Meet the Vertical Cinema Movement

Vertical Cinema 1

Vertical vs. horizontal is a huge debate in the online community. Due to YouTube aspect ratios, most people believe all videos should be shot with your phone on its side, creating the familiar horizontal image like you’d see in a movie theater. If you shoot the footage vertically and then upload to the web, there are huge black spaces on either side, making the footage look amateurish and small.

But there’s a movement embracing the vertical format, and nowhere is it seen better than Rotterdam in the Netherlands. There, a group of filmmakers have started the Vertical Cinema project – a traveling film festival featuring movies specifically shot with a vertical orientation.

Below, read more and see additional images and trailers for some of the films screened in the festival. Read More »

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While we wait for Terry Gilliam‘s new film The Zero Theorem to hit theaters in the US (which will happen… sometime) we’ve got a few new tidbits for you to check out. One is a “making-of” featurette on that film, showing some of the means with which Gilliam, his crew, and stars Christoph WaltzMelanie ThierryLucas HedgesBen Whishaw, Tilda SwintonDavid Thewlis, and Matt Damon brought the story’s weird vision to life.

Even as that movie moves towards theaters, Gilliam is really going back to shoot The Man Who Killed Don Quixote once more. He’s scorned the idea of using Kickstarter to finance the film when asked about such an idea in the past, but now seems to be more open to the process. Quotes on that are below, too. Read More »

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Film festivals are becoming more accepting of genre films — perhaps it started with TIFF’s excellent Midnight Madness program, which has run for well over a decade, or perhaps it’s simply the more mainstream presence of genre stories and ideas in general, thanks to the popularity of horror and sci-fi on television. Regardless, festivals like Sundance and SXSW are competing with TIFF when it comes to debuting big projects for genre audiences.

SXSW just revealed the ten titles in its Midnighters lineup for 2014, and they include the world premiere of Bigfoot found-footage film Exists from director Eduardo Sanchez. There are also a couple showings of The Guest (above) from the You’re Next team of director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett, with Downton Abbey‘s Dan Stevens starring. Inside creators Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo have Among the Living, and the horror film Oculus debuts as well.

SXSW runs from March 7-15. You’ll find the Midnighters selections, and various shorts lineups, below.

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Infinitely Polar Bear

Briefly: The 2014 Sundance Film Festival is over and done but the we’re still seeing the effects of the fest on film distribution. Three of the festival’s more popular films were just picked up for future release. The first is Infinitely Polar Bear, the Bad Robot-produced dramedy starring Mark Ruffalo and Zoe Saldana. Sony Pictures Classics acquired the rights. No release window has been planned yet but the movie is wonderful. Read our review here.

Also now headed to a theater near you is Ping Pong Summer, Michael Tully‘s ode to the Eighties, which has been picked up by Gravitas Ventures and Millennium Entertainment. They’re planning a theatrical run early this Summer. Read our review here.

And finally, Timo Tjahjanto and Kimo Stamboel‘s Japanese action film Killers, produced by Gareth Evans, was picked up by Well Go USA Entertainment. It’ll be out in the fourth quarter of this year. Thanks to The Wrap.

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My mind just exploded. Every year, the Mondo Gallery in Austin, Texas hosts a massive art exhibit during South by Southwest but, this year they’ve outdone themselves. They’re teaming with Oh My Disney for a show called Nothing’s Impossible, and it’s all art based on Disney properties.

The show opens March 7 and remains open until March 11. It’ll feature new works by Ken Taylor, Martin Ansin, Kevin Tong, Tom Whalen, Aaron Horkey, Daniel Danger, JC Richard, Mike Mitchell, just a murderer’s row of amazing artists. Only one piece has been revealed, Alice in Wonderland by Ken Taylor, which you can see in part above. Check it out in full below along with all the info. Read More »

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We got a list of part of the SXSW premiere lineup of films not long ago, with Veronica Mars and Jon Favreau’s Chef announced as the fest’s first wave of films. Now we’ve got most of the rest of the festival’s lineup. The midnight selections and some inevitable late-breaking additions are still to be announced, but this should be more than enough to get potential attendees excited about the 2014 lineup.

SXSW will feature the premiere of Nacho Vigalondo‘s Open Windows (above), as well as the feature Faults from Riley Stearns, who directed the great short film The Cub. (Faults features Mary Elizabeth Winstead in the lead in a story about cult brainwashing and deprogramming.) There’s also a great set of films imported from Sundance, including Richard Linklater‘s Boyhood, which only played twice in Park City, and films such as The Raid 2 and Frank, the latter of which features sequences shot at last year’s SXSW.

Check out the full lineup below. Read More »

Steve James Life Itself

Steve James credits Roger Ebert with launching his career. It was Ebert’s championing of James’ first film Hoop Dreams, at the 1994 Sundance Film Festival, which put that film on people’s radars. James scored an Oscar nomination and the film enjoyed a successful box office run. Afterwards, the two remained friends and James was eventually tasked with directing Life Itself, a documentary based on Ebert’s memoir.

Soon after filming began, Ebert tragically passed away. James endured and finished the film in time for the 20th anniversary of the beginning of his relationship with Ebert, the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. It’s a gorgeous, heartbreaking look at the career of the man many consider to be the most influential film critic in history.

During Sundance I was lucky enough to talk to James about the film. We discussed his approach to the story, balancing the tragedy with humor, the relationship between critic and filmmaker, and the choice to include Gene Siskel’s story. Check it out below. Read More »

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There’s an implied threat in the title of the film A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night. Those words together suggest menace and victimization. An image forms, not of a woman out for an enjoyable stroll, but of one who might not make it home.

A reversal of that threat is the core of this vampire film written and directed by Ana Lily Amirpour. Luminescent black and white photography buttresses a very spare approach to story. Into the tale are woven supernatural tropes, and elements of westerns and ’50s rebel movies. Shot in California but set in Iran, with dialogue in Farsi, the film’s images and characters are a collision of Iranian and American cultures, specifically with respect to social politics of sex and gender. This is an inversion of classic horror, because it is not about victimization of the person described in the title, but rather that person’s retaliation against forces that seek to dominate and subjugate.

Read More »

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