Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Director Maxim Pozdorovkin Discusses “Pussy Riot – A Punk Prayer”

Suffice to say that by now – thanks to Amnesty International and/or Madonna – you’ve probably heard of Pussy Riot, the feminist punk rock collective that burst onto the international scene after a guerrilla performance at Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior led to the arrest and conviction of three of its balaclava-sporting members. Mike Lerner and Maxim Pozdorovkin’s HBO documentary “Pussy Riot – A Punk Prayer” furthers the trio’s tale, taking the viewer behind the scenes of the well publicized story and right into the Russian courtroom where Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich made their show trial literal. I spoke with co-director Maxim Pozdorovkin prior to the film’s NYC festival premiere at the 2013 Human Rights Watch Film Festival.

To read my interview visit Global Comment.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Going Digital in the Desert: Currents 2013 New Media Festival

Perhaps the one word that best describes the Currents New Media Festival, an annual event hosting an international array of artists that steams into Santa Fe for the last half of June, is “overwhelming.” This year cutting edge-curious New Mexicans and tourists alike are being treated to futuristic video installations and interactive artwork, art-apps and animation, multimedia performances and experimental documentaries (including Denis Côté’s disturbing study in the banality of human evil towards animals, Bestiaire) – all taking place inside El Museo Cultural, a cavernous warehouse in the Railyard District.

To read the rest of my coverage visit Filmmaker magazine.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

American Doc: Five Tips for Nonfiction Filmmakers

Recently, I was on a panel at the Little Rock Film Festival titled “Cinematic Nonfiction: Not Your Parents’ Documentary Film.” As our moderator Robert Greene, the director of “Fake It So Real,” and I waxed rhapsodic over the state of nonfiction filmmaking in Denmark, I realized that my own doc philosophy has evolved over the years – as I’ve noticed more and more that Americans lag behind much of the world when it comes to quality doc-making. While a lot of nonfiction aficionados like to chalk up this disparity to generous government subsidies in Europe, the problem actually lies much deeper than we’d like to admit, in general approach rather than in funding (or lack thereof). To paraphrase something Danish documentarian Eva Mulvad (“The Good Life”) once explained to me – and that I’ve been quoting ever since – American filmmakers tend to be addicted to talking heads, and the British obsessed with social issues. Whereas the Danish don’t even separate “fact” from fiction – the film school teaching one technique that applies to both narrative and nonfiction. The result is a country that simply produces great cinematic stories rather than movies that dully lecture or gratingly preach.

So with this in mind I’ve compiled a list of top five tips I wish every doc-maker would take to heart.

To read the rest visit Filmmaker magazine.