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he ponders not only the mysteries of capitalism and the attractions of Lindsay Lohan while watching Machete?A short newsletter because we're hard at work on the Fall issue, which we ship to the printer on Monday. Fall is always a tough book for us simply due to timing. There’s Toronto, the IFP's Independent Film Week, the New York Film Festival, and the nomination period for our "Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You" Award, all during our production period. We’ve been trying to keep up with all of the above while we are also getting the print magazine together, although some stuff has invariably been given short shrift. I’ll probably do my own Toronto wrap-up after we ship, I missed NYFF press screenings this year, and I’m watching a slew of “Best Film Not Playing” screeners over the weekend. But I hope you’ve been following our blog coverage of these events. Particularly, a number of the filmmakers participating in IFP Film Week wrote posts on their experiences, which contain insights for new filmmakers everywhere. Jamie Stuart’s NYFF videos will be up soon. And unrelated to the above are the new online columns that are beginning to emerge. How you checked out Nick Rombes’ latest “Into the Splice,” where
In the upcoming issue are a couple of pieces on producers. One consists of profiles of a number of people who all discuss how they are adapting their business models to change with the times. The other is a collection of responses from industry veterans, kind of a “Letters to a Young Producer” in which they give advice to those just starting out. These responses, as well as other recent events, like This is That’s Ted Hope and Anne Carey’s announcement that they are closing their production office, have made me realize just how much the nature of producing work has changed in the last couple of years. (The Wrap’s headline was quite apt: "Ted Hope, Anne Carey Shut Doors, Stay in Business.”) Everybody talks about new models on the distribution end, but it’s as important — if not more so — to strategize new models on the front end. How does one allocate resources — resources of not only money but also time and energy — where they will be applied best? What connotes seriousness? An office? A drawer full of developed scripts? Or the ability to move on a dime? The answers are, of course, different for everybody. Some of them are in the next issue of the magazine. Look for it in about three weeks.
See you next week.
Editor CAREER TRIBUTES ANNOUNCED FOR 20TH ANNUAL GOTHAM INDEPENDENT FILM AWARDS™ Signaling the official kick-off to the film awards season, IFP announced today that director ,b>Darren Aronofsky, actors Hilary Swank and Robert Duvall, and Focus Features CEO, James Schamus, will each be presented with a career Tribute at the 20th Anniversary Gotham Independent Film Awards™ on Monday, November 29th at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City. This year’s Tribute selection represents a range of individuals who are all veterans well-versed in the journey between lower-budget independent films and large-scale studio releases. IFP Executive Director Joana Vicente noted, “We are moved and honored to give tribute to four cinematic film luminaries, all of whom have had their roots in independent film, and have steadfastly focused on the art of film, irrespective of the size of the budget of their work.” This year’s Gotham Awards tribute recipients join a prestigious group of previous honorees including: actors Stanley Tucci, Natalie Portman, Javier Bardem, Penélope Cruz and Kate Winslet; filmmakers Mira Nair, Gus Van Sant, Spike Lee and Martin Scorsese; executives Shelia Nevins (HBO Documentaries) and Jonathan Sehring (IFC Films); and film critic Roger Ebert. Nominations for the evening’s seven competitive awards for Best Feature, Best Documentary, Breakthrough Director, Breakthrough Actor, Best Ensemble Performance, Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You, and the new Festival Genius Audience Award will be announced on October 18th. Table and ticket sales are now available. Full details here.
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THE SOCIAL NETWORK Founded in 2004 by a group of college students headed by Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook has forever altered the meaning of the word “friend.” It has also made Zuckerberg a billionaire at age 26, and his remarkable story is told in The Social Network, a dark tale of too much power. Directed by David Fincher with a sharp script by Aaron Sorkin, the film traces the beginnings of Facebook (then known as "Thefacebook"), as an online college directory of students and faculty. Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) decides to spread Facebook to other schools with the help of his real friends Dustin Moskovitz (Joseph Mazzello) and Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield). Facebook blossoms in a few short years to surpass MySpace as the premier social networking site, but going from college students to major billionaires takes a serious toll on the crew’s inner circle. Loosely based on Ben Mezrich's book The Accidental Billionaires, The Social Network is already being hailed as one of the best films of the year, with some critics dubbing it a Citizen Kane for the digital era. LET ME IN Let The Right One In, a Swedish film based on a novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist, was a major success when it came out in 2008, combining a vampire tale with a coming of age story, mixing romance and friendship. Now comes the English-language adaption, entitled Let Me In. Written and directed by Matt Reeves (Cloverfield), the film centers on a lonely adolescent boy named Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee), who is bullied at school and ignored at home. He meets a strange and mysterious girl named Abby (Chloe Moretz), a vampire, who lives with a man who poses as her father and collects victims for her. But all Abby really wants is to fit in. FREAKONOMICS Freakonomics, based on the best-selling book by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner that mixed pop culture and economics, is a documentary helmed by several of the most-renowned documentary filmmakers around today: Heidi Ewing & Rachel Grady, Alex Gibney, Seth Gordon, Eugene Jarecki, and Morgan Spurlock. They look at the often hidden economic incentives that undergird everything from sumo wrestling to high school life to segregation to the criminal justice system. "It was an amazing opportunity to do a verité, observational piece about something that would have a beginning, middle, and end within six months," says Grady. "For us it was a real challenge." Read our interview with Grady & Ewing below. DOUCHEBAG An oddball comedy about brotherly hate, Douchebag, co-written and directed by Drake Doremus, is about a few days in the life of two estranged brothers Sam (Andrew Dickler) and Tom (Ben York Jones) whose reconciliation takes the form of a last-fling road trip on the eve of Sam’s wedding. The no-budget bromantic comedy played this year’s Sundance Dramatic Competition. This week on the blog, Howard Feinstein gives his thoughts on the New York Film Festival selections; a remembrance of noted film editor Sally Menke; Chris Cunningham premieres a short film collaboration with Gil-Scott Heron at MoMa; Marwencol (pictured left) opens Stranger Than Fiction at the IFC Center; and Ben Moskowitz of the Open Video Conference discusses the future of web video.
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HEIDI EWING & RACHEL GRADY, FREAKONOMICS By Damon Smith
One of Filmmaker’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film in 2005, the documentary team of Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady have gained notice in the past five years for a string of socially conscious theatrical features and television projects developed at their jointly founded company, Loki Films. The Boys of Baraka (2005) followed a group of at-risk inner-city Baltimore school kids on their journey to an experimental boarding school in rural Kenya to see whether a change of environment could inspire and motivate these youths coping with an array of problems (violence, drug addiction, absent parents) at home and in the classroom, where discipline is nonexistent. read more
Mexico International Film Festival
Regular Deadline: Oct. 10
Late Deadline: Jan 10
Extended Deadline: March 15
Festival Dates: May 27-29
San Francisco Indiefest
Next Deadline: Oct. 9
Final Deadline: Oct. 23
Festival Dates: Feb 3-17
Big Sky Documentary Film Festival
Final Deadline: Oct. 15
Festival Dates: Feb. 11-20