WMM BLOG

Artistic Tour-de-Force Debra Haden Talks Filmmaking Survival

competition production May 04, 2022
Equal parts regal pixie pinup, quirky coquette, and elegant bibliothecary, artistic maven Debra Haden is a dizzying multi-hyphenate. The actress, model, designer, animator, musician, producer, and ventriloquist (!) truly embodies each of her talents and curates her various portfolios on several platforms. It's only fitting that she be Mars Roberge's (our Make Your Feature Competition winner) energetic counterpart, creative comrade, and life-partner, on top of inhabiting the role of Bianca Jagger in his winning film Stars. A few things are certain. Haden may be the pinnacle of all things "feminine" in presentation (as witnessed by the photography of Heidi Calvert in the title image), but her special brand of whimsy and eccentricity elevate her above being anyone's muse. She's the thinking man's enchantress, unapologetically accomplishing her visions with dexterity and grace. 
 
Haden has been channeling her B.S. in Clothing...
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Matt Marder's Feature Debut Is A Gold Mine of Memory, the Old West & Virtual Reality

 

Princeton University and AFI alumnus, writer / director Matt Marder gives WMM the scoop behind his sci-fi western feature Gold Mine, about an up and coming pop singer who decides to enter a virtual reality program to try and recharge her dad's memories and bring him back to life from a coma. Marder reconvened with producer Sydney K., co-director Adam Chase Cohen, and actress Alanna Fox (Black-ish, Curb Your Enthusiasm, I'm Dying Up Here), who previously all collaborated on Marder's series Shifter.

The visual aesthetic of Gold Mine is a mix of Wong Kar-Wai, Alex Garland, Paul Thomas Anderson, and Denis Villeneuve. The creative team tirelessly worked to create the looks (KC Mussman), visuals (Nocturnal Designz), set decoration (Bailey Gerdy), and costumes (Roberto Andrade) for this film, heavily inspired by the works of Christopher Nolan, Stanley Kubrick, David Lynch, Kathryn Bigelow, and Edgar Wright.

WMM: What compelled...

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Director Mark Hensley Helms Activist Film "Uncut"

"Like art, revolutions come from combining what exists into what has never existed before." 

American activist and reproductive rights crusader Gloria Steinem's words ring true through director Mark Hensley, who helmed Uncut, a short film inspired by the recent Texas abortion law. The film opens with a speech by the newly elected president of the New Republic Patriot Party, talking about the new law that requires all males over 35 to be sterilized to keep the gene pool strong. The main character, about to turn 35, doesn't want to submit to the forced sterilization. He learns about an underground railroad that helps men like him to escape the country, and he goes on the run.

Conjuring up imagery and conceptually in line with yet another feminist icon's work, novelist  Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid's Tale), the film boasts an all-star cast of Sam Meader (Pam and TommyInto The Arms of Danger, Bosch), Max E....

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Filmmaker Allen Cordell Takes Indie Comic to the Festival Circuit

Allen Cordell's narrative debut The Lizard Laughed enjoys its world premiere at the Oscar-qualifying Florida Film Festival this week (April 8-17). Hailed as "a breathtaking love letter to New Mexico’s backcountry," the 21 minute film tells the tale of an awkward, confrontational reunion when Harvey gets an unexpected visit from Nathan, his son he hasn’t seen since abandoning him years ago. A comedy about feeling disconnected from the people who should be most important to us in life, the film is based on Noah Van Sciver's acclaimed indie comic of the same name.

The film stars cult comedy gem Sky Elobar (Greasy Strangler, Tropical Cop Tales, Under the Silverlake, Don Verdean and Lady Dynamite) as Harvey, and longtime WMM member and award winning actor Jared Boghosian (The Channel, The Witch Files, Jane the Virgin, SWAT) as Nathan. Cordell's previous projects includes music...

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Oscar-Qualifying Filmmaker Clare Cooney Strikes Again

The Oscar-qualifying Cleveland International Film Festival welcomes Chicago filmmaker / actor Clare Cooney for the world premiere of her short film After: A Love Storyan intimate story of a couple trying to bridge the space that has emerged between them after surviving a violent event, this week. Cooney previously wrote, directed, edited, and starred in Runner, a chilling short film that played at 15 film festivals, collected six awards, and garnered her a “Filmmaker to Watch” nomination from the Oscar-qualifying Atlanta Film Festival. Her followup Pick Up made its festival premiere at the Oscar-qualifying Indy Shorts Film Festival  last year after already having received a half a million views on Omeleto. Detect a pattern?

The 15 minute short, filmed with a skeleton cast and crew, is about ex-lovers who reconnect on a car ride during the pandemic. Then their masks come...

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Finding Snow White w/ Fiona McDougall & Jonathan Villet

Congrats to WMM members, producer/director Fiona McDougall and writer/interviewer Jonathan Villet of OneWorld Communications for landing a special selection designation at the Sonoma International Film Festival! Their short documentary Finding Snow White screens at the festival (celebrating its 25th anniversary!) from March 23rd until March 27th. The film is an incredible contribution to the field of mental health. A powerful message around resilience, the human spirit, and the ways in which we can train ourselves to live life in the face of adversity. Beautiful and poignant.

We had a moment to catch up with the filmmakers - take a read, watch the trailer at the bottom of the piece, and catch the film at the festival if you can. 

WMM: What compelled you to make this film?

JV: I was compelled to make this film for a few reasons – the amazing personal journey of Ditta Oliker after the tragedy of her son’s murder, demonstrates how people can...

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Point Of View w/ Brie Eley of Here and Ready

* Mark your calendars for Sunday, March 31st - WMM Community Director Tehana  Fatima Weeks will be hosting an orientation for Here and Ready! *
 
We Make Movies is proud to be an ally to and partner with the casting database for Black actresses HERE AND READY, helmed by powerhouse Brie Eley. While cultivating her own career, actress, writer, producer, director, voice-over artist, and comedienne Eley founded  Here and Ready in an effort to increase POC visibility and opportunity. A private networking collective servicing more than 1,200 Black actresses across the U.S. and Canada, the platform is positioned to shift the landscape of casting. Through this endeavor, Eley has produced educational seminars, hosted networking events for the Casting Society of America (CSA), and launched a free and public talent database website, all while creating solidarity and connection amongst Black female talent.
 
Originally from Sugar Land,...
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A Legend Goes Indie - Point of View w/ Rah Digga

When We Make Movies greenlit filmmaker Mars Roberge's film Stars through the Make Your Feature Competition last November, little did we realize it would involve collaboration with hip hop royalty. Mars is nothing if not ambitious, so in casting the role of "Oprah" in his tale of homelessness, hope, and everything in between, he set the bar high. His vision was rapper, writer, actress, and activist Rashia Tashan Fisher – known to most as Rah DiggaBursting onto the hip hop scene at first through Twice Da Flavor and then under the umbrella of New Jersey collective Da Outsidaz (alongside heavyweights like Eminem), she was plucked by A Tribe Called Quest's Q-Tip and then Busta Rhymes, who positioned the unparalleled talent as the singular female MC of his own groundbreaking Flipmode Squad.
 
A decade into her tenure as one of rap's most distinguished and valued MC's (female or otherwise), she had collaborated on multiple hip...
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Make Your Feature Competition Film "Stars" Is In Production - POV: Mars Roberge

Award-winning director, producer, screenwriter, editor, and recent recipient of 25K through our We Make Movies' Make Your Feature CompetitionMars Roberge is many things. Canadian-American dual citizen. Creative shapeshifter. Industrious Complex of One. WMM VP of Content Eric Michael Kochmer refers to him as, "an infrastructure mastermind when it comes to logistical obstacles and understanding how to cope and get through them. He has six plans of attack prepared for each scenario, so to say he is intensely organized is an understatement." As the film Stars heads into production this week, Mars and company have already instituted "plan C" in several instances, from securing brand new locations that fell through at the eleventh hour to replacing key crew members who became the latest casualties of Omicron. Seemingly impervious to last minute revisions being made, Mars sets foot in New York City poised to roar "ACTION." 

Stars
, as are Mars' other...
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Smartphonestudio.tv Is Here: WMM x Apple Deliver Free Tutorials

We Make Movies and Apple have banded together once more to launch the new educational platform SMARTPHONESTUDIO.TV, dedicated to teaching you how to shoot, edit and upload professional content using the camera you already have in your pocket. Content creators and filmmakers anywhere in the world can now access 20 free tutorials on shooting with FilmicPro, capturing second source audio with Apogee's MetaRecorder, and editing with Apple’s Final Cut Pro and LumaFusion (by LumaTouch).

Essentially, this is WMM's gift to an international demand for mobile filmmaking. In sharing this high quality, curated information for free, we are making filmmaking accessible to the masses. The tutorials are designed to be an entry level introduction to the fundamentals of content creation with mobile devices, so anyone can jump in with confidence, a strategy,  and minimal stress. 
 
The site is easy to navigate as the...
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