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Thumbnails 8/30/19

Thumbnails is a roundup of brief excerpts to introduce you to articles from other websites that we found interesting and exciting. We provide links to the original sources for you to read in their entirety.—Chaz Ebert

1. 

"Floor Adams on 'Mind My Mind'": The Netherlands-based director chats with me at Indie Outlook about her prize-winning short film richly deserving of Oscar consideration.

“Most of the time, people say that in animation, you have to do all your editing at the beginning. A brilliant animatic won’t require the need for any editors. When you are shooting live-action, an actor can walk in and out of the frame, and you decide afterwards where to cut it. In animation, there are no additional options or alternate takes for the editor to work with. Yet Luuk [Poels] showed how we could tweak certain moments by making them just a few frames longer. If you used this technique on footage with human actors, it would make the people onscreen look dead, but in animation, the character simply appears to be staring for a slightly longer period of time. Independently made animated projects tend to be abstract and experimental, but this film takes an approach to its storytelling that is more in line with live-action. That being said, this never could’ve been a live-action film. Before this movie, I had only made animated shorts that you can find on my website. About ten years ago, I did a series of shorts that each lasted a minute or two and took a different perspective on a familiar fairy tale. One illustrates how Snow White’s stepmother may have had borderline personality disorder, while another suggests that the wolf may simply have wanted to marry Red Riding Hood. Like all my previous shorts, these were made in the context of something else—in this case, a fairy tale exhibition. I was a bit fearful of making a film where I would be creatively free, and that’s what ‘Mind My Mind’ is. The story fueled everything, and I wanted it to reach a wide audience.” 

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2. 

"Alex Thompson and Kelly O'Sullivan": The brilliant filmmaking duo behind one of the year's best pictures, "Saint Frances," are included by Filmmaker Magazine among the 25 New Faces of Independent Film 2019.

“As ‘Saint Frances’ begins, thirtysomething Bridget — professionally stuck and in an unrewarding relationship — picks up a nannying job for a mixed-race lesbian couple. Her early dates with the mischievous Frances don’t go well, and when Bridget terminates an unplanned pregnancy, resulting complications leave her constantly fatigued — a medical condition that leads to a bonding moment later with Maya, one of Frances’s mothers (Charin Alvarez), who suffers from debilitating postpartum depression. By its emotional finale, ‘Saint Frances’ is not a comedic two-hander but a sensitive ensemble dramedy that subtly tackles issues such as racism, reproductive rights and the emotional perils of an achievement-based culture. And then there’s the blood. Blood — both menstrual and postsurgical — appears suddenly and startlingly throughout ‘Saint Frances.’ ‘The movie is all about the ways that women are made to feel ashamed of their bodies, their choices and inherent parts of womanhood,’ says O’Sullivan. ‘It’s annoyed me that [menstrual blood] has never made its way believably on screen — even in TV commercials for tampons, the liquid is blue! Knowing that we would be tackling this subject matter in a realistic and authentic way, the only way to do that is show it the way it is. ‘Saint Frances’ is a feminist film, and I wanted to approach it so that these inherent parts of womanhood would take place on screen, not off.’”

3.

"What's the Statue of Limitations on Movie Spoilers?": Asks our contributor Donald Liebenson at The Washington Post.

“Gary Thompson, film critic for the Philadelphia Inquirer, recently wrote about the anniversary of M. Night Shyamalan’s ‘The Sixth Sense,’ and he issued a ‘spoiler alert for a 20-year-old movie’ before referencing the film’s now-iconic twist. An angry reader chewed him out for revealing the surprise. ‘There is a subset of readers that will never forgive spoilers, even if there are spoiler alerts,’ Thompson said. ‘Unless a work of art has achieved massive and long-standing cultural penetration, you run the risk of alienating readers. You can probably say that Hamlet dies. Or that Sonny dies on the causeway. Beyond that, you are on perilous ground.’ Don’t be too sure about ‘Hamlet.’ Matt Zoller Seitz, senior television critic for New York magazine and editor at large for RogerEbert.com, said that a reader recently went after him on Twitter for revealing the ending to that more than 400-year-old play. To tell or not to tell? That is the question for thoughtful film critics, who at heart are film lovers, respectful of the filmmaking process. Even the hint that there is a plot twist can affect the movie-watching experience.”

4. 

"For Julia Louis-Dreyfus, returning to 'Veep' after cancer was salvation": As detailed in her conversation with Glenn Whipp of The Los Angeles Times.

“[Whipp:] ‘You walked that tonal tightrope all the time on ‘Veep.’ And you’re remaking ‘Force Majeure,’ a movie replete with flawed characters.’ [Louis-Dreyfus:] ‘Likability is overrated. I loved the dynamic between the husband and wife in ‘Force Majeure.’ And it showed that how you view your life can shift completely in a heartbeat. Exploring that sudden lens shift in understanding your reality appealed to me.’ [Whipp:] ‘You and your husband, Brad Hall, lived that lens shift with your diagnosis, which Brad said maybe ended up being a kind of lucky thing, allowing you to take stock. Do you feel that way?’ [Louis-Dreyfus:] ‘If you’re trying to look at the positive, I feel that way. I’d rather not have gone through it. But I became keenly aware of how precious this life is — my life, life in general. I’ve walked through that. If someone had said to me, ‘You’re going to have chemotherapy,’ I’d be like, ‘What?’ It’s every cliché you’ve ever heard. ‘Wait. That doesn’t happen to me. It happens to other people.’ And then it happens to you. And you get through it, if you’re lucky. In my case, I did. I’ve known people who haven’t, so I’m really happy I did. Really happy.’”

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5. 

"McHenry Outdoor Theater: A place where the good times live on": An ode to Scott Dehn's invaluable drive-in located north of Chicago, penned by Lindsay Weber of The Northwest Herald

“‘One of my earliest memories is being at the drive-in with my parents and grandparents. I didn’t think it would be fair if kids didn’t have an opportunity to make their own memories,’ Dehn said. In 2012, the push for drive-ins to ‘get with the times’ and convert from projectors to digital was a big, expensive threat to the McHenry Outdoor’s future. Luckily, Dehn won the much-needed digital projector through Honda’s ‘Project Drive-In,’ the automaker’s plan to save five drive-ins within the U.S. by awarding them the costly digital equipment. Though technically the Outdoor is very modern and the cars that stream in aren’t of the hot rod or classic variety, unless the theme night calls for it, the look, the feel and the concessions are nods to nostalgia and simpler times. Families huddled under blankets passing large buckets of popcorn, couples in the back of a pickup sharing a Super Rope, friends with lawn chairs sprawled out sharing a laugh and some food is just another night on the lot, all waiting for the hot dog to hop in the bun, the sun to set and the show to begin. ‘They seek us out because there aren’t many left. It’s nostalgic,’ Dehn said. ‘The music playing and the car noises. I walk the fine line of being old and nostalgic. We’re up on the tech, but it’s hidden behind the old-fashioned look. It’s truly a living time capsule.’”

Image of the Day

The Washington Post's Michael Cavna details the real-life romance that blossomed between Wayne Allwine and Russi Taylor, a.k.a. the voices of Mickey and Minnie Mouse.  

Video of the Day

Kevin Pollack, the Chicago-based actor and musician who portrayed Roger Ebert in The Black Ensemble Theater's "The Black White Love Play," presents his first music video, "Man About Town," and it's a catchy charmer. 

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