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Northwest Film & Video Festival

Malcolm Gladwell has a new book coming out called Outliers: The Story of Success, which looks at why and how people become successful beyond their natural abilities. Writes Gladwell, these people “are invariably the beneficiaries of hidden advantages and extraordinary opportunities and cultural legacies that allow them to learn and work hard and make sense of the world in ways others cannot."

I’ve liked Gladwell’s work in the past and am eager to read this new book, mostly because a month-old article by Gladwell that appeared in The New Yorker has been sitting in my list of bookmarks. The article, titled "Late Bloomers," deals with related subject matter – why some artists burst straight out the gate, young, as “prodigies,” while others remain “late bloomers,” only finding their distinct artistic voice later in life. Gladwell talks a little about a film in the article; he uses as examples for his arguments Orson Welles and Alfred Hitchcock. But the more interesting comparisons occur in the worlds of literature and painting as he uses the careers of Jonathan Safran Foer, Ben Fountain, Pablo Picasso and Paul Cezanne to discuss what different artists need to find their voices. Here, the comparison to films and filmmaking gets more interesting and perhaps more troubling. In short, Gladwell shows how some of the world’s great artists have needed sustained support in the form of patronage as well as the time necessary to engage in prolonged processes of, essentially, creative trial and error.

Gladwell’s piece got me thinking about the late bloomer and film. How does the film equivalent of Cezanne or Fountain emerge today? How does this kind of artist “practice”? How does this artist make the series of mistakes needed to refine and hone their storytelling skills.

Check back on the blog in the next few days as I’ll try to elaborate on these thoughts and Gladwell’s piece.

See you next week.


Scott Macaulay
Director Danny Boyle continues to show his ever-expanding range with this uplifting story of a young Indian boy's tumultuous life and search for love. On the eve of answering one more question to win 20 million rupees in his country's version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, Jamal (Dev Patel) is accused by the police of cheating and proves his innocence by telling his story of life in the Mumbai slums — years in which he not only gained the knowledge necessary to beat the quiz show but also discovered the love of his life, Latika (Freida Pinto). With beautiful images courtesy of the country’s colorful landscapes and d.p. Anthony Dodd Mantle, lively music and a slew of colorful nonpro child actors, Boyle creates a Dickens-like story that has already wowed audiences on the festival circuit. But as he told us at the Austin Film Festival (where the film received a standing ovation), he's always looking for flaws. "Truthfully all I could think of was... how could I have improved it?" says Boyle. "You're always expecting people to say 'what was that?' when the film is done. Must be that British pessimism."

Inspired by his love for Harry Potter, director Josh Koury examines the J.K. Rowling literary masterpiece by portraying the different factions of its fan base. Primarily focusing on the bands that make up the “wizard rock” music scene — Harry and the Potters and The Hungarian Horntails, a band made up of four- and seven-year-old brothers — it also features Heather Lawver, who launched the Potter War boycott of Warner Bros. after the studio sent scathing letters to fan sites demanding their domain names, and Brad Neely, the Internet phenomenon behind Wizard People, Dear Readers, an alternative soundtrack that replaces Harry Potter and the Sorcerer Stone's film audio track. Nick Dawson describes the movie in this week's Director Interviews as "a little film with considerable charm that depicts its characters — and Potter fandom as a whole — with affection and integrity."


This week on the blog, Scott Macaulay comments on MTV's new Internet channel (that shows music videos!), posts producer Jim McKay's glowing thoughts on Rachel Getting Married, pictured left, and Jason Guerrasio lists the Sundance Institute's NHK Finalists.

To read more posts from our blog, click here.
Kicking off the Gotham Independent Film Awards Series — public screenings and events tied to this year’s nominees and honorees (see events schedule) — is the third annual Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You Screening Series, presented in partnership with The Museum of Modern Art. The five nominated films, all critically acclaimed from the festival circuit which have not yet been released theatrically by a distributor or self-distributed, will screen at MoMA from November 20 – 23. Each screening will be follow by a Q & A with the filmmakers: Antonio Campos (Afterschool), Taylor Greeson (Meadowlark), Tom Quinn (The New Year Parade), Nina Paley (Sita Sings the Blues) and Jake Mahaffy (Wellness). See MoMA screening schedule.

Back in 2004, director Darren Lynn Bousman was taking his violent horror script The Desperate to a number of studios, only to be told it was too grisly for mainstream viewers. Enter Saw creators James Wan and Leigh Whannell, who loved The Desperate and immediately contacted Bousman about reworking the script into a sequel to their Saw franchise. This began a partnership that saw Bousman direct three successful Saw films in a row.

Taking a break from the infamous horror series, Bousman returns with a long gestating labor of love: Repo! The Genetic Opera, a futuristic horror musical based on a play previously staged by Bousman in L.A. and New York. read more


AFI Dallas International Film Festival
Submission Deadline: Nov. 21, Dec. 5 (Final)
Festival Dates: March 26-April 5

Tallahassee Film Festival
Submission Deadline: Nov. 30, Dec. 15 (Final)
Festival Dates: April 15-19

Full Frame Documentary Film Festival
Submission Deadline: Nov. 30 (Final)
Festival Dates: April 2-5

Seattle International Film Festival
Submission Deadline: Dec. 1 (Early), Feb. 2 (Final)
Festival Dates: May 21-June 14

Find more festival deadlines, click here.

FALL 2008


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