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17 articles


Tribeca 2017: Erik Nelson on A Gray State

28 April 2017 12:53 PM, PDT

Originating as a concept trailer tapping into an increasingly burgeoning pocket of anti-police-state paranoia, David Crowley’s A Gray State was a film that warned of big government (Fema = bad) taking over its innocent citizens to enslave and execute them. Like The Purge but with more guillotines and public massacres, Crowley’s footage depicted a low-budget world of state-led slaughter in the streets taking place to control those it sought to protect. A rebellion would be imminent, the story implies, and its tagline, “by consent or conquest,” sounds as much like generic action movie marketing as it does a patriotic call-to-arms. To doubters, the film would […] »

- Erik Luers

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Tribeca 2017: Drew Xanthopoulos on The Sensitives

28 April 2017 10:45 AM, PDT

There’s a certain feeling of disappointment when you knowingly choose to keep your cell phone, doubling as your alarm clock, near your face when settling in for an evening’s sleep. Having been warned of radiofrequency waves’ ability to cause cancer, keeping an electronic device that close to your brain for hours on end is not, we’re told, a wise decision to make. There are so many electric and synthetic materials in today’s everyday devices that to avoid them all would be to effectively remove yourself from modern society. You accept the potentially harmful results in order to live and work […] »

- Erik Luers

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Behind The Graduate‘s “Leg Shot”: Daniel Raim on Harold and Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story

28 April 2017 10:17 AM, PDT

Two unsung heroes of the American film industry get their due in Daniel Raim’s extraordinary documentary Harold and Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story. Most filmgoers – even the most informed ones – have probably never heard of Harold and Lillian Michelson, but the history of movies was forever changed by their contributions to classics like The Ten Commandments, The Graduate, The Apartment, West Side Story, and DePalma’s Scarface. Harold was a storyboard artist and Lillian ran a massive Hollywood research library; separately or together, they were essential resources for directors including Alfred Hitchcock, Francis Coppola, Danny DeVito, and Stanley Kubrick. They […] »

- Jim Hemphill

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Tribeca 2017: Five Questions with The Last Animals Director Kate Brooks

27 April 2017 11:00 AM, PDT

The Tribeca Film Festival has a history of showing tremendous new environmental documentaries, and this year the stand-out film in this area is Kate Brooks’ The Last Animals, a gut-wrenching investigation into the illicit ivory and rhino horn trade around the globe. When seen in conjunction with the short virtual reality piece The Protectors, which also features the rangers at Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, this feature-length doc shines a new light on an issue that is not as far from home as many North American viewers may suspect. At its world premiere screening last week the […] »

- Randy Astle

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Tribeca 2017: Five Questions with Blame Director Quinn Shephard

27 April 2017 9:40 AM, PDT

Most of the conversation surrounding Blame, a new film by writer-director-producer-editor-star Quinn Shephard, focuses on her age. At 22, she seems exceptionally young to be undertaking so many roles on a debut feature, but the results attest to her talent and drive. It should be said upfront that Blame is a poignant and incisive examination of modern American adolescence, as filtered through the lens of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible and the Salem witch trials of 1692, which form the inspiration for this modern-day narrative. The film delves deepest into high school mean-girl culture — with excellent performances by Sarah Mezzanotte and Nadia Alexander, who […] »

- Randy Astle

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How (and When) to Hire a Documentary Editor: What I Learned Making My First Short Doc

27 April 2017 7:00 AM, PDT

It’s six months after my first-ever film shoot on my first-ever film, the short documentary Sole Doctor. And yes, I’m still working on that documentary! After grappling with self-doubt and fretting about the narrative arc, I feel both confident in my vision and totally confused about how to shape the story. In other words, it’s time to find a good editor! But first, a little refresher about the project: Sole Doctor is a short observational-style documentary about George, a 78-year-old African-American shoe cobbler who has owned a business in Portland for over 50 years. Preparing to retire and pass the business on to […] »

- Paula Bernstein

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Film Clip: Tormenting the Hen, from Writer/Director Theodore Collatos

27 April 2017 6:34 AM, PDT

Previously at Filmmaker, Theodore Collatos engaged in a dialogue about filmmaking with fellow director Christopher Jason Bell and penned an article about shooting his latest feature, Tormenting the Hen, in just six days. Now that latter film is receiving its premiere tomorrow at the Independent Film Festival of Boston, and Collatos has provided Filmmaker with an exclusive clip. Watch above, and read the synopsis below: When playwright Claire is invited to set her latest political work at a rural theatre company, her fiance Monica tags along for a much-needed vacation. Upon encountering Mutty, an enigmatic neighbor with a gross lack […] »

- Scott Macaulay

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Coffee, Sake and Ambien: Writer/Director Richard Shepard on His Tribeca ’17 Short Film, Tokyo Project

26 April 2017 6:00 AM, PDT

An unexpected pleasure at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, Tokyo Project is a romantic drama with a psychological twist starring Elisabeth Moss and Ebon Moss-Bacharach and directed by Richard Shepard, whose career traverses dark comedies like The Matador and Dom Hemingway as well as some of the most memorable episodes of TV’s Girls. But what’s unexpected about this story of two American wanderers who hook up in Tokyo while both seemingly escaping their normal lives is, simply, its existence. The half-hour work is beautifully acted and shot (by Giles Nuttgens), coursing with a kind of romantic cinephilia, and, unlike other […] »

- Scott Macaulay

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Tribeca ’17: Director Lana Wilson on Her Wise, Empathetic Suicide Prevention Doc, The Departure

25 April 2017 1:46 PM, PDT

One of the major discoveries of the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival, Lana Wilson’s The Departure is a beautiful, wise and deeply empathetic immersion into one fascinating character’s unique approach to suicide prevention. Ittetsu Nemoto is a former punk rocker turned Buddhist priest who, in quietly wrenching group sessions, counsels the suicidal while facing down his own demons. Working in a small, remote temple in Japan, he constructs spare, philosophical rituals for his patients and then, separately, bonds with them in more personal, emotionally intimate ways. Following Nemoto both within his practice and outside of it, The Departure initially grabs hold […] »

- Scott Macaulay

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“Can You Make All Your Money Back Just Showing on TV Every Mother’s Day?”: John Waters on Serial Mom

25 April 2017 11:01 AM, PDT

The last couple of months have been good ones for John Waters fans. Last month Criterion put out a gorgeous restoration of the director’s first truly great film, Multiple Maniacs, and on May 9 Shout Factory is set to release Serial Mom, a movie Waters made 24 years after Multiple Maniacs with the full resources of Hollywood at his disposal. A hilariously provocative riff on the true crime genre, Serial Mom follows suburban wife and mom Beverly (Kathleen Turner) as she’s driven insane by everything from loud gum chewing to women wearing white after Labor Day; a pristine overseer of […] »

- Jim Hemphill

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“We Need to Stop Patting Ourselves on the Back”: Speakeasy Spotlight at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival’s 20th Anniversary Edition

25 April 2017 10:43 AM, PDT

There was much reason for celebration at the 2017 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival (April 6-9) down in Durham, North Carolina. The state had just (kinda sorta) repealed the ridiculous bathroom bill — which had had me scrambling to cover all the queer films I could find at the 2016 fest — and this year’s 20th anniversary inspired artistic director Sadie Tillery to create “DoubleTake,” a wide-ranging retro program featuring 19 films, one from each year of the festival’s history. This diverse selection included everything from Jem Cohen and Peter Sillen’s 2001 Benjamin Smoke, to Linda Goode Bryant and Laura […] »

- Lauren Wissot

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Tribeca 2017: Five Questions for Flames Dp Ashley Connor

25 April 2017 8:12 AM, PDT

Flames marks cinematographer Ashley Connor’s third feature collaboration with filmmaker, artist and performer Josephine Decker — she previously lensed Decker’s Thou Wast Mild and Lovely and Butter on the Latch — but this time there’s a twist. Decker “co-directed for a long time” (see the film and you’ll understand) with director Zefrey Thowell, and the movie bracingly, explicitly details the emotional, sexual and psychosexual gyrations of their turbulent eight-month relationship. The pair would often call Connor over to film a recreation of something that happened to them just a day earlier — like a bout of lovemaking leading to a […] »

- Scott Macaulay

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“If You Can Cut the Boring Scenes Out, That Saves Time”: Juho Kuosmanen on The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki

24 April 2017 1:41 PM, PDT

Juho Kuosmanen’s first feature, The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki, is a modest-seeming film that hits all of its marks with unusual precision, following featherweight boxer Mäki (Jarkko Lahti) in the two weeks leading up to a big fight against American champ Davey Moore. Mäki is nervous and evasive, slacking on his training and running away to the distraction of his maybe-fiance. Throughout the film, he’s trailed by a documentary crew (a detail based on reality) that repeatedly stages faux-verite scenes of Mäki in training, meeting financiers, et al. — in a sly way, Kuosmanen is almost congratulating himself on the high […] »

- Vadim Rizov

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Tribeca 2017 Critic’s Notebook: Performance Anxiety

24 April 2017 10:50 AM, PDT

Ever searching for an identity, the Tribeca Film Festival returned — for a 16th time last week — to Midtown, the Upper West Side, Chelsea and, yes, the neighborhood for which it’s named. These days the festival never opens with a genuinely great (and thematically appropriate) film like Paul Greengrass’s United 93 or a goofy overstuffed blockbuster like J.J. Abrams’s Mission Impossible III, but usually with a low-key doc centered on iconic New York stuff: comedy (Bao Nguyen’s 2015 SNL doc opener Live from New York!), fashion (Andrew Rossi’s The First Monday in May, which opened last year’s edition) and music — the Nas doc which […] »

- Brandon Harris

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Tribeca 2017: Alon Benari on the Vr Thriller, Broken Night

24 April 2017 9:00 AM, PDT

Currently running at the Tribeca Film Festival’s Virtual Arcade, Broken Night is a psychological thriller featuring a quarrelling couple (Emily Mortimer and Alessandro Nivola), an intruder and a handgun. Distilling these elements into 11 taut minutes, the piece throws viewers not just into the action but into the unsteady point-of-view of the short’s protagonist, the wife played by Mortimer, who is trying to reconstruct the events of one violent evening for an investigating police detective. Using a Vr headset and browser-based player, Broken Night allows viewers to slip in and out of the wife’s Pov, making for her character the […] »

- Scott Macaulay

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Ifp Announces 10 Projects Selected for 2017 Screen Forward Labs

24 April 2017 8:41 AM, PDT

The Independent Filmmaker Project (Ifp), Filmmaker‘s publisher, announced today the ten projects taking part in its third annual Screen Forward Lab for story-driven, serialized projects. Among the projects, which span web series, Vr and cross-platform storytelling, are works set in the world of extreme sports, gentrified Brooklyn, and a youth rehab center. Characters include young scouts and their scoutmasters, a gay-curious heterosexual woman, and angry black women — the latter in the series, Angry Black Women. Screen Forward Lab creators begin their program today with five days of workshops and seminars at the Made in New York Media Center, where […] »

- Scott Macaulay

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Grass Roots Marketing, Speaking Fees for Filmmakers, Publicity Tips and the Release of I Am Not Your Negro at Doc NYC’s Marketing Bootcamp

24 April 2017 7:00 AM, PDT

This is the third and final part of coverage of Doc NYC’s Marketing Boot Camp. (Read parts one and two here at the links.) Christie Marchese of Picture Motion, a marketing and advocacy firm for issue-driven films (Leonardo DiCaprio’s Before the Flood, Ava DuVernay’s 13th, and Michael Moore’s Where to Invade Next), gave a presentation on developing social action and grassroots marketing campaigns. She made the point that grassroots marketing and impact campaigns are two different things: grassroots marketing targets audiences who are pre-disposed to be interested in your film. Impact campaigns are geared toward those who aren’t organically interested. […] »

- Audrey Ewell

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17 articles



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