HBO’s ‘The Tale’: Director Jennifer Fox on Why ‘There is Nothing in Documentary Like Directing Fiction’

Jennifer Fox reveals how her doc film career did—and didn't—prepare her for her feature debut. Jennifer Fox, director of the much-buzzed about The Tale, is used to taking risks. At the age of 21, the director left film school at New York University after one year, in order to follow the story of an aristocratic family living in a two hundred year old mansion amidst the destruction of a civil war. In a conversation with filmmaker Kitty Green at the Australian Screen Forum in New York, she revealed, "When I went to Lebanon, everyone Continue reading "HBO’s ‘The Tale’: Director Jennifer Fox on Why ‘There is Nothing in Documentary Like Directing Fiction’"

What Exactly Does an Agent Do For You?

During a panel at Cannes, four talent agents discussed their evolving role in an increasingly diverse industry. For those filmmakers and other creatives who are on the outside and looking to get in, talent agents have traditionally been thought of as the gatekeepers to the kingdom, the ones who, with a word, can deliver a career. Of course, it's not that simple, and while they're becoming increasingly more influential in the film business, many people still don't have a great idea of what an agent's role actually is. During a panel Continue reading "What Exactly Does an Agent Do For You?"

‘Revolutionizes the Film Industry and Our Lives’: Here’s How to Benefit from the Blockchain

A panel addressing the blockchain and its revolutionary possibilities for independent film took place in Cannes. Unless you're this guy, you've probably heard of Bitcoin, the crypto-currency currently revolutionizing the way people look at money. Bitcoin, though, only works because of something called the blockchain, which several companies are trying to turn into the next big thing in film production What is the blockchain? The UK Film Centre, as part of the International Pavilion at Cannes, attempted to answer that question during a panel called Blockchain 101, moderated by Emma Jones from Continue reading "‘Revolutionizes the Film Industry and Our Lives’: Here’s How to Benefit from the Blockchain"

Watch: Why the Midway Point of a Screenplay is So Important

Michael Mann's Collateral demonstrates how a story's midway point is the key to characterization. Having seen Michael Mann's thriller Collateral a few times now, I've always remembered how tight the movie seemed the first time I saw it, especially considering how big the production is. What I didn't remember was who directed the film (because with the exception, I guess, of Eyes Wide Shut and maybe The Color of Money, Tom Cruise movies always seem like, well, Tom Cruise movies.) Of course, the director was none other than Michael Mann, Continue reading "Watch: Why the Midway Point of a Screenplay is So Important"

Watch: How to Create a New Language for Your Film

If you're looking to create the next Dothraki or Shivaisith, this video looks at how some of the most famous fictional movie languages were created. According to The Economist, the number of people who've heard Dothraki or Valyrian, the two constructed languages (or conlangs) on Game of Thrones, is more than the number of speakers of Welsh, Irish Gaelic, and Scots Gaelic, combined. From Game of Thrones to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, conlangs are bigger than ever, and audiences have come to expect further attention to detail. Check out this video Continue reading "Watch: How to Create a New Language for Your Film"

RIP Legendary ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ Editor Anne V. Coates

Anne V. Coates, the legendary Oscar-winning film editor, has passed away at the age of 92. This morning, BAFTA tweeted out the sad news that legendary film editor Anne V. Coates passed away in California at the age of 92. Over the course of a seven-decade career, Coates edited more than fifty feature films, received five Academy Award nominations, (winning one for Lawrence of Arabia in 1962, along with a lifetime achievement award in 2016) and was a pioneer for women behind-the-scenes in Hollywood. During her career, Coates brought her sensibility and keen cinematic eye Continue reading "RIP Legendary ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ Editor Anne V. Coates"

5 Tips From the Creators of Pixar’s ‘Bao’ on How to Perfect an Animated Short

At the Tribeca Film Festival, Domee Shi discussed the process of creating Bao, the new Pixar short about a dumpling that comes to life. Pixar's short films have long been a staple of the studio's output. This year, writer/director Domee Shi continues the tradition with Bao, the story of a lonely mother who discovers a kitchen creation that comes to life in the form of a dumpling baby that she raises as her own (in Chinese, bao can alternately mean "steamed bun" or "sacred treasure.") Shi, the first female director of a Continue reading "5 Tips From the Creators of Pixar’s ‘Bao’ on How to Perfect an Animated Short"

Why Sound Design is Just as Important for Documentaries—and Two Ways to Approach It

The filmmakers behind 'Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable' and 'No Greater Law' discuss the unique challenges of sound design in nonfiction film. Two documentary films that are premiering at this year's Tribeca Film Festival were featured at a masterclass on Sound and Music Design For Film, moderated by Glenn Kiser, Director of the Dolby Institute. The two couldn't be more different. One is the inspirational tale of a champion surfer who overcame the loss of a limb to a shark bite, the other a sobering look at a community in Idaho where religious faith leads to children Continue reading "Why Sound Design is Just as Important for Documentaries—and Two Ways to Approach It"

‘Westworld’ Creators & Cast Pull Back the Curtain on Season 2

At Tribeca 2018, the showrunners and stars of HBO's mind-bending series revealed the new directions the show will take in its second season. The HBO series Westworld returned on Sunday night, but last week at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York, series co-creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, along with cast members Thandie Newton, Evan Rachel Wood, James Marsden and Jeffrey Wright premiered the second season's first episode before sitting down for a panel discussion moderated by writer Christopher Orr. They discussed the challenges of opening up the show's world, the timeliness and relevance Continue reading "‘Westworld’ Creators & Cast Pull Back the Curtain on Season 2"

Watch: 4 Iconic Camera Moves that Define ‘Breaking Bad’

This video looks at four trademarks that gave the series a uniquely hypnotic aesthetic. When people talk about the legacy of Breaking Bad, one name usually comes up: Vince Gilligan, the series' creator, writer, director, and showrunner. But the series, as famous for its cinematic aesthetic as its Shakespearean storyline, had another titanic creative force: DP, Michael Slovis. Slovis arguably played an equal role in shaping Bad, which was one of the most stylized TV series ever to hit airwaves. This video from ScreenPrism looks at four trademark camera moves Continue reading "Watch: 4 Iconic Camera Moves that Define ‘Breaking Bad’"

Watch: 3 Editing Techniques ‘Big Little Lies’ Uses to Create Empathy

The skillful editing of 'Big Little Lies' establishes relationships (and creates empathy) for its characters. In a video essay created by YouTuber mzak, we're shown how Big Little Lies, HBO's award-dominating series about characters caught in the web of a murder investigation, uses skilfull editing to help craft the show's emotional tone. The video essay focuses on how empathy is created within this cinematic television series, partly through careful control of multiple points-of-view that connect characters and guide the viewer's psychological understanding. This is thanks to a series of cuts Continue reading "Watch: 3 Editing Techniques ‘Big Little Lies’ Uses to Create Empathy"

What’s the Future of VR? Pioneer Nonny de la Peña Has Some Ideas

"Godmother of VR" Nonny de la Peña discusses the future of immersive journalism and VR technology. Nonny de la Peña, the "Godmother of virtual reality" and founder of the Emblematic Group, has pioneered immersive, walk-around VR experiences for over a decade. Emblematic produced the first VR documentary, Hunger in Los Angeles, which premiered at Sundance in 2012. During a Convergence Keynote at SXSW this year, she talked about new advances in technology that will add a new dimension to the immersive journalistic experience while lowering the cost of admission. She showed clips of some Continue reading "What’s the Future of VR? Pioneer Nonny de la Peña Has Some Ideas"

Watch: Paul Thomas Anderson and Richard Linklater Reflect on the Late Jonathan Demme

At the 2018 Texas Film Awards, two great directors sat down to discuss the work of another. According to a local website, filmmaker Jonathan Demme, who sadly passed away last year at the age of 73, "was considered a patron saint of Texas film." To honor that notion, fellow filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson was given the Texas Film Awards' first annual Jonathan Demme Award on March 8th. For the occasion, Anderson, who developed ties with the Texas film community while filming There Will Be Blood in Marfa, sat down for Continue reading "Watch: Paul Thomas Anderson and Richard Linklater Reflect on the Late Jonathan Demme"

Inside an Awards Campaign: Neon CEO Tom Quinn on the Success of ‘I, Tonya’

Behind-the-scenes of an upstart distributor's strategy to make waves through awards season.

Participating In a Case Study at the Australian Screen Forum in New York City last week, Neon CEO Tom Quinn discussed how his company brought I, Tonya to the big screen. According to Quinn, the film industry is "so competitive [and] expensive, unless you're going to build something that has a point of view and that stands for something. I didn't really feel the need to launch a company. The world does not need another film distributor."

With Continue reading "Inside an Awards Campaign: Neon CEO Tom Quinn on the Success of ‘I, Tonya’"

From ‘Witness’ to ‘Mad Max’: Takeaways from Oscar-winning DP John Seale’s Master Class

He's worked with directors Ron Howard, Barry Levinson, George Miller, Anthony Minghella, and Peter Weir, and that's just naming a few. In a master class presented by the Australian International Screen Forum last week, John Seale, the BAFTA and Oscar-winning cinematographer of over 40 films, dispensed anecdotes and tips from his career behind the camera. No Film School was on-site to report what we learned. Getting his start in the 1970s as a camera operator for the Australian Broadcasting Commission, Seale learned to shoot in the Classical Continue reading "From ‘Witness’ to ‘Mad Max’: Takeaways from Oscar-winning DP John Seale’s Master Class"

Watch: How Steven Spielberg Uses Sound Design to Add Structure and Suspense

As beautiful as Janusz Kaminski's cinematography is, 'Munich' is also a film that demands to be heard. While movies are an overwhelmingly visual medium, in the words of the Nerdwriter, Evan Puschak, "Visuals are simply the face of the operation while the audio is actually the puppet master, the one that really holds the power." The following video breaks down the sound design in a scene from 2005's Munich, studying how Steven Spielberg and Sound Designer Ben Burtt manipulate audio to make you "see with your ears." Continue reading "Watch: How Steven Spielberg Uses Sound Design to Add Structure and Suspense"

Watch: Discover ‘The Secret in Their Eyes’ and the Secrets of Revenge Films

Learn how the Argentinian Oscar-winner El Secreto de sus Ojos uses structure to subvert the traditional revenge plot. In this essay, from Jack's Movie Reviews, Jack looks at Argentine filmmaker Juan José Campanella's Oscar-winning Best Foreign Language film, El Secreto de sus Ojos (The Secret in Their Eyes), and how the film's non-linear structure highlights the tragic consequences of choice and in the process transcends the revenge genre. [Editor's note: this post contains spoilers.] Read More

Darren Aronofsky Delivers His Ten Commandments of Indie Filmmaking

The visionary director's SXSW keynote was a wide-ranging masterclass on the art of making movies, pushing filmmakers to bring their unique visions to the screen. During his first trip to SXSW, filmmaker Darren Aronofsky delivered a wide-ranging keynote that centered around his "10 Commandments of Indie Filmmaking," which, though its title may be tongue-in-cheek, was both passionate and informative, complete with lessons from his career, thoughts on the role of a director, working with actors, and more. Check out the mother! director's thoughts on everything from directing actors to camera placement, the importance of preparation, Continue reading "Darren Aronofsky Delivers His Ten Commandments of Indie Filmmaking"

Watch: How ‘Get Out’ Gives Us a New Perspective on Horror

In this essay, Michael Tucker looks at how 'Get Out' uses and subverts the rules of horror in order to bring a new perspective to the genre. At the 90th Academy Awards, Jordan Peele won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for Get Out, his debut film as a writer/director, and a movie that has become, in little more than a year, a classic of the horror genre. In this essay, Michael Tucker of Lessons from the Screenplay looks at the structure of the film to see how Peele both uses, and subverts, horror Continue reading "Watch: How ‘Get Out’ Gives Us a New Perspective on Horror"

Get More Out of Kickstarter With the New Patrons Program

Kickstarter announced its new Patrons program, which puts filmmakers in touch with institutional dollars and additional production resources. For Kickstarter, the crowdfunding giant started in 2009, film has always been a leading category (to date, 66,143 Film & Video projects have launched, with $338.18 million successful dollars pledged). That trend looks to continue with the announcement of Kickstarter Patrons, a pilot program whose aim is to build "a bridge between institutions that champion creative projects, and the creators bringing those projects to life." Patrons will work with Kickstarter to find "projects that align Continue reading "Get More Out of Kickstarter With the New Patrons Program"