Author Archives: jen

It Takes a Village: Maintaining the Public Domain

Public Domain photo of Lee Sherman, Radio City Music Hall, New York, NY circa June 1947 via

Public Domain photo of Lee Sherman, Radio City Music Hall, New York, NY circa June 1947 via

Today in the United States, there is far more visibility into the right to use or exhibit certain content. The rise, and subsequent fall, of Napster for music downloading taught many of us lessons around intellectual property rights. Some people who illegally downloaded a song or two, and then distributed these songs via file sharing networks, became unfortunate pariahs subject to litigation from the Recording Industry Association of America. However, not everything is illegal to download! In fact, there are many pieces of content that are completely legal to use and distribute that are within what’s called “the public domain.”  Continue reading

The Orson Welles Centennial

Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences via The Film Stage

Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences via The Film Stage

Legendary filmmaker Orson Welles would have been 100 years old this year. George Orson Welles, who died in 1985, was a prolific actor, director, writer and producer. He was able to work across various arts mediums as he excelled on the radio as well as in stage and screen. Welles is often revered as one of the greatest directors of all time and his film Citizen Kane is repeatedly in top 10 lists of the greatest films of all time. The film is regarded as one that pushed the medium forward, introducing different types of camera angles, new lighting techniques and sound design that Welles borrowed from his radio days. Citizen Kane is also impressive due to how many “hats” Welles wore during the production — in addition to starring as the lead, he also wrote, directed and produced the film!  Continue reading

The Evolution of the Critic

Image via Misft Minded

Image via Misft Minded

Most people believe in the concept of criticism, especially in the arts. In all art forms, critique is necessary; it infers that critical thinking has occurred on the part of the observer. And, as we’ve seen now with comments sections on websites, people are more than willing to share their thoughts. However, there is a problem with this model — with the noise of all these varied opinions, it can be hard to get a signal and make sense of the art around us. To solve this problem, we have critics who provide their opinions, which weigh more than the average person’s due to the breadth of knowledge the critic may have for a given topic and that critic’s established status as a tastemaker.  Continue reading

Celebrating the Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr in NYC

Image via

Image via

Monday is a national holiday that celebrates the life of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. King’s legacy includes many poignant acts of civil disobedience and non-violent protest that are very important to hold up as an example given the disparities in race and class that our society continues to struggle with today.  Continue reading

Disappearing Violets: Where are the Women in Film and Television?

Image via

Image via

This past Sunday was the Golden Globes ceremony which was, for a third year, hosted by the brilliant combo of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. Fey and Poehler, in their own snarky way, poked holes at the industry and specifically its double standards for women. Some argue that the ceremony, as a result, was a feminist awards ceremony which bodes well for the future of these events. With Ellen DeGeneres’ success hosting the Oscars and the general likability of Fey and Poehler as hosts of the Globes, it’s clear to me that women are making progress.  Continue reading

La Nouvelle Vague: Exploring the work of Godard in Chicago

Film enthusiasts are familiar with the French New Wave, also known as La Nouvelle Vague in French, which is a term used to describe a renaissance for film produced within the region in the 1950′s and 1960′s. In terms of content, one of the hallmarks of films ascribed to this movement is a focus on realism through the exploration of current social issues young people faced. While the exact subject matter varied depending on the filmmaker, French New Wave films are perhaps most notable for experimenting with the medium. Filmmakers employed various non-traditional, jarring editing techniques such as jump cuts and non-continuous storytelling to present their content with a fresh perspective. Of the many filmmakers from the French New Wave, no one is perhaps as prolific (and often imitated) as Jean-Luc Godard.  Continue reading

It’s a Family Affair: Famous Show Business Families

Holding the Oscars he won for writing, producing and directing The Godfather Part II, Francis Ford Coppola poses with his father, Carmine, winner of the scoring award. April, 1975. Photo via

Francis Ford Coppola poses with his father, Carmine Coppola at the 1975 Academy Awards. The younger Coppola won Oscars for writing, producing and directing while the elder won the Oscar for scoring on The Godfather Part II. Photo via

Filmmaking is a collaborative process. While some other arts are more personal, film requires lots of hands on deck. You need actors, producers, writers, directors and lots of other helpers behind the scenes. Much in the way it takes a village to raise a baby, it may seemingly take a small city to create a film from the ground up! The analogy to a baby is no exaggeration; releasing a film, however small, is a labor of love. As a result, there are many cases in which filmmakers choose to work with their families in order to produce their best work.  Continue reading

Robert Altman Retrospective at the MoMA

Robert Altman

Photo of Robert Altman via

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City is currently exhibiting a retrospective of the work of the late director Robert Altman. Altman’s work spans four decades and he is perhaps most widely known for his work directing the film MASH in 1970, which was later turned into the popular television series. After the success of MASH, many studios looked to Altman to create similar hits but what they got in return would surprise them.  Continue reading

New Year’s Resolutions for Filmmakers

New Year's Eve by Jen Gallardo

New Year’s Eve by Jen Gallardo

With the end of 2014 looming, many people are thinking about resolutions they can make now to make 2015 a better year. While so many of those resolutions revolve around making ourselves healthier people, I decided to think about what would make me more sound as a filmmaker. As I pondered this, I realized that most folks who work in the arts and create — whether tangible or not — might be interested in making similar resolutions.

So, without further ado, here is my list of New Year’s Resolutions for Filmmakers (and other -makers, too):  Continue reading

It’s a Wonderful Life in our Wonderful City

If you’ve already completed your holiday shopping (just 2 more shopping days left until Christmas!), it’s time to relax. With all the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping and coordinating plans on where you’ll be spending the holiday, it’s easy to forget the real spirit of what all these acts mean. One way to unwind is to curl up on the couch with some hot cocoa and catch a movie. We are planning on wrapping some gifts and taking in the classic film It’s a Wonderful Life.

It's A Wonderful Life screenshot

It’s A Wonderful Life film still via

Continue reading