Only the Young

Tchoupitoulas

 

Only the Young / Tchoupitoulas

 

Only the Young

Photography: Jason Tippet

Editing: Elizabeth Mims & Jason Tippet

Produced by Derek Waters

Directed by Elizabeth Mims & Jason Tippet

San Francisco Int’l Film Festival, May 2012

 

Featuring:

Garrison Saenz

Kevin Conway

Skye Elmore

 

Tchoupitoulas

Photographed, Edited, Produced & Directed by Bill & Turner Ross

South by Southwest Film Festival, March 2012

Theatrical release: December 2012

 

Featuring:

William, Bryan & Kentrell Zanders

 

Production Studio:

Video: Oscilloscope Laboratories

 

Video

Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution:480p

Disc: DVD x 2

Bit Rate: Moderate (ca. 5~7 Mbps)

Runtime: 70 / 81  minutes

Region: All

 

Audio:

English Dolby Digital 5.1

English Dolby Digital 2.0

 

Subtitles:

Optional English

 

Bonus Features

Only the Young

• Audio Commentary with the Directors and Journalist Eric Hynes

• Outtakes (16 min.)

Thompson – a short film by Jason Tippet (10 min.)

• Original Theatrical Trailer

Tchoupitoulas

While Making Tchoup with the Ross Brothers (15:20)

• Original Theatrical Trailer

 

Presentation:

Custom Gatefold Case: DVD x 2

Street Date: April 30, 2013



Overview [Oscilloscope]

ONLY THE YOUNG follows the story of three teenagers that live in a small desert town in Southern California – a town dominated by foreclosed homes and underpasses, unfilled swimming pools and skate parks. These kids must find things to do in a place that offers nothing – yet in the course of observing their day-to-day lives, we see them discover friendship, first love, heartbreak, and what it means to be young. Tippet and Mims’ delicate, ethereal filmmaking and ONLY THE YOUNG’s innocent yet rebellious subjects collectively embody the very essence of adolescence.


      Only the Young

     

 

TCHOUPITOULAS is a lyrical documentary that follows three adolescent brothers as they journey through one night in New Orleans, encountering a vibrant kaleidoscope of dancers, musicians, hustlers, and revelers parading through the lamplit streets. The filmmakers fully immerse us into the New Orleans night, passing through many lively and luminous locations and introducing us to the people who make the city their home.

 

About Bill Ross IV & Turner Ross:

Bill and Turner Ross' first feature length film, 45365, was the winner of the 2009 SXSW Grand Jury Award for Best Documentary Feature and the Independent Spirit Truer Than Fiction Award in 2010. They went on to receive numerous accolades, including nominations for Editing, Cinematography, and Debut Feature at the Cinema Eye Honors; the film was also broadcast as part of PBS’ Independent Lens Series.

 

"As brothers, we have worked together on everything for the past twenty-eight years. We have lived and created together for all of our lives. As adults, we moved to Los Angeles and began work in the film industry, honing our skills and crafting our roles as a unit. Five years ago we started off on an adventure to make our own films, free of the constrictions of commercial work. We are now producing our third independent documentary feature together. We conceive, scout, produce, shoot and edit all of our own work.”


      Tchoupitoulas

     

  

Critical Press: Only the Young

Austin Chronicle

Only the Young, a gorgeously shot documentary impression of that wandering age, has a tight focus and a geographical specificity (it’s set in Santa Clarita, Calif.), but in capturing the sensation of youth-on-the-verge, it feels exactly like those home movies in my mind – and, I suspect, in yours, too. . . Just a few years removed from the age of their subjects, the twentysomething directorial team of Elizabeth Mims (an Austin native) and Jason Tippet follow three friends with a complicated dynamic: Garrison is the linchpin, sweet, sensitive, and catnip to girls; Kevin is his best friend, a competitive skateboarder whose inner life hints at a turmoil he doesn’t know how to articulate; and tough, plain-spoken Skye, Garrison’s not-quite girlfriend and a person of interest to Kevin, too. There is no voiceover narration and no interviewee asking leading questions, but all three teenagers confide to the camera; their unselfconscious and nonperformative ease suggests a lot of unseen work on the part of the filmmakers earning their subjects’ trust.

      Only the Young

     

 

Watchful and unbound by a neatly diagrammable narrative arc, Only the Young doesn’t try to say anything definitive. You might even wonder what’s so special about these three kids. Their concerns – first love, financial stress, questioning of faith, and an uncertainty over the future – while worthy, are not uncommon. And yet that is what is so very remarkable about the film: In a slim 72 minutes, it heart-tethers us to these teenagers, paying tribute to their unique and private selves while allowing the audience to see its own reflection in them. – Kimberley Jones

      Only the Young

     

 

Critical Press: Tchoupitoulas

Slant Magazine

Bill and Turner Ross's Tchoupitoulas begins with wistful narration from its young protagonist, an impoverished African-American boy with a distinctly Southern drawl detailing a dream he's recently had: "I don't really have dreams," he says, "but last night I did. It was actually a close-up of my future—like a flashback, except a flashing future. I was dreaming I seen me in the NFL, and I was playing for the New York Giants." Right away, the similarities between this doc-fiction hybrid and Benh Zeitlin's Beasts of the Southern Wild are evident, which makes sense considering both films are products of Court 13, a so-called "independent filmmaking army" made up of a group of ex-New Yorkers who moved to New Orleans in hopes of fostering a grassroots film community. But thanks to its decidedly less sensationalistic point of view, Tchoupitoulas proves the perfect antidote to the twee affectations of Zeitlin's feature.


      Tchoupitoulas

     


Structured like a classic city symphony, the film is a richly impressionistic evocation of the sights, sounds, and personalities of New Orleans at nighttime, specifically in the areas surrounding Tchoupitoulas Street, an infamous stretch of road that begins in the raucous French Quarter and runs all the way through the bustling Business District. Our guides on this journey are the aforementioned narrator, William, and his older siblings, Bryan and Kentrell, whose dry coolness is counteracted by William's youthful zest; together, they hop on a ferry from their lower-class neighborhood and spend an eventful evening exploring the nightlife festivities.


The New Orleans depicted in Tchoupitoulas is a reverie of light and color; the flickering streetlamps, blurring in and out of focus, occasionally take on a Brakhagian quality. A climactic scene, in which the boys discover a decrepit and abandoned ferry, is awash in the golden hues of the surrounding cityscape, giving the action an enticing if occasionally spooky tone. Nearly ruining the sensuous imagery, however, is William's cutesy voiceover, clearly written for him by the filmmakers. . .Still, when at its best, Tchoupitoulas communicates this theme gracefully, if only because it lets the streets do the talking. – Drew Hunt


      Tchoupitoulas

     

 

Video:

Both of these films are given lower bit rate transfers than is usual for Oscilloscope, though I can’t say either one suffers all that much because of it.  Each documentary is presented on its own DVD. Only the Young is shot in a wide variety of conditions, from bright and sunshiny days that occasionally blow out highs, and nighttime or interiors that often loses detail in the shadows. The picture is reasonably sharp with deep black levels that hide whatever noise might have been present and a natural color palette. Tchoupitoulas couldn’t be more different: Shot almost entirely at night on low-resolution cameras (or processed to look that way), acuity is not what the Ross Brothers are going for. There is something about any few seconds of their movie that makes us think you or I could have shot it with our smart phone – until we realize that our footage has no narrative, and we probably wouldn’t have whatever it takes to go where the Ross’s go. As for the rest, there are some pro tricks here that our iPhones can’t do yet. There is considerable fringing here and some noise, exposures are sometimes deliberately artsy. Looks better on smaller displays than projected onto a large screen. Only the Young looks good either way.

      Only the Young

     

 

Audio & Music:

In a way the audio for the two movies compares similarly to the look of the picture.  Only the Young is clear and jaunty with both on camera and voiceover dialogue well balanced and easy to make out. Soundtrack music is good but never really dynamic - kind of like what you’d expect form a really good car speaker system. Tchoupitoulas gives attention only to the voiceover, which is, to a degree enveloping. Oddly enough, the music, which is all captured live, varies considerably, from excellent (for ambient effects like engines and traffic noises) to decent (for on camera dialogue and some live music) to dreadful, at times distorted – again, acuity is not what the filmmakers are going for. That said, the relative balance is very good most of the time. Too much sharpness might lead to confusion, when what is desired is the effect of being drugged without drugs.


      Only the Young

     

 

Bonus: 7 / 2

Oscilloscope offers what theatre and film festival audiences did not see: For Only the Young: an audio commentary with the film’s directors and journalist Eric Hynes, as well as a short film by Jason Tippet titled Thompson. The original trailer is also included, along with a sampling of outtakes. For Tchoupitoulas, there is a Behind-the-Scenes segment with the Ross Brothers, whose quality quality is worse than anything I’ve seen on a modern video, with combing in particular way out of control (deliberately???) but whose audio is so much clearer and more dynamic than the documentary, it makes you wonder.


      Tchoupitoulas

     

 

Recommendation: 8

Two new fascinating documentaries offering very different slices of present day Americana – one intimate and freewheeling, the other hypnotic and immersive. Good DVD transfers of source material that does not cry out for a high definition presentation – which is a good thing, since there isn’t any.


Leonard Norwitz

© LensViews

April 3, 2013



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