Time may be running out for independent filmmakers. Sure, even as the pandemic has completely disrupted their entire workflows and business models, they’re a scrappy and resourceful bunch. Like restaurants pivoting to drive-thru, delivery and take-out to outlast our current… Read more
In his autobiography, Miracles of Life, J. G. Ballard reminisces about a derelict casino he came across in his youth. The abandoned building gave him the sense that “reality itself was a stage set that could be dismantled at any… Read more
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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… Read more
A show like HBO’s Succession risks being either tone-deaf or ineffectual, especially at a moment of heightened sensitivity toward income inequality and billionaires’ amoral business practices. Armstrong’s background in unsparing British cringe/political comedy, namely acclaimed sitcoms Peep Show and The Thick of It, helped him adopt an intimately satirical approach to the story of the dysfunctional Roy family, nouveau riche owners of the fictional media/hospitality empire Waystar Royco (a la the Murdochs and News Corp or the Redstones and ViacomCBS). Armstrong filters Shakespearean and Grecian tragedy into the series’ premise—patriarch Logan Roy (Brian Cox) fights to preserve his empire from the […]
Dear filmmakers, surveillance capitalism is your friend. Like every other thing we purchase nowadays, movies have been subsumed into the new digital economy, where behavioral data, influence campaigns and social media marketing are an integral part of doing business. Morally, you might have a problem with Mark Zuckerberg’s corporate practices, but there’s no getting around the fact that Facebook and Instagram hold some of the most powerful tools to reach people and manipulate their decision-making—including their choice of which movie to see on a given weekend. “It’s definitely been a help for smaller filmmakers,” says Stephen Metzger, director of marketing […]
Last summer, filmmaker Jennifer West and I were invited to talk at Femmebit, an LA-based triennial celebration of media made by women. I had been thinking about materiality and mediamaking practices, and Jennifer is known for a stunning body of work centered on physically manipulating strips of film. We decided to call our event “Messing With the Medium: Radical Materiality in Feminist Media” and challenged each other on stage in a battle of clips, each of us presenting a visual example of some sort of feminist creative intervention, along with a two-minute argument for its contributions to an expanded history […]
There’s no question that Lynn Hershman Leeson is a prescient artist and filmmaker. Prescience is even a theme in her work, one she grapples with as a double-edged sword. Impossible to measure except in retrospect, it is a lonely quality to have in the present. After Leeson rocketed to art stardom following a 2014 career retrospective at the ZKM Museum of Contemporary Art in Karlsruhe, Germany, her success was widely praised as “overdue”—another word that culture’s Cassandras are used to hearing. It seems unwise to disentangle her originality and influence from her tenacity and patience. Her 2019 interactive installation “Shadow […]