Confidence, self-doubt, and the relationship between the two -- that was to be the subject of today's newsletter. I even wrote the whole thing. Just before I hit "send," though, I read it again, and didn't like it. It was about how you need elements of both -- a lot of the former tempered by a little bit of the latter -- to be a filmmaker. However, I think it's too big a subject for a newsletter. Or, maybe I just didn't succeed in smoothing it down into its necessary crystalline form. I'll have to tackle it again later. I remember reading Stephen Elliott's Rumpus newsletter not too long ago, and he said he has hundreds of unfinished or unsent Daily Rumpus's on his hard drive. I only have a couple, so it's appropriate, I guess, that one of the few deals with confidence and self-doubt.
Doubt, by the way, is a theme running through Amy Dotson's post about the Venice Biennale College Cinema program, where both of us mentored in early January. Following the College's first session, three filmmakers, including IFP Narrative Lab vet Tim Sutton, were awarded approximately $200,000 to make their next feature, which will premiere in Venice at the festival in August. On my last day there, I ran into Amy and Jon Reiss on a museum crawl, with the two of them heading to the place I just visited, the astonishing Pinault Punta della Dogana, where the show was titled, "In Praise of Doubt." Read her account, which intermingles discussion of the films with images from the museum, here.
What else? David Leitner has published his annual post-Sundance piece on cinematography trends gleaned at the festival. It's subtitled "Alexa Rising," so you can guess one of them. But there's more, including talk of all the Canons, REDs and one surprising film shot on the trusty and tiny Panasonic GH2. I also loved Brandon Harris' Rotterdam wrap focusing on the festival's American indies. If you haven't seen it yet, SXSW has announced its line-up. And, finally, you can read my cover story about Shane Carruth's Upstream Color via newstands or on our new iPad edition, which we've gotten great response from readers about. One called it, along with Fast Company, the best iPad edition out there. There's a smidgen of video in the new issue, and there will be more in the issues ahead. Check it out on the App Store.See you next week.
Upcoming at IFP
IFP and Sundance Institute Return to the EFM with "American Independents in Berlin"
IFP and the Sundance Institute announced this week that they will again collaborate to promote and support American independent films and filmmakers as part of the European Film Market (EFM) at the Berlin International Film Festival (February 7-17, 2013). The jointly sponsored "American Independents in Berlin," presented in partnership with the EFM, will showcase 45 films through combined "IFP Selects" and "Sundance at EFM" Market Screenings, with the objective of highlighting new American work to international buyers, distributors, and festival programmers. In addition, the American Independents stand in the EFM's Martin-Gropius-Bau serves as a community hub and provides support services to attending American filmmakers, companies and organizations.
For more information and a full list of screenings and events at the hub in Berlin, click here.
New In Theaters
Ferlinghetti: A Rebirth of Wonder
Lawrence Ferlinghetti is a poet, painter, activist, publisher and owner of San Francisco's landmark City Lights Bookstore. He has not only been present throughout so many of America's, and the world's, touchstone moments of the 20th (and now into the 21st) century, but has been a mover and shaker himself - including his influence on Jack Kerouac and his Beat Generation, participation in the blossoming 1960's San Fran scene of Vietnam protest and sexual revolution and his stance in defense of free speech during the watershed obscenity trial following his publishing of Allen Ginsberg's Howl. In Ferlinghetti: A Rebirth of Wonder, renowned still-photographer/documentarian Christopher Felver draws on his 30-year-long friendship with Ferlinghetti to craft a revealing portrait of the man while also incisively using life moments to continue to draw attention to the social and political issues that the pair put such heavy stock in.
Read Kevin Canfield's interview with Felver here.
Lore follows five German siblings (led by the eldest and namesake of the film, played by newcomer Saskia Rosendahl) as they travel to their grandmother's home in the wake of the capture of their SS officer father and Nazi sympathizing mother by Allied Forces. During the trip, the children face the reality and consequences of their parents and their ilk's actions and, in meeting the Jewish refugee Thomas, Lore confronts her conflicting emotions as she must come to trust and rely on a person she has been taught to hate. Cate Shortland's haunting and unorthodox take on the legacy of WWII and the Holocaust was submitted as Australia's entry for the "Best Foreign Language Film" category at the 85th Academy Awards.
Read Steven Erickson's discussion with Shortland here.
Steven Soderbergh's Side Effects is a psychological thriller that has earned the director comparisons to Robert Altman and Alfred Hitchcock. Psychiatrist Dr. Jonathan Banks (Jude Law) begins to treat Emily Taylor (Rooney Mara), a young woman coping with the release of her husband Martin (Channing Tatum) from jail. When Emily awakens one day with a corpse in her apartment, mysteries both unfold and deepen as an investigation is launched into whether Emily or Banks (and the drug treatment he prescribed for Emily's anxiety disorder) is to blame for the death. Steven Soderbergh claims Side Effects will be his last film.
This Week on FilmmakerThis week on the blog, Amy Dotson reports from the Biennale College-Cinema, Scott Macaulay muses on House of Cards and Netflix's algorithms, David Leitner discusses cinematography at Sundance, and Nick Dawson checks in on 2012's "25 New Faces" (Omar Mullick and Bassam Tariq's These Birds Walk pictured left).
To read more, click here.
Newest Web Article
Matt Boyd on A Rubberband is an Unlikely InstrumentBy Brandon Harris
In the quickly gentrifying Brooklyn neighborhood of Greenpoint during the mid-aughts, Walter Baker -- a collector of sound, a street musician, a man of many talents and eccentricities -- lives with his wife Andrea, a poet, and their adolescent son Sidney. Baker spends his days rummaging through barren lots and decaying Greenpoint docks recording sound, or lurking in the subway, using an extra large rubber band to make unearthly, yet remarkably compelling, quasi-music. Baker's skills on the rubber band improve throughout Matt Boyd's singularly self-possessed, unforgettable doc-narrative hybrid A Rubberband is an Unlikely Instrument, while his home life becomes more troubled.
Filled with exorbitantly long takes, this heavily stylized look at the Bakers' existence stretches the boundaries of documentary form. Uniquely framed, with sound design that transcends anything you'll likely encounter in the indie sphere, it is a shrewd stunt by longtime doc cameraman and editor Boyd, making his directorial debut. The film, which world premiered at Hot Docs in 2011, bears more than a passing resemblance to the late Allan King's 1986 classic documentary A Married Couple, but it has a deliberate pace, style and form all its own. Its largeheartedness and shrewd, unsentimental observation of this irrepressibly odd, distinctly American family mark Boyd as a voice to be reckoned with.
The film, distributed by Factory 25, opens at the reRun Theater this Friday.Read more
Festival DeadlinesLos Angeles Film Festival
Late Deadline for Short Films and Music Videos: February 1
Late Deadline for Feature-length Narratives and Documentaries: February 15
Festival Dates: June 13 - 23
Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film Festival
Regular Deadline: February 8
Late Deadline: February 22
WAB Extended Deadline: March 1
Festival Dates: May 23 - June 2
Big Bear Lake International Film Festival
Early Deadline: February 8
Regular Deadline: May 3
Late Deadline: May 31
WAB Extended Deadline: June 17
Festival Dates: September 20 - 22