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“Humor Is Always Butting Up Against Tragedy”: Sterlin Harjo on Mekko

Premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 13th, Sterlin Harjo’s latest narrative feature Mekko treads territory both familiar and new to this Oklahoma-based, Native American director. An ex-con-versus-thug thriller set in the world of Tulsa’s real-life Indian homeless community, the film stars Hollywood stuntman Rod Rondeaux and boasts an all-Native cast (many of whom are part of that aforementioned homeless community). Filmmaker caught up with Harjo prior to Tiff to talk about his fourth feature – as well as German Indian-philia, Herzog’s Stroszek, and Native humor. Filmmaker: Mekko takes place in an Indian homeless community, and you use […]
See full article at Filmmaker Magazine_Director Interviews »

“Humor Is Always Butting Up Against Tragedy”: Sterlin Harjo on Mekko

Premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 13th, Sterlin Harjo’s latest narrative feature Mekko treads territory both familiar and new to this Oklahoma-based, Native American director. An ex-con-versus-thug thriller set in the world of Tulsa’s real-life Indian homeless community, the film stars Hollywood stuntman Rod Rondeaux and boasts an all-Native cast (many of whom are part of that aforementioned homeless community). Filmmaker caught up with Harjo prior to Tiff to talk about his fourth feature – as well as German Indian-philia, Herzog’s Stroszek, and Native humor. Filmmaker: Mekko takes place in an Indian homeless community, and you use […]
See full article at Filmmaker Magazine »

Tiff 2015 announces the Contemporary World Cinema lineup

Due to the large volume of films that the Toronto International Film Festival screens every year, participants often find themselves unsure of how to decide what to see. To that end, festival organisers often distribute the films into numerous programmes to reflect commonalities among them. The Contemporary World Cinema Programme, to that end, looks at the features from filmmakers from around the world, showcasing the talents being displayed from numerous countries.

The full lineup for the 2015 Tiff Contemporary World Cinema Programme has now been announced, adding to the previously announced slate of Canadian Films in the Programme. The films, as well as their official synopses, can be seen below.

25 April, directed by Leanne Pooley, making its World Premiere

Award-winning filmmaker Leanne Pooley utilizes the letters and memoirs of New Zealand soldiers and nurses along with state of the art animation to tell the true story of the 1915 battle of Gallipoli.
See full article at SoundOnSight »

L.A. Film Festival Exclusive: Trailer For Native American Drama 'Mekko'

When Hollywood decides to make movies about Native people, it's not often that they turn to the Native community for their input. But what makes the upcoming indie drama "Mekko" stand out, is that it's a film made about the Native American community by a Native American director and cast. And today, we're unveiling the exclusive trailer for the film. Sterlin Harjo writes and directs the film that centers on Mekko, a homeless Native American parolee in Tulsa, Oklahoma who is adjusting to life on the outside after two decades behind bars. However, after a tragic series of events, Mekko dedicates himself to a quest for revenge which he believes will cleanse the sickness from this collective of marginalized individuals and perhaps atone for the sins that landed him in jail so many years ago. And as you'll see in the trailer below, Harjo has put together a distinct and atmospheric picture.
See full article at The Playlist »

Countdown to Top Ten 2K11: "Meek's Cutoff"

  • IFC
Countdown to Top Ten 2K11:
Countdown to Top Ten 2K11 is a column with one simple goal: to help you decide what films you need to see before making your end of the year top ten list. Each installment features my thoughts on a critically acclaimed 2011 movie, a sampling of other critics' reactions, the odds of the film making my own list, and the reasons why it might make yours.

This time we're covering "Meek's Cutoff," one of the most divisive arthouse indies of the year. Is it a brilliantly original take on a classic genre or a steaming plate of "cultural vegetables?" Let's find out.

Movie: "Meek's Cutoff"

Director: Kelly Reichardt

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 85%

Plot Synopsis: Three families and their hapless guide lost on the Oregon Trail in 1845 struggle to survive as their water supplies dwindle lower and lower.

What the Critics Said: "Bracingly original," A.O. Scott, The New York Times

"Cinematic as it is,
See full article at IFC »

Blu-Ray Review: Brilliant Subtlety of Existential, Striking ‘Meek’s Cutoff’

Chicago – Kelly Reichardt’s “Meek’s Cutoff” is certainly not a film for everyone. It features long, drawn-out scenes that are not only free of dialogue but basically just feature sorrowful people walking to the rhythm of the wagon wheel and the tune of the blowing wind. For the right viewers, these passages will frustrate but if you give yourself over to this remarkable film, they will build tension inside of you in a unique, discomfiting way.

Blu-Ray Rating: 5.0/5.0

Very few films have ever conveyed an impending sense of doom as successfully as this one. And the key questions of Jon Raymond’s screenplay are timeless: Which way do you go when you’ve lost the map? Who do you trust when you can’t see beyond the horizon? How does someone simply keep moving forward when it’s so unclear where we’re going?

Meek’s Cutoff

Photo credit:
See full article at HollywoodChicago.com »

Film Review: ‘Meek’s Cutoff’ Turns Physical Journey Into Riveting Spiritual Drama

Rating: 5.0/5.0

Chicago – Very few films have ever conveyed an impending sense of doom as successfully as Kelly Reichardt’s stunningly accomplished “Meek’s Cutoff,” a journey into the past that has resonance for any era. Which way do you go when you’ve lost the map? Who do you trust when you can’t see beyond the horizon? How does man simply keep moving forward when it’s so unclear where we’re going?

“Meek’s Cutoff” is a spectacular drama, a piece of work with nary a flawed element. From the riveting performances (including at least two of the best of the year so far) to Reichardt’s strikingly sparse visual compositions to a script that took so many narrative risks, “Meek’s Cutoff” dares the viewer to wander the desolate landscape with its characters. Some will be unwilling to make the journey. It’s a slow film, to be sure,
See full article at HollywoodChicago.com »

Meek’s Cutoff | Review

Director: Kelly Reichardt Writer: Jonathan Raymond Starring: Michelle Williams, Bruce Greenwood, Paul Dano, Shirley Henderson, Will Patton, Zoe Kazan, Neal Huff, Tommy Nelson, Rod Rondeaux Loosely inspired by a true story, Meek’s Cutoff tells the story of a small group of pioneers’ 1845 attempt to relocate to Oregon via a tortured journey along the Oregon Trail. With all of their remaining worldly possessions loaded in wagons and all their faith placed in their guide, the grizzled and slightly sinister trapper and mountain man Stephen Meek (Bruce Greenwood), they are attempting an arduous trek across the roughest of country in hopes of starting over in a new land. While on its face Meek’s Cutoff is a fairly simplistic and straightforward film, scratch just under the surface and you find that it operates on multiple levels. The film’s unwavering starkly realistic atmosphere and minimalist mood are set early, from the
See full article at SmellsLikeScreenSpirit »

Kelly Reichardt on Surviving "Meek's Cutoff"

  • IFC
Kelly Reichardt on Surviving
"I don't know what making a film is like," Kelly Reichardt says near the end of our conversation. She's referring to the way other filmmakers work, but it could just as easily apply to her own work since in the past few years, she's been making experiences. In a celebrated run with screenwriter Jonathan Raymond that began in 2006 with the drama "Old Joy" and has continued on with two collaborations with Michelle Williams in "Wendy and Lucy" and "Meek's Cutoff," the director has become one of the most striking voices in cinema today by letting life take its course and gently adhere to Murphy's Law when it comes to her characters who battle against the unforgiving nature of the elements in Oregon and the hegemony that's been in place long before the protagonists ever enter the frame.

In fact, one of the most memorable shots in "Meek's Cutoff" seems to
See full article at IFC »

Kelly Reichardt on Meek's Cutoff

The Old Joy and Wendy And Lucy director spins great stories on micro budgets, but still has no plans to give up her day job

She has made some of the most haunting and enigmatic movies in recent American cinema, but chances are you won't recognise Kelly Reichardt's name. Although she's been directing since the early 1990s, she still has to rely on her job teaching at New York's Bard College for a steady income. Indeed, cash is so tight that the 46-year-old, Florida-born film-maker couldn't even afford an extra day's shooting to finish off the original ending for her latest.

This is Meek's Cutoff, a brooding western of sorts which trails three families inching across the Oregon desert by foot and wagon in 1845. Their guide is the maddening Stephen Meek (Bruce Greenwood), whose flawed navigational skills have left them plodding from one parched and featureless plateau to another as supplies and energies dwindle.
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Meek’s Cutoff

Reviewed by Randee Dawn

(from the 2010 New York Film Festival)

Directed by: Kelly Reichardt

Written by: Jonathan Raymond

Starring: Michelle Williams, Bruce Greenwood, Will Patton, Zoe Kazan, Paul Dano, Shirley Henderson, Neal Huff, Tommy Nelson and Rod Rondeaux

Silence and emptiness. A three-wagon train following a bearded man in a buckskin outfit tramps across vast scrubby plains and cracked white earth. This is how Kelly Reichardt introduces her small band of weary travelers, who have broken from the Oregon Trail in 1845 and followed mountain man Stephen Meek, who either doesn’t know the way or for some reason is delighting in leading them astray. The men are ciphers in their stoic misery (one even refuses water until he collapses) while the women run the gamut of superstitious and terrified, meek and pregnant, and a little sharper and tougher than all the rest.

“Meek’s Cutoff” is based on a real-life
See full article at Moving Pictures Network »

Meek’s Cutoff

Reviewed by Randee Dawn

(from the 2010 New York Film Festival)

Directed by: Kelly Reichardt

Written by: Jonathan Raymond

Starring: Michelle Williams, Bruce Greenwood, Will Patton, Zoe Kazan, Paul Dano, Shirley Henderson, Neal Huff, Tommy Nelson and Rod Rondeaux

Silence and emptiness. A three-wagon train following a bearded man in a buckskin outfit tramps across vast scrubby plains and cracked white earth. This is how Kelly Reichardt introduces her small band of weary travelers, who have broken from the Oregon Trail in 1845 and followed mountain man Stephen Meek, who either doesn’t know the way or for some reason is delighting in leading them astray. The men are ciphers in their stoic misery (one even refuses water until he collapses) while the women run the gamut of superstitious and terrified, meek and pregnant, and a little sharper and tougher than all the rest.

“Meek’s Cutoff” is based on a real-life
See full article at Moving Pictures Magazine »

UK Trailer Moses Onto The Net For Meek’s Cutoff

Kelly Reichardt’s latest film sees the director go back in time to the Oregon Trail circa 1845. A pioneer named Stephen Meek is leading a wagon train through the inhospitable High Oregon desert and things aren’t going to plan. The film screened at the Bird’s Eye View festival and you can read our brief review here. It’s released in the UK next month so come back for our full review then.

In the meantime check out the trailer which went out today via Soda Pictures, the UK distributor. The film stars Michelle Williams, Paul Dano, Bruce Greenwood and Shirley Henderson. Meek’s Cutoff is a great film.

Synopsis:

It’s 1845, and Stephen Meek (Bruce Greenwood) is a boastful, rough-hewn wilderness guide who has been hired by three families who want to start new lives on the other side of Oregon’s Cascade Mountains. Meek constantly tells his
See full article at FilmShaft.com »

Arty Poster Lands For Meek’s Cutoff

Film director Kelly Reichardt looks set to make a serious splash with her forthcoming tale of pioneers heading west in Meek’s Cutoff. After Old Joy and Wendy and Lucy, this 1845-set tale takes a different step and has attracted an excellent cast including Michelle Williams (who also starred in Wendy and Lucy), Paul Dano, Shirley Henderson, Will Patton and Bruce Greenwood.

An excellent woodcut-style poster has been put online, and it’s pretty inspired stuff. The film is released in the UK from April and there’s a special screening happening for Bird’s Eye Film Festival in March. Meek’s Cutoff was nominated for the Golden Lion at last year’s Venice Film Festival.

Synopsis:

It’s 1845, and Stephen Meek (Bruce Greenwood) is a boastful, rough-hewn wilderness guide who has been hired by three families who want to start new lives on the other side of Oregon’s Cascade Mountains.
See full article at FilmShaft.com »

Meek’s Cutoff Poster

  • HeyUGuys
Oscilloscope have released the official poster for indie-western Meek’s Cutoff.

Directed by Kelly Reichardt, Meek’s Cutoff stars Paul Dano, Michelle Williams, Bruce Greenwood, Shirley Henderson, Zoe Kazan, Tommy Nelson, Will Patton, Neal Huff and Rod Rondeaux.

Meek’s Cutoff premiered to mainly positive reviews at the 35th annual Toronto International Film Festival.

Settlers traveling through the Oregon desert in 1845 find themselves stranded in harsh conditions.

Check out the poster below:

Source: Moviefone
See full article at HeyUGuys »

Meek’s Cutoff | Review - Austin Film Festival 2010

Director: Kelly Reichardt Writer: Jonathan Raymond Starring: Michelle Williams, Bruce Greenwood, Paul Dano, Shirley Henderson, Will Patton, Zoe Kazan, Neal Huff, Tommy Nelson, Rod Rondeaux Meek's Cutoff follows the path of three families in 1845 on the dusty Oregon Trail who have made arrangements with a grissly guide by the name of Stephen Meek (Bruce Greenwood) to lead them and their covered wagons through the Cascade Mountains. Meek, a man of heavy self proclamation, has ignorantly lead his clients astray on a seemingly endless journey that begins to wear on his followers who begin to question his abilities and judgement. After days of broken promises from Meek, and after capturing a lone curious Native American man (Rod Rondeaux), Emily Tetherow (Michelle Williams) rises up to lead the rest of the party in following the guidance of the Native American who could take them out of the arid valleys to water. The
See full article at SmellsLikeScreenSpirit »

Meek’s Cutoff | Review - Austin Film Festival 2010

Director: Kelly Reichardt Writer: Jonathan Raymond Starring: Michelle Williams, Bruce Greenwood, Paul Dano, Shirley Henderson, Will Patton, Zoe Kazan, Neal Huff, Tommy Nelson, Rod Rondeaux The opening title -- which, hand-stitched in embroidery, establishes the intricately crafted nature of Meek’s Cutoff -- informs us that the characters of this tale are on the Oregon Trail in 1845. A small caravan of three families with covered wagons tediously crosses a river, first by walking the contents of their wagons across, then returning for the wagons and animals. Outfitted in the shabby worn-out clothing of 19th-century emigrants, the characters concentrate intensely on the difficult task at hand and do not utter a single word. In fact no one speaks for the first several minutes of Meek’s Cutoff, that is until we hear the voice of a young boy (Tommy Nelson) reciting a Biblical passage about Eden from the Book of Genesis.
See full article at SmellsLikeScreenSpirit »

Festival Beat: Meek's Cutoff

By Arthur Tiersky - October 9, 2010

“Meek’s Cutoff” defies easy description but if you can imagine an adaptation of the video game “Oregon Trail” being directed by Terence Malick you’ll be in the ballpark. It’s a beautifully-shot but languidly-paced, thinly-plotted Western that is light on character, even lighter on dialogue (there’s practically none for the first ten minutes), and heavy on atmosphere. You can probably already tell whether you’re more likely to fall in love with “Meek’s Cutoff” or shrug your shoulders at it. Count me in the latter.

We join an arduous trek over the barren, desolate Cascade Mountains in 1845. Three couples and the young son of one of them are being guided by grizzly Stephen Meek (an unrecognizable Bruce Greenwood, looking like the unholy spawn of Jeff Lebowski and Zz Top, and sounding like George Kennedy in “Cool Hand Luke”), who may or
See full article at Screen Comment »

'Meek's Cutoff' Review: Men, Muskets, & Michelle Williams (Nyff)

'Meek's Cutoff' Review: Men, Muskets, & Michelle Williams (Nyff)
Filed under: Reviews, Cinematical, Festivals

Sporadically fascinating but ultimately forgettable, 'Meek's Cutoff' is the most poorly played game of Oregon Trail I've ever seen, except director Kelly Reichardt ('Wendy and Lucy') is more interested in afflicting her settlers with paranoid tedium than with cholera. The year is 1845 and three married couples (intermittent offspring included) are trekking across the Oregon desert with their hooded wagons in search of, well, anything else. Water would be nice, and if they happen to stumble across some gold along the way, they'll take that, too. The party is lead by a paid frontiersman named Stephen Meek (Bruce Greenwood, unrecognizable beneath the scruffy muck of the era), a suspicious and confidently virile sort whose stubborn but potentially false directions might prove fatal in such dire circumstances. Tensions run high as resources run low, but when the group captures a lone Native American
See full article at Cinematical »

Tiff 2010 Top 10 New Faces: #5. Rod Rondeaux

#5. Rod Rondeaux - Meek's Cutoff Unless you were at the Venice and/or Tiff film festivals, chances are you haven't seen Kelly Reichardt's Meek's Cutoff. The number five spot is reserved to someone who, I was surprised to “encounter” as the film unfolded and I would even suggest you skip over onto the next “New Face”. Pic above, is obviously not related to the pic. Rod Rondeaux has done mostly stuntman work and played a small role in Ron Howard's The Missing, but this is his breakout role in playing The Cayuse. He doesn't speak one word of English, but what he does say in the native American language and the mannerisms he employs was probably meticulously researched. His gaze alone is worthy of a mention.
See full article at IONCINEMA.com »
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