Niagara Falls is a frigid, beautiful wonderland right now


It’s bitterly cold across parts of the U.S. and Canada right now, and the freezing temps aren’t going away anytime soon

The bright side? Pretty pictures. In Chicago, people captured stunning images of their frozen city. And the images hitting Instagram from Niagara Falls have been beautiful. 

I mean, look at these photos, which went viral after journalist Muhammad Lila posted them on Twitter: 

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AFF Review: Kooky Sci-Fi Indie Film ‘Everything Beautiful is Far Away’

Everything Beautiful is Far Away

I love stumbling upon quirky indie gems that haven’t been fully discovered yet, but are totally original and skillfully crafted. Everything Beautiful is Far Away is one of these films, which I decided to see on a whim at the American Film Festival, and I’m very glad I took a chance on it. This homemade indie film was filmed entirely at the Algodones Dunes in California, and stars actors Joseph Cross and Julia Garner. While it is technically sci-fi, set in the near future when cities have continued to expand and massive deserts are all that surrounds them, the film’s story is actually more of a metaphor for relationships. It’s very similar thematically to Swiss Army Man, addressing the difficulties of loneliness and of love in our modern world. ›››

Continue reading AFF Review: Kooky Sci-Fi Indie Film ‘Everything Beautiful is Far Away’

A Filmmaker’s Guide to Shooting Beautiful Wedding Ceremonies

How do you go about capturing one of the most important days in a couple’s life?

Even if feature filmmaking is the big dream for you, wedding videography can be a major, even necessary stepping stone on the road to making it come true. Shooting such emotional, important, once-in-a-lifetime events, however, can be one of the most difficult and stressful things you ever do as a creative, but to help you be able to handle the chaos of your clients’ big day, Parker Walbeck and Brenden Bytheway offer up a ton of pointers on how they anticipate and prepare for it all so they’re not exchanging memory cards while the couple’s exchanging rings—or something equally as horrifying.

Before we get to the takeaways from the video (and there are a lot), take a look at the final product from the couple’s special day:

Now, here are the takeaways I thought would be most helpful for new wedding videographers:

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No Film School

Beautiful Official Trailer for Sean Baker’s Excellent ‘The Florida Project’

The Florida Project Trailer

“Thank you very much!” “You’re not welcome!” A24 has debuted the first official trailer for the outstanding indie film The Florida Project, the latest feature from Tangerine director Sean Baker. This premiered at the Cannes Film Festival this year to rave reviews – read mine here. The film tells the story of Halley, played by Bria Vinaite, and her daughter Moonee, played by Brooklynn Prince. They live at The Magic Castle, a motel in Orlando just in the backyard of Disneyland. Moonee and her friends run around causing all kinds of trouble and it’s such a delight to watch them. Willem Dafoe also stars in one of his best performances of his career, and I really mean that. This film is really something special, and you can see why with this trailer – which captures the magic and charm of this beautiful film just perfectly. One of the year’s best indie gems. ›››

Continue reading Beautiful Official Trailer for Sean Baker’s Excellent ‘The Florida Project’

12 of the most beautiful office buildings in the world


Office buildings can be drab, dreary, and downright dreadful. 

They don’t have to beThe 2017 World Architecture Festival has released its shortlist for the most beautiful office buildings in the world—and you can seem them below in all their angular glory.

You probably don’t work in any of these, but everyone needs career goals. 

Pull & Bear Central Headquarters, Narón, Spain

Not just pretty on the outside, the building boasts four courtyards, an open staircase, and glazed elevators. 

Image: WAF

Västgötagatan 5, Stockholm, Sweden

 ”Considering the previously introspective and somber appearance designed back in the 70’s characterized by small windows, a heavy green façade and an interior designed for a single tenant, the need for an uplift and modernization was obvious,” wrote architecture firm Equator Stockholm in the project description. Read more…

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Be Inspired by The Most Beautiful Shots in Cinema of the 21st Century

The Most Beautiful Shots in Film of the 21st Century

Movies can be exhilarating experiences, capturing life and all its beauty in ways that can’t even be described. There are so many unforgettable moments, so many shots and scenes that stay with us forever. The Most Beautiful Shots of the 21st Century is a short video compiled by Ignacio Montalvo, which highlights some of the best shots over the last 16 years. This will inspire you and fill you with emotion, reminding you why movies are so wonderful. I love that he includes shots from some of my favorites: Sunshine, Big Fish, Fellowship of the Ring, The Squid and the Whale, 500 Days of Summer, Her, Black Swan, Mad Max: Fury Road. I also adore the scene from Xavier Dolan’s Mommy (which I wrote an entire article about). Pure bliss. ›››

Continue reading Be Inspired by The Most Beautiful Shots in Cinema of the 21st Century

Small Is Beautiful: The Perks of Zero Budget Filmmaking

Zero budget filmmaking may sound like a terrible idea. After all, if you look at the marketplace as it stands currently, you’ll see all the super-heroes squishing everyone else out of your local cinema, you’ll see the hundreds of millions of dollars shine in the spotlight and relegate anything else to the background.

However, if you look at the names of the filmmakers that are now directing tentpole blockbusters, you’ll also find that they are not just Hollywood hacks that are just here to be manipulated by the money people. Yes, money people do pull the strings, but what they buy is not just an industrious outlook on an artistic endeavour, it’s a creative vision. And since that can’t be bought, it means you can achieve it on zero budget.

Small is beautiful

“Small is beautiful” is a phrase that comes from the field of economics and is the title of a 1973 book that greatly criticised the way that Western economy was running. The subtitle was: “A study of economics as if people mattered.” The principal thesis of the book is that an adequate and targeted use of technology which would simply fulfil human needs without going further into greed or the search for profit for profit’s sake would make the economy sustainable. That idea didn’t percolate really well, as the next decade saw the liberal economic policies of the Reagan era and corporations becoming “too big to fail”.

In a seminal talk, director Steven Soderbergh argued that, for purely financial reasons, it made more sense for studios to make bigger films than to spend time doing average-sized movies, once you include marketing and other costs. What that means is: the film business is following the same trend as most Western societies today, which is extreme polarisation between those that are “too big to fail” and those that are small and beautiful —in our case, the blockbusters that are guaranteed to gross over a billion dollars at the box office, and the tiny indie fares.

The mean streets of zero budget filmmaking

Getting money into the bank has always been the struggle of independent filmmakers and public funding cuts that are happening at the moment are merely another iteration of that struggle. However, content creators have an opportunity here. There was a time when the main difficulty was getting your hand on equipment -which was the struggle of masters like Scorsese and Cassevetes, in the days of Who’s That Knocking on my Door and Shadows, respectively. Nowadays, you can shoot a film on your iPhone, the struggle has moved to distribution and getting your film seen -and that can be done with smart social media strategising and very small resources.

There are many ways of leveraging technology and whatever resources you have at your disposal to make your small budget go a long way. For instance, Christopher Nolan on his first feature -which was the zero budget Following– shot a lot near windows in order to use natural lighting. You’ll notice that he did the same on his $ 250 million blockbuster The Dark Knight. The original Star Wars film was an independent film at heart and had a very emotional core that went far beyond the equally enjoyable but less emotional notion of man versus nature that drove the narrative of the oft-compared blockbuster Jaws.

Crowdsourcing your film

Making a film with zero budget means that you, a bright up-and-coming independent filmmaker, have to find more creative ways of breaking into the film industry. That means crowdfunding, that means social media, and that means also how to do things with that principle of “enoughness” that underpins the notion of “small is beautiful”. You may not have plenty, but you will know how to use it. If you desperately something extra (money, gear, a post production studio you can use after office hours): you know where to ask and who to call for favours.

That implies that you’ll need to angle your film towards a niche from its inception. Tangerine was not just an incredible technical achievement, it was also a film that represented a disenfranchised group, transgender people of colour, beautifully and humanely. Therefore, the film had a strong echo in the LGBT community at a time when the world was ready for intersectionality to leave the offices of gender studies and/or subaltern studies researchers and leap into the world.

Embracing zero budget filmmaking may seem like a constraint -but be assured that even films with huge budgets are tempted to ask for more money. You certainly have resources you can harness. The question is how to do so, and to what end. When is not even a question: the time is now.

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Beautiful Second Trailer for Bong Joon Ho’s Animal Rescue Film ‘Okja’

Okja Trailer

“Everything you believe you know about Okja is a lie.” Netflix has launched a second full-length trailer for Bong Joon Ho’s Okja, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival last month to quite a bit of good buzz. The film stars Ahn Seo-hyun as a girl named Mija who befriends a giant pig-hippo-cow creature she calls Okja. When the company that created Okja comes to collect it, Mija goes off on adventure trying to rescue and bring her home. Tilda Swinton is back (from Snowpiercer) in the cast, along with Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano, Lily Collins, Steven Yeun, Giancarlo Esposito, Devon Bostick, Shirley Henderson, Daniel Henshall, and Choi Woo-shik. I saw this in Cannes and enjoyed it, saying in my review: “Only someone as daring, innovative and skilled as Bong Joon Ho could come up with and pull off a film like this.” ›››

Continue reading Beautiful Second Trailer for Bong Joon Ho’s Animal Rescue Film ‘Okja’

SXSW Grand Jury Prize Winner ‘Most Beautiful Island’: Shooting a Gripping Low-Budge Thriller on Super 16

Ana Asensio’s SXSW Grand Jury Prize-winning film ‘Most Beautiful Island’ plumbs the depths of desperation on Super 16.

When we spoke with Ana Asensio and Noah Greenberg, it was the day before the 2017 SXSW awards ceremony. The writer-director-star and cinematographer, respectively, were excited to bring their low-budget run-and-gun film, about the pitfalls of the American dream, to Austin audiences, which are known to embrace first-time directors. (This is Asensio’s filmmaking debut, and the first feature Greenberg has shot on film.) The next day, Most Beautiful Island would win the SXSW Grand Jury Prize for Narrative, the festival’s most coveted distinction.

Shot on gritty Super 16, Most Beautiful Island is the story of an undocumented immigrant woman in New York City whose desperation for employment leads her to take on odd jobs, including a mysteriously lucrative offer to work an elite party for one night. What appears to be a stroke of luck builds to a disturbing climax as Luciana (Asensio) is trapped in an increasingly debasing—and ultimately life-threatening—situation.

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No Film School

Amy Ryan and Steve Carell Team Up Again for Beautiful Boy

The Office's Steve Carell and Amy Ryan reunite for the drug addiction drama Beautiful Boy

The Office’s Steve Carell and Amy Ryan reunite for the drug addiction drama Beautiful Boy

NBC‘s The Office lovebirds Steve Carell (The 40-Year-Old VirginCrazy Stupid Love) and Amy Ryan (Birdman, Gone Baby Gone) are teaming up again for the upcoming addiction drama Beautiful Boy, according to EW. The film will be based on the critically acclaimed 2008 memoir “Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction” by David Sheff. The book, which graced Starbucks store counters around the country after its release as part of the Starbucks Select book series, came out of a 2005 article Sheff wrote for The New York Times Magazine called “My Addicted Son.”

Related: Paramount Pictures Picks Up Rights to Memoirs Tweak and Beautiful Boy

Carell will play David, and Ryan will play Vicki, David’s ex-wife. She was kept away from their son Nic after David was granted primary custody. They have to work together to help combat Nic’s methamphetamine addiction. David’s son Nic wrote his side of the story in the book “Tweak,” which was published alongside “Beautiful Boy” by Simon & Schuster. The rights to both books were picked up by Paramount Pictures back in 2008. “Beautiful Boy” reached #1 on the New York Times Best Seller List on April 6, 2008 and on May 4, 2008. It also won the Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers Award for nonfiction that same year.

Belgian filmmaker Felix van Groeningen (The Broken Circle Breakdown) is on board to direct the film. Groeningen also adapted the screenplay with Lion‘s Luke Davis. Beautiful Boy will be produced by Amazon Studios and Brad Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment.

What do you guys think of Beautiful Boy? Did you read the book when it was on the Best Seller List? Are you excited to see Steve Carell and Amy Ryan team up again? Let us know in the comments or tweet us @ComingSoonnet.


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