AFS Viewfinders

AFS Viewfinders is a film culture website with information, resources and opinions designed to deepen and broaden appreciation of film.

Watch This: Queering the Biblical Text with 1933’s LOT IN SODOM

There aren’t many films from 1933 that get the YouTube “This Video May Be Inappropriate For Some Users” gate, but LOT IN SODOM is no ordinary film. Made by the wealthy dilettante – and heir to large sums of the Western Union fortune, James Sibley Watson, who became interested in avant-garde literature while at Harvard […]

Watch This: Tommy Lee Jones’ Japanese TV Commercials are Nuts

There’s an old tradition of American stars appearing in Japanese television commercials, often in wacky scenarios that play up some aspect of their public personalities or best known roles. Here are a few classic examples of those. One of our favorite actors, and we’re guessing one of yours too, is Texas’ own Tommy Lee Jones. […]

Watch This: Maya Deren’s Surreal Ode to Medieval Witchcraft

When we look back at the work of Maya Deren (born April 29, 1917, died October 13, 1961) the breadth of expression is just breathtaking. She seemed to reinvent Cinema by rearranging its component parts of drama, music, ritual and visual arts along new bold lines that were absolutely personal, completely idiosyncratic, and unmistakably direct. […]

“And the Winner is… ” A Few Favorite Oscar Acceptance Speeches

The 93rd Academy Awards ceremony takes place this weekend and while the event this year will certainly be different from previous, non-pandemic-plagued years, there is always a certain amount of magic in the air. This magic has been well-earned over the years. Starting in 1929 as a rather insular industry banquet, it has blossomed into […]

Days of Future Past: Remembering the Cinerama Dome

You have probably seen the news by now that Pacific Theatres, the cinema chain that operates the famous Arclight Theaters, is closing up shop due to the financial strains caused by the pandemic. For now, that means that its most famous and most visible outlet, the historic Cinerama Dome, is shuttering. The shock and outrage […]

Listen Here: Pauline Kael’s Legendary Sick Burn Radio Broadcast

This is a reprint of an AFS Viewfinders post from 2015. Nearly 20 years after her death, film critic Pauline Kael still inspires controversy. During her lifetime she was loved by many, hated by some and feared by studios and publicists (much of Hollywood felt, with some justification, that she could make or break a […]

The Cinema of Rob Schneider: A Reappraisal

The course of Cinema’s history has been a long and arduous one. Today’s master is tomorrow’s forgotten auteur. As the tastes of the multitudes and the critical fashions of the day converge in the manner of a mighty river… are you still reading? Good, because this is an April Fools joke. We’re not really doing […]

SXSW Film Fest 2021 was a Blast – Here are Some of Our Favorites

Last week was a whirlwind of screenings, Q&As, and roundtables, as it always is during SXSW, but unlike most years the whole thing was virtual, conveyed through an app. It still feels a little odd to participate in film festivals virtually though it must be said that many fests now have it down pretty well. […]

Interview: Hear From Three AFS Grant-Supported Filmmakers About Their SXSW 2021 Premieres

SXSW is back! After last year’s cancellation, the 2021 festival returns as an all-digital experience, taking place March 16-20. We are excited to be a part and share that six AFS-supported filmmakers are making their world premieres at SXSW: Haley Anderson’s SUMMER ANIMALS, Keith Maitland’s DEAR MR. BRODY, Mei Makino’s INBETWEEN GIRL, Channing Godfrey Peoples’ […]

It’s International Women’s Day: Celebrate with these AFS-Supported Films

March 8 is International Women’s Day. This is a day – hopefully only one of many days throughout the year –  when, in the words of the UN: “women are recognized for their achievements without regard to divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political.” In the spirit of that day, we hope you […]

Watch This: This DO THE RIGHT THING Behind-The-Scenes Doc is a Classic in Itself

Almost as long as there have been films there have been documentaries about what happens behind the scenes. Some are amateurish, some are basically just commercials for the feature film, and a rare few are excellent works of art themselves. We have featured St. Claire Bourne’s work on these pages before. Well before Spike Lee […]

Five Favorites From the 2021 Sundance Film Festival

You don’t need us to tell you that when it comes to independent film, the annual Sundance Film Festival is the big Kahuna. This is the time when much of the blueprint for the year in indie film is determined. The films that make a big impression here are likely to be the ones that […]

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