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"Sundance: Mistakes Were Made," in which she warns you about ten common Sundance mishaps. And there it is, #2: "Business Cards." She's forgotten them before, but not this year. As for me, I've already forgotten them because I forgot to have new ones made after I changed my address. (I should note here that I'm referring here to cards representing my producing activities. And yes, while I'm primarily doing Filmmaker work in Park City, I have a couple of films I'd like to produce this year and, you never know, I might meet some people.)It's the night before I leave for Sundance, I have two articles more to write along with packing and my laundry, and I'm thinking about business cards. I don't have them. I probably wouldn't have realized that until I got to Park City were it not for Alicia Van Couvering's blog post,
But maybe I forgot to update my business cards because the concept - little slips of paper with address and phone numbers -- seems so archaic. Years ago we'd have Palm Pilots and beam our information at each other. Now, a decade later, we're back to handing out cards. But of course, in the age of Google, cards are no longer about information but intent. "Let me give you my card" means "We just met but I'm going to call you, and I'd like you to remember me and take that call."
I'm not going to sweat it -- I have too much work to do. This afternoon I wrote a blog post listing 12 films I'm excited to see at the festival, and put together with Dan Scott an interview I shot with This American Life's Ira Glass, co-writer and producer of the film Sleepwalk with Me that I'll post on Sunday. It's his hilarious take on the job of the producer, and everyone who has been a producer of a film in any capacity will pretty much love it.
Let me tell you what else you'll find on the site during Sundance. First, I'm very happy to have Tom Hall - journalist, Sarasota Film Festival Artistic Director, and blogger - reviewing for us this year. I'll be blogging and snapping photos and videos, of course, and also writing will be Alicia Van Couvering, our Contributing Editor. (Alicia produced a competition film, Ry Russo-Young's Nobody Walks, so she won't be writing about any of the competition titles. But if you're in Sundance, go see her film!) I'll also be guesting on Eugene Hernandez's KPCW radio show on Saturday morning. Henny Garfunkle will be taking the director and actor portraits you see in our pages throughout the year, and we may have some video during the festival by Michael Lavine. David Leitner will be blogging from Sundance with a particular focus on tech. Brandon Harris and Lucas McNelly are writing about the Slamdance Films. And we'll be partnering with Patrick Epino and Stephen Dypiangco of the National Film Society (a name that still cracks me up) on short videos. And then there will be the filmmakers -- a number of IFP-affiliated directors will be contributing guest blogs during the festival. Finally, there's you -- that is, if you're a Park City filmmaker. I'm always happy to get guest blog posts, so if you have something you'd like to contribute, you can always email me at email@example.com. And because we've got a lot more content this week, Dan Schoenbrun will be sending out regular newsletters during the festival updating you with all of our links. During the festival all our content lives at our Park City page.
Before I go do my laundry, what about the SOPA and PIPA protests? An issue that this Fall seemed kind of arcane and wonky today went mainstream, fueled by a tech industry united against the grotesque overreach of these bills. On Facebook I saw postings from regular, non-tech, non-entertainment industry people protesting these pieces of legislation, and Congressional supporters have been caving. (If you're wondering why the editor of this film publication is anti-SOPA, I recommend this excellent blog by a Hollywood editor, "Confessions of a Hollywood Professional: Why I Can't Support SOPA." And then there was the MPAA statement, stunning in its dismissal of today's online protests. I'll have more to write on this later, but today felt like something of a defining moment, when you had to decide which side you're on. A lot of this shift was generational. Here's Bob Lefsetz from his newsletter today:
"A politician is no match for Google. Obama was smart enough to question SOPA. People love their Google, their Wikipedia. Make the Internet go dark and everybody knows. It's like your cable going out, but worse. You can't get a date, can't expose your music, can't discuss your favorite topic, can't get the news...
That's what everybody now uses the Net for.
And it's the best organizational tool known to man.
You've got to play nice with the people. Erect a wall and they'll tear it down. Both old media and new is rife with stories of corporations who felt they didn't have to listen to their customers. Those days are through. You're in bed with the people, you've got to respect them, they've got the power."
See you back here next week and, if you're there, at Sundance.
IFP: INDEPENDENT FILMMAKER LABS OPEN FOR SUBMISSIONS IFP's Independent Filmmaker Labs are a year-long fellowship supporting independent filmmakers when they need it most: through the completion, marketing, and distribution of their first features. Lab submission is open to all first-time documentary and narrative feature directors with films in post-production. Twenty projects (10 documentaries and 10 narratives) are selected.
The Labs provide community, mentorship, and specific strategies to help filmmakers reach their artistic goals and launch their films with maximum exposure. Structured in three week-long components held over the year, the Labs offer personalized attention on post-production, audience building, and distribution strategies in the digital age, followed by continued support from IFP as the project premieres in the marketplace.
Recent Lab Project alumni in theaters include Dee Rees' Gotham Award-wining Pariah, which opened via Focus Features in December 2011, joining Alrick Brown's Kinyarwanda (AFFRM, 2011) and Victoria Mahoney's Yelling to the Sky (MPI, 2012). At festivals, Sundance 2012 presents An Oversimplification of Her Beauty, Slamdance shows Welcome to Pine Hill, Berlin premieres Una Noche, and IDFA 2011 showed The Light in Her Eyes and Smokin' Fish. Give Up Tomorrow premieres on PBS' "P.O.V." in 2012, with more Lab alumni premiering in upcoming festivals world-wide and on national television.
Deadlines for the 2012 Labs are March 9 (Documentary) and April 6 (Narrative). Application and additional information is here.
Hammer to Nail Review
Gerardo Naranjo, Miss Bala
IFP: Independent Filmmaker Labs Open for Submissions
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SCALENE By Michael Tully
If you've seen Zack Parker's Scalene, then you might understand why I feel weird describing the experience of watching it as "a pleasant surprise." But it's true. Even though this film is comprised of scenes and plot twists that are as disturbing as any that are likely to appear on screen this year, what struck me most loudly was the realization that I was in the hands of a director who was working with limited production means yet that didn't matter. Parker's command over the elements at his disposal enabled him to produce something truly indelible. read more HAYWIRE Quickly following up last year's disaster ensemble Contagion, Steven Soderbergh is back with this tightly wound action film. Haywire boasts a suspenseful, haunting script, expertly-realized fight sequences, and an impressive ensemble featuring Michael Douglas, Michael Fassbender, Ewan McGregor and Bill Paxton. But the biggest surprise here is leading lady Gina Carano, who Soderbergh cast after catching her on a cable TV wrestling program. As Mallory Kane, the film's tough-as-nails protagonist, and with charisma to burn, Carano is a revelation. CRAZY HORSE In his new film, veteran documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman (Titicut Follies) captures one of Paris' most famous attractions - the Crazy Horse cabaret club. Founded in 1951 by Alain Bernardin and currently under the creative control of French choreographer Phillippe Decoufle, the Crazy Horse puts on 16 shows a week. Throughout his film, Wiseman dutifully captures the club's singular glamor in rich detail, and travels beyond the curtains for a look at the grueling rehearsal process that the show's dancers undergo on a daily basis. Read Filmmaker's interview with Wiseman here. CORIOLANUS Ralph Fiennes' directorial debut brings one of Shakespeare's lesser-known works to the big screen in grand cinematic fashion. Fiennes, who was inspired to make Coriolanus after starring in a stage performance of the play in 2000, captures the work's political intrigue on an epic scale. By assembling an impressive cast including Brian Cox, Vanessa Redgrave, and Jessica Chastain, hiring Hurt Locker cinematographer Barry Ackroyd to lens the film's bloody action sequences, and updating the play's costuming to contemporary garb, Fiennes crafts an auspicious, wonderfully realized, and long-overdue debut. This week on the blog, Scott Macaulay announces the launch of Filmmaker's new curated Kickstarter page (pictured left), as well as Joe Swanberg's Marriage Material, which just debuted for free on Vimeo, and Dan Schoenbrun shares selected stories from the Winter issue of Filmmaker.
To read more posts from our blog, click here.
GERARDO NARANJO, "MISS BALA" By Howard Feinstein
A model hybrid of seemingly effortless form and true-to-life action is the astonishing Miss Bala, by 42-year-old Mexican director Gerardo Naranjo. His earlier, teen-focused works, Drama/Mex and I'm Gonna Explode, while they are expertly crafted (and especially alluring for those with a penchant for handheld camera and super-8), were a tad heavy-fisted for the subject matter, as if they were laden with an extra injection of testosterone. Could it be that in making Miss Bala (bala means bullet, and is a pun on Baja) about grown-ups and placing a 23-year-old woman (and her POV) front and center, he has, in the best way, both softened and retooled his creative hand? read more
SoCal Independent Film Festival
Earlybird Deadline: January 20
WAB Deadline: July 27
Festival Dates: September 24 - 30
Toronto Independent Film Festival
Earlybird Deadline: January 20
WAB Deadline: July 21
Festival Dates: September 6 - 15
Outfest Screenwriting Lab
Early Deadline: January 21
Regular Deadline: February 6