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This week’s column is by Christopher Boghosian, who, a couple of months ago, wrote about the benefits of being a “nobody filmmaker.” In the Micro-Budget Conversation he writes about money and financing -- specifically, the lack of it. He says that you shouldn’t use lack of money as a reason not to make a film. It’s always possible to make something with the resources that you have, and too often a preoccupation with budgets is just a stalling action. Then I went to the IFP and Power to the Pixel’s Cross-Media Forum. I moderated an afternoon panel on Cross-Media Financing, and I thought I’d try to get at how newcomers to the transmedia world can break in and find financing for their projects. If you’re a screenwriter or director with a conventional film project, it’s kind of clear what to do -- find a producer, or maybe an agent, or perhaps just raise money on your own from friends and family. Is it the same if you’re a transmedia artist? Well, not really. Transmedia is a new field, and the funding structures aren’t so clear. If your project is brand-friendly, then maybe it can be branded entertainment. Or, if it’s a doc, you could apply to the Tribeca Transmedia Lab. Or, as Lance Weiler said, you could get out of your apartment and go to various new media meet-ups and try to build a stronger creative team. (If anything else, I recognized today that transmedia artists have to have a good understanding of basic tech and design strategies in order to be viable.) But it’s not like you can model a transmedia project like you can a film -- X amount from foreign sales advances, Y from private investment, Z from a tax rebate. And it’s hard to figure out revenue streams when some of that revenue might be from the sale of an app, for example.My day started yesterday with a quick edit of the latest edition of the Micro-Budget Conversation, our bi-weekly web column.
So, there was some good information on the panel. But no magic bullet. We all have to figure it out ourselves. I left the stage and checked my Twitter. Kevin Shockey tweeted, “I think the real answer @FilmmakerMag is shooting for, and Lance Weiler eludes to is, to steal Nike’s thunder, ‘Just Do It.’” I completely agree, I realized. Just like Christopher Boghosian would say.
INDEPENDENT FILM WEEK SUBMISSIONS OPEN Submissions are now open and deadlines approaching for the Project Forum of Independent Film Week. In just announced news, Independent Film Week 2011 will relocate to The Film Society of Lincoln Center’s new Elinor Bunin Monroe Film Center, taking place September 18-23. As the core professional event of Independent Film Week, the Project Forum is a meetings-driven forum connecting filmmakers who have new narrative and documentary projects with key industry executives interested in identifying projects with which to become involved at the financing or distribution stage. All three sections are now open for submission: Emerging Narrative (for U.S. writers and writer/directors seeking producers and agents to develop, produce, represent and finance their scripts), No Borders (for U.S. and international producers with partial financing on new narrative projects seeking additional partners), Spotlight on Documentaries (for U.S. filmmakers with projects in production or post-production seeking financing partners, broadcast/distribution opportunities, and festival invitations.) Deadlines vary by section – from April 29 to May 25. More information here.
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The Greatest Movie Ever Sold
Janet Grillo, Fly Away
IFP: Film Week
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SPRING ISSUE ONLINE Check out select stories from our new Spring issue. Some of the stories you can read now include Mark Ruffalo talking about his directorial debut, Sympathy for Delicious; the team behind The Myth of the American Sleepover discuss their intimate film on teenage life; David Leitner highlights the latest crop of large-sensor HD cameras; Anthony Kaufman reports on the resurgence of studio indies; Lance Weiler explains how filmmakers can build audiences outside of the theater experience; and we look at the Tribeca Film Festival as it celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. To read the complete issue on your desktop now, subscribe to our digital issue. Learn how to here. THE GREATEST MOVIE EVER SOLD He's taken on McDonald's, he's searched for Osama bin Laden and now for his latest film Morgan Spurlock sells out. In The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, Spurlock shows us how product placement, marketing and advertising is controlling everything we ingest by selling his film to the highest bidder. From placing a product name above his film's title to the airline used by the director to promote the film, Spurlock -- in his patented playful tongue-and-cheek manner -- walks us through how corporate America has been shaping our entertainment to promote their products. "What I think really comes across in The Greatest Movie Ever Sold is that it truly shows a power shift and power struggle happening across the industry," writes Spurlock when we asked filmmakers attending this year's Sundance to give us their biggest surprise making their movies. "Much like in the early days of TV, where we have to ask ourselves how much of what we’re seeing is in the mind of the artist and how much is being brought to us by the sponsor." INCENDIES In Denis Villeneuve's latest drama, twins Jeanne (Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin) and Simon (Maxim Gaudette) are in search for answers to their mother's dying wish: locate their father. Traveling from Montreal to the Middle East, the twins piece together their mother's history while in flashbacks we follow the mother as she searches for the son who was taken from her at birth during a civil war between the Christians and the Palestinians. With powerful performances by all, this Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Film is Villeneuve's most accomplished work yet. ST. NICK After gaining notice in the 2009 edition of SXSW, David Lowery's St. Nick is now hitting theaters. Known for his work as a d.p. (Lovers of Hate), editor (Shadowboxing) and screenwriter (additional material for Alexander the Last), Lowery's feature length directorial debut follows a brother and sister as they've runaway from home. Done with sparse dialogue and little explanation of why the children have run away, Lowery mixes childhood fantasy and harsh reality (where will they sleep? what will they eat?). "I did want to make a film about how the emotional side of childhood involves dealing with very adult things, which is my memory of being a kid," Lowery told Filmmaker when we interviewed him at SXSW in '09. STAKE LAND From Larry Fessenden's Glass Eye Pix comes the latest addition to his Scareflix catalog, Stake Land. Written and directed by Jim Mickle (Mulberry Street), the film is set in a postapocalyptic world where vampires have taken over. One of the few humans left, vampire hunter Mister (Nick Damici), takes a young teen (Connor Paolo) under his wing after rescuing him and the two embark on a journey towards Canada, which they are told is a New Eden. This low budget horror is considered by many to be the best film so far in the Scareflix stable. This week on the blog, parts 2 & 3 of David Leitner's reporting of NAB 2011, Cannes unveils their lineup (including competition title Tree of Life, pictured left), and Mark Harris lets us know why filmmakers hate transmedia.
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JANET GRILLO, FLY AWAY By Scott Macaulay
Emotional and involving yet also clear-eyed and with a cool wisdom, Janet Grillo’s Fly Away is a sharply observed and strongly acted tale of a mother learning to allow her autistic teenage daughter to transition into the adult world. Beth Broderick plays Jeanne, a single mom with her own home-office corporate consulting business. Ashley Rickards is her daughter Mandy, and the two have a tight, well-ordered relationship, with Jeanne trying to grow her business during the day while Mandy attends a special needs school. But when Mandy begins a series of violent outbursts at that school, Jeanne’s almost preternatural composure begins to crack. read more
Toronto International Film Festival
Deadline: April 29
Late Deadline: June 3
Festival Dates: September 8-18
Boston Film Festival
Early Deadline: April 29
Regular Deadline: May 20
Festival Dates: September 16-22
Atlantic City International Film Festival
Late Deadline: April 29
WAB Deadline: May 26
Festival Dates: June 10-12