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“Profound Communication Only Happens When There Is Persistence”: Director Pamela Yates | 500 Years

44 minutes ago

During its development, production or eventual distribution, what specific challenge of communication did, or will your film, face? How did you deal with it, or how are you planning to deal with it? I often ask myself, how does each of us weave our own responsibilities into the pattern of history? How can I tell stories about human rights and the quest for justice yet engage people who are uninterested or apathetic? And the answer has always brought me back to this idea of the persistence of vision. Just as in cinema, believing that we will create a new art, […] »

- Filmmaker Staff

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Sundance: David Lowery’s A Ghost Story is a Major Achievement and A Curious Next Entry

1 hour ago

It’s a rare privilege to see a contemporary American film as ambitious, emotionally honest, and just-plain-breathtaking as David Lowery’s Sundance entry A Ghost Story. Even from his microbudget beginnings, Lowery’s work has displayed a consistent fascination with American folklore and mythmaking. His films, whether big-budget Disney blockbusters like last year’s Pete’s Dragon, 2013’s love story Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, or his masterful 2011 short Pioneer, concern themselves with the notion of storytelling, its allure and its limitations. With A Ghost Story, Lowery continues to explore this fascination, now through the lens of the haunting genre, a tradition that stretches from […] »

- Dan Schoenbrun

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“A Huge Historical Project”: Editor Kim Miille on Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities

1 hour ago

MacArthur Fellow Stanley Nelson has devoted his career to documentary explorations of the African American experience. The 65-year-old director/producer has made films on Marcus Garvey, the Freedom Riders and the Black Panthers. His most recent film is Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities, which premiered this week at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. Nelson hired editor Kim Miille to cut the film. Below, Miille shares her thoughts on historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), making archival photos and letters cinematic and her origins as an editor. Filmmaker: How and why did you wind up being the […] »

- Filmmaker Staff

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“The Challenge Is Balancing Tone”: Director Mark Pellington | The Last Word

2 hours ago

During its development, production or eventual distribution, what specific challenge of communication did, or will your film, face? How did you deal with it, or how are you planning to deal with it? The communication challenge in executing The Last Word was thematic. With issues of aging or mortality, the challenge is balancing tone. That is achieved by communicating to everyone (cast, crew and, in turn, the audience) the specific tone. We tried keeping the story human and offbeat, making it emotionally inclusive, and earning the emotional payoff via narrative investment in character. Thus you are letting the audience grow […] »

- Filmmaker Staff

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“We Are Living through a Very Divisive Time”: Director Barbara Kopple | This Is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous

4 hours ago

During its development, production or eventual distribution, what specific challenge of communication did, or will your film, face? How did you deal with it, or how are you planning to deal with it? Obviously we are living through a very divisive time, and transgender issues are among the most controversial of what people call “the culture wars.” That was something I was aware of while making this movie, and its something we are aware of as we release it. That said, every film I make involves going as deeply as I can inside the lives of the people whose stories […] »

- Filmmaker Staff

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Directors Saschka Unseld and Lily Baldwin on Editing Sundance Vr Experience Through You

5 hours ago

Saschka Unseld and Lily Baldwin explore the phases and facets of love in Through You, a dance-infused Vr piece that premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. Unseld is an animator who directed the Pixar short The Blue Umbrella and is a cofounder of Oculus Story Studio, a Vr media company. Baldwin arrived at filmmaking by way of dance, where she’d worked with everyone from the Metropolitan Opera Ballet to David Byrne. As a creative challenge, the two decided to edit Through You themselves. Below, Unseld and Baldwin discuss the roughly 150-200 hours they spent editing a 14-minute Vr experience. Filmmaker: How and […] »

- Filmmaker Staff

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“I Stopped Talking and Started Making the Film”: Director Pascale Lamche | Winnie

6 hours ago

During its development, production or eventual distribution, what specific challenge of communication did, or will your film, face? How did you deal with it, or how are you planning to deal with it? The first time I mentioned I was making a film about Winnie Mandela, it happened to be to a novelist, in a bar in Amsterdam. He screwed up his face and said: “What? That murderer!” His response was echoed on numerous occasions around the world. Nelson Mandela was still perceived as a saint and his wife as the fallen woman, or worse. At the time, we were […] »

- Filmmaker Staff

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“We Never Wanted to Treat the Film as a Comedy”: Dp Christian Sprenger on Brigsby Bear

18 hours ago

In 2007 a group of four comics and creators joined to form Good Neighbor, a sketch comedy team that would go on to breach the ranks of Saturday Night Live. The group is known mostly for Kyle Mooney, a weirdo comic voice whose left-of-center SNL skits often get cut for time. Mooney stars in Good Neighbor’s feature film debut, Brigsby Bear, directed by fellow group member Dave McCary. The film tells the story of a secluded young man with an unhealthy obsession with a TV show literally no one has ever seen. Below, Dp Christian Sprenger speaks to the film’s tricky tone, which eschews […] »

- Filmmaker Staff

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“We Don’t Use Words to Tell a Story”: Directors Lily Baldwin and Saschka Unseld | Through You

19 hours ago

During its development, production or eventual distribution, what specific challenge of communication did, or will your film, face? How did you deal with it, or how are you planning to deal with it? We don’t use words to tell a story. We use bodies, gestures, dance, color, music and sound as tools. Inherently with this, there is room for interpretation about what the work Is About. This is the beauty and of course the challenge around non-traditional narratives. Meaning its fluid. Vr is perfect for this. In Through You we worked hard to anchor the viewer in a couple key […] »

- Filmmaker Staff

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“Communicating with Respect and Openness”: Director José María Cabral | Woodpeckers

20 hours ago

During its development, production or eventual distribution, what specific challenge of communication did, or will your film, face? How did you deal with it, or how are you planning to deal with it? Communication was the key for writing, shooting and making the movie, particularly this one. Woodpeckers explores communication and language in a very specific level. First of all the writing process was about making contact and understanding the prisoners, getting to create relationships, not only for the script but also because I wanted them as actors too. It was also kind of a social experiment, where I was […] »

- Filmmaker Staff

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“The Grandeur of this Exceptional Human”: Dp Alice Gu on Take Every Wave: The Life of Laird Hamilton

22 hours ago

Among the world’s most well-known surfers, Laird Hamilton has surfed professionally since he was 17 years old. Now in his 50s, he’s the subject of a documentary from Academy Award-nominated director Rory Kennedy. Take Every Wave offers a profile of Hamilton as a surfing innovator, celebrity and family man. Below, Dp Alice Gu discusses the challenges of shooting this fast-moving, larger-than-life figure. Gu, one of two DPs on the project, goes into detail on the cameras and lenses required for the project. Take Every Wave will screen four times during the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. Filmmaker: How and why did you wind […] »

- Filmmaker Staff

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“I Want the Viewer to Feel Totally Immersed in My World”: Director Francis Lee | God’s Own Country

23 January 2017 1:00 PM, PST

During its development, production or eventual distribution, what specific challenge of communication did, or will your film, face? How did you deal with it, or how are you planning to deal with it? For me God’s Own Country is an investigation into authenticity of emotion and landscape. Having grown up on the same hillside where the film is set, it was critically important to me to communicate what this very specific landscape not only looks like but how it feels, sounds, tastes, smells. The wind, the cold, the rain that gets into your bones when you work outside all day. […] »

- Filmmaker Staff

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Sundance Dispatch 3: Columbus, Golden Exits

23 January 2017 12:58 PM, PST

Columbus certainly doesn’t look like a standard American independent film: even if you didn’t know debuting director kogonada’s background as a video essayist primarily concerned with High Art (Bresson, Tarkovsky et al.), it’s clear this is made by somebody who’s studied the framing of Hou Hsiao-hsien, Edward Yang et al. quite closely. No matter how mundane the setting — average small downtown streets, a drab university library — kogonada and Dp Elisha Christian stick to the visual philosophy espoused by architecture-obsessed protagonist Casey (Haley Lu Richardson) as she annotates one building’s properties, noting how it’s “asymmetrical but also still balanced.” I […] »

- Vadim Rizov

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“A More Elegant and Softer Image Inspired by Turn of the Century Painters”: Dp Kat Westergaard on Novitiate

23 January 2017 12:00 PM, PST

Director Maggie Betts and Dp Kat Westergaard became creative partners on The Carrier, a 2010 documentary that premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. The two worked together again on a 2014 short (Engram) and again on Novitiate, which debuted at Sundance last week. The film marks Betts’ fiction feature debut and stars Margaret Qualley and Melissa Leo. Westergaard spoke with Filmmaker ahead of the festival about the film’s painterly aesthetic, lighting challenges and “ghostly intimacy.” Novitiate will screen in competition six times during the 2017 Sundance Film Festival  Filmmaker: How and why did you wind up being the cinematographer of your film? What were the factors and attributes that led […] »

- Filmmaker Staff

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Five Questions with Golden Exits Director Alex Ross Perry

23 January 2017 11:00 AM, PST

The worlds of Alex Ross Perry tend to thrive on confrontation. In 2014, the writer/director arrived at Sundance with Listen Up Philip, an acerbic comedy that showcased his knack for characters at once repellent and compelling. He followed that film with Queen of Earth, a feverish two-hander that pitted Elisabeth Moss and Katherine Waterston in a cage match of sniping and passive-aggression. For his fifth feature, Perry gave himself a challenge: To write a film with no outward hostility. That film is Golden Exits. Perry calls it his “mellow drama.” An NYC-set ensemble starring Emily BrowningMary-Louise Parker and Jason Schwartzman, Golden Exits premieres this week in competition […] »

- Soheil Rezayazdi

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“Cate Outstripped Us All with Her Immeasurable Enthusiasm”: Director Julian Rosefeldt | Manifesto

23 January 2017 9:00 AM, PST

During its development, production or eventual distribution, what specific challenge of communication did, or will your film, face? How did you deal with it, or how are you planning to deal with it? Manifesto was originally planned as a 13-screen installation for the art context. And so it is touring museums and art festivals now. But I also got some funding from a German TV channel and I needed to consider how to bring that multi-screen-concept later into a linear version. Given the fact that we only had 11 days to shoot with Cate, the entire project, running in my mind […] »

- Filmmaker Staff

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“Like Nothing Else I Have Shot”: Dp Sean Price Williams on Marjorie Prime

23 January 2017 7:00 AM, PST

Sean Price Williams has become an indomitable force in American independent cinema. Filming regularly on Super 16mm, Williams has served as Dp on the films of Alex Ross Perry (Queen of Earth, Listen Up Philip), Robert Greene (Kate Plays Christine, Actress), Albert Maysles (Iris) and the Safdie brothers (Heaven Knows What). Williams sought to shoot something unlike any of his previous work for his latest feature, Marjorie Prime. With a cast that includes John Hamm, Geena Davis and Tim Robbins, Marjorie Prime is the latest film from writer/director Michael Almereyda. The film will have its world premiere at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. Filmmaker: How and […] »

- Filmmaker Staff

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“An Interactive and Realistic Amazon Environment”: Directors Milica Zec and Winslow Porter | Tree

23 January 2017 6:00 AM, PST

During its development, production or eventual distribution, what specific challenge of communication did, or will your film, face? How did you deal with it, or how are you planning to deal with it? Tree transports users into the body of a rainforest tree, where they can experience not only its splendor but also its untimely fate. One challenge we faced was how to communicate with our audience without using traditional dialogue – and to keep that message and execution organic while in a CGI landscape. Essentially, to “show,” via real-time experience and interactivity, rather than “tell.” In order to immerse users […] »

- Filmmaker Staff

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“Hiring All Women Isn’t a Gimmick; It’s Progress”: Director Jovanka Vuckovic | Xx

22 January 2017 8:59 PM, PST

During its development, production or eventual distribution, what specific challenge of communication did, or will your film, face? How did you deal with it, or how are you planning to deal with it? Bela Lugosi once famously said, “It is women who love horror. Gloat over it. Feed on it. Are nourished by it. Shudder and cling and cry out — and come back for more.” He was as right then as he is now. Women love horror. And yet here we are in 2017, and even though more than half of all horror film ticket buyers are women, people […] »

- Filmmaker Staff

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Sundance Dispatch 2: Dina, Quest, My Happy Family

22 January 2017 7:13 PM, PST

Antonio Santini and Dan Sickles’ Dina is incredibly hard to write about without exposing my underlying biases. Shot by Dp Adam Uhl in almost entirely rigorously locked-down static 1.66 (!), Dina tracks the uneasily evolving relationship between its title subject and fiance Scott in the months up to and after their wedding. (She’s the main subject, he the supporting player: the end credits cutely add his name to the title.) Both are, by their own admission and diagnosis, somewhere on the spectrum — where precisely is unclear, as it so often is — and in something like love. The major issue, which becomes increasingly […] »

- Vadim Rizov

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