The Best Things in Life, and Cinema, Are Free

Thu Mar 06,2014

by E. Nina Rothe

‘Gravity’ star Sandra Bullock famously said “I’ll do anything for free stuff” and I have to agree. There’s nothing quite like getting a free sample at the mall or taking home a goodie bag from an event you attended. It doesn’t really matter that the product isn’t right for you, or the stuff in the bag you’ll probably never use: It’s free, so it’s fun.

And the same applies to great, no expense at all finds online. Recently, I discovered quite a few gems related to the great 7th cinematic art that I wanted to share - all legal and wonderfully free. No account to be activated, no credit card info to fill in, just great, complimentary entertainment to be had.

’12 Years a Slave’ by Solomon Northup, on - Book

A phenomenal film, which of course screened at the 10th Dubai International Film Festival, and now an incredible success story all around, after clinching three golden statuettes - for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress for Lupita Nyong’o and Best Adapted Screenplay for John Ridley. And in his backstage press interviews, Ridley could not say it enough, how Northup’s autobiography had inspired him beyond all his expectations:

Rightfully so, as Northup’s harrowing personal account of having been kidnapped in Washington D.C. and sold into slavery, to end up on a Louisiana plantation, although having been born a free man in NYC, is fascinating. What makes the film so spellbinding and frightening is the true-story aspect. Had it been a Hollywood creation, no one would have believed it could have actually happened. But it did. And reading Northup’s first person account is perhaps even more difficult than watching Steve McQueen’s perfectly made film.


‘Letters to Palestine’ by Rashid Al-Marri on Vimeo - Video

Screened at the Dubai International Film Festival in 2010, ‘Letters to Palestine’ is a beautiful tribute by some of the Gulf’s young and brightest to a land, and its people. Haunting in its message but wonderfully similar to watching a poem unfold on the screen, Rashid Al-Marri’s film is a must-watch and now, thanks to the filmmaker’s generosity, free and available on Vimeo. Featuring such well-known UAE personalities as Ali Mouin Jaber (of ‘Arabs Got Talent’ and AUD fame) and Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi, it’s the kind of film you’ll want to view again and again, to catch its deepest nuances. And. most importantly, Al-Marri gives a glimpse into the amazing talent of filmmakers in the UAE, through his own personal style of collecting and filming these important interviews.

’12 Years a Slave’ by John Ridley on GoIntoTheStory - Original Script

While still on the subject of the winner for the Best Picture Oscar, why not go through the screenplay written by John Ridley and discover the differences from the original story? Seldom we, as audience members, have that great luxury, of following a story all the way through, from book, to script, to screen. With ’12 Years a Slave’ we can experience what it’s like to pick up a story and make it into a film. And while on the site, there are plenty of other fantastic original screenplays to discover, like the raunchy ‘American Hustle’, the touching ‘Philomena’ and even Haifaa Al-Mansour’s gorgeous - as well as a DIFF and GFF audience favorite - ‘Wadjda’.

Link for script: Here

Website link : Here

‘Nazareth 2000’ by Hany Abu-Assad on Vimeo - Video

So Hany Abu-Assad’s ‘Omar’ may not have walked away with an Oscar, but the filmmaker’s talent is, anyway, undeniable. His own cinematic recounting of a moment in time in his hometown’s history is one of the best “documentaries” ever made. While Abu-Assad frowns at this term for his film, I can’t find another way to describe the touching, personal and very entertaining result of his journey home, while he was still living in the Netherlands. I think I’ve watched it more than a dozen times and still find undiscovered bits of wisdom among its frames.

‘Location Scout’ by Jeff Gilfelt on iTunes Store - iPhone/iPad App

Well, a list is not complete if it doesn’t include at least one App, and this one will allow you to show off your knowledge of movie locations. It’s also a nice tool for aspiring filmmakers who don’t have it in their budget to hire a location scout. This is exactly that, in small, little compact format. The App’s info is compiled directly from IMDB, so while the latest films may not be on there yet, the list of the ones that are should keep the user busy for quite a while.


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