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What a year 2020 was. A year unlike any other, full of tragedy and chaos, but despite all of that - the magic of the movies still brings us together. One of the annual must-see best of the year lists is a video countdown made by my colleague David Ehrlich (follow him @davidehrlich). He counts down his 25 best films of the year in a video edited together with footage and music from the films. It's one of the best ways to look back at the year, but also to celebrate how beautiful and mesmerizing and moving and magical each of these films are. David's Top 25 of 2020 is as diverse as always, and you will likely discover a number of films from this video. A handful of my favorites are featured as well, including Minari and Babyteeth and Lover's Rock.
Over the previous 12 months, I've seen more than 110 new releases, and I'm happy to report that it's been another fantastic year at the movies, despite not being able to actually go to the movies. Throughout 2020, we got to see new work from visionary filmmakers like Spike Lee, David Fincher, Chloe Zhao, Regina King, Lee Isaac Chung, Emerald Fennell, and Oz Perkins, whose dark fairytale Gretel & Hansel is one of the most atmospheric and aesthetically pleasing horror movies of the year. We also witnessed great performances from Viola Davis, Delroy Lindo, Frances McDormand, Chadwick Boseman, Carey Mulligan, Riz Ahmed, Gary Oldman, Elisabeth Moss, and Steven Yeun. And we were left in awe by cinematic art like Mank, News of the World, The Midnight Sky, Emma – works of impeccable craftsmanship by the cinematographers, production designers, SFX artists, and costume designers alike.
Great stories deserve the big screen. Welcome back. Are you ready to go back to the cinema? Movie studios and movie theaters have launched an official campaign called "Love Cinema", a way to celebrate the magic of movies. It's a small marketing campaigned designed to get people back to movie theaters now that they're re-opening after the pandemic shut them down for 5 months. This is entirely a UK-based campaign - so far all of the UK distributors have been posting about it - you can also follow the @LoveCinemaUK account on Twitter. The 94-second video features footage from all kinds of movies, and footage of movie theaters and people in a theater enjoying the big screen experience. There's also a website with more info on how to find open cinemas and nostalgia for movie theaters and details on upcoming releases. Are you not entertained?!
Let the Awe and Mystery of a Journey Unlike Any Other Begin. Isolation can do strange things to human beings. But it can also spark creativity and imagination, as is the case with this cinematic lockdown creation. 2020: An Isolation Odyssey is a homemade "reenactment of the iconic finale of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Restaged in the context of home quarantine, the journey through time adapts to the mundane dramas of self-isolation–poking fun at the navel-gazing saga of life alone and indoors." This video project was made by Brooklyn-based designer Lydia Cambron, who shot this at her apartment over two months from March to May earlier this year. It's impressive in many ways - how meticulous and perfect every shot is compared to the original. But also how an entirely different space, with different "set dressing" and design, can still evoke the same feelings of intrigue and mysterious and loneliness from Kubrick's film. This lockdown update still feels exactly like the original scene, despite being looking so different. This video is definitely worth a watch.
"The hero is the agent of change." Without any Comic-Cons this year, the New York Comic-Con has decided to host virtual panels online instead. One of the best offerings so far is this fascinating one-hour-long Q&A conversation with filmmaker George Miller. Film journalist Josh Horowitz connected with Miller virtually over the web to talk with him about all kinds of different things - with a focus on celebrating five years since Max Mad: Fury Road. "Heath Ledger as Max? Did Furiosa become a tyrant? The deleted scenes we never saw? Tons in here." Horowitz also asked questions from other filmmakers (who love Miller) including Rian Johnson, M. Night Shyamalan, Patty Jenkins, and Gina Prince-Bythewood. Miller also talks about the Mad Max prequels / sequels and why Charlize Theron's Furiosa might not be the hero we all hope she is (by the end of Fury Road). A must watch/listen interview with a cinema master - take the time to watch all of this.
"If you're ever making any piece of art, you've gotta be challenging while you're doing it and making sure that it's not something anyone's seen before, otherwise you're wasting everyone's time." One of my favorite films from the 2019 Venice Film Festival was Babyteeth, an exquisite Australian coming-of-age dramedy marking the feature directorial debut of filmmaker Shannon Murphy. Before she got into filmmaking, she was a theater director - starting her career on stage in Australia. She then moved over to television and has been directing episodes of shows like "Offspring", "Sisters", "On the Ropes", and "Killing Eve". Babyteeth is also originally from the stage - it's a play adapted by its own playwright for the screen. And Shannon jumped at the opportunity to direct it, later ending up in the Venice Film Festival main competition selection as one of two female filmmakers chosen that year (the other being Haifaa Al-Mansour with The Perfect Candidate).
"We're truly one big family. It's a celebration of filmmakers and movies." The We Are One Global Film Festival held online through YouTube is wrapping up after almost 10 days of events & premieres. With so many film festivals cancelled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, a batch of them got together to host this special "online film festival" event - programming short films, features, Q&As, conversations, and much more. To wrap up, We Are One released six videos of acclaimed filmmakers talking about why they love film festivals so much and how important they are to the world of cinema – including Darren Aronofsky, Ang Lee, Mary Harron, David O. Russell, and Julian Schnabel. We also love film festivals here at FS and have been proud to cover festivals all over the world for the last 14 years. It's heartening to hear these artists talking about what makes festivals so impactful and meaningful – celebrating cinema & storytelling. Enjoy.
Even without Cannes this year, we Cannes still have our own festival anyway. Even without film festivals, we can still experience the excitement of cinema watching films at home. The 2020 Cannes Film Festival was supposed to take place from May 12th to May 23rd, and this would've been my 11th year attending. But the festival has "postponed", although it seems like it's cancelled for 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic. They decided not to host a virtual festival and instead are considering some kind of online offering and/or a partnership with another festival in the fall. So what else is there to do during these 11 days in May? Watch more films anyway! I wouldn't want to be anywhere else besides in Cannes anyway, so in the spirit of the festival, I decided to host my own version at home and watched 15 extraordinary films over the last 11 days.
Thank You, Movies. Movies are always there for us, ready to be watched anytime, ready to make us laugh and cry. We're living in unprecedented times, in a changed world due to a pandemic that has taken over the entire planet. Even though we've all been doing our best to stay at home in quarantine, and stop the spread of the coronavirus, it hasn't been easy. But thank goodness for movies! The Academy writes: "Grateful for the movies that have lifted us up, made us laugh and transported us during these unsettling times." They've published a short video capturing some of the wonderful movie moments from social media over these last few months. And it's a beautiful reminder of how much movies mean to us - to each and every last one of us.
"You can be poetic and you don't have to answer anything. You can make whatever you want. You have creative freedom [making a] short film." (-Taika Waititi) We love short films! Ever since this coronavirus pandemic shut down cinemas worldwide, we've been doing our best to keep sharing worthwhile film content every day. There aren't many new trailers yet, and Hollywood is waiting to figure out their next step, so I've been finding the best short films to feature as well. Every single weekday since March, FirstShowing has featured one new short film on the site. All of them are worth watching. But not everyone has time to watch all of them. So I've put together this post highlighting my 10 favorite recent short films to watch and enjoy anytime. Today, tomorrow. Bookmark this page and stop by whenever to watch all these shorts below.
"It can't be reasoned with, it doesn't feel pity or remorse or fear, and it absolutely will not stop until you are dead!" Grab a pint and stay at home and wait for all of this to blow over. Ever since a few months ago when the coronavirus pandemic put the entire world into lockdown, everyone has been watching the classic "virus" movies - Outbreak, Contagion, 12 Monkeys, The Andromeda Strain, 28 Days Later. Some are more realistic than others, some are totally ridiculous Hollywood fun. But there's always important lessons for us to learn – like listening to Ripley yell about "if we break quarantine we could all die!" in Alien. Filmmaker Mike Dougherty & editor Evan Gorski have made an amazing mashup video of all the various clips & quotes about survival from sci-fi & horror movies. This is a must watch. "Social de-evolution appears complete."
"One simple question. A world of emotions." While everyone waits patiently at home all over the world for movie theaters to reopen, Lost in Film has put together a video tribute to the importance of cinema. They reached out to various cinephiles across the world and asked them to answer this simple question: "Why do you love cinema?" They then edited a video together featuring footage from various films and the answers they received, highlighting different perspectives and points of view about the importance of cinema in our lives. The result is something that will certainly make you emotional, and remind you why you love movies and keep watching them. That's why you read this site anyway, right? I always love watching these rousing video tributes to the magic of movies & the power of visual storytelling, and this one is especially wonderful.