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Final Draft
Editor's Note

If you’re a film fan, there are two movies to look forward to this weekend. The first is Harmony Korine’s Mister Lonely, which we note below and which is also the cover story of Filmmaker’s Spring issue, available at newsstands now. The second film, which I haven’t seen yet, is Jon Favreau’s Iron Man, starring Robert Downey, Jr. (As Marvel’s first self-financed film — Paramount is distributing — we can arguably term Iron Man an independent film as well.) What’s been interesting this past week is how both movies are being marketed around the redemption tales of their central figures. For Harmony Korine, Mister Lonely reps his return to feature filmmaking after years spent down and out in Paris and London, a self-professed dark time during which he wondered if he’d ever make a film again. When viewing any Korine film, it’s best to read first Susan Sontag’s classic essay, “Against Interpretation,” and simply allow his anarchic, allusive constructions to trigger your own feelings and meanings. Nonetheless, it’s hard also not to decode Mister Lonely as something of a personal parable, an act that is assisted by the relatively straightforward discussion of his own recent life Korine has given to a variety of interviewers, including Dennis Lim of the New York Sunday Times, to whom he described watching a tooth fall out while eating a gyro on the streets of Paris.

For Downey, Iron Man reps the talented actor’s graduation after years of drug problems and incarceration into that most esteemed of Hollywood positions: the anchor of a studio tentpole. He too was featured in the New York Sunday Times, this time in an article by David Carr, who described Downey as formerly “an uninsurable serial relapser famous for being pulled out of hotels or other people’s homes in an addled, disheveled state.” During all these years, Downey’s acting talents never seem to have diminished, but his notoriety certainly prevented him from being cast in a four-quadrant pic with a fast-food restaurant tie-in. (Somehow, when Burger King signed up as a promotional partner I don’t think they figured that Downey’s equivalent of Korine’s tooth-falling-out moment would be his decision, recounted also in the Times, to chuck his bag of drugs in the ocean outside one of the chain’s franchises on the Pacific Coast Highway.) So what Downey brings to Iron Man other than his acting skills and slyly sardonic screen personality is, as some critics have noted, a ready-made backstory for the superhero character. Downey’s own tale of Hollywood survival and transformation adds emotional weight to the film’s breezy telling of a wealthy but lost-in-life arms dealer who transforms himself through his own mechanical inventions and enhances the film’s adult appeal.

I guess in today’s competitive marketplace every film needs a story, and not just the one on the screen.


Scott Macaulay


Gummo and julien donkey-boy writer-director Harmony Korine returns with his first film in ten years, Mister Lonely, opening this weekend. The gently surreal picture follows a lonely Michael Jackson impersonator (played by Diego Luna) performing on the streets of Paris until he meets a Marilyn Monroe impersonator (Samantha Morton), who convinces him to live with her and a group of other impersonators at a commune in a Scottish castle. Exploring themes of self-discovery and acceptance in an indifferent world, Korine also fits skydiving nuns and a priest played by Werner Herzog into an unclassifiable film that is knit together by Korine’s original imagery, a hypnotic score by Jason Spaceman and the Sun City Girls, and a consistent undercurrent of genuinely sweet emotion.


This week on the blog, Scott Macaulay discovers another Great But Probably Quite Impractical Horror Film Location (pictured left), Jason Guerrasio questions if Standard Operating Procedure can help the current documentary slump and Macaulay learns of one subject disavowing a doc about her showing at the Tribeca Film Festival.

To read more posts from our blog, click here.



Emerging Narrative deadline is EXTENDED to May 15.

Be a part of IFP’s 30 year legacy. Submit your project today to the “Project Forum” of Independent Film Week (Sept. 14 – 19), formerly known as the IFP Market. The Project Forum is comprised of three sections for new works in development: Emerging Narrative (writers, directors seeking producers), No Borders (producers with partial financing) & Spotlight on Documentaries (filmmakers in production or post). Approximately 150 projects are invited to New York City to take more than 2000 pitch meetings and network with over 1000 industry professionals annually.

* Please note - if selected, participation is FREE. IFP membership required prior submission.

Click here to submit your project.


By David Gordon Green

The following essay by David Gordon Green on Todd Rohal’s The Guatemalan Handshake accompanies the film's DVD release from Benten Films out this week.

I am plagued by two mothers of frustration:

1. POWER PROBLEMS: Who controls the switches? Who pushes the buttons? How do I get to be large and in charge like Arsenio Hall's portly alter ego Chunky A?

2. LOST AND FOUND: Why did you leave? Where did you go? Or have I just forgotten where I put you?

Todd Rohal's first feature length movie The Guatemalan Handshake revolves around these issues through a series of characters and events that result from a meltdown at a power plant in an anonymous city, USA. We meet people with funny names and see images that make us laugh and snap the elastic of our underpants, but the root of this film's strength is the sad beauty of loneliness and loss that sneaks inside our heads when we lose our power. Goddamnit... this feels like a review. read more

Festival Deadlines

New Hampshire Film Festival
Submission Deadline: May 8 (Early), July 28 (Final)
Festival Dates: Oct. 16-19

Hamptons International Film Festival
Submission Deadline: May 10 (Early)
Festival Dates: Oct. 15-19

Squaw Valley Screenwriting Program
Submission Deadline: EXTENDED to May 10
Workshop Dates: Aug. 2-9

Rhode Island International Film Festival
Submission Deadline: May 15
Festival Dates: Aug. 5-10.

Find more festival deadlines here.


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