What Makes a Good Production Designer?

[Image: Judy Becker, photo by and (c) Clarissa Bonet]

As a kid, the first and only thing I ever wanted to be when I grew up was an artist. I never got bored or minded being sent to my room as long as I could draw. I wasn’t the “good artist” at school—I couldn’t draw a superhero, or a realistic Snoopy. But I was often told (only by adults, so it didn’t mean much to me) that I had a great imagination. I had a pretty rich fantasy life and drew pages and pages of imaginary interiors, collections of objects and fashion wardrobes. If I had known what a production designer was I would have wanted to be one, but that had to wait a while. Last year, I…  Read more


Judy Becker’s Instagram: A Production Designer Catalogs Her Visual Inspirations

For Filmmaker‘s 25th Anniversary issue, we took note of production designer Judy Becker’s lovely Instagram, where she posts location scout photos and other inspirations that inevitably find their way into her design work. We asked her to write more about this convergence with social media and production design practice, and here’s what she wrote back. To: Filmmaker Magazine From: Judy Becker Subject: My Instagram Today at 11:34am I’m happy you guys liked my Instagram. I’ve taken photographs pretty much my whole life. I got my first camera when I was about seven, when my family spent the summer in Rotterdam, Netherlands, everyone’s first trip to Europe. My parents were lax, to say the least, and I remember walking around by…  Read more


Indie Memphis: Not Just an Inclusion Rider

Mr. Soul!

In Jim Jarmusch’s 1989 Mystery Train, two rock ‘n’ roll-loving Japanese teenagers arrive in Memphis, Tennessee, and make their way over to Sun Studio, the legendary recording studio once the stomping grounds for the likes of Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, and, of course, Elvis Presley, who recorded his first song there at the age of 18. In part because of the faint replay of this scene that had lingered in my head for some years, I’ve long wanted to take the Sun tour, one of my many Memphis to-dos, which also included a bunch of famous barbecue spots (shout-out to Cozy Corner) and all the movies I wanted to see during Indie Memphis Film Festival (Nov. 1–5),…  Read more


“I Didn’t Want the Movie To Fall Into the Category of Just Being a Film for Other Filmmakers”: Duncan Skiles Talks About Directing The Clovehitch Killer

The Clovehitch Killer

Duncan Skiles’ new thriller The Clovehitch Killer is the kind of horror movie that gets under your skin and stays there, reverberating in the viewer’s head for hours, days, even weeks after it’s over. Its impact is all the more impressive given its low-key, understated quality. Skiles patiently, meticulously creates a mounting sense of dread without melodrama or explicit violence, relying instead on eerily stark, formal compositions and a career-best performance from Dylan McDermott. McDermott plays Don Burnside, a family man and active member of his community whose affable, slightly goofy façade masks a serious dark side. When Don’s teenage son Tyler (Charlie Plummer) finds some extremely unpleasant photos and pornography hidden in his father’s truck and shed, trust starts…  Read more


Outside the Box (Or, New York Is Not the Place to Be for Filmmakers Anymore): Jamie Stuart on His Move to LA.

At home in L.A. (photo: Jamie Stuart)

Filmmaker Jamie Stuart has contributed to this publication since the mid-aughts. When he told me he that after completing his NY-set one-man independent feature A Motion Selfie that he’d be moving to L.A., I asked if he’d want to contribute a final Gotham piece in the “Goodbye to All That” genre. Below, he writes about not just his move but the changing independent film culture in New York over the past decade-plus. — SM The day before the move was literally the worst day of my entire life. Popping half tabs of Valium every five hours, I spent 7:00 AM until midnight packing, shipping and gutting my apartment of 11 years — often making split decisions about what sentimental artifacts…  Read more


Top 10 Picks for IDFA 2018

America to Me

The program for the 31st International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (November 14th – 25th) — the first under the new artistic directorship of Syrian documentary filmmaker Orwa Nyrabia — feels equal parts familiar and fresh. On the one hand, as in years past, it’s hard not to be overwhelmed by the sheer size of the world’s largest nonfiction film festival. Once again the fest will include exceptional industry events like the IDFA Forum (and Docs for Sale, the IDFA Bertha Fund, IDFA Academy, etc.), competitions (14 in total), and more meet-and-greets and parties than one can reasonably attend. (Do I stop by the Korean night of food and music or the Scandinavian reception?) On the other hand, Nyrabia and his…  Read more


Back to One, Episode 30: The Miseducation of Cameron Post‘s Chloë Grace Moretz

From her breakthrough in Kick-Ass through great roles in Let Me In, Hugo, and Carrie, Chloë Grace Moretz has become one of the hottest young actors in Hollywood. In this half hour, she talks about her recent decision to take time to “reassess who I am and find myself within my roles again,” which led to her brilliant performance in The Miseducation of Cameron Post, this year’s winner of the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance (now streaming on demand). She also talks about avoiding what she calls “emotional cavities,” and how she craves to be taken off guard in her performances. Prepare to be inspired. Back To One can be found wherever you get your podcasts, including iTunes, Google Play,…  Read more




“This Was the Aesthetic I’d Been into Since I’d Started Making Films”: Cinematographer Katelin Arizmendi on Lensing Cam

Alice (Madeline Brewer), the star of Cam, sustains herself as a full-time webcam model at the top of the “FreeGirls.Live” leaderboards. She aspires to break Top 50, but to do so she’ll have to descend deeper into her on-screen persona and farther from her off-screen…  Read more

Nov 9, 2018



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