YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Breaking in from `Edge of Outside'

TCM premieres a documentary that pays tribute to independent filmmakers, whose work is featured this month.

July 05, 2006|Susan King | Times Staff Writer

The life of an independent filmmaker has never been easy. During the silent era, studio bosses would send out marksmen to shoot out the cameras of independent directors. The filmmakers quickly got wise and wrapped their cameras in blankets.

Orson Welles spent most of his life trying to obtain funding for his films. Robert Townsend maxed out his credit cards to make "Hollywood Shuffle." John Cassavetes was on the verge of halting production on his masterpiece, "A Woman Under the Influence," to take an acting job so he could get the money to finish the film -- his star Peter Falk put up the money so Cassavetes could continue uninterrupted.

Despite the hardships indie filmmakers have endured over the decades, they continue to bring their visions to the screen. This year's best picture Academy Award nominees were dominated by indie films, with "Crash" winning and "Brokeback Mountain" picking up two major Oscars, for best director and adapted screenplay.

"Edge of Outside," a new documentary that explores the spirit, maverick attitude and sheer pluck of independent filmmakers, premieres tonight on Turner Classic Movies. Directed and produced by Shannon Davis, "Edge of Outside" doesn't actually cover new ground when it comes to the history of the indie film movement in America but features revealing interviews with such iconoclastic filmmakers as Martin Scorsese, Edward Burns, Spike Lee, John Sayles, Arthur Penn and Darren Aronofsky.

The documentary also includes interviews with film critics and historians as well as producers, cinematographers and friends of such legendary indie directors as Welles, Stanley Kubrick, Nicholas Ray, Sam Fuller, Sam Peckinpah and Cassavetes.

"Edge of Outside" kicks off TCM's monthlong salute to independent filmmakers. Three films by Cassavetes follow the documentary; 1968's landmark film "Faces," which brought Oscar nominations for Cassavetes for his screenplay and supporting nominations for Seymour Cassel and Lynn Carlin; 1963's underrated "A Child Is Waiting," which Cassavetes made for producer Stanley Kramer; and 1974's classic "A Woman Under the Influence," for which Cassavetes' wife, Gena Rowlands, received a best actress nomination.

On July 12, TCM will screen Charlie Chaplin's 1923 drama "A Woman of Paris" -- the first film he made for United Artists, the independent studio he co-founded in 1919; Erich von Stroheim's notorious, incomplete 1929 drama, "Queen Kelly" (star and producer Gloria Swanson fired him); Frank Capra's 1941 political allegory "Meet John Doe," which he financed himself by borrowing money from Bank of America and with a loan from Warner Bros; and Welles' 1952 "Othello," which took years to complete because of financial issues.

Other films to be screened during July include Nicholas Ray's gritty 1951 film noir, "On Dangerous Ground"; 1955's "Killer's Kiss," the last film Kubrick financed on his own; Sam Fuller's 1964 thriller "The Naked Kiss"; and Penn's seminal 1967 drama, "Bonnie and Clyde."


`Edge of Outside'

Where: TCM

When: 8:30 to 9:30 tonight

Rating: Not rated

Los Angeles Times Articles