Author Topic: Alexander Payne  (Read 16228 times)

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Slick Shoes

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Alexander Payne
« Reply #15 on: March 15, 2004, 04:39:04 PM »
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I re-visited Election last night. Boy, this film is funny. I think it is Payne's best. This was actually the first commentary track I ever listened too, and few have been able to stack up since. The choice of music in this film is superb. A great mix of actors and non-actors. Great, great dialogue. I think it is one of my favorite films.

modage

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« Reply #16 on: August 13, 2004, 06:26:55 PM »
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Mark your calendars.  According to the new Premiere, Sideways will be released October 20th.
Christopher Nolan's directive was clear to everyone in the cast and crew: Use CGI only as a last resort.

Just Withnail

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« Reply #17 on: August 14, 2004, 11:35:28 AM »
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Quote from: bonanzataz
mark this...
My short WORLD WIDE WOVEN BODIES is now online:

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modage

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Christopher Nolan's directive was clear to everyone in the cast and crew: Use CGI only as a last resort.

MacGuffin

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« Reply #19 on: August 14, 2004, 12:05:57 PM »
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Why not just start a thread in The Grapevine?
“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol


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modage

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« Reply #20 on: August 14, 2004, 12:08:24 PM »
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i have a thread starting phobia.
Christopher Nolan's directive was clear to everyone in the cast and crew: Use CGI only as a last resort.

pete

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« Reply #21 on: October 02, 2004, 07:18:41 PM »
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Declaration  of Independents

By  Alexander Payne

At a  meeting of non-aligned nations during the Cold War, Fidel Castro  made the dry observation, "In reality there are only two non-aligned nations: the United States and the Soviet Union." I  often recall that quote when asked about American independent  cinema, for I think on one level the only true independents are  Paramount, Sony, Warner Bros., Universal and the rest of the major  studios. Say what you want about their imprisonment by corporate  edicts and market forces; only they can make whatever they choose,  and only they enjoy assured distribution.


Of course, "independent  cinema" has come to mean so many things. Endless conferences  and publications attempting to get a handle on American independent  cinema -- what it is, whether it exists, whether it's dying or  thriving -- dance around what for me is the central issue: that the  source of the financing is unimportant. Cinema is independent only  to the degree that it reflects the voice of one person, the director  (in conjunction with his or her hand-picked creative team). Martin Scorsese now makes studio films that cost $100 million, and no one  questions his independent credentials. And at Sundance we see  low-budget features whose only message is "Hire me."

I want two simple things of our cinema  -- that it be comprised of a large percentage of films that  reverberate the voices and hearts of the filmmakers, for that is how  film is always at its best. Second, I want a cinema that is  intelligent, uplifting and human, and that serves -- as good art  should -- as a mirror, not as an impossible or fraudulent  consumer-oriented projection. After all, what good is a story that  does not somehow add another piece to the infinite jigsaw puzzle  that is human experience? What good is a story that does not somehow  connect people?

As a working American director -- a  Hollywood director, no less -- I resent the cleft between what we  consider studio movies and independent movies. I want and expect  studios to finance personal, risky and political cinema -- as they  did in the much-vaunted 1970s -- and I am overjoyed because I no longer think this a naive dream. I think it's starting to happen right now.

For some 25 years we've had American  movies but not movies about Americans. For 25 years we've largely  been making not films but rather glorified cartoons which can be as easily digested in Omaha as on a bus in Thailand; films whose  principal message is, We need your money to keep our stock price up;  films that exploit banality and violence as come-ons to the lowest  angels of our nature; films based on formula so they can be consumed  as readily and predictably as McDonald's hamburgers. We've turned  away from the need and utility of art in favor of impersonal product  to maximize profits and at the tremendous, tragic expense of our  culture. There have been many wonderful exceptions, but I speak of trends.

But look at this great year for movies!  We have "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,"  "Maria Full of Grace," "Before Sunset,"  "Fahrenheit 9/11" and the rest of the documentaries in  theaters, "Spider-Man 2," "Shrek 2," Tarantino,  Alfonso Cuaron doing "Harry Potter." This fall we have  David O. Russell, Wes Anderson, Mike Nichols, Steven Soderbergh,  Brad Bird's "The Incredibles," Brad Silberling's "Lemony Snicket." Fold in the American distribution of Almodovar, Walter Salles, Zhang Yimou, and Jean-Pierre Jeunet. If  they don't all turn out to be great films, at least we can discern a  strong trend of cinema -- big and commercial as well as small and  personal -- aspiring to be human, intelligent, respectful of the  audience and director-driven. More big commercial films are being  entrusted to stong and thoughtful directors, and more studios are  planning their own versions of Fox Searchlight and Focus.

Why now? I see two obvious reasons --  the same that we saw decades ago. First, when the beast is dying, it  seeks new blood. Maybe we can't point directly to a "Paint Your  Wagon," but when studios offer up increasing numbers of  big-budget dirigibles that tank, they look for solutions outside  traditional decision-making boxes. And maybe we can't yet point to  an "Easy Rider" or a "Midnight Cowboy" as a  watershed film, but when "Fahrenheit 9/11" makes whatever  it's going to make, or when "Lost in Translation" costs $4  million and makes almost $50 million, well, there are signs that,  given creative control, directors -- many of them newer and younger  -- might be in the best position to serve the contemporary audience.

Second, of course, the world is going to  hell these days. As the saying goes, when small men cast long  shadows, the sun is going down. Most likely things are going to get  worse before they improve. When confused and troubled, people look  to art in general and cinema in particular for context, for clues  about who we are and where we've come from and where we might be  going. Whether Bush and his corrupt gang are reelected or not -- and  especially if they are -- these times ensure increased demand for  films with human and political content.

Art is all we have to combat the  fearsome, awful animal side of man that today controls events. To  portray real people with real problems, real joys, real tears will  serve as a positive political force, a force for comfort and  possibly for change. With the inhumanity forced upon us by  governments and terrorists and corporations, to make a purely human  film is today a political act. To make a film about disenfranchised people is a political act. To make a film about love is a political  act. To make a film about a single human emotion is today a  political act. And bad things happen when good people fail to speak  up.

Intelligence and humanity should not be  "specialty" items. Imagination, artistry and risk-taking  are as essential to big-budget commercial films as they are for the  emerging filmmaker. Our studios may now wish to invest in a greater number of less expensive films and enjoy the profits of volume  rather than always starving the small and medium films in order to  feed the increasingly mercurial "tentpole" beast. And we  filmmakers must be disciplined and keep our costs as low as possible  in order to deserve the risks that define our finest filmmaking  nature.

We have the potential for a new era  where studios and filmmakers come together as they have not in a  generation, and we have the chance to define a new age in a new  century. I hope years from now my optimism will have been warranted, for I know that if our studios identify the signs and act, they have  today the exceptional opportunity not merely to co-op "independent" filmmakers but to assume themselves the mantle of true "independents."
“Tragedy is a close-up; comedy, a long shot.”
- Buster Keaton

Ghostboy

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« Reply #22 on: October 02, 2004, 07:46:34 PM »
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Wow, what's that from?

pete

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« Reply #23 on: October 02, 2004, 07:48:48 PM »
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an editorial from variety.  that's so good faith he's got in the studio system huh?
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« Reply #24 on: October 02, 2004, 07:54:22 PM »
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It certainly is, but I don't think it's unwarranted. Every time I shudder at some of the crap being produced by the studios, I also find myself enternally grateful that this business, which could sustain itself almost solely on teen comedies, explosions and heartwarming sentiment still understands, at least some of the time, that film is art and that artists are required to make the best of it. That the suits somehow still understand this gives me a lot of hope, too.

And this paragraph is just beautiful:

Quote from: Alexander Payne


Art is all we have to combat the  fearsome, awful animal side of man that today controls events. To  portray real people with real problems, real joys, real tears will  serve as a positive political force, a force for comfort and  possibly for change. With the inhumanity forced upon us by  governments and terrorists and corporations, to make a purely human  film is today a political act. To make a film about disenfranchised people is a political act. To make a film about love is a political  act. To make a film about a single human emotion is today a  political act. And bad things happen when good people fail to speak  up.

Slick Shoes

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« Reply #25 on: October 27, 2004, 07:49:17 PM »
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Q: You’re part of this generation of filmmakers that everyone wants to work with like PT Anderson, Spike Jonze, Wes Anderson and David O. Russell. Are you aware of that?

Alexander Payne: That started in 1999 when Election, Being John Malkovich, Three Kings, Rushmore and Magnolia came out. I’m really good friends with David Russell. Spike and I know each other but not very well. I met Paul Thomas Anderson once and he’s not a team player though he’s a perfectly nice guy. We met at Cannes but he sticks to himself. Spike and Sofia [Coppola] were always very nice and friendly.

Full interview here: http://suicidegirls.com/words/Alexander+Payne/

Sleuth

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« Reply #26 on: November 11, 2004, 11:56:27 AM »
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O: What do you like to emphasize? What do you feel needs to be captured about the region?

AP: Well, again, not just about my films, but in general, I think the complexity. I think about what I want to shoot in Nebraska again, and one thing that most comes to mind is to make a film about Mexicans. The Midwest is crawling with Mexicans now.

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MacGuffin

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« Reply #27 on: November 27, 2004, 08:50:16 PM »
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From Entertainment Weekly - Buried Treasure issue:

Alexander Payne
His student film, The Passion of Martin

Alexander Payne, director of this fall's acclaimed Sideways, has always resisted the notion that he makes dark comedies. "When people say 'dark,' what they really mean is 'real,'" he insists. But 14 years ago, as a UCLA film school student, Payne cut his directorial teeth with a comedy he acknowledges is "genuinely dark": a 50-minute thesis film about a depressive photographer named Martin (Charles Hayward) who becomes psychotically obsessed with a beautiful young woman (Lisa Zane). While the film, loosely based on an Argentinean novel called The Tunnel, couldn't have been much bleaker -- it ends with Martin putting his beloved in a coma -- it got Payne's career off to a bright start. Within six weeks of its first screening at UCLA, he had an agent and a writing-directing deal at Universal. Payne got some inquiries about remaking Martin as a full-length feature but wasn't interested: "Why would I want to make the same movie twice?" he asks. Still, while it has been seen by relatively few people at film festivals, Payne retains a special passion for Martin: "It was one of those dream scenarios film students hope for. It was quite a ride."
“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol


Skeleton FilmWorks

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« Reply #28 on: December 13, 2004, 12:30:21 AM »
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http://www.unomaha.edu/news/releases/2004/12/09_payne_a.php

I will be attending.. If there is a Q&A session.. are there any questions any of you would like answered?
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ono

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« Reply #29 on: December 13, 2004, 12:35:46 AM »
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Try to get some specifics about his next film.  (Nebraska or not?)  Can we hope for it by the end of 2005, or are we looking at 2006?  I've heard comparisons to, what was it, Nashville?  La Dolce Vita?  Which is it?  Whatever info you can would be great.

He's really hit on something with Sideways.  The humor is strong, but with each film his characters are becoming more human.  Hopefully his next film will follow in that vein.

This page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0390295/board/nest/13693538 says he won't be doing Nebraska next.  So find out what project he is thinking about doing.  Since this one has turned him off, 2005 is looking less and less likely, if that source is accurate.

 

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