4 items from 2017
All Governments Lie: Truth, Deception, And The Spirit Of I.F. Stone screens Friday February 10th through Sunday February 12th at Webster University’s Moore Auditorium (470 East Lockwood). The movie starts at 7:30 all three evenings.
Independent journalists Amy Goodman, Glenn Greenwald (Snowden), Jeremy Scahill (Dirty Wars), Matt Taibbi and others are changing the face of journalism, providing investigative, alternatives to mainstream, corporate news outlets. Cameras roll as they expose government and corporate deception – just as the groundbreaking journalist I.F. Stone did decades ago. With government deception rampant, and intrusion of state surveillance into private life never more egregious, many journalists are finding that to aggressively investigate governments rather than act as “stenographers to power”, they need to abandon mainstream corporate news media to work at alternative, web-based sites. All Governments Lie will forever change the way you watch and read the news.
The critics love All Governments Lie: Truth, »
- Tom Stockman
Sundance is over and the prizes are won. People have dispersed to their homes and the realities that await them there.
This was a Sundance like no other I can remember, and I have attended every single one since 1986! The cold was extreme; and the political engagement and disgust was extreme. Not only did we have the Inauguration the first day, but the Women’s March the second day had probably 6,000 people marching and on that day the first of many deplorable executive orders (this one against women of the world and their control over their own bodies) began flying off the desk of our current president, who has continued to issue at least one every day, each one more despicable than the previous. Politics and women took center stage.
Chelsea Handler leads the women’s march in Park City, Utah. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
The Sundance slant »
- Sydney Levine
The sequel, directed by Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk, comes 11 years after “An Inconvenient Truth.” It follows Gore as he continues his decades-long fight to build a more sustainable future for our planet.
“An Inconvenient Truth,” directed by Davis Guggenheim, premiered at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival and won two Oscars — best documentary feature and best original song. The film grossed $49.8 million worldwide.
Gore and Skoll will also appear on »
- Dave McNary
Gillian Robespierre is a filmmaker born and raised in New York City. She graduated from the School of Visual Arts, Film and Video Program. Her first feature, “Obvious Child,” premiered at Sundance in 2014. The film got a nod for the year’s “Best Discovery” on iTunes and Robespierre won Best Directorial Debut from the National Board of Review.
“Landline” will premiere at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival on January 20.
W&H: Describe the film for us in your own words.
Gr: “Landline” follows two sisters (Jenny Slate and Abby Quinn) as they come of age in ‘90s New York when they discover their dad’s affair — and it turns out he’s not the only cheater in the family. Everyone still smokes inside, no one has a cell phone, and the Jacobs family finally connects through lying, cheating, and eating.
W&H: What drew you to this story?
Gr: My co-writer Liz Holm and I wanted to tell a story about divorce. But rather than show a family falling apart, we wanted to see a family grow closer through the experience, getting to know themselves and each other for the very first time.
We wanted to focus on a female perspective of monogamy across multiple generations, each woman navigating this deeply complicated, at times unattainable, very messy, and imperfect construct.
We didn’t want to portray the cheater as the villain or the cheated as the victim. But there does often seem to be a gendered double standard. Like, if you have a female character that cheats she better be likable. Like, if you are female and run for office you better have never told a lie a day in your life.
The truth is we all fuck up. We all lie. And we watch our parents do something we say we’re never going to do and then we do it. We resent our partners for doing something that we then can’t help but do ourselves. And Liz and I like to tell these stories that inspire empathy, to show humans who, regardless of age or gender, make mistakes and try and try again.
W&H: What do you want people to think about when they are leaving the theater?
Gr: I hope people connect to the characters and their experiences. I hope that they love the music. But more than anything I hope they immediately take their loved ones to the nearest Benihana. I’m not getting paid to say that — I just really love sipping on liquid from a Buddha belly and think everyone should try it.
W&H: What was the biggest challenge in making the film?
Gr: Making movies is always intense and challenging. You’re dedicating two or more years to one idea. It’s a marathon of amazing highs and very dark lows. With this movie in particular the biggest challenge was collaborating with a larger team. Everything grew, from budget to crew size.
I thought the increase would take away from the intimacy and control a smaller set lends. But what I learned while making “Landline” was that a set is a set and it can feel anyway you want it to. By day two of shooting the crew size of 75 was just a number. I still felt the same as I did when making shorts in film school: pumped, tired, dirty, and extremely comfortable.
W&H: How did you get your film funded? Share some insights into how you got the film made.
Gr: The movie was independently financed by two companies, OddLot and Route One with the help of the New York State Tax Credit. After “Obvious Child,” Liz and I went to La and took many meetings, got re-directed by GoogleMaps which I kept calling MapQuest, and had one car fight. But it was actually a very productive time, and we made a deal to write our own script where I was attached to direct and Liz was attached to produce.
We’re lucky we found partners who wanted to work with us and support us every step of the way.
W&H: What does it mean for you to have your film play at Sundance?
Gr: Sundance changed my life in 2014. The day after “Obvious Child” premiered we sold it to the lovely A24. I was thrilled and relieved and also had no clue what was to come next.
All of a sudden agents started calling me, I did an interview with Amy Goodman, the movie received really nice press, and I was a bit shell shocked in the most wonderful way. When I got back to New York, life was pretty much business as usual, but once the movie had its full theatrical release in the summer of 2014, life changed dramatically.
I traveled the U.S. sharing the movie and having intimate conversations with audiences about reproductive rights and justice — to be clear, that is actually fun for me. Then Liz and I quit our day jobs, got married (not to each other), wrote and made a pilot, I had a baby, and we were in production on “Landline” by the spring of 2016. And it all started on that crazy mountain.
W&H: What’s the best and worst advice you’ve received?
Gr: The worst advice I ever received was from someone who I love dearly but urged me to stop working on “Obvious Child.” I give them the benefit of the doubt because they were trying to calm me down. I was getting many doors gingerly slammed in my face and I was having a really hard time finding a producer to take on an “abortion comedy,” and forget about financing. I was clearly depressed.
And so this person told me that it was time to come up with a movie idea that could actually get made. Luckily, I didn’t listen to them. Soon after that shit advice was given to me, I met my producer, Liz, who busted many doors in to get “Obvious Child” made and I’m so thankful that I didn’t listen to that motherfu****!!!
Best advice: Don’t quit your day job until you have the next job lined up. I know that’s not very dreamy advice but having health insurance and a steady paycheck freed me up creatively. I didn’t have the anxiety of looking for freelance work all week long. So I wrote nights and weekends and even on my soul sucking commute to work. But in a quick seven years — that was sarcasm — it finally paid off and I get to write in my own home. I’m in my sweat pants right now!
W&H: What advice do you have for other female directors?
Gr: Don’t shy away from funny, complex female characters. So often they have to be watered down to be “likable,” and that’s just a pile of shit. Who wants to watch perfection?
W&H: Name your favorite woman-directed film and why ?
Gr: Jane Campion’s short film “Peel” lit a fire in my belly and inspired me to go pick up a camera and make my own short. I’ve been getting lost and escaping with movies ever since I can remember, but making one never felt like something I could do or was allowed to do. And then I saw “Peel.”
In eight minutes “Peel” told a complete story. It was so personal, beautiful, and witty. I just had to find a way to replicate it in my own way. Of course, I never did. Instead I watched all of Campion’s work and then made a bunch of awful shorts. But the belly was lit — and that’s all I needed.
W&H: Have you seen opportunities for women filmmakers increase over the last year due to the increased attention paid to the issue? If someone asked you what you thought needed to be done to get women more opportunities to direct, what would be your answer?
Gr: It feels like there are more articles written about women in film than there are actual women in film. But I don’t think the articles or the conversation should ever stop. I’m just not sure it’s changed that drastically in one year. On a personal level, I am excited for the future and hope to stay in this business for a long time.
Sundance 2017 Women Directors: Meet Gillian Robespierre — “Landline” was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »
- Laura Berger
4 items from 2017
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