Conflict Resolution: Jennifer McShane on Her HBO Doc about Policing and Mental Health, Ernie & Joe: Crisis Cops

Winner of the Special Jury Prize at this year’s SXSW, Jennifer McShane’s Ernie & Joe: Crisis Cops is an eye-opening look at the game-changing San Antonio Police Department’s Mental Health Unit through the daily activities of two of its humble leaders. It’s also a master class in policing done right. At first glance the partners-in-fighting-crime protagonists of the film’s title seem straight from Cops central casting -- hetero white macho males, one a military vet. But McShane swiftly disabuses us of any preconceived notions we might have with her very first, quite shocking scene, one in which the unassuming heroes respond to a call to escort a distressed schizophrenic man from a government building. Rather than go in with guns…  Read more


Back to One, Episode 84: Tracy Letts

Tracy Letts has parallel successful careers as an actor and a playwright. He won a Tony Award for his performance in the Steppenwolf revival of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf and a Pulitzer Prize for his play August: Osage County. His screen credits include Lady Bird, The Lovers, and the new movie Ford v Ferrari, in which he plays Henry Ford II. In this episode, he talks about "pretending with authority," making friends with the camera, the "responsibility" of the leading role, and how he's preparing to do something he's never done--act in a play he wrote (The Minutes) on Broadway. Plus he takes us back to a leaner time, and talks about why he stopped chasing empty acting jobs in LA…  Read more


“I Saw the Film as a Mystery — To Try and Understand Someone Who Didn’t Want to be Understood”: Matt Wolf on His Doc, Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project

Recorder: The Marian Stokes Story

With Matt Wolf's Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project opening today at the Metrograph in New York, we are reposting Scott Macaulay's interview with Wolf prior to the film's Tribeca premiere. Wolf will be doing a number of Q&As opening weekend with various moderators, including, tonight Lynn Tillman, as well as, this weekend, Charlotte Cook, Melissa Lyde, Sierra Pettengill, Collier Meyerson, Stuart Comer and Macaulay (the latter at the Saturday, 1:15 PM screening).  From 1979, just before the launch of CNN, to 2012, when she passed away, Marion Stokes -- an African-American Philadelphia woman, communist, public access television host, collector of Apple computers, media critic -- recorded continuous streams of 24-hour-cable news on VHS tapes that piled, floor to ceiling, the various…  Read more


Hannah Leder, Alexandra Kotcheff, and Jacqueline Beiro on Their 127-Day Shoot and Doing it All on the Independent Comedy, The Planters

The Planters

When the book of no-budget filmmaking war stories is written The Planters should get its own chapter. Not only were Hannah Leder and Alexandra Kotcheff the co-writers and co-directors of this truly independent comedy, they also served as its cinematographer and camera operator, gaffer, production designer, wardrobe designer, hair stylist, sound recordist, and -- oh yes -- its two lead actors. With only producer Jacqueline Beiro and a few supporting performers rounding out the production team, Leder and Kotcheff persisted through desert heat and nearly 130 days of filming to produce their feature debut. Of course, none of this would matter if the film itself wasn't worthy of wider attention. The story of a  reclusive telemarketer (who also buries geocache tins…  Read more


“…The Story of a Girl Who Really Loves Her Father and Also Knows She Has to Leave this Complicated, Toxic Relationship”: Writer/director Annabelle Attanasio on Mickey and the Bear

Mickey and the Bear

A high-school student in a small Montana town faces tough choices about her life in Mickey and the Bear, the debut feature from writer and director Annabelle Attanasio.  Starring Camila Morrone as Mickey and James Badge Dale as her father Hank, a veteran with drug issues, the movie probes their troubled relationship with unusual insight and compassion. Attanasio trained as an actor and dancer and was cast in roles on The Knick (Cinemax) and the CBS series Bull, and also attended NYU Gallatin School of Individualized Study. She has written and directed numerous shorts. Mickey and the Bear premiered at the 2019 SXSW Film Festival. It screened at Cannes and several other festivals. Utopia released  the film theatrically this past Wednesday,…  Read more


To Kid or Not To Kid: How Do You Make a Web Series from a Feature Film?

To Kid or Not To Kid

I read once that Marshall Curry always thinks of his audience when developing his next film. And then I also know that other directors say, “Make a good film and people will find it.” Or as my old comedy boss at the BBC once told me: the audience don't know what they want until you give it to them. There is a sense of truth in all of these statements, but Curry’s has stayed with me.    As soon as I started developing my film To Kid or Not To Kid -- the first English-language film about the decision to have kids or not -- I started hanging out in places where I could find my potential audience. After all, I…  Read more



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