Seattle filmmaker David Russo, one of Filmmaker‘s “25 New Faces of Independent Film,” has begun work on his debut feature, #2, with the support of the Northwest Film Forum and it’s “Start to Finish” grant. The grant was previously awarded to Robinson Devore’s Police Beat, which was one of the best features to premiere at Sundance this past year. Russo’s award-winning shorts include “Populi” and “Pan with Us.” Russo calls the movie “a janitor movie par excellance, designed to be wildly entertaining as it is meaningful. It’s about some hardworking, invisible misfits at the waste end of our wasteful society […]
One of my favorite artist/photographer/music video directors, Floria Sigismondi, has massively updated her website with news of her forthcoming photography book, Immune (click through the opening image to get to photos from the book), as well as streamed versions of many of her videos, including her recent clip for The White Stripe’s “Blue Orchid.
The Boston Globe ran today this obituary for experimental filmmaker, documentarian, and teacher Mark LaPore, who died September 11 in Boston. LaPore’s newest film (pictured at right), Kolkata, will premiere next week at the New York Film Festival’s “Views from the Avant Garde.” From the piece: “Mark McElhatten, cocurator of the Views from the Avant-Garde program of the New York Film Festival, described Mr. LaPore’s films as ”unique, a form of visual anthropology but equally about the mystery of being and film as consciousness. These uncompromising films have enormous integrity and deserve a very important place within the entire history […]
Filmmaker Cruz Angeles emailed about the website of Planet Ibsen, a film by his NYU-colleague Jonathan Wyche. And with so many American indies rehashing the same old family dramas or quirky tales of teen angst, I had to take special note of this film, which is a historical fantasia about the rivalry between August Strindberg and Henrik Ibsen. From the website: “Planet Ibsen is an extreme adaptation of A Doll’s House play, written in 1879 by Henrik Ibsen. The story is told from the perspective of Ibsen’s real-life antagonist, August Strindberg, who never met Ibsen, but yet he publicly blamed […]
Variety has an amusing (subscription only) piece by Nicole Laporte today about a bi-coastal party this past Thursday attended by 200 Miramax current and ex-staffers (pre-maturely dubbed “Mir-Anon’s” by the trade paper). Held at Barney’s Beanery in L.A. and a rooftop in downtown Manhattan, the evening marked for the distributor’s staff the end of the Weinstein era. From the piece: “Rick Sands, a Miramax alum who’s now chief operating officer at DreamWorks, planned to be there. Asked if the Weinsteins knew about the soiree, Sands said, ‘Absolutely not! They’ll be the subject of conversation. They won’t want to be there.’ […]
Perhaps my favorite doc this year is Garrett Scott and Ian Olds’ Occupation Dreamland, which opened this weekend at the Cinema Village in New York along with screens in Portland, Boson, D.C., and Berkeley. It’s an essential piece of filmmaking for anyone wanting to learn more about the war in Iraq and its aftermath. Scott, who was one of our “25 New Faces” back in 2002, and Olds previously collaborated on Scott’s incredible short doc Cul de Sac. That earlier film used the story of one man’s mental breakdown (the tale of a San Diego man who stole a tank […]
David Denby has a good piece in the New Yorker this week, the rather self-explanatorily titled “The Moviegoer: Susan Sontag’s life in film.” He of course begins by discussing Sontag’s 1995 essay, “A Century of Cinema,” in which the late critic bemoaned not only the decline of international art cinema but the decline of cinephilia as a necessary intellectual and social endeavor in general. From there Denby jumps backwards, tracing the development of Sontag’s thinking with regards to art and politics as it appears through the lens of the movies she championed. In this passage, Denby hits on what seems […]
My first job in film was reading scripts for New Line Cinema. When I got rid of my old Epson desktop computer, which was a couple of years after I stopped reading, I counted the coverage files and realized that I read 1,300 scripts for the company over the few years I worked for them. And though that gig was some years in the past, I constantly hear news about writers whose name I recognize from decade-old scripts. One such writer is Tom Benedek, an early script of whose I remember reading and liking. The New York Times has this […]
The composer Jon Brion, who has done scores for directors such as Michel Gondry, David O. Russell, and Paul Thomas Anderson, has been getting a lot of ink this week for his producing and arranging work on the new Kanye West album. Here’s Rob Mitchum in Pitchfork Media, who compiles a 70-minute mixtape designed to update you on Brion’s eclectic body of work. From the piece: “The most talked about man in music right now is Kanye West, whose recently-released Late Registration album is already one of the most prominent critical battlefields of 2005. It’s no shocker that an expert […]
MoveOn.org has launched a new project, HurricaneHousing.org, a website at which you can post offers to assist victims of Hurricane Katrina with free housing. If you are able to house someone displaced by the storm, head on over to the site.