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MovieMaker

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From MovieMaker Magazine, a podcast featuring conversations with great moviemakers about the art and craft of making movies. We talk about screenwriting, directing, acting, and all of the other creative work that goes into moviemaking. Like MovieMaker's print magazine and moviemaker.com, we're here for everyone who wants to learn more about how movies are made. Hosts Tim Molloy and Eric Steuer keep the intros and questions short so the moviemakers can do most of the talking. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

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From MovieMaker Magazine, a podcast featuring conversations with great moviemakers about the art and craft of making movies. We talk about screenwriting, directing, acting, and all of the other creative work that goes into moviemaking. Like MovieMaker's print magazine and moviemaker.com, we're here for everyone who wants to learn more about how movies are made. Hosts Tim Molloy and Eric Steuer keep the intros and questions short so the moviemakers can do most of the talking. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

iTunes Ratings

8 Ratings
Average Ratings
7
1
0
0
0

Must Listen

By Lay__Z - Apr 25 2020
Read more
Definitely check out the pod if you want to hear untold stories from filmmakers! Learn something new on each episode.

iTunes Ratings

8 Ratings
Average Ratings
7
1
0
0
0

Must Listen

By Lay__Z - Apr 25 2020
Read more
Definitely check out the pod if you want to hear untold stories from filmmakers! Learn something new on each episode.

Best weekly hand curated episodes for learning

Cover image of MovieMaker

MovieMaker

Latest release on Jan 18, 2021

Best weekly hand curated episodes for learning

The Best Episodes Ranked Using User Listens

Updated by OwlTail 7 days ago

Rank #1: Rishi Rajani on Breaking In, Protest Art, and The Hollywood Mailroom

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Before the age of 30, Rishi Rajani rose to become president of Lena Waithe's Hillman Grad Productions, the company that brought you Queen & Slim and BET's Boomerang and Twenties, among other projects.

In this episode, he talks about how Hillman Grad wants to help other people break into Hollywood—especially underrepresented creators who want to make protest art. He also talks about how he worked his way up from the mailroom, and why, in 2020, the mailroom still matters.

Because Rajani climbed the rungs himself, he knows how hard it is—and he has a bold idea for how to end the problem of rich kids getting all the best Hollywood internships and other opportunities.

Look for our full profile of Ranjani in the upcoming issue of MovieMaker Magazine, which also profiles LuckyChap Entertainment, the company founded by Margot Robbie, Tom Ackerley, Sophia Kerr and Josey McNamara.

Here are highlights from our interview with Rishi Rajani, with timestamps:

1:50: Rishi Rajani interview begins. 

2:00: We talk about The 40-Year-Old Version, Radha Blank's debut film, premiering at the Sundance Film Festival.

3:45: Rishi Rajani talks about his job interview with Lena Waithe.

4:00: "Bringing other people up... has really been the core mandate of everything we do." 

5:40: How an unsuccessful collaboration ultimately got Rajani his job.

9:30: "If you're truly going to be supporting younger voices, you have to get their stuff made."

11:30: His Malawi-born father's love of American Westerns.

15:50: Let's talk about overcoming nepotism.

19:00: The rich-intern problem, and how Hillman Grad wants to fix it.

21:00: How high you have to score on The Black List to draw Hillman Grad's attention.

31:30: Let's talk about Queen & Slim

34:00: His advice for people who want to produce movies.

36:35: Why working your way up from the mailroom is no joke.

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Jan 15 2020

43mins

Play

Rank #2: Alison Brie and Jeff Baena (Horse Girl)

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"Horse Girl," now in theaters and on Netflix, stars Alison Brie as a young woman who loves horses.That's as much as we can tell you without ruining the film, which Brie and director Jeff Baena co-wrote. Spoilers follow.

The film, which premiered at Sundance last week, isn't what it at first appears to be. Baena doesn't care about genre or classification. What he and Brie do care about is committing completely to the perspective of their main character, Sarah, as she begins to question her perception of reality — and wonders if she's severely mentally ill, or one of the only people on earth who understands a dark truth.

Here are highlights of the episode, with time stamps:

2:00: Alison Brie and Jeff Baena interview begins.

2:45: How the film suffered from skepticism and misunderstandings, and how the Duplass brothers helped make it a reality.

3:40: How much did Jeff Baena and Alison Brie want the film to be open to interpretation?

4:20: Alison Brie: "We certainly designed it so that upon multiple viewings people might pick up a little bit more of what we feel like is the through-line to the story."

5:30: "A major crux of the film is how terrible it can be to not be able to trust your own mind."

7:10: A tech issue arises and is handled in a humorous fashion.

10:30: "I feel like genre's kind of like the bumpers at a bowling alley..."

12:28: What is a horse girl, exactly?

14:50: Your host is scared of horses.

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Feb 07 2020

20mins

Play

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Rank #3: Paul Scheer (Unspooled, Black Monday, How Did This Get Made?)

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Paul Scheer is one of the best people on screen (Black Monday! The Disaster Artist!) and in podcasting (Unspooled! How Did This Get Made?)

This week, he talks us through this crazy situation we're all in — and about how talking and a sense of humor will keep us sane. He's hosting a live episode of Unspooled with Amy Nicholson on Monday night at 8:30 p.m. PT/11:30 ET on Earwolf's YouTube channel, and also a group watch of Showtime's Black Monday on Sunday at 10/9c. Follow him for details at @paulscheer.

He's also texting (this not to a paid thing) a nightly watch list with people who send “picks” to 917-877-0657.

I'm @timamolloy. I'm the editor of MovieMaker.com. Visit us!

Finally: This is the trailer for the amazing Flooded With Love for the Kid by Zack Oberzan. Thank you Juan Carlos Montoya for showing it to me.

See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Mar 20 2020

34mins

Play

Rank #4: Just Mercy Director Destin Daniel Cretton

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Director Destin Daniel Cretton had no choice but to make sure Just Mercy, his Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx death row drama, was very accurate: Cretton says Bryan Stevenson, who inspired the film, "was constantly keeping us in check in the best way."

Stevenson's memoir, Just Mercy, describes his efforts to save Walter McMillian, a man who was wrongly convicted of murder in 1988. Jordan plays Stevenson, and Foxx plays McMillian.

1:36: Destin Daniel Cretton interview begins.

2:10: How Bryan Stevenson's memoir, Just Mercy, affected him 

3:10: How Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx got involved

3:44: How working with at-risk kids helped lead to a career in Hollywood

5:40: How he met Ryan Coogler, and Coogler quickly connected him with Michael B. Jordan: "He put me on hold and when he reconnected me, Michael B. Jordan was on the line." 

7:00: How Jamie Foxx joined Just Mercy.

8:30: The moment when he knew the movie was working.

10:30: Why he stuck close to the facts.

We had to stick close to the facts because Bryan Stevenson was working closely with us every step of the way and making sure that we were telling a story that would resonate not only with an audience but would resonate with lawyers who are doing this type of work, that would resonate with people on death row who are going through this process, and would resonate with the clients and the people who are in this story, some of which are still alive, or their relatives are still alive. Bryan cared deeply about all of that, and was constantly keeping us in check in the best way.

Accuracy was definitely important so that when they watch this movie, people can understand what it really takes. This isn't a made-up version of what it takes to prove somebody's innocence. This is the long process that is in place right now in our system."

We talked with Cretton about Just Mercy, how working with at-risk youth shared his whole Hollywood career, and his upcoming Marvel movie, Shang-Chi.

Here are highlights, with timestamps:

1:36: Destin Daniel Cretton interview begins.

2:10: How Bryan Stevenson's memoir, Just Mercy, affected him 

3:10: How Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx got involved

3:44: How working with at-risk kids helped lead to a career in Hollywood.

5:40: How he met Ryan Coogler, and Coogler quickly connected him with Michael B. Jordan: "He put me on hold and when he reconnected me, Michael B. Jordan was on the line." 

7:00: How Jamie Foxx joined Just Mercy.

8:30: The moment when he knew the movie was working.

10:30: Why he stuck close to the facts.

12:30: What Bryan Stevenson has in common with Mr. Rogers.

13:40: "I can't deny that we didn't go far and wide searching for that flaw."

15:30: Let's talk about the death penalty.

18:00: How often the government gets it wrong. 

18:20: A quick shoutout to Clemency, and how Cretton captured the atmosphere of a Southern prison in the 1980s.

21:54: The advice he got from Brie Larson and Michael B. Jordan about joining the Marvel Universe.

If you like this episode, you would like MovieMaker.com.

See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Jan 11 2020

24mins

Play

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Rank #5: Jeff Fowler (Sonic the Hedgehog)

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Sonic the Hedgehog director Jeff Fowler says when he first released images of Sonic — and fans savaged them online — he wallowed through “a good hour of feeling sorry for myself.”

But only one hour. Then he got back to work, and made changes that led to a massive hit.

He says in the latest MovieMaker Interviews podcast that Sony and Paramount, the film’s distributor, quickly agreed that they needed to make the fans happy.

“The fact that the message was so clear really made our job kind of easy. There almost was no debate: We need to fix this. We need fans to love this and be in our corner. So it actually ended up being really simple, if a little challenging at the time,” Fowler said.

Fowler also talked to us about his openness to a Sonic the Hedgehog sequel, potentially expanding Sonic into a cinematic Segaverse, and what he learned from Deadpool director Tim Miller, who was Fowler’s boss at Blur Studio before Fowler spun off into making Sonic.

See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Feb 21 2020

26mins

Play

Rank #6: Christina Hodson (Birds of Prey)

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Christina Hodson, writer of Birds of Prey and Bumblebee, talks to us about what makes the Clockwork Orange-influenced girl gang movie tick. She also talks about the Lucky Exports Pitch Program (LEPP) in which she and Margot Robbie's Lucky Chap Entertainment helped six female writers break into the action genre.

She also talks about mapping out fight scenes with some help from YouTube and True Romance, and says absolutely nothing about the possibility of a Wonder Woman-Harley Quinn crossover.

Here are some highlights, with timestamps:

2:00: Interview begins with fond memories of carsickness.

2:34: How Hodson and Robbie set out to tell a different kind of comic-book story.

3:45: Let's compare Harley Quinn and Heath Ledger's Joker.

5:45: The benefits of collaboration.

7:00: How the Lucky Exports Pitch Program works.

9:50: The charms of Bumblebee.

12:00: How much does Birds of Prey fit into the DC Universe?

14:30: "No comment"

16:10: Why are female directors better represented in comic-book movies — this year — than in movies overall?

19:00: "I love writing action and I love writing specificity in action. To me, you can tell so much about a character by the way they fight."

26:00: Callbacks!


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Feb 07 2020

28mins

Play

Rank #7: Marc Meyers (We Summon the Darkness, My Friend Dahmer)

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We Summon the Darkness and My Friend Dahmer, two of prolific director Marc Meyers latest films, unfurl almost opposite takes on serial killers. Dahmer is a sober, anti-sensationalist exploration of how a confused teen became a reviled cannibal. Darkness turns a Satanic Panic-era killing spree into a headbangers' ball of dark comedy.

Meyers, as you can probably guess, has a lot of range.

We Summon the Darkness opens with three young women (Alexandra Daddario, Maddie Hasson and Amy Forsyth) road-tripping to a metal show in Indiana in the 1980s. The radio mentions a string of Satanic murders, they meet three boys in the metal show parking lot, and things happen. Johnny Knoxville turns up as the voice of the religious right.

We're keeping things deliberately vague, and this episode contains no significant spoilers.

You're probably wondering if we also talk about Jeffrey Dahmer, the Midwestern murderer who kept victims' body parts in his freezer. We sure do.

Here are highlight of the interview, with timestamps:

3:00: Interview with Marc Meyers begins

5:20: We talk about the short documentary "Heavy Metal Parking Lot," one of the influences on We Summon the Darkness

10:00: The Satanic Panic "did feel really real at the time."

10:45: Guns N Roses are to Slayer as alcohol is to heroin?

13:00: Writing and directing vs. writing.

15:00: Marc Meyers on proving My Friend Dahmer wasn't just another serial killer movie: "We had to almost make the movie to prove it as a concept."

16:30: Are kids less mean than they were in the 1970s and '80s?

22:00: How teenage Jeffrey Dahmer went wrong.

23:20: A very subtle spoiler about We Summon the Darkness.

23:50: Very subtle spoiler ends.

24:45: How things are going with our big, not-by-choice video-on-demand experiment.

28:00: Will COVID-19 recalibrate what we consider dramatic? 

30:00: Shout out to Richard Linklater.

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Apr 10 2020

44mins

Play

Rank #8: Rachel Mason (Circus of Books)

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When Rachel Mason was growing up in West Hollywood in the 1980s, her parents, Karen and Barry Mason, went to work each day at a bookstore — but not any bookstore. It was Circus of Books, which became an iconic LGBTQ location by selling erotica, magazines and sex toys at a time when homophobia ran rampant. At one point, her parents became targets of a Reagan Administration hellbent on locking people up over porn. They're the subject of her fascinating new documentary, Circus of Books.

In this episode, she talks about her nice, normal parents, meeting Larry Flynt, and how Ryan Murphy became an executive producer of Circus of Books, which is now streaming on Netflix.

See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Apr 22 2020

28mins

Play

Rank #9: Alexandre Amancio (Assassin's Creed)

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If you're getting through our global quarantine by playing video games, you're in good company: Alexandre Amancio, the former Ubisoft artistic director who headed up on Assassin's Creed: Revealations and Assassin's Creed: Unity, has been playing with fans online.

Amancio spoke to us for the latest MovieMaker Interviews podcast, where he talked about his new company, Reflector Entertainment, and telling stories across platforms. He also told us that fans have hit him up on Twitter to play Assassin's Creed, and that he's obliged. He's also engaged with a few about their Assassin's Creed fan theories. 

Here's a breakdown of the episode, with timestamps:

3:15: Interview with Alexandre Amancio begins

4:15: How video games help people get out of their heads during lockdown. "It's a way to travel outside of your home even if you are confined."

5:24: How Assassin's Creed fans have contacted him to play.

9:30: Rethinking the idea of storytelling. 

13:50: Let's talk about Kodak.

21:00: Let's talk about Dr. Mario vs. Assassin's Creed

29:00: How his company, Reflector, is building a "new, realistic world."

31:30: What we can all learn from John Wick.

33:00: How to build a world: "You can't decide to do something because you've done market research. ... That always yields something that lacks soul."

40:00: How Alexandre Amancio partnered with the founder of Cirque de Soleil. 

42:30: How bilingualism fuels creative thinking.

You can read Alexandre Amancio discussing his Storyworld concept in the latest issue of MovieMaker Magazine, available this month. You can subscribe here

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Apr 07 2020

47mins

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Rank #10: Jon Avnet (Three Christs)

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Three Christs director Jon Avnet has one of the most impressive IMDb pages in Hollywood: He produced films from Risky Business to Black Swan, and has worked with everyone from Tom Cruise to Joan Didion. He's also faced a lot of rejection — and figured out how to get past it.

Three Christs, which Avnet co-wrote as well as directed, stars Richard Gere as a psychologist in the 1950s trying to treat three schizophrenic men who all believe themselves to be Jesus Christ. They’re played by Peter Dinklage, Walton Goggins and Bradley Whitford.

In the new MovieMaker Interviews podcast, Avnet talks about why he wanted to get the mostly true story to the screen, and what he learned in the process. He also gives an amazing crash course on Hollywood perseverance, and gives inside accounts of projects from Risky Business to FX's Justified to Up Close and Personal, the film he directed that starred Robert Redford and Michelle Pfeiffer and was written by John Gregory Dunne and Didion. 

And he tells us about his gift for getting people who shut him down professionally to change their minds.

As we spoke Avnet was hard at work on Four Good Days, a film he’s producing that is directed by Rodrigo Garcia. It stars Mila Kunis as a woman dealing with addiction, and Glenn Close as her mother, who is trying to help her. It premieres this Saturday at the Sundance Film Festival.

Here are highlights of the episode, with timestamps:

2:00: Interview begins, with a discussion of Three Christs.

5:20: Here's how much Jon Avnet likes research.

13:30: Working with Joan Didion and John Griffin Dunne on Up Close and Personal.

23:30: Let's talk about Tom Cruise's Risky Business underwear slide.

26:55: A few words about perseverance: "Most people who do what I do deal with rejection all the time."

28:00: "Don't say no — say maybe."

31:55: Dealing with critics: "You got to make the movie. They didn't."

36:30: "Jump in the steam of life and maybe you'll go down the river a little bit."

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Jan 23 2020

37mins

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Rank #11: Carey Mulligan and Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman)

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Promising Young Woman stars Carey Mulligan as a young woman who goes to nightclubs and acts too drunk to stand. When nice guys take her home, they realize she isn't as helpless as she seems — and that they aren't very nice. That's just scratching the surface of the wickedly funny, brilliant Sundance debut for writer-director Emerald Fennell, who tells us she designed the film to feel like a great first date gone terrible awry.

Fennell is an actress and novelist as well as a screenwriter-director -- she plays Camilla on The Crown -- and you know Mulligan from films like Never Let Me Go, Shame, The Great Gatsby and Suffragette. They talk with us about the confectionary look of the film, how they first met, and why films directed by women overcome a level of quality control that films directed by men sometimes don't.

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Jan 27 2020

23mins

Play

Rank #12: Alexander Monelli and Mark Nelson (At the Drive-In)

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"At the Drive-In," the new documentary from our guest Alexander Monelli, is about a band of movie lovers who saved a local drive-in.

At the start of the story, the Mahoning Drive-In theater in Leighton, Pennsylvania, is dying because it can't afford a new $50,000 digital projector. Then a group of young movie lovers sweep in and start showing classic movies — often while dressed as their favorite characters — and the parking lot starts drawing more and more cars.

One of them belongs to Mark Nelson, our other guest, who drives more than six hours every weekend to get to the Mahoning from his home in New Hampshire.


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May 22 2020

34mins

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Rank #13: Kyle MacLachlan (Capone)

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Today our guest is Kyle MacLachlan, one of our favorite actors ever. He's one of the stars of Capone, in which Tom Hardy plays legendary gangster Alphone Capone, rendered almost helpless by the syphilis that racked his body and brain in his later years.

Much has been made of how supposedly weird Capone is, with its extended fantasy sequences, courtesy of writer-director Josh Trank. But in terms of Kyle MacLachlan movies, this one's pretty straightforward. He's a master at playing committed, decent good guys surrounded by decadence and mystery. Which is why it's so fun to see him as compromised characters like the one he plays in Capone.

We had a nice chat about the film, his career from Dune to Twin Peaks, and what he talks about with his friend David Lynch.

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May 15 2020

22mins

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Rank #14: Jeff Barnaby (Blood Quantum)

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Blood Quantum, from writer-director Jeff Barnaby, is a crackling zombie set on tribal land — where indigenous people are immune from whatever is turning white people into zombies.

It works as a straight-ahead, cheerfully grisly horror movie, or as a meditation on colonialism and capitalism. In this episode, Jeff discusses his influences, from Evil Dead to Night of the Living Dead, and how he used and reversed traditional zombie movie tropes. (He also points out some symbolism in Robocop you might have missed.)

And he explains the concept of Blood Quantum, which the U.S. government created in an effort to limit tribal membership. Barnaby explains that it was a "long-term erasure policy" designed to erase indigenous people from society.

"The idea behind it is, less Indians, less treaties to honor," he explained.

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May 08 2020

37mins

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Rank #15: David Marmor and Alok Mishra (1BR)

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The late screenwriter Blake Snyder famously originated a concept called Save the Cat to describe the moment when a film's protagonist wins viewers over — when he or she saves a cat, for example. The creators of the new horror film 1BR are well-aware of the Save the Cat concept, and rejected it in almost every way possible.

If you've seen the trailer for 1BR, (and if not, a minor spoiler ensues) you know that it's about a young woman named Sarah (Nicole Brydon Bloom) who moves into a new apartment complex with extremely strict rules. She sneaks in a cat, in defiance of a no-pet policy, and the punishment is harsh — for Sarah and the cat. From there, things spin out, as they often do when neighbors band together in pursuit of utopia.

1BR writer-director David Marmor and producer Alok Mishra join us for the latest MovieMaker Interviews to talk about, among other things, why they rejected Save the Cat so strongly. Here's an insane story Alok wrote for MovieMaker.com about how the film overcame fire, a late-night truck theft, and many other obstacles.

See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

May 06 2020

37mins

Play

Rank #16: Online Film Festival Dos and Don'ts

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We're in the golden age of online film festivals: For the first time, movie lovers can watch brand-new, lovingly curated films from the comfort of home, without having to look for parking, stand in line, or beg for tickets.

Are we looking for the bright side in a sad situation? Well, yeah. But if you're going to watch — or host — an online film festival, you'll want to be conscious of these online film festival dos and don'ts.

Festivals are doing their best to make the viewing experience as great as possible, but our guests on the latest MovieMaker Interviews podcast have learned a little bit about what works and what doesn't.

They are Wendy Eidson of the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival, one of the first to go online this year; Melanie Addington of the Oxford Film Festival, which is presenting new films weekly, and Michael Cain of EarthxFilm, which just wrapped. 

We hope you enjoy the episode, and come away with some good ideas about how to support independent film, and film festivals.

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Apr 28 2020

32mins

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Rank #17: Sam Hargrave (Extraction)

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Extraction is the best action movie of the year.

Granted, it's a weird year. But even in a normal one, it's hard to imagine a more impressive sequence that the 12-minute, seemingly continuous shot in Extraction in which Chris Hemsworth leads a young boy through unbelievable carnage, unbelievably quickly, doing stunts that would be impressive even with lots of editing and fixes in post.

The reason that sequence is possible is our guest today, Sam Hargrave, who makes his directorial debut with Extraction. He came to directing by way of being a stuntman, working his way through the Marvel Universe, where he doubled for Chris Evans as Captain America, created some of the MCU's best fight sequences, and impressed the Russo Brothers enough that they offered him Extraction. 

I also ask him some things I've always wondered, like: How do you become a stuntman? And can Chris Hemsworth, Keanu Reeves and Charlize Theron fight in real life?

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Apr 24 2020

32mins

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Rank #18: Willem Dafoe and 'The Mustang' Director Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre

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The Lighthouse was one of Willem Dafoe's biggest acting challenges: Dafoe and Robert Pattinson are onscreen for almost every second of Robert Eggers' film, shot in harsh weather on a barely hospitable stretch of the North Atlantic. But Dafoe says in our interview that he delighted in the challenge of having nowhere to hide.

Then we talk with Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre, whose film The Mustang is one of the most underrated of 2019. The Mustang stars Matthias Schoenaerts as a Nevada prison inmate whose life is changed when he joins a program to train wild horses. Among other things, she talks about why "cinema is to be seen in cinema."

Here are highlights of the episode, with timestamps:

1:25: Willem Dafoe interview begins with him explaining how he was cast in The Lighthouse.

3:30: How our feelings about Dafoe's The Lighthouse character, Thomas Wake, change during the film: "You see his various strategies to dominate or ameliorate or find some sort of… peace or sense of security."

7:00: How to play a potentially unlikeable character: "In order to not have them be a cartoon or not have them be just a mouthpiece to express a point of view or explain something, to really represent them, you have to take their side."

10:28: "You know, the challenges are the blessings."

12:50: We make Willem Dafoe laugh, by asking him what he's learned.

15:40: How Willem Dafoe has fun.

18:00: Check out MovieMaker.com/Subscriptions and use offer code XMASMM.

19:10: Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre interview begins.

19:45: She tells us why prison movies are so compelling. 

23:00: "The man sees through the eyes of the animal how aggressive he is, and the animal teaches him patience, respect and trust." 

30:20: Did being French help her see the American criminal justice system more clearly for The Mustang

34:55: "We need to preserve cinema. Cinema should be seen in cinema, not on a laptop or in a plane or an iPhone which is even more terrifying." 


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Dec 26 2019

43mins

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Rank #19: 'Clemency' Stars Alfre Woodard and Aldis Hodge and Director Chinonye Chukwu

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Clemency is one of the last films to be released in 2019, and it's one of the best films of 2019. This week we talk to the film's director, Chinonye Chukwu, and the film's stars, Alfre Woodard and Aldis Hodge.

You know all the cliches of death-row movies: the cruel warden, the Jesus imagery, the lawyers who clear their client at the last second. Clemency knows them too, and subverts them in favor of a nuanced and honest look at the fundamental problem with the death penalty. It doesn't preach. It doesn't need to.

Woodard plays a warden completely different from every other we've seen on film, and Hodge plays a condemned man who makes us feel every agonizing moment of his countdown. But please skip the Hodge interview, which comes last, if you haven't yet seen "Clemency." The film is in theaters December 27.

Here are highlights of the episode, with timestamps:

1:15: Alfre Woodard interview begins

1:27: She explains why so many wardens come from the fields of mental health or social work.

4:15: "Every time we do it, it puts a stain on our soul as a culture, as a nation. Especially a nation where we call ourselves a nation of faith. ... It's a breach for everybody."

8:25: Alfre Woodard on meeting death row inmates in her research for the film: "It was the most humbling experience I've ever had in my life."

11:01: "You just have to kiss yourself up to God. Anything can happen."

15:48: Chinonye Chukwu interview begins.

16:30: "Regardless of innocence or guilt, do we as a society have a right to kill?"

18:03: "I don't need to justify his humanity. ... I really tasked myself to craft a narrative where we don't really know if this person's innocent or guilty and we don't know very much about his past. We are just staying with him in the present."

20:15: Why she chose to cast black actors as both the warden and the inmate: "I thought that if the warden is white and the person on death row is black, then the racial dynamics become the narrative, and not an interrogation of the prison space and the practice of capital punishment and the system of incarceration."

20:50: How she captured the feeling of the prison.

23:38: We talk about witnessing an actual execution.

30:00: We discuss the Golden Globes not nominating any female filmmakers in the best directing categories.

31:45: "We all should support the films that don't get supported by these structures and entities."

33:32: "We have to be willing to use our privileges and access for those who aren't as privileged. And sometimes it is sacrifice but that's what we have to do sometimes in order to move forward."

34:00: CLEMENCY SPOILERS FOLLOW.

35:00: Aldis Hodge interview begins.

35:35: "It's not about him committing a crime. It's about us as a society feeling justified to commit a crime that we shroud in the identity of true justice."

41:02: Audio quality improves thanks to a microphone switch. Thanks for your patience.

42:38: "I want art to be part of the progressive conversation."

45:00: We talk about Aldis Hodge's watchmaking, and why he's pursuing it.

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Dec 25 2019

51mins

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Rank #20: Alan Cumming and 'Two Popes' Screenwriter Anthony McCarten

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Alan Cumming and "Two Popes" screenwriter Anthony McCarten are our guests this week.

We talk with Cumming -- whose Twitter profile describes him as a "Scottish elf trapped inside middle-aged man's body" -- about dancing, DJing, mentoring young moviemakers, and his role in Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut. He tells us about the visual sex joke that Kubrick asked him to do again and again, and about what it's like to be Alan Cumming, witty and outgoing star, and Alan Cumming, real person.

Then we talk with McCarten about how his Catholic upbringing informed "Two Popes," his mixed emotions surrounding ABBA's "Dancing Queen," and what you need to know when you start writing your script. He also talks about how the stories of two pontiffs with very different world-views reflects the political situation in the United States today.

Holiday shopping? We invite you to visit moviemaker.com/subscriptions and use secret code XMASMM to get nice discounts on MovieMaker Magazine subscriptions.

Here are highlights of the episode, with timestamps:

1:15: Alan Cumming interview begins.

4:04: "I've chosen to do something waaay outside my comfort zone."

4:45: A few words about cabaret bar Club Cumming.

5:34: "I think I've understood from way way long ago how important fun is as a component in your life... especially when you do things that are very dark. And a lot of my work is very dark."

7:00: Don't be the kind of DJ who refuses to dance.

11:00: "I think of myself as a character... I think there's me, and then there's Alan Cumming. And Alan Cumming goes out and is like, 'Hello everybody, hi! Yes, I'm here! That's right. Thanks so much!"

12:30: Let's talk about the 20th anniversary of Eyes Wide Shut and what he learned working with Stanley Kubrick.

13:05: "It's a huge thing in my career, even though it's like maybe four minutes."

15:55: "There's a saying, which is, you can go as big as you like, as you want as long as you mean it."

17:08: Anthony McCarten interview begins, as he explains how he used humor to humanize Two Popes.

18:40: The Vatican's response to Two Popes.

19:19: "We built our own Sistine Chapel."

24:00: "There's very very little tolerance or listening to the other side. ... Sometimes the talking should stop and we should listen a little more."

31:50: ABBA's "Dancing Queen": "I was kind of traumatized by that song."

37:20: Anthony McCarten talks about his script for Bohemian Rhapsody.

41:00: His advice for screenwriters.

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Dec 19 2019

42mins

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