For some, it is what they’ve been waiting for, a dream come true, a chance to finally make good on years of lonely work. For others, it is a terrifying minefield of certain humiliation. It is: TALKING ABOUT YOUR FILM. A theoretical dream come true – finally, someone wants to hear me talk about my film! Giving Good Press is a fine art, and, in some cases, a blood sport. The blog machine, the Twittersphere, the critic ratings, the Gray Ladies of print reviews — at a film festival, perhaps for the first time, directors are expected to satisfy their […]by Alicia Van Couvering on Jan 18, 2014
I fell in love this week at Toronto. It started as an attraction during In Treatment, when he was depressed, and took four minutes of screen time to roll a cigarette. It grew during The Namesake. And then when I watched Life of Pi on an airplane and he made me cry – even more than how much I normally cry when watching movies on planes – I started feeling feelings. As I wiped my eyes with the sleeve of a sleeping passenger beside me, I knew what was happening: I had an actor crush. But during an 8AM screening of […]by Alicia Van Couvering on Sep 10, 2013
Drinking Buddies was conceived and executed as Joe’s “bigger” film. Bigger in the sense of its intended audience — we knew we wanted to reach as large an audience as possible — and bigger in scale. Unlike his past films, which he had made largely on his own, this one had a 50-person crew, multiple investors and movie stars. It was an experiment that could have gone very badly. What if we gave Joe all this money and resources and he just shot into a corner? What if the new infrastructure crushed what was special and intimate about his films, […]by Alicia Van Couvering on Aug 23, 2013
Movies come in all sizes. On one end of the spectrum, there’s the micro-micro, you-and-your-friends, five-person-crew, max-out-a-credit-card and play a festival (maybe) movie. And then there’s Spiderman. In between, there are steps — adding a more famous actor, getting slightly more money, shooting in a place that isn’t your apartment with people you’ve never met before. Below, some tips for adjusting to your “big movie” – some collected from experience, some handed down to me. YOU WILL HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU’RE DOING. Part One: You have no idea what you’re doing… and don’t worry about it. If someone rolls […]by Alicia Van Couvering on Aug 23, 2013
Alicia Van Couvering on the mysteries of VOD reporting.
You are at the premiere of your own film. The screening is packed. The credits begin to roll…and 500 glowing screens appear in the darkness. You sit there, watching the phones, helpless as strangers and bloggers decide your fate 140 characters at a time. Perhaps the Variety critic delivers the first blow: a decisive mediocre. The indieWIRE stringer declares the audience underwhelmed, #sundance. At a party that night, people tell each other that they heard the movie was “only OK.” In the olden days, crowds of press and industry would gather outside the theatre to discuss their thoughts and settle on […]by Alicia Van Couvering on Jan 23, 2013
Bill and Turner Ross’ new documentary Tchoupitoulas premiered in Emerging Visions this year at SXSW. The film was eagerly anticipated by fans of their debut feature, 45365, the Documentary Jury Prize winner a few years ago. Three young brothers in Louisiana take a ferry into New Orleans, observe and engage in everything from transvestite clubs to street musicians Mardi Gras floats to an abandoned ship yard on the outskirts of town. Pretty soon the youngest brother, William, a sensitive kid who plays the recorder at school, starts to get tired. “I’m just a child,” he insists, to the jeers of his brothers, who want to stay up […]by Alicia Van Couvering on Mar 16, 2012
Does the culture make the artist, or does the artist make the culture? Two Sundance documentaries — Shut Up And Play the Hits, which follows James Murphy through the last concert of his band LCD Soundsystem in 2010, and Under African Skies, Joe Berlinger’s history of Paul Simon’s seminal Graceland – might seem to be unlikely bedfellows. Both films are brilliantly executed portraits of musicians walking the tightrope of cultural relevance and personal expression. The differences between the two stories illustrate fundamental changes in our popular culture over the last 30 years. Both films seek to explore “a moment in […]by Alicia Van Couvering on Jan 27, 2012