A Beholden Purpose

By Tom Ran

Published: March 22, 2016 under Film

Brennan Stasiewicz explores the paintings of Brad Kunkle in his most recent short film, A Beholden Purpose. The Pennsylvania born, Brooklyn artist use of gold leaf and central female subjects have drawn comparison to Gustav Klimt. Though their styles are nothing alike, Kunkle’s women lean towards realism while set in forests and surreal environs.

The film opens with a voiceover asking the artist to describe the woman he imagines. Kunkle’s response is enlightening. His paintings often depict women shrouded or swept up in a flurry of gold leaves. They are not vulnerable figures, instead they are “intuitive.” They are aware of their purpose and have control of their destiny.

The film bypasses the usual behind-the-scenes depiction of an artist. The viewer only sees a glimmer of Kunkle’s thought process. What the film lacks is entirely intentional and what it exceeds in is the highly visual. In a way, it serves as an extension of Kunkle’s paintings with the representation of a woman from his artwork.

Brennan has come a long way since he directed our short docs. A Beholden Purpose is further proof of his talent and the evolution of his artform.

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Kapital World Premier

By Tom Ran

Published: December 24, 2015 under Film

On location in Paris for Kapital's Spring 2014 collection.

Photo: Eric Kvatek

Kapital, the denim and American inspired clothing label from Japan has been around since 1984 but it wasn’t until the release of their epic catalogs did the rest of the world take notice. The locations that each catalog featured was as much a part of the brand as the clothing. From urban settings in Rio de Janeiro and Paris to rural landscapes in Lapland and Santo Domingo, New Mexico. This year marks the ten year anniversary between designer Kiro Hirata and photographer, Eric Kvatek.

We got a bit of insight into the collaboration last year when Hsiang Chin Moe tagged along to document the making of Kapital’s Spring 2014 collection. It not only gave us a behind the scenes look into how the shoot came together but the special friendship between the two creative forces.

The only way you were able to see it was through a handful of intimate screenings held around the world. But starting today, it’s available for everyone. The worldwide release of Kapital World is now on view on their website.

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Piet Oudolf

By Tom Ran

Published: April 11, 2014 under Film

Piet Oudolf: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall

Photo: Thomas Piper

Over the past several years a new found interest in gardening has emerged as witnessed by numerous publications launches in print and digital. This includes The Plant, Wilder, and Plant Hunter from Australia. Maybe it’s an extension from popular topics like food, urban farming and to a certain extent lifestyle and interiors that has created these new perspectives. A new documentary on a Dutch garden designer is about to reinforce this interest. Piet Oudolf’s name may not sound familiar but his work has been seen by the millions of people. Oudolf is responsible for designing the landscapes for the High Line, Battery Park, a green roof at Millennium Park in Chicago, and many other public and private gardens around the world. The documentary Piet Oudolf: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall will visit Oudolf’s most important gardens over five seasons. It’s a study in the creative process behind Oudolf’s work as an art form but also a look at his theory in biodiversity and ecology in gardening. The film will see its release mid 2015.

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Under the Skin

By Tom Ran

Published: April 1, 2014 under Film

Scarlett Johansson stars in Under the Skin

Photo: A24

Jonathan Glazer returns to the big screen after nearly a decade away. His latest feature, Under the Skin, opens this Friday and stars Scarlett Johansson as a seductive otherworldly being who descends to earth in search of her male victims. The trailer gives us a glimpse into this surreal scifi. Glazer’s direction has been compared to Stanley Kubrick’s work primarily his groundbreaking film 2001: A Space Odyssey. The concentric form reminiscent of Hal, the austere white spaces, and reflective lighting are all iconic imagery that Kubrick owns. A24, the American distributor has created a series of mini sites that leads you down an abstract path beginning with t0uch-me. Under the Skin makes its New York premier tonight at BAM followed by a Q&A with Jonathan Glazer, unfortunately the event is sold out. The film opens in NY and LA on Friday and in selected cities on the 11th.

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My Kid and Me

By Tom Ran

Published: March 10, 2014 under Film

Casey Neistat has been shooting guerilla short films for more than a decade. His style of filmmaking doesn’t require more than a consumer model camera. But his ability to construct and tell a story is more captivating than most Hollywood movies. In the latest Men’s Style issue of T Magazine, Jesse Ashlock embarks on a journey with Casey and his son Owen to Africa. Casey has been going on adventures with his son each summer. Last year they spent their time riding motorcycles through Vietnam and in 2011 the duo made their way to Peru. They flew down Cusco where they embarked on a five day journey to Machu Picchu through the Andes Mountains. What transpired was a touching short about father and son making their way to this historical landmark.

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The Wait

By Tom Ran

Published: January 29, 2014 under Film

Jena Malone in M. Blash's <i>The Wait</i>

Photo: M. Blash

Though director M. Blash is known mostly for his music video and commercial work he’s also ventured into full length features. His debut, Lying starring Chloë Sivigny and Jena Malone, is a story about a group of women whose social interactions are tested when one is revealed to be a pathological liar. His second film brings the two actress together again. In The Wait, they play two sisters who are confronted with their mother’s death, one believing that she will be resurrected after a mysterious phone call from a psychic while the other opposes the idea. The trailer reveals an ethereal dream-like atmosphere, delicate and ominous. The Wait opens this weekend at Cinema Village in NY and The Downtown Independent in LA.

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Alya Kazakevich

By Raven Keller
Alya Kazakevich in her shop in the Lower East Side

Photo: Rose Callahan

On a damp and muggy summer morning on the Lower East Side, Alya Kazakevich slowly stitched up the edges of a leather coin purse and recalled her childhood in Eastern…

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By Tom Ran
Partners Robert Highsmith and Stefanie Brechbuehler

Photo: Samuel Bristow

Stefanie Brechbuehler and Robert Highsmith, are the partners behind Workstead. The two met at Rhode Island School of Design while studying architecture and opened their studio in 2009,…

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M.Nii John Moore

By Tom Ran
M.Nii Tailor, Waianae, Hawaii 1959

Photo: Tom McBride

The photo is one of the few relics that remain of M.Nii’s history. An image that recalls the golden age of American surf culture. Three friends in front…

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