Spring 2020

Her Decision: Eliza Hittman on Her Observational, Intimate and Necessarily Political Never Rarely Sometimes Always

“It’s so important for me to be thinking about a movie all the time,” says writer-director Eliza Hittman, reflecting on her creative process. “I don’t spend so much time sitting at a computer. I want to walk around, be in locations, spend my Saturday on a handball court or in a park or in Port Authority and respond to the environment.” Evidenced by the authenticity and truthful immediacy—laced with deeply neorealist touches—of her films, there must be something to this observational method of writing the burgeoning American auteur calls “experiential.” It births a singular high-stakes quality that guides It Felt […]

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Features

Air Rights: Shooting with Drones, the Fine Print

In 2010, Eric Austin made a bold choice. The Texas-based father of three quit his day job as a sales rep to focus solely on his side hustle, flying unmanned aircraft systems (UAS)—commonly known as drones. He had a three-month job lined up on a Disney-produced show in Hawaii piloting his single-rotor helicopter adorned with a Canon 7D. In those few months, he would earn more than in a year at his old job. But before Austin ever spun his blades, he was grounded. Inundated by aerial permit requests and unable to get definitive guidance from the Federal Aviation Administration […]

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  • Two or Three Things They Know About You: Marketing Independent Film with Behavioral Data

    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 […]

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  • The Low Down: Is Microbudget Production the Response to the Industry’s Devaluation of the Dramatic Feature Film?

    There are conflicting opinions regarding the budget cutoff for the category commonly referred to as “microbudget filmmaking.” Sometimes referred to as “no-budget,” “ultra-low-budget” or “nano-budget,” the term refers to an increasingly popular level of filmmaking below “low-budget” that emerging filmmakers as well as, in some cases, veterans engage in. When Venice’s Biennale College Cinema was started eight years ago, the budgets of €150,000 (about $162,000) awarded to each filmmaker seemed low. And indeed, while makers of films—ambitious pictures such as The Fits, H., Memphis and This Is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection—produced through that program struggled with the budget […]

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  • Considering Microbudget: Six Filmmakers on The Reasons Behind Their Cinema Povera

    During its early years in the mid-1990s, Filmmaker was noteworthy for its coverage of microbudget, or “no budget,” production. In articles by Peter Broderick, we printed the budgets of films like Clerks, El Mariachi and Clean, Shaven, as well as—later in a cover story I wrote—Pi. Microbudget filmmaking has continued as a Filmmaker focus, although the degree to which our articles have focused on budget numbers has varied.  To accompany Mike S. Ryan’s article on microbudget productions, we asked several filmmakers whose work has been made in ultra-low-budget conditions to articulate for us their reasons for working in this model […]

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