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THE KING OF KONG: A Fistful of Quarters
This documentary from Seth Gordon centers around one of the hardest arcade games ever made, Donkey Kong, and the two men, uber-cocky, all-time high scorer Bill Mitchell and underdog family-man Steve Wiebe, battling to be the best. It’s like a geeky version of Rocky, with an array of larger-than-life characters (read: social misfits) just as compelling. The documentary not only follows this intense present day competition but also explores the sudden boom of 80s video game culture, creating an authentic look at the arcade scene and players of back then and a reflection of where they are now. So strap yourselves in and prepare for a bizarre ride complete with lots of button-mashing and really bad 80s haircuts.

Director Frank Oz, best known as the voice of Yoda, is back (after a misfire on The Stepford Wives remake) with another black comedy, but this time in the classically absurd British vein (and what better a setting for that than a funeral). The story centers around a dysfunctional, upper-class family who gather to mourn the loss of a loved one but instead find themselves at each others throats with deeply-buried issues and secrets. What ensues is hallucinatory drug use, nudity, religious and homosexual discrimination, and postmortem depravity (in no particular order). The film stars an ensemble cast, including Matthew Macfadyen (Pride & Prejudice), Peter Dinklage (of The Station Agent and Elf fame) and a slew of other actors whom you’d recognize by face but not name. With Death at a Funeral, Oz makes an appropriate comeback with equal doses of raunchy humor and clever irony.

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.


Ten new projects will soon be selected for this national program connecting mentors with projects before they are submitted to festivals. Returning as Lab Leaders for the four-day Lab (November 6-9) is the producing team from Arts Engine, Inc. (Election Day, Arctic Son, Deadline, Nuyorican Dream) who’ll work with a range of industry professionals as session leaders to give the key creative teams of the selected projects individual feedback and mentorship in editing, scoring, post delivery, outreach, marketing and publicity, sales representation, building social networks, distribution models and festival and DIY strategy. Projects from the 2006 Lab beginning to debut on the festival circuit include Maybe Baby (premiere SXSW 2007) Shannon O’Rourke’s doc on women opting for single motherhood and The Man of Two Havanas (premiere Tribeca 2007) Vivien Weisman’s personal doc on the most controversial figure in the Cuban exile community – her father. Submission deadline for the 2007 Lab is September 10. Click Here for more information


The always titillating Camille Paglia dedicated her monthly Salon column to what she considers to be an era with no art films. Here's an excerpt: On the culture front, fabled film directors Ingmar Bergman and Michelangelo Antonioni dying on the same day was certainly a cold douche for my narcissistic generation of the 1960s. We who revered those great artists, we who sat stunned and spellbound before their masterpieces -- what have we achieved? Aside from Francis Ford Coppola's "Godfather" series, with its deft flashbacks and gritty social realism, is there a single film produced over the past 35 years that is arguably of equal philosophical weight or virtuosity of execution to Bergman's "The Seventh Seal" or "Persona"? Perhaps only George Lucas' multilayered, six-film "Star Wars" epic can genuinely claim classic status, and it descends not from Bergman or Antonioni but from Stanley Kubrick and his pop antecedents in Hollywood science fiction.

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


It is difficult to write about Julie Delpy's career without rhapsodizing about the multi-talented Frenchwoman. At just 14, she got her breakthrough in Jean-Luc Godard's Detective, and while still in her teens she worked with such celebrated European auteurs as Leos Carax, Bertrand Tavernier, Carlos Saura, Agnieszka Holland and Volker Schlöndorff. In the early 1990s, Delpy established herself as one of the most promising actresses around with her work in both arthouse successes (Krysztof Kieslowski's White and Richard Linklater's Before Sunrise) and more commercial fare like Killing Zoe and The Three Musketeers. But rather than trying to establish herself as a Hollywood A-lister, Delpy went to film school at NYU and studied directing. Since graduating, Delpy has written and directed three short films, earned an Academy Award nomination for her contribution to the Before Sunset screenplay and released an album of her own songs, all the while acting in at least one or two films per year.

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