Watch: Manakamana Mergings, A Video by Kevin B. Lee


When I wrote about Manakamana last year, I noted that it’s a bit disorienting, more so than the “11 rides in a cable car” premise suggests: The car can go up or down and its passengers can sit facing the direction they’re going or with their back toward it, affecting the camera’s placement opposite. Even before considering the number onboard, that’s four variables that make orientation — knowing what to anticipate in the background, which posts will be passed with a clang at what time, whether a village mid-way through the journey will be visible on the left or right, or at all — a constant battle. Kevin B. Lee’s new video Manakamana Mergings offers some clarity. As he writes,…  Read more


Euro-Pudding and Look Books: Takeaways from Day One at IFP’s Filmmaker Conference

Elisabeth Holm, Gillian Robespierre and moderator Dan Schoenbrun Elisabeth Holm, Gillian Robespierre and moderator Dan Schoenbrun

After sitting through the majority of the New Narratives presentations on day one of the Filmmaker Conference at IFP Film Week, my brain is almost too awash with content to compile anything but a listicle. From conversations with cinematographers like Reed Morano and producers like Mynette Louie to an Obvious Child case study and Kevin B. Lee’s mini-keynote, here is a handful of the major takeaways I gleaned from yesterday’s Conference. 1. For co-productions, don’t assume hiring local crew is the cheapest option. Arriving to the Icelandic set of Land Ho!, producers Mynette Louie and Sara Murphy realized they were sharing ground with a slightly larger production: Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar. Because the majority of films shot in Reykjavik and the surrounding countryside have a budget slightly upward of $1 million (see: Noah, Game…  Read more


IBC 2014: A Big Show for Sony and Blackmagic

Sony PXW-FS7 Sony PXW-FS7

IBC is the European equivalent of NAB, and one of the few times lots of manufacturers are announcing and updating products. This show has seen some big news, particularly from Sony and Blackmagic. Sony PXW-FS7 Sony made a huge splash with the PXW-FS7. This camera slots in between their NEX-FS700 and the PMW-F5, and while it has the same E-mount as the NEX-FS700 it is a very different camera. Sony has almost completely rethought their design, intending this one for the documentary and news shooter, and focusing on making it shoulder useable without the addition of a rig. The key features for the camera are: on-board 4K 10 bit 4:2:2 XAVC recording, up to 14 stops latitude, S-Log3, and built-in…  Read more


“I Am Here to Declare the Word ‘Documentarian’ Dead”: Michael Moore’s Documentary Commandments

From the Roger and Me trailer From the Roger and Me trailer

Michael Moore loves TIFF and this week he paid the festival back with a series of events and screenings, including the 25th anniversary presentation of Roger & Me and a keynote speech at the Doc Conference. The love affair began in 1989 when Roger & Me — about first-time filmmaker Moore chasing Ford Motors CEO Roger Smith to talk about layoffs that devastated his hometown of Flint, Michigan — captured the audience award and launched the film. Thom Powers, TIFF’s international documentary programmer, described the movie at the Monday night screening (to showcase the new digital restoration) as a “linchpin film in modern documentary-making.” The Sundance Now Doc Club feted Moore at a jam-packed luncheon where the line outside stretched around…  Read more


The “Internet Slowdown” and Net Neutrality Update


Wednesday afternoon, I clicked on a Vimeo link and was greeted by an airtight pop-up. In order to pass on to the video, I had to enter my cell phone number and zip code. I complied, and not a second later, I received a call briefing me on talking points of the FCC’s revision to the Open Internet Order — which would allow broadband providers to charge sites for guaranteed service — and was then connected to senator Kirsten Gillibrand. Wednesday, September 10, marked the technical end to the public comment period of the FCC’s detrimental potential amendments to the net neutrality act. To mobilize the public on this date, Vimeo, Netflix, Kickstarter, VHX and over 10,000 websites banded together for the “Internet Slowdown,” an imagining…  Read more


Five Questions with Before We Go Director Chris Evans

Before We Go Before We Go

Making his directorial debut with a nighttime two-hander, Before We Go, actor Chris Evans has gravitated to dramatic material far removed from the effects-driven world saving of his Captain America movies. Starring alongside Alice Eve, Evans puts his own spin on the “one night” film, a sub-genre that has been explored over the years in pictures ranging from Before Sunrise to Into the Night to In Search of a Midnight Kiss. Here, Evans tells us what he tried to do differently and what’s unique about Gotham at night. Before We Go premieres this week at the Toronto International Film Festival. Filmmaker: There have been several great “one night in New York City movies,” but not a really good one for…  Read more


Animals, Masks and the Horror of the Abject Object: The Power of Stop Motion Animation

Plush Plush

In a world where media makers are acutely focused on creating narratives filled with empathetic characters in relatable environments, it seems worthwhile to look at the role artifice has played in the past and what is being lost due to its absence. Myth is filled with hard-to-relate-to characters that evoke tension and mystery. The anthropomorphic animals of Aesop, the half animal/half human gods of ancient Egypt, the half god/half mortal heroes of Greece, and the living dead of Haitian folklore are all creatures that defy simple quantification. In these creatures we see more than just a reflection of our outer selves, we see a reflection of the cauldron that is our inner selves. Nothing truly unites us all more than…  Read more


Trailer Watch: Tommy Lee Jones’ The Homesman

The Homesman The Homesman

With The Homesman, Tommy Lee Jones follows his directorial debut, the 2005 neo-western The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, with a feminist riff on the same genre. Jones stars alongside Hilary Swank as a drifter who is recruited to smuggle three hysterical women from Nebraska to Iowa. Premiering to mixed reviews at Cannes, the film nonetheless exhibits an interesting inversion of the machismo outlaw, and the helpless damsels in distress, who intimate a threatening aura of their own. Roadside Attractions opens The Homesman on November 14.



The Blackmagic Production Camera 4k The Blackmagic Production Camera 4k

The Blackmagic Production Camera and Pocket Camera: A Review

I’ve been shooting exclusively with Blackmagic cameras for the past year. Their three primary offerings, the 1080p Pocket Cinema Camera, the 2.5K Cinema Camera, and the 4K Production Camera, to my mind, are the most practical low-cost/high-quality cameras currently available for DIY filmmakers. Are they…  Read more

Sep 2, 2014

Festivals & Events


Previewing IFP’s Filmmaker Conference Series

Affiliation bias aside, it’s a bit tricky to offer a succinct preview of IFP’s Filmmaker Conference during the upcoming Film Week, as all five days of programming are chock-full of essentials. The annual event runs at Lincoln Center from September 14 – 18, with panels, keynotes, pitches,…  Read more

on Sep 4, 2014

VOD Picks

  • godhelp
    God Help the Girl Musical
    Official site
  • catposter263x373
    The Strange Little Cat Drama
    Official site
    8/1/2014 Fandor


Hannah Murray, Olly Alexander and Emily Browning in God Help the Girl Hannah Murray, Olly Alexander and Emily Browning in God Help the Girl

“Making a Great Movie Music Moment”: Stuart Murdoch on God Help the Girl

There’s a certain rhetoric about the “perfect pop song” that feels like it peaked 25ish years ago somewhere on a bus in the UK, where earnest young people bonded over shared cultdom to pass the time, the guiding sensibility that (random example) led Orange Juice…  Read more

on Sep 4, 2014


  • @Armakk @LaundryDayFilm Thank you for the invite. I can’t make Wednesday but hope there’s another chance to see at some point.
  • Google forced by Euro law to remove positive article by artist who said it wasn't representative of current work. poynter.org/latest-news/me…
  • Dungeons, Dragons & Documentaries: A Film Conjures a Battle – via @NYTNow nytimes.com/2014/09/13/nyr…
  • RT @ZachWigon: @vishnevetsky's thoughts on Ned Rifle - 60s/80s Godard ref - recall a Hartley/JLG piece for @FilmmakerMag from 1994: http://…
  • RT @vogon: today apple announced a wrist orrery that can send your heartbeat through the internet technology is weird as hell