This piece was originally printed in our 2010 Winter issue. In a New York Times piece written last month on the commercial success in 2009 of films aimed at female audiences (Twilight: New Moon, Julie & Julia, The Proposal), critic Manohla Dargis also took note of the relative paucity of female directors in Hollywood. Sure, there’s Kathryn Bigelow, who won many critic’s Best Director awards with The Hurt Locker, and there are Nora Ephron, Ann Fletcher and a few others but, for the most part, wrote Dargis, “Only a handful of female directors picked up their paychecks from one of […]
[PREMIERE SCREENING: Friday, Jan. 22, 5:15 pm — Racquet Club, Park City] The hardest decision I had to make was to completely scrap the first cut of the film, start from scratch and completely redo a year and a half of work. After I turned in the film I was still not satisfied, but my investors didn’t want to give me more time or money. There were two choices: wash my hands of it or take drastic measures and defy the will of my investors to go over budget and over schedule. I had no idea if I would succeed […]
[PREMIERE SCREENING: Friday, Jan. 22, 6:00 pm — Yarrow Hotel Theatre, Park City] The hardest decision we had to make actually happened prior to shooting. During 2007, my team and I had been commissioned to write a horror-comedy script. We had been working on the script for many months and actually had the budget to make it. At this moment, we were on the verge of going to our bosses and trying to figure out how we could take leave of absences from our jobs to go film this movie in the late summer. At the time I was working […]
[PREMIERE SCREENING: Friday, Jan. 22, 11:30 am — Library Center Theatre, Park City] Our film was a slow burn. It took eight months for the true story to emerge. The last two-thirds of the film unfold over the course of one incredible week. Our toughest decisions came in the editing room, trying to distill the most exhilarating, unsettling and ultimately revelatory week of our lives into an hour and a half.
[PREMIERE SCREENING: Friday, Jan. 22, 8:30 am — Prospector Square Theatre, Park City] Jeesh, the amount of decisions that go into making a movie… the words “the amount” are so heavy because the list is heavy, breathing is a decision, but to quantify them seems like the scariest task with such a daunting overhead. Of course the best decisions are the ones that you don’t have to make but are forced into. During Daddy Longlegs, we were so preoccupied with constantly providing stimuli from the writing process all the way through editing: for ourselves, for the actors, the non-actors, the […]
Robin Hessman’s My Perestroika is a documentary that shows modern-day Russia from the inside out. Five Russian adults reveal their personal histories through interviews and home movies, talking us through their childhood in school together during the die-hard communist Brezhnev years of the 1970s, through Gorbachev, the collapse of the USSR, and, finally, the coups, oligarchs and wealth transfers that are shaping Russia today. Borya and Lyuba, a married couple, teach history at School #57, which their teenage son also attends, and the film begins in their modest apartment, the same one Borya grew up in. Olga, the prettiest girl […]
[New Frontier Performances and Installations] When it comes to shooting one is faced with endless decisions. I make them like when playing a computer game or making music — really quick and without too much thinking. I make up my mind really fast just so I won’t lose my cool with my crew. Afterward I think, “What the hell was that decision?” But then in retrospect it usually works out well. Instinct is the only thing an artist can truly trust when it comes to those decisions. If the vision is clear then instinct will follow.
[New Frontier Performances and Installations] The Cloud Mirror is a technological exploration of how our online standards of privacy and tact contrast so dramatically with those standard in the real world. When building The Cloud Mirror, I had to consider whether I felt comfortable taking people’s information from Facebook and Twitter and splashing it on their faces in a real public space for all to see. I found I felt uncomfortable with invading people’s privacy in this way, even though they themselves had made the information public. In fact I discovered people who post their “relationship status”” publicly on Facebook […]
When filmmakers heard that the Sundance Film Festival’s longstanding Director, Geoffrey Gilmore, was leaving, they wondered if his departure would signify a major change in direction at an institution that more than any other has defined the world of American independent film. When, a couple of weeks later, John Cooper, Sundance’s Director of Programming, was elevated to the Director position, they breathed a sigh of relief. As Holly Willis wrote in Filmmaker in 2006 about the 20-year veteran of the festival, “Funny, self-deprecating and entirely approachable, Cooper is known to thousands of American filmmakers as the guy who calls with […]
One of the biggest premieres at Sundance this year doesn’t involve a star-studded premiere party or the unspooling of a glossy 35mm print: it’s an entirely new section of programming: , pronounced “Next” by those not brave enough to type or say the symbol. Director of programming Trevor Groth has been involved with the festival for 25 years, and points out that the symbol actually means “Less Than Equals Greater Than,” which alludes to the fact that all Next films were made for very small budgets — at least under $500,000 but in most cases much, much less than that. […]