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February 17, 2019

Gaspar Noé Loved ‘Roma’ and ‘First Reformed’ but Won’t Watch the Oscars

Gaspar Noé shot his riveting dance-party-gone-wrong thriller “Climax” in just 15 days, but the year he’s spent on the road promoting it has made it hard for him to keep up with other people’s movies. As the Argentine finally returned to his home in Paris, however, he has had the chance to catch up on a few Oscar contenders — but won’t be tuning into the ceremony.

“I really don’t care about the Oscars,” Noé said in a Skype interview over the weekend. “I would never watch the Oscar ceremony. If I cared about who was winning the Oscar, it was when I was a kid when they were giving awards to ‘Midnight Cowboy’ or ‘The Godfather.’”

When “Climax” premiered at Cannes last May, Noé expressed a minority opinion about one future Oscar contender, saying in an interview that he had walked out of “Black Panther.”

Nevertheless, in his most recent interview, he was enthusiastic about one contender in the Best Original Screenplay category, where Paul Schrader is nominated for “First Reformed” — which, like “Climax,” was released by A24. “It’s great,” Noé said. “It’s such a dark depiction of the present times that I didn’t expect it, especially as a movie coming from the American industry with a famous actor. After I saw it, it was like two in the morning, and I started smoking cigarettes. I was rewatching some scenes for an hour.” He was especially impressed by one moment, “the one with the guy depicting the future of this world and telling the priest why he doesn’t want to have babies.”

“First Reformed”

Noé has been a fan of Schrader’s work for years, especially “Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters,” the ambitious 1985 drama about Japanese writer and revolutionary Yukio Mishima. “It’s an absolute masterpiece,” he said. “I’ve seen it many times. He got the Best Director award at Cannes, and it was extremely deserved.” (Schrader actually won the “Best Artistic Contribution” award.) Noé added that the Cannes competition for the Palme d’Or, for which he was in contention with “Irreversible” and “Enter the Void,” always caught his attention. “I watch the Cannes awards ceremony because I relate more to the films that are competing in Cannes than the ones competing for the Oscars,” he said.

Noé also expressed his appreciation for “Roma” and Alfonso Cuarón, whose “Gravity” inspired Noé to work in 3D with his sexually explicit romance “Love.” He called “Gravity” a “masterpiece of filmmaking” and added that “the appearance of long takes and 3D reminded me of my first screening of ‘2001: A Space Odyssey.’ The language he uses in ‘Roma’ is more classical, but I deeply hope that Alfonso gets all the awards he deserves.”

He admitted that some Oscar wins have impressed him. “I was very surprised that a movie that really touched me, Michael Haneke’s ‘Amour,’ won the Best Foreign Language Film award,” Noé said, referring to Haneke’s 2013 win. “That makes me like the Oscars. But most of the movies that win Oscars are not the kind of movies that I go to see.”

Noé didn’t have to worry about campaigning for “Climax,” which France did not choose as its Academy Awards submission despite rave reviews. While his psychedelic and provocative filmmaking techniques tend to yield divisive reactions, “Climax” is his first movie with genuine crossover potential. Nevertheless, he said he wasn’t bothered by the snub. “I’m really happy,” he said. “I wouldn’t want to be sitting in a theater for six hours listening to bad jokes.”

A24 releases “Climax” on March 1.

Source: IndieWire film

February 17, 2019

‘Fighting With My Family’ Breaks Out of Sundance at Specialty Box Office

As Oscar contenders transition to home viewing platforms, their box-office presence is on the wane. Next up on the specialized calendar: Sundance releases. Producer Dwayne (“The Rock”) Johnson’s wrestling biofilm “Fighting With My Family” (MGM) has scored the best limited opening gross so far this year.

Lower but also impressive is the Colombian Oscar submission “Birds of Passage” (The Orchard), which scored decent initial two city numbers. Continuing with Focus’ “Everybody Knows,” which expanded decently in its second week, foreign-language films are on the rebound.


Fighting With My Family (MGM) – Metacritic: 70; Festivals include: Sundance 2019

$131,625 in 4 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $32,906

The first hit out of Sundance delivered the best limited opening grosses since “If Beale Street Could Talk” two months ago. This retelling of the rise of WWE female superstar Paige features producer Johnson as himself. Despite its mid-American appeal, it opened as a platform run at four New York/Los Angeles theaters. Positive reviews helped, but even in these more sophisticated locations this found an initial strong response.

What comes next: This goes nationally as a wide release this weekend where it appears it will find considerable interest.

“Birds of Passage”

Birds of Passage (The Orchard) – Metacritic: 90; Festivals include: Cannes, Telluride, Toronto 2018, Sundance 2019

$24,249 in 2 theaters; PTA: $12,125; Cumulative: $33,807

Though not opening at the same level as Colombian director Ciro Guerra’s previous surprise success “Embrace of the Serpent” (he shares directing credit on “Birds of Passage” with his ex-wife Cristina Gallego), this multi-decade story of how drugs upended a remote indigenous community is the latest impressive subtitled opener. Its initial exclusive New York and Los Angeles dates showed strong initial interest along with high-end reviews in the same range as several of its fellow short-listed Foreign Language Oscar contenders.

What comes next: The rebound in interest in subtitled films is underscored by plans to expand the film to up to 250 theaters.

“Hotel by the River”

Hotel By the River (Cinema Guild) – Metacritic: 79; Festivals include: Locarno, Toronto 2018

$5,870 in 1 theater; PTA (per theater average): $5,870

Acclaimed South Korean director Hong Sang-soo’s most recent release is another black and white subtitled art house release on the heels of “Roma” and “Cold War.” With positive initial reviews in New York, though not overall quite at the level of Hong’s previous films, this story of a poet summoning his two adult sons as he feels he might be dying had a mild initial response.

What comes next:  This likely will see mainly niche limited showings in high-end locations ahead.

Ruben Brandt, Collector (Sony Pictures Classics) – Metacritic: 78; Festivals include: Locarno 2018

$6,394 in 2 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $3,197; Cumulative: $7,737

This stylized Hungarian animated film focusing on a series of unusual art museum thefts had a late year qualifying Los Angeles run. Though it didn’t land a nomination, it is now starting regular limited runs, with initial New York and returning Los Angeles dates not responding strongly initially to favorable reviews.

What comes next:  As typical with SPC releases, expect this to reach top specialized theaters across the country.

Catvideofest 2019 (Oscilloscope)

$11,100 in 1 theater; PTA: $11,100

The gross for this compilation of films about cats comes from only two shows at one Chicago location. This is an event presentation partnering with and benefiting cat shelters, with the initial reaction showing significant niche interest.

What comes next: New York and Los Angeles have similar limited showings on Monday, with over 150 theaters planning to add on similarly in the near future.

War and Peace (Janus) (reissue)

$22,000 in 1 theater; PTA (per theater average): $22,000

One of the best showings for a restored film in recent years in limited release, this seven hour long Soviet epic (an Oscar winner for Foreign Language Film for 1968 for its shortened, English-dubbed version) clicked at its exclusive Manhattan run.

What comes next: Other major cities will see limited showings for this massive film.

Week Two

2019 Oscar Nominated Short Film (Shorts TV/Magnolia)

$(est.) 450,000 in 270 theaters (no change); PTA: $(est.) 1,666; Cumulative: $(est.) 1,795,000

This year’s compilation of the three Oscar categories (now all restored to the broadcast) continues to perform a little above all past editions.

Everybody Knows

“Everybody Knows”

© Teresa Isasi

Everybody Knows (Focus)

$191,000 in 23 theaters (+19); PTA: $8,302; Cumulative: $284,000

The latest non-English specialized release to score interest, Asghar Farhadi’s tense Spanish-language family mystery drama showed significant interest outside any award-parallel boost. Husband-and-wife stars Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem are the key reason.

Lords of Chaos (Gunpowder & Sky)

$53,654 in 25 theaters (+17); PTA: $2,146; Cumulative: $101,391

In advance of its Video on Demand availability this week, this recreation of the 1990s Norwegian black metal music world added new cities with continued modest interest.

To Dust (Good Deed)

$29,140 in 15 theaters (+14); PTA: $1,940; Cumulative: $40,134

An Hasidic cantor’s unusual approach to mourning after his wife’s death is the center of this Matthew Broderick vehicle, which expanded beyond its initial exclusive date with signs of wider interest.

Ongoing/expanding (Grosses over $50,000)

Green Book (Universal) Week 14

$2,750,000 in 1,618 theaters (-541); Cumulative: $65,255,000

Another weekend with a strong hold (only down 20 percent) for Peter Farrelly’s surging awards contender.

They Shall Not Grow Old (Warner Bros.) Week 6

$985,000 in 626 theaters (-201); Cumulative: $15,256,000

The continued wide release for Peter Jackson’s World War I documentary after its strong special event dates continues. It’s the latest non-fiction film to pass the $15 million mark.

The Favourite (Fox Searchlight) Week 13

$570,000 in 324 theaters (-281); Cumulative: $31,113,000

Its ten Oscar nominations have propelled Yorgos Lanthimos’ period comedy/drama into a now three-month run and one of the strongest totals among the late year specialized releases.

Cold War (Amazon) Week 9

$404,350 in 247 theaters (-23); Cumulative: $3,551,000

This much talked about multi-category Oscar contender is catching up to the longer-running Netflix streaming title “Roma” (its box office is estimated). With access to more theaters, this Polish contender continues to perform far ahead of almost all the foreign-language art house titles in recent years.

Stan and Ollie (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 8

$260,170 in 210 theaters (-142); Cumulative: $4,749,000

The fairly wide showing of this Laurel and Hardy late career biofilm is in its later stages is heading to a $5 =-million response without stateside awards attention.




Arctic (Bleecker Street) Week 3

$256,510 in 63 theaters (+48); Cumulative: $445,094

More action-oriented than a typical specialized release, Mads Mikkelsen frozen survival epic  is gaining some traction as it expands.

On the Basis of Sex (Focus) Week 8

$241,000 in 186 theaters (-230); Cumulative: $23,243,000

This film of the early days of Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s career while the Supreme Court Justice remains major news has stuck around longer than many of the late-year releases (including awards contenders) as it adds to its impressive total.

Capernaum (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 10

$193,301 in 136 theaters (+73); Cumulative: $993,350

The Lebanese Foreign Language contender continues to expand, more than doubling its theaters. Though respectable among subtitled releases, it looks like it will not reach the $3 million-plus totals of three of its rivals.

"If Beale Street Could Talk"

“If Beale Street Could Talk”


If Beale Street Could Talk (Annapurna) Week 10

$210,006 in 165 theaters (-101); Cumulative: $14,124,000

Regina King’s frontrunning shot at a Best Supporting Actress is the main reason for the continued presence of Barry Jenkins’ acclaimed adaptation of James Baldwin’s novel.

Free Solo (Greenwich) Week 21; also on Video on Demand

$180,046 in 108 theaters (-45); Cumulative: $16,239,000

Entering its sixth month of release, National Geographic’s Oscar Documentary contender continues to add to its impressive totals.

Never Look Away (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 4

$135,654 in 31 theaters (+28); Cumulative: $259,955

The first expansion of the German Foreign Language nominees continues to get a respectable response, more impressive with its three hour length.

Roma (Netflix) Week 13; also streaming

$(est.) 100,000 in 85 theaters (-40); Cumulative: $(est.) 3,650,000

Nearing the end of three months in theaters, our estimate of its non-Netflix gross shows it should sell ultimately a half million tickets or more before it completes its play. That’s likely a tiny fraction of its total viewers in the many millions on the streaming site, but all of this remains (educated) speculation.

The Wife (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 27; also on Video on Demand

$69,657 in 67 theaters (-22); Cumulative: $9,211,000

With a possible win for Best Actress, this Glenn Close drama might still reach $10 million even with home viewing availability.

Shoplifters (Magnolia) Week 13; also on Video on Demand

$(est.) 63,000 in 55 theaters (-27); Cumulative: $(est.) 3,073,000

Late in its run, this acclaimed audience-pleasing Japanese Foreign Language nominee has passed the rarely achieved $3-million mark for subtitled films.

Can You Ever Forgive Me? (Fox Searchight); also on Video on Demand Week 18

$(est.) 62,000 in 55 theaters (-29); Cumulative: $(est.) 8,649,000

Continued late in run interest for this dual acting Oscar nominee.

Also noted:

The Invisibles (Greenwich) – $35,311 in 19 theaters; Cumulative: $171,772

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Source: IndieWire film

February 17, 2019

In Another Blow to Physical Media, Samsung Is Done Making Blu-ray Players

In bad news for proponents of physical media, Samsung has announced that it is exiting the Blu-ray market. The company said it “will no longer introduce new Blu-ray or 4K Blu-ray player models in the US market” in a statement shared with CNET. Its newest model was released in 2017, and plans to produce a new high-end 4K player this year were scrapped. The move follows a similar decision by Oppo, which announced its own exit from the market last April.

In addition to the fact that streaming movies and TV shows has become the norm over the last several years, Blu-ray hasn’t managed to fully replace DVD as the go-to form of physical media in the way that DVD did to VHS — even after besting the short-lived HD DVD in a format war 11 years ago. Any number of high-profile and/or well received movies have yet to be released on Blu-ray as a result, from James Cameron’s “The Abyss” and “True Lies” to Martin Scorsese’s “Bringing Out the Dead” and William Wyler’s “Roman Holiday,” among many others.

According to The Numbers, “Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi” was the best-selling Blu-ray of 2018 with a little more than three million units sold. It was followed closely by “Black Panther,” with “Avengers: Infinity War,” “The Greatest Showman,” and “Thor: Ragnarok” rounding out the top five; “The Greatest Showman” was the year’s most successful DVD release, meanwhile, having sold nearly 1.9 million units.

Source: IndieWire film

February 17, 2019

French Priest Tries to Block François Ozon’s ‘By the Grace of God’ From Being Released

By the Grace of God” was greeted warmly at the Berlin Film Festival, where it won the Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize, but François Ozon’s film based on a Catholic sex scandal has had a more complicated reception in France. Priest Bernard Preynat, who has been accused of molesting more than 80 boys and denies all allegations against him, is attempting to block the film from receiving a theatrical release in France until after his trial later this year.

“When you try to break the silence, there is always resistance,” Ozon told Agence France-Presse of the situation.

“I don’t think this is happening by accident, because it is a film which is trying to break an omerta, and which deals with the silence,” he said. Even so, Ozon has tried to be “as even-handed and objective as possible. It is not a film of goodies and baddies, it is much more complex than that for the affected families and the institution itself, and I tried to show that.”

Much of that approach involves focusing on established facts, according to Ozon. “Ninety percent of the film concerns the victims. It is their story. The rest are established facts from court documents, the press, documentaries and a book on the affair,” he said.

In his positive Berlinale review of the film, IndieWire’s David Ehrlich compared “By the Grace of God” to “Spotlight” and wrote, “Without deviating from the mission at hand, or taking its focus away from Preynat and Cardinal Barbarin, “By the Grace of God” is nevertheless attuned to the many different ways in which sexual trauma can burrow into and hollow out those who have to live with it.”

“I don’t know if cinema can change the world,” Ozon said in his AFP interview, “but it can open debate.”

Source: IndieWire film

February 17, 2019

What makes a good story?

Source: Visual Storytelling

February 16, 2019

Yalitza Aparicio Says She’s ‘Proud’ of Her Roots in Response to Racist Slurs

Yalitza Aparicio’s recent Oscar nomination has been met with praise and enthusiasm in most corners, but not everyone is happy for the “Roma” actress. Video surfaced yesterday of Mexican actor Sergio Goyri criticizing the Academy for honoring “a fucking Indian who says, ‘Yes, ma’am, no, ma’am.’”

Aparacio, 25, released a brief statement in response: “I am proud to be an Oaxacan indigenous woman and it saddens me that there are people who do not know the correct meaning of words,” she said.

Goyri has since apologized. “It was never my intent to offend anyone. I apologize to Yalitza, who deserves [the Oscar nomination] and much more,” he said in an Instagram video (translated by the Guardian). “For me, it is an honor to see a Mexican be nominated for an Oscar.“

It’s far from Aparicio’s first encounter with this, as she addressed last month.

“I’m not the face of Mexico,” she said in a New York Times interview conducted before her Oscar nod. “It shouldn’t matter what you’re into, how you look — you can achieve whatever you aspire to.” Aparicio added, “I’d be breaking the stereotype that because we’re Indigenous we can’t do certain things because of our skin color.”

“Receiving that nomination would be a break from so many ideas. It would open doors to other people — to everyone — and deepen our conviction that we can do these things now.”

“Roma” is up for a total of 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Director, with Aparicio’s co-star Marina de Tavira receiving a Best Supporting Actress nomination as well.

Instagram Photo

Source: IndieWire film

February 15, 2019

Colby Holt and Sam Probst Discuss Their Inspiration For Their Film Pig Hag – SXSW Filmmaker In Focus

The 2019 SXSW Film Festival is almost upon us and we can’t wait to have you here! Before you make your way down to Austin, TX, get to know films from our lineup a little bit better with our Filmmaker In Focus series. Dive into our Q&A with directors Colby Holt and Sam Probst, as they tell us about their film Pig Hag, which will World Premiere in Narrative Feature Competition.

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

Colby Holt/Sam Probst: This film is a love letter to all the women who have befriended gay men. We are their confidants, therapists, and best friends. The men in their lives who truly know them. Who they tell everything. Here is to your ally-ship – the ones who stick up for us. Who value us. Who stand alongside us. You are beautiful the way you are. We stand beside you too.

What motivated you to tell this story?

CH/SP: We had several women in our lives going through a small crisis at the same time – around when they hit their mid-thirties. If they weren’t married or pregnant, people would start asking about it, and pushing them towards it – making them feel like they needed to get to it, or it would be too late. They start referring to pregnancies as geriatric at 35! We just felt the whole narrative being created for them was wrong. These friends of ours were strong women doing what they wanted with their lives and they were being made to feel like they were incomplete somehow. So this is really a cautionary tale of what could happen if you succumb to that line of thinking.

What do you want the audience to take away?

CH/SP: Do what works for you! Don’t accept someone else’s narrative for yourself. You know best what you want out of life. Everyone’s success looks different. Everyone’s timeline for their life is different. Don’t force it.

How did you find your subject?

CH/SP: Pig Hag isn’t a documentary, but the story and lead character were inspired by one of our dear friends. She was a little surprised and confused when we asked if we could make a film based loosely on her experiences. But she ended up loving the script and will be in attendance at the festival!

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

CH/SP: We were in a rideshare from the airport in Nashville on our way to visit family! The driver was pretty silent while he had two gays freaking out in his back seat, but he offered us a kind congrats to whatever had happened when we got to our destination. His name was Stephen and we will never forget him.

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

CH/SP: We felt like if any festival was going to program a film like Pig Hag it was going to be this one. It deals with tough issues in a grounded and offbeat way that we felt would play well with the vibe of SXSW audience, who might be willing to go somewhere weird, but honest. We can’t wait to share it.

Add Pig Hag to your SXSW Schedule. Stay tuned in the coming weeks as we share more interviews with our SXSW 2019 filmmakers!

Join Us For SXSW 2019

Register and book your hotel now to save! The Film Badge gets you primary access to all SXSW Film events including Film Keynotes and Featured Sessions, world premieres, round tables, workshops, parties, and more. Over the course of nine days, the SXSW Film Festival hosts over 450 screenings! Film registrants also have primary access to Convergence events, including the Comedy Festival and nine unique Conference tracks, as well as secondary access to most Interactive and Music events.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and SXSW News for the latest SXSW coverage.

See you in March!

Pig Hag – Photo by Sam Probst

The post Colby Holt and Sam Probst Discuss Their Inspiration For Their Film Pig Hag – SXSW Filmmaker In Focus appeared first on SXSW.

Source: SxSW Film

February 15, 2019

Top 5 Things You Won’t Want to Miss at This Year’s Future Workplace Track


If you’re headed to Austin looking for the latest in topics covering career development, work-life balance, co-working, future of work, diversity, inclusion, HR issues, and employee rights in an ever-changing working environment, you’ve found the right place! With so much insight and so little time, here’s our list for the top 5 things you won’t want to miss during this year’s Future Workplace Track sponsored by ADP:

1. Keepin’ it Real to Keep Real (Good) People

Today as many as 60 percent of U.S. employees are actively looking for a new job. Are you doing enough to keep your most valuable people happy and productive? In this session, we’ll explore real-life examples of why tenured employees leave a company, and what could have changed the outcome. Click here to favorite this session with business anthropologist, Martha Bird, taking place 3/9 from 5-6pm.

2. The Commons: Relax, Recharge and Reconnect

Our lounge, located in the JW Marriott where all the speaking tracks will be held, is THE place to be — whether you’re looking to relax and soak in the learnings from the day, recharge at our hydration station and sample some snacks or grab some insightful workplace reading material from our library wall. Don’t miss our social/interactive experiences including a live mural, and collaborate with other workforce leaders. There will be lots of swag to remember us by and adorn your desk with back home, so be sure to stop by.

3. The Feedback Fallacy — Chat with Marcus Buckingham, NYT Best-Selling Author, Head of People and Performance Research, ADP Research Institute

It is a truth universally acknowledged: Feedback for each and every one of us at work is a good thing, and that more feedback is an even better thing. As a result, today we are blessed with upward feedback, downward feedback, peer feedback, 360-degree feedback, performance feedback, developmental feedback, constructive feedback, solicited, unsolicited, and anonymous feedback, and with all of these flavors and variants a cottage industry of classes to teach us both how to give this feedback and how to receive it with grace and equanimity. This universal truth, however, is actually a lie. Join Marcus at 3/9 in The Commons to discuss.

4. Building a 21st Century Workforce and the Impact of Data on the Modern Workplace

Join Jeff Wald, SVP and Co-founder of Workmarket, an ADP Company, for an intimate discussion about the gig economy and building a 21st century workforce. Click here to read a recent Forbes article published by Jeff. You’ll find him in The Commons on 3/8 and 3/11 @ 1pm.

Additionally, on 3/10 @ 1pm, make your way to The Commons where Jack Berkowitz and Marc Rind will be talking about data and its impact on the modern workplace. Join Brian Michaud, SVP of TotalSource, along with a SXSW programming expert to discuss an event wrap up from the Future Workplace track to address highlights of the week including trends to watch out for in 2019. You’ll find him in The Commons on 3/12 @ 1pm.

5. Breaking Barriers in Partnership with Wired Magazine

While this interactive exhibit isn’t located in the JW Marriott, it’s a can’t miss while you’re at SXSW. Visit us at the Empire Control Room on March 8-10 from 12-6pm where you’ll choose one of four work barriers (ex. Gender Inequality) that are holding back businesses / employee success. You’ll be filmed physically “breaking” through the barrier and given the video for social sharing.

If you’re looking for additional insights on workplace challenges including compliance, employer/employee dynamics, work-life balance, future of work, diversity, inclusion, and more, please visit our blog. How about starting here: Are you prepared for these 2019 Workforce Trends? We’re looking forward to seeing you at SXSW!

Sponsored content and photo provided by ADP

The post Top 5 Things You Won’t Want to Miss at This Year’s Future Workplace Track appeared first on SXSW.

Source: SxSW Film

February 15, 2019

How To Not Let Your Phone Die at SXSW

Visible SXSW Music Festival Sponsor

Visible’s phone service for people who are tired of being frustrated with phone service. It’s more of what you want and less of what you don’t. Stores, annual contracts, hidden fees — wave goodbye. And say hello to unlimited messages, minutes and data (at speeds up to 5 Mbps). All for just $40/mo, and all on Verizon’s 4G LTE network.

Pretty nice, right? Almost as nice as having a fully-charged phone at a giant festival? Of course it is — which is the perfect segue into the Visible charging stations at SXSW.

With everything going on at SXSW, you’re going to be burning through your phone battery. But don’t worry — if you need to recharge yourself or your phone, just look for the blue and white emoticons. That’s Visible, and in that area there will be plenty of charging stations, slushies, games and other things you’ll want to photograph. Which you can do a lot, without worrying about your phone dying.

A low phone battery shouldn’t stand between you and having a good time at SXSW. So swing by and see Visible (we’ll be the blue people at the Outdoor Stage), recharge, and say hello.

Photo and content provided by Visible

The post How To Not Let Your Phone Die at SXSW appeared first on SXSW.

Source: SxSW Film

February 15, 2019

Ben Masters Talks About Documentary on the Texas Borderlands – SXSW Filmmaker In Focus

The 2019 SXSW Film Festival is almost upon us and we can’t wait to have you here! Before you make your way down to Austin, TX, get to know films from our lineup a little bit better with our Filmmaker In Focus series. Dive into our Q&A with director Ben Masters, as he tells us about his film The River and the Wall, which World Premiere in the Documentary Spotlight screening section.

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

Ben Masters: I’ve spent years of my life working on ranches and filming wildlife and landscapes along the Texas-Mexico border. The prospect of a Border Wall is so personal to me. Selfishly, The River and The Wall was a way for me to go out and see the landscapes of the Rio Grande with my own eyes before further construction of a wall and to cherish the landscapes that I love so deeply before they’re potentially changed forever. The film means so much to me because the footage that we captured and the stories that we tell might be part of the historical documentation of the borderlands that future generations will look at the see.

What motivated you to tell this story?

BM: The threat of a border wall destroying landscapes and negatively impacting wildlife was the primary motivation behind The River and The Wall.

What do you want the audience to take away?

BM: I want people to realize that the Texas-Mexico border is so much more than a black line on the map. Along with the Rio Grande being the fourth longest river in the country, the borderlands are an incredibly beautiful, diverse, and culturally important part of the world that will be changed forever if a contiguous physical border wall is constructed. I also want people who don’t have personal relations with undocumented immigrants, similar to myself before this journey started, to recognize that behind all the media attention, fear-mongering, and stereotyping, that many undocumented immigrants are stellar individuals who are victims of circumstance.

How did you find your subject?

BM: I’m personally connected to the Rio Grande and the border. I didn’t seek out the subject, the “Build The Wall” rhetoric just happened and I had to do something for the places that I loved so dearly.

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

BM: Texas is the greatest nation in the world therefore SXSW is the greatest film festival!

Add The River and the Wall to your SXSW Schedule. Stay tuned in the coming weeks as we share more interviews with our SXSW 2019 filmmakers!

Join Us For SXSW 2019

Register and book your hotel now to save! The Film Badge gets you primary access to all SXSW Film events including Film Keynotes and Featured Sessions, world premieres, round tables, workshops, parties, and more. Over the course of nine days, the SXSW Film Festival hosts over 450 screenings! Film registrants also have primary access to Convergence events, including the Comedy Festival and nine unique Conference tracks, as well as secondary access to most Interactive and Music events.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and SXSW News for the latest SXSW coverage.

See you in March!

<smallThe River and the Wall – Photo courtesy of film

The post Ben Masters Talks About Documentary on the Texas Borderlands – SXSW Filmmaker In Focus appeared first on SXSW.

Source: SxSW Film