“There’s Something to Be Said for Eliminating Variables and Keeping Things Simplistic”: DP Mike Gioulakis on the Doppelgängers of Us

MAdison Curry in Us

In Jordan Peele’s Us, a middle class family returns home from a day at the beach to find themselves under siege by murderous doppelgängers clad in red jumpsuits and wielding scissors. Instead of leaning primarily on face replacements, compositing and other post production tricks, cinematographer Mike Gioulakis emphasized clever camera placement and the use of doubles to create the illusion of Lupita Nyong’o and her clan battling their alter egos. With Us hitting Blu-ray and other home entertainment platforms last week, Gioulakis walked Filmmaker through some of the film’s most memorable shots. Filmmaker: Since we spoke for It Follows, you’ve shot two M. Night Shyamalan movies (Split, Glass) and now Us for Jordan Peele. Have you always been a fan of horror or did It Follows inadvertently…  Read more


Beast Beast, Lingua Franca Take Prizes at U.S. in Progress Paris

(left to right) Beast Beast director Danny Madden, producer Benjamin Wiessner, and coproducer Germain Le Carpentier.

Beast Beast, the first feature from Danny Madden, took the top prize at U.S. in Progress Paris on Friday. In a statement, the jury (of which I was a member), wrote of the multi-strand story, “The film is a successful attempt to capture the present teenage generation. The director approaches his protagonists with empathy and understanding. The film has a strong political (gun control in particular) and social aspect while remaining an entertaining and creative piece of work.” Beast Beast is produced by Vanishing Angle (Matt Miller, Tara Ansley, and Benjamin Wiessner), and Alec Baldwin is an executive producer. A founding member of the Ornana collective, Madden appeared on Filmmaker’s 25 New Faces list in 2012 as part of that…  Read more


“A Dog That Had a Lot of Stress in His Life”: Dog Trainer Massimo Perla on Dogman

Marcello Fonte in Dogman

Matteo Garrone’s Dogman, a deceptively simple story of a professional dogsitter’s attempt to achieve recognition among gangsters in a small Italian town, reminds me of the great “art-house” films I watched when I was a teenager: The Magician, La Strada, Bicycle Thief, Black Orpheus. A spare story grows and builds and pushes itself until it swells to the bursting point and then: suspension. Viewers are forced to meditate on what they have watched, as all of the mini-scenarios that have built it gain their own weight. Marcello (Marcello Fonte) is friends with Simoncino (Edoardo Pesce), a small-time crook; Marcello is a mild-mannered and peaceful but troubled father of a loving daughter, while Simoncino is a human vessel for testosterone, drug-addled…  Read more


Mansion on the Hill: Jimmie Fails and Joe Talbot on The Last Black Man in San Francisco

Jimmie Fails in The Last Black Man in San Francisco (courtesy of A24)

Jimmie Fails and Joe Talbot, the creative team behind The Last Black Man in San Francisco, have the kind of backstory that’s the stuff of publicists’ dreams, a compact anecdote that grounds their feature debut. Both are native San Franciscans and met around age 10: Talbot had gotten into a fistfight, and Fails came onto the street just in time to help. The two became lifelong friends, a relationship that mutates into new form in their film. Fails (who cowrote the film’s story with director Talbot; the script’s cowriter is Rob Richert) stars as a version of himself: a lifelong San Franciscan obsessed with his family home, a Victorian mansion said to have been built by his grandfather in the…  Read more


Crisis of Representation: Why Independent Filmmakers Still Need Agents and Managers

Madeline Brewster in Cam (courtesy of Netflix)

“If you want to work in Hollywood, you must have representation,” says one industry veteran. That’s been a longstanding rule in the entertainment business for the past several decades. Despite the battle between the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and Hollywood’s big talent agencies over packaging fees, and the thousands of writers who subsequently fired their agents, and even amidst the plethora of new outlets and disruptive distribution technologies, independent filmmakers are still largely subject to the traditional forms of gatekeeping. (And directors haven’t had to fire their agents—at least, not yet.) So, that leaves emerging filmmakers still dependent on managers and talent agents to bolster their careers—in most cases, in that order. Yet, for many early and even mid-career…  Read more


“Now is an Interesting Moment, When the Cruelties and Inequality are More Exposed than Ever”: Petra Costa on her Netflix-Premiering Doc on Brazilian Politics, The Edge of Democracy

The Edge of Democracy

Politics is confusing at the best of times. But in the age of Brexit, Trump and now Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, it’s impossible to keep track of the fake news, alternative facts and the good old-fashioned lies, damned lies and statistics. Since January 1st of 2019, President Bolsonaro has been ruling the roost in Brazil, following hot on the heels of a president who was almost impeached (Michel Temer), one who was impeached (Dilma Roussef) and one who now keeps a prison bed warm (Lula). The political shenanigans came so thick and fast from the biggest nation in South America that it was hard to keep track of what was going on, even for Brazilians. That confusion is somewhat alleviated…  Read more


Watch: Guts, Noah Hutton and Taylor Hess’s Short Doc on the Feminist, Anti-Colonial Environmental Lab, CLEAR

Guts (Photo: ©David Howells 2016 www.davehowellsphoto.com)

“Reproducing the status quo is deeply political because the status quo is crappy,” says the Newfoundland-based Civic Laboratory for Environmental Action Research’s Max Liboiron in Taylor Hess and Noah Hutton’s sharp and inspiring short doc, Guts, currently streaming at The Atlantic (and embedded above). At CLEAR, Liboiron’s work is both deeply political as well as practical. Her environmental science examining the effect of plastic pollutants on animal and human environments and food chains poses a more-than-rhetorical challenge to mainstream ideas around recycling and environmental cleanup. From The Atlantic: In the documentary, she asks a group of well-intentioned recyclers to look closely at their individual consumer behaviors. The data on waste management, she says, suggest that recycling doesn’t do much to…  Read more


I Will Always Love You: Amy Dotson’s BAMcinemafest Speech

Amy Dotson

Amy Dotson, who recently departed her position as Deputy Director and Head of Programming at IFP, Filmmaker‘s publisher, is headed this fall to Portland, where she will step into the role of Director of the Northwest Film Center and Film and New Media Curator at the Portland Art Museum. Today she gave a speech at the day of industry talks at BAMcinemafest and kindly offered the text to Filmmaker to publish below. Lotta change in the air, ya’ll. So much has happened of late. As some of you may know, I’m on the precipice of new adventures. That said, I’m particularly excited to be talking with you today but…. If I’m being honest, it’s taken reading a lot of Dolly…  Read more



Image courtesy of Carolyn Funk

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

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…  Read more

Apr 24, 2019

Festivals & Events


Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite Wins Cannes Palme d’Or; Mati Diop’s Atlantics Picks Up Grand Prix

South Korean director Bong Joon-ho’s dark social satire/thriller Parasite won the Cannes Film Festival’s top prize, the Palme d’Or. It’s the first time a Korean director has won the award, and jury president Alejandro González Iñárritu said the jury was unanimous. First-time French-Senegalese feature filmmaker…  Read more

on May 25, 2019



The Competition

“A Lot of Stories in France are Not Told”: Claire Simon on The Competition

Claire Simon’s The Competition is a sometimes painfully funny documentary about a subject that doesn’t seem humorous at all: the rigorous admission process, heavy on interviews in front of panels, for La Fémis, one of France’s premiere film schools. Its alumni include Claire Denis and Arnaud…  Read more

on Feb 26, 2019


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