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Movies Contain the
Essence of Being Human
It is the ultimate
The rampage of a madman who has never been caught; the elusive cipher
slayer who gripped the nation in fear, America’s very own Jack the Ripper. He
publicly claimed 13 victims, then more, two dozen more. Police pinned him
with seven, five dead. The true body count may never be known. One thing is
certain: That count includes the living.
The Cinematic Arts Have
the Power to Transform
ROBERT DOWNEY JR.
Our Artists Are
made his feature film
debut in 1992 with
“Alien 3.” In 1995, he
directed “Se7en,” also
about tracking down
a serial killer.
winner of an Academy
Award, a Grammy,
multiple Emmy and Tony
nominations, is one of
the most prolific and
honored composers of
film, television, theater
optioned the rights to
Zodiac and wrote the
on spec – a gamble that
paid off with only three
produced scripts to his
Known in the mid to late nineties for her status
as a fashion impresario and "it girl," with over a
dozen art house films to her credit, Chloe
Sevigny also stands out as one of the most
prominent queens of contemporary
independent cinema. Originally hailing from
Darien, Connecticut, Sevigny attributes
weekend trips into nearby New York City in her
teens as an important early saving grace from
her super rich and stuffy hometown. It was on
one such trip at the age of eighteen, that
Sevigny was spotted on the street by a fashion
editor for Sassy magazine. And so began her
Actors are Liberators
Gyllenhaal's first notable film
appearances was in 2001's cult hit
Donnie Darko, in which he played a
troubled teenager. In the 2004
blockbuster The Day After Tomorrow,
he portrayed a student caught in a
cataclysmic global cooling event. He
played against type as an angry Marine
in Jarhead (2005) and, that same year,
he won critical acclaim as a "gay
cowboy" in the controversial, but highly
lauded, film Brokeback Mountain.
Gyllenhaal has taken an activist role in
supporting political and social causes,
promoting environmental causes and
the American Civil Liberties Union.
Actors help us: laugh, be happy,
cry, get angry, and even think.
Can there be any better gifts
Inspired by the film, Butch Cassidy and the
Sundance Kid, he began making movies at
the age of eight with an 8 mm camera.
Filmmaking seemed the perfect outlet for a
kid who could spend all day drawing and
loved to make sculptures, take pictures and
tape-record. Fincher eschewed the film
school route, getting a job loading cameras
and doing other hands-on work for John
Korty's Korty Films. He next got a job at
Industrial Light and Magic in 1980 with his
first screen credit being for Return of the
Jedi, and stayed until 1984.
Fincher directed big-budget music videos
for artists such as Madonna, Jody Watley,
Rick Springfield, Steve Winwood, George
Michael, Aerosmith, Paula Abdul, the
Rolling Stones, Nine Inch Nails, etc. Like a
number of other music video directors, he
then moved into film.
Based on the true story of a serial killer who terrified the San Francisco
Bay Area and taunted authorities in four jurisdictions with his ciphers and
letters for decades. Hunting down the hunter would become an
obsession for four men, an obsession that would turn them into ghosts of
their former selves, their lives built and destroyed by the killer’s endless
trail of clues.
All Kids are Born Artistic
What is Natural is Essential
Inspector Dave Toschi (Ruffalo) meets
with newspaper cartoonist Robert
(Robert Downey Jr.)
Of the four, Robert Graysmith (Jake Gyllenhaal) was the wild card.
A shy editorial cartoonist, Graysmith didn’t have the cache and expertise
of his seasoned and cynical colleague Paul Avery (Robert Downey Jr.),
the San Francisco Chronicle’s star crime reporter. He didn’t have Avery’s
connections with San Francisco Police Department’s celebrated and
ambitious Homicide Inspector Dave Toschi (Mark Ruffalo) and his low-
key, meticulous partner Inspector William Armstrong (Anthony Edwards).
What he did have was a crucial insight no one anticipated. It first
appeared Aug. 1, 1969.
Stories Embody the
Essence of Being Human
A crudely written Letter to the Editor arrived in the day’s pile of mail. One of
three penned to the Chronicle, the San Francisco Examiner and the Vallejo
Times-Herald, its contents brought the newsrooms to a standstill. “Dear
Editor, This is the murderer…” of David Faraday and Betty Lou Jensen, and
of Darlene Ferrin and the attempted murder of Mike Mageau. He didn’t call
them by name, but he gave a laundry list of details only the police could
Cinematic Story Telling is a
Profoundly Humanizing endeavor.
Zodiac inadvertently had turned detectives Toschi and Armstrong and
reporter Avery into overnight celebrities. Characters based on Toschi would
prove pivotal roles launching three movie stars’ careers. Graysmith
remained committed to his armchair sleuthing from the sidelines, injecting
his input when Avery would allow. Zodiac was always one step ahead,
covering his tracks, peppering his lettered taunts with more threats. And
then they became personal.
Film making is a
Infamy would eclipse fame as Toschi fell from grace; Armstrong,
frustrated moved on; Avery left the paper, crippled by his addictions.
Zodiac would no longer reveal his targets. Copycats sprang up coast to
coast. The key suspect was still out there. Graysmith’s moment had
come. That moment would change their lives forever.
LIFE CONNECTIONS in ZODIAC
Like many children who grew up in
the Bay area in the early `70s,
director David Fincher, then 7, was
spellbound by the invisible
monster known only as the Zodiac.
He was the ultimate bogey man.
“If you grew up there, at that time, you
had this childhood fear that you kind
of insinuated yourself into it. What if it
was our bus What if he showed up in
our neighborhood You create even
more drama about it when you’re a kid
because that is what kids do. I grew up
in Marin and now I know the
geography of where the crimes took
place, but when you’re in grade
school, children don’t think about that.
They think, `He’s going to show up at
- Director David Fincher
THE IMPORTANCE OF FEAR
“Fear is a question:
What are you afraid of, and why
Just as the seed of health is in
illness, because illness contains
information, your fears are a
treasure house of self-knowledge if
you explore them.”
Art is a
CRITICAL OPINION of ZODIAC
The movie holds you in its grip from
start to finish.
A+ Zodiac never veers from its
stoically gripping, police-blotter tone,
yet it begins to take on the quality of a
Discerning auds worldwide will find
FILM REVIEW by david bruce
Art is the Language of
Jake Gyllenhaal observes, “I think what is most
interesting about this story is that when something
like this happens there’s mass hysteria. And then it’s
given to the experts. And sometimes the experts
don’t have the same heart that just a kind of a
regular guy like Robert Graysmith would have. They
also have so much red tape to go through, all the
jurisdiction. Robert, a sort of regular person off the
street, doesn’t have to get a warrant for this, or
permission for that.”
Even though I can appreciate experts, professionals
and, yes, huge organization. The truth is, however,
that it is the outsider –the regular person, like Robert
Graysmith - who gives us our best innovations. Too
often we give our so-called “experts” more than we
should. Organized business is never as innovative
as the independent entrepreneur. The system did
not trust Graysmith as it should and everyone lost.
Bottom line: Give place to the innovator, to the
regular person, to yourself, and never give your soul
FINDING TRUTH in ZODIAC
“Remember that fear always lurks behind
perfectionism. Confronting your fears
and allowing yourself the right to be
human can, paradoxically, make you a far
happier and more productive person.”
--Dr. David M. Burns
has nothing to do with how
many R&D dollars you have. When Apple
came up with the Mac, IBM was spending
at least 100 times more on R&D. It's not
about money. It's about the people you
have, how you're led, and how much you
get it.” --Steve Jobs
“Human salvation lies in the hands of the
creatively maladjusted.” --Martin Luther
Society is only as free as its arts.
Art is the voice of human freedom.
TRIVIA AND NEWS
Zodiac is the first major Hollywood movie
that was created without the use of either
film or video tape.
David Fincher decided to use the digital
Thomson Viper to shoot the film. This will
be the first time the camera has been
used to shoot an entire film.
Michael Mann's Miami Vice, as well as his
previous effort, Collateral (a co-
production of Paramount and its current
sister studio DreamWorks, and which also
starred Mark Ruffalo), were also shot with
the camera but mixed in other formats.
Once shot on Viper cam the files were
converted to DVCPro HD 1080i and edited
in Final Cut Pro.
Other digital productions like Superman
Returns or Apocalypto recorded to the
mildly compressing HDCAM tape format.
WHY MOVIES ARE SO IMPORTANT
"The meaning of life is the most urgent of
questions" --Albert Camus (Existentialist thinker).
To Restrict Creativity is
to Restrict the very
Nature of the Creator
In “Movies and the Meaning of Life” author Kimberly
Blessing points out that movies can help us reflect
on five of life’s most important questions:
1) What is reality and how can I know it
2) How can I find my true identity
3) What the significance of my interactions with
4) What’s the point of my life
5) How ought I to live my life
The idea behind Visual Hollywood is that Movies can
and must play an essential role helping us explore
the meaning of our existence and our life together.
No other quest is more necessary or important.
Movies are powerful. Movies bring personal
meaning, and can contribute to a peaceful world.
Cinematic story telling can be a transforming event.
Visual Hollywood takes
an existential approach
to life. We celebrate
with human freedom.
We use movies and the
arts as a means of
human condition and
our collective relation to
the world around us.
Our basic quest is:
1. To know what it
means to be human in
2. The pursuit of human
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