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DN 2010 Year in Review

2010 was by far our most prolific year of content since DN began (722 posts in total!), so if you haven’t been keeping up on a daily basis I can see why the archive may be a tad intimidating. And so I, along with El Vez and Danni have picked just one post from each month of 2010 that we particularly enjoyed to help you get a feel for what we’ve been putting out over the past year. I hope some of these are also your DN favourites, feel free to get in touch to let us know what you’d like to see more/less of on DN. Also, if you’re not subscribed to the full and podcast DN feeds now might be a good time so you don’t miss a single post in 2011.


Yes to nofilmschool
– If you want to see an example of how to grab blogging by the horns and produce high quality, informative content Koo’s NoFilmSchool is the shining example. He proved daily just how lazy a blogger I am and inspired me to get more serious about the work we do here at DN.

DN Special: How Far Would You Go…? – Neil LaBute
– Even though the invite was to discuss a rather forgettable promo ‘documentary’ for the game Heavy Rain I couldn’t pass up the chance to interview Neil LaBute, the man who directed one of my favourite films; In the Company of Men. As you can hear, the interview questions were heavily weighted towards that film and not so much the promo at hand.

DN SXSW2010 – A Serbian Film
– Oh how I loved every minute of SXSW, so much so that I’m already packing for this year’s festival. A Serbian Film was, while not my favourite of the festival, the film that provoked the most discussion during or since. The interview is probably my most combative ever as I hated the film at the time, but came to appreciate the craft behind it. Although I have little desire for a re-watch.

What volcano? Next stop Hot Docs
– Last year we really ramped up our festival coverage, but unlike the rest of us pretenders, documentary director Jeanie Finlay covered various festivals as a filmmaker, a project pitcher and a festival judge through video, picture diaries and as here, with finely written articles. Massively glad to have her with us!

Moviemaker’s 10 Podcasts Worth a Listen
– It’s probably bad form for me to pick out such a self-congratulatory post, but it’s mighty good to see DN recognised every once in a while.

The Brothers Bloom
– El Vez has been with DN since the beginning – well actually even before then. While it’s hard to trick him onto the podcast mic, he’s mightily prolific when it comes to writing articles. They’re always a joy to read and the fact that he shared my disappointment with The Brothers Bloom means I’ll leave him the master DN passwords in my will.

We Used to Call People – Inside/Out
– Sometimes just finding a new favourite director is more than enough to keep you going for a month.

Reading & Leeds 2010
– Every year we get to take our favourite pieces of work out to folks in the real world. Last year was certainly one of our strongest line ups.

Winter’s Bone
– I was mightily pleased to have long term DN friend Si Sharp join the team this year and he came out swinging with an excellent review of Winter’s Bone. His piece bumped Winter’s Bone up my to watch list and onto my top ten of the year.

DN LFF2010 – Leap Year – Michael Rowe
– The only thing more annoying than missing out on the London Film Festival last year was sending Danni Lizaitis instead and her doing far too good a job with her articles and interviews. Bitch!

Life Just Is: Taking the Plunge
– The only reason DN got off the ground and is still around today is due to the generous filmmakers willing to share their working process with us all. Director Alex Barrett has granted us a lens eye view on his transition from shorts to his debut feature Life Just Is and we’re mighty privileged to join him.

Premiere Japan 2010: New Japanese Cinema
– Julian Ross joined team DN this year and definitely contributed to making us greater than the sum of our parts, with his intimidatingly well crafted film analysis. He was our eyes and ears at LIFF and in this post cracked open New Japanese Cinema for us.


El Vez

DN154: Panic Attack! – Fede Alvarez – It’s not often that you get to interview a director who goes on to get a $30m Hollywood contract to make a feature, but that’s exactly what MarBelle managed to pull off when he interviewed Fede Alvarez in January. I think it was a universal feeling from all that had seen Panic Attack! that it was something special and obviously Sam Raimi felt the same, as he signed him up to make a feature pretty damn quick.

Nuit Blanche – It’s funny how some short films stick with you for a long time, but I can remember so vividly sitting down with my breakfast and watching Nuit Blanche and just being left completely stunned by its beauty and power. I can also remember being late for work on that day, as I was busy posting it on DN.

DN SXSW2010: TUB – Bobby Miller – With MarBelle hitting the SXSW coverage pretty hard, it was almost impossible not to pick a highlight from the festival and for me this had to be when MarBelle and Bobby Miller took the DN SXSW interview experience to the crowds and bands of 6th Street.

DN163: Erasing David – David Bond
– Getting to interview the 2009 Cannes winner of the Un Certain Regard Award, Yorgos Lanthimos about his film Dogtooth was a pretty special thing for DN and was kind of hard to look past this in the month of April. However, there was just something about the interview with David Bond on his film Erasing David that seemed like perfect timing. With films like Catfish and The Social Network kicking up debates this year, Erasing David seemed like a serious look at our online identity.

Valhalla Rising
– I think I’ve pretty much summed up just how much I love Nicolas Winding Refn’s Valhalla Rising with its inclusion in my 2010 top ten and my gushing review of it in May last year. I was so glad I got to see this epic on the big screen, as this is how it deserves to be watched.

The Return of John Frum
– We love originality on DN and we love a weird short. Well they don’t come weirder and more original than The Return of John Frum.

Dancing Pigeons – Ritalin
– Hillbillies with flamethrowers what could be better?

Between Bears
– August brought the best short film of the year, no question! Eran Hilleli’s Between Bears is not only super stylish with its widescreen hazy visuals, but has a wonderfully inventive storyline that totally captivates throughout (seriously I still don’t think I can blink whilst watching it!).

DN181: Shall I? – Igor Drozdov
– I interviewed good friend and talented filmmaker Igor Drozdov about his film Shall I?. As it’s a pretty rare occurrence (only my second ever interview), it would be idiotic not to include it as my highlight of September (to be honest it was one of my highlights of the year!).

LFF2010: Another Year – Mike Leigh
– Due to a lack of funds and no time off work I couldn’t make it to the London Film Festival this year. I was totally gutted, but getting to see Mike Leigh’s Another Year and streamed ‘live from the festival’ post film interview with director and cast, somewhat made up for it. I described Another Year as possibly the greatest film Leigh had ever made in my review, a statement I would now like to retract….it’s definitely his greatest film.

The Walking Dead: Episode 1
– Zombies, zombies, bloody zombies. We’ve become pretty obsessed with Zombies here at DN and we were all just ever so slightly excited about The Walking Dead.

Top Ten lists
– The only thing to look forward to after Christmas.


Danni Lizaitis

44 Inch Chest Website
– As most of you know, DN mainly concentrates on reviews and podcasts, yet one thing I find particularly interesting about the site is the cool film related things we’re also allowed to share with you. I watched and loved 44 Inch Chest at the last Filmstock International Film Festival yet I don’t think I would have ever visited the website without El Vez pointing me in the right direction. What a cool concept for a website!

– We write about film festivals all the time here at DN, as I’m sure you’ve realised. What is rare, is having a first time festival curator talk about their experience of starting a festival. Gemma Mitchell wrote an article for DN explaining her filmmaking success and why she wanted to create a festival not just about film, but all aspects of story telling!

SXSW Here I am…Where do I begin?
– I’ve picked this article for March as this is where MarBelle’s SXSW adventure began. This was the first in many articles and podcasts and I thoroughly enjoyed all MarBelle’s coverage of DN’s first trip to South By!

DP EP 162: Dogtooth – Yorgos Lanthimos
– I’m sure looking back at the DN writers’ top 10s, you’ll notice the film Dogtooth appeared quite a lot… It is undoubtedly one of the best films of the year and back in April, MarBelle spoke to Yorgos Lanthimos about the film, the Greek filmmaking industry and what’s next for him! Fascinating for anybody who’s watched and loved the film.

SoTW – Apricot
– One of the most annoying things about being a DN writer is going to write about a film, and then seeing one of the other writers has beaten you to it! Ha, that’s what happened to me with Apricot. Just as I was about to share, I noticed this post. A link to the filmmaking blog Short of The Week, where both MarBelle and El Vez write frequently and share on DN. El Vez had already shared and written about Apricot with DN readers in March too!

The Archive
– I love this short documentary! Such a fascinating film. We don’t always have to write in-depth reviews about films we love, sometimes it’s just good to share them with you! This is a very simple post, but one that’s given me one of my favourite short films of 2010.

Cameraman: The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff
– In all honesty, I’m still to see this documentary, but I’ll get it under my belt in the next month. I would have probably never heard of it if it wasn’t for Neil’s post. I can only cringe at the luck of a traffic accident on an A road, being stuck and watching the clock whilst Stephen Fry sat down to interview arguably one of the best cinematographers the film industry has ever seen… Sorry Neil!

Animation Tag Attack
– One of the coolest concepts floating around the animation/design scene at the minute! It’s also an awesome opportunity for artists and animators to get themselves out there!

– This whole thing blows my mind! I love the animation, it’s a lovely concept, and I do appreciate a good old knit! “The making of “ is really fascinating. Just seeing how tiny the models are and learning about the “cellscope” is a science and film class all rolled into one.

DN LFF2010: Lemmy
– October saw the month I dedicated my life to watching and writing about as many films as I possibly could at the London Film Festival. It also marked my first podcasts for DN. In all honesty, I was pretty terrified for the first few interviews. In the end, my knees had stopped shaking and I enjoyed recording the podcasts very much, being able to discuss how a film you enjoyed was pulled off with the director is pretty exciting. I interviewed Greg and Wes in the last week of LFF, I’d found my pace by then and both these guys were totally awesome! It was really hard leaving Lemmy out of my top 10.

– November brought a month full of festival posts for various DN writers. Those posts where all too interesting to pick a single one from, so instead I’ve picked the collection of Warpaint videos MarBelle shared with us in one neatly complied post. One of my favourite bands of 2010 and I concur with MarBelle’s plan to lock them away to write soundtracks.

The Butterfly Circus
– December is the month of top 10s, a round up of the year and all the things we’ve managed to see. All of us posted our picks and again I can’t select just one, although it was great to see Short of the Week’s Top 10 Short Films of 2010 too, a selection of shorts I am ashamed to have had only seen one of. However one of my favourite posts of December had to be The Butterfly Circus. It’s always awesome to read about a film and then be able to watch it all straight away! This 22-minute short is beautiful and I’m very much looking forward to the feature!

I hope you enjoy looking back at my favourite bits of DN for 2010. We really did manage to get all over the place last year, I hope 2011 brings us the same film goodies!

Author: MarBelle

MarBelle has a strange compulsion to watch as many films as he can get his hands on and find jobs that give him a legitimate excuse to drill filmmakers about their work. Directors Notes is the latest incarnation of this disorder and so much cheaper than film school. Twitter: @MarBelle


9 comments for “DN 2010 Year in Review”

  1. RT @WeAreDN: Just what did we get up to in 2010? Here are some of our favourites – DN Year in Review: http://j.mp/DN_2010

    Posted by Andrew S Allen | January 4, 2011, 5:25 pm
  2. RT @WeAreDN: Just what did we get up to in 2010? Here are some of our favourites – DN Year in Review: http://j.mp/DN_2010

    Posted by Julian | January 4, 2011, 5:52 pm
  3. RT @WeAreDN: Just what did we get up to in 2010? Here are some of our favourites – DN Year in Review: http://j.mp/DN_2010

    Posted by Life Just Is | January 4, 2011, 6:11 pm
  4. DN 2010 Year in Review http://bit.ly/ekTi55

    Posted by Film School by Phone | January 4, 2011, 6:21 pm
  5. RT @WeAreDN: DN 2010 Year in Review http://bit.ly/f5VmdL

    Posted by miss d | January 4, 2011, 7:48 pm
  6. Alex Barrett's feature in Director's Notes was listed as a top story from last year! Take a look: http://fb.me/HQxsMgGg

    Posted by augusto da rocha | January 6, 2011, 8:49 pm
  7. Director Alex Barrett from @lifejustisfilm was featured in the top posts of 2010 on Director's Notes. Congrats! http://tinyurl.com/365l3g9

    Posted by Really Bright Media | January 6, 2011, 8:51 pm
  8. our director @albaztks was featured as a top post for 2010 in Director's Notes a Year in Review http://tinyurl.com/365l3g9

    Posted by Life Just Is | January 6, 2011, 8:53 pm
  9. […] 2011 kicked off with a look back at the previous year, with the DN 2010 Top Ten, DN 2010 Year in Review and Future Shorts Best of 2010, as well as a look into the year ahead with the Films of 2011. […]

    Posted by DN 2011 Year in Review | Directors Notes | January 11, 2012, 9:33 pm

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