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This film by Christopher Cain (Young Guns) has been causing controversy with Mormons and conservatives since it was announced. The story is based on true events that occurred when a group of pioneers set out for California in 1857 but only made it as far as southern Utah, where they were slaughtered by a sect of zealous Mormons on September 11th (120 died, 17 children were spared). The event, known as the Mountain Meadows Massacre, is highly steeped in conspiracy, as the leader of the Mormons, prophet Brigham Young (played by a spooky Terence Stamp) covered up much of the ‘who’ and ‘why’ behind it. Cain’s film has startling - but necessary - moments of violence, but his ultimate intention is to shed light on this mysterious act, and make a statement on religious fanaticism that shows parallels between then and now.

Directed by Ethan Hawke (actor turned writer turned filmmaker) and adapted from his first novel, The Hottest State, is essentially a love story about broken hearts. If you’re still reading, the end result is not nearly as bad as the pitch. The film follows a sullen, struggling actor named William (Mark Webber) trying to find his way in New York City when he meets and instantly falls for Sarah, a beautiful singer/songwriter (Catalina Sandino Moreno, the excellent lead of Maria Full of Grace). What ensues is a week of raunchy, passionate sex. But soon Sarah makes it clear to him that their relationship was just a casual fling, and she needs her freedom. Having acted in so many films like this, Hawke knows exactly how to control the actors and the end result is a brooding and poignant directorial debut.

One of the fun things about going to film festivals is that you get to meet old acquaintances, and this has certainly been the case in the last few days at the Edinburgh International Film Festival. Yesterday, I bumped into Mike White, who is here in support of his directorial debut, Year of the Dog, which I talked to him about a few months ago. We had a brief catch-up chat, and I was amused to notice that he was wearing exactly the same ski jacket as the cold spring day we had spoken in New York. (The Edinburgh weather has not been at its best, as the summer has seemingly still not arrived in the U.K.)...


One of the biggest challenges facing a documentary filmmaker is finding the right way to tell their story. One of the great strengths of LYNCH, the new documentary about David Lynch is that the film's innovative style perfectly meshes with Lynch's own aesthetic. (It is also fittingly mysterious that the film's director is unknown, as the director's credit goes to one “blackANDwhite”, an anonymous figure who some people believe is in fact Lynch himself.)


Matt Dentler came up with a great concept to help get the word out about Joe Swanberg's Hannah Takes the Stairs, which begins a theatrical run Wednesday, August 22 at New York's IFC Center. He's done interviews with Swanberg and the film's other principal collaborators and parceled them out to a number of different film bloggers.Goto our blog to read the Filmmaker segment, and thanks, Matt, for including us...

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


Produced by IFP, the Conference will take place in NYC September 16 - 21.

This year’s Filmmaker Conference will feature “Conversations 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, Diane Weyermann, Participant Productions, and former tech investor and entrepreneur Tony Liano of Crackle Content, a streaming entertainment network. Filmmaker Magazine Editor Scott Macaulay will be moderating a number of these conversations. Over the course of the six days, attendees will hear from indie pioneers such as John Sayles and Maggie Renzi (Honeydripper), Charles Burnett (Killer of Sheep), Tom DiCillo (Interview) along with a number of today’s top indie filmmakers including Mitchell Lichtenstein (Teeth), Julia Loktev (Day Night, Day Night), and Dan Klores (Crazy Love). Independent producers Lee Daniels, Sarah Green, Ted Hope, Peter Saraf and Lydia Dean Pilcher and industry leaders Avy Kauffman, Moby, and dozens more will also be featured speakers. 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 (The 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 documentary focused panels featuring top non-fiction festival programmers, buyers and commissioning editors, as well as doc hybrid filmmaking innovators Brett Morgen (Chicago 10)) and Michael Tucker (The Prisoner: Or How I Killed Tony Blair).


It's a sign of Hollywood's wrongheadedness that it's been a decade since Greg Mottola last made a movie. In 1996, Mottola arrived on the scene with his debut, The Daytrippers, a funny and poignant indie that recalled the classy Hollywood comedies of the '60s and '70s. Though the film led to Mottola becoming friends with Woody Allen — unquestionably an influence on Daytrippers — his next two projects failed to come to fruition, so he turned his focus to television. Mottola's work in TV has been exemplary: he has directed Arrested Development, The Comeback, Mike White's Cracking Up, and no less than six episodes of Judd Apatow's criminally underrated follow-up to Freaks and Geeks, Undeclared. And it was Mottola's connection with Apatow and his protégé Seth Rogen that lead to the director's return to moviemaking.

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