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DIY Days in New York. I knew Scott's work with the online publisher and software designer Electric Literature, but on the call I learned about his new venture, Broadcastr. The geolocational platform beta launched this week, and it immediately addresses what I hate about Foursquare - the fact that almost every check-in is tied to commerce (a restaurant, a retail location) and less to history, experience, and art. Here's how Lindenbaum describes it: "Broacastr is a free social media platform for geo-located audio that lets people create and share recordings on an interactive map. On the Web, Broadcastr is a digital archive of human memory and narrative; mobile users can take a walk while stories about their surroundings stream automatically, like a museum tour of everything." Check out the site and, if you're in New York, learn more this Saturday at the event. I believe registrations are still available.You're receiving this newsletter a little later in the afternoon then usual because I spent the morning on three phone calls, all of which might be of interest to you. The first was with Lance Weiler and Scott Lindenbaum, who I'll be interviewing this weekend at
The second call was with a designer working in iPad magazine apps. As you know, Filmmaker does a print edition, has a daily updated website with original, non-print content, and issues this weekly newsletter. We also have a digital edition through Bluetoad, and you can actually read that on the iPad. But it's not an iPad-specific app. We've been wanting one, but for a small publisher they are harder to develop for than you would think. For a while we were excited by the Adobe Digital Publishing platform, which is what Wired and the New Yorker use. But for a quarterly it's a costly solution (Adobe charges a monthly license fee), and it's not clear readers like the end product. We'd love a custom HTML5 solution... Obviously, to be continued. If any of you have opinions about reading magazines on the iPad -- what you like and don't like -- I'd love to hear them. You can always email me at editor.filmmakermagazine AT gmail.com.
The final call was with a filmmaker who is premiering his new film at SXSW. I did it over Skype with the goal of making it the first of our series of Filmmaker podcasts. I've wanted to do podcasts for a while, but I got hung up on quality. I like podcasts like NPR's Planet Money and The Business, and I wanted it to sound like them. But, I realized, they are radio shows too, so they have a lot more resources. Maybe it's okay to be a little low-fi in our presentation. So, there may be a little bit of digital noise, some Skype drop-outs, and I might start with the least offensive piece of Apple canned intro music I can find in GarageBand. If it edits together okay, I'll launch it and it will be a way to cover films and filmmakers in a more casual way that gives you a sense of these directors through their spoken words. We'll see. What would you like to hear in a Filmmaker podcast?
One last thing: another great event happening this weekend is the IFP's Script to Screen Conference. The line-up is particularly good this year. The keynotes are with Barry Levinson (Diner, Rain Man) and Mark Heyman (screenwriter of Black Swan). There's a discussion of new platforms for writers with The Onion's Carol Kalb, and a case study of the Sundance-winner Martha Marcy May Marlene. And a pitch workshop and live reading. You can still buy tickets here. I'm going to try and attend both DIY Days and Script to Screen so hopefully I'll see some of you at these events.
See you next week.
SCRIPT TO SCREEN CONFERENCE & NETWORKING THIS WEEKEND IFP’s Script to Screen Conference (March 5) explores new opportunities available to indie filmmakers and writers with this full day of workshops, seminars, and networking. It is the place for filmmakers to be this weekend to gain exposure for their next project -- and further their careers. Anchored by conversations with veteran writer/director Barry Levinson (Diner, Avalon, Sleepers) and hot newcomer Mark Heyman (Black Swan) and critical access to and pitching tips from Magnolia Pictures, thriller shingle Glass Eye Pix, financier Salt, and sales agent Visit Films. Mingle with producers Antonio Campos (Afterschool), Ted Hope (Adventureland), R. Paul Miller (Snow Angels) and Amy Hobby (Secretary), and Onion News Network Head Writer Carol Kolb at the mid-day Networking Café. More info and final advance ticket sales available here.
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Film Calendar, DIY Distribution, Current Cinema
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
The Human Resources Manager
I Saw The Devil
The Imperialists Are Still Alive!
Kim Jee-woon, I Saw The Devil
IFP: Script to Screen Conference & Networking This Weekend
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happythankyoumoreplease Directed by How I Met Your Mother star Josh Radnor, happythankyoumoreplease, winner of the Audience Award at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, is a romantic drama/comedy set in New York City about six young friends learning to navigate adult relationships. With an ensemble cast that includes Radnor, Kate Mara, Michael Algieri, Malin Akerman and Zoe Kazan, the film cuts back and forth between stories, building to an authentic-feeling look at twentysomething insecurities and commitment issues. Like many actors, Radnor originally wrote the project as an opportunity to star in a film, but, as he tells James Ponsoldt in this week's Web Exclusives, he gradually realized he had to direct it as well. "I think I did eight to ten readings in New York and L.A.," he says, "and I learned so much about how to talk about the script. I realized that tone was so important for the film, and [my producer] Jesse [Hara] helped me see that I'd probably be the best gatekeeper for the tone." UNCLE BOONMEE WHO CAN RECALL HIS PAST LIVES One of the most original films you'll see this year, director Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives has been fascinating audiences since it won the Palme d'Or at last year's Cannes Film Festival. Set in Thailand, a rural farmer named Uncle Boonmee, on the cusp of death, takes us on a journey of his past lives, be they animal or human. Ghosts appear at Boonmee's side as dinner guests, and life and death co-exist in peaceful harmony. "When I try to make movies with stories, especially with Uncle Boonmee, the subject was someone else," says Weerasethakul in our Winter issue, who loosely based the film on his life experiences and the death of his father. "The fact that I didn’t have enough information about him forced me to approach the movie in a different way. The most comfortable way is to put myself, what I know, my memory and the architecture into the story." THE HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGER Eran Riklis (Lemon Tree) directs The Human Resources Manager, an Israeli drama about a middle-aged man (Mark Ivanir) going through a mid-life crisis. He is estranged from his daughter, his wife has left him, and he can't stand his job as HR manager at a popular bakery. But when one of his employees is killed in a suicide bombing and the bakery is accused of indifference, the manager must step up and respond to the community. I SAW THE DEVIL Director Kim Jee-woon has built a great resume of South Korean horror (A Tale of Two Sisters) and action (The Good, the Bad, and the Weird) films. He returns with I Saw the Devil, a revenge story about a secret agent who tracks down the serial killer who murdered his fiancee. Oldboy's Choi Min-sik plays the dangerous killer who gets a lot of pleasure out of torturing his victims. But what happens when vengeance isn't enough and it turns someone into just as much of a monster as the person they're chasing? Interviewed for this week's Director Interview, Jee-woon says the theme of vengeance is something everyone can relate to. "At one point, every person thinks about something like this," he says, "but there are ways to suppress or contain it in their normal lives. Seeing this kind of vengeance that they fantasize about so literally and directly onscreen is a surprise to many people. There is the ethical and moral dilemma. Hopefully, they realize what is driving these actions, because there are circumstances that have brought it to this point." Read our interview with Jee-woon below. THE IMPERIALISTS ARE STILL ALIVE! Calling it a "revelatory drama" in a Sundance 2010 report for Filmmaker, Eric Kohn wrote about The Imperialists are Still Alive!, "Like a 1990s-era Amerindie upgraded to post-9/11 concerns, this insightful low-key account of a young Islamic photographer living in Manhattan addresses global concerns with an engagingly human touch. Directed by Zeina Durra, whose emphasis on playfully philosophical dialogue recalls Whit Stillman, the narrative patiently navigates a credible series of conflicts while simultaneously developing an intimate portrait of the characters' lives. Our creative heroine, Asya (Elodie Bouchez), learns that her good friend has been abducted by the CIA, leading to an increased sense of paranoia. But her fears are allayed by the blossoming of a relationship with her new lover, a gentle Mexican with the wits to deflate her fears. As a result, Imperialists develops into a plea for cross-cultural lovemaking that evades sentimentalism in favor of something far more compelling: Reality." OLD CATS From Chilean directors Pedro Peirano and "25 New Face" alum Sebastian Silva (The Maid), Old Cats is an emotionally wrought drama between an elderly woman named Isadora (Belgica Castro) and her daughter Rosario (Claudia Celedon). Isadora and her husband are being pressured by Rosario to sign over their Santiago apartment to her in a "get rich quick" scheme. Isadora and Rosario are at odds, which only worsens when Isadora shows signs of senility. She desperately tries to keep this a secret from her daughter to avoid being taken for everything she has. Old Cats was highlighted in the Spotlight section of Sundance '11. This week on the blog, Filmmaker remembers Gary Winick, who died this past weekend; we list the Spirit Award 2010 winners; Victoria Mahoney writes about graffiti artist Robbo's involvement in her Berlin showing of Yelling to the Sky (pictured left); Harmony Korine shoots for Urban Outfitters catalog; Paul Haggis reacts to the New Yorker Scientology story; and we talk to The Economist Film Project's Gideon Lichfield.
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KIM JEE-WOON, I SAW THE DEVIL By Damon Smith
Korea's love affair with genre film continues unabated in the hands of cult favorite Kim Jee-woon, the versatile 46-year-old writer-director of A Bittersweet Life (revenge thriller), The Good, the Bad, and the Weird (Eastern Western), and the award-winning A Tale of Two Sisters (ghost story). This avatar of Extreme Asian cinema certainly has his share of fans at home and abroad - a major retrospective of Kim's work, "Severely Damaged: The Cinema of Kim Jee-woon," ends a five-day run at Brooklyn's BAM Rose Cinemas this evening - but his latest ultra-stylish provocation, I Saw the Devil, made the censors queasy. read more
Los Angeles Film and Script Festival
Extended Deadline: March 8
Festival Dates: April 23
Chicago Underground Film Festival
Late Deadline: March 15
Festival Dates: June 2-9
Philadelphia Independent Film Festival
Regular Deadline: March 15
Late Deadline: April 8
Festival Dates: June 23-27