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“Do We Need Another Movie about Two White Kids in Brooklyn?” DP Ashley Connor on Madeline’s Madeline, Shooting Commercials and Diversity

Helena Howard in Madeline's Madeline, courtesy of Oscilloscope Laboratories

I screened the amorphous Madeline’s Madeline twice in preparation for my interview with DP Ashley Connor; on the second go-around, I realized I’d be as nonplussed on a third or forth. I didn’t write any questions because I couldn’t. But perhaps an improvised approach was truer to the spirit of Madeline’s Madeline, which refuses to be pinned down. One of New York’s most prolific working DPs, Connor’s fervent demand for a higher standard of nuance, diversity, and inclusivity in the film industry naturally formed the backbone and throughline of our oscillating conversation which features, amongst other things, Nathaniel Dorsky’s Devotional Cinema, Grand Theft Auto 5, Wong Kar-Wai’s Happy Together, Broad City etc. Filmmaker: How do you feel about doing commercials in between your shorts…  Read more

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Back to One, Episode 46: Ariel Kavoussi

I first took note of Ariel Kavoussi’s singular comedic talent in Onur Tukel’s Applesauce and then Catfight, where she hilariously played Ann Heche’s assistant and stole every scene she was in. She performed a similar theft this past year on the Netflix series Maniac, opposite Emma Stone. She also writes and directs her own work. Her new short film The Poet and The Professor was called a “truly absurdist, provocative, and contemporary feminist film” by Indiewire. We talk about the origins of her approach to comedy, how she works the audition rooms she suddenly finds herself in, and her relationship to her own unique speaking voice. Plus much more! Back To One can be found wherever you get your podcasts,…  Read more

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“It’s As If I Made A Suit Starting from the Buttons Instead of the Fabric”: Four Questions for Everybody Knows Writer/Director Asghar Farhadi

Everybody Knows

As in Asghar Farhadi’s About Elly (2009), a woman’s disappearance in Everybody Knows (Todos Lo Saben—this is Farhadi’s first film in Spanish) is the inciting incident. This time it is Irene, the daughter of Laura (Penelope Cruz), swept from her bed on the night of her aunt’s wedding—either by her own anarchic free spirit, or a kidnapper, stranger, or kin. Irene’s absence turns up dormant family secrets and suspicions that, perhaps, they all already knew. Bare and exposed, the festered family wounds must be dealt with until new ones emerge to be cast aside. Everybody Knows is another social realist thriller in the Farhadi vein of big symbols and clearly operating allegories. Even though we can see the characters as the mechanisms…  Read more

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“I Love Silence, and I Like to Be Bored”: Romina Paula on Her Rotterdam-Premiering Directorial Debut, Again Once Again

Romina Paula (photo by Darren Hughes)

“My life is not what one would term heroic.”  The narrator of Romina Paula’s second novel, August, returns to her home town in Patagonia to memorialize a childhood friend five years after his death. Emilia’s in her early 20s and has been living with her brother in Buenos Aires. She’s still in college; her boyfriend is in a band. Once back home, she reunites with the love of her youth, Julián, who is now a father, married, somewhat happily. Emilia’s a familiar character making familiar first steps into adulthood, but Paula heightens every sensation and plumbs every potential cliché for wisdom. Emilia’s first-person confession is compulsive, tangent-chasing (building to a sorrowful reverie on Vincent Gallo’s The Brown Bunny), and totally…  Read more

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“You Run the Risk of Becoming a Brand”: Co-Writer/Co-Producer/DP/Editor James N. Kienitz Wilkins and Co-Producer Paul Dallas on Berlinale 2019 “Fake Indie” The Plagiarists

The Plagiarists

On one level, The Plagiarists is a two-part comedy about a ceaselessly fighting couple, the first half of which takes place in winter. Anna (Lucy Kaminsky) is a novelist, at least aspirationally—completion of her first novel is a ways off, so she pays the bills as a copy writer. Tyler (Eamon Monaghan) is a filmmaker, but doesn’t think he can call himself that—he’s written a script, but that’s not the same thing as actually having directed a feature, and meanwhile all he’s doing is, as they say, “creating content.” His latest contract is with Evian, which makes it especially regrettable that, after a weekend upstate visiting their friend Alison (Emily Davis), the couple’s car has broken down—Tyler needs to be back…  Read more

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Caryn Coleman on The Future of Film is Female’s Return to MoMA

Little Woods

With the epic nature of the #MeToo movement and the independent film community’s goals to program female voices (at Sundance 41% of features and episodic had a woman director, while 52% of shorts did) one would think there’d be progress within the larger film community. But Caryn Coleman, who runs the Future of Film is Female fund and MoMA screening series reminds us, there’s still a need for activism. The Annenberg Inclusion Initiative’s 4% Challenge shows that there hasn’t been any dramatic changes in the representation of women directors. From 2007-2018, just 4% of the directors of the 1,200 top grossing films were women. In the community, minority and female filmmakers are looking for champions taking tangible acts to change…  Read more

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Filmmaking

Us

The 50 Most Anticipated American Films of 2019

Hello! Happy New Year! The fine folks at Filmmaker have invited me back to put together my (now) annual list of the 50 most anticipated American films of the year. I thought about making the list shorter this time around (because 50 blurbs is really…  Read more

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Jan 7, 2019

 

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