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I'm writing this just after proofing the online articles for the Spring issue of Filmmaker, which include my interviews with Steven Soderbergh and Sasha Grey, Jon Reiss's tips for filmmakers marketing their DVDs, and Lance Weiler's new "Culture Hacker" column. Check back to our website early next week for these pieces, and look for the print version on newsstands and in your mailboxes soon. If you are not a subscriber and would like to receive this issue, I hope you consider our new digital subscription, which for half the print price gets you a year's worth of new issues as well as as every back issue of through 2005.

With Tribeca around the corner and the Cannes titles due to be announced any day, the film world's art and business cycles begin again. (I've started to screen some of the Tribeca films and will be occasionally posting quick responses on our Twitter account: If you've been reading the blog you've noticed my postings about the unexpected passing of Fortissimo Films' Wouter Barendrecht on April 5. Tomorrow, April 17, there will be a memorial in Amsterdam and further commemorative events will be scheduled in Asia and in Cannes. Wouter had many friends in the international film community, and to learn more about him, these events, or to share your own thoughts, I encourage you to visit the Wouter Barendrecht Condolence Register. It is already full of postings by hundreds of filmmakers, distributors, journalists and others who were touched by Wouter's warmth and generosity and enriched by his taste and acumen.

See you next week.


Scott Macaulay
In Eran Riklis's Lemon Tree the new Israeli Minister of Defense moves in next door to a lemon grove owned by Salma (Hiam Abbass), a Palestinian widow, right on the green line that separates Israel from the West Bank. Neighborly relations become all the more strained after the grove is deemed a security risk and Salma is prevented from tending to her trees and ordered to cut them down. With the help of a young lawyer (Ali Suliman), Salma takes the case to the Supreme Court. As the relationship between Salma and lawyer begins to develop, so too does Salma's unspoken bond with the wife of the defense minister (Rona Lipaz-Michael), as both women grow to recognize the similarities of their situations. In the upcoming issue of Filmmaker, senior editor Peter Bowen spoke to Riklis, who said of Lemon Tree: "Once I wrote the first few lines of the synopsis, I thought, 'Oh my God, this is so symbolic and allegorical, it's frightening.' I got the feeling I was doing something that I couldn't get away with, but the trick is just not to be too conscious about it, to use allegory like a fairy tale."

With critics and sci-fi fans comparing it to everything from Metropolis to Blade Runner, Alex Rivera's '08 Sundance entry constructs a dystopian future that is not too far from the political realities of today. Rivera's vision is awash with corrupt corporations, scary reality TV shows and people selling memories over the Internet. In the film we follow Memo (Luis Fernando Peña) as he is forced to join the factories in Tijuana and become a "node worker." Through the implants in their arms, workers are used to control robots on the other side of the world, bringing the issue of migrant workers into the realm of sci-fi. Memo befriends Luz (Leonor Varela), a struggling writer who finds a mysterious online buyer interested in buying her memories of Memo. With special effects that belie its small budget, this film gives a whole new perspective to the idea of the "global village" of the Internet age. Interviewed for the Winter 2009 issue, Rivera says some of the inspiration for the film came from devices used right now. "Today [the government] is flying drones over Mexico's border to patrol for people walking through the desert carrying jugs of water," he says. "That's a reality more horrifying to me than anything in Mad Max." 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 links to David Lynch's new Moby video, checks in on what reclusive director Chris Cunningham has been up to, recommends reading Marcus Hu's thoughtful remembrance of Wouter Barendrecht, and remembers Simon Channing Williams (pictured left).

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

In many ways, John Crowley's latest film, Is Anybody There? is a companion piece to his pervious film Boy A, in that it is another portrait of a childhood overshadowed by death. Edward (Son of Rambow's Bill Millner), our young, slightly awkward, death-obsessed hero, is a 10-year-old boy whose home, much to his chagrin, has been turned into a nursing home by his parents (Anne-Marie Duff and David Morrisey). Though he shuns the company of the doddery old fogies who have taken over the house (he's more interested in trying to locate the ghosts of the recently departed residents), he slowly establishes a relationship with the newest arrival, Clarence (Michael Caine), a grumpy ex-magician. read more


Hollyshorts Film Festival
Submission Deadline: April 17
Festival Dates: Aug 6-9

Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival
Submission Deadline: April 24
Festival Dates: Oct 16-25

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

LA Shorts Fest
Submission Deadline: May 8 (Final)
Festival Dates: Oct. 8-12

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



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