Thursday, April 28, 2016

Sexploitation Star Kitten Natividad on Russ Meyer, Roger Ebert, Porn and the Hot Docs-premiering League of Exotique Dancers

Rama Rau’s League of Exotique Dancers is an absolutely delightful and lovingly crafted doc structured around a group of legendary striptease artists as they prepare to return to the stage for the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend in Las Vegas — a trip which becomes merely an excuse for the filmmaker to delve deeply into the extraordinary lives of some truly groundbreaking women. Among the timelessly sexy inductees is none other than Kitten Natividad, best known as cult director Russ Meyer’s buxom muse. Prior to the film’s Hot Docs premiere, Filmmaker was fortunate enough to catch up with the Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens star to discuss everything from drinking with Meyer and Roger Ebert, to surviving breast cancer and losing her Mexican accent.


To read my interview visit Filmmaker magazine.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

My 2016 Florida Film Festival Wrap-Up

The Florida Film Festival (April 8-17), now a quarter-century old, technically takes place in Maitland, a mere 15-minute drive from Orlando, where attendees were housed at the DoubleTree overlooking the lovely Lake Ivanhoe downtown. Orlando itself is a city one might associate more with Mickey Mouse than with Terence Malick. However, one would be wrong. The town boasts an abundance of lakes (surrounded by rapidly gentrifying historic neighborhoods), not rides (it’s around a half-hour drive to those theme parks). And this year’s FFF hosted a Badlands retro screening with none other than Sissy Spacek in attendance to chat about both “Terry” and her astonishing career. (Who else worked with mavericks like Malick, De Palma, Andy Warhol, Robert Altman – all before turning 30 and winning an Oscar?) Cinephile culture, it seems, is alive and well in “The City Beautiful,” and its surrounding towns.


To read the rest of my coverage visit Hammer to Nail.

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Monday, April 25, 2016

LGBTQ in NC: Covering the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival and the RiverRun International Film Festival During the HB2 Boycott

Before North Carolina passed its HB2 legislation, officially known as “An act to provide for single-sex multiple occupancy bathroom and changing facilities in schools and public agencies and to create statewide consistency in regulation of employment and public accommodations” (or, for me, the simpler and more accurate “WTF?”), I’d been looking forward to covering two film festivals back-to-back on my very first visit to the southern state. Yet as the nationwide call for boycott gathered speed, and the opening night of Durham’s Full Frame Documentary Film Festival approached, I found myself in a queasy quandary. So I did what any moral film journalist would do. I began scanning both the Full Frame and Winston-Salem’s RiverRun International Film Festival programs for all the LGBTQ flicks I could find.


To read all about my queer-film film trip visit Filmmaker magazine.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

A Conversation With Hillevi Loven (DEEP RUN)

Deep Run is Hillevi Loven’s beautifully crafted and nuanced portrait of out-and-proud, teen trans-man Cole who searches for love while holding tight to his religious faith in his titular (evangelical, blue collar, rural North Carolina) hometown. Exec-produced by Susan Sarandon, the doc ironically made its North Carolina debut at this year’s excitingly eclectic RiverRun International Film Festival in Winston-Salem right as the rest of the nation – from governors to corporations to Bruce Springsteen – began boycotting the state in reaction to the anti-LGBTQ HB2.

I was fortunate enough to catch up with the thoughtful director post-fest to discuss everything from following evangelical millennials, to upending us urban Yankees’ preconceived notions about our gender-nonconforming neighbors down south.



To read my interview visit Hammer to Nail.

Friday, April 22, 2016

The Full Frame Documentary Film Festival Asks, Why Are “#DocsSoWhite?”

Now nearly two decades old, the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival is perhaps the closest thing America has to a European doc fest in terms of engagement, both from its prestigious attending filmmakers and its rabid audiences. And for the past six years this finely tuned fest has been hosting its laidback A&E IndieFilms Speakeasy conversations. Free and open to the public, the most recent series of panels was held in the 21c Museum Hotel (which, intertwined with a contemporary art gallery, is definitely the most unique hotel this traveling journalist has ever stayed at), and boasted a wide-ranging lineup of both participants and topics.


Read the rest of my first article for Documentary Magazine here.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Virtual Crime Scene in Filmmaker magazine

The Spring 2016 issue of Filmmaker magazine is out! And my chat with Nonny de la Peña about her Trayvon Martin VR project One Dark Night is in it.