Jacob T. Swinney’s new video essay intercuts the short and feature versions of Whiplash seamlessly, showing how close the first incarnation was to the final feature project. And it’s also probably the only legal way you can see parts of the original short for now.
Thommy Hutson’s new film The Id features a lot of conventions familiar to fans of low-budget horror – limited locations, handheld camerawork, a subjective point of view linked to a protagonist with a fractured psyche – but it stands apart from the crowd thanks to Hutson’s subtle and beautiful approach to color, space, and psychology. The film, which arrives on Blu-ray today, is an eerie character study that follows Meridith (Amanda Wyss), a woman torn between the horrors of caring for an abusive father and the fear of the unknown that comes with escaping the only life she’s ever known. As the possibility of a new future becomes increasingly viable, Meridith’s power struggle with her tyrannical father intensifies and Hutson ratchets… Read more
In early 2015, Kino Lorber mounted a successful crowd-funding campaign for Pioneers of African-American Cinema. The campaign raised over $53,000, far surpassing its original $35,000 goal. Now Kino Lorber is hoping to repeat that success with its new Kickstarter campaign for their upcoming release Pioneers: First Women Filmmakers. So far, they’ve raised more than $20,000 towards the $44,000 goal. “You wouldn’t know it looking back at the last 90 years of film history, but at one time, it was not uncommon to have women behind the camera in Hollywood,” says writer-director Ileana Douglas in the campaign video (above). Presented in association with the Library of Congress (and drawing from the collections of other world-renowned film archives), Pioneers will be the largest commercially-released video… Read more
Candice Drouet’s latest video compares a number of shots from Steven Spielberg’s A.I.: Artificial Intelligence — which he famously took over at Stanley Kubrick’s request — with shots they’re modeled on from Kubrick’s work. Refreshingly for a supercut video, the Spielberg shots do seem directly modeled after specific Kubrick shots rather than merely relying upon vague similarities.
I recently had the pleasure of watching two of the very best American films of the year on the big screen: Kelly Reichardt’s Certain Women and So Yong Kim’s Lovesong. I’d been meaning to catch Reichardt’s film for months but had managed to miss it consistently at festivals. The opportunity finally presented itself this past Wednesday. I had plans in Fort Greene that evening to watch the third presidential debate, a spectacle that I was almost positive would be deeply stressful and troubling. But I, like most Americans, couldn’t bear to look away. Anyway, I had a few hours to kill beforehand, and BAM was right around the corner. And so I found myself sitting in a dark theater alone… Read more
Our new “Recommended on a Friday” column is meant for us here at Filmmaker to throw some attention on films we love that perhaps we haven’t covered online and in print, but this week we’re just going to start by piling on a pick that you’ve already heard quite a bit about: Barry Jenkins’s Moonlight. Jenkins’s previous film, Medicine for Melancholy, was a Filmmaker cover back in 2009, and we’ve been eagerly awaiting his next film since. Moonlight — a bracingly tender, ambitiously realized and wisely provocative character study about the construction of African-American masculine identity — demands to be seen in a theater. And, to send a signal about the kinds of films we want to see more of,… Read more
Directed by Salazar Film (Nathan Drillot and Jeff Petry), the documentary Wizard Mode relates the story of Robert Gagno, a young man with autism who is one of the world’s highest ranking pinball players. Wizard Mode tracks Robert’s rise on the international pinball circuit and his efforts to forge an independent life for himself. The film, Vimeo’s first-ever original feature, had its world premiere at Hot Docs earlier this year and is available now on Vimeo, VOD and iTunes. Filmmaker recently asked the film’s directors Nathan Drillot and Jeff Petry about working with a subject who has autism, getting the rights to The Who’s iconic “Pinball Wizard,” opting for digital distribution, and more. Filmmaker: How did you initially approach the subject matter and how did your concept about… Read more
The phrase “1980s horror” connotes a certain VHS aisle of franchised faces: Freddy, Jason, Chucky, Michael Myers, Pinhead. Far from that pack, like the anti-social loner of John McNaughton’s 1986 landmark film, we have Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. Henry looks like a guy you’d actually see on a police lineup, intimidating but anonymous. As conceived by McNaughton and co-screenwriter Richard Fire, Henry lives in a nondescript Chicago apartment, works part time as an exterminator, and, in his spare time, kills people with nauseating ease. McNaughton films the carnage with a radical matter-of-factness, stripping an ostensible horror film of its usual perverse pleasures. We get the boobs and blood, but we sure don’t feel good about it. Henry: Portrait… Read more
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
Not that long ago, and certainly on my last feature, I would often find myself joking with the gaffer or the key grip: “So if this was a $20 million film, what would we do differently?” Most of the time the answer involved big lighting… Read more
The Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP, and Filmmaker‘s publisher) announced today the nominees for its 26th annual Gotham Awards. Kenneth Lonergan’s Manchester by the Sea tops the list with four nominations, including Best Feature and, for Casey Affleck, Best Actor. Barry Jenkins’s Moonlight also placed highly,… Read more
Occasionally a movie has the look and feel of something totally original, immediately allowing one to see the protean leap its maker has taken from novice to master. Someday, when the American movie landscape is no more, simply the purview of art historians who live… Read more