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hellion cat kandler on set

What’s the most important aspect of a film? Acting? Cinematography? Plot? To some, these are all crucial components that lead into the most important expression of a film: tone. However, setting the tone of a film is one of the most difficult things to do. Kat Candler’s Hellion, starring Aaron Paul, Juliette Lewis, and a handful of emerging young actors, is a film that’s all about tone — the 13-year-old, heavy metal, motocross kind. Read our interview with Kat Candler, where she talks about anything from the dance of shooting handheld on the ALEXA, starting Hellion as a short, and the current heyday of independent film in Texas. More »

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no film school summer films grants deadlines screenwriting documentary narrative

Our massive list of grants is back, and for summer it’s bigger than ever — more grants, more markets, and more opportunities for both US-based and International filmmakers to get funding! Looking to finance your next 3D feature? Develop your humanities documentary? Get your script picked up by a top agency? Yup, there’s an app for that. If granting puns don’t get you excited, this list of relevant opportunities with deadlines this summer just might. More »

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What do you consider a quintessential New York movie? Woody Allen’s Manhattan? Scorsese’s Taxi Driver? For 2014, it could be Stand Clear of the Closing Doors – a unique film that follows an autistic boy as he gets lost on the New York Subway. Not only does it feature Hurricane Sandy (which hit during production), but half of subway-riding New York are cast as extras on this film set. In the interview below, Director Sam Fleischner sat down with No Film School to talk about anything from the rewards of working with an actor with Asperger’s to filming underground with Sony-F3s and a covert crew. More »

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Dance Of Reality still6Excited yet about the first new Alejandro Jodorowsky film in 23 years? Now is the time! Not only is a new film out from the king of psychadelia and grandmaster of the midnight movie, it’s in theaters. And just for No Film School’s viewing pleasure, the director behind such classics as El Topo and The Holy Mountain, sent two clips our way in which he explains the music and the town in his new film, The Dance of Reality, which shows on the big screen starting this Friday! More »

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DamNation co-director Ben Knight avoids a surveillance helicopter while filming the demolition of Condit Dam on Washington's White Salmon River in a scene from DAMNATION Photo DamNation Collection

Being a director requires a certain persistent stubbornness to get a film made the way you want it. In the case of Ben Knight and Travis Rummel, this meant saving money for six years to buy the RED EPIC, having strict rules about shooting on tripods (even underwater), camouflaging oneself to film unnoticed at demolish sites, and editing every frame of the film in unadulterated 4K. The payoff? A breathtaking film that won the SXSW Audience Award and is opening on the big screen this weekend. In the No Film School interview below, find out how the filmmakers of DamNation made their cinematic doc, and where you can catch it in theaters. More »

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Have you ever thought of turning the camera around on yourself to tell a personal story? What about a personal story that involved outing yourself as an undocumented immigrant and exploring the relationship with your mother you haven’t seen in about 20 years? That’s what Pulitzer Prize winning author and filmmaker Jose Antonio Vargas did in his latest film, and it wasn’t easy. In the NFS interview below, Vargas talks about anything from writing first-person narration, to earning the right to be on camera, to achieving that delicate balance needed for a successful first-person story in his film Documented, which opens in theaters this weekend. More »

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How many dimensions do you need to tell a story about the most potentially life-altering breakthroughs of the future — science that might let you live forever? After shooting about a third of production in 3D, the filmmakers behind The Immortalists decided to scrap a stereoscopic shoot and opt instead for the intimacy of DSLR, a cerebral world of animation, and an experimental sound design based on water, clocks, and the internal organs of a fish. Below we interview co-directors David Alvarado and Jason Sussberg, along with their sound designer Peter Albrechtsen about their film that premiered at SXSW and is showing next week at HotDocs. Hit the jump to hear about anything from the schizophrenic nature of editing to recording bugs in windowsills. More »

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herzog uctv eveningIf Werner Herzog was staying for supper, what would you serve? You couldn’t very well offer Hamburger Helper to the director that’s been dubbed by some the “single most important film director on the planet.” If you were looking to color this fanciful dinner party in your head, or if you just can’t wait for the limited edition of Herzog: The Collection, check out UCTV’s “An Evening with Werner Herzog” below, and get a sense of the influences in Herzog’s life, how it influenced his filmmaking philosophy, and other humorous/infuriating/enlightening conversation. More »

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sundance_IFP_web_seriesWhile over the years some great storytelling has emerged from the internet in the form of serialized content (just ask our man Koo and The West Side) the web series hasn’t always gotten its due. This may be partly because the arena is full of less-than-outstanding content  (it is the internet after all), but also because nobody tended to take them seriously. And by “nobody” I just mean no established independent film institutes and supporters. Now that Sundance is offering an inaugural Episodic Story Lab and IFP has included Web Series into their Emerging Visions component of Independent Film Week, that could be changing. Find out what each institute has to say about their new programs, and why 2014 could start a golden age for episodic content.  More »

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leadCritics: to some filmmakers, they’re a dirty word. To others, they can be career-makers. In the past, a critic’s basic role was one-part help the average person decide what movie to see that evening, one-part reflect on society through film theory. In today’s landscape of user ratings on IMDB and Netflix, is there more room to focus on the latter? In a breakdown below of his recent article, Noah Berlatsky of the Atlantic suggests that future film critics (and filmmakers) look to the author behind The Most Powerful Piece of Film Criticism Ever Written for ideas on elevating criticism itself to a form of art. More »

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expanded symphony projectorEver since the Lumiere brothers projected their first film to the public — a train arriving at a station — cinema burst into the world as the newest and most populist art, beating out books, theater, and radio. Today, where is the popular future of movies headed if films become increasingly relegated to a small, elite group of people who get to make and watch them? Jose Carlos Zavarse Pinto and Irene Garibay are setting out to bring movies to a small village in Venezuela. And no, it’s not to show them the latest comic-book-smurfs-street-racing blockbusters, but rather, to have them create their own cinema. Below, Jose talks to No Film School about his project, and how filmmaking can be used to preserve or promote culture across the world. More »

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ifp independent filmweekA documentary rough cut, a narrative in pre-production, or a finished screenplay — whatever you’ve got up your sleeve, IFP is here to help you get your work made and seen during their annual Independent Film Week! And for 2014, IFP is throwing a Web Series component into the ring — music to the ears of the internet innovators out there. Below, hear IFP’s Dan Schoenbrun breakdown this new category just for No Film School readers, and find out the details on applying for all of the categories before the deadline. More »

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NewMedia_Blog1If you’ve been hard at working creating an interactive documentary experience meant to be viewed across multiple platforms, now is your chance to catapult your project forward: the application for the Tribeca Film Institute New Media Fund is open. The TFI is looking to fund between four and eight projects from any country that feature non-fiction stories with integrated cross-platforms and a social justice angle. If this fits your description, check out the details below, and apply! More »

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I don’t know about you, but I’m always frustrated when I get excited about a good movie at a festival, only to see the film descend into the bowels of obscurity after distribution dead-ends. Why is it so hard for anyone but a handful of good independent films to make their way onto my screen at home? After a year of hard work, I am excited to see the atmospheric, underdog film Hide Your Smiling Faces finally making it somewhere. Around this time last year, director Daniel Patrick Carbone sat down with No Film School over Skype. Checkout our original interview below, and find out where you can download the film now! More »

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Natalia Dyer in I Believe in Unicorns photo credit: Leah Meyerhoff

Shooting a film on Super 16 is about as rare these days as, I don’t know, spotting a unicorn. So when Fuji shipped out some of the last of their stocks for production of her first film, Leah Meyerhoff  didn’t know it would be one of the last features shot on Super 16. Just after the SXSW Film Festival premiere of I Believe in Unicorns, Meyerhoff sat down along with her two lead actors, Natalia Dyer and Peter Vack, to talk to No Film School about anything from intentionally fogging film green, to the surprising freedom that using a restrictive medium like 16mm can offer. Check out the full interview, as well as a behind-the-scenes clip, below. More »

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ben knight DamNation red epic

Sure, we’re all a bunch of gear junkies, but in some ways we know, a camera is a camera is a camera. It’s just as important for every production to have a good (or at least decent) concept, and therefore, a good reason to use one camera over the other! From scrapping a 3D production to saving up for six years to buy a RED EPIC, the excerpts below from a handful of different, but very talented, SXSW filmmakers are centered around one question: what did you shoot on and why? More »

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Teenage is not your grandma’s movie. Ok, well technically it is, but during the time when your grandma snuck out of the house, lived fast, and might have been part of a secret teenage society that innovated on the cultural norms of the day. Taking a ninety-degree turn from the Ken Burns-ian tradition of history as black and white pans with slow banjo music, this film is a visually poetic, punk-lensed rumination on what it means to be a teenager. Below, check out director Matt Wolf’s before-and-after footage, a short excerpt, and read about anything from finding techniques in old American Cinematographer to coming up with a transformative soundtrack by Deerhunter/Atlas Sound musician Bradford Cox. More »

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sxsw 2014 kat candler hellion screening

The 2014 SXSW Film Festival featured compelling work from filmmakers with all kinds different styles and backgrounds, but they all had one thing in common: they’re very talented. From Hellion‘s Kat Candler to Buzzard‘s Joel Potrykus, No Film School ran around interviewing these different filmmakers about their process, and below is a brief compilation of one topic: advice they had for fellow filmmakers after making it this far. More »

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after the wrap panel sxswYou busted your butt to make a damned good film. Now what? If you’re hoping somebody like Magnolia Pictures will swoop in and give you a distribution deal after you send them a DVD, you might be sorely disappointed when they turn you down. If only you had gone to the SXSW Panel After the Wrap: Finding the Right Distribution Partner, maybe things would go differently! Luckily, No Film School attended for you, and below are the three most salient points that might maximize your chances of getting picked up. More »

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Alejando Jodorowsky, film directorIt’s been over 20 years since avant-garde, psychomagic auteur Alejandro Jodorowsky made a film. To the delight of cult followers everywhere, this year’s SXSW Film Festival featured his much buzzed-about return to cinema with the semi-autobiographical film The Dance of Reality. Just before the North American premiere, Jodorowsky sat down and talked with eccentric enthusiasm about anything from writing scripts to why he hates 3D. Below is a look at some of the most outrageously enjoyable moments of his conversation. More »