My Favorite Stuff of 2016

It’s that time of year again. “Best of lists” here we go! Actually this year I kind of got lazy and just did 2 lists… One is a list of every theatrically released movie I saw, in order from best to worst. And two is a list of other stuff I loved that came out this year from every area of entertainment. Let start with #2

15 Things From 2016 That Kept Me Entertained (In no particular order)

  • The Raveonettes Anti-Album – Technically this album comes out in 2017, but every month of 2016 The Raveonettes released a new song, for the eventual album release in January 2017. It was a fun, exciting way to keep putting out new music, and it just so happens to be some of the best songs of their career as far as I’m concerned.
  • Butch Walker – Stay Gold – I’ve loved Butch Walker since the days I used to work at Sony Music and this is probably his best release in almost 10 years. He rules and this album rules.
  • Sturgill Simpson – A Sailor’s Guide To Earth – Apparently I like country now. I blame Ryan Adams and Jason Isbell, but Sturgill Simpson is the most country album I’ve probably ever listened to and I love it.
  • Inside – One of the most mind-blowing video-games ever made. It’s really no surprise since it’s the follow-up (sort of sequel but not really) to Limbo which is easily one of my Top 10 favorite video-games ever made. This game is insane and beautiful and haunting and I’ve been dying to play it for my 3rd time already…
  • Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End – The conclusion to the Uncharted series. It was a perfect ending. One of the best games in the series, and they really managed to tie it up perfectly. No game tells a story like Uncharted and this finale did not disappoint. Now lets hope they make more.
  • Horace & Pete – Louis CK’s gamble of a TV series that was produced with his own money and released only on his own website. It is one-of-a-kind, hilarious and heartbreaking, and one of the best things I saw all year. Leave it to Louis to try something completely new and unlike anything else I’ve ever seen.
  • Silicon Valley – A great new season to one of the best shows on TV.
  • Ash Vs Evil Dead – Another of my favorite TV shows got a great new season as well. The season finale was a little bit of a let down, but I can’t wait to see where it goes in Season 3.
  • Vice Principals – A new show from Danny McBride and Jody Hill. It started off… different and not quite what I was expecting. But then it got weirder and weirder and darker and darker and it’s just amazing. I can’t wait for the next season.
  • Stranger Things – Honestly I’m a little burned out from Stranger Things-mania, but it really was a fun, exciting show. And the score definitely influences some of the synthier moments on my new album Head Like Fire.
  • The People VS OJ Simpson – Who would have thought this mini-series would be so perfect and so compelling? Great performances and an insane amount of tension considered we all knew what would happen. This was a huge surprise and I loved it.
  • American Horror Story: My Roanoke Nightmare – I don’t know that I ever truly liked American Horror Story. From the first season I’ve done nothing but complain about it, and I downright hated a few of the seasons. But this was definitely my favorite one and a really fun, inventive story made it one of the best TV moments of the year.
  • The Night Of – Awesome show. I kind of hope it doesn’t come back though. It’s perfect as is. I think it is coming back. Ah, whatever. Great show.
  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt – I love this show. I love everything about it. And I loved the new season.
  • The Election – I don’t know if you heard, but there was a presidential election this year. My guy lost in the primaries. A con-artist won the whole thing. It was a major shit-show. But hey, I like to laugh and it was non-stop gold. Lets hope these next 4 years foster some great music and movies haha. And who knows… Maybe he won’t be so bad. Maybe…

And now, on to the movies. For me, movies are my year, and this was a pretty big year for movies for me. I saw a lot of them. And I managed to list them all out (not counting made-for-TV/Video movies or older movies that I saw for the first time). In order of how much I liked them. Here’s the list with no added descriptions or anything because it’s time to go make some New Years Eve snacks. Enjoy, and don’t tell me it was a bad year for movies! Every year is a great year for movies!

  1. Swiss Army Man
  2. 10 Cloverfield Lane
  3. The Nice Guys
  4. Anomalisa (Technically a 2015 Movie that didn’t open until 2016 here)
  5. Nocturnal Animals
  6. The Jungle Book
  7. Manchester By The Sea
  8. The Lobster
  9. Hacksaw Ridge
  10. La La Land
  11. The Neon Demon (saw At home)
  12. Moonlight
  13. Sausage Party
  14. Deadpool
  15. Hail, Caesar!
  16. Miss Sloane
  17. Fences
  18. American Honey
  19. Green Room
  20. Midnight Special
  21. Lion
  22. The Accountant
  23. Loving
  24. Don’t Breathe
  25. Don’t Think Twice
  26. Ghostbusters
  27. Bloodfather
  28. Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice
  29. Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping (saw at home)
  30. Neighbors 2 (Saw at home)
  31. Allied
  32. Passengers
  33. Sully
  34. The Witch
  35. The Brothers Grimsby
  36. Captain America: Civil War
  37. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  38. The Girl on the Train
  39. Arrival
  40. Bridget Jones Baby (saw at home)
  41. Doctor Strange
  42. Hell or High Water
  43. Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates
  44. TMNT: Out of the Shadows
  45. Bleed For This
  46. Demolition
  47. The Conjuring 2
  48. Zoolander 2
  49. Yoga Hosers (saw at home)
  50. Everybody Wants Some
  51. Independence Day: Resurgence
  52. The Birth of a Nation
  53. War Dogs (saw at home)
  54. Mojin
  55. Gods of Egypt (saw at home)
  56. Suicide Squad
  57. The Magnificent Seven
  58. The Legend of Tarzan
  59. Ben Hur

Movies I didn’t get to see that I plan on seeing ASAP: The Monster, Kubo, Jackie, Silence, The Founder… And I’m sure a ton more haha.

See you all next year!

David Rosen is an award-winning music composer. He composes original music for films, commercials, jingles, video-games and all other kinds of media projects. He has a vast music library of original tracks available for licensing and is also available for custom compositions. Contact him on the ABOUT page for pricing and availability for your next project.

“Never” Music Video Interview

“Never,” the fourth music video from my album An Unseen Sky was released last week and has racked up the most plays in a single week of any of my videos so far! It’s also potentially the most controversial of my videos so far, as while the feedback has been enormously positive, we’ve gotten quite a lot of comments about the dark, heart-breaking subject matter. This is why I thought it would be a great idea and great opportunity to actually go ahead and interview the director of the video, Christopher Johnson of Free Your Mind Films. I asked him about his career, some of our other collaborations, and of course, the ideas that led to the video for “Never.” First make sure you watch the video, and then enjoy the interview!

1) First of all, I wanted you to tell my readers/listeners a little about yourself and your company.

C.J.: I am a 27 year old filmmaker from the lower east side of manhattan, who has dreamed of being a filmmaker and being on the prime stage since my mother took our family to see “The Matrix” when I was 11 years old. It was then that my childhood of film loving really blew up and sparked the desire to make movies and to instill in people the love and awe that I felt that day. I walked out of that film so inspired and so amazed by what I saw and I couldn’t wait to do that for other people. I had always written and drawn my own comics inspired by films I loved anyway, so deciding that I wanted to make movies was just very natural for me. The name Free Your Mind Films comes from “The Matrix”. It’s why I’m here, so I wanted my film team’s name to represent my childhood love and passion. We’re pretty small right now and mainly consist of myself and a few friends, but they are some of the best and most loyal friends a person can have and I am incredibly grateful for them.

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2) Where did the inspiration for the video for “Never” come from?

C.J.: Well “Never” came out of wanting to do a spiritual sequel to a film I made in college called “Mad World” with my good friend Angel Velasquez, who has done the sound for all of my films since FYM Films started. I usually do very dialogue driven and emotionally charged films so with this silent film/music video I wanted to do something that was still as emotionally charged as the rest of my work but while being as visually distinct as possible from the rest. I really wanted to play with color so that you can know without even hearing a word exactly what the emotion of each scene and each environment is. Plus I love making movies about people who would do things that I couldn’t even fathom. Like a man going to kill his brother in “Greed Will Imprison Us All” I just can’t fathom that. I love my brother, why in the world would someone do that? So I make it into a movie to at least try to figure out the answers to my questions. “Never” is no different in that regard. What would drive a man to do something so insane? So terrible? In the end I usually go to emotion. When people let emotion overwhelm and control them, terrible things happen. It’s something that’s pretty common in my movies.

3) The feedback I’ve received both publicly and in private has been overwhelmingly positive so far on “Never” in its first couple days of release. One thing I continue to see though, is that it’s “sad.” I had a feeling that would be the case due to the subject matter, but as a fan of art, film and music, I feel that some of the best art, film and music could be called “sad” or “heart-breaking.” How do you feel about art that is meant to stir emotions like “Never” does?

C.J.: Art meant to stir emotions is usually my favorite art. I love all types of movies but those are the ones that affect me the most. It doesn’t have to be a deeply emotional indie film either. I’ve been a huge Batman fan since I was 4, and I have no shame in admitting that The Dark Knight Trilogy affected me emotionally. I adore that character and seeing him done in a truly human form just amazed me. For film in particular I have a natural shell to things, so I think someone breaking me out of that shell and overwhelming me emotionally is fantastic and truly powerful. I also naturally like to discuss issues and problems I have with certain aspects of society. I really don’t like people who abuse women. I really don’t like abusers of children and very repressive people, so that dislike feeds into my desire to do films like “What If” and “Overcome.”

4) We previously worked together on the short films “The Usher” and “Unrequited.” Tell me a little bit about each of them.

C.J.: “The Usher” came up due to my anger over how people treat each other in my previous job in a movie theater. Whether it be how the moviegoers treat the workers or how the managers treat their own employees. Thinking about it made my blood boil most of the time, so I dealt with it by making a film that makes a statement on a very common event that happens to movie theater Ushers all the time. I just wanted to put a little crazy chris johnson twist on it and have the Usher say and do things that real life ushers usually only dream of. I consider “The Usher” to be my first Black Comedy and satire. It was being on set that made me realize just how funny the whole thing was, and Matthew Steven Serrano (who used to work in a movie theatre with me) and Jason Torres really brought it on that one.

C.J.: “Unrequited” came about from not only the desire to make a film with my friend Anthony Duluc but also out of the questions I have for myself. I always wondered how I’d react to a friend of mine telling me that they were gay and are in love with me. I hope that I respond to that in a very proper and respectful manner to my friend, but It has never happened so I don’t really know, so I wanted to make a movie about that, and it’s really one of the few Free Your Mind Films that really tries to talk about how good a lot of people are on the inside and how if we all just reached out and accepted people for who they are, things would be a lot easier in this place. It was tough to make such a positive movie at first because my instincts are naturally darker. But I think we made it work and I’ve been very happy with the response to that film so far.

5) What’s next for you and your company?

C.J.: Right now I’m still in post-production on my reverse racism film “What if”, written by my great friend Winston Green. Next up I’m actually doing an action film called “Too Proud to Die” with the star of my films “What I Deserve” and “Overcome”, Ingrid Vollset. I’m gonna end the year with gangster horror film “For Every Action’ and my passion project “Beater’, which is about a man who pays his brother in law a visit after seeing his sister beaten. Making films like “Overcome” and “Never” have lead to that film.

6) Lastly, I’d love to know… Who are some of your favorite filmmakers, who are some of your favorite artists/bands, and what are some of your favorite movies?

C.J.: Christopher Nolan is my idol right now. I adore every single one of his films. Steven Spielberg, David Fincher, Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorsese, Spike Lee. There are so many filmmakers I adore but those are the ones I think about first when people ask me that question. I actually don’t listen to normal music as much as my family or friends, but Michael Jackson, U2 and Eminem have always been favorites of mine. Favorite movies is hard but The Dark Knight Trilogy for me is the best of both worlds , it soothes the intellect and drama I want to see from films and also gives me the excitement and spectacle I want to see as well. I’m also loving the whole Marvel Cinematic Universe as a big time Marvel fanboy. Films like Terminator 2, Jurassic Park, Die Hard and The Matrix made my childhood. Lately besides all Nolan films I’ve loved Drive, films like Django Unchained, Gravity, The Wolf of Wall Street, 12 Years A Slave, etc. There’s just way too many to name for me!

That concludes my interview with this truly talented filmmaker, Christopher Johnson. Hopefully you enjoyed it and maybe it shed a little light on any of the questions you might have had about “Never.” I’m looking forward to working with him again in the future. Make sure to follow Free Your Mind Films on Facebook. And make sure you leave a comment on the video letting us know how you liked it… And share it too! Thanks for reading.

David Rosen is an award-winning music composer. He composes original music for films, commercials, jingles, video-games and all other kinds of media projects. He has a vast music library of original tracks available for licensing and is also available for custom compositions. Contact him on the ABOUT page for pricing and availability for your next project.

RXSM & SWSW

What an exciting week. It’s been 8 years since I last got to Austin, but I just spent the last 4 days running around like the young man I once was. I was in town mainly for the RxSM Self-Medicated Film Expo, which nominated “If Only Tonight I Could Sleep” for their Crossroads Award and screened it during the Pollygrind showcase. I also got to go check out some of the craziness that is South by South West. I also ate a lot of meat… I had a great time. Let’s start off with the RxSM Fest.

It ran from Wednesday to Sunday but I got in on Thursday afternoon. I started off getting to chat with the fest’s founder, Anthony Pedone, and caught a few films including On Her Own, a great documentary about real ranchers. I was dead tired though from getting up at 3:30am for my flight, and had to head back to the hotel early. The next morning I got started right at the beginning of the day, which also was when the Pollygrind showcase took place. Not a lot of people, since it was early, but the people that were there seemed to really dig my video. Plus they played it really loud and it sounded awesome. They also showed two films that I had seen at last year’s Pollygrind, Chocolate Strawberry Vanilla and Rebel Scum, both of which were excellent.

If Only Tonight I Could Sleep at  RxSM

I then headed downtown for the SXSW Interactive Segment. I was kind of just planning on sneaking in to a talk about the Oculus Rift (the technology used in my new virtual reality music video, “An Unseen Sky: The VR Experience,” created by Elemental Spark). What I didn’t know is that the Interactive Segment was totally open to the public and I ended up sticking around for a few hours and got to play some games, check out some other virtual reality stuff, do some networking and have fun. By the time I was done it was too late to really head back to the fest so I went to a SXSW party I managed to get myself on the list for (thanks Collider) that was celebrating the premiere of the movie Unfriended. I’m not the biggest fan of those kind of movies but the drinks were good and I met some cool people and played this dirty card game themed around the film. It was fun. It was also great getting to go back to the heart of SXSW. I haven’t been back there since I worked for Sony Music (those were some fun days), so it was awesome to walk around those streets again.

The next day was my last full day in Austin and I packed it tight. I started off back at RxSM where I saw a bunch of cool films before heading back downtown to try to get in on a standby line for the premiere of Michael Showalter’s new film Hello, My Name Is Doris. After a 90 minute wait, I actually got in, and it was a really cool experience. Lots of stars including Showalter (one of my favorite sketch comedy people ever). The film was great, absolutely hilarious. Really glad I tried my luck at getting in. After, I headed back to RxSM for some more films including the awesome hard-core documentary The Color Of Noise. Then they did the awards ceremony where I got to hang out and chat with some of the film-makers. After a long day and some great barbecue, I headed back to the hotel. The next morning I slowly made my way to the airport so I could get home and start promoting the new album, An Unseen Skywhich is available for pre-order now at Bandcamp and will hit iTunes and all other online music services on April 7th.

David Rosen at SXSW

I’m glad to be home, and I’m glad I got to go. It was a great experience getting to go back. Maybe I’ll be back next year for something off of An Unseen Sky

– David

The Past & The Future

The past few weeks have been crazy, and the future is looking awesome. Let’s start off with a recap…

“If Only Tonight I Could Sleep” won Best Music Video at the Pollygrind Film Festival where it screened twice (actually three times due to a little projector glitch haha). Seeing (and hearing) it on the big screen was amazing and something I hope to get to experience many times in the future. Also, “The Gradations of Purgatory” (which can be viewed on Youtube by clicking the link) was awarded Best Nevada Short. I scored it, and it was directed by Doug Farra, who also directed “If Only Tonight I Could Sleep” … So go Doug! We have a bunch more projects coming up together, and I always love working with him and his people at House of DON Productions.

I also got 8th place in a composing contest sponsored by music site Rekkerd.org. The idea was to create a piece of music that is inspired by an artist/band who inspired you to make music in the first place. Of course I chose The Cure, and created a track called “The Fallout.” It was a really cool contest to be a part of because all of the musicians had to vote on each other… It wasn’t just the usual popularity contest style thing you see all the time. Some of the other pieces of music were absolutely excellent, and getting 8th place was an honor. And also, the organizer said the track had a Disintegration vibe… Which if you know me, is pretty much the highest compliment anyone could ever give me, since it’s my favorite album of all time. I also won some really cool software that will probably end up being the subject of an upcoming This Thing Rules segment. You can check out “The Fallout” here:

 

In the past month I’ve also had my birthday, my girlfriend’s birthday, her grandma’s birthday (in California), and my grandma’s birthday (in New York). Plus two friends staying with me in separate weeks, Halloween (my favorite holiday), and a Community Event in the neighborhood I live in… So to say I’ve been busy is a bit of an understatement. I didn’t get to work on music as much as I’d have liked to, but now it is time to get back to work.

My second album is basically in the narrowing down phase now. I might still add another new track or two, but I am currently making my list of edits and adjustments needed to finish all the songs I’ve started. To put that in perspective… Last time I started that process, Echoes In The Dark was finished less than 2 months later. I think with the holidays and other work it might be a little longer than that… And I gotta start the promotional schedule, new music videos, and everything else that goes with the album launch… But the important thing is it is coming REALLY SOON. I’m aiming for the first few months of 2015. I love this second album so much. I’ve been listening to Echoes In The Dark and the second album back and forth a lot to make sure I really like it as much and I think I might like it even more. Oh, and it definitely has a title already. I’ll announce it once I have some artwork to go with it.

What else is happening? Well I have a bunch of film projects lined up. Just waiting on the film-makers to finish things on their end before I get started on those. I’m also submitting music for various potential opportunities and just continuing to push myself out there. I feel like I accomplished a lot this year. There are some things that didn’t quite go how I had hoped, but overall, I think it’s been a great year so far… And it’s not over yet.

Next week I’ll be posting another This Thing Rules segment with a new piece of music… Well, that’s not entirely true… If you pay really good attention to everything I do, you may have heard it before… But chances are, most of you haven’t heard it yet, so it’s basically new. I’ll get another one up ASAP too. Hoping to get two in November and two in December. Ideally, I think I’ll be ready to share a song from the second album this year too. We’ll see. Might happen. Might not…

OK… I get the feeling I might be rambling a bit haha, but you know what, I’m catching a plane soon, and like I said… It’s just been nonstop running around this past month. Once I get home, it’ll be time to get back to music. I can’t wait to get this album done. Thanks for reading.

– David

 

Pollygrind Is Coming!

Well, that was a close one!

A week ahead of this year’s upcoming Pollygrind Film Festival, which was to take place at the Cinemark Theater inside the Southpoint Casino here in Las Vegas, the venue decided to cancel the event because the films it screens are “softcore porn.” While films I’ve seen at Pollygrind can definitely push the envelope in the some of the most glorious ways… The films are in no way “softcore porn” and some, like my “If Only Tonight I Could Sleep” video, aren’t even sexual and/or violent. Not to mention that the Cinemark theater chain will still show movies like “Machete” and “Saw” and “Gone Girl” (which was amazing by the way)… Nope. This is just straight up, run-of-the-mill, CENSORSHIP. BUT… When it looked like the festival might have to be cancelled altogether due to the last minute bad news, the organizer (and my buddy) Chad Clinton Freeman got tons of support from the indie film community and within 24 hours managed to find a new and even better theater to show the films at… The Galaxy Green Valley Luxury Theater. Yes, the one with the cushy recliner seats that I’m gonna be sitting in from 2pm-Midnight on Thursday, October 16th watching some of the films I’ve scored on the big screen!

It was originally supposed to be 3 days, but this will be one long condensed schedule, which can be found on Pollygrind’s Facebook page. There will also be screenings taking place the following two days at the venues that were originally slated to have the after parties, Helltown and The End.

Now, on to the part you guys all want to know about… What things that I scored will be playing? Here’s the rundown:

  • “The Gradations of Purgatory” (Directed by Doug Farra) – This is a short film that I shared with you all in a previous blog post. It’s a really cool, unique film in which a man in purgatory must make a decision that will affect his next reincarnated life. 
  • “If Only Tonight I Could Sleep” (Directed by Doug Farra) – My new music video! On the big screen! I can’t wait.
  • “Paranormal Encounters: A Haunting In Rialto” (Directed by Connor Biddle) – A really cool paranormal web series, created by the same director who made my “Broken Circuits” music video… Speaking of which…
  • “Broken Circuits” (Directed by Connor Biddle) – My previous music video, which has so far screened at 3 other film festivals, including FilmQuest where it was nominated for Best Music Video!
  • “Ch05En” (Directed by Doug Farra) – A book trailer about superheroes that I did some music for that I’m really proud of. As a matter of fact, it’s the first track on my new music player back on the homepage of www.bydavidrosen.com 
  • “The Milkman” (Directed by Doug Farra) – Doug Farra keeps me busy with yet another short film that I’m just now finishing up the score on right now! It’s a great film and I think it will go over really well at the fest.

The films I scored are playing in the 4pm and 10pm blocks on Thursday, October 16th at the Galaxy Green Valley Luxury Theater, as well as at the Wild Eye Releasing Event at The End on Saturday, October 18th at 10:30pm. I also have a lot of friends with films in the festival, some of which I haven’t seen yet and I’m really excited to see, especially Alex Colonna’s “Black Mask.”

I hope to see a lot of you from Las Vegas at Pollygrind! I love this festival. It’s the one film event in the town I live in that feels like “my” film festival and I know that that’s kind of the idea. You can check out the Festival Promo Video HERE… And tickets can be purchased on Eventbrite. Independent things like this deserve to be supported, so please, show some support and come out for a great time!

– David

 

3 New Short Films

So one of the main themes of my career as a composer so far is “when it rains it pours.” I might go weeks between projects, but usually when I get one, I get a whole bunch… And last week I ended up having to score 3 short films in one week. It was a nice little challenge and I figured it would be fun to share the story and the results with you. Oh, and that’s my famous cat, Lily Bear up in the picture up there helping out with some of my work. I figured I’d extend her 15 minutes of fame a little further… Anyway, on to the story…

“The Gradations Of Purgatory”

First up is “The Gradations of Purgatory,” directed by Doug Farra of House of DON Productions, who also directed my upcoming “If Only Tonight I Could Sleep” Music Video. This was a film that was made to be submitted to the HBO Project Greenlight competition. It tells the story of a man being given choices that will seal his fate upon being reincarnated. It’s a very cool, unique film and I really love how my score turned out. I’ve got a bunch of great comments on it and you can watch it here:

 

“Pathos”

Also for the Project Greenlight competition was “Pathos,” directed by Eduard Osipov for Cohencidence Productions. Eduard and most of the rest of the crew on this film were all Las Vegas-based people that I hadn’t worked with before, and it’s great to be able to keep finding new, talented people to collaborate with. This film is also about a man that has to make a choice, although it’s a different kind of story.  It came out great, and I really hope to be able to work with Eduard and his collaborators again in the future. You can watch “Pathos” here:

UPDATE: Due to Project Greenlight voting, the video has been temporarily been made private. When it’s made public again I will update the video link!

“Dig”

The third film I worked on was actually for a 48 Hour Film Project and I actually had a total of 6 hours to finish it from the moment I received the file to when I had to get the finished score over to Ben Yonker, the director. I had never directly worked with Ben before this, but he worked on a film I scored earlier this year called “The Hoarder” directed by David Michor. I like working fast, but this was probably the fastest I’ve ever had to finish a project and to be honest, I loved the experience and I think my score and the film came out great. It’s called “Dig” and it’s very, very dark  and probably best left unexplained. Just go watch it here:

http://vimeo.com/jumpcuts/dig (due to embedding restrictions you have to click the link on this one)

So what’s next? Well, sending out the rewards and stuff from the “If Only Tonight I Could Sleep” Film Festival Fundraiser, that’s probably number one. I’m also getting ready to announce the first public screening of “If Only Tonight I Could Sleep” which will be in September at the Reel Recovery Film Festival. I’ve also been working on a lot of new music that is almost definitely going to turn into my second album… And definitely be ready sooner rather than later. And aside from all of that, I’ve got a bunch more projects in the pipeline… Just gonna keep on taking on great project and making music. Thanks for reading!

– David

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