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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

Editor’s note: with The Plagiarists opening at Lincoln Center this Friday, we’re reposting Vadim Rizov’s interview with its creative team. Note that since the Berlinale premiere, it’s been confirmed that Peter Parlow is a fictitious person. 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…  Read more

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“A Generation of Artists Were Lost”: Roe Bressan and Jenni Olson on the Newly Restored Gay USA

Gay USA

Filmed over one continuous 1977 day at Pride parades across San Francisco, Chicago, New York, San Diego and other metropolises, Arthur Bressan Jr.’s Gay USA is a tapestry of anecdotes, embraces, misconceptions and confused onlookers. It not only captures the optimism and palpable ecstasy of the LGBT attendees of Pride ‘77, but uses the homophobic agenda of Anita Bryant in Dade County, Floridato provide political context as to why these happy men, women and non-binary folks galavanting along Castro Street and Greenwich Village still had very much at stake.  Many of Bressan’s films outlined the political reality of being gay in the US—even the adult films which he dedicated much of his filmmaking career to. These films weren’t just about…  Read more

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“I Can Afford a Month of Editing Right Now”: Diana Peralta on De Lo Mio

De Lo Mio

While most independent films are birthed out of personal necessity, a time-crunch, and readily available locations, Diana Peralta’s De Lo Mio may represent a pinnacle of can-do gumption. Shot on location in the city of Santiago in the Dominican Republic, Peralta’s debut feature uses her late grandmother’s home as its central location and its truer-than-fiction narrative—following her passing, two sisters return to their grandmother’s cozy property before it gets bulldozed and the land sold. Shot last fall but percolating in the director’s mind for years, De Lo Mio is as much about the sisters in front of the camera (performed by Sasha Merci and Darlene Demorizi) as it is the ones behind it (Peralta’s sister, Michelle, serves as one of the film’s…  Read more

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Back to One, Episode 63: Jacki Weaver

Jacki Weaver’s “big break” story is unique because she was finally embraced by Hollywood at age 63, landing an Oscar nomination for her incredible performance in the Australian film Animal Kingdom, after being a staple in the Australian theater and film world for 30 years. She went on to great roles in such films as Widows, The Disaster Artist, and Magic in The Moonlight, plus the acclaimed new version of Uncle Vanya on the stage with Cate Blanchett, not to mention her second Oscar nomination for Silver Linings Playbook. And this year she stars opposite Diane Keaton in the cheer-elder comedy Poms, and the delightfully odd new series Perpetual Grace, LTD. with Ben Kingsley. In this half hour, she tells…  Read more

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Five Questions for Quickie Fest Creators Anna Roisman and Michael Muntner

(Photo: Michael Muntner and Anna Roisman.)

Arriving at New York’s SVA Theater this Saturday, June 29, is the seventh edition of Quickie Fest, a twice-yearly festival that showcases short films that time out at 60 seconds or less. There’s a strong comedy element to the selections, although the hosts and curators, Anna Roisman and Michael Muntner, say the films include docs, dramas and music videos as well. Roisman is a comedian, actress, singer and writer, and half of the comedy team SortaKosher. Muntner is a teacher, writer, improviser, comedian, filmmaker and actor, and he is one half of the comedic duo Garbage Farts. Below, the two answer questions about building and sustaining a live event for very short films. Filmmaker: There’s been a renewed interest in…  Read more

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“There’s Something to Be Said for Eliminating Variables and Keeping Things Simplistic”: DP Mike Gioulakis on the Doppelgängers of Us

MAdison Curry in Us

In Jordan Peele’s Us, a middle class family returns home from a day at the beach to find themselves under siege by murderous doppelgängers clad in red jumpsuits and wielding scissors. Instead of leaning primarily on face replacements, compositing and other post production tricks, cinematographer Mike Gioulakis emphasized clever camera placement and the use of doubles to create the illusion of Lupita Nyong’o and her clan battling their alter egos. With Us hitting Blu-ray and other home entertainment platforms last week, Gioulakis walked Filmmaker through some of the film’s most memorable shots. Filmmaker: Since we spoke for It Follows, you’ve shot two M. Night Shyamalan movies (Split, Glass) and now Us for Jordan Peele. Have you always been a fan of horror or did It Follows inadvertently…  Read more

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Beast Beast, Lingua Franca Take Prizes at U.S. in Progress Paris

(left to right) Beast Beast director Danny Madden, producer Benjamin Wiessner, and coproducer Germain Le Carpentier.

Beast Beast, the first feature from Danny Madden, took the top prize at U.S. in Progress Paris on Friday. In a statement, the jury (of which I was a member), wrote of the multi-strand story, “The film is a successful attempt to capture the present teenage generation. The director approaches his protagonists with empathy and understanding. The film has a strong political (gun control in particular) and social aspect while remaining an entertaining and creative piece of work.” Beast Beast is produced by Vanishing Angle (Matt Miller, Tara Ansley, and Benjamin Wiessner), and Alec Baldwin is an executive producer. A founding member of the Ornana collective, Madden appeared on Filmmaker’s 25 New Faces list in 2012 as part of that…  Read more

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“A Dog That Had a Lot of Stress in His Life”: Dog Trainer Massimo Perla on Dogman

Marcello Fonte in Dogman

Matteo Garrone’s Dogman, a deceptively simple story of a professional dogsitter’s attempt to achieve recognition among gangsters in a small Italian town, reminds me of the great “art-house” films I watched when I was a teenager: The Magician, La Strada, Bicycle Thief, Black Orpheus. A spare story grows and builds and pushes itself until it swells to the bursting point and then: suspension. Viewers are forced to meditate on what they have watched, as all of the mini-scenarios that have built it gain their own weight. Marcello (Marcello Fonte) is friends with Simoncino (Edoardo Pesce), a small-time crook; Marcello is a mild-mannered and peaceful but troubled father of a loving daughter, while Simoncino is a human vessel for testosterone, drug-addled…  Read more

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Filmmaking

Image courtesy of Carolyn Funk

The 24 Films (More or Less) Shot on 35mm Released in 2018

For five years, I’ve been rounding up the previous year’s US theatrical releases of films shot, in whole or significant part, on 35mm—yes, this year’s tally is lower than any of my previous totals. The total number is unlikely to soar above 40 anytime in…  Read more

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Apr 24, 2019

Festivals & Events

Parasite

Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite Wins Cannes Palme d’Or; Mati Diop’s Atlantics Picks Up Grand Prix

South Korean director Bong Joon-ho’s dark social satire/thriller Parasite won the Cannes Film Festival’s top prize, the Palme d’Or. It’s the first time a Korean director has won the award, and jury president Alejandro González Iñárritu said the jury was unanimous. First-time French-Senegalese feature filmmaker…  Read more

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on May 25, 2019

 

Interviews

The Competition

“A Lot of Stories in France are Not Told”: Claire Simon on The Competition

Claire Simon’s The Competition is a sometimes painfully funny documentary about a subject that doesn’t seem humorous at all: the rigorous admission process, heavy on interviews in front of panels, for La Fémis, one of France’s premiere film schools. Its alumni include Claire Denis and Arnaud…  Read more

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on Feb 26, 2019

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