Tag Archives: tribeca film festival

Ridgewood stop-motion animator wins Tribeca #6SecFilms competition

| kmedoff@queenscourier.com

Photo: Behind-the-Scenes

Vine, a mobile app that allows users to create and share six-second looping videos, didn’t exist until January 2013 — but now, thanks to the app, Ridgewood resident Lawrence Becker, 32, is creating stop-motion videos full time.

And now, the stop-motion animator has been recognized by the TriBeCa Film Festival as one of the winners of the second annual #6SecFilms competition.

“I heard about [the contest] the year before, when they had the same contest, but I was late to it — I heard about it when it was already over,” Becker said. “This year, I jumped on it.”

More than 530 submissions were narrowed down by TriBeCa Film Festival programmers, who presented a short list to the jury. The jury then chose winners from each category.

Becker won a meeting with GrapeStory, which is an agency that connects Viners to companies, but “[t]he best prize is being able to call myself a TriBeCa Film Fest winner from now on,” he said.

Becker’s film, “The Vortex Finds a Host,” won the “genre” category of the competition.

“I submitted a bunch [of films] to ‘animation’ — that’s what I primarily do,” Becker said. But, luckily, “I also submitted to ‘genre,’ because many of my films have a fantasy/sci-fi quality to them.”

Becker’s winning Vine depicts a giant, living snowman-turned-vortex of snow filtering into his mouth.

“With all the snow we had this winter, I started going out and playing in the snow, just kind of experimenting with snow animation, and it just slowly started turning into a film,” Becker said.

To create the film, Becker took footage of himself out in the snow at McCarren Park in Williamsburg.

“I take footage out in the snow and make a fool out of myself in public because I’m acting with things that aren’t there,” he said.

He then put that video on a flat screen monitor and laid it down horizontally under multiple layers of glass on which he animated “snow” made of Styrofoam and baking powder.

Becker explained that the multiple layers of glass created a 3-D effect: “It’s how Walt Disney used to do his animating,” with a character on one layer and the background on other layers, he said.

“The Vortex Finds a Host” is just part of a short film, which will end up being around a minute and a half to two minutes long when completed.

Another of Becker’s snow animations, which made it into the list of runners-up, is the beginning of the longer film. “You see a snowball burst like a planet blowing up,” Becker described.

Becker started creating Vines a year ago, in April 2013, and has turned it into a career.

He now creates animations for companies such as ESPN, Bud Light, Tillamook Cheese, Sony’s “Astronauts Wanted,” the Food Network and Coca-Cola Co.

“They all keep rolling in,” Becker said, since Vines are very popular right now.

His big break came when he hosted one of social media news site Mashable’s weekly Vine contests (his week’s theme was Star Wars Mashups, and he himself created a themed Vine).

ESPN took notice and contacted him, and he’s worked consistently since then.

Stop-motion animation has always been a passion of Becker’s and “since I was a kid, it was what I wanted to do with my life,” he said. “Vine got me there.”



Bayside family films fright flick

| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy Rick McDonald

(A lot of) blood is thicker than water.

A fear-loving Bayside family has wrapped up its gory low-budget terror flick and will soon send the homemade horror off to some of the city’s biggest film festivals.

“This is my baby,” said Rick McDonald, 26, who directed the grisly $5,000 thriller, Lucifer’s Angels. “It’s a real achievement. We actually made a film.”

The gripping, guts-filled movie, which was four years in the making, plays on primal fears and is far from a typical slasher film, McDonald and his family said.

“I like to get scared. That’s the bottom line,” said Brian McDonald, 55, Rick’s uncle and right-hand producer. “There are so few movies that scare me anymore.”

So the clan threw cannibals and a killer clown named Mr. Smiles into the startling supernatural mix to promise an hour-long hellish ride.

The tale follows three groups of strangers who wind up in an area of the Catskill Mountains haunted by four wrongly executed mental hospital patients.

“When you don’t have a budget, you have to be 10 times more creative,” said Brian, a salesman by day.

Peppered with hidden Stephen King and Alfred Hitchcock elements, it is a “psychologically terrifying homage to classic horror,” Rick said.

“I was raised on horror movies,” said the IT specialist and New York Institute of Technology graduate. “This isn’t an amateur, student film.”

The eight lifelong residents of Bayside sacrificed nights, weekends and vacations to wrap shooting in 2012 and editing last week.

But the family that scares together stays together.

They’ll see the fruits of their labor — and parts of their hometown city suburbs — on the silver screen April 13, during a private viewing at MovieWorld Cinemas in Douglaston.

Then they hope to be featured in the New York City Horror Film Festival and Tribeca Film Festival.

“It was such a long project. It’s a great feeling that we could accomplish such a feat,” Brian said. “I’m looking forward to my real vacation in August.”




This Morning’s Headlines

| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Laughing at Fidel: NY fest stars ‘defect’ — as in their film

They sure took their roles to heart. Two Cuban actors who were supposed to be on their way to the TriBeCa Film Festival in New York — for a screening of their flick about teens defecting from Cuba to the United States — mysteriously disappeared in Miami last week and may now seek asylum themselves. “To be sincere, I think they’re going to stay’’ in the United States, admitted the pair’s “Una Noche’’ co-star Dariel Arrechada, 20, to the Huffington Post. Read More: New York Post

Sick sex ‘drive’ — Trapped prostitutes shuttled to tricks by 6 cabbies: DA

A father and son from Queens ran a lucrative — and cruel — brothel on wheels for two decades, using six livery drivers to deliver hookers to hotels and apartments, Manhattan prosecutors said in announcing the ring’s breakup yesterday. In a sick twist, the dad, Vincent George Sr., 55, not only taught Vincent Jr., 33, how to pimp, but may at one point have either employed his own daughter as a hooker or pawned her off on yet another pimp, prosecutors said, declining to elaborate. Read More: New York Post

Poll Finds Quinn Is Clear Leader In 2013 Mayoral Democratic Field

Christine Quinn, it seems, is breaking away from the pack. According to the newest NY1/Marist College poll, if the Democratic primary were held today, the City Council speaker would win 32 percent of the vote. That is 10 points better than she did in the last NY1/Marist poll in September and 20 points ahead of her nearest rival, former City Comptroller Bill Thompson. Read More: NY1


MTA Alter 21 City Bus Routes To Match Riders’ Demands

On Monday the MTA announced that as part of its ongoing review of ridership it was reducing service on 15 routes, while six routes will get increased service. Changes range from half a minute to 10 minutes. The authority says these changes are cost-neutral. Read More: NY1


Man in critical condition after being slammed by hit-run driver in Woodhaven

A 50-YEAR-OLD man was in critical condition Monday night after a hit-and-run driver plowed into him as he crossed a busy Queens intersection, police said. The victim was unconscious when emergency crews found him in the roadway at Jamaica Ave. and Woodhaven Blvd. just before 7 p.m., fire officials said. “He was walking in the middle of the street,” said Tiffany Robinson, 22, who said the man did not have the right of way as he crossed the boulevard. “He went 15 feet in the air, flipped — his sneakers went in different directions.” Read More: Daily News


Making room for another civic group in Queens

Queens has so many neighborhoods and civic groups that they often double up on each other. So does the borough really need one more? Paul Gagliardotto, a 26-year-old sanitation worker from Glendale, thinks so. Gagliardotto recently formed the Forest Park Civic Association of Queens in an effort to unite the various neighborhoods surrounding the 543-acre green oasis. “We all have this wonderful park in common, yet district lines use this area in central west Queens as a dividing point,” he said. “What we will strive to do is create one voice for these areas.” Read More: Daily News