Reviews

Netflix and the afterlife of indies

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For a documentary, Deadline (2004) was, by all accounts, a big success. The film, which profiled Illinois Governor George Ryan and his decision to condemn the death penalty in Illinois, toured the festival circuit to rave reviews and was nominated for a Grand Jury Prize at Sundance in 2004. Producers for NBC’s Dateline made the… Read more »

In a Galaxy Far, Far Away…

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As I start writing this, I’ve just ejected from my VCR the 349th entry for this year’s Revelation Perth International Film Festival and…well…it looks like I picked the wrong week to quit smoking. I love programming the event. It’s always fascinating to see how distance and borders melt under the influence of common themes. It’s… Read more »

Soul Tracks

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The image of the hip black detective played by Richard Roundtree in Gordon Parks’s unforgettable 1971 film, Shaft, precursor to the “blaxploitation” film explosion of the 70s, is inseparable from the brilliant musical soundtrack composed for that movie by Isaac Hayes (“…Shaft is a bad muther—Shut your mouth!”). The music and film go together like… Read more »

Filming Fahrenheit 9/11

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Whoever said you have to be based out of New York or Los Angeles to be associated with the Palm d’Or-winning film at the Cannes Film Festival? Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, I started a video production company fifteen years ago. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be the DP… Read more »

Sex, Cats and Rock & Roll

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If anyone captured the spirit of this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, it was the codger who hoisted a placard that read: “The Toronto Film Festival is Satan’s Idea of Entertainment.” This middle-aged gentleman was part of a 150-person demonstration protesting the premiere screening of Casuistry: The Art of Killing a Cat. This ominous documentary… Read more »

Sundance Feels the Burn

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There are two Sundance Film Festivals. The made-for-television, glamorous, Los Angeles-chic Sundance can be seen on Entertainment Tonight and Extra: Hollywood stars walk red carpet lines; former Vice President Al Gore presses flesh with average moviegoers after taking in a showing of Born into Brothels; Paris Hilton gives an impromptu stage performance at the Blender… Read more »

Aaton’s Cantar & A-Minima

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Aaton, the innovative French camera and audio manufacturer, has recently released two new and remarkable products—the Cantar digital audio recorder, and the A-Minima Super16 film camera. The A-Minima is a film camera built to operate like a DV camera, while the Cantar is a digital audio recorder that operates much like a standard reel-to-reel recorder,… Read more »

Sweet Sixteen

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MAY 10, 2003 The movie premieres at the Tribeca Film Festival. I watch from the aisle and think, “Man this looks good.” The movie is Nights Like These, a 16mm black and white short I shot the year before, about a bored shadow that attempts to switch places with the shadow of a mysterious, hopefully… Read more »

Festival Circuit

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Nestled next to majestic Mt. Tamalpais and filled with four-star restaurants, fine watering holes, and numerous natural wonders, the small city of Mill Valley nestled in Northern California’s Marin County provides a great backdrop for a relatively small but exceptional film festival. Without the frantic energy of Sundance, Cannes, and other higher profile film festivals,… Read more »

The IFP Market's Silver Anniversary

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A painter who hijacks billboards for subversive messages against corporate advertising; a man trying to convert his car to run on French fry oil; a boxing cutman who loses his touch; a homeless African American man struggling to find an apartment and reclaim his dignity; a dying Hollywood producer who bribes his son into filming… Read more »