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In the follow-up to his Oscar-nominated documentary Spellbound, Jeffrey Blitz turns to fiction with the Sundance hit Rocket Science. Loosely based on Blitz’s childhood In New Jersey, the film follows stuttering teenager Hal Hefner (Reece Daniel Thompson) as he struggles to find exceptance at home and school while trying to woo the star member (Anna Kendrick) of the debate team. The film boasts an amazing performance by newcomer Thompson and a witty script and style that echoes but doesn’t imitate recent indie flicks like Thumbsucker and The Science of Sleep. Rocket Science also features an incredibly unorthodox musical score that heightens the awkwardness and confusion the film’s characters go through as they try to discover their true selves.

James Issacs is no stranger to horror. The protégé of David Cronenberg, Issacs has supervised specials effects on such horror/sci-fi milestones as The Fly, Gremlies, Naked Lunch and Enemy Mine. Now he focuses his talent from behind the camera, directing Skinwalkers, the story of a special boy on the cusp of his thirteenth birthday who finds himself caught in an all-out war between two werewolf clans in a creepy, desolate town. Both factions, one good, one evil, need possesson of the boy for different reasons…and they need him before the next blood-red moon. The acting is approprietly campy, the action is continously in-your-face, and there’s plently of gratitous gore and eye-popping FX (by none other than Stan Winston!) to go around. Cronenberg would be proud.

The forthcoming fall issue of Filmmaker marks the magazine's 15th anniversary, and, as I was having lunch the other day with Lance Weiler, he had a great idea about how you can help celebrate it with us. If you're a long-time (or even short-time) Filmmaker reader and any particular article or interview we've published has helped you or informed you in any way in your filmmaking work, let us know. Write a paragraph or two about the situation and reference the original piece. We'll edit together the best responses and run them next issue.

You can send your thoughts to me at and please include "Filmmaker's 15th" in the subject line.


Produced by IFP, the Conference will take place in NYC September 16 - 21. Filmmaker Magazine Editor Scott Macaulay and Managing Editor Jason Guerrasio will be moderating a number of conversations, including those with producer Jon Kilik (Julian Schnabel's upcoming The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Babel), former Artisan co-founder Bill Block of QED Intl., an LA-based financing, sales and production company, and former tech investor and entrepreneur Tony Liano of Crackle Content, a streaming entertainment network. Over the course of the six days, there will be an opportunity to hear from indie pioneers such as John Sayles and Maggie Renzi discussing their Toronto bound Honeydripper, along with a number of familiar indie producers, including Lee Daniels, Sarah Green, Ted Hope, Peter Saraf and Lydia Dean Pilcher. The burgeoning DIY and tech scenes will be well represented with Cinema Tech's Scott Kirsner, filmmakers Lance Weiler (Head Trauma), the Four Eyed Monsters duo of Susan Buice and Arin Crumley, Todd Rohal (Guatemalan Handshake), and internet phenomenon M Dot Strange, one of Filmmaker's recent 25 New Faces from the summer issue. The Conference ends with two days worth of doc focused panels. Also on tap will be Moby, Participant Productions' Diane Weyerman, casting director Avy Kaufman and dozens more. – and where it’s heading next.

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Andrew McPhillips’ animated short, Blood Will Tell, is a unique six-minute science fiction horror film set in 16th century Holland. A mysterious visitor who is hopelessly sick attempts to hide from death in a dark, mosquito-infested well. But the darkness can’t hide him for long…blood will tell. With a background in film and photography, Andrew reproduced the look of early “tin-type" Victorian photographs (like those of Edward Steichen) in the film, using a new animation technique based on the tin-type photographic process. Music by Icelandic band Sigur Ros complements the melancholic, disturbing, and sometimes beautiful images. The film will premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival this September.

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


Anyone wanting to prove that a there is a “cinematic gene” need look no further than Julie Gavras. The daughter of legendary director Costa-Gavras, most famous for films like Z (1968) and Missing (1982), and movie producer Michèle Ray-Gavras, Gavras initially resisted working in film and enrolled in law school. However, her desire to tell stories on film proved irrepressible. After a stint as an assistant director in France and Italy, Gavras started making documentaries, most notably The Pirate, the Wizard, the Thief and the Children (2002).

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