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These moments are the types of things you'll find in Nicholas Rombes's new column, "Into the Splice." Every two weeks he'll write up a trip to another movie, using its themes and even the theater itself as a trigger for personal essays that speak to the role cinema plays in our lives. His first column is up now -- it's a visit to an independent theater to see Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Micmacs. Check it out -- it's the first of several new columns that we'll be unveiling this fall. Also up now is Zachary Wigon's three-part essay on the film Catfish, "Things That Seem Real." Wigon examines the relationship of the film to "reality," fantasy, and fakery, drawing connections to movies like Afterschool, Vertigo, and F is for Fake. It’s serious, thoughtful, but also a lot of fun, so please read it when you have a chance. We're also in the middle of Independent Film Week and the IFP Filmmaker Conference, and several of the filmmakers are guest blogging. One piece I particularly like: filmmaker Marc Maurino's really well-thought out post about why he's looking for a producer at Independent Film Week.
That's enough reading for now. Let me know what you think of these pieces.
See you next week.
Editor ON THE SCENE @ INDEPENDENT FILM WEEK IFP's Independent Film Week wraps up today. By the end of the day, filmmakers from the 150 selected projects of the Project Forum will have taken 1400+ meetings with the industry. To get an inside look at what happened this year, read the posts by some of the filmmakers who blogged on Filmmaker's website during IFW.
Steve Collins - The Garden, Emerging Narrative
Roja Gashtili & Julia Lerman - Pretty to Think So, Emerging Narrative
Sandy Jaffe - Our Mockingbird, Spotlight on Documentaries
Marc Maurino - Inside the Machine, Emerging Narrative
Chris Ohlson - Melvin, Independent Filmmaker Labs
Joshua Z. Weinstein - Off Duty, Spotlight on Documentaries
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Enter the Void
Waiting for "Superman"
Rob Epstein & Jeffrey Friedman, Howl
On The Scene @ Independent Film Week
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BURIED From a screenplay by filmmaker Chris Sparling and directed by Rodrigo Cortés (The Contestant), Buried is a tense thriller an American contractor (Ryan Reynolds) working in Iraq who, after his convoy is attacked, wakes up to find himself buried alive in a coffin with only a lighter and a cell phone for aid. Tracing his steps on how he got there, he has a limited amount of time to save himself before he runs out of air. With comparisons to a Hitchcock suspense thriller, Buried premiered at this year's Sundance and was quickly picked up by Lionsgate, which will begin a limited release this Friday and go nationwide October 8th. ENTER THE VOID Gaspar Noé has developed a reputation for emotionally grueling, visually inventive films like Irreversible and I Stand Alone. After eight years, he returns with the trippy Enter the Void, described by Noé as a "psychedelic melodrama". It centers on the nearly unbreakable bond between brother Oscar (Nathaniel Brown) and sister Linda (Paz de la Huerta). Oscar and Linda are orphans, and were separated in foster care. They reunite in Tokyo, but Oscar, now a drug dealer, gets killed during a drug bust. But not even death can keep them apart; Oscar watches over his sister and has remembrances of his past as his soul floats over Tokyo. To give the viewer the feeling of being in Oscar's shoes, Noé shoots much of the film from the back of his head, sometimes giving it the vertiginous quality of a video game. "There’s something a bit artificial and awkward about POV in most movies," said Noé when we interviewed him for our Summer issue. "[But] when you have the guy inside the frame, it seems like it’s more realistic in some ways." HOWL Based on the 1957 obscenity trial regarding Allen Ginsburg's (James Franco) controversial Beat poem Howl, filmmakers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman (The Celluloid Closet), take a experimental look at the poet and his work through three main aspects of the author's life: his early years in New York City, his path to writing and developing the influential Howl, and the obscenity trial, where he and his friend Lawrence Ferlinghetti (Andrew Rogers) were accused of promoting drug use and homosexuality to unsuspecting youths. "We made a conscious decision that we wanted to do something that was going to be not a traditional biopic," says Epstein in this week's Director Interviews. "We’re actually calling it a poem-pic. We wanted to do something that would be formally inventive and challenging in a way that would do justice to the subject." Read our interview with Epstein & Friedman below. WAITING FOR "SUPERMAN" A documentary that has been getting a lot of attention since premiering at Sundance, Waiting for “Superman,” directed by Oscar-winner Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth), looks at the shortcomings of the American educational system, as budgets cuts cheat a lot of students, especially in lower-income neighborhoods, out of a rich education. Following several students, the film introduces successful programs such as the Harlem Children's Zone and charter schools that receive prospective students by lotteries. Winner of the Audience Award at Sundance, Waiting for "Superman" is a hard look at the challenges and tribulations of the U.S. educational system and how far the improvements need to go to ensure bright futures for students. This week on the blog, writer-director Conor Horgan looks at the genre possibilities of his film One Hundred Mornings; Livia Bloom describes the Wavelengths program at the Toronto International Film Festival (pictured left); Nicholas Rombes goes Into the Splice with a bi-weekly new column on the pleasures of moviegoing; and in a three-party essay Zachary Wigon looks at the reality, fantasy and fakery of Catfish.
To read more posts from our blog, click here.
ROB EPSTEIN & JEFFREY FRIEDMAN, HOWL By Brandon Harris
How do you make a narrative film about a long, difficult poem? Jean Cocteau’s legendary Blood of the Poet gives it a go I suppose, but its style departs from the conventions of narrative very early on for something more willfully avant-garde. Poetry just doesn’t lend itself to shot reverse shot and one hundred and eighty degree director’s lines. This clearly difficult task didn’t daunt veteran documentarians Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, however; they took up the challenge as they made the jump to narrative in Howl, a thoughtful meditation on the early life and seminal work of Allen Ginsberg. read more
Washington D.C. Independent Film Festival
Early Deadline: Oct. 1
Final Deadline: November 15
Festival Dates: March 3-13
Ann Arbor Film Festival
Regular Deadline: Oct. 4
Late Deadline: Nov. 4
Festival Dates: March 22-27
Big Sky Documentary Film Festival
Final Deadline: Oct. 15
Festival Dates: Feb. 11-20