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GLEBHOUSE

John Cassavetes once said, “Anyone who can make a film, I already love.” The decision to make any movie is a leap of faith, and more so when you’re a trained physicist who emigrated from the former Soviet Union and gives up a steady paycheck on Wall Street to follow your artistic, cinematic dreams. Such is the case with unlikely filmmaker Gleb Osatinski, whose new short is gaining him a lot of attention for its otherworldly appeal. We talk to him about life and film in the former USSR, the beauty of the open-ending, and risking everything for a dream. More »

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SpielbergAs he is arguably the most successful Hollywood director of all time, it should surprise no one that, even as a teenager, Steven Spielberg was a prodigy. Like many kids of his generation, he used a Super 8 camera to make short films; unlike most of them, he had a preternatural knack for filmmaking, and, at the age of 17, wrote and directed a 135-minute sci-fi epic, Firelight. Click below to read the story of Spielberg’s first (and extremely indie) foray into feature filmmaking, and watch the surviving footage! More »

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walkenChristopher Walken got kind of a raw deal. How, you ask? Well, the legendary character actor is clearly a song and dance man at heart, yet he has the body and larynx of the wackiest supervillain ever. And a gift for comedy. That’s probably the reason it’s so fun to watch him dance, but the truth is, no one knows. All we do know is that Walken’s dancing, like the Aurora Borealis or a double rainbow, is a true wonder of nature, better experienced than analyzed. So, click through to watch one of humanity’s significant achievements, as well as the best reason yet for YouTube to exist. More »

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Abby SingerAbby Singer was one of the most famous names in Hollywood, though he wasn’t an actor or director, and even most of the people who have used his name on a regular basis over the years don’t know there was a real man behind “The Abby Singer Shot.” As a production manager, Singer gained fame with his time and money-saving shot that continues to signal the near-end of the working day to crews around the world. Singer passed away last Thursday, at the age of 96; click through to learn the story of Abby Singer, and the shot that has become a staple of productions around the world.  More »

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paradoxes-de-bunuel-04-gLuis Buñuel was a creature of the 20th century. Born in 1900, he died in 1983, and February 22nd would have been his 114th birthday. It is almost impossible to overestimate his influence on cinematic surrealism, though ironically, his biggest contribution to the movement was made without its official “blessing.” No matter, along with a group of artists which included famed visual artist Salvador Dalí, his contributions to motion picture surrealism are still shocking young filmmakers today, and his works, along with his later cohorts, friends, and enemies, are required viewing for anyone who wants to understand how cinema became more than a record of life, but a rendering of the dream. On the occasion of his birth, we look back at the Spanish-Mexican filmmaker’s life and work, including his best known film, the silent 1929 short Un Chien Andalou. More »

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ramisOn Tuesday, the world lost one of the most talented comedic performers, writers and directors of his generation, Harold Ramis. He was 69 years old, and had been suffering from vasculitis, an autoimmune disorder, for some time. His filmography reads like a history of comedy in the 80s, and he will be greatly missed. Ramis believed in comedy as the medium of the underdog, once saying, “It’s hard for winners to do comedy. Comedy is inherently subversive… we attack the winners.” After the jump, a few videos to remind us of the greatness of this comic genius. More »

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Philip-Seymour-Hoffman-The-MasterOn Sunday, the film world lost one of its most talented and beloved actors, Philip Seymour Hoffman. He was 46. While much has been written in the past few days about his life, death, and demons, we’d like to look back and celebrate some of the unforgettable performances he gave in his all too short career. Click through to see some of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s finest movie moments.  More »

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Ford Sypher Team Rubicon

Recently, No Film School accompanied former Army Ranger and current activist, consultant, and filmmaker Ford Sypher, along with a small crew, on a 19-hour drive (through what could be described, charitably, as ‘inclement weather,’ or, less charitably, as a hellish and terrifying ice storm) from NYC to Lawrence, Kansas. Sypher is in preproduction on a documentary shooting later this year in the Upper Yagua in Peru, a region currently experiencing an unprecedented boom in coca production, making it one of the most dangerous conflict zones in the world. In Kansas, Sypher and crew interviewed Bartholomew Dean, a renowned anthropologist and professor at the University Of Kansas, and also paid a visit to the William S. Burroughs house, where the iconic writer spent the last two decades of his life. More »

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TheMaster_PaulThomasAndersonP.T. Anderson is a director who has worked within the Hollywood system for almost his whole career and yet managed to maintain an independent spirit exemplary of the sort of personal work typified by the best of indie cinema. He is also a director whose style has undergone a dramatic evolution since the relatively recent start of his career. We investigate some of the homages Anderson has paid to some of the greatest directors in cinematic history, like Martin Scorsese, Robert Altman, and Mikhail Kalatozov, as well as his ever-evolving, maturing style. More »

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Dede AllenAs David Lean said, “The editor is the final author of the film.” These days, with Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere, Avid, et al., the most indie, low-budget indie filmmaker has NLE options never before available, but prior to the mid-90s, every feature film was edited by hand. And, surprisingly for the “old-boys” world of Hollywood, many of films’ most prominent editors have been women. Of the old-school generation of female editors, perhaps no one exemplified the art better than Dede Allen, a trailblazer for editors like Martin Scorsese’s career-long editor, Thelma Schoonmaker. Continue on to hear some of your favorite filmmakers on the art of editing. More »

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HardRockHavana-Images-Fan

Rock n’ roll is arguably an international language. A new documentary, Hard Rock Havana, currently in post, went to Cuba, a land not usually associated with face-melting solos, to profile Zeus (homepage in español), the country’s longest-running, most popular heavy metal band. No Film School talks to director Nicholas Brennan. Continue on and feel the noize! More »

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dogfish accelerator demo day

As an indie filmmaker, it can be exceptionally difficult to raise money for your project — to say nothing of finding the proper channels for distribution and the most effective means of marketing what is, for all intents and purposes, your baby. Dogfish Accelerator aims to change all this by connecting filmmakers and their films with investors in a new way, taking the tech startup model and applying it to indie film. Last week they held their first Demo Day, where filmmakers got to showcase their films for investors. Here’s more about Dogfish, the accelerator model, and what it could do for you and your film!  More »

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kubrickIn early 1965, the New Yorker sent physicist and author Jeremy Bernstein to interview a then 37-year-old Stanley Kubrick at his New York apartment. The piece went so well that in November, Bernstein was dispatched to Oxford, where Kubrick was in production on 2001: A Space Odyssey (then known as Journey Beyond the Stars). Kubrick and Bernstein bonded over chess, and the master director opened up in one of his most wide-ranging interviews. Now, the entire 76-minute Q&A is available online. From a man who gave precious few interviews, this is quite a treat for the Kubrick fan, and covers a wide range of topics, from chess, to nuclear war, and space travel. Continue on to check it out! More »

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golden ratio there will be bloodEven if (like me) you are one of those souls who are congenitally allergic to mathematics, so much of creating a beautiful image involves numerical principles. Many classic films have made use of the number known as the “Golden Ratio” (1.618), as well as the visual device known as One-Point Perspective (a way to make a two-dimensional plane look three-dimensional), and now Vimeo user Ali Shirazi has put together a visual essay on the use of these, and other visual principles, in Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood. More »

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Steven SoderberghSteven Soderbergh is that real rarity; a filmmaker who can manage a multi-million dollar George Clooney franchise, then turn around and make a movie for about $30 (give or take.) His ability to straddle the line between Hollywood and indie has put him in an enviable position, and this is a man who has had enough ups and downs in his career to last most filmmakers two or three lifetimes. Cinephilia and Beyond put together a compilation of his best DVD commentary tracks and discussions, and they are well worth a listen. Click below to check them out. More »

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GRAVITYWith the remarkable commercial and critical success of his latest film, GravityAlfonso Cuarón, the Mexican filmmaker who became widely known to international audiences with his 2001 film Y Tu Mamá Tambiénseems poised to reach a new level of success. With his frequent collaborator, DP Emmanuel Lubezki, Cuarón has worked in almost every genre of film while still maintaining a unique cinematic sensibility. A remarkable new video shows Cuarón’s magical use of cinematic technique, and it is definitely worthwhile viewing for all movie-lovers. Click below to learn more about Cuarón and check it out! More »

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yasujiro-ozuYasujirō Ozu was a singular figure in Japanese (and world) cinema. In a career that spanned five decades, he turned out 54 films, bridging the history of cinema from silent films, to comedies, and the style he is best known for, Japanese family dramas. His long takes and camera angles were unique for being low to the ground, mimicking the visual perceptions of his characters. He died young in the early 1960s, but his reputation has continued to grow and he is now considered one of the most influential directors of all time. Click below to learn what this master of cinema had to say about the art of filmmaking! More »

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projectorIn many ways, making your film is the easy part. There are innumerable resources out there for budding filmmakers, including websites (ahem), books, and audio commentary tracks, that will help a novice become a seasoned vet in no time (well, not no time. Probably a long time. But it’s a journey, no? Yes.) But one thing a lot of indie filmmakers are unfamiliar with, especially those just starting out, are the ins and outs of distribution. Well, have no fear. Sheri Candler and Chris Holland offer some great insight into indie film distribution. Click below to learn the answers to 3 questions every filmmaker should ask themselves as they contemplate distributing their film! More »

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PoltergeistWell, it’s that time of year again, when children come to your door demanding candy, and every other movie on TV is a horror flick. Whether you’re a fan of scary movies or not, horror is one of the most influential and fascinating genres in cinema, and any student of film can benefit from studying its classics (just like they can benefit from watching any movie!)  Tribeca Film is celebrating the month by looking at the influence of classic horror films on more modern ones. Click below to check out the influence the “ghost hunters” from 1982′s classic Poltergeist had on the 2010 screamer Insidious! More »

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writers-blockOf all the parts of a movie, from cinematography, to editing, and everything in between, writing is perhaps the most (what with all the books, classes, weekend seminars), and least (at the end of the day it’s just you and the page), understood. The art of crafting stories and creating indelible characters that will make an unforgettable film is a real gift, though it can and must be developed through careful, patient work. The Guardian has a great piece about a new book that explores creativity, and they’ve come up with six habits of highly successful writers. Check out the tips below as well as more advice from the masters. More »