Saturday, April 25, 2009


BTW - I'm on twitter.

My accounts are phillipmar
and cryptopticon
c u there

Friday, April 24, 2009


An artist is somebody who produces things that people don't need to have.
Andy Warhol

Why my casual attitude to the resp
onse from Cannes?

Cryptopticon will always polarise.

Here’s a story to illustrate my point.

In the beginning - early 2008 - I couldn’t find a crew.

The blog posts and the personal approaches didn’t work.

As I re-read my diary/journal from the time - it was death by silence - death by indifference. Even though I was planning to work with a ‘skeleton’ crew – literally no one was interested as DOP, designer, producer, gaffer, sound recordist, caterer…

That changed when John Hipwell came on board. John pretty much recruited the whole production team: DOP, gaffers, sound, runners, on-set digital acquisition.

The casting was a major problem too - this was a first – never before whether casting for theatre, short films of a feature had I had problems, usually I was able to get cues round the block with actors and actresses all wanting a part.

On Cryptopticon none of the actors I initially had in mind were available or even wanted to audition (!) - this is not to say what we finally cast was the B-team - but when you plan a feature film you kind set your aim pretty high and get what your mind envisages.

Then Sarah-Jane came on board – thanks to her we saw a lot of people for each role. And the results speak for themselves.

The moral of this story is that if you truly do something personal and distinctive – you won’t find universal appeal – universal appeal only happens occasionally.

There are another 4-5 festivals where I will enter Cryptopticon (it’s bloody expensive once you factor in postage and administration fees) – I predict that 3-4 out of the 5 will reject it – I’m counting on the 1 out of 6 that will say ‘I love it!’

But if not – that is the path.

Abstract painting is abstract. It confronts you. There was a reviewer a while back who wrote that my pictures didn't have any beginning or any end. He didn't mean it as a compliment, but it was.
Jackson Pollock

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

Theodore Roosevelt

Fwd: Quinzaine des R?alisateurs - R?ponse du comit? de s?lection / Answer of the selection committees

It's a hat-trick from Cannes!!!! 

Sent from Phillip's iPhone

Begin forwarded message:

Date: 24 April 2009 2:21:23 AM
Subject: Quinzaine des R?alisateurs - R?ponse du comit? de s?lection / Answer of the selection committee

Titre du film : Cryptopticon

Madame, Monsieur,

Vous avez bien voulu soumettre la candidature du film ci-dessus à la sélection de la Quinzaine des Réalisateurs - Cannes 2009 et nous vous en remercions vivement.

Le comité de sélection l'a visionné avec beaucoup d'intérêt, mais en dépit de ses qualités, nous regrettons de vous informer que ce film n'a pas été retenu pour figurer dans notre sélection.

Nous recevons chaque année plusieurs centaines de candidatures, mais nous ne pouvons retenir qu'une vingtaine de films, toutes nationalités confondues. Notre volonté de présenter un éventail de films le plus varié possible nous contraint donc à faire des choix souvent difficiles.

Nous souhaitons néanmoins garder contact avec vous et espérons pouvoir compter sur votre participation lors d'une prochaine édition.

Dans cette attente, et en vous renouvelant nos remerciements, nous vous prions de croire en l'expression de nos salutations les plus cordiales.

Olivier Père
Délégué Général


Film Title: Cryptopticon

Dear Madam,
Dear Sir,

We would like to thank you for the submission of the film quoted above to the selection committee of the Directors' Fortnight - Cannes 2009.

The selection committee has screened it with much interest but, despite its qualities, we regret to inform you that it will not be part of our selection.

Each year, we receive several hundreds entries from all over the world, but we can only confirm the selection of twenty of them, all nationalities considered. Our desire to offer a wide selection of films, as diverse as possible, keeps obliging us to frequent and difficult choices.

Yet we would greatly appreciate if we could keep in touch with you and we do hope that you will still consider a future submission of a film for the next editions of the Directors' Fortnight.

Looking forward to a future collaboration,
Best regards,

Olivier Père
Artistic Director

Thursday, April 23, 2009

First rejections...

Rejections always sting a little – (the ego mostly!)

But as the saying goes ‘time wounds all heels’ (Groucho Marx).

Initially, we never planned to submit Cryptopticon to a film festival – (a little ‘too ‘establishment’, ‘too well-trodden path’); Cryptopticon is hardly that.

So why did we bother?

The opportunity arose after having shot C on Hi-Def and with higher production values than originally planned…it seemed like a door to knock on - especially for the sake of the market attached to it.

And indeed this is the plan - there are other 4-5 high profile festivals (with attached markets) that are worth the punt: Toronto, Telluride, Sundance, Berlin, Rotterdam.

And even if these do not pan out, there are other avenues to get the film out there.

…not sure what others do with rejection letters - I eventually use the back of them for the first draft my next project!


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Sandie Fabre <>
Date: Wed, Apr 22, 2009 at 8:36 PM


Thank you for having submitted your film  " CRYPTOPTICON "  to  La Semaine
de la Critique.

The Selection Committee considered it with the utmost attention.

Unfortunately, it has not been selected for the 48th Critics¹ week.

We hope to have another occasion working with you in the next few years.

Thank you,

Best regards,

On behalf of Jean-Christophe Berjon, Artistic Director

And his Selection Commitee

48e Semaine de la Critique ­ Cannes 2009

Fwd: Festival de Cannes

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: <>
Date: 2009/4/23
Subject: Festival de Cannes



1 Penn StreetNorth Balwyn MelbourneVictoria 3104




                                                                                                                      Paris, 22/04/2009


Réf. : Présentation du film « CRYPTOPTICON » au Comité de Sélection du 62ème Festival de Cannes (13 – 24 mai, 2009).


Monsieur / Madame Phillip MARZELLA


Nous avons le regret de vous informer que votre film n'a pas été retenu par le Comité de Sélection du Festival de Cannes pour sa Sélection Officielle (Compétition, Hors Compétition, Un Certain Regard).

Nous espérons que vous nous ferez l'honneur de nous présenter votre prochain film.


Avec nos meilleures salutations,



Ref.: Presentation of the film «CRYPTOPTICON» to the Selection Committee of the 62nd Festival de Cannes (May 13 - 24, 2009).


Dear Phillip MARZELLA


We regret to inform you that your film has not been selected by the Selection Committee of the Festival de Cannes for its Official Selection (Competition, Out of Competition, Un Certain Regard).

We hope that you will do us the honour of presenting us your next film.


Yours sincerely,



Christian Jeune          

Adjoint au Délégué général / Deputy General Delegate                                                                               

Directeur Département Films / Film Department Director

Tel.: (33) 1 53 59 61 74  / Fax : (33) 1 53 59 61 70


Conformément aux instructions du Festival, les cassettes vidéo et les dvd adressés au Festival pour la présélection ne sont pas renvoyés à leur expéditeur par le Festival, après avoir été visionnés.

Cependant, toute personne mandatée par vous-même, et de passage à Paris dans les locaux du Bureau du Festival, pourra, avant juin 2009, demander à récupérer cette cassette en votre nom.


In accordance with the Festival instructions, the video-tapes and DVDs addressed to the Festival for its pre-selection are not returned by the Festival to the sender, after they have been viewed.

However, anyone authorized by you and passing through Paris, may pick up the video-tape at the Festival's Office, before June 2009.


Sunday, April 19, 2009

Websites updates

I finally sorted the web presence for Acrobat Films and Cryptopticon.

Might add, not without the pain of having to re-register domain names and change over web-hosting services.

I ditched Optus: long story, but I did exceed the legal safe limit on the phone with various call-centres around the globe.

I now speak several Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi, and Rajasthani dialects.

On the upside I may or may not be engaged to be married to several Pakistani princesses. And I have many fans in Lahore, Islamabad and Gujrat. Love globalisation.

Anyway, keep an eye on these websites:

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Director’s notes

[I need to write these for the festivals]

Cryptopticon came to me as a dream.

Another story was before me – cryptology loomed large – lots of research and material was there - yet I couldn’t get a sense of the frame of the story, or a handle on what was the story moving towards.

I felt and intuited that it was a thriller – a mystery that needed to be solved - but wasn’t sure what was at stake if we didn’t solve the mystery and who was the character that made it all happen – anyway, it wasn’t working.

I’ve just realised that I started writing about the film from writer’s angle: story and narrative issues – when the title of this is in fact Director’s notes. As it will become apparent the two are intermingled in my mind. Above all because writing screenplays for me is a visual emotional effort at first which is then translated into a logical one of sequences and scenes.

As an aside I’m writing this blog entry because several film festivals expect to have a director’s statement about the film – which I think is okay from a press/media release angle and a necessary marketing tool - but it is artistically distant from film making – I make films to give light to inner emotions and mental images – if I could capture all in words – no need for the camera is there? But I repeat myself – I think I’ve said this before in an earlier post.

So I dreamt it all. The whole story from beginning to end came to me early one morning – that was a very happy day – I’ve had this kind of epiphanies before – but mostly for a single scene or sequence - never for a whole film…

And then it became obvious that what I wanted to do was make a film that had strong abstract elements – that it wasn’t clear-cut what was happening and how – and that each viewer would take away what they wanted from the film.

Suffice to say that some people who read the screenplay – would complain – “I didn’t get it.”

Well, as in any abstract painting - you get out what you put into it – this wasn’t a film with a definitive moralistic statement or closed loop narrative – rather an Alice-in-Wonderland psychedelic journey for the spectator.

With this in mind then as a director I wanted to delve into what is the best way to capture this hallucinogenic story?

In camera is the answer.

Indeed, this story can only be told with a camera – a theatrical representation of the same action – would have none of the impact or subtleties of the film – which for me is a good test of cinematic potential.

The idea was that this was routine gone wrong – with a thousand eyes looking onto the setting – a thousand cameras.

So my directorial ambitions were simple. Bring to light what had only happened in my mind’s eye.

I believe it worked: script and direction melding into a rollercoaster of broken emotions and chilly thrills.

Qui vivra, verra…

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Teaser - different transition

Teaser with a different transition: dip to black.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Cryptopticon Teaser

Cryptopticon Teaser

13 Apocalyptic seconds