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I'm not an expert on the intricacies of net neutrality, but I am endorsing of its general principles. I think business innovation as well as the ability of future independent filmmakers to competitively distribute their work online depends on it. Upsetting the apple cart is what I feel Google and Verizon did this week. Their announcement that they are drafting their own guidelines exempting private wireless networks from net neutrality rules amounts to saying, "You can take your internet - we'll build our own!" For the implications of this "parallel internet" on business and culture, check out a few links from people more eloquent on this subject. Here's law professor Susan Crawford on her blog; at Salon, "Google-Verizon Plan: Why You Should Worry"; and, certainly, the best titled: "Why Google Became a Carrier Humping Net Neutrality Surrender Monkey" at Wired.
Also worth reading this week: David Poland's deep thinking on the implications of the content streaming deals Netflix has made recently with Relativity and Epix. He writes: "I am just fascinated by the chess game here, because NetFlix is the first serious streaming player and could well be killed by its choice to be innovative. Or maybe it becomes a whole different level of rock star. What it is unlikely to be, given these moves, is to be a middle-of-the road company. It will not be Blockbuster, fighting for its piece of a dying light. It is going to go big or go home."
Finally, we'll have more on this next week, but the Grand Cinema in Tacoma, Washington, has built a whole series around our "25 New Faces." From August 20 - 26 they'll be screening films from this year's list and even flying out some of the filmmakers for Q&As. If you are within driving distance of Tacoma, I hope you'll check it out. They've put together a fantastic line-up.
See you next week.
Editor INDEPENDENT FILMMAKER CONFERENCE - TICKETS NOW ON SALE Taking place during the 32nd annual Independent Film Week, the Independent Filmmaker Conference (Sept. 19-23) is the event for film and media professionals to learn how today's creative choices and business decisions are impacting tomorrow's artists, industry and audiences. Bringing together top industry professionals for daily case studies, forums, panels and debates, the Conference provides an opportunity for filmmakers and professionals to learn the latest trends in the art and business of independent filmmaking. For the latest Conference updates, schedule, and to purchase passes, click here. 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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David Michod, Animal Kingdom
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ANIMAL KINGDOM A gripping, Sundance Award-winning drama from director David Michod, Animal Kingdom centers on an Australian teenage boy named "J" (James Frecheville) caught between his criminal family and a detective who wants to rescue him. Michod's script gets inside the minds of these characters, stripping away crime-family pretenses to get to the true heart of the family's structure. Interviewed for this week's Director Interview, Michod admits at first he didn't think he would direct the film. "I assumed I'd be writing it for someone else to direct because I couldn't picture the situation where someone would give me the huge amount of money I would need to make the thing," he says. "The more I wrote it the more emotionally attached I became to it and the more determined I became to direct it myself." Read our interview with Michod below. PEEPLI LIVE Peepli Live follows the story of two poor farmers, Natha and Budhia, who are in danger of losing their land. They finally decide to commit suicide so that their families receive insurance benefits. But when their intentions are publicized, a local media frenzy results, with townsfolk speculating on whether or not they will actually do it. Directed by Anusha Rizvi and Mahmood Farooqui, Peepli Live is a comedy, but with a bit of pathos and darkness sprinkled in. This week on the blog, Filmmaker celebrates its 18th birthday with more flashbacks of its early issues; Terry Gilliam films The Arcade Fire at Madison Square Garden (pictured left); Scott Macaulay posts a call to writers; and episodes 6 and 7 in Sabi Pictures' New Breed series are released.
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DAVID MICHOD, ANIMAL KINGDOM By Brandon Harris
David Michod's terrific and terrifying debut as a feature film director, the 2010 Sundance world dramatic competition winner Animal Kingdom, like his stunning short films Netherland Dwarf and Crossbow, is a smoothly photographed, moodily scored meditation on a trapped, dim and docile young man who suffers at the hands of a careless and, in this case, criminal family. Like his previous work, Michod relies on an insistent voice over to provide biting interiority while the unrelentingly grim working class Melbourne milieu is strikingly depicted in slow motion shots and even slower push ins. read more
Santa Fe Independent Film Festival
Final Deadline: Aug. 19
Festival Dates: Oct. 19-24
Sundance Film Festival
Early Deadline: Aug. 16
Final Deadline: Sept. 24
Festival Dates: Jan 21-31
Dubai International Film Festival
Final Deadline: Aug 31
Festival Dates: Dec 12-19