Thursday, October 4, 2012

The "Last Kiss" Photo

The other day I came across an interesting article involving spontaneous inspiration and the hassle of release forms and other annoying but necessary things to get done when trying to make a film. With the conclusion of our one shot projects, I thought this article was particularly interesting. The story involves a man named Mo Gelber, an audio engineer by day and occasional photographer who happened to follow a crowd of reporters outside a courthouse, not even knowing who they were following. Amongst the commotion, Gelber saw something he found more interesting: a young couple sharing a last kiss getting escorted by police officers on each side of them. He ended up snapping this shot.

Gelber was pleased and ended up entering it into a contest called "Project Imaginat10n," a collaboration between Canon and Ron Howard. The contest called for people to send in their photographs with the potential of one being turned into a film. Gelber's shot ended up winning. However, the judges gave Gelber only a few days to get all the release forms signed, leading Gelber on a wild goose hunt, since he had no idea who any of these people were or where to find them.

Gelber called the police station and tracked down the cops pretty easily, who had no problem signing the forms. The hard part came when trying to find the couple in the photo. Gelber ended up turning to his Facebook friends, who put him in contact with a popular photography blogger who ended up putting Gelber's photograph on his blog, asking if anyone knew where to find the couple. A few hours later (pretty much up until the last minute of the deadline) the woman in the photo contacted Gelber, telling him that she and her boyfriend (who were arrested for graffiti) would be happy to sign the release and help him win the contest.

Mo Gelber faced another problem when it came to working out the details of the contract with Canon with his photo subjects. The problem was that the release states that for the rest of their lives, only Canon or the contest representatives could photograph them. Long story short, Canon and the couple's lawyers tried to negotiate the terms of the release but were unable to reach an agreement and Gelber's shot was disqualified. However, a positive to come out of this story is that now Gelber's photography has gained much more media attention.

I think this story is quite interesting because it highlights all of the legal stuff involved in making films that we often forget about. Unfortunately, it is a necessary part of the filmmaking process and could potentially force the artist to compromise the project. Of course, Gelber's situation is a bit more difficult because everything was being done through the Canon company, but these kinds of issues are still things that filmmakers commonly face.

Read the full interview with Mo Gelber here:

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