Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Thursday, July 25

Gapers Block

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Three Birds Pictures' Pitch and Tone could be looked upon as a film about chance. The film follows the main character, Judge, as he looks for a used piano in a city that is foreign to him, and, like how coincidence unfolds in a Paul Auster novel, with every ad that Judge answers he is pulled into the lives of complete strangers. The film, Three Birds Pictures' first, was co-written (along with his brother Ross) and directed by Joseph Cashiola, who began his film career in Thurmont, MD, with the 10-minute film Toast, which is about a toast hunter and his elusive prey. Founded in 2003 by the Cashiola brothers and Daniel Mejia, whom the brothers met while working together at a scenic shop in Pilsen, Three Birds Pictures has grown to include actor and producer Jeff Harms. They are currently preparing to shoot their sophomore project, Water, which will take the filmmakers to post-Katrina New Orleans, Biloxi and Austin, as well as the Arizona desert.

Three Birds Pictures will screen Pitch and Tone at a special fundraising event at The Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, on Dec. 9 from 5 to 7pm. The $6 suggested donation at the door will go directly to the company's post-production fees.

Q: Cinema and literature. We've all described a movie as being literary from time to time, and on unique occasions I've been able to have a cinematic experience while in the midst of the written word. To your mind, what is it that seduces cinema and literature into sharing such aesthetic climaxes?

Cashiola: Storytelling is attractive because human beings are big projectors, and they tend to put themselves into every situation and see themselves as every character. The freedom in storytelling is appealing, similar to the Choose Your Own Adventure books that I read when I was younger. I prefer books. The climaxes can be much more personal.

Q: In many indie films, directors have used non-actors for important roles. I would think the attraction to non-actors for these directors (outside of the whole monetary thing) is largely sculpted by the idea that such talent lends more authority to the director's vision. What do you think?

Cashiola: "I just think that you give somebody something that they can do, and allow them to be a person. I just try to remove the technical responsibilities for a person so that he doesn't realize that he's being photographed." -John Cassavetes

"If you can just get them to do what they're doing, 'their relations with the objects and persons around them will be right because they will not be thought.'" -Jeff Harms quoting Robert Bresson

Q: A question I plan to ask each film director I engage for this column: Why aren't more attempts at the silent film made today? Is it a symptom of the "biz"? Is it a symptom of an industry that does not want to look back? Or, is it that the contemporary audience is utterly unequipped to experience such a visceral phenomenon?

Cashiola: I was driving one day and a song from Brian Eno's Music for Airports came over the radio. It was an audio piece and he was talking about how his intention for the album was to have a record that would accompany any environment anywhere. The type of music that you could put on and almost forget about, in the way that is opposite to active listening. As I drove, it happened in real time: The car became a theater, and the distance between me and all the life outside was mitigated by the car's windows, and all the background of life, the boring and mundane things of life were highlighted and colored so clearly by this low, electronic droning. In this way, the background became the focus. I imagine a silent film would do the same. The silence offers your attention a surge of freedom. I do not think a majority of people today are ready to look at the background.

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About the Author(s)

John Hospodka is a life-long Chicagoan, and today lives with his wife in Bridgeport. He does not profess to be an expert in anything; he's just a big fan of the arts and is eager to make more sense of them. Direct comments or suggestions for interviews to

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