As the owner and visual effects supervisor at Filmworks, FX, Inc., Ken Locsmandi has worked on films by major directors like David Fincher, David O. Russell and the Wachowskis. In the last couple of years, he has expanded his company’s scope, producing his own films in an attempt to put his expertise and resources to use on independent work that can stand alongside studio productions costing literally hundreds of times what he has to spend. When I saw Locsmandi’s directorial debut, Beyond White Space, as it traveled around the film festival circuit this year, I was stunned by its level of ambition and scale; the movie holds its own against just about any other sci-fi film of 2018 in terms… Read more
The Virtual Reality Portal at the FilmGate Interactive Media Festival, which this year overlapped with Art Basel in downtown Miami, featured a wealth of new discoveries alongside some stellar high-profile projects. Among the three-dozen or so interactive works on display were a pair that made for great companion pieces. The first was Lynette Wallworth’s “psychedelic documentary” Awavena, an inner trip that I’d just missed experiencing at IDFA DocLab (and which made me wish that every VR experience came with a hammock). The second, Eliza McNitt’s Sundance-premiering outer trip Spheres, also had perhaps the widest target audience of any of the pieces represented. As I waited in line, watching a little boy who looked to be having a ball participating in… Read more
This is not a good time to be in love. At least not if you’re a movie character in an awards season that is awash in tragically doomed romances. In the last week alone I’ve seen couplings quashed by systemic racism (If Beale Street Could Talk), politics (Cold War), and unconquerable inner demons (a second go-round for me with A Star is Born). No one seems to be swimming off into the sunset with their fishman this year. In addition to ill-fated relationships, Beale Street, Cold War and A Star Is Born share another common element — sumptuous cinematography. In A Star Is Born, that comes courtesy of Matthew Libatique. A longtime collaborator of director Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a… Read more
In The Morning After an interracial lesbian couple wake up the day after the 2016 general election to find their world changed. They drag their tired bodies out of bed to have brunch with one of the women’s fathers, who presents a charming, welcoming veneer despite his soon-to-be revealed political leanings. Written and directed by Lauren Minnerath, and starring Taylor Hess (a Filmmaker contributing editor) and Adenike Thomas, the short film methodically dissects an already tense instance of “meet the parents,” made all the more trying by the present circumstance. Check it out above.
The Sundance Film Festival’s always-revelatory New Frontier section announced its 2019 lineup today. Dedicated to work sitting at the “dynamic crossroads of film, art and technology,” New Frontier typically explores various forms of new media, including VR, AR, mixed reality and work implementing artificial intelligence. Amongst the highlights are the first time, I believe, that the Magic Leap technology has appeared in a Sundance selection, here in a work co-created by the Royal Shakespeare Company; Eminem taking you on a nighttime Detroit ride in VR; the VR component of Roger Ross Williams’s multi-format Traveling While Black project; painter turned VR artist Teek Mach’s Grisaille; and new work from some of the field’s strongest artists and New Frontier veterans: Doug Aitken,… Read more
One of the very best shorts of the year has made its way online. Actor David Call wrote, directed and stars in Cole, an elliptical drama about a combat veteran who’s suffered a traumatic brain injury and is struggling to reintegrate himself into the working world. With a steady, almost minimalist approach, Call relays the quotidian rejection that his character faces to heartbreaking effect. Check it out above.
On the heels of FilmStruck’s closure, independent film streaming services have taken another hit as Fandor laid off about 40 employees towards the end of last week. The company’s CEO, Chris Kelly, announced that their assets were sold to a newly formed entity — Fandor… Read more
You recognize Eric Lange. He’s been a working actor for 20+ years, with extensive theater work and a long list of television and film credits (Narcos, Lost, Weeds, The Bridge, to name a few recent ones). For Escape at Dannemora (directed by Ben Stiller), he… Read more
As both a programmer and filmmaker, Ian Clark has had a long-standing relationship with Filmmaker. Named a 25 New Face in 2012, Clark is also a co-founder of the Eastern Oregon Film Festival (EOFF), which hosts its annual online program on this very website. I’ve attended… Read more
Alice Rohrwacher’s work is an ecstatic affirmation of life and its imaginative possibilities. Her new film left me breathless. An unconventional story told in an unconventional way, Happy as Lazzaro is also deeply grounded. When we spoke with Alice, she spoke of creating a home… Read more