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“A Sequel to a Film That Doesn’t Exist”: Max Barbakow on Palm Springs

Cristin Milioti and Andy Samberg in Palm Springs

Setting a record for most expensive acquisition in Sundance history, Max Barbakow’s debut feature, Palm Springs, sold jointly to Neon (theatrical) and Hulu (streaming) for a reported $17.5 mil and 69 cents (it broke the previous record by 69 cents). Early press described the film as a sci-fi twist on the 1993 comedy, Groundhog Day; trading in SNL's Bill Murray for another alum, Andy Samberg, Barbakow welcomes the comparison.  With the marketable hook firmly established (Harold Ramis meets Shane Carruth!), Palm Springs ultimately becomes a film about two strangers brought together by an agonizing event: a cringeworthy wedding in Palm Springs. The bride’s sister is Sarah (Cristin Milioti), a thirtysomething who would love to be anywhere other than stuck at this family…  Read more

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Filmmaker‘s Summer 2020 Issue is Online and Available for Purchase

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

As previously announced, Filmmaker's Summer 2020 issue is being published as a PDF, and it's now online and available for single-issue purchase. It's our largest page-count ever (244 pages!), and our designers, Caspar Newbolt and Charlotte Gosch, tweaked the whole design to make it a beautiful and comfortable experience on both a tablet and a laptop in either portrait or landscape view. For the first time, we've also enabled the issue to be purchased individually as a PDF for $5.95, and you can do that by clicking here or on the button below using PayPal or your credit card. On our cover is Garrett Bradley's masterful documentary Time, forthcoming from Amazon Studios. As I wrote in my Sundance preview, it’s a…  Read more

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Can You Finance an Independent Film During a Pandemic?

Eric Andre and Lil Rel Howery in Bad Trip (courtesy of Netflix)

In the middle of the global pandemic and one of the worst economic downturns in a century, Maven Pictures’ Celine Rattray, a producer of Driveways, The Kindergarten Teacher and American Honey, had several projects interrupted. But in early April, a timely new project—in which the crew and cast could work remotely from their own homes—was suddenly greenlit. She spoke to a private equity investor who she believed would be a good fit for the film, budgeted at six figures, and the financier agreed to fully fund it during their phone call. “The deal closed in a couple days,” says Rattray. ※We’re editing as we go, and we hope to be done in the summer.”  Rattray’s situation is, of course, unique. Aside…  Read more

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“His First Question To Us Was, ‘What Are Your Astrological Signs?'”: Cristina Costantini, Kareem Tabsch and Alex Fumero on Mucho Mucho Amor

Mucho Mucho Amor

Premiering at Sundance back in the pre-pandemic festival days (uh, January) Mucho Mucho Amor is a much-needed uplift in these trying times. Co-directed and produced by Cristina Costantini (Science Fair) and Kareem Tabsch (The Last Resort), and produced by Alex Fumero (I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson), the doc, which hits Netflix today, is a fascinating odyssey into the beautifully eccentric world of Walter Mercado. Combining the fashion sense of Liberace with the relentless positivity of Tammy Faye Bakker, the Puerto Rican astrologer, psychic and defiantly nonbinary pioneer spent decades spreading his mantra of “mucho mucho amor” to an audience of millions -- 120 to be exact -- of Latinx viewers across the globe. (That would include Lin-Manuel Miranda, who…  Read more

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“Is Evil Outside of Us, Or Does It Come from Within?”: D.P. Fred Murphy on Shooting Evil, Wide-Angle Lenses and Working with Wim Wenders

Evil

Evil was one of the best new television series of the 2019-2020 season, a thoughtful consideration of a vast array of moral, spiritual and sociopolitical issues in the guise of a supernatural procedural. The show follows Kristen Bouchard (Katja Herbers), a clinical psychologist with a complicated family life who teams up with David Acosta (Mike Colter), a haunted ex-journalist who works for the Catholic Church as an assessor; he investigates – then confirms or debunks – incidents involving miracles, demonic possessions, and the like. Series creators Robert and Michelle King (the husband and wife team responsible for The Good Wife and The Good Fight) use the dichotomy between the pragmatic Kristen and the spiritual David as the starting point for…  Read more

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Back to One, Episode 114: Daisy Edgar-Jones

(Photo: Joseph Sinclair)

She’s barely in her twenties, yet Daisy Edgar-Jones has given us a 12-part acting technique masterclass in the form of her portrayal of Marianne in Hulu’s hit series Normal People.  Every state of emotion, every point of transformation is reached with striking authenticity, stemming from this complex character. It’s a timeless performance for the ages. In this episode, she breaks down some of that work, talks about her love of acting with accents, the importance of creative chemistry, how she manages her acting insecurities, and much more. Back To One can be found wherever you get your podcasts, including Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Stitcher. And if you're enjoying what you are hearing, please subscribe and rate us! Follow Back To One on…  Read more

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Sukiyaki Western Django, Django and Dream Demon: Jim Hemphill’s Home Video Recommendations

Django

Japanese horror and action master Takashi Miike is one of those directors who’s so prolific that it’s easy to take him for granted; ever since he caught American cinephiles’ attention in 1999 with Audition and Dead or Alive, he’s been cranking out something close to a half-dozen movies each year, releasing his kinetically supercharged orgies of style and violence faster than some viewers can keep up with them. While I wouldn’t try to make the case that all 100-plus Miike productions are masterpieces, when he’s firing on all cylinders – as with Audition, or last year’s First Love – he’s one of the most surprising and entertaining filmmakers on the planet. His 2007 Western Suriyaki Western Django is a case…  Read more

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