EDITOR'S NOTE
A quick note as I pack for Sundance. Our Sundance Page is up with a list of our most anticipated films as well as interviews with fest Director John Cooper and Director of Programming Trevor Groth. They both talk about their rebranded Sundance Film Festival, one more deeply in touch with no-and-low-budget production (a new section, NEXT, focuses on just those films) and one that's experimenting with new forms of distribution. The festival has partnered with YouTube to stream for rental five films, including three of this year's premiering titles. Sundance USA will take eight films to arthouses around the country while the festival plays out in Park City. And, separately, three films will also go out post-festival through IFC's VOD platform. All of this is exciting and promising for filmmakers, but, as Anthony Kaufman notes in his "Industry Beat" column, most Sundance filmmakers are relying on the old model - that is, they are waiting for deals. So, is Sundance a referendum on these two competing models? Will Plan A wind up on top or Plan B?

Hopefully neither - or, rather, both. We need monetization movement on the DIY front, with filmmakers better able to generate revenue through their own self-directed distribution channels. And we need a healthy acquisitions environment. Without it, significant investment capital won't finance those independent films that require larger budgets and professional crews. Large audiences across the country, big pick-ups, lots of click-through buys and VOD rentals - probably too much to ask for. But, a day before the festival, one can always hope!

Check back all through the festival for our reports, reviews, interviews with the filmmakers, and video pieces. And, if you are a filmmaker at Sundance and would like to send us a report for the blog on your experience there, you can always e-mail me at editor.filmmakermagazine AT gmail.com.

And our Winter issue will be on stands next week (if you're going to Sundance you can find it there) but you can read select stories online now. Links are below.

See you next week.

Best,

Scott Macaulay
Editor

      NEW IN THEATERS
CREATION
What happens when you dedicate your life to proving a belief, yet the one you love cannot accept it as fact? Creation explores that conflict as Charles Darwin (Paul Bettany) struggles with trying to convince his religious wife Emma (Jennifer Connelly) of his theory of evolution. When their daughter dies, Darwin, devastated by the loss, goes further into writing The Origin of Species, which drives a wedge in his relationship with his wife. Directed by Jon Amiel (Copycat, Entrapment), and featuring married couple Bettany and Connelly in their first onscreen role together, Creation is about the fight to prove in the world, including one's loved ones, what is right in the mind. Brandon Harris writes about the film in this week's Director Interviews, "Containing a sophisticated and quietly engrossing look at a scientist's relationship to faith and family, Creation is that rare story of an important historical figure that seems intimate." Read interview here.

TO SAVE A LIFE
A indie teen drama stripped of after-school special cliches, To Save a Life centers on the choices teens make in identifying themselves with labels like "jock" and "nerd," and how limiting and damaging these narrow definitions can be. Jake (Randy Wayne) and Roger (Robert Bailey Jr.) had been the best of childhood friends, but in high school, they have drifted apart. Jake is popular, an athletic star, with a dream girlfriend and a bright future. Roger is a moody and closed-in outcast, who makes a fatal decision that crushes Jake's world. Jake's attempts to build a bridge between the popular kids and outsiders reveals the demeaning caste system that has always been prevalent in high schools. A directorial debut from Brian Baugh with a script by Jim Britts, To Save a Life challenges the tradition of staying within your own "kind" in society, high school or elsewhere.

      WINTER ISSUE ONLINE

Click here to read select stories from the Winter issue. Terry Gilliam talks about his new film, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus; Tom Ford discusses his debut feature, A Single Man; Don Argott highlights what's considered the heist of the century in The Art of the Steal. Also, Esther B. Robinson weights risk vs. responsibility while making your films; Shari Carpenter highlights a software for script supervisors, ScriptE; Jon Reiss tells us how to choose a fulfillment house and the need for awareness about digital archiving. Plus, Anthony Kaufman's Industry Beat & Lance Weiler's Culture Hacker columns.

      RECENT BLOGS

This week on the blog, Scott Macaulay lists Filmmaker's most anticipated films at Sundance, offers a chance from director Mike Mohan to buy his film One Too Many Mornings for distribution, and links to Braden King's blog about the making of his Sundance film, Here (pictured).

To read more posts from our blog, click here.

      UPCOMING AT IFP
IFP'S 2010 INDEPENDENT FILMMAKER LABS OPEN FOR SUBMISSIONS
IFP's Independent Filmmaker Labs is the only program in the U.S. supporting first-time feature directors with projects at the crucial rough cut stage, before they are submitted to festivals. The Labs are a free, week-long workshop in New York offering personalized feedback and advice on all aspects of the post-production process, audience building, and distribution strategies in the digital age, followed by continued support from IFP as the project premieres in the marketplace. More than half of Lab alumni have gone on to premiere at major festivals - including Berlin, Sundance, SXSW, Toronto, and Venice, and have enjoyed theatrical releases, been broadcast nationally, or released on DVD. Among recent alums, Geralyn Pezanoski's Mine, produced by Pezanoski and Erin Essenmacher, opens nationwide this month via Film Movement, and Zeina Durra's 2009 Lab project, The Imperialists Are Still Alive!, produced by Vanessa Hope, premieres in the U.S. Dramatic Competition at Sundance 2010. Lab applications are now available for both the Documentary and Narrative Labs which will take place in April and June, respectively. Read more here.

      NEWEST WEB ARTICLE
2010 SUNDANCE COVERAGE


For all of our coverage on this year's Sundance Film Festival head over to our dedicated page where you can find blog posts from Park City, interviews with the filmmakers and their responses to our yearly question: this year's is "what was your hardest decision in making your movie?" read more

      FESTIVAL DEADLINES

JANUARY
Hamptons International Film Festival Screenwriters Lab
Submission Deadline: Jan. 23 (Final)
Festival Dates: April 16-18

Brooklyn Film Festival
Next Submission Deadline: Jan. 31, Final Submission Deadline: March 17
Festival Dates: June 4-13

Illinois International Film Festival
Early Submission Deadline: Jan. 31. Final Deadline: Aug 31
Festival Dates: Oct 22-24

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