Beyond Cinema Magazine - June 2012 Edition

Page 1


Clive Owen Clive tackles Papa Hemingway at Cannes page 18

THE F-WORD: The First Word on Film Festivals IN-DEPTH:“The Hunter” Director Daniel Nettheim WHAT’S UP, DOCS? Taking the Pulse of Documentaries THE COMMISH: A desk job? Not the way THEY do it AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 FRAMES: A Gallery

a publication of the



Issue 1 | 2012

EDITOR IN CHIEF Elliot V. Kotek | 646.732.3372 PUBLISHER Peter Trimarco | 720.851.1375 ART DIRECTION & DESIGN Skaaren Design | 480.296.8529 CONTRIBUTORS Scott McDermott, Alexandria Matos, Gill Pringle, Angela Bakke, Matt Nettheim, Vittorio Zunino (Celotto/WireImage), Pascal Le Segretain (Getty Images) Advertising, stocking, sponsorship and distribution opportunities please contact the publisher at /720.851.1375; address editorial and licensing enquiries to the editor at 646.732.3372 or to our offices at 22 28th Ave, Venice CA 90291.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS PRESIDENT Mary Nelson Virginia Film Office (USA)


1ST VICE PRESIDENT George David Royal Film Commission of Jordan (Jordan)

Words by Elliot V. Kotek, Images by Scott McDermott


2ND VICE PRESIDENT Walea Constantinau Honolulu Film Office (USA)

Catching up with ‘Hemingway’ in Mexico

TREASURER Drew Mayer-Oakes San Antonio Film Commission (USA)




A director in the wilderness

Kevin Chang Cheongpung Film Commission (Republic of Korea)

Ingrid Rudefors Stockholm Mälardalen Film Commission (Sweden)

Jerry Day Tuolumne County Film (USA)

Mark Stricklin Birmingham-Jefferson Film Office (USA)

Sten Iversen Montana Film Office (USA)

Mikael Svensson Oresund Film Commission (Sweden)

They shot it, we show it. A gallery.

[ ] THE F-WORD... 52 The latest word from film festivals The Statesman: Festival de Cannes The Teenager: Sonoma International

[ ] THE COMMISH... 61

Joan Miller Vancouver Island North Film (Canada)

The folk who help film get made

AFCI EXECUTIVE OFFICE Martin Cuff Executive Director

Jason LaBue Communications Specialist

Kevin Clark Director of Operations

Laurie Lehmann Director of Professional Development & Events

Elyse Gammer Kathy Martini Director of Business Relationships Administrative Assistant For membership or more information about the AFCI, please contact: Association of Film Commissioners International 8530 Wilshire Blvd, Ste #210 Beverly Hills CA 90211 Phone: LA: 1-323-461-2324 Fax: 1-413-375-2903 Email: Web:

[ ] WHAT’S UP, DOCS?... 46 Checking the pulse of the documentary scene

[ ] MAGIC HOUR...58 After the shoot, it’s time for you

[ ] BEYOND YOUR HORIZON...66 Postcards from the edge [ ] A Note from Elliot... 7 [ ] A Note from the AFCI...9



Hi. We’re hoping the conversation you’re having with yourself as you pick up this magazine goes something like this: “I love Rashida Jones, and I love magazines. This is going to be a great day.” A new magazine about cinema was once a regular occurrence. Now, however, it represents the confluence of two forms of media in very different phases of their storied existences. Like 35mm film, the print publication industry stands on the precipice of mainstream obscurity. Sidelined by the sites, blogs and digital incarnations that offer immediate, and immediately shareable nuggets of information, print is now the domain of the wilful and passionate. Cinema, on the other hand, struggles with its position on the brink of overpopulation. A beneficiary (and victim) of the technological revolution, “the democratization of content” has reduced barriers to filmmaking to such a level that the price to play is determined squarely by ambition and tenacity. Rather than cost, in many cases the struggle for filmmakers is in finding an audience - finding a distributor, festival, cable venue, corporate

outlet or online destination. That said, we’ve also never consumed as much content as we do today, with films just one ray of entertainment among many pop-culture pursuits. We are connected 24/7, and even the brief moments when our companions disappear to pee or get popcorn present opportunities for just one more text, email or funny-or-die clip.

Although we in the magazine and film industries may often find ourselves standing on the edges of commercial cliffs, it’s important to acknowledge how far we’ve climbed. If we choose to look up to the skies rather than down at the rocks, we will continue to build our own ladders to new pursuits, and create something magical.

How do filmmakers stand out from the pack? With story, of course. And name cast, when they can. But another key ingredient in the equation is the production value contained within the frame, sometimes achieved by the location itself, other times attained by the ability to use a location to leverage other (above and below the line) benefits. With GoPros, HD phone cameras and courage, we can film anywhere on the planet.

Whether it takes you around the corner or around the world, we look forward to having you with us on our journey be yond cinema. Welcome to Issue 1.

Elliot V. Kotek Editor in Chief


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In 2009, I came across an article in Vanity Fair that seemed to sum up the persistence, resilience and damn perkiness of film commissioners. It told the tale of Harry Goulding, a rancher from Utah who’d learned that United Artists was considering filming a Western on location. Armed with his convictions and a book of glorious photographs of Monument Valley, Harry and his wife loaded the “bedroll, coffee pot, grub,” and drove to Hollywood. Arriving at UA, Harry told the receptionist he wanted to see someone about this new Western. When she said he couldn’t see anyone without an appointment, he told her he’d get his bedroll because he wasn’t leaving. When the Location Manager came out, he forced a glimpse at the photographs and, naturally, wanted to know

where they were shot. From that unlikely first meeting, it wasn’t long before John Ford saw the pictures and decided Monument Valley was perfect for the seminal backdrop for Stagecoach. I think of Harry as the first film commissioner, the guy who opened the door. He showed us nothing beats the authenticity of a great location - and that absolutely nothing will stop a proud commissioner from getting in front of the right producer or location professional to get the job done. Since Harry, over 350 film commissioners in more than 40 countries have been the heroes behind thousands of movies, helping to scout locations, source permits and troubleshoot with local officials to cut through bureaucratic red tape and maximize production values and cut costs.

Harry’s legacy is undeniably changing. Incentives have led commissioners to transition from the “What must I do for you to film here?” mindset, to becoming partners in the production process. As competition grew, film commissions also began developing a broader scope for their activities, becoming the hub of all film-related activity within a jurisdiction. In addition to assisting international productions, commissions now encourage the development and distribution of local productions, build audiences, facilitate film literacy, institute skills training and otherwise support a climate of local entrepreneurship to support filmmaking. In short, film commissioners moved out from behind cinema to being beyond it, and now see themselves as an integral part of the development of buoyant film sectors from California to Kowloon. With the launch of Beyond Cinema, the dialogue around film commissions is changing and, with this fantastic new addition to the media landscape, we hope you’ll join us in the conversation.

Martin Cuff Executive Director, AFCI

Come tell your story in Mississippi. Beyond Cinema Marquee.indd 1



601.359.3297 5/8/12 4:36 PM


Leave Me Like You Found Me Director: Adele Romanski Location: Sequoia National Park, US “The idea for the film came out of a trip I took with my father in Sequoia/Kings Canyon. Since the place inspired the story it never occurred to me to shoot it anywhere else. I’m mildly obsessed with how majestic the California landscape is, and I’m equally preoccupied with this idea of ‘destination filmmaking.’ Trekking into the Sequoia for two weeks to shoot a movie was a perfect marriage of these ideas.”



My Way Director: Kang Je-kyu Location: Korea and Latvia To maximize production costs, Kang’s crew made the decision to reconstruct the WWII Japanese, Soviet, and German army camps at a location on the south coast of Korea at Saemangeum, the world’s largest man-made sea barrier. Nearly 250 square miles was divided into three sectors to represent the film’s diverse backdrops. Duplicating the beaches of Normandy, France, was a more daunting task. The crew settled on a stretch of beach located on the Baltic Sea in Latvia. The Latvian shoot included 200 crew members: Latvians, Russians, Lithuanians, Germans, Norwegians, and Swiss. Thorough preparation and a warm welcome from Latvia contributed to the overwhelming success of the Normandy Invasion sequence. *My Way is the most expensive film ever produced in Korea, at a budget of approximately US$23 million.



Trishna Director: Michael Winterbottom Location: Jaipur, Rajasthan & Mumbai, India “I first had the idea of making Trishna eight or nine years ago. We were working on Code 46 and shot for a few days in Rajasthan. On one of the recces we visited the desert outside Osian. I was with some crew from Mumbai, and there was an incredible contrast between the life of the crew from Mumbai and the people of the village, whose lives were just beginning to change with the forces of mechanization, industrialization, urbanization and above all education... It is the third time that I have filmed in India but this is the first film I have made that is set in India. It was frustrating working in India in the past, and not actually telling a story that is set there. So this was a totally different experience. We were able to locate the story in a very specific place. We spent a lot of time talking to people in Rajasthan – and specifically in Osian and Jodhpur – about the story, and how it would make sense in their lives. We worked with a local location manager and shot in a lot of locations which you might expect to be difficult, but we had really great co-operation from the people. Mumbai was harder, but that is just the nature of a big city.”



BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD Director: Benh Zeitlin Location: Southern Louisiana, USA This tale of six-year-old girl “Hushpuppy,” living with her father at the end of the world (aka a bayou community cut off from the world by a levee). This tale of rusted out shacks, shrimp, catfish, natural disasters and semi-wild animals won the Sundance Film Festival’s top prize this year with non-actors in the lead roles, and also screened as part of the Un Certain Regard programming at Cannes. Although the film tries not to tie the narrative world to a particular location, this is very much a southern Louisiana-bred tale, the shoot taking place southwest of New Orleans, “where the road ends and the Gulf begins.” The 40-day shoot traversed the bayous of Houma, Bourg, Pointe-Aux-Chenes and Montegut, as well as Mandeville and Slidell. Principal photography began the day of the BP oil spill about a hundred miles from production headquarters.



LAWLESS Director: John Hillcoat Location: Peachtree City, Georgia USA Set in Franklin County, Virginia, Lawless was originally titled The Wettest County following the book on which it is based. Capturing a tale of Prohibitionera moonshine-runners, John Hillcoat (director of The Propostion and The Road) considered shooting in Virginia and was pulled in a different direction because of incentives, ending up in Peachtree City, Georgia with the help of the Georgia Film Commission. Shia LaBeouf leads an all-star team of Guy Pearce, Mia Wasikowska, Tom Hardy and Gary Oldman on the film, which had its premiere at Cannes.



REALITY Director: Matteo Garrone Location: Torre del Greco, Naples, Italy Garrone’s follow-up to Gomorrah was shot predominantly in and around Italy’s Torre del Greco, a city of less than 100,000 people living in the shadow of Vesuvius National Park in the province of Naples. Garrone achieves an enviable local truth to his films by generally utilizing non-actors from the region. In “Reality,” the story centers around Luciano (theater actor Aniello Arena), a fishmonger who looks to shake up his existence by applying to be on “Big Brother.”



CLIVE OWEN By Gill Pringle

Just as writers and foreign correspondents were the global travelers of a century ago, actors are today’s equivalent, thanks to the growth of international film festivals and location-shooting in far-flung environs. Take, for example, Clive Owen. When Beyond Cinema caught up with the suave actor in Mexico, he’s dressed from head to toe in chic tropical linens promoting his thriller Intruders, which screened as the closing night gala of the inaugural Riviera Maya Film Festival. “I’m genuinely a big fan of film festivals,” he says. “It’s a huge celebration of what it is we do. It’s a great coming together of cultures and of people and filmmakers from all over the world, all sharing their movies and their vision. I’m always keen to go to film festivals, and it’s lovely coming to this one, especially as it’s the first one here. I



don’t think you could have a more beautiful place for a film festival and the programming is really exciting. I just hope I get invited back,” he told us, talking at the luxurious Rosewood Mayakoba resort on the Caribbean coast, in close proximity to the picturesque screening locations at Tulum, Holbox Island, Cancun, Cozumel and Playa del Carmen. Just months earlier, Owen had taken another trip, visiting Havana after becoming fascinated with Ernest Hemingway whom he portrays in Hemingway & Gellhorn, which just screened out of competition at Cannes. Directed by Philip Kaufman (The Unbearable Lightness of Being, The Right Stuff, Henry & June, Quills), the drama centers on the romance between “Papa” Hemingway and WWII correspondent Martha Gellhorn, who would become the author’s third wife and the famed inspiration behind “For Whom the Bell Tolls.” Filmed on location in the San Francisco area, Owen recalls: “It was a wonderful script and I think Philip Kaufman is one of the greats. I also got to work with Nicole Kidman who plays Martha Gellhorn. It was probably one of the best experiences in my career.” Hemingway’s real-life adventures in Paris, Italy, Africa, Spain and Cuba is the stuff of legend, and his lifestyle continues to fascinate people almost as much as his books. A man amongst men who was still a teenager when he found himself on the Italian Front during World War I, he had a passion for traditionally masculine pursuits: big game hunting, fishing, bull-fighting and, ultimately, alcohol. If Owen had originally contemplated the romanticism of shooting in Cuba, he quickly learned otherwise: “Philip found lots of original documentary footage. For instance, the relationship between Hemingway and Gellhorn started against the backdrop of the Spanish Civil War, so Phil goes out and finds all this original footage from the Spanish Civil War, and if there’s a gap in the frame he can put us


ABOVE: Clive Owen dons the moustache to portray Papa Hemingway in HBO’s Hemingway & Gellhorn. FAR LEFT: Owen in Paris to celebrate the 80th anniversary of Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso


“I’m always afraid of doing bad movies. That’s a constant fear every time I start one.”

work, I think he’s an absolutely extraordinary writer. Nobody has left such a legacy. For somebody of that time to have traveled and explored so much, its remarkable. Obviously there are some things in his life that became out of fashion, the hunting and the bullfighting is not so popular, and I do think it would be difficult [to live like that today]. He’s very much of his time.” At 47, Owen can look forward to maintaining his busy career, although he’s cognizant that 40+ is a dangerous age for his female counterparts such as his Oscar-winning Hemingway & Gellhorn co-star Kidman, 44: “I think you would have to be naïve to say that it wasn’t harder for women. It just is. It’s totally unfair. There are absolutely amazing actresses in their 40s who should be working more than they are. That’s wrong. We’ve got to do what we can to try to change that.” While Hemingway & Gellhorn is based on a man about whom so much is known, a psychological horror film like Juan Carlos Fresnadillo’s Intruders posed a different challenge for him, in trying to capture the essence of fear, not to mention attempting to master Spanish while filming in Madrid. “People talk about Intruders as being a generic horror film but I think of it as something much more interesting, more of a psychological thriller. It’s very spooky and scary but all the strangeness and spookiness comes from within the characters as opposed to things from the outside.

ABOVE: This year, Clive Owen can also be seen in James Marsh’s Sundance film Shadow Dancer.

into it. We travel enormously through the film using this device while we bleed in and out of original footage. He’s used this device in previous movies too.” Not to be robbed of the opportunity to visit Cuba, Owen made a private pilgrimage: “I had the most amazing week there. Hemingway’s house is incredible. They were lovely and allowed me to go in and look through all his stuff, which is amazingly still there - his books, his record collection, even his clothes and boots are still in the closet. I actually took seven months


off and just immersed myself in all things Hemingway. Everywhere I travel, I try to do Hemiway things, like going go to Cuba, he’s all over Havana. You go to Paris and Hemingway’s Paris is incredibly vivid and alive or you go to Madrid and he’s still very present there.” Ask him if he thinks a man of Hemingway’s macho sensibilities could exist in today’s more sensitive society, he smiles: “I think it would be tricky. It’s probably fair to say that he’s been out of fashion for a while, but when you go back and read his

“The first thing I saw that ever scared me was an episode of the ‘Twilight Zone’ when I was very young. It really freaked me out. But the film that had the biggest impact in terms of a horror film has to be The Exorcist. Not only is it a great horror film, it’s also a brilliantly made film that still stands up today.” But it’s the real world that scares Owen more than any horror film: “Being the father of two girls growing up in the modern age, my biggest fear is the kind of world they are growing up into. The world has radically changed just in terms of the whole Facebook/computer age and how that has revolutionized the way people


ABOVE: Nicole Kidman and Clive Owen are both receiving top marks from critics as Ernest Hemingway and Martha Gellhorn, the couple who met at war, then created their own.

communicate with each other, how children relate to each other. In some respects my 12-year-old daughter is further ahead in all that than I am. She teaches me things about the way they relate, the way the world is moving. You just hope that children still stay centered and humane and human; that we don’t drift off into a way of communicating with each other that isn’t real and tangible. There’s an awful lot of socializing, sitting on their own in front of the computer screen. I’m a great


believer that people should go out and actually relate to other people,” says the actor whose Intruders character is also the father of a teenage girl. “Over the last few years, it’s no accident that I’ve done a number of films where parenting has been a big issue. I did The Boys are Back , Trust and Intruders . Parenting a child is a big thing in all those films. It’s something that I obviously know something about and also something in-

teresting to explore in film. There’s no question when I read this script I can’t help but put myself in the position of what it would be like.” His greatest fear, perhaps, is making poor film choices: “I’m always afraid of doing bad movies,” jokes Owen who has a string of successful movies to his credit including Inside Man, Closer and Sin City. “That’s a constant fear every time I start one.”





These images could not have been shot without a location.

And it takes “Beyond Cinema� to bring the stories behind the images from

up on the screen into the hands of film professionals and film lovers like you. (Images from The Hunter, Trishna, Celeste & Jesse Forever)

Choose Beyond Cinema. Partner with the AFCI to have your message reach the best audience we know. 323.461.2324

Named To People Magazine’s “Most Beautiful” List Three Times (Third Time Makes It Truer, Right?), Rashida Jones Is That Rare Breed Of Life-Liver For Whom It Seems The World Is A Small One. Acting, Singing, Writing, Producing, Graduating Harvard And Somehow Having A Spare Breath To Spend On Involving Others In Her Journey, It Must Help Matters To Grow Up With The Magical Genes Of Music Giant Quincy Jones, And With The Gorgeous And Multi-Faceted ‘Mod Squad’ Star Peggy Lipton For A Mom. After a long road trying to get Celeste and Jesse Forever produced at a variety of budget levels, Jones and co-writer/actor Will McCormack brought in The Vicious Kind’s Spirit Award-nominated director Lee Toland Krieger, and gathered friends and family from across the spectrum of the industry to make the movie. One of the hot titles at this year’s Sundance (where it was acquired by Sony Pictures Classics), and playing as part of the Los Angeles Film Festival’s ‘Summer Showcase,’ the film finally brings Jones front and center.

WORDS BY ELLIOT V. Kotek Photos by Scott McDermot



department name

BEYOND CINEMA: Was the Sundance premiere the first time you’d seen the film with an audience?

Rashida: Pretty much. If I wasn’t, I became friends with them for sure during filming.

RASHIDA JONES: Yeah. I must say, it was a completely utterly psychedelic experience. Overwhelming. It was fantastic, really scary, and really painful. It was kind of everything, and mostly a reflection of the really close relationship that Will [McCormack] and I have had to this movie, how long it has taken to get it made, how arduous it was, and sharing that with the world. I really felt like I was showing everybody all my inside organs in an uncomfortable way.

BC: What was it like the first time you met Andy Samberg?

BC: Are you good at watching yourself on screen? Rashida: I don’t have a lot of hang-ups about looking at my face for a long time. [Laughs] It’s not like I’m dying to watch my face all day. BC: Having grown up in and around music, deciding whom to hire for the score must have been one of the hardest. Did you bring in Zach Cowie and Sunny Levine? Rashida: Sunny is my nephew. He’s a musical genius. I can say that, biased and unbiased. Will and I wrote the script to Sunny’s album Love Rhino. There was no question that Sunny’s understanding of music had to be the bottom line in the film. And Zach is a musical catalogue and an innovator. He can be like a curator and also a creator, which is a really cool thing. Having those two guys meant nothing I did would affect the outcome of all the brilliance that they brought. That being said, I totally wanted to be involved because I think we had such a good collaborative building process with the whole team where we saw what the movie could be, and those guys took it to another level. BC: I take it you were friends with almost all the key actors before the project?

DID YOU KNOW? In 2003, Thom Andersen finished his documentary Los Angeles Plays Itself in which he journeys through how LA has been depicted in movies. Unfortunately, due to the hundreds of film clips referenced in the film, it became impossible to secure licenses to all the footage and the title never received a commercial release. What’s your favorite “LA” film?

Rashida: We met through friends and just immediately connected. It was clear we were going to know each other for a very long time. The same with Will, even though Will and I dated briefly for two weeks when we first met, I think we were just trying to figure out how we fit to each other’s lives. We were 25 and that’s what you do, right? At 25, the only way you could imagine possibly being in the company of someone of the opposite sex is to date them. With our lives colliding dynamically, we still managed to find a way back to friendship. Actually, with everybody on this movie it was kind of love at first sight, from Elijah [Wood] to Ari [Graynor] to Emma [Roberts]. The minute we met them, we were just kind of in love with them. It happened incrementally from 15 years ago to the day before we started shooting. It all felt pretty – not to overuse an overused word – organic. BC: Speaking of ‘organic’ – the Los Angeles yoga and vegan scene is integrated into the film and you shot scenes through Silver Lake, Downtown and Venice. Was location written in specifically? Did you ever consider shooting elsewhere for tax credits? Rashida: At a certain point there was a discussion (that I was not that fond of) that we would take some tax credits and film in some other state. It just wasn’t anything that Will and I ever wanted to do because it was so important to us that LA be LA. I know that you can do it and I know that people do it all the time. But I wanted to do what we could to show what life is like right now, and this script is very much a product of where we are in our lives right now. I really don’t think that Connecticut would work. It was always about LA. I grew up in LA, Sunny grew up in LA. We wanted to make sure that we showed that version of LA that we know that maybe other people don’t know. It’s really hard to do that when you’re using another town. BC: Was having this opportunity to knock out a starring role exciting or daunting? Rashida: I think this is probably a pretty common experience for actors in LA. I know so many incredibly talented, dynamic, skilled actors. What ends up happening is you get this one part or these two parts and then you’re known as the girl who plays the funny girlfriend or the guy who is a serial killer, or whatever. Everybody gets put into these little boxes but the truth is, when you actually know these people, they’re capable of so much more. I knew that I had more in me than just the supportive friend or girlfriend. I felt like if there was going to be a time when I was going to do it, it was going to be now. I was either going to blow it, or not.



ABOVE: Achieving notoriety through his work on “Saturday Night Live,” Andy Samberg was born in California. Celeste and Jesse is the third film in which he and Rashida Jones are both credited.

It was a tough thing to be producing, writing and acting. I’m not sure I want to do that particular perfect storm again. It definitely opened up my feelings about what kinds of parts I’m going to play. And it opened my feelings about what kind of parts I want to write. I’m just not sure how they fit together yet. BC: When you meet someone on a plane and they aren’t, for whatever reason, in tune with your role in recent pop culture, what do you tell them you do for a living? Rashida: More often now I’m saying that I’m a writer. I don’t know if that’s just a way to avoid having to list my resume, because people go, “Where have I seen you?” But now, legitimately, I can say that. I have a WGA card. And I have co-written a movie that’s coming out. It feels real. BC: Is this your first credit as a writer? Rashida: Yeah. You know what? It is. It’s my first credit.


BC: Do you write when inspired or do you treat it like a 9-to-5 gig? Rashida: Will’s better at sitting down everyday and writing. Basically, we treat it like a job. We sit everyday whether we’re amazing, inspired, or prolific. We just sit there and kind of wait for it to happen. BC: Screenwriting software of choice? Rashida: Final Draft. I love it and I hate it. They make me reauthenticate it probably once a month. BC: Was there anything you regret having to cut from the final film? Rashida: It’s funny, now that we’re watching the movie, I’m very happy with the things that we cut. There was a really nice scene that Will and I always really liked between Veronica [Rebecca Dayan] and Celeste. It was just another way for Celeste


“I feel like there is a weird thing with celebrity involvement in political campaigns, it kind of goes together like peanut butter and chocolate. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad.” to show that she’s grown a little bit and can be a bit of an adult. It’s funny. But I don’t think you need five versions of closure in a movie. You just need one. And that’s not clear until you see the whole thing together. BC: Given that it was shot in your home town, did you each go home at the end of the day, or did you have a central hotel to create an ‘on location’ feel? Rashida: I went home. It was actually just the most pleasant, protected, illuminated shooting experience. We’d have these incredible shoot days and I would go home and I would sleep. I would wake up and come to work again. It just never felt frantic or rushed. I never felt out of my depth. I would say it was a really unique experience for me. BC: You’ve been on enough sets now to know what you’d like from a work situation – whether it’s a Kevin Smith set or Steven Soderbergh’s or David Fincher’s. Is there someone particular who cultivated a mood on set you really appreciated? Rashida: Doing I Love You, Man has changed the entire bar for me of how a cast can get along and how a director and a producer can run a set. John Hamburg does a great job of being able to be friends with everybody and still maintain a position of authority, but not in a way that’s irritating or dominating. He had such respect for his actors and crew and they had such mutual respect for him. I definitely try to emulate the I Love You, Man experience as much as I can. BC: What project do most people approach you to talk about? Rashida: I Love You, Man is a big one. People love to talk about it. Obviously The Social Network just because it’s so culturally relevant. I love to talk about that. BC: Could you feel the relevance of Social Network when you were shooting it?


Rashida: Yes, definitely. I read that script and it was like, “Oh shit. I want to be in this movie. This movie is going to mean something for a long time to come.” I came in late to the game, but when you watch David Fincher work with as many takes as he shoots, and you listen to those Aaron Sorkin words over and over again, it was pretty evident from when I showed up that it was definitely going to be special. BC: Did you take a souvenir? Rashida: I took my legal pad. For two weeks of the movie I had nothing to say, I just watched the proceedings. I was just practicing my penmanship and trying to document what people were saying. I took that with me. And I have this blouse – it’s so weird – I have this blouse that comes to me from wardrobe and then it goes back to the wardrobe house. I’ve worn the exact same blouse for “The Office.” I’ve worn it for Social Network and I’ve worn it for The Muppets. Finally, after The Muppets I just took it. I’ve worn it in three different things, I had to own it. BC: Had anyone worn it in between? Rashida: That’s a good question. BC: Speaking of cultural relevance, it’s a political year. Will you get involved again? Rashida: Absolutely. Anything I can do. I feel like there is a weird thing with celebrity involvement in political campaigns, it kind of goes together like peanut butter and chocolate. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad. I wouldn’t overexpose myself in the name of the President. I just want to do what I can to help. BC: I think George Clooney’s dinner for President Obama is going to raise more than $12 million dollars, which will make it the most successful presidential campaign event in history. Rashida: George Clooney is…he’s the smart one. He really is. He’s a very impressive dude. BC: Your father seems like a pretty impressive dude. He’s in the end credits of Celeste and Jesse. Is that just a thank you or was he involved another way in the project? Rashida: He’s been so supportive in general, obviously. But letting us use his screening room to do test screenings with friends and peers was the kicker because we did a month of screenings. Every Sunday I showed up at his house with mini-cookies from Trader Joe’s and questionnaires and pens. BC: Having parents like Quincy Jones and Peggy Lipton, with their significant involvement in the entertainment industry, do you go to them for advice first or are they a failsafe for after you’ve gone to everybody else?


FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Emma Roberts, Elijah Wood, Rashida Jones, Ari Graynor, Will McCormack and Andy Samberg share a laugh at Scott McDermott’s studio at Sundance.

Rashida: No. One hundred percent. It would be silly for me to not take the gift of my unconditionally loving parents, who also know so much about the business, and not to let them tell me what to do and how to approach it. BC: Did you watch your Mom’s performances growing up? Rashida: Yeah. Absolutely. I was totally obsessed with “Twin Peaks.” We would definitely watch it together, for sure. I was, like, dreaming that Bob was under my bed every night. BC: I remember reading that you’d considered giving up acting to go back to school to study public policy. Is that true? Rashida: That is true. When I was, like, 30. It was right after one of the strikes had started. There were always lulls for acting but this lull was really big. It was really difficult to get an acting job. I felt like maybe I was hard to cast because I was too quirky to be the lead and too confident to be the friend or, I don’t know, every actor feels like that sometimes. And, I was wondering if the best use of my time was to sit and wait for a job or to maybe just search for other versions of my life – pursue some other dreams I’ve had. I thought about it and looked at some applications online and then I ended up getting the part on “The Office,” which kind of changed everything for me, so I didn’t do it. But I might still. I’m open.


BC: Do you actively read reviews and the media about you? Rashida: I do. I wish I didn’t. I’m not going to lie, there were definitely reviews out of Sundance that hurt. It felt like those people didn’t understand the movie, and instead of not understanding and being like, “Eh,” they instead attacked my character as a person or as an artist. That’s how people behave, and I get it. I think I’m going to have to find a way to protect myself from that a little more. BC: A lot of critics see it as their role to be critical rather than to engage in-Rashida: Conversation. Exactly. It’s actually good. I think I’ve had all these black and white ideals my whole life and now I have this opportunity to define myself from adversity. Somebody said to me once that all successful people have people who misunderstand them and people who dislike them. I never really understood what that meant. For me it was just… you’re never going to capture everybody liking you. You know what? Who wants everybody to like you? That’s too huge a responsibility. Why not have a small group of people really connect and love what you do. It’s unfortunate now because of technology. The Internet allows people to be cowards. It’s become this breeding ground for negativity and for people to just spew out whatever they’re thinking


right then and there. They might not even remember it the next morning but they’ve already put it out there and they’ve already affected other people. And they don’t have to think about how they affect other people because they’ll never meet that person. It’s easy to be cruel.

basically, “What’s your favorite go-to outfit?”

BC: 2011 was a successful year for you – Friends with Benefits, The Muppets, Our Idiot Brother, “Parks and Recreation” – In addition, you’ve created comic books, sang backup vocals for Maroon 5... Is that just who you are? Are you always going to do a little of everything, or are you searching for your one thing?

Rashida: The first time that happened I thought it was the coolest thing in the world. I don’t know. It’s a nice distinction but I have nothing to do with why they think that. I don’t have control over it. They should give that award to my parents. It should be like “50 Most Beautiful People, Rashida Jones goes to Peggy Lipton and Quincy Jones.”

Rashida: I’ve always been the kind of person who is kind of okay at everything. I’ve always looked at my life and thought, like I did with acting, that if that goes away and I can’t do that anymore, I’ll get a job doing something. I’m pretty resourceful and I’m pretty industrious. It’s in that same spirit I enjoy exploring the parameters of any given role. I like the idea of being able to do one thing and then do something diametrically opposed the next time I set out. I may be kind of lousy at one thing more than the other but I’m never going to know it unless I do it.

BC: Pop culture is a crazy world. How does being named to People’s “Most beautiful people” rank on the embarrassing-tocool scale?

BC: You mentioned the peanut butter and chocolate combination earlier, so is it milk duds or popcorn? Rashida: Together, milk duds in the popcorn. BC: Quincy Jones wants… Rashida: Quincy Jones wants everybody to love each other.

BC: You can always go back to writing for Teen Vogue.

BC: Rashida Jones needs…

Rashida: [Laughs] I can always go back to writing for Teen Vogue. Let’s see what happens.

Rashida: A vacation. BC: Vindication?

BC: Did you have an interview question of choice? Rashida: I did really groundbreaking, probing and brave journalism about fashion. It was different to me on some level, but it was

Rashida: No, not vindication. [Laughs] Oh my God. That’s really funny. That’s even better. I said “vacation.” That’s my poster for my superhero movie, “Rashida Jones needs vindication.”


It even looks big on the little screen. Montana’s new locations app for iPhone has more than 26,000 images of film locations across the state. It’s a library of big, cinematic beauty in the palm of your hand. Now available, free, at the app store.

Let’s get your PIcture made.

Daniel Nettheim The Director of “The Hunter”

Photo by Matt Nettheim

Well known to television execs after helming a number of popular Australian episodics (“The Secret Life of Us,” “White Collar Blue”), Sydney-born director Daniel Nettheim tackled his largest project to date, an adaptation of Julia Leigh’s novel “The Hunter,” starring Willem Dafoe. The film had its beginnings at the Toronto International Film Festival last year, and has made its way into the world with a variety of release dates and distribution strategies (the US re-


lease of the film beared Magnolia’s multi-platform approach).

Beyond Cinema caught up with the Aussie, for whom it seems this cinematographically arresting film, coupled with a decade of television directing, provides perfect positioning for launching a career Stateside.

ed until Toronto so everyone could see it together. And I think we had UTA handling the American sales. It seemed that in the first few days of TIFF, the buyers were waiting to see what was on the market and, once they had a sense of the festival, the offers started coming in. It was good meeting with all the buyers and considering distribution strategies. It was an interesting process to watch because I’m not normally exposed to that.

BC: Having two instantly recognizable and respected actors – Willem Dafoe and Sam Neill – suggests international sales would come easily. Did you presell territories, or did the business end kick in after the first screening?

BC: But you had some of the producers who’d worked on Sundance-winner Animal Kingdom? Did that help?

Daniel: The sales agent at Entertainment One had a specific strategy. They didn’t want anyone to see it upfront. They wait-

Daniel: Yeah. [Producer] Vincent Sheehan had all the contacts but people aren’t going to buy your film just because


We had stayed in contact over the edit, especially as he’d said to me, “Don’t be one of these directors that you have a really intense relationship with and then you just kind of drop them. We never hear from directors until they need us for something.” BC: Dafoe has worked with Scorsese, Lars von Trier, Wes Anderson… and obviously brings a lot of experience to set. Does that change your directorial approach? Daniel: I didn’t for a moment try and compare myself, or my experience, with that of Scorsese or von Trier. I pitched the project to him as a collaboration from the start and Willem made it clear from the first time I met him that there was going to be no hierarchy between us based on experience or celebrity.

ABOVE: Willem Dafoe spent seven weeks on the island of Tasmania. The island’s eco-tourism focus benefited the production with unadulterated wilderness. Photo by Matt Nettheim

you’ve got a relationship; it’s really about this film and its marketing potential. Interestingly, a lot of the buyers held off until they saw the first reviews come in. It’s like they don’t trust their own judgment or they want to get a realistic sense of how it’s going to be presented by the press to the market.

saying, “Yep, we’re all on for Toronto and the release.”

BC: Had you shown the film to Willem and Sam prior to the festival?

Daniel: The good thing about Willem and Sam, and Frances [O’Connor] for that matter, is they’re all really very social people, and there’s something about being away on location that lends itself to very genuine social interactions.

Daniel: Willem went to a private screening in LA, which was nerve-racking for us. Conceptually, he is obliged to support the release of the film if he’s available. But if an actor doesn’t like the way a film turns out, they don’t have to do press. And the last thing you want to do is contractually force them to come and represent a movie if they don’t like it. After the screening in L.A., we didn’t hear anything for a few hours, and then we had a text from Willem’s manager saying, “Loved the film, well done.” And the next day there was a message


BC: How was being in Toronto with your actors? The work already behind you, there must be opportunity to have conversations about things other than character and plot?

I had Willem on set in Tasmania for seven weeks. During the day it was about the work, but it was an unspoken pact that, at lunchtime, it’s a break. I found Willem a great storyteller, very charming, very entertaining. And his wife was there in Tasmania as well. We would often eat together at night or go have a glass of wine or something. So that kind of social connection was there, which was really great.

His character is in 104 out of 107 scenes, so I openly invited his input. By the time he arrived in Australia, we were completely on the same page about the character and our work on set became more about the practical realities of the location we found ourselves in, or the set, or the props. BC: With such an outdoors schedule, did climate factor heavily? Daniel: Yeah, we were very adaptable and it was fortunate Willem didn’t have vast passages of dialogue to learn. We always had backup scenes on the call sheet. If the weather went a certain way, we would stop what we were doing. The one thing Willem was very particular about was actually learning the skills that his character needed to have, hunting and trapping and working in the wilderness. BC: What was a new skill for him on this project? Daniel: Setting a primitive snare. And skinning and gutting a wallaby, which we both learned is called “field dressing an animal.” We had a wildlife expert, she had three wallaby carcasses and demonstrated to Willem what he had to do – string it up by the legs, get a knife, put


it under the neck, make a clean incision and pull the guts out. She said many people dig a little too deep and accidentally puncture certain organs and get completely sprayed in shit. It smells revolting, it is revolting, and it’s more than likely going to happen. I said to Willem, “Do you want to rehearse with the second carcass?” And he said, “No, let’s go for it.” With the cameras rolling, he gutted his first wallaby perfectly. He didn’t puncture the bowels or the intestines and we didn’t need a second take. He got a round of applause from the crew. It was a pretty impressive effort. BC: It’s obviously a unique thing to have experience shooting in Australia, but the island of Tasmania is a completely different landscape to the rest of the country. Daniel: The beautiful thing is that much of Tasmania’s industry is based on tourism. There has been a conscious effort over the years to preserve that unique natural environment. Most of the places we shot, we had a road behind us, but for 270 degrees in front of us there was a view of absolutely pristine untouched wilderness. So you can create an incredible illusion of being very, very remote, but fulfill the practical considerations of being kind to the film crew. It was option paralysis, no matter which way I turned the camera it looked great. I had to be quite strict with myself about avoiding gratuitous beauty, and making each section of the landscape work emotionally and dramatically for whatever part of the story we were at. I looked back at a lot of the great Australian landscape films to see how other filmmakers had used an Australian landscape for emotional and dramatic effect, starting with Picnic at Hanging Rock. And then we looked at some of the really great widescreen Hollywood films from the 70s, like Apocalypse Now, Deliverance and Days of Heaven.


DID YOU KNOW? Although the hunter in this film sets out to find the last Tasmanian Tiger, farmers and bounty hunters killed off most the animals between 1888 and 1909 when a bounty was placed on the animal’s head. In 1936, the last of the Thylacines died in captivity.

BC: Did you have to bring all the equipment from the mainland? Daniel: We worked with a very experienced guy who has been in the industry for decades and had moved to “Tasi” about 10 years ago, so we were able to employ him as a local. He was our key grip and also our locations manager, which was perfect because not only did he know the lay of the land, but as a member of the crew, completely understood what we needed. He wasn’t going to take us to a place if there wasn’t an accessible road. That said, most of his gear was still on the mainland, so almost everything was shipped down. We had general support from Screen Tasmania and part of that involved offsetting the cost of freighting down the gear. I think we were one of the first projects that Screen Tasmania got behind. There was support from the word “Go.” BC: Did the producers ever pressure you to shoot on Australia’s mainland? Daniel: We had to explore that possibility because, like most films shot in Australia, we didn’t have enough money to do what we needed. We looked around the Blue Mountains and a busload of other places, but the rocks are a completely different color, the vegetation is different, plus anywhere we were going to be shooting was still outside a 50-kilometer radius to Sydney, which meant we were still going to have to accommodate the crew and the cast. So, really, it came down to

the cost of a few airfares to have a major, major difference in the look and credibility of it. Once we made the decision to shoot in Tasmania, we went the extra step of deciding, when we were looking for locations, that if any part of the landscape looked like it could have been shot on the mainland, we didn’t use it. We really wanted to go for the places that make Tasmania unique. BC: Where did everyone stay? Daniel: It was pretty civilized. We based ourselves in a tourist town called Deloraine and they had some really nice accommodation that the cast stayed at, and some very real motels where the crew stayed. Most of the town closed at 7:30 at night. Where we were staying, there was a restaurant in the motel and they said to us, “If you can phone ahead and let us know how many people are going to be coming and what time, we’ll extend our opening.” We tried to tell them it was a film crew, we’re not wrapping until it gets dark, that people have got to put away their gear and that we never know how many people will come. Fortunately, there was one pizza restaurant in the town owned by a young couple, and they realized the business potential. “Red” basically opened their doors to us whenever we wanted to be there. Pretty much half the crew would walk in there every night about 9 o’clock and have a pizza and some fantastic Tasmanian vino. It became the alternative office. We ended up having screenings there.



The Wayne White Story A magical must-see, Beauty is Embarrassing is the skillfully fragmented documentary about artist/comedian/banjo performer/set designer/animator/illustrator Wayne White, who has pursued his art forms from Alabama to Tennessee and on to Los Angeles. Starring Matt Groening, Mark Mothersbaugh, Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, and Paul Rubens (for whom White designed the sets and puppets on “Peewee’s Playhouse”), and directed by Neil Berkeley, the filmmaker places White’s jovial personality front and center. While the artist’s slideshow of his journey serves as the spine of the story, the movie is otherwise a wonderfully wacky and entertaining narrative. The documentary premiered at SxSW in Austin, Texas, appropriate to the film’s subject whose work included music videos for the Smashing Pumpkins and Peter Gabriel. While the film enables the viewer to discover White’s past and his influences, it is the fact that White’s kids now want to follow in this parent’s footsteps that is the greatest compliment.




The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare It’s a political year, and it would thus be remiss of us to dance around a central issue in the 2012 election debates: Healthcare. Despite the long title, Susan Froemke and Matt Heineman’s deftly-edited documentary manages to do something that many docs ignore, that is, to discuss a solution while assessing the problem. While other agenda documentaries serve to demonize the system, the co-directors present a politically agnostic approach which identifies the issues and inadequacies that result in the United States’ failing health record: simply put, the system favors quick turnover rather than primary care, it encourages treating the patient for symptoms rather than seeking to change the foundation upon which pain and suffering is presenting, and it rewards the over-performance of high-profit surgeries that do not serve the long term health of our patients. Froemke and Heineman’s doc accomplishes the rare feat of focusing audiences on what seem to be reasonable and rational answers that needn’t take forever to implement, and around which all parties should rally to reverse the status quo.


The Artist is Present

All photographs provided courtesy of the filmmakers.

In what is undoubtedly one of the most informative documentaries about any artist, Matthew Akers points his camera at Marina Abramovic in the lead-up to her ground-breaking retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, a first for any performance artist. Candid, sexy and edgy, and softened by the contemplation that age brings, Abramovic bounces between hard-edged perfectionist striving to exercise (or exorcise) her driving forces from beginnings in Eastern Europe and her latest role as mother hen to a group of like-minded souls being readied at her tranquil property on the Hudson to re-enact the various physical challenges that constitute her life’s work to date. Abramovic’s activism through art, and philosophies on experimentation within art’s flexible boundaries, is hypnotizing, and Akers quietly captures both her unstoppable force and triumphant transcendence.


The Story of the Hacktivists As Paypal, the Church of Scientology, the former Egyptian government, and even the MPAA found out earlier this year, any attempt to silence the anonymous and free speech of the masked voices of the internet world will not go unpunished. Rallying behind the Guy Fawkes masks of the anarchist revolutionary in ‘V’ for Vendetta, “Anonymous” is a leaderless collective of individuals engaged in civil disobedience over the web, hacker activists who’ve formed a movement hellbent on maintaining the freedom of all online voices. Having debuted at Slamdance, and played SxSW, Brian Knappenberger’s well-paced tribute to this mysterious presence is mesmerizing.



Love and Lawlessness at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival (MAY 16-27, 2012)

The 2012 Cannes Film Festival showed plenty of Palme d’Or promise for English language films - Cosmopolis, Lawless, Killing Them Softly, On the Road, The Angels’ Share, Moonrise Kingdom, Mud, The Paperboy - but ultimately awarded European legend Michael Haneke with the top prize for Love (Amour), a film about an octogenarian couple’s struggle to hold onto their love despite their aging frames. Haneke, a six-time Palme d’Or nominee (who won in 2009 for The White Ribbon,


received the Grand Jury Prize in 2001 for The Piano Teacher and took home the Best Director Prize for Caché in 2005), secured the front-runner’s position as soon as the film screened for critics, and the sometimes difficult-to-watch film failed to let go of the reins. Sony Pictures Classics will release the film in the U.S. on December 19, 2012. The most serious competition to the Austrian stalwart seemed to come from Thomas Vinterberg’s The Hunt (Jagten) whose star Mads Mikkelsen earned the Best Actor jury prize (and possibly the lead villain role in the new Thor installment). For those seeking out the craziest flick of the fest, Leos Carax’s Holy Motors somehow managed to garner both thunderous applause and committed boos upon its debut, the overnight adventure following “Monsieur Oscar” as he morphs from one character to the next, and featuring Eva Mendes and Kylie Minogue as supermodel and suicidal stewardess respectively amidst the surrealist meanderings.

Other big winners in the main competition include:

Matteo Garrone for Reality (Grand Prix) Carlos Reygadas for Post Tenebras Lux (Best Director) Cristian Mungiu for Beyond the Hills (Dupa Dealuri) (Best Screenplay) Cristina Flutur and Cosmina Stratan for Beyond the Hills (Best Actresses) Mads Mikkelsen for The Hunt (Jagten) (Best Actor) Ken Loach for The Angels’ Share (Jury Prize)


GUY PEARCE (Special Agent Charlie Rakes) & TOM HARDY (Forrest Bondurant)

Between raindrops, pavilion parties, screenings and press conferences, Beyond Cinema’s Alexandria Matos hightailed it to the Martinez hotel to catch up with Lawless director John Hillcoat and his team. Here’s just a little of what they had to say about their gangster tale, which moved to Georgia after first scouting incentive-rich Michigan (“We were very determined to get the Appalachian Mountains”). BC: What sort of research did you both do? Guy Pearce: John supplied some photographs. It was quite a visual experience, this one, opposed to The Proposition on which we were loaded up with reading material. I hate doing research to be honest. I always feel like if I can respond instantly to the script then that’s the best way that I work. I feel like it’s the writer’s job to do the research. There’s obviously the book in this case, which I stayed away from, because the characters changed in the adaptation so I felt it was probably better to stay away from the book. I was moved by the script so I didn’t really need to do much more than that. But there were some visual references, photographs of hair-dos. BC: Let’s talk about the hair-part. Guy: Yeah, we took it from a photograph that we saw of someone, I’m not sure who it was. It was important for [Rakes] to appear strange when he arrived in this town. Unappealing, and as if his focus was in all the wrong places. BC: How difficult is it not to fall into caricature?


Pearce: I don’t know what the answer to that is. You just try your utmost to not fall into caricature, ya know? You just rely on your instincts and your insight, your intuition and your bullshit meter and try not to be-Tom Hardy: --Unconvincing. Pearce: Yeah, Tom put it beautifully one day on set. He said there’s only two kinds of acting, really. There’s convincing and unconvincing.

BC: Does working in these vast locations help you get into character? Pearce: Well, it did for me because my guy is not from this area at all so he has a completely judgmental perspective of anything outside of the structure of a city. Ultimately, he looks upon anything that he finds in this area as disgusting and distasteful. In a way it was difficult because Georgia is quite beautiful and we shot in Peachtree, but it certainly adds, it’s like wearing a costume.

Hardy: Not convincing. Pearce: Not convincing… that’s right. So, you know, there are strange people in the world and it’s important if you are playing someone who is extreme and unusual to honor that. And I think the beauty of working with John Hillcoat is that he allows strangeness into his world. Tom: And who [is] determined as well to stay true even if they fail. It’s not easy to make a movie like this because people don’t want to invest in movies like this. They want superheroes and stuff, which is great, but it’s very hard to tell dramas in a way, in these times. It’s hard times financially and economically.

BC: Did you have the chance to explore the area or did you prefer to stay close to set in the hotel? Pearce: Oh, no, I drove around and explored a lot. And we filmed in a number of odd places and so it seemed every time that we went to set it was to a different part of the area. so yeah I got to have a bit of a look around.


Mia Wasikowska (Bertha Minnix) & Dane DeHaan (Cricket Pate)

BC: You both had experience with HBO’s “In Treatment.” What was it like to be a part of the series? Mia Wasikowska: That was one of my most favorite experiences, if not my most favorite. Just because that material is very difficult to come across. It’s almost more material than you find in a whole feature film. It’s, like, nine half-hour episodes, so it’s a lot of time and a really in-depth exploration of the character, which is really rare. Dane DeHaan: Especially for young actors. I think it’s one of the only things out there that really takes a young actor and treats them like an actor. It gives you really challenging material and challenges you to meet those expectations, and surrounds you with incredible people to help you get through that.

Mia: To find material as a young person that resembles the reality of being a young person is rare because it’s much more attractive to watch a stereotype or something that’s idealized but that isn’t necessarily reality. BC: And how was filming in Georgia? Do you appreciate being on set and away from everyday life to focus on your character? Dane: What I liked about Georgia was all of the golf courses (laughs). On my days off I just played golf all the time. Peachtree City in an interesting place. Everyone gets around on golf carts, which is strange. It’s always nice to get to know another part of the world. At least for a short period of time. Mia: Yeah, it is. It’s a cool thing that you never really feel like a tourist because

on each film you live somewhere for a couple months, so that’s really cool because you get to know the place in a different way than you would if you were there for three days. BC: What did you learn specifically on this set? Dane: I think watching Guy [Pearce] for instance, and seeing how much care and attention he puts into not only the character’s inner life but the physical appearances of his character. He is so particular about it and it is all rooted in the circumstance. Who else would have thought, “Oh, maybe I’ll shave off my eyebrows and shave a part in my hair.” And it still completely works. I think his attention to cosmetic detail is something that I really took from him.

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15 years old, but utilizing ‘International’ in its title for the first time, SIFF’s Kevin McNeely took ownership of this destinationfocused festival and bolted from its starting gate with Luc Besson’s The Lady timed coincidentally/perfectly to the election to parliament of Myanmar’s 1991 Nobel Peace Prize Winner Aung San Suu Kyi. With enthusiastic audiences filling seats in a range of venues each within walking distance, and special events that included an entertaining tribute to cinematic pop culture denizen Christopher Lloyd (Back to the Future, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, “Taxi” and Who Framed Roger Rabbit?), a provocative live performance of “This Dirty World” by John Waters, and the world premiere of Sir Sean Connery’s animated effort Sir Billi with Dame Shirley Bassey in attendance, SIFF provided key personalities in its programming that mark this fest as a stand-out amongst its location-centric peers.



Utilizing Sonoma’s status in the foodie community - Girl and the Fig, Estate, El Dorado Kitchen, The Cave, Della Santina’s, Epicurean Connection, and Swiss House to name just a few – and providing ongoing pairings with local wines such as Acacia, Chateau St. Jean and Envolve, the only danger facing this festival is a potential mid-fest loss of attendees to food comas, food babies and jury member naps in the historic central square (California’s Bear Republic flag was first raised here). With film festivals in the not-too-distant Mill Valley, Napa Valley and Santa Rosa peppered throughout the year, Sonoma has certainly thrown down its gauntlet in the race to wear the wine region’s crown.

TOP: Beyond Cinema’s Elliot Kotek moderates a tribute to character actor Christopher Lloyd; Bottom: Dame Shirley Bassey (left) may have had the jewels, but John Waters (right) was presented with a SIFF crown by festival director Kevin McNeely. Photos by Patrice Ward




We also have the world’s largest cowboy boot, if you’re interested. • Funding of up to 30 per cent available for production. • $5 million per-project cap. • Flexible grant equivalent to a labour-based tax credit of 45 to 55 per cent.



Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas

Luxury with a Twist By Angela Bakke Perched in the sky, smack dab in the middle of sin city, Heaven’s laid claim to a little hotel action. It’s pleasure center-centric, designed to give you a visceral experience of “the best of the best,” and is the only hotel in Las Vegas (among only four in the US) to receive the prestigious Forbes Five Star designation in all three categories; hotel, spa and restaurant.

It’s obvious why super-stars like Josh Groban or Janet Jackson, or attendees of CinemaCon, and those who’ve just wrapped on a three-month shoot, would want to recalibrate at the Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas. Once the elevator bell announces your arrival on the 23rd floor, it’s like someone hit


the mute button. Your own mother would pass you by, unnoticed. Service staff are practically invisible until your need of them arises. Simply make eye contact and they’ll respond as is if you were their only guest. Touted as Vegas’ premiere Zen zone, The Mandarin Oriental is designed to remedy an over-taxed nervous system and to appeal to people who notice the little things, like bamboo bowls of aromatherapy sea salts alongside porcelain tubs so deep you need a step-ladder to get out. Or decorative bowls of floating flower petals with little love notes reminding you to stay hydrated while in the desert. The rooms are spectacularly lit. Floor-toceiling windows frame spectacular views of the city, its surrounding mountains, and the halogen and neon glow of The Strip (which can also be eliminated with the automated blackout curtains). The hotel takes great pride in providing for tech-savvy customers, a motherboard attached to each flat-screen can operate just about any technology you can think to

bring. But even though you could bring the assemblage, rough cut and hard drives, should you? 5-STAR SPA Jennifer Lynn, the director of the hotel’s 1930’s Shanghai-designed holistic spa, explains why the hotel has become an industry insider, “When it comes to our celebrity clientele we get a lot of repeat visitors because of the subtle things, as well as the high level security and the special access they can get to the building. I can imagine in such a high profile life, you might always feel guarded, but here you can really let your guard down.” She went on to describe a treatment called the “Art of Love,” and it doesn’t take long to feel the dopamine kick from her description of the service: INT. SPA ROOM – DAY Sequestered, and lit only by candles, the therapist starts at your feet, “the gateway the body,” and spends the next three hours working his or her way up every (appropriate) inch, topping you off with a scalp


massage. The products are all based with essential oils (your choice of two scent palates). It’s a divine touch, and the first of a thousand to follow.

Chef Gagnaire clearly operates with the mantra that life should be taken lightly. The Vegas version of his eponymous restaurants is designed “to be fun, not pretentious.”

A “Twist” Of Molecular Gastronomy

Just as likely to be joining you in the dining room are Liam Neeson, Helen Mirren, Lance Armstrong, Kevin Spacey and shoe-genius Christian Louboutin, each of whom endorsed the hotel in exchange for a $10,000 donation to a charity of choice, ranging from Unicef to St. Vincent’s Meals on Wheels.

Rounding out the five-star trifecta is the hotel’s restaurant, Twist by Pierre Gagnaire. Renowned for his molecular cuisine, Gagnaire morphs textures and visual consistencies to harvest unexpected flavors. One side dish might include pine nuts, Culatello ham and Gorgonzola cheese in the form (and with the texture) of ice cream. It works wonderfully. Let’s face it, if you’re able to travel to Vegas, then you’re able to suspend your day-to-day reality. Your reward is a celebration of the senses. Just as unexpected as his creations, Chef Gagnaire at 62 is a playful soul with the energy of a precocious eight-year-old, his youthful magic coursing through the veins of a three-star Michelin chef. He describes cheffing as “translating your spirit through your hands!”


A minute from the madness of Vegas, but operating from the sky above it, you’ll be reminiscing before you leave and planning another shoot just so that you can return to “recuperate” more often.

The Mandarin Oriental is situated at 3752 Las Vegas Blvd. South Las Vegas, NV 89158. For immediate effect, plug into your search engine instead of going to the wrap party.



Film Commissioner, Namibia Previous gig: Filmmaker. What impact has your office already had on Namibia’s industry? A meeting with Colin Gibson, production manager of Mad Max: Fury Road, at AFCI’s Locations Show led to the discussion of shooting segments of the film in the Namibian desert. Filmmakers’ incentives? Still being worked out. In the meantime, Namibia has a 15% VAT rebate system. Favorite project shot in Namibia? Angelina Jolie’s project, Beyond Borders, which was famous all over the world. And the cherry on top of the cake was when she came back to have her baby in Namibia. That, I think, did us wonders. What unique aspects make it conducive to filming? We’ve got the infrastructure. Everybody is conversant in English, we’ve got 12-13 hours of day of clear sunshine, our environment is not polluted. Nowhere in the world, I think, do you get unspoiled beauty and sunshine as well as beauty for the sound people because there’s no noise, no industry to pollute the sound and air. What must visitors eat? Kapana [grilled slices of beef and fat]. It’s not for vegetarians. Quotable quote: Let the people shoot… Let the world start consuming Namibian culture.



Previous gig: Radio and television host. Former Minister of Tourism. Biggest challenge? The law was new, and was going to mark the before and after for filming in the DR, in order to apply the law and obtain the result we were looking for, it was important to make the law well known nationally and internationally. We have been attending the festivals, promoting ourselves, we’re getting to be known. Where are productions primarily coming from? We have a production from Andy Garcia, which is a Canadian/Dominican film. We have people from Spain interested in shooting three or four movies, one of which will be The Life and Times of Julio Iglesias. We had a French movie shoot last January and have another French movie (from Studio 37 in Paris) slated for the fall. We have a number of American movies that should be done in the course of this year and, besides that, we have a number of Dominican movies that will make up 50-60% of total production this year. Is your job primarily to promote and encourage local filmmakers or to attract international productions? Our law has two parts. One is directed to Dominican producers, which creates an attractive fund for investing in Dominican movies. And, for foreign producers, we say we will give you back 25% of your local spend as a transferable tax credit. Who’s training the Dominican filmmakers and technicians? We had professors come from an Argentinian school to Santo Domingo and trained about 40 students. And we just finished an intensive course led by faculty from the International School of Film and Television of San Antonio de los Baños, Cuba.


Quotable quote? Movies are make believe, movies are fantasy, movies are creativity.

Film Commissioner, Dominican Republic



Previous gig: Tourism. Primarily promoting Serbia as a destination for business and convention tourism. Biggest challenge? It took a while to educate people locally about what film commissions do and how they do it, and then to convince the government that it was something they need. The Serbian Film Commission is an independent association of film professionals and film producers formed to promote Serbia for international film productions and to help producers get the services they need. Biggest impact a project has had on your office? It was Coriolanus, Ralph Fiennes’ directorial debut. Fiennes chose Belgrade for the majority of production, plus a short shoot to utilize the coastline of Montenegro. It got a lot of coverage in the international media and we got a lot of local people interested and trained on that project. That started the buzz on Serbia internationally and helped us internally to show how important projects like these are. Lockout is also a great example, the production was shot entirely in brand new studios just out of Belgrade and used the crews, set builders and production designers we have. Quotable quote: I’m a strong believer that we should all work together as a region to promote the region. It’s in all of our interests to keep Eastern Europe interesting and attractive for film producers so that they combine the countries. Our locations are very diverse over the region, so we should all work together.


Executive Director, Serbian Film Commission For more of each of these interviews, as well as conversations with film commissioners from regions around the globe, visit



Photo by Pekka Luukkola/Courtesy of Finland Film Commission


Where you might have seen it: In the open sea, in the outer archipelago near Porvoo, Finland. Interested in an adventure? Plug the co-ordinates 60°6’30”N 25°24’20”E into your GPS.



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