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“Trump Was Always Going to Be in Our Film”: Brian Knappenberger on Nobody Speak: Trials of the Free Press

Hulk Hogan in Nobody Speak: Trials of the Free Press

An iconic figure of brute force, wholesome values and exaggerated patriotism, the red-and-yellow bandana-wearing Hulk Hogan was a pop culture phenomenon throughout the’80s professional wrestling boom. The face of the World Wrestling Federation under Vince McMahon, Hogan (real name: Terry Bollea) was a childhood hero for many children of a certain age, bodyslamming giants and providing leg-drops to bad guys who threatened to disrupt the concept of a wholesome America. Things have changed. Hogan left the company several times over rampant steroid abuse scandals and larger paydays for other promotions, but he always returned for one final run to pay back his fans. That option went off the table in 2016 when Gawker Media, the former journalism conglomerate specializing in…  Read more

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Jim McKay on His Return to Feature Filmmaking, the Soccer-Themed Drama, En el Séptimo Día

En el Septimo Dia

Jim McKay, whose early, mid ’90s/early-aughts features (Girls Town, Our Song, Everyday People and Angel) were empathetic and involving New York dramas suffused with a love of neighborhood and feeling for community, makes a welcome return to feature filmmaking with the Brooklyn-set En el Séptimo Día (“On the Seventh Day”), which premiered last week to strong notices at BAMcinemafest. With a fresh cast of mostly Spanish-speaking newcomers, McKay tells the story of Jose (a soulful Fernando Cardona), an undocumented Mexican immigrant who, weekdays plus Saturdays, does deliveries at an upscale Carroll Gardens restaurant while, on Sundays, playing as the star player on his local Sunset Park soccer team. Living in a small apartment cramped by coworkers and teammates, he’s saving…  Read more

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Twin Peaks, Parts 7-8: Re VFX and Almost Nothing More

Twin Peaks: The Return

I’ve got zip (that I want) to say (at this time) about Twin Peaks parts seven and eight in terms of The Bigger Picture, but I do want to delve into episode eight’s widely-presumed anomalous status — that it marked an unprecedented event not just in TV (true, I’m pretty sure) but in larger visual culture. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how many recappers, while clearly over their heads, are baseline sympathetic to finding themselves routinely unmoored, even if that means repeating over and over that this is closer to “avant-garde art” than  normal TV to meet the word count. My feed was busy connecting the dots to Peter Tscherkassky (gas station), Tony Conrad (the giant staring at feedback of what we’ve just…  Read more

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Reflections from a First-Time Director After Shooting All These Small Moments

back left going clockwise: Brian D’arcy James, Molly Ringwald, Sam McCarthy, Melissa B. Miller, Brendan Meyer. and photo taken by Katie Leary.

Melissa Miller-Costanzo recently wrote for Filmmaker about how she moved from below-the-line production work as an art department coordinator to the writer/director of an independent feature, All These Small Moments. Here, she follows up that article with this reflective piece about all the things she learned on her 18-day first-time shoot. “Okay, here’s some dialogue, we won’t hear it, it’s just something so your mouths will be moving. You’re coming home from a parent-teacher conference and discussing your son’s issues; that’s why you’re together.”Alright, and ACTION! “Um, Melissa,” a PA walkie’d me from outside while I watched the monitor inside. “Molly and Brian have a question for you.” How could they possibly have a question, I thought to myself. They…  Read more

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“You Try to Find the Beauty, Shoot It and Move On”: John G. Young on His Microbudget Drama, Bwoy

Bwoy

As Brad, a grief-stricken closeted gay man in upstate New York who becomes increasingly obsessed with a younger Jamaica man (Jimmy Brooks) he meets in an online meat market, Anthony Rapp (Star Trek: Discovery, Rent) is fantastic in writer-director John G. Young’s Bwoy. With a title based on the pronunciation of “boy” in Jamaican patois, the film at first seems like a story of online obfuscation, but it soon grows into a tense meditation on mourning and loss as we discover Brad bears some responsibility for the death of his son and remains in a marriage with Marcia (De’Adre Aziza) that will be forever sullied by its aftermath. Bwoy is both a rich character study of a depressed man as…  Read more

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“I Don’t Want to Find a Method… I Like Questoning What I Make”: João Pedro Rodrigues on The Ornithologist

The Ornithologist

This interview with João Pedro Rodrigues was originally conducted in 2016 when his new feature, The Ornithologist, premiered at the Locarno Film Festival. We’re reposting today on the occasion of the film’s U.S. release via Strand Releasing. The Ornithologist opens today in New York at the IFC Center and the Elinor Bunin Monroe Film Center. The last few years have been truly a whirlwind period for Portuguese director João Pedro Rodrigues, with career retrospectives in the US and Japan, filmmaker residencies at France’s prestigious Le Fresnoy and at the Harvard Film Archive, and even a competition slot at Locarno for his 2012 fake-noir playful docu-fiction hybrid The Last Time I Saw Macao, co-directed with his long-time creative and life partner…  Read more

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Michael Showalter on Working with Kumail Nanjiani and Judd Apatow on The Big Sick

Kumail Nanjiani and Zoe Kazan in The Big Sick

Michael Showalter was a known quantity in the comedy world before he gave feature directing a shot in 2005 with the unassuming indie The Baxter. He started out in the early 90s on MTV’s sketch show The State, which spawned the careers of many talents with whom Showalter has continued to collaborate on shows like Stella and films like They Came Together and Wet Hot American Summer (which stars Showalter and has led to two Netflix follow-up series). Much of this work, as well as Showalter’s excursive, vaguely non-committal standup, is characterized by a warm disdain for the form. In particular, his films with David Wain gleefully mock comedic tropes and often abandon basic filmmaking grammar in the anarchic spirit…  Read more

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Watch (and Look): Teaser and Poster for LAFF Premiere, Everything Beautiful is Far Away

Several 25 New Faces — directors Andrea Sisson and Pete Ohs as well as star Julia Garner — grace the Los Angeles Film Festival premiere, Everything Beautiful is Far Away, which screens tonight at 9:10 PM. Here’s the festival capsule: Traveling across a barren landscape, Lernert digs through piles of rubbish in an attempt to build a body for his companion, Susan, the unresponsive robot head who hangs from the back of his pack. The pair come across Rola, a spirited young woman who lacks survival skills but makes up for the deficiency with sheer determination. This unlikely trio navigates the harsh desert in search of a mythical water basin that could replenish their depleted resources and renew their will…  Read more

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Festivals & Events

Future Aleppo

Documentary Goes “Alternate Reality” at Sheffield Doc/Fest 2017

Virtual and augmented reality — a topic that is fast and feverishly taking over the zeitgeist of major film festivals — took center stage in last week’s 24th edition of the Sheffield Doc/Fest. “What exactly is a feature documentary now?” Paul Ashton of Creative England…  Read more

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on Jun 21, 2017

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