Unlike nearly everywhere else in the culture, bigger is not necessarily better at the Eastern Oregon Film Festival. It’s a slender event in a small town. Eleven features and 21 shorts across three days and two venues. Still, they don’t call this stretch of fully enclosed valley “La Grande” for nothing. Despite only containing about 12,000 souls, this mountainous hamlet, like Ian Clark and Benjamin Morgan’s program, leaves you plenty of room to explore. The festival opened on a Thursday night in late February, commencing with a dinner for its supporting members in the town’s recently renovated arts center. Over beer, steak and salad, Christopher Jennings, the festival director, exhorted some of those gathered to give more. It’s difficult throwing a… Read more
For many American children, school lunch is the only full meal they receive each day. Which is one reason filmmaker James Costas was surprised to see the quality–or lack of it–going into children’s lunches in New York City. He quickly decided the subject warranted a feature-length documentary, and the result is Lunch Hour, which launched Tuesday on multiple VOD platforms. Featuring celebrities like Kirsten Gillibrand and Rachael Ray, the film looks at the systemic causes behind school lunch menus and potential solutions to nutritional deficiencies. I talked with Costas about his reasons for making the film, his release strategy, and how he hopes to encourage audience engagement. Lunch Hour is available on iTunes and Amazon Instant Video. Filmmaker: Tell me… Read more
Filmmaker and dancer Lily Baldwin premieres here at Filmmaker the first episode in her new series of short films, The Paperback Movie Project. Each short “is an interpretation of a novel and explores the fluid relationship between a reader and the book’s characters.” The debuting piece is titled “A Juice Box Afternoon,” and it tells “the story of Anne Morrow Lindbergh through her own writing as she comes of age, meets Charles Lindbergh, and experiences flight in more ways than one.” Following her breakthrough at SXSW 2012 with the dreamscape thriller Sea Meadow,Baldwin’s next short, Sleepover LA, will world premiere at this year’s SXSW on March 9. Baldwin’s narrative films are visceral and feature her own raw and stylized choreography.… Read more
The 2014 Tribeca Film Festival is rounding out its features line-up with the Spotlight, Midnight, Storyscapes and Special Screenings selections. Heavy hitters in the Spotlight category include Roman Polanski, Kelly Reichardt, Ira Sachs, Jon Favreau and Paul Haggis, with script ventures from Nicole Holofcener and Joss Whedon, as well as Chris Messina and Courtney Cox’s directorial debuts. Among the Special Screenings are new works from Tsai Ming Liang and Remote Area Medical directors Jeff Reichart and Farihah Zaman. Add in the transmedia Storyscapes and the chupacabra-featuring Midnights, and it’s shaping up to be a solid slate. The full synopses are below. SPOTLIGHT Co-Sponsored by The Lincoln Motor Company With its focus on marquee directors, prominent actors, and star performers, Spotlight is Tribeca’s… Read more
Vimeo announced today a $10 million investment in direct financial support and online services for eligible creators distributing their work using Vimeo on Demand. “The direct distribution movement gains momentum every day,” said Vimeo CEO Kerry Trainor in a statement, “and we are fully committed to empowering creators with a vibrant alternative to the ad-dominated online video ecosystem for monetizing content.” Vimeo’s $10 million fund will support the following initiatives. From the press release: Expansion of Crowdfunding Program: Vimeo is expanding on its crowdfunding program announced at the 2014 Sundance Festival by extending access to part of its $10 million fund to select titles that have successfully raised $10,000 or more through a leading crowdfunding platform in exchange for an… Read more
Art and Craft follows prolific art forger Mark Landis just at the moment his elaborate 30-year con is exposed. What follows is a guest blog by filmmakers Sam Cullman, Jennifer Grausman and Mark Becker about a central consideration in making this film. Art and Craft is in the final days of a Kickstarter campaign to raise finishing funds, including monies needed to mix the score they write about here. When we first read The New York Times story about Mark Landis in 2011, we were immediately intrigued — what kind of art forger donates his work to museums instead of selling it? From the outset we were determined to meet Landis face-to-face and to understand his motivations. And when we… Read more
The following interview of Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan is an excerpt from Chapter 5 of The TV Showrunner’s Roadmap: 21 Navigational Tips for Screenwriters to Create and Sustain a Hit TV Series by Neil Landau. It is exclusively excerpted here thanks to Focal Press. Neil Landau: The toughest thing for most screenwriters is creating original characters. People come up with ideas for what might be an interesting show, but creating complex characters is extremely difficult to do. What’s your process when you’re starting with the pilot? Walt [Bryan Cranston] is all about the choices that he makes in life. How do you make your creative choices? Vince Gilligan: It’s interesting because each new project is a bit like a snowflake. It has… Read more
Final Cut Pro X (FCP X) was announced in April of 2011 and released in June of the same year. In the nearly three years since its release I have slowly increased the amount of work I do with it. As of this writing I am in the early stages of editing a feature-length documentary using Final Cut Pro X. I agree with the post-production masses that say Apple should have handled the launch of FCP X much better than it did. I could go on and on about what I wish they would have done differently. I won’t. That is not the purpose of this article. It is also not a point-for-point comparison of editing apps. And I’m not… Read more
Following strong notices in Berlin, Anja Marquardt’s debut feature, She’s Lost Control, receives its U.S. premiere at this week’s upcoming SXSW Film Festival. The intense psychological drama, executive produced by writer/director Oren Moverman, considers the meanings and cost of intimacy through its focus on a professional sex surrogate. Premiering here at Filmmaker is the film’s newest trailer.
On the heels of their Time Is Illmatic opening night announcement, Tribeca has released the first 47 of its 89 feature-length titles in the World Narrative and Documentary Competitions, as well as the non-competitive Viewpoints. Gabriel, the debut film from 25 New Face Lou Howe, which I can’t recommend enough, will open the Narrative section, with Dior and I and Onur Turkel’s Summer of Blood kicking off the Docs and Viewpoints, respectively. Other notable titles include Keith Miller’s latest, Five Star; Junebug scribe Angus MacLachlan’s directorial debut Goodbye to All That; d.p. Jody Lee Lipes’s Ballet 422; the Golden Bear-winning Black Coal, Thin Ice; Sundance hit The Overnighters and British prison drama Starred Up. Find the full list below. World Narrative Feature Competition In a testament to the universal power of film, the themes of this year’s competition resonate… Read more
Following in the footsteps of his debut The Men of Dodge City, Nandan Rao has released his second film Hawaiian Punch for free on Kentucker Audley’s No Budge site. (Just because Kentucker is no longer making independent films, doesn’t mean he can’t afford to support them.) The 66-minute tropical excursion tracks two Mormons (Nicholas Boissonneault, Tor Kristian Anestad) through quotidien, Minimalist circumstances. Though Rao runs Simple Machine, which connects filmmakers with theatrical screening opportunities, at least a fraction of his loyalties appear to lie online.
Full disclosure: I consider the industrious Robert Greene a friend, but that makes me no less cautious in deeming his new film Actress a big deal. This collaborative psychodrama follows and subjectively sculpts his friend/neighbor Brandy Burre’s attempt to simultaneously separate from her longtime boyfriend and return to the acting world she left for suburban motherhood. (Greene’s written for Filmmaker about deciding to premiere his fourth feature at this year’s True/False.) Burre is introduced in a bright red dress standing before a kitchen sink, moving in ambiguously charged slow-mo. Is it true that, as she muses, “I tend to break things,” or is that just an inapt line from a past role that’s stuck to her? The stylized opening gives… Read more
Final Cut Pro X (FCP X) was announced in April of 2011 and released in June of the same year. In the nearly three years since its release I have slowly increased the amount of work I do with it. As of this writing I… Read more
For the past couple of years, Panasonic has taken a backseat to Sony and Canon in the cinematography and indie movie world. While Sony and Canon raced to produce new large-sensor cameras in different configurations and prices, Panasonic was content to stick with the low-end… Read more
Despite its stated policy about not announcing a film’s premiere status, is the True/False Film Fest the new place to launch your documentary? In part one of a three part series, filmmaker and writer Robert Greene will chronicle the fortunes of five films that will… Read more
Earlier this week, Chris Tucker braved the latest polar vortex to be honored at Black History Month in Toronto, presented by the Canadian Film Centre and Poor Boy’s Game director Clément Virgo. The 41-year-old co-star (with Jackie Chan) of the hugely popular Rush Hour franchise… Read more