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Editor's Note

Welcome to Filmmaker magazine's 15th anniversary year! Our birthday issue (Fall issue), with Todd Haynes on the cover and Tamara Jenkins, John Sayles, Julian Schnabel, Anton Corbijn and many others inside, just hit stands. In addition to pieces on films and filmmakers, we also have Alicia Van Couvering's article on strike planning for indies. The anticipated Writer's Guild of America strike is dominating all film news this week, and in Filmmaker we tell you how you as an independent might benefit from the strike if it happens.

Over the next few months you'll see what we hope are positive changes on our website and in this newsletter as we increase our original web-only content. If there's material you'd like to see on and in this newsletter, please drop me an e-mail at scott at


Scott Macaulay


Like David Lynch following the shooting of his digital Inland Empire, director Sidney Lumet, after completing his new HD-lensed Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, has sworn off celluloid. And while his proclamation that "film is dead" at the film's New York Film Festival press conference positioned the 83-year-old director as a cinematic trailblazer, the format choice actually returns Lumet to his roots. The director of such films as Dog Day Afternoon and The Verdict honed his craft on three-camera shoots for shows like Playhouse 90 in TV's so-called Golden Age. Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, made on a $5 million budget, stars Ethan Hawke, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Marisa Tomei and Albert Finney. -- SM


With the Iraq War dominating the nightly news, Americans have been slow to recognize and effectively protest the genocide and refugee crisis in Darfur today. The situation, in which the Sudanese government has unleashed the armed "Janjaweed" against the people of Darfur, is a relatively complex one, so documentaries like Darfur Now are welcome. Focusing on the work of six individuals, Ted Braun's film does celebrate the activism of celebrities (Don Cheadle and George Clooney), but it also highlights the contributions of lesser known people like Luis Moreno-Ocampo, a prosecutor at the International Criminal Court in the Hague, and Pablo Recalde, who provides food for the refugees in West Darfur. -- SM

By Jason Guerrasio

A member of this year's "25 New Faces of Independent Film," M dot Strange's debut feature We Are The Strange is a weird trip into the game-obsessed mind of its creator. Filled with stop motion animation and 8-bit graphics, this 2-disc DVD not only includes a director's cut for the hardcore fans but a bevy of added features on how M dot made the film. A must have for DYI filmmakers. read more


By Mike Plante

Terrence Malick's beautifully lensed follow-up to Badlands finally gets the Criterion treatment. Set in the wide-skied state of Texas, Richard Gere and Brooks Adams play lovers on the run who get into trouble after Adams falls for a rich land owner played by Sam Shepard. Malick's trademark style holds today, including gorgeous shots done during "magic hour." Tons of features come with it but unfortunately Malick is nowhere to be found. read more

To read more posts on our favorite upcoming DVDs, click here.


This week on the blog, Mike Plante learns that surrounding the release of Canadian filmmaker Bruce McDonald's latest award-wining feature, The Tracey Fragments [pictured left], he's re-edited the film, titled Tracey: Re-Fragmented, and has made it available for download so fans can make their own version. Jason Sanders bravely wards off the temptation of sandy white beaches and fruity drinks to report the award winners at this year's Louis Vuitton Hawaii International Film Festival. And Scott Macaulay posts the proposed new rules for the permitting of film shoots in New York City. After a highly controversial new set of regulations were drafted for comment over the summer that had everyone from no-budget filmmakers to Keith Olbermann up in arms, the Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting have redrafted a new form.

To read more posts from our blog, click here.


The winner of last year's Gotham Award for "Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You," (chosen by the editors and writers of Filmmaker, along with MoMA's Dept. of Film) and the five nominees from this year, will be screened in New York City in the coming weeks. Last year's winner, Steve Barron's Choking Man, plays at Cinema Village beginning November 9. Nominees for this year's award will be shown at MoMA from Friday, Nov. 16 to Monday, Nov. 19.


By Rak Razam

Jan Kounen is a French music video and feature film director who has specialized in bringing the spiritual world to the screen. On locations in Peru and Mexico to film the psychedelic spaghetti western, Renegade (2004, released as Blueberry outside the U.S.), an adaptation of the French comic book by renowned visionary artist Moebius, he discovered Shamanism, fell in love with the indigenous Shipibo-Conibos culture and later spent several months learning the ways of their plant medicine, ayahuasca. He even filmed a documentary about it, Other Worlds, which will be re-released as a DVD box set in October. read more


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