Saturday, June 13, 2015

"DRY LIGHTS" by Xavier Chassaing

DRY LIGHTS from Xavier Chassaing on Vimeo.

A trip through an electric desert, Dry Lights unfolds in an imagined environment of cacti and canyons, moving from hidden caves to lonely cliffs along pulsating rivers of light.

This experimental film lies somewhere between a site-specific installation and a performance, where choreographed lights meet organic landscapes. Like an imaginary city flickering in the dark, the lights beacon fragments of vague memories - faded moments, experiences, and topographies. A world in an erratic state of flux that seems to evade any grasp of clear control plays host to constantly alternating physical and mental landscapes. Moving without a destination in the dead hours of night, mesmerising, intermittent apparitions illuminate their surroundings, allowing personal narratives to breed.

Rising to the technical challenge of creating the foundation for this full 3D film almost entirely on my own, I partnered with composer Thomas Vaquié to set the stage for a singular universe to emerge.

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Friday, June 12, 2015

A$AP Rocky - "L$D"

It was released on May 21, 2015, as the third single from his second studio album, At. Long. Last. ASAP (2015). The song contains a sample from "Ode to Billie Joe" by Lou Donaldson for the songs drums.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

FIFA Blows

"The U.S. Justice Department unsealed a 47-count indictment in federal court in Brooklyn that detailed charges against 14 people accused of racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy. The most serious are the racketeering charges, which allege that the officials turned soccer "into a criminal enterprise," according to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who spoke to reporters in New York. A conviction could command a sentence of up to 20 years."
U.S. prosecutors plunged the World Cup’s governing body into crisis, charging nine officials with corruption as Europe’s largest soccer federation called for postponing this week’s FIFA election for president.

Swiss police entered the luxury Baur au Lac hotel in Zurich and arrested seven FIFA officials. Switzerland is probing whether anyone broke laws in awarding upcoming tournaments to Russia and Qatar. Two former soccer executives were also charged in New York, as were four sports marketing officials.

The Justice Department vowed more arrests in a widening probe of racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering.

“They were expected to uphold the rules that keep soccer honest, and protect the integrity of the game,” U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a news conference. “Instead, they corrupted the business of worldwide soccer to serve their interests and enrich themselves.”

The probe casts a shadow on the leadership of the world’s most watched sporting event, with more than $1 billion in annual revenue and sponsors ranging from Coca-Cola Co. to Adidas AG. While the charges stop short of FIFA President Joseph “Sepp” Blatter, his future is suddenly unclear. Prosecutors are also looking into the role of the banking industry, and its handling of FIFA funds.

U.S. prosecutors unsealed an indictment charging 14 people, as well as guilty pleas by four others that detail “rampant” corruption dating to 1991. Hours earlier, Swiss authorities arrested FIFA executives and searched the organization’s headquarters in a series of dawn raids in Zurich.

Swiss authorities later seized documents at FIFA’s nearby offices, saying they were examining possible crimes related to selecting Russia to host the 2018 World Cup and Qatar for 2022.

The defendants come from 11 nations. They include U.S. and South American executives who are alleged to have paid more than $150 million in bribes and kickbacks to obtain media and marketing rights to soccer tournaments.

The 162-page indictment spells out dozens of instances in which contracts were awarded in exchange for illicit payments. Corrupt payments from around the world sluiced through the U.S. banking system, according to prosecutors. As a result, prosecutors are examining banks as well, acting U.S. Attorney Kelly Currie told reporters in Brooklyn, New York.

The four-year investigation stemmed from an unrelated probe into Russian organized crime by a task force in the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s New York office, according to the New York Times, citing people familiar with the case.

Banking Institutions
“Our investigation is going to look at a broad area of conduct,” Currie said. “A lot of the banking institutions and the ways these moneys were funneled passed through the U.S.”

FIFA generates more than 90 percent of its income from the quadrennial World Cup. The tournament brought in $4.15 billion of revenue in the four years culminating with the 2014 edition in Brazil.

The bribes and kickbacks were meant to influence the host of the 2010 World Cup, which was held in South Africa, the indictment said. Swiss authorities are investigating a criminal conspiracy related to the next two tournaments, awarded in a controversial vote in 2010.

Those charged include the current and former president of the confederation that oversees North and Central American soccer, Jeffrey Webb of the Cayman Islands, and Jack Warner of Trinidad and Tobago. The organization said it would cooperate with authorities and continue host upcoming tournaments, including the Gold Cup this summer in the U.S.

Cash Payments
They also include FIFA executive member Eugenio Figueredo of Uruguay and Jose Maria Marin, who led Brazil’s soccer federation during last year’s World Cup. Webb has been mentioned as an heir apparent by Blatter himself.

The indictment included details of cash payments to influence the outcome of the 2011 election for president of FIFA. Warner directed Caribbean Football Union officials to collect their “gift” -- each got an envelope with $40,000 in cash, according to the indictment.

When someone exposed the payments to soccer authorities, Warner grew angry.

“There are some people here who think they are more pious than thou,” Warner said. “If you’re pious, open a church, friends. Our business is our business.”

Scandal After Scandal
The investigations by the U.S. and Swiss promise to upend an organization that has endured one scandal after another under Blatter. FIFA said the presidential election, as well as the World Cups in Russia and Qatar, would take place as planned.

“This is not good in terms of image or reputation but in terms of cleaning up everything we did over the past four years, this is good,” FIFA’s chief spokesman, Walter De Gregorio, told reporters. He said the World Cups in Russia and Qatar would go ahead as planned.

Aside from nine current and former FIFA officials, four sports marketing executives also were indicted, along with an intermediary accused of facilitating illicit payments.

Prosecutors began collecting guilty pleas in sealed courtrooms in 2013, including two sons of Jack Warner and Charles “Chuck” Blazer, a former FIFA executive committee member. Blazer secretly recorded conversations while cooperating with prosecutors, the New York Daily News reported last year. Brazilian Jose Havilla, founder of sports marketing company Traffic Group, agreed to forfeit more than $151 million as part of a guilty plea, the Justice Department said.

Soccer and marketing firm officials took steps to hide their illegal activities by using sham consulting agreements, shell companies and intermediaries such as bankers, financial advisers and currency dealers, according to prosecutors.

The defendants also used bulk cash smuggling, safe deposit boxes, and real estate purchases to hide assets, the U.S. said.

Money Laundering
Investigators “exposed complex money laundering schemes” which included tens of millions of dollars in places like Hong Kong and the Cayman Islands, said Richard Weber, chief of criminal investigation for the Internal Revenue Service.

Six FIFA officials arrested in Zurich on Wednesday are contesting their extradition to the U.S., setting the stage for a legal battle.

For those contesting extradition the Swiss will ask the U.S. to submit a formal extradition requests within 40 days as provided by treaty. A seventh soccer official has indicated willingness to be extradited and may be handed over “immediately,” according to the statement.

UEFA, European soccer’s governing body, called on FIFA to delay its election and congress scheduled for Friday. The executive committee said a vote could be held within the next six months. UEFA members are meeting Thursday and will decide on further steps, the group said in an e-mailed statement.

Blatter, 79, who has run FIFA since 1998, won re-election for a fifth term in a vote held in Zurich.

More information:
» CNN: FIFA Corruption Probe Targets 'World Cup of Fraud'

Monday, June 1, 2015

Kung Fury and "True Survivor"

Kung Fury is a 2015 Swedish martial arts comedy short film written, directed by, and starring David Sandberg. It pays homage to 1980s martial arts and police action films. The film was crowdfunded through Kickstarter from December 2013 to January 2014 with pledges reaching US$630,019, exceeding the original target goal of $200,000, but falling short of the feature film goal of $1 million. It was selected to screen in the Directors' Fortnight section at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, losing to Rate Me from the UK.

Sandberg is a Swedish filmmaker who has directed television commercials and music videos. In 2012, he quit the commercial directing business and focused on writing a script for an action comedy film set in the 1980s, inspired by action films of that era. He initially spent US$5,000 on producing and shooting footage with his friends, which became the trailer.

In December 2013, Sandberg released the trailer and began a Kickstarter campaign to crowdfund the film's production with the goal of raising US$200,000 to produce a 30-minute version of the film and stream it online for free. A second goal was added with the target set to $1 million to rewrite the story into a full-length feature and a possible distribution deal. Most of the raw footage over green screen had been filmed using a Canon EOS 5D Mark III and a Sony FS700, but additional funding was required for post-production.

The film made its debut at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival and premiered on YouTube, the Steam PC gaming platform, SVT2 in Sweden, and the El Rey Network in the United States, on May 28, 2015. By June 1, the film received over 10 million views on YouTube. As of June 9, 2015, the video has scored over 14 million views on YouTube.