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Sundance Institute Announces 22 Documentary Fund Grantees

The Sundance Institute announced today the 22 projects from filmmakers all over the world that will receive funding from its Documentary Fund. Filmmakers from 19 countries with projects in all stages of production will receive unrestricted grant support totaling $525,000. “At Sundance Institute, we know that these unprecedented times demand creative and nimble support,” said Documentary Film Program interim Director, ​Kristin Feeley​, and Documentary Film Fund Director, Hajnal Molnar-Szakacs​ in a press release. “We’re fortunate to have a collaborative and strong network of partners that allow us to ensure material support for these filmmakers as they develop bold new work, […]

Watch: David Lynch’s 2015 Short Fire (Pożar)

David Lynch has kept typically busy during his quarantine, giving interviews about abusive workplaces and alluding to a variety of personal art projects he’s focused on. Just posted online to his YouTube channel, the animated short film Fire (Pożar) is not one of those projects but a 2015 short previously only shown at a USC concert. “The whole point of our experiment was that I would say nothing about my intentions and [Polish-American composer] Marek [Zebrowski] would interpret the visuals in his own way,” Lynch said at the time. “So I say it was a great successful experiment, and I loved the […]

Quarantine Reading: David Mamet’s Three Uses of the Knife

As a publication about film, we find ourselves in the peculiar position of publishing during a moment when theatrical access to movies, and their ongoing future, is as much in question as everything else. During this suspension of normal filmwatching habits, we’ve reached out to contributors, filmmakers and friends, inviting them to find an alternate path to the movies by participating in a writing exercise engaging with any book about or lightly intersecting with film, in whatever way makes sense to them. Today: Brendan Byrne on David Mamet’s Three Uses of the Knife: On the Nature and Purpose of Drama. The […]

Are Virtual Theaters Here to Stay?

When Toby Leonard, programming director at Nashville’s Belcourt Theatre, returned to the space for the first time since the COVID-19 shutdown began, a six-foot cardboard display for Never Rarely Sometimes Always struck his eye. Eliza Hittman’s film was four days into the first week of a planned platform release before it was pulled from theatrical exhibition and hadn’t yet made it to the Belcourt, but its physical teaser remained. “How many of these things were there and how many did they send around the country?,” Leonard wondered. Then he took it down. As exhibitors and distributors initially adjusted to no theatrical releases for […]

Writer/Director Lynn Shelton, 1965 – 2020

Lynn Shelton, who wrote and directed features including Hump Day, Your Sister’s Sister and Laggies, and who directed numerous television episodes, died yesterday in Los Angeles of a previously undiagnosed blood disorder. She was 54. Long associated with the Seattle independent film scene, Shelton began feature filmmaking in her mid-30s, after working in a variety of other artistic mediums. She told Filmmaker in 2012, “As far back as I can remember I always knew I wanted to be an artist. Finding myself smitten with nearly every creative medium in existence probably made the fact that I ended up deeply exploring […]

King Creole, To Catch a Thief and Gunsmoke: The Complete Series: Jim Hemphill’s Home Video Recommendations

The conventional wisdom among cineastes is that Elvis Presley’s best movie was the Don Siegel Western Flaming Star (1960), mainly thanks to the fact that it was one of the few times the singer worked with an important auteur. While I bow to no one in my admiration of Siegel in general and Flaming Star in particular, it’s less a great Elvis movie than a great movie that has Elvis in it; for a terrific film by a terrific director that’s also a supercharged vehicle for what Presley did best, one need look no further than 1958’s King Creole, which […]

A Virtual Promotional Tour: Setting Up a Home Zoom Studio for Spaceship Earth

I’m sitting in my living room doing press for the release of Spaceship Earth. Normally I’d be at a distributors’ office or running around to different studios, but this week I’m wearing a nice shirt with sweatpants and a cat on my lap. In the past two weeks in anticipation of being on Zoom a lot, I put together a modest Zoom studio.  Besides doing press days, I’m pre-recording a lot of intros and Q&As for virtual cinema presenters. Neon has partnered with over 200 different venues and small businesses to present the film digitally. We pre-recorded an intro and […]

Filmmaker‘s Quarantine Mix Tape, Volume 1

It’s 9:00 PM on a Friday night about two weeks back (could have been three, but who keeps time anymore?) when I found myself turning off the TV after two films and sitting at my desk. My brain couldn’t focus on another movie, and I felt inspired — wanting to get some writing done. Normally, I’d put on a coat and pop across the street to The Roost, my coffee/wine spot in New York’s East Village for late night writing. Alas… here we are. I realized how difficult it can be to “switch modes” when we can’t switch spaces. Whether […]

Senator Adam Schiff Discusses Unemployment Provisions and Worker Protections for Entertainment Industry

In a virtual town hall today organized by IATSE and SAG-AFTRA, Senator Adam Schiff (D-CA) addressed questions from union members regarding federal government support for entertainment industry workers during the novel coronavirus shutdowns. SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris and IATSE International President Matt Loeb led the hour-long conversation and touched on several topics of interest to Filmmaker readers. Unemployment benefits for gig workers. The first question asked came from a SAG member who complained that her state unemployment benefits were not calculated based on a combination of her previous year’s W2 salaried income and her 1099 independent contractor income. Schiff stated […]