What do winter weather, the holiday season and the end of 2016 have in common? They’re all pretty damn cool. So was December 2016 on Moviemaker.com, the best of which we’ve bundled up for you in our monthly round-up.

Plow through our staff’s top picks of the past month’s indie film art and business coverage.

“A New Manifesto for F(i)lm:” A (Satirical) Excerpt from Ayoade on Ayoade (by Richard Ayoade)

“No more actors,” cautions Richard Ayoade in his satire of self-scrutinizing artists’ autobiographies. “They are all cowards. From now on just use fishermen and cobblers.”

The Camera is a Dancer: DP Linus Sandgren Walks Us Through How He and Damien Chazelle Shot La La Land (by Paula Schwartz)

In this detailed interview, DP Linus Sandgren goes deep into everything visual in La La Land: from making custom Panavision lens and shooting in scope, to capturing single-take dances and observing the colors of the sky.

Why Vérité Moviemaking is the Holy Grail of Documentary: An Essay by the Directors of The Bad Kids (by Keith Fulton and Lou Pepe)

These doc moviemakers had some clear rules: No interviews, no narration and nothing stylized unless it captures “the truth.

Charlotte Bruus Christensen: Why the Danish DP Was the Surprisingly Perfect Choice to Lens Fences (by Paula Schwartz)

“It’s a Steadicam that I’m carrying and I’m running,” cinematographer Charlotte Bruus Christensen recalls of shooting the single-location cinematic adaptation of Fences. “Denzel [Washington] kept saying, ‘My direction to you is this is like music, music.’”

“Wild Animals Are Infinitely Fascinating:” Hitchcock Star Tippi Hedren Talks The Birds, Lions and Tigers (by Ryan Stewart)

Acting and activism have long been the yin and yang to Tippi Hedren’s storied career in the arts and, later, in animal rights initiatives. In this interview, she reflects on her courageous work in the proverbial lion’s den—be it on set with Hitchcock or in the political arena fighting for the jungle cats with whom she once shared the screen.

“I Loved John. I Miss Him a Lot.” Peter Bogdanovich Reminisces on His Friend John Cassavetes (by John Gallagher)

John Cassavetes was notorious for being intensely private, which is why this interview with his dear friend and fellow indie film titan Peter Bogdanovich is an essential window into the essence of his artistic and personal selves.

Frame of Mind: Darren Lynn Bousman Takes You Behind the Scenes of Abattoir (Video) (by Max Weinstein)

In our new video series Frame of Mind, moviemakers walk and talk you through their films’ key scenes. Here, Darren Lynn Bousman discusses shooting on location in New Orleans; why he used no close-ups to introduce his villain; how he cut down talky dialogue; and capturing the hyper-stylized “adult fairy tale” vibe of his latest indie horror feature, Abattoir, in two exclusive clips.

Laughing With Pain: Director Maren Ade and Sandra Hüller on Their Hilarious Father-Daughter Dramedy Toni Erdmann (by Carlos Aguilar)

Maren Ade and Sandra Hüller discuss the “constellation of actors” in casting, the awkward hilarity of singing and nude scenes and the highs and lows of familial dysfunction in Toni Erdmann.

Foreign Contenders: Cloak-And-Dagger Thriller The Age of Shadows Has Kim Jee-woon Channeling His Inner Patriot (by Carlos Aguilar)

The Age of Shadows writer-director Kim Jee-woon explains why it’s harder to create tension with an on-screen conversation than with an action sequence.

The Rental House Rules: How to Get the Most of Your Equipment Rental House (by John Bucher)

The camera rental house is the indie moviemaker’s secret weapon. Use yours wisely.

Scant Screentime, Huge Impact: Liam Neeson Looms Large in A Monster Calls and Silence (by Paula Schwartz)

“I’d be acting to a little puppet, just to get the perspective right. And I’m thinking, ‘What the fuck am I doing?'” The ever-candid Liam Neeson on his two new films.

Making Kenneth Lonergan Cry: Manchester by the Sea Editor Jennifer Lame on Cutting Sadness (and Humor!) (by Matt Mulcahey)

“We would have another screening and everyone would say, ‘What did you do to that scene?! Put it back!’” Jennifer Lame on cutting on Avid, sculpting the flashbacks, and that music.

Creative License: Paterson’s Golshifteh Farahani Talks Jarmusch and Breaking Through Iranian Self-Censorship (by Ryan Vaziri)

Exiled from Iran for baring her body, actress Golshifteh Farahani is opinionated and courageous. Now she’s stealing scenes in Jim Jarmusch’s wonderful PatersonMM

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