About Peter Bowen

Peter saw his first movie when he was just a little boy, and has never gotten over that experience.

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Finding Woodstock

Posted May 08, 2008

Finding Woodstock Image

The search is on. As Ang Lee gets ready to shoot Taking Woodstock, an adaptation of Elliot Tiber's remarkable memoir of that summer of love, the Hudson Valley is helping find a location. Tiber's book recounts his coming out as a gay man through the making of Woodstock. In '69, after the Stonewall Riots, Tiber, who was helping his crazy Jewish parents with their money-pit of a motel in Bethel, NY, found himself in the unique position of having a license for a music festival at the very time that Woodstock promoter Michael Lang had lost his. As reported by Poughkeepsie Journal, Focus is working with local film commissions to find the most sixties locations possible. In his blog for the Hudson Valley Film Commission and Woodstock Film Festival blog, Laurent Rejto has helped rev up the search. As he details, "All three elements (road, motel, town with 12 buidlings+/-) in perfect relation to one another, would be the bulls-eye. Email with photos."

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Coraline Takes the Stage

Posted May 07, 2008

Coraline Takes the Stage Image

Neil Gaiman's dark childhood fantasy Coraline is slated for a magical time next year. First the novella will be coming out as a 3-D animated feature film directed by Henry Selick (of The Nightmare Before Christmas fame. Next it will be coming to stage as a musical with a soundtrack by downtown composer Stephin Merritt. Although Merritt had many incarnations, he is perhaps most famous for being the driving force behind the group the The Magnetic Fields, who have just released the album Distortion, a concept project that deploys distortion as a harmonic element in every song. Merritt's website House of Tomorrow reports that "The theatrical adaptation of Neil Gaiman's "Coraline," with music and lyrics by Stephin Merritt and book by David Greenspan, will have its world premiere at New York's Lucille Lortel Theatre Theater from May 6 to June 20, 2009." But Merritt is not the only Magnetic Fields' member to dabble in macabre children's fiction. The occasional Fields accordion player Daniel Handler writes under the name Lemony Snicket the famed collection "A Series of Unfortunate Events," which itself was turned into a movie several years earlier. Interestingly, the Coraline (movie) soundtrack will feature music by They Might Be Giants, another New York-based indie band.

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Bruges Speaks

Posted May 07, 2008

Bruges Speaks Image

The question on everyone lips at Focus, but no one had the heart to ask, is, "What did Bruges think about In Bruges?" The answer is out. In a letter in the Guardian this weekend, Dawn Page, director of Tourism Flanders-Brussels, wrote "The movie shows the city off perfectly, and we hope that it will introduce Bruges to a younger audience." And while gun-toting, drug-fueled hit men are clearly every tourist bureau's dream come true, Page was careful to warn youngsters before they ran out to the airport: "of course, if people go on holiday expecting a town inhabited by contract assassins, racist dwarves and Dutch prostitutes, they're going to be sorely disappointed." Damn.

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Hell No, I Won't Go!

Posted May 02, 2008

Hell No, I Won't Go! Image

A few months ago we published Heather Chaplin's profile "Ian Bogost: Games People Play," which looks at a video-game designer with a political conscience. Bogost's company Persuasive Games creates games that looks at global energy issues ("Oil God"), War on Terror ("Airport Insecurity"), and the obesity crisis ("Fatworld"). But Bogost is not alone in pushing gaming into a form of political activism. The most excellent website BoingBoing recently reported in "Online game teaches immigrant kids about rights of due process" about another game dealing with political issues. Put out by a the human rights organization Breakthrough, the game ICED ("I Can End Deportation") creates a game scenario where players learn about their rights. And if you get pissed off enough, the site provides various places to link to in order to take the game/battle to the real world. You can read their blog, write about your own thoughts, or learn about the UN Declaration of Human Rights.

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Roasted Schamus

Posted May 01, 2008

Ron Meyer, James Schamus, and Ang Lee

Ron Meyer, James Schamus, and Ang Lee

Black ties were out and about last night at the black-tie dinner for the Museum of the Moving Image honoring Focus Feature's CEO James Schamus and Showtime's Matt Blank. The evening turned from tribute to good natured roast when director Ang Lee got up to the podium. According to Fox News' Roger Friedman, "I really don't know what James does," Lee quipped. "And I don't care." Other VIPs, like Universal heads Ron Meyer and David Linde and NBC honcho Jeff Zucker were hopefully kinder. Here are some images:




Men in Black: Ron Meyer, James Schamus, david Linde, and Andrew Karpen

Men in Black: Ron Meyer, James Schamus,
David Linde, and Andrew Karpen

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