What It Takes to Put On an Awards Ceremony: Inside the 2018 IFP Gotham Awards

The 28th Annual IFP Gotham Awards will take place Monday, November 26th.

Annually taking place the Monday after Thanksgiving at Cipriani Wall Street in downtown Manhattan, the IFP Gotham Awards remain both its own invention and a preview of what's to come further down the line through the awards season. With competitive categories including Best Feature, Actor, Actress, Screenplay, Documentary, Breakthrough Director, Series (Short-Form), and Series (Long-Form), the Gothams set the tone for the work that should be recognized but so often isn't.

Small juries (comprised primarily of film journalists) make up the committees that select the nominees and equally small juries (comprised of those working in the film industry) subsequently select the winners. Are these a small sample size of opinions? Sure, but as previous editions of the ceremony have proven, their voices are heard loud and clear once the winners are announced at the podium.

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Trailer Watch: The Full-Length Trailer for Tim Burton’s ‘Dumbo’

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's an...elphant?

Although a teaser trailer was released several months ago, this second go-round promoting Tim Burton's upcoming live-action remake of Walt Disney's Dumbo (1941) appears to present a more complete picture of the film's tone and style.

Set to be released on March 29th, 2019, the film looks both fantastical and cartoon-like, larger than life and set in a fantasy world in which special attractions of the freakish animal variety reign supreme. If it appears a little dark and over-the-top in its extravagance, that would likely be due to the Burton touch, a filmmaker who has never shied away from going "big." After viewing this trailer, will you believe an elephant can fly? Perhaps.

Burton fanatics will love the fact that the film co-stars Michael Keaton and Danny DeVito, two men who have worked with the filmmaker in the past, most memorably on Batman Returns in 1992. Other frequent Burton collaborators, included famed composer Danny Elfman, return to work with the director here.

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Watch: David Lynch’s Bizarre New Short Film, ‘Ant Head’

The new short from director David Lynch is exactly what you'd expect. Thankfully.

"A short video featuring my friends the ants along with cheese, etc." is how director David Lynch describes his latest film, a short that should come with a disclaimer warning that objects in the picture may prove itchier than they appear. An almost still image of a head of cheese (or a cheese resembling a human head), Ant Head depicts an army of ants devouring the lactose remains.

An out-of-focus, pulsating blob is how the short appropriately opens, the ominous figure eventually revealing itself to be a head of cheese in which three slots have been gutted to resemble two eyes and a mouth (and a crevice in the center resembling a swollen nose). From there we watch—and listen to one-and-a-half tracks off of the album Thought Gang by Lynch and frequent collaborator and composer Angelo Badalamenti—as a plethora of ants get down to business and take up shop in the holes carved out like a mozzarella pumpkin.

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Want to Learn How to Write About Movies? Know the Name of Pauline Kael

17 years after her death, Pauline Kael remains a force in the field of film criticism.

If you adore movies and are interested in learning more about how they tick, burrowing deep into what makes us love a particular film (or what makes us despise one), you'd be hard-pressed to read a better film critic than Pauline Kael (1919-2001). Must well known for her tenure as the film critic for The New Yorker (beginning in 1967 with an explosive rave of Arthur Penn's Bonnie and Clyde), Kael's prose was known for its sharp wit, its jazzy style, its intense breakdowns and scene analyses, and a no-holds-barred approach to sussing out a film's positive and negative qualities.

Regardless of whether you agreed with Kael or not, her writing was fascinating, providing observations that felt exclusively her own. Personally, her negative take on Stanley Kubrick's The Shining is one of this No Film School writer's favorite reads, albeit one I do not necessarily concur wholeheartedly with. In her wake, Kael's influence left behind a number of criticism disciples, known collectively (and usually appreciatingly) as "the Paulettes."

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Bringing an Extremely Personal, Harrowing Story to the Screen: Jennifer Fox on ‘The Tale’

This powerful story of a filmmaker confronting sexual abuse could only have been lived in.

The confronting of a memory (and the subsequent recontextualizing of it) is at the heart of Jennifer Fox's narrative debut feature, The Tale. A harrowing look at a young girl who was sexually abused and who, in her adult life, went on to seek clarity while identifying and addressing her former abusers, the film is unique both in its presentation and backstory.

The Tale stars Laura Dern as a documentary filmmaker named Jennifer Fox. If you haven't already realized, Jennifer Fox is also the real-life writer and director of The Tale, meaning that what we're watching is a narrative portrait of a filmmaker's coming to terms with her own abuse.

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Introducing the Sundance Ignite Fellows of 2019

Over 1,200 shorts were submitted and now 15 filmmakers are headed to the Sundance Film Festival.

Having previously covered the Sundance Ignite Short Film Challenge this past summer when the Institute, teaming up with Adobe Project 1324, announced its Call For Entries, we're thrilled to now announce the fellows selected for this year's edition.

15 filmmakers between the ages of 18-24 (and hailing from three different continents) were selected from a pool of over 1,200 applicants, and with their selection comes year-long creative/professional mentorship (from alumni mentors Heather Rae, Dee Rees, and Andrew Ahn) and an all-expenses-paid trip to the 2019 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.

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Douglas Rain, the Voice of HAL 9000, Passes Away at the Age of 90

The pod bay doors will forever remain closed.

The cold, emotionless HAL 9000, the villainous (by way of growing more human-like) archrival of Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, was voiced by Canadian thespian Douglas Rain, an actor who sadly passed away yesterday morning in Stratford, Ontario at the age of 90. Known primarily for his work in the theater, the actor's cool, calm, and collected voice had seeped into the minds of cinephiles worldwide for his work on Kubrick's film, currently celebrating its 50th anniversary.

Recorded in New York City while the film was in post-production, it took only a day-and-a-half of work for Rain to voice his performance as HAL. Others had auditioned for the role, of course, but it was Rain's delivery (void of human emotion but not intent) that ultimately netted him both Kubrick's approval and the job. Rain was so good, in fact, that he went on to reprise his role in 2010: The Year We Made Contact as well as obtain the gig of another evil computer in Woody Allen's 1973 film, Sleeper.

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Watch: The Trailer for ‘Toy Story 4’ Has Arrived

The latest sequel arrives nine years after 'Toy Story 3'.

The debut feature from Josh Cooley (a long-time Pixar employee in the company's large art department), Toy Story 4 is set to arrive next summer. Already an Oscar nominee for co-writing Inside Out, Cooley appears more than ready to take over the directorial reigns from John Lasseter and Lee Unkrich, having started at Pixar as an intern! Yes, dreams do eventually come true if you stay with them long enough.

The teaser trailer has just dropped and you can check it out below.

While Toy Story 4 represents Cooley's feature debut, it's actually not the first Pixar production he has directed, having helmed the short, Riley's First Date, a brief spinoff set in the world of Inside Out, several years prior. It's inspiring that Pixar has now entrusted an in-house rep with their biggest franchise and the only unfortunate thing is that we'll have to wait eight more months to see it.

Woody and Buzz (and the whole gang) will be back in theaters on June 21st, 2019.

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Watch: Go BTS of One of the Funniest Movies Ever Made

The reason 'LOL' was invented.

Irreverent and absurd, offensive and affable, juvenile and foul-mouthed, segmented and streamlined (via a constant flow of insanity), John Landis's The Kentucky Fried Movie is one of the funniest movies ever made. Its humor is often so lowbrow and dumb that it becomes the work of genius.

Released in the summer of 1977 as a collaboration between Landis, the Zucker Brothers (David and Jerry), and Jim Abrahams, The Kentucky Fried Movie takes the form of a local television network's evening programming. There are news segments, talk shows, commercials for random products, movie trailers, and even, in the film's longest gag, a "movie of the week" resembling Bruce Lee's Enter the Dragon.

In the world of this particular television station (and, by proxy, Landis's film), everything is slightly off its rocker and yet played straight for our deranged amusement.

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Watch: Fede Alvarez Breaks Down a Scene From His ‘Girl in the Spider’s Web’

The popular sequel opens in theaters this evening.

With the dearth of special features gracing home video these days, the behind-the-scenes footage and director commentaries and scene breakdowns are becoming a rare commodity. If you want to see a director break down one of your favorite moments from one of your favorite films, your best bet to discovering that is now via the internet.

So it goes with the latest addition from Vanity Fair, its Notes on a Scene series this time presenting director Fede Alvarez (Don't Breathe, Evil Dead) discussing a scene from his upcoming addition to the Millenium film franchise, The Girl in the Spider's Web. Check it out below.

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