Stories

  • What the Soul Remembers

  • God love the post-apocalypse. It’s a bottomless well of ideas for storytellers. A blank slate. An uncashed check. A whirring kaleidoscope of imaginative potential. Yet, in these latter days, when the world really does feel as though it’s on the brink, the popularity of Year Zero variants—such as the serial zombie drama and the Mad Max feminist motorhead reboot—tease our anxieties to make for widely applauded commercial amusements. But they don’t leave a particularly profound impression once t[...]
  • The Handmaiden of the Lord

  • Standing on the parched slopes of Strawberry Peak, dressed in a long-sleeved, blue leotard, Celia Rowlson-Hall stares at her bare feet. The 31-year-old director of the wordless, surrealist, and eminently entertaining MA— which premiered at the Venice Film Festival last September—is trying to express how it feels to have finished her first feature film. The dirt around her, covered in a pale, fur-like moss that emerged in the Angeles National Forest during California’s four-year drought, is as so[...]
  • You're Just Dealing with Moe

  • After their assistant calls to tell me that their normal hangout—the Brooklyn Tap House—is closed, I meet the Cloud9 TV crew at a Mexican restaurant in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. The place is empty when I arrive, save for a few people at the bar and a couple of indifferent waiters near the kitchen. A few minutes later, three men enter. Moe Verneau—the visionary behind the out-of-nowhere popular Money & Violence web series—hangs back, circumspect. He’s the last to shake my hand. As we sit down,[...]
  • The Biograph Girl

  • “Being an actress in L.A. is just so embarrassing," says the actress, Dylan Gelula, as if divulging a vulgar secret. "It's the worst. I feel like the people I meet respect me right up until I tell them what I do for a living.” She may be exaggerating her contempt for my benefit, but her antipathy isn't performed. Gelula is acerbic, and comes off as supremely self-confident. And yet at 21—after four years in Los Angeles acting for television—she remains in a sort of spiritual flux about her caree[...]
  • The Four-Sided Triangle

  • The opening scene of Take Me to the River—Matt Sobel’s incendiary debut—unfolds like the epigraph of a light, introspective coming-of-age tale. Ryder (Logan Miller), listening to music in the back of his parents’ car as they advance toward a family reunion in Nebraska, removes his headphones and asks his mother (Robin Weigert), with the taint of moral superiority in his voice: “Do they know I’m gay?” The answer, we learn from her strained expression, is no. Sitting in a theater in Wroclaw,[...]
  • Usurping the Privilege Economy

  • Back in the spring of 2014, after successfully navigating my first crowdfunding campaign on Seed&Spark, I texted the following hyperbole to a friend: [Crowdfunding] is an experience that will unite our generation as WWII did our grandparents. That sounds like something a kid who hasn't been to war would say. But I mean that it's the struggle of a new creative generation. And it's important, not just because it fosters character and humility (which it does), but because it's one of the most [...]
  • I Am Thalente

  • The first time Thalente Biyela skated with Tony Hawk, he was 12 years old and homeless, sleeping beneath the concrete overhang of the Durban skatepark where he spent his waking hours. The second time they rode together, eight years later, they were 8,000 miles west, at Hawk's skateboarding Mecca in Southern California. In BRIGHT IDEAS Picture's first feature film release, I Am Thalente, Natalie Johns chronicles Thalente's harrowing journey—from the streets South Africa, to the lights of Los A[...]
  • The Valley of the Maniacs

  • I Roberto Rossellini and the Italian neorealists reinvented cinema in the post-war rubble of Rome. The path-breaking auteurs of the French New Wave found freedom in the streets of Paris. Woody Allen, Whit Stillman, and Martin Scorsese took Manhattan. The Coen Brothers, no matter where they roam, will forever be geographically pinned to Fargo, North Dakota. Mike Ott has Antelope Valley. The 2,200-square-mile desert expanse falls between the San Gabriel and Tehachapi mountain ranges an hour no[...]
  • The Tarkovsky Questionnaire: James Kaelan

  • As BRIGHT IDEAS enters its third year, we realized that you, our readers, don't know enough about the people responsible for creating the magazine. So our contributing editor, Laura Goode, came up with a brilliant way to pull back the curtain. She came across a brief questionnaire the great Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky scribbled down in his notebook back in the winter of 1974. And over the coming weeks and months, everyone on the BRIGHT IDEAS/Seed&Spark team will answer the same 17 que[...]
  • Mercy. Danger. Style. Absurdity.

  • 1. The Unbearable Loneliness of Dog Parks Janicza Bravo can’t find the particular book she seeks. “This photographer who meant a lot to me just died,” she says with some urgency, scanning shelves and unburying things in her rococo West Hollywood bungalow, “and I wanted to show you some of her work.” She keeps plumbing the space around us, apologizing repeatedly for her inability to find the book or sit down. “You mean Mary Ellen Mark?” I venture a guess. “Yes!” Bravo’s hands fly into[...]
  • #WelcometotheOldBrooklyn

  • After their assistant calls to tell me that their normal hangout—the Brooklyn Tap House—is closed, I meet the Cloud9TV crew at a Mexican restaurant in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. The place is empty when I arrive, save for a few people at the bar and a couple of indifferent waiters near the kitchen. A few minutes later, three men enter. Moe Verneau—the visionary behind the out-of-nowhere popular Money & Violence web series—hangs back, circumspect. He’s the last to shake my hand. As we sit down, [...]
  • Rap Rap Rap Cool

  • The South African Tom Cruise is in full effect. Joking with one of his mates, Sibs Shongwe-La Mer strides along 23rd Street outside the Chelsea multiplex where his debut feature, Necktie Youth, is enjoying its North American premiere run at the Tribeca Film Festival. There’s a spring-loaded grace to his gait, and something to the way he cocks his head when he laughs, a live-wire agility that catches the light. Before you know that the 23-year-old South African filmmaker is “Someone to Watch,” he[...]
SHARE