Features

The Medium is the Maker

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Filmmakers are often touted for their “vision”—their singular sense of how a movie should look, sound, and feel. But every film starts on paper, with a screenplay or even just an idea for a character or a mood. A director must partner with a cinematographer, a production designer, and others to translate that idea into… Read more »

Ask the Documentary Doctor

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Dear Doc Doctor: Is a short film the obligatory starting point of a filmmaking career? If so, what can I do with it when it’s finished? It doesn’t seem to make financial sense to make a short. Some filmmakers start with a short either while in film school or out on their own, and that… Read more »

The FCC Showdown

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On October 22, 2003, the FCC held a hearing on localism in Charlotte, NC. FCC chairman Michael Powell probably wished he’d stayed home. There was a kind of “Showdown at the OK Corral” feeling to the whole thing, with nearly 350 witnesses—everyone from fundamentalist Christians to independent film producers and songwriters—making strange bedfellows as they… Read more »

The View from the Whitney

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Chrissie Iles is the curator of film and video at the Whitney Museum of American Art and has been curating for twenty-three years. Before joining the Whitney in 1997, she was head of exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art in Oxford. Her Whitney exhibit, Into the Light: The Projected Image in American Art 1964-1977,… Read more »

Two Steps Back

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The Federal Communications Commission has voted to loosen media ownership laws, allowing one company to own television stations that reach forty-five percent of the American viewing audience (up from thirty-five percent). The new rules also permit cross-media ownership. Now, one corporation can own both a television station and a newspaper in the same market. On… Read more »

Counter-Currents and the Joy Quotient

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The label “experimental” has been troubling me for a while now. For too many people, the word only conjures up the films of Brakhage, Mekas, Anger, etc. So much so that the very term has calcified within the minds of hipsters and film aficionados alike—ending the canon in the seventies. Today the notion of producing… Read more »

Living the Indie Life

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The notion of the starving artist is a romantic one. Sepia-toned images float through our collective minds of creative geniuses scraping together enough pennies to drink a pastis in a Boulevard Saint Germain cafe, tummies growling while masterpieces bubble up in their brains. But the reality of life in the twenty-first century requires serious cash—and… Read more »

Puerto Rico

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I did not come here to kill. I came here to die. – Lolita Lebrón On March 1, 1954, Lolita Lebrón and three men entered the United States House of Representatives armed with weapons. Her fist held high and wrapped in the flag of Puerto Rico, she fired four shots towards the ceiling in defense… Read more »

Up to Spec for PBS

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Heather Courtney began shooting video of migrant day laborers in Texas as a graduate school thesis project, with few ideas about distribution. Los Trabajadores/The Workers eventually screened at over fifty different venues over the past year. As the film journeyed through the festival circuit and aired on PBS affiliates in Texas, Courtney never heard there… Read more »