Kustendorf 2013: Kneecapping the press and directors
by Peter Weed

Emir Kusturica, founder and director of the Kustendorf Film and Music Festival, pulled in a number of fascinating directors to talk about their work following screenings on the mountaintop.

Here are a few highs and lows:

Journalist kneecapping: During director Zhang Yimou’s moderated workshop, a Serbian journalist asked about Yimou’s next project. The moderator cut the journalist off at the knees: “No journalism questions here. I suppose the next question will be what it’s like to work with Tom Cruise.” Ouch. It probably would have been enough to just explain that the Q & A was only for students.

Moderator kneecapping: The moderator for director Aleksey Balabanov’s section should have done a bit of research before stepping into the ring. (His “workshop” followed “Me Too,” an intriguing film about the quest of four men and a woman for transportation to happiness via a mystical bell tower located in a dead Russian city.) To put it bluntly, Balabanov is pretty much of a prick about answering questions. And the Russian director raised the bar to “Prick” with a capital “P” while murmuring non-answers to both moderator and student questions.

Student question: “It seems as if your films are moving toward the more comedic. Can you talk about this?” Answer: “I don’t think so.” Student question: “Can you offer any advice for young directors who are working to improve?” Helpful answer: “Make good movies.”

The moderator served up some longish, influence and theme questions that Balabanov simply ignored. Finally, the befuddled moderator asked for help from the journalists in attendance. No help arrived. It seemed a long way for Balabanov to travel in order to be purposefully difficult.

Kneecapping nobody: Once again, the moderator snarled “no journalist questions” as he opened the workshop with director Matteo Garrone, who brought “Reality” to the festival. Garrone shrugged and smiled. “It’s OK,” he said. “I will answer questions from journalists or anyone.” The director of the successful Gomorrah, Garrone warmly and humorously described making “Reality” about a fishmonger obsessed with appearing on Italy’s “Big Brother.” The film is well worth seeking out. The lead role is played by Anniello Arena, who is serving a 28-year to life sentence in Naples. He worked on the film during the daylight hours, returning to prison at night. Oh, and the film is based on Garrone’s brother in law: “The crazy stuff (a cricket perceived as a spy for example) is real, and the everyday stuff is made up.”

A thoughtful take on Beasts of the Southern Wild: Director Behn Zeitlin delivered a thoughtful discussion about making his first feature film, which has garnered praise at Cannes, Sundance and Deauville, and recently earned a slew of Oscar nods, including a Best Actress nomination for 11-year-old Quvenzhané Wallis. To help his adolescent lead, Zeitlin shot the film in sequence, and adapted the fluid screenplay as he shot to accommodate the realities of a small budget.

Share the MovieMaker love!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.

Latest Stories
50 Film Festivals Worth The Entry Fee 2014: Savannah Film Festival

It’s finally here: MovieMaker‘s annual list of the 50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee, 2014 edition! We’ll be releasing the list in five alphabetical installments, a new one every Wednesday, for the next month – so keep checking back to see if your favorite festivals made it in. Or read the full article in [...]

Beware of Images

In the spirit of our upcoming Spring issue’s Activism in Film theme, this week’s crowdfunder pick is the socially-conscious Beware of Images, a feature-length, fully animated documentary that warns audiences to digest media with caution. While public education strives to develop English language literacy among its students, serious attention to media literacy is neglected in [...]

Obvious Child

At first glance, Gillian Robespierre’s feature-length independent comedy might seem like another “first-world-problem”/bourgeois New York City drama about the general malaise hitting affluent members of the young artistic community. However, when we delve more deeply into the first official trailer for Obvious Child, the genuine heart and sense of humor that emanates from lead actress Jenny [...]

Living Things directed by Eric Shapiro

Eric Shapiro is the writer and director of Living Things: A Vegan & Meat Debate. A prolific horror writer, Shapiro translates his experience crafting scares into a tense drama about the politics of food, with Rhoda Jordan as a liberal yogini and Ben Siegel as her more conservative father-in-law. In this interview with MovieMaker Magazine, [...]

Rick Castaneda 11 Tips For Filming in a Small Town - Featured

It’s often said that creating a boot-strapped, no-budget independent film is a lot like raising a child – it takes a village. But why stop there? If you’re as lucky as we were when we shot Cement Suitcase, you might be able to enlist the muscle of quite a few villages. We shot in seven [...]

NFMLA

This week’s edition of New Filmmakers LA is filled to the brim with juicy moviemaking wisdom. Featuring interviews with directors Solvan Naim, Carol Rhyu, Sam Cooke, David Aslan, Charlie Anderson, Noah Mucci, and Collin Blair. NewFilmmakers LA (NFMLA) is a non-profit organization designed to showcase the innovative works by emerging filmmakers from around the world, providing the Los Angeles [...]

Willem Defoe in Bad Country

Writer Jonathan Hirschbein worked for years on the film Bad Country with the late director, Chris Brinker, who passed away only days before filming completed. The two met when Jonathan was freshly out of college at the ripe age of twenty-two, with little career prospects besides the odd job here or there. Chris quickly took [...]

HankandAsha_09

Hank and Asha is an epistolary film about a filmmaker in New York and an admirer in Prague, who correspond solely through video messages – with actors who never met, though their characters fall in love. Director, James E. Duff, and writer, Julia Morrison, recount their experiences developing the concept and maximizing their story within the [...]

Babar Ahmed in Mongolia AMKA AND THE THREE GOLDEN RULES

Amka and The Three Golden Rules is the story of a Mongolian boy who learns the dangers of greed and materialism, themes that parallel the recent boom of commercialism in the country’s society. But how did Pakistani director and producer Babar Ahmed find himself telling this story in such a foreign, ancient land – which was [...]