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What I like best about traveling to Austin each year is SXSW's blend o technology and film. I always discover new talent on the film side - last year it was Sophia Takal, who I put in our "25 New Faces," and Ti West's The Innkeepers, which I put on our current cover. But I spend as much time at the Interactive Conference as I do the Film. This year, the keynote speakers are an interesting mix who seem less beholden to the tech giants as some speakers in the past. There's Singularity prophet Ray Kurzweil, "cyborg anthropologist" Amber Case, political comedian and Onion Digital Director Baratunde Thurston, and activist (Code for America) Jennifer Pahlka. Check back beginning Friday for our SXSW coverage, including interviews with many of the attending filmmakers and my on-the-ground reports on the films and talks. Hope to see some of you at the convention center.
See you next week.
P.S.: Check out this piece by Ira Deutchman, "Indie Theaters Face Digital Mayhem" at Tribeca's Future of Film. It outlines how the move towards digital exhibition is upending the economic models of our independent exhibitors.
IFP AT SXSW Seventeen IFP program alumni projects - and some IFP staffers - are headed to Austin for SXSW 2012. IFP's Rose Vincelli will be participating in a "Mentors: Artist Development" session on Saturday, March 10, and she will also be moderating IFP's panel, "Tough Love: Why You're Still Not Festival Ready" (March 10; 3:30 pm) with Hybrid Distribution's Jon Reiss and IFP Labs alum Tim Sutton, director of Pavilion. If you're at SXSW, come say hi & glean from their knowledge! The 17 IFP alumni films premiering at the festival include five from the Independent Filmmaker Labs: Matt Ruskin's Booster, Nir Paniry's Extracted, Tim Sutton's Pavilion, Avi Zev Weider's Welcome to the Machine, and Wu Tsang's Wildness. For a full list of IFP alumni screenings and IFP events at SXSW, click here. Friday March 9 marks the deadline for application to the documentary strand of 2012 IFP's Independent Filmmaker Labs, for application info, click here.
Hammer to Nail Review
Friends With Kids
The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye
Jiro Dreams of Sushi
Ten Lessons on Filmmaking from Persepolis Director Marjane Satrapi
IFP at SXSW
ATTENBERG By Michael Tully
The world would be a much less grating place if certain cinematic sub-genres were to be banned from the table immediately. Reading a description of Athina Rachel Tsangari's Attenberg, one might worry that she has committed the double-sin of embracing two of the more increasingly overused and deplorable ones: 1) the "stunted-to-the-point-of-retarded adult-child;" and 2) the "quirky art film for quirky art film's sake." But from the startlingly unbroken first shot of this film, in which one 20-something female friend teaches her innocent 20-something female friend how to tongue kiss, it's readily apparent that we are in the hands of a filmmaker who is going to instead use two very important attributes to put those pitiful sub-genres in their place: 1) a unique personal vision; and 2) a sincere mission to say something genuinely heartfelt about living and dying in the real world. That Attenberg manages to retain a stylistically original, inventive, and daring flair in the midst of all this? Well, that's just parsley on the hummus. read more FRIENDS WITH KIDS Kissing Jessica Stein writer Jennifer Westfeldt's directorial debut is an introspective and emotionally-charged romantic comedy focused on an aging group of friends, many of whom are beginning to consider starting a family. Teaming together many alums of last year's Bridesmaids, including Jon Hamm, Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, and Chris O'Dowd, along with Megan Fox and Adam Scott, Friends With Kids boasts an impressive ensemble and a host of great reviews (including this rave from Variety) following its Toronto premiere. THE BALLAD OF GENESIS AND LADY JAYE Avant-garde artist Genesis P-Orridge is notable for many achievements, including co-founding the bands Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV, and contributing to the British art collective COUM Transmissions. But Marie Losier's new documentary The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye chronicles what might be P-Orridge's most ambitious and progresive project yet - his attempt to literally fuse his identity with longtime partner Jacqueline Breyer. An exploration into the fluidity of gender and identity in the modern age, Losier's film is also an oddly affecting love story. Pick up the latest issue of Filmmaker on newsstands for Esther Robinson's interview with Losier. JIRO DREAMS OF SUSHI Eighty-five year-old Jiro Ono is the owner, founder, and head chef at Sukiyabashi Jiro, considered by many to be the world's finest sushi restaurant. The Tokyo establishment does big business, and Ono is at the center of the restaurant's success and worldwide renown. David Gelb's new documentary, Jiro Dreams of Sushi, not only chronicles Ono's success, but his eldest son Yoshikazu's struggle to live up to his father's legacy. After playing Berlin and Tribeca last year, the film was promptly scooped up by Magnolia. This week on the blog, Scott Macaulay eulogizes production designer David Doernberg, Vadim Rizov checks in from the True/False Film Festival (pictured left), and Lucy Mulloy guest blogs about her directorial debut Una Noche's premiere in Berlin.
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TEN LESSONS ON FILMMAKING FROM PERSEPOLIS DIRECTOR MARJANE SATRAPI By Ariston Anderson
Director Marjane Satrapi's freshman effort Persepolis had all the success a first film could dream of having. The animated coming-of-age tale set in Iran, directed by Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud, earned the 2007 Jury Prize at Cannes, as well two Cesar awards and an Oscar nomination. It's a tough act to follow, but the graphic novelists turned filmmakers are back with a live action film Chicken with Plums, forthcoming this summer from Sony Pictures Classics. read more
Nantucket Film Festival
Late Deadline: March 12
WAB Deadline: March 26
Festival Dates: June 20 - 24
Oregon Independent Film Festival
Regular Deadline: March 14
WAB Deadline: May 31
Festival Dates: August 25 - 31
Los Angeles Reel Film Festival
Earlybird Deadline: March 14
WAB Deadline: June 6
Festival Dates: July 25 - 26