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“We Don’t Want Them to Be Brilliant, We Want Them to Be as They Are”: Tizza Covi and Rainer Frimmel on Mister Universo

Mister Universo

You wouldn’t typically catch me recommending a movie on the basis of its crowd-pleasingness or heart-warmingness, dead or alive. But we’re living in warped times, and it’s a travesty that Tizza Covi and Rainer Frimmel’s crowd-pleasing, heart-warming not-quite-documentary feature Mister Universo — which I caught by happenstance at last year’s Festival International du Film de Marrakech — didn’t have the good fortune of securing a US distribution deal after playing festivals around the world last year. The movie stars Tairo Caroli, a 19-year-old lion tamer from a real-life traveling circus in Italy, as himself. Among his few prized possessions is an iron horseshoe which, the movie would have us believe, was hand-bent by veteran muscleman Arthur Robin — the first black…  Read more

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IFP Announces Feature Film Slate for IFP Week

Cubby

IFP (Independent Filmmaker Project), Filmmaker‘s parent organization, today announced its 2017 IFP Week feature film slate, highlighting over 110 narrative and documentary projects in development from over 15 countries. This follows the earlier announcement of 37 television, digital and web series in development that have also been selected for the annual event. Combined, over 145 projects will be presented in DUMBO, Brooklyn September 17-21, 2017. “This year’s feature film program doesn’t shy away from tackling the controversial and key issues of our time. Art often reflects the times we live in, and this slate certainly represents a multitude of points of view and perspectives on America today,” says IFP Executive Director Joana Vicente. “Through the lens of race, religious expression, disability,…  Read more

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IFP Announces Series Lineup to be Presented at 2017 IFP Week

Angry Black Women

IFP, Filmmaker‘a parent organization, announced today the more than 35 television, digital and app-based series that will be included in the 39th annual IFP Week, taking place September 17-21, 2017 in Brooklyn. For the last several years, IFP has been broadening its mandate to include both script and non-fiction series of all formats and genres. This year’s IFP Project Forum, writes IFP in a press release, includes “series from veteran and new creators, with 70% of works at the scripted/early development stage and 30% with independently shot pilots. Of the series featured, 51% are made by women and overall, 74% of the series are made by diverse creative teams. IFP’s Project Forum is the United States’ only international co-production market…  Read more

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Inclusive Feelings at the Oak Cliff Film Festival

True Conviction

There’s an argument happening at the bar of the Texas Theater. No, it’s not about politics, as one might guess with a liberal film crowd taking over a small pocket of Texas. This is Oak Cliff, the blossoming cultural community north of the Dallas Trinity river, and no, the conversation is not about karaoke either. The Oak Cliff Film Festival opening night party was at Barbara’s Pavilion, a dive bar in a re-purposed home. As the film festival crowd rolled in around midnight, badges and conversations about Lemon and 35mm making the nerd fumes quite potent, the argument was about whether or not the karaoke night should move to a new spot next year — a more “exclusive” venue where…  Read more

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“Was Everything in Focus?”: Wonder Woman DP Matthew Jensen on Shooting 35 and Digital and How Tequila Sunrise Inspired His Career

Gal Gadot in Wonder Woman

I have to admit I can no longer distinguish 35mm film from high end digital cameras when I go to the movies. I can spot 16mm or anamorphic lenses, but the line between digital and 35mm celluloid has become impossibly blurred. Wonder Woman cinematographer Matthew Jensen can still spot the subtleties, but for Jensen the aesthetics of film are only one of the reasons he enjoys working in that format. “It’s very hard to tell the difference, especially when you’ve gone through a DI (digital intermediate) process and you’re projecting digitally. We have some shots that are digital in Wonder Woman and I think you’d be hard pressed to tell which is which,” said Jensen. “I think film is kinder…  Read more

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Twin Peaks: The Return: The Cult of Faith

Al Strobel, Kyle MacLachlan and a tree in Twin Peaks: The Return

The original Twin Peaks was some kind of scary dream woven from the psychic residue after a binge of soap operas and donuts. The new episodes are the scary dream after you watch Twin Peaks. I know this because on several occasions during the last quarter century I experienced quite vivid dreams in which I was watching (or inside of) a third season of Twin Peaks, and it always felt pretty remarkably like this new Return does. (I cannot predict what recursive night terrors might follow from these episodes.) But, perhaps because it seems already vetted by my subconscious, I say yes-yes-yes to everything this show offers, and it impresses upon me how very powerful a factor in this medium is…  Read more

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The Making is the Dream: A Filmmaker Figures Out What It’s All About

Filmmaker and occasional Filmmaker contributor Eli Daughfrill is raising money for his first feature on Seed & Spark. With four days left he’s a few thousand dollars short of his goal, so please consider donating. Author’s note: There is a sense of privilege that undergirds this whole post. There are a rash of these “just make it” posts and speeches nowadays and they do sometimes feel like classic American bootstrapism. “Pull yourself, up!” etc. Much of what makes my filmmaking possible is middle-class stability. I’m a tenured professor. I have good credit. I have a sabbatical coming up that allows me to make a film without losing any income. All of this is a lot different for a working class…  Read more

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“A Lot of People Settle for the Vanilla”: George A. Romero on Diary Of The Dead

With the passing yesterday of legendary horror auteur George Romero, we’re reposting Nick Dawson’s 2008 interview with the director on the release of the penultimate chapter of his zombie series, Diary of the Dead. R.I.P. George Romero. No matter how you look at it, George A. Romero will always be remembered as the godfather of the zombie movie. Born in 1940 in New York City, Romero graduated from Carnegie Mellon in the early 60s and stayed in Pittsburgh to set up a commercial production company. In 1968, he segued into features with his seminal debut, Night of the Living Dead, a low budget zombie movie which, in what would become Romero’s trademark style, combined horror elements with dark and incisive…  Read more

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Filmmaking

Twin Peaks: The Return

Twin Peaks, Parts 7-8: Re VFX and Almost Nothing More

I’ve got zip (that I want) to say (at this time) about Twin Peaks parts seven and eight in terms of The Bigger Picture, but I do want to delve into episode eight’s widely-presumed anomalous status — that it marked an unprecedented event not just in TV…  Read more

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Jun 26, 2017

Festivals & Events

Future Aleppo

Documentary Goes “Alternate Reality” at Sheffield Doc/Fest 2017

Virtual and augmented reality — a topic that is fast and feverishly taking over the zeitgeist of major film festivals — took center stage in last week’s 24th edition of the Sheffield Doc/Fest. “What exactly is a feature documentary now?” Paul Ashton of Creative England…  Read more

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on Jun 21, 2017

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