Jamison Bright – the ‘Auteur’ Theory

What ‘makes’ a film? Is it the writing? Is it the editing? This is the question many have sought to answer. Auteur, a term not so commonly used these days, is defined as a director who so influences a film, that he or she becomes the author, making it what it is. But how can we prove or disprove this? By looking at a handful of short films by one director – Jamison Bright – we can see how each work carries on the director’s film style and personal principles.

Jamison Bright is a young, up-and-coming, film director who has so far built a solid portfolio of live-action and animated shorts. Formerly known as Xavier Vanegas, Jamison is a director, actor, and producer, using all of these positions to create pieces of art that help define the human condition and entertain the world.

Early works

When looking at Jamison’s extensive portfolio to get a clear picture of how he thinks and what messages he wants to give to the world, you must begin with his early works.

One Night Stand shows a young man’s attempt to escape an apartment after spending the night with a woman. Despite being an early piece of Jamison’s work, we can see marked creativity in his shot selection and awareness of location, a favourite part being the use of a mirror to avoid using a standard cut away.

Pass/Fail Episode Two is similar in theme, however this one included dialogue that sounded both realistic to the age group and garnered a chuckle. With more actors and scenery to command, it was a tough job, but definitely shows his progression in skill. The shot selections are textbook, setting the scene and letting the characters tell their stories.

No university film degree is complete without making a zombie film. Zombs focuses on the in-between moments. Minor technical elements such as lighting and sound could have been improved, but it added to the psuedo-normalcy of the event.

Also dealing with death in a mostly comedic way is Remembering Jim Thatcher. Through quick glimpses of Jim’s life at the open of the film, we are instantly connected to him. The use of a green screen, though sometimes very evident, generally worked for the best. We are able to concentrate on the characters and their plight, rather than background stimuli.

Jamison’s focus on his own age demographic highlights his admitted desire to help others define their personal experience. He knows what they are going through, especially at a time when they are searching for meaning and attempting to understand life.

Later works

The first I will discuss here is my personal favourite. Abby and the Lights in the Sky tells of a young mother who is struggling after losing her baby. One night, strange lights appear outside the window, filling her with a sense of peace and closure. It used music in an interesting way, alongside subtle reactions, which often mean more than melodrama.

Just like you’d expect, Jamison’s later works all show a massive improvement in terms of technique. In progressing from short films to a possible future in features, he has begun to release a series of shorts that will combine to create a much larger story. These instalments: Park Bench, Bench Décès, and Statica Segment 1 are just the beginning of the series that promises to get darker. The latter two are in black and white, giving a noir-esque feel. The close framing and odd angles keep you off-balance, adding to the intrigue and showing Jamison, having mastered the basic filmic techniques, has moved onto using the shots to tell the story and not just capture the action.

Another instalment of an ongoing series is the endearing animated film Fink Forest Friends: The Invisible Honk. Though focused to a much younger demographic, it still portrayed a sense of morals, making it not just entertainment.

The Current Beneath is a stand-alone short film that uses an older cast and a more emotional take on death and loss. Telling its story in only a few minutes, the use of quick editing heightened the panic. It is one of the many works that Jamison has added a charity/cause credit to, with this one hitting close to home.

Telling a long tale in a short period of time, Mary Wollstonecraft of Sector Seventeen doesn’t feel like anything is left out. It is both funny and serious, and is similar to the Bench series in it’s use of black and white and shadow.

Common elements

Whether or not we are aware of it, we all have a specific way of seeing the world. After watching a few films by Jamison, you will be able to identify a number of common elements that all illustrate his world view and areas of interest.

All stories tend to have a moral message behind them, and Jamison uses his own age experience to target his messages to young adults. His films include immaturity in relation to sex and relationship, but also the heavier subjects of the shortness of life and how not even the youth are immune to it.

No filmmaker is alone in creating their art. Despite the obvious influence the director has on the film and its meaning, it is the contribution of others and their ideas that make it a more comprehensive product. Some of Jamison’s frequent collaborators include his family, and friends Cody Theilman, Christopher Dinriquez, Evan Muehlbauer, and Lyman Johnson.

The human experience is one of trials and tribulations, with almost everyone just trying to do their best. By helping each other, we can not only ease the suffering of others, but bring joy to our own existence. Over the handful of years that Jamison Bright has been studying and honing his craft, he has done this by outwardly dedicating his works to known and lesser-known causes, and by his film themes. It is only by continuing to watch his creations that we will see his ideas and morals grow, entertaining and positively affecting more and more people around the globe.

You can find his works at the following links:

instagram.com/jamisonbright

vimeo.com/vanegas

www.facebook.com/jamisonbright/

www.youtube.com/channel/UCcQxdn-oNblZlfaAeZHPixw

Oscars 2016 – Academy Awards

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With the Golden Globes done and dusted for the year, we have the Oscars (Academy Awards) to look forward to.

Here is the list of nominees, and my guesses.

Please note, most of these are not the films I want to win, and are merely who I think will win.

Best Actor

Nominees: Bryan Cranston (Trumbo), Matt Damon (The Martian), Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant), Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs), Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl)

My Prediction: Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl)

Best Actress

Nominees: Cate Blanchett (Carol), Brie Larson (Room), Jennifer Lawrence (Joy), Charlotte Rampling (45 Years), Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn)

My Prediction: Jennifer Lawrence (Joy)

Best Supporting Actor

Nominees: Christian Bale (The Big Short), Tom Hardy (The Revenant), Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight), Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies), Sylvester Stallone (Creed)

My Prediction: Tom Hardy (The Revenant)

Best Supporting Actress

Nominees: Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight), Rooney Mara (Carol), Rachel McAdams (Spotlight), Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl), Kate Winslet (Steve Jobs)

My Prediction: Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl)

Directing

Nominees: Adam McKay (The Big Short), George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road), Alejandro G Inarritu (The Revenant), Lenny Abrahamson (Room), Tom McCarthy (Spotlight)

My Prediction: Alejandro G Inarritu (The Revenant)

Film Editing

Nominees: The Big Short, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Revenant, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Spotlight

My Prediction: The Revenant

Foreign Language Film

Nominees: Embrace of the Serpent, Mustang, Son of Saul, Theeb, A War

My Prediction: No guess

Original Score

Nominees: Bridge of Spies, Carol, The Hateful Eight, Sicario, Star Wars: The Force Awakens

My Prediction: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best Picture

Nominees: The Big Short, Bridge of Spies, Brooklyn, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, The Revenant, Room, Spotlight

My Prediction: The Martian or The Revenant

Production Design

Nominees: Bridge of Spies, The Danish Girl, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, The Revenant

My Prediction: Mad Max: Fury Road

Visual Effects

Nominees: Ex Machina, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, The Revenant, Star Wars: The Force Awakens

My Prediction: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Adapted Screenplay

Nominees: The Big Short, Brooklyn, Carol, The Martian, Room

My Prediction: The Martian

Original Screenplay

Nominees: Bridge of Spies, Ex Machina, Inside Out, Spotlight, Straight Outta Compton

My Prediction: Straight Outta Compton

Animated Feature Film

Nominees: Anomalisa, Inside Out, Shaun the Sheep, Boy and the Wild, When Marnie Was There

My Prediction: Inside Out

Cinematography

Nominees: Carol, The Hateful EightMad Max: Fury RoadThe RevenantSicario

My Prediction: The Hateful Eight or The Revenant

Costume Design

Nominees: Carol, Cinderella, The Danish Girl, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Revenant

My Prediction: Mad Max: Fury Road or The Revenant

Documentary Feature

Nominees: Amy, Cartel Land, The Look of Silence, What Happened Miss Simone?, Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom

My Prediction: No guess

Documentary Short Subject

Nominees: Body Team 12, Chau Beyond the Lines, Claude Lanzmann, A Girl in the River, Last Day of Freedom

My Prediction: No guess

Makeup and Hairstyling

Nominees: Mad Max: Fury Road, The 100-year-old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared, The Revenant

My Prediction: Either Mad Max: Fury Road or The Revenant

Original Song

Nominees: Earned It (50 Shades of Grey), Til It Happens To You (The Hunting Ground), Writings On The Wall (Spectre), Manta Ray (Racing Extinction), Simple Song 3 (Youth)

My Prediction: Writings On The Wall (Spectre)

Animated Short Film

Nominees: Bear Story, Prologue, Sanjay’s Superteam, We Can’t Live Without Cosmos, World of Tomorrow

My Prediction: No guess

Live Action Short Film

Nominees: Ava Maria, Day One, Everything Will Be Okay, Shok, Stutterer

My Prediction: No guess

Sound Editing

Nominees: Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, The Revenant, Sicario, Star Wars: The Force Awakens

My Prediction: The Revenant

Sound Mixing

Nominees: Bridge of Spies, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, The Revenant, Star Wars: The Force Awakens

My Prediction: The Revenant

 

Golden Globe Awards 2016

*UPDATE – winners added to list*

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The 2016 Golden Globe Award Nominations have just been announced.

Check out the list of nominees below and see if you agree with my predictions.

Best Motion Picture – Drama

Nominees: Carol, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Revenant, Room, Spotlight.

My Prediction: I haven’t seen any of these, and don’t know most of them, but I’m hoping The Revenant wins because of Leonardo DiCaprio, but Spotlight might win because of its topic.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama

Nominees: Cate Blanchett (Carol), Brie Larson (Room), Rooney Mara (Carol), Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn), Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl)

My Prediction: Again, there are none that I feel inclined towards, but I think Alicia Vikander will win for the topic of the film.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama

Nominees: Bryan Cranston (Trumbo), Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant), Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs), Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl), Will Smith (Concussion)

My Prediction: I would love for Leo to win, but I think it will go to Eddie Redmayne (for obvious reasons).

Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

Nominees: The Big Short, Joy, The Martian, Spy, Trainwreck.

My Prediction: How did The Martian get into this group?! I guess I’ll go for that.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

Nominees: Jennifer Lawrence (Joy), Melissa McCarthy (Spy), Amy Schumer (Trainwreck), Maggie Smith (The Lady in the Van), Lily Tomlin (Grandma).

My Prediction: Everyone seems to be loving Amy Schumer lately, so I’ll pick her.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

Nominees: Christian Bale (The Big Short), Steve Carell (The Big Short), Matt Damon (The Martian), Al Pacino (Danny Collins), Mark Ruffalo (Infinitely Polar Bear).

My Prediction: Again, I don’t know how The Martian got into this category, but it seems popular, so that’s my prediction.

Best Motion Picture – Animated

Nominees: Anomalisa, The Good Dinosaur, Inside Out, The Peanuts Movie, Shaun the Sheep Movie.

My Prediction: OK, rant time. The Good Dinosaur (“what if the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs missed?”?!?!). Are you freaking kidding me?!?!?! There was no asteroid and humans and dinosaurs did live at the same time! I cant believe this evolution and long-age nonsense is still going.
With that being said, I hope Inside Out wins because its good to be open about emotions.

Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language

Nominees: The Brand New TestamentThe ClubThe FencerMustangSon of Saul.

My Prediction: I didn’t know any of these films, so I searched for them online. The Brand New Testament is a horrific premise that blasphemes God. For the other titles, I’m not big on foreign language films, so I have no prediction.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture

Nominees: Jane Fonda (Youth), Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight), Helen Mirren (Trumbo), Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina), Kate Winslet (Steve Jobs).

My Prediction: I think The Hateful Eight sounds interesting, and I did a review on Ex Machina (HERE), but Steve Jobs will probably win (for obvious reasons).

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in Any Motion Picture

Nominees: Paul Dano (Love & Mercy), Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation), Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies), Michael Shannon (99 Homes), Sylvester Stallone (Creed).

My Prediction: Beasts of No Nation is my top pick. It looks emotional and dramatic, and is a theme that often wins.

Best Director – Motion Picture

Nominees: Todd Haynes (Carol), Alejandro G. Inarritu (The Revenant), Tom McCarthy (Spotlight), George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road), Ridley Scott (The Martian).

My Prediction: Finally, a category The Martian fits into! That’s my first pick, with The Revenant a close second.

Best Screenplay – Motion Picture

Nominees: RoomSpotlightThe Big ShortSteve JobsThe Hateful Eight.

My Prediction: Based on theme, I think Spotlight will win.

Best Original Score – Motion Picture

Nominees: CarolThe Danish GirlThe Hateful EightSteve JobsThe Revenant.

My Prediction: I haven’t heard any, so I can’t guess.

Best Original Song – Motion Picture

Nominees: ‘Love Me Like You Do’ – Fifty Shades of Grey, ‘One Kind of Love’ – Love & Mercy, ‘See You Again’ – Furious 7, ‘Simple Song #3’ – Youth, ‘Writing’s On The Wall’ – Spectre

My Prediction: I LOVE the Fast and the Furious series, and they have done so well in banding together and dealing with the terrible loss of Paul Walker, that I hope it wins.

Best Television Series – Drama

Nominees: EmpireGame of ThronesMr. RobotNarcosOutlander.

My Prediction: I’m tossing up between Narcos (first choice), and Mr. Robot.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama

Nominees: Caitriona Balfe (Outlander), Viola Davis (How to Get Away with Murder), Eva Green (Penny Dreadful), Taraji P. Henson (Empire), Robin Wright (House of Cards).

My Prediction: Either Taraji P. Henson or Robin Wright.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama

Nominees: Jon Hamm (Mad Men), Rami Malek (Mr. Robot), Wagner Moura (Narcos), Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul), Live Schreiber (Ray Donovan).

My Prediction: Again, I’m tossing up between Narcos and Mr. Robot.

Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy

Nominees: CasualMozart in the JungleOrange is the New BlackSilicon ValleyTransparentVeep.

My Prediction: Transparent (for obvious reasons).

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy

Nominees: Rachel Bloom (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), Jamie Lee Curtis (Scream Queens), Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep), Gina Rodriguez (Jane the Virgin), Lily Tomlin (Grace and Frankie)

My Prediction: I honestly don’t have a pick in this one.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy

Nominees: Aziz Ansari (Master of None), Gael Garcia Bernal (Mozart in the Jungle), Rob Lowe (The Grinder), Patrick Stewart (Blunt Talk), Jeffrey Tambor (Transparent).

My Prediction: Jeffrey Tambor (for obvious reasons).

Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made For Television

Nominees: American CrimeAmerican Horror Story: HotelFargoFlesh & BoneWolf Hall.

My Prediction: I don’t know enough about these to make a choice.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made For Television

Nominees: Kirsten Dunst (Fargo), Lady Gaga (American Horror Story: Hotel), Sarah Hay (Flesh & Bone), Felicity Huffman (American Crime), Queen Latifah (Bessie).

My Prediction: As Above.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Nominees: Idris Elba (Luther), Oscar Isaac (Show Me A Hero), David Oyelowo (Nightingale), Mark Rylance (Wolf Hall), Patrick Wilson (Fargo).

My Prediction: I’ve only really heard about Luther.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series, or Motion Picture Made For Television

Nominees: Uzo Aduba (Orange is the New Black), Joanne Froggatt (Downton Abbey), Regina King (American Crime), Judith Light (Transparent), Maura Tierney (The Affair).

My Prediction: Probably Uzo Aduba

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series, or Motion Picture Made for Television

Nominees: Alan Cumming (The Good Wife), Damian Lewis (Wolf Hall), Ben Mendelsohn (Bloodline), Tobias Menzies (Outlander), Christian Slater (Mr. Robot).

My Prediction: Probably Christian.

 

So what are your predictions? What do you think of the nominations? Let me know below!