Awards Season: When Motion Picture Crafts Get Their Due

The curtain is rising on another awards season, where recognition of individual achievement in filmmaking takes place against the backdrop of Hollywood ritual and hoopla. It’s also the time of year when the craft professionals who work behind the scenes get their time in the spotlight, honored both by their peers at special guild events and by the industry at large at the Oscars. “Being nominated is always a tension-producing […]


John Hillcoat Travels Down The Road

Some movies provoke the mind and intellect and leave audiences thinking long after they have left the theater. Add The Road to that list. Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Cormac McCarthy, who also wrote the book on which the Coen Brothers film No Country For Old Men was based, Australian director John Hillcoat’s The Road is a starkly told post-apocalyptic tale about an unnamed father and son traveling […]


Contender – Editing – Dana E. Glauberman – Up in the Air

As a film studies major at UC Santa Barbara, Dana E. Glauberman knew she wanted to pursue editing. After graduation she secured a production assistant position and began working her way up the ladder, eventually assisting Ivan Reitman’s, long-time editor Sheldon Kahn, (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest). In a case of being in the right place at the right time, she met aspiring director, Jason Reitman, when he came […]


The Long, Slow Process of Bringing Coraline to the Screen

“It’s difficult to get funding for stop motion,” says director Henry Selick, of trying to finance his projects. That he was previously the director of modern holiday staple The Nightmare Before Christmas tells just how over-cautious—or non-available—production capital must really be. Selick was talking about raising money for Coraline, his adaptation of the Neil Gaiman novel which came out earlier this year, and is enjoying a year-end bounce as “best […]

No Picture

Union Roundup – November 2009

“The Writers Guilds of America, West and East mark the passing of Nick Counter, longtime president of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, and convey their deepest sympathy to his family,” came the mid-November statement. That was it, pretty much in its entirety, from the WGA. Brevity can be its own statement, one supposes—though IATSE’s statement went a bit further: “In his nearly three decades of leading the […]


Apocalypse-Almost-Now: Volker Engel and Marc Weigert on World’s End FX in 2012

At the recent Production Summit thrown by the Visual Effects Society in Marina del Rey, collectively attempting to suss out the future of Hollywood filmmaking in a world both all-digital, and all-outsourced, director Roland Emmerich’s visual effects cohorts, Volker Engel and Marc Weigert—the former supervising VFX on most of his pictures, the latter in charge of producing those FX—each took to separate panels to weigh in on their own visions […]


Gorillas or Guerrillas? The Year in FX

Because of our own release schedule for this annual fall “voters’ guide” to the upcoming awards—just call us “Secretaries of the State of the Crew!”—we go to press just as this year’s two 800-pound gorillas of visual effects are hitting screens. The symbolically simian pair is succinctly referred to by VFX supervisor Wojciech Zielinski, whose own work on Mira Nair’s aviatrix biopic, Amelia, could itself sneak in somewhere should the […]

No Picture
Art Direction

Assessing the Year in Shape Language

It’s a good year for production designer Mark Ricker to suss out award finalists in that category (and it’s kissin’ cousin, art direction), since he may find himself in the thick of the awards hunt—on the Academy and guild sides—for his own work channeling both ’60’s-era Paris and the present-day US in Julie & Julia. Ricker—whose credits also include Fierce People and The Nanny Diaries, among others—says he looks for […]

Jane Campion
Director Series

Jane Campion – Bright Star

After a four-year hiatus, award-winning director-writer Jane Campion returns to top form with Bright Star, a film about 19th century Romantic poet John Keats and his inspiring two-year love affair with Fanny Brawne before his death at the age of 25. Campion, who won an Oscar for her screenplay for The Piano in 1994, which she also directed, lends her usual deft touch to this tender, tragic and visually stunning […]

No Picture

Contender – Roger Deakins, Cinematographer, A Serious Man

A Serious Man is the tenth collaboration between Joel and Ethan Coen and director of photography Roger Deakins, ASC, BSC. “We’ve worked together so long that we’re on the same wavelength, and I pretty much understand what they want just from reading the script.” The film is the latest in a series of quirky dark comedies from the brothers, including No Country For Old Men, which won them the 2008 […]