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Q&A: VJ Pogo Helps You Hear the World

Nick Bertke is commonly known as Pogo, the Internet sensation whose music videos have garnered a cult following worldwide.  He was born in South Africa, raised in New Zealand, and now lives in Australia.  As a teenager, he began taking film clips from Disney movies, spliced their sound bites into distinct melodies, and then posted the remixed product onto YouTube. At first they were taken down from the website, presumably for copyright infringement, but with their viral popularity, he was soon commissioned by Disney to make them for the company.  

Now, at age 23, and after a few international tours, he is traversing the globe to work on a more personal project, called World Remix. Using film shot by his own team, he is showing us his travels with an ear for its sounds and an eye for its sights.  I had the opportunity to talk with Nick about this unique career.

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OKA! Opens: New Film Highlights Rarely Heard Music From Africa

In theaters today, OKA! is an adaptation of the memoir of an ethnomusicologist from New Jersey, Louis Sarno, who moved to the remote forests of the Central African Republic to record the music of the Bayaka Pygmies over 20 years ago, fell in love and stayed.

Kris Marshall (Love Actually) gives a fine performance as the ethnomusicologist, but it’s the local Bayaka ensemble cast and the lush African rainforest that are worth your attention here. The plot is familiar—a capitalistic politician wants to destroy the Bayaka’s forest home to make way for a logging company’s expansion—but don’t be quick to dismiss this as another Fern Gully rip-off. The beauty of this film is in the moments that aren’t trying to move the plot along—children singing in perfect syncopated rhythm together, a group of women making music in a river using the water as their only instrument, and the documentary-worthy wildlife shots.

If you're in New York you can catch it at the Angelika Film Center, and soon in other theaters nationwide.

Lyndsey Matthews is an online editorial assistant at Travel + Leisure

Fall Preview: New Movie Reviews

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The Movie: War Horse, Steven Spielberg’s take on the battlefields of World War I, and The Adventures of Tintin, his second December release, based on the popular Belgian comics.

Why Go? For the director’s adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s acclaimed book, and the international hit play; the 3-D performance-capture Tintin was produced at Peter Jackson’s WETA Studios in New Zealand.

The Movie: David Fincher’s cinematic version of Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was shot on location in Sweden and stars Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara.

Why Go? It is the long-awaited English-language treatment of the grisly crime novel. Added value: an original score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.

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Harry Potter Studios in England to Open for Behind-the-Scenes Tour

Harry Potter studio tour

If you found yourself tearing up at the end of the last Harry Potter movie this summer, fear not, Muggles! For those utterly addicted to the Harry Potter universe and those who simply want to tour a piece of movie-making history, the franchise lives on. Tickets are available beginning October 13, 2011 for the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London—The Making of Harry Potter, at Leavesden, opening in Spring 2012. Tack on an extra day to a London visit and bring your broomstick for this insider’s look.

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MOVE, EAT, LEARN: Interview with Rick Mereki

How do you fit the scope of the world into 60 seconds? Filmmaker Rick Mereki knows, and the wanderlusting Internet world has fallen head over heels in love with his vagabond film adventures.

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Q&A: Bollywood Star Abhay Deol

The Bollywood blockbuster of the summer, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (You Only Live Once) is a cinematic love letter to Spain, following three buddies on an epic bachelor trip that takes them from Barcelona to Seville and beyond. But lest you jump to the inevitable comparisons, the Indian Hangover it is not—ZNMD (as it's now called) has a lot less raunch, a lot more soul, and plenty of beautifully shot musical sequences.

For megastars Hrithik Roshan, Farhan Akhtar, and Abhay Deol, filming was an epic adventure all its own—they spent three months on the road and even re-created Buñol’s famed Tomatina festival (with 16 tons of tomatoes!) and the running of the bulls, in Pamplona. Granted, these events don’t appear in the film in chronological order, but this is Bollywood after all, so defying logic goes with the territory—especially if it creates scenarios "ripe" for spectacular song-and-dance productions.

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Q&A: Director Kevin Macdonald

For his new documentary, Life in a Day, director Kevin Macdonald (The Last King of Scotland) teamed up with YouTube users to create a crowd-sourced 90-minute snapshot of 24 hours around the world. T+L checks in.

Q: Why did you make the film?
A:
To look at the nuanced details of people’s existences in different places. Instead of the Pyramids, you see a graveyard in Cairo, where people actually live.

Q: Did any of the videos make you want to travel?
A:
There’s footage from Angola of women singing as they grind corn. I would go just to hear that music.

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Montreal Musician Shows and Tells

201107-b-danielisaiahjpg

Over the years, I’ve found one of the best ways to know a city’s best-kept secrets is to talk to its artists. I recently connected with one of Montreal’s rising stars—award-winning filmmaker and musician Daniel Isaiah, who's signed, appropriately, with music label Secret City Records.

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“STUCK”: Everything You Wish You Could Do in an Airport

STUCK from Joe Ayala on Vimeo.

Well, that’s one way to cure boredom! Stuck, the viral short film sensation created by Joe Ayala and Larry Chen, depicts the twosome’s epic adventures during an overnight layover in the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, including but not limited to wheelchair races, sneaking in a beer at a deserted bar, and a wet paper towel fight in the bathroom. Chen and Ayala, who are professional automotive photographers, released the video last month, prompting questions about the apparent lack of security in the terminal.

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Two Road Shows: New Films Worth Watching

In between blockbusters at the drive-in this summer, catch up with
these two insightful journey documentaries.
Airing on mun2 and iTunes digital download, Harlistas: An American Journey profiles Latino Harley Davidson motorcyclists as they take their hogs to the highway.

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