Here at Indiewire we love movies as much as you do. But among us cinephiles, there are some who rise to the head of the pack.
This year at Indiewire, we decided we had gone far too long without giving proper due to the people — aside from filmmakers — who help us feed our cinephilia. In our new column Movie Lovers We Love, we profiled many of the most exciting programmers, writers, entrepreneurs and designers that work in the creative fringes of the film industry.
With our eyes set on the many amazing movie lovers still yet to be profiled, here is the list of the Movie Lovers We Love from 2012:
Joey Shanks has teamed up with the people at PBS Digital Studios to produce a weekly series that explains how to produce DIY special effects for low-budget productions. His YouTube channel Shanks FX has explained how to create planets with dry ice bubbles and how to make stop-motion animations.
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For some time now, Milestone Films president Dennis Doros has been interested in bringing back films lost to history that explore the borders between fact and fiction. For him and his company, started by Doros and the woman who would become his wife, Amy Heller, the turning point was Milestone’s release of “Killer of Sheep.” L.A. Rebellion filmmaker Charles Burnett’s naturalistic film was well-respected and in need of a proper release a few years ago. “It was an impossible challenge for myself,” says Doros. “It was very difficult to clear the music rights, and after six years and $150,000 we got those cleared. We spent a total of $450,000 on the restoration. Burnett was a well-respected director but wasn’t commercial. The film grossed $660,000.”
Though movie culture in Brooklyn has recently grown prominent, the borough’s cinematic vitality wasn’t always this strong. In 2007, when the Galapagos Art Space was located in the borough’s Williamsburgh neighborhood, a bunch of friends with ties to the now-defunct Reel Life video store — including the program’s current producer Chris Henderson — got together to host a movie night at Galapagos. The night, called Moviehouse, would show a cult movie and throw a short film from a local filmmaker in front of it.
When Hitler took over Germany in the 1930’s, not only was Jewish culture virtually obliterated, so too was the country’s robust homosexual and transgender literature and culture. The Nazis famously destroyed the extensive archive of the sexologist Mangus Hirschfeld. As part of that purge, all copies of Richard Oswald’s film, “Different from the Others” (co-wrote with Hirschfeld), were also burned. With the Legacy Project, a joint venture for LGBTQ film and video preservation co-run by Outfest (LA’s LGBT Film Festival) and the UCLA Film and Television Archives, the Project’s Manager Kristin Pepe (who goes by KP) is working with people from all over the world to create a new print of the classic German film, thought by many to be the first feature-length gay film.
Twenty years ago, Karen Falk was looking through a publication for museum professionals and saw a job listing for an archivist at The Jim Henson Company. At the time, she was working with museum clients at Christie’s, but she was ready for a change of pace.
When Indiewire edited the print magazine IFC Rant (yes, that really happened!), the publication ran images of Halle Berry, Michelle Rodriguez and Jennifer Jason Leigh shot by Robin Holland. But photographing starlets is not what brought Holland to the film world. Since she first shot Douglas Sirk several decades ago, Holland has traveled the world seeking out her favorite film directors.
While Christopher Moloney was walking around Central Park, headed to his job at CNN near Columbus Circle, he looked down the street and realized that he worked around the corner from one of the most iconic scenes in one of his favorite films, “Ghostbusters,” in which the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man walks down a New York street, terrorizing citizens below.
For over twenty years, Henry Jenkins has been interested in looking at the ways that audiences interact with the mass media ojbects they love. Previously at the MIT Comparative Media Studies Department, Jenkins even came up with a name for people like him in academia: aca/fans (academic fans).
The two men behind the new online journal Interiors are plotting out their film geekdom in the form of architectural floorplans of some of their favorite films. Armen Karaoghlanian studied film at USC and Mehruss Jon Ahi studied architecture. Ahi’s thesis for school was a floorplan and exploration of David Fincher’s film “Panic Room.” When Karaoghlanian got ahold of the thesis, he knew that the two could easily join forces to make an interesting, analytical resource for film fans interested in art direction, set design and direction.
It’s no secret that Brooklyn is becoming a formidable home for independent cinema. The borough of Brooklyn, which has so many people that it would be the fourth largest city in the country if it was an independent city, is fast becoming an important player in independent film exhibition. In the past few years, Indiescreen, reRun, Spectacle and Nitehawk Cinemas have all joined Rooftop Films and the BAM cinemas in creating an exciting exhibition culture. As more cinemas are opening in the borough, the BAMcinemaFest is becoming a robust force in the indie world. Brookyn is also, of course, the home to many of the world’s most exciting filmmakers.
Cristina Cacioppo was hired by the 92Y Tribeca to help head up their film programming when it opened as a downtown venue for the arts organization 92Y a few years ago, and once she was hired, she noticed a hole in New York repertory film programming right away. “Los Angeles had Cinefamily, and there was the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, but there wasn’t a lot of places to screen cult stuff or less serious films.”
As the man behind the repertory cinema guide email and website Screen Slate, Jon Dieringer is a true cinephile’s cinephile. His daily guide focuses on film and video screenings, gallery installations, and other events from a wide variety of venues across New York City.
Last week, the Museum of Modern Art announced that its longtime Senior Curator, Laurence Kardish, would retire from his position in October. More than shouldering responsibility for MoMA’s continuing reputation as one of New York’s preeminent destinations for first-rate cinema both new and old, Kardish has been a fixture of the museum’s film department since 1968. Over the course of his 44-year tenure, he has helped usher in a more profound appreciation for the broad scope of film history while also keeping an eye on the present.
Walking into the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, museumgoers are treated to a wall plastered with the mural work of street artist Shepard Fairey. From the get-go, then, visitors are told they are entering into a world with its fingers on the pulse of the latest trends in contemporary art. The Fairey foyer was not what brought me to the CAC, though. I was brought by a friend to see the museum’s Spectacle: The Music Video exhibit, something I was nervous about, thinking I would be spending the next few hours fixing headphones to my head after approaching the TV atop the next pedestal. But as one heads up to the second floor to check out the stellar sculpture work of Francis Upritchard, one begins to hear murmurs of music.
Don’t deny it. Even the most committed Criterion Eclipse-set-collecting cinephile has tried-and-true favorites that aren’t exactly, well, critic-proof. When you’re done eating your cultural vegetables, so to speak, you settle down on the futon for your nineteenth viewing of “Roadhouse.” To Matt Carman and Kseniya Yarosh, this particular kind of movie fandom is not just valid; it merits serious celebration. That’s why, in 2009, they launched “I Love Bad Movies,” their series of zines that compile short, fascinating, and often hilarious essays on glorious cinematic wreckage old and new.
At the end of July, Lawrence Kaufman, the President of the National Stereoscopic Association, will convene a group of 3D afficianados at the annual 3D-Con in Costa Mesa, California. Kaufman told Indiewire about the event, “3D is a passion for me. It’s my 8th year as president, our 38th year as an annual convention, we do everything 3D — we have people that have put together shows, professional shows too, we get to see 3D projection in a great theater – the same Real-D circular solar glasses you get in movie theaters. We’ll have Victorian stereo views, 3D comics. Anything 3D.”
New York-based film journalist, programmer and newbie video store owner Aaron Hillis, is nothing if not an underdog. “I have this bad habit of getting into failing industries,” he told Filmmaker Magazine, shortly after purchasing the established Cobble Hill business Video Free Brooklyn. “I started in print journalism in 2002, got into DVD distribution with Andrew Grant in 2006, then theatrical exhibition in 2010 and here we go, I’m buying a video store in 2012.”
When filmmakers Patrick Epino and Stephen Dypiangco were looking for a name for their YouTube channel where they’d discuss all things film, they were inspired by an article on Indiewire’s Women and Hollywood blog about a “New Faces of Indie Film” panel at the Film Society of Lincoln Center touting the future of indie film. As Melissa Silverstein at Women and Hollywood and Tambay at Shadow and Act pointed out, only one woman and no people of color were on the panel.
Evan Seitz has developed a series of IQ tests for movie lovers. Actually, that may not be a fair description of his animated quizzes; IQ tests were never this addictive.
Abbey Bender makes the case that Susan Seidelman’s “Desperately Seeking Susan” is an “exemplary feminist film,” Imogen Smith takes a look at women urban observers and Farran Smith Nehme analyzes Whit Stillman’s new film “Damsels in Distress.” Miriam Bale, a film critic and programmer based in New York City, launched Joan’s Digest, an online film journal with critical essays written by women about women and film, last November. The longtime film freelancer launched the journal after taking a close look at her publications’ contributors.
Found police surveillance footage of a tearoom (a term for notorious spots to find public but covert gay sex) in 1962 makes up William E. Jones’ “Tearoom.” On July 23rd, this former piece of courtroom evidence will be projected on the walls of New York’s oldest gay bar, Julius. Most high-minded curators and the artists they regularly work with would turn their noses up at the idea of screening a film at a bar. But the bar — the activity, social and sexual, that takes place inside — and its history are the very reasons Dirty Looks: On Location series will be screening “Tearoom” at Julius.
In the 1980’s the Greek-American filmmaker Gregory Markopoulos began showing his decades of experimental film work in a remote area of the Greek Pelopenesse he called the Temenos. The Greek meaning for the word Temenos is “a piece of land set apart.” Markopoulos screened his career’s work with new work from his partner, the filmmaker Robert Beavers.
Documentary filmmaker Jason Spingarn-Koff (“Life 2.0”) has a pretty sweet deal. He gets to work with documentary filmmakers to help them make short videos for one the world’s most respected media outlets, The New York Times.
Imagine if Frederick Wiseman, the Maysles brothers, or Errol Morris started making films in the twenty-first century. Would their documentaries need an interactive component: an iPad app, separate from the iPhone app, which links to the Facebook page? Imagine “Titticut Follies” as a role-playing game. Okay, don’t. Those filmmakers are, in fact, making films now that exist on their own, with little transmedia flair. But interactive guru Ingrid Kopp says that documentary filmmakers are being expected to develop all kinds of kooky ideas to make their projects relevant in the Facebook era.
Growing up, Skip Elsheimer collected baseball cards, coins, comic books and fossils. As an adult, he would continue to be an ardent collector and de facto historian of educational films — especially venereal disease films.
While she calls herself a pirate, she’s not doing anything illegal. Video remix artist Elisa Kreisinger has made three videos remixing scenes from the run of “Sex and the City” to explore the possibilities of Carrie’s same-sex attraction. She’s created a video made up of television clips exploring the selling of the image of Obama around the time of his inauguration. She’s recently taken to “Mad Men,” creating a video that imagines Don Draper and Roger Sterling as lovers. All of them are hosted on her site, Pop Culture Pirate.
“I’ve always been a big fan and viewer of Hindi cinema as a child,” Bollywood anthropologist Tejaswini Ganti recently told Indiewire. We should note that “Bollywood” is a name for the contemporary Hindi film system. According to Ganti, in her 2004 “Bollywood: A Guidebook to Popular Hindi Cinema,” Bollywood is “a tongue-in-cheek term created by the English-language press in India in the late 1970s” and “has now become the dominant global term to refer to the prolific and box-office oriented Hindi language film industry located in Bombay.”
Husband-and-wife film studies team David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson, now retired from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, have published editions of their “Film Art” textbook since 1976. It’s a classroom standard, one that freshmen often react to with some eye-rolling derision: Certainly we’ve all watched so many films that we know everything there is to know about film form and film language. Dive into it, however, and in no time you’ll realize that you don’t.
In 2009, when Rachel Chanoff had just begun programming at the 92Y Tribeca in New York, she asked Ira Sachs (the director of the ’12 Sundance hit “Keep the Lights On” and ’05 Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner “Forty Shades of Blue”) if he’d be interested in programming a queer film series for the space’s ambitious and eclectic film program. Sachs had recently met a young filmmaker, Adam Baran (who was then Contributing Editor at the iconic Butt Magazine and is currently working on a short film, “Jackpot”), and the two had been talking about approaching film from an art perspective. Together, Sachs and Baran joined forces to accept Chanoff’s offer.
Most of us have probably assumed that the days of video stores are over. Those friendly clerks at the counter who had your dream job (watching movies all day and offering film recommendations) had to move on to blogs and art house ticket counters. All those DVDs were donated to libraries or sold on EBay. So, now you settle down to browse Netflix. It may surprise you, however, that in Brooklyn’s rapidly-booming Greenpoint neighborhood, there’s an independent video store that is beating the odds. Whenever its doors are open, Photoplay Film and Video on Greenpoint’s Manhattan Avenue is never empty and never quiet.
“Ice Age” or “Hangover”? Two movies, one choice. The only thing to do is pick. That’s the driving force behind Flickchart, a film website launched by Nathan Chase and Jeremy Thompson in late 2009. “The whole premise behind the site is that you’re having to make this hard choice between two movies and that’s your only point of focus for the moment. You have to think with some depth and really compare them,” said Thompson, the programming half of the site’s central parternership. “When you put one ahead of the other one, you have to suffer the pain that comes with saying, ‘This movie just isn’t as good.’”
About halfway through our conversation, Laura Major looked around her office to see what she had lying around waiting for her attention. “I have John Ford’s home movies stacked up in my office here,” she told Indiewire. As the Head Color Timer’s Assistant at Colorlab in Silver Spring, Maryland, Major works in the prep department. Working on color timing means using various means to improve the color and the image of film prints.
A few years ago, London-based Sam Ashby was a busy graphic designer and a casual fan of queer film, albeit one with a thirst to explore the genre’s legacy. He also wanted to put his design skills to work on a magazine, but he hadn’t come upon the right subject. And then one night, while watching Paul Morrissey’s “Flesh” starring Warhol favorite “Little”Joe Dallesandro, he found his muse. Thus Little Joe — the biannual, limited-run “magazine about queers and cinema, mostly” — was born.
You’re a New Yorker. You have great, film-loving friends. But if you told them you wanted to see a movie tonight, in theaters, that would be undoubtedly worthwhile, how many would tell you about tonight’s screening of Michael Curtiz’s Joan Crawford-starring “Mildred Pierce,” hosted at the Chelsea Clearview Theater by the tenacious drag queen Hedda Lettuce? We didn’t think so. You need more friends like Paul Brunick’s website AltScreen, a comprehensive directory to repertory and indie cinema in New York.