Squaw Valley Screenwriters Workshop
Repair permissions and reboot — it's what you do when your computer is acting sluggish, and after sitting on a panel this week at New York Women In Film, I think it's what filmmakers should be doing when their distribution strategies similarly sputter and slow. The panel covered digital distribution and Web marketing, and at the Q&A afterwards a number of questions came from filmmakers trying to determine how to behave in this new world of busted windows and shadowy gatekeepers. In short, they wanted permission to try a different approach. One had premiered her film at SXSW, is attending other festivals, and is worried about running out of money. But she was worried about exploiting any of her film's rights herself for fear of alienating a future distributor. I and my fellow panelist, King Corn director Aaron Woolf, told her to follow Peter Broderick's advice and start selling homemade DVDs at her screenings. "You can make $15,000 to $30,000, and that money is yours," Woolf said. In other words, don't wait for permission from an unidentified video distributor who may in fact never materialize at all. (Of course, if such a distributor does, stop selling screeners and let the distrib handle an official edition.) Another filmmaker there was two years away from finishing her doc and wants to start teasing some of the material online because it's timely. But she is worried that if she does so a festival will turn down the film because some of its material has been exposed. Again, she's concerned that some gatekeeper will penalize her for abandoning an old-school strategy for one that's more forward-thinking. We answered that she shouldn't stream the film ahead of time, but she should certainly comb through her material and create special webisodes with material that might not make it into the movie. In both instances, the filmmakers should develop their own strategies using the tools the Web has placed in their hands and stop waiting for a "yes" or "no" from an industry that is in the midst of its own identity crisis at the moment. Repair permissions and reboot.

See you next week.


Scott Macaulay
In Jim Jarmusch's latest film the veteran director continues to highlight individuals exploring both the world as well as their own senses. Regular Jarmusch collaborator Isaach De Bankole stars as a lone hitman who we follow on a mysteriously, vaguely defined job. But for the most part the film is not about the mission's goal but the journey to reach it. As the hitman treks across the Spanish landscape, Jarmusch through his characters expounds on art, music, creativity, bohemia, movies, and dreams, creating a seductive inner space that is its own statement against corporate controlled culture. Also starring Tilda Swinton, John Hurt, Gael García Bernal and Bill Murrray in cameo roles, comparisons can be made to previous Jarmusch films like Dead Man and Ghost Dog along with genre classics like Le Samourai and Point Blank. The film is beautifully shot by d.p. Christopher Doyle (his first time working with Jarmusch, and hopefully not the last) and includes the work of experimental musicians Earth, Boris and SUNN O))).

Nominated for a Best Foreign Language Oscar this year, Austrian filmmaker Götz Spielmann creates an intense portrait of vengeance starring Johannes Krisch in a powerful performance as Alex, an ex-con who works at a brothel and falls in love with a Ukranian hooker. Hoping to run off with her to live the good life, Alex robs a bank in a nearby small village, an act which connects him with one of the local cops in complex ways. Interviewing Spielmann for Director Interviews this week, Nick Dawson writes, "Spielmann weaves together elements of noir, Greek tragedy and pastoral in a perfectly paced and structured film which feels utterly real and organic," he writes. "It is a beguiling piece of cinema, and it is unlikely that a better film than this will be released this year." Read our interview with Spielmann below.


This week on the blog, Jason Guerrasio reports from the Tribeca Film Festival with the films that were the most impressive at the midway point, Scott Macaulay recaps IFP's 30th anniversary spring event, hosted by Katie Holmes (pictured left) and Brandon Harris gives his thoughts on the IFP/SAG Indie producers panel he moderated.

To read more posts from our blog, click here.

Formerly known as the IFP Market, Independent Film Week is the oldest and largest forum in the U.S. for the discovery of new projects in development and new voices on the independent film scene. It is qualitatively and quantitatively the best and biggest opportunity for an independent filmmaker to connect with industry professionals - including producers, funders, distributors, broadcasters, sales agents and festival programmers. Independent Film Week's Project Forum (Emerging Narrative, No Borders International Co-Production Market and Spotlight on Documentaries) allows participating filmmakers access to scheduled one-to-one pitch meetings, "Sneak Preview" screenings, numerous networking opportunities throughout the week, and the Filmmaker Conference, featuring over 30+ cutting edge panel discussions & case studies. Now accepting applications for Spotlight on Documentaries, a program for projects in production or post-production seeking financing partners, broadcast/distribution, and festival invitations. Early Deadline: May 1 / Final Deadline: May 21. Learn more here.

By Nick Dawson

Revanche, Götz Spielmann's latest film, is his third consecutive feature to be submitted by Austria to the Academy Awards and was one of the five nominees for Best Foreign Language Film this year. The set-up for the film is simple and familiar: Alex (Johannes Krisch), an ex-con minder at a Vienna sex club, is secretly having an affair with Tamara (Irina Potapenko), one of the Eastern European prostitutes under his care. To pay off both their debts so that they can escape to a new life together in Spain, he plans to rob a small town bank near his grandfather's farm outside the city. Though its title and relatively conventional film noir beginning suggest a straight-up thriller, Revanche is in fact an incredibly nuanced and thought-provoking film which takes us to unexpected places in its profound examination of the themes of guilt, love and revenge. read more


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

Bahamas International Film Festival
Submission Deadline: May 13, June 17 (Final)
Festival Dates: Dec. 10-17

Mill Valley Film Festival
Submission Deadline: May 15, June 15 (Final)
Festival Dates: Oct. 8-18

Woodstock Film Festival
Submission Deadline: May 25, June 22 (Final)
Festival Dates: Sept. 30 - Oct. 4

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



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