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Todd Solondz on Wiener-Dog, Not Directing TV and Working with “Remarkably Stupid” Dogs

Wiener-Dog Wiener-Dog

Todd Solondz has been exploring his animal side. Granted, the films that first placed him at the forefront of independent American auteur cinema – Welcome to the Dollhouse (1995), Happiness (1998), Storytelling (2001), and Palindromes (2004) – were well-acquainted with the bestial side of human behavior, offering unflinching and sometimes repulsive examinations of bullying, pedophilia, abortion activism, racial fetishization and the adhesive properties of semen. Since 2009’s Life During Wartime, a theoretical sequel to Happiness, Solondz has toned down the bad-boy transgressions of his first few films, allowing his humanist sympathies to rise to the surface. Building on the structural aspects of Palindromes, Solondz’s recent films have become more self-referential (subtly building an interlocking “Solondz-World”), self-critical, and have increased their visual…  Read more

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Get MōVI Level Shots From Your GoPro With This Stabilizer from Polaroid

Gear - Polaroid Stabilizer Thumbnail 2

Polaroid sent over their handheld 3-axis stabilizer for GoPro for a hands on review. In the video below I do a run through of the device along with taking it out for a spin with some test footage. At $180 it’s one of the least expensive gimbals for GoPro, and the shots are impressively smooth. Controlling the camera takes a little getting used to. It works with the HERO 3/3+/4. You can use it with or without an LCD BacPac (it includes a spacer when using it without). I caved and bought the screen because it was getting hard to operate holding a phone in one hand and the rig in the other. Check out the footage yourself. Overall a really impressive rig that…  Read more

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DP Paul Yee on The Fits, Achieving Close Eyelines and Getting an Unexpected Steadicam Bump

Royalty Hightower in The Fits Royalty Hightower in The Fits

In the opening shot of The Fits, the slender frame of 11-year-old tomboy Toni glides in and out of a static medium shot as she counts off sit-ups while peering down the center of the camera’s lens. The image embodies the distinctive dichotomy of the film’s style – a mixture of neorealism and abstract lyricism that taps into the simultaneous horror and yearning of adolescence. The influence of neorealism is found in the cast of non-actors (led by Royalty Hightower as Toni) and the setting, a community center in Cincinnati where a mysterious wave of seizure-like fits strikes the dance team Toni has just joined. The lyricism is located in the imagery of cinematographer Paul Yee. With the festival favorite…  Read more

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The Campaign to Revive Early Films from Christine Vachon and Todd Haynes

Screen shot from He Was Once, one of the early Apparatus film produced by Christine Vachon & Todd Haynes Screen shot from He Was Once, one of the early Apparatus film produced by Christine Vachon & Todd Haynes

Led by IFP founder Sandra Schulberg, who serves as its president, the nonprofit IndieCollect is working to conserve independent cinema. In just two years, the company has rescued and archived more than 3,500 film negatives, according to Schulberg, the president of IndieCollect. IndieCollect recently located the master picture and sound elements for eight of the shorts Vachon and Haynes produced in the ’80s and ’90s with Barry Ellsworth under their non-profit Apparatus banner. Apparatus backed a number of other directors, including Suzan-Lori Parks, Mary Hestand, Susan Delson, Brooke Dammkoehler, Larry Carty, and Evan Dunsky. Now the company has launched a Kickstarter campaign with hopes of raising $40,000 to properly capture and preserve the original film materials and provide the filmmakers with high-resolution files. They’re also hoping…  Read more

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Colorist Bryan McMahan on Knight of Cups, Working with Terrence Malick and the HDR Future

Knight of Cups Knight of Cups

The Horatio Alger myth for the Golden Age of Hollywood’s studio system involved a bright, ambitious lad working his way up from the mailroom or his post as a clapper boy. By the time Bryan McMahan entered the movie business in the late ’70s, that studio system had long crumbled, but his beginnings were every bit as humble. McMahan’s first gig was as a film lab janitor. Thirty-odd years later he’s Terrence Malick’s colorist of choice, having worked as either the digital intermediate colorist or the mastering colorist on The Thin Red Line, The New World, The Tree of Life, and Malick’s latest Knight of Cups. Taking its title from the tarot card character, Knight of Cups stars Christian Bale…  Read more

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Watch: The Coen Brothers’ Blood Simple Pitch Trailer

Blood Simple

Blood Simple, the Coen brothers’ first film, is being released on DVD and Blu-Ray in September through the Criterion Collection. The teaser trailer that the two made to sell to investors has now surfaced online for the first time with the impending release of the restored 4k digital transfer. Joel and Ethan ultimately raised $550,000 towards the film that sparked their careers. Starting July 1 Blood Simple will also play in select theaters in collaboration with Janus Films in advance of the physical release.

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Summer Festivaling, Part 1: On Seattle, BAMCinemaFEST, Oak Cliff

All the Birds Have Flown South All the Birds Have Flown South

By the time most of the prominent guests, critics and industry hangers-on arrive at the Seattle International Film Festival every year, the show is almost over. The red carpet is rolled out for “gala” screenings during each of its four weekends, but the well-orchestrated influx of movie business types occurs only at the end of the affair. To say, as a visiting film critic — one who might enjoy the luxury of the Kimpton hotel guest lodging, or the effortless springtime beauty of the Emerald City — that you have any handle on the entirety of programming director Beth Barrett’s slate after four or five days is ludicrous, of course. Running just under a month, Seattle’s is the country’s longest…  Read more

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The Rumpus Launches Lo-Fi Los Angeles Film Festival

After Adderall After Adderall

What to do when your film doesn’t get accepted to any film festivals? Why, start your own film festival! Of course, it’s helpful if you’re the founding editor of a successful web site such as The Rumpus. That’s the case with Stephen Elliott, who was frustrated when his latest film, After Adderall, didn’t get accepted to any film festivals. Elliott wrote an in-depth report investigating a “rigged” system of film festival programming which makes it nearly impossible for paid submissions to be programmed. Titled “The Great Film Festival Swindle”, the article, published recently on The Rumpus, analyzed the odds of getting into various film festivals from the paid submissions pile. Read more about the controversy here. Now The Rumpus will host The Rumpus Lo-Fi Los Angeles…  Read more

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Filmmaking

Erica Fae directing on the set of To Keep the Light Erica Fae directing on the set of To Keep the Light

There is No “Right” Way: 14 Things Directors Need to Know about Directing Actors

For many directors, the thought of “directing actors” can instill panic. Directors who were once cinematographers, say, or who have worked on film sets, might be at ease working with crews or blocking shots but will freeze up when challenged to give notes to actors.…  Read more

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May 26, 2016

Festivals & Events

Whose Streets? Whose Streets?

Sundance Labs Announce 25 Film and Theater Projects and New “Multi-Lab” Setting

The Sundance Institute today announced the anticipated rosters for its Screenwriters Lab, Documentary Edit and Story Lab and new Theatre-Makers Residency as well as a major now presentation change. For the first time, these labs will run concurrently in a “multi-Lab” format at the Sundance…  Read more

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on Jun 8, 2016

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