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Sundance list of Competition films is out. (Check back to our website mid-afternoon for all the other titles.) I'm pretty psyched about the festival this year. There are a number of filmmakers we've been following here at the magazine on the list, including many of our "25 New Faces." Read our initial thoughts at the site, let us know what you think of the selections, and check back regularly for our coverage. This year we'll be doing daily newsletters out of the festival so watch your in-boxes starting January 20.If you haven't read it yet, the
As I teased last week, Filmmaker is launching its annual holiday subscription sale today. Apologies for the commercial intrusion this week, but once a year we make this special pitch, and this year we've gone all out. From now until December 25, we've discounted a year of Filmmaker to $10 and two-year subscription to $18. Print subscriptions also come with an immediate link to a digital version of the current issue so you don't have to wait until January to start reading the magazine. A one-year digital subscription, which also gives you access to all of our back issues through 2007, is only six bucks.
And, new this year, we've added a number of bonus items generously donated by our friends and supporters. First, from filmmaker Jon Reiss are digital copies of his essential book on DIY marketing and distribution, Think Outside the Box Office. The first 100 new one-year print subscribers and 100 new two-year print subscribers will receive a free copy of the book, which sells for $14.95 on its own. (These will go fast - if you want one, subscribe today.) In addition, all new subscribers in the U.S. will be entered into a drawing for a number of great free gifts, including membership in Oscilloscope's Circle of Trust (granting you ten free DVDs); the Criterion Collection's six-disc America, Lost and Found: the BBS Story; t-shirts and DVDs (with handmade artwork) by filmmaker Brent Green; Cineaste memberships to the IFC Center; Joe Strummer soundtracks; Scott Kirsner's book of cutting-edge case stories, Fans, Friends and Followers; and a number of DVDs and downloads courtesy of New Video.
And, oh yeah -- you get a year's worth of our content too. At Filmmaker we're always working to bring you the most in-depth coverage of the independent film scene, from the up-and-coming directors you need to know about to the creative, business and technological trends that are reshaping our industry. Your support in the form of subscriptions enables us to keep up and even expand this content in the year ahead. Please visit our holiday subscription deal page and, if you are not a subscriber, consider becoming one. And, if you are, perhaps you'll consider giving Filmmaker as a gift this year.
Thanks for your support -- it's greatly appreciated. See you next week.
CONGRATULATIONS TO GOTHAM INDEPENDENT FILM AWARDS™ WINNERS The 2010 Gotham Independent Film Awards season is a wrap. From nominations honoring 30 films as the best of the year, awards were presented to filmmakers and actors from six winning films on November 29 at Cipriani Wall Street. Receiving the top award for Best Feature was Winter's Bone, directed by Debra Granik and produced by Anne Rosellini and Alix Madigan-Yorkin. Winter's Bone also scored a win for Best Ensemble Performance, which was accepted by actors John Hawkes, Dale Dickey and Lauren Sweetser. Winning the Best Documentary award was The Oath, directed by Laura Poitras. The Breakthrough Director Award went to Kevin Asch for Holy Rollers while the Breakthrough Actor Award went to Ronald Bronstein for Daddy Longlegs. Bronstein had previously won a Gotham Award in 2007 as director of Frownland, that year's Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You® winner. This year's winner for Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You® went to Littlerock, directed by Mike Ott, who accepted with co-writer and cast member Atsuko Okatsuka. That honor also came with a package of distribution support including a week's run in 2011 at NYC's Cinema Village, distribution and marketing consultation services from CrowdStarter, publicity consultation from Donna Daniels Public Relations, ad support in The New York Times, and a $15,000 grant from RBC Capital Markets. Finally, the first annual Festival Genius Audience Award, voted by the public, went to Waiting for "Superman," directed by Davis Guggenheim and produced by Lesley Chilcott. The awards joined career Tributes given throughout the evening to Hilary Swank, Darren Aronofsky, Robert Duvall, and James Schamus. More info and photos here..
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BLACK SWAN One of the most anticipated films of the holiday season, Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan is a seductive psychological thriller set in the competitive world of ballet. Nina, a dancer at the New York City Ballet company, is technically proficient but unable to express her sensuality one stage with any kind of commitment or abandon. She lives with her controlling mother in her childhood bedroom, and when she's selected to dance the principal role in Swan Lake, fears that she'll be replaced by her sexy understudy, Lily (Mila Kunis). Aronofsky talks about his inspirations for the film when we interviewed him for our Fall issue. "I tried to develop something out of Dostoevsky's The Double set in the ballet world, and then one day I went to see Swan Lake," he said. "I had never seen it before, and seeing a black swan and white swan played by the same ballerina, suddenly a light went off in my head because there I had the whole doppelganger thing. And even better than The Double, it had a really, really strong character divide." Subscribe to our digital issue to read this interview as well as access to our back issues until 2005. ALL GOOD THINGS Documentary filmmaker Andrew Jarecki (Capturing the Friedmans) makes his narrative directorial debut with All Good Things, a mystery surrounding the 1982 disappearance of Kathleen McCormack, wife of real estate heir Robert Durst. Starring Ryan Gosling and Kirsten Dunst as a fictional version of the couple, the film explores the entrapment of domestic abuse and family dysfunction. I LOVE YOU PHILLIP MORRIS Finally finding distribution after premiering at Sundance in 2009, I Love You Phillip Morris is an irreverent comedy that takes Jim Carrey out of his comfort zone and pushes him toward his riskiest role yet. Co-directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (writers of Bad Santa), the film is based on the real life of Steven Jay Russell (played by Carrey), a man who, upon realizing that he is gay, abandons his wife, and runs off to explore new lifestyles - including becoming a con man. In prison, he falls in love with his inmate, Phillip Morris (Ewan McGregor). Russell cannot bear to be without him, and when Morris is released from prison, Russell tries a record four times to escape from prison to be reunited with him. NIGHT CATCHES US Filmmaker Tanya Hamilton makes her feature debut with the affecting drama Night Catches Us, about the struggles within the Black Power movement of the 1960s and 1970s. Marcus (Anthony Mackie) returns home in 1976 to Philadelphia, after years of no word and being suspected of orchestrating the murders of his former brothers in the civil rights movement. He re-kindles his friendship with Patricia (Kerry Washington), and deals with the disillusionment of the goals of the Black Power movement culminating in a poverty-stricken existence. Winner at the Seattle International Film Festival, an official selection at Sundance, and included in New Directors/New Films, Night Catches Us is a stunning debut by Hamilton, and features solid performances by Mackie and Washington. This week on the blog, the 2010 Spirit Award nominees are announced; Winter's Bone and The Oath win top prizes at the Gotham Awards; new additions to the Requiem 102 project; Scott Macaulay and Jim McKay discuss crowdsourcing and Amazon Studios; filmmaker John Walter talks about Maximilian Schell's documentary Marlene (pictured left); and Spike Jonze directs an Arcade Fire video.
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DUANE BAUGHMAN, BHUTTO By Brandon Harris
Benazir Bhutto, the two time Pakistani prime minister who in 2007 was assassinated just days after she returned from military imposed exile in Dubai to once again attempt to take control of the country, was the countries' most significant civilian political figure of her generation. Using the tragic life and times of the Muslim world's most dynamic and successful female politician as a lens through which to capture the larger political machinations and social upheaval that has led to the sixty-seven year old Pakistani state constantly being handed back and forth between an imperiled civilian government and a conservative military establishment, Bhutto is not light on substance. read more
San Francisco International Film Festival
Final Deadline for Shorts: Dec. 6
Final Deadline for Features: Dec. 13
Festival Dates: April 21–May 5
Sarasota Film Festival
Early Deadline: Dec. 14
Late Deadline: Jan. 14
Festival Dates: April 8-17
Hamptons International Film Festival Screenwriters Lab
Regular Deadline: Dec. 22
Late Deadline: Jan. 7
Festival Dates: April 15-17