Produced By 2009
      EDITOR'S NOTE
Credit for new ventures has dried up, business models are collapsing, and no one knows what the future will bring. And no, I’m not taking about film but rather the general world economy. Monetary easing and commitments for increased spending have averted a full-blown financial meltdown, but once these and cyclical demand cycles are worked through, the economy will need new growth drivers, new paradigms, and what many are calling a “new normal” to stabilize again. No one knows what that “new normal” will be, although certain elements, like lower consumer spending, increased savings, and some new maturing industry (possibly “green” related) are easily predicted. Of course, the creation of media content is a significant part of the American economy, and we will soon be confronting our own “new normal.” From today’s vantage point it looks like one with few theatrical distributors and less private capital, but also, perhaps, a greater feeling of community, more innovative thinking, and different types of content to match different forms of distribution.

Next week Gretchen McGowan and I are the Lab Leaders for the IFP’s Rough Cut Labs. The original idea for this Lab was simple: we’d draw together a group of professionals who would advise first-time filmmakers at the rough cut stage how not to make the mistakes that we all made early in our careers, i.e., problems with the final edit, bad music decisions, or poor distribution decisions. We will be doing all of that next week with a great and highly diverse selection of ten projects. But, I hope, we will be doing something else, and that is stimulating a conversation about that “new normal.” This year, I don’t presuppose that we have all the answers; in fact, I’m hoping to learn about the future from the filmmakers who are finishing films in an environment very different from the one I encountered when I began producing almost 20 years ago. I’ll let you know about what we figure out in the weeks ahead, and if you have thoughts on our “new normal,” send them to editor.filmmakermagazine AT gmail.com.

See you next week.

Best,

Scott Macaulay
Editor
      NEW IN THEATERS
DOWNLOADING NANCY
Known for his work in music videos and soundtracks, Johan Renck's chilling feature debut divided viewers when it premiered at Sundance in 2008. This was likely due to its emotionally overwhelming and discomfort-producing story: Maria Bello plays a suicidal house wife who finds on the internet someone to kill her (Jason Patric), and then falls in love with her. Variations on this tale have been told before, most notably in the underrated Bulletproof Heart, but Rench’s stylish direction and Bello’s intensity make this tale from humanity’s dark side worth checking out.

      RECENT BLOGS

This week on the blog, Jason Guerrasio lists the 10 projects selected for this year's IFP Independent FIlmmaker Lab, and Scott Macaulay learns of director Gore Verbinski's (pictured left) foray into gaming and highlights Red Bucket Film's micro-shorts on this year's Cannes.

To read more posts from our blog, click here.

      UPCOMING AT IFP
IFP PRESENTS SMILE 'TIL IT HURTS AT NEWFEST
This week IFP is co-presenting the New York premiere of Lee Storey’s Smile 'Til It Hurts: The Up With People Story at NewFest on June 5. World premiered at Slamdance 2009, Storey’s debut doc feature had previously been selected for IFP’s 2008 Independent Filmmaker Labs when the film was at the rough cut stage. Like many of the best (and most entertaining) documentaries, Smile 'Til It Hurts goes behind the facade of a once very public enterprise to reveal the real stories of people we though we “knew.” Since 1965, peppy youth group Up With People has sung to 20 million people worldwide, performed at four Super Bowl halftime shows, and been parodied on The Simpsons and South Park. Talent was not required of its members, just a common enthusiastic vision to change the world one squeaky-clean song at a time. But its cheery façade concealed the more complicated reality of an organization founded on conservative American ideals and cult-like utopian ideology. With never-before-seen archival footage and the honest reflections of former members, Smile 'Til It Hurts reveals what can happen when ideology, money and groupthink converge to co-opt youthful idealism. For tickets click here.

      NEWEST WEB ARTICLE
VEIKO ÕUNPUU, SÜGISBALL
By Nick Dawson

Veiko Õunpuu draws on the work of Mati Unt for his first feature, Sügisball, adapted from Unt's 1979 novel of the same name, and has Rain Tolk reprising his role from Tuhirand of Unt's literary alter ego, Mati. Sügisball is a kaleidoscopic portrait of Tallinn, the Estonian capital, and the disillusioned, alienated residents of one highrise apartment building. It focuses on a disparate group of characters: writer Mati, who has just been left by his wife; lonely single mom Laura and her young daughter; elderly barber August; self-involved architect Maurer and his long-suffering wife; and coatroom attendant (and unlikely ladykiller) Theo. Unusually for a film like this, these understated stories of quiet desperation only occasionally overlap, instead sitting side by side, the emotional resonances playing off each other. read more

      FESTIVAL DEADLINES

JUNE
Savannah Film Festival
Submission Deadline: June 15
Festival Dates: Oct. 31 - Nov. 7

Myrtle Beach International Film Festival
Submission Deadline: June 19
Festival Dates: Dec. 1-5

Route 66 Film Festival
Submission Deadline: June 30
Festival Dates: Sep. 18-20

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

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