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Editor's Note

The big news this week was, of course, the end of the writer’s strike. The trade press is full of commentary on whether or not the financial gains gotten by the writers were worth the extended work stoppage, but a quick analysis seems to be that the strike did force the studios to acknowledge that creative partners need to be explicitly accounted for in new media revenue streams.

As Lance Weiler noted in his recent piece in the current issue, “Navigating the Digital Divide,” independents are facing their own version of the fight that the WGA just went through. Except for us independents, it’s not about wresting revenue from the studios but rather figuring out how to generate it for ourselves. While, as the strike demonstrated, studios are earning ad dollars from Internet distribution, independents are still figuring out how to get their movies on the iTunes Movie Store. That said, there are some new ventures on the horizon that may provide platforms for indies. One is a new online distributor, The Auteurs, that just launched this week at the Berlin Film Festival. It works on what the founders dubbed a “freemium” model, meaning that members can stream films for no cost but that the site will feature advertising. Films from the Celluloid Dreams and Kino libraries will be found on the site. We’ll spend some time on the site as well as continue to check out the other new and upcoming online distributors and keep reporting on this space in Filmmaker.


Scott Macaulay


At age 67, George A. Romero continues to build on the zombie genre that he spearheaded some 40 years ago with Night of the Living Dead. His latest installment of the series, follows a group of film students shooting a zombie film who actually come across some real undead. According to reports, Romero initially intended to release the film as a series of webisodes, a distribution strategy that would relate to the film's underlying themes of the potentially corrosive effects of new media and technology. After the relative disappointment of Land of the Dead, Romero proves with Diary that he can still bring on the scares while also commenting on society's ills.


By Jason Guerrasio

This heartfelt doc of one man's attempt to give something back to the world before he leaves it has gone on to win the hearts of festival goers everywhere. The film follows the journey of Mr. Vig, an elderly Danish man who's been a lifelong bachelor and recluse, as he offers up his 50 year old castle to the Moscow Patriarchate so that they can turn it into a Russian Orthodox monastery. But because it hasn't been inhabited in 20 years there's much work that needs to be done before the church can accept his offer. read more

To read more posts on our favorite upcoming DVDs, click here.


This week on the blog, Jason Guerrasio reports on the end of the writer's strike and highlights Michel Gondry's latest exhibit at the Deitch in NYC (pictured left), and Nick Dawson finds a YouTube spoof on Barack Obama's Yes We Can video.

To read more posts from our blog, click here.


Documentary Rough Cut Lab
May 6 - 9, 2008
Submission deadline: March 7

Narrative Rough Cut Lab
June 11 - 14, 2008
Submission deadline: April 11

Given the pivotal role that festivals play in launching emerging filmmakers, IFP designed its Labs to assist in tackling the creative and technical challenges of completing projects before they are submitted to festivals.
These four-day workshops are lead by a seasoned group of independent producers who are the primary advisors for each project. Participants also receive individual attention on their work in sessions with Workshop Leaders who give feedback and advice on specific technical, creative and post-production issues – ranging from music clearance to creative editorial solutions to festival strategies. The program is open to all first-time, narrative & documentary feature filmmakers who have completed the majority of principal photography. As a commitment to diversity, IFP seeks to ensure that at least 50% of participating projects have an inclusive range of races, genders, sexual orientations, ethnicities and physical abilities in key creative positions. Projects from the Independent Film Labs have already found success on the festival circuit. 2007 Narrative Lab project The New Year Parade (dir. Tom Quinn) won the Grand Prize for Narrative Feature at the 2008 Slamdance Film Festival and will also play at SXSW in March. Post-Labs, IFP continues to offer support through its year round programming assistance, offering guidance, promotional support, funding opportunities, screenings and showcases for Lab Alumni. This includes the Adrienne Shelly Director’s Grant (a $10,000 grant to a current or recent female directing alumnus of the program), promotion and marketing assistance through access to the Independent Film Labs blog, an invitational showcase screenings of 2 – 3 minute clips from each of the selected films which will take place during this year’s IFP Market in September, and industry screenings for Lab Fellows from diverse backgrounds in 2008.

For submissions criteria or to apply, log onto

To read more about the IFP Independent Film Labs and its past participants, log onto


By Scott Macaulay

Continuing our look at the nominated films that have appeared in the magazine or on the Website in the last year, Scott Macaulay interviewed The Diving Bell and the Butterfly director Julian Schnabel for the Fall '07 issue ("The Inside Man"). The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is nominated for Best Director (Julian Schnabel), Adapted Screenplay (Ronald Harwood), Editing (Juliette Welfling) and Best Cinematography (Janusz Kaminski).

Most films draw us in with some promise of possibility. Buy a ticket, sit back and have your world expanded for a couple of hours. Be someone new and go places you’ll probably never see in your own life.

But there’s another sort of movie that derives its drama from the opposite journey. Movies as diverse as Jim Sheridan’s My Left Foot and Gary Tarn’s recent doc Black Sun place the audience within a world that’s drastically — and painfully — smaller than their own. Through the strength of their storytelling, these films both dramatize their protagonists’ quests to conquer the challenges of their new worlds while confronting viewers with the existential questions posed by their dilemmas. Julian Schnabel’s third feature, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, is a challenging, sagacious and unexpectedly sensuous addition to this genre. read more

Festival Deadlines

Akron Independent Film Festival
Submission Deadline: Feb. 26
Festival Dates: April 3 - April 6

Kansas International Film Festival
Submission Deadline: Feb. 28 (early)
Festival Dates: Sept. 19 - 25

Jacksonville Film Festival
Submission Deadline: March 10 (early)
Festival Dates: May 15 - 21

New York International Latino Film Festival
Submission Deadline: March 14
Festival Dates July TBA

To see more fest deadlines, click here.


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