Spring 2016

Precision Moves: Anna Rose Holmer, Lisa Kjerulff and Saela Davis on The Fits

“Stop thinking as an individual and start thinking as a team,” says Legs (Makyla Burnam), one of the Lionesses — a dynamic Cincinnati high-school drill team — to a group of young recruits, who include the shy, diminutive, but quietly purposeful 11-year-old boxer Toni. Played in writer/director/producer Anna Rose Holmer’s terrific, formally assured dramatic feature debut, The Fits, by the self-possessed and emotionally transparent Royalty Hightower, Toni has been drawn away from the comforting routine of her boxing practice by the sounds, music and movement of the Lionesses and, by extension, the more adult world they represent. But soon after […]



Digital Motion Picture Cameras in 2016: New Horizons

In this, my sixth annual camera round-up for Filmmaker, I’ll explore the latest developments and trends associated with cameras — as I have each year — which taken together continue to define new directions in digital cinema. I’ll highlight cameras that exemplify these trends. Those seeking an end-in-sight to a decade’s worth of profound change in camera technology might want to stop reading here. In my 2015 camera round-up, I touched on issues of design including modularity, new materials, a return to ergonomics; the birth of camera apps; wirelessness and the dawn of camera IP connectivity; the mirrorless revolution with […]

  • In Every Dream Home a Heartache: High Rise Director Ben Wheatley on Adapting Ballard, Practical Special Effects and ’70s Parenting

    I first met and spoke with Ben Wheatley in Brighton, where he lives with his wife and collaborator, Amy Jump. I was there for the inaugural Dark and Stormy Crime Festival, where Wheatley was screening his existential hit man thriller, Kill List. That film, along with Sightseers, Down Terrace and A Field in England, comprise a body of work that has rightly cemented Wheatley’s status as a raucous, disruptive, independent voice within the sometimes staid confines of the British specialty film industry. Wheatley’s new film High-Rise — an adaptation of J. G. Ballard’s 1975 dystopian sci-fi novel and his highest-budgeted to […]

  • Human Highway: Daniels on Swiss Army Man

    Some of the images and ideas that have turned up in the commercials, music videos, short films and feature films of Daniels are: A man gets his foot stuck inside another man’s ass; the more he tries to get it out, the deeper it goes. A grieving widow is relentlessly prank-called by a child. A man has bottomless pockets. A woman’s breasts begin to move and spin inside her shirt. A man dances so hard that he falls through the floor, where he meets a hard-dancing woman who crashes her ass into his face; together, they fall through the floor. […]

  • How a DCP Gets Made

    “I was once Inside Llewyn Davis. Now I am Mad Max: Fury Road.” I came up with that Instagram caption while working a festival in suburban New Jersey last spring. Toward the end of the festival, UPS made a delivery of a couple of battered Deluxe/Technicolor cases that had seen better days. The label on the box read Tina’s Heroes, which was the secret title that Warner Brothers shipped Mad Max to theaters as. I chuckled at the reference to the hit song from Beyond Thunderdome, and then I looked at all of the other labels. There was a large piece of […]


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Also: Investing in Change: The Ghetto Film School American Dreams and Nightmares Dispatches from Sundance, Berlin, True/False and Rotterdam Super 8: Barth, Black and Birzeit Editor’s Letter

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