PIFVA Reader

Feeds from Independent Filmmaker blogs with  current issues, topics and information affecting our independent filmmaking world.

Ben Kasulke has literally dozens of credits on his iMDb page, but running throughout his career are collaborations with two directors: Lynn Shelton and, more recently, Guy Maddin. And what’s remarkable is how different those collaborations are. With Shelton, Kasulke affects a seemingly casual, on-the-fly naturalism, never allowing his cinematography to deflect from the actors’ moments...
Filmmaker Magazine, editor Scott MacCaulay 01/26/15
Modern media has a perverse fascination with pinpointing the motivations of the millennial. When not publishing extensive reports on “hookup culture,” many publications are transfixed by the generation’s ostensible desire to simultaneously better themselves and the world, while still being unable to get it together and move out of their mom’s basement. With Mistress...
Filmmaker Magazine, editor Scott MacCaulay 01/25/15
Keynote speakers at today’s Producers Brunch at the Sundance Film Festival, independent powerhouses Jay and Mark Duplass issued a passionate and witty call to all the producers in the jam-packed house: keep making small movies. At an event that saw their own producing partner, Stephanie Langhoff, receive the Sundance Institute Red Crown Producers Award, they told producers to learn from...
Filmmaker Magazine, editor Scott MacCaulay 01/25/15
What fear — whether it’s personal, or one related to the development, financing, production or distribution of your film — did you have to confront and conquer in the making of your movie? How to Dance in Ohio is my first feature film since my children were born, so I originally set out to make it in NYC where I live with my family. Then my research led me to Columbus, Ohio and to this incredible...
Filmmaker Magazine, editor Scott MacCaulay 01/25/15
What fear — whether it’s personal, or one related to the development, financing, production or distribution of your film — did you have to confront and conquer in the making of your movie? What’s the fear of not ending up with the film you really wanted to make compared with the fear of losing your freedom to express yourself? Chorus was made instinctively, with no constraints and with a great...
Filmmaker Magazine, editor Scott MacCaulay 01/25/15
We all grow up with our own peculiar “kid logic,” a warped worldview shaped by the limits of our childhoods. We think our parents are normal. We think everyone is like us. But we know there are things beyond our own experience — countries we’ve never visited, people we’ve never met — and we build images of those places in our minds. Then, we grow up, and if we’re lucky, we...
Filmmaker Magazine, editor Scott MacCaulay 01/25/15
A happy surprise in the Premiere section of the 2015 Sundance Film Festival is a new feature from the prolific independent filmmaker Michael Almereyda. And yes, while Almereyda always seems to be releasing striking and important work, his new feature, Experimenter, does count as a surprise because in recent years that work has been mostly short films and documentary essay films. (One, the...
Filmmaker Magazine, editor Scott MacCaulay 01/25/15
Sin-Dee (Kiki Kitana Rodriguez) sits on one side of a donut shop booth, her best friend Alexandra (Mya Taylor) on the other. The camera’s on the table, restricted to shot-countershot looking up, with large windows setting both in sharp urban relief against different halves of a large L.A. intersection. With rapid cutting back and forth reminiscent of the dashboard cams in Kiarostami’s...
Filmmaker Magazine, editor Scott MacCaulay 01/25/15
Let’s all be inspired by Rick Alverson and agree to ban the very concept of “sympathetic character” from our movie-viewing brain. We’re all fixated on this idea, that we have to “like” characters and “connect” to them. Instead, let’s just decide to be interested in watching what is put before us, and let’s let ourselves enjoy having our...
Filmmaker Magazine, editor Scott MacCaulay 01/25/15
As a conceptual artist Michael Madsen doesn’t so much create nonfiction films as craft mind-blowing experiences, introducing even the most jaded of us docu-philes to people and places we’d no idea even existed. (Prior to IDFA 2010 I, for one, never knew about Finland’s nuclear waste storage facility Onkalo, the subject of Madsen’s Into Eternity and an underground cavern the size of a large...
Filmmaker Magazine, editor Scott MacCaulay 01/25/15
Based on Amy Koppelman’s book published by the independent press Two Dollar Radio — a book depicting the destructive despair of a housewife spiraling into drugs and bad sex — I Smile Back is being touted here at Sundance as the feature dramatic debut of Sarah Silverman, the comedian whose shocking riffs are always delivered with an unnerving sweetness and sexy demeanor....
Filmmaker Magazine, editor Scott MacCaulay 01/25/15
What fear — whether it’s personal, or one related to the development, financing, production or distribution of your film — did you have to confront and conquer in the making of your movie? Fear presented itself in so many guises throughout the making of my film, to me and I’m sure to everyone on the crew — mainly, I believe, as a result of pressure and communication and miscommunication. I guess...
Filmmaker Magazine, editor Scott MacCaulay 01/25/15
With documentary credits such as Magic Camp, My Brooklyn and Word Wars, cinematographer Laela Kilbourn entered Alexandra Shiva’s How to Dance in Ohio with a specific challenge, which she discusses below: to sensitively film without disrupting teens and young adults with autism. How to Dance in Ohio is a film following three teenage girls as they prepare for one pivotal rite of youth passage...
Filmmaker Magazine, editor Scott MacCaulay 01/25/15
“Ravishing cinema verite” is how the Sundance catalog describes the work of Bill and Turner Ross, whose elegiac American portraits crackle with a lovely lo-fi buzz. Following their New Orleans-set music travelogue Tchoupitoulas, the brothers immerse themselves here in Western within a world considerably tougher — two towns on either side of the Mexican border grappling with the...
Filmmaker Magazine, editor Scott MacCaulay 01/25/15
If you’re feeling generous, you might pat the programmers on the back for trying their luck with a raunchy comedy like The Bronze in one of the opening night slots of the Sundance Film Festival. But if you’re feeling frank, you may just go ahead and call this overlong Olympic satire from first time director Bryan Buckley for what it is: a solid, third tier effort. Co-writer Melissa...
Filmmaker Magazine, editor Scott MacCaulay 01/24/15
From set, the production executive was on the phone. “There are 10-year-olds saying the word ‘motherfucker!’ she said with concern. Would an “R” rating still ensue? None of us were sure, but we spent plenty of time on conference calls with lawyers trying to figure it out. So, then, when writer/director Jon Watts says below that ten-year-olds saying “the f-word...
Filmmaker Magazine, editor Scott MacCaulay 01/24/15
Returning to work again with director Shaka King (Newlyweeds) is cinematographer Daniel Patterson, who lenses the director’s Sundance short, Mulignans. Mulignans? From the Sundance catalog: mulignan(s) /moo.lin.yan(s)/ n. 1. Italian-American slang for a black man. Derived from Italian dialect word for “eggplant.” See also: moolie. Source: Urban Dictionary and pretty much every...
Filmmaker Magazine, editor Scott MacCaulay 01/24/15
Appearing in Filmmaker‘s 25 New Faces list back in 2004 after their home run of a short, Gowanus, Brooklyn, Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden have had what, from the outside, looks like one of the steadiest careers in American independent film. While others from that list struggle to make their second or third films, Boden and Fleck have moved from feature to feature, first turning that short into...
Filmmaker Magazine, editor Scott MacCaulay 01/24/15
What fear — whether it’s personal, or one related to the development, financing, production or distribution of your film — did you have to confront and conquer in the making of your movie? There were many fears that arose for me during the making of this film… but the main one was… would it ever get over the line and get made? And the “story” that came up for me around that was –...
Filmmaker Magazine, editor Scott MacCaulay 01/24/15
What fear — whether it’s personal, or one related to the development, financing, production or distribution of your film — did you have to confront and conquer in the making of your movie? The Amina Profile documents a huge fantasy, which unfolded mainly online, involving lesbian erotica as well as political activism during the Syrian revolution. Given that The Gay Girl in Damascus blog was a...
Filmmaker Magazine, editor Scott MacCaulay 01/24/15