Filmmaker Siqi Song takes a page from the books of Aardman Animation's Creature Comforts series with this short animated film. As the title implies, the piece is about food and the complicated relationships we form with the stuff that keeps us alive.
By now you've probably heard about the nasty fallout of the delivery of digital downloads to Veronica Mars backers: the disappointed fans and the offers of refunds to backers who ended up buying copies of the film from Amazon and iTunes. It speaks a lot to how much services like iTunes have become the default entertainment ecosystems and the fact that, if you want to try to buck that trend with a Veronica Mars-shaped Trojan horse, the execution had better be flawless.
Waiting for the game to start? Anticipating the junk food buffet to come? Allow me to suggest the perfect appetizer for both: The Great Chicken Wing Hunt, a little film that debuted at last year's Atlanta Film Festival and now awaits you on iTunes and Hulu. If the title doesn't clue you in, it's about our nation's obsession with the spicy bundles of chicken meat known as Buffalo wings, which are a staple of Superbowl Sunday repasts. Enjoy.
Jordan Zakarin, writing for Buzzfeed:
This week, Apple selected the little independent movie as its Movie of the Week on iTunes, giving prominent spotlight and promotion to director Jonathan Lisecki’s comedy about a straight woman, her gay male best friend, and their quest to have a child together.
The movie came out last year, earning strong reviews — it currently has a 90% positive on Rotten Tomatoes — and heaps of praise at SXSW and other festivals. It’s been shouted out by people like The Heat Director Paul Feig, and has a cast with names like Charlie Barnett, Dule Hill, andGirls’ Adam Driver and Alex Karpovsky. But nothing could prepare Lisecki, who is gay, for the onslaught of sales and attention the movie has received since iTunes began promoting it — especially because he still has no idea how it happened, beyond his distributor helping to get him a slot in this year’s Pride Week slate of films.
Indie film is a tough business, but every so often the good guys win.
Image by Mike Coppola / Getty Images
Colleen Curtis, writing for the White House blog:
First Lady Michelle Obama today welcomed 80 middle and high school students to an interactive workshop with the cast and crew of the film Beasts of the Southern Wild, in the State Dining Room. The students, who were from Washington, DC and New Orleans, LA, got to talk with director Benh Zeitlin, actor Dwight Henry and the movie's 9-year-old star, Oscar-nominated actress Quvenzhané Wallis, who stars as Hushpuppy.
You can see the entire workshop, moderated by Rachel Goslins, Executive Director of the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities, on YouTube.
Sandy Cohen, writing for the Washington Times:
The rebirth of black independent film is taking place in a small office in the San Fernando Valley.
This is where filmmaker Ava DuVernay and her staff of two operate AaFFRM, the African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement, a boutique distribution company dedicated to discovering and promoting black directorial voices. The fledgling company has released just four films since 2010, but one of its artists already has caught the attention of Oprah Winfrey: Ms. DuVernay herself.
Miss Winfrey repeatedly has told her 14 million Twitter followers about Ms. DuVernay’s latest film, “Middle of Nowhere,” which expanded to 14 more cities Friday after opening in six theaters the previous week. She described the film as “powerful and poetic.”
“Excellent job especially with no money,” Miss Winfrey tweeted to Ms. DuVernay. “Bravo to you my sistah.”
Dan Heching, writing for Next Magazine:
Initially made as a short film that found impressive success on the festival circuit, the full-length Gayby features the same lead actors (who are real-life friends) and elaborates on the three scenes in the short, which laid the groundwork for their joint baby-making decision but left the rest quite open ended. “For a short, it’s okay to not answer questions,” Lisecki says. “I’m not big on answering questions.” This attribute, surely, is what helped him craft the feature version with a similar restraint.
Too often shorts are made as promotional versions of a director's dream feature project, which makes the short feel unfinished. Alternately, a feature version of a really good short often feels stretched, like a Saturday Night Live sketch that should have ended minutes ago. Gayby is one of the few short-to-feature translations in which both the short and the feature are fully-formed, satisfying films in and of themselves. When Gayby comes to theaters near you, go see it. You can rent the short for $2 (cheap!) on YouTube.