Happy Christmas Director Joe Swanberg on the Financial Life of the Independent Filmmaker

Melanie Lynskey and Joe Swanberg in Happy Christmas Melanie Lynskey and Joe Swanberg in Happy Christmas

“Transparency benefits everybody.” That’s Joe Swanberg, whose recommended Happy Christmas opens today, talking about distribution dealmaking, but he might just as well have been talking about all aspects of his career and financial life. Indeed, Swanberg is nothing but transparent in this long interview with producer, director and ArtHome founder Esther Robinson focused specifically on making a living as a writer/director — precisely the subject most directors won’t issue a comment on. The interview was conducted for Robinson’s current piece in the new print edition of Filmmaker, “Still on the Job,” in which she revisits several directors featured in an article five years earlier on filmmakers and their second jobs. Just a few sentences of what’s below appear in that…  Read more


Watch: “Satoshi Kon – Editing Space & Time”

Paprika Paprika

We recently spotlighted Tony Zhou’s video essay on Michael Bay’s editing techniques, and now he’s come up with another fascinating editorial analysis. “Satoshi Kon — Editing Space & Time” examines the work of the late anime legend (Paprika, Perfect Blue) purely from an editor’s perspective, finding analogical techniques in Wes Anderson’s work while unpacking the director’s use of graphic matches, imaginative wipes and other transitions that underlined his concerns with the slippage between dreams and reality. It concludes with Kon’s final work, the one-minute short Ohayo (Good Morning). This is well worth a look, both for anime buffs and editors on the prowl for new kinds of cuts.


Behaving Badly in Nathan Silver’s Stinking Heaven

Stinking Heaven Stinking Heaven

I love being on set. Mine, yours, whomever’s. I like eating exorbitant amounts of food. I like idle conversation. I like the feeling you get when sleep deprivation kicks in and the dullest minutiae is suddenly hilarious. But mostly I like being around a group of people who have cast aside their better judgement to create something together. So when Nathan Silver asked if I wanted to come to the Stinking Heaven set, I gladly hopped the train to Passaic. I was excited to see how Nathan, who works from outlines and improvisation, constructs a film from the ground up. The following is a loosely timestamped diary of my adventures on set, which ended up extending over the course of two days after I volunteered to cover for PA extraordinaire Drew Tobia.…  Read more


Stray Links, 7/21-7/25

The Fly The Fly

Starting this week, I’ll be posting a round-up of stray news items and articles — mostly film, though not all — that caught my eye. Let’s get started: • The great Michael Almereyda’s short film Skinningrove won the short film jury award at Sundance this year, and now you can watch it at the New York Review of Books. It’s about 15 minutes of photographer Chris Killip discussing and showing mostly unpublished photos of the titular Yorkshire village from the ’80s. • Here’s an interesting obituary for Thomas C. Senesac, owner of Chicago’s Acme Prop Rental, a company which got its start supplying John Hughes’ ’80s run. “When we were watching While You Were Sleeping, there’s my grandmother and grandfather’s…  Read more


Applications Open for Dogfish Accelerator


Last year, I did a lengthly profile on Dogfish Pictures’ inaugural Accelerator program, which adapts a start up financing model to the independent film landscape. Dogfish equips each of its selected participants with seed financing and an office space where they’ll develop their product(s) over the course of nine-weeks, with added input from mentors. The program is capped off by a demo day, in which a member from each team pitches to a room full of investors, industry personnel and lowly journalists like myself. Applications are now open for the second edition of Accelerator through August 8, but this year, James Belfer and Co. are widening the field. “Content is content, no matter what form it takes,” said the CEO in a statement. As such, Accelerator is extending the…  Read more


Watch: The 50 Shades of Grey Trailer

50 Shades of Grey 50 Shades of Grey

“I don’t do romance. My tastes are very…singular.” The keenly anticipated, much-hyped first full trailer for 50 Shades of Grey is now here, having debuted during the Today show earlier today (corporate synergy at its finest: distributor Universal also owns NBC). Jamie Dornan glowers impassively, Dakota Johnson stares into his eyes, and eventually the whips come out. Director Sam Taylor-Johnson has certainly come a long way since 2006, when she directed an eight-minute short of a man masturbating in Death Valley for the arthouse porn anthology Destricted. “I find the whole porn thing a bit creepy,” she said at the time. “If people watch my film wanting to get excited, I think they’ll be disappointed.”


Moog Synthesizers at the Movies: Deep Cuts

(Photo by Mark Hyre, taken from Wikipedia Commons under public license) (Photo by Mark Hyre, taken from Wikipedia Commons under public license)

Over at the website of the Bob Moog Foundation, electronic music historian Thom Holmes has an interesting post about some lesser-known cinematic uses of the Moog, the pioneering analog synthesizer popularized by Wendy Carlos with 1968′s Switched-On Bach album, which introduced the public at large to the idea of electronic sounds as more than simple novelties. Carlos would go on to the soundtracks for A Clockwork Orange, The Shining and Tron, but many other movies in the ’60s and ’70s were quick to latch onto the instrument’s possibilities. Paul Beaver and Bernie Krause were among the Moog’s most productive practitioners at the time. They were extremely prolific while working under the inadvertently goofy handle “Beaver & Krause”: Holmes says Krause…  Read more



Boyhood Boyhood

What’s in the Summer Issue of Filmmaker?

What’s in the summer issue of Filmmaker? Well, first of all, our 2014 25 New Faces, but you already knew that. (If you didn’t, click here and find out who they are.) But there’s a lot more to be found in our print edition. On…  Read more

on Jul 20, 2014

Festivals & Events

The Humbling The Humbling

First Batch of 2014 TIFF Titles Announced

In a press conference this morning, Cameron Bailey and Co. released the Special Presentation and Gala selections for the upcoming edition of the Toronto International Film Festival. Lots to parse through as the slate boasts world premieres from Christian Petzold, Mia Hansen-Løve, Noah Baumbach, David Gordon Green,…  Read more

on Jul 22, 2014

VOD Picks

  • life-itself-poster1
    Life Itself Documentary
    Magnolia Pictures
    Official site
    7/4/14 iTunes MOD
  • ping-pong-summer-134400-poster-xlarge-resized
    Ping Pong Summer Comedy
    Gravitas Ventures
    Official site
    6/6/2014 MOD VOD


Stoker Stoker

Interview Avoidance and Bollywood Rip-offs: Park Chan-wook on Vengeance, End Titles and Medium Cool

“Mr. Park Chan-wook is not giving any interviews. Sorry.” The Korean auteur was one of the biggest names present at the recently concluded 31st Jerusalem Film Festival, second only perhaps to Spike Jonze (who doesn’t really make for charming interviews). The problem with big names…  Read more

on Jul 22, 2014


  • @natoism Whoa. That happened to me once w/Radiohead, although I caught half the show.
  • I'm Ira Glass, Host of This American Life, and This Is How I Work lifehacker.com/im-ira-glass-h… via @instapaper.
  • RT @julietjacques: Thought-provoking @LRB essay by @adamshatz on the life & work (especially the later period) of Alain Robbe-Grillet: htt…
  • RT @KentuckerAudley: I shared my 10 essential tips w/ @TalkhouseFilm on how to become the next big indie film sensation. PLEASE RETWEET. ht…
  • @marcoarment Re digital hoarding, wld be nice if app had way to bookmark/save specific episodes to be downloaded. I wouldn’t DL them then.