Posts Tagged ‘emanuel manny azenberg’

Documentary Short Film Review “Old School, New School”

September 5, 2017

Review by Kirk S. Fernwood

4 Sept 2017

Film director Steven Fischer (left) with the legendary cinematographer William Fraker on location in Hollywood for Old School New School, 2008. (photo Scott Uhlfelder)

WATCH THE FILM HERE

First, the Recap:

It’s the digital age, and anyone and everyone is able to share their talents (or “talents”) with the world at large, opening themselves up to scrutiny, even putting out material of professional quality appearance–even though they aren’t really professional, perhaps, in connecting with an audience via true artistic integrity. So, therefore, what exactly is it that makes for, well, “making it” in the realms of stage and screen? For 2-time Emmy nominated independent filmmaker Steven Fischer, this was the burning question he himself had been struggling with for some time, with no immediate answers to be found.

However, he then embarked on a journey across the United States on a quest to find those elusive truths found within three distinct aspects of what it means to be grounded in the arts: finding your voice, security vs. risk, and the definition of success. As he engaged some of the wide-ranging entertainment industry’s most consummate, revered, and skilled artists in their respected fields of expertise, the notions shared, the personal level of insights presented, and the sometimes deceptively simple wisdom gained very much embodies the very heart of what it means to find exactly what was being sought.

Next, my Mind:

In what this reviewer would deem a perfect amalgamation of what it means to be a part of the independent film community while also delivering a pure, insightful, and fascinating look into the greater entertainment industry machine via some its veteran luminaries, writer/director/co-producer/editor Fischer’s 33-minute documentary short hits a home run on multiple levels. Thanks to the very up close, personalized nature of the interviews here, it makes the viewer one hundred percent experience the world through these artisans’ words as they share their own revelations about what it is to find success while also making it clear that everyone truly needs to find their own path.

Emphasizing concepts like not deviating from being who you are, knowing what risks to take vs. taking none at all or playing it too safe, having a willingness to push yourself, taking constructive criticism, being a person of honesty with yourself and others, realizing there doesn’t have to be suffering for your art to be successful, and asking yourself if you’ve found happiness, fulfillment, or reached your full potential, it very much should resonate deeply with anyone striving to walk that path to what they desire to do, even outside of the industries presented here. It’s an actuality, a personal endeavor, to aim for the goals you have and do it with passion and hard work, all while knowing with confidence what your talent is, developing it by being hand’s on, and accepting no shortcuts. It’s affecting and so real.

The “cast” Fischer provides us for this journey is nothing short of extraordinary. Included are renowned cinematographers like 6-time Oscar nominee William Fraker and John Bailey, 4-time Grammy winner and John Coltrane Quartet jazz legend McCoy Tyner, 134-time Tony nominated/41-time winning stage producer Emanuel Azenberg, 50-year theater teacher and performer Sam McCready, whose former students included names like Branagh, Neeson, and Boyle, poet James Ragan whose work has been translated into 12 European and Asian languages while also having read for 5 heads of state, Carnegie Hall, and the U.N., Kirstie Simson, a worldwide name in new dance instruction, as well as actors Ben Jones, Brian Cox, and Tomas Arana, all of whom stand out for their prolific deeds either on or off screen.

In total, with its completely relatable, down-to-earth vibe, fluid pacing, totally engaging interviews, and wealth of knowledge offered to any and all who have dreams of pursuing careers in the entertainment industry or other paths, “Old School, New School” is a must-see documentary effort that especially resonated with this reviewer and the goals I have been aiming for. It’s motivation, challenge, and steadfast encouragement found here, something we could all use more of in this hectic situation we call life.

As always, this is all for your consideration and comment.  Until next time, thank you for reading!

L-R: Fred Weil, Steven Fischer, Brian Cox, Chris Cassidy shooting Old School New School, New York City, June 2010.

Advertisements

Old School New School on Film Monthly

February 8, 2017

Old School New School review at filmmonthly.com

herman-leonard-diane-davison-steven-fischer-at-opening-of-jazz-at-lincoln-center-nyc-oct-2009_photo-by-rick-edwards

Photographer Herman Leonard, attorney Diane Davison, film director Steven Fischer at opening of Jazz at Lincoln Center, New York City, October 2009. Photo by Rick Edwards.

steven_fischer_kathleen_monroe_Baltimore_Maryland

Director Steven Fischer with his cousin, Kathleen Monroe, Baltimore, Maryland.

Old School, New School

by Caress Thirus

We open on a common scene – a slightly flustered journalist making small talk with his interviewee as he prepares to ask his questions. Old School, New School is a documentary that follows Steven Fischer as he explores the different paths people take to develop their creative fingerprint, aka, their “voice”. A lot of people forget that documentaries are still films. Though they are informational, they’re meant for entertainment. There’s a sense of practical humor to this entire film, and key aspects are held from the audience so as to keep their interest. The first two minutes are sure to stir up a swirl of questions that Fisher and its interviewees answer during the film. “What is your voice, and how do you find it?” It’s a common question that anyone in an art-related career has asked themselves, time and time again. Though commonly asked, the answer is never straightforward. For some, the answer is simple; for others, not so much. This documentary compares and contrasts the answers given by different people in different careers, from dancers to cinematographers to musicians. The film is opinionated, but full of good opinions that are supported with logical reasoning. This is a film about voice, after all. How inappropriate would it be not to have an opinion or two? The entire documentary has a very honest feel to it; it’s realistic rather than rigged. Unfortunately, this causes it to drag in areas, but it always seems to pick back up. This movie is definitely in need of a soundtrack (and perhaps a more relevant title). It’s basic; there’s nothing unusual, and with all of the artistic people who were interviewed, it is upsetting to learn that none of their work is showcased in the film. Old School, New School sort of feels as if the filmmaker didn’t want to cut any of his interviews, and he left too many [unnecessary] clips in the film, making it too long. Still, the film feels organized and planned enough for the audience to keep watching. The viewer feels as if he or she is actually in the room with Fisher and the various people he interviews. It’s easy to get pulled into the stories they tell. In the end, the infamous question still stands. How does one go about defining their personal voice? Perhaps musician McCoy Tyner put it most simply when he said, “You found something you liked to do. It’s a matter of developing by doing it.”

Most information is derived from IMDB’s daily news, the Chicago dailies (Tribune and Sun Times), Entertainment Weekly, MSN.com, various sources as listed, and by just paying attention.

Caress Thirus is a student at Roosevelt University and a film enthusiast.

E-mail us at filmmonthly@gmail.com

John Cleese on Creativity

September 23, 2012

Click here to watch an insightful, inspiring speech from John Cleese at Video Arts on Creativity. He reminds us of the value space, time, confidence, and humor have in our ability to tap into our full creative potential. Some of the ideas are present in Old School New School.

OSNS on OSNS

June 23, 2011

Steven Fischer, producer of Old School New School the movie, will be appearing on Old School New School the podcast on Thursday, July 7 2011 at 6.30pm PST. More details to come.

City Paper’s Feature Story on Old School New School

July 14, 2010

Released today and documents a recent shoot in New York with jazz great McCoy Tyner.

Click here and check it out!

OSNS on Film Cast Live

June 29, 2009

Film Cast Live posted a review of the OSNS screening in Hollywood, June 20th. The writer’s name is George Leon and he had some great words to share!

Click here to check it out!

Thanks for the kudos, George!

OSNS panel discussion, Los Angeles, CA, June 2009

OSNS panel discussion, Los Angeles, CA, June 2009 (L-R) Brett Paesel, Mark Goffman, Steven Fischer, Steve Melendez, Mike Polcino

Steven Fischer on Real Talk Radio

June 10, 2009

So I’m driving along the highway yesterday afternoon preparing for Los Angeles, making my calls to “the coast” (or as Michael Dorsey would argue to his agent, “This is a coast too, George. New York is a coast.”), when I place a call to media mogulette Gigi Iam. Gigi is the producer and host of The Gigi Iam Show for Time Warner cable. I’ve appeared on her show about two or three times promoting various projects. She has always been a wonderful supporter.

She has a radio version of the show, and as we talked on the phone Gigi mentioned that I should come on sometime and chat about Old School, New School. Great! Then she said, “How about tonight?”

Well, what started out as, “just call in and we’ll just chat for a couple minutes” ended up going half an hour! Take a Listen.

Thanks, Gigi!

P.S.: The beautiful music that opens is a piece from Michael Zampi from his album The Appalachian Trail Reflections of Beauty.

Hollywood Screening

May 29, 2009

Did I mention that Kimberley Browning is one of planet Earth’s most beautiful people? She is the heart and soul behind Hollywood Shorts, and many months ago made the generous offer to coordinate and present a work-in-progress screening of Old School, New School, a study on the nature of creativity.

That day is nearly here. Mark your calendars!

Saturday, June 20, 2009
The Hotel Cafe
1623 N. Cahuenga Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90028
4.30pm – 6.30pm
FREE

This work-in-progress screening is intended for a target audience focus group (art students and those interested in developing their creativity). Confirmed guests for the post screening discussion include 6-time Oscar nominee (and OSNS subject) William Fraker and Michael Polcino, director of The Simpsons and Family Guy animated series. The discussion continues the dialogue from the movie about taking risks, finding your own voice, defining success in the arts, and, in general, how to “make it” in the arts.

More panel guests to be announced. The best way to keep in formed is to join the OSNS Facebook page.

Many thanks to The Hotel Cafe and Kimberley Browning for making this screening a reality.

A Study on Genius and Success in the Arts

May 7, 2009

The experimental filmmaker Fred Worden sent me a really great video today. Malcolm Gladwell discusses success in the arts and how musicians he’s studied have come to make their masterpiece. He’s concluded that every “genius” reaches genius status my completing 10,000 hours of preparation. He notes that The Beatles performed about 12,000 times together before their big Ed Sullivan success, and that Fleetwood Mac released about 12 albums before Rumors was released.

It’s a fascinating study that, to me, touches on lot of truth. Check it out here.

OSNS in the News

March 31, 2009

Indie Filmmaker Gets Hollywood, Broadway Involved in New Film