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Becoming a filmmaker means more than fame: 7 reasons why

Becoming a filmmaker has been attracting creative souls from all over the world for decades, making it not only one of the most profitable and well-established industries on earth but also one of the most loved, both by professionals and the public alike. 

What is your favorite movie? This is probably a question you’d ask your partner, friends, boss, or practically anyone you’d like to get to know better. Movies unite people of all ages, genders, and cultural backgrounds.

We laugh, and we cry at the cinema, we contemplate new ideas, and we discuss them later with friends and family. Movies can help us relax after a hard day at work and help us forget our worries. No wonder so many people at different stages of their lives have thought to themselves- how cool it would be to become a moviemaker. 

If you’ve ever caught yourself thinking about film-making and editing, read through this article. We have prepared the top 7 reasons to become a moviemaker. No doubt, these will inspire you to pursue your dream and make the best of your imagination. 

Reason Number 1: The Movie Business is the World’s Top-Selling Industry 

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According to Forbes, the film-making industry is making record profits, reaching 100 billion dollars in the year before the pandemic. The global box office brought in 42 billion dollars, and online movie platforms like Netflix and Amazon earned another 58 billion.

It is a very lively business, growing each year and bringing billions of dollars to moviemakers, directors, and editors around the globe.

This year, when the global economy suffered a massive blow with the beginning of the epidemiological situation, movie-making has managed to stay afloat, seeing a decline in profits projected to be fully compensated for by the end of the crisis.

Cinemas are presenting movies online, and digital platforms are struggling to keep up with the increased demand on their servers. 

The film industry never loses its relevance, not even in the hardest of times. It is still a great way to make money and become famous despite the obstacles.

Let’s take a look at some examples to prove this point. According to CNBC, James Cameron, whose movies include Avatar and Titanic, has a net worth of 670 million, and this is just the start of the rich list. Take a look at how much the world’s best-known moviemakers can make: 

  • Jeffrey Katzenberg, known for “The Lion King,” “Shrek,” “Aladdin,” “Beauty and the Beast,” and the “Little Mermaid,” has a net worth of 910 million dollars. 
  • Steven Spielberg, famous for “E.T.,” “Jaws,” Schindler’s List,” “Saving Private Ryan,” and many others, has a net worth of over 3.3 billion dollars. 
  • Arnon Milchan, who made “Pretty Woman,” “12 Years a Slave,” “Fight Club,” “Gone Girl,” “Birdman,” and “Mr. and Mrs. Smith,” has an estimated net worth of 5.2 billion dollars. 
  • George Lucas, whose films have been seen by practically every movie lover, has a net worth of 5.4 billion dollars. No surprise here, his movies such as “Star Wars” have become legendary. 

Reason Number 2: Filmmaking Has Never Been Easier Than Now 

If you’ve always dreamed of making movies but never known where to start, don’t worry. Thanks to new technology, movie-making has become incredibly accessible. Our advice to beginners is to experiment with video editing programs to help you explore your potential and create your first project.

The best example of such programs is Movavi software. Movavi can help you do video editing, converting, slideshows, and a broad range of special effects. Basically, everything you need to create a movie can now be found in one place. 

Even newbie filmmakers who are just starting to learn how to make a movie can create something special without expensive equipment or creative software.

There are also plenty of online courses to help gain skills and develop the necessary competencies to make their first movie. Coursera and Udemy are just two examples of such platforms. 

At Udemy, you can find a “Complete Filmmaker Guide: Become an Incredible Video Creator.” The course creators promise to teach you how to create videos from scratch, shoot and edit a project, and make the most of your talent. There’s a chance to learn the secrets of production and how to manage post-production effects. 

Even though an online course will never be a substitute for formal education and training, it can be a good starting point. 

Reason Number 3: Filmmaking Provides an Opportunity to See the World

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If you are a moviemaker, you can present your work at international movie competitions and festivals and win global awards. Yes, there are more awards out there than just the Oscars. Some famous international film awards are:

  • FIPRESCI Assigned by the International Federation of Film Critics 
  • OFCS (Online Film Critics Society) Awards
  • Hollywood Foreign Press Association
  • Golden Globe Awards
  • IOFCP (International Online Film Critics’ Poll) Awards

Participating in international film competitions and festivals is not only a path to becoming famous but also a chance to travel and see the world. Rome, Venice, London, Los Angeles are just a few cities that host international movie contests. 

Moreover, the network of international moviemakers is a network of open-minded and highly creative individuals. International competitions are a way to make new connections in the industry and spread the word about your ideas. 

Reason Number 4: Fame 

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Some people dream of being famous. They want other people to know their name and to impress the public by being the star at all the social events. People asking for your autograph on every corner, paparazzi following you, and offers to participate in your favorite T.V. shows can all be quite appealing.

However, with fame does come responsibility. Many celebrities get disappointed after achieving what they have craved for so long. Fame can break up relationships and even cause mental health problems due to privacy invasion and social responsibility issues. 

As long as you know the downsides of being famous – it is undoubtedly a journey full of pleasant surprises. 

Reason Number 5: You Can Share Your Ideas with The World

Money and fame are not the only reasons people dream of entering the movie industry. Film-making provides a valuable opportunity to make your ideas heard or better said “seen” by the public.

You can express your vision on art, morals, friendship, love, and pretty much anything worth something to you. It is a chance to tell a story, to express your views, to teach and learn. 

Every filmmaker has a huge variety of genres to explore throughout their career. Comedy, romance, drama, horror, science fiction, or documentaries are just a few examples.

There is no limit to creative expression in this field. Moreover, a film director gets to choose their own team of screenwriters, actors, music composers, special effect producers, and designers. The degree of control that can be achieved is phenomenal.

You can guarantee that the end result will be as close as possible to what was envisioned and desired. A successful film director needs to have something more than film-making skills. Excellent communication skills are the key to uniting the team and making everyone perform to their maximum. 

Reason Number 6: You Can Get a Scholarship to Study Movie Making 

Unlike many other fields that require you to have perfect grades and exam scores to enter college, becoming a filmmaker is a whole different world. In this field, to enter a program and get a scholarship, you will need something unique: an idea and a demo. 

The world’s top universities help film students pay their tuition fees if they win a selection process based on the following elements: motivation, ideas, and your work sample. In the U.S., a bachelor’s degree in visual art can be pretty expensive.

Luckily, we prepared a list of organizations you can contact to find the right scholarship, grant, or award that will cover your higher education and help become a filmmaker. 

International scholarships in visual arts include the following options: 

  • New York Film Academy Scholarships for International Students. This award is designed to support candidates from developing countries who wish to study film-making in New York. 
  • Toronto Film School Scholarships. This merit-based scholarship aimed to fund prospective students with the best ideas.
  • Voices That Matter Scholarship. Met Film School in Berlin. Do you have a story that the world desperately needs to hear? Met Film School could be an option for you. 
  • Paris School of Film and Media. Who doesn’t want to study Arts in Paris? Luckily, there is a chance to get a grant to make your dream come true. 

If you thought that you’d never be able to afford a degree in movie making, look at some of those options, and you’ll definitely find your inspiration. 

Reason Number 7: You Will Have a Chance to Leave Something Behind 

What do you think when you look at a Van Gogh painting in your favorite museum or read a book written hundreds of years ago? Art is surely a way to leave something behind. Your voice can remain loud even when the generations pass, and this is one of the most beautiful yet controversial reasons to become a filmmaker. 

Some legendary figures in the international film industry live on in their masterpieces.

We can all remember Alfred Hitchcock in “Vertigo,” Andrei Tarkovsky in “Autumn Sonata,” Ingmar Bergman in “Scenes from a Marriage” or Federico Fellini in “The Voice of the Moon.” Film-making will not just make you famous. It can also make you remembered through what you have created.

Takeaways on Becoming a Filmmaker

The film industry attracts talent and admirers worldwide, making it one of the most profitable industries out there today. It can bring as much as one hundred billion dollars annually and make you a fortune after one good movie. Film directors wake up world-famous after just one premiere and get their autographs requested at every social gathering.

But there is much more to becoming a filmmaker than financial incentives and fame. It is a way to spread your ideas to the world using a visual imagination, meet like-minded people, see the world, and leave something behind. 

In addition, all doors are open for fresh talent in a way we’ve never seen before. There are easy-to-use software packages and special effect applications that will help you record, edit, and add special effects to your videos. It is now possible to edit videos, record the screen, create video blogs, customize the production shot lists and storyboards using just one program.

Finally, suppose you dream of becoming a movie director but fear that you can’t afford a college degree. In that case, there are plenty of organizations and schools worldwide that sponsor students with great ideas. 

Film-making is a field of immense opportunities. It requires determination and talent from those who want to pursue it. Our top 7 reasons to become a filmmaker will help you to stay focused on your dream. 

Storytelling and exercise: Why director Michael Lovan stays active

Who would’ve thought that there was a connection between storytelling and exercise?

“For as long as I can remember I only wanted to make movies. It is the only dream I ever had, I have lived and breathed storytelling my entire life,” said Michael Lovan, director of Murder Bury Win

He mentions that he went to UCLA theater school for both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and explained that it was there where he drew great inspiration particularly from his classmates and amazing pannels. 

“I was only aspiring thinking that my dreams would never come true,” Lovan explained. Although he had several years of training, Lovan confessed it took him another decade to feel ready to make a film.

Michael realized he needed to understand who he was as a person, for him to come to a place where he knew that he not only had something to say but that it was worth listening. 

“I made my dream come true by putting all the research, and the time the effort, and the money … so I do believe that everyone with that passion can make a film it’s just a matter of putting everything in and exhausting yourself.” 

Michael Lovan, 2020

It turns out that for Michael the correlation between storytelling and physical activity is thinner than what one may think. Because, believe it or not, he wrote an entire screenplay while jogging. 

Storytelling and exercise are a parallel experience

“I don’t think that you need to be fit to be creative,” he said during an interview. “But staying active and not being a couch potato surely helps stay creative and clearing up your mind.”

But, perhaps Joyce Carol Oates said it better: “the twin activities of running and writing keep the writer reasonably sane with the hope, however illusory and temporarily, of control.” 

They share a parallel experience when starting; getting the foot out the door, and the words out the mind to move from one point of the journey to another.

A simple, yet troublesome action that entails a marathon of effort. And, contrary to popular belief, they both rely on a routinely act. Thus running and writing are fundamentally linked with discipline, perseverance, and endurance. 

With some sprints of inspiration, one is lucky enough to get lost in thought and space. But, like many ventures, they can be a long hard slog. However, they assure progress working the muscles of both the body and the mind, leaving space to wonder: a place for ideas to incubate. 

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In fact, not only has there been notorious research about the creative benefits of writing but historically there have been many writers who claim that running facilitates their creative process. “It’s all about leaning into habits and designing a mindset that keeps you creative,” said Lovan. Because, even when not inspired, that mindset becomes a lifestyle.

‘Yes, I believe that it is important to let the creative forces flow through you,” said Michael. “But I think diligence and giving yourself time for that to happen is even more important.”

The process

Even without realizing it, Michael had created an exercise routine for him to stay creatively fit for the storytelling process of every project. He gives himself a time slot to write, if the ideas are not flowing during that given period of time, he turns to books and research for inspiration.

“Normally I would hop into autobiographies of filmmakers That way, even when I was blocked, there would be no excuse not to make progress. Normally, I brainstorm while working out, it enriches the process by clearing my mind and giving me more energy to do creative projects”

Michael Lovan, 2020

Michael was experiencing a creative block when he went on the run to clear his mind. His storytelling was inspired by exercise. That is exactly how he created an entire screenplay only while running. And, once he got the first act together while on the move, he committed himself to only think about it while running.

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The still “Untitled Ghost Story” is an original horror-drama feature. The story is about a group of friends attempting to bring back their dear friend from the dead. Unbeknownst to them, the magic they were using to invoke the resurrection spell was created by a demonic cult.

Interestingly enough, the screenplay tells a frantic story, full of movement and actions where no character is ever still.

Should call it a coincidence?

“I ultimately attempted to film in 2006, though it didn’t quite work as a movie – it felt more like an art piece.”

Michael Lovan

8 woman-directed films that deserved a Golden Globe nomination

Though the awards season officially kicked off last week with the announcement of the 76th Golden Globe nominations, it’s unfortunate, albeit not surprising, that the list of nominated directors didn’t include women.

It’s not the first time women directors have been snubbed for the category.

The last female director to be nominated by the Hollywood Foreign Press in 2014 was Ava DuVernay, for her MLK biopic, Selma. In fact, the last time a woman won the category for Best Director was 34 years ago.

With all that being said, here is a list of female directors whose films this year deserve recognition.

On the Basis of Sex (Directed by Mimi Leder)

Leder’s biopic on Ruth Bader Ginsburg is timely given that Associate Justice of the Supreme Court has become a feminist icon for another generation of women. I mean, she has been nicknamed ‘Notorious RBG,’ by the leftist millennial demographic.

Plus, since women’s reproductive rights are increasingly under threat with the conservative stance of the current administration’s, it is important to spotlight the life and career of a woman who has worked tirelessly to prevent gender discrimination.

The film emphasizes that even before her appointment to the Supreme Court, RBG has been a pioneering force in gender equality law.

Leder is a frequent director on the HBO drama series The Leftovers as well as serving as an executive producer to the series. The industry veteran is also set to direct and serve as an executive producer to Apple’s morning show series that will star Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, and Steve Carrel.

The 65-year-old helmed the box-office science-fiction hit Deep Impact. But the commercial failure of the film, Pay It Foward that Leder directed sidelined the filmmaker’s movie career.

It was TV and the storytelling renaissance to come out of the small screen in the past two decades that provided the creative avenue that Leder needed — which has often been the case for many female directors.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post (Directed by Desiree Akhavan)

Set in the 1990s, The Miseducation of Cameron Post follows the story of a young teenager who after being caught in the backseat of a car with the prom queen, is sent to a gay conversion camp, called God’s Promise. Though she subjected to questionable “reparative” therapy techniques, she bonds with some fellow residents as they pretend to go along with the process while waiting to be released.

But it’s been a busy year for Akhavan. In addition to the release of The Miseducation of Cameron Post, Akhavan released her series The Bisexual, which she wrote, produced, and starred in. As evident by the title, the series tackles the subject of bisexuality and how this sexual identity is a taboo both within and outside of the LGBTQIA community. The show is now available to stream on Hulu and is definitely worth checking out.

Akhavan is a director, producer, screenwriter, and actress based in New York. She is best known for her 2014 feature film debut Appropriate Behavior.

The Kindergarten Teacher (Directed by Sara Colangelo)

In Colangelo’s film, audiences watch a kindergarten teacher go to extraordinary and somewhat problematic lengths to shepherd the talent of her student who she deems a child prodigy. Written and directed by Colangelo, the tense narrative explores the power dynamics that are embedded in being a teacher and mentor.

Speaking to Women And Hollywood on the Netflix film, Colangelo stated,  “For me, this story is, above all, about a woman’s awakening to art, and her well-intentioned but twisted journey to deliver a young poet to the world. I’d like people to wonder whether Lisa Spinelli may have been right all along.”

A graduate of NYU, Colangelo is a New York-based writer and director whose short films have screened at festivals around the world, including Sundance, Tribeca, and SXSW.

Colangelo’s debut feature, Little Accidents, had its world premiere at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and was subsequently nominated for a 2015 Independent Spirit Award.

On Her Shoulders (Directed by Alexandria Bombach)

Bombach’s powerful documentary chronicles the tireless activism of 23-year-old Nadia Murad, who after testifying before the United Nations on the 2014 genocide of the Yazidis in Northern Iraq, has carried the hopes of her people to bring attention to the issues and war crimes that have plagued the region.

As implied in the documentary’s title, On Her Shoulders, reveals the burden that comes with Murad sharing her story and exposes the tension in Murad’s passion to instill change while also recovering from the trauma she has experienced and live an ordinary life.

Originally from Santa Fe, New Mexico is an award-winning cinematographer, editor, and director. On Her Shoulders premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival where Bombach won Best Directing in the US Doc. Competition.

Her first feature-length documentary, FRAME BY FRAME, had its world premiere at SXSW 2015, went on to win more than 25 film festival awards. The film follows the lives of four Afghan photojournalists who are facing the realities of building Afghanistan’s first free press.

Private Life (Directed by Tamara Jenkins)

Netflix film, Private Lives, about a couple trying to get pregnant through IVF. The couple has to grapple with the emotional toll that comes with encountering a series of setbacks and disappointments.

Undergoing IVF herself, the filmmaker was inspired to write about her experiences and explore the discourse surrounding the topic.

There is a level of authenticity that exudes out of the film. Private Lives exposes the irony in how conceiving a child is a private act but in cases of IVF, that privacy is stripped away and is instead subject to outside scrutiny from friends and family and invasive doctor’s appointments.

Speaking on her personal experiences with IVF with Robert, Jenkins relayed,

“Many people I know, because of the nature of their lives, delayed having kids because of work and the kind of careers they had. Then [they] found themselves later pursuing parenthood. So I realized that it wasn’t my singular problem. I was being given permission to explore the subject beyond the things that the story of my own. You go to those waiting rooms and you look around and you’re definitely not the only one.”

Private Life is Jenkins’ first film since Savages, which she also wrote and directed.

Destroyer (Directed by Karen Kusama)

Though a lot of media coverage on Kusama’s latest film is centered on the physical transformation of the movie star, Nicole Kidman, Kusuma’s directing and the film’s riveting storyline is worthy of more attention.

Destroyer centers on the story of a burnt-out and troubled police detective who reconnects with people from an old undercover assignment as part of her personal project of reckoning with her past.

Destroyer is Kusama’s fifth feature film and in speaking on her latest film, Kusama described to The Awardist,

“What inspired me to do [the film] was the notion of how difficult it is to be accountable for our mistakes and how painful a process that can be.”

Given that most of Kusama’s films center around women behaving “badly”, in speaking to SYFY, the filmmaker was asked what attracts her this portrayal of women, to which she explained,

“I’m interested in a more dimensional understanding of female experience and of human experience. I think what that generally entails is working with more ambiguity, more mystery, more difficult feelings for your characters, and difficult people on screen.”

Kusama is known for helming the horror film, Jennifer’s Body and the film Girlfight, a coming-of-age drama that launched the career of actress, Michelle Rodriguez.

You Were Never Really Here (Directed by Lynne Ramsay)

Dubbed as the 21st-century Taxi Driver, Ramsay’s pulsating drama tracks the life of brutal hitman who on the trail of finding a missing teenage girl, uncovers a web of corruption and abuse of power along his way.

The crime thriller earned rave reviews at the Cannes Film Festival last year. Plus, it also won the filmmaker a prize for screenwriting.

Lynne Ramsay is a bad-ass Scottish film director, writer, producer, and cinematographer. All of Ramsay’s feature films, Ratcatcher, Morvern Callar and We Need to Talk About Kevin have garnered awards and rave reviews.

We can attribute Ramsay not being a more well-known name not as a consequence of her Scottish origins but because of the age-old-tale of Hollywood blacklisting female directors for supposedly being “difficult.” In other words, for women having an opinion.

Anyways, let’s hope that the rave reception of this film and/or Joaquin Pheonix’s performance will enable Ramsay to no longer be blacklisted by Hollywood — especially in light of the cultural shakeup that has occurred within the industry with the emergence of the #MeToo movement and Times Up campaign.

Night Comes On (Directed by Jordana Spiro)

On the eve of her 18th birthday, Angel LaMere a young Black queer woman is released from serving time in a juvenile detention facility. Haunted by her past, she embarks on a journey of retribution for her mother that threatens to destroy her future.

After premiering at the Sundance Film Festival this year, Spiro’s first feature film is a visual declaration of her talent as a filmmaker and powerful storyteller.

Spiro co-wrote the script with Angelica Nwandu. In an interview with ET, the filmmaker spoke on the importance of spotlighting marginalized voices and stories, noting,

“I volunteered for many years in the Foster System, and I got to see firsthand how broken the system is, how difficult it is, for these young people to age out of the system, and how very tied their hands are when they’re trying to move forward in their life. [I saw] how stigmatized they are [and] just how enormous the challenge is for them. I wanted to bring some attention to that, and I also wanted to point out the universality of this story, that at the end of the day, it’s really about a person who is trying to find their place in the world, which is something that we can all identify with.”

Jordana Spiro is also an actress that has starred in numerous films and television series including Netflix’s, Ozark and TBS comedy television program, My Boys.

Year in cinema: 10 directors who pushed film culture forward in 2018

With the year coming to a close, it’s time to look back on some cinematic highlights from 2018.

These films did not smash-box office records. But that certainly doesn’t mean they are not worth checking out because numbers are not the only metric to which we place value on something.

Some of the films I have featured in my personally curated list, defy genre conventions and make radical social commentaries and critiques.

Additionally, while some of these films mark the directorial debuts for some well-known actors, other films listed are feature film debuts for emerging filmmakers.

These filmmakers I have listed have provided audiences with a broad scope of unique, bold and powerful stories that range from exploring skateboarding culture, the rap battling scene, the life of a shoplifting family, to a telemarketer who operates in an alternate reality.

Peep the list of directors who have made a serious name for themselves in 2018.

Bing Lui: Minding The Gap

Minding the Gap is more than a documentary about skateboarding culture. With footage that covers over a decade, Minding the Gap is a personal documentary that delves into the painful pasts of the filmmaker and his friends.

The documentary captures the group of young men navigating life in their Rust-belt hometown as they enter manhood and take on adult responsibilities. In doing so, Minding the Gap powerfully explores ideas of masculinity, race, and class in contemporary American life.

The documentary won the Best Feature Award at the 2018 International Documentary Association Awards. In addition, a first-time filmmaker, Bing Lui was awarded the Emerging Filmmaker Award. The film is currently available to watch on Hulu.

Boots Riley: Sorry to Bother You

Bay Area activist and musician Boots Riley made his feature film debut in a highly original, satirical, a blistering critique of capitalism with Sorry To Bother You.

Starring Lakeith Stanfield as a young telemarketer in Oakland, the film follows the protagonist as he climbs the ranks of his corporate company after realizing he can make more sales by speaking with a “white voice” (David Cross dubs these lines).

Though the film has an absurdist quality, the film is grounded through its unapologetic examination of race in America.

The notion of “the white voice” in the film is emblematic of the kind of racial performativity that characterizes everyday life and the kind of the code-switching that are at times necessary for Black folk to employ as a means of social and economic mobility.

In other words, sometimes you need to “use your white voice” to get ahead within a political-economic system that is dependent on exploitation in order to be sustained.

The film debuted at Sundance this year and has been hailed as one of the years best films.

Jonah Hill: Mid90s

Mid90s is the directorial debut for actor Jonah Hill who also wrote the script.

The coming-of-age film explores Los Angeles skateboarding subculture and nostalgically dials in on the specific era — laden with mixtapes, hip-hop, skate shoes, baggy jeans — yet, not leaving behind the struggles of formulating your identity as an adolescent kid.

Speaking on the film, Hill expressed,

“Mid90s, at its core, is about building a family outside of your home. In your adolescence, things are so extreme. The fun is so extreme. The pain is so extreme. The joy, the agony–it’s all very heightened. And skateboarding is a group of individuals and outsiders that come together to form a family.”

Hirokazu Koreeda: Shoplifters

This is the Japanese filmmaker’s fifth feature film. It won the Palme d’Or at this years Cannes film festival.

Like his previous Cannes prize winner Life Father, Like Son, Hirokazu’s latest film explores ideas of familial relationships and looks at the question of “what ties family together?” Is it contingent on biology or upon how much time we spend together?

The story centers on a family small-time crooks who exist on the fringe of Japanese society and take in an abandoned young girl who they find left outside in the cold.

Joseph Khan: Bodied

Joseph Khan is known for being a long-term collaborator with Taylor Swift, directing multiple music videos for the music artist. Though Bodied isn’t his first feature film, it has received rave reviews by critics in comparison to his relatively unknown previous feature films.

Bodied is a subversive part musical and part rap-battle satire that follows the story red-headed hip-hop enthusiast and grad student, Adam who after attending and performing at an underground rap battle event is inspired to write his thesis on the cultural phenomenon.

The film explores themes of race, cultural appropriation, and the implications when language and vernacular is appropriated and normalized.

Somewhat poking fun at the Rocky-esque storyline of 8 Mile, the film ironically has Eminem serving as a producer to the film.

Karen Kusama: Destroyer

Though a lot of media coverage on Kusama’s latest film is centered on the physical transformation of the movie star, Nicole Kidman, Kusuma’s directing and the film’s riveting storyline is worthy of more attention.

Destroyer centers on the story of a burnt-out and troubled police detective who reconnects with people from an old undercover assignment as part of her personal project of reckoning with her past.

Destroyer is Kusuma’s fifth feature film and in speaking on the film,

“What inspired me to do [the film] was the notion of how difficult it is to be accountable for our mistakes and how painful a process that can be.”

Paul Dano: Wild Life 

In all likelihood, Paul Dano is most known for his acting role as the teenage voluntary mute in the dramatic comedy, Little Miss Sunshine (2006).

But the actor’s introspective quality translates in his latest project, Wild Life, a screen adaptation of a Richard Ford novel. Dano is a screenwriter and musician and now, he can director to his CV.

Set in small-town Montana in 1960, the film follows an adolescent boy (Ed Oxenbould) who watches his parents’ marriage disintegrate.

Though viewers watch as their marriage dissolves, the breakdown of the relationship operates on a larger scale and rather, shows the disintegration of the American Dream.

George Tillman Jr:The Hate U Give 

George Tillman Jr. has served as director to the family drama Soul Food, Faster and later the Notorious B.I.G. biopic Notorious. He has perhaps found greater success as a producer, (Barbershop movie franchise and Mudbound).

But Tillman Jr. has tried his turn at the director’s chair again with the film adaptation of Angie Thomas’s bestselling novel, of the same name.

The Hate U Give dials in on 16-year-old Starr whose life is bifurcated. She upbringing is comprised of living in a poor neighborhood and attending a somewhat elite high-school in the suburbs.

Her life is transformed when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend by a police officer. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this timely film is a powerful story of a young girl’s struggle for justice in the continuous climate of anti-Black policing.

Bo Burnham: Eighth Grade 

A24 continues to prove itself as having a unique eye for finding talented emerging directors. Bu Burnham has the titles of an actor, comedian, poet, writer and can now add filmmaker to this impressive list.

Written and directed by Burnham, Eighth Grade is an honest and deeply moving look at the difficult and often awkward times of being a middle school student navigating adolescent life in the digital era of social media.

Jordana Spiro: Night Comes On

On the eve of her 18th birthday, Angel LaMere is released from serving time in a juvenile detention facility. Haunted by her past, she embarks on a journey of retribution for her mother that threatens to destroy her future.

After premiering at the Sundance Film Festival this year, Spiro’s first feature film is a visual declaration of her talent as a filmmaker and powerful storyteller.

What’s so fly about Terence Nance’s new HBO series ‘Random Acts of Flyness’?

It’s hard to compare Terence Nance’s new HBO series Random Acts of Flyness to anything else on television right now and perhaps that’s one of its many purposes.

Explicit in its title, the show’s ‘randomness,’ primarily derives from its non-linear form that baits viewers to tumble into the wild and creative mind of multi-media artist Terence Nance.

A plethora of visual mediums, via found footage, stop-motion, animation etc. compose the series into an energetic, satirical, and eclectic mix of short politicized pieces.

While Random Acts of Flyness isn’t interested in following any sort of neat TV genre criteria or conventional form of serial storytelling, what is clear is that Nance is invested in exploring what it means to be black in America.

In a recent interview with IndieWire, Nance explains his and his fellow co-writers’ artistic choice to make the series non-linear in its form, stating

“I think people consume media in a way that is not linear. I think we [writers] know what tools to use to communicate and be legible on screen so that the world consistently engages.”

Random Acts of Flyness is highly engaging not only through its mixed media form but through its refusal to shy away from addressing topical subjects. It confronts them head-on, producing a visceral effect amongst viewers.

Its expression playful and often tapping into the absurd. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Nance expressed that “the idea of shifting consciousness,” is what creatively drives the show and the writer’s room.

The series tackles the issues of police brutality, sexual harassment, non-normative gender identities and sexualities within the black community, all in an attempt to explore blackness and the experience of struggling under oppression in its intersecting forms.

I mean, Nance manages to pull off an outrageously funny and outlandish satire to make the case for reparations. Channeling the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs (in his black turtleneck and all), Nance unveils a new social app called “Bitch Better Have My Money.”

It is also no coincidence that the staging of the piece strongly resembles Apple’s grandiose new iPhone model presentations. Speaking confidently on stage, Nance reveals the features of the new proximity-based app that matches one stranger to another, but not for the usual purposes of a hookup.

Instead, “Bitch Better Have My Money,” uses an omnipresent ancestry test to locate the nearest white person to a black app user who owes them their 40 acres and a mule, so to speak.

The piece pokes fun at our current social media culture and at the same time, uses the very technology to guarantee that every black user finally receives their long-overdue payments. Shifting slightly into a more serious tone, Nance gets real about the gravity of the project of reparations.

He cites the handing over of assets, intellectual property, land, as well as amending the continual institutional injustices and impacts of redlining, medical testing, job discrimination, and mass incarceration.

It’s no surprise then, that the initial over-enthusiastic applauses and roars from the crowd when Nance first entered the technology unveiling subside into silence. Well, Nance certainly knows how to make a statement.

Though his new late-night spot on HBO has provided him with more widespread recognition, Nance had already made waves in the independent film world.


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His feature film An Oversimplification of Her Beauty premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2012. Despite the film gaining critical acclaim, Nance, like many filmmakers of color in the industry, however, encountered the obstacles of finding financial backing for a follow-up feature film.

The box-office success of Jordan Peele’s genre-boundary-breaking film Get Out, Marvel’s Black Panther and Barry Jenkin’s Academy Award-winning film Moonlight, however, have all emphatically proven that there is a huge market for black centered narratives.

Plus, the small screen successes of Donald Glover’s series Atlanta, and Issa Rae’s HBO series Insecure demonstrate that the landscape for film and television is changing and increasingly offering a greater platform for stories orientated for and around people of color.

In the time between An Oversimplification of Her Beauty and Random Acts of Flyness, however, Nance has not been letting his creativity and wild imagination go to waste.

It is important to highlight that Nance has been making music videos, short films and even dabbling into the world of gaming. However, it’s Random Acts of Flyness that may just make Terence Nance a household name.

Nance’s story is a testament to not only his perseverance and patience but an example of how to stay true to one’s artistic integrity and to be open to the different platforms that come with exhibiting one’s art.