Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Video Store: Age of Extinction

What happened to video stores?  I’ll admit towards the end, I was not renting regularly at my local neighborhood shop, Déjà Vu Video, in Albany.  I’d make a special trip to find some obscure art house gem. Other than that I had started to use my cable’s on-demand service (in hindsight this was a mistake) but I didn’t think video stores would disappear entirely.
It seemed that one day video stores were here and the next they were gone.  Not so long ago I was out at a restaurant that had a Hollywood Video next to it.  Now, I refused to support the big, corporate guys, namely Blockbuster and Hollywood Video.  But at that point I could see the writing on the wall, video stores were going the way of the dinosaur.  I decided to go in, get a membership and rent some videos, just so my son could experience something that had played such a large role in my life.

Cut to: Wayne and Garth waving their arms, saying dittle-lee-do, dittle-lee-do.  I grew up in the age of video.  I was eight years old when my family first got a VCR.  I remember the first film we rented –“48hrs” starring Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte.  Yup, a nice R-rated film for family time.  Anyway, I consumed movies and later on I worked at some video stores, one being the dreaded Blockbuster. It was the age of videotape, Sega Genesis and late fees!  I have a great affinity for this bygone era.  Who wouldn’t love a place where you have endless cinematic options?  It was an experience cruising the shelves in search of that perfect title. 
There are a few theories out there on what happened but basically it was a slew of bad business decisions made by large corporations, who by that point controlled the industry.  At the same time new alternatives like Netflix and on-demand services started to appear.  Let’s be honest- just clicking with your remote, going online or getting a DVD in the mail is easy!  The result is we wake up one day and there is no more video stores.  The most disturbing part of this whole story is no one seems to care.  I can understand that they might not be as popular as they once were, given the convenience and selection of the alternatives but to have them gone and forgotten?   

Now to tie this back to local independent film, because that’s why you’re here, right?  Your local video stores supported true independent film from the start.  Not only could you usually find a great selection of independent or hard to find films but some indie filmmakers were able to market their film directly to these video stores. The films could then get shelf time and were much more likely to be rented and watched then someone finding it on the World Wide Web!  This was especially true in the beginning when no one really knew where this video thing would go.
Basically what I’ve come to realize is we’ve forgotten a portion of cinema culture as fast as they’ve re-casted Batman!
Do we realize what we’ve lost?  Can we go back?  Or is our media consumption and the Internet forever tied together?
To be continued...

Thursday, November 6, 2014

TvFILM Guy's Pitch to Submit!

Ok, so we’re at it again.  The TvFILM team is looking for more short films for our new season premiering this June.  I know you’ve heard this all before, send us your short film, your film on your public television station, yadda, yadda, yadda.   
What can I say now to convince you to submit your film or maybe encourage someone you know to submit?  
Well, to start with we pay.  TvFILM has paid filmmakers for the right to broadcast their films from the beginning of the series.  Take that You Tube!  TvFILM also interviews the filmmakers before we show their films in each episode. Think of it as your own director’s commentary.  We give selected filmmakers a voice to talk about their films.  I know you know this since you’re all avid viewers and fans of TvFILM.  Moving on.  Oh, and there’s the other minor, tiny, little detail- we’re going to BROADCAST YOUR FILM ON NETWORK TELEVISION!!!!  Live (not really) from the Capital Region, it’s your film on television! 
At this point I think TvFILM should sell itself but just in case there is any doubt that you should submit your film – we’re non-exclusive. This means you can submit your film to TvFILM and still submit to film festivals, distributors and anywhere else you would like to.
I’m dropping the mic, so-to-speak.  Please submit to TvFILM today.  The deadline is March 9th.  
Stay Tuned for more exciting news as season seven starts now! Thank you for your continued support.

Brandon B.
Host, Co-Producer

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Me, Steven Spielberg and a Dan DiNicola Film Fest

Recently, I found out about a new film festival in Schenectady honoring the late journalist and film critic, Dan DiNicola.  The Dan DiNicola Memorial Little Italy Film Festival
actually started last Saturday and runs August 1st, 8th, 15th and 22nd.  They’re screening some classic films outdoors, behind Perreca’s Bakery in Schenectady (make sure you bring a chair).  It sounds like some great summer nights of cinema while remembering a local media legend.  This festival got me thinking about Mr. DiNicola, his legacy and the many times I would see him on WRGB or read his film reviews in the Schenectady Gazette while I was growing up.  I also remembered the time as a teenager when I wrote Mr. DiNicola.  The letter was a defense of a filmmaking hero of mine, Steven Spielberg.  Mr. DiNicola wrote a not-so-positive review of Spielberg’s latest film at the time, “Always.”  I wrote a passionate defense of my hero’s latest cinematic effort and what I thought was some unfair criticisms.  To my surprise I received a response. 
Mr. DiNicola wrote a letter defending his review.  This was years before email, so we’re talking typewriters and the post office.  He showed his passion for cinema and joy of talking with another “movie fan.”  In the end, Dan was right – “Always” is dull and uninspired.
 I have posted below the review, my letter and his response.  Enjoy.  

-Brandon B.
Host/Producer, TvFILM 

You're gonna have to squint a little, sorry.

Blame the misspelled name on the typist(my mother).

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Last chapter of NEW Links!

This is the spot to find out news, music and tour dates for Molly Durnin!

Mike Feurstein is always working on new projects.  Checkout his webpage for the latest!

The director of "Thank You for Watching,"  John Glenn is also in the  Local518 band, Stellar Young.

Checkout some more art from Gregory Maxwell Dunn on his Facebook page.


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Another new episode, more cool links!

"Blog Zombie" filmmaker, Lawrence White, has his own blog.  He provided some more info on the BZ culture.

"Blog Zombie" stars the legendary actor and comedian, John Byner!  

Imani Peterkin and Darian Henry, the filmmakers that created "Inside The Ring" are both part of Youth F/X filmmaking program.

Have you missed some episodes of TvFILM?  We forgive you.  Catch-up here!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Wow, Cool! More interesting Links!

Here's some more info from our latest episode:

Bhawin Suchak, the director of "D22: Day of Eviction," is working on a feature-length documentary called, "The Throwaways."

Jim and Steve Powers have a film production company called West Field Media Services

Here's some other really cool people, places and events happening in our Upstate indie-film community.  Let us know if we missed anything!


Sunday, June 29, 2014

Even more Cool LINKS from the latest episode!

Checkout more from the the director of "The Girl In The Storm," Ron Resnick.

Checkout the latest from the director of "Killer," Kristin Holodak.

If you haven't heard we have a brand-new web exclusive, TvFILM: FAQs!


Sunday, June 22, 2014

More cool links!

Find out more about artist and filmmaker, HeatherDewey-Hagborg.

Watch our latest episode.


Friday, June 20, 2014


As we continue with the new season please turn your attention to our brand-new web extra, TvFILM: FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions).  We asked this year’s crop of filmmakers a bunch of routine questions, not specific to their film work.  Questions like: if they prefer movie theaters, drive-ins or video stores; what actor they would want to play themselves on the big-screen; or what do they prefer, Facebook or Twitter?  After you watch the premiere of the next new TvFILM, Monday at 7:30pm, be sure to check out the latest FAQs exclusively @!
Thanks for clicking and watching!  And then posting on Facebook, tweeting, recommending to your boss – too much to ask?  Ok, just checking.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Premiere Episode WEB stuff!

 Here are some filmmaker links from our Premiere episode of season six:

“Corrugated” filmmaker Stephen Blauweiss’s website.

“Corrugated” featured artist Wayne Montecalvo’s website.

“They Will Be Here Tomorrow” filmmaker Lawrence White’s website.


Tuesday, June 10, 2014


The season premiere of TvFILM is almost here!  Right now we’re packing up the boxes and moving TvFILM Guy to our new day and time, Monday’s at 7:30pm.  Wow, does he have a lot of DVDs.  Anyway, make sure you change the setting on your DVR so you don’t miss a minute.  It all starts June 16th on WMHT!   This season promises to bring the latest local independent films and filmmakers you’ve come to expect from TvFILM, but we also have a few surprises like a new look and a brand new web extra feature.  Jumpstart your week!  Stay Tuned.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

TvFILM Guy does Dylan!

Here is a promo that was produced for the first season of TvFILM way back in 2008!  It's so good we had to dust it off for one more go-round!  Special thanks to Mike Melita for providing a Bob Dylan inspired, TvFILM tune!


PS - Ignore the date at the end of this promo -- TvFILM returns Monday, June 16th at 7:30pm!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

TvFILM Class of 2014!

Okay, enough suspense, without further ado, here are the filmmakers and films for the new season of TvFILM.  It all starts on our new date and time, Monday, June 16th at 7:30pm only on WMHT!  

Monday, June 16th at 7:30pm
“Corrugated” - Stephen Blauweiss
This film is about visual artist Wayne Montecalvo's unique work with cardboard.  He is a multi-disciplinary artist whose wide-ranging works include mixed media, printmaking, paintings, sculpture, video and collaborative street performance.

“They Will Be Here Tomorrow” - Lawrence White
Is it possible for nature to counter-attack mankind?  Filmmaker Lawrence White brings us a poem about humanity’s assault on Mother Nature.

“Demons” - Loki Rasmussen
This short film and animation video was created to express the difference between who people are perceived to be and who we actually are and feel. At the end, there is a coming to terms with the people we are, inside and out.

“Still” - Nicholas Colbert
This short film depicts a troubled young man's journey home.  It is told in short, disconnected chapters to allow the audience space to invent their own origins for the main character.

 June 23rd at 7:30pm
“First Name: Jogger, Last Name John” - Kaleigh Griffin
This is a true story of a successful man who falls into drugs and picks his life back up as a homeless man.  One day, he rides a bike from NYC to Woodstock, NY, and found the town to be so welcoming, he never left.

“DNA Spoofing” - Heather Dewey-Hagborg
In this project, we anticipate the possibility of genetic surveillance in the post-apocalyptic present. As humans, we are constantly shedding genetic material in public space. It is becoming increasingly common to use those traces for surveillance and reconstruction.  In this spirit, our work offers some DIY techniques for counteracting genetic surveillance.

June 30th at 7:30pm
“Killer” - Kristin Holodak
Sometimes waiting for the bus can be the most dangerous part of your day.  Filmmaker Kristin Holodak brings a who-dunnit murder mystery to the corner bus stop.

“The Girl In The Storm” - Tim Appleman
This is a short in the style of classic American film noir. The piece is a two-character drama concerning a drifter and a young woman who, by coincidence, met up when seeking shelter in an abandoned cottage during a severe storm and flood. 

July 7th at 7:30pm
“The Damned McMarters” - Jim and Steve Powers
The two patriarchs of feuding families meet in Hells Kitchen, 1923.

“D22: Day of Eviction” - Bhawin Suchak
On December 22nd the Occupy Albany encampment at Academy Park was forcibly removed by The City of Albany. This short documentary follows the day’s events as they unfolded.

July 14th at 7:30pm
“Plans” - Aaron Peck
This short film tells the story of a son longing for his father and a father trying to juggle it all. Even the best-laid plans can go wrong.

“Blog Zombie”- Lawrence White
Zombies do not wander the streets. They haunt the internet. This music video stars actor/comedian John Byner and features an original score by Lawrence White, performed by the infamous Beatniks From Mars.

“Inside The Ring” - Imani Peterkin and Darian Henry
This Youth FX short documentary tells the story of Albany's city youth boxing program through the sights and sounds of the gym, the words of longtime coach Jerrick Jones and the aspiring young boxers.

July 21st at 7:30pm
“Extraterrestrials” - Molly Durnin and Mike Feurstein
This music video featuring Molly Durnin follows a group of kids on a Gooney reminiscent adventure as they follow a mysterious map, while guided by glowing crystals.

“Thanks For Looking: Behind the Art of Welldunn” - John Glenn and Gregory Maxwell Dunn
Meet Albany's own street artist, Welldunn.  He is conflicted by his love of building and loathing of covering up old history as he restores old abandoned buildings in Albany and finds ways to preserve their history in his own unique and artistic way.

Monday, May 5, 2014

*Producer's Note.

 TvFILM is a lot like Austin City Limits.  Ok, I’m not trying to be presumptuous by comparing us to the very definition of live music on television.  What I mean is that week after week, year after year, ACL brings us music- new music, classic music, music you’ve never heard, all kinds of music. Maybe you like the music, maybe you don’t, but the point is you tune-in to listen and watch.

This is our goal with TvFILM.  We strive to bring you all sorts of independent film from our community.  Maybe you’ll love it, maybe not, but by bringing you the art (locally made short films) and the artists, maybe, just maybe we can expand the reach (success) of our own independent film community. At some point someone has to stand up and say I want films (movies) that don’t need a corresponding Happy Meal.  Yes, this is a dig on Hollywood.

That is where TvFILM comes in.  So, please enjoy our upcoming season premiering this June!

Brandon B.
Producer/Host --- aspiring indie-filmmaker

PS – this is not a mission statement.

Friday, February 21, 2014


This is it, last call for submissions for season six of TvFILM!  It all ends Monday, March 3rd!  It’s time to make that final cut and click upload!   What are you waiting for?