Genre Film

Filmmaking Tips from The Coen Brothers

There are a lot of stories about colleagues and reporters asking Joel and Ethan Coen questions only to get the same exact answer from both (or to get one finishing the other’s sentence), so it seems at least plausible that they’d both agree on all these tips – no matter which brother they came from. Joel Coen got his start as an assistant editor on Fear No Evil and The Evil Dead. He and his brother then partnered for their first movie without the word “evil” in the title, Blood Simple., which rightly launched them to prominence where they’d go on to craft Raising Arizona, The Big Lebowski, countless other modern classics and a trophy case for all their awards. All of this fulfilled a childhood dream of making movies that started with a Super 8 camera and a hobby of remaking what they saw on television. So here’s a bit of free film school (for fans and filmmakers alike) from two young masters who think exactly alike.


For Austin residents, The Alamo Drafthouse needs no introduction, I’m sure. For the uninitiated, they’re the movie-loving theater with the strict no talking/texting policy that made waves a little while back when the Intenet got a hold of their in-house PSA that humiliated an ex-customer who was ejected for texting by playing a stupid/obnoxious voicemail that she left after getting thrown out. And they also do other stuff. Not the least of which is put on Fantastic Fest, which is the biggest genre film festival in the United States. Whatever your genre flavor, whether it be horror, sci-fi, fantasy, action, or what have you, Fantastic Fest usually has something that will pique your interest, due to the fact that they bring movies in from all around the globe. In the past they’ve premiered big art films like There Will Be Blood, they’ve brought us cool gems from other lands like Troll Hunter, they’ve made us all aware of disgusting nonsense like The Human Centipede, all while mixing tons of other obscure/weird stuff in as well. Co-creator Tim League says of the festival, “Fantastic Fest is the high-point of my year.  Every year old friends return and strangers become friends. Fantastic Fest is my extended dysfunctional family; each of us completely obsessed by the wildest and weirdest films on earth.” Now doesn’t that sound like something you’d want to be a part of? Then I’d start planning my trip to the festival now.

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