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This morning I read Sydney Levine's Cannes market wrap-up, in which she termed the event "lively and upbeat." For the most part, and I guess it did seem more positive than last year's. One prominent distributor/sales agent told me his company "sold out" all their foreign territories and that it was their best Cannes ever. Smaller sales agents all said sales were picking up from the previous year. For non-art fims there was some enthusiasm for 3D as a market driver, although it seemed to be a double-edged sword. I ran into filmmaker and actor Alex Winter, who told me that his 3D remake of The Gate is due to shoot this fall, echoing something another sales agent told me: that it's pretty much expected now that family and kids films should be offered in 3D. Another sales agent said, however, that 3D penetration isn't such in many territories that screens can be found for non-studio 3D product. And, he worried about 3D TV. "If 3D TV takes off, what's going to happen to the value of my library?"
Cannes is, of course, not comprised of one industry but several. What was great for me to see was a new group of American independent filmmakers building names for themselves with a very old-school approach: making unique American art films that are supported by overseas distributors and sales agents. These included Cam Archer (Shit Year), Alistair Banks Griffin (Two Gates of Sleep), David Robert Mitchell (Myth of the American Sleepover), and Sean Durkin (whose short, Mary Last Seen, won a prize in the Director's Fortnight section). While checking my email at the American Pavilion throughout the week, I kept meeting filmmakers who were engaged in another old-school activity: buying a plane ticket on a whim and flying to Cannes to hawk their next project. Several of them had shorts in the Short Film Corner of the Market and had been hustling anyone they’d meet to stop by and watch. I brought back a few of these shorts, and I guess I should get back to watching them.
See you next week.
Editor THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX OFFICE: 2-DAY WORKSHOP WITH JON REISS ON JUNE 5-6 Within the current distribution landscape it appears that for any truly independent film to have a sustained life – and a chance at monetization – filmmakers themselves to need be planning and deeply involved in the process from an early stage. Among those in the forefront as critical thinkers and strategists in this sphere is Jon Reiss. The critically-acclaimed director of BOMB IT! and distribution expert and author will present a step-by-step guide into the Dynamic New World of Hybrid Distribution and Marketing. Day One goes over how to create a distribution strategy and marketing plan unique to your film, the various available markets for your film's release, how and why to engage your audience as early as possible, digital rights, and more. Day Two discusses advertising campaigns, and transmedia platforms, as well as live workshopping of a few films. Special guest speakers will include Lance Weiler (The Workbook Project) and Caitlin Boyle (Film Sprout). All attendees will have access to a networking happy hour with industry reps and will receive a DVD-Rom toolkit as a takeaway. Additional workshop details and ticketing info here . Our Forums page is new and improved! Check out the new categories: how to make films, discuss the current trends in the business, job opportunities and look out for guest filmmaker moderators. Click here to get started.
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The Father of My Children
Survival of the Dead
Blog: Google TV talk, Jim Finn at Anthology
Mia Hansen-Love, The Father of My Children
IFP: Think Outside the Box Office
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THE FATHER OF MY CHILDREN Winner of a Special Jury Prize in the Un Certain Regard section at last year's Cannes Film Festival, The Father of my Children, directed by Mia Hansen-Love, is a poignant mediation on family, work, and love. Based on the life of the late French producer Humbert Balsan, the film centers on Gregoire Canvel (Louis-Do de Lencquesaing), a man with three beautiful children and, seemingly, a fantastic career. But when his production company faces financial distress, Canvel commits suicide. The film goes on to trace the aftermath of his act on his children. Interviewed for this week's Director Interviews, Hansen-Love comments, "From the very beginning, I had this idea that Gregoire would die in the middle of the film. It's not a gimmick, it's not something I've done because it was a cool idea or whatever. To me it has to do with deep questions: What is it that remains from a man who has built so much, after his death? How does his soul survive? Through his personal relationships and links to his family? Or does it survive through the work he's done?" Read our interview with Hansen-Love below. SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD Continuing in his 40-year "Dead" series, horror legend George A. Romero's newest film, Survival of the Dead, zombies are both fought and saved. On an island which is considered the last refuge for safety in a worldwide zombie apocalypse, two powerful families maintain order and control. But as people become the undead from attacks, controversy ensues as whether to kill loved ones or save them until a cure is found. MICMACS Jean-Pierre Jeunet has had a great reputation as a dark and fantastical filmmaker, helming The City of Lost Children, Amelie, and A Very Long Engagement. His latest, Micmacs, is an inventive fairy tale about Bazil (Dany Boon), a young man who was raised in an orphanage. After accidentally being shot in the head during a drive-by, he miraculously lives and embarks on a strange adventure befriending a group of misfits (the Micmacs). He finds family within these odd sorts, including a contortionist, a human cannonball, and a mathematician. But when Bazil finds a connection between the bullet still lodged in his brain and his father's death, he takes on the nearly impossible task to bring those involved to justice. This week on the blog, Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (pictured left) tops the list of Cannes winners; Google announces Google TV; and Jim Finn's work will be highlighted in a series at Anthology Film Archives.
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MIA HANSEN-LOVE, THE FATHER OF MY CHILDREN By Damon Smith
Mia Hansen-Love's briskly paced The Father of My Children trails Paris-based independent film producer Gregoire Canvel (a dynamic Louis-Do de Lencquesaing) through the frenetic routines of his professional and personal life. read more
Rhode Island International Film Festival
Late Deadline: June 1
Final Deadline: June 15
Festival Dates: Aug 10-15
Los Angeles International Film Festival
Final Deadline: June 7
Festival Date: July 2
Austin Film Festival
Next Deadline: June 15
Final Deadline: July 15
Festival Dates: Oct. 21-28