Interviews

What an Actor Looks for in a Filmmaker

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He’s most recognized for his menacing role as Ethan Rom on Lost, most respected for playing the cheated-on, threatening husband in In the Bedroom, and most pitied as an innocent victim in The Grudge. Yes, William Mapother can play scary. But he can also play nice. Exhibit A: A charming scene in the light and… Read more »

Taking an Abstract Idea and Creating a Narrative

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King Corn is a slightly apocalyptic documentary that explores where we come from—or where our food comes from, at the very least. By interweaving a filmmaker-as-subject story of two guys, a cornfield, and some ammonia fertilizer with disparate elements, the film expertly tackles the complicated overarching issues related to farming subsidies in the United States…. Read more »

A Loving Riff on Punk Life in Tokyo

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The first time Pamela Valente, 37, set foot in Tokyo, she was instantly swept away. The Brazilian-born filmmaker, who’d been living in France for more than a decade, loved Paris, but longed to return to live in a city where the pace was more frenetic. So in 2003, she up and moved to Tokyo. For… Read more »

How to Get a Short on Logo

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Grassroots filmmakers are always looking for mainstream distribution, and short films often have a particularly tough time gaining exposure. Which is why the success of the Logo Network’s short-film programming is welcome news. Two years ago, Logo, which is basically MTV’s gay cousin, launched The Click List: The Best in Short Film, a weekly show… Read more »

Exploring Her Formative Years

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As a young girl, Hope Dickson Leach dreamed of becoming a painter. She attended boarding school in England from the ages of 9 to 17 and earned an undergraduate degree in philosophy from the University of Edinburgh. But after interning for the likes of Mario Kassar and Todd Solondz, she convinced Columbia University’s film department… Read more »

No Ordinary Granny

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It’s no ordinary day when a 90-year old grandmother sets out on a walk across the United States to make a point, and Doris “Granny D” Haddock is no ordinary woman. The protagonist of Run Granny Run spent 14 months in 2000 on her cross-country journey to bring attention to campaign finance reform. Along the… Read more »

Airing Your Dirty Laundry

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Doug Block wasn’t sure he had a film yet. His mother had passed away and he was videotaping his father’s move from the family home for posterity. Block had every reason to believe his parents’ 54-year marriage was happy. Then, riding next to his father one afternoon, he asked, “Do you miss mom?” “No, I… Read more »

A Conversation with Les Blank

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In his new film All In This Tea, director Les Blank operates at the far extremes of technology, using digital video to explore an old-world subject matter: artisan, handmade tea. Blank, who is best known for Burden of Dreams, Garlic is as Good as Good Mothers, and Chulas Fronteras, saw digital video as a way… Read more »

His Muse is the Rule of Law

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James Cooper is one of those globetrotting guys who has more stamps in his passport than you do. A Cambridge-educated Canadian who now teaches law at California Western School of Law in San Diego, Cooper spends much of his time organizing media-related projects in Latin America, where he teaches people how to use everything from… Read more »

Q/A: Chris Hegedus, Nick Doob, and D.A. Pennebaker

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In 1993, The Independent ran a story about The War Room, directed by Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker. The film followed Bill Clinton’s 1992 election campaign from inside campaign headquarters. This year, Hegedus, along with Nick Doob, the cinematographer on The War Room, released Al Franken: God Spoke, an intimate portrait of Al Franken’s growing… Read more »