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February 29, 2020

Russian Director Behind Berlin Winner ‘DAU. Natasha’ Plans to Fight Propaganda Charges

One of this year’s Berlinale selections has already sparked controversy as the festival comes to a close this weekend. “DAU. Natasha,” the sophomore feature from Russian director Ilya Khrzhanovskiy, is a harrowing film experiment in which the director built a vast 42,000-square-foot set in Kharkiv, Ukraine, and cast some 352,000 people to live 24 hours a day in a meticulous rendering of a Soviet science institute. Ordinary people are asked to live in full character and hold normal jobs — even if that means facing repercussions from authorities if they wander from their routine. The movie, which won a cinematography prize out of the Berlinale on Saturday, culminates in a queasy scene of sexual assault that has led a group of Russian journalists to question the ethics of including the drama at all among the competition titles. In tandem, the director is tangling in his own share of controversy over the ambitious film.

As reported by Variety, the journalists submitted an open letter to Berlinale creative director Carlo Chatrian and executive director Mariette Rissenbeek, working together on the German festival for the first time, expressing concern about the psychological and sexual tortures apparently involved in the movie — and especially at a moment when Harvey Weinstein has just been convicted of multiple sex-crime felonies.

“We are writing to you to register our deep concern about the ethics of including ‘Dau. Natasha’ in the main competition of the Berlinale. The circumstances of the film’s creation have been extensively covered in both domestic and foreign media, and made clearer still during a recent Berlinale Talents Q&A with the authors,” the letter, published Saturday on the feminist film website KKBBD.com, reads. (Read the full letter here.)

“Having watched only a part of the vast ‘Dau’ project, we are obligated to reserve our judgment of the project as a whole — but we are within our rights to discuss ‘Dau. Natasha,’ which is competing as an individual title,” the statement reads.

The letter arrived just ahead of today’s awards ceremony at the Berlin Film Festival. A followup film, “DAU. Degeneration,” premiered out of competition at Berlin this week, and that film features a scene where real-life Nazis are thrown into the mix of the cast and crew. The letter goes on to say, “Harvey Weinstein is found guilty of sex crimes, in an era marked by the struggle against the culture of violence and abuse in the film industry,” taking aim at a project wherein “by its own authors’ stark admission…contains scenes of real psychological and physical violence against non-professional actors… In the festival directors’ opinion, would such a film be possible to exhibit if it were created in the so-called First World — for instance, Germany, France, the U.K. or the U.S. — and used on-screen talent from these countries?”

Meanwhile, “DAU. Natasha” has also become the target of Russia itself, with the country’s ministry of culture reportedly condemning the film as pornographic propaganda — the film features unsimulated sex acts.  Khrzhanovskiy denies this assessment of his project.

“Nothing about this surprised [me] except that it could be a criminal case,” Khrzhanovskiy told IndieWire in Berlin. “If you make the charge [of] pornography, it’s just an invitation [to court]. If you make it propaganda and pornography, then it’s a crime. That’s two years in jail. I applied for 10 movies. I didn’t even apply for ‘Natasha.’ It’s exciting.”

Khrzhanovskiy is optimistic that his film could incite a sea change in terms of what movies are shown in Russia, which is notoriously hard on anti-establishment stories. “I’m sure this will be shown in Russia at some point, because it’s definitely not about pornography or violence. These sexual or violent elements exist in the films but they are not the key elements. They just exist as part of stories about human fragility,” he said.

In response to Russia’s charges, Khrzhanovskiy said he plans to sue the state. “Russia is a major country and maybe they resist this but maybe not, because in these movies, there is nothing against Putin or something like that. It’s about human nature and it’s stupid not to give people the possibility to watch it.”

Read IndieWire’s review of “DAU. Natasha” here.

Additional reporting by Eric Kohn.

Source: IndieWire film

February 29, 2020

Want to See Deleted Scenes From ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’? There’s a Comic Book for That

For fans eager to fill in the gaps in storytelling left by J.J. Abrams’ 2019 film “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” the wait is over. According to StarWars.com, by way of The Film Stage, a forthcoming comic-book adaptation of the film, which concluded the Skywalker Saga in December last year, will recreate the film through panel illustrations, but it will also include deleted and extended scenes left out of the hit movie.

“I think one of the great things about adaptations in other mediums is you do get the chance to build out elements of the story there may not have been time or a place for on the screen,” said the comic’s writer, Jody Houser. “Giving light to new scenes gives the creators in these other mediums a chance to add to the story, rather than just translating it for the page.”

Featuring art by Will Sliney and covers by Phil Noto, the five-issue miniseries will kick off in May this year. “I think I’m more excited about some of the new things we’re adding, including expanding moments from the movie with elements we didn’t get to see on screen. Which is vague, but spoilers!” Houser said.

The comic will also reportedly include a nod to Kylo Ren’s infamous “Ben Solo shrug,” in which the redeemed villain faces down the Knights of Ren with a nonchalant “sure, whatever.”

“It’s both a fan-favorite scene, and the moment we truly see him as his father’s son, so that would be hard to leave out!” Houser said. She previously mounted a comic-book adaptation of “Rogue One,” the 2016 “Star Wars” spinoff film directed by Gareth Edwards.

There was plenty left unexplored in “The Rise of Skywalker” that could prove fodder for a comic-book adaptation, from the truncated role of Kelly Marie Tran‘s fan-favorite Rose Tico, to whatever the hell Finn said to Rey, and the dubious source of Palpatine’s return. He was long thought dead.

As Lucasfilm figures out what’s next for “Star Wars,” and turns its attention to series on Disney+ such as “The Mandalorian,” filmmaker J.D. Dillard and writer Matt Owens were reportedly tapped to develop a new feature for the franchise. Taika Waititi was also courted to develop a new “Star Wars” film, though no news exists yet for what the future of “Star Wars” holds on the big screen. For now, there are the comics. So far, upcoming “Star Wars” films on the docket are dated for December 16, 2022, with further installments set for December 2024 and December 2026,

Source: IndieWire film

February 28, 2020

How Disney's Iconic Multiplane Camera Changed Animation

Disney thrives on being a place where imagination comes alive, even when it comes to cameras.

We talk about Disney the studio a lot, mostly because it now houses the largest titles ever conceived.

However, one of the greatest things about Disney is that they spent a ton of time perfecting the technical side of their process. A great example of this is the multiplane camera, which not only lent its unique power to features like Pinocchio, Fantasia, Bambi, and Peter Pan but it also changed animation, as a whole, forever.

Today I want to take a peek into that camera and talk about why it was so important.

Let’s go!

How Did Disney’s Multiplane Camera Work?

In 1937, Disney developed its multiplane camera. While these kinds of cameras existed before Walt’s team perfected them, it was Disney that put them on the map. Basically, animated cells used to be all drawn on the same plane, but those images never had any actual depth.

Disney wanted his cartoons to be more lively.

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Source: NoFilmSchool

February 28, 2020

3 Things Every Great Fight Scene Has That Bad Ones Don't

Successful fight scenes aren’t just about action—they’re about so much more.

I’m a human being with a vascular system and adrenal glands and a brain and stuff, so naturally, I like fight scenes.

Show me any martial arts rumble and I’ll be set—Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee, gimme it—however, any epic battle that incorporates the key ingredients that make these types of scenes fun and necessary to watch is alright by me.

But what are those key ingredients? What elements are at play beneath all the punches, kicks, and sword swipes?

Henry Boseley of The Closer Look digs deep into what makes a fight scene great in his video essay below, so give it a watch and continue on for more.

Okay, so what do great fight scenes consist of? Clearly, they’re creative, they build tension, they have good pacing, they might even add cool technical tricks that show us something that we’ve never seen before. (Hello… the bullet-time sequences in The Matrix.)

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Source: NoFilmSchool

February 28, 2020

5,800 Miles to Slamdance: A First Time Filmmakers Adventure

Heading to Slamdance with your first feature is a dream, but winning an award? That’s unexpected…

Sometimes the best story is right in front of you. All a filmmaker needs to do is stop to listen.

Brian Morrison is a No Film School reader whose documentary recently won the audience award at Slamdance. He wrote in to the site to talk about what he learned from the blog, so we decided to share his story with all of our readers.

Check out the trailer for this award-winning documentary, and then read Brian Morrison’s own words detailing his journey of taking it to festivals all over.

5,800 Miles to Slamdance: A First Time Filmmakers Adventure

I’ve been following No Film School for many years now. In my experience, I’ve found myself wanting much more interaction with my independent filmmaker peers and more specifically beginner, DIY filmmakers. NFS has been a tremendous resource for me and if I can pay that forward in any way… hell yeah!

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Source: NoFilmSchool

February 28, 2020

Reflector is Kicking Off the SXSW 2020 Interactive Opening Party

Reflector is headed to SXSW! In fact, we’re not just attending, we’re sponsoring the official SXSW Interactive Opening Party – as the ultimate convergence of art, media and tech, it’s the perfect venue for us to showcase Reflector’s new approach to storytelling. While we can’t reveal too much about what we have in store, here is some useful information about our party as well as a couple of details on another activity we have planned:

We’re opening the door to a wholly mysterious world

You’ll be introduced to our singular vision of storytelling at the SXSW Interactive Opening Party. Expect an experience that bridges our world with somewhere a bit more…fantastical. As the night unfolds, you can expect a blurring of the lines that separate reality from the unknown. Montreal DJ Kaytranada will be headlining the party.

When? March 13th
Where? ACL Live
Who’s Headlining? Kaytranada
Who’s invited? Platinum and Interactive badge holders

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Reflector CEO and co-founder Alex Amancio will be speaking about transmedia storytelling

Later in the week, don’t miss Alex Amancio’s talk in the new Game Industry track at the SXSW Conference. In A Journey Through the Universes of Transmedia IP, Alex will discuss the incredible potential of developing expansive “Storyworlds.” As the walls between distribution channels continue to crumble, the potential for a new form of storytelling is arising — one where fictional worlds transcend the media they inhabit. This opportunity allows for interconnected narratives across films, video games, comics, podcasts, novels, and other media, empowering audiences to interact with their favorite IP in unprecedented ways.

Previously a creative director at Ubisoft, Alex was one of the visionary talents behind Assassin’s Creed and has launched a wide range of projects in the fields of experiential entertainment, creative entrepreneurship, and technological innovation.

When? March 17th
Where? JW Marriott, Room 203/204
Who’s invited? The conference is open to all SXSW badge holders, with primary access for Platinum and Interactive badges

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If you’re headed to Austin, we want to see you there! You’ll be among the first to get a taste of the immersive experiences we’re building for 2020 and beyond. If you can’t make it, we’ll be posting more about the experience in the coming weeks.

Copy and Photo Provided by Reflector Entertainment

The post Reflector is Kicking Off the SXSW 2020 Interactive Opening Party appeared first on SXSW.

Source: SxSW Film

February 28, 2020

How to Recreate the Look of 'Joker' on a Small Budget

Want to emulate the lighting techniques from the Joker movie? Here’s how.

Todd Phillips’ Joker was a massive box office and critical success. Part of the reason it was such a hit was that it really focused on the reality of the world. Subtle colors were used to accentuate mood and tone, and the end result feels like a dystopian Gotham City ruled by chaos and crime.

The movie’s budget was close to $100 million.

Considering we all don’t have that kind of cash to burn, is there a way to achieve the look of Joker on an indie budget?

The short answer is “yes.”

We will go into the detailed answer in a bit.

First, check out this video from Aputure and let’s talk after the jump…

How to Light Scenes like Joker

Right off the bat, we have to talk about how the colors in Joker set the mood for the camerawork. The blues and oranges were created with gels, so if you’re trying to recreate scenes from the movie or just imitate them, make sure you have some gels on hand.

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Source: NoFilmSchool

February 28, 2020

How Long Until The Tech Behind 'The Mandalorian' is Available to More of Us?

The movie-making marvel of StageCraft opens up so much creatively for filmmakers… when will more people get to tinker with it?

We are still drooling over the possibilities when it comes to the new kind of storytelling options StageCraft creates. Also, have you used Patreon? We’re super curious how Patreon can help filmmakers earn money, so we dive into the service and break down what it does and how it works.

Speaking of money-making, yet another crowdfunding theatrical platform is dead. Get all the details for these stories, plus tech and more on the No Film School Podcast.

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Source: NoFilmSchool

February 28, 2020

Here’s Why We Need to Know the Name Yingying Zhang – SXSW Filmmaker In Focus

The 2020 SXSW Film Festival will be here before you know it! In anticipation of y’all coming here, get to know the films in our lineup a little bit better with our Filmmaker In Focus series.

Check out our Q&A with director Jiayan “Jenny” Shi as she tells us about her film Finding Yingying, which will World Premiere in the Documentary Feature Competition.

“When we think about a case like this, the media is likely to focus on the crime, investigation, or the perpetrator. They forget about the people left behind in the tragedy, and the person labeled only as the ‘victim’ becomes dehumanized. Finding Yingying is not a true crime film. It’s a story of a brilliant young woman who is loved by her family and friends, a story of her grieving family trying to stay strong while trying to find her, and navigating a strange, foreign country.” – Director Jiayan “Jenny” Shi

In your own words, what does this film mean to you?

JS: Finding Yingying is my first film and I’ve been working on it since finishing graduate school in 2017. It’s been a very special emotional journey and a learning experience for me. In the past two years, I’ve witnessed many tragic moments as the case unraveled. But at the same time, I saw the humanity, strength and resilience from the community and those who were left behind. I also came to learn so much about Yingying: her optimism, perseverance, fearlessness, and her desire to experience life fully. She has become an inspiration to me and I am grateful to be able to share her story with audiences.

Finding Yingying is not an easy story to tell. As a first-time filmmaker, I struggled with ethical issues while dealing with my own emotions. I was also trying to maintain a sustainable life while navigating a clear career path. Fortunately, I received huge support and guidance from fellow filmmakers and mentors within the documentary community in Chicago, especially from Kartemquin Films. Finding Yingying is made through a joint effort, and the experience I have gained in this journey has been significant.

What motivated you to tell this story?

JS: Yingying and I are almost the same age and shared similar experiences. We both came to the U.S. as international students. When I first heard that she was missing, I was very worried, just like so many other Chinese students in the U.S. at that time.

The more time I spent with Yingying’s family, the more I thought about my own parents. I knew how devastated they would have been if this had happened to me. I knew how much a Chinese family has to give up to send their children abroad for a better future. Yingying and her family’s story resonated with me a lot. What’s more, I was afraid that Yingying and her family would be forgotten eventually as time passed by. That’s why I decided to continue following Yingying’s case and make a film that honors Yingying and her family.

What do you want the audience to take away?

JS: When we think about a case like this, the media is likely to focus on the crime, investigation or the perpetrator. They forget about the people left behind in the tragedy, and the person labeled only as the “victim” becomes dehumanized. Finding Yingying is not a true crime film. It’s a story of a brilliant young woman who is loved by her family and friends, a story of her grieving family trying to stay strong while trying to find her and navigating a strange, foreign country.

I hope after the audience watches the film, they walk away with the image of an extraordinary woman who had a wonderful life ahead and the impact of such a sudden loss in the community and everyone around her. I also hope Finding Yingying can help change the narrative of crime stories nowadays.

How did you find your subject?

JS: The first time I learned about Yingying was through a message from my college alum group chat. Yingying and I had both attended Peking University. The message said “a Chinese student at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign was missing.”

At that time, I myself was an international student studying just a few hours away. The Chinese student groups in Urbana-Champaign and in the Chicago area started spreading the word and began an extensive search. After Yingying’s family arrived in the U.S., I also went down to Champaign to see how I could help. That’s how I first met Yingying’s family and began to learn more about her.

What made you choose SXSW to showcase your film to the world?

JS: Yingying’s disappearance is a huge story in China, but not as many people are aware of the case here in the U.S.. Yingying is still missing and her family have not been able to bring her back home. We want to reach as many people as possible to share her story and spark conversations to hopefully break stereotypes.

As one of the largest and most prestigious festivals in the U.S., SXSW is the perfect place for the world premiere of Finding Yingying. We hope the film can take off from SXSW and travel around the world!

What were you doing when you found out you were coming to SXSW?

JS: We hadn’t picture locked at that time, and I was actually recording my voiceover for the film. When I first saw the notification on my phone, I was afraid to open the email for fear it would be a “no.” After I read through the email and realized that we had gotten into SXSW, I screamed in my apartment. I immediately forwarded the email to the rest of the team. Everyone was so excited! Even now, it still feels surreal to me that we’re actually bringing Yingying’s story to the world and at such a great festival!

Add Finding Yingying to your SXSW Schedule. Stay tuned as we share more interviews with our SXSW 2020 filmmakers!

Join Us for SXSW 2020

Discover what’s next in film with a 2020 SXSW Film Badge. From March 13-22, 2020, experience 10 days of conference sessions, screenings, exhibitions, networking events, mentor sessions, and much more. All attendees will receive primary entry to programming associated with their badge type, in addition to enjoying secondary access to most other SXSW events.

Sign up for SXSW Event Updates and read SXSW News for programming features, registration information, and more.

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Finding Yingying – Photo courtesy of film

The post Here’s Why We Need to Know the Name Yingying Zhang – SXSW Filmmaker In Focus appeared first on SXSW.

Source: SxSW Film

February 28, 2020

This is Why the Workforce Isn’t Doomed


When you look into the stats predicting the future of work, it can read like a doomsday prophecy. Reading the McKinsey Global Institute report, outlining nearly 30 percent of the American workforce displaced by automation, and 400 to 800 million people globally who will need to find new jobs by 2030, you may feel at-a-loss about how to prepare for the future ahead.

Need a hug yet?

Well, don’t start fearing the machines and mourning your career just yet. The truth is the future of work is happening right now, and there is a growing effort from alternative educational institutions, like Flatiron School, to meet the evolving needs of education.

The heart of our mission is to empower passionate people to learn skills like coding, data science, UX/UI design, and cybersecurity and successfully launch careers at the forefront of technology.

And it’s not just individuals who are benefiting from new education models like Flatiron School. What corporation wouldn’t want to re-train and retain loyal employees whose jobs are threatened by workforce shifts, especially if they can do it quickly and effectively?

See what Adam Enbar, CEO & Founder at Flatiron School, has to say about reshaping education for the future of work on Thursday, March 12.

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Arriving to Austin early for SXSW 2020? SXSW Badges get special access to select SXSW EDU programming on Thursday, March 12.

Copy and Photo Provided by Flatiron Schools

The post This is Why the Workforce Isn’t Doomed appeared first on SXSW.

Source: SxSW Film