Miscellany

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.

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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?

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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?
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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?

 
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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?

 
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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?

 
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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.

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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?

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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?

 
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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 August 18)

SAGindie — Friday, August 22nd, 2014

During the week we often get so preoccupied with our real lives that we sometimes neglect our internet browsing. With the weekend ahead of us, we’ve compiled some of our favorite film-related reads from this past week: See what some industry heavyweights including Ted Hope (Martha Marcy May Marlene), Jim Jarmusch (Only Lovers Left Alive), and Mark Duplass (The One I Love) have to say about the state of independent cinema. So snuggle up on the toilet couch and get to browsin’!

 

Good Reads for the week of August 18, 2014

Does indie film have a future? (via Ted Hope with Anthony Kaufman for Salon)
Producer and indie film champion Ted Hope writes about the future of the industry in this excerpt from his book Hope For Film.

How sex, lies, and videotape Changed Indie Filmmaking Forever (via Jason Bailey for Flavorwire)
A look back at Steven Soderbergh’s breakthrough film on its 25th anniversary.

The next edition of Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide will be its last (via Matt Singer for The Dissolve)
Who knew an obituary for a book could be so moving?

Jim Jarmusch on Vampires, Music and the Future of Independent Film (via Chris Patmore for Indiewire)
The auteur speaks about his new movie, soundtrack music, and retaining control of your film.

Pulp Fiction brought guns, gimps, and glory to the Cannes Film Festival (via A.A. Dowd for The A.V. Club)
A look back to when a scrappy, violent American indie took a stuffy French film fest by storm. “It’s a scandal!”

Mark Duplass on How to Get a Movie Made in 2014 (via Mike Ryan for Screen Crush)
The actor/writer/director/producer spouts some crazy wisdom about filmmaking.

Updated to include: 5 Ways You Are Using Twitter Incorrectly to Promote Your Film’s Crowdfunding Campaign (via Richard “RB” Botto for Medium)
Some very sage advice on how to properly engage potential funders on Twitter.

 

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

Filmmaker Interview: Chris Lowell and Mo Narang of Beside Still Waters (via SAGindie)
The actor-turned-director and his writing partner discuss their debut film, how to cast for chemistry, and what to do when the power goes out mid-filming.

Movies You Probably Forgot Were Indies (via SAGindie)
From Terminator to TMNT, 7 mainstream movies with indie roots.

 
How ’bout you? Read anything good this week?

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

In Cased You Missed Them: This Week’s Good Reads

SAGindie — Friday, August 15th, 2014

During the week we often get bogged down with so much “work” and “socializing” that we sometimes miss out on good content spewing from the internet. If you’re looking for some interesting news, articles, interviews or essays about the world of film, fear not! You can catch up on some of the week’s best reads here:

 

Good Reads for the week of August 11, 2014

David Lowery Talks Jonathan Liebesman’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (via David Lowery for The Talkhouse)
The director of Ain’t Them Bodies Saints writes about why it’s okay for kids to like dumb movies.

The Essential Black Independents (via Brandon Harris for Fandor)
A list of 25 standouts in the history black cinema.

How to Make a Sundance Indie Film (via Briana Rodriguez for Backstage)
Director Charlie McDowell, actor Mark Duplass, writer Justin Lader, and producer Mel Eslyn on the making of The One I Love.

Attention, Filmmakers: Here’s 6 Traits You Need to Look for in a Sales Agent (via Bill Straus for Indiewire)
Bill Straus of BGP Film on how to get the best sales rep for your film.

How They Did It: Jesse Zwick Dives Straight Into About Alex (via Jesse Zwick for MovieMaker)
The first-time director gives a play-by-play on how he got his ensemble dramedy made.

Alamo Drafthouse is Coming to LA! (via Casey Warnick at Drafthouse)
Rejoice, Angeleno cinephiles!

Steadicam Inventor Reveals the ‘Impossible Shots’ That Changed Filmmaking Forever (via Ariston Anderson for The Hollywood Reporter)
How the man behind the iconic camerawork of Rocky and The Shining started his endeavor.

New Mexico’s Artisans Take Advantage of Incentives and Experienced Crews (via Iain Blair for Variety)
Why indie filmmakers and big studios alike are flocking to New Mexico to make their projects.

 
How ’bout you? Read anything good this week?

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

Criterion Collection on Hulu!

Will Prescott — Thursday, February 17th, 2011

A long time coming! More details HERE.