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Editor's Note
I'm one of the mentors at the IFP Narrative Lab this week. I think it's a pretty unique program because, unlike a lot of filmmaker labs, it's not focused on development or financing or preparing to make a movie but instead on finishing one. The films accepted are all features somewhere between rough cut and fine cut, and the program is an intensive week during which feedback on the cuts is given by veteran editors, and speakers discuss everything from sound post-production to music licensing, distribution deals, and, this year, various forms of hybrid and DIY distribution. (Jon Reiss has been an invaluable addition to the Lab team this when it comes to distribution strategy.)

When we first started the Lab six years ago, I thought it could be guided by one simple idea: producing a first film involves making a lot of mistakes, and if, during filmmakers' post-production, we could point out some of these potential pitfalls, the films would stand a better chance when submitting to festivals and seeking distribution. Over the years the Lab, while still containing this idea, has grown to become a kind of crash course in all the different options available to filmmakers today. It's kind of crazy how information is tossed at the Lab participants. All this info makes me realize that despite the indie-business gloom and doom out there, filmmakers today have a lot more options than Susan Stover (my co-Lab leader) and I had when we started.

The Lab is still in progress, so it's too early for a takeaway, but, overall, it's the strongest group of films we've ever had in the program. Aside from the incredible diversity of the films, what's been incredible is the sheer energy in the room. Some years the filmmakers seem already a little beaten down by the process. This year they are psyched, and they have good reason to be. I'll try to write some kind of wrap-up of the event after it's all over, so check back on the blog.

A final note this week: we're hard at work on the new issue of Filmmaker, which is our annual "25 New Faces" issue. If you've been meaning to subscribe to the magazine and would like to get this issue, you have about a week to do so. Click here to check out our subscription options.

See you next week.

Scott Macaulay
Upcoming At IFP
IFP'S INDEPENDENT FILMMAKER LAB – NARRATIVE PROJECTS ANNOUNCED 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 expanded 2010 Lab includes these initial five days of workshops that assist filmmakers with the technical, creative and strategic advice needed to complete their films; a Strategy & Networking Lab following in September with specialized workshops on web building, sales & marketing and audience building, as well as pre-scheduled meetings for the projects with potential buyers, funders and festival programmers during IFP's Independent Film Week; and a winter intensive Distribution Lab, specifically focused on hands-on creation and analysis of the necessary tools and initiatives for each films' festival launch, individualized distribution strategy, and web and marketing plans. Since 2005, 87 documentaries and narrative features have participated in the Labs, with 65% of the projects completed and premiered at major US and international festivals to date.

The selected projects are Susan Youssef's Habibi Rasak Kharban (Darling, Something's Wrong with Your Head); Rodrigo Lopresti & Zak Mulligan's I'm Not Me; Alrick Brown's Kinyarwanda; Chris Ohlson's Melvin; Dee Rees' Pariah; Andrew Dosunmu's Restless City; John Henry Summerour's Sahkanaga; Brady Kiernan's Stuck Between Stations; Lucy Mulloy's Una Noche; and Victoria Mahoney's Yelling to the Sky. Read press release.
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In This Newsletter
Editor's Note
Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky
Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work
Winter's Bone
Blog: Duplass Bros. talk Cyrus; Thoughts from Cannes
Jan Kounen, Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky
IFP: Narrative Lab Projects Announced
Fest Deadlines
Join our Forums
New In Theaters
COCO CHANEL & IGOR STRAVINSKY In Jan Kounen (Dobermann) latest, Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky, the Dutch-born filmmaker observes affair between composer-in-exile Igor Stravinsky (Mads Mikkelsen) and French couturier Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel (Anna Mouglalis). Based on a novel by Chris Greenhalgh, the film depicts a collision of oil-and-water egos: the brooding composer meets his obscure object of desire in the fiercely independent-minded Chanel, who proves to be forward-thinking about love and as fully immersed in her own art. Interviewed for this week's Director Interviews, Kounen talks about the difficulty of researching Stravinsky and Chanel's love affair. "There is one line about Coco [in Stravinsky's book Chronicle of My Life], one line about his wife, and maybe some words on his kids," he sayd. "His personal story is about two sentences. The rest is about his music and how he sees the music of others. So for me that determined a person very much dedicated to his art and also very self-centered on his own objectives." Read our interview with Kounen below. JOAN RIVERS: A PIECE OF WORK Joan Rivers is a comedy legend who has tackled controversial subjects like abortion and suicide, creating laughter from fear and pain. A, yes, funny but also revealing documentary by Ricki Stern and Anne Sundberg (The Devil Came on Horseback), Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work follows the comedian's busy day-to-day life. Doing comedy shows, organizing her file cabinet of jokes, and reflecting on her life as a woman who broke open doors for comedians like Kathy Griffin, Roseanne, and Chelsea Handler, A Piece of Work strips away Rivers' pop-culture face to show an honest and intelligent woman who has been a major force in comedy for over fifty years. Stern and Sundberg talked about their goal in making the movie when they contributed to our annual Sundance Responses earlier this year. "Joan Rivers' persona has been widely exploited, so our task was to peel away layers to expose the self-driven, work-obsessed perfectionist," they wrote. "We devoted a lot of time to shooting Joan as she traveled throughout the U.S. and U.K. in order to capture her most unguarded moments and to find deeper meaning in what might otherwise be presented as a reality-television glimpse of a celebrity." WINTER'S BONE Winner of the Grand Prize at this year's Sundance, Debra Granik's fierce and extraordinary Winter's Bone follows 17-year-old Ree Dolly (Jennifer Lawrence), who ventures into the wilderness to save her family home from repossession. To do so, she must find her father, who after a prison stint, is rumored to have died in a meth-lab explosion. Relying on information from her father's estranged brother, Teardrop (played superbly by John Hawkes), Ree takes us into a world that's both of this country and defiantly sheltered away from it. Highlighted as our Spring 2010 cover story, Scott Macaulay writes about the film, "Winter's Bone seems carved away from much of what signifies as 'contemporary America' in cinema today. [It] dwells in a landscape that imbues it with the starkness of classic Western frontier drama." Subscribe to our digital issue to read this interview as well as access to our back issues up until 2005.
Recent Blogs
This week on the blog, video interview with Jay and Mark Duplass on their latest film, Cyrus; pro-porn protesters evoke Banksy while targeting the iPad; Smriti Mundhra visits the Produced By Conference; Livia Bloom wraps up Cannes (including Poetry, pictured left); the Canon 7D offers great night-shooting capabilities; and the Neistat Brothers' new show premieres on HBO.

To read more posts from our blog, click here.
Newest Web Article

In his stylish new chamber drama Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky, which closed the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, Dutch-born filmmaker Jan Kounen (Dobermann) observes the hothouse affair between married modernist composer-in-exile Igor Stravinsky and legendary French couturier Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel (played by Audrey Tautou in last year's Coco Before Chanel). read more

Festival Deadlines
Montgomery Film Festival
Final Deadline: June 15
Festival Date: July 24

Vancouver International Film Festival
Final Deadline: June 21
Festival Dates: Sept. 29-Oct. 15

Woodstock Film Festival
Final Deadline: June 21
Festival Dates: Sept 29-Oct 3

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