Features

Why We (Still) Need AIVF

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When I started to write this article, I began with a David Letterman-esque list of 20 reasons we need AIVF. I included practical items like “to get a job,” “to fill out an IRS schedule C for an unincorporated business,” and “to find out which film festivals are scams.” But the real reason we need… Read more »

Moving Images

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Morgan Spurlock’s Super Size Me (2004) was an unqualified hit. The documentary, which followed Spurlock as he ate nothing but McDonalds for 30 days and interviewed a string of experts on the rapidly worsening American obesity epidemic, was nominated for an Oscar. It won at Sundance and at countless other festivals. It earned glowing reviews… Read more »

State of Fear

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The Last Shot The mobs were ferocious and loud. They were beating policemen, looting government buildings, and smashing the cameras of local media. I feared that they would turn on us. We were shooting the last scene of State of Fear, which documents the legacy of Peru’s war on terror, but to the rioters we… Read more »

Hell or High Water

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In 1998, I joined the production team of Julie Gustafson’s Desire, a documentary about teenage girls from three diverse New Orleans neighborhoods. Funded by both local and outside foundations, Desire was one of the first in New Orleans to create paid opportunities for local documentary makers. As a member of Julie’s crew, I met many… Read more »

Piecing It Together

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Shortly after Jean-Luc Godard released Breathless in1960, an exasperated journalist said to the young director: “Surely you think that a film should have a beginning, middle, and end.” “Yes,” Godard replied after a moment, “but not necessarily in that order.” Those words not only launched the French New Wave but have since inspired thousands of… Read more »

Woman, Thou Art Loosed

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Is America ready for gospel cinema? Independent producer Reuben Cannon thinks so. The former veteran casting director sees a vast, untapped audience similar to that which propelled Mel Gibson’s 2004 religious epic The Passion of the Christ to a multi-million dollar success. Except in Cannon’s version, the untapped audience is made up of several million… Read more »

Singing Pictures

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Movie musicals are not dead. They didn’t die in the 1930s. Television didn’t kill them. And expensive 1970s flops didn’t knock them out, either. They may have been hibernating or relegated to children’s animated films, but the musical keeps coming back, to haunt or to thrill, depending on your attitude. Some say Miramax’s Chicago (2002)… Read more »

Promoting your film

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Dear Doc Doctor: All I can afford in terms of marketing my documentary is my Internet connection and email account. What’s the best way to use them? There was a time when nobody had an Internet connection. Spam was just canned meat and attachment was mostly used to describe a bond of affection. Ah! Remember… Read more »

NEWS

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In July, acclaimed Indian-born filmmaker Mira Nair (Monsoon Wedding, Mississippi Masala) unveiled her latest project: a film lab for aspiring filmmakers and screenwriters from East Africa and South Asia. Built on the Sundance Film Institute model, MAISHA—which means “zest for life” in Kiswahili—will hold its first session in August 2005 in Kampala, the capital city… Read more »

Spice Market

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I am white and alone in a darkened room at night with over four hundred Dominicans in New York City. It is a room full of laughter. A room full of stereotypes embraced and shattered. And a room every American should experience in one way or another. Oscar Herasme, president of the Dominican American Professional… Read more »