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Also in the issue is an interview with Olivier Assayas by Brandon Harris about his new Carlos, which opens next week on both the Sundance Channel and in theaters through IFC Films. (The three-part film will run October 11 - 13 nationwide on the Sundance Channel; October 15 – 22 at New York's IFC Center in its 330-minute version; and uptown at Lincoln Plaza in a director-approved shorter 165-minute cut. The 165-minute cut will be on VOD beginning October 20, and both the long and short versions will be rolled out theatrically nationwide.) In his intro, Harris writes, "One of the wonderful things about Olivier Assayas’ sprawling new Carlos... is that it observes a man who could both be easily vilified and mythologized and ultimately does neither. Villainy and mythology are the stock and trade of contemporary politic discourse, perhaps dangerously so. To watch a mind as sharp as Assayas’ navigate the thorny trail that is the legacy of 1970s leftist terrorism is an exhilarating experience."
I finally caught up the film at the New York Film Festival last week and, like Harris, found it absolutely thrilling. I love films like Carlos where history is refracted through the individual, where a character-based story is able to embody within itself the social and political currents of its time. One of its great paradoxes is that a film that so masterfully evokes the feelings of the '70s -- not just the décor, hairstyles and dress, but also the intellectual debates and the way in which political consciousness informed a sense of the self -- feels so astonishingly of the moment. Carlos traces back to the roots of our current discourse on terrorism, reminding us of the geopolitical theater in which it still operates. And, it's exciting, sexy and crackling with cinematic energy to boot. Take my advice -- get out your calendar and figure out when you can block out a day to see the long road-show version. You'll be really happy you did.
See you next week.
Editor THE GOTHAM INDEPENDENT FILM AWARDS™ – TICKETS & TABLES NOW ON SALE The Gotham Independent Film Awards™, selected by distinguished juries and presented in New York City are the first honors of the film awards season. This public showcase honors the filmmaking community, expands the audience for independent films, and supports the work that IFP does behind the scenes throughout the year to bring such films to fruition. Anchoring the evening's seven competitive awards for Best Feature, Best Documentary, Breakthrough Director, Breakthrough Actor, Best Ensemble Performance, Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You, and the Festival Genius Audience Award are four Tributes to film community icons. This year's Tribute selection represents a range of individuals – all veterans well-versed in the journey between lower-budget independent films and large-scale studio releases. Actors Robert Duvall and Hilary Swank, director Darren Aronofsky and Focus Features CEO James Schamus will each be presented with a career Tribute at the 20th Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards at Cipriani Wall Street on November 29th. Nominees for the competitive will be announced on October 19th. For tickets, ticket packages, and table sales go here.
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INSIDE JOB With his second film, Inside Job, Charles Ferguson, a former high-technology consultant to the government and private sector whose software company Vermeer Technologies was purchased by Microsoft in 1996, uses crisply shot interviews with many key regulators and financial industry players, archival footage, charts, and snappy music-driven montages to walk us through the sometimes dizzying world of collateralized debt obligations, credit default swaps, and subprime mortgages, illustrating how the growth of the banking industry over decades led to the breakdown of our global economy. And while this story has been told in countless magazine articles, some books, and a few other documentaries (mostly TV), Ferguson adds new dimensions. In one segment he interviews heads of Ivy League business schools, nailing them for providing in their commissioned research papers the academic cover for the most egregious banking offenses while not informing their readers of their own financial conflicts of interest. Narrated by actor Matt Damon, Inside Job doesn't spare anyone mercy, and exposes and poses the question of why no one has gone to jail in connection with the crisis. Read our interview with Ferguson in the upcoming Fall issue of Filmmaker later this month. IT'S KIND OF A FUNNY STORY Adapted from Ned Vizzini's novel of the same name and directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck of Half Nelson fame, It's Kind of a Funny Story centers on Craig (Keir Gilchrist), a teenage boy who checks himself into a psychiatric hospital for depression. The youth ward is temporarily closed, so he is placed in the adult ward, where he meets Bobby (Zach Galifianakis), an sarcastic oddball with a sentimental heart. Life in the hospital feels scary and weird at first, but Craig eases up when he meets a girl his age named Noelle (Emma Roberts), and befriends the other adults in the ward. The film nods to John Hughes’ The Breakfast Club by making Craig’s institutional lockdown a time for self-discovery and growth. NOWHERE BOY Nearly fifty years after the Beatles first formed, their backstories are still mined for cinematic gold. John Lennon's teen years are revisited in Nowhere Boy, a biopic starring Aaron Johnson as the musically-inclined young man who forms his first band, The Quarrymen, and his relationships with his aunt Mimi (Kristin Scott Thomas) and his mother Julia (Anne-Marie Duff), who were dominant influences on Lennon as he discovered his musical talent. Directed by the artist Sam Taylor-Wood, the film opens Friday, the 70th anniversary of Lennon's birth. MARWENCOL What do you do when after a massive head trauma makes it impossible for you to return to your old life? Mark Hogancamp, who was nearly beaten to death and was in a coma for nine days, rebuilds his body and his mind by constructing a small-scale replica of a WWII-era small town in his backyard. Filling it with dolls named after him and his friends, local people and an old flame, he creates his own world and in the process rebuilds his life. Filmmaker Jeff Malmberg traveled to upstate New York to record Hogancamp's story, delicately balancing how his fictional world may be keeping him in a bubble from the real world since his assault. Marwencol has been a stunning success at the film festival circuit, winning at Hot Docs, SWSW, Seattle and most recently Woodstock. Read our interview with Malmberg from SXSW here. This week on the blog, Jamie Stuart gives a sneak peek of his round-up of the New York Film Festival; Filmmaker faves Stranger Things (directors Eleanor Burke and Ron Eyal pictured left) and Marwencol win at the Woodstock Film Festival; the new Canon 60D is revealed; Apple is possibly delaying a new Final Cut Studio; and American Splendor screened at the IFC Center in tribute to the late comic artist Harvey Pekar.
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SIMON RUMLEY, RED WHITE AND BLUE By Brandon Harris
Clad in denim cut-offs and white cowboy boots, Erica (a terrific Amanda Fuller) drifts through days and nights with an anomie that is only enhanced by the arty, elliptical rhythms of Veteran UK helmer Simon Rumley’s celebrated feature Red White & Blue. As secrets about her past and current intentions emerge however, we quickly realize that we’ve stumbled into an increasingly disturbing tale of revenge and despair. read more
Detroit Independent Film Festival
Next Deadline: Oct. 15
Regular Deadline: Nov. 10
Late Deadline: Dec. 15
Festival Dates: March 9-13
Big Sky Documentary Film Festival
Final Deadline: Oct. 15
Festival Dates: Feb. 11-20
Manhattan Film Festival
Early Deadline: Oct. 17
Regular Deadline: Jan. 7
Late Deadline: March 7
Festival Dates:July 22-31