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As much as Steve Jobs is being heralded for the shiny perfection of his products, for things that ďjust work,Ē itís also important to remember him as a guy who continually made tough decisions that cut against the immediate desires of his customers and even partners. Switching from the old Mac OS to the UNIX-based OS X, getting rid of the floppy drive and now the optical drive, ditching firewire (only to bring it back) on some models -- Jobs, to paraphrase Wayne Gretzky, skated to where he thought the puck would be. And, hereís whatís important -- he put a face on those decisions. How many CEOS do that today? With Jobs, it was never about mid-level fall guys, rotating vice presidents, focus-group rationales or even pleasing Wall Street with pumped up quarterly numbers. He thought long term, and he owned every decision his company ever made. You could love him, you could hate him, but you knew you were following a vision. In this regard, there was something old-fashioned about Steve Jobs, and as I think about a Jobs-less future, I hope others will embrace this aspect of his leadership.
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THE GOTHAM INDEPENDENT FILM AWARDS Ė TICKETS & TABLES NOW ON SALE The Gotham Independent Film Awards, selected by distinguished juries and presented in New York City, are the first honors of the film awards season. This public showcase honors the filmmaking community, expands the audience for independent films, and supports the work that IFP does behind the scenes throughout the year to bring such films to fruition. Anchoring 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 Audience Award are four career Tributes to film community icons. This year's Tributes will go to actors Gary Oldman and Charlize Theron, director David Cronenberg and Fox Filmed Entertainment Chairman and CEO Tom Rothman at the 21st Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards at Cipriani Wall Street on November 28th. Nominees for the competitive awards will be announced on October 20th. For tickets, ticket packages, and table sales go here.
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Hell and Back Again
The Human Centipede 2
Louie Psihoyos and The Singing Planet
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BLACKTHORN From director Mateo Gil (Open Your Eyes), this new Western traces the supposed latter years of Butch Cassidy. Presuming that Cassidy survived his infamous standoff with the Bolivian military, Blackthorn follows the legendary cowboy, played here with grizzled, world-weariness by Sam Shepard, as he journeys back to the U.S. in an attempt to return to his family. Subdued and confident, Blackthorn is a testament to the staying power of the American western. HELL AND BACK AGAIN From acclaimed war photographer Danfung Dennis comes this troubling portrait of combat in Afghanistan, and the lasting after effects it has had on one soldier's emotional state. Surprisingly, the centerpiece of Hell and Back Again is not the chaotic and stunning war footage that Dennis captures. Instead, the film's heart lies in the post-service journey of 25-year old Marine Nathan Harris. As Harris returns home to his sleepy North Carolina town and struggles to adjust back to civilian life, Dennis explores an emotional battle raging within his subject just as powerful as the war footage he contrasts it again. Read our interview with Dennis. THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE 2 Don't worry, when compared to the original 2009 Human Centipede, this horror sequel indeed proves to be doubly gruesome, doubly shocking, and doubly stomach churning. The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence), written and directed again by provocateur Tom Six, takes the sickening premise of the original (which we won't rehash here) and pushes it to outrageous new extremes -- namely up from a three-person sequence to twelve. Definitely not for the squeamish, Six's sequel delivers copious shocks and gross-out moments, and even manages to work in an intriguing meta-commentary throughout. SURROGATE VALENTINE From writer-director Dave Boyle (White on Rice, Big Dreams Little Tokyo), this new dramedy follows real-life musician Goh Nakamura through a sweet and entertaining fictional journey. After Nakamura is hired to teach a TV star (Chadd Stoops) how to play the guitar, the two set out on tour together, and cross paths with the musician's high-school sweetheart (Lynn Chen). Surrogate Valentine feels natural and satisfying, the perfect vehicle for Nakamura's fully developed songwriting prowess and his surprisingly charming acting abilities. This week on the blog, Brandon Harris reviews George Clooneyís The Ides of March from a Cincinnati perspective, Howard Feinstein shares part 2 of his New York Film Festival coverage (pictured left), filmmakers Suha Araj and Adam Bowers report from IFP's Emerging Visions program, and Jason Guerrasio shares October's VOD Calendar.
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LOUIE PSIHOYOS AND THE SINGING PLANET By Alix Lambert
Louie Psihoyos started out as a still photographer for National Geographic. He won an Oscar for his first feature length documentary: The Cove, which took an unflinching look at the slaughter of dolphins in Japan. He is now starting work on his next film, The Singing Planet, which will be shot underwater using extraordinary sound recording advances. He took a moment to talk with me about his films and his work as an enviromentalist. read more OCTOBER
San Francisco Independent Film Festival
Regular Deadline: October 7
WAB Deadline: October 21
Festival Dates: February 2 - 16, 2012
True/False Film Fest
Regular Deadline: October 7
WAB Deadline: December 7
Festival Dates: March 1 - 4, 2012
African American Women in Cinema Film Festival
Regular Deadline: October 11
Late Deadline: October 18
Festival Dates: November 17 - 19