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Christopher Doyle, Live and Uncut, at the Big Screen Symposium

Vincent Ward (left) and Christopher Doyle in Johnny Depp mask Vincent Ward (left) and Christopher Doyle in Johnny Depp mask

Screen luminaries from around the world are invited once a year to New Zealand for its annual industry gathering, the Big Screen Symposium. Last year, guest speaker Sebastiàn Silva (Nasty Baby, The Maid) shared his horror stories of working with Christopher Doyle, who (Silva claimed) exposed himself to everyone on the set of Magic Magic, refused to shoot close ups (“That’s HBO bullshit”) and generally caused chaos. When Doyle himself was announced as a guest speaker for this year’s event, it was clear the Symposium intended to take the announced theme of “Playing With Risk” quite literally. And so from the opening introduction by director Vincent Ward, which Doyle disrupted with clowning, shouting (“I can’t even be tolerated, let alone…  Read more

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Vidiots Launches the Video Store into the Next Era

rsz_vidiots

Vidiots, the iconic Santa Monica movie rental store-turned film non-profit, has launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo with the goal of raising $65,000 to keep the doors open and to fund new programs. Just last year, Vidiots was in danger of closing after 30 years in business. Not long after co-owners Cathy Tauber and Patty Polinger announced they were going to have to shutter, they got a last-minute donation from film producer Megan Ellison of Annapurna Pictures. But Vidiots needs to continue raising money in order to launch new programs and initiatives to preserve and provide access to their diverse and growing library of over 50,000 titles, including a rare VHS collection. Maggie Mackay, executive director, Vidiots Foundation told Filmmaker: “Our mission…  Read more

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Eating a Monica Bellucci By the Sea: The 64th San Sebastián Film Festival

May God Forgive Us May God Forgive Us

San Sebastián may have a population of less than 190,000 but when it comes to culture and gastronomy the Basque seaside resort punches well above its weight. It combines the two during its annual film festival, even going so far as to team up with local bars to offer movie-themed pintxo snacks and a bottle of beer for less than $3, with names ranging from the elegant Monica Bellucci (roe and smoked herring perched on bread), to the less cerebral Porky’s (braised ham, pepper, onion and cheese) and the frightening Tarantino, which features a mushroom whose name translates as “trumpets of death”. This year is a particularly proud one for the northern Spanish city as it shares the title of…  Read more

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The Indie Memphis Film Festival Unveils Film Slate for 19th Edition

The Invaders The Invaders

The Indie Memphis Film Festival has announced the full slate of films for the 19th edition of the film festival, which runs from November 1-7. Prichard Smith’s documentary The Invaders will open the festival and Stephen John Ross’s documentary Kallen Esperian: Vissi D’Arte is the Closing Night title. World Premieres include Mike McCarthy’s Destroy Memphis, Kathy Lofton’s I Am A Caregiver, Madsen Minax’s Kairos Dirt & The Errant Vacuum, Flo Gibb’s Mentality: Girls Like Us, and Lakethen Mason’s Verge, with Jennifer Anderson and Vernon Lott’s The Act of Becoming making its U.S. Premiere. Festival favorites include Sophia Takal’s Always Shine, Kirsten Johnson’s Cameraperson, Ira Sachs’ Little Men, David Farrier and Dylan Reeve’s Tickled, Kelly Reichardt’s Certain Women, Zach Clark’s Little Sister, Deb Shoval’s AWOL, Celia Rawlson-Hall’s MA, Kenneth Lonergan’s Manchester by the Sea,…  Read more

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Five Questions for Miss Stevens Writer/Director Julia Hart

Miss Stevens Miss Stevens

We’ve seen our fair share of films about teacher-student relationships, but they tend to fall into either the titillating or inspirational categories. Miss Stevens is neither. It’s a quiet drama which is powerful in its subtlety. The plot itself is understated, but the execution is surprisingly compelling. The set-up involves Rachel Stevens (Lily Rabe), a lonely high school teacher who reluctantly chaperones three teens – including the troubled and charismatic Billy (Timothee Chalamet) – to a drama competition. In her directorial debut, Julia Hart, who co-wrote the film with her husband Jordan Horowitz, exhibits an aptitude for working with actors. Rabe won the Best Actress Prize for Narrative Feature at SXSW earlier this year, and Chalemet excels as Billy. Hart wrote the critically acclaimed civil war…  Read more

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We Tell Ourselves Franchises in Order to Live

Blair Witch Blair Witch

Last weekend I took a trip to the Regal Union Square Stadium 14 and paid seventeen bucks to see Blair Witch. Based on the reviews, I was pretty certain that I wasn’t going to like it very much (spoiler alert: I was right). But still I felt compelled to hop the Q train and head into Manhattan to meet my friend at the multiplex. What brought me out there? Maybe it was the changing weather and its subliminal indication of Halloween’s approach. Maybe it was the faint hope that director Adam Wingard — whose previous work I’ve really dug — would elevate what otherwise reeked of a requisite studio cash-in. Or, hey, maybe it was the titular witch herself, possessing me to the…  Read more

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My First Film Shoot: A Lesson in Documentary Filmmaking and Flexibility

Sole Doctor Sole Doctor

If you need any motivation to begin production on your first-ever documentary, here’s a tip: tell thousands of people you’re making a documentary. That’s what I did when I shared the news on Filmmaker and Facebook that I was going to make my first film, a short documentary, tentatively titled Sole Doctor. Of course, I loved the enthusiastic response. But hearing, “Can’t wait to see it!” from more than 100 people sure ratchets up the pressure to deliver. With my subject nailed down and a DP and sound mixer onboard, it was time to begin production. For the first shooting day, I decided to film the domino game that my film’s subject, George, hosts two nights a week in his small shoe…  Read more

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Episodic Series Bring an Innovative Spirit to IFP Film Week

new-innovators-3

Filmmakers, industry and IFP staff are breathing an accomplished sigh of relief today as IFP Film Week came to a close last night. The bulk of the week was centered around meetings between filmmakers and industry with IFP playing matchmaker. As Deputy Director of IFP Amy Dotson said, “It’s a first date.” I’d been on a lot of first dates, and recently rode one all the way to an actual wedding. So I felt prepared. Throughout the week filmmakers were given a chance to pitch their project to potential financiers, production partners, networks, agents and film festivals. Some filmmakers returned with more developed projects from previous years, while others came with ideas just taking shape as a feature film or…  Read more

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Filmmaking

Jack Waters in Jason and Shirley Jack Waters in Jason and Shirley

It’s Not Always About the Money

There’s been a great deal of talk recently in our film community about the concept of sustainability. There hasn’t, however, been a great deal of precision. Take the word itself — “sustainable.” It’s most often defined by its absence. But by the time we ask, “What is…  Read more

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Jul 25, 2016

VOD Picks

Interviews

Closet Monster Closet Monster

Five Questions for Closet Monster Writer/Director Stephen Dunn

A surreal and entirely original coming-of-age tale, Closet Monster tells the story of Oscar, a gay, cinephilic high school senior who has been grappling with the implications of his parents’ divorce — and a witnessed act of gay bashing — by, among other things, conversing…  Read more

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on Sep 23, 2016

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