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“I Think This Will Become The New Normal”: NYC Cinema Programmers Talk About Adapting To COVID

In mid-March, New York City movie theaters went dark. The coronavirus pandemic exploded in America, hitting the city harder than anywhere else in the country. While some indoor institutions have partially reopened, including museums and bowling alleys, with indoor dining en route, there still remains, as of this writing, no such plan for places that show films — one of the richest and most diverse aspects of the city’s cultural life. The major multiplex chains are hurting, but so are NYC’s many smaller art house and repertory theaters, who’ve been forced to think way outside of the box to survive, and to do so without much guidance from the local and state leaders. So how are some of these places holding…  Read more

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“We Actually Respond, as Human Beings, to Nuance”: IFP Week 2020 Filmmakers on the Independence in the Time of Pandemic

Dawn Porter's John Lewis: Good Trouble

Going independent is a double-edged sword. On one hand, you have the freedom to do what you want, unencumbered by restrictive bosses. On the other, you lack the support system that comes with working for others. The three filmmakers who participated in the IFP Week 2020 panel "Blurring the Lines of Storytelling: How Do I Get My Story Out," moderated by journalist, author and philanthropist Soledad O’Brien, know that all too well. They’re all independent, free agents who may team up with a corporate monolith now and then but make their own paths. Before she went indie, Ursula Liang, a director and producer whose documentary Down a Dark Stairwell played this year’s True/False, had a cushy job. She worked at ESPN,…  Read more

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“There Was No Going Back”: IFP Talks Change, Innovation, Circumstances and the 2020 IFP Week

“Once we said, ‘We’re doing this’, there was no going back,” stated IFP Executive Director Jeffrey Sharp earlier this week, remembering the moment this past March when he and the organization decided that the 42nd edition of IFP Week would go virtual. IFP Week, which began today, was among the first of the Fall film industry events to definitively move online, and it was a risk. “No one knew anything at that moment,” said Sharp about the progression of the pandemic and its impact on the industry. “But it was our board that really encouraged us to move quickly and definitively.” The decision was solidified when IFP’s sponsors agreed to return to the reconfigured event. “We told them, ‘We need…  Read more

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The Past in the Present: Garrett Bradley on Time, Her Documentary about Activism and the Carceral State

Fox and Rob Rich in Time (Courtesy of Sundance Institute)

Filmmaker's Summer 2020 cover story, Ashley Clark's interview with Time director Garrett Bradley is being published online today for the first time to mark the film's New York premiere this coming Sunday (with virtual screenings continuing until September 25th) at the New York Film Festival. For over half a decade, New York-born artist and filmmaker Garrett Bradley has been steadily building an impressively diverse yet tonally and stylistically harmonious CV. Bradley’s work has encompassed film, television and the gallery space; short, longform and multi-channel ventures; and ambitious explorations of the porous boundaries between fiction and nonfiction. It has often focused on the landscapes and inhabitants of New Orleans, where Bradley has been based for much of her professional life, and the…  Read more

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“Did Mark Wahlberg Just Give Me the Job?”: Reinaldo Marcus Green on Good Joe Bell at TIFF 2020

Reid Miller and Mark Wahlberg in Good Joe Bell

It’s been seven-and-a-half years since Jadin Bell, a high school student from La Grande, Oregon, committed suicide following a period of intense bullying. Harrased by fellow classmates for being a gay young man in a deeply conservative town, Jadin’s suicide made national news. It also inspired his father, Joe, to set out on a cross-country roadtrip (on foot!), spreading an anti-bullying message to any good samaritan who would listen. On October 6th, 2013, Joe Bell would also tragically lose his life, being hit by a semi-truck while in the midst of his improbable journey. Good Joe Bell, the second feature from director Reinaldo Marcus Green (a former 25 New Face of Independent Film), recounts Joe’s trip as well as the final…  Read more

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“A Hundred Shooting Days and Almost a Hundred Scripted Locations”: Mick Garris on 1994’s Stephen King’s The Stand

Stephen King’s The Stand

When Stephen King published The Stand in 1978, the book represented a major increase in scale and ambition for the author, whose story of a nationwide battle between forces of good and evil was both his longest and most sophisticated novel to date. 16 years later director Mick Garris took a similar leap when he graduated from modest horror fare like Critters 2: The Main Course and Psycho IV: The Beginning to helm the miniseries adaptation of The Stand, a four-night, six-hour (not counting commercials) epic with hundreds of sets and speaking roles. Stephen King’s The Stand premiered on ABC in May 1994 to spectacular ratings and solidified the relationship between Garris and King that had begun with Sleepwalkers in…  Read more

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“We Were Determined to Locate and Use the Lenses from Gone With The Wind“: Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz on Antebellum

Janelle Monáe in Antebellum (photo by Matt Kennedy)

Antebellum, the debut horror/thriller from filmmaking duo Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz, wasn’t initially scheduled to be released this week. Originally slated for a late April theatrical bow, the film’s public exhibition was indefinitely put on hold once the COVID-19 pandemic hit and closed all movie theaters for the foreseeable future. After waiting in the wings for several months, Lionsgate decided to move forward with a North American digital release (opening the film elsewhere theatrically around the globe) and the unintended timing couldn’t be more apt. Antebellum’s much-dissected trailer, portraying an African-American woman (played by Janelle Monáe) enslaved in the Antebellum South under extremely brutal conditions, implied a socially conscious horror film with hints of a modern day twist. Why, for…  Read more

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