“We’re A Lost Generation That’s Still Alive”: NYWIFT and IRIS Directors on The Writers Lab

Meryl Streep in Silkwood Meryl Streep in Silkwood

Meryl Streep was making waves as usual when it was announced during the Tribeca Film Festival that she had come aboard to fund a new initiative from New York Women in Film and Television and the IRIS collective. Called The Writers Lab, the inaugural retreat will take place in upstate New York in September at the Wiawaka Center for Women, and pair eight women screenwriters over the age of 40 with established mentors including Gina Prince-Bythewood, Kirsten Smith, and Mary Jane Skalski. Filmmaker spoke with Terry Lawler, Executive Director of NYWIFT, and IRIS co-founders, Kyle Ann Stokes, Elizabeth Kaiden and Nitza Wilon, to learn more about the Lab’s conception and aims. Applications are currently being accepted from now until June 1. Filmmaker: How…  Read more


Other Kinds of Violence: On Today’s True Crime Renaissance

Tales of the Grim Sleeper Tales of the Grim Sleeper

The evidence might be circumstantial but there seems to be a true-crime renaissance happening in the upper echelons of liberal-minded non-fiction. People have been talking about The Jinx and Serial the way I can’t remember people talking about non-fiction before — they get all excited and say OMG a lot. Like the smart soap operas of the so-called Golden Era of TV, shows like House of Cards or Games of Thrones, these shows are guilty pleasures you don’t have to feel guilty about because they are safely highbrow. And while they’re certainly smarter than the shows about violent murders of white teen cheerleaders on the premium cable channels, they still seem to be made to feed the same hyper-demand for…  Read more


In Los Angeles, “Pitch to W.I.N.” — By Way of Virginia Woolf

Zero Point (2)

In her 1929 essay A Room of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf imagines a woman named “Judith.” She writes of an ordinary early 17th century woman, but supposes one unordinary detail. Supposing Judith had been the sister of Shakespeare with the same talent and ambition for writing, Woolf presents the realistic story, and it doesn’t end well for phantom Judith Shakespeare. Artistic ambitions for Elizabethan women were not just impractical; they were impossible. A few centuries and a bit of social progress later, the obstacles for Woolf and her contemporaries improved, but were far from perfect. Another century brings us to today — improved, but far from perfect. For every imagined story penned by a man, there is a phantom Judith.…  Read more


Kickstarter: An Exclusive Clip from Laundry Day

Laundry Day

Director Randy Mack is quoted in my “How to Find a Producer” article, discussing the production scene in his hometown, New Orleans. Now, he’s on Kickstarter raising funds for the completion of his dark comedy, Laundry Day. Set over the course of 24 hours in a New Orleans bar, the film is, says Mack, a something cross between Magnolia and Barfly. In an email, he writes, “Laundry Day is a feature-length dark comedy about a bar fight in a 24-hour bar/laundromat/night club between a musician, a gutter punk, a drug dealer, and a bartender. The nonlinear story explores the incident from each person’s perspective, revealing that a one day in New Orleans is a labyrinth of intrigue.” And, from the…  Read more


Gregory Bayne and Christian Lybrook on their Tribeca N.O.W. Series, Zero Point

Zero Point (1)

Screening in the Tribeca Film Festival’s Tribeca N.O.W. section (as in, “new online work”) is Gregory Bayne and Christian Lybrook’s Zero Point, a 45-minute independently-produced pilot for what the two Idaho-based creators hope will be full-on television series. Director, producer and screenwriter Bayne is well known to Filmmaker readers by virtue of his various documentaries (Jens Pulver Driven, Bloodsworth) and opinion pieces, and he’s been at the DIY distribution forefront long before it was in vogue. So, perhaps its appropriate, then, that he and producer and screenwriter Lybrook are now early adopters of a new indie model: rather than make a long-form indie feature, they’ve made a long-form indie TV pilot, hoping not to sell at auction at a festival…  Read more


Of Tarantino and TV: On Goodfellas‘ Legacy

Joe Pesci, Ray Liotta and Robert De Niro in Goodfellas Joe Pesci, Ray Liotta and Robert De Niro in Goodfellas

In the mid-1980s, Martin Scorsese was regaining his footing as a director after a brutal few years. His passion project, The Last Temptation of Christ, had fallen apart at Paramount just days before production was scheduled to begin, and The King of Comedy had been a commercial, and largely critical, failure – in spite of the fact that it was, and is, one of the most incisive films ever made about celebrity culture. After years of working on studio movies with substantial budgets and luxurious schedules, Scorsese went back to ground zero for After Hours in 1985, stripping his methods down to the bone in order to prove to himself and everyone else that he still had what it took…  Read more


The 2015 Tribeca Film Festival Awards

Virgin Mountain Virgin Mountain

Below are the winners of this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. Note that the narrative awards were split evenly between Virgin Mountain and Bridgend, with three apiece. WORLD NARRATIVE COMPETITION CATEGORIES: The jurors for the 2015 World Narrative Competition sponsored by AKA, were Paul Attanasio, Sophie Barthes, Whoopi Goldberg, Dylan McDermott, and Burr Steers. ● The Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature – Virgin Mountain, written and directed by Dagur Kári [Iceland, Denmark]. Winner receives $25,000, sponsored by AT&T, and the art award “Ash Eroded Film Reel” by Daniel Arsham. The award was given by Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal joined by Marissa Shorenstein, President, AT&T New York Jury Comment: “With its mixture of humor and pathos, this film captured…  Read more



Psycho (Illustration by Kent Osborne) Psycho (Illustration by Kent Osborne)

The Seven Arts of Working in Film: A Necessary Guide to On-Set Protocol

Welcome to your first day on a film set. Perhaps you’ve gotten a new job as a production assistant. Perhaps you’re still in school and have been given an opportunity as an intern, or you’ve recently been asked to help out with a friend’s production.…  Read more

Apr 14, 2015

Festivals & Events

Men Go to Battle Men Go to Battle

The Power of Story: Previewing the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival

Story. Storytelling. Experience. Community. Story, story, story! Talk to the heads of the Tribeca Film Festival and its programmers, and you’ll soon pick up on the event’s messaging this year. A festival that, as Robert DeNiro said at yesterday’s press lunch, was originally intended to…  Read more

on Apr 16, 2015

VOD Picks


Ned Rifle Ned Rifle

“Just a Normal Guy with Completely Predictable Middle-Class Morality”: Hal Hartley on Ned Rifle

When Hal Hartley arrived on the American filmmaking scene in the late 80s and early 90s, “indie film” wasn’t yet hardened into a niche or a brand. Possibilities seemed endless. Hartley’s debut feature The Unbelievable Truth, starring the late Adrienne Shelly, filtered humor and attitude…  Read more

on Mar 31, 2015