Miscellany

This Week’s Good Reads (Week of October 13)

SAGindie — Friday, October 17th, 2014

This week saw the unfortunate passing of two actresses who never really got their due: Elizabeth Peña and Misty Upham (for great examples of their talents, go ahead and watch Lone Star and Frozen River, respectively). In lighter news, there was buzz on the media landscape with HBO’s announcement that they’ll be launching a standalone streaming service for the kids who hate cable bills (and are tired of using their parents’ HBO Go passwords, presumably). Your move, Cinemax.

More Good Reads for the week of October 13, 2014

Zombies, Aliens and Robots: Gale Anne Hurd on Her Greatest Hits (via David Fear for Rolling Stone)
The woman behind The Terminator takes a look back at her prolific producing career.

Potent Posters: 8 of the Year’s Best (via Hannah Weintraub for The Credits)
Scroll through these purdy pictures and tell me you don’t want to see these movies.

In Film, Women’s Stories Break Through At Fall Festivals (via Bilal Qureshi for NPR)
Why the festival circuit is the place to find compelling films by women and about women.

Everybody Be Cool: “Pulp Fiction” 20 Years Later (via Nathan Reese for Complex)
Now Pulp Fiction can almost legally drink alcohol in the U.S.

Redefining Micro-Budget Filmmaking: The $6,000 ‘Layover’ (via Joshua Caldwell for The Wrap)
An insightful breakdown, from the development process to finding your market.

Mike Leigh Is the Master Filmmaker Who Hates Hollywood (via Nico Hines for The Daily Beast)
How the British director of Mr. Turner is still making films on his own terms.

I Re-Watched Shawshank Redemption and Your Mom Was Right—It Rules (via Lindy West for GQ)
Lindy West’s movie re-watches are always a hilarious time for your brain and eyeballs (see also: Jurassic Park; Love Actually).

 
How ’bout you? Read anything good this week?

——

If you’re an independent filmmaker or know of an independent film-related topic we should write about, email blogadmin@sagindie.org for consideration.

This Week’s Good Reads (Week of October 6)

SAGindie — Friday, October 10th, 2014

In case you missed it, this week we had ourselves a Low-Budget Contract Workshop (no worries, you can join us for next month’s workshop!). Other than that, the most important news of the week is ebola Twin Peaks ISIS that Newsweek did a story about fart jokes. Seriously.

Good Reads for the week of October 6, 2014

The History of the Fart Joke (via Gogo Lidz for Newsweek)
From The Marx Brothers to Blazing Saddles, this journalistic institution goes deep on everyone’s secret giggle-inducer.

10 Filmmaking Lessons From Paul Thomas Anderson (via Jason Bailey for Flavorwire)
Anderson’s next film Inherent Vice apparently employs some fart jokes of its own. Hoorah!

It’s time to stop freaking out about movies we haven’t seen (via Tasha Robinson for The Dissolve)
Let’s not be too quick to judge P.T. Anderson on his fart joke skills until Inherent Vice actually hits theaters, okay?

When Josh and Benny Safdie Met Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne (via Scott Foundas for Variety)
One indie-sibling-filmmaking-duo interviews another indie-sibling-filmmaking-duo.

IFC Films’ Jonathan Sehring on ‘Boyhood’ Oscar Campaign and ‘Crouching Tiger 2′ Backlash (via Tatiana Siegel for The Hollywood Reporter)
He agreed to fund Richard Linklater’s 12-year film shoot, but Abel Ferrara also hates him. Get inside the head of the head of the studio (did that sound right?)

‘Eleanor Rigby’ Director Admits Mistakes, Embraces the ‘Slim Chance’ to Show His Original Movie (via Steve Pond for The Wrap)
One script split into three movies with three separate releases… what could go wrong?

 
How ’bout you? Read anything good this week?

——

If you’re an independent filmmaker or know of an independent film-related topic we should write about, email blogadmin@sagindie.org for consideration.

This Week’s Good Reads (Week of September 29)

SAGindie — Friday, October 3rd, 2014

With a new month kicking off this week, SAGindie (along with a number of other sites, including our pals at Indiewire and Film Independent) recommended some must-see movies for October. While we obviously feel that our own list is the best, most comprehensive, unquestionable collection of films you’ll ever want to see (let the fighting begin in the comments section), there was some noticeable overlap on a few titles. The basic consensus is that the top picks across the board are: Birdman, Dear White People, Force Majeure, Listen Up Philip, The Overnighters, and Whiplash. So shoot those ones to the top of your list. But this week wasn’t all about movies-of-the-very-near-future. Take a look at the other film-related stories to hit the web this week.

 

More Good Reads for the week of September 29, 2014

Don’t Kill Your Movie: Avoid Deadly Mistakes with Distribution Deals (via Jerome Courshon for The Wrap)
Making the movie is half the battle. Distributing it without getting screwed is the other half.

It’s Been an Amazing Year for Animated Films – You Just Haven’t Realized It Yet (via Bilge Ebiri for Vulture)
While the big studios’ animated efforts have largely underwhelmed, foreign and indie animation is thriving.

6 Lessons on Filmmaking From Darren Aronofsky (via Sarah Salovaara for Filmmaker Magazine)
The guy who made Requiem for a Dream is offering advice. In the words of Sister Act 2, “You better wake up and pay attention.”

The First Oscar Lock of the Year Is Here (It’s Not What You Think It Is) (via Mark Harris for Grantland)
(If you think it’s the year’s buzziest indie film, then yes, it is what you think it is.)

Moviemaker’s Third Annual Guide to Digital Distribution (via Erin Trahan for Moviemaker Magazine)
Find out if you should aim for Hulu, iTunes, or some brand new site all the kids are crazy about.

Fall Deadlines Filmmakers Should Know About (via Oakley Anderson-Moore for No Film School)
Get the info on festivals, grants, contests, and other funding opportunities you may want to pursue.

Netflix’s Ted Sarandos Explains Adam Sandler, ‘Crouching Tiger’ Deals (via Gregg Kilday for The Hollywood Reporter)
Netflix is making movies now. Remember when they used to ship DVDs in the mail? Also, remember mail?

 
How ’bout you? Read anything good this week?
 
——

If you’re an independent filmmaker or know of an independent film-related topic we should write about, email blogadmin@sagindie.org for consideration.

SAGindie’s OCTOBER MOVIE PICKS

SAGindie — Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

birdman

It would make sense for October to be chock-full of horror movies, thrillers, and supernatural spectacles, and you can probably find a good movie to frighten you this month. But October also looks to be the month of the splashy indie, with a number of buzzy Sundance/Venice/Toronto Film Festival releases finally hitting the market. We wouldn’t be surprised if the entire roster of next year’s Independent Spirit Award nominees are from October 2014. ‘Til then, take a look at the movies the SAGindie staff is most excited for.

——

Darrien’s Picks:

OK, I’ll admit it. I. Cannot. Wait. For John Wick. Keanu Reeves in the genre of “man with a certain set of skills” just looks sexy and violent – and I should probably go back to therapy cuz I’m loving it. Heck, I love all of the “man with… skills” movies. I loved Taken (1), The Equalizer, The Grey (meh). So I’m glad that this one is coming out before I can be so saturated with this theme that I begin to hate them before I even see the trailer. There are others that I am interested in, i.e. Gone Girl (I didn’t read the book but it’s already been spoiled for me. I hate people!) and Fury. But there’s also The Judge and Birdman that are supposed to be great. I’ll wait for more reviews, etc.

 

Eliza’s Picks:

I Am Ali – a documentary about the greatest athlete of the greatest sport, alright SOLD.
Force Majeure – because I get it. I’d sooner notice my phone was gone than my legs.
Whiplash – Hey Miles, call me!

Films I’ll see again because I liked them so much the first time around: Listen Up Philip, The Overnighters, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night.

 

Colin’s Picks:

Along with all the other obedient Oprah Book Club members, I will be first in line for Gone Girl because I love most anything David Fincher touches (yes, maybe I even teared up a little during Benjamin Button. Maybe.) I’m also very excited for Dear White People because we’re overdue for a good social satire (plus their marketing has been on-point). Nightcrawler looks absolutely batshit crazy, which has me 100% interested (I already saw Birdman and will likely need to ingest all of that wonderful craziness again). And I’m ready for Whiplash to give us the antidote to all the “inspiring teacher” movies from the past three decades. Role models and impassioned speeches about seizing the day? No thanks. Give me emotional abuse and jazz!

 

Amanda’s Picks:

Birdman, which is surprisingly NOT a Marvel one-off, is one of the few films on my must-see list for the end of this year and it should be on yours as well. The dark comedy will surely showcase a stronger display of both character development and dramatic tension than any Marvel movie, and between Keaton’s return as a leading man and Iñárritu’s stunning directorial prowess it’s basically guaranteed to make the $16 ArcLight ticket worth it.

But… what would October be without a good scare-the-pants-off-you, make-you-double-check-dark-corners, horror flick as well? So it’s my great hope that A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night finds its way into theaters in time for Halloween. Highlighted at Sundance’s NEXT Fest this year, the film is an Iranian vampire western which according to Sundance, “combine[s] the simmering tension of Sergio Leone with the weird surrealism of David Lynch.” — I didn’t even know I had been searching my whole life for a Fistful of Dollars, Twin Peaks, Let the Right One In mashup until I read that sentence, but I’m ready for it. I also love supporting women in cinema, and this film has me covered; between writer/director Ana Lily Amirpour and female lead Sheila Vand, I’m ready for my daily dose of admiration. The teaser is sure to give you some chills, it worked for me. Let’s get spooky.

 
WHAT MOVIES ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING THIS OCTOBER?

——

If you’re an independent filmmaker or know of an independent film-related topic we should write about, email blogadmin@sagindie.org for consideration.

This Week’s Good Reads (Week of September 22)

SAGindie — Friday, September 26th, 2014

It’s been a promising week for diversity on TV. While ABC was premiering new shows like Black-ish and How to Get Away with Murder, the new media world saw the launch of Issa Rae’s ColorCreativeTV and the Amazon Original Series Transparent. Hopefully these new ventures will launch even more stories about folks that look a little less like the Friends cast (which also got a lot of love this week on the 20th Anniversary of its premiere).

 

More Good Reads for the week of September 22, 2014

The Age of the Streaming TV Auteur (via Adam Sternbergh for Vulture)
How today’s hit slew of streaming shows mirror the indie film boom of the ’90s.

How Sony Pictures Classics Survived the Indie Film Biz (via Ramin Setoodeh for Variety)
Speaking of the indie film boom of the ’90s, take a look at one of the last-shingles-standing.

Awkward Black Girl’s Next Misadventure: Her Own Studio (via Jai Tiggett for Indiewire)
An inside look at Issa Rae’s Color Creative.

Racking Focus: Indie Filmmakers Need More Screens (via Zachary Wigon for Tribeca Films)
Why IFP’s new movie theater is a good thing for filmmakers.

12 Things I Learned at Werner Herzog’s Rogue Film School (via Marie-Françoise Theodore for Indiewire)
This was bound to be more memorable than a semester at Tisch.

What’s Behind the Rise of Transgender TV (via Natalie Jarvey for The Hollywood Reporter)
In the wake of Transparent and Orange is the New Black MTV, HBO, and AOL add trans-themed programming to their schedules.

It’s Still the Era of White Television (via Kellie Carter Jackson for The Atlantic)
Before we start celebrating that TV’s diversity problems are solved, there’s still a lot of work to be done.

How to Address the Gender Divide in Filmmaking (via Sarah Salovaara for Filmmaker Magazine)
Ditto for gender equality.

 
How ’bout you? Read anything good this week?
——

If you’re an independent filmmaker or know of an independent film-related topic we should write about, email blogadmin@sagindie.org for consideration.

This Week’s Good Reads (Week of September 15)

SAGindie — Friday, September 19th, 2014

This week, a large bulk of the independent film world was occupied with IFP Independent Film Week in New York. And there was a lot of good stuff happening there (including an appearance by SAGindie’s own Darrien Gipson). Luckily for those of us that couldn’t attend, we’ll kick off this week’s must-reads with Indiewire‘s recap of the event, which you can read here. Boom, consider yourself educated.

 

More Good Reads for the week of September 15, 2014

Festival Strategy 101: Plot the Right Course for Your Film (via Valentina Valentini for MovieMaker Magazine)
Some great tips on making sure you find the film festival that best fits your project.

Alt-Fall Movie Preview 2014: The Wild, the Weird, and the Totally True (via David Fear for Rolling Stone)
RS shows some love for the little guys, i.e. the indie films coming out this autumn.

The Man Who Brought Stop-Motion Animation Into the 21st Century (via Caitlin Roper for Wired)
An interview with filmmaker/entrepreneur/very-patient-man Travis Knight.

Adam Wingard, Simon Barrett, and Dan Stevens on The Guest, and its place in their big plan (via Tasha Robinson for The Dissolve)
An extensive chat about indie filmmaking with the writing/directing duo and the dead guy from Downton Abbey.

 

In case you were ignoring us (aka blatant self-promotion)

SAGindie attends the Transparent premiere (via SAGindie)
We didn’t ask a single actress (or actor) what dress they were wearing during our red carpet coverage.

 
How ’bout you? Read anything good this week?

 
——

If you’re an independent filmmaker or know of an independent film-related topic we should write about, email blogadmin@sagindie.org for consideration.

This Week’s Good Reads (Week of September 8)

SAGindie — Friday, September 12th, 2014

This week brought us much ballyhoo from the Toronto International Film Festival (or “TIFF” as the kids say). Films premiered. Rights were sold. Actors were acclaimed. Festival employees were (no doubt) polite. But what else was happening in the film world this week? Drop on by and have your way with these links.

 

Good Reads for the week of September 8, 2014

What The Economics Of Snowpiercer Say About The Future Of Film (via Dorothy Pomerantz for Forbes)
Turns out people are willing to watch a niche sci-fi film from the comfort of their own homes. Nerds!

This Perfect Poster Is Dear White People in a Nutshell (via Kyle Buchanan for Vulture)
Even better than the poster art? The story about the artist.

This 14-Year-Old Wrote And Directed A Horror Film, And Now She Has A Trailer To Prove It (via Amanda Scherker for The Huffington Post)
She’s like the Doogie Howser of slasher films. (Turn that into a pilot, ABC Family!)

The iPhone 6′s New Camera Could Forever Change Filmmaking (via Angela Watercutter for Wired)
Your obligatory “new iPhone” story… (P.S. “Angela Watercutter” is a badass name).

Hey, Risk-Taking Filmmakers! There’s A New Distribution Company Looking For You (via Pamela Miller for Film Independent)
Now all those experimental films shot on iPhones by 14-year-olds have an outlet.

Iconic Film Company Orion Pictures Returns After 15 Years (via Germain Lussier for Slashfilm)
Yep, the studio that brought you The Terminator and RoboCop is back. Mmmm, simmer in that ’80s nostalgia.

 

In case you were ignoring us (aka blatant self-promotion)

Filmmaker Interview: Jill Soloway, creator of Transparent (via SAGindie)
Jill Soloway is a cool-ass lady, and her new show is great. Read It. Stream It. You Won’t Regret It.

 
How ’bout you? Read anything good this week?

 
——

If you’re an independent filmmaker or know of an independent film-related topic we should write about, email blogadmin@sagindie.org for consideration.

This Week’s Good Reads (Week of September 1)

SAGindie — Friday, September 5th, 2014

Coming off a holiday weekend, maybe you were in too much of a hungover haze to do some deep reading on the film industry. Not to worry, because we’ve compiled some of the week’s most interesting reads for you to peruse at your alcoholic convenience.

 

Good Reads for the week of September 1, 2014

How NOT to Negotiate a Distribution Deal (via Peter Broderick for Film Independent)
Some pointers on how to not screw yourself while selling your film.

Directors Like ‘Whiplash’s’ Damien Chazelle Drum Up Attention With Short Films (via Peter Debruge for Variety)
How short films can act as a launching pad for a feature-filmmaking career.

A Love Story: His and Hers and Theirs (via Larry Rohter for The New York Times)
How a first-time director is coming out of the gate with a three-part film starring Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy.

FilmDrunk Has Arrived At TIFF! 10 Films We’d Like To See (If They’ll Let Us) (via Vince Mancini for FilmDrunk)
Skip to the bottom section, where Mancini explains what it’s like to cover a prestigious film festival for a “less-than-prestigious” website. Unless you count dick jokes as prestige, which I often do.

The Movie Press’ Oscar Obsession Is Ruining Fall Film Festivals for Everyone (via Jason Bailey for Flavorwire)
Which campaign will kick off first, Clinton 2016 or Boyhood 2015?

The long cons of Rian Johnson (via Nathan Rabin for The Dissolve)
A look back at Johnson’s breakout film Brick and his under-appreciated follow-up The Brothers Bloom.

 

In case you were ignoring us (aka blatant self-promotion)

SAGindie’s September Movie Picks (via SAGindie)
It’s right there in the title.

RSVP for our Low Budget Contract Workshop on September 11 in NY and LA (via SAGindie)
Come get educated.

 
How ’bout you? Read anything good this week?

 
——

If you’re an independent filmmaker or know of an independent film-related topic we should write about, email blogadmin@sagindie.org for consideration.

SAGindie’s SEPTEMBER MOVIE PICKS

SAGindie — Monday, September 1st, 2014

skeleton twins

Ah, September movies. Too late for summer blockbusters, too early for prestige awards bait. A weird mishmash of genres that nobody knows what to do with. A month where films as varied as Crocodile Dundee, The Good Son, The River Wild, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, and Hotel Transylvania can all hold the #1 box office slot. So with superheroes in hibernation until spring, and the Weinstein Oscar machine idle until November, the SAGindie staff looks ahead at our most anticipated movies coming out this September.

——
 

Darrien’s Picks:

I don’t know if I’m coming down from my Guardians of the Galaxy summer high, but the films opening in September evoke within me emotions that range from “huh?” to “meh.” I am giving best wishes for The Equalizer because it’s always fun to see Denzel get his swagger on. And Jimi: All Is by My Side has a LOT to live up to. There are two more relationship-y (I may have made that word up) movies that have promise: The Skeleton Twins by our SAGindie favs the Duplass Bros. and This Is Where I Leave You. Either seems possible to break out as an indie(ish) hit. Both have casts of which I hold great appreciation, so there’s hope for September.

BUT, the film that evokes the greatest emotion from me is The Maze Runner. Not in a good way. I haven’t been so tense and claustrophobic watching a trailer since Gravity. And the cast is a plethora of young performers looking to make a name for themselves. That seems like a great indication, right? Maybe it should be, but to me it combines the intense discomfort of claustrophobia with my basic disdain for young adult television. A Gravity as performed by the Fresh Beat Band. I’m not saying this is fair… I’m just saying.

 

Eliza’s Picks:

God Help the Girl – 16 year old me is pretty excited.
The Last Days in Vietnam – I like being depressed.
Space Station 76 – You had me at 30 year old sexpot (which is coincidentally what I am).
20,000 Days on Earth – 20 year old me is pretty excited.
Lilting – I like being depressed.
Take Me to the River – I should have made this.
The Guest – I’m into weird hot dudes with guns.

 

Colin’s Picks:

I second Darrien’s choice of The Skeleton Twins. I am sort of an SNL junkie, so seeing Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig in a weird indie dramedy is exactly what I’m looking for in my life (I could probably watch them lip-sync to Starship all day). More than a few September flicks have me intrigued based solely on their casts: The Drop (containing two power duos: Tom Hardy & James Gandolfini and Tom Hardy & a pitbull puppy); Kelly & Cal (we’re overdue for a Juliette Lewis renaissance); and This Is Where I Leave You (that whole cast should definitely come to my birthday party). I’m hoping Two Night Stand turns out to be a better-than-expected rom-com (Miles Teller has been on a hot streak lately, so hopefully this one continues it). And I don’t know what the hell a Boxtroll is, but I think I want one.

 

Amanda’s Picks:

Although Superhero Ensemble 5 and Michael Bay Explosion Fest 17 were fun to see this summer, my mind and my wallet are ready to take a month to mellow out before Oscar season starts. At the top of my watch list this September is The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby. It’s rare that Hollywood tries something new, so when you say “a love story in three movies from three different perspectives” I say “take my money.” But the month won’t be complete without a comedy and a thriller in the mix too, so for the former, I can’t wait to see my future wife Tina Fey (yes, I know she’s already married) in This Is Where I Leave You; and for the latter, The Two Faces of January, because Viggo Mortensen is finally back on the silver screen! Ow ow!

 
WHAT MOVIES ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING THIS SEPTEMBER?

——

If you’re an independent filmmaker or know of an independent film-related topic we should write about, email blogadmin@sagindie.org for consideration.

This Week’s Good Reads: Summer Box Office Edition

SAGindie — Friday, August 29th, 2014

Personally, I thought (from a quality standpoint) this summer movie season was pretty excellent. The blockbusters were a little less dumb, the indies a little more thought-provoking. Not that it apparently mattered, since nobody went to the theaters. But don’t take my word for it. For your (holiday) weekend reads, it’s…

Battle of the Summer Movie Recaps!

Who’s ready for insight?! And contradictions?

 
4 Summer Movie Lessons Hollywood Must Learn (via Kyle Buchanan for Vulture)
Sample takeaway: “Make More Comedies” (no argument here).

What Went Wrong (And Right) At The Movies This Summer (via Adam B. Vary and Alison Willmore for BuzzFeed)
Sample takeaway: “There were a decent number of indie success stories this year.” (woo hoo!)

The Winners & Losers Of Summer Movies 2014 (via Oliver Lyttleton for Indiewire)
Sample takeaway: “It’s been a fairly disappointing year, box-office wise, for indie cinema…” (damn, okay then)

Good News/Bad News About 2014 Summer Movie Box Office (via Scott Mendelson for Forbes)
Sample takeaway: “…Perhaps we should be reevaluating what constitutes an indie break out.” (can’t we all just get along?)

Box Office Down 15% in Hollywood’s Worst Summer in Nearly a Decade (via Brent Lang for Variety)
Sample takeaway: “You can’t chalk it up to anything other than a weak slate of movies that didn’t resonate with consumers.” (nihilist)

What This Summer’s Blockbusters Got Wrong (And Right) (via Kate Erbland for ScreenCrush)
Sample takeaway: “…The box office offered plenty of new alternatives for moviegoers burnt out on been-there-done-that fare.” (hope!)

Five charts that explain why we didn’t go to the movies this summer (via Alex Abad-Santos for Vox)
Sample takeaway: Charts. Lots of charts.

 
How ’bout you? Read anything good this week?

 
——

If you’re an independent filmmaker or know of an independent film-related topic we should write about, email blogadmin@sagindie.org for consideration.