EDITOR'S NOTE
Anthony Kaufman's new "Industry Beat" column, upcoming in the new Filmmaker magazine, asks, "Has Plan B Become Plan A?" when it comes to producers bringing their films to Sundance this year. Will producers act on all the advice offered at conferences, festival panels, on blogs, and in the pages of Filmmaker by strategizing new distribution methods that treat their Park City play as their theatrical premieres? Or will they simply debut their films and wait for a deal their investors can accept? I mused on this question with my "Letter from the Future" a couple of months ago but with Sundance approaching, the question is no longer a hypothetical one. The former strategy offers the thrill of doing something new and the immediate gratification of connecting a film to audiences. The latter offers the possibility of a sale and, by extension, recoupment and a team of people to take all that work off the filmmakers' hands.

You'll have to read Anthony's piece to hear what the filmmakers themselves have to say about this, but there are at least a couple working on this immediate DIY strategy. Both Bass Ackwards and One Too Many Mornings are springboarding directly into an artist-initiated release immediately after the festival. Will there be more? Check back to the Filmmaker site to find out, and if you are attending Sundance or Slamdance with a film, please drop us an email and let us know your plans.

See you next week.

Best,

Scott Macaulay
Editor

      NEW IN THEATERS
YOUTH IN REVOLT
Based upon the hit novel by C.D. Payne, Youth in Revolt centers on Nick Twisp (Michael Cera), an awkward teenage boy surrounded by off-puttingly wayward adults. His father is dating a woman 20 years younger than him, his stepfather is a sleaze, and his mother seems content to accept it all. To make matters worse, his dream girl gives him the "just a friend" brush-off. As a kind of psychologically enabling mechanism, he creates a Jean-Paul Belmondo-esque alter-ego, Francois Dillinger. Directed by Miguel Arteta (Chuck & Buck), Youth in Revolt is a broad coming-of age comedy that gives Cera a welcome chance to poke fun at his sensitive awkward-boy image by having him play a parody of a sexually deviant ladies' man.

SWEETGRASS
The documentary Sweetgrass chronicles the summer of 2003 when a group of shepherds herd sheep though the Beartooth Mountains of Montana in preparation for market. It's no easy journey: navigating hundreds of sheep through narrow ridges, gusty winds, deep snow, and shielding the sheep and themselves from bears and wolves hungry for defenseless prey. An official selection at the New York Film Festival '09, Sweetgrass (directed by Ilisa Barbash & Lucien Castaing-Taylor) shines a light on the unappreciated people who take care of our nation's meat supply. Writing about the film in this week's Director Interviews, Brandon Harris says, "These cowboys shine through as men of hard won integrity and unshakable spirit, who's anxieties about predators and the physical toll of their work stay lodged in your brain long after the film's credits unfurl." Read our interview with Barbash & Castaing-Taylor below.

WONDERFUL WORLD
The directorial debut from Joshua Goldin, Wonderful World features Matthew Broderick as Ben Singer, a once successful children's music singer who now works as a proofreader with a cynical, antagonistic attitude towards the world. He spoils his visits to his daughter with rants about how much the world sucks, and only finds comfort in smoking weed and playing chess with his Senegalese roommate Ibu (Michael K. Williams from The Wire). When Ibu falls into a diabetic coma, Ibu's sister Khadi (Sanaa Lathan) comes to stay in Ben's apartment while caring for Ibu, and the sense of love and family that Ben gets from them makes him think that he shouldn't spend so much time finding the worst in the world. It is said that if you scratch a cynic you'll find a disappointed idealist. Wonderful World boasts strong performances from the three leads, and an impressive start for a first-time director.

      RECENT BLOGS

This week on the blog, Scott Macaulay brings notice to one of the most overlooked films of the year, Kim Gok's Exhausted (pictured left), highlights Michael Cera's anti-drug PSA and posts Noah Harlan's review of Sundance's iPhone app.

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
LUCIEN CASTAING-TAYLOR & ILISA BARBASH, SWEETGRASS
By Brandon Harris

An observational documentary that utterly transports you to a forgotten corner of the American West, Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Ilisa Barbash's Sweetgrass is billed as a glimpse at the final sheep drive the state of Montana ever hosted. Shot in muddy, early aughts DV, this often funny, occasionally terrifying and almost always beautifully composed film follows a pair of modern shepherds who travel mostly on foot with three thousand sheep over a two hundred mile Montana expanse that cuts across the seemingly unending Absaroka-Beartooth Mountains. read more

      FESTIVAL DEADLINES

JANUARY
Los Angeles Film Festival
Submission Deadline: Jan. 15
Festival Dates: June 18-28

Rhode Island International Film Festival
Submission Deadline: Jan. 15, June 1 (Final)
Festival Dates: Aug 10-15

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