Amanda Palmer interviews the director
of Sleep Dealer, Alex Rivera
This week, The Fabulous Picture Show invites American-Peruvian digital-media artist and filmmaker Alex Rivera to screen his feature film debut, Sleep Dealer.

It is a bold and imaginative sci-fi thriller set in Mexico in the near future. 

This militarised world is marked by closed borders, virtual labour and a global digital network that joins minds and experiences. 

Here, three strangers risk their lives to connect with one another and break the barriers of technology.
 
Mexico is not simply the film's back drop – its roots are firmly planted in the socio-political immigration issues that are prevalent there today. 

It is an ambitious debut, a vivid, visually exciting science-fiction film with a strong sense of social commentary.

The film manages to create a fully realised future world on a shoestring budget.

Director Alex Rivera joins host Amanda Palmer to discuss how he made his visual effects laden film on such a tight budget and the political commentary that is deeply imbedded in the narrative.

John Sayles

John Sayles, the original
American independent filmmaker
If there is one person who epitomises the independent film movement in America, it is John Sayles. 

Writing cheesy Hollywood screenplays like Alligator and Battle Beyond the Stars to fund such socially conscious early films as Brother From Another Planet and Matewan, Sayles became the first ever filmmaker to receive a so-called "genius grant" from the prestigious MacArthur Foundation.

After almost 30 years of gutsy indie gems, he delivers Honeydripper, a tale of rock & roll's black roots set in the firmly racist American South of the early 1950s.

Sayles speaks to Amanda Palmer about Honeydripper, and whether he is starting to feel his age as he continues plugging away at the young person's game of indie filmmaking.

Lemon Tree

Lemon Tree, winner of the Panorama Award
at this year's Berlin Film Festival
With Lemon Tree, director Eran Riklis becomes the latest Israeli to jump on the bandwagon of collaboration between Israeli and Palestinian artists.

Based on a true story, Lemon Tree describes what happens when the Israeli defence minister moves in next door to a Palestinian widow and threatens to have her lemon grove torn down as a security threat.

Lemon Tree is Riklis' metaphor on the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Director Riklis and his Palestinian actors, Hiam Abbass and Ali Suliman, talk to us about the film, and what it is like to produce films in a part of the world so heated with conflict.

Fighter

Semra Turan plays a high school student
passionate about Kung Fu in Fighter
You do not normally think of Denmark as a source of great kung fu movies – it is best known as the home of the Dogme cinematic experiment pioneered by directors like Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg. 

But Danish director Natasha Arthy decided to follow her Dogme film with a crowd-pleasing story about a young Turkish girl torn between her conservative Muslim family and her love of kung fu. 

For Fighter, Arthy managed to snare the services of Xian Gao, famed for his martial arts choreography in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

We speak to Arthy and her sparkling discovery, Danish-Turkish martial arts champion Semra Turan, about this surprising new film that combines the heart of an intimate culture-crossing drama with the sheer entertainment of kung fu wizardry.

Watch part one of this episode of The Fabulous Picture Show on YouTube

Watch part two of this episode of The Fabulous Picture Show on YouTube

This episode of The Fabulous Picture Show aired from Saturday, May 03, 2008


Click here for Amanda Palmer's biography

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Source: Al Jazeera