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Time to Watch Documentaries - My First Visit to IDFA in Amsterdam

IDFA Film Festival

What's up next on the film festival tour? My next stop is at IDFA in Amsterdam in the Netherlands, in full known as International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam. This is another film festival I've heard about for years, and I'm finally attending it for the first time. IDFA is known around the world as one of the premiere film festivals for documentaries. They only show and host documentaries at the festival (with a few exceptions) but that means it's all about truth and non-fiction and cinema as an important tool for telling stories from the real world. I'm very excited to be here, I love Amsterdam, and I'm happy to start watching more documentaries. I wasn't always a big fan of docs before, to be honest, but I am a big fan now.

 Posted November 15 in Documentaries, Editorial, Feat | Comments

Interview: Swiss Filmmaker Petra Volpe on Making 'The Divine Order'

Petra Volpe - Filmmaker

"Sometimes you need luck as a director. We always think it's all about control and it is a lot about control when you direct a movie, but it's also about things that you can't foresee." There's a film now playing in theaters titled The Divine Order, from Swiss writer/director Petra Volpe. The film is Switzerland's entry in the Oscars this year and it's obvious why when you see it. This very entertaining, exciting, engaging film tells the story of a woman in a mountain town in Switzerland who rallies other women to join in the fight for the right to vote. Swiss women only passed a law in 1971. I had a chance to talk with writer & director Petra Volpe and I'm so happy I did - she's a joy to talk with and had much to say about making empowering films.

 Posted November 13 in Feat, Indies, Interview | Comments

Watch: Fascinating Video Essay Explains How Eyes Process Film Cuts

How Our Eyes Process Film Cuts

"For millennia, we'd never seen anything like film cuts. How do we process them so easily?" When you watch a movie nowadays, unless you're trained in the art of editing or filmmaking, you probably don't even notice most of the cuts. If the movie's editing is top notch, the cuts are designed to work in a way where you don't really sense them, so that you can still easily follow the action and dialogue in a scene. This video essay from Adam D'Arpino attempts to explain, scientifically, how our brains have adapted to film cuts so quickly. The full title of the video is - Strange Continuity: Why Our Brains Don't Explode at Film Cuts. It's a fascinating visual examination for movie nerds and science nerds alike, getting into the technical aspects of filmmaking that help our eyes, as well as the anthropological details that make it all work harmoniously.

 Posted November 2 in Feat, To Watch | Comments

Watch: Powerful Polish Short Film 'Everything Will Be Nice' Set in NYC

Everything Will Be Nice Short Film

"Where is that money, Piotrek?" We're proud to exclusively debut an award-winning short film online, titled Everything Will Be Nice, or Wszystko Bedzie Fajnie in Polish. This short, directed by and starring Polish actor/filmmaker Jan Kutrzeba, touches on immigration, love, trust, poverty, and loneliness. It was made out of love by a handful of immigrant filmmakers and two talented Polish actors living in New York. Kutrzeba "wanted to share the story of what it's truly like for immigrants trying to make it to the next day in the city, surviving solely on the love the characters share with each other." It was shot and it's presented as one long, single-take involving a Polish couple arguing at the morning in their apartment in the city. This is an impressive short, that played at a number of film festivals last year. It's worth taking a moment to watch.

 Posted November 1 in Feat, Short Film, To Watch | Comments

A Beach Town That Adores Horror - My Trip to the Sitges Film Festival

Sitges Film Festival

There's an adorable little beach town, about a half hour south of Barcelona, called Sitges. Every year, this town hosts a film festival in October called, of course, the Sitges Film Festival. Officially it's known as the Festival Internacional de Cinema Fantàstic de Catalunya (website here). Sitges is a "genre" festival, in the same vein as Fantastic Fest, screening horror, action, sci-fi, thrillers, and any other wacky, weird little features they find around the world. This year Sitges celebrated its 50th year, and for that reason I decided to finally attend this festival that I've been hearing about for a while. Oh my goodness, it's amazing. One of the best festivals in the world, almost so good that I don't want to tell you about it, because part of it what makes it perfect is that it isn't overrun with people (yet). But, it is my job, so I will reveal a little bit about it.

 Posted October 25 in Editorial, Feat, Horror | Comments

Interview: Denis Villeneuve on the Task of Crafting 'Blade Runner 2049'

Denis Villeneuve

"It's the multiplication of brains and [all] the people that you have to tune to make sure that they are all dreaming in the same direction." He's a master filmmaker and continues to deliver some of the best films of this decade - Denis Villeneuve. Born in Quebec, Villeneuve has been an acclaimed filmmaker for many years but finally got his foot into Hollywood's door after making Incendies in 2010. He followed that up with Prisoners, as well as Enemy released the same year, before making Sicario and Arrival. His latest is Blade Runner 2049, a highly anticipated, long-awaited sequel to the sci-fi cult hit from 1982 starring Harrison Ford as a cop named Deckard. I didn't get to chat with Villeneuve for Arrival last year (it was one of my favorite films), so I chased him this time for Blade Runner and got to spend a few minutes talking with him.

 Posted October 5 in Feat, Interview, Sci-Fi | Comments

Up Next - Sitges Film Festival in Spain & London Film Festival in UK

Sitges Film Festival

The fall film festival season rages on…! Up next are two more film festivals in Europe. I'm stopping by the Sitges Film Festival in Spain, a prestigious genre/horror festival celebrating its 50th year. And then I'm heading up to London to catch the second half of the London Film Festival, celebrating its 64th year. Both festivals kick off this week and continue through next week for a total of 10 days (I love that festivals continue to run for 10 days, it's always invigorating to stay and watch films for that long). This is my first time attending both festivals, which makes me anxious but it's also exciting. Attending a film festival for the first time is always daunting, but once I figure everything out and settle in for screenings, all is well again.

 Posted October 5 in Feat, Indies | Comments

Venice 2017: My Favorite Films of the Festival + A Final Venezia Recap

Venice Film Festival

We're in the thick of the fall movie season now, with the Toronto Film Festival finishing up this weekend. I attended my first Venice Film Festival this year (read about my experience at the fest) and saw a total of 26 films across 10 days. There are still many scenes floating through my mind, many great moments from these films. To wrap up my coverage of Venice, let's recap my favorite films of the festival as well as my two of favorite performances. I only had a chance to see three documentaries (Human Flow, Jim & Andy, The Rape of Recy Taylor) this year, so I won't be singling out one of them. Instead, I'll be talking about my two favorite films and a few others that stood out. As always, there's plenty to discuss. Let's begin, shall we?

 Posted September 13 in Feat, Indies, Venice 17 | Comments

Interview: Darren Aronofsky Talks 'Mother!', Cinema, Batman & More

Darren Aronofsky

"I tell stories. All I can ever do is express how I'm feeling at a moment." In theaters this week is the new film from acclaimed filmmaker Darren Aronofsky, a very provocative and intense feature titled mother!. The film stars Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem as a couple living in a secluded home, trying to fix it up and make it nice until one day uninvited guests show up. Mother! premiered at the Venice and Toronto Film Festivals, and the reviews have been all over the map. I loved the film (here's my review), because I understood exactly what he was doing. This is Aronofsky's outburst of anger about the state of the world, and the way we abuse and mistreat this beautiful planet we live on. While at the Venice Film Festival, I met with Darren briefly for a chat about mother!, and the state of the world - he's always fascinating to talk with.

 Posted September 13 in Feat, Interview, Venice 17 | Comments

Watching Excellent Films on the Lido at My First Venice Film Festival

Venice Film Festival

My goodness, this is a beautiful place. I am currently in Venice attending the Venice Film Festival, aka Venezia 74, for my very first time. After nine years in a row attending the Telluride Film Festival, I decided to switch things up and head down to Venice. Honestly, the main reason is that I could not afford the cost of going to Telluride. Now that I live in Berlin, the total cost of flying back, staying in the city, and buying a badge was just too much. As crazy as it sounds, flying down to Venice and attending this festival is actually cheaper. Telluride and Venice both take place at the same time, and they both play many of the same films. But they take place on opposite sides of the world so I had to choose one or the other. But it doesn't matter, you can watch great movies anywhere around the world and I'm lucky to be able to enjoy this lovely festival.

 Posted September 1 in Feat, Indies, Venice 17 | Comments

Interview: Lake Bell Discusses the Joys & Challenges of Making Films

Lake Bell

"I feel very proud to put something out there that is kind-spirited." Lake Bell has a new movie hitting theaters this week and it's worth a watch whenever you have the time. Many people know Lake Bell as an actress, from shows like "Boston Legal" and "How to Make It in America" and movies like Million Dollar Arm, What Happens in Vegas, and Man Up. But Lake is also a talented filmmaker, writing and directing original feature films. Her feature directorial debut, In a World…, a charming comedy about voice-over actors, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2013. She has followed that up with a romantic comedy titled I Do… Until I Don't about marriage that is opening in theaters soon. Lake stars in I Do… Until I Don't as one of the lead characters, and she also produced, wrote & directed it, which is an impressive feat.

 Posted August 30 in Feat, Interview | Comments

Check Out This Infographic About the Evolution of Movie Poster Design

Movie Poster Designs

Time for a quick look back at movie posters over the last 60 years. We're all used to seeing Photoshopped movie posters these days, with massive floating heads, explosions and lighting effects, and plenty of other cheesy design tricks. However, movie posters have a glorious history, originating as hand-painted pieces of art that were just as iconic and unforgettable as the movie itself. This new infographic takes a look back at "The Evolution of Movie Posters", featuring 12 different designs ranging from the 1950s to the 00s. It highlights some of the best movie posters in Hollywood history, and discusses how the design and style of posters has changed over time. The Jaws poster is one of the best ever made, and the designs for E.T. and Star Wars are also perfect. Check out the infographic below to dive even deeper into the history of posters.

 Posted August 14 in Discuss, Feat, Posters | Comments

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