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Editor's Note

Week two of the strike. That's the WGA strike, which if you believe Netscape founder Mark Andreessen, is in the process of facilitating a seismic change in the structure of the entertainment industry. Writing on his blog, Andreessen says: "The writers' strike, and the studios' response to the strike, may radically accelerate a structural shift in the media industry a shift of power from studios and conglomerates towards creators and talent."

Indeed, while the writers and studios duke it out in what Andreessen calls "suicide by strike," many are wondering what the television and film landscape will look like after the strike is eventually settled. The last time the writers struck, reality television was born and audience flight to cable began. This time, audiences may decamp broadcast and cable for the Internet. Andreessen's prediction is that content creators will seek venture capital funding to create new production companies that distribute their works over the net. As I've been writing on the Filmmaker blog [see below for Scott's posts on the strike this week], this analysis may be too simple, however, Andreessen's prediction is bolstered by one source. A guest on this week's The Business (KCRW's essential entertainment news and analysis podcast), Jordan Levin, founding partner of the management and production company Generate (and former CEO of the WB), says that the investors he's been meeting with recently are viewing the current situation of labor unrest as a business opportunity to fund just the kind of ventures Andreessen is talking about. Obviously, to be continued...

In more immediate news, this week Filmmaker is hosting screenings of our "Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You" Gotham Awards -nominated films at the Museum of Modern Art. Beginning Friday you can see August the First, Loren Cass, Frownland, Mississippi Chicken and Off the Grid: Life on the Mesa, five great films that are as independent as you can get. And meet the filmmakers afterwards as I, along with other members of the selection committee, will be hosting Q&A's. I hope to see you there. To see screening times, click here.

Best,

Scott Macaulay
Editor

 

REDACTED
Brian De Palma's faux war doc has had plenty of ups and downs on its way to a theatrical release. It initially received rave reviews at its premiere at the Venice Film Festival, including winning the Silver Lion award. Then two months later the film's buzz began to go flat when it screened at the New York Film Festival, topped off with a wild discussion on fair use at a press conference between De Palma and Magnolia Pictures head, Eamonn Bowles (the film's distributor), over the newly placed black bars in the film's chilling photo montage finale. Regardless, the film is De Palma's look at the insanity of war and its debilitating effects on families back home and solders on the front lines. What differs this film from his 1989 Vietnam-set Casualties of War, is that he shows how the Internet and modern communications technology has changed not only how war is covered through the media but how it's viewed through the eyes of the solders themselves.

 
 

MARGOT AT THE WEDDING
The characters are amongst the most duplicitous and pessimistic of the year. The tone is so unrelentingly bleak that it might force you on prescription pills. And yet, the film contains an appealing and touching sadness, that same energized melancholy that permeated writer-director Noah Baumbach's previous film The Squid and the Whale. It follows a writer (Nicole Kidman) who struggles to accept that her beloved but estranged sister (Jennifer Jason Lee) is on the cusp of marrying a bumbling idiot (Jack Black). Extremely challenging at times, there are satisfying rewards buried into Baumback's strange world of deceit, alternate personalities and incest.

TIJUANA MAKES ME HAPPY
By Jason Guerrasio

Winner of the 2007 Slamdance Best Narrative Feature Award, Dylan Verrechia's lighthearted look at a Tijuana boy's journey to become a man mixes documentary and fiction as the director uses Tijuana locals to tell a story filled with underage prostitutes, cockfighting and border crossing drug deals. read more

 
     

BREATHLESS
By Mike Plante

Criterion releases Godard's Breathless in a beautiful 2-disc package that includes a bevy of extras including interviews with the principals, video essays by critics Mark Rappaport and Jonathan Rosenbaum and an 80-minute documentary on the making of the film. read more

To read more posts on our favorite upcoming DVDs, click here.

 


This week on the blog, Scott Macaulay brings us up to speed on the latest developments in the WGA strike with a week two update and how Internet-distributed content may blossom from the dispute; Benjamin Crossley-Marra directs us to Fox Searchlights' Juno page, which is quickly becoming an online community for filmmakers as you can create profiles, blog and upload your reel. There's also a blog by the film's director Jason Reitman; and Justin Lowe reports from the AFI Fest (pictured left).

To read more posts from our blog, click here.

 

GOTHAM AWARDS INDEPENDENT FILM SERIES
MIRA NAIR RETROSPECTIVE at IFC CENTER
Nov 16 - Nov 25
Featuring a free screening of Hysterical Blindness this weekend.

JAVIER BARDEM RETROSPECTIVE at BAM
Nov 23 - Nov 26
Featuring Javier Bardem and Julian Schnabel in person on Nov 26.


 

STEVE BARRON, CHOKING MAN
By Nick Dawson

Considering Steve Barron's career, you can't help wondering why he isn't better known. Having grown up around films (his mother, Zelda Barron, was a script supervisor, producer and director), Dublin-born Barron progressed from a clapper loader on movies like A Bridge Too Far and Ridley Scott's debut The Duellists to one of the most influential pop promo directors of the 1980s. He directed music videos like Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean," Dire Straits' "Money for Nothing" and a-ha's "Take On Me." He also directed the hugely successful Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990). So despite the variety of his work, nothing in the past indicated that Barron would make a film like Choking Man, an inventive, understated New York indie. read more

 
Festival Deadlines

NOVEMBER
Durango Independent Film Festival
Submission Deadline: Nov. 15
Festival Dates: Feb. 27, 2008 - March 2

Florida Film Festival
Submission Deadline: Nov. 30
Festival Dates: March 28, 2008 - April 6

Nashville Film Festival
Submission Deadline: Nov. 30
Festival Dates: April 17, 2008 - April 24

San Francisco International Film Festival
Submission Deadline: Nov. 30
Festival Dates: April 24, 2008 - May 8, 2008

DECEMBER
Ann Arbor Film Festival
Submission Deadline: Dec. 1
Festival Dates: March 25, 2008 - March 30

Aspan Shortsfest
Submission Deadline: Dec. 15
Festival Dates: April 2, 2008 - April 6

Boston Underground Film Festival
Submission Deadline: Dec. 14
Festival Dates: March 27, 2008 - March 30

Rome FilmFest
Submission Deadline: Dec. 15
Festival Dates: April 4, 2008 - April 12

To see more fest deadlines, click here.


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