February 2008

Watch Clips from the Oscar-winning Docs, Shorts, and Animated Shorts

A look at the categories that matter to independent filmmakers


A Love Story: "Freeheld" looks at the life of Police Officer Laurel Hester and her partner Stacie Andree

To view clips and trailers from this year's Oscar's winners and some of the nominated films, check out our Watch page. The Oscar for best documentary feature went to Taxi to the Dark Side, a film by Alex Gibney and Eva Orner. Filmmakers Cynthia Wade and Vanessa Roth won the award for best documentary short for Freeheld (pictured at left), a film about a dying New Jersey police officer who battles to get pension benefits for her partner. The Oscar for best animated short went to Peter and the Wolf by Suzie Templeton and Hugh Welchman. Philippe Pollet-Villard's Le Mozart des Pickpockets was named best short film.

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

No End in Sight (Magnolia Pictures) A Representational Pictures Production

Filmmakers: Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs

The story: Former Bush administration officials drop a film's worth of dimes on their former bosses, outlining what went wrong in Iraq.

To learn more, click here.

Letter from Bangkok: Thai Indies Flourish, and Face New Censorship

Directors Apichatpong Weerasethakul and Thunska Pansittivorakul dazzle international audiences, but find themselves less popular at home


Censored: Apichatpong Weerasethakul's film "Syndromes and a Century" was banned for a scene depicting a monk playing guitar.

The 5th Bangkok Experimental Film Festival kicks off in March at a time when the work of Thai directors such as Apichatpong Weerasethakul and Thunska Pansittivorakul is gaining worldwide acclaim. But even as Thai independent cinema reaches a creative pinnacle, it finds itself bumping up against serious new censorship at home. The Independent's Denise Burrell-Stinson recently travelled to Southeast Asia, and files this report. You can view a clip from Sud pralad (Tropical Malady), and trailers for Sud sanaeha (Blissfully Yours) and Sang sattawat (Syndromes and a Century), Weerasethakul's censored film, on our Watch page.

Mainstream Thai cinema is coming up on the international radar lately. In 2003, Francis Ford Coppola spearheaded the international release of Suriyothai, one of the highest grossing Thai films ever when it was first released in that country. It recalls the heroic exploits of a 16th Thai queen defending her country against Burmese invasion.

Writer's Strike: A Conclusion

The fifth and final segment in The Independent's screenplay series on the Writer's Strike.


The lonely striker.

As the Writers Guild of America Strike seems to be finally nearing its end after three months, The Independent offers this concluding segment in its screenplay series. You can also read the other strike screenplays, written by Rufus Chaffee, Dorothy Blyskal, Dane Young and Randy Steinberg. (Photo source: Salomedusa.)

As the Writers Guild of America Strike seems to be finally nearing its end after three months, The Independent offers this concluding segment in its screenplay series. You can also read the other strike screenplays, written by Rufus Chaffee, Dorothy Blyskal, Dane Young and Randy Steinberg.

The Doc Doctor's Anatomy of a Film: "51 Birch Street"

Doug Block talks about the making of his hit documentary about his parents' marriage


Doug Block and his mom

The Independent's Documentary Doctor, Fernanda Rossi, looks at how filmmaker Doug Block made 51 Birch Street, a documentary about his parents' mercurial relationship. The film was a critical and commercial success (watch the trailer here), enjoying theatrical distribution for nine months in 60 cities worldwide. But like all filmmakers, Block had his struggles. Among them: sound quality. Also, check out the Doc Doctor's recent "Anatomy" columns on Divan and Rock and a Heart Place.

About this new column: Many filmmakers ponder in anguish, How do other people—celebrated people—do it? Am I taking too long to make this documentary? Does everybody spend as much money as I am spending, or am I spending too little? And when filmmakers share their lessons learned in interviews in the glossy trade magazines, their tales seem to follow the arc of otherworldy heroes rather than real documentary makers, i.e. human beings like you and me. So starting this month, the Doc Doctor decided to go out into the world (this real world) of filmmakers who are successful and find out how they made it. Each month, her "anatomy" will be a chance to learn from their hits and misses in real life examples. —Fernanda Rossi, story consultant a.k.a. the Documentary Doctor

A Look at "Les Mozart des Pickpockets"

Interviews in French with the director and cast and crew of the Oscar-winning short

Subtitle:

Interviews in French with the director and cast and crew of the Oscar-winning short

A Trailer for "Sud sanaeha" ("Blissfully Yours")

Thai filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul's film screened at Cannes

Subtitle:

Thai filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul's film screened at Cannes

A Clip from "Sud pralad" ("Tropical Malady")

Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul's film about a gay romance

Subtitle:

Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul's film about a gay romance

The Trailer for "Sang sattawat" ("Syndromes and a Century")

Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul's film was censored in his home country

Subtitle:

Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul's film was censored in his home country

The Trailer for "Un baiser s'il vous plait"

One of the films screened at the 37th International Film Festival Rotterdam

Subtitle:

One of the films screened at the 37th International Film Festival Rotterdam

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