» Posts Tagged ‘documentary’

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sundance film festivalIt’s that time of year again, No Film Schoolers. The Sundance Film Festival, the Super Bowl of independent film, has made its way back to Park City for another year. Last year, the folks at Sundance did something unexpected; they uploaded 12 short films selected to play at the prestigious festival and premiered them on YouTube. The film with the most views once the festival concluded would then be awarded the YouTube Audience Award. The online competition has returned for its second year, and the lineup has expanded to 15 films, ranging from narrative to documentary to animation and beyond. Check out a few of this year’s Sundance short films below. More »

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HerOne of the most glorious things that can happen to a filmmaker is to have the world talk about his/her film. But, even more glorious is to have the world talk about the issues is raises. This is exactly what’s happening to Spike Jonze’s Her. Upon the film’s completion, Jonze shared it with friends, filmmakers, musicians, authors, and other creatives, and their reactions form the basis of the short documentary, Her: Love in the Modern Age, directed by Lance Bangs – an intriguing discussion about artists’ personal experiences, the nature of love in today’s world, and how modern technology plays a role.
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PsychoAlfred Hitchcock’s Psycho is interesting on many levels, namely its narrative structure — for anyone to kill off your star actress halfway through a film meant committing a screenwriting atrocity. Screenwriter Joseph Stefano took several risks while writing the script for Psycho, which ended up paying off big time with audiences (though critical reviews were mixed). Cinephilia and Beyond has shared a great making-of documentary about the film, in which Stefano talks about the development of the screenplay, as well as the changes he pitched that got Hitchcock’s attention. (C&B has also made the original shooting script available online for your studying pleasure.) More »

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Haskell Wexler Who Needs SleepWorking in the film industry is often viewed as a glamorous way to make a living, and for some, it very well could be. However, for the below-the-line crew in the film industry, the never-ending trend of making films quicker and for less money has led to some troubling working conditions. One of the most troubling of these conditions is the fact that the length of workdays is completely unregulated outside of mandatory overtime pay after a certain amount of hours worked. This leads many productions to regularly operate with 14+ hour work days, which, as legendary cinematographer Haskell Wexler reveals in his 2006 documentary, Who Needs Sleep, is not only dangerous, but it could have some potentially deadly consequences. More »

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While many of us chase our own tails pursuing a career in filmmaking for own our immediate benefit, others are focussing on harnessing media to stop wars. They Came at Night is a film that was not made for you; it was made to be screened locally in central Africa to encourage communities to peacefully accept defectors from the Lord’s Resistance Army, led by Joseph Kony. Click through to watch the film and to hear from project creator Lindsay Branham and co-director Alex Mallis as they talk about shooting the narrative film with local non-actors. More »

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The Act of Killing Bittorent BundleJoshua Oppenheimer’s Oscar-shortlisted The Act of Killinga documentary revisiting squad leaders from the Indonesian genocides of the 60′s, was released on iTunes today. In a partnership between Drafthouse Films and BitTorrent, heaps of exclusive and free bonus content can be downloaded through their new BitTorrent Bundle. Read on to find out what’s inside the Bundle and how you can download it. More »

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Akira KurosawaAkira Kurosawa is one of the most influential, as well as celebrated directors in all of cinematic history, especially when it comes to Japanese filmmaking. He was heavily involved in nearly ever aspect of his films’ production process, from co-writing scripts to editing (many considered editing the director’s greatest strength as a filmmaker). In this 90-minute documentary, A Message from Akira Kurosawa: For Beautiful Movies (2000), Kurosawa shares his unique insight in ten interviews that were conducted towards the end of his life, discussing screenwriting, shooting, cinematography, directing, and his “quest for making the perfect — ‘beautiful’ movie,” — definitely a masterclass in filmmaking from a filmmaking master. More »

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Mr_Christmas

With a Vimeo Staff Pick under its belt in this the month of making merry, Nick Palmer’s documentary about the charmingly idiosyncratic Bruce Mertz, better known in Concord, California as Mr. Christmas, looks set to rack up views in numbers equal to its subject’s annual display of synchronized festive lights. A working Hollywood screenwriter who, with writing partner Jeremiah Friedman, has penned and sold scripts to studies and has the coveted distinction of being included on the much-lauded Black List, Palmer joins No Film School to discuss his writing career and how he brought the story of Mr. Christmas to screen. Prepared to be dazzled after the jump. More »

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Coen BrothersNo one does dark comedy quite like the Brothers Coen. (A pregnant police chief coming upon a bleach-blonde criminal feeding his partner’s body through a wood chipper, a perfect mixture of ruthless violence and Minnesota nice, is something only they could pull off.) There has been quite a lot of buzz circulating about their latest film Inside Llewyn Davis, but Joel and Ethan’s filmmaking journey began back in 1984 with their critically acclaimed neo-noir Blood SimpleThis 1999 BBC documentary reaches back into the Coens’ past to discuss not only their early films (pre-O Brother, Where Art Thou), but the sensibilities that started before they ever said “action”. More »

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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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Peter JacksonThere are so many films out there that filmmakers with all types of budgets, tastes, and sensibilities try to learn from and emulate. Screenwriters may look to Chinatown to learn its structure while cinematographers may look to Soy Cuba for its one-of-a-kind tracking shot. And then there’s Peter Jackson’s first feature film Bad Taste (1987). Before he was working with top dollar visual effects, Jackson was a DIY filmmaker making films on a small budget, and in the 1988 documentary, Good Taste Made Bad Taste, he shares how he shot the movie using stabilizers, dollies, and cranes that he made himself — an unintentional DIY tutorial for all low-budget filmmakers. More »

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Michel GondryFilms have the ability to transport us into other worlds; sometimes those worlds bear a striking resemblance to the one we live in every day, and other times they dwell in the surreal. One of the greatest filmmakers to teeter his films along this line is Michel Gondry, director of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and The Science of Sleep, and his latest project, a documentary featuring modern philosopher Noam Chomsky, walks that same line. Gondry takes us behind the scenes in a video by The Creators Project and details how he utilized stop motion techniques to animate his conversation with the “father of modern linguistics.” More »

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rod_serling_25508 (1)Rod Serling, creator of The Twilight Zone, is arguably one of the greatest television writers in the history of the medium. Not only was he incredibly prolific through a good portion of his career, but he also revolutionized the type of content that was coming from our major broadcast stations. In a day where corporate advertisers were in complete control of network content, Serling managed to create allegorical content rife with political and social overtones, which, considering the political climate of the United States in those days, was a tremendous feat. Here’s his story, in documentary form, which contains plenty of insight for aspiring film and television writers. More »

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Here at No Film School, we’re massive fans of the fine folks over at Stillmotion. Day in and day out, they’re not only doing what they love (and doing it well) in order to make a living, but they’re also sharing everything they learn along the way on their blog and through their numerous workshops. For the past year or so, Stillmotion has been in the process of producing their first feature-length independent documentary, entitled #standwithme. Not only does the documentary itself look fantastic, but the way that it was funded, produced, and (will be) distributed breaks the mold, and it may very well set a new precedent for how independent films are made in the future. More »

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Medora Basketball Team

Directors Andrew Cohn and Davy Rothbart have just released Medoraa documentary about a winless high school basketball team from a small town in Indiana. The filmmakers moved to the town for 9 months to document the lives of 6 teenagers, and the result is the most quintessentially American film I’ve seen this year. Read on for our interview with Andrew Cohn about the importance of committing to a project, the relationship of a filmmaker to their subject and their strategy for the release of the film. More »

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Seduced and AbandonedEver wish you could see what happens inside private dealmaking sessions for Hollywood films? Well, Alec Baldwin and James Toback ran around the Cannes film festival trying to pinch heavy cash from finance fat cats, and lucky for us, they filmed the whole process! Compiled into the new HBO doc Seduced and Abandoned or as some have tagged it, what’s wrong with Hollywood, we get a pithy look at filmmaking from everyone from Ryan Gosling to Francis Ford Coppola. Below is a roundup of memorable quotes to ponder. More »

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Doin it in the park

Doin’ It In the Park: Pick-Up Basketball, NYC is an unabashed success story for first-time feature directors Bobbito García and Kevin Couliau, who filmed basketball on 180 courts across New York City’s five boroughs. They shot the feature on the Godfather of DSLR cinematography, the Canon 5D Mark II, and took advantage of being a mobile production unit by biking to the majority of their locations. Following a theatrical tour the world over and a successful direct digital release using VHX, DIITP is available today on iTunes, Amazon.com, VUDU, Google Play, PlayStation, Xbox, and cable VOD everywhere. As a basketball player who’s spent plenty of time on outdoor NYC courts, and as a Kickstarter backer of the project, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to sit down with the filmmakers to ask them how they did it. More »

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These Birds Walk

Last time we spoke with the filmmakers behind These Birds Walk, they were reeling from their world premiere at SXSW after three years of production in Pakistan on a poetic, run-and-gun film with no budget. Now, we’re proud to say that you can see their film in theaters, opening this week! Read an excerpt from our original interview, and support your fellow filmmakers by checking out where you can see it on the big screen below. More »

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Can you imagine filming moments of a stranger’s life for years on end? From Hoop Dreams to The Up Series, filmmakers occasionally piece together remarkable stories from this kind of unparalleled documentation. Are they brave, genius, or completely mad? Susan Motamed, who has worked with filmmakers from Alex Gibney to Martin Scorsese, and produced a slew of docs including Oscar Nominated Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, answers with her experiences on filming this way with Girl, Adopted — which is currently streaming for free. More »

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Searching for Sugar ManFor better or worse, winning an Oscar is as good as it gets within the Film Industry. Haven’t we all imagined our thank you speech where we acknowledge our moms or give the metaphorical middle finger to our enemies? However, getting nominated for an Academy Award requires more than just making a good film — and for a documentary, you have to start thinking about this early or risk disqualification, as filmmaker Hunter Weeks explains in the FilmCourage interview below. More »