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“The Act Of Killing” Takes Top Prize At Cph:dox

10 November 2012 5:15 PM, PST

The Act of Killing, Joshua Oppenheimer, Christine Cynn and Anonymous’s jaw-dropping tale of war crimes, guilt and moviemaking, took the top prize at Cph:dox here in Copenhagen Friday night. The film, pictured above, boasts Werner Herzog and Errol Morris as executive producers and follows a group of former death squad leaders as they make Hollywood-style movies based on their murders of communists, ethnic Chinese and intellectuals following Indonesia’s military coup in 1965. Director Edwin (Postcards from the Zoo) presented the award and read the jury’s statement: “The Jury would like to award a film for its ability to show the construction of fear in a society and for its courageous re-enactment of the madness of the past, still echoing in the present.” As an Indonesian, Edwin added a personal testament to the film’s powerful confrontation of the country’s history. Accepting the award, Oppenheimer thanked the country’s community of survivors, »

- Scott Macaulay

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AFI Fest 2012: “Electrick Children” And “Simon Killer”

9 November 2012 11:07 AM, PST

In Dogtooth, an authoritarian father’s carefully constructed sham world falls apart after one of his sheltered daughters watches Rocky IV and Jaws. In Electrick Children (above), a 15-year-old Mormon girl (played by “25 New Face” Julia Garner) gets pregnant after listening to a rock ‘n’ roll song on an unmarked blue cassette tape. The narrative similarities essentially end there but, given their equally unorthodox takes on coming of age in cloistered environments, the two are oddly complementary. Split between rural Utah and fabulous Las Vegas, Electrick Children‘s visual world is entirely at odds with what its doe-eyed protagonist is used to on her big-sky homestead: neon lights, dingy nightclubs, vulgar young men. She navigates this new terrain with equal parts innocence and naivete, but never forced quirk—we feel for Rachel on her own terms, and though her journey is often quite funny it’s never cheaply so.

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- Michael Nordine

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“Game Changers” Part 3: Camera And Lighting

9 November 2012 10:57 AM, PST

In this third part of the series about the production of the low-budget indie movie Game Changers, filmmakers Rob Imbs (director) and Benjamin Eckstein (cinematographer) discuss shooting with the Sony Pmw-F3, shooting in S-Log, lighting issues, and the lenses used to shoot the movie.

Filmmaker: Ben, you already owned the Sony Pmw-F3, was the decision simply to use the camera you had?

Eckstein: I’ve been fortunate that I own almost all the gear that I use on a day-to-day basis. From the beginning when talking to Rob, it was not really a discussion of “Are you trying to get the Alexa or whatever?” I think if I still owned the Panasonic Ag-AF100 we probably would have shot it on that, and that would have been fine, but now I have a different camera, so that’s what we use.

We rented a couple of things, but for the most »

- Michael Murie

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“The Pervert’S Guide To Ideology” Director Sophie Fiennes

9 November 2012 9:05 AM, PST

“When Sophie Fiennes approached me with the idea to do a ‘pervert’s guide” to cinema,’” the Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek wrote, “our shared goal was to demonstrate how psychoanalytic cinema-criticism is still the best we have, how it can generate insights which compel us to change our entire perspective. The ‘pervert’ from the title is thus not a narrow clinical category; it rather refers to perverting – turning around – our spontaneous perceptions.”

The resulting documentary — Fienne’s The Pervert’s Guide to Cinema — was like nothing else in film criticism, a dense and hilarious joyride through our cinematic subconscious by our most urgent and entertaining of thinkers. Zizek’s rapid-fire psychoanalytic critique was set up as a series of sight gags, with the philosopher critiquing films as if speaking from their own sets. Whether on on motorboat as he explicated Hitchcock’s The Birds, or against the red walls of »

- Scott Macaulay

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Five Questions With “Magic Camp” Director Judd Ehrlich

9 November 2012 8:57 AM, PST

Competition in the performing arts is a staple of non-fiction television and documentary at the moment, but few works step back from the American Idol-style face-off to depict the literal beginnings of their performer subjects. One film that does is Judd Ehrlich’s Magic Camp, a documentary about Tannen’s Magic Camp, a week-long event for budding young magicians where kids learn both stagecraft and sleight-of-hand from an illustrious group of visiting professionals. Ehrlich attended Magic Camp when he was young, and when he became a documentary filmmaker — his previous credits include Mayor of the West Side and Run for Your Life — he knew he had to return to capture that experience. Magic Camp receives its New York premiere at Doc NYC on Saturday, November 10, and some of the film’s young magicians will perform at the screening.

What were the reasons you wanted to make a film set at Tannen’s Magic Camp? »

- Scott Macaulay

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A Kickstarter Launch For Stephen Elliott’S “Happy Baby”

8 November 2012 4:13 AM, PST

Author Stephen Elliott (The Adderall Diaries) founded the culture website The Rumpus and recently directed his first feature, About Cherry. He’s launched a Kickstarter campaign for his second, Happy Baby, an adaptation of his 2004 autobiographical novel. The below is excerpted from Elliott’s Daily Rumpus newsletter, which, as a newsletter writer myself, I highly recommend. — Sm

Someone asked yesterday why I was doing a Kickstarter for my movie. He said he would donate $5, he doesn’t have very much money (which is fine), but he wanted to know why I needed you (he said, “Why do you need us?”). Was it because I wanted the movie to be completely grassroots, or because I needed complete control? Or could I not get the bigshots to give me money and let me keep director’s cut, or whatever. He said he didn’t know much about making movies but wanted to know what was the deal. »

- Stephen Elliott

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Doc NYC Previewed By Artistic Director Thom Powers

7 November 2012 6:20 PM, PST

With their Stranger than Fiction series at New York City’s IFC Center, Thom Powers and Raphaela Neihausen have been curating, programming and advocating for documentary film going on eight years now. Their Tuesday-night events are typically packed, drawing audiences with not only great films but human interaction — Q&A’s with directors, collaborators, and even the film’s subjects. Three years ago, Powers and Neihausen wondered why there wasn’t a major, all-doc festival in New York and decided to embrace the challenge of creating one. The resulting Doc NYC is now in its third year (November 8 – 15), with a new, second theater and its largest program yet (115 events, 61 films and 22 panels and classes). Opening night November 8 features Bartholomew CubbinsArtifact, about Jared Leto’s band 30 Seconds to Mars and its legal battle with label Emi (Leto will be in attendance) and Venus and Serena, Michelle Major and Maiken Baird »

- Scott Macaulay

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AFI Fest 2012: “Antiviral” And “Caesar Must Die”

7 November 2012 6:10 PM, PST

In diagnosing a cultural affliction without so much as mentioning a possible cure or even treatment, Brandon Cronenberg’s Antiviral (above) coldly suggests that it’ll only continue to spread. The outlandish-but-believable premise – involving a high-end clinic that harvests and sells celebrities’ infections to their obsessed fans – brings to mind both Children of Men and, of all things, Idiocracy for how depressingly realistic its vision of the near future ends up being. We want to think that something like this could never happen, but there’s more than a little evidence to the contrary. The fact that nearly every element of the film exists solely to either comment on or expand its central point at times makes it feel a bit one-note, which is to say that what’s onscreen is engaging more often than not but also leaves little to the imagination both visually and thematically. It’s also »

- Michael Nordine

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Five Questions With “28 Hotel Rooms” Director Matt Ross

7 November 2012 6:08 PM, PST

Matt Ross’s directorial debut is an inventive look at an affair between a married account (Marin Ireland) and a novelist (Chris Messina) that unfurls within the walls of 28 hotel rooms across the country. Dictated by checkout times and the call of the “real world,” their truncated encounters are marked by a growing sense of urgency, as their physical connection turns emotional. Ireland and Messina shoulder the challenge of being the sole recipients of Doug Emmett’s lens with magnetic grace, crafting their characters’ dimensions in varying increments of restraint and ebullition. 28 Hotel Rooms, currently streaming on iTunes and VOD, opens in La on November 9th, and New York on November 16th. Below, Matt Ross speaks about bridging the gap between vision and execution.

Filmmaker: This is very much an actors’ movie, which makes sense, because you are one. Did you know from the outset that you wanted these two »

- Sarah Salovaara

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Phillip Van’S Amazing Post-sandy Blackout Photos

7 November 2012 4:13 PM, PST

Filmmaker and former 25 New Face Phillip Van took his camera out during the New York blackout and came away with a beautiful series of long-exposure shots capturing the city’s architecture and workers without their customary nocturnal illumination. Here’s what he had to say via email:

I shot the photos on a regular old Canon 5D. One night I had a tripod. Another I went handheld so I could travel more. The city was pitch black and ominous. Buildings felt like mausoleums. But if you stayed out long enough, your eyes adjusted to candles and shadows behind curtains and you got a sense of all the people in the dark patiently waiting it out.

Check out the photos in full size on Van’s site.… Read the rest »

- Scott Macaulay

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RZA On “The Man With The Iron Fists”

7 November 2012 9:48 AM, PST

What do you get when you hand RZA the keys to his own film project? As fans of the multi-tasking Wu-Tang Clan leader will be thrilled to know, you get a balls-out, rap-infused martial arts spectacle, filled with the mad love of a lifelong kung fu fan. A project nine years in the making, RZA’s directorial debut, The Man with the Iron Fists, sees the 43-year-old artist star alongside Lucy Liu and Russell Crowe, bringing to life a mashed-up actioner that blends Chinese mysticism with the U.S. slave trade and more. The impetus for the film’s production came when RZA was scoring Kill Bill: Vol. 1, and witnessed firsthand the craft of Quentin Tarantino. The partnership led the composer to Eli Roth, who’d become his co-screenwriter, and instilled in him the kind of on-set practices that would help him make the leap from tireless Mc to full-fledged filmmaker. »

- R. Kurt Osenlund

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CIARÁN Foy, “Citadel”

7 November 2012 9:11 AM, PST

After graduating from the National Film School of Ireland, Dublin-based filmmaker Ciarán Foy plied his trade directing a handful of shorts (including the larkish techno-driven Scumbot, in which a radio-controlled hooligan goes berserk and ultimately turns on his mates), finally winning a bounty of awards for his four-and-a-half-minute malicious-pixie tale The Faeries of Blackheath Woods. Encouraged by the response, Foy set to work in 2007 on a script based on a traumatic personal experience it had taken him years to shake: At age 18, he was randomly assaulted by a gang of toughs near his council flat and viciously threatened with a used hypodermic needle. After the incident, he suffered from acute agoraphobia, a condition he eventually conquered through counseling and lots of emotional support from his future wife, then a fellow college student. All of which provided grist for his debut feature, Citadel, which premiered at the 2012 South by Southwest Film »

- Damon Smith

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Factory 25 Acquires Caveh Zahedi’S “The Sheik And I”

7 November 2012 7:38 AM, PST

Caveh Zahedi’s The Sheik and I, the filmmaker’s uber-controversial follow-up to his Gotham Award-winning I Am a Sex Addict, was today picked up by Factory 25. Matt Grady’s Brooklyn-based boutique distribution company will give the film a simultaneous digital and theatrical release in December, which will qualify the doc for awards consideration. The film, in which Zahedi gleefully pokes fun at the Middle Eastern benefactor who is bankrolling his movie, had its world premiere at SXSW earlier this year — and has been banned in the United Arab Emirates for blasphemy.

The Sheik and I trailer from factory twenty five on Vimeo.

From today’s press release:

Brooklyn, NY (November 6, 2012) - Factory 25 announced today that it has acquired world rights to Caveh Zahedi’s The Sheik and I which premiered at SXSW. Commissioned by a Middle Eastern Biennial to make a film on the theme of “art as a subversive act, »

- Nick Dawson

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“Girl Walk // All Day” Director Jacob Krupnick’S Short Film Collaboration With Beastie Boy Ad-rock

6 November 2012 2:22 PM, PST

Jacob Krupnick, the director of Girl Walk // All Day — the first film to play at Brooklyn’s reRun Theatre under its new programming partnership with Ifp and Filmmaker magazine — is not only wowing audiences with his infectious, joyful dance movie, but is also showing his serious side with a short film made for the New York Times, a collaboration with photographer Pieter Hugo and composer Adam Horovitz, aka The Beastie Boys’ Ad-Rock.

In an email announcing the film, Krupnick wrote:

For much of the last month, I’ve been working on a project about a sliver of the American landscape between New York City and Washington DC.

The result is a short film called Off The Rails, which has just gone up on the Times‘ site here.

A little more explanation:

I spent ten days traveling along the Northeast Corridor — the Amtrak line connecting the two cities — with the photographer Pieter Hugo. »

- Nick Dawson

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Five Questions With “Burn” Directors Tom Putnam And Brenna Sanchez

6 November 2012 9:23 AM, PST

A news item about a tragedy in Detroit got them started, and by the time they were finished—three years and 1,000 hours of footage later—co-directors Tom Putnam and Brenna Sanchez found that their firefighting documentary had become something bigger than they’d imagined. Burn follows a group of firefighters as they try to contain blazes in a city with an endless roster of buildings left vacant amidst an economic collapse (a topic dealt with in Detropia and several other documentaries). Detroit’s population, as the film notes, is less than half of what it was 60 years ago, and many of those abandoned houses and former businesses have become firetraps. The film is built on vivid scenes that depict the danger facing fire crews from one shift to the next, but Burn also has broader implications, raising a host of issues about the changing texture of 21st century American cities »

- Kevin Canfield

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AFI Fest 2012: “A Hijacking” And “Paradise: Faith”

6 November 2012 7:51 AM, PST

Between A Royal Affair, The Hunt, Eat Sleep Die, and now A Hijacking, it might be wise to start thinking of 2012 as something of a banner year for Scandinavian film—Denmark in particular. (Let’s call Klown the exception that proves the rule and leave it at that.) An impressively restrained thriller about a cargo ship commandeered by Somali pirates, Tobias Lindholm’s second feature has the kind of ripped-from-headlines premise one would expect Hollywood to have capitalized on by now. In an early sign of his rather un-Hollywood approach, however, the frequent Thomas Vinterberg collaborator shows us extremely little of the eponymous event. Lindholm displays the utmost restraint throughout, a technique that most often makes A Hijacking more engaging rather than less. The narrative remove that results from this can at times feel too cold, but it also underscores the extent to which such matters as these are necessarily logistical, »

- Michael Nordine

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VOD For Indies

5 November 2012 11:00 AM, PST

As indie makers know all too well, movie distribution is undergoing a major restructuring. The shift from analog media to digital production, post-production and distribution technologies not only changes how movies are made and distributed, but how people view them.

Theatrical moviegoing is declining; since 2002, ticket sales have declined by nearly 20 percent. Making matters worse, DVD sales are shrinking.  And video streaming revenues, while growing, are doing so at a rate insufficient to make up the difference.

Readers of Filmmaker are urged to check out a recent article in the Los Angeles Times, “Now playing at a living room near you.” Its thesis is simple: “Indie films, finding it harder to compete at the box office, are turning to video on demand. Bachelorette made $418,000 in theaters, $5.5 million in VOD rentals.”

The article discusses a couple of recent indie releases, including Bachelorette (above), Arbitrage, Margin Call and Sleepwalk With Me. Its »

- David Rosen

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The Week In Cameras: The Empire And The Rebellion

5 November 2012 9:20 AM, PST

This week saw Sony announce two new cameras, the Pmw-F5 and Pmw-F55, as well as some details about 4K recording for the Nex-FS700. Unfortunately, they didn’t announce many pricing details, other than the $2,000 price for the interface unit for the Nex-FS700. The cameras are expected in January, and pricing information will probably come sometime in December, but we have been left to depend on whispers from those who say they have been told numbers, even though Sony continues to say that they haven’t told anyone the prices.

That said, it appears that the Pmw-F5 will be under $20,000 and the Pmw-F55 will be around $40,000. The consensus seems to be that these cameras could seriously challenge Red, and probably Canon as well.

In answer, two days later, Red dramatically reduced prices on their cameras:

5K Epic-x Brain- $19,000

5K Epic-x Monochrome Brain- $20,000

5K Epic-m Brain- $24,000

5K/4K Scarlet Brain- $7,950

4.5K Red »

- Michael Murie

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