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Shorts NonStop
We ship the new issue of Filmmaker to the printer on Monday, so I'll keep this editor's letter very short and then go back to editing copy and writing my own pieces. Something I twittered (tweeted? And yes, Filmmaker has a Twitter account: go to yesterday concerned my hunt for the sub-theme of our new upcoming issue. When I was at SXSW, I had a meeting with an agent who asked me if we consciously chose themes for each issue. Preferring a diversity of content, that's something I've most often shied away from. But she pointed out that many of the articles in each issue do connect with each other, and I agreed that that's certainly true. There are always strange coincidences and correspondences, like the time almost every director interviewed said they were influenced by Ken Loach's Kes. This time one obvious sub-theme is, not surprisingly, credit. No, not on-screen credit, but loans. Credit cards. In Mike Plante's feature on Darius Marder's Loot, the first-time director talks about how he quit his job and maxed out all of his cards to make the film but was saved by a $50,000 L.A. Film Festival prize. As a necessary corrective to Marder's story and all the other tales of credit-card-fueled movies we've run in years past, we have Esther Robinson's article on the impending personal credit contraction and how filmmakers can make sure their own credit is strong enough to make movies but also do things like live the rest of their lives.

But that's too obvious a connection. There's always some other psychological impulse or emerging macro business trend buried within our pages. In looking at our runlist — which includes a round-up of the new wave of digital cameras as well as an eye-opening look at filmmakers shooting webisodes and even features on the new DSLR still cameras like the Nikon D90 and the Canon EOS 5D Mark II; interviews with Ramin Bahrani, So Yong Kim (by Kelly Reichardt), Olivier Assayas, Steven Soderbergh and Sasha Grey; and, among many other things, part three of Jon Reiss's absolutely essential series on DIY distribution (in this installment he tells you how to market your DVD online) — I haven't quite put my finger on what it is... I'm sure once we ship (which used to mean literally packing up the disks and sending them FedEx and which now means digitally uploading them) I'll figure it out.

See you next week.


Scott Macaulay
Returning to his roots after receiving a huge boost of industry cred from directing the smash hit Superbad, writer-director Greg Mottola tells a bittersweet coming-of-age tale mixed with touches of gross-out humor and a nostalgic reminder of those simpler days of the late-'80s. Jesse Eisenberg (The Squid and the Whale) plays James, a college graduate, virgin and occasional weed smoker whose plans to go to Europe fall through, leaving him with no alternative but to get a job working in an amusement park where be becomes infatuated with one of his fellow workers (Kristin Stewart). Martin Starr, Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig are among the strong cast that provide memorable supporting characters, spending the summer smoking, drinking, talking, flirting and stumbling towards maturity. When interviewed for the Winter 2009 issue of Filmmaker, Mottola says those thinking this will be Superbad 2 are going to be surprised. "I‘m bracing myself for people criticizing Adventureland for being 'the unfunny Superbad,'" he says. "But I wrote it before I did Superbad and it was never intended to be an out-and-out comedy. I wanted to make a very "slice of life" movie. So it‘s a very fictionalized thing set in a very autobiographical world. There are people I know or knew in all those characters."

Miguel "Sugar" Santos (Algenis Perez Soto) is adored and admired in his hometown in the Dominican Republic due to his talents on the baseball field and called to America to join a minor league affiliate in Iowa in the hopes of playing professional ball. Although Sugar is perusing his lifelong dream, he is separated from his family, subject to casual racism and unable to overcome the language barrier. Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, the filmmaking duo who previously triumphed with Half Nelson, guide us through this world of Dominican immigrants using their talent for America's pastime in the hopes of escaping the poverty they have grown up in to chase the American dream. Like Shareeka Epps in Half Nelson, this is also Soto's first film. Boden and Fleck talked about how they work with their nonactors when we interviewed them for our Winter 2009 issue. "Most of the effort is not coaxing a performance out of an actor, it's spent on the ground trying to find the right person," says Fleck. Boden adds that it's finding someone who's "able to say a lot without doing very much or feeling the need to do very much." To read this interview get a digital issue subscription where you'll not only get the most current issue, but free access to our archives up until 2005.


This week on the blog, Scott Macaulay posts the latest Errol Morris commercial (and you will be surprised), Jason Guerrasio posts the winners of the 2nd annual Cinema Eye Honors, including Waltz With Bashir (pictured left), and Macaulay keeps us updated on the fate of the New York State tax credit while beginning to unveil the mystery of the world's most baffling movie trailer.

To read more posts from our blog, click here.
IFP designed its Independent Filmmaker Labs to assist filmmakers in tackling the creative and technical challenges of completing their projects before they are submitted to festivals. The Labs challenge filmmakers to realize the full potential of their footage and stories prior to industry exposure by providing mentorship and professional guidance in areas such as: editing, music selection and scoring, festival and press strategy, as well as sales, marketing and distribution options. Led by Scott Macaulay (producer & Editor-in-Chief, Filmmaker Magazine) and Gretchen McGowan (producer, The Limits of Control, Coffee & Cigarettes) the five-day Lab supports low-budget, independently produced films by first-time feature directors. Recent Narrative Lab project alumni have included Tom Quinn's Slamdance 2008 Grand Prize winner The New Year Parade and Tariq Tapa's 2008 Venice Film Festival debut, Zero Bridge. As a commitment to diversity, IFP also seeks to ensure that at least 50% of participating projects have an inclusive range of races, genders, sexual orientations, ethnicities and physical abilities in key creative positions. Criteria and application information on the Lab available here.

By Nick Dawson

Sergey Dvortsevoy's first feature length film, Tulpan, is set in Kazakhstan's Betpak Dala, the "Hunger Steppe," and centers on everyman Asa (Askhat Kuchinchirekov), who returns from naval service to live with his sister, her husband and their three children in their yurt. Asa plans to become independent, however the only eligible girl for miles, Tulpan, turns down his marriage proposal because of his big ears, thus scuppering his chances of becoming a shepherd with his own flock (for which he must be married), a job he anyway seems ill-suited to. read more


Strasbourg International Film Festival
Submission Deadline: April 8
Festival Dates: Aug. 28 - Sep. 6

The Mississauga Independent Film Festival
Submission Deadline: April 15
Festival Dates: July 8-12

Hamptons International Film Festival
Submission Deadline: April 17 (Early), June 16 (Final)
Festival Dates: Oct. 8-12

Women in Film Foundation's Finishing Fund
Submission Deadline: April 24

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



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