Featured

“We’d Revert Back to the Idea of a Cauliflower”: Debra Granik on Stray Dog

Ron Hall in Stray Dog Ron Hall in Stray Dog

Much more than a companion piece to her Oscar-nominated feature Winter’s Bone, Debra Granik’s Stray Dog sets its sights on a peaceful and welcoming side of Missouri rarely seen in American cinema. Ron “Stray Dog” Hall, a Missouri-bred Vietnam vet and biker, goes above and beyond to help both those in his RV park community and fellow veterans suffering from PTSD. It’s rare to see a film that focuses both on the goodness of the human spirit and the painful, lifelong regrets that it may hold, but Granik allows the layers of the narrative to unfold with a nonjudgmental eye. Patriotic without suffering from American exceptionalism, the film — an entry in last year’s New York FIlm Festival Spotlight on…  Read more

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Livi Newman on Shooting Successful Sex Scenes at the Sundance Directors Lab

Livi Newman directs actress Tashiana Washington as director of photography Dagmar Weaver-Madsen looks on. Livi Newman directs actress Tashiana Washington as director of photography Dagmar Weaver-Madsen looks on.

Olivia Newman is at the Sundance Directors Lab with her feature First Match, the tale of “a teenage girl from Brooklyn’s Brownsville neighborhood [who] decides that joining the all-boys high school wrestling team is the only way back to her estranged father.” She is also eight months pregnant. Below, she writes about shooting sex scenes. Read Part One of her Sundance Diary here. “Shoot every scene like a sex scene and you’ll be wildly successful.” That’s what James Mangold said to me. I was sitting in a circle with the Week Three Creative Advisors who had all just watched the very last scene I shot during the month-long Directors Lab. In it, my main character, Mo, a fifteen year-old girl…  Read more

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To Not Be Crippled by Storytelling: Les Blank’s A Poem is a Naked Person

Leon Russell in A Poem is a Naked Person Leon Russell in A Poem is a Naked Person

Early in Les Blank’s A Poem is a Naked Person, we see a shirtless, bearded man in cutoffs standing in an empty white pool nonchalantly scooping tiny scorpions into a mason jar with a piece of paper. At first, this action is underscored with “Take Me” by George Jones, carried over from the prior scene, which featured Jones playing in musician Leon Russell’s riverside Oklahoma recording studio. As the Jones song winds down we’re treated to the scorpion catcher’s musings on creativity, on how letting children draw on blank walls is sensible parenting, on how he’s made uncomfortable by prefabricated housing where everything is already finished. Once he’s cleared the scorpions, he begins to paint on the pool floor. We…  Read more

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“Just Say No to Poverty Porn”: Maggie Steber on She Does Podcast

Maggie Steber (photo: Elaine Sheldon McMillion) Maggie Steber (photo: Elaine Sheldon McMillion)

Maggie Steber is a prolific documentary photographer who has worked in 65 countries around the world focusing on humanitarian, cultural, and social stories. For over three decades, Maggie has worked in Haiti, an experience that has impacted her emotionally and personally and led to her book “Dancing on Fire.” She has received the Leica Medal of Excellence, and recognition from World Press Photo Foundation, the Overseas Press Club, Pictures of the Year, and the Medal of Honor for Distinguished Service to Journalism from the University of Missouri. Her work has been featured in National Geographic Magazine, The New York Times Magazine, Smithsonian Magazine, AARP, The Guardian, and Geo Magazine among others, and is featured in the Library of Congress and…  Read more

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“One Light in the Right Place Takes the Place of Three or Four in the Wrong Place”: DP Darren Genet on The Vampire Diaries

Darren Genet on The Vampire Diaries Darren Genet on The Vampire Diaries

I first became aware of cinematographer Darren Genet when I encountered his work on All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, a surprisingly lyrical and beautiful horror film that had more in common with the work of Terrence Malick and ’70s-era Peter Bogdanovich than with other teen slasher films. Awestruck by Genet’s visual originality and technical precision, I continued to follow his work as he ventured into television (CSI: Miami) and continued to evolve as a feature cinematographer on films like Jada Pinkett Smith’s criminally underrated directorial debut, The Human Contract. That film exhibits all of Genet’s strengths: a bold and expressive palette, lighting that has an extraordinary tonal range and is simultaneously gorgeous and organic, and elegant compositions and camera…  Read more

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Queer Film Pioneer Monika Treut on Of Girls and Horses

Monika Treut's Of Girls and Horses Monika Treut's Of Girls and Horses

A legend in lesbian cinema, Monika Treut has been making films for 30 years, starting with her 1985 narrative feature Seduction: The Cruel Woman (featuring Udo Kier – not bad for a debut film), and right through to this year’s Of Girls and Horses, a poetic coming-of-age tale that also serves as a celebration of nature’s transformational power. Along the way Treut has also explored the nonfiction realm, turning her lens on everything from gender identity (1999’s Gendernauts) to Taiwanese food (2012’s The Raw and the Cooked). Filmmaker was fortunate enough to catch up with the Hyena Films co-founder (along with Elfi Mikesch, her co-director on Seduction) during post-production on her latest documentary, which was shot in Brazil – her…  Read more

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“Nikki Sixx Told Me He Didn’t Like It When I Called Him a 40-Year Old Heroin Addict”: Penelope Spheeris and Anna Fox on The Decline of Western Civilization

Faster Pussycat in The Decline of Western Civilization Part II Faster Pussycat in The Decline of Western Civilization Part II

A holy grail for both cinephiles and rock and roll enthusiasts finally arrives on DVD this week in the form of Shout Factory’s superbly assembled The Decline of Western Civilization boxed set. The first two Decline films are essential artifacts of the late ’70s punk rock movement and the ’80s metal scene in Los Angeles; the third, made in the ’90s, is a sober chronicle of Hollywood’s gutter punks, homeless kids tossed aside by “polite” society. All three movies contain terrific concert footage of seminal punk and metal bands (including Fear, the Circle Jerks, and Faster Pussycat, among many others) and take a sympathetic yet brutally honest (and, in the case of Part II, often hilarious) look at both the…  Read more

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Mining for Gold: Discovering the Lost Jules Feiffer Script Bernard and Huey

Jules Feiffer and Dan Mirvish Jules Feiffer and Dan Mirvish

As one of the pillars of the Golden Age of the ’70s, Mike Nichols’ film Carnal Knowledge was a big influence on my own last movie, Between Us. So during post-production on Between Us, I happened upon a biography of Carnal Knowledge screenwriter Jules Feiffer that mentioned that he had several unproduced screenplays. Hmm, I thought: Feiffer had won a Pulitzer Prize for his cartoon strip in the Village Voice, he’d won a couple of Obies for his plays, and as a screenwriter, he’d written Popeye for Robert Altman, Little Murders, that Alan Arkin had directed, and won a Best Screenplay award at the Venice Film Fest for I Want to Go Home, directed by Alain Resnais. Feiffer’s short animated…  Read more

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Filmmaking

Trending modularity and remote control both evident in VariCam 35 user interface, detached from recording module by cable. Trending modularity and remote control both evident in VariCam 35 user interface, detached from recording module by cable.

Digital Motion Picture Cameras in 2015: The Dust Settles

Have you heard? The United Nations designated 2015 the “International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies,” and cinematography made the cut. But is IYL 2015 finally the year in which the dam burst of innovation subsides, and new digital cameras and techniques no longer threaten to drown us? Surveying the…  Read more

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Apr 28, 2015

Festivals & Events

Richard Linkater, forefather Richard Linkater, forefather

Chronicle of a Dream Foretold: BAMcinemaFest 2015

“Withdrawing in disgust is not the same as apathy,” comments one of the tenuously overlapping characters in Richard Linklater’s 1991 game-changer Slacker. The word itself, fairly recent at the time of production, is a moniker the speaker fully embraces. The branding may sound tactless, if…  Read more

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on Jun 16, 2015

VOD Picks

  • wolfpackposter
    The Wolfpack Documentary
    Magnolia Pictures
    Official site
    7/10/15 MOD VOD
  • kumikoposter
    Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter Drama
    Amplify
    Official site
    6/19/15 MOD VOD

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