For this correspondent’s money, the film to beat so far in 2014 is Swiss filmmaker Ramon Zürcher’s The Strange Little Cat (Das merkwürdige Kätzchen), a dazzlingly low-key schematic diagram of a single day’s ebb and flow in a German apartment. Zürcher cracks the space open like a dollhouse, but his exacting frames don’t create drama; rather, each individual component — a kettle, a ball, a clock, the nominal tabby, a regularly screaming child or any of the extended family members shuffling in and out of Zürcher’s rooms — invites the viewer’s attention as they often repeatedly intersect. Between narrative scenes, Zürcher stops for montages of these momentarily highlighted objects strung together, giving props as much narrative presence as the people they share space with.… Read more
Preface: Tuesday, July 28th – 3:21 am Sleepless nights since going cold turkey from all substances I have been addicted to for the past ten years or more. This is day three, and the cold sweats and shakes have nearly crippled me. I find myself weeping for no reason and feel completely useless and creatively blank. I love everyone else except for myself. I think this is how it is supposed to be. At least for now. Substance abuse has been a large part of my life. I have never considered it a dark or negative thing, since I have created some of my best work while under the influence. Perhaps drugs and alcohol have helped me channel a more… Read more
A press release prepared by documentarian Robert Drew’s family announced his death today at age 90. Drew is remembered as a pioneer of cinéma vérité — now a term thrown around carelessly to denote just about any documentary assembled without talking heads or a narrator, which is a radical oversimplification of vérité’s possibilities. It’s not oversimplifying to note that Drew’s Primary (covering the JFK-Hubert Humphrey faceoff in the 1960 Wisconsin primary) and Crisis: Behind a Presidential Commitment (examining the administration’s standoff against segregationist George Wallace) are two of the key documents of the Kennedy presidency, whose levels of candor, access and good judgment about where to point the camera when remain startlingly fresh. There was much more to Drew’s lengthy… Read more
Adam Epstein is a freelance editor. For the last five years, he’s worked with the Saturday Night Live film unit, editing parody pieces of all kinds. He’s just begun a nationwide workshop tour with “The Cutting Edge Post-Production Tour,” a day-long seminar covering techniques, theories and editing insights. We recently spoke to Epstein about editing, working on SNL and the workshop tour. Filmmaker: How did you become an editor? Epstein: In my experience, it’s never a direct path. I started out in school, working on a student-run sketch comedy show, and we were able to get our hands on some of the first gear that you were able to shoot and edit with in a reasonable amount of time without having to… Read more
Via our friends at No Film School, here’s an instructional tutorial from Matt Brown on how to make flats when constructing your own DIY film sets. Brown decided building his own elevator set was more practical and economical than finding a real one to shoot in; the flats are the fake walls necessary to build a set. For those not intuitively comfortable with tools or even navigating a Home Depot, Brown walks you through the necessary purchases, choosing the right sizes of wood, and the construction process, complete with detailed on-screen written instructions for pausable reference.
The following is a guest post from director, writer and actress Bethany Orr, whose untitled Iceland-set, psychosexual drama is currently raising funds on Indiegogo in a campaign titled “Iceland or Bust.” Click here at the link to learn more and to support the project. Okay, so you’re not Zach Braff. The market is saturated with projects competing for attention and the hard-earned dollars of YOUR potential supporters. So why crowdfund in 2014? Hasn’t that train left the station? I mean, it’s a huge risk, what if you embarrass yourself? Crowdfunding is, after all, the quickest new way to get unfollowed and unfriended, right?! WHEN DID ‘CROWDFUND’ BECOME A FOUR-LETTER WORD? Crowdfunding. It’s not for everyone. Many were on the bandwagon… Read more
Volunteers welcome you into the theater, guiding you towards your allotted place. The lights are going off slowly. As you sit down on your chair, you look ahead at the stage. It’s unlike any other stage. I was at the Culture Center ZIL in Moscow, attending a performance of The Death of Mr. Tarelkin, staged by the Manege/MediaArtLab Open School, Ballet Moscow Theatre and the International Centre for Dance and Performance TsEKh. This was a sidebar event at the 36th Moscow International Film Festival (June 19 – 28), described on the website as “a performance where Russian classics, contemporary dance, contemporary art and new technologies meet.” This logline doesn’t prepare me for the stage, which doesn’t have a single set.… Read more
At 1985, Evan Louison sits down in Rome with Abel Ferrara, learning more about the director’s Pasolini, starring Willem Dafoe as the murdered Italian director. Below Ferrara talks about the film’s relationship to fiction, non-fiction, imagination and the subconscious. Read the complete interview at the link. AF: He was a part of a tradition, a movement — Rosselini, Antonioni, & Bertolucci after that. I’m sure if you’re hard pressed you could call it all the same style. These guys are working with the same DPs, & a lot of the same actors. He wasn’t the only one using guys right off the street. In some ways, you get a real powerful performance when you utilize non-actors. At the same time,… Read more
Click here to see Filmmaker‘s 25 New Faces of Film 2014.
In a press conference this morning, Cameron Bailey and Co. released the Special Presentation and Gala selections for the upcoming edition of the Toronto International Film Festival. Lots to parse through as the slate boasts world premieres from Christian Petzold, Mia Hansen-Løve, Noah Baumbach, David Gordon Green,… Read more
“Mr. Park Chan-wook is not giving any interviews. Sorry.” The Korean auteur was one of the biggest names present at the recently concluded 31st Jerusalem Film Festival, second only perhaps to Spike Jonze (who doesn’t really make for charming interviews). The problem with big names… Read more