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National University
Editor's Note

Sometimes our timing is just a bit off Ė weíre either too early or too late. I canít figure out which we were this time as we began development on an article on the changing role of film criticism but then decided to take our time and develop it further for a future issue. Of course, just after we made that call, the Village Voice let much-loved critic Nathan Lee go ďfor economic reasons,Ē and the blogosphere erupted with articles on just this topic, leading up to a New York Times piece in which producer Scott Rudin credited critics, both print and online, for creating the sustained dialogue that led to No Country for Old Men winning the Best Picture Oscar. (Check my Weekend Roundup for links to the various dialogues.) As is often the case in arguments with polarized viewpoints, Iím somewhat in the middle. In order to take the pulse on commercial films, Iíll scan through Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes and even check responses from regular people at iMDB and the talk backs at Ainít It Cool News. At the same time, I appreciate print reviewers (Manohla Dargis, Amy Taubin, Scott Foundas, Lee and many others) with strong voices who project an engaged passion for cinema itself as opposed to consumer-oriented punditry. The problem, of course, is that print seems an increasingly inhospitable medium for the former these days. It doesnít provide the word count or the job security enabling a criticís point of view to become embedded in the minds of the reader.

As a response to all of this I thought about incorporating more criticism in the pages and web windows of Filmmaker. Right now, Filmmaker prints a kind of back-door criticism that takes the form of festival reports as well as, simply, our editorial coverage choices. But from the beginning we established this magazine as one that would incorporate the individual voice of the filmmaker as much as possible. I and many of our writers are active members of the filmmaking community, and I hope our film coverage reads a bit differently than what you can read elsewhere. Our readers donít want to know what to watch on Friday as much as they want to know more about how filmmakers conceive, develop and produce their projects. So, with that guiding mission in mind, along with our article on film critics weíve tabled talk about running more formal film reviews in Filmmaker. That said, the world of film journalism is changing, and Iím sure all of this will be revisited in the months ahead.

Best,

Scott Macaulay
Editor

 

MY BLUEBERRY NIGHTS
East meets West as Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar-wai applies his trademarked melancholy and visual splendor to his first English-language offering. Starring Jude Law, Natalie Portman, Rachel Weisz and pop singer Norah Jones in the lead, the film covers many of the directorís favorite topics ó particularly, love and lust ó but is also a road trip movie, as Jonesís character, Elizabeth, travels the country in search for self-discovery while running into interesting characters along the way. The film received a mixed reception at Cannes last year, with some American critics finding the directorís typically ruminative voiceovers less poetic when heard and not read as subtitles. Click here to read an interview with Wong Kar-wai by Howard Feinstein that we posted the day before My Blueberry Nights screened in Cannes last spring.

 


This week on the blog, Nick Dawson looks at ABC Newsís pioneering political mash-up artist, Scott Macaulay pays his respects to Paul Arthur, while Alicia Van Couvering dives head first into the Gen Art Film Festival, starting this week in NYC (pictured left).

To read more posts from our blog, click here.

 

IFP PROGRAM ALUM AT GENART


Jennifer Phang's Half-Life, which took part in IFPís Narrative Rough Cut Lab in 2005 screens as part of this yearís GenArt Film Festival. In this compelling hybrid of live-action and animation, lines are crossed, secrets emerge, and everyone is left to face their own demons and ask the question...who can you truly count on when everything around you is falling apart?

Click here for tickets.


 

ETGAR KERET AND SHIRA GEFFEN, JELLYFISH
By Nick Dawson

After proving their mastery of the written word, Israel's first couple of literature, Etgar Keret and Shira Geffen, have now turned their attention to their first directing effort with Jellyfish. The film features three parallel plots that play out in the seaside resort of Tel Aviv: an independent-minded waitress finds a lost mute girl on the beach, two newlyweds spend their honeymoon in a local hotel after the bride breaks her leg, and a Filipino nurse struggles to cope with her elderly patient because she cannot speak Hebrew. The trio of stories all feature pairs of characters failing to connect with each other, with a poignant poeticism linking the three rather than any contrived plot intersections. read more

 
Festival Deadlines

APRIL
Newport International Film Festival
Submission Deadline: April 1
Festival Dates: June 3-8

Bahamas International Film Festival
Submission Deadline: April 1 (early)
Festival Dates: Dec. 4-11

Charlotte Film Festival
Submission Deadline: April 15 (early)
Festival Dates: Sept. 25-28

To see more fest deadlines, click here.


IFP INDEPENDENT FILM LABS CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS
Narrative Rough Cut Lab
June 11 - 14, 2008
Submission deadline: April 11

For submissions criteria or to apply, log onto www.ifp.org/labs.












 


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