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Twitter. I've been thinking of starting a regular question-and-answer column, kind of like what John August does on his blog. I wouldn't pretend to have all the answers, but I'd guarantee that if I didn't I'd get to someone who did.A short newsletter this week as we are closing our Spring issue and there's a lot left to do. Keeping Filmmaker's online presence at full speed is always the challenge when there are pages to edit -- and the knowledge that those pages are immutable when published, unlike web copy. Still, I'll try to get up a couple of blog posts in the next few days, one of which will answer some questions I received via
In another newsletter I asked what our readers' interest in an iPad edition would be. We've been exploring different options -- and it's not as easy (or inexpensive) as it looks. Here's the question: would you like an easy-to-read, simple version of Filmmaker that's basically a replicant of the print magazine on the iPad? It wouldn't be a new, full-featured app, but more a version of the magazine you could carry and store digitally. And it wouldn't be instead of something fancier... but that something fancier would come later. You can email me at editor.filmmakermagazine AT gmail.com.
Finally, there are two upcoming IFP events in New York you should look out for. The first is Envision, a two-day (April 8 - 9) program that looks at the ways documentaries tackle global issues. The second is the Cross-Media Forum (April 19), realized in collaboration with Power to the Pixel. It's described as "a day-long gathering presenting conversations with leaders in transmedia storytelling, cross-media project presentations, as well as numerous networking opportunities allowing content creators and funders to directly connect." I'll be moderating a panel at the latter and hope to see you there.
ENVISION: ADDRESSING GLOBAL ISSUES THROUGH DOCUMENTARIES, APRIL 8TH AND 9TH Lucy Walker's Academy Award-nominated Waste Land and a sneak screening of Phil Grabsky's The Boy Mir - Ten Years in Afghanistan anchor the programming for the third annual ENVISION, set for April 8th and 9th at The TimesCenter in New York. This year's Opening Night will begin with a welcome address by artist, humanitarian, and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Harry Belafonte, followed by a screening of the HBO Documentary Film, The Sound of Mumbai - A Musical, directed by Sarah McCarthy. IFP partners with the United Nation's Department of Public Information to present this 2-day public forum uniting the filmmaking community, civil society organizations, and the general public in the shared goal of envisioning a better world and achieving impact through media. The 2011 spotlight focus - from the UN's Millennium Development Goals - is the goal of eradicating poverty and hunger, and the event will combine documentary screenings and selections from documentaries in the works (the international "Why Poverty?" series) with discussions on the role of women in alleviating poverty and the issue of food security. "On the Front Lines" will address the filmmaker's challenge of illuminating the issues while balancing the need to tell stories that reach audiences, and The Global Poverty Project's Hugh Evans will deliver his dynamic 1.4 Billion Reasons presentation. For details of the program and ticket information, click here.
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LE QUATTRO VOLTE By Michael Tully
They're called motion pictures, but in the case of Michelangelo Frammartino's Le Quattro Volte, that term isn't quite accurate. Motion painting is more like it. Spiritual yet not overtly religious, playful yet dramatic, patient yet never ponderous, Frammartino's extraordinary celebration of the cycle of life is as close to church as cinema can get. read more CIRCO Aaron Schock's documentary Circo is a fascinating look at the lives of a Mexican traveling family circus. The Ponce family's circus goes back several generations, struggling to stay afloat while providing entertainment wherever they go. However, mounting debt, smaller audiences, and inner family conflicts threaten to destroy not just their business, but their family ties as well. IN A BETTER WORLD Winner of this year's Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, In a Better World, a powerful new feature from Susanne Bier (Brothers), centers on Anton (Mikael Persbrandt), a doctor who comes to an unnamed African country to treat the sick in a makeshift camp. Despite Anton's altruism, he is ignorant about his family at home in Denmark, and his son, feeling neglected by his father, acts out in violent ways alongside his best friend. The film includes moving performances and an unflinching script, written by Bier's longtime collaborator Anders Thomas Jensen. SUPER This dark RLSH ("Real Life Super Hero") comedy from James Gunn (Slither) stars Rainn Wilson as pathetic loser Frank, whose wife (Liv Tyler) is stolen by a charming drug dealer (Kevin Bacon). Frank decides to take justice in his own hands by making himself into a superhero, complete with a homemade costume and a wrench as his trusty weapon. Assisted by another wannabe superhero, his friend Libby (Ellen Page), they take to the streets to get back his wife. Gunn's film is both a send-up of the superhero genre, an energetic throwback to the abandon of classic B-moviemaking, and also a critique of the relationship between on-screen violence and audience pleasure. This week on the blog, Filmmaker remembers Elizabeth Taylor; Celine Danhier's documentary Blank City chronicles the early '80s No Wave scene of independent filmmaking; Condition One reinvents war journalism in Libya; and Tribeca '11 closes with Ed Burns' Newlyweds (pictured left).
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ALISTAIR BANKS GRIFFIN, TWO GATES OF SLEEP By Brandon Harris
American independent films of the narrative variety are rarely hard art films. But in the case of Alastair Banks Griffin's Two Gates of Sleep, which bowed at last year's Directors' Fortnight in Cannes before finding its way to AFI Fest last Fall, one should be ready to enter a long-take heavy, unspeakably gorgeous dirge that is sure of its influences and even more sure that it has something deeply resonant to express to you. It's the type of movie that, as the cliche goes, requires the audience to "do some work," that isn't going to bend over backwards to entertain you, that's going to leave your questions unanswered and your desires for exposition or denouement unfulfilled. read more
New York City International Film Festival
Regular Deadline: April 5
Late Deadline: May 11
Festival Dates: Aug. 11-28
Santa Fe Independent Film Festival
Early Deadline: April 7
Regular Deadline: July 15
Festival Dates: Oct. 19-23
Philadelphia Independent Film Festival
Late Deadline: April 8
Late Late Deadline: April 22
Festival Dates: June 22-26