Filmmaker Alma Har’el on Shia LeBeouf and the Truth of HONEY BOY – Sarah Knight Adams interviews

Honey Boy, her first narrative feature film, premiered in the dramatic competition at Sundance 2019, where Alma Har’el won the Special Jury Award for Vision and Craft. Honey Boy is based on the volatile upbringing of actor Shia LeBeouf, who wrote the script during his ordered re-hab stay. He reached out to Har’el and asked her to direct the feature film about his life, with him playing the character based on his father, a rodeo-clown, haunted with regrets.

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Trey Shults, Taylor Russell and Kelvin Harrison on WAVES – Nell Minow interviews

Waves is the story of a tragedy that tears a family apart, and it is the story of what happens then, told in an impressionistic, almost pointillist style by writer/director Trey Edward Shults. In an interview, Shults and stars Taylor Russell and Kelvin Harrison, Jr., who play teenaged siblings, Emily and Tyler, talk about the making and meaning of the film.

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Martin Scorsese on THE IRISHMAN, Crime and Corruption in His Cinema – Jennifer Merin interviews

Martin Scorsese’s latest film, The Irishman, releasing November 1 in theaters and available on Netflix on November 27, is the director’s eighth foray into the world of crime and corruption. Perhaps because The Irishman’s truth-based narrative is about relatively recent events that actually changed the course of history, the engrossingly complex, superbly structured and thoroughly gripping crime thriller serves not only as an intense decades-spanning character study, but also as a provocative sociopolitical primer. In our present era’s predicament about finding truth in media, this is a history-making film about historical events. Read what Scorsese has to say about truth in narrative.

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Louisiana Film Prize: Jaya McSharma on the Making and Meaning of BEST IN SHOW – Jennifer Merin interviews

Jaya McSharma wrote, produced, co-directed and starred in Best in Show, one of 20 short films selected to compete in the 2019 Louisiana Film Prize, a unique film festival that awards a cash prize of $50,000 for the film deemed best by audience members and by film industry professionals. The dramady, a searing satire of the fashion industry, follows an unconventional fashion show model whose appearance is deemed no longer fit for the runway. Her rebellion is an inspiration to all who reject the torture of trying to stick to superficial standards of size, shape and beauty.

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Mati Diop talks Patriarchy, Ghosts and ATLANTICS – Leslie Combemale interviews

With her new film Atlantics, writer/director Mati Diop has the distinction of not only being the first woman of color to have a film accepted into competition at the Cannes Film Festival, she is also the first to win the Grand Prix. In the film, a group of Senegalese construction workers in Dakar have been denied months of pay. Mati Diop was present at the Middleburg Film Festival, where we discussed the origin of the film’s story and character, as well as some of its powerful messages.

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LOUISIANA FILM PRIZE: Filmmaker Camille Schmoutz on the Making and Meaning of ST ESTHER DAY – Jennifer Merin interviews

Camille Schmoutz’s St Esther Day is an elaborate period drama about the clash of socioeconomic classes in San Francisco at the turn of the 20th century. St Esther Day is an excellent example of how much story can be told, how much atmosphere can be evoked and how much social relevance can be conveyed in a short film. Produced in Shreveport specifically for submission for the 2019 Louisiana Film Prize’s $50,000 award, the film took advantage of the city’s unique locations and ambiance.

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LOUISIANA FILM PRIZE: Filmmaker Makenzie Smith on the Making and Meaning of CICERO – Jennifer Merin interviews

Makenzie Smith’s film, Cicero, was in competition for the $50,000 cash award bestowed by the annual Louisiana Film Prize upon one winner. This year, more than 120 short films were submitted for the competition, with twenty selected to be screened at the festival, held from October 2 to 5 in Shreveport, to vie for the big money. Written by Smith who co-directed with Finch Nissen, Cicero was shot in Shreveport, per Film Prize submission requirements. The plot involves the tense and unexpected face off between two men — a hit man and his targeted victim — who find themselves confined together in a stuck elevator.

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LOUISIANA FILM PRIZE: Filmmaker Rachel Emerson on the Making and Meaning of MAVEN VOYAGE – Jennifer Merin interviews

Rachel Emerson’s Maven Voyage, one of twenty short films selected to compete for the $50,000 cash award bestowed by the annual Louisiana Film Prize, was shot in Shreveport, per submission requirements. Emerson won the fest’s $1,000 best actress award and a $3,000 Founders Circle Award to seed her next project. She comments on the making and meaning of her film, an engaging scifi adventure about a gal (Emerson) who wants to join the first manned mission to Mars.

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Victoria Stone and Mark Deeble on THE ELEPHANT QUEEN – Sandie Angulo Chen interviews

Award-winning wildlife filmmakers Victoria Stone and Mark Deeble’s latest nature documentary, The Elephant Queen, is Apple’s first theatrical release. The married filmmakers have spent more than 30 years living and working in East Africa, and The Elephant Queen is the culmination of a 10-year-dream and four-year labor of love. Stone calls the film an homage to female power and wisdom. It is the story of Athena, a 50-year-old elephant matriarch, and her herd of females and juveniles.

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LOUISIANA FILM PRIZE: Filmmaker Abigail Kruger on the Making and Meaning of SHREVEPOET – Jennifer Merin interviews

Abigail Kruger’s Shreveport was one of twenty short films selected to compete for the coveted $50,000 cash award bestowed by the annual Louisiana Film Prize. Kruger comments on the making and meaning of her film, a lyrical ode to to the city of Shreveport, following a street poet who dances through the city on roller skates.

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