» Posts Tagged ‘documentary’
Do documentaries that focus on pressing issues of our time have any quantifiable impact on those issues? On one side of the debate, you have those who think the sole purpose of documentary should be to affect change. On the other, there are those who think advocacy docs are more propaganda than art. And then there’s everyone in between. Hot Docs, one of the largest documentary film festivals in the world, just released their 2014 Report on the issue titled Documentary Impact: Social Change Through Storytelling entailing their findings. What do you think? More »
When it was released in 1991, director Jonathan Demme’s adaptation of Thomas Harris’ Silence of the Lambs, starring Jodie Foster and featuring an unforgettable performance by Anthony Hopkins, changed the rules of how horror could be presented in mainstream film; the Oscar-winning classic’s reverberations continue today, while the Hannibal Lecter money train keeps on rolling. This 90-minute documentary on the inside story of the Silence of the Lambs shows just how all the right elements came together to create a modern classic. More »
Very few films both capture my imagination and speak to my soul the way One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest does. The story of R.P. McMurphy, written originally by Ken Kesey (who’s an absolute legend in my neck of the drum circle) was adapted for the screen in 1975, went on to win a handful of Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director for Miloš Forman, and continues to be the embodiment of the rebellious spirit of the 60s. From a filmmaking perspective, though, the production of OFOTCN is a true testament to how Murphy’s Law (McMurphy’s Law? “V, stop.”) can actually be beneficial to your film — how sometimes it’s the mistakes, problems, and dead ends that reveal the true potential of not only your project, but you as a filmmaker. More »
Whether or not it’s your cup of tea (or should I say milkshake?), Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia remains one of the defining films of the late 90s, and an important work in Anderson’s career. Director Mark Rance documented the entire production in his film That Moment: Magnolia Diary, which, if you haven’t seen it already, is now online in all of its 72 minute glory: More »
Even though director Stanley Kubrick has gone down in history as one of the greatest filmmakers in all of cinematic history, he wasn’t what you would call prolific. Being an obsessively meticulous perfectionist, who researched every tiny detail of his films for years before he ever went into production, Kubrick only managed to make 13 feature films in his nearly half century-long career. However, if Kubrick had had it his way, he’d have several more titles to add to his filmography, and this short documentary narrated by Malcolm McDowell explores some of Kubrick’s unrealized films, which overflow with rich design and incredible detail even without ever having made it to the silver screen. More »
Some film projects seem like they effortlessly raise budgets from grants and funding agencies, while others get quagmired in development hell when the people with the money decide to pass. What’s the difference? Well, it could be how you are pitching your film! No Film School sat down with Camden International Film Festival’s Sean Flynn to talk about important aspects of pitches, ten years of CIFF, and how to apply for the brand new Points North Fellowship — which not only helps you perfect your pitch, but has you deliver it in front of the Industry’s top funders! More »
Earlier in the week, we talked about how Industrial Light and Magic changed the cinematic world when they developed CGI and used it in Jurassic Park. Those computer generated dinosaurs marked the beginning of a creative revolution where filmmakers could actually take what was in their heads and put them into their films (and with as much or as little realism as they desired). ILM’s contribution to the filmmaking community is huge, and if you’re curious to see how the visual effects company came to be, as well as a view inside how they’ve advanced cinematic technology, then you should check out this documentary directed by Leslie Iwerks, with interviews with George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, and many, many others. More »
The number of reasons to not make a film are virtually infinite. You don’t have enough time, money, experience, equipment, or professional connections. If you make a film, who’s going to see it, and if no one sees it, will it even have value? I could go on, but instead, here’s a piece of encouragement from one of the most iconic filmmakers of our time, German director Werner Herzog, who back in 1979 ate his shoe as a symbol of support for fellow filmmaker and friend Errol Morris to complete his film Gates of Heaven.
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 »
Genres come and go, but 70 years after its birth, the “rules” of film noir have become part and parcel of the conventions of modern cinema. Why do filmmakers come back again and again to this bleak landscape? And why are these films still popular (if they weren’t, well, there wouldn’t be nearly as many. QED.) And just what, precisely, are its rules — rules so skilfully subverted by modern directors? A documentary from the BBC, originally aired in 2009, seeks to answer just that, shining a light on the dark corners of film noir. Plus, check out tips that will help you achieve your own film-noir-style lighting effects. More »
Direct distribution platforms have made finding an audience for independent, no budget movies a real possibility. And though much of your effort might be focused on just getting your film online and monetized, there is a whole area of distribution that could provide potential profits that may be slipping past your attention: bonus content. VHX, a direct-to-fan distribution platform, has crunched the numbers on which content options are the most popular for the documentary STRIPPED – a project that has harnessed the power of bonus content to appeal to their fan base, and has put more money into the pockets of the film’s creators.
Though it has been made much more doable thanks to crowdfunding platforms, securing funding and navigating the process to maximize your return can be tricky. DP Katie Maul and the team of filmmakers working on the indie doc Trichster, have run a total of 3 successful crowdfunding campaigns for the film, and Maul has shared some tips on how you could approach your next fundraising efforts.
This is a guest post by Katie Maul. More »
Roger Ebert, am I right? I am. Best guy. All day. Besides his heroic struggle with and total refusal to capitulate to cancer, the man was a working film critic for over forty years, and while, yes, that might sound like a dream job, it also means seeing every drecky rom-com that comes out each Friday and writing up 500 to 1000 vaguely thoughtful words about it. And his words were never vaguely thoughtful. They were always incisive, smart, and usually spot-on. Now there’s a new documentary about the man himself, directed by Hoop Dreams‘ Steve James along with Martin Scorsese as Executive Producer. Click through to watch the trailer and learn more! More »
If you could get a large group of some of cinema’s greatest directors in one room, what would you ask them? Well, director Wim Wenders got that opportunity while at the 1982 Cannes Film Festival, and subsequently made a documentary about it. 16 iconic directors, including Jean-Luc Godard, Steven Spielberg, Werner Herzog, and Rainer Werner Fassbinder, were asked a series of questions about the future of the film industry, as well as the art form itself, and their answers became an incredible 44-minute video compendium of cinematic knowledge. Check it Wenders’ Room 666 after the break. More »
Elliott Smith is one of the most prolific and authentic figures in the contemporary singer/songwriter era and is synonymous with intimate, honest folk music. His songs are cinematic in the sense that they are character studies, “little pictures made of words” that capture a certain person, time or place. Many documentaries have tried to have been made over the years, but Nickolas Rossi has succeeded in making the first feature-length Elliott documentary with permission to use his music. Read on for our interview with the director Nickolas Rossi on constructing a portrait of Elliott’s life and work. More »
It’s no secret that we at NFS (primarily me) have an affinity for Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 horror/ chrisangelmindfreak/ familydrama/ paulruddromcom, The Shining, an adaptation of Stephen King’s classic novel and one of the strangest movies ever put out by a major studio in wide release. My second post for NFS was a survey of the exhaustive theories about this movie. Now, for the first time, the major players in the production of the film have come together for an oral history of this masterpiece of modern horror. More »
By the time he made The Godfather, at the age of 33, Francis Ford Coppola had already had a decade’s experience in the movie business, co-earning an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for the biopic Patton. Even that, though, didn’t make getting the film greenlit an easy or sure proposition. With pressure coming from all sides (several of them armed), Coppola began the first of his epic, career-long battles against everyone and everything that would stand in the way of his vision. Time and again, the director has gambled. Sometimes, he’s won, and very big. Sometimes, not so much. But whatever it is, he gives his all (including property). Now learn some of his tricks of the trade as Coppola, (along with the recently late DP Gordon Willis, Brando, Pacino, Caan, et al.) outwits everyone to make an American classic, his way, in this 1990 doc, The Godfather Family: A Look Inside. More »
When you walk through the halls of cinematic history, what faces do you see? Most likely to show up are some big names from the first 50 years of filmmaking, like Alfred Hitchcock, John Huston, and Charlie Chaplin, or even figureheads of production, like the Warner Brothers, or the inventor of the early camera, Thomas Edison. However, there is one man who often isn’t recognized, or at least well known, for his contributions to cinema, who more or less brought about the birth of the moving picture through his horse gait experiment – Eadweard Muybridge. In this excellent BBC documentary, learn all about the life and work of this eccentric, name changing, , English photographer who once killed his cheating wife’s lover — and got acquitted. More »
Here at No Film School, we’re massive fans of Stillmotion. Not only was their transformation from small wedding videography outfit to an Emmy-winning production company an incredibly inspiring one, but their dedication to the craft of storytelling and their commitment to educating the next generation of storytellers are truly admirable. Last December, the Portland-based company unveiled the trailer for their first independent feature-length documentary, simply entitled #standwithme. After several months of touring the film around the country, Stillmotion has returned home and released the film to the public through the online distribution platform Yekra. Read on to hear more about the film. More »
The DSLR revolution put the ability to create cinematic images into the hands of the masses. At the front end of this revolution, however, there weren’t many movement tools designed for this new wave of cameras. Out of the massive demand came hundreds of DSLR movement and accessory companies, one of the most notable of which is the Indiana-based firm, Kessler. In a recent collaboration with Kessler, a Canadian production company called Cinescapes Collective produced an excellent short documentary/corporate video that showcases this unique company and the way in which they conceptualize and manufacture their outstanding filmmaking products. Check it out below. More »