Blog

  • 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.

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    DISCUSS THIS STATEMENT AS IT RELATES TO CREATIVE WORK IN THE DIGITAL AGE:

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

    YOU WILL BE GRADED.

    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. 

  • Big Daddy’s take on the 2016 Oscar noms

    brown,r_catonhottinroof58“What’s that smell in this room? Didn’t you notice it, Brick? Didn’t you notice a powerful and obnoxious odor of mendacity in this room?”

    As most of our readers probably know, that’s one of Big Daddy’s most memorable lines from Tennessee Williams’ CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF.  I’ve always thought it was the contrast between his hard-scrabble roots and the elegance of his vocabulary that help to define his character so specifically. 

  • Gunpowder & Sky

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    Gunpowder & Sky is a recently established independent studio creating and distributing content at the intersection of traditional and online media. Its goals are to reach millennials through experimentation with new forms of storytelling across multiple genres and platforms.

  • To Present & Future Sundance Rejects

    2016_sundance_film_festival_sff_logo_color_0As we approach the announcement of yet another set of serial coronations—the list of films to premiere at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival—we’re most likely all reminded of the denouement of College Admissions Day (in my time, it was April 15th). The fortunate few who were accepted at Harvard, Yale or Stanford were cracking teen-aged versions of Veuve Cliquot, while the rest of us sweated over whether any institution of higher learning would allow us onto their far-less-hallowed campuses.

    It’s worth providing a perspective on the Sundance machine, being that Rikaroo’s mission continues to focus on discovering the neglected gems from among the swarming mass of “content.” If past years are any basis, this year’s festival has probably received no fewer than 9,000 films to consider; out of that number, perhaps 150 of those will be chosen to premiere at Park City in January, 2016. Sixteen of those will be full-length feature dramatic entries.

  • Tribeca and Lionsgate Join the Streaming Fray

    Tribeca Enterprises and Lionsgate recently joined the streaming fray with the launch of Tribeca Short List, a curated site for film lovers everywhere who are finding it increasingly difficult to find good films to watch.

    tribeca-shortlist-logo-200“We’re taking a more human approach to movie discovery for viewers who want to escape the search spiral and find a great movie fast,” said Jeff Bronikowski, President of Tribeca Short List, in a press release. “We’ve found great movies that we’re offering to subscribers as part of a high quality, highly curated movie catalog with exclusive “Shortlist” content that provides context and personal insight, like getting a recommendation from a trusted friend.” (Tubefilter)