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"The Glut of Shows Unwatched." It was about how you used to come home to watch your favorite TV shows but if you missed them it was no big deal. Maybe you'd catch them in reruns, but you didn't stress about it. Now, though, there are DVRs, Roku boxes, iTunes downloads, and there's no excuse for missing episodic television. Carr wrote about how his hard drives are full of shows like Mad Men that he feels he has to watch in order to stay current with the cultural conversation. As David Bordwell quotes Clay Shirkey, TV viewing is American's unpaid second job.David Carr had a good piece in the New York Times this week called
At least in big cities like New York, however, moviegoing has gone in the opposite direction. Movies play shorter runs, and the first weekends of really good films sell out. You have to plan to see them. Buy tickets online. If you have kids, you have to get a babysitter. And if you don't make it to films in the theaters, well, you know you can see them later. Post-theatrical windows are like reruns.
At least among my peers, there seem to be fewer movies that people feel they have to see in order to stay current. I'm remembering that indieWIRE MoMA summit of last year where a producer colleague said that he watched fewer indie films this year because he just watched all five seasons of The Wire... for a second time.
I'd go further with this but I'm packing to go to Toronto. (See my quick preview here) And, I just came across the David Bordwell piece I linked to above. He is not a TV watcher, and he writes, "But why don't I start following episodic TV? The answer is simple. I've been there. I was a TV kid before I was a film wonk. And I can assure you that watching TV leads to painful places-frustration, anger, sorrow. All you're left with is nostalgia."
I'm sticking David's piece in my Instapaper to read on the plane and will ponder these issues -- and how we can position our independent films as important pieces in the cultural conversation -- further in a future newsletter. For now, hope to see some of you in Toronto. Check back on the site throughout the festival for our reports.
See you next week.
Editor ENTER A CAGE MATCH AT THE INDEPENDENT FILMMAKER CONFERENCE Is there a future for theatrical exhibition? What's the real point of festivals? Are you a filmmaker or a brand? Can a film change the world? Should it even try? Get fired up about these and other hot topics by joining Ted Hope, Nick Fraser, Debra Zimmerman, Yance Ford, Geoff Gilmore, Janet Pierson, Caroline Libresco, Thom Powers, Christian Gaines, Jon Reiss and others as they debate all sides of the issues in the daily "Cage Matches" at IFP's Independent Filmmaker Conference, September 19-23 at Independent Film Week. Find out about these and the 25 additional panels, conversations and case studies that make up the week's schedule 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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I'm Still Here
Hideaway (Le refuge)
Francois Ozon, Hideaway (Le refuge)
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THE ROMANTICS Featuring an all-star cast of young talent (Anna Paquin, Katie Holmes, Elijah Wood, Josh Duhamel, Adam Brody, Malin Akerman, Dianna Agron), The Romantics, written and directed by Galt Niederhoffer (adapted from her novel) spans one night as a group of friends reunite for a wedding. But an unresolved rivalry persists between the bride (Paquin), the maid of honor (Holmes), and the groom (Duhamel). Tensions flair as what could be a happy occasion turns into a therapeutic session exploring love, friendship and the letting go of past disputes and insecurities. "I guess I was interested in... retelling the old story of a rich girl and a poor boy and someone else caught in between," said Niederhoffer when we interviewed her about the film at Sundance. I'M STILL HERE I'm Still Here has been making the tabloids for about a year now. Is it a real documentary or a put-on? Actor Casey Affleck directs his brother-in-law, actor Joaquin Phoenix, as he shucks his successful acting career to become an amateur rapper, developing a Grizzly Adams look in the process. His rapping is awful, and for the audience the film is something of a mindgame. It asks viewers to decide if the Phoenix's behavior is for real of whether it's one big joke. (We suspect the latter.) MY SUICIDE Winner at the Berlin International Film Festival, My Suicide is an irreverent dramedy about a nerdy high school student named Archie Williams (Gabriel Sunday), who in a bid for attention, announces he is going to kill himself on camera for his school video class project. Some egg him on while others try to dissuade him. Taking a page from the dark satire of Heathers, Archie keeps a video diary of the absurdity of his high-school life, commenting on teenagers, adults, and the monster media ready to turn him into a viral star. The film is directed by David Lee Miller and co-written by Eric J. Adams and Sunday. HIDEAWAY (LE REFUGE) Francois Ozon is known for making dark, mesmerizing films such as Under the Sand and Swimming Pool. He returns with Hideaway (Le refuge), a story of love and second chances. Mousse (Isabelle Carre, who was really pregnant during filming) and Louis (Melvil Poupaud) are wealthy drug addicts in love with each other. But things change when they both overdose on heroin. Mousse survives but also discovers that she is pregnant with his child. Cleaning herself up, she takes off, getting far away from Paris into the country to sober up and start a new life with her future baby with the help of Louis' handsome gay brother Paul (Louis-Ronan Choisy). Interviewed for this week's Director Interviews, Ozon talks about his interest to make a film with a pregnant woman. "For ages, I'd dreamt of doing a film with a pregnant actress," he says. "I've often explored the theme of motherhood, but I've never really looked specifically at pregnancy. It was either passed over with an ellipse, briefly illustrated with a fake stomach, or the film began after the child was born." Read our interview with Ozon below. This week on the blog, 25 New Face Lena Dunham and Judd Apatow will do a pilot for HBO; another "25," Jeff Mizushima, (pictured left) comes out with the childlike and wonderful Etienne!; and producer Gavin Polone's assistant makes an Xtranormal video that creates a robotically-voiced animated short.
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FRANCOIS OZON, HIDEAWAY (LE REFUGE) By Peter Bowen
Ten years ago, François Ozon's dark, Hitchcock-tinged melodrama See the Sea caught the attention of American film critics. The New York Times' Janet Maslin marked him as "an impressive new filmmaker with a flair for implicit mayhem." In the 12 features since then, Ozon has expressed his mayhem in various genres (musicals, fairy tales, magical realism, period romances, etc.), with different cinematic influences (Chabrol, Fassbinder, Renoir, Pasolini, etc.) and in a range of production scales. But central to all his films is a deep sense of the essentially conflicted nature of emotional relations . . . read more
Tribeca Film Festival
Submissions Open: Sept. 13
Early Deadline: Nov. 5
Final Deadline: Dec. 10
Festival Dates: April 20-May 1
Santa Monica International Film Festival
Early Deadline: Sept. 15
Regular Deadline: November 15
Final Deadline: June 15
Festival Dates: Aug. 5-7
Sundance Film Festival
Late Deadline: Sept. 24
Festival Dates: Jan 20-30