Lena Dunham

The race stuff blew up first. The second night we aired was the first time I met my boyfriend; we were on a blind date. I had been metabolizing the criticism all week, and I made a really, really dumb joke that I’m perfectly fine to repeat now ’cause I was fuckin’ 25. I said, ‘No one would be calling me a racist if they knew how badly I wanted to fuck Drake.’ He said, ‘Don’t say that in public; that’s not going to help you.’ I just didn’t get it. I was like, ‘I have the three most annoying white friends, and I’m making a TV show about it.'”
~ Lena Dunham

Anne Helen Petersen On “The Handmaid’s Tale”

The female glance is deeply attuned to textures, to shades of light. You can feel the temperature of the bodies around you, the anxiety and claustrophobia or, alternately, the expansiveness and delight. It’s an almost synesthetic mode of filmmaking, focused not on plot, or narrative, but the capacity of an image to convey a feel. It forces identification with, and empathy for, the way women experience the world — an experience that’s often marked by passive observation and the rhythms of the domestic world. Scenes shot in this way can feel paranoiac, distracted, and disjointed, but that’s just the reality of living in a world where your body, your value, your power is constantly surveilled. If the male gaze disassembles and disempowers, then the female glance puts that world back together on its own terms.
~ Anne Helen Petersen On “The Handmaid’s Tale”

James Gray

“You know, people assume that because I’m a director, I make tons of money. I am struggling financially. Now, I’m very lucky I get to do what it is I want to do. I’ve made, good or bad, very uncompromising movies, the movies exactly that I wanted to make, and that’s a beautiful gift, so I’m not complaining about that. But I struggle. I have a hard time paying my bills. I’m 47 years old, I live in an apartment, I can’t buy a house. If I were coming of age in 1973, I would be in Bel Air. The whole reason for this is exactly what we were talking about, where the middle is gone. So now you have franchises, and you have, ‘I made a movie on my iPhone.’ This is the economic system in a nutshell, right? Five directors make Marvel, and then there’s the rest of us who are trying to scrounge around to find the money to make films. And it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy: If the audience only gets to see Marvel, then they only want Marvel, and then if they only want Marvel, only Marvel is made. I don’t even have a problem with Marvel. The problem is not the specifics of each movie, the problem is it’s the only movie you can see now in a multiplex, and when it’s the only game in town, you’re looking at the beginning of the death throes of an art form.”
~ James Gray

Terrence Davies To Vadim Rizov

“I always knew from the word go that I was not Hollywood material. I knew no one was going to whisk me out and give me $60 million. It’s a practical thing, and it’s a moral thing as well: this is other people’s money, and you cannot waste it. That’s why I write the scripts the way I do: every track, pan, dissolve, every bit of music, every bit of copyright is in there, so I can say — as I’ve just said after writing the first draft of the Siegfried Sassoon film — “Look, the opening and the closing sequences, which will stay as they are, they’re going to be expensive, so you have to know that now.” I’ve been given a measure of success, and I’ve had a chance to have a second career after not working for ten years. Emily Dickinson didn’t even get the initial one, and that’s one of the other things that draws me to her — not only because I love the poetry, but I just wish she had been at the head of the queue, because she deserved it.”
~ Terrence Davies To Vadim Rizov

Werner Herzog

“Self-reliance means, among other things, that as a filmmaker I work on my own budgets … I have a clause in my contracts which allows me to look into the cashflow. Every single day I spend time with an accountant and the line producer just looking at the cash flow, because that’s where you’ll notice that something is going wrong. Every single film I have made was always an uphill battle for finances. Normally it’s a motley sort of arrangement of pre-sales, or TV participation, or an advance guarantee by a distribution company. Sometimes there is hardly any money at all, and I would start it anyway, because when you really have a strong project of great, intense substance, ultimately money will follow you.”
~ Werner Herzog

James Gray

“Movie critics are incredibly important. Movie criticism, and the quality of movie criticism, is very important to the health of the medium. Now, sometimes I don’t like when somebody says I stink—it’s painful. But what is important is that high-quality movie criticism validates the art form in the culture. It reasserts its important in the culture.”
~ James Gray

As your career has gone along, has that time commitment gotten harder to manage? It’s hard to say whether the pace that I’m working at now is a result of that or just a natural evolution and also just a natural aging process. There were years in the past where I was making a lot of work in a very short amount of time, and I’m just not that interested in that anymore. I’m gravitating more towards focusing more on projects and spending a longer time developing stuff. For the first time in my life, over the last two years maybe, I’m interested in not working. I used to just spend as much time as possible each year making as much work as I could possibly make. I’m very much appreciating the downtime in between projects now as opportunities to recharge my batteries and also just to take stock of what’s going on, what I’m interested in, giving myself time to be reading and watching other people’s work. Even just going for walks—stuff that I was never prioritizing earlier now feels like a really healthy and balanced part of a sustained career as an artist. I’ll probably go through waves of rapid production again. I’m sure that’s still kicking around in me as part of my personality, but I’m sort of forcing myself to think about life in a bigger, more complex way, and to make life not be so totally about work, but to also be about experiencing things.
~ Joe Swanberg


“I like to reconcile silver prints with digital, the past with the present. Sometimes I make my work with 35 mm negatives and video, mixing black-and-white and color, still images and movement. At the end of my life, I don’t want to say cinema is against video. I want to use all of these things and play with them and keep my wish to touch people. Not to make them cry, but to touch their sensibility. I’m putting together elements that touch your memory of your own life. I want people to get back to themselves; I don’t want to impose anything. I feel old; I’ve learned a lot, suffered a lot, enjoyed a lot. But I think I’m blessed in the last part of my life to get so much understanding and so much love for my work. I think I’m spoiled, in a way, because I could just be home waiting for my children to visit me and watching TV and sleeping half the time. I’m almost eighty-nine, and I have an incredible, exciting life, so I feel very lucky. I’m most touched when I meet people in the streets who say, “Thank you, you gave me a lot of happiness.” More than when they say “Bravo.” I think it’s more touching to get a “Thank you,” no?”
Agnès Varda

Paul Schrader

“Everyone is different, but they all circle around the same techniques and the same concept of time, of duration. What happens when you don’t cut? When you just wait, and the viewer becomes aware that his experience of watching is part of the experience of the film? Your self-awareness of that time, the endurance of that time, becomes part of the experience. Normally films never work like that because they’re trying to convince you of the opposite. There are still bits of transcendental style. It was a precursor to slow cinema, but it’s not really that slow. A terrific film like Silent Light is closer to transcendental style than slow cinema, but they lump it in with slow cinema now. I just finished directing a film that I’m trying to do as a quiet film. The film that I last did  was extremely aggressive and profane. The motto was: Let’s never be boring. Now I’m editing and the mantra is: How can we use boredom to the best effect?”
~ Paul Schrader On “Slow Cinema”

Eric Hynes On Song To Song

“’I thought we could just roll and tumble,’ Mara says, and like much of her ruminations, it’s a better approximation of pop’s heedless desperation than any specific invocation in the film’s drift through Austin’s music scene. You get glimpses of Iggy Pop and John Lydon, spend an afternoon with Lykke Li, and they’re more as incantations than characters, more textures and backstories to contemplate on the canvas. But nothing feels more appropriate to the endeavor than a blast of Del Shannon’s ‘Runaway,’ which both encapsulates everything transpiring in the film and supports the endless irreducibility of these conflicts and desires. A 73-year-old filmmaker explores the conflicts and milieu of characters several generations younger, reaching back as they reach forward, and meeting in the infinite middle. “
~ Eric Hynes On Song To Song

Lorenzo Semple, Jr.

“Bill Dozier sent me a cable to come up and meet him at The Ritz in Madrid there in the garden of The Ritz, he had a very strange face, as he pulled out of his pocket a “Batman” comic book. Said, “Would you believe it, this is what ABC has given us to do, because they’d owed us one, can you believe it? He was… Was so disdainful of it. I, uh, in all honesty, I took one look at it and thought of it and said, “I know exactly what to do.” I’ll go home and I’ll write it.“ That was the only discussion about “Batman.” The only discussion. As I say I wrote it, Bill loved it, he gave it to ABC, they thought it was excellent, but they were dumbfounded by it because there was nothing like it. All those things like, “Pop!” and “Bam!” were all written into the script. It’s not really that crazy once you get the note of it, you know what I mean? It’s all out of that same… That dead serious nonsense, you know what I mean? Adam was actually perfect for it and Burt in his way, too. All these come out of the same level of dead serious, squareness, if you want to call it that. Dead seriously square. That was… Which isn’t that bizarre compared to modern movies, you know, like Charlie Kaufman. It wasn’t too bizarre. Bill probably thought it was bizarre but we’ve both recognized he was a sophisticated guy. He recognized it as being funny. He didn’t mind me thinking up all these things like Bat-Shark-Repellent or whatever it was when the shark had him by the leg… I guess you could call that bizarre thinking. To me it’s all a part of one type of thinking; do you know what I mean? Bizarre isn’t quite the word, I’d say imaginative.”
Lorenzo Semple, Jr.

Richard Kelly On Restoring Both Versions Of Donnie Darko

“I stand by both cuts and think they can co-exist together. The intention was never to replace or disown the theatrical cut at all. It was just to have an alternate, longer version for people who wanted to dig deeper into the narrative. I was very specific that we wanted to restore both cuts, to have them both be around forever. I always think that there can be more than one version of a film, and some of my favorite films have released multiple versions. There’s probably two versions of every James Cameron film, and a lot of Ridley Scott’s films have longer cuts. It’s great to have that option. I think it’s better for people to watch the theatrical cut first, and if they do want more, they’re welcome to dive into the director’s cut. Some people just want things to be brief, to get in and out. This is about having both options available.”
~ Richard Kelly On Restoring Both Versions Of Donnie Darko


Richard Kelly

“The kind of experience I want to deliver for people is a really complicated story with a lot of layers and a lot of hidden clues spread throughout. I want it to kind of wash over the viewer and leave them a little dizzy. That’s my motive as an artist, to put you in a roller coaster and have you walk out of the theater a little disoriented. And that’s a risk you take, because not everyone is appreciative of that kind of film. A lot of people go to the theater and they want everything spelled out. They want to know exactly what happened, and then they want to go to dinner, or they want to go have a drink, and move on with their lives. And my movies aren’t those kinds of movies. They’re always going to leave you with a lot of questions.”
~ Richard Kelly


Warner Exec Sue Kroll

“Consumer tastes are changing, and that is changing the way we do business. What our customers are telling us is they want more choices with how and where they watch content. Where there is demand, somebody is going to step in and fill that void. We have to be innovative. Together, I believe, is the way to move towards a future that will be beneficial and profitable to all of us.”
~ Warner Exec Sue Kroll

Ben Wheatley

“I went through my Twitter feed recently, muting anybody talking about politics. I’ve just had enough. My attitude is to always be encouraging, be as positive and as constructive as possible. People are too quick to form an opinion and to judge. It’s a scramble up the hill to the moral high ground isn’t it?”

“It’s quite weird going from never having been interviewed before to being interviewed 500 times. Suddenly people are writing down what you’re saying, they’re recording it and putting online. We lucked out with Down Terrace because people were really kind about it – it was a first film and low budget, we felt we’d been given the benefit of the doubt. With Kill List, I thought critically we were gonna get really fucked. But it didn’t happen. It’s a very weird film, you know. And it’s a mean film, it’s much meaner than most movies are. I watch a lot of modern horror movies and they’re scary, but they’re not mean like that.”
~ Ben Wheatley

James Gray

“Let me try and be as direct as I possibly can with you on this. There was no relationship to repair. I didn’t intend for Harvey to buy and release The Immigrant – I thought it was a terrible idea. And I didn’t think he would want the film, and I didn’t think he would like the film. He bought the film without me knowing! He bought it from the equity people who raised the money for me in the States. And I told them it was a terrible idea, but I had no say over the matter. So they sold it to him without my say-so, and with me thinking it was a terrible idea. I was completely correct, but I couldn’t do anything about it. It was not my preference, it was not my choice, I did not want that to happen, I have no relationship with Harvey. So, it’s not like I repaired some relationship, then he screwed me again, and I’m an idiot for trusting him twice! Like I say, you try to distance yourself as much as possible from the immediate response to a movie. With The Immigrant I had final cut. So he knew he couldn’t make me change it. But he applied all the pressure he could, including shelving the film.”
James Gray

Producer Jeremy Thomas

“I’m an unusual producer because I control the destiny of a lot of the films I’ve done. Most of them are in perfect states of restoration and preservation and distribution, and I aim to keep them in distribution. HanWay Films, which is my sales company, has a 500-film catalogue, which is looked after and tended like a garden. I’m still looking after my films in the catalogue and trying to get other people to look after their films, which we represent intellectually, to try to keep them alive. A film has to be run through a projector to be alive, unfortunately, and those electric shadows are few and far between now. It’s very hard to go and see films in a movie house. I was always involved with the sales and marketing of my films, right up from The Shout onwards. I’ve had good periods, but I also had a best period because the film business was in its best period then. You couldn’t make The Last Emperor today. You couldn’t make The Sheltering Sky today. You couldn’t make those films anymore as independent films. There are neither the resources nor the vision within the studios to go to them and say, “I want to make a film about China with no stars in it.”Then, twenty years ago, I thought, “OK, I’m going to sell my own films but I don’t want to make it my own sales company.” I wanted it to be for me but I wanted to make it open for every other producer, so they don’t feel that they make a film but I get the focus. So, it’s a company that is my business and I’m involved with running it in a certain way, but I’m not seen as a competitor with other people that use it. It’s used by lots of different producers apart from me. When I want to use it, however, it’s there for me and I suppose I’m planning to continue making all my films to be sold by HanWay. I don’t have to, but I do because it’s in my building and the marketing’s here, and I can do it like that. Often, it sounds like I’m being easy about things, but it’s much more difficult than it sounds. It’s just that I’ve been at it for a long time and there’s lots of fat and security around my business. I know how to make films, but it’s not easy—it’s become a very exacting life.”
~ Producer Jeremy Thomas

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“One of my favorite things in watching any performance on film is when there isn’t a lot of cutting going on and when you get a chance to become really absorbed in the artist in hand. The same way we do, hopefully, at a concert, when we get a chance to really trip in to something that’s happening on stage. Whether the singer’s singing, or one of the other musicians is playing, we sort of stay there instead of cutting round with our eyes a lot.”
~ Jonathan Demme

“We’ve talked about this before in the past, my obsession with the Shakespearean histories having the ideal combination of the sweet and the sour. In ‘Henry IV, Part II’ which we’ve discussed before, in the end of that story it’s very complex and haunting because Prince Hal becomes Henry the King, and he has transcended his hoodlum days and at the ceremony is Falstaff, his good friend with whom he has really fucked around and been a loser with, and Falstaff comes up to him and says, ‘Now that you’re king we can really party,’ and the king famously says, ‘I know thee not, old man.’ It becomes Henry IV’s anointment and Falstaff’s catastrophe. That’s life. I have experienced very little unfettered triumph. There are moments, such as when my children are born, but even that comes with new fears and anxieties. In a sense the better you can communicate that life is both at once, the more powerful over time something becomes. One strives for something where the threads are there because it lasts in way that is very palpable. The idea of a tragedy is powerful in literature and theater, but in cinema it doesn’t work, certainly not commercially, and less so critically. Why is that? I think it has to do with how movies are so close to us.”
~ James Gray