Maxim Pozdorovkin entered the documentary film world in 2013 with Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer, a film that earned him top prizes at Sundance, Cinema Eye Honors and the British Independent Film Awards. He returned to Sundance in 2014 with The Notorious Mr. Bout. Now, he returns to the World Cinema Documentary Competition once again with Our New President, a doc on Russia’s propagandistic state-run news networks. Below, Pozdorovkin and co-editor Matvey Kulakov discuss how they crafted a feature film from such surreal archival footage.Filmmaker: How and why did you wind up being the editor of your film? What were the factors and attributes that led to your being hired for this job?Pozdorovkin: For a filmmaker, not having the ability to shoot material to realize one’s idea is a bit like playing basketball with one hand tied behind your back. When you’re working with mostly archival material as we were in Our New President, you have to take the … [Read more...] about “I Was Watching Russian TV More than My Entire Family in Russia”: Maxim Pozdorovkin and Matvey Kulako on Editing
Lupita Nyong'o is coming soon to a library near you. The actress is dipping her toes into the world of children's literature with a new book titled Sulwe, which is due out in January 2019 from Simon & Schuster for Young Readers. According to the New York Times, which broke the news Thursday, the picture book is about a 5-year-old Kenyan girl named Sulwe (which means "star" in Nyong'o's native language) who, as the darkest-skinned member of her family, wants to lighten her skin. Words of wisdom from her mother, however, eventually help Sulwe look at the idea of beauty from a new perspective.Nyong'o confirmed the project on Instagram on Thursday, writing, "I am pleased to reveal that I have written a children's book!... Sulwe is a dark skinned girl who goes on a starry-eyed adventure, and awakens with a reimagined sense of beauty. She encounters lessons that we learn as children and spend our lives unlearning. This is a story for little ones, but no … [Read more...] about Lupita Nyong’o Is Writing a Children’s Book About Embracing One’s Natural Beauty
CNN led the way at President Donald Trump‘s “Fake News Awards” last night, and the network’s chief White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, was none too pleased. Acosta appeared at the Newseum last night, where he joined fellow White House correspondents including; John Roberts and April Ryan for a discussion about press freedom, and the negative effects of media suppression. He reacted to the results in real time, and went on to slam the president. “I would say, having been called ‘fake news’ myself, that the President of the United States is the king of fake news.”Acosta proceeded to list several of Trump’s falsehoods, including his part in the Obama birther movement, and his groundless claims of losing the 2016 popular vote due to mass voter fraud. Acosta insisted he wasn’t speaking through the lens of an agenda, stating that Trump’s tendency to lie is “just a fact.” “It’s unfortunate that the … [Read more...] about Jim Acosta Rips Trump After Fake News Awards: ‘The President is the King of Fake News’
In her first televised interview, Dylan Farrow opened up about the sexual abuse she claims to have suffered at the hands of her father, Woody Allen, and proceeded to slam the members of Hollywood who she believes are “complicit” in excusing Allen’s alleged misconduct.While the film industry has become increasingly more vocal about sexual misconduct issues, Farrow feels that — prior to the Harvey Weinstein bombshells — her story on the matter was not only ignored, but silenced.During her conversation with CBS This Morning host Gayle King, Farrow went after the industry as a whole for their whole in supporting Allen and his projects despite the allegations: “I hope that, you know, especially since so many of them have been vocal advocates of this Me Too and Time’s Up movement that, um, they can acknowledge their complicity and maybe hold themselves accountable to how they have perpetuated this culture of – of silence in … [Read more...] about Dylan Farrow Says ‘Complicity’ in Hollywood ‘Systemically’ Covered Up Woody Allen’s Alleged Sexual Abuse
It’s always fun when your ex-wife is dating someone who has blasted you multiple times on national television.Marla Maples – best known as Trump wife numero dos – has been spotted canoodling with TV personality Donny Deutsch, Page Six reports. The two are beginning to date, a source confirmed to Page Six.Deutsch, a frequent Morning Joe contributor, has been far from shy in his condemnation of president Donald Trump, saying that “he’s a pathetic, sniveling little president,” and that “there is no human being under that hair and that suit.”Ostensibly, these are words which Maples. at the very least, does not mind. And at the very most, those words turned her on to Deutsch. According to Page Six, the two were spotted at the Polo Bar in Manhattan on Tuesday evening and got in a car together after dinner.Maples was married to Trump for six years and had one daughter together, Tiffany, who is often regarded as the “forgotten” Trump … [Read more...] about Donny Deutsch is Reportedly Dating Trump’s Second Wife
Over the years, casting director Victoria Thomas has helped a slew of auteur filmmakers, including Kathryn Bigelow (Detroit), Denzel Washington (Fences), Tim Burton (Edward Scissorhands) and Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained), find just the right actor to bring their stories to life. The Los Angeles native, who first found her love of casting while studying film at UCLA, will be honored with the Hoyt Bowers Award for outstanding contribution to the casting profession at the Casting Society of America's 33rd annual Artios Awards, held Jan. 18 with simultaneous events in New York and L.A. Would you say your job has gotten easier or harder with the way the business has changed over the years?Easier on a process level because of email — not having to wait for actors to pick up sides. I do miss going through headshots, one by one — the physical act of going through them. I like to see what people have done; that is valuable to me. It's also gotten harder just because casting … [Read more...] about Casting Veteran on Diversity Push Post-#OscarsSoWhite: “Let’s Get the World Right”
As you made your film during the increasingly chaotic backdrop of the last year, how did you as a filmmaker control, ignore, give in to or, conversely, perhaps creatively exploit the wild and unpredictable? What roles did chaos and order play in your films?Our New President tells the story of Donald Trump entirely through Russian propaganda. As such, it is a film that was edited “live” as Trump’s first year in office unfolded. Unlike most films, this one could not be thought through in advance. We had to roll with the headlines. The storytelling adjusted to the events and revelations of the year. The film began shortly after the election when editor Matvey Kulakov returned to New York after visiting his mother in Russia. “Everybody’s very excited about Trump’s victory,” he said. “All the Russians keep calling Trump ‘Our New President’.” To investigate this phenomenon we began compiling news programs produced by … [Read more...] about “How the Hell Do We Make this Watchable for 78 Minutes?” Director Maxim Pozdorovkin |
Each year Filmmaker asks all the incoming feature directors at Sundance one question. (To see past years’ questions and responses, click here.) This year, our question involves an issue that might be appropriate given the dramas of the previous year: chaos and order. This year’s question: As you made your film during the increasingly chaotic backdrop of the last year, how did you as a filmmaker control, ignore, give in to or, conversely, perhaps creatively exploit the wild and unpredictable? What roles did chaos and order play in your films? “How the Hell Do We Make this Watchable for 78 Minutes?” Director Maxim Pozdorovkin | Our New President “Cats are Totally Un-directable, Even with Food” Director Christina Choe | NANCY … [Read more...] about The Sundance Question: What Roles did Chaos and Order Play in Your Films?
As you made your film during the increasingly chaotic backdrop of the last year, how did you as a filmmaker control, ignore, give in to or, conversely, perhaps creatively exploit the wild and unpredictable? What roles did chaos and order play in your films?Nico Casavecchia: In Drunken Master (Jackie Chan, 1978) young Wong Fei-Hung meets Beggar So, an old drunkard picking a fight in a bar. Beggar turns out to be the famous drunken master who uses fighting techniques resembling those of an intoxicated monkey that stole wine and drank it all. Wong reluctantly enters training with Beggar and in time learns to embrace the “eight drunken immortals” fighting technique as the only way to defeat the ferocious Yim tit-sam and his “devil’s kick.”Chaos reigns, for better or worse, and filmmaking is this futile illusion of controlling it. I say illusion with the utmost respect for it, film is illusion and nothing else. There is a necessary tension between Fei Hung … [Read more...] about “The Film of a Drunken Monkey”: Director Nico Casavecchia |
This just in from the Kardashian baby news watch: Kim Kardashian may (or may not) have revealed the name of her 3-day-old daughter. Nobody knows!The hulabaloo was created late Wednesday night after the social media scion — notorious for taunting fans by dropping clues across her Instagram and Twitter feeds ahead of major announcements — posted an up-close photo of Louis Vuitton's "LV" monogram. Posted without context (or caption), the cryptic image sent Kardashian konspiracy theorists into overdrive guessing if the "LV" initials were indicative of the third West baby's name.Popular name guesses included Elle V. West. Livy West, Love West or Elvie West. A less popular, albeit, very common, guess was Louis Vuitton West. But we have more faith in Kim than to believe that.Coincidentally (or not), Louis Vuitton the fashion house showed its men's fall 2018 collection in Paris today, the final offering from outgoing designer Kim Jones. The vacancy at the storied house has us … [Read more...] about Is Kim Kardashian’s Cryptic Louis Vuitton Instagram a Hint About Her Daughter’s Name?