New article for Bright Lights Film Journal: A Land of Wolves: Sicario and the New Drug Film (Co-authored with Eileen Rositzka - Cinepoetics, Free University of Berlin)
In honor of the late director Jonathan Demme (The Silence of the Lambs, Married to the Mob, and Something Wild), I am reposting a fantastic interview between Demme and Paul Thomas Anderson, a director who cites Demme's work as an influence (April 26).
Protect Arts and Culture Funding
September 9th, 2016 - Tell Me Your L.A. Story
"Los Angeles. Come on vacation, leave on probation." - James Ellroy
Hello everyone. Two quick things about the L.A. project: 1) title change. For the time being, I'm keeping the working title as the "Los Angeles and Cinema Project." 2) What is your favourite L.A. story (or most interesting one)? Whether we've lived in the L.A. area or just visited, we have some great stories to tell. I'd love to hear them. What about the area do you find the most fascinating? The most frustrating? Favourite film that is set in L.A.? Favourite part of L.A.? Favourite season of the year to be in L.A.? Some hidden gems? I'd love to know.
September 8th, 2016 - Los Angeles and Cinema Project (update)
In 1946, journalist Carey McWilliams wrote Southern California: An Island on Land, a history of the region from the Spanish Colonial Period to World War II. McWilliams describes 1930 as a critical year for the motion picture industry: the industry employed over 15,000 people and drew around $129.3 million a year, yet practically none of the major studios or movie stars lived in the area we know call Hollywood--bordered by the summit of Hollywood Hills to the north, Doheny Drive on the west, Beverly Boulevard to the south, and Hoover Street to the east. Founded as a conservative "dry community" in 1902, Hollywood had finally succeeded in driving out the "campers"and "movie colonies" that they so despised since their invasion during the early 1910s. Among these invaders were the Horsley brothers (British-born David and William) who founded Nestor Motion Picture Company at the corner of Sunset and Gower. What inspired them to travel to Southern California, McWilliams argues, is the work of poet laureate John S. McGroarty.
I'm holding in my hand McGroarty's California: Its History and Romance (1911). Apart from the ideal filming conditions presented by an average 300 days of sunshine, a clear picture emerges on what drove the movie artists away from east coast towards what McGroarty describes as "the Land of Heart's Desire."