Sean Connery and Tippi Hedren in MARNIE, which celebrates its 50th anniversary today.

Sean Connery and Tippi Hedren in MARNIE, which celebrates its 50th anniversary today.

micdotcom:

Watch: 16 short films that launched the careers of now-famous directors

Follow micdotcom

Source: micdotcom

The East coast premiere of HEAVEN ADORES YOU will take place on June 20, 2014 at AFI DOCS.

The East coast premiere of HEAVEN ADORES YOU will take place on June 20, 2014 at AFI DOCS.

Catch up on AFI FEST 2013 titles now on VOD:

You can now watch many of the most highly acclaimed titles from AFI FEST 2013 in the comfort of your own home!  Here’s a partial list of some of the latest films and where to find them:

BETHLEHEM - now on iTunes

BLUE RUIN - now on Vudu

CAUCUS - now on iTunes

THE MISSING PICTURE - now on Vudu and iTunes

THE MOST FUN I’VE EVER HAD WITH MY PANTS ON -  now on iTunes

PHILOMENA - now on iTunes

THE SACRAMENT - now on iTunes and Vudu

STRANGER BY THE LAKE - now on Netflix Instant

Filmmaker Q&A with Orlando Von Einsiedel of VIRUNGA
Africa’s oldest national park containing the last natural habitat for endangered mountain gorillas exists in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. As civil unrest grows within the DRC, a British oil company pursues efforts to drill in this UNESCO world heritage site. A small number of park rangers and a determined journalist fight to secure the park’s borders from poachers and businessmen alike. VIRUNGA shockingly exposes blatant corruption, highlighting the political and environmental crisis in the Congo.
(click HERE to view the trailer)
1. Introduce yourself. Orlando von Einisiedel is just a scruffy filmmaker from south London. 
2. What inspired this film?  How did you find your subjects?
I was drawn by the bravery of the Virunga National Park’s rangers. After 20 years of conflict I was amazed at the optimism they held for the region and how they would risk they lives on a daily basis to protect the park. Every single one of them was willing to lay down their lives to protect a place they see as one of the best hopes eastern Congo has to drive sustainable development and lasting peace.   
3. What were some of the biggest challenges/surprises?
I wasn’t banking on a new civil war starting only a few weeks after arriving in Democratic Republic of the Congo or to spend two years investigating illegal oil exploration taking place in the Virunga National Park. 
4. What is your proudest professional moment?
Having the honour of being able to film with the rangers of Virunga National Park through thick and thin. 
5. Why did you become a filmmaker?
To tell the stories of inspirational people, to bring power to account and spend time in beautiful parts of our fragile planet. 
6. What was the first film you saw in a movie theatre?
INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM 
7. Who is the most memorable documentary character?
Mohammed in James Longley’s IRAQ IN FRAGMENTS
 
8. Which documentary do you consider the most cinematic?
MAN ON WIRE
 
9. What documentary do you find the most original and imaginative in its construction?
THE ACT OF KILLING
 
10. Which documentary has had the most profound impact on society?
Sadly, TRIUMPH OF THE WILL probably has a pretty strong claim to this title… 
11. If there were one documentary moment in history that you could experience as a filmmaker, what would it be?
Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon.
 
12. What has been the most unexpected thing to happen since taking the film on the festival circuit?
We’ve been pretty humbled by how the film has been received and touched by the support from people all around the world who’ve rallied to get behind our team and the Virunga National Park. This project has always been about a lot more than just a film. For us, the film is one tool in a toolbox to try and help protect one of the key resources eastern Congo has to change the region for the better, especially in the face of illegal oil exploration by a Western company motivated by profit. 
 
13. What song do you love this summer?  
“1er Gaou” by Magic System

SCREENINGS:
Thursday, June 19, 9:00 p.m.
AFI Silver
(click HERE to buy tickets) 
Friday, June 20, 9:15 p.m.Goethe-Institut
(click HERE to buy tickets)

Filmmaker Q&A with Orlando Von Einsiedel of VIRUNGA

Africa’s oldest national park containing the last natural habitat for endangered mountain gorillas exists in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. As civil unrest grows within the DRC, a British oil company pursues efforts to drill in this UNESCO world heritage site. A small number of park rangers and a determined journalist fight to secure the park’s borders from poachers and businessmen alike. VIRUNGA shockingly exposes blatant corruption, highlighting the political and environmental crisis in the Congo.

(click HERE to view the trailer)

1. Introduce yourself.
Orlando von Einisiedel is just a scruffy filmmaker from south London.

2. What inspired this film?  How did you find your subjects?

I was drawn by the bravery of the Virunga National Park’s rangers. After 20 years of conflict I was amazed at the optimism they held for the region and how they would risk they lives on a daily basis to protect the park. Every single one of them was willing to lay down their lives to protect a place they see as one of the best hopes eastern Congo has to drive sustainable development and lasting peace.   

3. What were some of the biggest challenges/surprises?

I wasn’t banking on a new civil war starting only a few weeks after arriving in Democratic Republic of the Congo or to spend two years investigating illegal oil exploration taking place in the Virunga National Park. 

4. What is your proudest professional moment?

Having the honour of being able to film with the rangers of Virunga National Park through thick and thin. 

5. Why did you become a filmmaker?

To tell the stories of inspirational people, to bring power to account and spend time in beautiful parts of our fragile planet. 

6. What was the first film you saw in a movie theatre?

INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM

7. Who is the most memorable documentary character?

Mohammed in James Longley’s IRAQ IN FRAGMENTS

 

8. Which documentary do you consider the most cinematic?

MAN ON WIRE

 

9. What documentary do you find the most original and imaginative in its construction?

THE ACT OF KILLING

 

10. Which documentary has had the most profound impact on society?

Sadly, TRIUMPH OF THE WILL probably has a pretty strong claim to this title… 

11. If there were one documentary moment in history that you could experience as a filmmaker, what would it be?

Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon.

 

12. What has been the most unexpected thing to happen since taking the film on the festival circuit?

We’ve been pretty humbled by how the film has been received and touched by the support from people all around the world who’ve rallied to get behind our team and the Virunga National Park. This project has always been about a lot more than just a film. For us, the film is one tool in a toolbox to try and help protect one of the key resources eastern Congo has to change the region for the better, especially in the face of illegal oil exploration by a Western company motivated by profit. 

 

13. What song do you love this summer? 

“1er Gaou” by Magic System

SCREENINGS:

Thursday, June 19, 9:00 p.m.

AFI Silver

(click HERE to buy tickets) 

Friday, June 20, 9:15 p.m.
Goethe-Institut

(click HERE to buy tickets)

Filmmaker Q&A with Kitty Green of UKRAINE IS NOT A BROTHEL
Ukraine’s feminist group FEMEN creates quite a stir when the women demonstrate topless across European borders to protest against the patriarchal regime in their native country. To FEMEN, Ukrainian women are not whores or mail order brides for sale. This film takes an in-depth look into what makes this provocative organization tick. As the protests gain international attention, however, questions grow as to who is the real driving force behind these outspoken women and their campaign for change.
(click HERE to view the trailer)
1. Introduce yourself. 
Kitty Green is a graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts School of Film and Television in Melbourne, Australia. Her short films screened at festivals internationally. After graduating, Kitty worked for ABC’s ART NATION, producing documentary content for national broadcast.Kitty spent a year in her mother’s native Ukraine shooting with the topless feminist movement ‘Femen’. Her abduction by the KGB made headlines across the globe. Her feature documentary, UKRAINE IS NOT A BROTHEL premiered at the Venice Film Festival in September 2013, was nominated for the Grierson Trust award at the London BFI Film Festival, screened at IDFA, Hot Docs, SXSW Film Festival and is making its Washington DC premiere at AFI Docs.
 
2. What inspired this film?  How did you find your subjects?
I first read about Femen in a tabloid newspaper in Melbourne. There was an eye-catching picture of a topless blonde in fishnet tights, holding a hand-painted sign saying, ‘Ukraine is not a Brothel.’ It was a beautifully contradictory image. I was instantly intrigued by this movement. My grandmother is Ukrainian and whilst I was travelling around the country to visit my relatives, I heard that Femen would be protesting in the fountain on Independence Square. After filming one protest, I was hooked.
 
3. What were some of the biggest challenges/surprises?
I was arrested several times shooting protests with Femen. When the girls were planning a trip to Belarus, “Europe’s last dictatorship,” however, I was immediately apprehensive. My Ukrainian friends warned me not to go as it was unsafe, but I decided to take the risk. The protest against Lukashenko’s regime was to take place in front of the KGB headquarters in Minsk. The streets of Minsk were dead quiet that morning. About five journalists showed up to cover Femen’s protest. Two of them disappeared after taking a few shots. I wondered why they weren’t staying to watch the arrest. It was then that a secret service man grabbed me by the arm and dragged me from the scene into a small room at the back of the KGB building. They took my camera and my telephone and left me there for hours. After a few hours, some men entered and dragged me off into a van and drove me to a second location. I asked repeatedly for a translator. They denied my requests.
After a few more hours in a dark room, I was given my camera back. The footage had been deleted. I was told I would be escorted to the train station. My escort sat opposite me on the train all the way across the border into Lithuania. At Vilnius station, he smiled at me darkly and said ‘Goodbye’ in Russian. I ran out into the dark streets of Vilnius. The girls suffered a harsher punishment. They were thrust into a van and taken to a forest near the Ukrainian border where they were stripped and beaten.
 
4. What is your proudest professional moment?
Our film premiered at Venice Film Festival and I had seven topless women with me on the red carpet. The Italian press went insane. It was absolutely surreal and will be hard to top!
 
5. What was the first film you saw in a movie theater?
I remember seeing THE LITTLE MERMAID as a child. I went to the bathroom and missed the signature track, ‘Under The Sea.’ I was absolutely devastated.
 
6. Who is the most memorable documentary character?
Either GREY GARDENS’ Edie Beale or GRIZZLY MAN’S Timothy Treadwell… Please don’t make me choose.
 
7. Which documentary do you consider the most cinematic?
All documentary is cinematic.
 
8. What documentary do you find the most original and imaginative in its construction?
I haven’t seen TARNATION in several years but I think about it often. I think its authenticity is what is most striking. I believe it is ‘original’ in that it is somehow free of ‘construction’.
 
9. Which documentary has had the most profound impact on society?
That isn’t something I can assess. Every documentary film impacts society it its own way.
 
10. If there were one documentary moment in history that you could experience as a filmmaker, what would it be?
I’d love to find MH370. Perhaps that is still possible…
 
11. What has been the most unexpected thing to happen since taking the film on the festival circuit?
Johnny Depp made a surprise cameo at an awards ceremony at the BFI London Film Festival. I had one of the Femen activists with me and I had to physically restrain her to keep her from crashing the stage. It was definitely the strangest moment we’ve had on the festival circuit.
 
12. What song do you love this summer?  
Boney M’s ‘Rasputin’. Can’t get it out of my head.

SCREENINGS:
Thursday, June 19, 4:15 p.m.
AFI Silver
(click HERE to buy tickets) 
Saturday, June 21, 9:00 p.m.Goethe-Institut
(click HERE to buy tickets)

Filmmaker Q&A with Kitty Green of UKRAINE IS NOT A BROTHEL

Ukraine’s feminist group FEMEN creates quite a stir when the women demonstrate topless across European borders to protest against the patriarchal regime in their native country. To FEMEN, Ukrainian women are not whores or mail order brides for sale. This film takes an in-depth look into what makes this provocative organization tick. As the protests gain international attention, however, questions grow as to who is the real driving force behind these outspoken women and their campaign for change.

(click HERE to view the trailer)

1. Introduce yourself.

Kitty Green is a graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts School of Film and Television in Melbourne, Australia. Her short films screened at festivals internationally. After graduating, Kitty worked for ABC’s ART NATION, producing documentary content for national broadcast.Kitty spent a year in her mother’s native Ukraine shooting with the topless feminist movement ‘Femen’. Her abduction by the KGB made headlines across the globe. Her feature documentary, UKRAINE IS NOT A BROTHEL premiered at the Venice Film Festival in September 2013, was nominated for the Grierson Trust award at the London BFI Film Festival, screened at IDFA, Hot Docs, SXSW Film Festival and is making its Washington DC premiere at AFI Docs.

 

2. What inspired this film?  How did you find your subjects?

I first read about Femen in a tabloid newspaper in Melbourne. There was an eye-catching picture of a topless blonde in fishnet tights, holding a hand-painted sign saying, ‘Ukraine is not a Brothel.’ It was a beautifully contradictory image. I was instantly intrigued by this movement. My grandmother is Ukrainian and whilst I was travelling around the country to visit my relatives, I heard that Femen would be protesting in the fountain on Independence Square. After filming one protest, I was hooked.

 

3. What were some of the biggest challenges/surprises?

I was arrested several times shooting protests with Femen. When the girls were planning a trip to Belarus, “Europe’s last dictatorship,” however, I was immediately apprehensive. My Ukrainian friends warned me not to go as it was unsafe, but I decided to take the risk. The protest against Lukashenko’s regime was to take place in front of the KGB headquarters in Minsk. The streets of Minsk were dead quiet that morning. About five journalists showed up to cover Femen’s protest. Two of them disappeared after taking a few shots. I wondered why they weren’t staying to watch the arrest. It was then that a secret service man grabbed me by the arm and dragged me from the scene into a small room at the back of the KGB building. They took my camera and my telephone and left me there for hours. After a few hours, some men entered and dragged me off into a van and drove me to a second location. I asked repeatedly for a translator. They denied my requests.

After a few more hours in a dark room, I was given my camera back. The footage had been deleted. I was told I would be escorted to the train station. My escort sat opposite me on the train all the way across the border into Lithuania. At Vilnius station, he smiled at me darkly and said ‘Goodbye’ in Russian. I ran out into the dark streets of Vilnius. The girls suffered a harsher punishment. They were thrust into a van and taken to a forest near the Ukrainian border where they were stripped and beaten.

 

4. What is your proudest professional moment?

Our film premiered at Venice Film Festival and I had seven topless women with me on the red carpet. The Italian press went insane. It was absolutely surreal and will be hard to top!

 

5. What was the first film you saw in a movie theater?

I remember seeing THE LITTLE MERMAID as a child. I went to the bathroom and missed the signature track, ‘Under The Sea.’ I was absolutely devastated.

 

6. Who is the most memorable documentary character?

Either GREY GARDENS’ Edie Beale or GRIZZLY MAN’S Timothy Treadwell… Please don’t make me choose.

 

7. Which documentary do you consider the most cinematic?

All documentary is cinematic.

 

8. What documentary do you find the most original and imaginative in its construction?

I haven’t seen TARNATION in several years but I think about it often. I think its authenticity is what is most striking. I believe it is ‘original’ in that it is somehow free of ‘construction’.

 

9. Which documentary has had the most profound impact on society?

That isn’t something I can assess. Every documentary film impacts society it its own way.

 

10. If there were one documentary moment in history that you could experience as a filmmaker, what would it be?

I’d love to find MH370. Perhaps that is still possible…

 

11. What has been the most unexpected thing to happen since taking the film on the festival circuit?

Johnny Depp made a surprise cameo at an awards ceremony at the BFI London Film Festival. I had one of the Femen activists with me and I had to physically restrain her to keep her from crashing the stage. It was definitely the strangest moment we’ve had on the festival circuit.

 

12. What song do you love this summer?  

Boney M’s ‘Rasputin’. Can’t get it out of my head.

SCREENINGS:

Thursday, June 19, 4:15 p.m.

AFI Silver

(click HERE to buy tickets) 

Saturday, June 21, 9:00 p.m.
Goethe-Institut

(click HERE to buy tickets)

Filmmaker Q&A with Edward Lovelace and James Hall of THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS
In 2005, gifted Scottish musician Edwyn Collins suffered two devastating cerebral hemorrhages that left him with large gaps in his memory and trouble with the most basic language. This inventive film artfully puts the viewer inside Collins’ experience as he fights back from the brink of death. His remarkable story and the film itself are astonishing and help to create a meaningful and sensory way to describe his challenging road to recovery.
(click HERE to view the trailer)
1.   Introduce yourself.  
We are Edward Lovelace and James Hall, the directors of THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS. Collectively known as Daryl, we started making feature Docs after working in commercials and music promos for many years. Our previous feature projects include WEREWOLVES ACROSS AMERICAand KATY PERRY: PART OF ME.

2.   What inspired this film?  How did you find your subjects?
Edwyn released an album after his stroke and there was something in the lyrics that felt almost otherworldly. His song writing approach was more direct as a result of him having to learn language again, but the songs felt profound because of this simplicity.

Immediately after hearing this record we wanted to know more about his recovery – less so his physical recovery but the rebuilding of his identity that was devastated by the brain haemorrhage and his journey back to language, lyrics and understanding.

3.   What were some of the biggest challenges/surprises?
The funding process was a challenge but we were also encouraged at the willingness that people showed to get the project off the ground. Recreating an experience of a stroke through memories and abstract images isn’t the easiest sell, but Edwyn’s story is such an inspirational one that people wanted to give it a chance. We were actually extremely lucky to find support early on from those who believed in the idea and wanted to be apart of it.

4.   What is your proudest professional moment?
The fact that Edwyn agreed to write an original score for the film was one of the biggest honours we could imagine. When he first played us what he had produced – a 10 minute epic soundscape – we were completely blown away. We sat in the control room of his studio speechless, in awe of his ability to write something so perfectly in sync with the film and in a style not usually attributed to him. His talent genuinely knows no bounds.

5.   Why did you become a filmmaker?
Ed was sacked from more than 10 jobs over the course of one summer so realised quickly that his skill set lay outside of the regular workplace. Tesco in Cambridge decline to acknowledge his tenure as it lasted under 4 hours. As for James, after being refused by his mother to let him paint his bedroom black, he watched BLADE RUNNER on repeat and realised that cinema could be the cure to his teenage angst.

6.   What was the first film you saw in a movie theater?
The first film we saw in the cinema together was WEDDING CRASHERS and we stand by a lot of its philosophies on life to this day. Both of us have a massive man crush on Vince Vaughn so hours are shared watching reruns of FOUR CHRISTMASES or crying on airplanes to THE BREAK UP. Damn… that guy has straight up charisma.

7.    Who is the most memorable documentary character?
Billy from Jennifer Venditti’s BILLY THE KID is one of the greatest characters on film – so genuine and relatable. The whole film is a testament to how important the relationship is between subject and filmmaker and what difference that can make to how a character comes across on screen. Or: How can you watch AMERICAN MOVIE and not fall in love with Mike Shank? He doesn’t party anymore…but if he did, we would be first in line.

8.    Which documentary do you consider the most cinematic?
One of our main references whilst making THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESSwas Gideon Koppel’s SLEEP FURIOUSLY. Its artistic language and delicate handling of subject creates an intimacy that thrives in the sensory cocoon of the cinema – its nuances become more pronounced and evocative. It’s a piece of work that we constantly went back to as an example of a film with pace and feeling that stays true to that of its subject.

9.    What documentary do you find the most original and imaginative in its construction?
A film that has stood out recently is BEYOND CLUELESS, a film essay on teen movies by Charlie Lyne. Through its analysis of the teen genre it becomes a hybrid teen movie itself and makes you question the movie tropes we have come to accept as commonplace. The film is one hell of a ride and at the forefront of a handful of documentaries coming out of the UK this year that push the documentary form. Others include 20,000 DAYS ON EARTH and THE BIG MELT.

10. Which documentary has had the most profound impact on society?
Watching and reading about PARADISE LOST was the first time we realised the power that documentary can have in the world. The films compelled you to find out more, to go online, to spread the word, to kick off at something or someone. It highlighted to us that documentary can actually change people’s lives, which is something easy to be sceptical about.

11. If there were one documentary moment in history that you could experience as a filmmaker, what would it be?
John Lennon’s ‘lost weekend’ has always fascinated us. This 18 month long meltdown by the most famous man on the planet trumps Britney’s head shaving moment by a country mile, as well as 30 years.

12. What has been the most unexpected thing to happen since taking the film on the festival circuit?
Our overdrafts have hit their limits.

13. What song do you love this summer?  
“Carry On, Carry On” from Edwyn Collins’ latest record is an ode to the Great British Street Party and is the perfect summer anthem.

    
SCREENINGS:
 Thursday, June 19, 9:15 p.m.
AFI Silver
(click HERE to buy tickets)
Friday, June 20, 2:15 p.m.AFI Silver
(click HERE to buy tickets)

Filmmaker Q&A with Edward Lovelace and James Hall of THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS

In 2005, gifted Scottish musician Edwyn Collins suffered two devastating cerebral hemorrhages that left him with large gaps in his memory and trouble with the most basic language. This inventive film artfully puts the viewer inside Collins’ experience as he fights back from the brink of death. His remarkable story and the film itself are astonishing and help to create a meaningful and sensory way to describe his challenging road to recovery.

(click HERE to view the trailer)

1.   Introduce yourself. 

We are Edward Lovelace and James Hall, the directors of THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS. Collectively known as Daryl, we started making feature Docs after working in commercials and music promos for many years. Our previous feature projects include WEREWOLVES ACROSS AMERICAand KATY PERRY: PART OF ME.

2.   What inspired this film?  How did you find your subjects?

Edwyn released an album after his stroke and there was something in the lyrics that felt almost otherworldly. His song writing approach was more direct as a result of him having to learn language again, but the songs felt profound because of this simplicity.

Immediately after hearing this record we wanted to know more about his recovery – less so his physical recovery but the rebuilding of his identity that was devastated by the brain haemorrhage and his journey back to language, lyrics and understanding.

3.   What were some of the biggest challenges/surprises?

The funding process was a challenge but we were also encouraged at the willingness that people showed to get the project off the ground. Recreating an experience of a stroke through memories and abstract images isn’t the easiest sell, but Edwyn’s story is such an inspirational one that people wanted to give it a chance. We were actually extremely lucky to find support early on from those who believed in the idea and wanted to be apart of it.

4.   What is your proudest professional moment?

The fact that Edwyn agreed to write an original score for the film was one of the biggest honours we could imagine. When he first played us what he had produced – a 10 minute epic soundscape – we were completely blown away. We sat in the control room of his studio speechless, in awe of his ability to write something so perfectly in sync with the film and in a style not usually attributed to him. His talent genuinely knows no bounds.

5.   Why did you become a filmmaker?

Ed was sacked from more than 10 jobs over the course of one summer so realised quickly that his skill set lay outside of the regular workplace. Tesco in Cambridge decline to acknowledge his tenure as it lasted under 4 hours. As for James, after being refused by his mother to let him paint his bedroom black, he watched BLADE RUNNER on repeat and realised that cinema could be the cure to his teenage angst.

6.   What was the first film you saw in a movie theater?

The first film we saw in the cinema together was WEDDING CRASHERS and we stand by a lot of its philosophies on life to this day. Both of us have a massive man crush on Vince Vaughn so hours are shared watching reruns of FOUR CHRISTMASES or crying on airplanes to THE BREAK UP. Damn… that guy has straight up charisma.

7.    Who is the most memorable documentary character?

Billy from Jennifer Venditti’s BILLY THE KID is one of the greatest characters on film – so genuine and relatable. The whole film is a testament to how important the relationship is between subject and filmmaker and what difference that can make to how a character comes across on screen. Or: How can you watch AMERICAN MOVIE and not fall in love with Mike Shank? He doesn’t party anymore…but if he did, we would be first in line.

8.    Which documentary do you consider the most cinematic?

One of our main references whilst making THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESSwas Gideon Koppel’s SLEEP FURIOUSLY. Its artistic language and delicate handling of subject creates an intimacy that thrives in the sensory cocoon of the cinema – its nuances become more pronounced and evocative. It’s a piece of work that we constantly went back to as an example of a film with pace and feeling that stays true to that of its subject.

9.    What documentary do you find the most original and imaginative in its construction?

A film that has stood out recently is BEYOND CLUELESS, a film essay on teen movies by Charlie Lyne. Through its analysis of the teen genre it becomes a hybrid teen movie itself and makes you question the movie tropes we have come to accept as commonplace. The film is one hell of a ride and at the forefront of a handful of documentaries coming out of the UK this year that push the documentary form. Others include 20,000 DAYS ON EARTH and THE BIG MELT.

10. Which documentary has had the most profound impact on society?

Watching and reading about PARADISE LOST was the first time we realised the power that documentary can have in the world. The films compelled you to find out more, to go online, to spread the word, to kick off at something or someone. It highlighted to us that documentary can actually change people’s lives, which is something easy to be sceptical about.

11. If there were one documentary moment in history that you could experience as a filmmaker, what would it be?

John Lennon’s ‘lost weekend’ has always fascinated us. This 18 month long meltdown by the most famous man on the planet trumps Britney’s head shaving moment by a country mile, as well as 30 years.

12. What has been the most unexpected thing to happen since taking the film on the festival circuit?

Our overdrafts have hit their limits.

13. What song do you love this summer? 

“Carry On, Carry On” from Edwyn Collins’ latest record is an ode to the Great British Street Party and is the perfect summer anthem.

SCREENINGS:

 Thursday, June 19, 9:15 p.m.

AFI Silver

(click HERE to buy tickets)

Friday, June 20, 2:15 p.m.
AFI Silver

(click HERE to buy tickets)

Filmmaker Q&A with Ben Kitnick of THE PHOTO MAN
Strewn throughout the bins that fill Mark Kologi’s stand in a Southern California market are found pictures for sale of strangers on vacation, posing for family photographs and caught in candid moments. These glances into their lives make for a fertile form of people-watching across the decades.
1.    Introduce yourself with a short bio. 
I’m a 21-year-old filmmaker who enjoys telling character-driven stories while uncovering my own creative sensibilities in the process.
 
2.    What inspired this film? How did you find your subjects?
I met the subject, Mark Kologi, while exploring a flea market in Los Angeles. I liked how the themes of nostalgia and the interconnected lives of strangers were present in the context of a pretty earnest story. 
 
3.    What were some of the biggest challenges/surprises?
A pleasant surprise was Mark’s inclination to explore the significance of his profession. We got lucky in finding a subject so ready to bare his soul.
 
4.    What is your proudest professional moment?
Probably this! Or my brilliantly fresh take on GODZILLA at age 6. It’s on a VHS somewhere.
 
5.    Why did you become a filmmaker?
It is the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do professionally. It’s always felt like an oddly practical, obvious decision.
 
6.    What was the first film you saw in a movie theater?
My earliest theater recollection was watching the Nickelodeon film GOOD BURGER: A true American classic.
 
7.    Who is the most memorable documentary character?
Mike Schank from AMERICAN MOVIE is iconic. That entire film is a testament to how reality is capable of greater stories than fiction.
 
8.    Which documentary do you consider the most cinematic?
I was really impressed with THE IMPOSTER for its cinematic recreations and ‘Stories We Tell’ for its cinematic deconstruction of what a documentary can be.
 
9.    What documentary do you find the most original and imaginative in its construction?
The subject matter of I THINK WE’RE ALONE NOW is a fascinatingly original portrayal of celebrity obsession. I feel like watching it right now.
 
10. Which documentary has had the most profound impact on society?
It is difficult to quantify, but AN INCONVIENENT TRUTH was significant for helping bring a catastrophic global issue to the forefront of societal discussion.
 
11. If there were one documentary moment in history that you could experience as a filmmaker, what would it be?
To have participated in any way in the creation of GREY GARDENS would be a dream. I suppose my answer would be that I would choose to watch the Maysles’ work on the film.
 
12. What has been the most unexpected thing to happen since taking the film on the festival circuit?
The camaraderie with fellow filmmakers, programmers, and volunteers. My collaborator Saxon Richardson and I have received nothing but warmth thus far and it has been a remarkable experience.
 
13. What song do you love this summer?  

“Starlight” by Pure X is pretty fantastic. We did a documentary music video hybrid for their new album. As a fan, that was a thrill.

SCREENINGS:
Thursday, June 19, 1:30 p.m.Goethe-Institut
(click HERE to buy tickets)
Friday, June 20, 11:15 a.m.AFI Silver
(click HERE to buy tickets)

Filmmaker Q&A with Ben Kitnick of THE PHOTO MAN

Strewn throughout the bins that fill Mark Kologi’s stand in a Southern California market are found pictures for sale of strangers on vacation, posing for family photographs and caught in candid moments. These glances into their lives make for a fertile form of people-watching across the decades.

1.    Introduce yourself with a short bio. 

I’m a 21-year-old filmmaker who enjoys telling character-driven stories while uncovering my own creative sensibilities in the process.

 

2.    What inspired this film? How did you find your subjects?

I met the subject, Mark Kologi, while exploring a flea market in Los Angeles. I liked how the themes of nostalgia and the interconnected lives of strangers were present in the context of a pretty earnest story. 

 

3.    What were some of the biggest challenges/surprises?

A pleasant surprise was Mark’s inclination to explore the significance of his profession. We got lucky in finding a subject so ready to bare his soul.

 

4.    What is your proudest professional moment?

Probably this! Or my brilliantly fresh take on GODZILLA at age 6. It’s on a VHS somewhere.

 

5.    Why did you become a filmmaker?

It is the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do professionally. It’s always felt like an oddly practical, obvious decision.

 

6.    What was the first film you saw in a movie theater?

My earliest theater recollection was watching the Nickelodeon film GOOD BURGER: A true American classic.

 

7.    Who is the most memorable documentary character?

Mike Schank from AMERICAN MOVIE is iconic. That entire film is a testament to how reality is capable of greater stories than fiction.

 

8.    Which documentary do you consider the most cinematic?

I was really impressed with THE IMPOSTER for its cinematic recreations and ‘Stories We Tell’ for its cinematic deconstruction of what a documentary can be.

 

9.    What documentary do you find the most original and imaginative in its construction?

The subject matter of I THINK WE’RE ALONE NOW is a fascinatingly original portrayal of celebrity obsession. I feel like watching it right now.

 

10. Which documentary has had the most profound impact on society?

It is difficult to quantify, but AN INCONVIENENT TRUTH was significant for helping bring a catastrophic global issue to the forefront of societal discussion.

 

11. If there were one documentary moment in history that you could experience as a filmmaker, what would it be?

To have participated in any way in the creation of GREY GARDENS would be a dream. I suppose my answer would be that I would choose to watch the Maysles’ work on the film.

 

12. What has been the most unexpected thing to happen since taking the film on the festival circuit?

The camaraderie with fellow filmmakers, programmers, and volunteers. My collaborator Saxon Richardson and I have received nothing but warmth thus far and it has been a remarkable experience.

 

13. What song do you love this summer? 

“Starlight” by Pure X is pretty fantastic. We did a documentary music video hybrid for their new album. As a fan, that was a thrill.

SCREENINGS:

Thursday, June 19, 1:30 p.m.
Goethe-Institut

(click HERE to buy tickets)


Friday, June 20, 11:15 a.m.
AFI Silver

(click HERE to buy tickets)

Filmmaker Q&A with Joshua Seftel of THE HOME TEAM
Heart is the X-factor that propels the Murray State Racers basketball team to successfully compete against its rivals. Spending a few minutes with these players and fans in their bucolic town will make you reconsider what it means to be a college athlete and discover the true meaning of team.
1. Introduce yourself. 
Film director Joshua Seftel received his first Emmy nomination at age 22 with the award-winning documentary film, LOST AND FOUND, about the plight of Romania’s 120,000 orphaned and abandoned children. His documentary TAKING ON THE KENNEDYS aired on PBS’ P.O.V. series and was chosen by Time Magazine as “one of the ten best television programs of the year.” Seftel’s work has appeared on the Peabody Award-winning public radio program This American Life, and on the Showtime series of the same name. He also received an Emmy nomination for directing the premiere season of Bravo’s groundbreaking QUEER EYE FOR THE STRAIGHT GUY. His feature film directorial debut came in 2008 with WAR INC., a political satire that premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and played in theaters across the country. 
 
2. What inspired this film? How did you find your subjects?
We were tasked to make a film about an NCAA college basketball team. We searched all over the country and when we came to Murray, Kentucky we saw something special. Not only was it chosen as the “friendliest town” in the United States, and the first basketball team in their region to integrate, but there was a unique relationship between the town and the team that made for a great story. This is a place where the fans bake birthday cakes for the players and the coach is married to the town’s fifth grade teacher.
3. What were some of the biggest challenges/surprises?
It’s hard to get from New York City to Murray, Kentucky. First we had to fly to Tennessee and then drive a few hours through forests and across lakes. But once we were there, we didn’t want to leave.
4. What is your proudest professional moment?
My proudest moment was introducing my parents at one of my film screenings and the crowd gave them a standing ovation.
5. Why did you become a filmmaker?
I always liked watching films, especially documentaries, better than reading books. It was one way that I connected with the world.
6. What was the first film you saw in a movie theater?
I can remember seeing DRESSED TO KILL starring Angie Dickinson when I was a little boy. I remember the adults kept covering my eyes during the racy scenes.
7. Who is the most memorable documentary character?
Mark Borchardt from AMERICAN MOVIE is probably my favorite. And that film is one of my all­time favorite documentaries.
8. Which documentary do you consider the most cinematic?
Koyaanisqatsi

9. What documentary do you find the most original and imaginative in its construction?
FAST, CHEAP, AND OUT OF CONTROL is beautifully shaped and edited by the best, Karen Schmeer.
10. Which documentary has had the most profound impact on society?
I always loved ROGER AND ME I feel like it helped promote a new kind of documentary storytelling that is evident all around us today.
11. If there were one documentary moment in history that you could experience as a filmmaker, what would it be?
The liberation of the concentration camps.
12. What has been the most unexpected thing to happen since taking the film on the festival circuit?
People seem very interested in Murray, Kentucky. Maybe it will increase tourism there! 
13. What song do you love this summer? 
The new Michael Jackson song.

SCREENINGS (preceding WHEN THE GARDEN WAS EDEN):
Saturday, June 21, 6:30 p.m.
AFI Silver
(click HERE for tickets)
Sunday, June 22, 11:00 a.m.Naval Heritage
(click HERE for tickets)

Filmmaker Q&A with Joshua Seftel of THE HOME TEAM

Heart is the X-factor that propels the Murray State Racers basketball team to successfully compete against its rivals. Spending a few minutes with these players and fans in their bucolic town will make you reconsider what it means to be a college athlete and discover the true meaning of team.

1. Introduce yourself.

Film director Joshua Seftel received his first Emmy nomination at age 22 with the award-winning documentary film, LOST AND FOUND, about the plight of Romania’s 120,000 orphaned and abandoned children. His documentary TAKING ON THE KENNEDYS aired on PBS’ P.O.V. series and was chosen by Time Magazine as “one of the ten best television programs of the year.” Seftel’s work has appeared on the Peabody Award-winning public radio program This American Life, and on the Showtime series of the same name. He also received an Emmy nomination for directing the premiere season of Bravo’s groundbreaking QUEER EYE FOR THE STRAIGHT GUY. His feature film directorial debut came in 2008 with WAR INC., a political satire that premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and played in theaters across the country.

 

2. What inspired this film? How did you find your subjects?

We were tasked to make a film about an NCAA college basketball team. We searched all over the country and when we came to Murray, Kentucky we saw something special. Not only was it chosen as the “friendliest town” in the United States, and the first basketball team in their region to integrate, but there was a unique relationship between the town and the team that made for a great story. This is a place where the fans bake birthday cakes for the players and the coach is married to the town’s fifth grade teacher.

3. What were some of the biggest challenges/surprises?

It’s hard to get from New York City to Murray, Kentucky. First we had to fly to Tennessee and then drive a few hours through forests and across lakes. But once we were there, we didn’t want to leave.

4. What is your proudest professional moment?

My proudest moment was introducing my parents at one of my film screenings and the crowd gave them a standing ovation.

5. Why did you become a filmmaker?

I always liked watching films, especially documentaries, better than reading books. It was one way that I connected with the world.

6. What was the first film you saw in a movie theater?

I can remember seeing DRESSED TO KILL starring Angie Dickinson when I was a little boy. I remember the adults kept covering my eyes during the racy scenes.

7. Who is the most memorable documentary character?

Mark Borchardt from AMERICAN MOVIE is probably my favorite. And that film is one of my all­time favorite documentaries.

8. Which documentary do you consider the most cinematic?

Koyaanisqatsi


9. What documentary do you find the most original and imaginative in its construction?

FAST, CHEAP, AND OUT OF CONTROL is beautifully shaped and edited by the best, Karen Schmeer.

10. Which documentary has had the most profound impact on society?

I always loved ROGER AND ME I feel like it helped promote a new kind of documentary storytelling that is evident all around us today.

11. If there were one documentary moment in history that you could experience as a filmmaker, what would it be?

The liberation of the concentration camps.

12. What has been the most unexpected thing to happen since taking the film on the festival circuit?

People seem very interested in Murray, Kentucky. Maybe it will increase tourism there!

13. What song do you love this summer?

The new Michael Jackson song.

SCREENINGS (preceding WHEN THE GARDEN WAS EDEN):

Saturday, June 21, 6:30 p.m.

AFI Silver

(click HERE for tickets)

Sunday, June 22, 11:00 a.m.
Naval Heritage

(click HERE for tickets)

Filmmaker Q&A with Rachel Lears and Robin Blotnick of THE HAND THAT FEEDS
In times of economic uncertainty, it is increasingly difficult for front-line workers to earn a living wage. This inspiring film focuses on a group of employees at a popular New York City eatery, many of whom are undocumented and vulnerable to being exploited. When they stand up to management to fight for better wages and working conditions, they gradually learn how to empower themselves and emerge as leaders, taking action for what is right.
(click HERE to view the trailer)
1. Introduce yourself.
Rachel Lear’s award-winning first feature doc BIRDS OF PASSAGE (2010) was supported by Fulbright and the National Film Institute of Uruguay, had two community screening tours of Uruguay sponsored by the Ministry of Education and Culture and was broadcast nationally throughout Latin America. Her ongoing video art collaborations with artist Saya Woolfalk have screened at numerous galleries and museums worldwide since 2008. Rachel was a 2013 Sundance Creative Producing Fellow for her new film THE HAND THAT FEEDS. She holds a PhD in Cultural Anthropology from NYU. 
 
A product of backwoods Maine, Robin Blotnick has worked as a freelance editor of everything from cage-fighting matches to celebrity home movies. His first documentary, CHOCOLATE COUNTRY, received a Grand Jury Prize at the Seattle International Film Festival, was a winner in LinkTV’s ViewChange Competition, and is used as a teaching tool by educators and Fair Trade advocates around the world. His feature documentary debut, GODS AND KINGS, tells a strange story of masks, magic and mass media in the highlands of Guatemala. It premiered at Mexico’s Morelia International Film Festival and won the Intangible Culture Prize at the RAI International Festival of Ethnographic Films (Scotland, 2013). Robin is a 2013 Sundance Creative Producing Fellow for his new film THE HAND THAT FEEDS.
 
2. What inspired this film?  How did you find your subjects?
In 2011, we got caught up in the fever of the Occupy Wall Street movement, and ended up spending that fall documenting it. It was an exciting time, and we learned a lot, but we didn’t find a film there. We were looking for a more dramatic character-driven story. After Zuccotti park had been evicted and the movement was dying down in early 2012, we heard about a group of undocumented immigrant restaurant workers who had reached out to Occupy activists for help fighting unfair treatment by their bosses. Not only were we intrigued, we were really inspired by the courage of the workers. It was a classic American underdog story, and it spoke to the gripping issues of our time, economic inequality, immigration reform, the crisis of the labor movement and the rise of a low-wage service sector economy.
 
3. What were some of the biggest challenges/surprises?
The biggest challenge was working without funding at first and never knowing when we would need to go shoot. We were doing freelance jobs on the side, but we had to be on call to grab the camera and microphone and rush up from Brooklyn to the Upper East Side whenever there was a new crisis brewing. And there were a lot of crises! People in the labor movement told us this type of campaign could take three or more years to resolve itself, so we were prepared for a relatively slow-moving story. Instead it reached an epic conclusion in less than 8 months. This was of course a good thing, but it felt like we lived through 3 years of drama in those 8 months!
 
4. What is your proudest professional moment?
For this film, it was our premiere at Full Frame in April. To be able to stand up there with our star Mahoma and receive 3 standing ovations from a packed house was a nice recompense for all the recent madness the three of us had been through together. It was especially rewarding to hear from local workers in the fast food industry that the film inspired them and felt true to their experience.
 
5. Why did you become a filmmaker?
Robin: I’ve wanted to make films since I was a young child—though at the time I wanted to be a Disney animator. I got my hands on a camcorder around 11, and used it to make spectacles of claymation, horror and adventure in the woods near my home. The initial appeal was to be able to control everything, to create fully controlled, artificial worlds. Over time I moved toward non-fiction, maybe because I sensed it was better to give up some control. It’s more rewarding for me now to engage with the messiness of reality.
 
Rachel: I fell in love with documentary filmmaking during my first years of graduate school in anthropology, when I had the opportunity to take film classes at NYU. I suddenly realized that this art form allowed me to do everything I enjoyed and valued at once— to tap into my background in photography and music and my childhood penchant for collage to construct the audiovisual fabric, to engage with the social world in meaningful ways, and to make arguments by telling stories. 
 
6. What was the first film you saw in a movie theater?
Robin: I think it was ET. I was too young for it, and though I remember laughing at the scene where ET drinks a beer, the image of federal agents in white hazmat suits taking over the house gave me nightmares.
 
7. Who is the most memorable documentary character you’ve ever seen?
Robin: Timothy Treadwell in GRIZZLY MAN. There is nothing like someone’s own home movies to give you a special glimpse into their private nature.
 
Rachel: I think I’d have to say Mark Borchard, the filmmaker in AMERICAN MOVIE. His singular devotion to his craft generates a range of emotional responses from bemused fascination to uncomfortable pathos to genuine admiration.
 
8. Which documentary do you consider the most cinematic?
Robin: I might have to go with PARADISE LOST, which is ironic because it was made for TV. But it’s a more riveting courtroom drama than anything Hollywood could come up with.
 
Rachel: I think TO BE AND TO HAVE is an incredibly cinematic documentary. I love that it starts with a very slow sequence of turtles walking around the classroom where most of the rest of the movie will take place. This prepares you for slowing down to a pace at which it is possible to appreciate subtle drama in everyday life.
 
9. What documentary do you find the most original and imaginative in its construction?
Robin: I’m a huge fan of the films Adam Curtis makes for the BBC, like THE CENTURY OF THE SELF and THE POWER OF NIGHTMARES. I’ve never seen anyone use historical archival footage as artfully and playfully as he does. He’ll be talking about Game Theory, or some arcane school of psychology, and you can’t take your eyes off the screen.
 
Rachel: I am really interested in Jean Rouch’s “ethnofiction” because it broke new ground in blending documentary and fiction as well as collaboration between filmmakers and subjects. In JAGUAR (1955), the first of these experiments, a group of three young African men travel down the Gold Coast seeking work and have many interesting encounters along the way. The subjects become actors, and all dialogue and actions are improvised, though some are more realistic than others. This collaborative representation of everyday life through fantasy gives access to truths that a traditional documentary might obscure. 
 
10. Which documentary would you say has had the most profound impact on society?
Robin: Kind of an unanswerable question, but in my lifetime, in my country, Michael Moore’s films definitely have an effect. A lot of people have problems with him, but I think he’s brilliant. 
 
11. If there were one documentary moment in history that you could place yourself behind the camera, which one would it be?
Robin: I would want to be back there with Thomas Edison or the Lumiere brothers, shooting the first films ever.
 
Rachel: I wish I had shot DON’T LOOK BACK. 
 
12. What has been the most unexpected thing to happen since taking the film on the festival circuit?
Having the hotel manager where we were staying in North Carolina start talking to us about his own complex relationship with the undocumented immigrant workforce he manages. People of all political stripes, all around the country want to talk about the issues raised by our films, and that’s exciting.
 
13. What song has you pumped this summer? 

“Double bubble trouble” by M.I.A.

SCREENINGS:
Friday, June 20, 4:45 p.m.AFI Silver
(click HERE to buy tickets)
Saturday, June 21, 3:45 p.m.Goethe-Institut
(click HERE to buy tickets)

Filmmaker Q&A with Rachel Lears and Robin Blotnick of THE HAND THAT FEEDS

In times of economic uncertainty, it is increasingly difficult for front-line workers to earn a living wage. This inspiring film focuses on a group of employees at a popular New York City eatery, many of whom are undocumented and vulnerable to being exploited. When they stand up to management to fight for better wages and working conditions, they gradually learn how to empower themselves and emerge as leaders, taking action for what is right.

(click HERE to view the trailer)

1. Introduce yourself.

Rachel Lear’s award-winning first feature doc BIRDS OF PASSAGE (2010) was supported by Fulbright and the National Film Institute of Uruguay, had two community screening tours of Uruguay sponsored by the Ministry of Education and Culture and was broadcast nationally throughout Latin America. Her ongoing video art collaborations with artist Saya Woolfalk have screened at numerous galleries and museums worldwide since 2008. Rachel was a 2013 Sundance Creative Producing Fellow for her new film THE HAND THAT FEEDS. She holds a PhD in Cultural Anthropology from NYU.

 

A product of backwoods Maine, Robin Blotnick has worked as a freelance editor of everything from cage-fighting matches to celebrity home movies. His first documentary, CHOCOLATE COUNTRY, received a Grand Jury Prize at the Seattle International Film Festival, was a winner in LinkTV’s ViewChange Competition, and is used as a teaching tool by educators and Fair Trade advocates around the world. His feature documentary debut, GODS AND KINGS, tells a strange story of masks, magic and mass media in the highlands of Guatemala. It premiered at Mexico’s Morelia International Film Festival and won the Intangible Culture Prize at the RAI International Festival of Ethnographic Films (Scotland, 2013). Robin is a 2013 Sundance Creative Producing Fellow for his new film THE HAND THAT FEEDS.

 

2. What inspired this film?  How did you find your subjects?

In 2011, we got caught up in the fever of the Occupy Wall Street movement, and ended up spending that fall documenting it. It was an exciting time, and we learned a lot, but we didn’t find a film there. We were looking for a more dramatic character-driven story. After Zuccotti park had been evicted and the movement was dying down in early 2012, we heard about a group of undocumented immigrant restaurant workers who had reached out to Occupy activists for help fighting unfair treatment by their bosses. Not only were we intrigued, we were really inspired by the courage of the workers. It was a classic American underdog story, and it spoke to the gripping issues of our time, economic inequality, immigration reform, the crisis of the labor movement and the rise of a low-wage service sector economy.

 

3. What were some of the biggest challenges/surprises?

The biggest challenge was working without funding at first and never knowing when we would need to go shoot. We were doing freelance jobs on the side, but we had to be on call to grab the camera and microphone and rush up from Brooklyn to the Upper East Side whenever there was a new crisis brewing. And there were a lot of crises! People in the labor movement told us this type of campaign could take three or more years to resolve itself, so we were prepared for a relatively slow-moving story. Instead it reached an epic conclusion in less than 8 months. This was of course a good thing, but it felt like we lived through 3 years of drama in those 8 months!

 

4. What is your proudest professional moment?

For this film, it was our premiere at Full Frame in April. To be able to stand up there with our star Mahoma and receive 3 standing ovations from a packed house was a nice recompense for all the recent madness the three of us had been through together. It was especially rewarding to hear from local workers in the fast food industry that the film inspired them and felt true to their experience.

 

5. Why did you become a filmmaker?

Robin: I’ve wanted to make films since I was a young child—though at the time I wanted to be a Disney animator. I got my hands on a camcorder around 11, and used it to make spectacles of claymation, horror and adventure in the woods near my home. The initial appeal was to be able to control everything, to create fully controlled, artificial worlds. Over time I moved toward non-fiction, maybe because I sensed it was better to give up some control. It’s more rewarding for me now to engage with the messiness of reality.

 

Rachel: I fell in love with documentary filmmaking during my first years of graduate school in anthropology, when I had the opportunity to take film classes at NYU. I suddenly realized that this art form allowed me to do everything I enjoyed and valued at once— to tap into my background in photography and music and my childhood penchant for collage to construct the audiovisual fabric, to engage with the social world in meaningful ways, and to make arguments by telling stories.

 

6. What was the first film you saw in a movie theater?

Robin: I think it was ET. I was too young for it, and though I remember laughing at the scene where ET drinks a beer, the image of federal agents in white hazmat suits taking over the house gave me nightmares.

 

7. Who is the most memorable documentary character you’ve ever seen?

Robin: Timothy Treadwell in GRIZZLY MAN. There is nothing like someone’s own home movies to give you a special glimpse into their private nature.

 

Rachel: I think I’d have to say Mark Borchard, the filmmaker in AMERICAN MOVIE. His singular devotion to his craft generates a range of emotional responses from bemused fascination to uncomfortable pathos to genuine admiration.

 

8. Which documentary do you consider the most cinematic?

Robin: I might have to go with PARADISE LOST, which is ironic because it was made for TV. But it’s a more riveting courtroom drama than anything Hollywood could come up with.

 

Rachel: I think TO BE AND TO HAVE is an incredibly cinematic documentary. I love that it starts with a very slow sequence of turtles walking around the classroom where most of the rest of the movie will take place. This prepares you for slowing down to a pace at which it is possible to appreciate subtle drama in everyday life.

 

9. What documentary do you find the most original and imaginative in its construction?

Robin: I’m a huge fan of the films Adam Curtis makes for the BBC, like THE CENTURY OF THE SELF and THE POWER OF NIGHTMARES. I’ve never seen anyone use historical archival footage as artfully and playfully as he does. He’ll be talking about Game Theory, or some arcane school of psychology, and you can’t take your eyes off the screen.

 

Rachel: I am really interested in Jean Rouch’s “ethnofiction” because it broke new ground in blending documentary and fiction as well as collaboration between filmmakers and subjects. In JAGUAR (1955), the first of these experiments, a group of three young African men travel down the Gold Coast seeking work and have many interesting encounters along the way. The subjects become actors, and all dialogue and actions are improvised, though some are more realistic than others. This collaborative representation of everyday life through fantasy gives access to truths that a traditional documentary might obscure.

 

10. Which documentary would you say has had the most profound impact on society?

Robin: Kind of an unanswerable question, but in my lifetime, in my country, Michael Moore’s films definitely have an effect. A lot of people have problems with him, but I think he’s brilliant.

 

11. If there were one documentary moment in history that you could place yourself behind the camera, which one would it be?

Robin: I would want to be back there with Thomas Edison or the Lumiere brothers, shooting the first films ever.

 

Rachel: I wish I had shot DON’T LOOK BACK.

 

12. What has been the most unexpected thing to happen since taking the film on the festival circuit?

Having the hotel manager where we were staying in North Carolina start talking to us about his own complex relationship with the undocumented immigrant workforce he manages. People of all political stripes, all around the country want to talk about the issues raised by our films, and that’s exciting.

 

13. What song has you pumped this summer?

“Double bubble trouble” by M.I.A.

SCREENINGS:

Friday, June 20, 4:45 p.m.
AFI Silver

(click HERE to buy tickets)

Saturday, June 21, 3:45 p.m.
Goethe-Institut

(click HERE to buy tickets)

About

AFI is America’s promise to preserve the history of the motion picture, to honor the artists and their work and to educate the next generation of storytellers. AFI provides leadership in film, television and digital media and is dedicated to initiatives that engage the past, the present and the future of the moving image arts.

As a non-profit educational and cultural organization open to the public, AFI relies on the generous financial support from moving arts enthusiasts like you to provide funding for its programs and initiatives. Become a member today and support your American Film Institute!

CONNECT

American Film Institute

AFI FEST presented by Audi


AFI Conservatory

AFI Silver Theatre

AFI Docs