Winter 2021

Post Empire

Empire, Nevada, “felt like a town suspended in the 1950s, as if the postwar economy had never ended,” writes Jessica Bruder in her nonfiction book, Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century. The small mining town consisted of four main roads, lined with homes populated by the workers of United States Gypsum, the manufacturer of Sheetrock. Subsidized rents were as low as $250 a month, the company covered TV and internet and, as one resident told Bruder, there were “no gangs, no sirens, no violence.” But economic forces caught up with Empire. In 2011, U.S. Gypsum, a company with a […]



Sundance Hits and Misses, Pandemic Edition

Yes, 2020 sucked. The worst year of our lives finally came to an end, and most independent films and filmmakers, like just about everything and everyone else, suffered. Grand Jury Prize winners were delayed, critics’ favorites were lost and buzzworthy breakouts, briefly the talk of Park City, remained in limbo, waiting for some nebulous future release date when movie theaters might re-open and vaccinated audiences might attend them. Normally, you could look back at a year’s worth of top Sundance titles, examine what became of them in distribution—as Filmmaker usually does—and glean some takeaways about the state of the marketplace. […]

  • Uprooted: Writer/Director Lee Isaac Chung on Minari

    The following interview appears in Filmmaker‘s current Winter ’21 print edition and, a day after Minari won the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film, appears online for all readers for the first time. “There’s a difference between something having happened or something being true,” says writer/director Lee Isaac Chung about the interplay between memory and creation that graces his fourth dramatic feature, Minari.  Based on the filmmaker’s childhood—his family moved to the South, where his father hoped to develop a farm—Minari captures a time of familial change and uncertainty with seemingly effortless poetry and wonder. It’s the early 1980s […]

  • Technology Tailwinds — Where Are They Taking Us?

    The following article was originally published in Filmmaker‘s Winter, 2021 edition. Digital technologies, incessantly lurching forward, are the ground we filmmakers stand on. No wonder we’re often unsteady on our feet. The pandemic has only become an accelerant. Although FaceTime and Skype were around awhile before both became verbs, it took the exigencies of the pandemic to flood our lives with Zoom calling, a digital convenience that has reshaped our relationship to proximity, travel and geography. Just ask Joe Biden. Doesn’t every production meeting now take place on Zoom? Production practices with renewed COVID relevance include use of zooms instead […]

  • The Other Horror in Zombie Movies

    The asymmetries of combat in a zombie movie are unlike any other: One must shoot to kill because only one side fights—the other side is merely hungry. The fate of humanity hinges on an efficiently delivered death blow. Characters can outrun the monsters or grab a knife in the kitchen for self-defense. Or, if the movie was made in America, there’s probably a gun. Only one side can handle tools. It is right there on the movie posters in which actors typically appear with their primary weapons. Brad Pitt has an assault rifle on the World War Z (2013) poster, […]


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Also: Moving Through the Frame On the Beat Advance Team Echoes From the Past Voices in the Room Arizona Dreams of Justice Editor’s Letter

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