If you need any motivation to begin production on your first-ever documentary, here’s a tip: tell thousands of people you’re making a documentary. That’s what I did when I shared the news on Filmmaker and Facebook that I was going to make my first film, a short documentary, tentatively titled Sole Doctor. Of course, I loved the enthusiastic response. But hearing, “Can’t wait to see it!” from more than 100 people sure ratchets up the pressure to deliver. With my subject nailed down and a DP and sound mixer onboard, it was time to begin production. For the first shooting day, […]
Months ago, I got the crazy idea to write, produce and direct my first documentary. I wasn’t completely unrealistic — I knew enough to start small with a short, micro-budgetfilm. I also knew I could count on a supportive network of documentary filmmakers — including pros such as Doug Block, Marshall Curry, Laura Nix, Tracy Droz Tragos, Robert Greene, and others — to help guide me through the process. Later in this piece, I’ll share some of their invaluable wisdom. But first, here’s a bit about my film and my process so far. I had been on the lookout for a subject that […]
Last Halloween (my birthday, as it happens), I loaded up my Bolex to shoot some 16mm black-and-white images of a children’s costume parade in my Brooklyn neighborhood. I was thinking of Helen Levitt’s 1948 masterpiece, In the Street. Levitt (and her co-cinematographers James Agee and Janis Loeb) used a small camera to surreptitiously record images (mostly of children) in Spanish Harlem. The film is a poetic time capsule — observational vignettes that become more than the sum of their parts. The Bolex looks pretty big these days compared to digital cameras, so I wasn’t hiding anything from anybody. As I […]
Billed as an “interactive love story set in the multiverse,” Possibilia, a short film from the dynamic writing/directing duo known as Daniels, tells the story of a couple (Alex Karpovsky and Zoe Jarman) on the verge of a break-up with 16 potential outcomes that are left to the viewer. The project, which screened at both Sundance, Tribeca, and other festivals back in 2014, now gets an online release over at Eko (previously Interlude), the interactive video creation platform. Like Daniels’ recent feature Swiss Army Man, Possibilia relies on humor to subvert the genre and push the conventions of the medium. Filmmaker recently […]
In theaters now from Cohen Media, Les Cowboys is the directorial debut of acclaimed French screenwriter Thomas Bidegain, best known in recent years for his collaborations with French director Jacques Audiard. (He has co-scripted all of Audiard’s films following The Beat My Heart Skipped.) In an age when the value of the cinematic medium is being challenged, Bidegain has made a haunting and bold first feature that is both intimate as well as epic in scope. It’s a film steeped in the history of cinema, drawing both visual and narrative inspiration from classic American westerns. At the same time, Les […]
You may not know Miranda Bailey’s name, but you probably know her work. As an actress, writer, director and producer, Miranda Bailey has a hand in just about every aspect of the independent film business. Early in her career, she executive produced Noah Baumbach’s The Squid and the Whale, and since then her producing credits have included Oren Moverman’s Time Out of Mind and the award-winning documentary Spinning Plates. Bailey’s production company Cold Iron Pictures was behind the award-winning 2015 Sundance sensation Diary of a Teenage Girl, in which she played a supporting role opposite Kristen Wiig. This summer two other films that […]
“Enjoy the ride,” said Eva Husson before she screened her first feature film in January at the Rotterdam International Film Festival. Roughly 100 minutes later, a stumbling crowd poured out of the cinema as if collectively descending a roller coaster exit ramp, vertigo subsiding with each stabilizing step. Husson’s Bang Gang: A Modern Love Story , which opens in New York and Los Angeles on June 17 from Samuel Goldwyn, is about the sexual unleashing of French suburban teens and the boundaries that shape their relationships. An explosive score integrating electronic and classical music reverberates within the rhythm of the […]
When Tangerine was released in 2015, much of the press attention focused on the fact that it was shot entirely on an iPhone 5s. Though that technical feat is impressive, the raw beauty of the film is equally striking. Set on Christmas Eve, Tangerine follows transgender sex workers and best friends Sin-Dee (Kitana Kiki Rodriguez) and Alexandra (Mya Taylor) on an odyssey through various Los Angeles subcultures. At Fandor Keyframe, a new video essay (above) by LJ Frezza examines the film’s unique aesthetic and how director Sean Baker and DP Radium Cheung found beauty from a position of marginalization.
George Clooney, Jeff Bridges, John Turturro, and composer Carter Burwell are among the talking heads who analyze the filmmaking brothers’ oeuvre in VICE Guide to Film‘s recent episode on the Coen Brothers (above). The segment, which amounts to an extended video essay, breaks down scenes from some of their most memorable films and delves into their collaboration process. Discussing the directing duo, Turturro says, “It’s like a two-headed monster.” Previous episodes of the show have focused on the work of Kelly Reichardt, Gus Van Sant, John Carpenter, Todd Haynes, and other directors.
For many directors, the thought of “directing actors” can instill panic. Directors who were once cinematographers, say, or who have worked on film sets, might be at ease working with crews or blocking shots but will freeze up when challenged to give notes to actors. Such performance anxiety is not surprising. Unlike the crew, with whom directors have the whole shoot to develop working relationships, many actors are only on set for a few days. So it’s understandable that directors may worry about “getting it right” when it comes to guiding them in their performance. But the thing is: there […]