Monday, December 29, 2014

On Loving and Leaving New York

One of the books on my New Year reading list is Sari Botton’s award-winning anthology “Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York,” whose contributors include everyone from spoken word legend Maggie Estep, who died this past February, to “Wild” scribe Cheryl Strayed (not to mention my fellow film critic and author friend Marcy Dermansky). Botton’s more recent follow-up “Never Can Say Goodbye: Writers on Their Unshakable Love for New York” boasts essays from even flashier names, including Whoopi Goldberg and Rosanne Cash. But it’s those who’ve had the guts to give the finger to the Big Apple, the journeywomen writers without the Hollywood bank accounts, who interest me more.

To find out why visit Global Comment.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Ten Oscar-Worthy 2014 Documentary Favorites

Serving as the director of programming for this year’s Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival meant I watched way too many nonfiction films in 2014, some filled with stunning artistry, others with cringe-worthy talking heads. And since the Academy doc committee’s shortlist had me both cheering (Last Days in Vietnam! Tales of the Grim Sleeper!) and scratching my head (Citizen Koch? Really?) I thought I’d compile my own wish-it-were-this list for Oscar 2015. So here, in alphabetical order, are my 10 Doc Picks — only two of which overlap with the Oscar documentary shortlist — from the 134 submitted for Oscar consideration.

To see my picks visit Filmmaker magazine.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Hollywood Doth Protest Too Much: On the Sony Hacking Scandal

“This only guarantees that this movie will be seen by more people on Earth than it would have before. Legally or illegally all will see it,” tweeted Tinseltown’s box office sweetheart Judd Apatow in response to Sony’s recent decision to cancel the Christmas Day theatrical release of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s North Korea-offending flick “The Interview.” Finally, some much needed wisdom (from, of all people, the dude who brought us “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” and “Knocked Up”) amidst the cacophonous cries bemoaning the death of freedom of expression, and handwringing over the future of our American theatergoing way of life.

To read the rest of my anti-Hollywood rant visit Global Comment.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

On Golden Frog: The 22nd Camerimage International Film Festival of the Art of Cinematography

Located in the nearly unpronounceable Polish town of Bydgoszcz, Camerimage – the International Film Festival of the Art of Cinematography – is the must-attend event of the year for DPs, aspiring DPs, or any cinephile prizing visual craft over auteur theory. At this 22-year-old fest, folks like Caleb Deschanel (who received a Lifetime Achievement Award, a retrospective, and a massive hardcover book highlighting his career) and Vilmos Zsigmond are the stars, complete with their names in lights on the marquee of the massive Opera Nova, the festival’s headquarters and main venue on the scenic Brda River.

To read the rest of my coverage visit Filmmaker magazine.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Brandon Harris goes "On the Southern Circuit During the Season of Republican Resurgence"

Dynamite southern circuit coverage from my friend and fellow Filmmaker contributor – and Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival juror – Brandon Harris!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

“She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry”: An Interview with Director Mary Dore

If your idea of the early days of the women’s movement is limited to NOW and the ERA then Mary Dore’s eye-opening “She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry” has got another acronym or two for you. (Ever heard of WITCH – the Women’s International Conspiracy from Hell!? Didn’t think so.) An exhaustively researched portrait of feminism circa ’66-’71, Dore’s doc will both enlighten (delving deeply into the movement’s internal rifts related to race and sexual identity) and surprise (Hollaback!-style tactics ain’t nothing new).

I spoke with award-winning producer/director Dore prior to the film’s NYC opening on December 5th and its LA debut on December 12th. To read my interview visit Global Comment.

The U.K. Crackdown on Porn – And Why It Hurts Independent Producers

If Britain’s recently enacted legislation – specifically, the Brazil-sounding Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014 – wasn’t on your radar, you can be forgiven. As an American it wasn’t on mine either. Basically, this is an amendment to the U.K.’s 2003 Communications Act, which now requires that those producing online porn in the U.K. must come under the same BBFC (British Board of Film Censors) scrutiny as those producing DVDs for the sex shop market. Innocuous enough, right?

Think again. To read my take on the anti-fetish, misogynistic, anti-indie production ruling visit Filmmaker magazine.