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Final Draft
      EDITOR'S NOTE

If you’re in New York this weekend, come by the Museum of Modern Art and check out the films nominated for our annual “Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You” Gotham Award. Now in its third year, the award highlights top films from the festival circuit that we feel have been overlooked when it comes to theatrical distribution. Happily, all the films we’ve given the prize to – Ronald Bronstein’s Frownland, Caveh Zahedi’s I am a Sex Addict, and Steve Barron’s Choking Man, have gone on to some form of theatrical release, and we like to think the award had something to do with that.

At the same time that we celebrate the achievement of these films and filmmakers, the very title of the award announces the essential conundrum in the broader practice of independent film these days. When we started the award, there was, perhaps, something a tiny bit more startling about the fact that films as good as these weren’t making it to the theaters. Now, it’s almost a given, and it’s not clear that for many filmmakers theatrical distribution is even a goal anymore. What is the best business strategy for these filmmakers, and how are they using the increased recognition the nomination and the MoMA screenings provide to propel them to a broader audience? You can find out at the screenings, as each is followed by a filmmaker Q&A. Hope to see you there.

See you next week.

Best,

Scott Macaulay
Editor
      NEW IN THEATERS
THE BETRAYAL
23 years in the making, well-known cinematographer Ellen Kuras's heartfelt look at a Laotian family's journey from their war-torn homeland to the gang plagued streets of Brooklyn is a remarkable story told through stunning visuals, and a moving score by Howard Shore, which gives the film a poetic quality that engrossed the audience in the family’s plight. Kuras, who co-directed the film with its subject Thavisouk “Thavi” Phrasavath, tells Nick Dawson in this week's Director Interviews that her career as a cinematographer came from making this film. "I hired somebody to shoot for me and I told them what I was looking for," she recalls, "but I discovered that to be able to talk about putting meaning into the images is quite a challenge so I decided I would try it myself. Eventually somebody saw my stuff on the Steenbeck and said “Would you come and shoot for me?” and that's how it all started." Read our interview with Kuras below.

WERE THE WORLD MINE
A favorite on the LGBT fest circuit, Tom Gustafson's debut feature is an affecting musical about a gay high schooler, Timothy, who after being cast to play Puck in the school rendition of A Midsummer Night's Dream discovers the play's love potion and casts a spell over his uptight town. Expanded from Gustafson's short, Fairies, the film has a top notch performance from its lead, Tanner Cohen, lush cinematography by d.p. Kira Kelly, and entertaining musical numbers, while throughout delivering a powerful message about our country’s continued problem with bigotry.

      RECENT BLOGS

This week on the blog, Scott Macaulay highlight's the Saturday Night Live short directed by Noah Baumbach; directors Tom Quinn (The New Year Parade, pictured left) and Nina Paley (Sita Sings The Blues) talk about their films, which will screen in the Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You Series at MoMA (learn more about the series below); and Jason Guerrasio comments on the Oscar Best Doc shortlist.

To read more posts from our blog, click here.
      UPCOMING AT IFP
BEST FILM NOT PLAYING SERIES STARTS TODAY
The third annual Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You Screening Series, presented by IFP in partnership with The Museum of Modern Art, begins today and continues through the weekend at MoMA. The five Gotham Award-nominated films, all critically acclaimed from the festival circuit, which have not yet been released theatrically by a distributor or self-distributed will be followed by Q & A's with the filmmakers: Antonio Campos (Afterschool), Taylor Greeson (Meadowlark), Tom Quinn (The New Year Parade), Nina Paley (Sita Sings the Blues) and Jake Mahaffy (Wellness).

In addition, on Monday 11/24, the filmmakers will collectively discuss their experiences at MoMA's Modern Mondays' panel. Click here for more info on the series.

      NEWEST WEB ARTICLE
ELLEN KURAS, THE BETRAYAL (NERAKHOON)
Since she first came to prominence almost twenty years ago, Ellen Kuras has established herself as one of the most talented directors of photography working today, establishing ongoing collaborations with Rebecca Miller (Personal Velocity), Spike Lee (from 4 Little Girls through to The 25th Hour) and more recently Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Dave Chappelle's Block Party, Be Kind Rewind).

Ironically, Kuras' first film as director, The Betrayal (Nerakhoon), predates her career as a cinematographer, as she began the movie 23 years ago when she was just starting out as a filmmaker. What began as an examination of the impact of cultural assimilation became a decades-long documentary about a family of Laotian refugees and their remarkable story. read more

      FESTIVAL DEADLINES

NOVEMBER
AFI Dallas International Film Festival
Submission Deadline: Nov. 21, Dec. 5 (Final)
Festival Dates: March 26-April 5

Tallahassee Film Festival
Submission Deadline: Nov. 30, Dec. 15 (Final)
Festival Dates: April 15-19

Full Frame Documentary Film Festival
Submission Deadline: Nov. 30 (Final)
Festival Dates: April 2-5

DECEMBER
Seattle International Film Festival
Submission Deadline: Dec. 1 (Early), Feb. 2 (Final)
Festival Dates: May 21-June 14

Santa Barbara International Film Festival
Submission Deadline: Dec. 2 (Final)
Festival Dates: Jan. 22-Feb. 1

Find more festival deadlines, click here. And get the latest news and notes on the fest circuit at Festival Ambassador.

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