Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk is the latest film by Ang Lee and premiered this week at two theaters. It also happens to be the latest major experiment with HFR (High Frame Rate, previously) in a major motion picture since Peter Jackson's Hobbit trilogy. But wheras Jackson shot at 48 fps, Lee has gone all the way up to 120 fps. The results? Well, reactions are mixed, but Slate's Daniel Engber tries to get at why that might be.
Finally going to get that independent film project off the ground? Think you're ready to go into production? A 1st Assistant Director Tells You What Mistakes To Avoid When Shooting An Independent Film. The main takeaway? It's all about planning, planning, and more planning.
Tea Party activist Norm Novitsky crowd-funded for the production of his movie "In Search of Liberty" (preview here), a movie on the US Constitution . Last week, after the crew was dissatisfied with their wages and working conditions, they voted to have the IATSE represent them and went on strike. [more inside]
The great John Smith, filmmaker and artist. The Girl Chewing Gum (1976), one of the finest avant garde films of the 20th century, Om (1986), The Black Tower (1985-87) (discussion)(MLYT/Vimeo) [more inside]
If you made (or dreamed about making) super-8mm movies in the late 1970's to early 1980's, and loved visual effects, you read CINEMAGIC magazine. You can download scans of issues here and here (the second link contains a bit more background).
Comedy actor Thomas Lennon describes what it's like to play a cameo on elusive director Terrence Malick's latest film Knight of Cups.
Take Flight [New York Times] [Magazine] The year’s best actors lift off in a series of tributes to the ultimate Hollywood magic trick. To watch in virtual reality on your phone, download our app. [more inside]
I want to direct good stories. I don't care whether it's a guy fighting a giant freakish eagle or he's trying to decide what to do about his divorce. I don't know why women are marginalized to talk about love and fashion.The Women of Hollywood Speak Out (NYTMag).
56-year-old (Peter) Stoney Emshwiller is interviewed by his own 18-year-old self from the year 1977. In the late 70s teenaged Stoney Emshwiller filmed several hours of himself pretending to interview his future self. Emshwiller went on to be an actor, novelist, editor, filmmaker and artist. Recently he released a sizzle reel - still on its way to being a longer film - of his older self answering some of those questions. Poignant and funny, this concept reminds us that the closest any of us can get to time traveling is still through the magic of recorded media.
Halloween Meets Gasoline: The 24 Hours Of LeMons is a short film by Marcus Ubungen about the race of the same name.
Over a decade ago, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow laid the foundations for today's effects-driven blockbusters. Why haven't its creators made a film since?
Video Essayist Jacob T. Swinney edited 3 dozen supercuts, many of which went viral on Slate and indieWire: Each tackling a single motif from recent movies: The Jonathan Demme Close-Up, Hearing Tarantino (or Paul Thomas Anderson), A Rorschach Test from The Master, Movies’ First and Last Shots, Etc. All 36 videos are on his Vimeo page. Among them is his own 2014 demo reel.
"That’s when I realised we were looking for something that only exists in the movies." (slTheGrauniad)
'Looper's Noah Segan (aka Kid Blue) Explains What It's Really Like As a Working Actor
While waiting to interview Looper director Rian Johnson during Fantastic Fest, a chance encounter challenged even my notions of what it meant to be a movie star. Sitting there, in the garish luxury of the Four Seasons hotel lobby, I met a rather lost-looking young man with whom I struck up a conversation. He was passionate and sharp, and it took a good five minutes before I recognized him as Noah Segan, the actor who played Kid Blue in Looper. I assumed he too had been sent by the studio to promote the movie, but in fact he had come of his own volition, on his own dime, and was being soundly ignored by the publicists.[more inside]
Talking with Noah, it became clear that, though he had appeared in several theatrical films, he was far from living the life of privilege and extreme comfort we tend to associate with movie stars. Noah’s experience echoes those of many with occupations in the creative field; the epitome of the blue-collar artist. This interview was completely unexpected, and we didn’t end up talking much about the movie, but if you’re struggling with the financial logistics of doing what you love professionally, you too will probably find a kindred spirit in Kid Blue.
A nicely lengthy interview with documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras. Poitras was one of the key figures involved in the revealing of Edward Snowden as the NSA whistleblower; she has a film (Citizenfour) opening this week. Poitras discusses her role as a documentary filmmaker, as well as her unique perspectives on the War on Terror, NSA surveillance, her status as a high-profile dissenter, and being on the receiving end of government harrassment.
“Alien 3 was flawed from its inception and it was certainly flawed—actually, pretty fucked up—well before we started shooting. So there you go. Take all of the responsibility, because you’re going to get all of the blame.” — David Fincher [previously]
The infamous letter denying women creative work at Disney Animation in the 1930s (previously) has an interesting addendum in a 1941 announcement by Walt Disney that the studio would be starting to admit women into the animation training program. Disney ends with a shoutout to "little Rhetta Scott, of whom you will hear more when you see Bambi."Rhetta Scott was to be the first credited female animator at Disney and drew the complex sequence of attacking hounds.Women's progress in the industry since has been slow but is recently accelerating quickly, so here is a random roundup of dazzling hand-drawn animated shorts by women: [more inside]
Film is Forever is a 16 minute short film made by students in the Lights, Camera, Action! class at West Ridge Middle School in Austin, Texas in partnership with Creative Action -- a team of teaching artists who run interactive performances, community-based programs and arts residencies in schools. More student-created work can be viewed on their web gallery.
After Michael Mann set out to direct Collateral, the story’s setting moved from New York to Los Angeles. This decision was in part motivated by the unique visual presence of the city — especially the way it looked at night. Mann shot a majority of the film in HD (this was 2004), feeling the format better captured the city’s night lighting. Even the film’s protagonist taxi needed a custom coat to pick up different sheens depending on the type of artificial lighting the cab passed beneath. That city, at least as it appears in Collateral and countless other films, will never be the same again. L.A. has made a vast change-over to LED street lights, with New York City not far behind. Why Hollywood Will Never Look the Same Again on Film: LEDs Hit the Streets of LA & NY
Gizmodo's look at the "Wildly Functional Studio of Video Wizard Casey Neistat." (SLYT) [more inside]
In 2012, 32 year old Jeremiah McDonald uploaded to YouTube 'A Conversation with my 12 Year Old Self'. Before long, the quirky and somewhat heartwarming video had been viewed over 10 million times. MetaFilter discussed it here. Here's a follow-up video, in which McDonald discusses the genesis and evolution of the idea: "Making Of" A Conversation With My 12 Year Old Self: Needlessly Self-Indulgent Edition
Director Ben Wheatley's latest film A Field in England was released last friday to cinemas, TV, home video, and VOD platforms in the UK. Mark Kermode, with full flappy-handed fervor calls it "very powerful, very strange and very hard to describe." To coincide, distributor Film4 has published a digital masterclass (contains spoilers) describing the making of the film all the way from commissioning to scoring.
Craft Truck is a filmmaker website and home of the web series Through the Lens, a regular series of interviews with leading cinematographers. [more inside]
The Directors Roundtable: Quentin Tarantino, David O. Russell, Ben Affleck, Ang Lee, Tom Hooper, and Gus Van Sant. Full video. (YouTube version)
Filmmaker, football ambassador, part-time poet, creator of a music video genre and NFL films president Steve Sabol has passed away at the age of 69. The winner of 40 Emmys, Sabol made arguably the single biggest impact on the mythology of American football, completely changing the way the sport was covered and photographed.
Spike Lee: The Dolly Shot (SLVimeo) Compiled by Richard Cruz, featuring "Bra" by Cymande.
The Seventh Art is an independently produced video magazine about cinema with three sections: a profile on an interesting group/company/organization in the industry, a video essay and a long-form interview with a filmmaker.
Loudly and with much smashing, FilmCritHulk has become a major presence in the world of online film criticism with his semiotical essays on storytelling, cinematic principles, and media theory. Starting first on his personal blog, Hulk now writes for Badass Digest [previously] (the lifestyle blog corner of the Alamo Drafthouse empire [previously, previously]) [more inside]
Take 210,000 colour transparencies – plus or minus a thousand or two. Examine them one by one by one, carefully and closely. Study – and think about – the framing, lighting and colour balance. Check for any blurring or closed eyes. Think about how they’ll look blown up to billboard size. Take your time. You’ll need to. Now make an initial pick – 100 shots, say. Then cut your choices down to 30 – ‘the brown bag’ in movie jargon, the selection which will go to the studio executives. Then trim that down to six transparencies. And finally, to just one image – the iconic one.
That is the process by which Stanley Kubrick’s 1975 film The Shining came to be known by that one, terrifying moment of Jack Nicholson’s wild, unshaven, grinning face – eyes sharp left – emerging through an axe-smashed door. And it’s how Murray Close learned to take a photograph.
In the Cut: Piecing Together the Action Sequence. A video essay in three parts by Jim Emerson.
- Part I: Shots in the Dark (Knight)
- Part II: A Dash of Salt
- Part III: I Left my Heart in my Throat in San Francisco
"I believe in the things I make. The fact that God doesn’t want me to make them is beside the point."
"The thing is, some really good scripts come my way, but there’s nothing in them for me to come to grips with, they are complete in themselves ... There’s no uncertainty. I don’t look for answers; I look for questions. I like when people leave the cinema and feel like the world has been altered for them somewhat." Terry Gilliam: The Heir of Fellini and the Enemy of God. (Also, recently on the blue.) [more inside]
"As part of the DGA's 75th Anniversary, DGA Lifetime Achievement Award recipient and three-time DGA Award winner, Steven Spielberg, was celebrated on June 11, 2011..." [more inside]
Film Film Film (1968), an award-winning Soviet animated short (1, 2), depicts the many unalloyed joys of filmmaking, from writer's block to studio censorship, working with children, unforeseen script revisions, delays, running over budget, technical difficulties, and uncertain audience reception. [more inside]
"I'm not going to be asked any conceptualizing questions, right?" STANLEY KUBRICK - THE ROLLING STONE INTERVIEW. Conducted in 1987 by Tim Cahill to promote Full Metal Jacket, it's considered one of the longest he ever gave.
Watch the 93 minute documentary on the making of The Social Network for free on IMDB - How Did They Ever Make a Movie of Facebook? (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4) (via)
The Magnificent Ambersons, Orson Welles' second film, has inspired a legend around the lost footage excised by the studio to make it more appealing to audiences. The film's making is a cautionary tale in letting the studio have creative control, and the finished product pained Welles to his dying day. The mythical status of the lost footage has inspired a few to try and track it down. [more inside]
Wild Film History is a guide to over 100 years of wildlife filmmaking, highlighting landmark films (1959's Serengeti Darf Nicht Sterben, aka Serengeti Shall Not Die - Clip 1, Clip 2) as well as historical relics (1910's The Birth of a Flower - Clip). Check out the links on the Key Events page for an overview of how the genre developed. The site also features biographies and oral history interviews with pioneers (mostly U.K.-based) in the industry. A project of Wildscreen.
Confessions of an Independent Film Maker is the video log about a Filipino guy who wants to make a feature film. After a year and a half, he's finally in production. Watch out for this guy.
Steadicam operators! Are you tired of simply walking with your camera rig to achieve that special wobble-free shot? Or maybe you're making a movie on the cheap and can't afford all that heavy equipment? Behold! The future of filmmaking has arrived! Presenting: Steadicam on a Segway! (Warning: Obnoxious, awful Flash interface on second link)
TakeZer0 is a weekly videoblog by two young filmmakers aiming to be a free basic film school for anyone interested, with lessons so far on shot composition, lighting, camera stabilization & the overall process.
Baraka is an astonishing film voyaging six continents and twenty-four countries. Directed by Ron Fricke, it is a visual tour de force painstakingly shot on Todd AO-70mm film. Information on the film (and its upcoming sequel!) can be found here or you can always watch the making of.
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