Oscar History

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Soundtracking:Southland Tales

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Directors ofFor Sama

Lulu Wang(The Farewell)
Ritesh Batra(Photograph)
Schmidt & Abrantes(Diamantino)
Wanuri Kahiu(Rafiki)
Jia Zhang-ke(Ash is Purest White)

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If you didn't get a chance to see the premiere ofVITOlast week,make sure to tune in to one of its final airings [July31st: 12:45 p.m.;Aug.4th: 3:00 p.m.;Aug 8th: 9:15 a.m.]or find it on alternate HBO channels or HBOGO.The documentary is about the life and activism of Vito Russo (1946-1990) who was the author of the seminal non-fiction book "The Celluloid Closet"the definitive kick off point to the now robust commonplace conversation about the depiction of LGBT people in filmed entertainment.

VITO RUSSO (1946-1990),Author,Activist,Cinephile

I spoke with Jeffrey Schwarz,Vito's director,for Towleroad last weekend.I'd previously seen Schwarz's documentary about B movie showman William Castle (Spine Tingler!The William Castle Story) and we talked for an hour about a wide range of things beyondVitoincluding his work as the producer of "added value content"for DVDs.He's worked for a who's who of auteurs (Lynch,Scorsese,the Coens,and many many more) on bonus features and "making of"projects.It's not a subject one hears much about in terms of what goes on behind the curtain -- The Making of The Making of!-- perhaps that's diving too deep down the DVD/Bluray rabbit hole?

But I thought I'd share a few notes that didn't make it into my Towleroad interview for lack of space as well as being slightly off theVitodoc topic.

NATHANIEL R: You run this company Automat Pictures that does DVD extras.You've worked with these legends,almost mythically famous directors.

JEFFREY SCHWARZ: If you love movies,what I do for a living is a like a dream come true.I started doing this in 1998 when I got a job editing and shooting behind the scenes on Gus Van Sant'sPsycho.That's how I got into this business.I didn't even have a DVD player yet!The format was first emerging and the studios were hiring independent producers to make added value content.I got lucky because I was in the right place at the right time.I'd actually pitched my William Castle movie to Sony because they own all the William Castle movies.I was a little bit naive thinking that this big studio would want to produce my documentary but they did end up hiring me to produce the DVD extras forThe Tingler!

That's really what got me started -- first it wasPsycho,then it wasThe Tingler!and that led to other jobs for other studios.

Jeffrey Schwarz at screening of SPINE TINGLER!(image viaGay of the Dead)

more after the jump including oscar protests,evil lesbians,and staying angry

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