Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 
Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable

Eugene Hernandez: Nadie Sabe Nada

By Eugene Hernandez | Indiewire August 23, 2009 at 3:30AM

Sao Paulo, Brazil, August 23, 2009 -- The scene: A middle-aged man steps into a row of a fading, empty movie theater. He sits down, pauses for a moment then gets up and moves one seat to his right. He does the same thing again before settling on a spot. As it turns out, he's not about to watch a movie, but rather testing and repairing the chairs. He runs a fading cinematheque.
7

Sao Paulo, Brazil, August 23, 2009 -- The scene: A middle-aged man steps into a row of a fading, empty movie theater. He sits down, pauses for a moment then gets up and moves one seat to his right. He does the same thing again before settling on a spot. As it turns out, he's not about to watch a movie, but rather testing and repairing the chairs. He runs a fading cinematheque.

Still in production on "La vida útil," filmmaker Federico Veiroj presented just a few minutes of footage from the new film and talked about it a bit on Friday afternoon in Montevideo, Uruguay. The black-and-white project is Veiroj's second feature, a follow-up to last year's "Acné," which debuted at the Cannes Film Festival and later won a number of fest prizes. It remains without U.S. distribution of any kind, so after I chatted with the filmmaker at the Teatro Solis in downtown Montevideo last week, he handed me a DVD.

A local Uruguayan film critic stars as Jorge, the cinematheque owner in "La vida útil" whose life has been defined by his cinephilia. With his film archive in crisis, it's an understatement to say that he's facing a dramatic transition as the structures of his existence crumble.

Making the movie with Fuji film stock he won at AFI Fest, Veiroj underscored some of the timely parallels between his new movie and the state of film today. He's making a sixty seven minute project that he hopes will first find it's way to movie lovers via festivals next year, but has realistic expectations about its prospects for distribution in this current climate. Unwilling to compromise core elements of his movie to satisfy distributors, though, Veiroj calmly reiterated that he'll finish the movie his way and then take on distribution himself if necessary to get it in front of its intended audience.

Matt Dentler chats with students in Montevideo, Uruguay." Photo by Eugene Hernandez/indieWIRE

I joined a small group of U.S. film folks for a few days in Uruguay last week for MIFF Abroad, the Miami International Film Festival's annual touring program of seminars and meetings that this year connected industry, filmmakers, students and others in Montevideo. IFC's Ryan Werner, Efe Cakarel from The Auteurs, Cinetic's Matt Dentler, Gigantic Releasing's Mark Lipsky, and programmer Monika Wagenberg from Cinema Tropical were among those in Uruguay for the three days of meetings and mixers.

There's a small but apprently quite tight film community in the coastal city, situated a short trip across the Rio de La Plata from Buenos Aires. We chatted with them over meals and at bars like La Ronda, a popular local watering hole for film folks downtown. Fans of international film have embraced a number of Uruguayan films (most are co-productions) in recent years, including Juan Pablo Rebella and Pablo Stoll's "Whisky" (2003) and "25 Watts" (2001), Veiroj's "Acné", Adrián Biniez' "Gigante," an award winner in Berlin. Upcoming are Pablo Stoll's "Hiroshima" in Toronto and Enrique Buchichio's "El Cuarto de Leo" in San Sebastian.

Relating news of uncertainty and fear in the U.S. film business, the group exported reports that were quite bleak for the locals. "In just a few years, the previous structures will not be the same," Wagenberg said of the industry, in Spanish, at the start of a two-day conference. In short, the Americans spoke of dwindling opportunities for either art or commerce in the U.S. Yet, also debated digital models that might offer some relief, if not large revenues.

"Nadie sabe nada,"" I offered at one point during a panel discussion, evoking William Goldman's infamous statement that "Nobody knows anything," as a way of trying to say that as smart and seasoned as the U.S. guests are, so much seems to be in flux back home that it's too soon to know how it will all shake out. Now is a time of tremendous experimentation and opportunity.

Uruguayan producer Fernando Epstein, programmer Monika Wagenberg and Efe Cakarel from The Auteurs.

"We are losing cinephilia," underscored Efe Cakarel, the MIT and Goldman Sachs insider who is developing quite a passion for cinema as the founder and head of online cinematheque The Auteurs. His comment about the state of cinema was quite evident during an engaging Friday morning breakfast session with dozens of local film school students. The cost of living is too high to allow many visits to a multiplex, one student told me frankly.

At the local Casablanca Cinema in Montevideo I noticed that the comfortable multiplex was offering Laurent Cantet's "The Class" and Claude Chabrol's "Bellamy" (with Pedro Almodovar's "Abrazos Rotos" on the way). But, the smart student -- a violinist and writer with a filmmaker brother who is eyeing further study in New York City -- said that most people would rather spend hours downloading a crappy bootleg copy of a new film than wastefully pay to watch it. Not surprisingly, then, the idea of an iTunes movie store where folks would pay for online access to a movie in Uruguay seemed an extremely foreign (and even stupid) concept to her. Idealistically, I challenged her to come up with an online model that might marry local attitudes about free access to films with a structure that could bring some revenue to the filmmakers and produers.

The Auteurs' Cakarel said the other day in Uruguay that he doesn't want his burgeoning site to replace theatrical distribution, but instead offer wider access to cinephiles (and potential cinephiles) around the world. In Uruguay, he may have to flip that approach if film students won't go to the theater to see a movie. To that extent, after the meeting with the students on Friday he immediately decided to lower the cost of watching a film on The Auteurs in Uruguay to USD $1 and he agreed to give them credit to start streaming films from his site.

I'm visiting friends in Brazil now as I write this on a Sunday morning, thinking about my experiences last week in Uruguay. I'm looking forward to popping in the DVD of Federico Veiroj's "Acné" and then catching "Gigante" and "Hiroshima" at U.S. fests next month. I'm also wondering, again a bit idealistically, if there might be a way to find a way to bring more Latin American movies to the U.S., which has some 45 million Latinos.

"There are tens of millions of Spanish speaking people in the U.S.," Gigantic's Mark Lipsky, a veteran of Stateside film distribution, told the filmmakers and students in Uruguay the other day. "The problem is they don't go to the movies," Lipsky added, echoing conventional wisdom but then offering a challenge.

"We need to work very hard on your behalf and our own behalves, to try to fix that," he added.

Indeed.

Eugene Hernandez is the Editor-in-Chief & Co-Founder of indieWIRE and can be reached on his blog, through Facebook or via Twitter: @eug.

This article is related to: First Person






Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome



Awards Season Spotlight

Contender Conversations

Indiewire celebrates the best and brightest from Independent film, Hollywood, and foreign cinema.

More