A Ghost Story is not your typical horror film

A Ghost Story is not your typical horror film -- it is a supernatural, philosophical romance that focuses on the life of a ghost and his existential experience of being lost in space and time. The film was directed, written, and edited by David Lowery. One of the most differentiating aspects of the film is that it features a man dressed in a bedsheet with two eye holes. We saw a screening in Los Angeles last night, which was followed by a Q & A with Lowery.

From the Q & A we learned that the ghost costume, lighting, color, and aspect ratio were all designed to convey the nostalgia that Lowery was drawn to when writing the screenplay. I was edtited in Premiere Pro with a full Adobe workflow.

A scene that’s already under the spotlight is one of Rooney Mara's character grieving and eating a pie for minutes. It’s through these long (sometimes uncomfortably long) shots that Lowery underscores the haunting nature of being a ghost stuck in place and time. He explained to the audience that the length of each shot was representative of the age and perception of the ghost. As the film went on, shots became quicker and more lively.

This is likely the most unique film of the summer, and a breath of fresh air for the horror genre. Instead of jump scares or graphic imagery, A Ghost Story sparks a different type of fear, a fear that revolves around the nature of existence.


Recently deceased, a white-sheeted ghost (Academy Award-winner Casey Affleck) returns to his suburban home to console his bereft wife (Academy Award-nominee Rooney Mara), only to find that in his spectral state he has become unstuck in time, forced to watch passively as the life he knew and the woman he loves slowly slip away.

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Egypt's "Jon Stewart" made fun of the corrupt government and was forced to flee

Earlier this week we went to see a Los Angeles screening of Tickling Giants followed by a Q&A with Bassem Youssef, the subject of the film. The evening was presented by Ziya Tong's Black Sheep.

Bassem Youssef, often called the “Jon Stewart of Egypt,” was a prominent heart surgeon who became the creator and host of the Egyptian late-night comedy TV show Al-Bernameg (“The Show”), which began as an immensely popular YouTube channel. The live network show revolved around Bassem’s use of satire and sarcastic humor towards the corrupt and oppressive Egyptian government. As the only program on Egyptian television concerned with free speech and the voice of the people, “The Show” quickly rose in popularity and attracted 30 million viewers per show, significantly more than the 2 million who tuned in nightly to The Daily Show. Even though Bassem and the team behind the show were constantly living in fear that their jokes would put them in danger, they bravely continued to produce a show that criticized authority and the country’s politics. The satirical program ran from 2011-2014, until Egypt’s oppressive military regime made it impossible for the show to continue.

Tickling Giants is a documentary based on Bassem Youssef, “The Show”, and their role in Egyptian culture. The film provides a detailed view of how Youssef “finds creative, non-violent ways to protect free speech and fight a president who abuses his power.

During the Q&A with Youssef following the documentary, Youssef shared experiences and advice not given in the documentary. Read the rest