ICYMI: The Best of February 2017 on Moviemaker.com

February 2017 was filled with plenty of surprise and controversy.

If only the 2016 presidential election had had the same just-kidding ending as the Academy Awards. Last Sunday, Moonlight took home the award for Best Picture, Damien Chazelle made history as the youngest filmmaker to receive the Best Directing Award for La La Land, and sound mixer Kevin O’Connell, after 21 nominations over the course of 33 years, was finally awarded for his work on Hacksaw Ridge.

Elsewhere, we discussed everything ranging from the worthiness of film festivals to flesh-eating mermaids. In case you missed them, here are 10 articles from February you might want to check out.

1. Musical, Flesh-Eating Mermaids in 1980s Poland: With The Lure, Agnieszka Smoczyńska Holds Nothing Back (by Carlos Aguilar)

La La Land might have had the singing and dancing, but where was the cannibalism? Only Polish filmmaker Agnieszka Smoczyńska could blend multiple polar-opposite genre tropes in order to create something beautifully unique.

2. How They Did It: Cameras Fried Under the Heat as the Cannibal Desert Thriller Drifter Ate Its Rookie Director Alive (by Chris von Hoffman)

The camera equipment wasn’t the only thing being put to the test when shooting Drifter. Director Chris von Hoffman put it best: “Making a post-apocalyptic, comic book-inspired, cannibal desert thriller on a ridiculously micro-budget for my first feature was a very traumatizing experience—mentally, financially, psychologically, physically.”

3. Things I’ve Learned as a Moviemaker: Cinematographer Nancy Schreiber (by Nancy Schreiber)

Whether you’re a cinematographer or not, we could all learn a thing or two from Nancy Schreiber. In February she became the first female to receive the American Society of Cinematographers’ prestigious Presidents Award. Congratulations Nancy!

4. At Home Behind the Camera: Actor-Turned-Director Macon Blair Talks Making I Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore (by Jeff Meyers) 

Winner of Sundance’s Grand Jury Prize, filmmaker Macon Blair seems to feel pretty comfortable in the director’s chair.

5. Cinema Law: Getting the (Screenwriting) Credit You Deserve, For WGA Members and Non-Members Alike (by Gregory R. Kanaan)

“I understand that when I’m hired to write a script I won’t own the copyright, but I want to make sure I get the proper credit for my work. Is it just something I have to specify in a contract?”

6. Breaking the Ice (Cube): How Fist Fight Director Richie Keen Survived the Most Nerve-Wracking Pitch of His Life (by Richie Keen)

“’Hello, I’m Richie,’ I said. ‘Should I call you Ice? Mr. Cube?’” Richie Keen recounts his first meeting with Ice Cube, who (spoiler) eventually agreed to star in Keen’s first feature, Fist Fight.

Richie Keen, Ice Cube, and Charlie Day on set of Fist Fight. Courtesy of New Line Cinema

7. Janelle Monáe, Ruth Negga, Dev Patel and More: Eight Rising “Virtuosos” Dropped Serious Wisdom in Santa Barbara (by Carlos Aguilar)

“If you stay on the train, it’s going to come into the station,” said Stephen McKinley Henderson at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. We got inspiration aplenty from these award-winning actors—one of the smartest and most articulate groups we’ve seen in a while.

8. Criterion Crash Course: Moviemaking Lessons From Criterion’s The Asphalt Jungle and The Tree of Wooden Clogs (by Max Weinstein and Caleb Hammond)

Our educational series based on new Criterion releases continues, with John Huston’s The Asphalt Jungle and Ermanno Olmi’s The Tree of Wooden Clogs.

9. Dear Film Festivals: 10 Things I’d Like You to Stop Doing, Love an Indie Filmmaker (by Lee Chambers)

An uninformative website, lack of IMDb listing, and over-packed schedule are things that irk this moviemaker about some film festivals. We also invited readers to share their own opinions in our “What Does ‘Worth the Entry Fee’ Mean to You?” survey.

10. The Cat Documentary Taking NYC By Storm: Ceyda Torun and Charlie Wuppermann on Their Gorgeous Film KEDi (by Kelly Leow)

KEDi sold out 21 shows to net $40,510 at a single theater on opening weekend. The documentary, about the cats of Istanbul, got a better per-screen average than any documentary of 2016. Next time you’re at the theater, you might find yourself enjoying kibble-corn instead. MM

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