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Friday, January 31, 2014

Films That Inspired This Year's Sundance Filmmakers

A.J. Edwards ("The Better Angels"): The work of Terry Malick, to whom I owe so much. Sergeant York, Mrs. Miniver, How Green Was My Valley, Pather Panchali, The 400 Blows, The Wild Child, Kes, Ken Burns' The Civil War.

Gillian Robespierre ("Obvious Child"):  Walking and Talking, Annie Hall, The Graduate, Crossing Delancey, Louie 
Justin Simien ("Dear White People"): So many! Some perhaps more obvious influences would be "Do The Right Thing" and "Hollywood Shuffle" but I also found major touchstones in films like "Barry Lyndon," "Persona" and Fritz Lang's "Metropolis."

Jennifer Kent ("The Badabook"): David Lynch’s films inspire me. I am amazed by their combination of beauty and violence. Also, he’s not afraid to be abstract. Lost Highway is probably one of my favorites of his and Mulholland Drive too. Also, there is a beautiful heart running through the strangeness of The Elephant Man. All round brilliant films. He stays true to his vision 100%.
Tracy Droz Tragos and Andrew Droz Palermo ("Rich Hill"): So many films inspire – whether they are films that are being made along side ours, like at the Sundance Edit & Story lab this summer – or classics that I revisit time and time again. For this film, “Queen of Versailles” was in some measure an inspiration. Our subjects embrace the American Dream just as in that film – but from a very different social and economic perspective. “Grey Gardens” and “The Graduate” are two personal all-time favorites; “Elephant Man” and “The Deer Hunter” made me want to be a filmmaker. 

For more, read the full article at Indiewire:

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Filmmakers: Here's How to Choose Between a Prime Lens and a Zoom Lens

The above link takes a look at how to pick the right lens.

Prime Lenses
Fixed focal length lenses offer a very traditional way of shooting. Before zoom lenses existed, this was of course the only way to shoot and as such a lot of the cinematic look that we are used to seeing on film today was established by early DPs using primes.
Today, primes are used as much as ever on professional film sets, and I highly recommend them as part of your kit, especially if you're going after the film look.
The main advantages of a prime lens are:
  • Sharper
  • Faster Aperture
  • Lower Cost
  • More Portable

Zoom Lenses
Although zooms are less traditional on a film set than prime lenses, they are certainly still widely used on productions of all sizes. Many of my favorite directors and DPs use (or have used) zooms, and for good reason. They offer a number of advantages over primes including:
  • Versatility
  • Ease of Use
  • Speciality Shots
  • Cost (sort of!)

Monday, January 27, 2014


The above is an interesting take on indie cinema from The New Yorker. Too many movies being made?

Manohla Dargis, of the Times says: “Stop buying so many movies. Or at least take a moment and consider whether flooding theaters with titles is good for movies and moviegoers alike.… It’s hard to see how American independent cinema can sustain itself if it continues to focus on consumption rather than curation.”

But Tim Wo counters: "It’s easy to look back at a year of films and say that only the good films should have been made, but that’s like saying that venture capitalists should fund only the Twitters and Googles and not bother with anyone else. It just doesn’t work that way."

I agree with Tim.


Friday, January 24, 2014

The state of indie filmmaking and The Sundance Film Festival

Sundance 2014 aims to bring fair weather back to US indie industry.

Click on link below for a good read on the state of indie filmmaking, what the Sundance Film Festival role will play, and the future of our business. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

How To Get ready for That Film Festival

The link below is an excellent source on all matters regarding the elusive film festival - what to do and what not to do, by indie producer Ted Hope.

Topics include preparation, sales rep, publicist, distribution, rejection, sales, strategy, social media, and on and on. Great resource.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Great new film!

Inequality For All

Starring Robert Reich, my favorite economist. Really good doc. Here's a link to the trailer:

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Fesitval and Deal Making Strategies

Click on the above link.

Really good article/post by Peter Broderick on:


Friday, January 10, 2014

American Cinematheque

The American Cinematheque is screening 8 1/2 for free tomorrow night at the Egyptian Theatre!

For details, click here:

This is a large screen film, so if you can, get the hell out of the house and see it. It's Fellini in all his glory.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Wong Kar Wai

Saw a screening of Wong Kar Wai's THE GRANDMASTER last night. He was in attendance with the DP - which was the best part of the evening. Good conversation on picture/framing/color/tone, working with actors, script and improv, etc.

He's one of my favorite filmmakers, and I always find inspiration with the look of his films, the camera movement, the framing and the blocking. Always creative.

I liked the Grandmaster, but it didn't work as well for me compared to films like DAYS OF BEING WILD and IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE.