For this week only, Pitchfork has a free stream of Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Leonard Cohen, a 1965 documentary portrait of the famed poet, author and musician.
Though the film contains almost none of Cohen’s music (he didn’t release his first record until two years after the film was released), it’s a thoroughly interesting and surprisingly intimate portrait of the now 75 year-old artist as a young man. Shot on one of Cohen’s visits to his hometown of Montreal (he was living in Greece at the time), the film follows him to pubs, poetry readings and hotel rooms, where he candidly discusses life, friendship and art. It’s a great way to spend an hour–but if you’re anything like me, it’ll leave you with a strong urge to visit Montreal, and to re-read Beautiful Losers.
If you hate Pitchfork (or if you miss their one-week window), you can also stream Ladies and Gentlemen from the National Film Board of Canada’s site. If you want to own it, you can buy a DVD copy, which apparently contains some extra material.
The good folks at the Austin Film Society have just announced the Austin premiere of Richard Linklater’s newest, Me and Orson Welles, with stars Zac Efron and Christian McKay in attendance. And though I’m sure the Paramount will be overrun with tweens, each trying desperately to rip off a lock of Efron’s hair, I still kinda want to go.
If you haven’t heard much about the film, there’s a good, long interview with Linklater over on the POV site. In it, he talks about how Christian McKay has been mistaken for Welles in real life. Which, considering that Welles died 24 years ago, seems a compliment to McKay’s abilities.
Oh–and if you’re free during the day this Wednesday (November 4th), Linklater will be at KLRU’s studio taping an upcoming episode of Texas Monthly Talks. If you’ve never been to a taping, it’s free and fun.
At the Austin premiere of the highly anticipated My Name Is Bruce, I had a drink and a friendly chat with b-movie megastar Bruce Campbell. It was a very last minute thing, and I wasn’t sure it was even going to happen until about ten seconds before it did, so the interview isn’t nearly as good as it could have been. But when you get a chance to talk to someone like Mr. Campbell, you take it. Thank you to Matt and Karen at the Alamo for making this happen on such short notice, and thank you to Ain’t It Cool News for calling in sick and freeing up an interview slot.
[Read the interview]
Back in March, I did an email interview with Mark and Jay Duplass, the super cool ex-Austinites behind the new comedy/thriller Baghead, which got tons of positive press from Sundance and Tribeca this year. The SXSW screening was so jam-packed, I didn’t even come close to getting in… and I got there an hour early.
Anyhoo, Baghead will open in Austin this Thursday (long before anywhere else in the country) with an outdoor screening at Star Hill Ranch. Im’ pretty psyched about it. Over at Austinist, we’re giving away a couple sets of tickets to folks who email us a “Baghead” photo of themselves.
I recently interviewed SXSW Film Fest producer Matt Dentler about this year’s fest (which looks completely amazing, BTW). Matt’s a cool guy–you should also check out our conversation from last year, which contains a mini-bio at the beginning.
There are a lot of interesting movies premiering at SXSW this year, including Second Skin, a documentary look at the lives of seven MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games) players. The trailer looks pretty great–though, admittedly, I’ve logged a lot of hours playing console games like Final Fantasy, so maybe it won’t be so interesting to someone who doesn’t care about video games.
In any event, I recently interviewed the film’s producer, Victor Piñeiro, for Austinist, and he’s a super cool guy. If all goes well, I’ll have a bunch more SXSW filmmaker interviews in the coming weeks.
UPDATE: The Second Skin guys arrived in Austin this week to do some promotion, and they’re posting video blogs of their SXSW experience on their youtube page.
This week, I had a chance to chat with Troma Films kingpin Lloyd Kaufman. You probably know Kaufman best as the director of The Toxic Avenger. But you might not know that’s he’s also a Yale graduate, an outspoken advocate of independent film, and a heck of a smart guy.
We had an awful phone connection [my fault], so we didn’t talk as long or as casually as I’d hoped–most of the interview was me yelling, and Lloyd struggling to hear me. But it still came out okay, I think.
[Read the interview here]
In the week leading up to South by Southwest this spring, I interviewed eight SXSW-related people for Austinist. An interview a day doesn’t sound like much, but believe me, it was. Most of the other film writers I talked to during the festival had emailed standardized, “20 questions” style interviews to filmmakers on the press list (which, in retrospect, seems like the smart thing), but for some reason I decided to focus on Texas filmmakers, and to phone each one of them up for a one-on-one chat. So between researching films and watching screeners and transcribing microcassettes, I probably got twelve hours of sleep the entire week. And when I did sleep, I was dreaming of interviewing people.
Anyway–I’ve got a whole bunch of interviews stockpiled (including some non-sxsw stuff), and I thought I’d post a quick rundown of each.
- SXSW Film Festival Producer Matt Dentler
Matt started out in an intern-ish type position at Southby, and now he runs the film festival. Incredibly nice, smart, film-lovin’ guy.
- Grammy’s Director Bryan Poyser
In addition to being a filmmaker, Bryan is also Director of Artist Services at the Austin Film Society. Again – fantastically cool guy. His short Grammy’s has since gone on to screen at the Jacksonville FF and Cinevegas.
- The Unforeseen Director Laura Dunn
The Unforeseen is a Terrence Malick / Robert Redford-produced doc about controversial land development here in Austin. Laura had previously directed a film about environmental issues along the Mississippi River called Green.
- Third Ward TX Director Andrew Garrison
Andrew is a filmmaker and UT Film School professor, as well as a Guggenheim, Rockefeller, NEA and AFI Fellowship award recipient. Third Ward TX is a film about the grassroots revitalization of an unusual neighborhood in Houston.
- Hell on Wheels Director Bob Ray
Bob started out making skate videos (something I can relate to), and Hell On Wheels seems a kind of natural extension of that. It’s about the Austin-born resurgence of roller derby, and the people who made it happen.
- Fish Kill Flea Directors Brian Cassidy, Jennifer Loeber and Aaron
Fish Kill Flea chronicles the slow demise of a colorful upstate New York flea market–and it was easily one of my favorite films at SXSW this year. I loves me the sociology stuff.
- Monkey Warfare’s Don McKellar
I know – I posted about this the day it ran. But I’m still excited about it. I should also mention that Monkey Warfare director Reg Harkema and actor/publicist Cindy Wolfe were both very cool people. Cindy literally gave me the Monkey Warfare promo short she was wearing, right off of her back.
- A Lawyer Walks Into a Bar… Director Eric Chaikin
Eric had previously directed Word Wars, a doc about obsessive Scrabble players. I never actually got to see this movie, which makes me sad.