Interview: NY Filmmaker Jim Strouse on Making Uplifting Indie Films

Jim Strouse

“You really have to drive your own train and you have to keep it running.” Yes indeed. Meet Jim Strouse. Also known as James C. Strouse. Jim is a filmmaker originally from Indiana, who now lives in New York City. If you don’t recognize his name, hopefully you will recognize his films – Grace Is Gone (in 2007), The Winning Season (in 2009), People Places Things (in 2015), and now this year he has brought us The Incredible Jessica James. Jessica James stars the talented Jessica Williams as Jessica James in an optimistic, engaging story of a struggling playwright in New York. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, like every film Jim has made, and is being released by Netflix – it’s available to watch now. I caught up with Jim at the Sundance Film Festival this year for a chat, and I’m happy to finally present our interview in full. I love his films and I’m glad I had the chance to talk with him out there. ›››

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‘Blade Runner 2049’ Featurette Reveals Stunning New Footage, Making Of the Movie

Blade Runner 2049 featurette

“We want people to look at it and say, ‘Wow that’s a beautiful shot. How did they get it?’” visual effects supervisor John Nelson says in the new featurette for Denis Villeneuve‘s Blade Runner 2049, the sequel to the 1982 sci-fi classic, Blade Runner.

That’s how I spent much of the time watching the featurette, which showcases more of the film’s stunning cinematography, courtesy of Roger Deakins, and establishes Blade Runner 2049 as the most visually breathtaking movie of the year. New footage delves into the story of Officer K (Ryan Gosling) and Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford, returning to his famous role), as well as gives us a hint at characters that we hadn’t yet seen.

Watch the Blade Runner 2049 featurette below.

The exclusive featurette from People opens on Officer K playing a futuristic juke box from which pops up a hologram of Frank Sinatra, moodily singing as Officer K wanders through an abandoned lounge. Deckard shows up, gun raised, and they warily greet each other. Watch it here:

The story of Blade Runner 2049 follows Officer K, Los Angeles Police Department officer who discovers a grand conspiracy to destroy all of civilization. This sets him off on a mission to find Deckard, who has been missing for three decades — roughly the time that took place between the first Blade Runner and its 2017 sequel.

“When I dreamt the original Blade Runner over 35 years ago, I could never imagine how iconic it would still be,” Ridley Scott, who directed the original film and executive produces the sequel, says.

The featurette continues with interviews from cast members, including Ford, Gosling and Jared Leto, as well as the technical crew in charge of the visuals and art.

“I have massive respect for Ridley Scott’s world. Blade Runner revolutionized the way we view science fiction,” Villeneuve says. “I’ve never felt so much pressure on my shoulders, thinking Ridley Scott would see this movie.”

But art director Paul Inglis assures us that Blade Runner 2049 won’t be simply playing into nostalgia for the original Blade Runner. “It’s not just a replica of the first film,” Inglis said. “We’re marrying the familiar with the slightly divergent in order to give us an identity.”

Apart from the behind-the-scenes shots of the film, we see new footage of Officer K and Deckard’s meeting, new grimy and neon-soaked settings, and a brief glimpse at a replicant that looks oddly like Dave Bautista, possibly giving a hint of who he’ll be playing.

Blade Runner 2049

The footage also teases at a deeper mystery surrounding Officer K, with a character telling him “You’re special,” and the footage ominously ending with him staring at his hand, troubled. “This is impossible,” he says.

Blade Runner 2049 hits theaters October 6.

The post ‘Blade Runner 2049’ Featurette Reveals Stunning New Footage, Making Of the Movie appeared first on /Film.


5 Hottest Novels by Women Ripe for Making into Film

With director Park Chan-wook wooing audiences around the world with his sumptuous, imaginative reworking of Sarah Waters’s novel Fingersmith, in his erotic thriller The Handmaiden, you’d be forgiven for thinking books by women get snapped up to be made into film all the time. Yet frustratingly, female writers are still routinely dismissed as being ‘too domestic’, when in truth the clarity of their storytelling and their nuanced examination of human relationships scream ‘ready-made for cinema’. There are entire bookstores of novels by women that haven’t (as yet!) been adapted. So here at Raindance we aim to rectify that situation, with our pick of the hidden gems – the Top 5 Hottest Novels By Women we believe deserve a book-to-film deal:

5 Hottest Novels by Women Ripe for Making into Film

THE GUSTAV SONATA by Rose Tremain (Vintage)
A familiar World War 2/Holocaust backdrop but in an unusual, visually enticing Swiss setting, Tremain spins the tale of the unlikely friendship lasting into middle age between a well-heeled Swiss boy and an anxious Jewish piano prodigy. The film industry could use a fresh angle on the impact of war on relationships, and this novel, structured in three movements (echoing the sonata of the title) might just provide it, especially if accompanied by a soaring score to reflect the agony of lives half lived.



INVISIBLE THREADS by Lucy Beresford (Quartet)
Part missing person thriller, part exposé of India’s sex trade, Beresford’s shortlisted novel is also a love story. Searching Delhi for answers about her husband’s mysterious death, English doctor Sara falls for her low-caste driver Hemant but gets sucked into a world where prostitutes as young as seven writhe in pink polyester saris. As might be expected from the host of a radio sex show, Beresford’s novel has pungent things to say about sexual desire. It’s City of Joy meets Taken, with a plucky female heroine (we’re thinking Felicity Jones) – the perfect formula for film adaptation.



THE LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS by Ursula K. Le Guin (Orbit)
With Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale newly adapted for British television, now is a good time to revisit other feminist works of alternative universes. Le Guin’s novel from the 1980s has stood the test of time in its explorations about gender and politics. It’s set on a planet called Winter where the weather is semi-arctic, and all people are all sexes rolled into one. Plus, if you believe the world needs a more feminist Lord of the Rings, Le Guin’s imaginative world gives masses of scope for a big-budget film within the fantasy genre.




STATE OF WONDER by Ann Patchett (Bloomsbury)
Patchett’s shortlisted novel lays bare the powerful rivalries within academia, as scientist Marina journeys deep into the Amazon rain forest to search for her colleague (and secret lover) Dr. Swenson who might have found a miracle cure based on tree bark. Think The Emerald Forest meets Medicine Man, but with two terrific female leads, as Marina clashes with a former medical mentor. It’s a story we reckon contains plenty of scope for a meaty on-screen battle of ideas as well as cultures.



BLACK DIRT by Nell Leyshon (Picador)
Frank has come home to die, a morphine drip controlling his pain. As he drifts in and out of consciousness, Holy Grail myths and enchanting stories from his childhood compete with uglier memories and the immediate need to make arrangements for his disturbed son. We envisage a film adaptation which celebrates the rural idyll as much as it charts the end of a life, to make a thoughtful, atmospheric film along the lines of The Sea Inside by Alejandro Amenábar – reunited perhaps with Javier Bardem to play Frank.

The post 5 Hottest Novels by Women Ripe for Making into Film appeared first on Raindance.


Watch: 3 Things Spike Jonze Does When Making Movies about Loneliness

How does director Spike Jonze use imagery to communicate a deep sense of loneliness in his work?

Loneliness is a universal emotion. Every person on Earth has felt it at one point in their lives—the dead weight, the echoing pang, the electric skin that fires every time it’s touched. Because it’s such a huge part of the human experience, filmmakers have been making films about loneliness since the beginning of cinema, but one director that really stands out in his filmic exploration of it is Spike Jonze.

His lonely characters are some of the most memorable: Craig and Lotte Schwartz from Being John Malkovich, Max from Where the Wild Things Are, and, of course, Theodore from Her. But how does Jonze reproduce this very intense, very common experience cinematically? In this video essay from Studio Binder, we get to see three ways he uses cinematography to do it.

Though it’s not very comprehensive, the list of Jonze’s techniques that are mentioned in the video is a great place to start.

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Wife brilliantly trolls her husband for making a sexist joke


Never mess with those who feed you, especially if they’re making you a delicious sandwich.

Redditor vollkoemmenes broke that cardinal rule by telling his wife a sexist joke just as she was making him a sandwich for his lunch.

“Called my wife a sandwich maker,” he wrote. 

Big mistake, dude. 

To get revenge, his wife decided to leave that little sleeve of plastic over his processed orange cheese. And to add one final touch to her trolling, she wrote “NOT SORRY” in black marker to sure that vollkoemmenes knew this was no mistake. Read more…

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Watch: Michael Bay Discusses Making ‘Transformers: The Last Knight’

Transformers: The Last Knight Featurette

“I’m here to keep 3D alive, and the only way to make it the best experience for you, is to shoot it natively.” Paramount has released a new making of featurette for Transformers: The Last Knight, and it’s pretty much nothing but Michael Bay talking about filming this new sequel. As much as I know that most of us are not that excited for this movie, this is one of the best featurettes I’ve ever seen. There’s tons of cool behind-the-scenes footage, it’s almost all Bay showing us a look at his workplace(s), and it’s not made up of existing footage that we’ve already seen in other trailers. This stars Mark Wahlberg, Anthony Hopkins, Laura Haddock, John Goodman, Stanley Tucci, John Turturro, Josh Duhamel, Isabela Moner, Santiago Cabrera, and Liam Garrigan. Maybe this will change your mind about this movie? Have fun. ›››

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5 Ways to Survive Making a Film with Your Best Friend

Here are five tips for making a real film with your literal BFF and living to tell the tale.

[Editor’s Note: In this series, Seed&Spark interviews creators of recent S&S releases about steps they took on their paths to distribution.]

Many of us come up with fun ideas for films when we’re hanging out with friends, but when we’re lucky, those films actually happen. Andrea Grano and Tara Karsian’s feature-length comedy BFFs came out of a joke that they could use couple’s counseling—as a pair of friends. At first they thought the idea had legs as a short, but the more they wrote, the clearer it became that this could be a more significant piece. In the film, best friends Katherine (Karsian) and Samantha (Grano) pretend to be a couple to take advantage of a free couple’s retreat. While there, the friends discover that there may be more to their relationship that they thought. Part buddy film, part rom-com, BFFs features a strong supporting cast, including Jenny O’Hara (Mystic River, The Mindy Project), Sean Maher (Firefly, Arrow), and Richard Moll (Night Court.)

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Teaser Trailer for ‘The Beach Boys: Making Pet Sounds’ Documentary

The Beach Boys: Making Pet Sounds

“It’s totally different to anything that was going on at that time. It was the leader, and everybody followed that.” Showtime has debuted a teaser trailer for their new documentary The Beach Boys: Making Pet Sounds, telling the story of The Beach Boys iconic album. The film features exclusive interviews with Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston, and David Marks, and will explore “the story of the creation of the record that cemented The Beach Boys reputation as a leading force to rival The Beatles.” The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds was released in May of 1966, and the film chronicles their time in and out of the studio creating the songs. This first aired on BBC, but Showtime has added new footage for the US premiere. This might be a good companion to the Brian Wilson film Love & Mercy from a few years ago. Take a look/listen. ›››

Continue reading Teaser Trailer for ‘The Beach Boys: Making Pet Sounds’ Documentary

This nail polish is made from prosecco — making you both sparkly and tipsy


‘Prosecco Polish’ is edible nail polish that could actually get you tipsy. The nail shade is from Groupon and is sure to be a big hit with fans of the bubbly beverage

Just lick your fingers responsibly. Read more…

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