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Here’s what’s in my Instapaper this week.

At Hammer to Nail, Mike Ryan returns from Park City and declares, “Indie is back!?!” Specifically, he sees the festival embracing a wider spectrum of the independent community and jettisoning its reflexive propensity towards cinematic naturalism:

First off, what is great about Sundance 2011 is not only the selection of unusual, formally inventive films, but the near total absence of corporate engineered, market driven, faux indie high-budget QUIRK CRAP (although there were some more offbeat versions of the old style quirk like My Idiot Brother and Terri, there was not an Answer Man or Sunshine Cleaning in the bunch). Let the studios make the ‘smart” bromances of Seth Rogen and Adam Sandler; when I think of Indie Cinema I want to experience true alternative visions or humor that has not yet been commodified by the crafty advertisement aesthetics of the Spike Jones types. The comedy The Cataclysm Catachism took me there this year.

This was also the first year that Sundance finally made a break with Naturalism. Though there were still plenty of naturalistic entries like On The Ice—an urban drama set in an isolated Alaskan village—or The Off Hours or The Lie, for the first time we saw films that used various authorial voices which managed to tell their stories in a way that implied an oppositional or contradictory attitude towards their characters. For the first time, precious films like The Off Hours were the exception rather than the rule.

Also returning from Park City is Anthony Kaufman at Indiewire, who answers, “Why 38 Films Sold at Sundance.” Addressing the same issue is Movie City News’ David Poland, who finds the buying spree “consistently good but nothing truly epic.”

In our current print issue, I write about a trend for 2011 — turmoil in the country’s film tax credit programs. Joshua L. Weinstein at The Wrap surveys some of the current damage.

Obsessive film wonkery of the week: how many days does Bill Murray live in Groundhog Day? At Obssessed with Film, Simon Gallagher has done the math: 12,403 days.

The frame as movable force — Patrick Daughters considers in a video for No Age.

Pitchfork has an interview with him about the video.

Remember the ’80s German transgressive splatter shocker Nekromantik by Jorg Buttgereit? Well, according to Adam Kennedy at The Guardian, the film is inspiration for new sub-genre of Nordic metal.

Nekromantik, the controversial career highlight of German movie director Jörg Buttgereit, is a film that stays with you. It is, after all, rife with depictions of murder, suicide, self-abuse and, predominantly, corpse-based copulation. More than 20 years later, Buttgereit’s 1987 censor-baiter has become unlikely thematic inspiration for a wave of warped guitar-slingers flooding out of the Norwegian capital Oslo. Gladly, these discordant bands don’t do the bad thing with deceased folk, preferring instead to breathe new life into what they see as a dead native rock scene.

Taking the dissonance of Nordic black metal but losing the dubious undercurrents of nationalism (and worse) that have dogged the Scandinavian musical counterculture, these bands make a racket inspired by American noise rock and British hardcore punk. The intellectualism of black metal is retained (despite what tabloids screamed at the time, only a tiny minority of black metal’s “second generation” outfits were murderous church-burners) and this is especially the case when it comes to Haust, who are an integral part of nihilistic collective the Black Hole Crew. Haust’s latest album, Powers of Horror, is named after an essay on abjection by Bulgarian-French feminist Julia Kristeva, for example. Vikings and Norse mythology are conspicuous by their absence.

Anyone who owns any Apple stock should follow Asymco for its take on the company’s finances. In fact, the blogger has been so spot-on that his blog has taken off, and now he’s considering the editorial precepts of his site. He uses a leaked document from AOL outlining their editorial directives (“AOL tells its editors to decide what topics to cover based on four considerations: traffic potential, revenue potential, edit quality and turn-around time; AOL asks its editors to decide whether to produce content based on “the profitability consideration”) to come up with his own editorial mission statement:

Learn by writing. Teach by listening.
Improve. Move the intellectual ball forward.
Illuminate topics which are bereft of analysis.
Be notable. “The proliferation consideration.” How likely is the idea to being widely re-published?
Review. Encourage participation by reading all comments and reply to as many as possible. Police comments with zero tolerance.
Repair. Declare and correct errors.
Select. Publish only when the contribution is unique. Avoid redundancy, clutter and noise. Don’t waste reader time.

At The Guardian, Slavoj Zizek asks, “Why fear the Arab revolutionary spirit?”

Want your doc subjects to look directly at the lens without using Errol Morris’s Interrotron? Philip Bloom tells you about Steve McWilliams’ Eyedirect.

Speaking of cinematography, many casual shooters (like me) are considering: spring for a Canon 7D or go for a Canon Rebel T2i or the new flip-screen Canon 60D? Our buying decision has been complicated by the appearance of the new Panasonic GH2. At Self Reliant Film, Paul Harrill considers the new Micro 4/3 camera:

The GH2 is not a perfect camera — no such thing exists — but it does fix a lot of the GH1?s problems. As such, I feel like I can finally endorse a DSLR for motion picture use. (And yes, I know, it’s not a DSLR. But the term “hybrid camera” just sounds weird.) I think it’s the best camera you can buy there for under $1000. It might be the best camera you can by for three or four times that.

He does have some gripes, though. Read them at the link.

Here’s a video shot by Mike Kobal on the Panasonic GH2:

Superstar: Shot with Panasonic GH2, Nokton 25mm and Canon 5D mark II, L 50mm 1.2 from Mike Kobal on Vimeo.

Finally, in this economy, there is a lot of work out there — unpaid work. Use this site to ask yourself, “Should I work for free?”

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