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Editor's Note


In the film world all the talk these days is about new models. In what new ways can we organize our business so that filmmakers can make the films they want to make, producers can find the money to make these films, and audiences can discover them and watch them when they want to watch them? Itís not an easy question. Many have said that we are in a ďpost-indie film, pre-internet distributionĒ world, and I agree. Itís not that internet distribution is years off. Itís here today, along with other new outlets like VOD, but so far independent filmmakers havenít figured out the revenue possibilities for these models in meaningful ways that will allow them to factor these streams into their financing schemes.

I attended last week the bi-annual Creative Capital retreat, which was held at Williams College in Massachusetts and, interestingly, some of my conversations explored similar ideas. Creative Capital is a fantastic foundation that provides both funding (in the form of small grants) and professional development assistance to artists working in film and video, the visual arts, literature, and other mediums. Several of the artists there were edging their work closer to the film world, but not like in the í80s, when art superstars like Cindy Sherman, David Salle and Robert Longo decided to make feature narratives. (The only one for whom the strategy really worked was Julian Schnabel.) No, instead, these artists are perhaps a bit closer in intent to Matthew Barney in that they are looking to create works that exist in a kind of hybrid space between conventional gallery exhibition and the independent film world. I met also at Creative Capital with a number of independent filmmakers who were contemplating art-world support for their own projects. They were sensing, correctly, that the film funding scene is changing, and they were also thinking that maybe the concerns of their own work would be better appreciated within the art world. But the art world, I said to them, has its own way of organizing its economy, one thatís built upon networks populated by private collectors, independent curators, gallery dealers and established institutions. One has to spend time making a name for oneself, building connections and finding supporters in order to succeed in the art world just as one has to in the film world.

Maybe, however, these dual conversations Ė with artists wanting to work more with film and video and with filmmakers looking for non-theatrical art world support for their work Ė point the way to something new. Perhaps that aforementioned hybrid space is not something in-between but something apart? Perhaps the various new funding sources out there -- not only VOD, PPV and digital downloads but also micropayments, subscription models, multi-tiered pricing for work in multiple formats, etc. Ė can be organized to create a viable market for compelling work that wouldnít find a home in the currently impoverished theatrical marketplace? And perhaps filmmakers entering this new world should not be beholden to the conventional gatekeepers from currently existing disciplines but should start imagining a new group of people who could fill these roles? For the moment, and in this newsletter, I donít have the answers, but hopefully Iím coming up with some interesting questions.



Best,

Scott Macaualy
Editor

FROZEN RIVER
Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner Frozen River has built up quite a buzz, and deservedly so. When a working class woman finds her life in shambles because of her gambling addict husband, she turns to illegal immigrant smuggling to try and make ends meet. Melissa Leo and Misty Upham deftly take on complex, layered roles, yet never give way to melodramatics.

Look for our in-depth interview with first time director Courtney Hunt in the Summer 2008 issue of Filmmaker, out now.

 

MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN
Ryuhei Katamura makes his US directing debut with Midnight Meat Train, an adaptation of the Clive Barker short story by the same name. Photographer Leon Kaufman (Bradley Cooper) is on a mission to capture the true dark side of the city by request of a respected art gallerist (Brooke Shields). Venturing into the bowels of the city, Kaufman gets in over his head when he starts following the trail of a notorious serial killer, "The Subway Butcher" (Vinnie Jones). Soon Kaufman discovers the nightmare is something much more terrifying and his girlfriend (Leslie Bibb) follows him into danger.

 


This week on the blog, Scott Macaulay muses about new economic models for filmmakers; comments on the latest buzz over self distribution in indie film; and discusses the new "Five in Focus" series launched at FilmInFocus.

To read more posts from our blog, click here.

 

INDEPENDENT FILMMAKER CONFERENCE SEPTEMBER 2008
Six Days. Dozens of Panels. Daily Social Networking. The IFP Independent Filmmaker Conference is the place to gain practical knowledge from leading producers, funders, distributors, agents and buyers about issues facing todayís independent filmmakers and learn about new models and platforms that will impact your work tomorrow.

Discounted Early Bird passes on sale now!

To purchase passes and stay current on the latest information log onto http://conference.ifp.org.


 

DOROTHY FADIMAN, STEALING AMERICA: VOTE BY VOTE
By Nick Dawson

A true independent, documentarian Dorothy Fadiman has resolutely worked outside the system for more than 30 years. Pittsburgh native Fadiman was a Stanford speech pathology graduate with a husband and two kids when, in 1976, an LSD trip inspired her to become a filmmaker. A grassroots activist since the early 60s, Fadiman has predominantly focused on social and political issues in her documentaries, and she had tremendous success with the From the Back Alleys to the Supreme Court & Beyond trilogy (made between 1992 and 1996), three short films on abortion which between them garnered an Academy Award nomination and an Emmy.

Fadiman's latest project, Stealing America: Vote by Vote, is arguably her most prescient to date, a documentary inspired by her own experiences working as an election volunteer in 2004 at the Florida polls. read more

 
Festival Deadlines

AUGUST
Sundance Film Festival
Submission Deadline: Aug. 18 (All Films), Sept. 5 (Final for Shorts), Sept. 8 (Final for Features)
Festival Dates: Jan. 15 - 25

Three Rivers Film Festival
Submission Deadline: Aug. 29 (Shorts), Sept. 5 (Features)
Festival Dates: Nov. 7-20

SEPTEMBER
Tropfest NY
Submission Deadline: Sept. 5
Festival Dates: Sept. 26

Victoria Independent Film Festival
Submission Deadline: Sept. 8 (Final)
Festival Dates: Nov. 13-20

Find more festival deadlines here.







 


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