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Editor's Note

I had an interesting breakfast this morning with a fellow producer who articulated an obvious but not always as well-stated observation about the current state of American indie financing. Unless you’re lucky enough to know an “angel investor” who can float the cost of your movie, you will most likely have to piece together the budget of your independent film from some of the players that currently comprise the indie financing world. And in one scenario that might mean some soft money – like tax credits or rebates – plus some private equity and gap financing and then some kind of foreign sales advance. Missing from the equation is the U.S. distributor who is, bizarrely, both the investors’ “upside” as well as a necessary catalyst for the remaining foreign deals.

One of the problems with this structure, which is necessitated by the U.S. distributors’ “wait and see” approach to domestic acquisitions (that is, they’d prefer to see the finished film at Sundance and buy it there rather than make a more modest investment early), is that it places the decision makers at the foreign sales companies and distributors in the catbird seat. Rather than the U.S. distributor, it’s the foreign buyers who are deciding what the American filmmaker should be making. This isn’t necessarily horrible -- the top foreign sales agents have fantastic taste. But in terms of knowledge of American cast, for example, or understanding trends originating in the U.S., they have a different sensitivity than someone with a real knowledge of the U.S. market and audience. And there’s another problem – the days in which a typical U.S. indie could almost be guaranteed a sale across multiple territories has long since passed. A great indie will, of course, sell well, but a less-than-great one may receive only spotty international distribution.

This is a long way of saying that by not creating a system here in the U.S. where the distributors of smaller films are invested in them early on, we’re relying too much on the tastes of the buyers least connected to our audiences to allow our films to be made. This isn’t meant as any kind of jingoistic diatribe but just as a rueful reflection on all those worthy films that don’t advance because they are perceived at the outset to lack “foreign value.”

As the new media world beckons with similarly uncertain outcomes, I hope to have a lot more in the magazine upcoming about what new models might replace the old, and I look forward to hearing how our director and producer readers are retooling their own business models to get their films made.


Scott Macaulay


Opening in L.A. this weekend, this horror/social-issue hybrid by “25 New Faces” alum Grace Lee (Grace Lee Project) spoofs the zombie genre with a look into a world where the undead stand side-by-side with the living. Four zombies, some advanced enough that they easily blend in with the rest of society, others disfigured and only good for mundane work, lumber through days filled with ridicule and misunderstanding. Lee stars along with John Solomon as a pair of gung-ho filmmakers trying to make a movie about this aggrieved section of our future society — and that includes getting into an all-zombie festival where their worst fears come true. Think of this as Christopher Guest meets George A. Romero.


By Jason Guerrasio

A feminist voice, maverick filmmaker, or just an egomaniac? Filmmaker Henry Jaglom, who has been called at times all of these things, is captured in Henry-Alex Rubin and Jeremy Workman's brief (only 58 minutes) but entertaining documentary. Armed with his trademark hat, loose tongue and nonstop-running camera, Jaglom explores the inner psyche of his actors and the audience by filming the "reality" of the moment in his movies, no matter how damaging it may be to whomever he's filming. read more

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


This week on the blog, Scott Macaulay finds the non-connection between Lost and Raul Ruiz, Jason Guerrasio unveils the projects in this year's Tribeca All Access and Brandon Harris shines a light on Little Minx's Exquisite Corpse Shorts featuring recent "25 New Faces" Philip Van (pictured left).

To read more posts from our blog, click here.



Jennifer Phang's Half-Life, which took part in IFP’s Narrative Rough Cut Lab in 2005 screens as part of this year’s GenArt Film Festival. In this compelling hybrid of live-action and animation, lines are crossed, secrets emerge, and everyone is left to face their own demons and ask the question...who can you truly count on when everything around you is falling apart?

Click here for tickets.


By Nick Dawson

Shotgun Stories, Jeff Nichols' first feature, is a film with a classical feel that is nevertheless uniquely the vision of its writer-director. Set in Southeast Arkansas, where Nichols spent much of his adolescence, it is a small town tale of three brothers, Son (Michael Shannon), Kid (Barlow Jacobs) and Boy (Douglas Ligon), who are thrust into a feud when the father who abandoned them as children dies suddenly, and Son's actions at his funeral incur the wrath of their four half brothers. Fusing together elements of classic tragedy, traditional American storytelling and epic cinema, Shotgun Stories is a poetic and powerful film which displays Nichol's flair for creating vivid, original characters and intense and thoughtful narratives. read more

Festival Deadlines

Submission Deadline: March 31
Festival Dates: October TBA

Hollywood Film Festival
Submission Deadline: March 31
Festival Dates: Oct. 22-27

Hawaii International Film Festival
Submission Deadline: March 31 (early)
Festival Dates: Oct. 23-Nov. 1

Newport International Film Festival
Submission Deadline: April 1
Festival Dates: June 3-8

Bahamas International Film Festival
Submission Deadline: April 1 (early)
Festival Dates: Dec. 4-11

To see more fest deadlines, click here.

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

For submissions criteria or to apply, log onto


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