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Spoiler Alert! How to Tell the Story Without Telling the Story

13 hours ago

(Warning: There will be spoilers) When Charlie McDowell’s mysterious film The Discovery debuted at Sundance last January, its distributor, Netflix, premiered a teaser trailer along with it — a good strategy, considering the film’s intriguing premise (that science has proven the existence of an afterlife) and its abundance of plot twists. No spoilers, please! A beautiful piece of promotion for a dark sci-fi romance ostensibly about life after death but essentially about a person looking for his soul mate, the teaser uses Roy Orbison’s “Only the Lonely” for an 88-second music-driven montage (a song not used in the film but well-suited for […] »

- Stephen Garrett

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Don’t Bring Your Business Card to Borscht

21 March 2017 12:33 PM, PDT

I missed my 6am flight on the last day of the Borscht Film Festival. I blame Moonlight. And Miami. It had been an insanely inspiring weekend of art, film and new friendships at the festival’s 10th year down in Miami. Borscht ran February 22-26, encompassing live performances, film screenings, art installations, parties on islands and even a viking funeral — which I, regretfully, missed. I’d been hearing about Borscht for years through a number of my friends in the film community and via co-founders Jillian Mayer and Lucas Levya’s visionary films/art. Over and over, I was told the fest was […] »

- Meredith Alloway

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Art and Commerce Are Stuck in An Abusive Relationship

21 March 2017 9:54 AM, PDT

Is there such a thing as a moral or “best” way to finance a movie in this country? Should filmmakers and artists be allowed to earn a living without having to worry about making their work commercial? What and where is the line when “art” becomes “entertainment”? And when “entertainment” becomes pure “product”? With the Trump administration’s proposed gutting of federal funding for the arts, these are some of the questions that have been rattling around my mind lately. I find them more difficult than ever to untangle. Questions about the relationship between art and commerce are exceedingly complex, not to mention […] »

- Dan Schoenbrun

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Eight Shorts From SXSW 2017

20 March 2017 11:46 AM, PDT

As the 2017 edition of SXSW comes to a close, here’s a list of eight short films I saw that are worthy of your attention. There’s no clear throughline apparent here: documentary work investigating the infected water supply of the DC water crisis, midnight selections featuring mannequin heads that come to life to suck face, and miscellaneous narrative shorts that cover everything from the ending of a romantic relationship to a bond formed during an impending school shooting. Many will continue to screen on the festival circuit throughout the year, and some will be made readily available online before you know it. […] »

- Erik Luers

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SXSW 2017: Nanfu Wang’s I Am Another You and Jason Cortlund & Julia Halperin’s La Barracuda

20 March 2017 10:33 AM, PDT

While resisting the urge to hyperbolically and lazily link any one film I see at this year’s SXSW to another, allow me to quickly note that Nanfu Wang’s I Am Another You (a world premiere in the Documentary Feature Competition section) and Julia Halperin and Jason Cortlund’s La Barracuda (which world premiered in Narrative Feature Competition) are, at their core, about women voluntarily visiting a piece of America foreign to them (Florida and Texas, respectively) to reveal their bare selves in the process. Wang is from China, the character of Sinoloa is from England; both come to town with a purpose that may not always be clear, […] »

- Erik Luers

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