Monthly Archives: May 2011

Music and Film, Two Powerful Mediums – Combined, What Can They Achieve?

Salvador (BA) - O Cantor Stevie Wonder fala na...

Stevie Wonder - Image from Wikipedia

Music and Film. They can achieve almost anything. They can bring about world-wide unity, create harmony, promote cross culture and cross border compassion, understanding, peace and care! They can both ignite social action, they can mobilize people all over the world with love, insight and empathy… and every other ingredient necessary for a better world… ‘for you and for me and the entire human race’. (R.I.P Michael Jackson)

I truly believe that the power of music can create positive social change throughout the world. Music being the universal language means that it is one thing that we are all bound together by…. People unite when it comes to music and I hope to see music (and film) being used on a much larger scale than it already is, to bring about social and political change, and to create a better world for all. The same goes for film my friends and fellow film lovers! – Now on a more personal note:

I have just got off the phone to L.A, where I spoke with the amazing Mr. Billy Griffin, Soul King of America… Billy Griffin (born in Baltimore, Maryland)is an American singer and songwriter. He is best known for replacing Smokey Robinson as lead singer of The Miracles in 1972. Griffin has written songs and sung backing vocals for Aretha Franklin, The O’Jays, Ronald Isley, Freda Payne, Edwin Starr, Evelyn Champagne King, Herb Alpert, Martine McCutcheon, The Emotions and many others. Billy has had so many more wonderful achievements in the world of music and was honored with the other Miracles, when the group received a Star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame on March 20, 2009.

Billy Griffin found me through my human rights activism and awareness campaigns, which I am able to conveniently execute through my film production company, Atlantic Star Productions. Billy has been following my work in Africa for quite some time now. It was a year or so ago when he wrote to me and said, ‘Ebony, one day, we should work on something together.’

For the past two and a half years I have been working tirelessly on a documentary about the LRA conflict in East Africa and the child soldiers and other victims of war in Northern Uganda, entitled Child Troopers. In 2010, I set-up  a not for profit organization Bikes 4 Life, raising bicycles for neglected, impoverished  and isolated victims of war. Billy’s desire to get involved with me on a humanitarian project has never slipped my mind. We have kept in touch over the internet and planned to meet one day. However, until this afternoon, I had never actually spoken to him. (I had tried but he is harder to get a hold of than me!) So I called again today, and I actually got through!

It was great to hear his cool mellow voice, and even better than his voice was when I asked him to guess who it was on the phone. He was like …’EBONY  from AUSTRALIA!’. (I did however hint that we had never spoken on the hone before – but still, he got it straight away!)

Lately I’ve been writing to Billy quite frequently, as my film is getting closer to completion, or at least it feels like it is! I am heading to America next month to meet my new co- producer in Hollywood, Alec Pedersen. Alec was involved with the 2009 Academy Award winning documentary film ‘The Cove’ and not only does he bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the project, he he also brings much credibility. During my trip I  had also been planning to meet with Billy Griffin while in Los Angeles, to talk about what we would work on together. It was only a few weeks ago when I was looking back on a photograph of Stevie Wonder and Billy Griffin together, (Billy and Stevie are very close friends) that I had a revelation.. I had seen the photo before and loved it, but this time it really got my brain ticking… A few days earlier I had also discovered that Stevie Wonder was awarded the UN (United Nations) Messenger for Peace in 2009.

I had it. I had a brilliant idea, and I knew if I could somehow get it off the ground, that it would have wings, it would fly… it would be absolutely amazing. I told Billy straight away what I was thinking. I basically asked him if he would consider getting together with Stevie Wonder to write a song for the soundtrack in my documentary film, Child Troopers…  a song to represent peace, a song to bring about change, a song to end the suffering of the world’s children…  Music for Change. Movies that Matter. Music and Movies that Make a Difference!!!

We conversed back and forth and as it currently stands, I may be pitching the idea to Stevie Wonder myself when I am in LA next month! How I wish I had a team of people helping me on this project. Billy stressed the importance of creating media buzz and hype around the project and assured me that there would be no reason Stevie Wonder or any other musician of his caliber wouldn’t get involved! Billy Griffin was so far in. One down and one to go. Now I am after Mr. Wonder. That’s a challenge and half. But boy, do I love a challenge!!

Dear supporters, fellow music lovers and film fanatics, filmmakers and friends alike, I ask you to please help me with some ideas to create buzz in the States (and Oz), all the way from Melbourne Australia. Let’s get Stevie Wonder doing the soundtrack for an Australian production, let’s get these soul kings to help make the world a better place, by making a song that is sung in all corners of the globe, that is a message of peace, a message of hope…! A message to end world wars and to ensure we make it top priority of all political agenda’s to protect our women and children.

I will do my best to achieve these wild, but nevertheless attainable dreams for the very women and children who I dedicate this work to. However, even if it doesn’t come to fruition this time around,  I will continue to put my heart and soul into making this film, and attempt to reach out to the masses, to protect the innocent civilians caught up in brutal conflicts throughout the world and to help in the campaign to  bring an end to the use of children in war.

Film is a superior medium,  music some say, is equal in greatness.  However all things united, just like people united, are the most powerful of all. Therefore, when film and music are also united, what results is an integrated medium of the most greatest possible force, infinitely capable of creating significant social, political, economic and environmental change, capable of bringing about peace to the world, love to the planet and justice to all… And right now, such changes are needed most!

I welcome all your thoughts on this project… Thank you!

To get involved or to follow our projects see the links below:


http://bikes4life.com.au

http://behance.net/atlanticstar

http://vimeo.com/channels/asptv

http://atlanticstarproductions.com

http://childtroopers.wordpress.com

Please join us Twitter:            @ebony_atlanta       @atlanticstar233      @bikes4lifeorg

Or find us on Facebook:

facebook.com/ebonyatlantabutler     facebook.com/childtroopers     facebook.com/bikes4lifeorg

facebook.com/dancingthroughthepain           facebook.com/atlanticstarproductions

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GAFFER Needed for Short – Paid Job

Gaffer needed for a short film in Melbourne with a top creative agency.

Paid job. Please send me your CV and letter of interest asap.

Ebony@atlanticstarproductions.com

The Five Smartest Things Said at the Cannes Distribution Panel – indieWIRE

The Five Smartest Things Said at the Cannes Distribution Panel – indieWIRE.

Exploiting Social Media

Distribution – VOD and Theatrical Release

Creating a Community

Target Markets

Project Nim

Project Nim

21 January, 2011 | By Anthony Kaufman

Dir: James Marsh. UK. 2011. 93mins

James Marsh’s Project Nim is every bit as engrossing, though not as crowd-pleasing, as his previous hit documentary, the Oscar-winner Man On Wire. In this chronicle of “Nim Chimpsky,” a chimpanzee raised as a human child in the 1970s, Marsh trades in the high-flying tension of daredevil stunts for the high-stakes emotional terrain of animal rights and scientific hubris.

Seamlessly blending subtle reenactments with ample archival footage.

Prior to the film’s opening night slot in Sundance’s World Cinema Documentary Competition, HBO Documentary Films acquired all US theatrical, video and broadcast rights to the film; the channel will most definitely find a theatrical partner Stateside. Based on Marsh’s track record and the eminently intriguing subject matter, Nim should find select theatrical activity and solid TV play in other territories.

Seamlessly blending subtle reenactments with ample archival footage, Marsh lets the story unfold chronologically, beginning in 1973 when Nim was taken from his birth mother by Columbia University professor Herb Terrace, and brought into the Upper West Side brownstone of Stephanie Lafarge, a former psychology student with a large family who attempts to teach Nim sign language.

Read the rest of this entry

Aboriginal Tent Embassy, Canberra

Always Was, Always Will Be from Ebony Butler on Vimeo.

The aboriginal ‘Tent Embassy‘ directly opposite Parliament House in Canberra is an interesting and vibrant place, where Australian Police are not even allowed to enter, nor stand on a piece of their land, unless given permission by the elders. I happened to be in Canberra for a climate action summit, and spent two days at the ‘tent embassy’ with the elders who took a liking to me. The police crossed the line onto aboriginal soil that day and I captured a rare piece of footage, the filming insisted by the elders and leaders of their ‘tent embassy’.

Icon Australia picks up motorcycle doc

Cover of "Fahrenheit 9/11"

Cover of Fahrenheit 9/11

Icon Australia picks up motorcycle doc TT3D | News | Screen.

It’s great to hear of the success of the documentary TT3D that Australian film distributor ICON FILMS has secured theatrical distribution for (Australia & New Zealand). The motorcycle documentary was produced and  financed by CinemaNX.

The documentary has had massive success in the UK. According to Screen Daily, the film was UK’s highest weekend box office documentary opener since Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11! Let’s hope it does well for Icon Films in Australia and New Zealand!

Specials in May

ASP Monthly Specials

Image representing Sony as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

This month we have a special rate on all HD (high-definition) and professional production equipment hire. We have Sony HD cameras, Sennheisser microphones, monitors, HD / FCP editing suites, audio mixers, stands, lighting and more!

Everything you could possibly need for your next production, with 30% off normal rates! A total bargain!

And why not hire our crew aswell, to take you project to the next level? Our talented crew include graphic artists, sound designers, cinematographers, directors, producers, screen writers, stylists and lighting technicians… to make sure your video is of top quality and stands out from the rest! We’ll even throw in crew this month with a further 20% off normal rates! Limited equipment available so get in quick to secure your booking today!

We are feeling very generous this month so we are also offering a 2-3 minute promotional video for your website or showreel, including all equipment, crew, editing/post and authoring – the whole package, valued at well over $1.500, for an unbelievable price of $699!

This offer is available to 3 people or businesses only!!   Refer a friend and  you will also receive $100 cash! Booking must be made by the 31st of May so don’t miss out!!

Enjoy our monthly specials and thank you for subscribing to Atlantic Star!

Award Winning Documentaries….

VHS Cover.

Image via Wikipedia

I have just rented 5 award winning documentary films to enjoy over the next few days (Network Video South Yarra).

In no particular order they are:

Dancing Through The Pain

Dancing Through The Pain from Ebony Butler on Vimeo.

For more than twenty years Northern Uganda was victim to one of the worst humanitarian disasters in the world. A countless number of people were killed and brutalised, 1 million people were displaced and 30,000 women and children were abducted and forced to become child soldiers and sex slaves to the LRA (Lords Resistance Army). Nothing can remove the scars of the past, but song and dance is one way that helps people to relieve their pain and suffering.

The short documentary touches on the issues in Northern Uganda and introduces two former child soldiers, documenting some of their most harrowing experiences.

This documentary also shows the power of song and dance as a means of escaping the painful past and traumatic life of people of all people affected by the war. It also demonstrates through visual imagery, the significance of song and dance in the rehabilitation of not only ex-child soldiers but also the people in the community, who are also traumatized and victims of the war.

Documentary Film Opening Credits

Child Troopers Opening Film Credits from Ebony Butler on Vimeo.

I have just been toying around with some visual effects / motion graphics for my future film credits, to be used with my documentary Child Troopers.

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