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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

From the Mouths of Filmmakers: Marshall Curry

Director Marshall Curry Photo Credit: Bill Gallagher 
By Marshall Curry and Joshua Handler 

Recently I've been disturbed by the amount of people who don't seek out independent films, non-English-language films, and classics.  So, I asked the filmmakers or distributors who I believe to be the most original voices in the industry to submit responses to four questions about if/why they think indies/non-English-language films/classics are important to view and how they've been influential on their careers.

The response below is from Marshall Curry, director/producer/editor of POINT AND SHOOT, a superb documentary that won the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival.  I said the following about POINT AND SHOOT when I reviewed it out of Tribeca: "It is a multi-dimensional portrait of a unique man, it is a powerful story of war, and it is an important historical document.  How many movies can one say that about?"  Marshall's first documentary, STREET FIGHT, was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary, his second film, RACING DREAMS, won the Tribeca Film Festival, and his third film, IF A TREE FALLS: A STORY OF THE EARTH LIBERATION FRONT, was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary.  
Matthew VanDyke sitting in the prison cell in POINT AND SHOOT. Photographer: Nouri Fonas

Do you feel that it is important for aspiring filmmakers and filmgoers to view independent and world cinema and why?/Do you feel that it is important for aspiring filmmakers and filmgoers to view classics and why?
There's a great interview I once heard where the scientist Oliver Sacks is being asked why he thinks it's important for kids to study science.  And he says, "We'll I don't study science because I think it's important.  I just study it because I think it's so interesting." 

I sort of feel the same way about foreign and independent film.  I just watch them because they are interesting-- they challenge and stretch and also entertain me.
How has viewing indies and films from around the world helped you as a filmmaker?
My filmmaking has definitely been influenced by the films I have seen-- docs, independent film, foreign films and also Hollywood drivel.  I see things that I like and try to incorporate them into my work, and the things I don't like I try to avoid.
What's one American indie and one film not in English that you would recommend that film-lovers or young/aspiring filmmakers see?
I think Memento is an amazing indie film.  And Run Lola Run is another of my favorites (which also qualifies as a foreign language film).
The next response will be from Sumyi Khong Antonson, Vice President of Marketing and Distribution for Drafthouse Films.

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