News & Updates
May 31, 2020
Film and TV websites aren’t anyone’s source of primary coverage during times of civic unrest. We’re the ones you turn to well after the fact, when the barricades are gone and the National Guard is a vague memory and the movies and TV shows and documentaries come out, analyzing and synthesizing the crisis.
That is not now. At this writing, everyone is in the thick of this. The death of George Floyd last week in Minneapolis at the hands of police brutality sparked protests, both peaceful and violent, across the nation. Protesters are calling for justice from the police officers responsible for his death, and calling for the death of systemic racism.
Right now, this is dominating culture in America. This is what is defining the world we live in, and those of the creators we cover. And right now, the best thing we can do is listen.
White people talking to white people. More of this please. If you’re white and you believe yourself not to be racist, yet you don’t talk to your white friends like this or stand up beyond tweets for Black people… you simply aren’t who you think you are. pic.twitter.com/hUjJsZ0iFv
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) May 31, 2020
The look on a cops face when they realize they’re being filmed says everything. Rage and fear. Their life flashes before their eyes. A glance at a partner; unsure if they should stop the assault they’re commiting or go get the camera.
For them accountability is violent.
— Jordan Peele (@JordanPeele) May 31, 2020
— Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (@kaj33) May 31, 2020
We have been silent. Silence is not an option. pic.twitter.com/39Y6XPz3D7
— A24 (@A24) May 31, 2020
They’re moving faster to stop an uprising than they did to stop a plague now ain’t that some shit.
— Casey Gerald (@CaseyGerald) May 31, 2020
To be silent is to be complicit.
Black lives matter.
We have a platform, and we have a duty to our Black members, employees, creators and talent to speak up.
— Netflix (@netflix) May 30, 2020
We’ve seen this in South Africa before. Beware of agitators and instigators who use legitimate protests to ignite chaos between protestors and police.
— Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) May 30, 2020
There are many ways you can help. Here are some of them. (Note: the Minnesota Freedom Fund and Brooklyn Community Bail fund are urging people to donate elsewhere, as they’ve each received an outpouring of donations.)
- The Los Angeles chapter of Black Lives Matter is currently supporting organizers, endeavoring to adopt a “People’s Budget” that reallocates police funding to communities that need it. Donate via the Black Lives Matter LA website.
- Action Bail Fund, also organized byBlack Lives Matter LA, is supported by White People 4 Black Lives. 100% of donations go directly to support bail, fees, and medical costs associated with actions. Donate here.
- The Peoples City Council Freedom Fund is another Los Angeles offering. Per the fundraiser’s GoFundMe page, “As the mayor and city council have sought to increase the LAPD’s budget during a pandemic, and as police around the country continue to kill innocent Black people, we have taken to the street to protest the funding of state sanctioned murder. This fund will be used for supplies that will keep us safe, things that will amplify our noise, transportation for protestors support for other organizations, bail relief, and other necessary resources as we fight this battle.”
- Black Visions Collective is “a Black-led, Queer and Trans centering organization whose mission is to organize powerful, connected Black communities and dismantle systems of violence…through building strategic campaigns, investing in Black leadership, and engaging in cultural and narrative organizing.” Donate via the organization’s website here.
- The Brooklyn Bail Fund is “committed to challenging the racism, inequality, and injustice of a criminal legal system and immigration and deportation regime that disproportionately target and harm low-income communities of color.” Donate here.
- Free Them All For Public Health is raising money for protesters who have been arrested in New York. Venmo: @BailOutNYCMay.
- The National Bail Out is “a Black-led and Black-centered collective of abolitionist organizers, lawyers and activists building a community-based movement to support our folks and end systems of pretrial detention and ultimately mass incarceration.” Donate here.
- Unicorn Riot is a non-profit media organization dedicated to fair, on-the-ground reporting on civil disobedience, police brutality and white supremacy. Donate here. Donate via the organization’s website.
Source: IndieWire film
May 31, 2020
The gruesome chestburster centerpiece of Ridley Scott’s 1979 “Alien” remains a marvel of practical-effects movie magic. Outside of John Hurt, who played the victim of the scene, Scott famously kept his actors in the dark as to what was about to go down, making for a genuinely shocked reaction as Hurt’s chest rips open and a snarling alien emerges. According to Scott, in a new interview with the Los Angeles Times, the mechanics of the scene impressed even Stanley Kubrick, who phoned him up after seeing the movie to ask how he pulled it off.
“I remember Stanley Kubrick called me up saying, ‘How’d you do that?’” Scott said. “[Kubrick] said, ‘I’ve run it through slowly, I can’t see the cut.’ And I just said that much. He said, ‘OK, I got it. I got it, it worked.’”
The effect was achieved by placing Hurt, from the neck down, below a table, with a false torso on top of it. Scott said the scene was captured by multiple cameras, and only once, “because once I blew blood all over that set there was no cleaning it up…I kept it very much from the actors and I kept the actual little creature, whatever that would be, from the actors. I never wanted them to see it. Remember there was no digital effects in those days at all. I’m going to somehow bring that creature out of his chest.”
Just as quarantine hit Scott was in production on his upcoming epic “The Last Duel,” written by Affleck, Damon, and Nicole Holofcener, centered on best friends turned rivals Jean de Carrouges (Matt Damon) and Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver) who are ordered to battle to the death after Carrouges accuses Le Gris of raping his wife.
The film is currently still set for a December 25 release from 20th Century Studios, but it’s unclear whether the film can finish in time at this stage, even to the director. “We still have to work out when we’re returning to finish it off, whenever,” Scott told the LA Times.
As for the future of moviegoing and filmmaking after the pandemic, Scott said, “There’s something in part of the job that we do, I think, because to make a movie and shoot it is an entirely illogical process where you’re bringing a whole bunch of people together to a blueprint called the script. You all meet in the morning, frequently for the first time, and somehow you put it together. So if you’re not an optimist, you shouldn’t be actually in the film industry. So I guess I’m an optimist. We’ll find a way. This too will pass.”
Read the full interview over at the Los Angeles Times.
Source: IndieWire film
May 30, 2020
More than a year since the film competed for the Palme d’Or at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan’s latest feature “Matthias & Maxime” has finally landed a distributor. Arthouse streaming and distribution service Mubi has landed VOD and TV rights to the coming-of-age drama in the United States, the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Latin America (excluding Mexico), and India, and will premiere the film for audiences this summer. A release date is forthcoming.
“Matthias & Maxime” stars Harris Dickinson (breakout from Eliza Hittman’s “Beach Rats”), Gabriel D’Almeida Freitas, Dolan regular Anne Dorval, Pier-Luc Funk, and Dolan himself, who hasn’t starred in one of his own films since 2013’s “Tom at the Farm.” “Matthias & Maxime” (played by D’Almeida Freitas and Dolan) focuses on two men in their late 20s whose friendship changes after they’re asked to kiss for a student short.
In his positive Cannes review, IndieWire’s David Ehrlich wrote, “In a film with an erratic structure that often works against it — that’s wound too tight by its ticking clock of a story, and doesn’t resolve with the oomph needed to sell its tear-jerking climactic scenes — the music can often be counted on to come to the rescue. Even if ‘Matthias & Maxime’ resolves into something more sincere than it is involving, Dolan’s film makes the case that a little sincerity can go a long way, especially between two men who are dangerously close to opting for a lifetime of regret over a moment of unabashed honesty.”
Dolan isn’t a stranger to waiting patiently for his films to find a distributor in the United States. His 2013 “Tom at the Farm” took two years to make it to the U.S. Last winter his “The Death and Life of John F. Donovan” finally premiered stateside more than a year after its premiere at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival. That film, which underwent a lengthy post-production process before bowing at TIFF, earned poor reviews, while “Matthias & Maxime” has been heralded as a return to form.
Last year, Dolan boosted his profile as an actor with a brief appearance in “IT: Chapter Two,” in the film’s opening scene as the victim of a hate crime.
Source: IndieWire film
May 30, 2020
In addition to his bone-dry, Lynchian daily weather reports, David Lynch has emerged from quarantine via YouTube once again to bring you another droll slice of life. “What Is David Working on Today?” is the latest “series” to premiere on the David Lynch Theater channel. The filmmaker takes you inside his workshop where these days he’s fixing up and installing a wooden sink in his Los Angeles home. He also shares his “swing-out urinal” — “in England they call it the ur-eye-nal.” This weekend, he says, he hopes to work on “the incredible checking stick.” Whatever that is we can’t wait to see it. Watch the videos below.
Lynch has been offering up soothing dispatches for the last couple of months, in addition to unveiling the streaming premiere of his 2015 animated short film “Fire (Pozar)” for free. So while he’s not working on any feature projects at the moment there’s plenty of Lynchian content unspooling throughout quarantine, including those weather reports. His last major directorial effort was 2017’s “Twin Peaks: The Return.”
Lynch has also offered up a few interviews this spring, including one with Vice where he expressed hope that the world will emerge from the current situation “more spiritual” and “much kinder…It’s going to be a different world on the other side and it’s going to be a much more intelligent world. Solutions to these problems are going to come and life’s going to be very good. The movies will come back. Everything will spring back and in a much better way probably.” (In those recent interviews, he also said he has “zero interest” in Denis Villeneuve’s upcoming “Dune,” which Lynch adapted in 1984.)
His advice to all of those sheltering in place is to try and take advantage of this time to find nourishment through creativity. “They can draw, they can paint, they can build small things, they can write lyrics, they can write poems, they can write stories that can later be filmed, they can play games, they can invent games. So many things can happen in a small space, they can invent new recipes and cooking things. It’s an opportunity for a bunch of different experiments,” he said.
Watch “What’s David Working on Today?” below.
Source: IndieWire film
May 30, 2020
It’s hard to imagine an American movie as weird as “Being John Malkovich” ever being made again. Looking back on director Spike Jonze’s quirky tale about the consequences of the discovery of a portal inside the title actor’s head, it’s just as outlandish now as it was in 1999. But back during the movie’s making — which dates to the early 1990s when Charlie Kaufman’s wild script first started to float around Hollywood — its legacy wasn’t so certain, including for its star, John Malkovich, who revealed in a recent interview with The Independent that he was baffled at first by the dark comedy.
“Why not ‘Being Tom Cruise’ I asked?” Malkovich said. “Charlie told me quite clearly that he had no desire to change it and that [Spike Jonze] was going to direct, so I said OK. To be honest, I never actually thought that it would get made.” The movie indeed might never have been made had Kaufman not sent the screenplay to Francis Ford Coppola, who passed it on to Spike Jonze, who was married to his daughter Sofia at the time.
“I remember those years when it remained un-produced,” said Malkovich. “Whenever I got to Hollywood for some press thing or whatever, invariably I’d be in some hotel lobby or in some restaurant or at some vintage lamp store, and somebody would come up to me and say, ‘Hey, why aren’t you making Being John Malkovich?’ Eventually we did it, and honestly I was just happy to be a part of it.”
Back in 2013 while doing press rounds for his Academy Award-winning “Her,” Jonze revealed Malkovich’s initial wariness toward the project: “He said: either the movie’s a bomb and it’s got not only my name above the title but my name in the title, so I’m fucked that way; or it does well and I’m just forever associated with this character.”
Malkovich currently stars in the new comedy series “Space Force,” which just dropped on Netflix, opposite Steve Carell. Jonze most recently directed the documentary “Beastie Boys Story.” Kaufman’s next movie as writer and director, “I’m Thinking of Ending Things,” is also headed to Netflix some time this year. The film is an adaptation of Iain Reid’s trippy 2016 horror novel about a couple’s psychological breakdown while barreling through the middle of wintry nowhere on a road trip. The novel’s many loops and turns are firmly in the realm of “Being John Malkovich,” as well as Kaufman’s second movie, “Synecdoche, New York.”
Source: IndieWire film
May 29, 2020
Think virtual production is the preserve of James Cameron? Find out how filmmaker Hasraf “HaZ” Dulull creates cinema-quality animated sci-fi in realtime using Unreal Engine, under lockdown, with a 3-person crew (plus voice actors and sound composer).
Having made sci-fi features 2036 Origin Unknown and The Beyond (both were on Netflix), as well as the action-comedy show Fast Layne (now available on Disney +), the UK-based director/producer Hasraf “HaZ” Dulull is establishing quite a profile. Neil Gibson, graphic novelist and owner of TPub Comics, reached out to him online looking for a director to create a proof of concept based on one of the publisher’s IP.
Dulull, who grew up watching anime, was asked by Gibson to read his graphic novel, The Theory, and pick a story in the anthology. HaZ was instantly attracted to Battlesuit.
“I love big mecha robots,” Dulull says. “I’ve always wanted to make a film with big robots and I love a challenge.”
May 29, 2020
Here’s proof that film communities can come together during a global pandemic.
Are you missing the collaborative and creative environments of your favorite film festivals? I know I am. Several fests are moving forward with online screenings, and one new fest that film lovers might enjoy begins today. Audiences can enjoy 10 days of free curated content through We Are One: A Global Film Festival.
The festival runs May 29 to June 7 and includes programming from Berlin International Film Festival, BFI London Film Festival, Cannes Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, Venice Film Festival, and more.
The mix of features, shorts, and VR films will premiere at specific times online, but will also be available as VOD.
The programming is available exclusively on YouTube on the We Are One channel.
May 29, 2020
These are the 5 most important lessons a festival programmer can teach you.
We all know it: The festival world is a depressing grind. You spend thousands of dollars making a short, and hundreds more on submission fees. You pour your heart and soul into your work, and after all that, you face a tidal wave of rejection.
It’s totally demoralizing.
I’m a filmmaker and a programmer. After watching countless hours of shorts, I’ve gained some key insights into the selection process. These insights have altered my approach dramatically, and I hope they’ll help you too.
May 29, 2020
Check out the latest concept from visionary writer/director Shane Carruth!
Many a sci-fi fan or indie film lover will know the work of writer/director/composer/actor Shane Carruth, whose low-budget time-travel drama Primer burst onto the scene in 2004 and won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance. The complex storytelling and gritty realism of the film made Carruth one of the hottest new voices in indie film. Years later, he made the quiet, complicated Upstream Color.
Now Carruth has emerged again with a concept trailer for his unmade epic, A Topiary.
May 29, 2020
Irix offers an affordable wide angle for filmmakers.
Irix has introduced a 15mm T2.6 to its cine lens lineup which now includes a 11mm T4.3, 45mm T1.5, and a 150mm T3.0. The lenses are 8K UHD ready and are capable of covering the ARRI Alexa, RED Helium 8K S35, Panasonic LUMIX DC-S1H, Sony VENICE, and other sensors up to a 43.3mm image circle. The lenses are quite affordable too.