Azazel Jacobs

Iron Man

In March, Evan Kindley asked a compelling question about musicians and their like-minded descendants: “Why is it that the kids of cult folk musicians (e.g. Kristy MacColl, Rufus Wainwright), often go on to respected solo careers while the offspring of major rock stars (e.g., Jakob Dylan, Julian Lennon) are more often one-hit wonders flashes in the pan?” As Kindley and his responders note, there is no scientific basis in this observation, just a sense that the rules of cultural value apply differently when it comes to the offspring of marginal artistic figures – and, seemingly more often than not, those offspring find success in arenas more conventional than their parents. The world of filmmaking is similarly full of dynasties that produce children who seem to inherit opportunities (if not success) not immediately available outsiders. When the American Zoetrope logo introduces Roman Coppola’s A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III, for example, it’s easy to speculate the ways that the Coppola filmmaking legacy, and all its resources, afforded Roman an opportunity he may not have had otherwise. But while one’s status as the son or daughter of an independent, experimental, underground, or avant-garde filmmaker may similarly bear the weight and burden of a famous name, it cannot possibly work the same way in terms of economics and industry-based reputation. Being the offspring of a Filmmakers’ Co-Op co-founder might carry some cultural capital in certain circles, but rarely does that guarantee access to the actual capital needed to make a movie. It’s something […]

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Azazel Jacobs‘ film, Terri, is for and about the rejects of the world. It’s for the outsiders whose goodness — and possible awesomeness — goes unrecognized. Terri is a film about your average weirdo kids in High School that really aren’t that different. Like everyone else, they’re just flawed. Jacobs’ drama is more of a character driven film rather than a plot driven one. It moves at a deliberate place, and it isn’t afraid to show the oddball and less flattering aspects of these people. Jacobs never pokes fun at his characters as a director, but that may not have always been the case during his days of being a pretentious film school student immersed in a potentially snobby world. Here’s what director Azazel Jacobs had to say about film school, pretension, and finding humility in filmmaking:

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Don’t we all know John C. Reilly by now? Does he still need a long introduction? Reilly seems to pride himself on being one of the “that guys,” but in the film community, he couldn’t be further from simply being a face you vaguely recall from one of his many films; if you’re reading this, you probably know him. So what’s the point of listing off Magnolia, Gangs of New York, Boogie Nights, The Good Girl, Casualties of War, The Year of the Dog, Cyrus, Sydney, and Step Brothers? There is no reason, even though I just did. I talked to Reilly about a year ago for Cyrus, and I found him to be both thoughtful and subtlety funny. He’d take time with his responses and put things in a new perspective, like the possible laziness digital cameras provide a crew. And as for the funny part, he’d do little things that some could easily misunderstand as seriousness, like moving blinds to look intensely out a window as if he’s stuck in a paranoia thriller or discussing how the hotel smelled like a mixture of puke and cheese (it did…) This time around, he expressed the same thoughtfulness from that interview we did last year. It was a pleasant chat about the honesty he strives for with his characters, bringing yourself to material, and the intense specificity of Roman Polanski.

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One of my own personal areas of expertise, beyond being a guy who writes about movies for a living, is being chubby. I’ve been pretty chubby since I was in the 4th grade and lets face it, movies generally get it right when it comes to the plight of the fat kid. He’s got it rough. So I can’t imagine not somehow connecting to Azazel Jacobs’ new film Terri, one of Sundance 2011’s breakout hits. It follows the odd bromance between a vice principle (John C. Reilly) and an overweight 15-year old (Jacob Wysocki) as they both try to navigate the horrors of high school. The film drops into theaters in limited release on July 1, and today we’ve got for you an exclusive gallery of photos.

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Editor’s Note: In a fevered rush to get straight to the movies he loved, intrepid reviewer Robert Levin didn’t write an intro. In fact, he might not even believe in them. Maybe he believes you’d rather dig into the movies than read one. So without any ado, here’s Robert’s list of the best movies he saw at Sundance. Look out for a few of them coming to a theater near New York and LA and On Demand throughout the year.

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There is perhaps no more fertile storytelling ground than high school. Countless movies have mined the depths of awkward despair to which interesting, offbeat teens descend during those trying years. One could program an entire satellite Sundance Film Festival comprised entirely of offbeat, whimsical films centered on secondary school dysfunction that have premiered in Park City. So, it’s reasonable to wonder whether there’s anything left to say, and why Azazel Jacobs – director of the acclaimed, innovative Momma’s Man and son of avant-garde filmmaker Ken Jacobs – turned to the proverbial setting for his new film Terri.

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published: 12.23.2014
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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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