Oy Ge Vault

DuArtI just came back to my office from spending a couple of hours scouring the film vaults at DuArt Film & Video in New York. If you hadn’t heard, DuArt stopped processing film around 18 months ago and is trying to responsibly dispose of all the film materials they have been storing over the decades. With the help of Sandra Schulberg — who is spearheading the “IndieCollect” campaign — they are attempting to locate the owners as well as find archival homes for the films. Representatives from Academy Film Archive, UCLA, MoMA, George Eastman House, Library of Congress and Anthology Film Archives are going through the vaults and have agreed to provide proper climate-controlled longterm storage for many of the titles at risk. In my brief visit, I enountered original 35mm and 16mm negatives for films that I worked on at Cinema 5 and Cinecom, films that I recognized that were made by friends and by Columbia alums. So, if you have any materials that were stored at DuArt and are looking for a permanent home for your materials, let me know and I’ll hook you up. If you want to make a direct inquiry, please don’t call DuArt. Instead please email Steve Blakely and Sandra Schulberg. Comments after the break…

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The 10 Best Films of 2011 (in my humble opinion)

After gorging on films over the last few weeks, and having seen a larger number of films at festivals than has been the case in recent years, I feel somewhat qualified to offer up a ten best list. The following is in approximate order of preference.

1. The Descendants: It’s been a long time since I’ve been so moved by a film that I have gone to see it multiple times. The film’s portrayal of a family in crisis is as realistic as anything I’ve ever seen on film. And even though the surface level of the story is what one might call depressing, underneath it is a life-affirming exploration of the regret we all feel at momentous times in our lives. This is not only Alexander Paine’s most fully realized film, it is also George Clooney’s most nuanced performance. It’s far more entertaining than it has any right to be.

2. The Interrupters: Arguably a better film than “Hoop Dreams.” Now, with two masterpieces under his belt, Steve James rises to the first ranks of documentarians. Continue reading “The 10 Best Films of 2011 (in my humble opinion)”