EDITOR'S NOTE
A short letter this week as I and the rest of our staff get the Spring issue ready for the printers. Sandwiched between our Sundance Winter issue and our "25 New Faces" Summer issue, the Spring issue is one in which we often experiment with our content. Coming up, then, is one full-throated opinion piece on our quest for new distribution models as well as three articles on production design. These include one from a veteran production designer looking back on his work and another from a boundary-breaking young director who didn't even realize until I spoke to him that the imaginative set building he did by himself and with friends was what is termed in the larger industry as "production design." We have our usual collection of strong interviews and a great "Culture Hacker" column by Lance Weiler in which he discusses how you can use iPhone and Android apps to extend the reach and creativity of your films. Oh, and by the way, if you are in New York try and check out Lance's DIY Days event this weekend. If I can take a break from finishing the magazine I will see you there.

As always, for regular thoughts and updates, follow us on Twitter: twitter.com/filmmakermag.

See you next week.

Best,

Scott Macaulay
Editor

      NEW IN THEATERS
THE GREATEST
An emotional exploration of grief, The Greatest, a directorial debut from Shana Feste, uses the death of a teenage boy to uncover unexpressed emotions within a family. Bennett (Aaron Johnson) and Rose (Carey Mulligan) are teens who have always had crushes on each other, but never had the guts to actually speak to one another. After they finally speak and have a night to remember, Bennett is killed in a car accident. His mother Grace (Susan Sarandon) becomes obsessed over his death and refuses to let it go, while his father Allen (Pierce Brosnan) doesn't want to face it at all. His brother Ryan (Johnny Simmons) is therefore burdened with high expectations as the last surviving child. And to add to this chaos, Rose shows up at the front door pregnant with Bennett's baby and disowned by her own family. With The Greatest, Feste delivers a drama that doesn't take anything for granted, or an easy way out.

BREAKING UPWARDS
Is it a documentary or is it fiction? Breaking Upwards, directed and starring Daryl Wein and co-screenwriter Zoe Lister-Jones, a couple in real-life, play a version of themselves navigating through their unsure relationship. After four years together, they feel stifled and bored, but don't want to break up. So they try to re-invent their relationship through alternatives to monogamy, being separate more often than together, and not defining their relationship by traditional mores of the past. As young, creative people living in New York City, they have a joie de vivre that makes them feel like they're being progressive, yet it's unsure if they're just delaying the inevitable. With cameos by Olivia Thirlby, Pablo Schreiber, Andrea Martin, and La Chanze, Breaking Upwards plays with cultural norms of what it means to be in a relationship, and how a break-up doesn't always have to be the logical choice. Interviewed at last year's SXSW, where it premiered, Lister-Jones speaks on the challenges of writing an autobiographical story. "It is really complicated to make something autobiographical simultaneous to its actual occurrence," she says. "It's much easier to write it in retrospect. "It's much easier to write it in retrospect. But I think that is what's so interesting about this process - I came on once I had had enough distance from it."

THE THORN IN THE HEART
For almost his entire life, director Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) has been a filmmaker. He's recorded his family throughout his childhood (as seen on his 2003 compilation The Work of Director Michel Gondry), and after finding out some new and unusual secrets about his family, he takes to the camera again with The Thorn in the Heart. Speaking to his beloved Aunt Suzette, who worked as a schoolteacher for 30 years, he finds her fascinating, and, through her, learns more about the complex relationship between his uncle Jean-Yves and his cousin. Gondry's childlike enthusiasm for his family is touching, and he still retains a hopeful optimism that is quite endearing. Highlighted in this week's Director Interviews, Gondry talks on why he made the film. "I wanted to reconnect with this part of my life when my son was born," he says. "It's a little bit sad in a way, because in the same sense that Suzette doesn't get along so well with her son, I find that I enjoy the presence of Suzette more than my mother. There's the family you have and the family you choose." Read our interview with Gondry below.

      RECENT BLOGS

This week on the blog, the "Scarface School Play" viral video (pictured left) is revealed to be a clever prank by music video director Marc Klasfeld; Scott Macaulay reports on the "crossing the line" moment of one critic; and indie filmmakers crack down on illegal downloaders.

To read more posts from our blog, click here.

      UPCOMING AT IFP
INDEPENDENT FILM WEEK'S PROJECT FORUM OPEN FOR SUBMISSIONS
Independent Film Week is the oldest and largest forum in the U.S. for the discovery of new projects in development and new voices on the independent film scene. The Project Forum is a meetings-driven forum connecting filmmakers who have new narrative and documentary projects with key industry executives interested in identifying projects with which to become involved at the financing or distribution stage. It is qualitatively and quantitatively the best opportunity for an independent filmmaker to connect with industry professionals - including producers, funders, distributors, broadcasters, sales agents and festival programmers. The Project Forum also furthers filmmaker and industry interaction with opportunities for networking at social events throughout the week. Now accepting applications for all three sections: Emerging Narrative (for writers and writer/directors seeking producers and agents to develop, produce, represent and finance their scripts), No Borders (for producers with partial financing on new narrative projects seeking additional partners), and Spotlight on Documentaries (for projects in production or post-production seeking financing partners, broadcast/distribution opportunities, and festival invitations.) Deadlines vary by section – from April 23 (for Emerging Narrative) to May 21 (for No Borders and Spotlight on Documentaries). For deadline schedule, criteria for all sections, and online applications, click here.

      NEWEST WEB ARTICLE
MICHEL GONDRY, THE THORN IN THE HEART
By Damon Smith

The ever-whimsical and inventive Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Be Kind Rewind) might have worked with some of the best names in the business, putting his personal stamp on everything from music videos to comedies, TV series, romantic fantasies, and soon, a Seth Rogen-penned reboot of '60s serial The Green Hornet, but his latest film hews much closer to the heart. read more

      FESTIVAL DEADLINES

APRIL
Philadelphia Independent Film Festival
Next Deadline: April 8. Final Deadline: May 7
Festival Dates: June 23-27

New Orleans Film Festival
Final Deadline: April 9
Festival Dates: Oct 14-21

Los Angeles International Film Festival
Next Deadline: April 12. Late Deadline: June 7
Festival Dates: July 2

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