When I first saw Mark Jackson’s 2011 debut feature Without, I was impressed by the young director’s confident direction and meticulous pacing. Jackson’s willingness to let his protagonist, Joslyn, a young girl flailing emotionally in the aftermath of her friend’s suicide, live out her story quietly within the spaces between things was noteworthy among a slew of indie films that seemed so reluctant to ever let silence carry the story. With Jackson’s second feature, War Story, he once again focuses on a single female protagonist who’s lost in the aftermath of trauma, grief and loss (subjects, it would seem, that he’s not yet done exploring). This time around, he squares his lens on Catherine Keener as Lee, a photojournalist who works in war zones, who’s just lost her best friend and work partner in one of those tragic events that happen when you’re working around war and guns and people who like to shoot them.
Posts Tagged ‘mark jackson’
Over on Hope for Film, Ted Hope posted a great piece by producer Karin Chien titled “.What American Indies Can Learn from Their Chinese Counterparts” And while there are a lot of interesting thoughts in that piece on how Chinese independent filmmakers fly under the radar, for me the most interesting aspect of Chien’s piece asks:
Here’s a thought: if there was absolutely no chance your film would receive commercial distribution in the US, would you still make your film? What would it look like, and would you cast/write/shoot/edit differently? And if that freed you to take creative risks, would that be irresponsible filmmaking or would it be truly free filmmaking?
That’s a hell of a good question, and one that independent filmmakers — or those who aspire to be such — really ought to ponder. Now, I would argue that there are indie filmmakers over here who do take creative risks, who aspire to realize a vision, to create “art” regardless of commercial potential. In the past year or so, I can think of a few films that take risks that put interesting, creative output over commercial potential. Here’s a few just off the top of my head: Calvin Reeder’s The Oregonian. Mike Tully’s Septien. Mark Jackson’s Without. Sophia Takal’s Green. And my favorite short film (so far) this year, Joshua Miller and Miles Miller’s sublimely weird, beautifully shot Pillow.
Mike Tully has a piece up on his indieWIRE blog about the Maryland Film Festival (never been to that one, but this isn’t the first time I’ve heard raves about it, so I need to add it to my bucket list, I guess). One thing that caught my eye in the write-up was Tully’s shout-out to Mark Jackson’s Without, a film of which I’m also a big fan.