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ZODIAC
A new David Fincher movie is always cause for excitement, and especially in the case of ‘Zodiac’, which some critics are already talking about as one of the best films of the year. Based on Robert Graysmith’s non-fiction book, it centers on three men – two newspapermen (Robert Downey, Jr. and Jake Gyllenhaal) and a cop (Mark Ruffalo) –obsessed with catching the ‘Zodiac’ serial killer, who is taunting both press and police with cryptic messages as he terrorises San Francisco’s Bay Area. Through its rich visuals and pop soundtrack, the film vividly evokes the spirit and feel of the ‘70s while tipping its hat to films such as ‘All The Presidents Men’. And with its conscious move away from the sensationalism of ‘Se7en’, ‘Zodiac’ also reveals an exciting new focus, restraint and maturity in Fincher’s work.

WILD TIGERS I HAVE KNOWN
13-year old loner Logan (Malcolm Stumpf) is infatuated with popular 9th grader Rodeo Walker (Patrick White), who is seemingly the only one of the older boys who doesn’t bully him. The two start going on woodland walks together and develop an unlikely friendship, but Logan finds that he needs to find a way to express his adoration for Rodeo. Writer-director Cam Archer premiered ‘Wild Tigers I Have Known’ at last year’s Sundance, where he had already made a name for himself with his innovative shorts. Archer’s debut feature tackles well-known adolescent themes with striking originality, as he indulges in a poetic and aesthetic approach - employing an atmospheric, emotive soundtrack and often experimental, avant-garde visuals - rather than relying on straightforward narrative to tell his coming-of-age story.

FIGHTING FOR FAIR USE
Kirby Dick's This Film Is Not Yet Rated didn't just expose the inconsistencies in the MPAA ratings system but helped in the battle documentary filmmakers fight every time they make a movie and must determine what is in the realm of fair use and what isn’t. In Dick’s film over 100 clips are used to show how violent films are deemed acceptable by the MPAA while films with sexual scenes aren’t. Defining the clips as fair use, Dick didn’t pay licensing fees, which would have ranged between $10,000-$15,000 a clip. Inspired by the film, Kansas City-based Media/Professional Insurance has started offering coverage for doc filmmakers allowing them fair use of film clips, according to a story in Variety...

 
     
 

FILM INDEPENDENT 2007 SPIRIT AWARDS
The Film Independent Spirit Awards were handed out yesterday in Santa Monica, California. Here are the winners.

Best Feature: Little Miss Sunshine, Producers: Marc Turtletaub, David T. Friendly, Peter Saraf, Albert Berger & Ron Yerxa.

Best Director: Jonathon Dayton & Valerie Faris, Little Miss Sunshine

Best Screenplay: Jason Reitman, Thank You For Smoking... the rest are on our blog...

 
     

THE UNSUNG HERO
When I first saw David Gordon Green’s exceptional debut George Washington (2000), one of the things that most impressed me about Green’s style of filmmaking was his inspired use of music. The score was understated, evocative and poignantly beautiful, and was a major contributing factor (along with Tim Orr’s gorgeous cinematography) to the comparisons between George Washington and the films of Green’s great idol, Terrence Malick...

Read the complete stories at Filmmakermagazine's Blog...

   

COLMA ROCKS THE INDIE WORLD - By Justin Lowe
Accustomed as we are to lavish, star-studded productions like Dreamgirls, Chicago and Moulin Rouge, it’s rare to hear the words “low-budget” and “musical” uttered in the same sentence.

Contrary to high-priced expectations, however, Colma: The Musical is an upstart indie produced on a shoestring budget in the San Francisco Bay Area that has built a groundswell of support on the festival circuit over the last year, earning awards and prominent placement on year-end critics’ lists. Colma director Richard Wong received a Film Independent Spirit Award nomination in November for the IFC/Acura Someone to Watch Award, which “recognizes a talented filmmaker of singular vision who has not yet received appropriate recognition.” And it all began with a collection of original songs about Colma...

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