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"What We Can Learn from Procrastination" in the New Yorker. The essay, which reviews an Oxford Press scholarly book of essays on the subject, The Thief of Time, identifies procrastination as a fundamentally human quality. "You may have thought, the last time you blew off work on a presentation to watch 'How I Met Your Mother,' that you were just slacking," Surowiecki writes. "But from another angle you were actually engaging in a practice that illuminates the fluidity of human identity and the complicated relationship human beings have to time. Indeed, one essay, by the economist George Ainslie, a central figure in the study of procrastination, argues that dragging our heels is 'as fundamental as the shape of time and could well be called the basic impulse.'"A friend told me that her secret to productivity is procrastination. She's good at juggling many different tasks because she procrastinates on each, finishing one thing so she doesn't have to finish another. The idea that you can view procrastination as a symbol of productivity cheers me, but I'd still like to rid myself of the trait -- me and everyone else in the world, I discovered after reading James Surowiecki's essay,
Why am I bringing up procrastination? Because I'm preparing a seminar on hybrid doc and fiction films I'm presenting at CPH:DOX 2010 on Saturday, and if this letter goes any longer I will be indulging in it. I'll be back with something longer next week, but in the meantime, please check out stories from our Fall issue online and pick up the print edition with all our new content on newsstands now.
See you next week.
BEST FILM NOT PLAYING AT A THEATER NEAR YOU SERIES ON THE HORIZON The Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You Screening Series, presented in partnership with The Museum of Modern Art, kicks off November 18th at MoMA. The Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You award, sponsored by Royal Bank of Canada, is given annually as part of the Gotham Independent Film Awards™ to the most outstanding independent film of the year without theatrical distribution in place. The five nominated films - singled out from the 2010 festival circuit - will screen at MoMA from November 18 - 22. Screenings will be followed by Q & A's with the directors: Robert Greene (Kati with an i), Mike Ott (Littlerock), Francine Cavanaugh and Adams Wood (On Coal River), Lynn True and Nelson Walker (Summer Pasture) and Laurel Nakadate (The Wolf Knife). Nominees for the award were selected by the editorial staff and contributors to Filmmaker, and Josh Siegel, Associate Curator, MoMA Department of Film from recommendations by critics, festival programmers and curators. See MoMA Screening Schedule..
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Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer
Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench
Damien Chazelle, Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench
Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You series at MoMA
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127 HOURS An inspiring tale of the human spirit, Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, Slumdog Millionaire) returns with 127 Hours, the true story of canyoneerer Aron Ralston (played by James Franco) who spent an excruciating week trapped beneath a boulder while hiking in a canyon in Utah. Suffering from dehydration and failing morale, he made the unimaginable decision to amputate part of his arm to free himself. In our Fall issue, Boyle recounts pitching to financiers his concept of making Ralston's catharsis also the audience's. "You [the audience] would be trapped with him, and in some way you would help him get release because it's your release as well." Subscribe to our digital issue to read this interview as well as access to our back issues until 2005. FOUR LIONS How is it possible that a film can make suicide bombing funny? Chris Morris goes on this controversial satiric mission in Four Lions. Here, four British Islamist jihadists plot a suicide bombing but they can't even make a convincing jihadist video or competently assemble a bomb. Is the American moviegoing audience ready to laugh at comical terrorists? We'll see. CLIENT 9: THE RISE AND FALL OF ELIOT SPITZER As attorney general he went after Wall Street, using criminal investigations to target the financial service industry's most deceptive practices. As governor of New York, he struggled to adapt his hard-charging prosecutorial persona to the ways of Albany. He made enemies, and, as Alex Gibney reveals in his Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer, those enemies were right there waiting when Spitzer's penchant for prostitutes had the potential to boot him from the governor's office. Gibney's film tells Spitzer's rise-and-fall story, speculating on what might have been while also illuminating the web of relationships that comprise New York state politics. RED HILL A suspenseful Australian thriller from director Patrick Hughes, Red Hill is a modern-day western about the fight between the law and the lawless. Shane Cooper (Ryan Kwanten) is a young police officer looking to settle down with his pregnant wife (Claire van der Boom) in the small town of Red Hill. But on the first day of the job, a convicted murderer named Jimmy Conway (Tom E. Lewis) escapes from prison looking for revenge, and his is a visit that has the whole town shaking, including the police. GUY AND MADELINE ON A PARK BENCH Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench, the debut feature by Damien Chazelle, is a charming no-budget romantic musical shot on black-and-white 16mm stock. Yes, it's a musical, with an old-fashioned - an original - symphony orchestra score. It stars jazz trumpeter Jason Palmer and actress Desiree Garcia as Guy and Madeline, a young couple in Boston whose romance has petered out. They break up and explore different paths through song and dance. It premiered at last year's Tribeca Film Festival, and indieWIRE placed the film at #3 in their Best Undistributed Films list of 2009. Read our interview with Chazelle below. This week on the blog, DOC NYC makes its debut; Kevin Smith unveils the poster for his upcoming film Red State; all 102 frames of Requiem for a Dream (pictured left) are analyzed in a blog with a contributor for each shot; friends of the late documentary film editor Karen Schmeer have created a fellowship in her name; and readers can vote for the the first ever Festival Genius Audience Award at the Gotham Independent Film Awards.
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DAMIEN CHAZELLE, GUY AND MADELINE ON A PARK BENCH By Brandon Harris
Damien Chazelle's Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench is a throw back and perhaps a harbinger of things to come, a bebop tinged DIY mumblemusical that, despite its New Wavesque 16mm B&W aesthetic, is very much a movie of this time and moment. It concerns a relatively young, black and talented trumpet player named Guy and his would be, perhaps still is lover, a white grad student named Madeline (the oddly alluring Desiree Garcia). read more
San Francisco International Film Festival
Regular Deadline: Nov. 8
Final Deadline For Features: Dec. 13
Final Deadline For Shorts: Dec. 6
Festival Dates: April 21 - May 5
Cannes Independent Film Festival
Regular Deadline: Nov. 12
Late Deadline: Feb. 25
Festival Dates: May 12-23
Santa Monica International Film Festival
Regular Deadline: Nov. 15
Final Deadline: June 15
Festival Dates: Aug 5-7