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ASCAP Sessions
Something I was struck by while watching this vintage David Lynch promo that Ray Pride posted over at Movie City Indie: where are the indie showmen of today?

As much as independent film has been associated with the creative integrity of the auteur, it also has been tied to a rich history of outsider marketing. Indie producers like Roger Corman and William Castle were themselves brand names, while directors in the 70s, 80s and 90s developed to varying degrees personas that served to promote their work to the general public. There was Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantinos motor-mouthed cinephilia, Harmony Korines post-modern vaudeville, and, yes, David Lynchs oddball riff on the classic American straight arrow. I still remember going to the opening weekend of Spike Lees Do the Right Thing in 1989 with my brother, who was visiting New York. We exited the Times Square theater just as Lee pulled up in a van, hopping out to hawk posters, t-shirts, but more importantly, the film itself as he parlayed his infectious Mars Blackmon persona into a sense of excitement about his work in general.

So who are the showmen of today? There are a few more directors, like Wes Anderson and Miranda July, who have created public characters that embody their work, but, for the most part, the newer generation of directors is more limited in its outreach. Ballasts Lance Hammer got a lot of ink this year, but much of it spoke only to filmmakers contemplating their own self-distribution efforts. Similarly, Joe Swanberg, with his incredible work ethic, is an inspiration to new directors eyeing DIY production and Andrew Bujalskis films speak directly to his audiences. But these dialogues largely occur outside of the mainstream media.

One director who is out there right now self-financing his own personal work is picking up the gauntlet, parlaying a reputation into low-cost press for his film. Im speaking of Francis Ford Coppola, who has set up a website, picked up a camera, and produced no-budget video blogs to talk up his forthcoming Vincent Gallo-starrer, Tetro. Watching the first of these, in which Coppola, handholding a tiny video camera in front of his face, does a 360, demonstrating that hes alone in his office and that rather than work on his latest screenplay hes talking to us, you get the sense of a filmmaker thrilled to be promoting his work his way.

Im not saying that every filmmaker is suited for this kind of public display, but as summer approaches the indie world needs more entertaining emissaries to the culture at large in order to combat the oncoming blast of mega-studio marketing.

See you next week.


Scott Macaulay
Three visionary directors, France's Leos Carax and Michel Gondry along with South Korea's Bong Joon-ho, have teamed up to create this fantastical triptych set in the Japanese capitol. In Gondry's, a young film director and his girlfriend move to Tokyo so he can further his career, leaving her left to question the path for her life; Carax's features a wild man-monster (Denis Levant) who emerges from the city's sewers and goes on a rampage; and finally Bong's is about a hikikomori (social recluse) who finally leaves his house after 12 years following an encounter with an unusual pizza delivery girl. As Nick Dawson points out in this week's Director Interviews, each filmmaker uses their particular style to tell stories that highlights the city's rich history. He writes: "Like New York Stories, Tokyo!'s great strength is that the city showcases the stories rather than vice versa, and each is a distinctive, standalone film." Read our interview with Gondry and Carax below.

Executive produced by Jim Jarmusch, actor Mark Webber writes, directs and produces this understated look at a group of people living in North Philadelphia. Through a brief glimpse into the character's lives, Webber touches on everything from health insurance woes, the need for personal connections and disenfranchisement all while beautifully captured by the lens of Lucien Cochet (the film won a Special Grand Jury Prize for his cinematography at last year's SXSW along with the Audience Award) and shaped succinctly by frequent Jarmusch collaborator, editor Jay Rabinowitz.


This week on the blog, Scott Macaulay highlights Panasonic's new 24P-HD still/video camera, while Jason Guerrasio learns Woody Allen's Whatever Works will open this year's Tribeca Film Festival and catches up with M dot Strange (pictured left).

To read more posts from our blog, click here.
IFP's Script to Screen Conference explores new opportunities available to independent filmmakers and directly connects aspiring and working screenwriters to the decision-makers of the film, television and new media business. Featuring some of the most prolific industry innovators and iconic screenwriters in independent film today - including conversations with Focus Feature's James Schamus and 30 Rock producer Jerry Kupfer, master classes with filmmakers Lee Daniels (2009 Sundance Grand Jury Prize Winner Push: Based on the Novel By Sapphire) and producer Scott Franklin (The Wrestler), panels featuring Ryan Fleck & Anna Boden (Sugar, Half Nelson), Ramin Bahrani (Goodbye Solo), producer Ted Hope and more! The Script to Screen Conference is the place for writers and writer/directors to explore the art, craft and business of writing and creating the next great independent film. For more info and tickets click here.

By Nick Dawson

French directors Leos Carax and Michel Gondry both born in the early 1960s, during the first blush of the Nouvelle Vague so far have had markedly different career paths. Carax, a boy from the Parisian suburbs, became a film critic and short film director before announcing himself as a major talent with his first two features, Boy Meets Girl (1984) and Bad Blood (1986). After building a reputation for himself as a highly inventive maker of pop promos, the Versailles-born Gondry came to Hollywood where he collaborated with screenwriter Charlie Kaufman on his first two films, Human Nature (2001) and the highly acclaimed Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, then wrote and directed the surreal, bittersweet romance The Science of Sleep (2006) and the offbeat, cinephilic comedy Be Kind Rewind (2008). Now, these two visionary directors have come together, along with The Host's Bong Joon-ho, to make Tokyo!, an anthology film conceptualized around the Japanese capital. read more


London Independent Film Festival
Submission Deadline: March 6 (Final)
Festival Dates: April 17-27

Politics on Film
Submission Deadline: March 13 (Final)
Festival Dates: May 7-10

Route 66 Film Festival
Submission Deadline: March 15
Festival Dates: Sept. 19-20

Find more festival deadlines, click here. And get the latest news and notes on the fest circuit at Festival Ambassador.



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