BoingBoing documents an eccentric patent war in this post about two companies facing off over the right to rent inflatable dummies for movie crowd scenes. It starts with this story on CNN by Elizabeth Wright: You’ve seen them in Million-Dollar Baby, Be Cool, and Ocean’s 13: stands crammed with spectators cheering for the hero. But in the movies, sometimes not even the extras are real. To cut costs, filmmakers dress up inflatable vinyl torsos to intersperse among real people in crowd scenes. Now the two startups in the market are squaring off in court. Crowd in a Box (crowdinabox.com), which […]
Mary Pols has assembled some good directors who have offered some great quotes in her piece entitled “They’re Women, Directors and Few.” It’s another piece on why there are so few working female directors in Hollywood, and Pols has brought together indies like Hilary Brougher and Nicole Holofcener with studio vets like Mimi Leder to discuss why. She also talks with Kasi Lemmons, whose Talk to Me (pictured) opens this week. Here’s a section in which Sherrybaby director Laurie Collyer talks about the differences in approach that men and women have: But women in the film industry aren’t held back […]
Initially it might appear that filmmakers Godfrey Reggio (Koyaanisqatsi) and Jonathan Caouette (Tarnation) have little in common with directors Kelly Reichardt or Rob Epstein. Caouette’s intensely self-referential experimental documentary footage or Reggio’s dreamlike visual-image essays differ considerably from Reichardt’s well-received narrative feature Old Joy or Epstein’s award-winning political documentaries. Behind the scenes, however, these filmmakers and nearly 500 more have obtained funding and support from the nonprofit organization Renew Media (formerly known as National Video Resources), established in 1990 by the Rockefeller Foundation to administer the annual Media Arts Fellowships. In 2003 Renew Media assumed full responsibility for managing the […]
If you’re in NYC today, come check out the first of three evenings Filmmaker is hosting with the IFC of new work and personal appearances by idiosyncratic documentary filmmakers. The first is tonight and we’ll be screening the work of talking with Bradley Beesley. Here’s more info: Filmmaker and IFC Center are pleased to announce the debut of “Dialogues on Film,” a new series of screenings and discussions with directors, moderated by Filmmaker’s Scott Macaulay; the series launches Monday, July 9 at 7:30pm with “An Evening with Bradley Beesley.” The program includes Beesley’s cult classic documentary OKIE NOODLING, along with […]
In the issue of Filmmaker we just put to bed, James Ponsoldt interviews Werner Herzog, whose Rescue Dawn opens today in theaters. It’s the dramatically realized story of prisoner-of-war Dieter Dengler, whose story was previously told by Herzog in his doc, Little Dieter Learns to Fly. Here’s an excerpt: Filmmaker: As Dengler died in early 2001, do you think that people might interpret “Rescue Dawn” as a commentary on America’s current geopolitical relationship with the rest of the world? Herzog: That always will happen with a film because an audience sees it with its own background, which is the immediate, […]
Over at his blog, tech writer Peter S. Magnusson posts a thorough critique of the iPhone, celebrating its hardware and design before ID’ing what he views as its current flaw: it’s non-adoption of various web 2.0 platforms. He thinks Jobs made the iPod great because he’s a music fan and knows what consumers want in a portable music device. He’s not sure Jobs has his finger on the pulse of the current mobile user who is looking not just to download movies but also to chat, social network, etc. An excerpt: I was actually in the room when Steven Jobs […]
If you happen to check this blog in the next, oh, half hour or so… tune in to WNYC’s “The Brian Lehrer Show” where he’ll be interviewing director Alison Maclean (Jesus’s Son) and screenwriter Tiara Bennett about their short film The Choices We Make, which was produced for the Scenarios USA series. The interview begins at 11:40 and lasts until noon.
Ray Pride has commentary and an excellent round-up of links about Edward Yang, who died last week. He includes YouTube clips as well as comments from Larry Gross and a downloadable PDF of an essay about Yang referencing commentary by Frederic Jameson.
Over at The Huffington Post, producer Sean Daniel (the Mummy, Dazed and Confused) looks at one legacy of John Landis’s comedy Animal House: its misuse as a comparison point for current political disasters. Here’s how he begins, but click to the link above and read the whole piece: It has happened again and it has to end. The use of the term “Animal House” to represent foul political behavior or historical events gone very badly has got to be stopped. This time the misuse is by the usually very wise Robert Borosage in his recent post on the Huffington Post […]
2007 is the 25th anniversary of Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, and in Popular Mechanics special effects technician Adam Savage discusses why its FX are still better than much of what’s on screens right now. An excerpt: You have to remember, Blade Runner was made years before digital effects became common. Today, CGI [computer-generated imagery] is becoming a mature art form, but even now there are times you just can’t beat doing some effects like these “in camera.” Most of these cityscapes are a combination of models and traditional matte paintings. For the aerial shots they used a set about 12 […]