As film festival season kicks into high gear, it seems only fitting to highlight a few of our FIX directors with projects screening now and in the near future, at Sundance, Slamdance, International Film Festival Rotterdam and the Berlinale. Many of those projects were funded with the support of viewers like you, too. It’s very cool to see those projects wrapped and taking flight, achieving success, and it sure whets the appetite for when they hit the library! Let’s get to know these rising stars:
At a glance Crosswords, carousels, forests, physics…and cats
Filmmaker profile Felker’s FIXshort Discontinuity, which debuted this past week at Slamdance, is her first for-real foray into narrative filmmaking. but she’s been cranking out exciting experiments for years as a member of Chicago’s vibrant underground film community. Felker is a filmmaker whose works run a gamut of subjects while remaining focused on methods of sense-making, organization, perception and communication, and both lyricism and offbeat humor abound.
To watch We have of twelve of Felker’s short films available on Fandor, including Across and Down, a structured but dizzying experimental documentary based on Ugandan cross word puzzles. Can you make the meaning?
At a glance From the obscure to the notorious, this storyteller’s obsessions are contagious
Filmmaker profile With honors including being voted “Most Badass!” at the Iowa City Documentary Film Festival in 2009, Lane is a nonfiction filmmaker who is unabashed, playful and bold. Her latest effort, Nuts!, was funded with support from Fandor on Kickstarter, is playing at Sundance and IFFR and tells one of the craziest stories you’ve never heard, about a man who discovered one of the first impotence cures and became a Depression-era mogul. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Fun fact Yes, that is her given name.
To watch Lane’s particular brand of curiosity shines bright in Our Nixon, new to the Fandor library just this week. Entirely made of rare archival footage from “home movie”-style reels taken by idealistic members of his cabinet, the documentary unearths compelling — and unexpected — new insights into the disgraced presidency of Richard Nixon. It also has a 92% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but who’s counting?
At a glance An unflinching alchemist of existential horror with a distinct California flavor
Filmmaker profile From the audition process to the quest for spiritual enlightenment, Martinico is a connoisseur of contemporary ritual. He and his collaborator, Hugo Armstrong, use a DIY approach, keeping things raw for maximum impact. It’s a strategy that seems to be paying off.
Fun fact Martinico premieres his feature Excursions at Slamdance this year, in a program of “bold and daring films that exemplify the Slamdance spirit” called Beyond (his first feature played Slamdance in 2012).
To watch Ok, Good (the feature in question), which Joe Leydon of Variety calls “a riveting portrait of an actor on the verge of a nervous breakdown — or, quite possibly, something worse.” Anyone with a career that puts them in touch with regular rejection will resonate with this tightly crafted character study.
At a glance A “psychedelic ethnographer” whose FIXshort is funded, filmed and now making the festival rounds!
Filmmaker Profile A deep love of music and mysticism seeps into everything Ben Russell makes, no matter where he happens to be in the world. From deserts and jungles to sweaty basements, Russell is what Lightning Bolt, Richard Pryor, Dubai and the Pine Ridge Reservation all have in common. Seriously. Check out his Trypps short film series (#1 – #7)!In 2012, Cinemascope named Russell as one of their “50 Best Filmmakers Under 50”, and Russell is also an inaugural Fandor FIXshorts filmmaker. He Who Eats Children (which took him to Suriname in search of a real-life monster) is making its debut at the 66th Berlinale next month.
Fun fact At one time, he co-directed an art space in Chicago, Illinois, that was called…wait for it…BEN RUSSELL.
To watch After the Trypps, don’t miss Russell’s globe-trotting, long-form, lyrical (and dare we say, pretty metal) collaboration with Ben Rivers, A Spell to Ward off the Darkness.
At a glance Prolific, collaborative and distinct, from ensemble casting to video format
Filmmaker Profile If Silver’s name sounds familiar, it’s probably because his film Stinking Heaven was a recent Fandor #filmoftheweek, and he participated in our Filmmakers Under the Influence series to commemorate the occasion. Or it could be from one of the three other features he’s released in the last four years, each a magnificent study of a social microcosm and brimming with brutal, utterly no-holds-barred honesty. Make that four other features, actually — Silver’s latest, a reality-bending collaboration with Mike Ott called Actor, Martinez, will premiere at IFFR this year.
To Watch Soft in the Head and Stinking Heaven make for one heck of a double-billing, with the theme of destructive, complicated female antiheroes. If that’s your thing.
Join us in congratulating these filmmakers on their success, and enjoy the extensive offerings they have available for streaming. And stay tuned, because more great FIX offerings are headed your way soon!