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blog. Through mid-September I'll be revisiting each back issue of Filmmaker, casually surveying almost two decades of indie film by chronicling the growth of the magazine. It's already been an interesting review. Our first issue, Fall, 1992, featured Hal Hartley and Nick Gomez debating the same "is the budget the aesthetic?" question that I tossed around on the blog just a week earlier. In Summer, 1993, we interviewed porn director John Stagliano (obscenity charges against whom were just dismissed by the Feds a couple of weeks ago), and in reading his interview I realized that his style was basically co-opted a decade-plus later by the reality TV merchants. Or take a look at all the seminal indies that were featured in just one issue, Summer, 1995: Kids, Safe, The Usual Suspects, Living in Oblivion, Art for Teachers of Children, Double Happiness, The Incredibly True Adventures of Two Girls in Love, and The Brothers McMullen. I'm also interested in following up on the people who are not so well remembered. In Summer, 1993, Ang Lee and Tony Chan interviewed each other. We know about Lee, but what happened to Chan, writer-director of a very charming indie, Combination Platter? This series gave me a chance to find out. So check out the blog each day for, hopefully, some good anecdotes in addition to a mini-history lesson.I'm not much for looking back. The future is usually more interesting. That said, two things -- our impending 18th birthday and the dog days of August -- prompted me to pen a series of retrospective posts for the
You should read this great essay by Stacey Derasmo on the life of a writer at The Rumpus. Stacey writes literary fiction, but a lot of you filmmakers will appreciate what she puts down here.
If you missed it, "Sledgehammer and Whore," over at the blog I Find Your Lack of Faith Disturbing, is hilarious and smart. It involves a TV pitch, a late-night call from a hooker, an empathetic wife, and the iPhone 4.
And, even though I can't identify anything particularly new or innovative about it, the new Arcade Fire is really great. Sometimes I think good art is only about the precise delineation of tone -- figuring out a way to create new feelings from old elements. Sounding more like Funeral than Neon Bible, The Suburbs' strangely uplifting retro-apocalypse is emotional, immersive, and -- sometimes sadly and sometimes joyously -- completely of this moment.
See you next week.
Editor 20th ANNUAL GOTHAM INDEPENDENT FILM AWARDS SET FOR MONDAY, NOV 29th - SUBMISSIONS NOW OPEN The first award show of the season, IFP's Gotham Independent Film Awards honor independently distributed American feature films made with an economy of means. Established in 1991, the Gotham Independent Film Awards™ celebrate the authentic voices behind and in front of the camera in the year's best independent films. There will be seven competitive awards in 2010 - Best Feature, Best Documentary, Best Ensemble Performance, Breakthrough Actor, Breakthrough Director, Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You®, and the new Festival Genius™ Audience Award. In the wake of IFP's new relationship with Festival Genius, the Festival Genius Audience Award has been created to honor U.S. films that have won audience awards at film festivals during the past year. The Festival Genius community, 200,000 film fans worldwide, will vote online to select the nominees and winner. In addition, IFP has broadened the criteria for the Best Feature category to allow consideration of independent films that have premiered on digital platforms like VOD or Pay TV following festival runs, without them having played theatrically. The Gotham Independent Film Awards also recognize, through the presentation of Tributes, those who have made significant contributions to filmmaking. Last year IFP feted Stanley Tucci, Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner, Natalie Portman and Kathryn Bigelow. The 2010 Tributes will be announced in the fall.
Submissions are now being accepted in the five competitive categories that accept open submissions. The deadline for submissions is 5pm EST on September 17, 2010. Nominees will be announced on October 18, 2010, and winners will be honored at a star-studded 20th Anniversary ceremony at Cipriani Wall Street on November 29th. Applications, along with full criteria for all awards, are available 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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Lou Ye, Spring Fever
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LEBANON Winner of the Golden Lion at last year's Venice Film Festival, Samuel Maoz's Lebanon is based on his experience as a 20-year-old gunner during the 1982 Israeli invasion of its northern neighbor. The action is all set inside a tank over 24 hours. Told to meet up with a group of Israeli paratroopers in a town decimated by the air force, the tank is taken to the wrong town, and the four soldiers inside must try to survive external attacks and internal fears. Interviewing Maoz for the Summer issue, Howard Feinstein writes about the film and Maoz, "Lebanon was a cathartic exercise for him, too personal for concessions. He shows the war with its horrors unmitigated." Subscribe to our digital issue to read this interview as well as access to our back issues until 2005. CAIRO TIME Ruba Nadda's Cairo Time is a wonderfully romantic and introspective film about a woman re-discovering herself in a new culture. Juliette (Patricia Clarkson) is visiting her husband, a UN worker, abroad in Cairo, but his work keeps him too busy to spend time with her. So in his place, he sends his former colleague Tareq (Alexander Siddig) to show her around the city. Gradually, their friendship slowly blossoms into something more. Showcasing the graceful acting talents of Clarkson and Siddig, Cairo Time is being compared by critics to Lost in Translation. TWELVE Based on Nick McDonell's novel Twelve, Joel Schumacher directs an up-and-coming cast of young talent playing rich boarding school students returning home to the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Chace Crawford plays White Mike, a high school dropout turned drug dealer who supplies to the trust fund babies. But his high-rolling life takes a dark detour as he gets wrapped up in a murder, crooked drug deals, and love complications. With an ensemble cast that includes 50 Cent, Rory Culkin, Emma Roberts, Ellen Barkin, and narration by Kiefer Sutherland, Twelve certainly is no St. Elmo's Fire. This week on the blog, Filmmaker celebrates its 18th birthday with a look back at its early issues; titles for this year's Venice Film Festival are announced (including Somewhere, pictured left); and episodes 4 and 5 in Sabi Pictures' New Breed series are released.
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LOU YE, SPRING FEVER By Damon Smith
When officials at the state-controlled Film Bureau leveled a five-year filmmaking ban on Chinese writer-director Lou Ye (Purple Butterfly) in 2006 - a harsh reprimand for unveiling his politically charged drama Summer Palace at Cannes that year without their approval - he did what any determined artist would under the circumstances: he went home and made another feature, right under the nose of the censors. read more
Ann Arbor Film Festival
Early Deadline: Aug. 13
Late Deadline: Nov. 4
Festival Dates: March 22 - 27
Slamdance Film Festival
Early Deadline: Aug. 13
Final Deadline: Oct. 29
Festival Dates: Jan 21-27
Dubai International Film Festival
Final Deadline: Aug 31
Festival Dates: Dec 12-19