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Trailer Premiere: Mark Jackson’s LAFF-Winning This Teacher

Mark Jackson’s This Teacher — a Slamdance Closing Night film as well as the final U.S. Fiction winner at the now-shuttered Los Angeles Film Festival — is being released on DVD and digital formats June 9 by Breaking Glass, and the trailer has just dropped. Jackson (Without, War Story) is a 2011 Filmmaker 25 New Face who won the 2012 Audi Independent Spirit Award. Starring Cesar-winner Hafsia Herzi, the film’s a kind of existential cabin-in-the-woods thriller dealing with Islamophobia and American madness. The synopsis: This Teacher follows a French Muslim woman (Hafsia Herzi) as she travels to New York City […]

Hot Docs 2020 Festival Trailer Premiere: Anthony Banua-Simon’s Cane Fire

We’ve highlighted the work of nonfiction filmmaker Anthony Banua-Simon before, notably 2018’s compilation documentary short Pure Flix and Chill: The David A.R. White Story. Banua-Simon’s debut feature, Cane Fire, was set to make its world premiere at this year’s Hot Docs, and still will in its online edition. A mixture of personal and archival material, refracted through both personal and national history, informs Cane Fire. From the press kit: The Hawaiian island of Kauai is seen as a paradise of leisure and pristine natural beauty, but these escapist fantasies obscure the colonial displacement, hyper-exploitation of workers, and destructive environmental extraction that have […]

Watch: Michael Reich’s She’s Allergic to Cats Trailer and Short Film Quarantine Dog Good Boy

Filmmaker Michael Reich has a thing for both household pets (and vermin) as well as bleeding VHS-damaged color schemes. The former dog groomer’s debut feature She’s Allergic to Cats, which premiered in ’16 at Fantasia Fest but is only now seeing a digital release via Gigantic Pictures, is about, natch, a socially awkward dog groomer (Michael Pinkney) attempting to deal with a rat infestation in his apartment while making an all-cats remake of Carrie. Sonja Kinski is the love interest whose cat may be the answer to the rodent issue. As the trailer above attests, Reich is fond of distressed […]

Online Premiere: Sofia Bohdanowicz’s The Hardest Working Cat in Showbiz

In work like her narrative feature MS Slavic 7 (named after a library call number) and nonfiction short Veslemoy’s Song, Toronto-based filmmaker Sofia Bohdanowicz has dived into archives, examining their possibilities as a path to various revelations and/or frustrations. In this short film, Bohdanowicz adapts Dan Sallitt’s essay “The Hardest Work Cat in Show Biz,” expanding the text with illustrations of its subject, feline actor Orangey, in action across his career. It begins with Sallitt and his cat Jasper at home before diving into the main line of argument, connecting many dots along the way while finding an entirely different direction for […]

Watch: Don’t Touch Your Face, Directed by Leah Shore, Music by Gina Volpe

It’s hard not to touch your face — something I, and many of you, have undoubtedly learned in recent weeks. As much as I now better understand epidemiological chains of transmission, I still sometimes slip up. So, I’m going to try to keep this punk earworm by the Lunachick’s Gina Volpe — here visualized in a brashly impactful video by Leah Shore, a 2013 25 New Face — in my head as I (only very occasionally and necessarily) venture out into the world.

Watch: Agnès Varda’s Rare 2008 Los Angeles Short The Little Story of Gwen

The American Cinematheque has shared a rare 2008 Agnès Varda. A brisk five minutes with lots of nice Los Angeles footage, The Little Story of Gwen gives a biographical sketch of Gwen Deglise, now the American Cinematheque’s head programer. Varda tells her story, with stops along the way to remember Jacques Demy, Chris Marker and Patricia Mazuy’s early LA days.

Trailer Watch: #FreeRayshawn on Quibi

Filmmaker has two points of intersection with crime drama #FreeRayshawn, one of the first releases on Quibi and scheduled to drop on April 15. Director and executive producer Seith Mann was on Filmmaker‘s 25 New Faces list in 2003. And creator, writer and executive producer Marc Maurino has been a regular contributor for several years. In 2010 he was a blogger out of IFP’s Independent Film Week, which he attended with his debut script, Into the Machine. Several posts ensued, and then one of our great evergreen pieces: “‘It’s Just a General’: How To Take a General Meeting.’” His follow-up […]

Watch: Film Crew in Quarantine

Here’s a lovely one-minute animation by Robertas Nevecka that captures the confusing anxiety felt by those of used to working on film sets but who are now stuck at home. Nevecka is a Lithuanian assistant director whose film set drawings can be found on Instagram. Related at Filmmaker: “What Everyone Does on a Film Set.”    

Watch: Ricky D’Ambrose’s NYFF Short, The Sky is Clear and Blue Today

To mark the 20th anniversary of 9/11, a German-American filmmaker is commissioned by German TV to make an experimental short film based on his uncle’s famous photograph of young Brooklynites lounging riverside as the Twin Towers burn. With wit and formal precision, filmmaker Ricky D’Ambrose (Notes from an Appearance) methodically works through the historical and political implications of this scenario in a work that mixes film-set comedy with commentary on the slippery ways in which differing types of media tell and retell scenarios of historical trauma. The film screened last Fall at the New York Film Festival and is appearing […]