Spellbound festival bound

Whew!  I just submitted Spellbound to the US shorts category at Sundance.  Finers crossed!  Spellbound is a fifteen minute narrative I directed and edited in which most of the characters are played by magicians and all the “special effects” are in fact, magic tricks.  Yes, there is color correction and some scenes are in black and white, but this isn’t a dogme 95 film with magic added, it’s a whole new beast.  I’m very happy with it.  Right now I have what is an almost finished cut.  All that remains is to finish the sound design and make sure everyone has their name spelled right in the credits.

I feel I learned a lot from making this film.  I’d never filmed magic before, despite being a magician myself, and I was still getting used to the camera and edit suite when I started this project, but in just a few short hours I came to understand the ups and downs of shooting magic, even in a controlled setting, and even though I love this film and I think it’s great, I can see how I will do a few things differently on the next project, just to make my life easier as an editor.

Trade secrets, don’tcha know?

The other really valuable thing I took away from the film was the wonderful cast and crew.  I now can say who my go to people are for art direction, ADing, etc.  And I know a few young, talented, hungry magicians now.  Great guys.  Eli, who plays the lead, played a whole day with the flu tearing at his brain!  And Kent did a wonderful job with Healed and Sealed on a beer can, which I don’t know if anyone has done before on screen.  And then there was David Roth.  Well, go look him up on youtube if you don’t know who he is.  Best coin magician alive, I say.  Boy, was I lucky on this film!


Who is this guy?!

My name is Mark Lichtenstein and I’m a film maker.  (“Hi Mark.”)  I’ve been a film maker since 1997 when I enrolled in NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts Film and Television Dept.  After I got a taste, I was hooked, working on one project after another, just directing and editing all the time.  Hardly a day goes by when I don’t look at my Avid editing platform and think “what can I do with you today?”  I even created a youtube channel where people can see some of my work – http://www.youtube.com/manpoweredfilms.  It got so bad one night that I purchased a domain and started building a website of my own – http://www.manpoweredfilms.com.  It’s still in beta, but I keep working on a newer version.  I just can’t help myself!  As if being a film dork wasn’t bad enough, I’m also a magician, as evidenced by some of my recent film projects, including this one I shot with the help of Kent Axell, an extremely talented magician I am lucky enough to be friends with:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WcMAqmYK0Hg

Starting in 2005 I began working on a documentary about Joseph Perez, a remarkable disabled athlete.  In 2008 when I got my hands on some new equipment I began shooting in HD and I think we’re only a few months away from completing “Three Mountains”, a film about Joe’s amazing journey through life with Cerebral Palsy, his personal journey and  of course, his life in disabled sports and martial arts.

I’ll be using this blog to keep you updated as to my projects in the hope I can learn to live with this condition, one day at a time.