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The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R. Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. All material herein is written and copyrighted by Nathaniel or a member of our team as noted.

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Entries in interview (193)

Monday
Feb202017

Interview: Kristóf Deák from "Munich" to "Sing" 

Kristóf DeákIf you've had a chance to catch the touring films in the Oscar nominated shorts program in select movie theaters now, we're willing to be that one of your favorites was the Hungarian short Sing written and directed by Kristóf Deák. This sweet well acted story is about a new girl in a children's choir whose teacher makes her feel less than welcome. 

Sing, not to be confused with the current blockbuster cartoon about pop star wannabe talking animals, could well be a threat to win its category though competition is ever tough and unpredictable in the shorts categories. Kristóf has seen and enjoyed the "strong batch" competition, saying "I won't shed any tears if we don't take the statue home"

I had the opportunity to talk to the young director, currently in Los Angeles for the final push before Oscar, and though he doesn't know what's in store for his career, he's taiken the smart stance of "be ready with projects and pitches" should key opportunities arise. The London based Hungarian director got his first post film school movie gig in the large editing department of Steven Spielberg's Munich (2005) and now he's an Oscar nominee for his fourth short which has been picking up several prizes at festivals.  

Our chat follows..

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Monday
Feb202017

Interview: on Jungle Book's live-action aping Visual Effects

You may not know the name Robert Legato, but you definitely know his work. He's been on the visual effects teams of all sorts of blockbusters (Armageddon, Interview with the Vampire) and won his first Oscar for groundbreaking work on one of the most popular films of all times Titanic (1997) before creating the system that allowed for Avatar (2009). Hes' got two Oscars (Titanic and Hugo), two BAFTAs (Apollo 13 & Jungle Book) and two Emmys (both for Star Trek series). Will a third Oscar follow next weekend? It looks likely for the live action photorealism of the not really live action Jungle Book

Though a lot of the particulars of his craft are still a mystery to me after our conversation, I've cherry picked some pieces to share with you that are more readily translatable from our moviegoing perspective. 

NATHANIEL R: Rob, I'm not sure where to even begin with your work on Jungle Book. The big takeaway was of course the animals. Are you trying to put all four legged creatures out of work? 

ROBERT LEGATO: That's really the bottom line cause behind all this. How can we prove that you don't need those bastards anymore!?

[Laughter]

The thing is we're not even allowed to use them. You can't bring them on to photograph them for a study. It's against the rules at Disney....

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Saturday
Feb112017

Interview: The Real Saroo and Sue Brierley on Their Favorite Moments in 'Lion'

By Jose Solís.

David Wenham with the real Saroo and Sue Brierley whose story is told in "Lion"

If I didn’t already know Nicole Kidman is a genius, I would’ve been convinced after meeting Sue Brierley, the real life woman who inspired the character she plays in Lion. As I sat down to speak with Mrs. Brierley and her son Saroo (played by Dev Patel in the film), I was first struck by how Nicole perfectly captured her cadence, her soft voice and her piercing look, but then I was completely disarmed by her warmth. Watching her sit next to her son, and look at him with tenderness - she caressed his back, held his hand, and smiled constantly - perfectly encapsulates why the film is so successful. Their story simply needed to be told.

JOSE: Was it surreal to see your story on the big screen?

SAROO BRIERLEY: Yeah definitely, from writing a book, to seeing it turned into a movie, you want to be cautious when it’s a personal story. We’re humbled and touched by the reaction so far.

Read the rest of the interview after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Feb102017

Interview: 'Tanna' Directors Martin Butler and Bentley Dean on Australian Cinema, Oscar Season and Movies They Love

By Jose Solís.

At first glance Tanna might seem like another take on the Romeo and Juliet story, as we see two star-crossed lovers, living in the title South Pacific island, fight their way in a society that doesn’t understand their love. But upon giving it a closer look, the film reveals itself to be a fascinating anthropological study about the way in which ancient civilizations have been able to maintain their traditions for centuries, as the colonizers around them always seem to be on the verge of self-destruction. Watching the idyllic living of the Ni-Vanuatu people in the film makes one wish our governments also found ways to listen to everyone in the community. But even when it’s clear that not everything in the island is good, after all they’re living in a conservative patriarchal society, directors Bentley Dean and Martin Butler are able to remove all romanticism, and deliver a document that works as a love story and an insightful look at a culture we know very little about.

The gorgeously shot Tanna features wonderful acting by the locals, non-professional actors who were chosen based on qualities that best approximated the characters they would play. For example leading man Mungau Dain was chosen because everyone believed he was the most handsome man on the island, and his leading lady Marie Wawa was chosen for her strength. The film was warmly received at the 2016 Venice Film Festival where it picked up two awards, and was selected as Australia’s Oscar submission for Best Foreign Language Film, making the final five when nominations were announced. I spoke to the directors about the challenges of shooting the film, their love for movies, and Oscar season.

Read the interview after the jump.

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Friday
Jan132017

Interview: Pablo Larraín on his recent triple - Jackie, Neruda, and The Club

Portman and Pablo at the premiere of JACKIE (2016)by Nathaniel R

Pablo Larraín, currently Chile's most celebrated director, first broke into the festival circuit via his second film, the violent and disturbing Tony Manero (2008). I found it so upsetting that I thought I'd never risk another one of his features. That resolve didn't last long. His international breakthrough No (2012), was a hit with audiences, critics, and the Oscars and surprisingly enjoyable too. But due to the always unpredictable release dates of movies, we didn't see his work again until 2016 and then there were three movies at once, the sex predator priest drama El Club, the playful writer on the lam whatsit Neruda, and of course the outstanding Oscar hopeful Jackie.

You might call this Pablo's Year but for the fact that he doesn't coddle the audience and his films are as likely to unsettle and challenge as they are to reward you with their significant pleasures like fascinating performances, strong themes, unexpected humor, and emotional acuity.

When we found an opportunity to talk I figured I'd jump into the deep end about the unsettling nature of so many of his features. Our interview follows...

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Thursday
Jan122017

Interview: Denis Villeneuve on "Arrival" and his Future with Sci-Fi

by Nathaniel R

Though awards season is a roller coaster of emotion each year, one of its purely happiest annual trends is the sudden recognition of talent that have been doing consistently fine work all along. This year's "it's about time!" contender is surely 49 year old French-Canadian director Denis Villeneuve. A famous director at home with six wins at Canada's own Oscars, "the Genies," people are still learning his name in Hollywood and beyond. His international breakthrough was Incendies (2010) about twin siblings journeying to the war torn Middle East. It was nominated for the BAFTA and the Oscar for Best Foreign Language film. Since that breakthrough his profile in Hollywood has steadily risen and he's shown a gift for directing movie stars, versatility with genre, and a particularly refined skill at building and maintaining tension at feature length which has provided thrilling moments in all of his recent films from Prisoners (2013), Enemy (2013), Sicario (2015), and on to his current biggest hit yet  Arrival (2016).

Today he received a DGA nomination for Best Director, the surest awards season sign that a movie will be a Best Picture contender at the Oscars. Our conversation follows...

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Tuesday
Jan102017

Interview: Gael García Bernal on Neruda, Zorro, and Other Characters

This weekend at the Golden Globes, an unexpected but not all that surprising reunion of the best friends / stars of the Oscar nominated road trip classic Y Tu Mama Tambíen (2001) occured. Both Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna came to international fame together in the early Aughts and they're both still riding high in movies from Hollywood and outside of it.

I had the opportunity to speak with Bernal a month ago about his sturdy career, its auteurist origins, and his current busy playfulness. He's now juggling streaming television stardom (Mozart in the Jungle), occasional directing gigs, frequent producing duties, upcoming starring roles (Zorro?) and still doing what he was doing in his very first years of fame: headlining artistically ambitious Spanish language Oscar submissions. Though neither of his current films (Mexico's Desierto and Chile's Neruda) made Oscar's finalist list, Neruda did receive a well deserved Golden Globe nomination.

Gael full plate is just rewards for his sturdy talent and impressive range but it's also a very happy reminder that some mesmerizing debuts like his own in the Oscar nominated Amores Perros (2000) don't result in flash in the pan quick fades but long and beautiful careers.

NATHANIEL R: Your first movie Amores Perros was an international success and you've been busy ever since. How much of this career did you imagine for yourself back then?

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Monday
Jan092017

A Cocktail with Nicole, Always Our Leading Lady.

UNICEF held a screening of Lion this past week in Manhattan with stars Nicole Kidman and Dev Patel and Sunny Pawar (who share the protagonist role of Saroo). I finally had the pleasure of getting some face time with Nicole at the party afterwards. The Monkey Bar's main room has restaurant tables and chairs circling the a big slightly lower open area where the stars enter and are then typically bombarded by press, photographers, and industry wellwishers.

The crowd gave adorable little Sunny plenty of space, looking so tiny and a bit overwhelmed while taking press photos, before he headed to a private table. Dev Patel worked the room shaking hands at tables. Nicole, at least from my vantage point, stayed in the center; you came to her. As it should be.

The statuesque star towered over me (she's only 1" taller, but, add heels)...

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