The following article was originally published in Filmmaker's Fall, 2020 print edition. We’re drowning in entertainment. Dozens of streamers, from mainstream catnip like Netflix and Disney+ to niche platforms like the Criterion Channel, each offer hundreds of feature films, limited series and TV shows. National theater chains like AMC and arthouse cinemas like the Alamo Drafthouse—at least before and hopefully after the pandemic—serve up fresh options every week on more than 40,000 screens. And legacy networks on basic cable, from NBC to TBS, continue to deliver a firehose of prerecorded content and live broadcasts every day. How to choose? Simple: Watch the trailer. And by that, I mean trailer, teaser, TV spot, Instagram ad, YouTube preroll, you name it. These bite-sized free samples… Read more
Screening on The Museum of Modern Art's Virtual Cinema through January 21, Ernie Gehr's Lower East Side Trilogy combines three of his recent pieces: Autumn (completed 2017), Aproposessexstreetmarket (2018), and Circling Essex Crossing (2018). MoMA describes the trilogy as a sequel to Gehr's Essex Street Quartet, currently screening in an installation on the Museum's fourth floor. For Essex Street Quartet, Gehr reshaped footage he had taken some 45 years earlier. The Trilogy comprises new material that documents a rapidly changing Lower East Side. Gehr spoke with Filmmaker by phone from his home in Brooklyn. Filmmaker: How have you weathered the Covid-19 pandemic? Ernie Gehr: I have been very fortunate. It hasn’t affected my work. Last year, 2020, was actually one of the most productive… Read more
The following article on film-set COVID-19 safety departments was originally published in Filmmaker's Fall, 2020 print issue. When Heather Drake-Bianchi landed her first job as a COVID-19 compliance supervisor, the New York–based set medic didn’t realize the gravity of the responsibility she’d been given. “At first, I thought I was just going to be like a ’set medic plus,’ Drake-Bianchi said. “Then, on day one of the shoot, when we did the first morning safety briefing, one of the producers said, ’Just so everybody knows, whatever Heather says goes. She has the capacity to shut this entire shoot down.’” Drake-Bianchi’s epiphany came in late July, shortly after filming was permitted to resume in New York after three months of COVID-driven shutdowns. California had… Read more
During last night's Gotham Awards, Gotham Film & Media Institute Executive Director Jeffrey Sharp announced the creation of The Joel Schumacher Mentorship Award in partnership and endowed by MTV Entertainment Group. Honoring the legacy and social consciousness of the director of such films as Tigerland, Falling Down, Car Wash and St. Elmo's Fire will be a scholarship enabling four undergraduate students to attend the The Gotham EDU summer program, according to the press release, "an eight-week curriculum which will offer workshops to hone career development and technical skills, master classes hosted by industry decision makers, and insight from mentors through one-on-one sessions with a full scholarship. The scholarship will be awarded to individuals and communities which Joel identified through his work and… Read more
The Gotham Awards -- the long-running event by IFP, which used tonight's ceremony to formally unveil the organization's name change to The Gotham Film & Media Institute -- has long occupied pole position in the year's film awards ceremonies, followed by, among others, the SAG Awards, the Spirit Awards and, of course, the Oscars. So too this very different year, when live events are precluded because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tonight's event was streamed live from The Gothams' usual location -- Cipriani Wall Street -- with The Gotham Executive Director Jeff Sharp presiding over ceremonies that saw some presenters walk the red carpet and speak from the room while most others beamed in from their homes. Replacing the live tables… Read more
Always a smartly edited exercise in graphic matches, David Ehrlich’s annual countdown of the year’s best films is here to connect the dots from Ema (#25) to Time (#1) in 15 minutes.
Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP, Filmmaker's publisher), announced today that it is renaming itself The Gotham Film & Media Institute, or, simply, "The Gotham." From the IFP's email to members: For over forty years, IFP has worked to advance the groundbreaking, enduring, challenging culture of independent film. In that time, we’ve grown from a grassroots marketplace into a year-round organization with an annual conference, awards, labs, a membership community and a mandate to support storytellers across a wider range of media. Along the way, we’ve also outgrown our brand. So to better support our mission—and an expanding role in the film & media community—we’re taking the occasion of the 30th annual Gotham Awards to simplify and strengthen our own identity. As of January 11, IFP… Read more