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From the Filmmaker Newsletter: The Role of Insurance in Restarting Production Amidst the Coronavirus Pandemic

Each Friday, Filmmaker sends out a free newsletter containing an original Editor’s Letter as well as news of film openings, events, etc. (the latter mostly streaming and online, these days). The Editor’s Letters usually aren’t posted online, but here’s last week’s, which deals with the uncertainty around obtaining production insurance in this pandemic environment. It’s been passed around quite a bit, so I’m posting it here for easier reference. If you’d like to receive the Filmmaker newsletter, you can subscribe for free here. — SM “It’s what we call ‘a hard market,’” said the insurance broker on the phone. I didn’t need […]

“We Only Zoom In on This Show! We Don’t Zoom Out!” DP Jody Lee Lipes on I Know This Much is True and Shooting 600 Hours of 35mm

Jody Lee Lipes’ first answer was drowned out by a cacophonous eruption outside his window. We’d scheduled our interview about HBO’s new show I Know This Much Is True for 7 pm—the time when New Yorkers take to their windows and balconies each night to shower frontline workers with cheers of appreciation. Wally Lamb’s source novel was released in 1998 and the show’s 10-month shooting schedule began in early 2019. Yet it’s not hard to draw parallels between the show’s weary humanism and our new pandemic reality, with lines like “We’re connected, whether I like you or not” and “You […]

Back to One, Episode 108: Hong Chau

You might know Hong Chau from Watchmen, or maybe Downsizing, where her astounding performance opposite Matt Damon was recognized with a Golden Globe nomination. I first took note of her in Inherent Vice, where she left an indelible impression as “Jade.” Now she stars in Andrew Ahn’s delicate and touching new film Driveways, which is currently in “virtual” theaters. I ask her about her very first play, Annie Baker’s masterpiece John. She gives fascinating examples of just how much her body wouldn’t let that performance go. She also talks about finding tiny clues in the minute details of a script […]

“Take Control Over the Color and Build That Into the Sets”: DP Frederick Elmes on Hunters

Early on in his career cinematographer Frederick Elmes worked as a camera operator for John Cassavetes and was a director of photography on David Lynch’s debut feature Eraserhead, laying the groundwork for a career that would absorb and expand upon both those influences. Like Cassavetes, Elmes is a filmmaker who knows how to frame and showcase great performances; his multiple collaborations with Ang Lee, Jim Jarmusch and Tim Hunter have yielded career best work from Kevin Kline, Bill Murray, Joan Allen, Matt Dillon and many others. Yet like Lynch, Elmes is also supremely attuned to the visual properties of cinema […]

Day 5 of 25: Tayarisha Poe, Lauren McBride, Jomo Fray on Selah and the Spades

“She found no joy in fully formed things, she sought those times of the year, those people, who were discovering their potential. Selah loved potential.”  Quoted in Filmmaker’s Winter, 2015 print issue, in our now-defunct Super 8 column, those are the words of the narrator of the first iteration of Tayarisha Poe’s wickedly beguiling, sociologically astute teen crime drama, Selah and the Spades. At that time, “transmedia” was a bit more the rage, and Poe’s hybrid website/webseries/photography/literary site had a smart, sprawling appeal. By the time we caught up with Poe again, selecting her for our Summer, 2015 issues’ 25 […]

Back to One, Episode 107: Sidney Flanigan

She had never attempted acting before Eliza Hittman cast her in Never Rarely Sometimes Always, but Sidney Flanigan’s quietly devastating performance feels like a revelation, something truly miraculous. On this episode she talks about bravely stepping into the role, giving herself over to instinct, and dipping into the well of her own emotional life to power Autumn’s journey. Her’s is a heroic story of release and acceptance all actors can find inspiration in. Back To One can be found wherever you get your podcasts, including Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Stitcher. And if you’re enjoying what you are hearing, please […]

Back to Open, Episode 106: Talia Ryder

Talia Ryder gives a remarkable performance opposite Sidney Flanigan in her very first feature film, Eliza Hittman’s Never Rarely Sometimes Always. It’s the kind of subtle, assured, measured work you wouldn’t expect from a teenager. She talks about the benefits of getting vulnerable with Flanigan before shooting and how being deliriously tired actually came in handy when shooting all night in Port Authority. Plus she explains what’s up with that suitcase, and much more! Later this year you can see her in Steven Spielberg’s highly anticipated remake of West Side Story. Back To One can be found wherever you get […]

From the Filmmaker Newsletter: When Do We All Go Back to Work?

Each Friday, Filmmaker sends out a free newsletter containing an original Editor’s Letter as well as news of film openings, events, etc. (the latter mostly streaming and online, these days). The Editor’s Letters usually aren’t posted online, but here’s the April 17 edition, which links to a Deadline piece and considers the question everyone in film production is asking at the moment. If you’d like to receive the Filmmaker newsletter, you can subscribe for free here. — SM When do we all go back to work? While provisional answers to this question are suggested every day in the newspapers and […]

“What’s Happening in the Vertical Version?” Mark Pellington on Quibi Series/Film Survive

Director Mark Pellington has spent a great deal of his career addressing the complexities of grief, memory and reconciliation, but with his new film Survive he explores these themes on a larger canvas than ever before, placing his preoccupations in the context of an adventure tale that is sweeping in its physical scale yet every bit as emotionally penetrating as more intimate Pellington character studies like Nostalgia and I Melt with You. Richard Abate and Jeremy Ungar’s script tells the story of Jane (Sophie Turner), a traumatized young woman who plans to commit suicide in the bathroom of a plane […]