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Apple -- or, rather, some of its users -- are dealing with legacy issues at the moment. As you may know, they released a new version of their professional editing software this week, Final Cut Pro X. But although “X” would imply that it’s the tenth fundamental iteration of FCP, that’s not the case. FCP only made it through seven versions, so Apple skipped a couple of generations. But more than that, they came out with an entirely rewritten program, a Version 1.0 that has jettisoned key elements of the past while embracing new paradigms. (Some of these key elements, editors hope, will be reinstated in updates.) At his Daring Fireball blog, John Gruber notes the uproar among many pro editors and writes, “This ground-up rewrite may well have been the right thing to do. Apple seems convinced that this is a better fundamental concept for video editing -- and, really, storytelling in general. But it may prove risky not to offer a transition period.” Gruber links to our own David Leitner, who posted his own musings on FCP X on the blog this week. Leitner dives into this notion of paradigm change, writing, “Leaps in technology come at a cost... why shouldn’t metaphors evolve? In FCP X there are no more bins (evoking film editing). Clips are imported into Events, in the spirit of iPhoto and iMovie. I learned editing in the days of tape splicing and owned real bins for hanging real film clips. But that was eons ago. Sure, it helped us early on to grasp the principles of nonlinear editing on the original Media Composer, but many of today’s FCP users weren’t even born then. Why cling to this bit of sentimentality in a file-based era?”
How much of our indie film conventions are sentimentality? Do we need a transition period? Or are we in one already -- a storied Interregnum? And what does it mean that some of the best independent films of recent memory, like Winter’s Bone, for example, contain the kind of near timeless storytelling that would have impressed at any time in independent film’s history?
To be continued, of course.... See you next week.
IFP PROGRAM ALUMS SCREENING AT NYC FESTIVALS This summer, IFP, NYC Parks, and the Central Parks Conservancy present a special screening series of IFP alumni projects at the historic Tavern on the Green in Central Park. Screening on June 29 at 7:30 pm, Vanessa Gould's documentary Between the Folds chronicles the stories of ten fine artists and intrepid theoretical scientists who have abandoned careers and scoffed at hard earned graduate degrees, all to forge unconventional lives as modern day paper folders. As they converge on the unlikely medium of origami, these artists and scientists reinterpret the world in paper, and bring forth a bold mix of sensibilities towards art, expressiveness, creativity and meaning. Between the Folds was a selection of the IFP’s 2007 Independent Filmmaker Labs. Following the Lab the film screened at more than 45 film festivals, was broadcast on Independent Lens, and won a 2010 George Foster Peabody Award. More on the event here.
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GENERAL ORDERS NO. 9 By Michael Tully
Deer trail becomes
Indian trail becomes
General Orders No. 9 is one of those films where the adjectives used to describe it -- dense, meditative, reflective, confounding -- are intended as compliments, yet they will be mistaken by many for pejoratives. And while it would be stubborn and ignorant to think that everyone will respond to it with open arms, its refusal to speak to anyone except itself is what makes it stand proudly on its own mountain. This first film (how is that possible?!) by Robert Persons is a thoroughly absorbing, hypnotizing experience. Persons’s lifelong passion for the arts -- painting, poetry, literature, cinema -- is reflected in each and every frame. And while one could write tomes about it, ultimately General Orders No. 9 must be experienced for oneself in order to truly grasp what Persons is saying. read more CONAN O'BRIEN CAN'T STOP Last year Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien's much-publicized battle for the coveted Tonight Show slot quickly bottle-necked into a full-on media blitzkrieg. Wisely, Conan O'Brien Can't Stop, a new documentary from filmmaker Rodman Flender, elects to spend precious little time recapping this controversy. Instead, the focus is placed squarely on O'Brien himself, following the comedian both on stage and off as he embarks on the aptly-named "Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on Television Tour." Charming, intimate, and consistently hilarious, Conan O'Brien Can't Stop presents a fully-formed portrait of one of America's most endearing entertainers. Read our interview with Flender at her SXSW premiere. IF A TREE FALLS Marshall Curry (Street Fight, Racing Dreams) and Sam Cullman's new documentary lends a well-rounded, sympathetic eye to one of America's most controversial organizations, the Earth Liberation Front. If a Tree Falls profiles Daniel McGowan, an Oregon-based member brought up on terrorism charges for his part in the ELF's radical anti-deforestation policy. Both educational and compelling, If A Tree Falls (which won Best Editing at this year's Sundance) presents an intriguing analysis of the role of civil disobedience in the anti-terror era. Read what Curry told us at Sundance was the biggest surprise he had while making the film. PASSIONE For his fourth directing effort, actor John Turturro has created a vibrant, musical documentary about the city of Naples. Featuring over 20 songs in a wide variety of styles, Passione plays like a love letter to the city's culture, character and history. Finally arriving stateside after a successful run in Italy (where the soundtrack was also a hit), Turturro's Passione should have no problem finding a dedicated audience worldwide. Read our interview with Turturro below. This week on the blog, filmmaker Kasi Lemmons (Talk to Me, The Caveman's Valentine) writes about her experience serving as an advisor at 2011 Sundance Directors' Lab, Scott Macaulay discusses WME head Graham Taylor's keynote speech at the Los Angeles Film Festival, and reports from IFP's Narrative Lab by director Mark Harris (The Lost Children), director Tim Sutton(Pavilion) (pictured left), and producer Elisabeth Holm (Welcome to Pine Hill).
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JOHN TURTURRO, PASSIONE By Brandon Harris
For the past twenty-five years John Turturro has been one of the most dynamic presences in American narrative filmmaking, both in the independent world and in Hollywood. His roles in films such as Do The Right Thing, Barton Fink, Quiz Show and The Big Lebowski cemented his place as one of the most versatile actors around, someone who could slip easily between extremely varied character roles while occasionally moonlighting as a leading man. Beyond his work as an actor, he’s also directed a trio of mostly terrific feature narratives, 1992's Mac, 1998's Illuminata and 2005's Romance and Cigarettes. With his latest film Passione, he’s taken the leap into documentary filmmaking with the same pinache and fearlessness he’s brought to his many screen roles. read more JUNE
New York Film Festival
Early Deadline: June 24
Late Deadline: July 22
Festival Dates: September 25 - October 2
Chicago International Film Festival
Regular Deadline: June 24
Late Deadline: July 11
Festival Dates: October 6 - 20
Miami International Film Festival
Early Deadline: June 27
WAB Deadline: September 30
Festival Dates: March 2 - March 11, 2012