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The 24 Films (More or Less) Shot on 35mm Released in 2018

Image courtesy of Carolyn Funk

For five years, I’ve been rounding up the previous year’s US theatrical releases of films shot, in whole or significant part, on 35mm—yes, this year’s tally is lower than any of my previous totals. The total number is unlikely to soar above 40 anytime in the foreseeable future, and every film loyalist taking the year off makes a large difference. Part of the low tally can be attributed to lack of new films from J.J. Abrams, Quentin Tarantino, P.T. Anderson, Ken Loach, Christopher Nolan, Martin Scorsese, Zach Snyder, James Gray—directors who simply won’t budge on working from film. That aside, not much has changed since my last roundup: with some notable exceptions, the bulk of 35mm feature work is being…  Read more

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A Stripper, A Gangster, A Border Crisis (and no Trump!): What to See at Hot Docs 2019

The Hypnotist

It goes without saying that the upcoming 26th edition of Hot Docs (April 25th-May 5th) presents a wealth of topnotch nonfiction films to choose from. With over 200 pictures — not to mention numerous events, immersive media and the two-day industry Forum — North America’s largest documentary festival might even feel like too much of a good thing. Fortunately for me, between the miracle of Vimeo links and traveling on the doc fest circuit since IDFA, I’ve seen a good chunk of the feature-length selections, many of which I fear will be buried beneath the headline-grabbing buzz. (Much of it well-deserved. Not only are the majority of this year’s films female-helmed, but there’s even a “Persister” section dedicated to “Women…  Read more

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The Present Moment: Sam Green on His Kronos Quartet Hybrid Film A Thousand Thoughts

A Thousand Thoughts

There’s a sequence early in A Thousand Thoughts, Sam Green and Joe Bini’s “live documentary” about the Bay Area musicians, the Kronos Quartet, that may seem familiar to anyone who has watched a music biopic. Scored to the ticking of a metronome, it’s a “rise to fame” montage of newspaper headlines, all taken from the years in which Kronos were becoming new music superstars. On top of each article, the bold-faced type indulges in the same wordplay, a riff on the Greek meaning of the group’s moniker: Kronos’s “time is now,” one headline reads; the group has hit “the big time”; they play “music for our times.” Standing next to the Kronos Quartet, stage left, with the documentary portion of…  Read more

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Full Frame’s 9th Annual A&E IndieFilms Speakeasy Closes with “Framing the Conversation: Stanley Nelson”

Stanley Nelson at Full Frame (photo: Ken A. Huth)

Taking place on a Saturday afternoon in the lobby of The Durham Hotel, “Framing the Conversation: Stanley Nelson” was the final panel discussion in a series of A&E IndieFilms Speakeasy chats at this year’s Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. (Though the festival itself is an arm of the Center for Documentary Studies at the prestigious Duke University, these always informative, free-to-the-public, laidback talks have been the 22-year-old Full Frame’s secret weapon for close to a decade.) In town to interview Nelson, the down-to-earth founder of Firelight Media, a recipient of both the MacArthur “Genius Grant” and a National Humanities Medal from President Obama, and a filmmaker whose over three-decade career now includes his latest for PBS’s “American Masters” series Miles…  Read more

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Watch: Caveh Zahedi’s “Not Getting Stoned with Alex Ross Perry”

Alex Ross Perry, writer/director of the highly recommended and in-theaters Her Smell, is the guest in this latest installment of filmmaker Caveh Zahedi’s self-explanatory interview show,(Not) Getting Stoned with Caveh. As is the case with the show as well as its sister series, Getting Stoned with Caveh, Zahedi takes a few hits before drawing out his subjects in conversation. Here, the totally straight Perry discusses with Zahedi subjects ranging from small talk at parties to sociability to cinephilia in general. And, oh yeah, at the instigation of a cinematographer friend, Zahedi varies his practice here, switching from his usual two-camera setup to one single camera. He’s not happy with the results, a displeasure that’s registered formally — and punitively —…  Read more

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“DocsStillSoWhite: Moving From Ally to Accomplice” at Full Frame’s 9th Annual A&E IndieFilms Speakeasy

“DocsStillSoWhite: Moving From Ally to Accomplice” — the title inspired by a curriculum developed by the panel’s moderator Seena (“The Woke Coach”) Hodges — was the second of two diversity-centric A&E IndieFilms Speakeasy discussions presented at this year’s Full Frame. Speaking before an impressively packed house in The Durham Hotel lobby early on a Saturday morning, the upbeat Hodges began by reminding the four panel participants to be mindful of the allotted hour (while wryly apologizing for the “colonial construct of time”). She then asked the two teams of filmmakers — two black producers working alongside two white directors — to introduce themselves and to also discuss the genesis of their Full Frame-selected docs. The two female media-makers spoke up…  Read more

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The Z 6, Z 7 and Related Gear: Nikon Shows off Their Latest Filmmaking Tools at NAB

Announced towards the end of last year, Nikon had their two new full-frame mirrorless Z mount camera systems on full display at NAB, which ran April 6 – 11 in Las Vegas. The Nikon Z 6 and Z 7 can both shoot full-frame 4K Ultra HD, can output a 10-bit N-Log signal via HDMI, can record up to 120 fps at 1080p, and contain standard video recording functions such as autofocus and timecode. While the Z 6 obviously has a lower ranking model number and is over a third less expensive than the Z 7 ($1,995 vs $3,399, body only), when it comes to video features both camera’s abilities are nearly identical. The main difference in the two models mostly…  Read more

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Filmmaking

Us

The 50 Most Anticipated American Films of 2019

Hello! Happy New Year! The fine folks at Filmmaker have invited me back to put together my (now) annual list of the 50 most anticipated American films of the year. I thought about making the list shorter this time around (because 50 blurbs is really…  Read more

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Jan 7, 2019

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