Another Close Encounter


A great film is one that can take even the most jaded of moviegoers and fill them with a sense of anticipation, wonder and sheer exhilaration. Cynicism falls away as they witness all the different creative aspects that go into making a film come together to show them sights they have never seen and tell them stories that are able to surprise while still resonating on the deepest of emotional levels. A truly great film—the kind that one can call a classic without the slightest hesitation—is one that still has the power to do that to viewers decades after it was originally released, no matter how many times they may have seen it over the years. Steven Spielberg’s 1977 masterpiece Close Encounters of the Third Kind, which is returning to theaters for a one-week engagement to mark its 40th anniversary, is the epitome of a truly great film. Having seen it countless times over the past four decades, I went into the screening planning to devote most of my attention to how the new 4K restoration looked and found myself getting sucked as deeply into the story, the performances and the stunning visual effects as I was when I first saw it as a wee lad during its original release.

Article by Peter Sobczynski,

9 Essential Alfred Hitchcock Shots


The silent film that first earned the director considerable praise from British critics and audiences, “The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog” plays like a prototype Hitchcock film, introducing many of the visual storytelling techniques and thematic overtones that he would continue to explore over the next several decades. Set in London as a serial killer is murdering attractive young blondes, the movie’s taut suspense centers on whether or not the Bunting family’s new renter is the killer. As played by Ivor Novello, the lodger’s haunting appearance and gestures recall Nosferatu, and his interest in the Bunting’s beautiful blonde daughter, Daisy (June Tipp), ominously suggests he may be the murderer the police are looking for.

There is No “Right” Way: 14 Things Directors Need to Know about Directing Actors


     For many directors, the thought of “directing actors” can instill panic. Directors who were once cinematographers, say, or who have worked on film sets, might be at ease working with crews or blocking shots but will freeze up when challenged to give notes to actors.

     Such performance anxiety is not surprising. Unlike the crew, with whom directors have the whole shoot to develop working relationships, many actors are only on set for a few days. So it’s understandable that directors may worry about “getting it right” when it comes to guiding them in their performance.

     But the thing is: there is no “right”.

Just When You Thought They Were Out... Kodak Launches Super 8 Revival


Kodak is probably the largest victim of the digital media revolution, famously missing the boat as the world shifted from an analogue film world (which Kodak dominated) to one made of CCDs and pixels.


However, film, at least in the motion picture arena, never completely went away, thanks to feverish support from advocates such as Quentin Tarantino and Christopher Nolan. But most indie filmmakers don't have the luxury of getting Panavision to recommission old camera for them, so have had to continue down the digital path. Kodak seems to believe it's spotted a gap in the market... which the veritable Super 8mm format (50 years old in 2016) could fill.

Five Lessons in Filmmaking from Kurosawa


There are film schools, and then there’s standing at the shoulder of a legend for months as he creates his late masterwork. That was the unlikely and incredible experience of Italian Vittorio Dalle Ore, then only 24-years-old, and not able to speak one word of Japanese, who found himself in 1984 as an assistant director to the great Akira Kurosawaon Ran.

Drawing Inspiration: The Keys to Creating Killer Storyboards by Jim Penola


If you’re capturing moving images, storyboarding is one of the most practical and helpful filmmaking tools you can utilize. Before and during production, storyboards bring previously abstract images and intentions into physical reality, creating a common visual ground for your cast and crew to inhabit. The value this provides in terms of describing, planning, and shooting cannot be overstated. Here are some tips on how to use this process to its full potential.

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