independent-films

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“I will say that as an actor I may experience like 5 mins. or 10 mins. of a day where I feel like, you know, it’s all been worthwhile and I’m doing the right thing with my life, but you sort of sit around waiting a lot and wondering, ‘What’s happening,’ and, ‘When’s someone gonna tell me what to do and pull me out of my box to perform?’”

“Whereas, you know, being a director, I think, [from] the moment I got up in the morning to the moment I hit the pillow in the evening, I was constantly solving problems or thinking about how to get this achieved, which is exhausting but it’s a good exhaustion. So I’ll do it again.”

–  Joel Edgerton on enjoying the challenges of directing

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On this day in history in 1934, a federal prison opened on Alcatraz Island built to house the most dangerous prisoners and ones with a pension for escaping. The prison held notorious criminals such as gangsters Al Capone and George “Machine Gun” Kelly. In 1963 the prison closed due to high expense of maintenance. Later in 1964, members of the Sioux tribe occupied Alcatraz Island, citing an 1868 treaty with the US government and Sioux allowing them to claim any unoccupied government land. The occupation grew in 1969 when hundreds of Native students, protesters, and activists from across the country gathered for the Alcatraz Occupation. It became a place where many found their voices in the shadow of the Civil Rights movement and in the face of continued injustices perpetrated on American Indians by the United States government. In 1971 federal marshals forced everyone to clear the island. Shortly after, the island became a public recreation area maintained by the National Park Service. In 2001, filmmaker James Fortier brought his documentary Alcatraz Is Not an Island to the Sundance Film Festival to shed light on this important historic event. The film features archival footage and photography as well as a series of interviews with participants of the Alcatraz Occupation. 

Film still and poster courtesy of Alcatraz Is Not an Island

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Moonlight (2016)

Directed by Barry Jenkins

Cinematography by James Laxton

“Jai was like the character on the page stepped into real life. These young cops, a lot of them, are sturdy, young tough guys who could’ve been athletes. They’re in the police force. Jai’s sort of a contradiction of many things. He’s so intelligent. You can look at him and go, ‘You’re just a brute,' but he’s super intelligent. That’s what I was imagining - this big, strong, kind of dangerous guy.”

“[Director] Matthew [Saville] said, 'Have you met this guy, or heard about this guy, Jai?’ I was like, 'I think I’ve heard about him.’ I’d never seen a photo of him. I’d just heard he was working in big American movies. Then we met him by Skype and he put down a scene and was perfect.”

  “Felony” screenwriter and star, Joel Edgerton, recalling how delighted he was when he cast Jai Courtney as his character’s nemesis in the film; photographed with Jai and co-star Sarah Roberts at the LA premiere of the film in 2014