film

One of the best films I saw at South By Southwest (SXSW) this year was Vikram Gandhi’s documentary Kumaré, in which New Jersey-born and raised Gandhi decides to pass himself off as an Indian guru (he is of Indian descent) to see if people will buy into his fake persona as a spiritually enlightened teacher. He succeeds all too well and faces a dilemma when it’s time to reveal the fraud.

Essentially Gandhi’s point is that spiritual gurus are frauds and anyone can be a guru if he can (so long as they are prepared to dress up, grow long beards, make up strange chants, etc.). With that in mind, I found a course on how to start your own religion, offered by 3rd Ward. I’m not sure if I’ll take it yet, but they do say the fastest way to make a million dollars is to become a millionaire…




Annalee Newitz writes for io9:

Inception cleaned up in the effects categories at the Academy Awards because they go to movies built around cool ideas. In this case, literally. The centerpiece of the film is a machine that allows clever intruders to enter other people’s dreams and steal their ideas – or implant new ones. Inception is the latest standout example of the mind-manipulation movie, following in the tracks of Memento and classics like George Cukor’s Gaslight. Call them neurothrillers.

What makes neurothrillers relevant now? Sure, we’ve always had psychological suspense flicks, but over the past decade they’ve been coming fast and thick…


The National Security Archive has the The Power of Decision posted in its entirety, making it available for public viewing for the first time ever. Produced in 1956-57 by the U.S. Air Force, it is perhaps the only government film depicting what the descent into nuclear holocaust would be like, a grim future in which “nobody wins a nuclear war because both sides are sure to suffer terrible damage,” yet, “success” (i.e. the United States’ prevailing with only some millions of casualties) is possible. It’s not entirely clear why this was made — perhaps to prepare military officers for confronting a nightmarish scenario:


The “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign that’s so familiar to New Yorkers is going where no New Yorker can: Walmart. Scaring the crap out of middle America appears to be a priority for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, reaching into formerly safe havens such as the Mall of America.

With that in mind, a group of independent filmmakers from New York have created a short film entitled Terminal Night that should help get the rest of America in the mood for the constant vigilance demanded of them by Janet Napoletano and the gang at DOHS.



Did you know that product placement in movies began in 1919, during the silent era? Ultimately, that paved the way for last year, when Michael Bay broke his own record by promoting products from 49 corporations within a single film (the blockbuster Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen). Conceived by FilmDrunk:


A BMV commercial shown in German movie theaters uses a powerful photo flash to literally brand the corporation’s logo into viewers’ skulls, so that they see the logo upon closing their eyes. Surely other companies will soon follow suit with this cool advertising technique, and by cool, I mean awful:

“What do we see when we look straight at the sun and then close our eyes? That’s right, a bright moving disk that lasts several seconds. Every child knows this afterimage effect. We use the afterimage effect for a completely new brand experience.”


With the DVD release of Charlie Chaplin’s 1928 film The Circus, people have noticed a puzzling detail: a woman passing through the background of this scene appears to be speaking on a cellphone. Could she be a time traveler? The whole thing is even more unsettling than Chaplin’s toothbrush mustache.



The weather’s growing a little colder, and before we know it, the holidays will be upon us. One of the seasonal highlights this year will be Christmas With A Capital C, starring a Baldwin brother and the Bundys’ neighbor from Married With Children, an insane film about spiteful atheists attempting to hijack Christmas. This is going to be big among the tea-partier crowd in three months.


Casey Affleck’s new film about Joaquin Phoenix is causing quite a stir, with no one being quite sure if it’s all a joke, or if he’s truly gone off the rails. Trailer and then report from Reuters below:

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Whether a hoax or not, a new documentary about Joaquin Phoenix and his transition from acclaimed, brooding actor to bearded, shambolic hip-hop wannabe has captivated viewers at the Venice film festival…




From Slate: As police chased Raymond “Ready” Martinez through Times Square on Thursday, the street hustler and aspiring rapper fired two shots, holding the gun sideways “like a character out of a…


When I went to Austin for the 2009 South By Southwest film festival I spent a lot of time with the director of a film we had just acquired for distribution, Rip! A Remix Manifesto. The director, Brett Gaylor, is part of a Canadian production company called Eyesteel Films and they had rented a funky little house a little way out of town. It became the place to hang after the last screening of the night, and I got to talking to another director in the Eyesteel stable, Omar Majeed, who was making a documentary about Muslim punk rock. I knew a little bit about it from the Soft Skull Press book The Taqwacores, published by my friend Richard Nash.

Fast forward several months and Omar’s film is now starting to screen at festivals and arthouse cinemas. Check out the official site for screening info, and here’s the trailer:

Meanwhile, the film is attracting some serious media attention…


We don’t often review books on the Disinformation site, partly because we’re publishers ourselves and it might seem as though we have a competitive conflict of interest, but probably more because all our reading time is taken up with submissions, editing, and so forth.

I have to make an exception for a book that arrived in the mail this morning: Jon Reiss’ Think Outside The Box Office: The Ultimate Guide to Film Distribution and Marketing for the Digital Era. It’s no secret that indie film has gone through an amazing period of growth for any number of reasons, not least access to cheap but high quality cameras and computers/editing systems. The way we watch indie film has changed drastically too, from art house cinemas to DVDs that arrive in the mail or from a kiosk in a supermarket, on demand via your cable or satellite TV provider, or online via iTunes, Netflix, Amazon.com or, gasp, Bit Torrent.

When Disinformation entered the home video market in 2003 it was perfect timing (accidental, proving the old maxim, better to be lucky than smart) and we rode the wave of documentary films selling in big numbers on DVD. Now that the retail DVD market is dying we’re finding new ways to bring our films to their intended niche audiences, and that’s exactly what Jon’s book is all about. What worked yesterday is failing today and won’t work at all tomorrow.

The only hesitation I have in recommending this book to every single independent filmmaker today is that armed with the information in this book, a filmmaker is potentially equipped to bypass distributors like Disinformation completely! But, in the spirit of ‘information should be free,’ go to Reiss’ book site


Why is it that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences always makes such boring choices for its Oscar nominations? The procedure is a little different for documentary films, where they…




From Nick P at Black Sun Gazette While you’re all going to be out drinking until you piss yourselves tomorrow I’m going to be working hard for the money picking up plastic…



Is America ready for a movie about an obese Harlem girl raped and impregnated by her abusive father? Lynn Hirschberg tells us in the cover story of this week’s New York Times…