› Doc Filmmaker Jeff Orlowski
› Cedric Cheung-Lau on Mtns
› Alex Winter on Making Docs
› Aust. Filmmaker Jennifer Kent
› Shadow Director Zhang Yimou
› Darya Zhuk on Making Films
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"Keep your head up, keep your heart open." Humans crave connection. We need to talk, and hear from each other, converse, and interact. How do you do that if you're a filmmaker with no friends, stuck at home? Let's ask Benjamin Berman: "I made a new film! The first film made completely in quarantine??? Possibly. Get yourself a little human connection and check out The Follow-Up." Berman made a doc film that premiered last year called The Amazing Johnathan Documentary, and this is kind of / sort of his follow-up. As much as this might seem to be a film about connection during quarantine, beneath the surface it seems to be about how we're so desperate to connect we will pay excessive amounts of money to have washed up celebs record videos to make us feel better. Which really does make this a good follow-up to his doc. Check this out below.
"You might wanna take a few steps back." Get a load of this! The Archivist is a "spaghetti western meets dystopian sci-fi" throwback made by filmmaker Eric Hand, and we have an official trailer for it that looks awesome. In the year 2070, Caulder Benson is a government archivist officer charged by an increasingly invasive and restrictive government to destroy all elements and remnants of his society's self-indulgent and avaricious past. Featuring "strong influences from Sergio Leone, Roger Corman, Monte Hellman films and a soundtrack inspired by Ennio Morricone and 70's rock." The film was shot on 35mm Technsicope, with the same cameras as The Good, The Bad & The Ugly. Starring Eric Hand, Dale Shumate, Jennifer Giles, & Butch Thompson. It actually seems like this was made in the 70s, which isn't easy to pull off. Take a look.
"All I want to know, is if that's the truth?" Cine Maldito in Spain has unveiled an official trailer for the indie drama titled Guest of Honour, the latest feature made by Egyptian-Canadian filmmaker Atom Egoyan. This originally premiered at the Venice and Toronto Film Festivals last fall, and played at numerous other festivals last year. It was originally set to open in April in Europe, but will likely be held until cinemas start re-opening. The film follows a father and daughter in Canada, as they attempt to unravel their complicated histories and intertwined secrets. Veronica wants to remain in jail for a sexual assault she knows she's been wrongfully imprisoned for. Both her and her father, Jim, find themselves acting out of the bounds of good behavior as the past haunts them. Starring David Thewlis and Laysla De Oliveira as Jim and Veronica, along with Luke Wilson, Rossif Sutherland, Arsinée Khanjian, and Alexandre Bourgeois. I caught this in Venice last year (my review) and it's intriguing, a sobering, sad story about how deceptive we all are.
"They know that this is addicting, they know it's problematic, and they didn't care." Dark Star Pictures has unveiled an official trailer for Screened Out, a new documentary by filmmaker Jon Hyatt, coming to all of your screens of all sizes this May. The film is one of many addressing tech addiction in the modern age. Join ﬁlmmaker Jon Hyatt and his family on a journey through the life changing eﬀects of screen addiction, how the tech industry hooked global consumers, and its greater impact on our lives. From smartphones, portable tablets and social media, the tech industry has designed these fun immersive technologies, but are they good for us? We all know the answer is "no", but we're afraid to deal with that reality, and afraid to figure out how to limit screen time. This film seems to focus mainly on kids and how appealing it is to younger generations.
"We're all being hunted." Gravitas has debuted an official trailer for an indie horror thriller titled Carrion, marking the feature directorial debut of filmmaker Michael Zaiko Hall, making his move into directing after years in visual effects. Jenya Chaplin stars as a young woman who shows up on her cousin's doorstep in Northern California after a ten year absence. As dark events from the past resurface, someone in the woods follows their every move. Who is she, and who are they? The film also stars Chloe Caro, Nathan Knight, Marc Victor, Sierra Goddard, and Oliver Caspersen. It's a bit hard to make out exactly what's going on in this trailer, but it looks like it has a nice, chilly atmosphere to it at least. Check out the footage below.
"You have to admire its simplicity. It's one billionth our size and it's beating us." Grab this latest podcast episode for a live discussion about the 1995 virus outbreak action thriller Outbreak, directed by Wolfgang Petersen. With the coronavirus pandemic on everyone's minds, we revisited one of our favorite virus movies - Outbreak starring Dustin Hoffman & Rene Russo. Both of us grew up watching this movie, so we decided to have a chat about why it's so good. In addition to commenting on the state of cinema at the moment and our hope that we'll be able to get this virus under control and open the theaters again soon. Friends Alex Billington (@firstshowing) and Mike Eisenberg (@Eisentower30) team up to bring you a podcast with in-depth discussion, analysis, and interviews about the latest movies, and some old ones too. Tune in below.
"My department was tasked with coaxing them into conversation with humankind. Our primary method is: torture." If plants are alive, can we communicate with them? That's the question at the core of this funky, funny short film. The official title of the short is Assholes, which might be a good title, but it's not an easy one to mention without someone raising an eye-brow at it. From up-and-coming filmmaker Jonny Look, the mockumentary short stars Linas Phillips as Dr. Albert, a scientist who is testing out various methods of torture in hopes of getting houseplants to respond and communicate with humans. The small cast also includes Kyle Mizuno, Will Hines, Ashleigh Hairston, and Sam Buchanan. As totally wacky as this entire short is, it's a hilariously well-made film that explores some household humor that hasn't been fully mined yet. Plants do have consciousness, of course! Perhaps we can try to treat them better after all of this?
"Bring the chaos, bro!" Netflix has unveiled the official trailer for a film titled The Main Event, the latest film from director Jay Karas (Break Point). This family comedy is about an 11-year-old aspiring wrestler kid named Leo who one day discovers a magical wrestling mask. He decides to enter a competition to become the next WWE superstar. Will his dreams come true? Seth Carr stars as Leo, with a cast including Tichina Arnold, Adam Pally, Ken Marino, and also featuring WWE Superstars Kofi Kingston, The Miz, and Sheamus. Heck yes, Kid Chaos, this actually looks damn good! Seems to be an amusing throwback to the wacky 90s movies where a kid would mixed up in some adult business after acquiring some magical object. Looks like a good time! All the wrestling ring moves shown in this trailer are hilarious. Check it out below.
"See the world through their eyes." Dogwoof has debuted a short teaser trailer for yet another new doggie documentary, this one titled simply Stray. The film looks a bit like a spiritual sequel or double feature with Kedi, this time about stray dogs on the streets of Istanbul (while Kedi is about the iconic cats of Istanbul). In Stray, a trio of canine outcasts roam the streets of Istanbul. Through their eyes and ears, we are shown an intimate portrait of the life of a city and its people. This was set to premiere at this year's Tribeca Film Festival. A "memorable journey that won't be easy to shake, the film allows its soulful canine protagonist to command the screen, and, in the process, become visible in a region where so many [other] individuals are forced to remain unseen." I love every and any dog doc and this one, of course, looks absolutely wonderful.
"Two powerful stories that show just how far family can take you." Disneynature has debuted one trailer for two of their upcoming nature documentaries: Elephant and Dolphin Reef. With the current situation, Disney has decided to release both directly to Disney+ for streaming next week. Usually they release a new Disneynature movie in theaters (and IMAX) once a year in April, but now they're releasing two right away. By now, everyone knows what to expect with these nature docs. Elephant, narrated by Meghan Markle, follows an African elephant named Shani and her son Joao as their heard make an epic journey across the Kalashnikov Desert. Dolphin Reef, narrated by Natalie Portman, follows Echo, a bottlenose dolphin who can't quite decide if it's time to grow up and take on new responsibilities – or give in to his silly side and just have fun. Dolphin society is tricky, and the coral reef that Echo and his family call home depends on all of its inhabitants to keep it healthy. (Including humans, right?) Both will be available to view on Disney+ soon.
"If we get this thing on tape, this could make us famous!" High Octane Pictures has unveiled an official trailer for a low budget horror thriller film titled Rootwood, one of the latest offerings from German indie horror filmmaker Marcel Walz (of Tortura, #funnyFACE, Blood Feast). This premiered last year at a small genre festival, and will be available on VOD in April coming up. Two students who host "The Spooky Hour" podcast together are hired by a Hollywood film producer to shoot a horror documentary about the curse of The Wooden Devil. Soon they will discover it might not just be an "urban legend" after all. The horror film co-stars scream queens Elissa Dowling and Felissa Rose, along with Tyler Gallant, Sarah French, Tiffani Fest, and Brandon Rhea. Big time reveal shot at the end of this trailer, but I guess that's the only way they can sell it and convince people to watch this. Maybe. Dare enter the forests of Rootwood this April.
"Frank – you have nothing to worry about." "Frank's gonna fix this." HBO has just revealed the full-length official trailer for Cory Finley's film Bad Education, which was one of the big breakout features from the Toronto Film Festival last fall. The film is a fictionalized version of the true story of the single largest public school embezzlement scandal in history - about schools on Long Island. You can read more about it in this NY Mag article that this film is based on. Hugh Jackman stars as Frank Tassone, the superintendent caught up in an embezzling scheme involving him and a few of his employees. The cast includes Allison Janney, Ray Romano, Geraldine Viswanathan, Kathrine Narducci, and Alex Wolff. Looks wicked good, demented but still good. Based on this footage it should live up to festival hype. A must watch trailer.