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Film Independent Directors Close-Up
      EDITOR'S NOTE
Films take so long to make – in a recent Variety blog post Peter Bart referred to the ten-year Hollywood development cycle – that I’m not used to having one of these weekly newsletters cover a complete news cycle. But that’s what happened this week with the Facebook Terms of Service controversy. Over the weekend I posted about the changes that Facebook’s legal team slipped into the written statement of rules we agree to abide by when we use the service. Briefly, the changes had the effect of claiming a license by the social-networking site to use for commercial purposes the material uploaded by its members.

For a lot of people, this was no big deal. Why should they care about privacy or commercial exploitation issues involving their trivial Wall posts or kids’ photos? For others, this was a big deal, particularly artists, writers, photographers and filmmakers for whom Facebook is not only a way to communicate with friends but also with fans. Most if not all artists don’t want third parties exploiting their work without compensation. Other artists simply believe in some aspect of the gift economy and don’t like the idea that what they have freely offered their fans might be able to be exploited in less generous ways.

Fortunately, the uproar over Facebook’s decision – news that snaked its way from the Consumerist blog to Fox News in just a few days – prompted the site to backtrack and go back, at least temporarily, to their old terms. In the process, the site has opened up for us a conversation about how much control artists should cede when self-promoting their work. In a fortuitous piece of timing, just as the Facebook story broke I was finishing editing an interview with director Tommy Pallotta about his decision to leave all the social networking sites and promote his new film, American Prince, in ways that offer him what he feels are truer and more direct relationships with his audience members. The questions of how we profit, how we share, and whether we should embed our work in general interest sites like Facebook or create our own special web worlds for our fans will all be debated more vigorously in the days ahead.

Oh yeah, one more thing – I set up a Twitter account: FilmmakerMag.

See you next week.

Best,

Scott Macaulay
Editor
      NEW IN THEATERS
MUST READ AFTER MY DEATH
Morgan Dews's debut feature joins the subgenre of documentaries like Capturing the Friedmans which reveal the dark stories behind supposed happy, normal families. In the doc, Dews discovers after his grandmother's death a stash of audio tapes, notebooks and home movies which documented in shocking detail the relationship his grandparents had, and the devastating effect it had on the whole family. Interviewing Dews for this week's Director Interviews, Nick Dawson says, "Must Read After My Death attempts the difficult task of creating a narrative from the hundreds of hours of audio tapes, with photographs and home movies providing a visual counterpoint; there are no voice-overs or talking head interviews, and Dews uses just a handful of captions. The result is a spare, taut piece of filmmaking which is utterly gripping throughout, and remarkably moving given the restrictions of its form." Read our interview with Dews below.

AMC BEST PICTURE SHOWCASE
Concerned you’re not going to be up to snuff on this year’s Oscar hopefuls? Well, on the eve of the Academy Awards (Jan. 21), AMC Theatres will once again hold its Best Picture Showcase. For $30 you can see all five nominated films for Best Picture (you also get a free large popcorn and unlimited refills). Learn more about the showcase and the participating theaters nearest you at http://www.amctheatres.com/promos/showcase.

      RECENT BLOGS

This week on the blog, Jason Guerrasio announces the winners of the first Babelgum Music Video Awards; while Scott Macaulay posts a new media attorney's thoughts on Facebook's change in its Terms of Service, and we take note of the shocking news of Geoff Gilmore's (pictured left) move to Tribeca Enterprises.

To read more posts from our blog, click here.
      UPCOMING AT IFP
IFP SCRIPT TO SCREEN CONFERENCE - MARCH 7-8
IFP's Script to Screen Conference explores new opportunities available to independent filmmakers and directly connects aspiring and working screenwriters to the decision-makers of the film, television and new media business. Featuring some of the most prolific industry innovators and iconic screenwriters in independent film today - including conversations with Focus Feature's James Schamus and 30 Rock producer Jerry Kupfer, master classes with filmmakers Lee Daniels (2009 Sundance Grand Jury Prize Winner Push: Based on the Novel By Sapphire) and producer Scott Franklin (The Wrestler), panels featuring Ryan Fleck & Anna Boden (Sugar, Half Nelson), Ramin Bahrani (Goodbye Solo), producer Ted Hope and more! The Script to Screen Conference is the place for writers and writer/directors to explore the art, craft and business of writing and creating the next great independent film. For more info and tickets click here.

      NEWEST WEB ARTICLE
MORGAN DEWS, MUST READ AFTER MY DEATH
By Nick Dawson

Good things can always be salvaged from even the worst of circumstances, and that has seldom been more true than in the case of documentarian Morgan Dews. He was born in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1968 after his mother had run away from a troubled family situation to get married. He grew up oblivious to the difficult circumstances from which his mother had escaped. But for Dews' debut feature, Must Read After My Death, his family turmoil is revealed. The film is an intensely personal film about the relationship between Dews' grandparents, and the devastating effect it had on the whole family. Despite his personal ties to the film's subjects, Dews commendably absents himself from proceedings, and neither sentimentalizes their situation nor holds back from depicting the tough truths of what transpired. read more

      FESTIVAL DEADLINES

FEBRUARY
Newport International Film Festival
Submission Deadline: Feb. 27
Festival Dates: June 3-7

MARCH
Santa Cruz Film Festival
Submission Deadline: March 1
Festival Dates: May 7-16

Fantastic Fest
Submission Deadline: March 4 (Early), June 3 (Final)
Festival Dates: Sept. 24 - Oct. 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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