january 23-30, 2002
greenbelt cinema 1, makati city
metro manila, philippines

































































































































































































filmless manifesto
death of film and the digital revolution
direct action cinema
the vow of chastity

filmless manifesto 

to be filmless is to be free from the shackles of the old brain.

to be filmless is to be fearless of fear itself and all its ghosts.

to be filmless is to be unaffected by the conspiracy of initials.

to be filmless is to realize your rainbow, even if you’re blind.

to be filmless is to be happy because you already saw the ending.

to be filmless is to feel truth in fakery, love in hate.

to be filmless is to not give up till the book says “end”.

to be filmless is to nevermind the neverwheres that negate us.

to be filmless is to be different from everyone else, like everyone else.

to be filmless is to believe in the sound and the image, and live it.

to be filmless is to go beyond yourself to reach your innermost well.

to be filmless is to nurture amidst murders.

to be filmless is to not serve the money king and lose your soul.

to be filmless is to express your heart whether in a jar or in the cosmos.

Khavn Dela Cruz


death of film
and the digital revolution



The digital video revolution is upon us. It is impacting the film world as you read this,  from George Lucas' continuing Star Wars saga to Lars Von Trier's "Dogma 95" to your parents re-editing the family home movies on their new PC. No, it's not a fad. It's the beginning of what many hope is the fruition of our dreams about technology and human communication.


For the first time ever, filmmakers can completely own and control the means of production and postproduction. The digital medium is opening up a whole new arena of opportunity, not only for those who have no access to professional, "accepted" filmmaking techniques and equipment or those who simply cannot afford to shoot 35mm- but for those who shun the mainstream, who are unimpressed with budgets that are spent on special effects to the detriment of character, story and cinematic integrity. For artists who simply want to express a story, a point of view. Even for artists who simply want to create art. Horrors!

Shooting digital video is tied to our desire for true  independence. It liberates us to experiment and improvise without the sticky strings of a financially spun web of restraint that so many well-known young Americanfilmmakers find themselves tangled in at the very onset of their "careers."


(If you look at "indie" film of the past 15 years you see a lot of "one hit wonders" and missed opportunities. Directors who hit with a small art house film that move on to a big budget flop and then either poof- disappear or meander through a few uninspired B-films and poof-disppear. The problem is the focus of many of the "indie" institutions and festivals is distribution and selling. With that mentality it is very hard to grow as a filmmaker. Hence the cookie-cutter "indie film" which, unfortunately, can be demographed on its "frat-appeal.")


With total artistic control we are truly "independent", a word that is more often than not, hijacked and warped for instant "street credibility" and artsy "clout."


I make no excuses. My films are risky, experimental and convince many who see them that it is possible to make a film that they dream of making without mortgaging the soul and the house. We receive tons of emails in regard to filmmaking advice and tips. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that after Frisk I would become a sort of digital video guru or revolutionary spokesperson. But I usually do advise people not to make films if they want to get rich quick. Don't let anyone tell you how to shoot your movie. If you have a good story and the talent you can't go wrong etc.

Ask yourself why you are making films. Investigate the underground, the source of most true, raw art is there and its history is diverse and inspiring. My movies are fictional narratives that feel real because they are shot documentary-style. Actors play characters, but instead of a standard fictional recording of their performance, they are "documented."

My film  m.o. is aesthetic, which it would seem, breeds in necessity. Video speaks to us in the image and style of the evening news and the soap opera. As Americans raised in a totally televised, up-to-the minute, live global history, video is the synthesis of reality. When we see video we see "truth" in a way that film once conveyed as  newsreels once proclaimed to filmgoers. Add to this the instant gratification of the internet, with it's worldwide aesthetic and "reach out and touch someone" immediacy and you just begin to see the new avenues of expression opening up. It's happening. Watch.


Todd Verow

direct action cinema


Direct Action Cinema is a practice created to allow actors and technicians high freedom and deep responsibility to create memorable cinema. It is a dynamic jazz ensemble of actors, camera, sound, directors, and editors that creates and interprets together, seeking the unexpected, the extraordinary, the miracles only a well-prepared combo can play.


Create a situation, define and develop a character. Combine the two and watch them collide, attract, and repel. Build drama from this dynamic, closer to the way life happens to us and we happen back to it.


Grow a narrative with the story spine hidden, accreting like a coral reef from within and according to its own inner energies.


Reject the 'film as short story' dictum promoted by Hollywood and the film schools. Smash the iron ball and chain of excessive plot. Create a poetic cinema based not on writing but on observing. Mistrust your ideas and trust your experiences. Discover, don't prescribe.


Build a cinema not of auteurs but of interpreters. Film is not a director's medium. The magicians who bottle the genie are the actors. The magician who lets the genie out of the bottle is the editor.


In acting - situations, rich discords, conflict, laughter, human dilemma, emotion.


In editing - a scavenger hunt for the miraculous.


Fear is the last barrier. Our path is towards our fear!


This is my Direct Action Manifesto, written 10 years before the days of Dogma. Then, as now, I ask myself where ideas, stories, and movies come from. We don't know and yet we know. One way or the other, they just 'occur' to us. We look around us in the world. Something strikes a note. Then another and another and then there is a chord. And the chords and notes combine to make a pattern, which becomes a structure. And that structure works itself out and is called a poem, a song, a screenplay, a novel, a painting.


We don't create what we know, although if the creation is going to be any good, we have to start with that. Young creators are constantly making the mistake of starting with ideas of exterior to their knowing. In this kind of creation, if it's a movie, the movie becomes a movie about other movies, and the context is usually derivative and only occasionally interesting. The trick is to capture what we come to know as we work, dredging it up out of those mysterious swamps we usually traverse only in dreams.


Good creation always comes from the creator's particular viewpoint, urgent hunch, or unexpected surmise, moving back and forth from inside urge to outside perception, and the end result is personal - a fingerprint - a unique, idiosyncratic statement peculiar to the creator's mind only. And this seemingly tiny peculiarity is the thing that singles out the great from the mediocre, the unique from the commonplace.


I believe that everyone's uniqueness, if wholly expressed, will have genius in it. My job as a filmmaker is to gather up the uniqueness of each person involved in the production and fashion it into a creation. I try to make that creation as much a reflection of my vision and taste as I can, taking into account all the critical input I can handle without losing sight of my own intentions.


Film is a great, unique gathering device, an apple barrel that holds all kind of delicious fruit. It is unique in that its gathering mechanism is random, eclectic, non-linear, intuitive, and wild, accepting of any and all input with much greater range than in theatre. In the production phase of cinema, there is almost nothing irrelevant. Anything might be used later in the cinema magician's laboratory: the editing studio. As the early Russians pointed out, context is everything and the assembly of contexts a sort of infinite grab-baggery from the cosmos.


In my Direct Action lab the story which occurs to me, coming from God knows where, is only a starting point, a road map, a pithy suggestion of a juicy outcome. If I were writing a novel, I'd write it, edit it, worry it to death, and it would come from inside me, onto the page, and into your minds through the medium of language.


But if it's a film, I have many more tricks up my sleeve, many more arrows in my quiver to employ, a totally different set of possibilities to explore, wider and more fertile collaborations to manage. My idea is: the more open my process in the beginning, the more options I will have for form, structure, and content in the end.


Therefore, I don't write scripts. Most of the time. SIGNAL 7 and HEAT AND SUNLIGHT didn't have scripts. STROKE, HUSHED, SINGING, and SCHEME, the new 9@NIGHT features, don't have scripts. They have what I call scenarios: descriptions of a film idea, scene order, character suggestions. Rehearsals consist of improvising the character's back story at great length, taking as much time as possible to give actors on-location experience (as opposed to intellectualized ideas) of their characters. The ideal is to do all of this out in the world in front of cameras. Then one day the back story ends and the film begins. Nothing changes, but now we're making the movie. I have set the actors, cameras, art directors and other creators free into their cinematic world. I am still a sort of puppeteer, yes, but a puppeteer who wants to set the puppets free.


Wants to, but never quite does.

Rob Nilsson



.. is a collective of film directors founded in Copenhagen in spring 1995.

DOGME 95 has the expressed goal of countering “certain tendencies” in the cinema today.

DOGME 95 is a rescue action!

In 1960 enough was enough! The movie was dead and called for resurrection. The goal was correct but the means were not! The new wave proved to be a ripple that washed ashore and turned to muck.


Slogans of individualism and freedom created works for a while, but no changes. The wave was up for grabs, like the directors themselves. The wave was never stronger than the men behind it. The anti-bourgeois cinema itself became bourgeois, because the foundations upon which its theories were based was the bourgeois perception of art. The auteur concept was bourgeois romanticism from the very start and thereby ... false!


To DOGME 95 cinema is not individual!

Today a technological storm is raging, the result of which will be the ultimate democratisation of the cinema. For the first time, anyone can make movies. But the more accessible the media becomes, the more important the avant-garde, It is no accident that the phrase “avant-garde” has military connotations. Discipline is the answer ... we must put our films into uniform, because the individual film will be decadent by definition!

DOGME 95 counters the individual film by the principle of presenting an indisputable set of rules known as THE VOW OF CHASTITY.
In 1960 enough was enough! The movie had been cosmeticised to death, they said; yet since then the use of cosmetics has exploded.
The “supreme” task of the decadent film-makers is to fool the audience. Is that what we are so proud of? Is that what the “100 years” have brought us? Illusions via which emotions can be communicated? ... By the individual artist’s free choice of trickery?

Predictability (dramaturgy) has become the golden calf around which we dance. Having the characters’ inner lives justify the plot is too complicated, and not “high art”. As never before, the superficial action and the superficial movie are receiving all the praise.

The result is barren. An illusion of pathos and an illusion of love.

To DOGME 95 the movie is not illusion!

Today a technological storm is raging of which the result is the elevation of cosmetics to God. By using new technology anyone at any time can wash the last grains of truth away in the deadly embrace of sensation. The illusions are everything the movie can hide behind.

DOGME 95 counters the film of illusion by the presentation of an indisputable set of rules known as THE VOW OF CHASTITY.

the vow of chastity


"I swear to submit to the following set of rules drawn up and confirmed by DOGME 95:






Shooting must be done on location. Props and sets must not be brought in (if a particular prop is necessary for the story, a location must be chosen where this prop is to be found).





The sound must never be produced apart from the images or vice versa. (Music must not be used unless it occurs where the scene is being shot).





The camera must be hand-held. Any movement or immobility attainable in the hand is permitted. (The film must not take place where the camera is standing; shooting must take place where the film takes place).





The film must be in colour. Special lighting is not acceptable. (If there is too little light for exposure the scene must be cut or a single lamp be attached to the camera).





Optical work and filters are forbidden.





The film must not contain superficial action. (Murders, weapons, etc. must not occur.)





Temporal and geographical alienation are forbidden. (That is to say that the film takes place here and now.)





Genre movies are not acceptable.





The film format must be Academy 35 mm.





The director must not be credited.




Furthermore I swear as a director to refrain from personal taste! I am no longer an artist. I swear to refrain from creating a "work", as I regard the instant as more important than the whole. My supreme goal is to force the truth out of my characters and settings. I swear to do so by all the means available and at the cost of any good taste and any aesthetic considerations.
Thus I make my VOW OF CHASTITY."



Copenhagen, Monday 13 March 1995

On behalf of DOGME 95



Lars von Trier


Thomas Vinterberg


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