AFI Fest 2009

The latest issue of FILMMAKER has just hit stands and now it's your chance to pick up the most comprehensive coverage of independent film. Here's a sneak peak at some of the things inside this issue...

LEE DANIELS'S PRECIOUS: BASED ON THE NOVEL PUSH BY SAPPHIRE: For this issue's cover story managing editor Jason Guerrasio interviews manager-turned-producer-turned-director Lee Daniels about his intense second directorial effort, Precious. Based on the novel by poet-author Sapphire, the film examines the life of an illiterate, 300-pound teen named Precious (Gabourey Sidibe) who's pregnant with her second child from her father and battles the mental and physical abuse from her mother (played by Mo'Nique) while trying to better her life. Daniels is no stranger to exploring difficult subjects, as he produced the Oscar-winning 2001 film Monster's Ball, but making Precious was redemptive as his directorial debut, Shadowboxer, was panned by critics and audiences. "When reading the interview you quickly realize that Daniels is not shy to give his opinion on any subject," Guerrasio says. "But within that I think Daniels reveals the struggles any indie filmmaker goes through to make a film and the battles that need to be fought to get their vision on screen."
JASON REITMAN'S UP IN THE AIR: On the heels of the surprise hit, Juno, Jason Reitman returns to the corporate America culture he explored in Thank You For Smoking with his latest film Up in the Air. Starring George Clooney as a "career transition consultant", Reitman follows his character's endless carefree life on the go which suddenly is threatened. Editor Scott Macaulay talked to Reitman after seeing the film at the Toronto International Film Festival, where the Oscar talk immediately started. "After I saw Up in the Air I spent a few days trying to figure out whether my love for it had anything to do with the environment in which I saw it. Dealing with a perks-obsessed, frequent flying, commitment-phobe, it's the perfect film for a film festival. But after my interview with Reitman, I came away even more impressed and decided that my endorsement of the movie is not a situational one. Up in the Air is Hollywood filmmaking at its best, a star-driven relationship comedy that also happens to be a zeitgeist movie capturing the psychic temperature of a country undergoing economic distress. Plus, it's got the best last line and last shot of the year."

LARS VON TRIER'S ANTICHRIST: For Lars von Trier's latest film, Antichrist, he delves into the horror genre to examine the grief two people go through after the sudden death of their child. Willem Defoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg star as a husband and wife (they have no names in the film) who after the death go to a secluded cottage where the hopes of closure and forming a tighter bond are destroyed. "Lars von Trier has a reputation for being a prickly interview subject, but I found him warm and charming on our Skype chat," says Macaulay, who interviewed Von Trier. "But when I transcribed the interview, I noticed that it seemed to have a bit of an edge. You can chalk that up to the slightly formal tone of his English and not to any lack of sincerity in his responses. In our interview he discusses the depression he suffered before making Antichrist, how he allows his actors to defend their characters, and the legacy of Dogme 95."


PLUS: The blaxploitation genre is celebrated in Scott Sanders's comedy Black Dynamite, We Live In Public's Ondi Timoner explains the challenges of editing her Sundance Grand Prize winning doc, Anthony Kaufman explains why VOD is turning into a profitable avenue for indie filmmakers, we give you the inside scoop on tax incentives. And much more...

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