› Darya Zhuk on Filmmaking
› S2BY Director Boots Riley
› Leigh Whannell of Upgrade
› The Rider Director Chloe Zhao
› Bing Liu of Minding the Gap
› Petra Volpe of Divine Order
Find more of our interviews ›››
Listen to the Newest Episode of The First Word Podcast:
"For those who support our dreams." Another wonderful short to brighten up your day (or week, perhaps?). One Small Step is the first short made by a brand new animation studio called Taiko Studios. Founded by Shaofu Zhang, who worked at Disney for years on films including Big Hero 6, Zootopia, and Moana, the studio is a powerful new animation house that operates between America and China. Co-directed by Andrew Chesworth and Bobby Pontillas, who worked with the animators in China from their offices in Burbank, is about a Chinese-American girl with great big dreams of becoming an astronaut. This definitely borrows a bit from the Pixar and Disney playbooks, but it's still charming and beautifully animated anyway. Watch below.
"Maybe relationships aren't supposed to be for love…?" The Orchard has revealed the trailer for an indie romantic comedy titled The New Romantic, from first-time Canadian filmmaker Carly Stone. Jessica Barden (from "Penny Dreadful and "The End of the F***ing World") stars as Blake, a young college senior who decides to become a "sugar baby" and date an older man in exchange for gifts, rather than love. "As she documents the adventure in the hopes of winning a journalism award with a generous cash prize, she sets out on a quest to figure out if society is right to judge these woman and if her own self worth comes with a price." I'm sure we all know what lessons she's going to learn. The cast includes Hayley Law, Brett Dier, Timm Sharp, Avan Jogia, and Camila Mendes. This premiered at SXSW, and it looks spunky and cool.
"I just think the three of us should go for a ride." Following two great teasers, Roadside Attractions has debuted the full-length official red band trailer for the holiday-themed, political comedy titled The Oath, the feature directorial debut of actor-writer-comedian Ike Barinholtz. Barinholtz also stars as Chris, who's married to a woman named Kai, played by Tiffany Haddish. The film is set around Thanksgiving time and is about a controversial White House "Oath" that turns family member against family member. Described as a "savagely funny dark comedy about surviving life and Thanksgiving in the age of political tribalism." Bring it on and all the savagery. The cast includes Billy Magnussen, John Cho, Meredith Hagner, Carrie Brownstein, Nora Dunn, Jon Barinholtz, Chris Ellis, and Priah Ferguson. I really enjoy how this trailer starts out with all the madness, and then plays back through everything. Can't wait to see this movie.
"These are our children, and we gotta set them free." Annapurna Pictures has debuted the new full-length official trailer for If Beale Street Could Talk, the latest exquisite film made by very talented filmmaker Barry Jenkins (of Moonlight and Medicine for Melancholy). Based on James Baldwin's 1974 novel of the same name, If Beale Street Could Talk is about a woman in Harlem desperately trying to prove her fiancé innocent of a crime while she is carrying their first child. Kiki Layne stars as Tish, along with Stephan James as her fiancé "Fonny", and the exceptional full ensemble cast includes Teyonah Parris, Regina King, Colman Domingo, Brian Tyree Henry, Dave Franco, Ed Skrein, Michael Beach, Finn Wittrock, Aunjanue Ellis, Diego Luna, Pedro Pascal, and Emily Rios. I saw this film at TIFF and it's pure bliss - I wrote: "it's a gorgeous film, visually and emotionally, and I didn't want it to end." A must see.
"Who knew there were so many babies & cats in the world?" Disney has revealed another full-length official trailer for the animated sequel Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2, following the second trailer unveiled in June. Arriving in theaters in only two more months! John C. Reilly returns as the voice of Ralph, the "bad guy" who is really a good guy, from the first Wreck-It Ralph movie released in 2012. This time he follows Vanellope, voiced again by Sarah Silverman, into the internet and there they meet the "netizens", getting in all kinds of trouble and, as the title says, they wind up breaking the internet. The full cast features Taraji P. Henson, Kelly Macdonald, Kristen Bell, Mandy Moore, Alan Tudyk, Jane Lynch, Idina Menzel, Jack McBrayer, Jodi Benson, as well as Gal Gadot. The more we see from this sequel, the better it looks! I'm really impressed by this footage, it seems like a super fun time at the movies.
Give your soul to the dance. Give your soul to the cinema. The fall movie season is well underway, kicking off with all the big film festivals - Venice, Telluride, and Toronto. I returned for my second year to Venice to attend the 75th Venice Film Festival and watched a total of 26 films in eight days before flying over to TIFF to catch a few more. The films I saw in Venice really stood out above the rest, better than almost every else from earlier this year (give or take other Sundance & Cannes films). This iconic festival is known as the very first film festival, and they have a legacy to live up to by bringing the best films from around the world every year. The fest is over, the awards have been handed out, but the films will still live on. To wrap up my coverage of Venice, here's my favorite films of the festival - those films that have remained on my mind.
"Who are all these people?" Nothing like a funny short film set in a romantic city to brighten up your day! Ciao Lola is a short comedy made by producer / filmmaker Oscar Boyson, running only six minutes in total. It was filmed in Venice back in 2016, and is now available to watch online. The short stars Jane Levy (from Fun Size, Evil Dead, About Alex, Don't Breathe, Monster Trucks) as Lola and Thomas McDonell as Peter, a couple visiting the gorgeous Italian city. There's some unexplained subtext to this that isn't implicit, but you'll figure it out as it goes along. I like the playfulness of this, and all the lovely shots of Venice. Enjoy!
"We all have a destiny." The Orchard has unveiled an official US trailer for the Argentinian crime biopic El Angel, which first premiered at the Cannes Film Festival this year. The film also played at the Sarajevo and Toronto Film Festivals, and will next stop by Fantastic Fest in Austin, TX. El Angel tells the story of one of Argentina's most notorious criminals, a boy known as "The Angel of Death" because of his cherubic looks. It all starts with Carlitos at age 17, when he meets a friend in his high school named Ramón and together they form a dangerously charming duo. The young man with the golden curls and the deadly aim was arrested in 1972, having just turned 20, with 11 homicides and over 40 thefts to his name. Starring Lorenzo Ferro as Carlos, along with Chino Darín, Daniel Fanego, Mercedes Morán, Luis Gnecco, Peter Lanzani, and Cecilia Roth. This looks like another fascinating and slightly scary portrait of a serial killer. See below.
"53 countries, oh my goodness! It'll keep us busy." HBO has debuted a trailer for a new documentary titled Queen of the World, from director Matt Hill, which will be available (in the US) through HBO in just a few weeks. This is described as the "landmark documentary" about Queen Elizabeth II, a "rare look inside the life of Queen Elizabeth II featuring footage from the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh's private film archives." The film includes behind-the-scenes moments with The Queen and other major members of the Royal Family, including Prince Charles & Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall; Princess Anne; Prince William & Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge; Prince Harry & Meghan, Duchess of Sussex; and the Countess of Wessex. It's a look at what it takes to be the "Queen of the World" and what it's like inside the hallowed halls of her various estates. This is a very brief and light trailer, they know the audience they're playing to with this film.
"How could it have disappeared!?" Netflix has debuted the trailer for the documentary titled Shirkers, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival this year and won the World Cinema Documentary Directing Award. It was also one of the most talked about documentaries of the festival, and it will finally be arriving on Netflix (and in theaters) in later October. Shirkers is the story of a group of friends from Singapore who made a film in 1992. After shooting wrapped, their American mentor vanished with all the footage. Years later, Sandi Tan returns home to Singapore after discovering the 16mm film canisters in New Orleans, to confront the past and piece together memories. "A kaleidoscopic punk rock ghost story!" It's a hard story to describe, but apparently it's incredible to see how everything works out in this doc film. It is a must watch.