Acclaimed indie director Deborah Kampmeier’s raw new film ‘SPLit ‘ adds a third to her award-winning streak of films that tackle sexuality on screen.
SPLit is the third feature from Deborah Kampmeier. It’s an elegant, nightmarish film roiling with the tensions of femininity. The film features Inanna (Amy Ferguson), who is an actor by day and stripper by night. Her manic love affair with a troubled mask-maker spirals into violence. Inanna’s descent into this abusive relationship is paralleled by the play in which she is set to star, not coincidentally titled “The Descent of Inanna.” Through myth, fantasy and eruptive performance, Kampmeier entwines archetype and realism, bringing her audience on an unapologetic journey into womanhood.
Kampmeier’s previous features were highly acclaimed. Her first film, Virgin, starring Elisabeth Moss, was nominated for two Independent Spirit Awards. Then Hounddog, starring Dakota Fanning, was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. These works form a loose trilogy examining the development of female sexuality.
“Why not allow different directors to put on the same opera and see how the directors do it differently?” There’s nothing like talking with filmmakers about their films. The best interviews are when the discussion starts naturally and flows in different directions. We could keep talking for hours, if only the publicist didn’t come in and cut us off. I interviewed Hugh Jackman a few years ago for the release of The Wolverine, but this time I wanted to talk to the director – James Mangold. I was lucky to get time with James after the premiere of his new Wolverine film, Logan, at the Berlin Film Festival. We talked about making this movie something unique, as well as his dislike for movie “universes”, the freedom of the R-rating, and much more. ›››
Cory Finley’s ‘Thoroughbred,’ bought by Focus Features at Sundance, is an impeccably designed dark comedy for the ages.
You could describe Cory Finley’s Sundance premiere as Heathers meets Cruel Intentions meets The Shining, by way of Equus. Then again, it’s none of those—Thoroughbred its own weird, deliciously dark, feral creature.
In this episode of Indie Film Weekly, we debate whether or not America’s biggest day of ad spending helps aspiring directors.
Co-hosts Jon Fusco, Emily Buder, and yours truly, Liz Nord discuss this year’s crop of filmmaker-helmed Super Bowl spots, and whether contests that ask directors to work on spec are helpful or harmful to indie makers. Plus, it’s a bumper week for new lenses, awards season marches on, and we say goodbye to tripod innovator Lino Manfrotto. In Ask No Film School, Charles Haine gives tips on creating a film that appears to be shot in one long take. As always, we also bring you the latest gear news, upcoming grant and festival deadlines, this week’s indie film releases, and other notable things you might have missed while you were busy making films.
Listen to the episode by streaming or downloading from the embedded player above, or find on iTunes here.
Co-founder and former member of Blink-182, Tom DeLonge, is making his feature directorial debut with Strange Times, a movie that sounds right up the author and musician’s alley. DeLonge, who’s a big believer in aliens and “the phenomenon,” is making an R-rated movie about skateboarders looking into the paranormal activity going on in their town. The film is based on DeLonge’s Strange Times trilogy, a series he’s co-writing that began with “Strange Times: The Ghost In the Girl.”
Below, learn more about Tom DeLonge directing the Strange Times movie his first feature below.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the skateboarders go on an adventure they didn’t anticipate. DeLonge and all involved started the Strange Times series in 2011. Originally, it was a website on the “unexplained phenomena,” but then it led to a graphic novel and the trilogy of young adult science-fiction novels DeLonge is co-writing with Geoff Herbach. The first entry in the series, The Ghost in the Girl, was released last October. The story follows characters who appeared in the former Blint-182 member’s first graphic novel, Strange Times: The Curse of Superstition Mountain.
DeLonge’s band, Angels and Airwaves, is writing original music for the film, which is expected to start production this fall. The director and executive producer co-wrote the script with Ben Kull, based on some of DeLonge’s experiences of growing up in California:
I grew up in Southern California as a disaffected young skateboarder who broke the occasional law or five, and I was always dreaming about the world around me, obsessively looking for the more unusual and imaginative experiences that life has to offer. That’s the inspiration behind Strange Times, which is about the tribe of broken youth and the restless spirit that inspired me to form Blink-182 and seek out adventure.
Strange Times technically isn’t DeLonge’s first directing effort. The musician made the 2014 animated short Poet Anderson: The Dream Walker, which you can check out on iTunes. Here’s a trailer for it:
DeLonge has been busy writing since he stopped making music with former bandmates Mark Hoppus and drummer Travis Barker. When he left Blink-182, there was some confusion over what exactly transpired. DeLonge said he never officially quit or was fired. He’d consider playing with them again one day, but in a Rolling Stone piece linked to above, it’s clear he wants to continue pursuing other interests, whether it be Angels and Airwaves, comics, or UFOs. At one point, according to DeLonge, he was even working on a Marvel project, which might’ve involved Blink-182.
Gael García Bernal and Anand Giridharadas explored how empathy affects their lives and work at Sundance.
The current political climate in America is an unavoidable discussion—and it should be, even at Sundance. Art and politics have always been inherently tied to the human condition; art expresses it, and politics regulate it. And while the government continues to directly affect those who make art, the two are inseparable.
In fact, art history’s most fruitful eras were born of socio-political disruption. The decline of the Catholic Church and widespread trauma from the Black Plague gave rise to the Italian Renaissance. Some of America’s most iconic music was written while the country was at war in Vietnam. Through turbulence, artists will rise.
Though Sundance is not an explicitly political event, as Robert Redford mentioned at the opening press conference, the festival simply cannot ignore the stories filmmakers are telling. And many of those are political.
Art and politics have always been inherently tied to the human condition; art expresses it, and politics regulate it.
Courageous cinematographers follow the White Helmets on volunteer rescue missions in war-torn Syria in Firas Fayyad’s Sundance-winning documentary.
“Are you leaving Aleppo?” It’s the only question left asking in a city of ashes.
But there’s no time for an answer: the roar of a warplane rips across the sky. A sonic boom reverberates throughout the city. Two young men wearing white helmets rush toward the smoke and chaos in a ramshackle van. In its wake, a bomb has reduced a couple large apartment buildings to rubble.
“Who lived here?” one of the White Helmets asks a stunned civilian covered in soot.
“My babies are in there! My babies!” The civilian pleads with the men to rescue his children. His wife has already been found dead. After an hours-long makeshift excavation process, four children are pulled from the wreckage—two young boys are saved, but it is too late for their baby sisters.
As the sun sets on Aleppo, the White Helmets look to the ground, and then back up at the ominous sky.
“How can we make a cinematic movie inside Syria, very close to the bombing, to the war, to the dangers?”