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RIP Gene Wilder

Screen Shot 2016-08-29 at 3.26.26 PM

RIP the late Gene Wilder, whose passing at age 83 was announced by his family. Here he is talking with Merv Griffin in 1979, beginning by delving into his childhood and his parents’ influence in an interview for which the set was closed to encouraged personal disclosures. The Hollywood Reporter‘s obit is here.

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A History of the Fan Mutation, YouTube’s Strangest Art Movement

Andrew Wilson's Snopsis Eht Andrew Wilson's Snopsis Eht

There’s something comforting about TV show opening credit sequences. In the era of the binge watch, we don’t necessarily need them every single episode. (I mean, we all know what we’re about to watch, don’t we?) But a great credit sequence can serve as a palette cleanser. The cue that we’re about to see something familiar, something we trust. It’s almost Pavlovian. And few opening credit sequences are as comforting as The Simpsons. Sure, that show, which is about to enter its 28th season, is about two decades past its prime. But when we hear Danny Elfman’s theme music, when we see that logo in the clouds above Springfield, it’s like we’re right back in 1995. It’s this familiarity that…  Read more

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Danger Man: Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg on Weiner

Anthony Weiner in Weiner (Photo courtesy of Sundance Selects) Anthony Weiner in Weiner (Photo courtesy of Sundance Selects)

From where we currently sit in the middle of the Great Reality Show Presidential Primary Race of 2016, it seems like a point so obvious as to be nearly mundane: Politics can be the greatest show on earth. And, since the birth of the technology, that show has played out in front of the camera. Picking apart the symbiotic relationship between the media and politicians is an old conversation, merely updated with an ever-evolving set of tools: From Andrew Jackson, who controlled at least one newspaper and also blamed the press for ruining his wife’s good name, to Gary Hart, who, when faced with rumors of sexual impropriety, infamously dared the media to follow him around (which they did), the…  Read more

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Trailer Watch: Borbetomagus Documentary A Pollock of Sound

A Pollock of Sound

Well into their fourth decade, experimental music trio Borbetomagus remain for the musically adventurous an ear-blistering and essential listening experience. With saxophonists Don Dietrich and Jim Sauter in New York and guitarist Donald Miller in New Orleans, that experience is one caught live on one of the band’s European tours or occasional U.S. one-offs and mini tours. But now moviegoers will have a chance to take in some of Borbetomagus’s impact with A Pollock of Sound, Jef Mertens’s documentary about the band. With commentary from, among others, writer Byron Coley and Sonic Youth guitarist Thurston Moore, the documentary should place in context a group that has pursued a pure, undiluted vision of free music over the years. Screenings are set…  Read more

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Music Video: Emily Wells’ “Pack of Nobodies,” Directed by Ben Foster

With five films in theaters this year, including specialty hit Hell or High Water, as well as a turn in the St. Anne’s production of A Streetcar Named Desire, actor Ben Foster is having what’s known as a moment. Now, add one other credit to his enviable run: his directorial debut with a music video for singer Emily Wells, “Pack of Nobodies.” And whereas most music videos feature performance and maybe one narrative storyline, Foster shoots Wells singing as well as five sets of actors in an interlocking series of emotional narratives. From the music video’s press release: The music video explores 5 different couples through moments in their relationship narrated by Emily Wells’ performance: “ If I could be…  Read more

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DP Eve M. Cohen Discusses Virtual Reality and Crowdfunding

Seed&Sparkfeatured

In part I of this interview, cinematographer Eve M. Cohen talked about working on the independent feature Be Somebody. In the second part of the interview, she talks about her experience with shooting for virtual reality projects, as well as Seed and Spark, a crowd funding and community site for filmmakers. Filmmaker: You’ve started working in virtual reality. Can you tell us about that? Cohen: Virtual reality is really exciting and I think that it’s important to differentiate virtual reality filmmaking from 2D or linear filmmaking. Virtual reality is a completely new medium and it takes place completely surrounding you, so it’s almost like you’re inside a dome as opposed to looking at a screen. You can’t treat it as…  Read more

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Freeze Frame: In Order of Disappearance

Kristofer Hivju and Stellan Skarsgard in In Order of Disappearance Kristofer Hivju and Stellan Skarsgard in In Order of Disappearance

A blond, fair-skinned Swedish actor playing a petit-bourgeois Swede of the old school who resurfaces in the Norway of the overnight economic miracle, the ubiquitous Stellan Skarsgard looks as blank in Norwegian director Hans Petter Moland’s determinedly revisionist In Order of Disappearance as the snow-covered swaths atop the rural roadwork his Nils Dickman rips through at the helm of his commanding danger-signal-yellow snow plough. The 2014 masterwork is only now making its long-awaited U.S. debut. The color matches the baggy waterproof overalls that keep Nils’s sizable frame dry, and is just about the only hue outside of white visible during his back-and-forth runs from his small company’s garage. The limited palette suits this clean-living church-goer, as does the daily metaphoric…  Read more

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Expert Tips for First-Time Documentary Filmmakers (Like Myself)

Doctor of Sole Doctor of Sole

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 grabbed me, and I found one in George, a 78-year-old African-American shoe repair shop owner in Portland, Oregon, my recently adopted…  Read more

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Filmmaking

Hannah Chapman, DP Aravind Ragupathi and 1st AD Jim McQuaid on set of Memory of a Kiss Hannah Chapman, DP Aravind Ragupathi and 1st AD Jim McQuaid on set of Memory of a Kiss

Fix It in Production: A 1st A.D. Tells You What Mistakes to Avoid when Shooting an Independent Film

I’ve been writing, shooting and producing short films, about twenty of them, since 1999. I’ve also DP’d several shorts and a zombie feature. I enjoy assisting other filmmakers in North Carolina, where I live, and I’ve worked as AD over the last five years on…  Read more

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Jul 11, 2016

Festivals & Events

Dee Wallace in Red Christmas Dee Wallace in Red Christmas

Deformed Creatures for Everyone: The 20th Fantasia International Film Festival

Independent of the intent of hardworking programmers and staff, a film festival can occur at an unexpectedly opportune time. That I attended the 20th edition of the Montreal-based Fantasia International Film Festival as many New York colleagues spent their evenings watching the genre-defying, quasi-patriotic spectacle known as…  Read more

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on Aug 1, 2016

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