Filmmaking

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To Kid or Not To Kid: How Do You Make a Web Series from a Feature Film?

I read once that Marshall Curry always thinks of his audience when developing his next film. And then I also know that other directors say, “Make a good film and people will find it.” Or as my old comedy boss at the BBC once told me: the audience don’t know what they want until you give it to them. There is a sense of truth in all of these statements, but Curry’s has stayed with me.    As soon as I started developing my film To Kid or Not To Kid — the first English-language film about the decision to […]

Talking the Bigger-than-Ever Tenth Anniversary Edition of DOC NYC

Overwhelming by design — that’s the first impression offered by the 2019 edition of DOC NYC, the packed-to-the-rafters non-fiction film event currently underway in New York until November 15. Celebrating its tenth anniversary, the festival boasts over 300 events, including 28 world premieres, an expanded DOC NYC PRO seminar series, and 46 doc works in progress shown to industry attendees. Says director of programming Basil Tsiokos, “It’s our tenth anniversary, and we wanted to make it bigger and better. We just kept pushing [during the programming process] to include more and more films. “Every year we’ve tried to grow the […]

A Film on the Arrogance of Man: Josh Murphy on His Environmental Doc, Artifishal

“We are on a path to where eventually there will be no fish, and we will have spent billions of dollars to get to that point.” This dire warning is from one of the many experts in Artifishal: The Road to Extinction is Paved with Good Intentions, a new documentary from director Josh Murphy and Patagonia that opened on multiple platforms this past week. It premiered last spring at Tribeca, followed by screenings at Mountainfilm Festival in Telluride and the Seattle International Film Festival, near the heart of the film’s action. From there it’s moved into a series of 550 festival […]

Shatterbox Shorts-Makers Channing Godfrey Peoples, Veronica Rodriguez, and Tiffany Johnson Talk “Refinery29 + Level Forward Present Shatterbox” at the SCAD Savannah Film Festival

Moderated by Amy Emmerich, President & Chief Content Officer at Refinery29, the SCAD Savannah Film Festival’s “Refinery29 + Level Forward Present Shatterbox,” a program of seven quite diverse shorts followed by a post-screening discussion, was presented at the comfy SCAD Museum of Art theater on an industry-heavy Monday afternoon. The event featured Parisa Barani (Human Terrain), Tiffany J. Johnson and Adrienne Childress (Girl Callin), Kantú Lentz (Jack and Jo Don’t Want to Die), Channing Godfrey Peoples (Doretha’s Blues), and Lizzie Nastro (the Chloë Sevigny-directed White Echo) onstage to discuss their work – as well as working with Refinery29 and Level Forward’s […]

Clip Premiere: Luigi Campi’s My First Kiss, and the People Involved

Premiering in New York this Thursday in a one-time event prior to its free streaming launch the next day is Luigi Campi’s coming-of-age thriller My First Kiss and the People Involved. Starring Bobbi Salvör Menuez, it’s the tale of a quiet, recessive young woman (Menuez) living in a group home who goes on the hunt for her missing caregiver. Said Campi in a Filmmaker interview, “The film’s tension arises when violent events that she can’t fully grasp force her to step out of her safe zone. My first connection was to the main character’s unique way of seeing the world, […]

Gemini Man: Tax Credits at 120fps

There are only 14 US theaters capable of showing Gemini Man at 120 frames per second—only in 2K, not the intended 4K (Ang Lee is making movies for the future). Going to one of those 14, NYC’s AMC Lincoln Square, is disorienting even before the movie begins. The Dolby theater has its bass jacked to the point that a bumper encouraging the purchase of soda and popcorn generates rumbles so intense the seat pulsates beneath, as if an ice cube dropping into an ice-cold Coke should equal an earthquake right below—it’s all very silly and hyperbolic, and Gemini Man (to its infinite credit) […]

Sibling Subterfuge: Choi Woo-Shik and Park So-Dam on Parasite

Bong Joon Ho may have shifted his subject from genetically engineered super pigs (Okja) and setting from a speeding, class-stratified train (Snowpiercer), but it’d be wrong to assign his Palme d’Or winning Parasite to a new league of subtlety. That’s not a knock — vulgarity is the name of the game for this “Korean New Wave,” in which Bong, and now Parasite, have an evolving role. Bong’s metaphors have shrunk in size for his latest, but they’ve increased in number, becoming part of a loud, meta, and self-parodying dialogue. Ki-woo (Choi Woo-Shik), the son in Parasite‘s working-class family, interacts with […]

“The Sadder We Made It Look, the Funnier It Became”: Gaffer Daniel April Lights The Death of Dick Long

I first saw The Death Of Dick Long at a press screening at Technicolor Postworks. It is the second feature film from one of Swiss Army Man’s co-directors, Daniel Scheinert, whose kooky debut portends the mercurial sensibilities of Dick Long, a cotton state comedy of errors with a hushed twist. The film’s gaffer, Daniel April, the sought after lightsmith of New York indie film, still hadn’t seen the film, so I invited him to attend A24’s special screening at the Alamo Drafthouse in Downtown Brooklyn, featuring free wine and popcorn, the common bribes. April had just gotten off the set […]

On Making a Proof-of-Concept Short and Getting Representation | A Filmmakers Required Toolkit

The following article, filmmaker and author Matt Szymanowski points out,  is not strictly an article about making a proof-of-concept short or getting representation. He says that if you only want to know about those subjects you can read these informative articles here and here, and here, and here. (There’s also an article on the subject here at Filmmaker.) Instead, Szymanowski, who has covered his filmmaking process several times in these pages, has written an article about how he made his own proof-of-concept short, how it helped him land legal representation, and how it has led to conversations with literary managers and agents. […]

How Signal Space and the VR Film Afterlife Are Moving Interactive Films Forward

Films and video games have been moving closer together for years now, including open world games that mimic cinematic storytelling and videos that include viewer input in the style of a choose-your-own-adventure novel. The mechanics of the latter have often been intrusive, however, making viewers click a link or—with the recent flowering of virtual reality—direct their gaze at an icon indicating their narrative selection. While this can result in compelling products, like the 2017 VR film Broken Night, many filmmakers in the space miss the immersion of a traditional film and want to mask the more game-like control mechanics in […]

Unpredictable Tides: Distributors Talk Streamers, Foreign-Language Films in the U.S., and the Changing Festival Acquisitions Environment

With Toronto wrapped, New York upcoming and Sundance on the horizon, the film festival season is here, and distributors — particularly the traditional arthouse distributors — are facing tougher competition than ever. While critics and audiences struggle to keep up with the sheer volume of buzz-worthy films, industry executives must contend with tectonic shifts in the marketplace, ensuring in the process that their release slates are kept full of strong pictures.  In this new environment, when a pay TV outlet likes HBO scoops the competition by paying near $20 million for Toronto’s hot title, Bad Education, traditional distributors are often […]

“My Advice Is To Basically Get Help”: Industry Experts Explain The Quirks And Nuances Of Tax Incentives

If there’s one basic, all-encompassing piece of advice to take away from the IFP Week 2019 panel “Where Do We Go From Here?” concerning those crippling migraines known as tax incentives it’s this: Talk to someone. Even if you’re that rare filmmaker with a head for business, tax incentives (and grants, and rebates) can be mind-foggingly complicated. “Talk to someone” and variations on it are uttered again and again by the three panelists and their moderator, John Hadity, an industry veteran who knows as much about the subject as they do. “All the programs, they sound familiar,” Hadity said. “But […]

“You Give The Other Artist You Work With Individual Space To Be Free”: Ira Sachs On Writing Frankie With Mauricio Zacharias

Ira Sachs will get a lot of the credit for his latest film, Frankie, an ensemble drama with an all-star cast anchored by top-billed Isabelle Huppert, playing an international movie star whos been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Many will call it “Ira Sach’s Frankie” and single him out as its main creator. But just as the film isn’t only about Huppert’s character (Brendan Gleeson, Marisa Tomei, Greg Kinnear play her blended family), Frankie is not just about Sachs. Only one of his features, his 1996 debut The Delta, has been written solo. And four of the rest, Frankie included, have […]

“If You Really Want To Make Something You Get Creative”: Experimental Documentarians Talk About Thinking Outside The Box At IFP Week 2019

Documentaries don’t have to play by the rules of fiction films. Take a non-fiction hit like Won’t You Be My Neighbor?: It doesn’t merely tell a linear story so much as jump around subjects, with Fred Rogers’ life as a basic foundation. (Compare/contrast with the forthcoming Tom Hanks-starrer A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, which zeroes in on one slice of his career.) But some documentaries go way out there. The IFP 2019 panel “Out of Bounds” rounded up four creatives — two filmmakers, one editor, and a producer tasked with helping people like them find funding and distribution — […]

“Certainly Show Business Has Made Me Very Angry At Times”: Kasi Lemmons Talks Directing Harriet At IFP Week 2019

When Kasi Lemmons got the job of directing Harriet, a biopic about the abolitionist Harriet Tubman, she didn’t get to choose her star: That was already done for her. Cynthia Erivo, the Tony- and Grammy-winning performer and scene-stealer of Steve McQueen’s Widows, had been cast a year before the acclaimed director and actress had come on. But it didn’t take long for her to agree with the casting. “As I was doing my research, I got this picture of his woman, who is tiny, and strong, and fast, and who uses her voice to communicate, and who is a formidable […]

Wavelength Productions Announces WAVE Grant to Support a First-Time Female Director of Color

Wavelength Productions, the 90% female-helmed production company whose credits include the 2019 Sundance titles Knock the House Down, Where’s My Roy Cohn and Selah and the Spades, announced today the WAVE grant “dedicated to supporting women of color in telling their own ‘great f**king story.’” The grant, which is accompanied by 40 hours of professional mentorship by the Wavelength team, will award $5,000 to a first-time female director of color to support her very first documentary or narrative film, which should run between six and 20 minutes. “At Wavelength Productions, we know that women have the power to not just […]

“Just Keep Asking”: True Crime Filmmakers Talk About Pushing A Classic Genre In New And More Ethical Directions At IFP Week 2019

True crime has been having a moment, as they say, for a while now. In a way it’s never not been having a moment, but the genre has rapidly evolved in the digital age, when more information is available to more people, when conspiracy theorists run wild on Reddit and 4chan, and when there’s simply more content being produced. All this means not only more crime content, but also shows and movies that are more thoughtful, more creative, and even more conscious of ethical or moral quandaries that may crop up in the process of covering true crimes. The panel […]

“Technology Has Come A Long Way”: Todd Douglas Miller And E. Chai Vasarhelyi On Going Big With Apollo 11 And Free Solo At IFP Week 2019

Documentaries have been making bank at the box office the last couple years, which is heartening for anyone worried the blockbusters are the only game in town. Still, you don’t necessarily have to see small, intimate fare like Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, RBG and Three Identical Strangers on a giant screen. You can’t say the same about Free Solo and Apollo 11. One finds cutting-edge cameras hanging alongside mountain climber Alex Honnold; the other unearths 65mm footage of the eponymous spaceflight. Both played IMAX theaters, and they were an even better fit on the world’s biggest screens than the […]