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“Cinema Perfects Life”: Pedro Almodóvar on Rewatching His Films, Using Latin American Music, and Fighting Against Penélope Cruz’s Tears 

Pedro Almodóvar, Antonio Banderas (c) El Deseo. Photo by Manolo Pavón. Courtesy Sony Pictures Classics.

Notwithstanding the many awards seasons and release campaigns he’s endured in the United States, the manufactured climate of hotels and restaurants in Los Angeles still makes Spanish cinema idol Pedro Almodóvar uncomfortable. “Everywhere we go here is freezing,” he says as he sits down to talk and scrambles to find something warm to cover himself with.  It’s as if the coldness of these spaces he’s walked repeatedly over the years brings a sensory memory, one that he should have anticipated but still surprises him. Like so, we’ve come to expect a colorful aesthetic brand and tonal irreverence from an Almodóvar film, a baseline of artistic comfort upon which he manages to build revelatory melodramas. He’s an auteur with nothing to prove,…  Read more

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Homecoming Attitude: Wrapping the 2019 Indie Memphis Film Festival

Lil' Buck: Real Swan

Last year, after my first Indie Memphis, I penned my love letter to the city and the film festival with a scene from Jim Jarmusch’s own Memphian billet-doux, 1989’s Mystery Train. This year, as if to one-up the experience, the film was programmed during its week-long run (Oct. 30–Nov. 4) with Jarmusch himself present for a Q&A afterwards, in celebration of the film’s 30th anniversary. I don’t have personal ties to Memphis, but neither did Jarmusch when he made Mystery Train, yet the city has a way of touching you deeply; after the screening, the director, now 66, beautifully articulated that feeling. “Once something really moves me culturally, that’s part of me now,” he said. “I got a big part…  Read more

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Talking the Bigger-than-Ever Tenth Anniversary Edition of DOC NYC

The Wind

Overwhelming by design -- that’s the first impression offered by the 2019 edition of DOC NYC, the packed-to-the-rafters non-fiction film event currently underway in New York until November 15. Celebrating its tenth anniversary, the festival boasts over 300 events, including 28 world premieres, an expanded DOC NYC PRO seminar series, and 46 doc works in progress shown to industry attendees. Says director of programming Basil Tsiokos, “It’s our tenth anniversary, and we wanted to make it bigger and better. We just kept pushing [during the programming process] to include more and more films. “Every year we’ve tried to grow the festival,” says Thom Powers, its artistic director. “Several years back we introduced our Short List, and then we started our Visionary…  Read more

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“Amy Heckerling Should be Thought of as a John Hughes!”: Words of Wisdom from the SCAD Savannah Film Festival’s Wonder Women Directors Panel

Wonder Women: Directors panel at the 22nd SCAD Savannah Film Festival (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for SCAD)

Once again, this year’s not-to-be-missed event at the 22nd edition of the SCAD Savannah Film Festival (October 26-November 2), the nation’s largest university-run film fest, was the Wonder Women Panel Series. Now in its third year, these always informative discussions highlight female power in the cinematic arts, from directing, to producing, to writing, to the below-the-line crafts. And for me one of the standouts was Wonder Women: Directors, featuring seven ladies behind the lens currently upending every preconceived notion about chick flicks in impressively eclectic ways. Taking place on a laidback, late Tuesday morning at a packed Gutstein Gallery, and moderated by Variety’s Pat Saperstein, the panel included Gail Mancuso (Modern Family, A Dog’s Journey), Jocelyn DeBoer and Dawn Lueebe (Greener…  Read more

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A Film on the Arrogance of Man: Josh Murphy on His Environmental Doc, Artifishal

Artificial

"We are on a path to where eventually there will be no fish, and we will have spent billions of dollars to get to that point." This dire warning is from one of the many experts in Artifishal: The Road to Extinction is Paved with Good Intentions, a new documentary from director Josh Murphy and Patagonia that opened on multiple platforms this past week. It premiered last spring at Tribeca, followed by screenings at Mountainfilm Festival in Telluride and the Seattle International Film Festival, near the heart of the film's action. From there it's moved into a series of 550 festival and community screenings to at least 60,000 viewers, and in an effort to reach as many viewers as possible it's now…  Read more

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Shatterbox Shorts-Makers Channing Godfrey Peoples, Veronica Rodriguez, and Tiffany Johnson Talk “Refinery29 + Level Forward Present Shatterbox” at the SCAD Savannah Film Festival

Girl Callin

Moderated by Amy Emmerich, President & Chief Content Officer at Refinery29, the SCAD Savannah Film Festival’s “Refinery29 + Level Forward Present Shatterbox,” a program of seven quite diverse shorts followed by a post-screening discussion, was presented at the comfy SCAD Museum of Art theater on an industry-heavy Monday afternoon. The event featured Parisa Barani (Human Terrain), Tiffany J. Johnson and Adrienne Childress (Girl Callin), Kantú Lentz (Jack and Jo Don’t Want to Die), Channing Godfrey Peoples (Doretha's Blues), and Lizzie Nastro (the Chloë Sevigny-directed White Echo) onstage to discuss their work - as well as working with Refinery29 and Level Forward’s female filmmaking incubator. And because the talk made me eager to learn even more about the Shatterbox selection-to-distribution pipeline I decided…  Read more

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“Redefining Identity, Imagination, and Storytelling Through the Female Lens”: Refinery29 + Level Forward Present Shatterbox at the SCAD Savannah Film Festival

Shatterbox directors at the 22nd SCAD Savannah Film Festival (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for SCAD)

“Come for the glitz. Stay for the substance,” really should be the tagline on my SCAD Savannah Film Festival T-shirt, I thought to myself during this year’s 22nd edition of the US's largest university-run film festival. Along with the twice Oscar-nominated Alan Silvestri, attending to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award for Composing, the fest invited a dozen high-profile and up-and-coming actors (Aldis Hodge, Daniel Kaluuya, Danielle Macdonald, Samantha Morton, Elisabeth Moss, Valerie Pachner, Olivia Wilde, Kaitlyn Dever, Beanie Feldstein, Jharrel Jerome, Mena Massoud, and Camila Morrone) to accept an array of accolades. (It also hosted decidedly not-famous journos like myself at the Savannah-charming Perry Lane Hotel.) But scratch below the Hollywood-tinged surface and you’ll find an event equally concerned with giving…  Read more

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