, a three-part abstract video memoir called New Year, Old Roads. For anyone who's interested here are the links:

Part 1: The Golden Years (37 mins) - https://vimeo.com/521178551
Part 2: Paradise Moose (24 mins) - https://vimeo.com/521150759
Part 3: The Road Less Traveled (43 mins) - https://vimeo.com/521085172

And some screencaps, the catch being that these are excerpted from shots not actually included in the film. You wanna see the good stuff, you have to watch ;)

Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

Cheers guys! Hope anyone who's interested enjoys.
User avatar
Cinepolis
Posts: 316
Joined: January 4th, 2019, 8:40 pm
Location: Germany
Contact:

#2

Post by Cinepolis »

I took a quick peek. Looks gorgeous. Congrats on your achievement.
User avatar
prodigalgodson
Posts: 850
Joined: July 30th, 2011, 6:00 am
Location: Los Angeles
Contact:

#3

Post by prodigalgodson »

Thank you thank you Cinepolis!
User avatar
Perception de Ambiguity
Posts: 3851
Joined: July 9th, 2011, 6:00 am
Contact:

#4

Post by Perception de Ambiguity »

Image

Wait, is this snow? In Los An-gel-es? How high did you have to get for this one (no pun intended)?


Random thoughts, associations, observations, questions, etc.:

Image

My first association upon seeing the skyline of the opening shot was Tokyo.
I enjoyed your little experiments in abstractions through out of focus photography.
min 5 - Ah, the Shawshank Remdemption wall with the hidden package in the crack.
min 8 - R. Bruce Elder shot! ...which is best exemplified by this parody which always cracks me up just thinking about it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6r_wU4WPb8 - as do the comments that are oblivious to the Elder films connection ("Is this camera mounted on the head of a chicken?")
min 12 - Gives the impression of a pan-down that seems to continue for an impossibly long time. Fascinating.
min 30 - Good to know that I'm not the only one who has to think about what their age is when asked. Do you also have to think first about what year it is and do the calculation based on that?
min 35 - Loved that shot. Nothing that should be too novel (Elton John alone made two extremely popular songs out of it), but personally I haven't seen burning birthday candles/many candles next to each other in the open air on a more or less windy day in a long time. Flames dancing in unison yet each one is different from one another, and they are always on the brink of extinguishing. Could have watched that for a lot longer.
Nice cliffhanger endings. What was the rational behind separating the film into three parts anyway?

Image

min 6 - Just earlier today I learned that "Googol" is the name for the number 10^100 which is more than there are atoms in the whole universe...
min 18 - Did you run in a circle around the tripod to get that shot?
min 19 - Bruh, moar deserts!

Image

min 2 - That dark "closet" hides a hell of a world inside it.
min 6 - Digging watching all those patterns on the water surface in time lapse. And those small diving ducks (if I saw this correctly) disappearing and appearing again at a different spot. It also struck me again what a weird animal ducks are, spending most of their time floating on water surfaces in what looks like a seating position.
min 14+ - Driving scenes, always good. Night driving on the highway, even better. Some of your maneuvers looked pretty daring, but I wouldn't know.
min 22 - lol, I think Yanti scenes Yanti directs, not you.
min 29 - How, when, for how long did you shoot this scene? And did you cheat in the editing to make it look like you continued shooting the next day?
It was interesting to see the detailed closing credits, and to see my head starting to spin as the spaces between letters got wider and w i d e r .

I'd put "The Road" as my favorite of the three parts. Maybe I just happened to be in a different, more suitable frame of mind, because I watched this one a day later. It's my favorite in terms of just individual shots but I guess I also got a little more sense of an overarching structure with this one than with the others, or at least a pleasant ebb and flow. It had my favorite music choices, but again, maybe it's only because I already knew and liked some of those songs, and was especially stoked about hearing "Janitor of Lunacy". Kind of surprising it doesn't pop up much more often in movies, it's powerful stuff, IMO. This part probably had the fewest human shapes calling for attention (people inside cars don't count) except for your own shape, and that human is cool to see, of course.
We do not have to understand new things, but by dint of patience, effort and method to come to understand with our whole self the truths which are evident.Image
LETTERBOXD | MUBI | IMDb | tumblr.
User avatar
prodigalgodson
Posts: 850
Joined: July 30th, 2011, 6:00 am
Location: Los Angeles
Contact:

#5

Post by prodigalgodson »

Perception de Ambiguity wrote: March 12th, 2021, 7:32 pm
Wait, is this snow? In Los An-gel-es? How high did you have to get for this one (no pun intended)?

Random thoughts, associations, observations, questions, etc.:

My first association upon seeing the skyline of the opening shot was Tokyo.
I enjoyed your little experiments in abstractions through out of focus photography.
min 5 - Ah, the Shawshank Remdemption wall with the hidden package in the crack.
min 8 - R. Bruce Elder shot! ...which is best exemplified by this parody which always cracks me up just thinking about it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6r_wU4WPb8 - as do the comments that are oblivious to the Elder films connection ("Is this camera mounted on the head of a chicken?")
min 12 - Gives the impression of a pan-down that seems to continue for an impossibly long time. Fascinating.
min 30 - Good to know that I'm not the only one who has to think about what their age is when asked. Do you also have to think first about what year it is and do the calculation based on that?
min 35 - Loved that shot. Nothing that should be too novel (Elton John alone made two extremely popular songs out of it), but personally I haven't seen burning birthday candles/many candles next to each other in the open air on a more or less windy day in a long time. Flames dancing in unison yet each one is different from one another, and they are always on the brink of extinguishing. Could have watched that for a lot longer.
Nice cliffhanger endings. What was the rational behind separating the film into three parts anyway?

min 6 - Just earlier today I learned that "Googol" is the name for the number 10^100 which is more than there are atoms in the whole universe...
min 18 - Did you run in a circle around the tripod to get that shot?
min 19 - Bruh, moar deserts!

min 2 - That dark "closet" hides a hell of a world inside it.
min 6 - Digging watching all those patterns on the water surface in time lapse. And those small diving ducks (if I saw this correctly) disappearing and appearing again at a different spot. It also struck me again what a weird animal ducks are, spending most of their time floating on water surfaces in what looks like a seating position.
min 14+ - Driving scenes, always good. Night driving on the highway, even better. Some of your maneuvers looked pretty daring, but I wouldn't know.
min 22 - lol, I think Yanti scenes Yanti directs, not you.
min 29 - How, when, for how long did you shoot this scene? And did you cheat in the editing to make it look like you continued shooting the next day?
It was interesting to see the detailed closing credits, and to see my head starting to spin as the spaces between letters got wider and w i d e r .

I'd put "The Road" as my favorite of the three parts. Maybe I just happened to be in a different, more suitable frame of mind, because I watched this one a day later. It's my favorite in terms of just individual shots but I guess I also got a little more sense of an overarching structure with this one than with the others, or at least a pleasant ebb and flow. It had my favorite music choices, but again, maybe it's only because I already knew and liked some of those songs, and was especially stoked about hearing "Janitor of Lunacy". Kind of surprising it doesn't pop up much more often in movies, it's powerful stuff, IMO. This part probably had the fewest human shapes calling for attention (people inside cars don't count) except for your own shape, and that human is cool to see, of course.
Ayyy the pda response! One of the most satisfying things about making these. :cheers:

Re: snow, haha, that's Mt. Piños, about an hour north on interstate 5. One of our most memorable family trips to the snow was out there -- we'd usually go to Idlewild, in the San Jacinto mountains on the way to Palm Springs, or through the San Bernadinos to Big Bear, but if I decided to include the whole SoCal diaspora of important memories this whole thing would've gotten even more out of hand. So I had to make Mt. Piños and the surrounding areas stand in for our family vacations to startlingly otherworldly locals (as experienced by my young brain).

Re: Tokyo, yeah it definitely does not look like how I usually imagine LA myself (never been to Tokyo myself, nor can I picture the skyline). I really like that angle of it though, which I discovered doing deliveries in Echo Park at some point.

Re: bokoe shots, I was wondering before I got to the condo how I was gonna represent it with that blurry mercurial quality of very earlier memory, and that was the best thing I came up with. My first shot of my aunt Joan on the balcony was on the tripod, exposed way brighter, and fully focused, and it would've been an unacceptably dull start to the film.

min 5 - Was that at the end of Shawshank, where he tells him where to meet him? I've always loved those little stone walls sunk in lush grass, must be the "man...Irish" in me. That park sloping down into (then inoperative train tracks), with the pedestrian bridge crossing over and into regions unknown, made a very strong mysterious impression on me as a young kid.
min 8 - Ahh is that what Elder's like? Man, everyone's done it first! I was incensed by discovering Dutta already had the idea for Portraits in Absentia too lol. When I was in preschool my grandma once a week would take my sisters and me to that intersection down the street from our house, past the carwash (which I was apparently obsessed with), to McDonald's for dinner, then to Thrifty's for ice cream. That jerky tripod style was the best facsimile I could figure of those fragmentary memories when I was just learning to make sense out of the surrounding world. Another strong memory from that time is staying up til 3am with my Mom being excited and shaken up because a police helicopter was hovering for hours above our house searching for someone on the run; hence the prevalence of the cop copters.
min 12 - Cheers! Being drawn to those kind of hidden spaces (beneath a lush blanket of flora in this case) is the essence of childhood for me. Just wish I had steadier hands (the stoner lifestyle's give and take), or better yet a steadicam for these kind of shots.
min 30 - Haha, no I'm terrible at mental math, I just thought about it for a sec I guess. I love that conversation, a) because even if I didn't get the orange helicopter shot I wanted, it at least lets the audience picture it in their head, which might be better than the real things, b) it's a good opportunity to describe the intention of the film organically, and c) it keeps me humble by reminding myself that god damn, I sound like an awkward doofus when I say things out loud.
min 35 - Love those candles in the wind too. Totally serendipitous, I had a vague idea to film the candle-lighting on the way over (a birthday celebration for my dad and grandma), but it turned out much better than I'd pictured. Flash in the pan too, so no hope for a longer take. Think it paired nicely with the music too, even if it tilts a bit corny (but hey, that was my jam at the time, and better than The Decembrists' Engine Driver, which was my first thought). Tarkovsky already owns the candle-on-the-brink-of-extinguishing shot for all time though.

Re: splitting parts, I first conceived this as about a 45 minute project, with only a handful of long-take shots representing each time period. As I was filming this ballooned out to include as many places with strong memories associated as I could (and I'm still kicking myself for missing a few big ones), and by the time I had everything initially sequenced my timeline was three hours. So I decided to split it into two parts (about age 0-13 and 14-27), but by the time I'd finished the portion leading up through early middle school I realized I still had most of the "story" left (obviously more vivid memories of more places as time gets closer to the present, should've known from Joyce), so I decided to do three parts instead, with the third starting with me leaving for college and taking us up to the present, interposed with impressions of my years away in the East Bay and SF (at some point I'd love to do a sequel similarly chronicling my life in the Bay). But long story short, no good reason I guess, it makes it more digestible for viewers and I've personally come to enjoy watching things in parts lately.

min 18 - I did indeed, I don't have Michael Snow money to build some machine to do it! Or buy a fluid head tripod that doesn't fuck up my plans for every perfectly imagined pan (the stiltedness kind of maybe works with Welcome to the Machine, I tell myself consolingly).
min 19 - I know I know, I will one thousand percent return to the desert in future endeavors. Would loved to have had more days to film out there this time too, but time and budgetary constraints.... Zoetrope (my junior-year film project, about a man who has to lug a cross through the desert to the ocean as it continually gets larger), Agua dulce (my senior-year film, about an abusive pedagogical relationship between two nomads in a postapocalyptic world) and Jawbone Station (made on vacations in my second year of college, a pretty nutty amateur neo-noir with it's own 8-minute driving shot), were all shot around here in the Antelope Valley and the Mohave Desert, though those Trona Pinnacles only actually make an appearance in Agua dulce. That initial period of creative discovery was one of the most magical times of my life.

min 2 - Haha, yeah that's my friend and producer Nick's (Young Cookie's) garage, where we spent countless hours creating recording our first two albums on semester breaks. That space does hide a hell of a world.
min 6 - Sunset time lapses are beyond cliche, but I am proud of that shot. So much going on in those 40 minutes (during which I managed to successfully guard my camera from dogs, kids, and bikes constantly crossing the walking bridge I was filming from): the ducks, the people, the planes taking off, the boats going by, needless to say the shadows, etc. I was so happy that day, the weather was exactly how I wanted it and sundown timed perfectly with the start of the dinner rush, so I didn't lose out on too much money even filming on a Friday. And yeah, waterfowl are the shit.
min 14 - Glad you dug it, I don't imagine most people really will. It was a powerful moment to me though, and I think it captured that renewed strength and endurance of ascension following really difficult trials quite well. After several hundred thousand miles of experience I like to think I'm a pretty safe driver -- I certainly would never tailgate or cut people off -- but I did find it necessary to pass every single vehicle I came across during the 30 minutes or so I was filming, which...well, I'll take daring. I did have to swerve really fast around something in the road at one point (near the end of the shot), but other than that I felt pretty safe.
min 22 - lol, you are definitely right about that
min 29 - This is from the tiered parking lot above the high school down the street from Yanti's place, where I've spent countless hours reading, smoking cigarettes, and listening to music while waiting for her to get off work or finish doing whatever with the kids. Filmed intermittently from about half an hour before sunset to about half an hour after, put the actual sunset in double time, and shot for about two minutes at a time every 5-10 minutes afterward, with the tripod kept in the same place the whole time, trying not to jostle the camera when turning it on or off or adjusting exposure. The increasingly higher exposure as the sky gets darker accounts for the difference in lighting (I exposed so the track/landscape are visible in the first shot, but the sky's pretty blown out; in the second it's exposed so you can actually see the sun setting, which means there's too little light entering the lens -- or whatever the digital approximation of that is, I actually have never checked how the physical aperture works on my camera -- to see much of anything else; and in the following shots there's increasingly less light in the sky, so I could open the aperture increasingly further, but it's also obviously rapidly getting darker).

I think part 3's my favorite too, though I'm also pretty hot on part 2. Alice Coltrane scoring a day in the life of the Crick and that Pink Floyd/Wu Tang mashup in the desert...not too shabby imho. And you gotta love Beethoven's Wig and Cheech the Schoolbus Driver, that's classics right there.

I was able to watch this with a more objective eye last night and, setting aside some inexact edits and assorted technical flaws, I'm quite pleased with how it turned out. What a weird movie lol. Wish I'd had more time to focus just on making it, but that's life. Gotta finish this and Stunt Road before my emt training starts and I'm on who knows what kind of schedule, and gotta pay the bills in the meanwhile...

Dang, laki's prolix navel-gazing is infectious. Or maybe it's Notes from Underground, which I finally picked up recently, already seeping into my consciousness. Too tired to proofread that, but I'll take a look in the morning. Anyhow, truly appreciate your take old friend.
User avatar
Perception de Ambiguity
Posts: 3851
Joined: July 9th, 2011, 6:00 am
Contact:

#6

Post by Perception de Ambiguity »

I'm obviously intimately familiar with the skyline of Tokyo...only through films. The LA skyline I'm maybe most familiar with through 80's and 90's B-movies, and there it is often seen with blown out skies and bathed in post-apocalypse-suggesting yellow/orange sunlight, usually quite different to the crisp digital image of lit windows in towering office buildings suggesting perhaps the vibrant business life of the city.

Yep, that's the Shawshank Redemption wall I was thinking of. I still don't understand much about those little walls, their history, their (former) purpose, their role in eventually getting human beings to the stars, but that's probably why they still hold some intrigue for me.

It's one of the things Elder did often. There are also (less) often pans along the horizon line of usually dry or rocky landscapes. And a LOT of traveling shots on highways (shot either through the front or through the side) but shot at a very low framerate and it comes out very chaotic, like, think Jonas Mekas ('Reminiscence of a Journey') or Oskar Fischinger's 'München-Berlin Wanderung' (https://www.facebook.com/gennariello192 ... 034418922/).

Sure, we are living in Netflix times, the task of sitting through 10 3/4-hour episodes has become less daunting than sitting through 1 2-hour film.

The "Welcome to the Machine" scene does have an industrial feel to it, and the imperfect fluidity does seem to work with the windish sounds of the song. But who knows, maybe all this would have worked just as well even with "Michael Snow money".

min 29 - I see, so what looked to me like hours having passed in between some shots actually was a change of exposure. I hadn't thought of that. I thought the shot captured, like, 24 hours, that's why I was impressed that you kept the camera fixed for so long when it looked like the camera was exposed to the outside. It may not be a Kurt Kren tree film time span, but his camera could sit safely on his home's windowsill.

The CLASSICS "Beethoven's Wig" and "Cheech the Schoolbus Driver"... We had different upbringings.

Will we get the really reckless driving in "Stunt Road"?

Yeah, well, your films are always a joy to watch, so thank you. And it was informative to learn the concept of the film you envisioned. You described it as a video memoir, but that was too broad for me a description to picture these locations as corresponding to your experiences spanning your life in chronological order.
We do not have to understand new things, but by dint of patience, effort and method to come to understand with our whole self the truths which are evident.Image
LETTERBOXD | MUBI | IMDb | tumblr.
User avatar
prodigalgodson
Posts: 850
Joined: July 30th, 2011, 6:00 am
Location: Los Angeles
Contact:

#7

Post by prodigalgodson »

Perception de Ambiguity wrote: March 13th, 2021, 12:14 pm It's one of the things Elder did often. There are also (less) often pans along the horizon line of usually dry or rocky landscapes. And a LOT of traveling shots on highways (shot either through the front or through the side) but shot at a very low framerate and it comes out very chaotic, like, think Jonas Mekas ('Reminiscence of a Journey') or Oskar Fischinger's 'München-Berlin Wanderung' (https://www.facebook.com/gennariello192 ... 034418922/).

min 29 - I see, so what looked to me like hours having passed in between some shots actually was a change of exposure. I hadn't thought of that. I thought the shot captured, like, 24 hours, that's why I was impressed that you kept the camera fixed for so long when it looked like the camera was exposed to the outside. It may not be a Kurt Kren tree film time span, but his camera could sit safely on his home's windowsill.

Will we get the really reckless driving in "Stunt Road"?

Yeah, well, your films are always a joy to watch, so thank you. And it was informative to learn the concept of the film you envisioned. You described it as a video memoir, but that was too broad for me a description to picture these locations as corresponding to your experiences spanning your life in chronological order.[/color]
Thanks for the link, haven't watched either film but that low framerate stuff sounds up my alley.

Ahh yeah, sorry to disappoint. Didn't realize Kren shot that from inside his house, the camera moves waaay too much in that case lol. Ends up being a cool aesthetic anyhow. Do you know if that's the case for Asyl too? I always assumed he marked with paint or something where to put the legs of the tripod.

Hah, no, it's just filmed on the road where the Paramount Stunt Ranch used to be. There will be some verbal stunting courtesy of our boy J Arkadin though.

Big cheers! Good to know that was helpful info, the movie's so personal to me it's hard to really gauge how opaque it is.
User avatar
Perception de Ambiguity
Posts: 3851
Joined: July 9th, 2011, 6:00 am
Contact:

#8

Post by Perception de Ambiguity »

I just remember having read this about one of Kren's films a long time ago, turns out it actually was 'Asyl '. What I read now also says that the camera was mounted on a tripod.
We do not have to understand new things, but by dint of patience, effort and method to come to understand with our whole self the truths which are evident.Image
LETTERBOXD | MUBI | IMDb | tumblr.
User avatar
kongs_speech
Posts: 1353
Joined: April 4th, 2020, 10:32 pm
Location: FL
Contact:

#9

Post by kongs_speech »

I haven't had a chance to watch this yet, but congrats on making it happen, Justin! I look forward to seeing it when I've caught up on my 2020 backlog.
🏳️‍⚧️
Quartoxuma wrote: A deeply human, life-affirming disgusting check whore.
Image
User avatar
prodigalgodson
Posts: 850
Joined: July 30th, 2011, 6:00 am
Location: Los Angeles
Contact:

#10

Post by prodigalgodson »

Thank you kong! Look forward to hearing your thoughts. :cheers:
Post Reply