Lisa Hurwitz on THE AUTOMAT, Communal Dining and Mel Brooks – Leslie Combemale interviews

Getting a film to any screen is a major undertaking, but finding a loyal, appreciative audience and getting national distribution is a rarity indeed. Lisa Hurwitz, director and producer of the highly acclaimed, perfectly delightful documentary The Automat knows how lucky she is her film is being so well-received and is landing in so many theaters.

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Dionne Copland and Louise Weard chat COLD WIND BLOWING – Alexandra Heller-Nicholas interviews (Exclusive)

Fun teens-in-the-woods slasher film vibes on one hand, a monster movie on the other, what I wasn’t expecting was the emotional punch as the film’s characters dealt with grief, fears and anxieties with more complexity than such films commonly afford. Writer/director Dionne Copland and producer/editor/cinematographer Louise Weard kindly took the time to speak to us about their film.

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Kelcey Edwards on THE ART OF MAKING IT (SXSW 2022) – Leslie Combemale interviews

The Art of Making It, from filmmaker, artist, and former gallerist Kelcey Edwards, is a documentary that follows a group of emerging fine artists working to break into the upper echelons of the art world to financial and cultural success, and the challenges that make that nearly impossible for all but the anointed few. Those in power in the art world have become gatekeepers that limit opportunities for diverse voices, or really anyone who doesn’t attend the right university or art school. Those art schools can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, leaving artists with a mountain of debt. This film considers how and if artists and disrupters can change the status quo, and why it is essential for the way art is presented and promoted to be rebuilt to level the playing field. It is a fascinating inside look at a business in desperate need of change, in order for all corners of society to be reflected in the art and artists that gets celebrated.

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Charlotte Wincott on THE ISSUE WITH ELVIS – Liz Braun Interviews

Dr. Charlotte Wincott is on a bit of a roll with her first narrative feature, The Issue With Elvis, a pleasing drama about an eccentric botanist and an abandoned boy, two lost souls saved by friendship.

Wincott made the film during the pandemic lockdown, tackling all the writing, filming and editing duties herself. Making a film by herself was hard work, said Wincott, but she is grateful for the technical changes that allowed her to do that.

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Iliana Sosa on WHAT WE LEAVE BEHIND (SXSW 2022) – Leslie Combemale interviews

What We Leave Behind is a wonderful tribute by a granddaughter to her grandfather. Filmmaker Iliana Sosa created her new documentary to celebrate Julián Moreno, a man who had worked as a bracero during World War II, continued to work with his hands until very shortly before his death, always deeply loved his family, and had a clear sense of himself and the world. Through her film, which features footage taken over years of visiting her aging grandfather at his home in Durango, Mexico, Sosa offers a powerful understanding of her own family, and allows us to consider the legacy handed down to all of us by our elders, and what they, uniquely, leave behind.

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Ana Sofia Fonseca on CESARIA EVORA (SXSW 2022) – Leslie Combemale interviews

If you haven’t had the distinct pleasure of hearing a song sung by Cesária Évora, you’ll need to get on that. Born in colonial Cape Verde and known as the Barefoot Diva, Cesária came to international fame after the age of 50, in a business that values youthful beauty and malleability above all else. She had a voice that expressed passion and melancholy in equal measure, and developed fans all over the world. The strong willed, fiercely independent singer passed away in 2011, but her legacy lives on. Filmmaker Ana Sofia Fonseca has released a new documentary on her life and career at SXSW 2022 called Cesária Évora. It is the result of spending years pulling together never-before-seen recordings, images, and footage representing Cesária’s personal life and her early days as a performer in the clubs of Cape Verde.

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Patricia Rozema on I’VE HEARD THE MERMAIDS SINGING, Self Confidence and Queer Cinema- Loren King interviews

Writer/director Patricia Rozema had no idea in 1987 that her feature debut I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing would become a classic and ranked in the Toronto International Film Festival’s Top 10 Canadian Films of all time. Rozema simply made the film she wanted to make. The film’s success is even more impressive when one considers that 1987 was several years before the advent of the “New QueerCinema” and certainly well before conciseness about diverse screen roles for women.

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Rosa Ruth Boesten on MASTER OF LIGHT and the Impact of Art (SXSW 2022) – Leslie Combemale interviews

Master of Light, the feature documentary debut for filmmaker Rosa Ruth Boesten, executive produced by renowned filmmaker Roger Ross Williams, was made in collaboration with subject and artist George Morton, who honed his talent as a classical painter while incarcerated in federal prison for dealing drugs. Morton is a Black man who has chosen to confront the damage he has sustained by intergenerational trauma and systemic racism both personally and as an artist. Since his release, he has worked to rise above his own and his family’s history to become a success in the white-dominated art world. Boesten comments on her experience working with George Morton, how the film changed her, and bringing attention to the vast potential and talent our society stands to lose by the racially-biased mass incarceration continuing to happen in America.

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Megan Mylan on SIMPLE AS WATER – Mythily Ramachandran interviews (Guest Post, Exclusive)

Academy award winner Megan Mylan’s latest documentary, Simple As Water, narrates the plight of four families ripped apart by the Syrian war. The film was shortlisted for an Oscar but did not make it to the final list of nominees. Mylan, who received an Oscar for her documentary, Smile Pinki, and an Independent Spirit Award for her Lost Boys of Sudan speaks with Mythily Ramachandran about filming Simple As Water and families in exile.

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Nadine Pequeneza on LAST OF THE RIGHT WHALES – Interview by Rachel West

With her latest documentary feature Last Of The Right Whales, Canadian filmmaker Nadine Pequeneza gained unprecedented access to the North Atlantic Right Whale. With less than 360 of the species remaining in the wild, Pequeneza documented the plight of the whales by following a number of experts on their quest to help this critically endangered whale. Delivering stunning never-before-seen footage of the North Atlantic Right Whale, Pequeneza’s doc is more than just an exploration of how humans have directly impacted their population, but a drastic call to action follow the deaths of 17 of the species in 2017 alone.

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