El Cine Negro: When film noir went Latino

Today, September 15th kicks off Hispanic Heritage Month (although this Latina celebrates her ethnicity every day 🙂 ) and my heart is full by seeing so much content spread across the internet in honor of Latinos. A topic I’ve been trying to write about but haven’t had the time to discuss is the contributions of Hispanics and Latin American countries and filmmakers present in film noir.

borderincidentAnthony Mann’s Border Incident (1949)

During this TCM’s ‘Into the Darkness‘ film noir course, a recurring theme I noticed was Latin American settings. As you may be aware, films noir take place in urban settings. Alleys, bars, tiny apartments, and New York City are just some of the signature elements present as the background of a film noir. During the film noir movement in the 1940’s, American cinema went away from New York City to more exotic locales such as Argentina in Gilda (1946) and…

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NFTS graduate Daniel Montanarini on film school and becoming a FILM DIRECTOR

Charlie Bury


Film school or no film school? Well, according to Paul Thomas Anderson: “You can learn more from John Sturges’ audio track on the ‘Bad Day at Black Rock’ laserdisc than you can in 20 years of film school. Film school is a complete con, because the information is there if you want it.”

This is very true – we live in an age of information overload – but is this a good or bad thing? Can film schools not condense such information and provide a way through all the slosh? Information to one side, the practice is probably the best thing you are likely to get out of film school, so let us look in more depth at the practice film school can offer.

I caught up with Dan Montanarini, a recent graduate in directing fiction from the prestigious National Film & Television School (NFTS) in the UK, to pick…

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Rooney Frontman Robert Schwartzman Makes Helming Debut On ‘MF’


Robert Schwartzman has just begun shooting his directorial debut, a film entitled MF. He’s mum on the logline, but his stars are Johnny Simmons, Amy Landecker, Frankie Shaw and Beverly D’Angelo. Schwartzman, who has fronted the L.A. band Rooney for more than 15 years, wrote the script with Benjamin Font. He’s producing with Mel Eslyn. His previous association with films was limited to composing original music for Palo Alto. He’s also done acting work in The Princess Diaries and The Virgin Suicides. And of course, he’s the son of the great Talia Shire of Rocky and The Godfather fame and part of the Coppola clan, so this directing thing was probably in the genes.

ICM Partners, which reps Schwartzman, packaged the film and will handle domestic rights.

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Noah Baumbach & Greta Gerwig Salute ‘Mistress America’; ‘Meru’ Is Filmmaking On The Edge: Specialty Preview


Five months after his last feature, Noah Baumbach is back with Mistress America. The release comes on the heels of his While We’re Young, released by A24 in March. Mistress America, starring Greta Gerwig (Baumbach’s 2013 France Ha), will be joined by a hefty slate of newcomers this weekend. Music Box Films opens Sundance Audience Award-winning documentary Meru, and Film Arcade will roll out People Places Things in a slew of locations Friday. Orion is opening the summer-centric Fort Tilden in a day-and-date release, and Vice and FilmBuff are teaming on the Berlin premiere Prince. And Fox International Productions bows its Bollywood title Brothers: Blood Against Blood in India, North America and other territories.

Among the other limited-release titles on the docket are Amplify Releasing’s Tom At The Farm, Vertical Entertainment’s Air in 15 theaters and on-demand as well as Cohen Media Group’s Paulette, Stratton Group’s WARx2 and BBC Worldwide…

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UK Literary Agents for Screenwriters

Scriptangel's Blog

Here is a list of UK literary agents who represent screenwriters. Not all accept unsolicited submissions so please check their websites for submission guidelines.

It’s also well worth looking at Michelle Lipton’s blog post, a  Q&A with agents Rob Kraitt of AP Watt and Matthew Bates of Sayle Screen, a great blog post from Jason Arnopp on what he did to get an agent and one from Lucy Vee Hay  on getting an agent.

Alan Brodie

Andrew Mann

A P Watt

Berlin Associates

Blake Friedmann

Burkeman and Clarke


Cecily Ware

Culverhouse and James

Curtis Brown

David Higham Associates

Dench Arnold

Gemma Hirst Associates

Independent Talent

Janet Fillingham

Jill Foster

Knight Hall Agency

Linda Seifert

Marjacq Scripts

MBA Literary Agency

Micheline Steinberg Associates

Peters Fraser and Dunlop

Rochelle Stevens

Rod Hall

Sayle Screen

Sheil Land

Smart Talent

The Agency

The Lisa Richards Agency

The Sharland Organisation

The Tennyson Agency

The Writers Company

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“I have actually always been quite open about having depression. By depression, I don’t mean being sad. I mean a health condition that comes from time to time and has different symptoms and is very debilitating. I’ve mentioned it publicly in the past, but I have always wanted to write about it. I was meeting many people who I could tell were also depressive, and I was noticing how hush-hush it all was, how there was often a veil of silence over it, and I think the terrible consequence of silence is shame.Depression is difficult. It is difficult to experience, difficult to write about, difficult to be open about. But I wanted to do it. For myself, in a way, because it forced me to tell myself my own story, which can be helpful. But also for other possible sufferers, especially fellow Africans, because there is something very powerful about knowing that you are not alone, and that what happens to you also happens to other people.

Depression is something I have recognized since I was a child. It is something I have accepted. It is something I will have to find ways to manage for the rest of my life. Many creative people have depression. I wonder if I would be so drawn to storytelling if I were not also a person who suffers from depression.

But I am very interested in de-mystifying it. Young creative people, especially on our continent, have enough to deal with without thinking – as I did for so long – that something is fundamentally wrong with feeling this strange thing from time to time. Our African societies are not very knowledgeable or open or supportive about depression. People who don’t have depression have a lot of difficulty understanding it, but people who have it are also often befuddled by it.”

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Interview with Olisa.tv


One of the most useful written tools a writer can rely on is a Pitch Outline for those five minute Pitch meetings at the Great American PitchFest.

Going to websites like Moviefone or IMDb can be of huge assistance.  Once you are at one of the two websites, do a “search” for a successful movie or TV series in the same genre as your project. Then click on the link to the movie’s or series’  “trailer”  and watch it.  You will notice that most trailers last roughly two or three minutes (coincidentally, about the same amount of time as a pitch) and usually contain anywhere from five to eight “highlights” of the storyline. This should give you a general idea of the plot points or character revelations that you might want to extract from your very own script for your pitch.

Some writers will compose a one-page outline of their pitch, using brief phrases to describe the highlights they wish to use in pitching their storyline.  Other writers use a similar technique, but divide up their outline into Act One, Act Two, and Act Three, making it easier for them to refer to the outline, should they become momentarily lost during the presentation of the pitch.

I strongly suggest using “key phrases” so you won’t be tempted to “read” your pitch. When you “read” your pitch, you tend to lose the personal connection you are trying to make with the agent, producer, editor, or exec.

Remember that a Pitch Outline is NOT A LEAVE-BEHIND.  This is a document for your eyes only.

Here is a sample pitch outline that could have been used for the feature film AVATAR:

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My bestie and I broke up, but then I got her back. Here’s how

Welcome to Besties Week! We’re kicking off the release of our first HelloGiggles book, A Tale of Two Besties, with an epic celebration of friendship and stories about friendship. Read an excerpt of the bookbuy a copycatch us on our cross-country book tour, and share your photos from our events by tagging us @hellogiggles #ATaleofTwoBesties.

In the meantime, join the party right here. All week long, our contributors will be sharing stories, essays and odes to their very own partners-in-crime. Read, laugh, cry (because you’re laughing so hard) and share with your bestie!

Steph and I were inseparable. I know you probably think that you and your best friend are inseparable, but Steph and I gave new meaning to the word. We were rarely ever apart, staring freshmen year of college right up to the fall semester of senior year. Come senior year, I just expected us to be together forever no matter what.

For both of us, college wasn’t really the “best time.” We were ready to GTFO. Steph actually found an out that fall semester. She was offered a spiffy job on the other side of the country, and I knew she was seriously thinking about taking it, even though she was still a few credits shy of graduating. Steph told me she could take the remaining classes online, and it sounded like a good idea. But I didn’t want her to leave me. I had always assumed we would graduate together and enter the real world together, too. I know I told her this a few times, and she nodded like she understood and the topic was always dropped. (Honestly, I also really thought it was super risky to take the job, and I told her that, too)

Steph put the idea to duck out of college early on the back burner. Or, so I thought. Honestly, I don’t even remember the events that led up to our epic, screaming fight in the middle of the dining hall’s concourse. I just know that Steph made it clear to me — whether by accident, or curtly intentional — that she was taking the job, and I couldn’t stop her. She was leaving me behind.

And me, being the always cool, calm, and collected person I am, I responded rationally to her decision.

JK, I bugged out.

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