In the world of independent film, there has been one big story in the last week. No, it's not the end of the SAG strike (a foregone conclusion to an entirely dispiriting year in film production). It's the premiere in theaters of the endlessly debated, enjoyably pondered over After Last Season, a film that became an Internet sensation for a small but devoted group of cinephiles after its exceedingly odd trailer appeared on the Apple trailer site just over two months ago. The trailer was a collection of almost random moments and conversation between students, researchers and a doctor seemingly involved in some kind of science experiment involving perception and telekinesis. The sheer mysteriousness of the whole endeavor — the fact that the trailer conveyed so little information about the film itself as well as its low production values (an MRI machine seemed clearly made from cardboard) — spawned an instant cult, with fans debating whether the film was real or a spoof, made by an "outsider filmmaker" or an elaborate stunt hatched by a savvy prankster.

Now, with its release in four theaters (Lancaster, CA; North Aurora, IL; Rochester, NY; and Austin, TX) the film proves itself to be real. Yesterday on the blog I posted an interview with the film's elusive director, Mark Region (see below), in which he explains a little bit about his intent in making the film and the manner in which he made it. I haven't seen After Last Season yet, and at this point I can't tell whether the very limited release of the film and Region's statements signal the beginning of a film cult or the end of one, but the brief flurry of activity in the blogosphere surrounding its release has been an entertaining and instructive one. Today's theatrical landscape is viewed by filmmakers as being so restricted, its publicity mechanisms so guarded, that an outsider filmmaker's ability to simply secure screen space for his film and get his trailer up on the industry sites has created incredulous speculation. And in a world in which we are urged to pre-market our work by defining our audiences, building communities, and seeding teasers and other descriptive material all over the Web, a film that used only the crudest of publicity mechanisms got many of us buzzing (and even driving miles for its opening). Now, of course, I don't mean to discount the ineffable weirdness of After Last Season's trailer in all of this. There was a sui generis oddity to the whole endeavor that's impossible for anyone to duplicate. But what if you could? Or, rather, how do we add a little bit of mystery back to the world of theatrical marketing and how can a certain kind of work, as After Last Season has perhaps inadvertently done, draw attention to itself by allowing its audiences to become active participants in the construction of its meanings?

If you haven't checked out the After Last Season trailer, do so in my Region interview post below, and check back regularly to see whether the phenomenon has legs — whether it's The Room of 2009 — or just an entertaining footnote in an independent film world that could use a bit more craziness and unpredictability.

On another note, our friends at Radar have offered the following invite to Filmmaker magazine readers. This party is filling up, so if you're interested in attending, RSVP now:

You're invited: RADAR PARTY - Free drinks (TONIGHT in NYC - RSVP Now)

Hello! As a reader of Filmmaker Magazine you are invited to celebrate the first season of RADAR http://radar.workbookproject.com, the mobile/web series of mini-documentaries that just aired its 12th episode.

TONIGHT at the M1-5 Lounge enjoy plenty of free food and drink. Special performances by Eclectic Method, The Bambi Killers, Dr. Sketchy's anti-art school and special installations by Color Me Katie. It's all happening tonight Thursday June 11th from 7pm till 4am at M1-5 Lounge! RSVP at http://radarparty2.eventbrite.com before 4pm today to gain entry.

See you next week.


Scott Macaulay
Known for his work on National Geographic and the PBS series The American Experience, which won him an Emmy, Robert Keener made his feature doc Food, Inc. as an expose on the U.S. food supply. It specifically exposes how the USDA & FDA poorly regulates the mechanization of the food industry as E.coli, safety of workers and our environment go overlooked by the profiting corporations. Through his investigating, Keener reveals the horrors behind how our food is produced and the horrendous health concerns that go unpunished. The director felt there was a crucial need to reveal that it's not just fast food that's bad for us. "I felt we needed to update the subject," Keener says in the Spring issue of Filmmaker. "There was Super Size Me, there was Fast Food Nation, and I felt like we had to encompass more of how all food has become fast food." Subscribe to our digital issue to read this interview as well as access our back issues up until 2005.

Son of legendary rocker David Bowie, Duncan Jones has spent most of his life exploring outer space (whether it be from growing up seeing his dad's interstellar stage shows or watching sci-fi films) so when his debut feature is a thriller set on the moon it's not a far stretch. Part 2001, part Twilight Zone, Moon stars Sam Rockwell as a moon miner in a not-too-distant future where he harvests lunar rocks to send back to Earth, as that's now the source of the planet's energy. Spending three years away from his family, Rockwell's character is alone on the base and is preparing to return until an accident sidetracks his plans. To say any more would give it all away. With top notch special effects, production design and a tour-de-force performance by Rockwell, Moon lovingly riffs on a whole host of sci-fi influences (Dark Star, Solaris, Alien, among them) while finding an emotional tone all its own.


This week on the blog, Scott Macaulay interviews the director of the film that's been an Internet sensation for the last few months, After Last Season's Mark Region, as well as the film's lead, Jason Kulas (film's poster pictured left), and highlights the work of Nash Edgerton.

To read more posts from our blog, click here.

The creative teams of 10 new narrative features at the rough cut stage are participating in IFP's Independent Filmmaker Lab taking place this week. The Independent Filmmaker Lab is a highly immersive, free mentorship program for low-budget ( $1million) first feature films that have shot all or a substantial amount of footage but have not completed post-production. For five days, these filmmaking teams will participate in workshops in which they receive advice on technical, creative, and post-production issues. Since 2005, 67 documentaries and narrative features have participated in the Labs. Of the 38 narrative films that have been through the program, 65% have been completed and premiered at major US and international festivals, including: Zero Bridge (2008 Venice International Film Festival and making its US premiere in competition at the upcoming Los Angeles Film Festival), The New Year Parade (2008 Slamdance Grand Jury Narrative Prize winner) and Half-Life (2008 Sundance Film Festival and Tokyo International Film Festival).

The projects selected are JT O'Neal's Au Pair Kansas; Amy Seimetz's City on a Hill; Zeina Durra's The Imperialists Are Still Alive!; Miller "Jaguar X" Koepenick's The Myth of Time; Christina Beck's Perfection; Matt Osterman's Phasma Ex Machina; Josh Hyde's Postales; Ron Eyal & Eleanor Burke's Stranger Things; Russell Costanzo's The Tested; and David Kabler's Wanderlost. Read press release here.

By Nick Dawson

It is demonstrative of Daryl Wein's openness as a filmmaker that, despite his strong acting background, his first feature length film is, in fact, a documentary. Sex Positive is a portrait of Richard Berkowitz, a figure now penniless and forgotten, who was a fearless and controversial AIDS activist in the 1980s and, along with Dr. Joseph Sonnabend and actor Michael Callen, one of the architects of the safe sex movement. Berkowitz was hugely unpopular for his contention that the AIDS epidemic was exacerbated by the gay community's promiscuous lifestyle, however, he responded to accusations of being "sex negative" by proposing that responsible actions, such as condom use, should not inhibit sexual activity. Sex Positive has the virtue of not only telling an important story but having, in Richard Berkowitz, a fascinating subject truly worthy of scrutiny. read more


Savannah Film Festival
Submission Deadline: June 15
Festival Dates: Oct. 31 - Nov. 7

Myrtle Beach International Film Festival
Submission Deadline: June 19
Festival Dates: Dec. 1-5

Route 66 Film Festival
Submission Deadline: June 30
Festival Dates: Sep. 18-20

Montana CINE International
Submission Deadline: July 1
Festival Dates: Oct. 22-24

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



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