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I guess "new models" is the business flipside to a filmmaker's "systems of support." Finding a new model for independent film production and distribution seems to be on everyone's mind right now. (For the record, I'm not so sure that the old model was that great or effective or remunerative, but it might have floated the dreams of some filmmakers a bit better than today's broken-down non-model does).
I need to do some more thinking about the whole new model question. It's hard, though. As Jon Taplin has been writing for a while on his blog, we (as in American society) may be in an Interregnum -- a historical period when old models are dying and new models are unable to form. (Taplin is writing about economic growth and American democracy, but you can apply his basic argument to film too.) I guess the first thing you have to do when thinking about new models is to decide where to start. As a producer, is it about taking the economic components of the business (development, financing, production, marketing, distribution, exhibition) and rebalancing them in a way that matches your empirical take on the current landscape? Or is it about working backwards from the work itself? Maybe start by imagining the kind of film you-d want to see, and then figuring out how your business needs to reshape itself in order to support that work. What kind of overhead do you need (or not need)? What time horizons -- long or short -- should be planned for? Where would this work be seen, how and by whom? How does your own creative process need to shift in order to make it? What relationship to risk should you have, and can you afford it given the rest of your life? What level of energy do you need, and can you muster it? Should you seek to guide the creative process more, or allow for greater elements of chance and serendipity?
That's a lot to think about... which is why I will go back to my pile of screeners.
On a side note, this is the final week you can subscribe to Filmmaker and get the new "25 New Faces" issue in the mail.
See you next week.
Editor IFP PROGRAM ALUMS SCREENING AT NYC FESTIVALS June is festival month in NYC with NewFest, Human Rights Watch, Brooklyn International, and BAMcinemaFEST currently in progress or recently completed -- all of which feature local premieres of some terrific films from recent IFP program alumni. The 2nd Annual BAMcinemaFEST (June 9 - 20) has featured Etienne Sauret's Dirty Pictures (Spotlight on Docs 2005) and Matthew Porterfield's Putty Hill (Emerging Narrative 2008), with Cameron Yates' The Canal Street Madam (SOD 2009) upcoming on June 18. HRW (June 10-24) has screened Elizabeth Mandel & Beth Davenport's Pushing the Elephant (SOD 2007) and Rebecca Richman Cohen's War Don Don (Independent Filmmaker Labs; SOD 2009), and NewFest included Andy Blubaugh's The Adults in the Room (SOD 2008), Hilla Medalia's After the Storm (SOD 2007 ), James Rasin's Beautiful Darling (SOD 2007), Rob Epstein & Jeffrey Friedman's HOWL (No Borders 2008), and E.E. Cassidy's We Are the Mods (Independent Filmmaker Labs 2008). And at the just-concluded Brooklyn International Film Festival Greg King & David Teague's Our House (Independent Filmmaker Labs; SOD 2009) screened and Jeremy Engle won the short film Audience Award for Mosquito (IFP fiscally sponsored). 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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The Killer Inside Me
I Am Love
8: The Mormon Proposition
Lovers of Hate
Wah Do Dem
Video short from EditFest
Ben Chace and Sam Fleischner, Wah Do Dem
IFP: Alums at NYC fests
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CYRUS Since their first short in 2002 and through their career as thrifty feature directors (The Puffy Chair, Baghead) and mumblecore pioneers, Mark and Jay Duplass have used the traditional limitations of low budgets to enable a loose-limbed directorial style that capitalizes on the funny and often awkward moments of real life. They make their mainstream debut with Cyrus, opening this week from Fox Searchlight. It stars John C. Reilly as a nerdy and awkward middle-aged divorced man who is shocked that charming and attractive Molly (Marisa Tomei) is into him. But there's a catch: She has an adult son named Cyrus (Jonah Hill), who is fiercely protective of her. John views Cyrus as a disturbing sociopath, while Cyrus sees John as another disappointment in his mother's life. See our video interview with the Duplass brothers. THE KILLER INSIDE ME Based off of the classic pulp novel by Jim Thompson, The Killer Inside Me, Michael Winterbottom takes a crack at adapting Thompson's most controversial work, a hardboiled noir told from the point of view of its psychopath protagonist. The story follows Deputy Sheriff Lou Ford (Casey Affleck) a pillar of safety and honesty, who is actually a serial killer. Co-starring Jessica Alba and Kate Hudson, the film was slammed at its Sundance premiere for its extreme violence. But what do you expect from a story that Stanley Kubrick once called "probably the most chilling and believable first-person story of a criminally warped mind I have ever encountered"? Read our look inside the making of The Killer Inside Me. I AM LOVE Set in 2000-era Milan, I Am Love, written and directed by Luca Guadagnino, stars Tilda Swinton as the head of a wealthy Italian family whose devotion to her husband and children is unwavering. But as time goes on, repressed longings surface in the form of an affair with a much younger man - a liaison that threatens to destroy the life she has built for herself. Evoking the operatic grandeur of Luchino Visconti, the film boasts another tour-de-force performance by Swinton. 8: THE MORMON PROPOSITION Last year Proposition 8 was passed in California banning same-sex marriages. Amongst its supporters were the Mormon Church, and the story of their secretive effort to stop the advancement of marriage equality is highlighted in 8: The Mormon Proposition, co-directed by Reed Cowan and Steven Greenstreet. Through never before seen documents and recordings, the filmmakers expose the three-decade long campaign the church has led to halt any LGBT legislation that have appeared on the desk of lawmakers. The film is the debut release from Red Flag, a new distributor formed by distribution and publicity vets Paul Federbush and Laura Kim. LOVERS OF HATE Playing in New York City this weekend, Bryan Poyser's Lovers of Hate follows two estranged brothers, Rudy (Chris Doubek) and Paul (Alex Karpovsky), who are completely different in every way yet in love with the same woman, Diana (Heather Kafka). By "coincidence," Rudy happens to be at the same weekend chalet that Paul and Diana are going to be at, and he's not going to make things any easier for him. Premiering at this year's Sundance, the film has built a following in the festival circuit. WAH DO DEM Co-directed by Ben Chace and Sam Fleischner and winner of the Grand Prize at the Los Angeles Film Festival last year, Wah Do Dem, which is Jamaican patois for "what they do," centers on the lighthearted high seas trip of a young man from Brooklyn. Dumped by his girlfriend (Norah Jones) before going on a cruise, Max (Sean Bones) decides to go by himself, and while enduring a string of bad luck (his belongings are stolen while on a beach), his journey turns into one of self discovery. Interviewed for this week's Director Interviews, Chace and Fleischner talk about screening the film in Jamaica. "There relationship to [cinema] is so different that you can just feel this incredible boredom when they're watching the movie until the Jamaica part and then the Jamaica part was way more hysterical and way more amusing than any other times we've shown the film." Read our interview with Chace and Fleischner below. This week on the blog, Jamie Stuart goes to EditFest; the forgotten Antonioni film, Le Amiche (pictured left), plays at the Film Forum; and Amos Poe recounts his early days in the DIY underground film scene.
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BEN CHACE AND SAM FLEISCHNER, WAH DO DEM By Brandon Harris
With Jamaica in the American news again (just barely) due to the ongoing siege and popular counter resistance taking place surrounding the attempted U.S. extradition of alleged Jamaican drug kingpin and folk hero Christopher Coke, perhaps there is something timely about the release of Ben Chace and Sam Fleischner's Wah Do Dem. read more
Anaheim International Film Festival
Final Deadline: June 20
Late Deadline: June 30
Extended Deadline: July 7
Festival Dates: Oct. 13-17
Chicago International Film Festival
Next Deadline: June 25
Final Deadline: July 12
Festival Dates: Oct 7-21
Harlem International Film Festival
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Final Deadline: July 9
Festival Dates: Sept. 22-26
London Independent Film Festival
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Final Deadline: March 5
Festival Dates: April 14-25