December 2004

Soul Tracks

The rich history of music in black cinema


The image of the hip black detective played by Richard Roundtree in Gordon Parks’s unforgettable 1971 film, Shaft, precursor to the “blaxploitation” film explosion of the 70s, is inseparable from the brilliant musical soundtrack c

Singing Pictures

Long live the movie musical!


Movie musicals are not dead. They didn’t die in the 1930s. Television didn’t kill them. And expensive 1970s flops didn’t knock them out, either. They may have been hibernating or relegated to children’s animated films, but the musical keeps coming back, to haunt or to thrill, depending on your attitude.

The Talented Tenth

Indie actors-turned short filmmakers


While so many of Hollywood’s high-paid actors spend their paychecks on the kind of luxury items the rest of the world only comes in contact with on trashy celebrity television shows, some are emptying their bank accounts and charging up their credit cards like the rest of us—making movies. A rising group of thespians are stepping behind the camera and taking a shot at directing.

Sound Unseen

This Minneapolis film and music fest has become a rite of fall


The line to see The Last Word at the Minneapolis Oak Street Cinema snakes down the block, splitting in two directions. It’s a pleasing sight, even after a week spent loitering around movie theatres. Of the numerous events I’ve attended, The Last Word (2003) screening has the highest draw.

The Sound of Gowns

How Foley artists created Vanity Fair’s naturalistic noises


I knew Mira Nair’s Vanity Fair was going to be an interesting and challenging project.

Can I do without professional sound editing?

The Documentary Doctor tackles the issue of matching your images to sound


Dear Doc Doctor:
Many people suggested that I add more narration and music to my documentary, which I did, but now other people are saying there is too much of both. How do I achieve the right balance between image and sound in documentary film?

Mix Master

Brazilian-born Marcelo Zarvos scores award-winning indies


Marcelo Zarvos is scoring big in the independent film world these days. The thirty-five-year old Brazilian-born Zarvos, who has made New York his home for the past twelve years, has composed music for a handful of independent films, including Tully (2000), Kissing Jessica Stein (2001), and this year’s The Door in the Floor—all award-winning and critically acclaimed.

Q/A: Stanley Crouch


Stanley Crouch is one of America’s most eloquent and original social critics. In the last three decades, Crouch has published several books and his essays have appeared in numerous national publications including Harper’s and The New Republic. In 1993 he was awarded the MacArthur “genius grant” in recognition of his work.

Honolulu, Hawai’i

The aloha state’s burgeoning indie film community


Although the cinematic possibilities of Hawai’i—those that lay beyond the tropical tropes of tourism and military patriotism— have always been clear to local residents of the island, only recently has there been notable validation of that truth.

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