Saturday, February 22, 2014

Hot in the City: Previewing the 11th Annual CineKink NYC

This year’s edition of CineKink NYC, now in the final day of its Kickstarter fundraising drive, wastes no time heating up, opening on February 26 with a cinematic bang in the form of Wiktor Ericsson’s The Sarnos: A Life in Dirty Movies, a stellar pic about softcore pornographers with a love story at its heart. (The festival’s gala kickoff party is the day before, February 25.) The titular elderly couple at the center of this doc are the legendary porn director Joe — the “Ingmar Bergman of 42nd Street” — and his longtime wife and support system (and sometime actress) Peggy. (No surprise the film had its U.S. premiere at DOC NYC in November and is being given a theatrical release by Film Movement in the spring.)

To read the rest of my sneak peek visit Filmmaker magazine.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Disco and Atomic War: How Dallas and Knight Rider led to the fall of the Iron Curtain

In Disco and Atomic War Estonian filmmaker Jaak Kilmi approaches what is a pretty dry, well-tread political topic – the power of media to not only prop up totalitarian regimes but to take them down – with lighthearted whimsy. Through the use of archival footage, talking head interviews, staged reenactments – and most importantly, cheesy clips from Dallas and Knight Rider – Kilmi takes us on an offbeat historical and personal journey, back in time to 80s Tallinn. It was an era when, using makeshift antennas to hijack broadcasts from Finnish TV, intrepid Soviet citizens came under western influence, and began to unite to fight for more individual freedoms. (And for the right to do the hustle and find out who shot J.R.)

Global Comment spoke with the doc’s director prior to the film’s DVD and VOD release on February 25th.

To read my interview visit Global Comment.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Sebastian Junger on Reporters Instructed in Saving Colleagues

Reporters Instructed in Saving Colleagues is surely one of the most fitting tributes to a fallen comrade ever dreamed up. Founded by Sebastian Junger in the wake of the combat zone death of his Restrepo co-director Tim Hetherington (I interviewed both back in 2010) RISC, based on a Wilderness Medical Associates course adapted for combat, aims to provide freelancers in all media with the kinds of lifesaving equipment and techniques that may have prevented Hetherington’s shrapnel wounds in Libya from killing him. Indeed, when I first heard about RISC its mission seemed so obviously crucial – to give combat journos medical training – I wondered why this practical sensible idea wasn’t the norm. But then Junger pointed out that combat journos themselves don’t think like the norm. “I had 20 years of combat journalism – and no medical experience,” he disclosed to my surprise when I recently followed up with him on the phone for the first time since Hetherington’s heartbreaking death.

To read the rest of my interview visit Filmmaker magazine.

Monday, February 17, 2014

What’s Gender Got to Do with It? Coming Out Genderqueer

I’ve always been a staunch defender of celebs like Anderson Cooper who for most of his career refused to confirm his homosexuality. To me, speculation as to whether Cooper was or wasn’t gay seemed ridiculously tabloid trite in light of the fact that throughout his career, and especially on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360, the journalist went to great lengths to ensure that LGBT issues and the non-hetero POV was presented in mainstream media. For me, it’s the POV that matters more than the individual broadcasting it.

So when Good Morning America anchor Robin Roberts recently came out without coming out – sidestepping labels in a Facebook post by simply acknowledging her girlfriend as one of many people in her life she’s grateful for – it struck me as yet another giant step for the LGBT community. Indeed, that folks are even presumed to be straight until proven otherwise is such an antiquated notion. When a member of the LGBT community who doesn’t make a big fuss about their identity – “Look, Ma, I’m gay!” – is first assumed to not be part of that community (unless they shout otherwise) in this day and age, it seems, frankly, tiresome. Straight folks don’t have to come out to be included in the heterosexual population, and really, LGBT folks shouldn’t have to draw attention to their identity in order to be included in their respective community either.

To read the rest visit Global Comment.

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Festival of (In)appropriation #6 at Los Angeles Filmforum

The Festival of (In)appropriation, a celebration of “contemporary short audiovisual works that appropriate film or video footage and repurpose it in “inappropriate and inventive ways” is the brainchild of co-founder and co-curator Jaimie Baron (who, not inappropriately, has a book on found-footage filmmaking coming out soon). Presented by Los Angeles Filmforum (no relation to NYC’s Film Forum – more like the West Coast’s answer to Anthology Film Archives, as for close to four decades it’s been L.A.’s longest-running organization dedicated to experimental film and animation, docs and video art) the annual event is now in its sixth year. For more information on the program – including my personal fave, Celeste Fichter’s Walking on Water, which, in 60 seconds, sets over 70 different depictions of Jesus’s walk across the Sea of Galilee to the Hawaii Five-O theme song – visit Los Angeles Filmforum.

Filmmaker spoke with Baron and fellow curator Greg Cohen prior to the found-footage fĂȘte’s February 16th opening at the Egyptian’s Spielberg Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard.

To read my interview visit Filmmaker magazine.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Gyda Arber Explores Transmedia Post-Apocalyptic Dating in FutureMate

Online dating takes an offline twist in FutureMate, the latest transmedia extravaganza to premiere at The Brick Theater in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Created by Gyda Arber, Brian Fountain, David Gochfeld and Allen Hahn – all veteran artists whose work spans multiple platforms – FutureMate is set in a post-apocalyptic U.S. where fertile mates are at a premium. Fortunately, hosts Matt and Pam are there to guide audience members through the new and improved, meet-your-match system, which consists of phone-based speed dating and a “series of ice breakers.” (And for those not in NYC for the extended three-week, February run – which includes two Valentine’s Day performances – there’s always the FutureMate virtual world, which encompasses “ (a government-run dating site), a two-minute commercial for the FutureMate system, (an anti-government manifesto), a guerilla-style anti-government print campaign” and, of course, “‘in-world’ twitter feeds”).

Filmmaker spoke with Arber prior to the show’s February 12th preview at 8PM at The Brick. To read my interview visit Filmmaker magazine.