‘Weiner’ Filmmakers: “Anthony Declined A Number Of Offers To Watch It” – Q&A
Who hasn't heard about–and possibly laughed at–the scandalous mess surrounding politician Anthony Weiner and his penchant for tweeting personal photos? However, when Weiner began campaigning to be Mayor of New York, filmmakers Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg saw an opportunity to make a documentary about redemption and resurgence. They could not have foreseen firstly, how well Weiner's campaign would go, then secondly, how yet more inappropriate pictures would… Read
‘Gleason’s Clay Tweel On “Finding Light In Things” And Editing 1200 Hours of Footage
Clay Tweel has a reputation for exploring the lives of quirky and often marginalized people. Take, for example his 2015 film Finders Keepers–a documentary about two men fighting over a mummified leg found inside a grill (the leg was previously attached to one of the men).
His latest project, Gleason, might seem at first to be about a depressing and tragic circumstance, as he follows former NFL player Steve Gleason in his battle against ALS. But what Tweel has made is a… Read
‘The Ivory Game’ Wins: Ivory Trade Banned In China Following Netflix Doc’s November Release
Richard Ladkani and Kief Davidson's Netflix film The Ivory Game is a nail-biting exposé of the ivory trade and the imminent extinction of elephants. It’s certainly a powerful and essential viewing experience, but now, incredibly, the documentary has won the ultimate prize–a ban on the ivory trade in China.
The filmmakers had heard rumors of Chinese government officials watching their documentary and were, as Ladkani puts it, “cautiously optimistic.” But, he says, “When… Read
How Donna Gigliotti Helped ‘Hidden Figures’ Reveal Itself Against The Odds – Q&A
For Donna Gigliotti, like the rest of the collaborators who eventually boarded the project, was an undeniable proposition. The true story of three black women employed at NASA's segregated facility in Virginia in the 1960s, whose mathematic and technical talents were integral to the early days of the space race, Hidden Figures rights a wrong with a history that has largely overlooked their importance. And, as Gigliotti explains, it celebrates the… Read
‘Hooligan Sparrow’s Nanfu Wang On The Stacked Odds Of Exposing Corruption In China: “Every Day I Was Pretty Afraid”
Making a film about government corruption in China has to take guts, but what if you grew up poor in mainland China with zero filmmaking experience? What if the secret police began tailing your every move and national security officials harassed your family and friends? What if you had no idea how to use hidden cameras?
When Nanfu Wang made Hooligan Sparrow she had some serious odds stacked against her, but with the help of a pair of concealed-camera glasses, a… Read
‘Fences’ DP Charlotte Bruus Christensen On Oscars: “They Want You To Prove What Hasn’t Been Done Before”
This could be the first year a woman gets an Oscar nom for cinematography–thanks to Danish cinematographer Charlotte Bruus Christensen. Her unique vision includes shooting on film rather than in digital–something she employed for Girl on the Train and now in Denzel Washington's critically-acclaimed Fences.
Based on August Wilson's Pullitzer-winning play and set in 50s Pittsburgh, Fences stars Washington as Troy, a baseball star-turned-garbage collector, alongside Viola Da… Read
Ezra Edelman On ‘O.J.: Made In America:’ “I Never Really Thought He Was Going To Say Yes”
It would seem Ezra Edelman took on a borderline-insane task when he agreed to make a five-hour documentary about O.J. Simpson, especially as he initially wasn't wild about the subject matter. "We lived through this," he says, "and I knew enough about the story and what it’s about thematically and certainly surrounding the trial. I just didn’t think there was much to add to it." Edelman was, however, excited to make something of such epic length. In fact, the finished film… Read
The Dap-Kings: Sharon Jones Was Singing ‘Go Tell It On The Mountain’ At The End
With the recent passing of singer-songwriter Sharon Jones, Barbara Kopple's film Miss Sharon Jones! has become an even more emotionally challenging watch. Following Jones through her fight with pancreatic cancer and riding along on her tour with her band of 20 years The Dap-Kings, we get a picture of a woman for whom music was everything and quitting was never an option. Famously once told she would never get a record deal because she was, "Too fat, too black and too… Read
‘Arrival’s Denis Villeneuve: ‘Blade Runner’ Is “The Biggest Artistic Challenge I’ve Had In My Life”
When Arrival director Denis Villeneuve first read Ted Chiang's Story of Your Life, he couldn't see a clear way to make a movie out of it. "The short story is more intellectual in a good way," Villeneuve says. "It’s more about language and not your political problems. It was a very powerful idea but there was no dramatic structure. There was one for a short story, but not for a movie."
But then came screenwriter Eric Heisserer's Critics’ Choice-winning clever… Read
‘Hail, Caesar!’ Hair And Makeup Department Heads On Designing Looks For Friends, Romans And Countrymen
Boasting a history with the Coen brothers dating back to their early films, makeup and hair department heads Jean Ann Black and Cydney Cornell were excited to delve into the pair's latest effort, old Hollywood comedy Hail, Caesar! An airy La La Land mystery set in the '50s, on Hollywood backlots and Romanesque sets, Caesar! required a multitude of looks. The research process began with a look to the past—to the films of Esther Williams, for example, and sword-and-sandal… Read
‘Hell Or High Water’ Star Ben Foster On Fast Driving And Letting His Characters Go
Rattling audiences as moustachioed outlaw Charlie Prince in James Mangold’s 3:10 to Yuma, Ben Foster is an actor who enjoys his westerns. On the awards circuit this fall for David Mackenzie’s Hell or High Water, which puts the actor in close quarters with Chris Pine once again, Foster has also recently wrapped production on Scott Cooper’s Hostiles, opposite Christian Bale and Jesse Plemons.
Meeting Foster in person, you’d be forgiven for thinking he’s the tough and… Read
Singer-Songwriter Tori Amos On New Track For Netflix Doc ‘Audrie & Daisy,’ Issues Of Sexual Assault And Social Media
A highly acclaimed singer-songwriter, composer and pianist bringing her soulful voice to bear over the past two decades, Tori Amos was the perfect artist to compose the closing credits theme—titled "Flicker"—for Netflix doc Audrie & Daisy, a film which raises awareness of the widespread issue of sexual assault, and related crimes of the internet age. Below, Amos—a mother to a teenage daughter, and a long-time activist with the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network… Read