Summer 2023

Earth Mama

Decisive Moments: Earth Mama Director Savanah Leaf in Conversation with Derek Cianfrance

There are two long back-and-forth tracking shots in Savanah Leaf’s wise, emotionally full debut feature, Earth Mama. In the first, the pregnant Gia—a 24-year-old Oakland single mother fighting for custody of the two young children she already has lost to state-sponsored foster care—purposefully strides across a playground, the camera focused on her as she passes expensive strollers and children playing in the background in soft focus. Moments before, she has asked the owner of the photo studio she works at for a cash advance: “I don’t want my baby coming out with no clothes or nothing,” she says. (Leaf cuts […]



Lo Que Queda En El Camino

Rebelling Against the Independent Film Industrial Complex

The hyper-industrialization of the independent film space and the shift away from in-person screening to the vertically integrated streaming-sphere means that content curation is increasingly more general (massified), with fewer people participating in the process of sharing films with the public. In general, the U.S. A-list film festival circuit, where independent voices used to be able to thrive in more ragtag and aesthetically diverse ways, is now mostly a self-reflexive bourgeois echo chamber of sanctimonious gatekeepers serving corporate interests and neoliberal logics. Something has to change. Perhaps it’s time to turn away from the independent film industrial complex and toward […]

  • Ayo Edebiri and Rachel Sennott in Bottoms (Photo by Patti Perret) Punching Down: Emma Seligman on Bottoms

    The following interview was published in Filmmaker‘s Summer 2023 issue and is being reposted today as Bottoms arrives in theaters via Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Bottoms, the sophomore feature from Shiva Baby writer-director Emma Seligman, takes the concept of blood and guts in high school to a queer, campy pinnacle. Co-written by Seligman and Rachel Sennott—who starred in Shiva Baby and returns to act in Bottoms alongside frequent comic collaborator Ayo Edebiri—the project embraces a streak of absurdist satire that’s been present in Sennott’s sensibility since launching her highly popular, if now infrequent, Twitter presence. Coupled with Seligman’s directorial desire to “always do […]

  • Allison Parrish's poetry Turning Poetry into Art: Joanne McNeil on Large Language Models and the Poetry of Allison Parrish

    An application like ChatGPT is “taking the last 20 years of the internet and chewing it up, then producing a system that draws from that,” Allison Parrish explained when we spoke over Zoom last month. To the poet and programmer, generating content with large language model (LLM) neural nets is like “powering an engine with the methane that comes from decomposing corpses in a graveyard.”  Few artists working today have Parrish’s depth of experience with generative text. You have likely encountered her work online, especially if you were active on Twitter in the “Horse_ebooks” era. Early on in her career, […]

  • On the set of one of Miranda Kahn's production How and Why to Set Up a Production Company

    In today’s entertainment industry, owning a production company has become synonymous with having a trainer, manager or overall deal—no celebrity can be seen without! But what exactly makes owning a production company such a crucial and sought-after asset? How can aspiring producers, particularly those who are young and not yet famous or well-established, go about creating one? What are the key factors that contribute to making it successful? Drawing from a decade of observing producers, learning from their triumphs and setbacks, as well as my personal experiences, here I explore the anatomy of a production company, the elements that lead […]


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