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Nokia Productions
Editor's Note

I came across a few good aphorisms recently. The first is, “The craftsman makes what he can sell; the artist sells what he makes.” (I can’t remember who said this, but when I get it ID’d I’ll note it on the blog.) The second is something that blurted out of my mouth during a meeting with a first-time writer-director who had written a very interesting, ambitious script that was quite surreal and would be quite expensive to produce. He had few financing contacts and wanted to know if I had a list of people who might finance the film. I said, “You either have to write for the market or write for your resources.” The third is from Paul Schrader, who said about creating work for the Internet, “There’s [currently] no money in it, but it’s much better to gore the ox than to hold the ox that’s being gored.” Schrader’s slightly more oblique phrasing refers to his decision to create work that can exist on multiple platforms including, yes, cell phones, and to move away from the traditional independently-financed narrative feature film model he – and most of us – have been pursuing for the past decades.

There’s a simplicity in all of the above statements, a simplicity that’s easy to ignore. It’s easy to make something willfully, stubbornly unique while remaining hopeful that it can somehow be shoehorned into a traditional financing or exhibition model. Or that a film can be made and then launched into the marketplace in the same manner one would have done it in 1988.

Anyway, these are just some quick thoughts as I pack for Toronto. I’m looking forward to seeing how the so-called crisis in independent film plays out up at the festival that really kicks off our fall season. I’ll keep this short, then, but look for our festival coverage on the blog and also watch for a lot of new stuff on in the months ahead, including a reconfigured forums and more video content.

See you next week.


Scott Macaualy

Named one of our 25 New Faces of Independent Film in 1998, Jessica Yu has built an impressive portfolio of non-fiction titles, including a Oscar for her short Breathing Lessons, while directing TV shows like ER, The West Wing and Grey's Anatomy. At the time we wrote "Yu's trademark is her astute ability to come up with the right response to a situation — whether she's catching the drama of a scene unfolding in front of her camera, or designing the visual look for a particular documentary." Ten years after appearing in Filmmaker, Yu unveils her first narrative feature, Ping Pong Playa, which exuberantly plays off of the Chinese obsession with table tennis, Napoleon Dynamite geedom and offbeat cultural humor.


This week on the blog, Scott Macaulay recommends a panel discussion at Telluride on the state of indie film, learns about Mark Urman's departure from THINKFilm and links to Charles Ferguson's free streaming of his film No End In Sight on YouTube (pictured left). To read more posts from our blog, click here.


Daily “Conversations with” filmmakers Kevin Smith, Frida Torresblanco, and Robert Greenwald along with industry visionaries Josh Sapan of Rainbow Media and SnagFilms’ Rick Allen.

Daily “State of the Union” discussions with Bob Berney (Picturehouse), Christian Gaines (Withoutabox), Geoff Gilmore (Sundance Film Festival), Anne Thompson (Variety), Lance Weiler (Head Trauma) and more!

Daily Case Studies featuring Guillaume Canet’s Tell No One, Almudena Carracedo and Robert Bahar’s Made In L.A., Patrick Creadon’s I.O.U.S.A., Sandi Dubowski’s Trembling Before G-d, Ryan Fleck & Anna Boden’s Sugar, Gary Hustwit’s Helvetica, Alex Rivera’s Sleep Dealer, Aaron Rose & Joshua Leonard’s Beautiful Losers, and on-line film series & new media film pioneers The Cult of Sincerity, The West Side, Molotov Alva and Star Wreck.

Panelists include filmmakers Brad Anderson (Transsiberian), Larry Fessenden (The Last Winter), Courtney Hunt (Frozen River), Barry Jenkins (Medicine for Melancholy), So Yong Kim (In Between Days), Joe Swanberg (Hannah Takes The Stairs), Craig Zobel (Great World of Sound) and representatives from A&E IndieFilms, Big Beach, BMI, Cinetic Media, HBO, IndieGoGo, ITVS, Magnolia Pictures, Maximum Films, Miramax, New Video, Oscilloscope Pictures, SAGIndie, Samuel Goldwyn Films, Spout, Strand Releasing, Sundance Channel, SXSW, This is That, Variety and more!

For the latest Conference updates and pass purchases, go to


Nick Dawson

Chris Smith is an interesting conundrum, a filmmaker who brings a narrative verve and energy to his documentaries and approaches fiction films with the delicate restraint and remove of a documentarian. After 12 years away from fiction filmmaking, Smith returns with The Pool, co-written with his American Job collaborator Randy Russell, whose Iowa-set short story provided the film's inspiration. The action, however, is set in Goa, India, where a young hotel worker, Venkatesh (Venkatesh Chavan), becomes obsessed with swimming in a backyard pool owned by a stern stranger (Nana Patekar). read more

Festival Deadlines

Tropfest NY
Submission Deadline: Sept. 5
Festival Dates: Sept. 26

Victoria Independent Film Festival
Submission Deadline: Sept. 8 (Final)
Festival Dates: Nov. 13-20

Tribeca Film Festival
Submission Deadline: Sept. 15 (Opens), Nov. 14 (Early), Jan. 12 (Final)
Festival Dates: April 22-May 3

Canada International Film Festival
Submission Deadline: Sept. 20, Nov. 20 (Final)
Festival Dates: Jan. 24-25

Victoria Film Festival
Submission Deadline: Sept. 24
Festival Dates: Feb. 1-10

Find more festival deadlines here.


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