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June 10, 2018

Ethan Hawke Says Movies Are ‘An Art Form That’s Been Completely Eaten by Business’

Ethan Hawke had a lot to smile about in Seattle on Friday night. The actor/director was in town for the Seattle International Film Festival, where he was receiving the festival’s annual award for Outstanding Achievement in Cinema and screening “Blaze,” his first narrative directing effort in a decade. The festival also screened “First Reformed,” Paul Schrader’s psychological thriller starring Hawke as an emotionally disturbed priest, which has already scored $1 million in limited release.

In conversation for the tribute portion of the evening moderated by this writer after a screening of “Blaze,” Hawke said that his filmmaking ambitions evolved from personal experiences early in his career, and took the opportunity to offer a stern assessment of the movie business as a whole.

“My mother was very depressed that I’d dropped out of college. One of the things I promised her I would do was take responsibility for an education,” he said, referring to the 1994 short film he directed, “Straight to One,” which screened at Sundance the same year as “Reality Bites.” He wouldn’t make his directorial debut until 2001 with “Chelsea Walls,” but, he added, “I was always planning on directing and writing because I had no faith in the life of an actor. I was very apprehensive that I’d be able to keep doing it. “

Hawke said that feeling emerged from his experiences working with River Phoenix on Joe Dante’s “Explorers” and watching Phoenix — who died of a drug overdose in 1993 — deal with being a young star.

“River had a tremendous success when he was very young, and a lot of it was stuff that didn’t align with what he personally wanted to contribute artistically,” Hawke said. “So if we’d be out of a bar and a bunch of girls would come up to him and say, ‘You’re amazing in ‘A Night in the Life of Jimmy Rearden.’ It was so frustrating. I think it made a big impact on him.”

“Dead Poets Society”

When Hawke landed his first serious role in “Dead Poets Society,” he witnessed the toll of acting at the other end of the career spectrum by working with Robin Williams. “Robin was a genius,” Hawke said. “You wouldn’t wish being genius on your child. It sounds nuts. Everybody wants to be a genius. It’s such an overused word … he would go and be alone for a while. I saw the curtain go up and the curtain go down working with him. You realized it came at a great personal cost.”

Much of Hawke’s career has been defined by a careful negotiation between art and commerce. He has avoided blockbusters and often points out that some of his best-known roles — including the “Before” trilogy — haven’t been big box-office hits. “Working with real talented people is about the best there is,” he said. “I wouldn’t want to do anything else, but it very rarely happens the right way. It’s an art form that’s been completely eaten by business.”

He pointed to the way industry metrics for success dominate conversations about the business. “Not only do we read about ‘Black Panther’’s box office success, but we read about its Rotten Tomatoes score. So actually everything in our world is a competition, and arts are supposed to be one place where competition doesn’t exist because it’s about expression.”

Hawke has a tendency to speak about his work in sweeping philosophical generalizations, much like the soul-searching Jesse in Richard Linklater’s “Before” trilogy. This conversation was no exception, as it ended with Hawke finding his way to a bigger picture. “They learned pretty quickly that the human being loves movies,” he said. “It’s a very relaxing art form. It requires very little work on the audience’s part. They’ve learned to play music to tell us exactly how we feel. The camera pushes in on a tear just right. The light hits it. Spontaneity is drained. The cash register goes off.”

Source: IndieWire film

June 10, 2018

‘Hereditary’ Director Ari Aster’s Early Short Films Set the Stage for His Haunting Debut Feature — Watch

Hereditary” is Ari Aster’s feature debut as a writer/director, but it’s far from his first time behind the camera. He also has six shorts to his name, several of which can be found online. Best known and most controversial is his 30-minute “The Strange Thing About the Johnsons,” which Aster began working on while at the American Film Institute Conservatory.

An official selection of both the New York and Slamdance film festivals, it’s now a Vimeo Staff Pick and has drawn mixed reactions due to its taboo familial subject matter — sound familiar?

“Munchausen” premiered online three years ago via Vice Shorts, which described the 16-minute offering as “a Pixar-inspired silent short about a clingy mother (played by Bonnie Bedelia, John McClaine’s wife in Die Hard) who goes to a bunch of extreme lengths to keep her son from going off to college.” It also played at Fantastic Fest.

Then there’s the six-minute “Beau,” which was shot in one day and has been on Vimeo for seven years.

Watch all three shorts below, and keep an eye out for Aster’s “C’est La Vie,” “The Turtle’s Head,” and “Basically” as well.

Source: IndieWire film

June 10, 2018

Anthony Bourdain Was a Brilliant Filmmaker in Disguise

When I spoke to Anthony Bourdain on May 31, eight days before he committed suicide, I mostly wanted to talk about movies. While not everyone associated the food-show host with cinema, it informed every episode of CNN’s “No Reservations,” from the echoes of “Happy Together” in Buenos Aires to “City of Ghosts” in Thailand. He was a brilliant filmmaker in disguise.

Our conversation got granular. He shared references to revered and obscure filmmakers, recalled his youth experiences working through the Janus film library, and mused about a few new releases. It was a neat opportunity to explore the creative mindset behind a program that became more of a cultural investigation than a culinary one.

Food experts can assess how Bourdain brought a personable edge to highbrow cuisine, and pushed beyond fine-dining formulas to explore the value of food at every level of society. However, what defines his legacy may have more to do with his capacity to deconstruct the Western gaze. By sharing a meal, he could go anywhere in the world and make the people look just like us, and us like them. He was a hero we needed in divided times, when the specter of bigotry looms large and ugly, and perhaps our world was too good for him. I wish I had asked him if that was true.

When we spoke, he’d already completed several episodes of the current season, including an installment airing that Sunday set in Hong Kong that largely focused on the history and culture of the city, as well as the way he had learned to love it through the films of Wong Kar-wai. At 61, Bourdain was confident in the unique formula he’d honed across decades: the celebrity chef who was less interested in food than in the people consuming it. He explored different places as a means of opening up audiences to unfamiliar worlds. How many of us, prior to traveling to another country, have turned to Bourdain for guidance, and wind up imbibing histories and people we never expected to see?

Bourdain had more in common with ethnographic filmmaker Jean Rouch than any contemporary celebrity chef. Both men positioned their cameras around faces we often don’t see represented in mainstream media, then provided space for their subjects to drive the narrative.

The first episode of the current “No Reservations” season is an astonishing documentary investigation into the lives of working-class people in West Virginia. Bourdain positions himself as the clueless cosmopolitan in Trumpland — “the existential enemy” — only to find himself so welcomed in a community of coal miners and football lovers that he fits right in. Eating bear meat with several family men in a dank cave, he listens to their concerns for job security and pushes to contextualize it with a broader overview of the region.

A still from the West Virginia episode of “Parts Unknown”

Rather than constructing a bland plea for partisanship, Bourdain allows the men to simply exist within the specific parameters of their surroundings. It’s thrilling to watch this kind of level-headed inquiry because so little of it exists in popular culture, which tends to regard others as either exotic objects or clueless products of less-enlightened circumstances. Bourdain worked to rewire those binary instincts and embrace the potential for experiencing new people and conditions. That’s true movie magic.

Bourdain’s was a modern-day auteur, discovering his creativity in piecemeal. It felt like he was just getting started, and on the verge of a new chapter as a unique filmmaking talent. An industry colleague told me Bourdain had been asking around about the possibility of showcasing his work at major film festivals later this year. It should still happen. We may never know his exact ambitions with the moving image, but he left us with a body of work that begs for further exploration. Bourdain’s parting gift to the world is a jolting realization of how much we needed him, and the excuse to continue to scrutinize the achievements he has left us.

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Source: IndieWire film

June 10, 2018

Fred Rogers as Documentary Hero: ‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor?’ Hits Big

Going into summer, distributors are providing a range of alternatives to the usual studio fare. This weekend launched six January Sundance premieres at the box office. A24 tallied modest numbers in wide release with well-reviewed horror flick “Hereditary,” while documentary “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” (Focus) opened in multiple cities with a strong response, along with the father-daughter musical “Hearts Beat Loud” (Gunpowder & Sky). “Half the Picture” (Gravitas Ventures) also nabbed interest in New York.

Among holdovers, Magnolia’s record-breaking hero documentary “RBG” continues strong and The Orchard expanded “American Animals,” whose robust platform opening was boosted by its partnership with MoviePass and the quick jump in theaters for Paul Schrader’s “First Reformed” (A24).


Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (Focus) – Cinemascore: 84; Festivals include: Sundance, South by Southwest 2018

$470,000 in 29 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $16,168

Opening just slightly below the numbers for the stunning “RBG,” this retelling of the life and career of PBS’ iconic Mr. Rogers looks quite strong as it starts its national run. “RBG” had five more theaters initially, with a strong boost from opening day events which pushed its initial PTA slightly better. Effectively this is just as strong, with all indications that as anticipated there is a significant national audience, both specialized and broader, for the release of this documentary that could lead all non-studio releases over the summer.

What comes next: This will gradually expand over the next few weeks, with its maximum exposure still to be determined. It could be considerable.

Nick Offerman and Toni Collette in "Hearts Beat Loud"

Hearts Beat Loud (Gunpowder & Sky) – Cinemascore: 62; Festivals include: Sundance, South by Southwest 2018

$74,053 in theaters; PTA: $18,513

Unusually, the weekend launched two films –both of which debuted at Sundance–with the same lead (Toni Collette also stars in A24’s wide release “Hereditary”). The timing worked for this Brooklyn story of a record store owner finding unexpected success as he bonds through music with his college-bound daughter, with an elevated opening at four New York/Los Angeles theaters. They included the Landmark upper west side Manhattan 57 West, which is now starting to show up more regularly among initial platform dates.

What comes next: A quick jump to over 50 theaters is slated for next weekend.

“Half the Picture”

Half the Picture (Gravitas Ventures)  – Cinemascore: 75; Festivals include: Sundance, South by Southwest 2018

$7,529 in theaters; PTA: $7,529

Featuring a who’s who of contemporary female filmmakers, this documentary on the ongoing problem of lack of equal opportunity for women in the industry opened exclusively in New York. It had a respectable result and going forward will likely provoke further discussion.

What comes next: Los Angeles opens this Friday ahead of other dates.



"American Animals"

“American Animals”

Week Two

American Animals (The Orchard)

$234,289 in 42 theaters (+38); PTA: $5,591; Cumulative: $422,427

These are decent results for the second weekend expansion of this recreation of a Kentucky rare library book caper. The marketing and promotional tie in with MoviePass had a bigger overall impact in the New York/Los Angeles platform openings. It had a different theater count than the second weekend of The Orchard’s biggest success, “Hunt for the Wilderpeople,” but the result is in a similar range. That suggests a potential for more expansion and a possible similar ultimate result.


Ongoing/expanding (grosses over $50,000)

RBG (Magnolia) Week 5

$700,000 in 375 theaters (-57); Cumulative: $9,134,000

Off its peak theater count, this hit documentary on the Supreme Court Justice still leads expanded specialized releases. It has soared past Magnolia’s theatrical breakout Oscar nominee “I Am Not Your Negro,” will an $11-12 million total likely.

First Reformed (A24) Week 4

$558,982 in 334 theaters (+243); Cumulative: $1,764,000

A24 aggressively added theaters across the county to those already playing Paul Schrader’s acclaimed film. The gamble here is that the film, which has found passionate support early in its run, will continue with strong word of mouth. The Saturday increase of 45 per cent shows initial positive signs. But the results this week could suggest that the greatest interest for the film will remain in more sophisticated core art houses.

On Chesil Beach (Bleecker Street) Week 4

$121,410 in 203 theaters (+114); Cumulative: $561,756

Saorise Ronan in an adaptation of Ian McEwan’s early 1960s set romance isn’t finding an audience as it widens.

"The Rider" Score, Composer Nathan Halpern

“The Rider”

Sony Pictures Classics

The Rider (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 9

$120,531 in 188 theaters (-136); Cumulative: $1,978,000

Chloe Zhoe’s contemporary Western is at the high end of acclaimed films this year, but despite SPC’s usual dedicated effort to finding an audience it hasn’t reached the response it deserves.

The Seagull (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 5

$100,722 in 89 theaters (+37); Cumulative: $672,217

The second Saorise Ronan film in current release, joined by Annette Bening and Elisabeth Moss in this Chekhov adaptation, expands to continued minor response.

Isle of Dogs (Fox Searchlight) Week 12

$95,000 in 115 theaters (-14); Cumulative: $31,583,000

After another week in over 100 theaters, Wes Anderson’s animated film is nearing the end of the third month. It remains the highest-grossing specialized release of the year by a large margin.

Disobedience (Bleecker Street) Week 7

$92,353 in 101 theaters (-57); Cumulative: $3,269,000

The two Rachels fighting taboos at a London synagogue are in their final stage with a middle level specialized result.

“2001: A Space Odyssey”

2001: A Space Odyssey (Warner Bros.) Week 4 (reissue)

$91,000 in 5 theaters (no change); Cumulative: $700,000

Rotating the 70mm prints brought increased totals for this successful 50th anniversary reissue of the Kubrick classic.

Pope Francis: A Man of His Word (Focus) Week 4

$55,000 in 127 theaters (-146); Cumulative: $1,761,000

The Pope’s status as among the most admired figures in the world remains unchallenged, but American moviegoers clearly have more curiosity in Justice Ginsberg and Mr. Rogers.

Also noted:

The Gospel According to Andre (Magnolia) – $43,000 in 35 theaters; Cumulative: $256,874

Let the Sunshine In (IFC) – $38,623 in 50 theaters; Cumulative: $765,091; also streaming

Beast (Roadside Attractions) – $30,250 in 83 theaters; Cumulative: $713,274

Mary Shelley (IFC) – $19,031 in 31 theaters; Cumulative: $62,285

The Death of Stalin (IFC) – $17,594 in 14 theaters; Cumulative: $7,978,000

Summer 1993 (Oscilloscope) – $14,500 in 7 theaters; Cumulative: $71,039

Always at the Carlyle (Good Deed) – $10,759 in 12 theaters; Cumulative: $115,565

Breath (FilmRise) – $8,200 in 21 theaters; Cumulative: $16,307

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Source: IndieWire film

June 8, 2018

2018 SXSW Film Festival Selection Hearts Beat Loud Now in Theaters [Video]

In the 2018 SXSW Film Festival selection Hearts Beat Loud, a father and daughter from Red Hook, Brooklyn become an unlikely songwriting duo in the last summer before she leaves for college. Through their music they begin to connect in new ways and, in turn, both learn about growing up, letting go, and the power of music.

The film screened in the 24 Beats Per Second section and stars an ensemble cast of Nick Offerman, Kiersey Clemons, Ted Danson, and Sasha Lane with Blythe Danner and Toni Collette. Hearts Beat Loud is directed by Brett Haley and written by Haley and Marc Basch. The duo came to SXSW last year with their film The Hero, also starring Offerman.

“It’s really a film about love and acceptance, and creation. It’s all about the creative process. I think right now, people will enjoy the feelings that they will get from this movie.” – Brett Haley

Catch Hearts Beat Loud in select theaters on Friday, June 8.

Watch the video above for the full red carpet and Q&A video. Browse more 2018 Keynotes, Featured Sessions, Red Carpets, and Q&A’s on our YouTube Channel.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and SXSW News for the latest SXSW coverage and 2019 updates.

Hearts Beat Loud – Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer

The post 2018 SXSW Film Festival Selection Hearts Beat Loud Now in Theaters [Video] appeared first on SXSW.

Source: SxSW Film

June 7, 2018

The Unedited Interview: Adama Bah and Deleen P. Carr

Did you know that the stories you hear from us on NPR and our podcast are excerpts of interviews pulled from the StoryCorps Archive? Participants visit one of our recording locations with a friend or family member to record a 40-minute interview with the help of a trained StoryCorps facilitator, or record a conversation using the StoryCorps App. We’re sharing this unedited interview from the StoryCorps Archive with you in its original form.

In April 2016, Adama Bah spoke with her “second mom” and friend, Deleen P. Carr, about her experience being forcefully detained as a 16-year-old on suspicion of terrorist activity, and what her life has been like since she was released with no charges.


“I was sleeping, and…all I remember is when they came and pulled the blanket off my head. I’m 16, I’m going to pull the blanket back on. It wasn’t time for school because the sunlight wasn’t out. And then you hear noises and voices — ‘Get up! Get up!’ — and they’re not say, ‘Hey, get up, sweetie!’ No, they’re very rude,” Adama says, as she remembers when FBI agents and police came into her family’s home and took her and her father away. She tells Deleen about how confused she felt, and initially told the agents, “You can’t do this to me, I’m an American.” The officers told her that she wasn’t, and that she had no rights.

Deleen recalls a letter that Adama sent to Deleen’s daughter during the six weeks of detainment in which she described her conditions: “…You spoke to the fact that the conditions were horrible, the people were not nice, they were not kind… They just threw clothes at you in not your size, and…you felt like they did that to embarrass you. You were very full-breasted and they made you wear a bra that was three sizes too small. You were describing how you felt under these conditions.”

Adama talks about the way that she and her siblings are still affected by her detainment and how they will continue to be affected for the rest of their lives. “I went through an identity crisis. Am I American? Am I Guinean? What am I? This whole time I thought I was an American; now you’re telling me I’m not. Now I realize I am American. I just have two cultures. That’s why they say Guinean-American. But I’m American. And now you can’t tell me any different, but it took me a while to get there.”

All material within the StoryCorps collection is copyrighted by StoryCorps. StoryCorps encourages use of material on this site by educators and students without prior permission, provided appropriate credit is given. This interview has not been fact-checked, and may contain sensitive personal information about living persons.

Source: SNPR Story Corps

June 6, 2018

How to break out of the screen with your story?

Source: Visual Storytelling

June 5, 2018

Tim O’Reilly on How to Do Things You Thought Were Impossible at SXSW 2018 [Video]

At SXSW 2018, Founder and CEO of O’Reilly Media, Tim O’Reilly discusses machine learning, humanity, and the future of tech. In his Featured Session, “Do More. Do Things That Were Previously Impossible” O’Reilly poses an important question to the audience.

“What’s keeping us from working on the stuff that matters?”

O’Reilly believes we are at a crossroad as we confront the technological future. A crossroad that could determine the future of humanity and what it means to work. How we use technology should not only be a business decision – but a moral decision. According to O’Reilly, right now, we are about 80 years into a 100-year cycle of growth and have only begun to recognize the capabilities of the technology available. First and foremost, we must recognize how human values and morals fit into the picture.

Technology is limited only by the creativity of its developers – the same drone technology is used in a startup that delivers Starbucks orders at conferences as is used in a startup called Zipline that delivers on-demand blood and medicines in countries without developed roads or infrastructure. Within 15 minutes, Zipline is able to deliver blood to a person in need and save a life.

According to O’Reilly, technology should be used to augment humans so that we can focus on real issues and dedicate more resources to building a better world. Startups like Zipline are “showing what the future could be for all of us if we start working on the right things with today’s technology.” Machines are amazing at making a better world. Without machines, we wouldn’t be able to feed 7 billion people. But, we need to shift our focus towards solving the real issues affecting our world.

“There’s plenty for humans to do…dealing with climate change, rebuilding our infrastructure, feeding the world, ending disease, resettling refugees, caring for each other, educating the next generation, and best of all if we could put all these machines to work we could together as a world, enjoy the fruits of shared prosperity.”

Learn more about O’Reilly’s vision for the future of technology and the human race in the full Featured Session at the 2018 SXSW Conference. Browse more 2018 Keynotes, Featured Sessions, Red Carpets, and Q&A’s on our YouTube Channel.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and SXSW News for the latest SXSW coverage and 2019 updates.

Watch Now

SXSW 2018 Session Do More. Do Things That Were Previously Impossible – Photo by Debra Reyes

The post Tim O’Reilly on How to Do Things You Thought Were Impossible at SXSW 2018 [Video] appeared first on SXSW.

Source: SxSW Film

June 5, 2018

A Conversation with Ready Player One Author Ernest Cline at SXSW 2018 [Video]

“I tell everybody, everything you could ever want writing your first novel has happened to me.”

The day after the World Premiere of Ready Player One, David Baszucki of Roblox interviewed best-selling novelist, screenwriter, and full-time geek Ernest Cline about the buzzed-about premiere, how Steven Spielberg got involved with the adaptation, Cline’s inspirations and influences, and last but not least, his DeLorean.

“It’s an honor for me to be here. I’ve been coming to SXSW for twenty years, I’ve seen a lot of film premieres and attended a lot of panels here. In the back of mind, I’ve always dreamed of getting to do this myself someday, but never at this level. It’s great to be here in Austin and celebrate this experience with you guys.

Ready Player One is a love letter to video games and pop culture. Cline claims he grew up at the right time to make this universe possible. “I was born in 1972, which looking back is the perfect time to be writing this story,” said Cline. I was born the year Pong came out and the same year coin-operated video games were created, and as such I got to be a part of the very first generation to have video games.”

Cline never imagined that one of the world’s most renowned directors would be interested in adapting his beloved book for the big screen. After he sold the book to Random House, a bidding war for the rights ensued. In the end Warner Bros won, and according to Cline, a miracle happened which led Spielberg to read Cline’s script, then his novel, and decide to take on the film!

Ready Player One will be available to own on DVD/Blue-Ray on July 24, 2018.

Watch the video above for the full Conversation with Ernest Cline Featured Session. Browse more 2018 Keynotes, Featured Sessions, Red Carpets, and Q&A’s on our YouTube Channel.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and SXSW News for the latest SXSW coverage and 2019 updates.

A Conversation with Ernest Cline – Photo by Chris Saucedo/Getty Images for SXSW

The post A Conversation with Ready Player One Author Ernest Cline at SXSW 2018 [Video] appeared first on SXSW.

Source: SxSW Film

June 4, 2018

Facebook says it “disagrees” with the New York Times’ criticisms of its device-integrated APIs

Facebook has responded to a New York Times story that raises privacy concerns about the company’s device-integrated APIs, saying that it “disagree[s] with the issues they’ve raised about these APIs.”<p>Headined “Facebook Gave Device Makers Deep Access to Data on Users and Friends,” the New York Times …
Source: CW’s Flipboard Feed