Trailer Watch: Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter

Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter

Here’s the first trailer for the Zellner Brothers’ wonderfully idiosyncratic Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter. The one minute snippet goes a little out of its way to not reveal the narrative catalyst, conjuring a vague aura of suspense, though the film itself is far from your average adventure drama. Breaking your heart with a nearly silent performance, Rinko Kikuchi stars as the titular character who fleas her banal Tokyo confines in search of snowbound, stateside treasure. Amplify will release the film on March 13.


“Scary and Sad and Difficult and Funny and Erotic and Exciting”: Angus MacLachlan on Goodbye to All That

Goodbye to All That Goodbye to All That

Goodbye to All That‘s protagonist Otto Wall is a limited man — the type of man who just goes along with the flow, who doesn’t try to ruffle feathers. He’s not stupid, but neither is he gifted with remarkable intelligence. He has a good job, an attractive if possibly overbearing wife (Melanie Lynskey) and an adorable, auburn-haired daughter who is quickly turning into a North Carolina Methodist. He’s lucky, at least until he isn’t. Played with gentle moxie by Paul Schneider, in his most memorable motion picture role since Dick Liddil in The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford, Otto is clumsy, kind and more than easy to root for. He’ll need it: Otto’s life begins to fall…  Read more


Short Film: I Love You So Much by Leah Shore

Shore animation

“To try to write love is to confront the muck of language; that region of hysteria where language is both too much and too little, excessive (by the limitless expansion of the ego, by emotive submersion) and impoverished (by the codes on which love diminishes and levels it).” Roland Barthes, A Lover’s Discourse. The muck of romantic language — spoken, inscribed on the body and splattered, along with images, on the screen — is the subject of Leah Shore’s latest short film, I Love You So Much. Shore made our 25 New Faces list back in ’13, and I Love You So Much is her first to mix live action with animation. “I like to make an audience feel a…  Read more


2014: The Year in Movers, Shakers and Standout Scenes

Goodbye to Language Goodbye to Language

Last year I skirted around the issue of a Top 10 list by highlighting my 10 favorite scenes of the year, my logic hovering somewhere above “What is an effective film, if not the sum of its parts?” This year, I’m not so sure that axiom stands. Whether or not you regard it as the masterpiece it may or may not be, Richard Linklater’s Boyhood has unimpeachably proved to be *the* film of 2014. I was fortunate it enough to see it in its best possible setting: front row at the Paramount Theater at SXSW, where a sizable chunk of the audience was hometown cast and crew. Cynicism aside, it was a memorable moment to be there, staring up at Ellar Coltrane on stage, whom I’d come…  Read more


“I Always Try to Find Something Better”: Nuri Bilge Ceylan on Winter Sleep

Winter Sleep Winter Sleep

Over the course of his seven feature films – the last five of which have won prizes at Cannes – the Turkish filmmaker and photographer Nuri Bilge Ceylan has moved from a dramaturgy primarily based in photography (in films such as 2002’s Distant) to one based firmly in screenwriting, as in the elegant structure and dialogues of 2011’s Once Upon a Time in Anatolia. This development as a screenwriter has been accomplished in tandem with his wife, Ebru Ceylan, with whom he has co-written the last three films. Nuri Bilge Ceylan was trained first as a chemical and then electrical engineer before turning to photography and cinema, and his writing shows traces of an engineer’s methodicalness. Climates, in which he…  Read more


Trailer Watch: Peter Strickland’s The Duke of Burgundy

The Duke of Burgundy The Duke of Burgundy

One of my would-be favorites of 2014 — it comes out next month — finally has a trailer. The Duke of Burgundy, Peter Strickland’s follow-up to the giallo homage Berberian Sound Studio, displays some of the best uses of repetition since Jacques Rivette. What begins as a fetishistic case of master and servant becomes increasingly murky as roles and hierarchy are blurred, then challenged. It’s a viewing experience that handily rewards the uninitiated so I won’t say much more, just that Sundance Selects will release it on January 23, and you’d do best to see it on a wide screen with surround sound.


10 Tips and Observations on Pitching Documentaries from the IDFA Forum

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The 27th annual International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) is one of the largest and most prestigious documentary film festivals in the world. Beyond being just a festival, though, for the past 22 years IDFA has hosted a networking and business-oriented pitch session, the IDFA Forum, where selected documentary filmmakers have an opportunity to meet with an array of commissioning editors from around the world (with a high concentration of European broadcasters, naturally). Over the course of nearly three full days, commissioners sit around small round tables or in a large auditorium arena and weigh in on project pitches while producers try to close deals on financing for their projects. As a member of the documentary industry website The D-Word,…  Read more


Advice for Documentary Filmmakers from the Pitching Forum at CPH:DOX

Pitching Off Screen Off Record at CPH:FORUM Pitching Off Screen Off Record at CPH:FORUM

CPH:DOX, which wrapped its 2015 edition last month, is like a strange dream. That dream where you wake up and everyone understands that artistically motivated documentaries (frankly, the weirder the better) have a place, have meaning and are celebrated. The festival’s pitch forum, CPH:FORUM, is no exception. Coming up on its fourth year, it is the home of the eccentric doc sibling. The one that confounds and delights, and maybe has broadcast potential, but maybe could also play in an art gallery. In its beautiful peculiarity, the CPH:DOX forum stands out strongly from most of the other pitch forums that abound on the documentary circuit. First off, the format is a shift: CPH:FORUM is housed in an intimate auditorium. Pitches…  Read more



David Lynch (Photo: Lucca Film Festival) David Lynch (Photo: Lucca Film Festival)

Ten Lessons on Filmmaking from David Lynch

After 25 years, the wait is over for Twin Peaks fans. David Lynch and Mark Frost have announced a return to the mythical town coming in 2016 to Showtime. The show is often credited for having paved the way for the golden age of television…  Read more

Nov 24, 2014

Festivals & Events

L For Leisure L For Leisure

2014 “Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You” Series Announced

IFP, Filmmaker and the Museum of Modern Art are pleased to present this year’s slate for Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You, the annual series that spotlights films currently without theatrical distribution. Screening at MoMA from December 12 – 15, this year’s five…  Read more

on Nov 26, 2014