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The next issue of the magazine should be a good one. I just saw all the shots from our cover shoot, and they are absolutely stunning. Right now I'm editing a big chunk of copy that came in and trying to add to some of the features. For example, we have an article in the next issue about raising money from individuals, and we look at the reasons private equity investors choose to invest -- and just as often not invest -- in independent film. We're only featuring investors in the article, so it's a nice POV shift from our usual filmmaker-centric pieces. Lots of film magazines can tell you how to set up an LLC, but understanding financial decision-making is a more difficult topic, and that's what we're going to try and help you with.
I just posted on the site Travis Crawford's epic (5,000 words!) consideration of Criterion's "America Lost and Found: The BBS Story" seven-disc Bluray set. It's the most exhaustive review you'll read of home cinema's primo fetish object this holiday season. It's also something you can win by subscribing to Filmmaker during our Holiday Subscription Sale. Until December 25th we've discounted Filmmaker to $10 for one-year and $18 for two, and we're giving away a number of great film-related gifts. As I write this, we have exactly two free copies of Jon Reiss's essential book on self and hybrid-distribution, Think Outside the Box Office, and they are free to the next couple of people who buy two-year subscriptions. They may be gone by the time you read this, but if they're not, it's a great deal — the ebook itself sells for $15.
Thanks to everyone who has subscribed already during this drive and posted so many nice things on Twitter. I hadn't wanted to make this week's newsletter a sales pitch, but there's one point I haven't made yet about the value to us of your subscription. (And this goes for not just Filmmaker but all paid editorial content.) If you haven't noticed, there's a bit of a battle going on in the content field between thoughtful, long-form work and the quick hit. Between articles that take time to write and research and blog posts with titles like "Seven Things Indie Filmmakers Can Learn from Lady Gaga" and which might have been written by an intern (albeit, a very smart one) in an hour. The latter are crafted to drive up page views, and their success is measured in the tens of thousands of hits. As more advertising migrates to the web, this kind of content becomes prioritized as a means of generating that constant traffic. But you know what? A lot of stuff we value in the indie community will never generate that kind of traffic. News of unknown films and filmmakers, postings about people's Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns, granular discussions about craft or business practice.
We're committed to bringing you this kind of content in print as well as on the web. It's the kind of content that might blow the minds of a hundred or a thousand people (or maybe just save their films). But those hundred or a thousand people are just a blip in our Google analytics. That's the problem right now with the web - its tracking and viewer measurement tools don't track passion; they don't overweight the devoted fans, the influencers, the tastemakers. So, I guess what I'm saying is that if you like our content on the web but haven't subscribed, your subscription is a metric that matters a lot to us. A hundred or a thousand people do make a difference, and those subscription funds enable us to bring you great content in print and on the web. So, I hope you'll consider subscribing to Filmmaker or, perhaps, gifting the magazine to a film fan friend or family member. It's easy -- you just "ship to a different address" in our shopping cart.
Hope everyone's having a great holiday season. See you next week.
INDEPENDENT FILMMAKER LAB FILMS HIT THE FESTIVAL CIRCUIT IFP's Independent Filmmaker Labs wrapped the third leg of the 2010 edition December 9-11 with a three-day immersion on specific distribution options and plans for each of the 20 Lab projects. The sessions were led by IFP staffers along with filmmaker and Lab leader Jon Reiss and distribution mentors Marian Koltai-Levine and Freida Orange of PMK*BNC, Jim Browne of Argot Pictures, and Adam Kersh of Brigade Marketing. Films from this lab are already beginning to hit the festival circuit. Announced this week - Victoria Mahoney's Yelling to the Sky will World Premiere in February in competition at the 2011 Berlin International Film Festival. Previously announced - other "Class of 2010" projects screening at Sundance 2011 will include Dee Rees' Pariah in US Dramatic Competition, Alrick Brown's Kinyarwanda in World Dramatic Competition, and Andrew Dosunmu's Restless City in NEXT. First out of the gate was David Soll's Puppet, which premiered at DOCNYC in November. The IFP Filmmaker Labs are now a year-long program supporting first time feature filmmakers, with a completion and creative feedback lab in the spring, a marketing lab in the fall, and distribution lab in the winter. Applications for the 2011 Labs will be available in mid-January.
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John Cameron Mitchell, Rabbit Hole
IFP: Lab Films Hit the Fest Circuit
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CASINO JACK Earlier this year the documentary Casino Jack and the United States of Money, from Alex Gibney, investigated the transgressions of D.C. lobbyist Jack Abramoff, and now the narrative version is out starring Kevin Spacey as Abramoff. Directed by the late George Hickenlooper (Mayor of the Sunset Strip), we watch as Abramoff conducts a slew of illegal practices -- including lavish trips and gifts in exchange for political favors and defrauding American Indian gaming tribes of tens of millions of dollars -- to become one of the most powerful figures in D.C. He recently finished three-and-a-half years in prison. And who better to play Casino Jack than Spacey. Known for playing cold-hearted businessmen, he nails Abramoff's snake-oil salesman's persona perfectly. RABBIT HOLE In the latest from John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig and the Angry Itch, Shortbus), Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart play a couple grieving the loss of their young son. They struggle to not only live again, but to re-gain the love and trust that they once had with each other. The film was adapted from David Lindsay-Abaire's 2005 play, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. In this week's Director Interviews, Mitchell confesses he was more drawn to the script adaptation than the actual play. "Funny thing, I hadn’t seen the play before I read the screenplay," he says. "The screenplay felt so cinematic and so subtle. Sometimes plays overstate everything. So many stage adaptations use words more than they should. It was a surprise when I saw the play on tape because I felt the screenplay was about 50% better." Read our interview with Mitchell below. This week on the blog, Gen I. mashes up 270 of 2010's films; Ted Hope picks the 20 Truly Brave Thinkers of 2010; Nick Knight pays video tribute to Alexander McQueen, with music by Bjork (pictured left); and Black Swan choreographer Benjamin Millepied dances in a short film by Asa Mader.
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JOHN CAMERON MITCHELL, RABBIT HOLE By Brandon Harris
David Lindsay-Abaire's Pulitzer Prize winning play Rabbit Hole might seem like an odd choice for helmer John Cameron Mitchell, a director whose reputation wasn’t gained built on tasteful, upper-middle-class family dramas. Perhaps he's mellowed, and given the results, why not? The film's story of parental grief, that of a Westchester County couple (Aaron Eckhart and Nicole Kidman) who, eight months later still lack the emotional wherewithal to deal with the accidental death of their young son, may seem like the stuff of so many Lifetime Channel weepies. But in the hands of this 47-year-old writer, actor and director, it’s a surprisingly understated and buoyant glimpse at the aftermath of personal tragedy. read more
Hamptons International Film Festival Screenwriters Lab
Regular Deadline: Dec. 22
Late Deadline: Jan. 7
Festival Dates: April 15-17
Big Sky Documentary Film Festival
Final Deadline: Dec. 23
Festival Dates: Feb. 11-20
Boston International Film Festival
Final Deadline for Shorts: Dec. 23
Final Deadline for Features: Dec. 31
Festival Dates: April 15-24