Movie City Indie Archive for October, 2008

Gran Torino, a film by Dramis Pereo, produced by Flurshurlinger Mishloff and Skofrol Framuk

a film by dramis pereo.pngThe trailer for Clint Eastwood’s Gran Torino is up; the credit block on the splash page is… unusual?

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Indie is bouncing from interview to interview

Close-ups at work: women on Sarah Palin

Close-ups work.

Lance Hammer on filmmaking today: The adults have left the room

A few optimistic words from the director of Ballast.

What was the most viewed indie of the weekend with 165,00 viewers? Princess of Nebraska

On Monday, I had a conversation with filmmaker Lance Hammer about how movies like his Ballast could make money in the present and emerging market. And while he’s an optimist about the future of filmmaking, he was less than sanguine about the possibility of breaking even with a film like his today. Which is why this news release leaves me with mixed feelings: “165,000 + views in a two-day period is the biggest online opening ever for a feature-length studio film: Wayne Wang’s new film The Princess of Nebraska made its world premiere on YouTube™ on Saturday, October 18, 2008 at 12:00am EST. With more than 165,000 views in its first two days, the online launch represents the most successful studio film premiere in YouTube’s history. In relation to a theatrical release, the film would have placed around 15th on the box office charts. Magnolia Pictures’ Ray Price said, “It’s astounding that over a two day period The Princess of Nebraska became the most widely viewed independent film in the country.” That’s a lot of eyeballs. An interesting small film is getting seen. What’s next? [The film is below.]

Wayne Wang's Princess of Nebraska

Wayne Wang’s career as a feature director came with one of the first micro-budgeted success of the once-burgeoning American independent movement (in theatrical terms, at least), 1992’s Chan is Missing Much of his work is with women or bears Chinese and Chinese-American themes, even as he alternates studio work with smaller projects, such as Brooklyn-by-the-block Smoke (1995), written by Paul Auster. With a modest amount of money on hand after shooting, a companion film, Blue in the Face was made in five days by Wang and Auster, and there’s a similar occasion a decade later, with Wang’s latest, the generational drama A Thousand Years of Good Luck in theaters now, and the teensy-scaled The Princess of Nebraska, a story of a young woman making a momentous choice, shot with smaller, mostly consumer-level cameras, including the main character’s cell phones, now showing via YouTube’s Screening Room for free starting today (It’s embedded above.) A primary reason these almost guerilla-scaled collaborations appeal to Wang is how contrary they are to the style of editing in contemporary studio-budgeted projects, where a moment for reflection is a moment to be snipped. It’s called a “pacing pass,” or a review of the assembly to make sure that everything is always moving at the briskest of clips. “Well, that’s true with all these studios now. You preview, you preview, and you’re already chopping things out. And then at the end, they go through a pacing pace and basically anything that is a moment of taking a breath, for the audience to think, they take it right out. So that’s what the studio films have become. There are no characters: they’re heroes, they’re comic strip heroes, and they’re very one-note most of the time. There are a few films that go and deal with characters but there are very few of them. And plot! Everything has to be part of the plot. Everything is so cause-and-effect, it’s unreal. That’s why, again, in my film there are a lot of things that are not explained. A lot of things that don’t lead to something. Which is part of their lives and their conflicts.” Wang is open to evolving forms of distribution, but says, “We need to look at the world in both those ways. The sad thing is probably that the theater films are all going to be event films. That’s the reality.” And smaller pictures? The easy-to-laugh director says, laughing, “It’s fun to do. It’s almost like throwing all the rules out the window.”

Abel Ferrara takes a pirouette around Little Italy

[Via The Circuit.]

One take: "Humbled"/"Choice"

Guinness unleashes fridge magnet in Buenos Aires

V. nice sense of place.

Kim's video would like you to adopt 55,000 videos

Kim's public offer.jpg

Guillaume Depardieu was 37

The U.S. trailer for The Duchess Of Anglaise.

Kennedy had a catchy jingle in 1960

Indie is screening

American mystic

Not Mickey Rourke.

Photographer William Claxton was 80



Movie City Indie

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon