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Watch: Christopher Nolan’s Insomnia vs. the Original

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In his latest video essay, Kevin B. Lee places the original 1997 Insomnia (directed by Erik Skjoldbjærg) on the left and Christopher Nolan’s 2002 Hollywood remake on the right. Juxtaposing the same sequence, Lee textually annotates the many differences in tempo, shot choices, framing et al., making it easy to see how two very different sensibilities approach the same sequence. More from Lee at Fandor.

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For Cinematographers: A Chart To Quickly Set Hyper-Focal Distances on Digital Cameras

GH2 Hyper Focal Distance Table

Earlier this week, I posted my interview with The Creation of Meaning director Simone Rapisarda Casanova, in which he mentioned a solution he came up with to save time on finding hyper-focal distances:  I decided to use micro-four-thirds lenses from Panasonic and Olympus. They’re really small, the only drawback is manually focusing with them as they’re really made for auto-focus. I mostly shot in hyper-focal to keep the biggest depth-of-field possible. The marks on those lenses are kind of useless if you shoot like this, because then you have to have your smartphone to calculate the right hyper-focal distance every time. So I spent some time making a nice graphic that I print and stuck on the back of the camera, and…  Read more

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Hitchcock + Haneke: DP Edu Grau on The Gift

The Gift The Gift

Amongst a summer movie season awash in sequels, remakes and presold tentpole properties, it’s rare to find a sleeper at the multiplex, an unknown quantity with the ability to surprise an audience. Such is The Gift, an unnerving psychological thriller that begins as a post-Fatal Attraction variant before veering into the domain of Roman Polanski and Michael Haneke. Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall star as a married couple leaving behind personal tragedy in Chicago to start a new life in Los Angeles. Shortly after their arrival, Bateman bumps into former high school classmate Joel Edgerton, who begins to insinuate himself into the couple’s life. Directed by Edgerton and produced by the ubiquitous genre film shingle Blumhouse, The Gift marks a departure…  Read more

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Psyched: Alex Ross Perry’s Queen of Earth

Elisabeth Moss in Queen of Earth Elisabeth Moss in Queen of Earth

In his compact, unnerving new chamber film Queen of Earth, Alex Ross Perry packs a potent, inventively off-key punch with his combo of a brilliant pre-credit emotional breakdown scene and the baroque calligraphy of the main title and the credits themselves upon its completion. He holds the face of the anguished Catherine (Elisabeth Moss) in tight close-up in the former, her hair mussed, tears and mascara forming rivulets that slowly cascade down her cheeks. Her interior pain is palpable. Off-camera, longtime boyfriend James (Kentucker Audley) tells her it’s all over, justifying his infidelity and assailing her “suffocating overreliance.” Some of her sassy retorts are so loud and high-pitched that they make it nearly impossible to watch without changing volume control.…  Read more

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Why the Kickstarter Film Festival is Expanding to 32 Screens for its Fifth Edition

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Previously, the Kickstarter Film Festival showcased everything from feature film excerpts to apps funded on the site over the course of one evening in Brooklyn, Los Angeles and London. For the 5th edition, Kickstarter has pared down the lineup to include two features and three shorts, while expanding their geographical reach, as the program will now be presented in 32 screens across the country on October 15, for free with RSVP. Filmmaker spoke to Kickstarter’s Film Partnerships Lead Dan Schoenbrun about this new iteration, which seeks to bring the platform’s films to their widest audience yet. Filmmaker: What was the decision behind the move from three cities to a national event? Dan Schoenbrun: Last year, we did it in Brooklyn, Los Angeles and London, and people came…  Read more

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Disembowelment and Doggie Cams: DP Sandi Sissel on The People Under the Stairs

The People Under the Stairs The People Under the Stairs

If there are two characteristics defining director of photography Sandi Sissel’s work, they are versatility and realism. Sissel began her career in the documentary field, shooting countless hours of footage for NBC and ABC News as well as 60 Minutes, and she has continued working in the non-fiction form on dozens of highly acclaimed films for PBS (Before Stonewall, Witness to War), HBO (Jane Goodall: Chimps So Like Us), and Disney (Endurance, for which Sissel received a BAFTA nomination). Concurrently with her non-fiction work, Sissel has forged a career as a superb narrative cinematographer; her acclaimed feature debut, Mira Nair’s Salaam Bombay!, applied her documentarian’s eye to a fictional story and served as a transitional film into a career that…  Read more

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The Studios “Are Wanting a Strong Female Perspective”: Pamela Ribon Talks Novel and Television Writing on She Does Podcast

Pamela Ribon (photo: Elaine McMillion-Sheldon) Pamela Ribon (photo: Elaine McMillion-Sheldon)

Pamela Ribon is a television writer, screenwriter, best-selling novelist and all around hilarious human. She’s been a writer in comedy rooms for both network and cable television and is the author of four novels. NPR called her new memoir, Notes to Boys, “brain-breakingly funny.” Ribon has developed original series and features for ABC, ABC Family, Warner Bros., Disney Channel and 20th Century Fox Productions. She recently finished working on a feature for Walt Disney Animation Studios, and she’s currently writing for Sony Pictures Animation on an upcoming feature. Ribon started writing on the web in 1998, before most people even knew what a blog was. She has been building her audience ever since, breaking the internet with “Barbie F*cks It…  Read more

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A Reader Asks, “How Do I Find A Director for my Screenplay?”

Orson Welles

We’re always happy to receive questions here at Filmmaker about filmmaking itself. One such question inspired one of our most-read posts, “15 Things to Do After You Finish Your Script,” and now a reader of that blog post has written in with a logical next question: How do you find a director for your screenplay?” Below, my response and, as I like to do, further comments from someone who might have more experience than me — in this case, screenwriter and Filmmaker reader (and writer), Marc Maurino. First, here’s the reader letter: Hello Scott: I’ve just read and thoroughly enjoyed your article, “15 Steps To Take After You Finish Your Script.” Thanks for the sound advice and your willingness to…  Read more

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Filmmaking

Taxi Driver (Illustration by Kent Osborne) Taxi Driver (Illustration by Kent Osborne)

What Everyone Does on a Film Set

For those new to physical production, here is a list of film set departments, with notes on their staff positions, responsibilities, benefits and attractions. (This is a companion piece to “The Seven Arts of Working in Film: A Necessary Guide to On-Set Protocol.) Production Personnel…  Read more

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Aug 24, 2015

Festivals & Events

Right Now, Wrong Then Right Now, Wrong Then

Right Then, Right Now: The Locarno Film Festival 2015

Considering last year’s Locarno Film Festival presented what turned out to be some of the best films of 2014 – Lav Diaz’s From What Is Before, Pedro Costa’s Horse Money, Martín Rejtman’s Two Shots Fired and Matías Piñeiro’s The Princess of France – artistic director…  Read more

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on Aug 19, 2015

VOD Picks

  • queenof
    Queen of Earth Drama
    IFC Films
    IMDB page
    8/26/15 MOD VOD
  • wolfpackposter
    The Wolfpack Documentary
    Magnolia Pictures
    Official site
    7/10/15 MOD VOD

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