EDITOR'S NOTE
I'm posting this from the Rotterdam Film Festival, where I'm attending the Cinemart, it's annual financing forum. Like Sundance, Rotterdam has a relaxed and friendly vibe this year. Everyone has assimilated all the bad news about the film business and broader economy and is cheerfully pushing on. "I'll be honest, it's the worst time of my life," one veteran told me here. "But we're all still here, aren't we?"

Also like Sundance, Rotterdam has been exploring ways in which festivals can become involved with new forms of film financing and distribution. For Sundance, that was an experiment with day-and-date YouTube streaming, a trial that resulted in fairly meager revenue figures for the filmmakers. For Rotterdam, that has meant a program in which three festival filmmakers are "crowdsourcing" production of new shorts. The festival is encouraging its audience members to donate small sums to make these $30,000 euro productions. In America, sites like Kickstarter.com and IndieGoGo are in the business of collecting money for filmmakers this way, but in Europe, where much film financing occurs via a maze of government subsidies and TV pre-sales, the approach is something of a rarity. I'll report more on this experiment in the weeks ahead and be back with a more substantive letter next week.

See you next week.

Best,

Scott Macaulay
Editor

      NEW IN THEATERS
BASS ACKWARDS
Fresh off of a successful run at Sundance, director Linas Phillips, who made our 25 New Faces list in 2006, starred and co-wrote Bass Ackwards with fellow actors Davie-Blue and Jim Fletcher. It is a semi-autobiographical tale of a man coming off of an affair he had with a married woman who takes a soul-searching cross-country journey in a VW bus. Along the way he meets many memorable and intriguing characters on a journey of self-discovery and expiation. You can watch the film now on YouTube for $3.99.

FROZEN
A cross between Alive and Open Water, Frozen, written and directed by Adam Green, finds horror in the fear of being stranded. When three skiers are accidentally left on a chairlift at a ski resort that won't re-open for another week, they have to struggle to make the perilous decision to jump from a high spot onto hard frozen ground, only to encounter more dangers in the snowy mountains, like bears and avalanches and dangerously low temperatures at night. Having just played in the Midnight section at Sundance, it's a film that asks, what would you do if you had to fight to save yourself in the mountains?

THE RED RIDING TRILOGY
Three new films entitled by years (1974, 1980, 1983) by three different directors -- Julian Jarrold (Brideshead Revisited), James Marsh (Man on Wire) and Anand Tucker (Shopgirl) -- present a fictionalized account of the Yorkshire Ripper, a notorious serial killer in the Yorkshire part of England in the 1970s and 1980s. The films portray the investigations by the different detectives, spending a lot of time on analyzing the killer's every move, a la Zodiac. Interviewed in the Winter issue, Marsh finds similarities between his Red Riding installment (1980) and his Oscar winning doc Man on Wire. "Man on Wire is told from the point of view of someone whose objective is to commit a crime and Red Riding features a protagonist who is trying to solve a crime. But they are both studies in obsessive behavior." Subscribe to our digital issue to read this interview as well as access our back issues up until 2005.

      RECENT BLOGS

This week on the blog, Jason Guerrasio posts the Oscar nominations, filmmaker Paul Devlin talks about the response that his film Blast! (pictured left) has had in the educational markets since the end of the story told in our Winter issue, and Thomas Woodrow reports from the Rotterdam Lab.

To read more posts from our blog, click here.

      UPCOMING AT IFP
IFP SCRIPT TO SCREEN CONFERENCE - MARCH 20-21
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. Join Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight, Thirteen), Sophie Barthes (Cold Souls), Monty Ross (Do The Right Thing), Ry Russo-Young (You Wont Miss Me), representatives from Focus Features International, BlueCat Screenwriting Competition, Tribeca All-Access, Vox3, Sundance Screenwriters' Lab and many, many more! Produced in partnership with Writers Guild of America, East. Tickets and schedule now available here.

      NEWEST WEB ARTICLE
MARTINA EGI, BAREFOOT IN TIMBUKTU
By Brandon Harris

Ernst Aebi, the subject of Martina Egi's keenly observed new documentary Barefoot to Timbuktu, is something of a renaissance man. Artist, SoHo real estate pioneer and social activist, he is full of paradoxes: easy going yet driven, humble yet self-assured, a man of much wealth who nonetheless spends his leisure time among the dispossessed. Egi profiles Ernst with affection, but she doesn't shy away from examining the effects of his restless nature on his family and friends. His often rocky family life, along as his many guises and activities, are only the preamble to Egi's portrait of the subjects very real and lasting manifestations of his humanitarian commitment. read more

      FESTIVAL DEADLINES

FEBRUARY
Boston International Film Festival
Submission Deadline: Feb. 26.
Festival Dates: April 16-25

New Jersey International Film Festival
Next Submission Deadline: Feb 23. Final Deadline: April 2
Festival Dates: June 4-20

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