• Gunpowder & Sky

    Otter-Media-Van-Toffler-Floris-Bauer-Gunpowder-And-SkyVan Toffler, former head of MTV’s Music & Logo Group and co-founder of Gunpowder & Sky, describes the company formed just over a year ago with Floris Bauer as the defiant love child of YouTube, Netflix and other digital content networks, fueled by the subversive and creative spirit of misfits working out of their garages … “There is a content renaissance going on … I wanted to go back to making stuff and finding new, young, innovative and edgy creators.”  (Emily Steel,, January 2016).

  • Damián Szifrón’s WILD TALES (2014) … Better Than Dessert?

    wild-tales-8328One of the great pleasures in life is a good dessert: pistachio ice cream and double-chocolate fudge cake are hard to resist for most of us. So I’ve sometimes used the dessert metaphor to whimsically compare culinary delights to various films I have seen, and would watch again with delight. I’d sacrifice my favorite dessert for another chance to watch STRANGERS ON A TRAIN, THE THIRD MAN, BRINGING UP BABY, HIS GIRL FRIDAY, or a list of other classic films.

  • Still afraid of Self-Distribution?

    ross-putnam2Still not ready to give up the dream of theatrical? Not sure about the value of self-distribution? Or, anything digital? In his article, “How I Learned to Stop Counting on Miracles and Love Self-Distribution” (No Film School, October, 2016), Ross Putnam encourages indie filmmakers to take the plunge. He received offers for distribution after his film, FIRST GIRL I LOVED, premiered at Sundance 2016 but chose self-distribution instead. Find out why …

  • There’s a dinosaur living at the end of my block …

    There’s a dinosaur living at the end of my block. No doubt there have been many sightings in the past decade or so, as it’s been pretty much declared extinct, a creature of the 20th century. But this one survives on very little, fed mostly by the enthusiastic film-lovers, and a woman named Megan Ellison and a doctor named Dr. Leonard M. Lipman.

  • The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926)

    6a00e54efdd2b3883401538f18b27d970bThe Google Doodle for June 2nd, 2016, celebrated the 117th birthday of Charlotte (Lotte) Reiniger, a little-known German filmmaker who, in 1926, released THE ADVENTURES OF PRINCE ACHMED, one of the first animated features, if not the first, more than a decade before Disney released its first animated feature, SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS in 1937. Reiniger’s beautifully magical film was developed painstakingly, frame by frame, in cut-out silhouette style. Lotte created ACHMED with a small team of collaborators. She was 23 when they began working on the film. It took three years to complete. 

  • Old, Black & Female: Diversity and Capitalism in the Film Industry?

    Rick PaganoI want to start by saying I support increased racial and gender diversity in Hollywood. It’s long overdue, and it should help to expand the kinds of stories portrayed in films beyond the hackneyed formulaic stuff we’ve been getting lately.

    But I’m going to get myself in trouble today. 

    Because as much as I’d love to join the fray in blaming studio execs (what exactly do they do?) for their lack of imagination, risk-taking and inflexibility, I have to point the finger somewhere else if we’re looking for a villain in the fight for diversity.

  • Athena 2016: Access to Opportunity for Women in Film

    tumblr_inline_ntwd0e4bdB1r1yxm0_400Women in film are nothing if not empowered. This was clear to see on the electrified faces of the largely female audience at the 2016 Athena Film Festival held on the Barnard Campus in NYC from February 18th to 21st, 2016. It was also a strong thread that ran through the ten features, twelve documentaries, eleven shorts, four master classes, three panels, and  a lively conversation with Paul Feig and Kate McKinnon. We learned that women are making headway in terms of  graduating from film schools, getting films made, especially shorts, screening them at festivals, and winning awards.

    Yes, it appears that some progress is being made, at least in these areas. This is the good news. But, as headlines have been screaming for years, major inequalities remain. There’s still much to be done and thanks to Melissa Silverstein (Director of the ATHENA FILM FESTIVAL and founder of WOMEN AND HOLLYWOOD), there was plenty of advice on hand for all those willing to take the initiative.

  • Nothing is good enough. So we end up doing nothing.



    Nothing is good enough. So we end up doing nothing.


    A recurrence of a long-forgotten grad school nightmare? Or perhaps I’m just toying with you, tickling the paranoid part of your psyche?

    From one point of view, it’s a riotously implausible assumption, seeing that one million hours of video gets uploaded to YouTube every day. Technology has democratized filmmaking, and the Internet is similarly transforming distribution and exhibition platforms.