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18 articles


R.I.P., Documentary Great Albert Maysles

5 hours ago

The legendary documentary filmmaker Albert Maysles passed away last night, reported The Criterion Collection on the day it is rereleasing one of his most indelible and influential works, Grey Gardens (co-directed with David Maysles, Ellen Hovde and Muffie Meyer). He was 88. With David, his brother, Albert Maysles made “direct cinema” documentaries that were politically and socially impactful upon release and aesthetically groundbreaking for generations of filmmakers to follow. The 1969 documentary Salesman (co-directed with Charlotte Zerin) captured the everyday sorrows of ordinary people — in this case, door-to-door Bible salesman — toiling in the shadows of both the American […] »

- Scott Macaulay

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Five Views of Rendez-Vous with French Cinema 2015

6 hours ago

On the basis of the five films I sampled in the 20th edition of Lincoln Center’s annual “Rendez-Vous with French Cinema” series, I’m not inclined to make any diagnoses of either the state of French cinema or even this year’s edition. All five were worth seeing but only one skirted essential status, so let’s start there. Inelegantly labeled 40-Love in English (the French title, Terre batue, translates as “clay court”), Stéphane Demoustier’s first feature grows logically from his documentary short Fille du calvaire, a look at the long and difficult path awaiting young men training to be tennis pros. 40-Love initially appears to […] »

- Vadim Rizov

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Say it Again: How to Do No-Budget Adr for Independent Films

9 hours ago

My first feature, Veer!, was shot primarily on Super 16mm, on an old Eclair Acl I got off eBay. While it shot beautiful images, the camera sounded like a helicopter taking off when rolling. Interior dialog scenes were especially nightmarish for sound, and one scene in particular retains no original production audio because of this. We had to re-create the scene’s audio — dialogue, background ambience and foley — completely from scratch. But when I point out which scene it is, people don’t always believe me. Indeed, good Adr goes unnoticed, and as much as I’d like to pat myself […] »

- Patrick Barry

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Tribeca Film Festival Announces 2015 Spotlight and Midnight Sections

5 March 2015 11:00 AM, PST

Rounding out this week’s program announcement for the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival are the Spotlight and Midnight Sections, along with a handful of Special Screenings and Works-in-Progress. The Spotlight selection includes several world premieres, such as Tim Blake Nelson’s Anesthesia; Thought Crimes, directed by Erin Lee Carr, daughter of the late, great David; David Gelb’s A Faster Horse; as well as Sundance banner titles Sleeping With Other People, Cartel Land, The Overnight, Slow West, Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead, and more. The festival is also presenting a Special Screenings section, full of “eventized” affairs, like the world premiere of Mary J. Blige – The London Sessions, followed by […] »

- Sarah Salovaara

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Screwball Comedy, Marriage and Filmmaking: Lawrence Levine and Sophia Takal on Wild Canaries

5 March 2015 10:55 AM, PST

A loose-limbed caper comedy that lovingly mashes Hollywood screwball conventions with Brooklyn relationship drama, Lawrence Michael Levine’s sophomore picture, Wild Canaries, tries two things most independent films don’t, and largely succeeds. It’s narratively complex — maybe not Inherent Vice-level, but this mystery thriller about an engaged pair of armchair detectives investigating a possible murder in a rent-controlled apartment is strewn with crosses, double-crosses, disguises and clues. Even more impressively, Wild Canaries shoots for a quality that is often a byproduct of independent cinema but not a goal: entertainment. Inspired, says actor/writer/director Levine, by the “Nick and Nora” Thin Man movies […] »

- Scott Macaulay

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“I’m Not Interested in Cinema”: Adam Curtis on Bitter Lake

5 March 2015 9:25 AM, PST

This weekend the True/False Film Festival will bestow its annual True Vision Award to BBC house provocateur Adam Curtis “in honor of his dedication to and advancement in the field of nonfiction filmmaking.” Although the 59-year-old Curtis doesn’t think of himself as a filmmaker, it seems like an apt choice; he’s become one of the cinema’s essential purveyors of historical counter-narratives. In films largely made for TV and internet audiences consisting mostly of found footage collage techniques, he uses an aesthetic language as indebted to experimentalist Bruce Connor as it is to the sensationalist evening news of the 1980s, making the […] »

- Brandon Harris

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Watch: “The Unloved: The Lone Ranger & Heaven’s Gate“

5 March 2015 7:00 AM, PST

“How do we define failure when it comes to motion pictures?” Simultaneously defending the more-or-less rehabilitated Heaven’s Gate and the not-so-much The Lone Ranger is a hard task, but presumably someone has to do it. In this video essay, Scout Tafoya gives a surprisingly plausible stab at arguing that both are underrated slabs of greatness with much in common, alternately grimly realistic and expensively glossy takes on the genocide of the Native Americans, presentational flip sides of the same coin. »

- Filmmaker Staff

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Is Netflix’s Move Towards Traditional Distribution In Favor of Filmmakers, But Against the Theaters?

4 March 2015 1:26 PM, PST

The notion of boycotting day-and-date releases seems a bit extreme since it’s a widely practiced distribution strategy for several years running, but that’s just what AMC, Regal, Cinemark and Carmike are planning with Cary Fukunaga’s Netflix-acquired Beasts of No Nation. The exhibitors informed Variety that they will not screen the film for the sole reason that “they do not want to provide screens to films that do not honor what is typically a 90-day delay between a theatrical debut and a home entertainment release,” thus conflating the latter, last step in the release process, with the more preliminary day-and-date. Their reasoning, however, speaks to the […] »

- Sarah Salovaara

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Previewing the 2015 True/False Film Festival

4 March 2015 6:00 AM, PST

I’m an unabashed partisan for the True/False Film Festival (this will be my sixth consecutive year attending), which kicks off tomorrow and runs through Sunday. There are 37 features in this year’s line-up, plus four shorts programs, the first five episodes of Andrew Jarecki’s HBO mini-series The Jinx, and another five “secret screenings” — films identified in the program only by color, shown here prior to their official world premieres elsewhere. This is also the third year of the Neither/Nor sidebar, and this year’s edition is especially ambitious, a plunge into the largely underknown world of Polish documentary, complete with […] »

- Vadim Rizov

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Today-Lies, Not Dailies: Focus Dp Xavier Grobet on Using Final Cut X, Lut Tables, and Instant Color Timing

3 March 2015 12:00 PM, PST

Early in the new film Focus, a veteran con man played by Will Smith teaches his fledgling grifter protégé (Margot Robbie) the tools of the trade: misdirection, deception, subliminal suggestion. They’re a few of the tools applied in Focus by cinematographer Xavier Grobet as well, who is tasked with not only making the New York, New Orleans and Buenos Aires locations sleek and alluring but also with pushing audiences alternately toward and away from the plot’s various double-crosses. Focus marks the second collaboration between Grobet and I Love You Phillip Morris directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa. The Mexican cinematographer […] »

- Matt Mulcahey

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Trailer Watch: Anja Marquardt’s She’s Lost Control

3 March 2015 11:10 AM, PST

Opening March 20th at the Media Center in Dumbo is Anja Marquardt’s atmospheric debut, She’s Lost Control. Recently nominated for two Independent Spirit Awards, including Best First Feature and Best First Screenplay, the film stars Brooke Bloom as a graduate student/sex surrogate who emotionally abandons herself to one of her more violent patients. At SXSW last year, where the drama had its North American premiere, I wrote that “Marquardt uses the untraditional avenue of sex surrogacy to explore the contradiction at the crux of her character study,” in portraying a woman who has trouble practicing the very intimacy she preaches. »

- Sarah Salovaara

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Tribeca Film Festival Announces 2015 World Narrative, Documentary Competition and Viewpoints Selections

3 March 2015 11:00 AM, PST

The Tribeca Film Festival today announced the first half of its 2015 slate — 51 of the 97 films, including both its World Narrative and Documentary competitions. Nearly one quarter of this year’s festival directors are women, including quite a few directors with titles anticipated by Filmmaker readers. These include cinematographer Reed Morano’s directorial debut, Meadowland; Pamela Romanowsky’s adaptation of Stephen Elliot’s true-crime memoir, The Adderall Diaries; Rikki Stern and Annie Sundberg’s latest, In My Father’s House; Vanessa Hope’s look at China’s role on the world stage through the story of former Utah governor Jon Huntsman and his adopted daughter, […] »

- Scott Macaulay

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“I am Optimistic about the Film Industry Finding Alternative Methods of Distribution”: Leslie Vuchot on Non-Theatrical Distribution

3 March 2015 7:28 AM, PST

I’m sitting in a small 190°F room. I have taken my glasses off because I think they’d melt, so I can’t see. Also, I’m naked, as is everyone around me. My friend and I are whispering, most likely disturbing the neighboring nudes, but this is my first time in a Berlin sauna, so I’m not familiar with the collective sweaty silence that Germans call relaxation. As my friend escorts me through the different bathing rooms, I try to keep an open mind because a night at the Stadtbad is a Berlin staple. Twenty-five years ago, two friends also made a […] »

- Taylor Hess

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Sons of Anarchy: Cymbeline at Film Comment Selects

3 March 2015 6:30 AM, PST

In delivering the first fully 20th-century filmic transplant of Hamlet, Michael Almereyda made wondering how he’d update each famous beat part of the fun, from “to be or not to be” rendered as prince Ethan Hawke’s internal monologue against Blockbuster’s “Action” aisle (totally unexpected, too-obvious only after its execution) to the total collapsing of “The Mousetrap”‘s text into a wordless Lewis Klahr short. That 2000 rendition took place in sleek, ever-more-expensive Manhattan — the birthright setting of one of Shakespeare’s most familiar plays, which deserved nothing less. This Cymbeline‘s location is never specified, but you can see Bay Ridge A-train subway stops at the frame’s sides; it’s an outer-borough and upstate […] »

- Vadim Rizov

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Watch: The Subterranean Stadium, A New Errol Morris Short Film

2 March 2015 12:12 PM, PST

For his next semi-unlikely move, Errol Morris is making six shorts for Espn Films. This first installment, The Subterranean Stadium, delves into the world of electric football. With guidance from “commissioner” John “Larue” Dicarlo, Morris uses his typically on-point interview skills (and offscreen, typically astonished-sounded questions) to guide us through a game whose players claim, plausibly, is as complex as chess. »

- Filmmaker Staff

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Watch: Whiplash, The Short

2 March 2015 10:14 AM, PST

Initially unable to raise the $3 million budget for Whiplash, Damien Chazelle made a proof of concept, 18-minute short film that premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. Now available online, the short looks to be more or less an exact excerpt of the feature script, distilling Fletcher’s emotional manipulation, rage, and abuse into three consecutive scenes. The precise editing, gliding camerawork, and J.K. Simmons’ high octane performance are all on display, though the short — presumably for budgetary reasons — lacks the isolated, brooding mood and dark yellow color pallet of the feature version. Also notable is that Johnny Simmons was […] »

- Sarah Salovaara

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Davey Foundation Offers Grants for Short Films; Deadline March 15

2 March 2015 8:00 AM, PST

From filmmaker and Davey Foundation board member Dustin Guy Defa comes word of the upcoming deadline for the Davey Foundation, which will give three grants to filmmakers 35 years and younger for the production of short films. Ben Kegan’s The First Men won the Davey’s single grant last year. This year, two grants have been added, and the awards mix cash with in-kind services and mentorship. Full details below: The Davey Foundation was created to honor the life of David Ross Fetzer and his commitment to the film and theater arts. For 2015, the foundation is handing out three short […] »

- Scott Macaulay

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For Your Film Set or Living Room, Dean Fleischer-Camp’s “Hyper-Generic” Prop Posters

2 March 2015 7:00 AM, PST

When, in 2013, I spoke to Dean Fleischer Camp about his exquisitely deadpan web series, Catherine, created with Jenny Slate, I immediately wanted to know about its production design. How did he come up with its uncannily bland, generically discomforting visual spaces? The director told me that his inspirations included the ’90s TV show Kids in the Hall as well as Lars von Trier’s The Kingdom, but that part of the show’s visual aesthetic came from the porn-movie sets he was renting as a location. Now, Camp writes with word of a new project that furthers the aesthetic he’s been […] »

- Scott Macaulay

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18 articles



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