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Paying your Subjects and other Notes on Morals, Ethics, and Aesthetics in Documentary Filmmaking in the Developing World.

Director Richard Goana in Guatemala

Ricardo Gaona is in the final days of a crowdfunding campaign for his feature, Parque Central, on Kickstarter. Visit his Kickstarter page for more information and please consider donating. — Editor Nonfiction filmmaking is hard work. There are the technical aspects, of course, and (especially right now) the financial concerns that can make you lose your mind a little bit. In the case of our film, Parque Central (now funding on Kickstarter!), which follows children who work in a park in Antigua Guatemala, there’s an extra level of stress that comes with the questions of ethics and representation. I’ve got some tips that this experience has taught me that might help guide you through tricky waters on your own projects.…  Read more

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James Schamus on Why Money is not “Money”

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Producer and screenwriter James Schamus hardly needs another skill set to add to his CV, but let’s go ahead anyway and add “economic commentator” following the premiere of his engaging, witty and nicely analytical two-part, “That Film About Money,” for the 20-episode We the Economy series. Premiering this week online, We the Economy is a collaboration between Paul Allen’s Vulcan Productions and Morgan Spurlock’s Cinelan. (Disclosure: I’m on the Advisory Board of Cinelan.) The series features filmmakers — both documentarians and fiction directors — tackling, in bite-size form, questions surrounding the workings of our global economy and financial markets. For Schamus’s pieces, which also, I believe, rep his directorial debuts, Schamus delves into the fractional reserve banking system and, by…  Read more

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In the Eye of the Storm: Laura Poitras on CITIZENFOUR

Bill Binney and Laura Poitras (Photo by Jacob Applebaum) Bill Binney and Laura Poitras (Photo by Jacob Applebaum)

Red tail lights glow in an inky black tunnel. In voiceover, a woman’s voice softly reads. “Laura,” the email begins. The sender writes of encryption, passwords, the government documents he intends to send and the reason he addressed this email to her. “You’ve been selected,” Laura speaks, as the sender goes on to explain that every phone call she makes, trip she embarks on, person she befriends will be observed, recorded, surveilled. “This is a story few but you can tell.” With this cool, measured voiceover, drawing us into her life at the moment it changed forever, documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras begins the third film in her post 9/11 trilogy, CITIZENFOUR. Titled after the handle of that emailer, who we…  Read more

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Canon C100 Mark II Adds New Features, But Not 4K

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Canon has announced a refresh of the Canon C100, and on the face of it this update fixes many of the issues found in the original model. The Dual Pixel CMOS AF function that was a paid upgrade for the original C100 is included, though it’s still limited to the center of the image area. Also new is Face-Detection AF, which will focus on off-center faces. The EVF, which was widely panned in the first model is now larger, with a redesigned eyepiece, and it now tilts. The rear screen is now a 3.5” 1.23 megapixel OLED, with a new hinge design that can be moved to more positions and can turn 270 degrees to lie against the side of…  Read more

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Watch: Brando, Directed by Gisèle Vienne, Music by Scott Walker and Sunn O)))

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Accompanying the first track of the anticipated collaboration, Soused, between avant-garde crooner Scott Walker and sludgy noisemeisters Sunn O))) is an arresting short film by French director and choreographer Gisèle Vienne. Walker’s music — with or without Sunn O))) — is the stuff of waking nightmares, and Vienne’s dream-like film matches it fuzzed-out chord by fuzzed-out chord. A house in the mountains, a blonde-tressed woman moving in slow-motion epilepsy; a teenage boy (her son?) locked in tremulous horror; a car crash?; and a sudden appearance by French novelist, theater artist and dominatrix Catherine Robbe-Grillet… it’s eerie, disquieting, and, with its narrative elisions, entirely hypnotic. Scott Walker spoke to The Quietus about the album, and here’s what he had to say…  Read more

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Watch: Creating a Bullet Time Effect with 35mm

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There are a lot of videos that offer how-tos and hacks for creating a relatively affordable bullet time effect by marshaling a little technological ingenuity. This one from last year is probably more elaborate an effort than most people will care to make: in a bit over five minutes, you can watch the condensed six month process, which comes with a recipe-like ingredient list up front: 40 tin cans, 10.8 kilograms of sawdust, using 60 meters of 35mm film and so on.

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Panasonic VariCam 35 and HS Are Now Shipping

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Panasonic is now shipping their new VariCam models, the 35 and HS. Panasonic first displayed mockups of a camera at NAB in 2012, but they didn’t announce these models until NAB 2014, and it’s taken another seven months to finally ship the product. The VariCam is really two sensor head units and a single recording unit that can be attached to either sensor unit. The VariCam 35 has a 35mm 4K sensor with a PL mount, while the Varicam HS is a 2/3” HD sensor with a B4 mount and the ability to capture at 240fps. The HS model is primarily intended for sports and documentary work. The recording unit can be separated from the head by an umbilical chord and the side-mounted…  Read more

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Filmmaking

Left to right: Rebecca Green, Elisabeth Holm, Lisa Biagiotti and Mynette Louie at the IFP Filmmaker Conference. Left to right: Rebecca Green, Elisabeth Holm, Lisa Biagiotti and Mynette Louie at the IFP Filmmaker Conference.

43 Takeaways from Sundance Artist Services Day at the IFP Filmmaker Conference

“The most important task is to make great movies,” said Sundance Institute Executive Director Keri Putnam at the start of Thursday’s Artist Services Workshop at IFP’s Filmmaker Conference. “All this talk about audiences is meaningless unless you have something in your heart you want to…  Read more

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Sep 22, 2014

Festivals & Events

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Boyhood, Birdman, CITIZENFOUR, and More Receive 24th Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards

Nominees were announced this morning for the 24th Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards by IFP, with Richard Linklater’s Boyhood receiving the most nominations, including Best Picture. Birdman received two awards, including Best Director (for Alejandro G. Iñárritu) and Best Actor (Michael Keaton). The Best Picture…  Read more

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on Oct 23, 2014

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