film books

by eug
September 26, 2006 11:35 AM
1 Comment
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C_0743256301.jpgI've already written -- in indieWIRE today -- that Christine Vachon's new book "A Killer Life" is essential reading. In my opinion she's written an engaging, and at times highly personal new book. It perfectly captures this moment in indepedent/specialty film, mixing entertaining and informational anecdotes with sharp insights. Kudos!

As for other must-read books about independent film, John Pierson's "Spike, Mike, Slackers and Dykes" (or the recent Spike Mike Reloaded reissue) is still the bible, while Peter Biskind's "Down and Dirty Pictures" is a fun ride. More recently, I taught Geoff King's "American Independent Cinema" in my summer film class at The New School this year and think its quite good. Mark and Michael Polish's "The Declaration of Independent Filmmaking" offers some terrific nitty gritty details about contemporary independent movie-making and I'm still in the midst of reading George Stevens Jr.'s "Conversations with the Great Moviemakers of Hollywood's Golden Age", its a treasure so far.

Not to be forgetten is a classic that has inspired many...the diary, filmmaking guide/journal, "Spike Lee's Gotta Have It", written by the director in 1987. Back in my UCLA days, that was the book (Spike's other similar journal/books and a "Sex Lies" book in the same format, by Sodebergh, are all great). I'd love to see a book about modern DIY filmmaking and have heard a few emerging filmmakers talking about tackling such a tome... let's hope they do.

Anyone else care to suggest some essential, or at least worthwhile, film books?

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1 Comment

  • Tom Wilkinson | September 27, 2006 5:41 AMReply

    On a different note than the history and war stories of cinema, any director that wants to get beyond the technical should definitely read Judith Weston's fantastic book "Directing Actors: Creating Memorable Performances for Film and Television."