Win $10,000 and an Online Premiere for Your Sci-Fi Short

A $10K sci-fi short film competition that wants to prove that "no bond is stronger than family."

Throughout the year, we feature a number of short film competitions that are on the search for awesome entries, finding that the more focused and specific the competitions are, the more beneficial it is to the applying filmmaker. This latest one, KIN X DUST $10,000 Sci-Fi Short Film Competition, is quite specific indeed, looking for a narrative short (between one and 15-minutes long) that equally shares family and otherworldly values.

A division of the distribution company Gunpowder & Sky, DUST is teaming up with Lionsgate for this initiative, offering a $10,000 cash prize to a short film that, inspired by DUST's latest upcoming release—Jonathan and Josh Baker's Kin—is birthed from the tagline "no bond is stronger than family." If you can create a nifty sci-short that uses familial (and perhaps extraterrestrial) themes appropriately, The Baker Brothers, DUST, and Lionsgate may just choose you to receive the grant and subsequently meet The Baker Brothers and have your film premiere on

Read More

Watch: Spike Lee Teams Up with Uber to Celebrate Brooklyn in These Short Films

The Oscar-nominated filmmaker reps his borough in these five-short nonfiction profiles produced by the popular ride-sharing service.

Spike Lee's Da Republic of Brooklyn, a short-form series documenting five passionate Uber drivers based in Brooklyn, is a charming take on working within the realms of branded content. That may sound advertorial in nature, and while it undoubtedly is—each short piece concludes with the prominent Uber logo front and center—Lee grounds the material in the personal stories of its subjects.

"That’s how we do it in Brooklyn—that’s the Brooklyn hustle."

The five men and women showcased below each have a few things in common, being current residents of Brooklyn and using Uber as a source of income (or in the case of the bicycle-riding Sunny Shen, Uber Eats). Beyond that, each of the interviewees sits in a very large, plush chair to discuss their diverse backgrounds with Mr. Lee. Some are single parents, some are struggling actors, some are dog-lovers, and each has relied on Uber to help pay their ever-escalating bills; you may have heard that Brooklyn is rather expensive these days.

Read More

Why a Filmmaker Turned The Camera on Her Family for Her Latest Narrative Feature

Director Britni West continues to push the doc/narrative hybrid form forward with the subject for her next feature: her family.

After winning the Narrative Grand Jury Award at the 2015 Slamdance Film Festival for her poetic and soft-spoken study in naturalism, Tired Moonlight, filmmaker Britni West, a former entrant on the 25 New Faces of Independent Film, is looking to continue her exploration of her home state of Montana and, more closely, the people in it.

Boldly titled By Now I've Lived A Thousand Lives and None of Them Are Mine, West's new feature, currently in production, is a narrative feature about a nonfiction parallel occurrence: the filmmaker and her friend both returned to two different hometowns in Big Sky Country—true stories which are fictionalized in the film. The project's logline may sum it up best: Britni is in the midst of returning back home to her parent's house after finding herself lost and alone in the world, and Hillary moves to Bozeman to try and carve out a new life for herself in a new place.

Read More

‘Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives’ Director Tom McLoughlin on How Comedy Can Produce Great Horror

One of the best entries in the 'Friday the 13th' franchise was made by one of its most versatile directors.

The most highly spirited, self-referential, all-around-good-time entry in the lucrative 12-film-deep Friday the 13th slasher franchise, Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives is the crème de la crème of the hockey-masked Jason Voorhees' numerous film acting credits. Released in theaters on August 1st, 1986, the film was heralded as a breath of welcomed fresh air, debuting in the number two slot at the North American box office (behind the prosperous third week of James Cameron's Aliens).

Written and directed by Tom McLoughlin, a 36-year-old musician, mime, stuntman, and yes, filmmaker, not only did the film do what its title stated it would (resurrecting our machete-wielding maniac), but it also infused hearty laughs and a lighter tone upon the typically dead serious franchise. The expectedly large body count would still be amassed, of course (scroll down to see one of the film's highlights: the funniest triple decapitation you'll ever witness), but not without its own touch of irony and grim wit.

Read More

How a Filmmaker Found a B-Movie Aesthetic to Draw Light to Violence in the Philippines

A Filipino-American journalist bites off more than she can chew (and drink) in the nail-biting 'Manila Death Squad.'

A pleasurably disorienting short film infused with breakneck speed and heightened dramatic tension, Dean C. Marcial's Manila Death Squad is its own candy-colored wallop. Primarily taking place in the back of a bar where a group of vigilantes, drunk and subsequently reckless, come across a Filipino-American journalist requesting to meet their boss, the film blends real life inspiration (corrupt politician-supported vigilantes feel they own the streets) with a B-movie aesthetic (in order to get what she wants, the journalist must compete in a high stakes game).

After a lengthy, successful festival run, Manila Death Squad now premieres on Vimeo (where it was a Staff Pick). No Film School caught up with Marcial to discuss the real-life implications of vigilante justice, violence in the Philippines, the film's eye-popping visual presentation, and how a certain film collaborative in Miami helped bring the project to life.

Read More

The Duplass Brothers and Seed&Spark are Providing $50K to Make a Feature Set in Your Hometown

Through their 'Hometown Heroes' initiative, the two indie stalwarts want you to put your home on the map.

In a commendable effort to discover and expand upon the wealth of cinematic stories being told, Seed&Spark and Mark and Jay Duplass are teaming up for another round of the Hometown Heroes crowdfunding competition. With New York and California often taking up a bulk of the "homegrown sights" portrayed on movie screens, this competition encourages filmmakers located outside of the world's largest cities to give their hometown their rightful due.

Launched last year, the worldwide initiative seeks to encourage filmmakers from underrepresented communities to pitch a film that's in some part centered around their hometown (with, if chosen, 75% of production taking place there as well).

New this year will be the acceptance of documentary work—last year was strictly a narrative-focused affair—and the pitches must conceivably be for a feature-length project. If selected, you could have the chance to receive $50,000 in funding and have the Duplass Brothers sign on as Executive Producers.

Read More

The Moment Pro Camera App Makes Your Phone the Best It Can Be

Introducing a new app that perfects your camera phone's image quality.

It goes without saying that we all want the best possible image quality when shooting video on our phones. While the acceptance of camera phone footage is often an act of compromise—it never looks as good as you'd wish, but you're willing to accept it due to the convenience and price—it's rarely something you would display in a professional context. The times they are a'changing, however.

The team at Moment, the popular photography gear and video company that specializes in mobility, has just unveiled its latest product, the Moment Pro Camera App. That's right, Moment is tapping into the app-based world, hoping to blur and merge the lines between camera phone footage and the more commonly used, top-of-the-line industry standard. To say it's affordable would be an understatement.

Read More

Watch: Stanley Kubrick Interprets the Ending of His ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’

Confused by the ending of '2001: A Space Odyssey'? Let Stanley Kubrick explain it to you.

The pinnacle of science fiction cinema and the ultimate experience enhanced by an ample supply of hallucinogens, Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Hailed by Andrew Sarris of The Village Voice as a "major film by a major artist," the film won the Academy Award for Best Special Effects at the following year's Oscar ceremony. It is almost universally considered a masterpiece.

After having a recent theatrical run overseen by mega-fan Christopher Nolan—in which an "unrestored" 70mm print attempts to take us back to what it would've felt like to watch the film in 1968—now feels as good a time as any to revisit 2001. If you're intimidated by that proposal, finding yourself more befuddled than enthralled by film's end, perhaps you would request the director himself's interpretation of the film, particularly its psychoactive, time-jumping ending. Thanks to a recently discovered interview with Kubrick, that's now very much a reality.

Read More

Watch: Could Composer Jonny Greenwood be Considered an Auteur?

The Oscar-nominated composer's work has enhanced each film he touches.

It's not every day that a new film is accompanied by special screenings featuring a live-score performed by a 40-person orchestra. Such was the case with Phantom Thread, however, Paul Thomas Anderson's award-winning period piece starring Daniel Day-Lewis and scored by the director's frequent collaborator Jonny Greenwood.

Taking place at both The Theatre at Ace Hotel in Los Angeles and BAM’s Howard Gilman Opera House in Brooklyn (where a second show was added to accompany the first sold-out screening), the score for Phantom Thread was the rare piece of film music that developed a rabid fanbase from the minute the movie opened. Fans came in droves to hear the Radiohead guitarist's music come to life right before their ears. Another live-score performance of a Greenwood composition (with the artist in person) will be taking place next week at the Alamo Drafthouse in Downtown Brooklyn.

Read More

Watch: Everything You Need to Know About the Wilhelm Scream in Four Minutes

It's a scream instantly recognizable to film fanatics, but where did it originate from?

[Editor's Note: This video essay is part of our "Everything You Need to Know" series created exclusively for No Film School by Senior Post. To revisit the first three entries in the series, click here, here, and here.]

We've all heard the infamous Wilhelm scream throughout our own personal moviegoing history. Resembling a cross between a high pitch shriek and a panicked animal call, the scream has been incorporated into hundreds of movies, typically when a character is in great danger.

How did this particular scream come to be one of the most used, go-to sound "effects" for sound editors working in post? And who the heck created the high pitch yelp to begin with? In the fourth video from our "Everything You Need to Know Series," we dive into the history and popularity of the sound choice and explain why, due to an over-reliance on its over-the-top comedic value, the scream may soon be put to bed.

Read More