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5 Reasons Indies are Better than Hollywood Films

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • May 31, 2013 2:20 PM
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  • 4 Comments
Thanks again to the Internet Archive's WayBack Machine, I am reposting an old story that remains just as relevant today: the first of what was to be a series of articles called "5 Reasons Indie Films Are Better than Hollywood Film" (which had evaporated along with its now defunct home, FilmCatcher.com). Published in 2007, some of the examples may seem a little out-dated (do people still remember Maggie Gyllenhaal's debut?) but the sentiment still remains powerfully relevant. My first reason is below. Since reasons 2-5 were never written, I'm taking suggestions in the comments section. Herewith, the first reason:

"American Arab": Racism in the Post-9/11 Age

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • May 31, 2013 10:21 AM
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  • 0 Comments
From documentary powerhouse Kartemquin Films comes the news that Usama Alshaibi's new documentary "American Arab" is nearing completion, readying for festival screenings in late 2013 and 2014, which could mean a Toronto premiere or a fall regional fest appearance. I got to know Alshaibi's work when I profiled him for the Creative Capital Foundation a few years back. His 2006 doc "Nice Bombs" offered a refreshing new perspective on Iraq War, allowing Westerners to sympathize with an Arab perspective in a much deeper way. "American Arab" promises to do the same.

Against the Future of Film-Viewing: There is No Such Thing as Small Movies

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • May 30, 2013 12:59 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Thanks to Web.Archive.org's Wayback Machine, here is an article that never goes out of style, as indie filmmakers continue to seek online and other digital distribution avenues to release their movies: "Against the Future of Cinema: There is No Such Thing as Small Movies," originally published in 2008 at FilmCatcher.com.

Where are the second films from the directors of "Pariah" and "Medicine for Melancholy"?

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • May 30, 2013 9:34 AM
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  • 3 Comments
hey are among the most lauded young filmmakers to come out of the independent movie scene, but Dee Rees, the director of "Pariah" (2011) and Barry Jenkins, who made "Medicine for Melancholy" (2008), have not made follow-up features. Why? The reasons are numerous--with even institutional racism a possibility--and while the two have multiple projects in development, the fact is: No second feature.

Political Pics on Khmer Rouge and Palestinian Occupation Win Cannes Prizes

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • May 25, 2013 4:27 PM
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  • 0 Comments
It's not the first time a documentary has won a top prize in Cannes -- Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" paved the way in 2004 -- but it's still a rare day in France when nonfiction takes center stage. On Saturday, the awards in the Un Certain Regard sidebar were handed out, with Cambodian filmmaker Rithy Panh's "A Missing Picture," about Cambodia's nightmarish 1970s dictatorship, winning top honors. The runner-up prize went to Palestinian born "Paradise Now" director Hany Abu-Assad's latest "Omar."

Rasoulof's "Manuscripts" Flouts Iranian Censors, Invites Controversy

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • May 24, 2013 2:02 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof, who has been sentenced to a single year in jail by authorities in his home country, unveiled his latest movie in Cannes, "Manuscripts Don't Burn" yesterday; and it promises to only make matters more difficult for the courageous filmmaker. Like fellow Iranian director Jafar Panahi, who has been banned from making movies and sentenced to a longer prison term, the country's Judicial punishments appear to have done little to dampen their creative and activist spirits.

Why ITVS should be held accountable and "Citizen Koch" should be called "Citizen Corp"

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • May 23, 2013 11:04 AM
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  • 1 Comment
By not further commenting on its role to pull out of Tia Lessin and Carl Deal's documentary "Citizen Koch," ITVS, the prominent independent documentary funding organization, is shooting itself in the foot—and potentially alienating filmmakers. When I reached out to ITVS for further comment on Jane Mayer's New Yorker story, which suggests that the film was suppressed because of conservative billionaire David Koch's support of PBS, they refused to comment further.

The Anti-"Milk": Will "Behind the Candelabra" Get Tarnished as Homophobic?

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • May 21, 2013 9:48 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Watch out, GLAAD. While filmmaker Steven Soderbergh's Liberace bio-pic "Behind the Candelabra" presents a complex, ambiguous portrait of the famous flamboyant performer, the gay establishment could end up chastising the film for its unflattering depiction of a kind of "predatory homosexuality," as Variety critic Peter Debruge described it in a review from its Cannes Film Festival premiere, calling the movie the "anti-'Milk.'"

Cannes front-runner Asghar Farhadi can't escape politics of "The Past"

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • May 20, 2013 10:00 AM
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  • 0 Comments
A front-runner for Cannes' top prize, Iranian director Asghar Farhadi's "The Past," does not, on its surface, take up the dicey social and political questions that hovered around the surface of his foreign-language Oscar-winner "A Separation." But being an Iranian filmmaker, who has made a film under the auspices of Iran's Ministry of Culture, Farhadi can't escape politics altogether. As he said during the Cannes festival, "There are two kinds of censorship," he told reporters. "You have official censorship which works in a certain way. But there is also self-censorship. You impose it on your innermost self."

In Defense of "Frances Ha": Why Middle-Class White Angst Is Angst, Too

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • May 17, 2013 6:51 PM
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  • 18 Comments
In some corners, Noah Baumbach's "Frances Ha" is getting lumped in with a certain cycle of mumblecore movies that focused on young white people with nothing to do with their lives except whining and having sex with each other. This is an oversimplification, of course. But because "Frances" stars that great mumblecore ingenue Greta Gerwig, it's getting saddled with the same criticisms, too: It's just another movie about privileged white wanderers directed by another privileged white wanderer. But I'm here to say that "Frances Ha" has more to say about class politics than most films about 20-something life.

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