PIFVA Reader

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

Not to go overboard with the Paul Thomas Anderson supercuts (but to go a little overboard with the Paul Thomas Anderson supercuts), here is a nice essay from Jacob T. Swinney that strings together a selection of long shots from the director’s first six films — a nice contrast to his application of close-ups in Boogie Nights. Emphasizing the unmoored nature of Anderson’s...
Filmmaker Magazine, editor Scott MacCaulay 02/27/15
As Charles Dickens aptly stated: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” The global content business is booming in spite of US box office admissions not living up to expectations. Given the developing tastes of audiences and changing demographics, media today is inhabited now, not merely consumed. The recession forced innovation in funding and creativity, leading to an influx of...
Filmmaker Magazine, editor Scott MacCaulay 02/27/15
American Crime, the new TV project by Film Independent Spirit Award and Academy Award-winning screenwriter John Ridley (12 Years a Slave) puts an indie spin on the ubiquitous crime serial, creating a kind of fluorescent film noir. The series, which premieres next week on ABC, combines noir conventions (middle-of-the-night phone call, horrific off-screen “visuals,” moody close-ups) with cold-...
Film Independent 02/27/15
No matter the genre, you discover the imprimatur of the best classical Hollywood studio directors in all of their films—so posits the Auteur Theory. I accept the premise, with the proviso that it be applied, a bit differently, to the more distinctive non-Hollywood filmmakers, American or not. There’s a kernel of truth in the old saw that a director makes the same movie over and over. Robin...
Filmmaker Magazine, editor Scott MacCaulay 02/27/15
A frosty night alone inside an unheated school bus puts a hypothermic gradeschooler at death’s door. The multiple protagonists in model ensemble Bluebird milk the mishap, each in their own way. In an oddly similar fashion, director Lance Edmands works — let’s say plays — his audience. He short-circuits a chilling overview of the mishap’s immediate impact in favor of charging a...
Filmmaker Magazine, editor Scott MacCaulay 02/27/15
Making sandwiches may not seem to make for compelling cinema, but that’s exactly the activity around which documentarian Erik Greenberg Anjou (above right, not left) sets his newest film Deli Man. The film goes beyond that, of course, exploring the ways in which deli food and deli culture are a fundamental aspect of American Judaism. Anjou’s previous two films, A Cantor’s Tale ...
Filmmaker Magazine, editor Scott MacCaulay 02/27/15
You can’t say that Rishi Kaneria doesn’t know what he’s interested in when he makes his supercuts. Following logically on the heels of “Stanley Kubrick: Red,” which looked at that director’s use of the color, now we have “Red & Yellow: A Wes Anderson Supercut.” Red’s on the left, yellow’s on the right, and there’s an oddly...
Filmmaker Magazine, editor Scott MacCaulay 02/26/15
Directors Close-Up 2015: Night 5 (March 4) Justin Simien: Storytelling Across Platforms Individual tickets for Night 5 are available now. View complete details and previous nights. Justin Simien With Dear White People, a story deeply rooted in personal experiences, Justin Simien has not only put a spotlight on the latent racism that still permeates most social interactions in the US, but...
Film Independent 02/26/15
The advice that Dan Gilroy, writer and director of Nightcrawler, has for aspiring screenwriters is to “look at it like becoming a doctor. It takes ten years to really learn how.” Gilroy was on the panel for last night’s Directors Close-Up, which focused this week on screenwriting. Joining him at the Landmark Theatre were Big Eyes co-writer Larry Karaszewski and Beyond the Lights writer-director...
Film Independent 02/26/15
Lance Edmands’ ensemble drama Bluebird sets its story in a blue collar, hardworking industrialized town. The screenplay uses a tragic instance of negligence to connect age-defining experiences (first love, job frustration, potential loss of a family member) in the complex lives of its multitude of characters. Distracted by the title bird, driver Leslie (played by Amy Morton) fails to see an...
Filmmaker Magazine, editor Scott MacCaulay 02/26/15
You would think that the filmmaker behind such razor-sharp, atmospheric satires as Erica Wexler is Online and Perfect Thoughts would go for broke with an unsuspecting subject like Monica Lewinsky, but Doron Max Hagay had other plans when it came to designing his amusing new web series, Monica. “From the outset, I was dogged about not representing Monica’s story merely as satire,” says...
Filmmaker Magazine, editor Scott MacCaulay 02/26/15
With only three features under his belt, Matthew Porterfield has proven himself one of the most original voices in low-budget independent cinema, winning deserved praise from critics and audiences in both the US and Europe. Last year Porterfield made his first short film, the 30-minute Take What You Can Carry, which had its world premiere at the 2015 Berlinale. Inspired by a quote from French...
Filmmaker Magazine, editor Scott MacCaulay 02/25/15
Well, awards season officially ended this weekend and now we’re all feeling ready for spring (especially our friends on the East Coast). You know what that means: it’s report card time! Hollywood did manage to improve on its grade from our fall report card for its pitiful showing of female directors at the box office: of the 25 highest-grossing films of the winter, only four (Unbroken, Fifty...
Film Independent 02/25/15
We’re so excited and honored to feature Debra Granik in our fourth episode of She Does. Granik is the Academy Award-nominated director and writer of Winter’s Bone, which features a young Jennifer Lawrence in a gripping story set in the Ozarks. Winter’s Bone won several awards including the Grand Jury Prize for Dramatic Film at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. It also received four 2011...
Filmmaker Magazine, editor Scott MacCaulay 02/25/15
I, I wish you could swim I, I wish you could swim Like the dolphins, like dolphins can swim Though nothing, nothing will keep us together We can beat them, for ever and ever Oh we can be heroes David Bowie, “Heroes” “How could I do the movie without that song?” Brazilian director Karim Aïnouz asks rhetorically. I’ve just noted the few jabs he’s taken for ending his vibrant new film with the...
Filmmaker Magazine, editor Scott MacCaulay 02/25/15
Newlyweeds filmmaker Shaka King made the slightly unorthodox decision to release his short film Mulignans online almost immediately following its Sundance premiere last month. Turns out, King never thought of Mulignans as a festival hopper, but a piece of work meant to be seen by “as wide an audience as possible as soon as possible.” Currently at 61,000 views and counting on Vimeo, I...
Filmmaker Magazine, editor Scott MacCaulay 02/25/15
Branded content has become a big story. I’ve been working for awhile now with many different companies exploring film and new media partnerships, and increasingly, I’ve been working with some of them on documentary films. Most notably, I recently helped Patagonia with the distribution and marketing of DamNation. It was a team effort, and I learned a lot, perhaps as much as I offered...
Sub-Genre Media: blog by Brian Newman 02/25/15
Followed by what promises to be an amazing discussion between filmmakers and subjects alike, John Lucas’s documentary The Cooler Bandits will be screened Thursday, February 26 in New York at Columbia University. The event is free and open to the public. For Filmmaker, Alix Lambert wrote about the film and talked to Lucas while The Cooler Bandits was in post-production. An excerpt: The...
Filmmaker Magazine, editor Scott MacCaulay 02/24/15
There are resources to help you pitch your screenplay, and even articles for writers and directors on how to behave at a general meeting, but a broader discussion of how producers, directors and anyone else in the film business should play it when work talk moves off email to IRL is strangely absent from our tutorial landscape. Our friends at Tangerine Entertainment, Amy Hobby and Ann Hubbell,...
Filmmaker Magazine, editor Scott MacCaulay 02/24/15
This one’s zippy: a two-minute supercut of close-ups of objects and gestures in Boogie Nights, mostly the former. Taken out of context, a formidable amount of art direction and fetishistically shiny framing comes to the forefront. Entitled “Boogie Nights — Close-ups, Objects etc.,” this is the first video uploaded to the Vimeo channel of Justin Barham, who notes, plaintively,...
Filmmaker Magazine, editor Scott MacCaulay 02/24/15