Paul Thomas Anderson, Master of the Close-Up, Is Jealous of Barry Jenkins’ Shots

Jenkins couldn’t believe his ears when the “Phantom Thread” director gave him a compliment for the ages.

Paul Thomas Anderson’s close-ups are widely regarded as the best in the business and second only to the director’s own filmmaking hero Jonathan Demme (there are no shortage of essays and video compilations devoted to Anderson’s use of close-up shots). So imagine how Barry Jenkins must have felt when Anderson admitted to being jealous of the close-ups in “Moonlight” and “If Beale Street Could Talk.” The two directors appeared on a recent episode of the DGA podcast “The Director’s Cut,” where Anderson called Jenkins the current master of cinematic close-ups.

“I’m very jealous of your close-ups,” Anderson told Jenkins. “There’s a long line of people who have really tried to do Jonathan Demme close-ups and I try all the time, but I have to say, you got it right better than anybody…I’m like how is he doing that? I’ve tried so hard. I suppose it has to do with the right faces, but it has to do a little more than that.”

Jenkins’ instant reaction to the praise was shock and awe: “Let the record show that Paul Thomas Anderson is jealous of my close-ups! I’m done.”

The “Beale Street” director then took Anderson behind his process of finding the right moments to film a close-up. Jenkins said it starts at a basic level with his actors and trying to find the best faces possible to cast in the film. “I want faces that are open, that will invite the audience in,” the director said about the casting process. More importantly, Jenkins doesn’t try to force a close-up.

“I don’t plan them,” Jenkins said. “Every now and then there’s a moment. Acting is an intellectual thing, so there’s always distance between the actor and the character. Sometimes on set, I’ll just find or feel this moment where the actor and the character, the distance shrinks. There is no distance between them. What the audience is seeing if they are looking directly at them is their soul.”

Jenkins continued, “It sounds like bullshit, but there’s just this moment where the actor, everything just peels away. I tell the actor to just look right into the camera, and usually there is no dialogue. When you introduce dialogue the intellect kicks back in. There’s always a moment, especially in these last two films, where the audience has to look directly into the eyes of the character in order to really feel what they’re feeling.”

The director’s knack for close-ups is front and center in “Beale Street,” which opens in select theaters December 14 from Annapurna Pictures. Listen to Anderson and Jenkins’ full “The Director’s Cut” episode in the embed below.

Paul Thomas Anderson, Nolan, DiCaprio, and More Write Letter to Save FilmStruck

The directors are joined by other top filmmakers such as Alfonso Cuarón, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Rian Johnson, and more.

Paul Thomas Anderson and Christopher Nolan have officially joined the fight to save FilmStruck. The directors joined Leonardo DiCaprio and other top filmmakers such as Alejandro González Iñárritu, Rian Johnson, Karyn Kusama, and Damien Chazelle, among others, to write and sign a letter sent to Warner Bros. Pictures Group chairman Toby Emmerich asking for WarnerMedia to reconsider the decision to pull the plug on FilmStruck on November 29.

“The FilmStruck service was (IS) the best streaming service for fans of cinema of all kinds: classic studio movies, independent cinema, international treasures,” the letter reads. “Without it, the landscape for film fans and students of cinema is especially bleak. There’s a reason there was a huge outpouring from artists and fans over it being shuttered, they were doing the Movie God’s work.”

While Emmerich did not have a say in FilmStruck’s cancellation, which the letter states, the group of actors and filmmakers are hoping that by appealing to the Warner Bros. executive they’ll at least get a step closer to showing WarnerMedia how important FilmStruck is to cinephiles all over the world. Actor Bill Hader and filmmakers Guillermo del Toro, Barry Jenkins, and Edgar Wright have been outspoken for weeks about trying to save FilmStruck and they all included their signatures on the letter.

“In an era of huge corporate acquisitions of cinema by communication companies – in a business that may render billions of dollars off a medium like cinema, we believe this is a gesture that is needed,” the letter states, “a minuscule show of goodwill towards the preservation and accessibility of a tradition and a rich history that would benefit the public.”

The letter arrives in the wake of a viral online petition, entitled “Keep FilmStruck Alive,” which launched shortly after news broke of FilmStruck’s demise on October 26. The petition has amassed over 50,000 signatures and counting. FilmStruck launched October 19, 2016 as an online streaming hub for classic cinema, art house titles, and foreign films. The website was best known as being the exclusive home for The Criterion Collection.

The official signees include: Paul Thomas Anderson, Ana Lily Amirpour, James Brolin, Damien Chazelle, Alfonso Cuarón, Guillermo Del Toro, Leonardo DiCaprio, James Gray, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Bill Hader, Karyn Kusama, Barry Jenkins, Rian Johnson, Christopher McQuarrie, Reed Morano, Christopher Nolan and Emma Thomas, Gina Prince-Bythewood, Barbara Streisand, and Edgar Wright

Read the letter in its entirety below, as first published by Deadline.

Dear Toby,

I know that Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese have been in touch with you and Warners Media Group about the demise of FilmStruck and have urged you guys to keep it going.

While it was not your decision, we would like to loudly echo their sentiments. The FilmStruck service was (IS) the best streaming service for fans of cinema of all kinds: classic studio movies, independent cinema, international treasures. Without it, the landscape for film fans and students of cinema is especially bleak. There’s a reason there was a huge outpouring from artists and fans over it being shuttered, they were doing the Movie God’s work.

We know one of the reasons that it has been shut down is because of an upcoming Warners streaming service, but really FilmStruck shouldn’t be a conflict of interest. In this day and age where there are dozens of platforms, curation of content is really important and FilmStruck was providing a service to both satisfy older fans of cinema and a younger generation of cineastes that will be making amazing movies long after we’re dead.

In an era of huge corporate acquisitions of cinema by communication companies- in a business that may render billions of dollars off a medium like cinema, we believe this is a gesture that is needed- a minuscule show of goodwill towards the preservation and accesibility of a tradition and a rich history that would benefit the public.

So we want to add our names to the petition started by Marty and Steven and want you (and Warners) to know that we feel equally strongly and would do anything to support the service being saved.

PTA, Cuaron, Streisand, Del Toro, Edgar Wright, Inarritu, DiCaprio, Chazelle, Nolan Among Directors Appealing To Warner Bros To Save FilmStruck

An elite group of film directors have appealed directly to Warner Bros Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich to try and save FilmStruck, the subscription streaming service that offers indie and prestige titles that are part of the Criterion Collection. …

An elite group of film directors have appealed directly to Warner Bros Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich to try and save FilmStruck, the subscription streaming service that offers indie and prestige titles that are part of the Criterion Collection. This after WarnerMedia said it would shutter the service at the end of this month. All content arms are being evaluated after the AT&T acquisition of the studio as it makes its entry into the OTT streaming game. It looks…

‘Wildlife’ Director Paul Dano on What He Learned from Working with Paul Thomas Anderson, Ang Lee, and Steve McQueen

Directing your first feature is always a daunting experience, but Paul Dano was well-prepared after 20 years at the best film school imaginable.

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Directing your first feature is always a daunting experience, but it’s hard to imagine that anyone has ever been better prepared for that particular challenge than Paul Dano. Familiar to audiences as one of the most compelling and accomplished actors of his generation, the 34-year-old New York native has spent the last two decades attending the greatest film school on Earth.

Only the Criterion Collection has collaborated with more of modern cinema’s top auteurs: Richard Linklater, Spike Jonze, Ang Lee, Paul Thomas Anderson, Kelly Reichardt, Steve McQueen, Bong Joon-ho, Denis Villeneuve, So Yong Kim, Rian Johnson, etc. He’s the only person on the planet who’s done a stint on “The Sopranos,” worked with Tom Cruise, and starred in an unexpectedly emotional movie about a farting corpse (“Swiss Army Man”).

Read More: ‘Wildlife’ Review: Carey Mulligan Is on Fire in Paul Dano’s Stunningly Beautiful Directorial Debut — Sundance 2018

Needless to say, Dano had plenty of experience to draw from when it came time to step behind the camera, and so it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that “Wildlife” — a tender, gorgeous, and understated drama about a young boy named Joe (Ed Oxenbould) who watches his family (Jake Gyllenhaal and Carey Mulligan) burn down and rekindle itself in 1960s Montana — is told with a master’s touch. Dano has wanted to direct something for decades, and it’s no accident that he’s always put himself in a position to learn how.

And yet, speaking with IndieWire as part of IFP’s “My First Time” discussion series, he insisted that he never accepted a movie with some kind of ulterior motive. “As I excited as I was to work with somebody like Paul Thomas Anderson on ‘There Will Be Blood,’ when you’re on set your focus is all on the scene at hand,” he said. “I’m not often looking at the camera position or interrogating why the director is using which lens. I’m an actor, and I do love acting.”

Judging by his upcoming roles in the Showtime series “Escape from Dannemora” and a new Broadway production of Sam Shepard’s “True West” (opposite Ethan Hawke), it’s safe to say that Dano still loves acting. Be that as it may, even a quick glimpse at his filmography suggests that he’s always been pretty selective about the acting that he does; his career has been shaped by the same intentionality that’s evident in every shot of “Wildlife.” “I’m just drawn to projects where I feel like I’m going to participate in an invigorating collaboration,” he said. “Even some of the bigger movies I’ve done have given me that. I did ‘Knight and Day’ because James Mangold is a good filmmaker, and Tom Cruise is Tom Cruise. Doing ‘Cowboys & Aliens’ with Jon Favreau and Daniel Craig and Sammy Rock? I mean, I knew I was going to get something out of that.”

He was drawn to the craft side as well. “There are times when, in a dorky way, I just get excited by working with the DP, and then the next thing you know you’re talking to Roger Deakins about Jean-Pierre Melville,” he said. “So I wasn’t necessarily studying to make a film of my own, but a love of the whole thing was a big factor in my choices.”

Despite a lifetime preparation, “Wildlife” is only a great film because Dano embraced the idea that he was challenging himself, as well. There’s evidence of that in many of the specific decisions that he made along the way, such as hiring thirtysomething “Cemetery of Splendor” cinematographer Diego García instead of calling Deakins or Roger Elswit or any of the legendary DPs towards whom he would have been too deferential on set. And there’s evidence of that in the big picture as well, especially when you consider how Dano’s maturation as a director trying to make his debut feature parallels his protagonist’s maturation as a kid trying to keep his family in focus.

Dano launched his acting career on Broadway at age 12, when he acted opposite George C. Scott in “Inherit the Wind.” Making “L.I.E.” when he was 16 began to open his eyes to what film had to offer. “I wasn’t a huge moviegoer at that point,” he said. “I didn’t know the breadth of the type of work that was out there, or the experience that you could have making it. I didn’t realize you could just go make a film with a small group of people and have it be such a personal thing.”

After playing “dorky kids who wore glasses” in movies like “The Emperor’s Club” and “The Girl Next Door” (the latter of which continues to resonate on cable TV), Dano got to play someone unlike himself, and that’s what ultimately broke the doors open. “People think the most famous movies are the ones that are most important for your career,” he said, “but for me, Rebecca Miller’s ‘The Ballad of Jack and Rose’ was something I really needed. That was when somebody believed in me as the kind of actor I wanted to be, and that made me feel like I belonged in film.”

On the set of "Wildlife"

On the set of “Wildlife”

IFC FIlms

That’s also when Dano fell in love with the movies as a medium, and became enamored by the notion of directing. He can still remember the flashbulb experiences that forever galvanized his budding auteurism: Taking a film class based around Paul Schrader’s book, “Transcendental Style in Film.” During that time, he watched films such as Robert Bresson’s “A Man Escaped,” Yasujiro Ozu’s “Early Summer,” which “really perked my senses up,” he said. “It was so empowering to know that someone could make a film like that, and that people even have permission to make a film like that. There’s movement and sound in both of those films, but I was truck by how still and quiet they were, and how that made all of the little things feel huge.” That led to a new revelation. “I found myself wondering what my voice might be,” he said. “That was it. I was like ‘oh shit, I want to make a film.’”

Fourteen years later, he finally did. Of course, the wheels were set in motion long before “Wildlife” premiered at Sundance last January, but Dano — a self-admitted neurotic who couldn’t fathom the idea of making a film he didn’t fully believe in — had to wait for the stars to align. “It was the material,” he said. “And if I had the material sooner, I would have made something sooner. There were times when I wrote down images or something, but nothing grew on its own. I got a little frustrated, like: ‘Fuck! Am I ever going to make something!?’ But then I read this book.”

Richard Ford’s 1990 novel “Wildlife” grabbed Dano from its evocative opening paragraph, and it still hasn’t let him go. More than that, the book tapped into the same visual language that Dano saw in the films of Ozu and Bresson; the imagery that popped out at him from its pages was as lucid and clean as the movies he’d always seen in his mind’s eye. “If I could be a writer,” Dano said, “I would want to write the way that Richard Ford does. There’s something so lean and spare, and from that comes complexity and poetry. That’s the form of filmmaking I really aspire to — that reflects my natural self.”

And so, after sitting with the idea for over a year and thinking it through from every conceivable angle, Dano decided to pull the trigger. He wrote Ford a heartfelt email, and the author was receptive to the idea; he even encouraged Dano to make the movie its own thing, and not feel slavishly indebted to the source material. That encouragement inspired Dano to think of a powerful new ending for the story, and it wasn’t long until he was done with his first draft… which promptly ended up in the trash.

Dano still remembers the day he confidently asked his longtime partner Zoe Kazan — a brilliant actress herself, but also an accomplished playwright and screenwriter — to read his first draft. He remembers where he was sitting in their Brooklyn apartment, and where Kazan went to digest what he’d done. Most of all, he remembers what she said when she came back. “I was thinking ‘Okay, this is actually pretty good! And then Zoe came out and was just like: ‘Actually, it’s not,’” he said. This story gets more dramatic every time they tell it, but the ending is always the same: Dano wanted Kazan to offer some feedback, and Kazan’s feedback was basically: “I need to write you a whole new draft.”

On the set of “Wildlife”

Whatever wrinkles that may have caused at the time, they were ironed out before long. “It became a very healthy working relationship,” Dano said, “and I’m so lucky I had Zoe as a proper writer, because it was my first time and I needed her help.” The two of them share the official screenwriting credit on the film.

But when Dano got to set, his wealth of experience came into play. He may not have been actively taking notes from the various auteurs with whom he worked as an actor, but he still managed to glean some crucial lessons from them.

On the subject of setting a tone, he cited Ang Lee as a favorite teacher. “As an actor, you can always feel when the crew is in tune with the project — when they’re actually excited about what they’re making — and all of the great filmmakers can make that happen in one way or another,” he said. He accepted one scene in “Taking Woodstock” just to get close to Lee. “I remember how much time he took to do this one insert shot that didn’t even feature any actors,” he said. “In a lot of films, that kind of stuff gets passed off to a second unit, but Ang knew he was going use the shot. …I remember just being so excited, being like, ‘Yeah, that’s how you do it!”

Read More: ‘Escape At Dannemora’ Trailer: Ben Stiller Directs Benicio del Toro and Paul Dano in Showtime’s Bloody Prison Break Drama

On the subject of finding his voice, Dano’s curriculum included a specific moment from the set of “12 Years a Slave,” in which the actor played his cruelest part to date. “That film was about a pretty serious subject matter, to say the least, but I remember after a certain take Steve McQueen was bouncing around like a fashion photographer, just happily shouting ‘genius!’ and stuff like that,” he said. “You need the director to be the cheerleader and the fucking force guiding the spirit of the thing, and it was invaluable for me to learn that that’s okay.”

And on the subject of earning the trust of his collaborators, Dano recalled a memory from the set of “Prisoners,” where he learned that blind support can be its own form of betrayal. He admired the way director Denis Villeneuve was willing to acknowledge when a scene wasn’t working. “To just go through with something out of fear or time is a huge mistake, because at the end of the day the film is going to be the film,” he said.

"Wildlife"

“Wildlife”

IFC Films

As a former child actor himself, Dano was uniquely well-prepared to direct a coming-of-age story that hinges on a make-or-break performance from a 14-year-old boy. “I was treated well as a young actor,” Dano said, “but I had to learn not to be afraid of my own voice.”

Directing Ed Oxenbould, Dano drew from his own experiences. “The most important thing for me was just making sure that he knew he was a genuine collaborator — that his voice was a part of the film,” Dano said. “The best place we can find ourselves in is a place where we’re comfortable failing, so I let him know that he should never be afraid to ask a question or say if something didn’t feel right.” Epitomizing how his work as an actor is ultimately inextricable from his grace as a filmmaker, Dano, now a new father, likened directing actors to parenting children: “It’s all them, and you’re just trying to set up the atmosphere for them to be their best self.”

Oxenbould is a revelation, while Gyllenhaal and Mulligan are both remarkable. Mulligan, as the more present of the two, is particularly hard to shake. Her frayed performance resolves into a sad and strong and immensely powerful study of reinvention; her character may be vulnerable, but the actress finds something fierce and brave in how she seizes hold of her future. Asked how he guided his stars along such rocky shores, Dano insisted that the currents went both ways. “I earned their trust by trusting them,” he said. “For me, that meant shooting fewer setups and more takes so that the actors could search and mess around and hopefully have a real experience.”

As Dano spoke about what he learned by making this film, he might as well have been describing what young Joe learns by surviving it. “It’s hard to find the balance between compromise and putting your foot down,” he said. “Discovering that compromise doesn’t always have to be compromise is so important.” Those words call to mind the movie’s indelible last scene, the one that took Dano only a few days to write, but several long years to earn. Joe, tired of being an active witness to the conflict swirling around him, asserts the value of his vision by literally stepping behind a camera for the first time. Presumably not the last. We may never know where Joe goes from there, but Dano knows where he’s heading next. He ended the conversation on a conclusive note: “I really can’t wait to make another film.”

“Wildlife” is now in theaters.

Terrence Malick Told John C. Reilly His ‘Thin Red Line’ Role Was Being Edited Down in The Most Malick Way Possible

Reilly also revealed to Variety the pact he made with Paul Thomas Anderson about starring in his movies.

John C. Reilly is back in select theaters this weekend as the star and producer of Jacques Audiard’s English-language debut “The Sisters Brothers.” The movie finds Reilly stepping into the lead of a dramatic feature after decades of being one of the industry’s most versatile supporting players. During an appearance on Variety’s “Playback” podcast, the actor looked back on some of the most iconic directors he’s had chance to work with by taking on supporting roles, including Terrence Malick for “The Thin Red Line.”

Malick’s 1998 war epic cast Reilly as Sgt. Maynard Storm, but the role was much larger in the script. While Reilly didn’t end up being cut out of the film entirely like several of his co-stars, such as Mickey Rourke, his role was drastically edited down by Malick in post-production. Reilly recalled the way Malick broke the news to him over the phone about his part being scaled down, and it’s quintessential Malick.

“He had this great line,” Reilly said. “‘John, I just wanted to give you a heads up. I felt that some parts of the picture were like ice floes that separated from the main, and so some of your scenes, well, John, they just floated off.’”

Reilly holds no hard feelings against Malick for reducing his role in the film’s theatrical cut. As a fan of “Badlands” and “Days of Heaven” prior to being cast in “The Thin Red Line,” Reilly just wanted to be lucky enough to have Malick know he exists. The actor said that was “as much as [he] was hoping for.”

“I quickly realized once I got there that Terry, in my mind, is more of a philosopher than a filmmaker in a lot of ways,” Reilly said about the experience. “He doesn’t have a lot of the same concerns on a set as a lot of the directors I’ve worked with. Terry was someone just looking for the truth every day, and if he could find that truth in a bird flying by or in the drops of dew on a piece of grass or on an extra, that’s what he was going to film that day.”

As for his relationship with another auteur, Paul Thomas Anderson, Reilly said the two keep in touch all the time and see each other often. Reilly was a reliable supporting actor in Anderson’s early films, including “Hard Eight,” “Boogie Nights,” and “Magnolia,” but he hasn’t reunited with the director in several years. Reilly told Variety the two made a pact early on in their careers about collaborating for work.

“After the first one I said to him, ‘Listen, only put me in a movie if you see there’s a role for me. Don’t do it because you’re my friend. I don’t want these opportunities if they’re favors,'” Reilly said. “I guess he took me up on that after our last one!”

“The Sisters Brothers” is now playing in select theaters via Annapurna Pictures. You can listen to Reilly’s full appearance on the “Playback” podcast over on Variety.

Christopher Nolan Is Trying to Make Sure His Movies Won’t Look Weird on TV

Producer/director Christopher Nolan is on a mission to improve your television-viewing pleasure.

Have you ever been to a super store and noticed that a movie being played on a demo 4K TV looks kinda weird? Like it’s being played at 1.5x speed? That’s because of a TV setting called “motion smoothing.” Put simply, it’s a mode added to TVs to remove the motion blur that comes with high-definition presentation… and Nolan is one among many filmmakers who dislike what it does to their films so much that they’re doing something about it.

Earlier this week, Nolan, who is co-head of the Directors Guild of America’s Creative Rights Committee, sent an email to DGA members announcing that he, fellow co-head Jonathan Moslow, and “There Will Be Blood” director Paul Thomas Anderson are reaching out to TV manufacturers to make it easier to turn off motion smoothing on TVs.

Also Read: The Oscar Legacy of ‘The Dark Knight’: Christopher Nolan’s Hit Changed the Rules, But Did That Even Matter?

“Many of you have seen your work appear on television screens looking different from the way you actually finished it. Modern televisions have extraordinary technical capabilities, and it is important that we harness these new technologies to ensure that the home viewer sees our work presented as closely as possible to our original creative intentions,” reads the letter.

Motion smoothing is done by adding fake frames between the ones that are processed from TV broadcast signals, giving a crisper presentation and a frame rate of 60 frames per second. For sports, this is great because it makes it easier to keep track of the action as it unfolds. But for movies, which are still filmed at 24 frames per second, motion smoothing removes the cinematic feel, making them look like soap operas by “speeding up” the presentation.

This has teed off many directors and cinematographers in Hollywood, from Nolan to Christopher McQuarrie to “Handmaid’s Tale” director Reed Morano.

Been at it for years. Sux. https://t.co/MCFLQHCsPh

– Reed Morano, A.S.C. (@reedmorano) October 5, 2017

Also Read: ‘First Reformed’ and ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ Anniversary Blast Off at Indie Box Office

So why not just turn off the setting when playing a movie? Well, easier said than done. Turning off motion framing — which is the default setting on many TVs — can be very complicated and vary depending on the TV. On some TVs, it’s not even called motion smoothing. It might be called “frame interpolation” or “motion liquidity” instead.

Now, in the DGA letter, Nolan says that plans are being made to create a dialogue between filmmakers and TV companies to remove those roadblocks. The letter, which was obtained by /Film, includes a survey asking directors how they’d like motion smoothing and other presentation settings to be changed, including whether they’d like a button toggling motion smoothing to be added to remote controls.

So fear not, cinephiles. The days of digging into the Stygian depths of your TVs settings to remove the “soap opera effect” may soon be a thing of the past. Hopefully.

Related stories from TheWrap:

The Oscar Legacy of ‘The Dark Knight’: Christopher Nolan’s Hit Changed the Rules, But Did That Even Matter?

‘Westworld’ Creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy’s New Sci-Fi Series ‘The Peripheral’ Lands at Amazon

All 10 Christopher Nolan Movies Ranked, From ‘Memento’ to ‘Dunkirk’ (Photos)

Producer/director Christopher Nolan is on a mission to improve your television-viewing pleasure.

Have you ever been to a super store and noticed that a movie being played on a demo 4K TV looks kinda weird? Like it’s being played at 1.5x speed? That’s because of a TV setting called “motion smoothing.” Put simply, it’s a mode added to TVs to remove the motion blur that comes with high-definition presentation… and Nolan is one among many filmmakers who dislike what it does to their films so much that they’re doing something about it.

Earlier this week, Nolan, who is co-head of the Directors Guild of America’s Creative Rights Committee, sent an email to DGA members announcing that he, fellow co-head Jonathan Moslow, and “There Will Be Blood” director Paul Thomas Anderson are reaching out to TV manufacturers to make it easier to turn off motion smoothing on TVs.

“Many of you have seen your work appear on television screens looking different from the way you actually finished it. Modern televisions have extraordinary technical capabilities, and it is important that we harness these new technologies to ensure that the home viewer sees our work presented as closely as possible to our original creative intentions,” reads the letter.

Motion smoothing is done by adding fake frames between the ones that are processed from TV broadcast signals, giving a crisper presentation and a frame rate of 60 frames per second. For sports, this is great because it makes it easier to keep track of the action as it unfolds. But for movies, which are still filmed at 24 frames per second, motion smoothing removes the cinematic feel, making them look like soap operas by “speeding up” the presentation.

This has teed off many directors and cinematographers in Hollywood, from Nolan to Christopher McQuarrie to “Handmaid’s Tale” director Reed Morano.

So why not just turn off the setting when playing a movie? Well, easier said than done. Turning off motion framing — which is the default setting on many TVs — can be very complicated and vary depending on the TV. On some TVs, it’s not even called motion smoothing. It might be called “frame interpolation” or “motion liquidity” instead.

Now, in the DGA letter, Nolan says that plans are being made to create a dialogue between filmmakers and TV companies to remove those roadblocks. The letter, which was obtained by /Film, includes a survey asking directors how they’d like motion smoothing and other presentation settings to be changed, including whether they’d like a button toggling motion smoothing to be added to remote controls.

So fear not, cinephiles. The days of digging into the Stygian depths of your TVs settings to remove the “soap opera effect” may soon be a thing of the past. Hopefully.

Related stories from TheWrap:

The Oscar Legacy of 'The Dark Knight': Christopher Nolan's Hit Changed the Rules, But Did That Even Matter?

'Westworld' Creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy's New Sci-Fi Series 'The Peripheral' Lands at Amazon

All 10 Christopher Nolan Movies Ranked, From 'Memento' to 'Dunkirk' (Photos)

Christopher Nolan and Paul Thomas Anderson Join Forces to Fix TV Settings That Mess With How Movies Look

Motion smoothing, also known as the “soap opera effect,” is just one of many television settings altering the way movies are intended to look.

Christopher Nolan and Paul Thomas Anderson are joining the fight to correct television settings and preserve filmmakers’ original visions for how their movies should look. An email sent to members of the Directors Guild of America (via /Film) notified them that the directors were taking action by reaching out to television manufacturers to ensure audiences can see movies without settings that drastically alter the original look of movies.

“Many of you have seen your work appear on television screens looking different from the way you actually finished it,” the email reads. “Modern televisions have extraordinary technical capabilities, and it is important that we harness these new technologies to ensure that the home viewer sees our work presented as closely as possible to our original creative intentions.”

“To this end, Christopher Nolan and Paul Thomas Anderson reached out, via the studio UHD Alliance, to television manufacturers,” the email continues. “By starting a dialogue with the manufacturers themselves we hope to try and give directors a voice in how the technical standards of our work can be maintained in the home.”

The email, signed by DGA Creative Rights Committee co-chairs Nolan and Jonathan Mostow, included a survey asking DGA members to weigh in on which television settings are most disruptive to the intended look of their movies. One setting that has made the most headlines over the last several years is motion smoothing, which is applied to correct high-definition screens’ tendency to make objects in motion appear blurry (via Gizmodo). Motion smoothing is often referred to as the “soap opera effect” because of the way it crisps the outlines of actors and makes the backgrounds appear fake or set-like.

Motion smoothing has been targeted by numerous directors in the past. “Guardians of the Galaxy” director James Gunn launched a campaign on Twitter in October 2017 to convince television manufacturers to get rid of the controversial setting. Gunn notified his followers that fellow directors Rian Johnson, Matt Reeves, Edgar Wright, and Christopher McQuarrie, plus actor Tom Cruise, were all anti-motion smoothing. “I Think We’re Alone Now” director Reed Morano has also fought her own battle against motion smoothing, launching a petition four years ago against the setting.

The DGA email concludes that Nolan and Mostow believe there is “real possibility here to try and improve the situation.” Head over to /Film to see the full survey.

Paul Thomas Anderson and John C. Reilly Remember Filming Surprise Improv Videos With Philip Seymour Hoffman

Reilly honed his improv skills by making some impromptu home videos with Anderson and Hoffman.

Paul Thomas Anderson directed John C. Reilly and Philip Seymour Hoffman in “Hard Eight,” “Boogie Nights,” and “Magnolia,” all of which were released to critical acclaim in theaters, but it turns out a secret fourth collaboration exists. As part of Reilly’s GQ cover story interview, the actor and Anderson looked back at filming surprise home videos featuring Reilly improvising opposite Hoffman. Surprisingly, the idea was born out of their shared love of “Cops.”

Reilly and Anderson formed a close friendship after being paired at the Sundance Director’s Lab, which gave way to the director’s feature debut “Hard Eight.” Anderson said he was “as big a fan as you can be of somebody who’d made five movies” when he was first brought into contact with Reilly. “He didn’t look like anybody, he didn’t sound like anybody else. And that was really exciting,” the director said of the actor.

During the summer the two spent waiting for funding to come in for “Boogie Nights,” they bonded even more over their love of the reality series “Cops.” Anderson told GQ he would talk on the phone with Reilly during episodes and came to the conclusion that Reilly looked like a cop after he shaved off his goatee. Anderson realized what had to happen next: “If you’ve got nothing else to do, take a video camera and drive around.”

“[Anderson] got me in an L.A.P.D. uniform from a costume friend, and we would drive around,” Reilly remembered. “We’d call up, like, Phil Hoffman and say, ‘Phil, we’re coming over. Someone called the police because your music was too loud. Just go with it. You’ll see when we get there.’”

When the two arrived at Hoffman’s apartment, Anderson had the camera rolling as Reilly launched into an improvised scenario as a cop. “I would be like, ‘Apparently’—and I had the Oakleys on—‘this individual thinks they can play their music however loud they want. Well, I got news for them. There’s a thing called the law,'” Reilly said.

Reilly’s performance as the cop would inspire Anderson to write him a similar character in “Magnolia.” Anderson said Hoffman would get in on the improvisation, faking a heart attack and cursing in one scenario. “It was really, really, really, really, really, really fun,” Anderson said.

The three would go on to make “Boogie Nights” and “Magnolia,” with Hoffman also starring in Anderson’s “Punch-Drunk Love” and “The Master.” Head over to GQ to read more from Reilly’s profile. The actor can next be seen in a lead role in “The Sisters Brothers.”

Christopher Nolan and Paul Thomas Anderson launch new offensive in the war on shitty TV settings

We’ve heard a lot about the nightmare of motion smoothing here at The A.V. Club, most often in the form of someone telling a story about a terrible TV experience they had while visiting their parents or whatever, but luckily we have a pair of brave def…

We’ve heard a lot about the nightmare of motion smoothing here at The A.V. Club, most often in the form of someone telling a story about a terrible TV experience they had while visiting their parents or whatever, but luckily we have a pair of brave defenders in the battle against TV settings that make everything look…

Read more...

Paul Thomas Anderson Wins Record Third Fipresci Prize With ‘Phantom Thread’

Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Phantom Thread” has won the Fipresci Grand Prix, the top prize of the International Federation of Film Critics. The U.S. filmmaker became the first director to win the award three times, having previously won in 2000 and 2008 wi…

Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Phantom Thread” has won the Fipresci Grand Prix, the top prize of the International Federation of Film Critics. The U.S. filmmaker became the first director to win the award three times, having previously won in 2000 and 2008 with “Magnolia” and “There Will Be Blood,” respectively. The director will receive the award […]

Paul Thomas Anderson and Jonny Greenwood on ‘Junun’ and the Possibility of Making a Radiohead Documentary

Paul Thomas Anderson, Jonny Greenwood, and Shye Ben Tzurpen discuss the joy of “Junun,” and the possibility of making more music together.

Even three years ago, it was already quite obvious that the collaboration between filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson and Radiohead multi-instrumentalist Jonny Greenwood was one of the most special and exciting partnerships in contemporary cinema. Back then — and after they had already worked together on “There Will Be Blood,” “The Master,” and “Inherent Vice” — it probably would have seemed inconceivable that the best was yet to come, or that the chemistry between them was combustible enough to essentially generate a movie from scratch. But, on both counts, it was. It really was.

In February of 2015, Anderson got a phone call inviting him to hop on a plane and spend three weeks inside a massive 15th century fort atop a hill in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India. Anderson said yes even before he learned what he would be going there to film: Greenwood and Israeli poet-musician Shye Ben Tzur were recording an album together in the towering Mehrangarah Fort, and they wanted him to document the process.

And so Anderson — along with Greenwood, Tzur, Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich, and almost 20 musicians from different Hindu and Muslim traditions — ascended the towering Mehrangarah Fort, and began to capture the creation of an album unlike any other. Shooting digital for the first (and presumably last) time in his life, Anderson embedded himself in the makeshift studio for the duration, creating a vivid portrait of musical pluralism that’s as vibrant and alive as the music itself.

While “Junun” was inevitably received as a mere curiosity in the director’s canon of work, Anderson’s only documentary has since come to earn its rightful place alongside the likes of “Magnolia” and “Phantom Thread.” Like all of his films, this euphoric cine-devotional tells a story about people from different worlds, the unexpected collisions that bring them together, and the strange and beautiful reverb that resonates from their chance encounters. The only difference is that the reverb from this movie makes you want (or need) to get up and dance.

Lucky for us, “Junun” was as fun to make as it is to watch, and the core group of musicians involved — once dubbed The Rajasthan Express, but now simply going by Junun — have continued to play together. Not only are they opening for Radiohead’s current tour, bringing ancient Sufi and Qawwali traditions to arenas across North America, but they also paid a visit to the Alamo Drafthouse in Downtown Brooklyn. Following a rare screening of the documentary (and just before a jaw-dropping live performance from the Junun band), I was fortunate enough to lead a conversation between Anderson, Greenwood, Tzur, Godrich, and the brilliant nagara player Nathulal Solanki.

Read the full Q&A from the event on the next page.

Cannes Report, Day 8: Andrew Garfield’s New Movie Divides, But Critics Unanimous About John Travolta’s ‘Gotti’

Cannes is settling down after a flurry of early-week activity thanks to theater walkouts and the outspoken Spike Lee.
Tuesday night premieres led to Wednesday reflections on the competition films, as there was no giant wookiee on the red carpet to dist…

Cannes is settling down after a flurry of early-week activity thanks to theater walkouts and the outspoken Spike Lee.

Tuesday night premieres led to Wednesday reflections on the competition films, as there was no giant wookiee on the red carpet to distract reporters and industry types from their duties.

David Robert Mitchell’s “Under the Silver Lake” premiered to mixed reviews, which puts star Andrew Garfield in a familiar position. But the response to actor-director Kevin Connolly’s “Gotti” with John Travolta was about as glaring as a neon “Bada Bing!” sign.

Garfield Treads Water

Once a Spider-Man, Garfield has stated many times how unenjoyable the commercial Hollywood machine became for him. He’s since been playing in Broadway’s sandbox and, while awards campaigning for 2016’s “Silence,” shot the hipster mystery “Under the Silver Lake” with director David Robert Mitchell.

“A movie made for Hollywood strivers who feel so close to cracking the code yet deep down, know their dreams will remain forever out of reach,” wrote Vulture’s Kyle Buchanan of the Cannes selection.

“It’s also a movie made for people who love Andrew Garfield’s butt,” he added.

TheWrap’s Ben Croll dubbed the film “‘Ready Stoner One,’ as it wrangles a rather overwhelming compendium of references, easter-eggs and winks to some of the foundational texts of contemporary millennial culture and offers them as clues in a Galaxy Brain conspiracy.”

Garfield plays Eastside slacker Sam, who sets off to solve several mysteries surrounding a pouty neighbor girl (Riley Keough) he is fond of — pulling in many local references like the dog overpopulation in L.A.’s  crunchy Silver Lake neighborhood (the pups are targeted by a serial killer, if that gives you any idea how Mitchell feels about the area), parking tickets and missing venture capitalists.

“I might have liked that more in a world where Paul Thomas Anderson & David Lynch didn’t already exist,” tweeted the critic for The Village Voice.

“Silly-minded plunge into the overstimulated male psyche, yet also a pure form exercise in sexual frustration,” wrote another user.

A24 (of course!) will release the film stateside.

Gotti Any Good News? 

“Entourage” star Kevin Connolly helped a John Travolta passion project over the finish line by directing this favorable portrait of late New York mobster John Gotti. It costars 50 Cent.

It got the reviews you might expect.

“Even John Gotti deserved better,” tweeted IndieWire critic David Ehrlich, who applauded “the courage that must have been required to unveil it at Cannes, where it surfaced alongside a tribute to Travolta designed to look back on better roles.”

“It’s not only that the film is pretty terrible: poorly written, devoid of tension, ridiculous in spots and just plain dull in others. But the fact that it mostly portrays John Gotti as a loving family man and altogether likable guy,” wrote THR.

Travolta was undeterred by the response at a festival spotlight talk on Wednesday. A moderator brought up his Hollywood superpower — to come back after significant flops — to which Travolta simply replied, “I don’t feel like I’ve ever gone anywhere.”

Sales Update

Sony Pictures Classics acquired rights for U.S., Latin America, Australia and New Zealand territories to Oscar winner Denys Arcand’s “The Fall of the American Empire.”

The crime drama grapples with the American dream and serves as a follow-up to Arcand’s 1986 film “The Decline of the American Empire.”

The deal was negotiated by Anick Poirier from Seville International, an eOne company, and Denise Robert from Cinemaginaire.

Related stories from TheWrap:

The Scene at TheWrap and The Female Quotient's Cannes Panel on Gender Equity (Photos)

'Shoplifters' Cannes Review: Is the Seventh Time a Charm for Hirokazu Kore-eda?

Cannes Report, Day 7: Spike Lee Curses Trump; Lars von Trier Sparks Walkouts; Chewbacca Storms Croisette

Paul Thomas Anderson, Greta Gerwig, and 8 More Great Screenwriters Share Their Best Advice

From Issa Rae to Rian Johnson to Nancy Meyers, The Austin Film Fest’s “On Story Project” has hosted in-depth screenwriting conversations with some of the best writers working in film and TV today.

When the Austin Film Festival first launched 25 years ago, it planted its flag as a place that celebrates the craft of screenwriting. Now every October top screenwriters gather in Austin to talk about and celebrate the art of writing for the big and small screens. Seven years ago, AFF branched out to capture these screenwriting discussions with the “On Story Project,” which they share with the public for free through various formats: a PBS-distributed TV series, a PRI-distributed radio show, a podcast, a book, and an archive hosted at the Wittliff Collections.

In honor of AFF having launched its first ever crowdfunding campaign, dedicated to support the growing On Story Project (which ends today!), IndieWire has collected quotes from some our favorite filmmakers and screenwriters about how they get through the difficulties of writing. Each of these quotes are from in-depth conversation available to download in podcast form. Information about the podcast and the crowdfunding campaign are that bottom of this article.

Jason Segel (“Forgetting Sarah Marshall”)

Jason Segel at Austin Film Fest 2016

Jason Segel at Austin Film Fest 2016

Jack Plunkett

“One of the big voices that you’re silencing, if you’re self-aware, is the internal voice that says ‘you are not capable of doing this’ or ‘who do you think you are’. It’s how I felt [at] ‘The End of the Tour.’ You have this own internal voice saying ‘you are not the man for the job’. I think part of your job is to fight through that ‘cuz that’s fear; that’s the big thing of doing anything, is deciding ‘oh I’m capable of doing it.’”

Alan Yang (“Master of None”)

“My routine is not writing. It’s really hard to start, so it varies from thing to thing. One of the pieces of advice, if I could even call it that, to anyone who’s trying to write is, man, if you can just write some every day, it’s a miracle and you’ll probably be unbelievably successful, because everyone I know, even the most successful writers, it’s so hard to get motivated.”

Nancy Meyers (“Something’s Gotta Give”)

“I don’t think anybody sits down to write. Do you? I don’t. There was a lot of talking it out and deciding what is it we’re trying to say, because there’s no point if there’s not something you’re trying to say. So you go in a lot of places. There are a lot of things you think about, a lot of things you want a movie to be about, but as the process kind of goes, you have to narrow it down so it’s clear.”

Issa Rae (“Insecure”)

Issa Rae talks writing in Austin

Issa Rae talks writing in Austin

Yoomi Park

“I think as you continue to create and you start to worry less about failing, and ‘Does my stuff suck?’ After a while, you have to be like, “What else do you want to do? Do you want to go back?” The answer is, “No!” That propels me to go forward. The worst that can happen is that people don’t like what you do. It’s fine, that’s why you’re a writer because you come up with tons of other ideas.”

“We would change houses and schools every two years. And that was like, “Ugh, I have to try to make new friends or reinvent myself again.” And you just tend to be like overly self-aware in a way, and you observe a lot, like sit on the sidelines and observe the double dutch, social double dutch, to see where you can get in. And that’s been where a lot of my inspiration comes from, just from observation and from being just generally uncomfortable.”

Jay Duplass (“Togetherness”)

“I think the biggest thing I’ve learned is that we all think in our heads so much about what I’m going to do to the world and how I’m going to make this great thing happen, and oh shit, I’ve got to channel the universe here, and I think the truth is that you can’t really. What this is all about is the day that I figured out what I uniquely had to offer the world, which is the pathetic, desperate, fucking hilarious shit that I put myself through every day. I don’t think that you can decide that. I think that has to happen to you, and I think that persistence is a big part of that, because you make things and you put it in the world, and the world will tell you if it’s great or not. It’s something that I do still struggle with, because you have ideas and you want to do it, but I tried to lay back a little bit and let my experiences with the world more tell me now what to do.”

Charles Burnett (“Killer of Sheep”)

“I was lucky to take Basil Wright as a documentary teacher. He said, ‘Don’t worry. Make your film and remember to respect the subject.’ And for some reason the light came on, and I said, ‘Well, yeah.’ […] It reminded me of to do films about my community and using film as a means for social change.”

Greta Gerwig (“Lady Bird”)

Greta Gerwig at the 2017 Austin Film Fest

Greta Gerwig at the 2017 Austin Film Fest

Courtesy of AFF

“Acting is listening, but I think for me writing is listening too. I spend a lot of time listening to what my characters are trying to tell me about who they are, and they’re always telling you. It’s the mysterious part of writing, where you have all this craft and you spend all this time making it as good as it can be, and then at the same time, your unconscious knows more than you do, and you have to keep that channel open.”

Paul Feig (“Ghostbusters”)

“The characters start to come organically out of the actors and their personality starts to intermingle. They are becoming the characters in the story and it’s helping us figure them out so that we go back and rewrite. They come up with ideas they’ve given us, put in some of their funniest lines, and we’ll put them in for them to do. […] So by the time we get to the set, we’ve already got a lot of extra jokes and I know they can go off. I cross shoot it so that I always have a camera on both of us. If an improv happens, I’m not missing one side of it and you just start throwing curve balls. [If] I’ll get inspired in the moment, other people will. What happens is you get this wealth of material. The worst thing you can do in comedy is only shoot the script because I can almost guarantee all the stuff you think is going to be hilarious, is not going to be funny.”

“It wasn’t until I think I wrote ‘Freaks and Geeks’ that I really had that moment of putting purely my experience on the page, and it was the first thing I’d written that really got a response out of people and got accepted…but what you want to do no matter what the story you’re trying to tell is, you need to put yourself into the characters. You need to put aspects of yourself so that those characters are still reacting in a real way, in a real human way.”

Rian Johnson (“Star Wars: The Last Jedi”)

Rian Johnson at AFF in 2013

Rian Johnson at AFF in 2013

Jack Plunkett

“I think when you are in the formation stage there are several possible things that you could end up landing on. That’s when your attention gets pulled, but once that fishhook goes in and you are actually down the path of writing this thing. I think there is absolutely urgency to it. So much of that writing is pushed forward by this. It’s kind of like something that you have to attend to, because it’s like being in love. That kind of rush of being really excited about this story and following it. I think you have to devote all of your attention to her…until it’s finished. Hopefully if it is going well, you aren’t tempted to look to either side, you are just looking at the thing you are in love with.”

Danny Rubin (“Groundhog Day”)

“When I wrote this, I had index cards. It’s interesting to look at them and shuffle through them. I started with cork board, but there was too many cards for that, so I would toss them on the floor, ‘Oh that’s an act one idea, that’s an act three idea…’, and the same with characters, the character progression ideas. You might write down five things you want to see the character [do] and look for scenes where they can be put. […] I just stare at those cards and try to get some feeling and eventually a scene emerges that you wanna write. It doesn’t always go in order and there are adjustments you look at what makes sense for characters […] I definitely don’t just do it in my head and I definitely don’t do it perfectly the first time or third or fifth. It’s a process and you have to choose process, get into it, get something on paper and then react to it and change it.”

Paul Thomas Anderson (“Phantom Thread”)

“I’ve had experiences, […] just to get through the process of writing it, which is so difficult to begin with, but you feel proud of yourself for having finished writing this thing and gotten to the end, and then you think, ‘Oh, everyone will think the same way, especially the financiers,’ and then you plop this thing down and they say, ‘No, no, we don’t want to pay money for this.’ The search continues to go get money again. It’s always hard, it’s debilitating. For me, generating material – […] it’s just no less disheartening or demoralizing when you try to get the money – to convince somebody that you should be allowed to do what you want to do.”

On Story’s crowdfunding campaign can be found at here. To learn more about On Story and watch every episode for free, click here.

Get Paul Thomas Anderson on Twitter: 8 Ways That Indies Fought Back at CinemaCon

Four top indie distributors shared the best ways to grow their aging audience at CinemaCon, from putting directors on social media to creating immersive experiences for millennials.

At last week’s CinemaCon, bigger isn’t better; it’s almost all that matters. Cocks of the walk at the annual Las Vegas exhibitor convention were the three largest American theater chains: AMC (8,123 screens in 626 theaters), Regal (7,334 screens in 588 theaters) and Cinemark (4,457 screens in 334 theaters). And it’s the major studios that command their pick of screens and trailer placement.

So where does that leave the indies? It’s not pretty. Here’s how it really breaks down, according to a panel of top indie distribution execs moderated by marketing maven Gordon Paddison April 26.

Sebastian Stan as Jeff Gillooly and Margot Robbie as Tonya Harding in “I, Tonya”

Courtesy of NEON

1. Fight for trailers

“We don’t have the budgets to spend to pay for trailers to be up,” said Focus Features distribution president Lisa Bunnell. “A lot of the time we are at their mercy. We need to play trailers in theaters to support art movies, have them put up one sheets.” Indie chains Alamo and Landmark are more likely to work closely with distributors to market specialty fare in theaters via trailers, materials and word of mouth screenings.

And theaters need to get trailers up “in a timely fashion, not the week before we open,” protested Sony Pictures Classics senior VP sales Tom Prassis — or after a movie proves that it’s playing. “You have to stick with it through thick and thin, otherwise it’s not going to work. If you do, it will pay off.”

2. Fight for screens

Neon distribution head Elissa Federoff said that even after breakout hit “I, Tonya,” the distributor still can’t land all the theaters and trailers it wants. “We have so much good product to go into theaters,” she said. “Sometimes we can’t get our movie into theaters. There’s so much out there. We can’t play it where we want to play it. Sometimes indie films get overlooked.”

Timothée Chalamet stars as Elio in <em>Call Me By Your Name</em>

“Call Me by Your Name”

3. Partner with theaters

The panelists encouraged theater managers to get to know their customers, who rely on advice on which movies to see. “Everybody knows about ‘Avengers,’ but it’s hard to find our films when they get lost in the shuffle in the multiplex,” said Prassis. “With fewer classic art houses, we are at the mercy of people giving us screens. We have movies to offer young people other than superhero movies. But exhibition has to work with us in order get it done. Our older audience is dying off. We have to look at younger audiences and cultivate them for the kind of films we release. Social media is the way to get to them.”

And just as the strongest specialty distributors are pushing for more multiplex screens — some chains designate arthouse theaters in certain cities — many smaller mom-and-pop theaters wonder why they have to wait so long to get the most-trumpeted movies as they work their way around the country, if they get them at all. One exhibitor from Hilton Head Island said they also had a hard time getting trailers. (Distributors encouraged theater owners to reach out to their local sales reps.)

"The Rider" Score Composer Nathan Halpern

“The Rider”

Sony Pictures Classic

With a movie like Chloe Zhao’s authentic cowboy drama “The Rider,” which has no stars, “we’re letting word of mouth build so it can remain in theaters,” said Prassis. “The hardest part is keeping it in theaters, allowing people to talk about it and go back and see it.”

4. Reach millennials via social media and diverse content

Neon and other younger indies like A24 are adept at social-media marketing. “We get granular with it, target specific areas around that movie theater, which is cost effective,” said Federoff. “We find data quickly, pivot, and quickly, stealthily change the marketing campaign, find other ways of reaching them within social media. Digital advertising opens the landscape.”

Neon likes to find “content that can reach a younger audience,” said Federoff. “We can skew millennial and have fun with marketing. ‘Ingrid Goes West’ went to Bonnaroo and Boston Calling music festivals with food trucks. We found millennials where they were and gave them experiential experiences. We did murals in Santa Monica, papered the Venice Beach area, partnered with Smorgasburg in LA. Experiential marketing brings content to them with recruited word-of-mouth screenings in Chicago, San Francisco, and Dallas to get them in right away and get started talking with friends.”

Even established distributors have figured out the virtues of digital. “Even though our films largely appeal to older audiences, social media is the place we are focusing on,” Prassis said. “We are still big on newspaper ads, but we’re cutting back.”

Twitter Keyboard Stock Photo

“The days of big New York and LA Times ads are over,” said Bunnell, who said her 16-year-old son had no idea there were showtimes in the New York Times. “A whole new generation of kids look to social media, be it on the IMDb site or gets their showtimes with a location search. It broadens your audience.”

Also on their way out are print film reviewers. “Critics are a dying breed,” said Prassis. “We rely on them; it’s sad to see them fall by the wayside as newspapers have no future.”

Diverse content is the key to building audiences, said Fox Searchlight sales head Frank Rodriguez, citing titles ranging from  “Gifted” and “My Cousin Rachel,” to year-end Oscar-winners “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” and “The Shape of Water.” “These very different films broaden that audience,” he said. “We won’t be able to depend forever on the older, more mature audience. We do have to grab younger moviegoers.”

"Isle of Dogs"

“Isle of Dogs”

Fox Searchlight

Skewing younger than usual was Wes Anderson’s “Isle of Dogs,” which was 54 percent 18-34. Searchlight also sent “Super Troopers 2” out wide for the non-specialty crowd. “You reach out to social media on computers at home — but you have to get them to the theater.”

5. Create exclusive promos

For “Call Me By Your Name,” SPC provided exclusive video content with Armie Hammer and Timothee Chalamet for Regal and AMC theaters’ loyalty clubs. They had the duo do PSAs for Alamo as well. Federoff would like to do more Alamo-style sneak preview programs and specialized content that cultivate loyal customers. “I wish more circuits would do what Alamo does,” said Prassis.

For “Phantom Thread,” Focus put Paul Thomas Anderson on social media with Twitter and Facebook Q&As. “He introduced himself to a whole new generation with kids,” said Bunnell. “It’s a good way get people educated about great filmmakers. He did interviews on YouTube, and ‘Phantom Thread’ played to a younger audience.”

Federoff praised A24’s “brilliant” Twitter and Instagram feeds. “They have such a good voice, and a big following,” she said. “They put up funny, clever posts every day. People follow them who might not be into movies for their funny comedic voice.”

MoviePass Mitch Lowe and Ted Farnsworth

MoviePass CEOs Mitch Lowe and Ted Farnsworth

Drew Osumi

6. Support subscription services

MoviePass isn’t the only movie subscription program, said Bunnell. “They will bring people into movie theaters. Whether MoviePass will exist in a year is questionable. It does not make any sense, but it’s an opportunity for someone to come up with a quality subscription program.”

Prassis wishes subscription programs could be like Amazon and make recommendations to their customers. “If you bought ‘Call Me By Your Name,’ then you might like this,” he said. “Unless they start that, I don’t think it’s going to help us down the road.”

7. Embrace year-round programming

The year-end pile-up of Oscar contenders isn’t always a blessing. “Everyone thinks they have an Oscar film,” said Bunnell. [Filmmakers] should recognize we release films 52 weeks a year. If you release a movie in April it has more space, more screens and time than a release in October, November or December, when heavy hitters from the studios like ‘The Post’ with Hanks and Streep and Spielberg are hurting the art films. They can’t compete with that huge campaign.”

Spike Lee happily agreed to release “BlacKkKlansman” in August. Bunnell said he told her: “They don’t want to ever give me a nomination, anyway. “I don’t care, all of America should see it, I want it to go in summer.” A movie that plays well early and has the right stuff — like “Dunkirk,” “Get Out,” “Boyhood” or “Moonrise Kingdom” — can return to the Oscar conversation. “People remember great films,” said Bunnell.

Similarly, Prassis said SPC plans to open “The Wife” starring Glenn Close in August as counterprograming with a similar trajectory to Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine,” which scored an Oscar win for Cate Blanchett.

Netflix logo

8. Fight Netflix

Netflix makes it harder. “They’re throwing a lot of money out there for product,” said Prassis. “It’s more difficult to compete. They’ve raised the bar.”

“It’s not a healthy level,” said Bunnell.

“It’s nonsensical,” said Prassis.

“We don’t know how many people see it,” said Bunnell.

“They won’t tell us,” said Prassis.

“Are you actually watching the movie?” asked Bunnell. “You can walk out of the room. It hasn’t helped the industry … Filmmakers want to be treated individually, have creative control and tell inspiring stories that move them.”

Paul Thomas Anderson Directed HAIM’s Coachella Performance, Continuing the Greatest Collaboration of Our Time

He previously directed several music videos and a short film for the band.

Paul Thomas Anderson really likes HAIM. After helming several music videos for the all-female group, he continued their collaboration over the weekend by directing their Coachella performance. HAIM revealed their latest work together in a tweet: “What a night. We opened for Beyonce!! Huuuuuuge thank you to Paul Thomas Anderson for directing our dream show !”

In addition to the videos for “Night So Long (Live at the Greek),” “Right Now,” and “Little of Your Love,” Anderson also directed a 14-short featuring the band called “Valentine” last year; the latter screened on 35mm over the summer. “This short plays well with concert films, musicals, late night shows, sing-a-longs and a glass of beer,” reads a description on the 35mm print canister. “Please play loud!”

IndieWire has reached out to Anderson for comment.

Paul Thomas Anderson shot part of Adam Sandler’s new Netflix special

Daniel Day-Lewis may have retired after Phantom Thread, but director Paul Thomas Anderson is already back—sort of. According to Splitsider, Netflix has confirmed that Anderson was behind the camera for at least some of an upcoming special from Adam Sandler, who worked with Anderson on 2002's Punch-Drunk Love. Steven…

Read more…

Daniel Day-Lewis may have retired after Phantom Thread, but director Paul Thomas Anderson is already back—sort of. According to Splitsider, Netflix has confirmed that Anderson was behind the camera for at least some of an upcoming special from Adam Sandler, who worked with Anderson on 2002&#39;s Punch-Drunk Love. Steven…

Read more...

Paul Thomas Anderson Is Filming Adam Sandler’s Upcoming Netflix Special

Tuesday night’s LA taping marked the first time the two have officially worked together since the director’s 2002 film “Punch-Drunk Love.”

After more than a decade of waiting for a reunion, “Punch-Drunk Love” fans may soon have their wish. On April 10, Adam Sandler filmed a new Netflix special in at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles, and the man behind the camera that evening was his former (and now future) collaborator Paul Thomas Anderson.

A sharp-eyed Twitter user spotted Anderson filming the marquee outside the theater, where he appears to be shooting on film:

It’s the first time the two have officially worked together since the 2002 film, which starred Sandler, Emily Watson, and Philip Seymour Hoffman. (Anderson’s representatives could not comment in regard to whether the filmmaker will be credited as the director of the special.) The night’s event was billed to the public as “An Evening with Adam Sandler.”

Sandler will perform again Wednesday night at Los Angeles’ Dynasty Typewriter at the Hayworth Theatre.

Sandler is currently in the midst of an ongoing deal with the streaming service, which has included original films like “The Ridiculous 6,” “Sandy Wexler,” and the upcoming “The Week Of.” Sandler also starred in last year’s Noah Baumbach film “The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected),” which premiered at Cannes before debuting on Netflix in October.

For Anderson, it’s his first official project with Netflix and the first non-music video project since “Phantom Thread.” As of now, “Boogie Nights” is the only one of his eight feature-length films that’s currently available on the service. (Maybe now, he won’t have to borrow a login from his friend anymore.)

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Paul Thomas Anderson Doesn’t Understand How Quentin Tarantino Could Want to Retire After 10 Films

“[Filmmaking] is what I want to do as long as I’m able to do it,” Anderson said, confirming he has no plans to retire from directing any time soon.

When it comes to directing, Paul Thomas Anderson is in it for the long haul. The Oscar-nominated filmmaker made it clear during a discussion on “Phantom Thread” that he has no plans to retire from feature filmmaking in the future. “This is what I want to do as long as I’m able to do it,” Anderson said.

Anderson was responding to a question about how long directors can sustain a certain level of artistic dominance. The moderator noted that it’s hard for many directors to put together several decades of notable work, and yet somehow Anderson has managed to never fall off his peak. The director has been making features since 1996’s “Hard Eight,” and 22 years later his prominence has only gotten greater. “Phantom Thread” earned Anderson his second Oscar nomination for direction, among five other nominations this year.

“Apparently there was a kind of health report that went out to Directors’ Guild of America members, and it said something to the extent that the average life expectancy for a DGA member is 57 years [laughs],” Anderson joked about the longevity of filmmakers. “It can take a lot out of you. You’ll see other filmmakers that you like whose best work is here or there and in the middle or at the end.”

Anderson implied that even if his directing career began to wobble, he loves filmmaking so much that he could never be able to put it behind him. His thoughts put him in contrast with one of his contemporary auteurs: Quentin Tarantino. Tarantino has said numerous times in the past that he plans to retire after he makes his tenth feature, but that kind of rationale just doesn’t make sense to Anderson.

“I know Quentin [Tarantino] likes to say, ‘I’m making 10 movies and then I’m quitting.’ But I could never do that,” he continued. “I don’t know how he could say that, or how he could take himself seriously when he says that. This is what I want to do as long as I’m able to do it. As long as I’m able to do it, I’m going to do it. I think things can become peculiar when directors don’t act their age maybe, or seeing them try to keep up with the kids or trying to be hip. That’s never a good look.”

Tarantino is gearing up for his ninth feature, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” The 1969-set movie is set to star Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Cruise and, if Tarantino sticks to his word, will be the director’s penultimate movie. Sony will release the film August 9, 2019.

Anderson, meanwhile, does not have any concrete plans for his “Phantom Thread” follow-up. The director has expressed interest in working with “Girls Trip” breakout Tiffany Haddish, and he told the Los Angeles Times in February that he has a script he’s been working on with his eight-year-old daughter. You can listen to Anderson’s entire conversation in the video below.

Paul Thomas Anderson Narrating ‘Phantom Thread’ Screen Tests Is Pure Film Nerd Joy — Watch

Hear PTA compare Vicky Krieps to Ingrid Bergman, and wax poetic about Lesley Manville’s “luminescent skin.”

Will we ever stop being in awe of Paul Thomas Anderson? The auteur filmmaker’s precise eye and attention to detail are unparalleled, as evidenced by these narrated “Phantom Thread” screen tests. With characteristic eloquence, Anderson discusses everything from lens choices, lighting, and set design in this fascinating audio commentary. The screen tests also reveal just how good the film’s three actors are, beginning wth the enigmatic Vicky Krieps, who is entirely captivating without uttering a single word.

“These tests with Vicky were the first time we ever shot her on film,” says Anderson. “It reminded me of a great documentary called ‘Ingrid Bergman: In Her Own Words,’ where they have screen tests she did when she came to Hollywood. She has absolutely no make-up on but she looks like she has make-up on, which is astonishing.”

Anderson laments wallpapering over a beautiful hand-painted wall in Cyril’s office, but recognizes that sacrifices must be made for Lesley Manville’s skin: “You’d have to be pretty foolish to not light her well. She is a terrific actress, and she has a face that is a stop and a half brighter than everybody else’s in the movie. She has luminescent skin, as they say.”

Exhibiting his own Reynolds Woodcock-esque particularity, Anderson cannot hide his disdain for a certain white porcelain teapot. “I think the biggest thing we learned from these tests is just how much we disliked that teapot,” he says. “It definitely didn’t belong in the House of Woodcock.”

The relationship between Reynolds and Cyril feels fully fleshed out even in these early screen tests. It’s no surprise, when you consider the combined acting chops of Manville and Daniel Day-Lewis. “When I saw the two of them sitting on the couch like this, I figured we had something good on our hands,” Anderson says. “Because they looked like two orphans to me who’ve known each other for quite a long time.”

Watch the “Phantom Thread” screen tests with Anderson’s commentary below.

‘Phantom Thread’ Giveaway: Win Paul Thomas Anderson’s Oscar-Winner on Blu-Ray

Paul Thomas Anderson’s gorgeous “Phantom Thread” is now available to stream and hits Blu-ray on April 10, but you can win a copy for yourself now.

Filled with sumptuous costumes, dazzling cinematography, and an unforgettable score from Jonny Greenwood, “Phantom Thread” remains one of 2017’s best films. The film earned an Oscar for Best Costume Design, and also marks the final role for Daniel Day-Lewis, who announced his retirement before the film’s release. With sharp performances from newcomer Vicky Krieps, and Lesley Manville, who earned an Oscar nomination for her role, “Phantom Thread” is a must-see for cinephiles.

“Phantom Thread” is currently available to stream, but to celebrate the film’s Blu-ray release on April 10 we’ve giving away two copies of Paul Thomas Anderson’s Oscar-winner to two lucky winners based in the United States. If you’ve fallen in love with the House of Woodcock, you aren’t going to want to miss your chance to own one of 2017’s best on Blu-ray.

Now through Monday, April 9 at noon ET, readers in the U.S. can enter to win by filling out the registration form below. All that is required is your full name, a valid email address and follows on our various social media pages. If you already follow us, then you’re already half way there. The winner will be notified via the registered email address on Monday, April 9 at or around 3pm ET.

‘Phantom Thread’ Deleted Scene: Daniel Day-Lewis and Lesley Manville Have an Epic Food Fight — Watch

Anderson’s six-time Oscar nominee comes to Blu-ray and DVD on April 10.

One of the best moments in Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Phantom Thread”finds Lesley Manville’s Cyril snapping back at her brother, Reynolds (Daniel Day-Lewis), and warning him not to pick a fight with her. Reynolds wisely listens to her sister in the theatrical cut, but it turns out that wasn’t always the case.

Entertainment Tonight has debuted an exclusive deleted scene from “Phantom Thread,” and it shows Reynolds not just picking a fight with Cyril but engaging in a food fight, no less. Of course getting food and tea thrown at her is not exactly something Cyril respects.

“I hate you! How dare you do this to me! It’s my favorite dress,” Cyril shrieks, to which Reynolds responds, “Good. I’d have hate to have done that to your second favorite one. It’d be a waste of tea.”

“Phantom Thread” is now available on digital and hits Blu-ray and DVD on April 10. Watch the deleted scene below.

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