Indie News

‘Dear White People,’ ‘When They See Us’ Seeing Large Viewership Increases

‘Dear White People,’ ‘When They See Us’ Seeing Large Viewership Increases
Dear White People” and “When They See Us” are enjoying large viewership spikes as Americans seek out socially-relevant television content amidst the ongoing nationwide protests.

A new report from data firm Parrot Analytics noted that U.S. demand for “Dear White People” grew 329 percent over the last week, while “When They See Us” was up 147 percent compared to the previous week. The firm tracked demand for both series, which are available on Netflix, from May 27 to June 2. The third season of “Dear White People” and Ava DuVernay’s “When They See Us” miniseries premiered in mid-2019.

Parrot Analytics reported on the increased interest in both series following a week of nationwide protests regarding the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who was killed by a white police officer in Minnesota last week.

“During a week of pain and protest, these series are finding a resurgence of demand,” Ashley Alleyne-Morris,
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AT&T Ignores Net Neutrality: HBO Max Won’t Hit Data Caps but Competing Streamers Will

AT&T Ignores Net Neutrality: HBO Max Won’t Hit Data Caps but Competing Streamers Will
Three senators have accused AT&T of ignoring net neutrality principals by not counting the use of its new HBO Max streaming service against its customers’ data caps. AT&T data customers who use competing streamers, such as Netflix and Disney+, will have that usage counted against their data caps.

Democratic senators Edward Markey, Richard Blumenthal, and Ron Wyden published a letter to AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson regarding the telecom giant’s decision on Thursday. The move favors AT&T customers who use its own streaming service, which would’ve been illegal under the net neutrality rules that the Ajit Pai-led Federal Communications Commission repealed in 2018.

For example, an AT&T customer with a one gigabyte data plan could stream as much HBO Max as they’d like without it contributing to their data cap. But if that customer were to stream content from a rival streaming service, it
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Annecy 2020 Online’s Masterclasses and Previews, from ‘Spider-Verse’ Follow-Up to ‘Frozen 2’ Doc

Annecy 2020 Online’s Masterclasses and Previews, from ‘Spider-Verse’ Follow-Up to ‘Frozen 2’ Doc
Annecy 2020 Online’s second wave of special programming for its world-class French animation festival (June 15-30) will include a preview from the highly anticipated “Connected”, the latest feature from “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” producers Phil Lord and Chris Miller, and a Masterclass from stop-motion director Henry Selick and composer Bruno Coulais, who collaborated on Netflix’s upcoming demon comedy, “Wendell & Wild”, and Laika’s “Coraline.”

Also in the mix will be discussions with director Dean DeBlois (DreamWorks Animation’s “How to Train Your Dragon” trilogy), Disney’s legendary directing duo Ron Clements and John Musker, Disney’s chief creative officer/director Jennifer Lee and director Chris Buck on their upcoming Disney+ doc, “Into the Unknown: Making ‘Frozen 2′” (streaming June 26), the art of storyboarding at Cartoon Network Studios (“Summer Camp Island”), a 20th anniversary remembrance of “Chicken Run” with Aardman’s Nick Park and Peter Lord, and a conversation with the
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Why Nato Promises Most Global Theaters Will Be Open for ‘Tenet’ by July 17

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Why Nato Promises Most Global Theaters Will Be Open for ‘Tenet’ by July 17
The National Association of Theater Owners (Nato), which represents 68,000 Screens in 99 Countries, is tracking theater reopenings around the world, country by country, and checking their market share. On that basis, per a spokesman, they expect some 90 percent of theaters worldwide to be open by July 17, the date still set for Warner Bros.’ release of Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet.”

The $200-million “Tenet” leads the way for the studios to get back into the business of showing movies on the big screen. As markets slowly open in the U.S., led by Texas, the film industry is monitoring audience interest in returning to theaters. But “Is it safe?” is an open question.

Many theaters are in early stages of planning their reopenings; many by late this month will be ramping up with library titles like the “Harry Potter” and “Indiana Jones” series. It’s likely that Nato is releasing this optimistic theater opening data,
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Randall Miller to Be Summoned to Court for Alleged Probation Violation

Randall Miller to Be Summoned to Court for Alleged Probation Violation
Randall Miller, the “Midnight Rider” director serving probation for his role in the 2014 death of camera assistant Sarah Jones, will be summoned to court for allegedly violating his probation by directing a new film last year, Variety reported.

As part of a 2015 plea deal in Georgia, Miller pleaded guilty to criminal trespassing and involuntary manslaughter in connection to Jones’ death. She was killed and several others injured when a train plowed through a “Midnight Rider” set that was set up on a Georgia train trestle.

He was released after serving a year in prison and is now subject to a 10-year probation in which he is “prohibited from serving as director, first assistant director or supervisor with responsibility for safety in any film production.”

Miller’s lawyers understood that to mean that Miller was allowed to shoot his latest film, “Higher Grounds,” in Serbia, Colombia, and the UK last year,
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As ‘The Help’ Goes #1 on Netflix, Critics Speak Out and Offer Better Movies to Stream

As ‘The Help’ Goes #1 on Netflix, Critics Speak Out and Offer Better Movies to Stream
Tate Taylor’s 2011 drama “The Help” is the No. 1 most-watched movie on Netflix (per the streamer’s June 4 chart), which isn’t sitting right with a handful of critics and journalists as the movie’s popularity in streaming coincides with the nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd. “The Help,” based on Kathryn Stockett’s 2009 novel of the same name, has been criticized for its white savior narrative and for sidelining the perspective of black characters like the maids Aibileen (Viola Davis) and Minny (Octavia Spencer). The film was a box office hit ($216 million worldwide), an Oscar nominee for Best Picture, and an Oscar winner for Spencer’s supporting performance.

That “The Help” is pulling in such streaming numbers to top Netflix’s charts amid the George Floyd protests has prompted notable writers such as Ashly Perez, Rebecca Theodore-Vachon, and Ira Madison III to speak out against the film’s surge in viewership.
See full article at Indiewire »

‘Wake Up: Stories from the Frontlines of Suicide Prevention’ Review: Doc Provides Slim, but Important Insight

‘Wake Up: Stories from the Frontlines of Suicide Prevention’ Review: Doc Provides Slim, but Important Insight
Late one evening in June 2014, Ryan Candice — the kind of person everyone felt was their best friend, the sort of guy so special even his own brothers readily admit he is their parents’ favorite — walked into a hospital and told them he was suffering from suicidal thoughts. Candice’s state didn’t appear to merit more care, however, and he was sent home. Hours later, he committed suicide. The shockwaves of Candice’s death rippled throughout his community, family, and friends, eventually inspiring a group of loved ones to create their own nonprofit organization to raise awareness of the United States’ growing suicide epidemic.

The result of that lofty ideal is a smart one: a wide-ranging documentary that doesn’t center any one group’s experience with suicide and mental illness. Nate Townsend’s “Wake Up: Stories from the Frontlines of Suicide Prevention” is really four films in one, but
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Theater Owners Expect 90% Of World’s Cinemas To Be Open By ‘Tenet’ Release Date

Theater Owners Expect 90% Of World’s Cinemas To Be Open By ‘Tenet’ Release Date
Perhaps the most frustrating part about the whole release date fiasco surrounding “Tenet” is the lack of information from Warner Bros. We all know that the studio would love to release the film in July, and Christopher Nolan wants to be the filmmaker that ushers in the post-covid-19 box office with a huge, splashy action epic. But the studio has remained silent on what criteria it’s using to make the decision to either release the film or delay it.

Continue reading Theater Owners Expect 90% Of World’s Cinemas To Be Open By ‘Tenet’ Release Date at The Playlist.
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At-Home Viewers Seek Out Films About the Black Experience, from ‘Just Mercy’ to ‘Waves’

At-Home Viewers Seek Out Films About the Black Experience, from ‘Just Mercy’ to ‘Waves’
One fascinating trend emerging from the pandemic is that movie watchers stuck at home are responding to new titles that can be made available to them on a dime. As Black Lives Matter protests unfolded across every state in America, audiences searched out films related to these swiftly moving events. The reaction seems to be organic, as many viewers of all stripes are looking for more than entertainment. They seem to be eager to learn and to broaden their awareness of the experiences of their fellow Americans.

Warner Bros. wasted no time in offering free VOD downloads of Destin Daniel Cretton’s Bryan Stevenson biopic “Just Mercy,” starring Michael B. Jordan as the crusading prison lawyer who tries to save an Alabama prisoner (Jamie Foxx) from Death Row. The 2019 holiday release delivered $50 million at the global box office, and initial VOD results were strong. So far the film ranks #3 on iTunes.
See full article at Indiewire »

IndieWire Critics Roundtable: ‘#blackAF’ and the Dilemmas of Black Criticism

IndieWire Critics Roundtable: ‘#blackAF’ and the Dilemmas of Black Criticism
Reviews of Kenya Barris’ new Netflix series “#blackAF” have been mixed at best; critical consensus is that it’s uncertain what Barris is trying to say in what is effectively a freewheeling retread of “black-ish” but with an abundance of expletives.

It does appear that Barris wants to chew on what he sees as the dilemma of being a successful black content creator in Hollywood today. That premise is expressed most clearly in Episode 5, during which Barris raises the often touchy subject that is black criticism of black art.

In the episode, Barris revisits Lena Waithe’s contentious 2019 comments about the need for a more robust evaluation of black film and television by black critics, while ruminating on whether black people are free to honestly and publicly critique work produced by black content creators.

“I feel like we don’t have film criticism anymore, in a real way,” Waithe said at the time.
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Lilly Wachowski Walked Away From Filmmaking After Corporate Interference Pushed Her To The “Breaking Point”

Lilly Wachowski Walked Away From Filmmaking After Corporate Interference Pushed Her To The “Breaking Point”
The Wachowskis are some of the most influential filmmakers of the past two decades. Whether it’s with their work on films such as “Bound,” “Speed Racer,” or, of course, “The Matrix” (and its sequels), the filmmaking duo has consistently been on the forefront of pushing the boundaries of filmmaking with new technology and transgressive themes. And while Lana Wachowski has continued to work in films and TV series, most recently returning to “The Matrix” franchise for a fourth film, Lilly Wachowski walked away from the industry six years ago.

Continue reading Lilly Wachowski Walked Away From Filmmaking After Corporate Interference Pushed Her To The “Breaking Point” at The Playlist.
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‘Tenet,’ Reopening Cinemas & The Current State Of The Theatrical Industry [Discourse Podcast]

‘Tenet,’ Reopening Cinemas & The Current State Of The Theatrical Industry [Discourse Podcast]
Note: This episode was recorded over a week ago, before the current state of affairs. If you have the means, please consider donating to Black Lives Matter and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, among many other organizations, during this time.

It’s a strange, ever-adapting world in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the film industry is no exception.

Continue reading ‘Tenet,’ Reopening Cinemas & The Current State Of The Theatrical Industry [Discourse Podcast] at The Playlist.
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‘Dune’ Cinematographer Says Film Is a ‘Fully Standalone Epic’ Despite Two-Movie Plan

‘Dune’ Cinematographer Says Film Is a ‘Fully Standalone Epic’ Despite Two-Movie Plan
For Oscar-nominated cinematographer Greig Fraser, filming Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune” meant having to forget about his time in the “Star Wars” universe as the director of photography on projects such as “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” and “The Mandalorian.” In a new interview with Collider, Fraser says part of the fun of “Dune” was changing things up from his work on “Star Wars” projects.

“I had to forget a lot of ‘Star Wars’ when I was making ‘Dune.’ It wasn’t hard, though,” Fraser said. “Denis and I spoke clearly about how the film should look and should feel, and the formats and this and that, so it was not hard to swerve and change lanes.”

Fraser continued, “There were some similarities like the deserts. I mean listen, ultimately, I’m positive George Lucas was inspired by ‘Dune’ when he made ‘Star Wars.’ I don’t know if that’s sacrilegious to talk about,
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‘Dune’ Cinematographer Film Is “A Fully Standalone Epic” Despite Only Adapting Part Of The Novel

‘Dune’ Cinematographer Film Is “A Fully Standalone Epic” Despite Only Adapting Part Of The Novel
Don’t be fooled by the simple, one-word title, the upcoming “Dune” is really just part one of a planned two-parter that fully adapts the classic sci-fi novel written by Frank Herbert. Unlike David Lynch’s adaptation of the novel back in the ‘80s, filmmaker Denis Villeneuve believes that it’s impossible to accurately bring Herbert’s vision to life in only one film. So, going into the upcoming sci-fi epic, fans should really only expect one-half of the story.

Continue reading ‘Dune’ Cinematographer Film Is “A Fully Standalone Epic” Despite Only Adapting Part Of The Novel at The Playlist.
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Early Jackie Chan Titles On The Criterion Channel Showcase An Artist In Transition

Early Jackie Chan Titles On The Criterion Channel Showcase An Artist In Transition
1978 was a big year for Jackie Chan. After years of flailing about in serious kung fu films, with producers and directors attempting (as they did with so many of his contemporaries) to fashion Chan into the next Bruce Lee, he was loaned out to the independent production company Seasonal Films for two films. Their director, Yuen Woo-ping (who would later achieve international fame as the martial arts choreographer on the “Matrix” and “Kill Bill” films), gave Chan not only the freedom to direct his own fight scenes but to free himself of the stone-seriousness of those early efforts.

Continue reading Early Jackie Chan Titles On The Criterion Channel Showcase An Artist In Transition at The Playlist.
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Ari Aster Says His Next Project Is A 4-Hour “Nightmare Comedy”

Ari Aster Says His Next Project Is A 4-Hour “Nightmare Comedy”
Unlike 2018 and 2019, this year is sadly devoid of a new film from director Ari Aster. With his first two features, “Hereditary” and “Midsommar,” doing great business and exciting film fans, many were hoping that Aster would have another quick turnaround on a project for this year. Apparently, that’s not the case, but the filmmaker is hard at work on a new feature and from the sound of it, the new film is going to be pretty unique.

Continue reading Ari Aster Says His Next Project Is A 4-Hour “Nightmare Comedy” at The Playlist.
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Criterion Lifts Paywall to Stream ‘Daughters of the Dust’ and More Black Films for Free

Criterion Lifts Paywall to Stream ‘Daughters of the Dust’ and More Black Films for Free
The Criterion Collection on Thursday joined the wave of industry supporters who’ve come out in the past week to help fight systemic racism, and help advocate for police reform and support protesters across America. From A24 to Bad Robot, film’s leading voices are stepping up in response to current events. In an email from Criterion president Peter Becker and CEO Jonathan Turell, the company announced a $25,000 initial contribution, followed by an ongoing $5,000 monthly commitment for organizations supporting Black Lives Matter.

But Criterion also announced that it’s lifting the paywall on select titles from Black filmmakers, and white filmmakers who’ve captured the Black experience through documentary, so that audiences at home can stream them for free, with no need for a subscription.

Titles streaming for free on Criterion Channel include Julie Dash’s “Daughters of the Dust,” Maya Angelou’s “Down in the Delta,” Shirley Clarke’s “Portrait of Jason,
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22 Films About Rebellion, Protests & Civil Unrest

22 Films About Rebellion, Protests & Civil Unrest
America is not okay.

Maybe America has never been okay. Maybe certain members of our society are just now starting to realize this fact. In any case, the Band-Aid of civility has been ripped from our flesh, the fissures and wounds of our great American experiment now exposed for what they are: bruised ideals, a great many of which are built on fallacies.

Read More: Spike Lee Releases A Video Showing How George Floyd Murder Mirrors His Film ‘Do The Right Thing

The murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is not the only reason that protestors around the country are currently squaring off with police forces and the National Guard.

Continue reading 22 Films About Rebellion, Protests & Civil Unrest at The Playlist.
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Criterion Channel Makes A Number Of Films From Black Filmmakers Available For Free & Establishes Fund To Help Fight Racism

Criterion Channel Makes A Number Of Films From Black Filmmakers Available For Free & Establishes Fund To Help Fight Racism
Over the past several days, we’ve seen a number of big companies respond to the death of George Floyd and the continued protests that have occurred all over the country in response to yet another unarmed Black person being killed by a police officer. And now, Criterion has joined the discussion.

Criterion President Peter Becker and CEO Jonathan Turell recently penned a statement to the film community about the steps the company is taking to help support the Black Lives Matter movement, along with the various other organizations that are fighting against systemic racism.

Continue reading Criterion Channel Makes A Number Of Films From Black Filmmakers Available For Free & Establishes Fund To Help Fight Racism at The Playlist.
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Ifp Stands with Black Lives Matter

Independent Filmmaker Project, which is Filmmaker‘s publisher, issued yesterday the following statement: Ifp stands with Black Lives Matter and we believe Black Lives Matter. As a collective team, we recognize that we can play an even greater role in supporting and amplifying the voices of Black storytellers in film and media arts. We are taking actionable steps towards developing internal leadership, staffing, outreach and programming as part of our commitment. This will be accomplished by strengthening our present partnerships and seeking new partnerships with a focus on collaborations, mentorship and education for Black storytellers. With leadership comes accountability and we […]
See full article at Filmmaker Magazine »
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