As producers, filmmakers, and web publishers, we spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to make people notice our stuff - our articles, our marketing materials, our films. But as we keep putting up new stuff, the old stuff gets buried. People who can help you figure out how to let your fans know about all your old stuff comprise a new 21st century job title, I have discovered. They are called "Information Architects," and we are talking to one of them about how to more effectively let you, our readers, know about the almost 20 years of filmmaking advice (like, for example, this article on how to option a book) contained within our web pages.

In most cases, though, people discover stuff without you leading them to it. For example, our traffic jumped about 500% this week solely on the basis of two articles. One was Anne Thompson's 2003 cover story on Sofia Coppola's Lost in Translation. Our Google Analytics show that Twitter and Stumble Upon have something to do with the spike, but why this seven-year-old piece is suddenly hot reading I can't figure out. Coppola has a new movie coming out this year, but the publicity for it hasn't ramped up yet, so I don't think that's the cause. The other article is one that I will use to open up a discussion on the blog in the next few days. In Anthony Kaufman's "Industry Beat" column, he wonders where the under-30s audience is for independent film. As much as the popular media typecasts indie filmmakers as Bushwick-living millenials, the dirty secret is that independent film - or at least, the standard conception of it - may be an aging term. In the article Ted Hope is quoted as asking where this generation's French New Wave is, filmmaker and digital strategist Alex Johnson admits that she "doesn't have time to go to the cinema anymore," and the Kaufman finally ponders, "What is the future of the indie movie-going audience?" Backing up these questions are quotes from people like the IFC's Ryan Werner, who says "there isn't tougher breed of film right now" to market than youth-targeted indie titles.

There is a lot more to this article, so I suggest you read it. (And if you have comments, email them to me at editor.filmmakermagazine AT gmail.com, and I will work them into my blog post.) But aside from one obvious point alluded to in the piece - that the metric of theatrical box office may not be a useful one in quantifying a younger audience - I thought of another thing. Perhaps the question is not whether a young audience likes and goes to independent film but whether they self-identify as "independent filmmakers" and aspire to be part of the "independent film community." A lot of people read Filmmaker who watch independent film via Netflix, make their own short films or experimental work, but don't seek their professional validation through this title.

Or: has the democratization of production led to a blurring of what it means to be an independent filmmaker?

The other question I will address: what are the independent films that make such an impression on new viewers that these viewers decide to become independent filmmakers? For audiences in their 20s, what movies change their lives?

See you next week.


Scott Macaulay

The newest film from writer-director Nicole Holofcener (Walking and Talking, Friends with Money) stars Catherine Keener as Kate, who is torn between materialism and altruism. She buys furniture at estate sales and re-sells it for a higher price at her Manhattan store. She gives $20 bills to homeless people on the street and lectures her teen daughter (Sarah Steele) on not wasting her money. In between Kate's struggle between being a good person while wanting to live well, she befriends her neighbors: an elderly woman named Andra (Ann Guilbert) and her two granddaughters (Rebecca Hall, Amanda Peet), though Kate and her husband, Alex (Oliver Platt), are waiting for Andra to pass on so they can expand their apartment into hers. The relationships between all the characters open them up to new perspectives and understandings, and the film evinces a sharply funny look at life's contradictions and confusions. Subscribe to our digital issue to read this interview as well as access our back issues up until 2005.

Directed by fashion photographer Patrick Hoelck, Mercy is a darkly romantic film starring Scott Caan (Ocean's Eleven) as a successful novelist who writes about love, but who has never actually been in love. That changes when he meets Mercy (Wendy Glenn), a sultry book critic who isn't impressed by him. This, of course, drives him passionately in love with her, but Mercy isn't about the culmination of his romantic fantasy. In fact, the reality of love proves even more debilitating for him. Ultimately, Hoelck's film tracks a man's descent into darkness as he comes to terms with his own perceptions of what love is. Written by Caan , the film co-stars Dylan McDermott, Erika Christensen, and Scott's father, James Caan. Spotlighted in this week's Director Interviews, Damon Smith says the film "showcases Hoelck's considerable visual talent and twists an old storyline into a tart contemporary drama spiked with humor and heartache." Read our interview with Hoelck below.


This week on the blog, the AMC theater chain branches out with AMC Independent; Errol Morris declares a recent local ad as the best commercial of all time, and Sundance projects for Director and Screenwriting Labs (pictured left) have been announced.

To read more posts from our blog, click here.

Independent Film Week (September 19-24) is the best way to pitch your project directly to the industry. The Project Forum is a meetings-driven forum connecting filmmakers who have new narrative screenplays and documentary projects with key industry executives interested in identifying projects with which to become involved at the financing or distribution stage. Deadlines are approaching for the three sections: Emerging Narrative (for U.S. writers and writer-directors seeking producers and agents to develop, produce, represent and finance their scripts); No Borders (for U.S. and International producers with partial financing on new narrative projects seeking additional partners), and Spotlight on Documentaries (for U.S. filmmakers in production or post-production seeking financing partners, broadcast/distribution opportunities, and festival invitations.) Deadlines (early/final) vary by section: Emerging Narrative (final deadline to May 7); No Borders (April 30/May 21), Spotlight on Documentaries (May 7/May 21). For criteria and application here.

By Damon Smith

California native Patrick Hoelck had auspicious beginnings, but the corkscrew path he took through music, fashion, and commercial photography on his way to becoming a feature filmmaker belies his earliest and most abiding passion. read more


Philadelphia Independent Film Festival
Final Deadline: May 4
Festival Dates: June 23-27

Indianapolis International Film Festival
Final Deadline: May 7
Festival Dates: July 15-25


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