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      EDITOR'S NOTE
First off, congratulations to today’s Academy Award-nominees, who include a number of films and filmmakers featured in our pages. First there’s writer-director Courtney Hunt and actress Melissa Leo from Frozen River, our cover film from the Fall, 2008 issue. Leo’s Best Actress nomination is well-deserved as is Hunt’s Best Screenplay nod, which was also a completely unexpected surprise. There’s also Richard Jenkins, interviewed in our Spring, 2008 issue and Ellen Kuras, whose first documentary, The Betrayal, received a Best Documentary nomination. We interviewed Kuras twice, once in the Spring, 2008 print magazine and once online. Also in the Best Doc category are Werner Herzog, who we featured online for his Encounters at the End of the World, and, James Marsh, who scored for his Man on Wire. Finally, our interview with Gus Van Sant that appeared in our Fall, 2008 issue can be found online at FilmInFocus. I was sorry not to see The Dark Knight nominated for more awards, but I’m thrilled that a tiny-budget independent like Frozen River can break out in multiple categories, signifying that socially relevant storytelling from outside the system can connect with both the audience and the industry.

If you haven’t been checking out our Sundance coverage on our Park City 2009 standalone site, head over there for a lot of profiles, director interviews and blog posts. I just returned back from the festival and it was actually a really pleasant experience this year. I realize that “Sundance” and “pleasant experience” aren’t often found in the same sentence, but the significant drop in crowds (I think about 50% less people were there) due to both the economy and the inauguration made the festival more manageable and also more focused on the films themselves. It’s too early to gauge the business environment – by the midpoint there were a number of modest sales – but the films I saw were, for the most part, strong. I’ll be trying to post my short reviews over the next few days, and James Ponsoldt will be filing reports from Park City as the fest concludes. I’ll be also filing some reports from Rotterdam, where I’m attending the CineMart starting this Saturday along with some other folks from the U.S., including Filmmaker contributor Lance Weiler.

See you next week.

Best,

Scott Macaulay
Editor
      NEW IN THEATERS
OF TIME AND THE CITY
Both a love song and eulogy to his hometown of Liverpool, British director Terence Davies's return to his native city takes the form of a heartfelt and untempered documentary spanning from his childhood in the 1950's to the much-altered present. This poetic memoir is narrated by the deep and emotionally textured voice of Davies himself, who confronts class, sexuality, and Catholicism with unrestrained honesty. A rich blend of anger, nostalgia, self-contemplation, and cheeky humor, this striking collage of past and present marks the filmmaker's return to film after an eight-year hiatus, advancing his cinematic legacy forward by peering deeply into the past. In his interview with Davies in our Web Exclusives section, Scott Macaulay describes the film as: "a lushly realized memory piece, a symphony of images, archival footage, narration and classical music that transforms grey old Liverpool into a digitally-realized reverie that is beautiful, sometimes acerbic, and always tinged with melancholy."

      RECENT BLOGS

This week on the blog, coverage from the Sundance Film Festival, including notes on the first big buy, Brooklyn's Finest, short filmmaker Edward Boyce's posts his experience and Scott Macaulay gives a quick take on some of his favorite films so far. Find more Sundance coverage here.

To read more posts from our blog, click here.
      UPCOMING AT IFP
IFP'S 2009 INDEPENDENT FILMMAKER LABS OPEN FOR SUBMISSION
Given the pivotal role that festivals play in launching emerging filmmakers, IFP designed its Independent Filmmaker Labs to assist filmmakers in tackling the creative and technical challenges of completing their projects before they are submitted to festivals. Specifically, the five-day Lab programs support low-budget, independently produced films by first-time feature directors in the rough assembly stage that can benefit from the mentorship of experienced film professionals. Recent Lab projects have included Tom Quinn's Slamdance 2008 Grand Prize winner The New Year Parade, Matt Wolf's Wild Combination: A Portrait of Arthur Russell, released through Plexifilm, and two 2009 Park City debuts - Ngawang Choephel's Tibet in Song at Sundance, and Lee Storey's Smile Til It Hurts: The Up with People Story at Slamdance. Deadlines, criteria and additional information on both the Narrative and Documentary Labs available here.
      NEWEST WEB ARTICLE
THE HUNGRY GHOSTS
By Jason Guerrasio

Opening this year’s Rotterdam International Film Festival is Michael Imperioli’s directorial debut, The Hungry Ghosts, a gripping look at five New Yorkers all struggling to satisfy their physical and spiritual needs while facing down their own – and society’s – flaws. read more

      FESTIVAL DEADLINES

JANUARY
Outfest Screenwriting Lab
Submission Deadline: Jan. 25
Festival Dates: July 9-20

Sarasota Film Festival
Submission Deadline: Jan. 30
Festival Dates: March 27 - April 5

Chicago Horror Film Festival
Submission Deadline: Jan. 31
Festival Dates: Sep. 26-28

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

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