Staying on top of the trailer circuit is a full-time job in and of itself. We're here to help. The fall movie season is inarguably in full swing, at least as much as movie trailers are concerned. This week, we're highlighting a few features that we'd hedge our bets on as being awards contenders by year's end, although if they're not, don't let that dissuade you of their worth and quality. Heavy-hitters such as Alfonso Cuarón, Gaspar Noé, and Michael Moore headline this week's slate along with a new feature starring Continue reading "Alfonso Cuarón, Gaspar Noé & More Trailers You May Have Missed"
The late cinematographer may be gone, but his remarkable images live on. Michael Ballhaus, the highly respected German cinematographer known for his frequent collaborations with directors Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Martin Scorsese, passed away last year at the age of 81 in his native Berlin. A veteran of the industry, Ballhaus' prosperous career spanned seven decades and three Academy Award nominations (for Broadcast News, The Fabulous Baker Boys, and Gangs of New York, respectively). Revisiting Ballhaus' lengthy IMDB page provides a slew of memorable titles that heavily influenced Continue reading "Watch: DP Michael Ballhaus and His Love for the Moving Camera"
For his latest feature, director Spike Lee enlisted the expertise of longtime collaborator Barry Alexander Brown. No matter how often they get resoaked, the blood on America's hands have never been washed fully clean, and Spike Lee's BLACKKkLANSMAN, a meta-period piece that proves the horrors of the past indiscreetly seep their way into the national horrors of the present, accentuates this to frighteningly startling effect. Retelling the true story of Ron Stallworth, the first African-American detective of Colorado Springs who, along with his Jewish partner Flip Zimmerman, infiltrated the Ku Klux Continue reading "How Editor Barry Alexander Brown Cut to the Heart of America in “BLACKkKLANSMAN’"
Far too many films receive a failing grade. [Editor's Note: This video essay is part of our "Everything You Need to Know" series created exclusively for No Film School by Senior Post. To revisit the first four entries in the series, click here, here, here. and here.] While not all films are created equal, who's to say they can't all strive for equality? At the very least, a film attempting to capture both the simplicity and intricacies of life would do best to display them accurately. Continue reading "Watch: Everything You Need to Know About the Bechdel Test in Five Minutes"
A long-forgotten camera was the culprit for movies worth remembering. While many filmmakers' first brush with production arrived while making movies as children with their parents' camcorder, few adult filmmakers have the experience of using a camera designed for children to make their feature films. Such is the case with a select few, however, including Sadie Benning, Elisabeth Subrin, and Michael Almereyda, each of whom used the long-forgotten PXL 2000—an affordably clunky Fisher Price camera designed for children usage in the late 1980s—to make independent work on the blurry, often pixelated Continue reading "Pixelvision Dreams: Why Michael Almereyda Used a Children’s Camera to Make Movies"
Featuring quite a lot of New York Knicks apparel Spike Lee's much anticipated narrative feature, BLACKkKLANSMAN, based on the real-life account of Officier Ron Stallworth's 1970s infiltration into the KKK, is set to open in theaters this Friday. Out of the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, the film was hailed as one of Lee's definitive best, and, debuting in 1,500 theaters, it may also prove to be one of his most successful at the box office. With subject matter that feels all too relevant to today's political climate (and with a Continue reading "Watch: Go On Set and BTS with Spike Lee on His ‘BLACKkKLANSMAN’"
New York's preeminent fall film festival, taking place September 28th through October 14th, announces its Main Slate selections. After the announcing of the films screening in this year's Toronto International Film Festival was made two weeks ago, the next prominent chip to fall on the autumn, film "awards season" calendar was the Film Society of Lincoln Center's New York Film Festival. Now in its 56th year, the uptown, Manhattan-based festival has long been one of the most respected, in many cases offering North American audiences their annual first glimpse of the Continue reading "New York Film Festival Announces New Films from the Coen Brothers, Jean-Luc Godard, and More"
The popular tech start-up shines a light on the filmmakers who persevered and made their desired careers a reality. Here at No Film School, we've covered the snazzy offerings of Frame.io throughout the tech start-up's three-year existence as a video review and multi-user content management system. The company has proven to be a filmmaker-friendly post-production resource from its very beginning, and throughout its new upgrades and product offerings, we've been there to cover each new company announcement. Frame.io is now taking a moment to cover its own users. Titled Continue reading "Watch: Frame.io Reveals ‘Masters Series’ Highlighting the Personal Stories of Its Users"
The Coens have worked with DP Roger Deakins numerous times, but let's take a moment to appreciate their films' sound design. An auteurist trait that often goes unrecognized is the sound design incorporated into a filmmaker's body of work. While film is undoubtedly a visual medium and the distinctions in cinematography, theme, and genre are not to go unnoticed, far too little attention is paid to the recurring aural choices and motifs that envelop a director's series of projects. Neither image nor sound is created in a vacuum, however, and neither is the relationship between Continue reading "Watch: Here’s How the Coen Brothers Use Sound to Strengthen Their Visuals"
The prolific producer made a stop in Locarno, Switzerland to provide an update on the current state of independent filmmaking. Currently the Head of Motion Picture Production for Amazon Studios, Ted Hope has been an integral part of the independent film infrastructure for decades. Having produced films by directors as diverse as Ang Lee, Nicole Holofcener, James Gunn, Todd Solondz, and Tamara Jenkins, Hope has proven an authoritative voice who identifies how the system works before advocating for the most effective way to shake it up. He's quite literally written the book on it. Continue reading "3 Tips From Ted Hope on Getting Past Hollywood’s Gatekeepers"
The new series from filmmaker Terence Nance is a thrilling collaborative experience. Curiously placed to air at the bewitching hour of midnight on Saturday mornings, Terence Nance's Random Acts of Flyness premiered on HBO this weekend with a first episode equally haunting and hilarious, urgent and yet placed in a horrific historical context. Part anthology series, part sketch non sequitur, Nance's creation is both singular (the sociologically racist perception of Black America as viewed through a White Gaze) and stringently all-encompassing (the deemphasizing of a white narrative as means to handing Continue reading "Watch: The First Episode of ‘Random Acts of Flyness’ Teaches the Art of Collaboration"
Staying on top of the trailer circuit is a full-time job in and of itself. We're here to help. Trailer Watch returns this week and it features, in one way or another, two biopics, two films based on novels, two films by first-time feature directors, a Netflix original, and a 4:3-shot film that's deeply steeped in everything 1990s. Oh that's right, there are a few period pieces too! Lizzie (dir. Craig William Macneill) Chosen as one my most anticipated films of the 2018 Sundance Continue reading "Barry Jenkins, Gilda Radner & More Trailers You May Have Missed"
This might be the next best thing to getting inside David Lynch's head. If a new movie or television series from director David Lynch is often hailed as an event, what do we call a literal event hosted by Lynch himself? A weekend gathering that takes place annually on both coasts (New York and Los Angeles), Lynch's Festival of Disruption is an all-out immersion into the welcoming yet cryptic, exciting yet mysterious mind of the Montana-bred auteur behind Eraserhead, Blue Velvet, Twin Peaks, Mulholland Dr. and many more works of art. Continue reading "Watch: Go Inside David Lynch’s Eerie Festival of Disruption"
Working on a script and have a love for skiing? This Lab is for you. It might be time to pack up your winter coat and the latest edition of Final Draft. After a successful inaugural run in 2017, the Middlebury Script Lab (based in Middlebury, Vermont) will be returning for a second, writing-intensive edition from January 11th - January 16th, 2019. A six-day mentorship program designed for writers working on their first or second feature-length screenplays, the Lab brings together industry professionals—including producers, agents, and fellow screenwriters, including, last year, Continue reading "Get Mentored by Screenwriting Professionals at the 2019 Middlebury Script Lab"
This spirited retelling of the famous Warhol superstar's final years is no sentimental biopic. Though her given name was Christa Päffgen, the singer and former Warhol superstar/creative partner of The Velvet Underground went by the singular "Nico" throughout her long-lasting legacy as a dynamic talent in the age of rock-and-roll. As a young girl in World War II Germany near the bombings of Berlin, Nico grew fascinated with sound of war, sometimes harsh and unpleasant, and made it a life mission to recapture that aural destruction wherever she could locate it. With a sound recorder, Continue reading "Why ‘Nico, 1988’ Used 50-Year-Old 8mm Footage from Jonas Mekas in a Fictionalized Biopic"
It takes a lot to be funny, but this upcoming Lab wants to make the process a little easier. While the old adage "dying is easy, comedy is hard," may or may not be true (we'd be damned if we put the theory to the test), we're pretty sure that coming up with a successful comedic concept can prove a challenge. As humor is subjective, knowing whether or not you're "getting it right" can be a frustrating and thought-consuming endeavor. Luckily for the humorists out there, the team at Big Vision Continue reading "Have a Funny Pitch for a Series? Apply to this Upcoming Comedy Lab in NYC"
Along with some accomplished fight choreography, filmmaker Laurel Parmet takes only eight minutes to document the destruction of a friendship. Director Laurel Parmet is no stranger to No Film School readers. After Spring, her quietly intense short which examined the delicate friendship between two young women, premiered at SXSW in 2017, our own Emily Buder spoke with the filmmaker about what it took to get that project to the screen. And just one year later, at SXSW 2018, Parmet returned to Austin, Texas with a new short, Kira Burning, a thematic follow-up that portrayed Continue reading "How Laurel Parmet Learned to Master Directing Teens in Her Two Award-Winning Films"
Augustine Frizzell proves a go-for-broke storyteller in this comedy that involves a potential robbery and tons of drugs. Only in the movies can bad behavior be considered justifiable, and in the case of Augustine Frizzell's debut feature, Never Goin' Back, there's quite a bit of it to go around. The scatological meets the pathological in this Texas story of two teenage girls (played by Camila Morrone and Maia Mitchell ) who live together, get high together, and work together at a dead-end diner that pays them just enough to cover the rent they share Continue reading "‘Never Goin’ Back’: How A New Director Made the Ultimate 21st Century Stoner Comedy"
Unfortunately topical, the reanalyzing of police brutality on screen has grown more relevant each passing year. A film is a reflection of its time, if not by choice, then by obvious circumstance. No film can distance itself from the historical context it finds itself produced in. Even if the filmmaker is in a self-desired bubble, the work speaks for itself, above and beyond what the director may have to say about it; the images hold weight and power. How we view them might ultimately change—some have aged right out of relevancy due to a shift Continue reading "Watch: The Perception and Fear of Law Enforcement On-Screen"
Actress Jordana Spiro makes her feature directorial debut with a moving tale of a sibling bond and a quest for vengeance. Co-winner of the NEXT Innovator Prize at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, Jordana Spiro's debut feature, Night Comes On, is both sociological and personal, as much a story of two young women's futures as it is the innocent childhoods society usurped them of. After serving her required sentence at a youth detention facility, Angel (Dominique Fishback) returns back to Philadelphia, determined to get her life back on track by securing a job and Continue reading "‘Night Comes On’: Jordana Spiro on What to Remember When Making Your First Feature"