The Camden International Film Festival, which takes place September 14 – 17 throughout Camden, Rockport and Portland, Maine, announced its 2017 lineup today. Opening the festival is a world premiere, Dustin Nakao Haider’s basketball doc, Shot in the Dark, and the lineup also contains eight films, including The Reagan Show, All That Passes By Through A Window That Doesn’t Open and Whose Streets?, that received support from parent organization Points North Institute’s Artist Programs. “Screening at CIFF this year feels like a homecoming,” said Sabaah Folayan, Director of Whose Streets?, in a press release. “This community believed in our project when it was still just an idea and it means everything to be able to come back and share the… Read more
The best new television series of the 2016-2017 season arrived on DVD last week in the form of CBS/Paramount’s Bull: Season One package. A smart, stylish and very funny drama with a killer pedigree – Donnie Brasco and Quiz Show writer Paul Attanasio is one of the show’s creators, Steven Spielberg is an executive producer, and indie auteur Rodrigo Garcia directed the pilot – Bull reinvents and reinvigorates both the procedural and the courtroom drama with consistent verbal wit, visual elegance and one of the most compelling protagonists in the history of television. The show focuses on Jason Bull (Michael Weatherly), a psychologist who runs a trial analysis company that uses a sophisticated combination of technology, research, behavioral science and… Read more
“Microbudget filmmaking” is a bit of a misnomer considering the broad spectrum “microbudget” entails — one producer’s $5,000 line item is another’s entire operating budget. In a perfect world, we’d all have sufficient funds to hire the best and brightest among us and no project would be too scrappy. Unfortunately, when it comes to independent productions, sometimes that old chestnut still applies: if you want something done, you have to do it yourself. I learned this lesson the (somewhat hard) way when I directed my first feature, A Feast of Man. With an operating budget of $15,000 – a combination of bank loans and credit cards – we had to be very particular about where we spent our dough. Naturally, hiring… Read more
I took a break from writing about Twin Peaks: The Return to let things shake down a bit, but now seems like a good time to make a few more notes before the end. The first 2.25 of 18 parts were almost total abstraction, and it seemed a matter of necessity to largely abandon that mode for extended stretches before increasingly reintegrating it. We seemed, for a long time, very far from where we started, but The Return has allowed for increasing interventions of the abstract and fantastical alongside its rising dramatic arcs, which have finally run long enough to allow nearly all principal performers significant screen time. The middle stretches hummed with a rigorous, momentum-denying slowness that offered less overwhelming pleasures;… Read more
Amongst the many tributes pouring out today to the late, great Jerry Lewis, slot this interview clip of Jean-Luc Godard from The Dick Cavett Show in 1980. Seeing him as continuing the great physical comedy tradition of Harry Langdon and Buster Keaton, Godard goes on to extoll Lewis’s precise framing and sense of geometry. “But do you find him funny,” Cavett asks, and the answer is worth rolling this clip.
IFP announced today that former Vice President Al Gore, whose work on the issue of climate change has been featured in two feature documentaries, will receive a newly created Humanitarian Tribute at this year’s IFP Gotham Awards. Blumhouse topper Jason Blum, the producer behind low-cost, high-profit, zeitgeist-zinging horror hits like this year’s Get Out, will receive the Industry Tribute. “We are thrilled to be presenting Vice President Al Gore with the Humanitarian Tribute and Jason Blum with the Industry Tribute” said Joana Vicente, Executive Director of IFP and the Made in NY Media Center, in a press release. “Mr. Gore’s urgent message on the dangers of climate change has been heard and seen around the globe, motivating individuals, communities, businesses,… Read more
Reed Morano was told she wouldn’t get to pitch on The Handmaid’s Tale: “Don’t get too excited about it.” Someone showed her the pilot just so she had an idea of what Hulu was up to, but there was already a “very big male director” they were out to, as Morano discussed at an IFP Q&A earlier this year. When Morano heard that her long time collaborator and friend Elisabeth Moss was attached as the lead of the show, she reached out — not taking no for an answer. “A week and a half later, I got a call: ‘The producers of The Handmaid’s Tale want you to pitch. But in a few days.’” For 72 hours, Morano holed up and… Read more
In this video essay, :: kogonada returns to the films of Robert Bresson (which he previously explored in this video essay on the director’s use of hands), this time looking at his use of doors.
Begun as a recollection of Medger Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr., James Baldwin’s unfinished manuscript Remember This House tells the story of race in America. Director Raoul Peck used this manuscript as the basis for his film I Am Not Your Negro, currently available… Read more
The polarity between director David Lowery’s $65 million Disney film Pete’s Dragon and the micro-budgeted A Ghost Story has been noted repeatedly in reviews and profiles. But the man behind the camera on A Ghost Story has a unique career trajectory of his own. Cinematographer… Read more
I normally go to the Seattle International Film Festival towards the end, when the festival hosts its largest contingent of industry types and you get to go to the top of the Space Needle, where the annual awards brunch is held, for free. As an… Read more
I’m in the Safdie brothers’ office in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen, looking at a giant Japanese King of New York poster, and we’re talking about fired FBI director James Comey, whose awkward dinner with Donald Trump has just hit the news. “The guy is 6… Read more