Paris, in select theaters
If you've been following the film blogosphere in the last week then undoubtedly you've heard about the "Indie Summit," a congregation of about 60 members of the independent community at the Museum of Modern Art on Friday, September 25. Organized by indieWIRE, MoMA and Zipline Entertainment, the three-hour forum was focused on the "indie-crisis," the market realignment that is preventing worthy films from being produced and acquired. One distributor whose business he said was more or less fine commented that all the folks in the room don't share a single business plan. Everyone he said, is different. I agree, and taking that a step further, I'd say that since independent film has always been a multi-headed hydra that its crisis is one too. There are production crises, distribution crises, and perhaps, according to one prominent non-profit executive in the room, a crisis of quality. I'm not sure I agree on the latter point... but there might be a crisis of meaning. That is, do independent films mean as much as they used to? Are new viewers finding the soul-enriching, creative-sparking, and identify-shaping artistic stuff they need on the screens of our independent theaters. I'm going to explain what I mean in greater detail in an upcoming blog post, but first I need some help. Since there were only two out of 60 people in the room under the age of 30 at the MoMA event - and, a lot of talk about how the "young audience" receives and values independent film - I'm throwing out a question to everyone reading this who is under 30. If you have the time, shoot me an email and let me know the American independent films that truly mean something significant to you. I don't mean the ones you just like and would recommend to your friends. I mean the ones that hit you harder, that informed the way you think of the world and yourself, the ones that have somehow lodged themselves into your identity. In other words, the ones that hold deep meaning for you. If you want to write a sentence or two about each, that's fine, but just a simple list is okay. If you do write some comments, let me know if it's okay to quote you. Otherwise, I won't. And feel free to define "American independent film" however you want. My email is: editor.filmmakermagazine AT

In the meantime, look forward to the Fall issue on stands in a couple of weeks. Inside is a must-read article by Esther B. Robinson on the ten things you need to do to remain an active and creative filmmaker during this recession.

See you next week.


Scott Macaulay
In 1958, photographer Robert Frank published his landmark book, The Americans, capturing small towns and rural communities across the country with a vision that brought a sometimes bemused, sometimes harsh critique on the post-war American Dream. Fifty years later, Frank's work is revered in Phillipe Seclier's documentary American Journey, chronicling his path of some of Frank's famed photo locations: a hotel window in Montana, a beach in Detroit. Interviews with curators and photographers rhapsodize on how Frank's work immortalized a nation between wars, a seemingly innocent yet hard time in history, with faces that are from another time and place compared to the mass market of today.

The famed Chelsea hotel of NYC, where many artists from Patti Smith to Dylan Thomas to Andy Warhol stayed on and off for years, is undergoing a major renovation by a management company hoping for it to become the East Coast's version of L.A.'s glamorous Chateau Marmont. Filmmaker Abel Ferrara is disgusted with the eradication of real, honest New York counterculture, and made this film as not only a tribute to the hotel's history and mythology, but to its beloved longtime manager and caretaker, Stanley Bard, who for 45 years opened the hotel to the wildest minds to congregate and create art. Told through archival footage, interviews, and reenactments (by actors like Grace Jones, Adam Goldberg, Bijou Phillips, Giancarlo Esposito, Gaby Hoffman), Chelsea on the Rocks is a trip back through the glory days of bohemian New York in the 1970s and 1980s, and celebrating the many great artists who peopled its hallways at one time or another.

25 New Faces alum Ari Gold writes, directs, and stars in Adventures of Power, an unconventional comedy about a small-town guy with dreams of making it as an air-drummer, filled with a passion for Rush's Neil Peart. By chance, he hears of an air-drumming competition in New Jersey, and makes the long road trip from New Mexico to rock his heart out. Veteran comedic actors Michael McKean and Jane Lynch make cameos, as does Entourage's Adrien Grenier as an aspiring country star. Adventures of Power gives rock fans their own fantasy to run with, a la The Rocker or Rock Star.


This week on the blog, Scott Macaulay learns how you can get a credit on an upcoming indie film, reports on last week's indie film summit at MoMA and Jason Guerrasio posts the news of Tom Ortenberg (pictured left) leaving The Weinstein Company.

To read more posts from our blog, click here.

Signaling the official kick-off to the film awards season, the Gotham Independent Film Awards™ is one of the leading awards for independent film. Anchoring the evening's six competitive awards for Best Feature, Best Documentary, Breakthrough Director, Breakthrough Actor, Best Ensemble Performance and Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You, are four Tributes to film community icons. This year's Tribute selection represents a range of individuals – all veterans well-versed in the journey between lower-budget independent films and large-scale studio releases. Director Kathryn Bigelow, actors Natalie Portman and Stanley Tucci, and producers Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner, will each be presented with a career Tribute at the 19th Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards™ at Cipriani Wall Street on November 30th. This year's Gotham Awards tribute recipients join a prestigious group of previous honorees including: actors Javier Bardem, Pénelope Cruz and Kate Winslet; filmmakers Mira Nair, Gus Van Sant and Melvin Van Peebles; executives Shelia Nevins (HBO Documentaries) and Jonathan Sehring (IFC Films); and film critic Roger Ebert. Nominees for the 19th Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards™ will be announced on October 19th. Learn more at here.

By Nick Dawson

Afterschool, which premiered at Cannes in 2008, is Antonio Campos' first feature. It tells the story of Rob (Ezra Miller), an introverted teenager at a prep school in upstate New York who witnesses the tragic death of two female classmates one day in a hallway at school. A frequent watcher of internet videos, Rob is a member of the school's A.V. club and is asked to create a video tribute to the deceased girls, however his unconventional approach to the project causes problems. Afterschool is a dark and damning examination of the YouTube generation, with Campos presenting a socially withdrawn protagonist who is more emotionally engaged by the funny, violent or sexual videos he watches online than by real life. read more


Ann Arbor Film Festival
Submission Deadline: Oct. 5, Nov. 2 (final)
Festival Dates: March 23-28

Charleston International Film Festival
Submission Deadline: Oct. 16, Jan. 21 (final)
Festival Dates: April 8-11

Honolulu International Film Festival
Submission Deadline: Oct. 20, Jan. 15 (final)
Festival Dates: March 12-14


Our Forums page is new and improved! Check out the new categories: how to make films, discuss the current trends in the business, job opportunities and look out for guest filmmaker moderators. Click here to get started.



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