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ďDigital Diary: Is Anonymity Dead?Ē The article is not what you think. Itís not about whether you can or cannot be anonymous online; itís about whether you should. Wortham writes about how just about everyone these days has some kind of online presence -- a Facebook account, a Twitter handle, a LinkedIn profile, or a website. She writes about a friend of hers who decided to research a guy sheís going on a date with, and how the friend was perturbed by not being able to find anything online about the man. Wortham continues, ďIíve heard from multiple friends and colleagues that not being able to find anything on the Web about a potential employee, babysitter or romantic connection could be considered borderline suspicious. Itís enough to raise the question of how much the ubiquity and omnipotence of social networking is shaping the way we view one another and our relationships to each other.ĒWhile closing the current issue of Filmmaker, I came across this article by Jenna Wortham in the New York Times titled,
Worthamís piece struck a chord with me because Iím finishing this week our annual ď25 New FacesĒ list. Each year we try to select an interesting and diverse mix of up-and-coming film people for the ď25,Ē and we use the preparation for the article to build up our database of people we should be tracking for years on out. And while social media has been around for a decade, this year is the first I remember it being a big part of my research process. For example, I used to hear about a filmmaker, email a colleague, and ask for their email. Now theyíre most likely on Facebook, and even if Iím not a friend I can still message them. While Iím on their page, I canít help but notice what Facebook highlights for me -- the people we know in common, and the shared movies, books and music we both like. Do these correspondences make a difference in my perception of a filmmaker? I donít know, but it is like visiting someoneís house and making a snap judgment by scanning the books on their bookshelf. Or maybe the filmmaker has a website. Many do, and some of them are pretty amazing. Because I know how hard it is to do a good website, I donít hold a bad one -- or even no website -- against anyone. But the information on them is important. Someone recommended a filmmaker to me, and I checked out their site. The bio wrote about how they were involved in many critically acclaimed, award-winning films. But there were no titles. So, I went to IMDb, and none were listed. Nothing came up in Google either. Now, perhaps this personís accomplishments have escaped the search engines... but when youíre looking at dozens and dozens of filmmakers, itís hard to commit the time to figure out whether that might be the case.
And then thereís the work itself. I almost expect now that a filmmaker will have some viable work sample online, or, at least, can give me the password for a private posting of their latest short. The days of being mailed a DVD are coming to end. Sometimes a filmmaker has a lot of work online. Too much, even. Someone recommended a filmmaker to me, I checked out their YouTube channel and watched the first couple of videos that came up. I didnít like them so much, and then my friend said, ďOh, you should have watched this one they did a few months ago.Ē In other words, filmmakers need to make sure that their social media platforms somehow highlight their best work.
There are quite a few people on the list this year we discovered the old-fashioned way -- at film festivals. But as Wortham notes, the social web -- and the ways it is almost unconsciously remolding the ways we form impressions of each other -- is affecting the processes of not online blind daters but also journalists and curators.
See you next week.
INDUSTRY REGISTRATION OPEN FOR INDEPENDENT FILM WEEK For the past thirty-two years, Independent Film Week has been a one-of-a-kind event that has brought the international filmmaking community to New York City to celebrate, advocate, and introduce projects from both established filmmakers and new voices on the independent scene. Independent Film Week is a destination where the community of individuals involved with independent film can annually convene Ė from the filmmakers selected for their strong new projects to the individuals from companies, festivals and organizations aimed at helping the work get made and ultimately seen by public audiences. Industry registration is now open for this yearís Independent Film Week which will take place from September 18-22 at The Film Society of Lincoln Centerís new Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center. More info here.
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DARK DAYS By Brandon Harris
Things keep happening that make me feel old. No I donít have any major age related illnesses. I havenít been getting copies of AARP magazine in the mail. ďAre you even thirty yet?Ē is still a legitimate question to ask me upon any encounter. For the record, Iím not (yet) thirty, but still I canít help getting the creeping sense that, in the words of LCD Soundsystem, ďIím losing my edge.Ē Upon learning that the Cinema Village was going to open British documentarian Marc Singerís seminal 2000 documentary Dark Days for a week long run to mark itís tenth anniversary reissue, this creeping feeling of ageís unceasing forward progression returned. Not that Dark Days was particularly important to me as a film, although I spent a fair amount of time watching it, in theaters, on DVDs, on Sundance Channel. For me it serves as a reminder of a bygone era in independent film and my relationship to it, one that Iím still nostalgic for despite my best efforts to live without sentimentality (like many of my pursuits, Iím proving to be a bigger failure than I had imagined). read more THE PERFECT HOST A taut and slow-burning debut thriller from Australian director Nick Tomnay, The Perfect Host tracks one night in the life of Warwick Wilson (David Hyde Pierce), a high-society socialite who unwittingly finds himself playing host to an on-the-run bank robber (Clayne Crawford). But as the cat and mouse game between the two develops, Wilson reveals a hidden masochistic side of his personality. Host is truly economical film-making, relying almost entirely on the tense interplay between Pierce and Crawford to drive the plot and action forward. TERRI This coming-of-age dramedy from director Azazel Jacobs (Momma's Man, The GoodTimes Kid) won over audiences this past winter at the Sundance Film Festival. Terri stars John C. Reilly as a loquacious high school principal who develops a unique relationship with one of his students - the overweight, anti-social Terri (played by newcomer Jacob Wysocki). With its understated humor and poignant moments of drama, Jacobs manages to tackle teen angst in a remarkably sincere and un-melodramatic fashion. Read our interview with Jacobs here, and read our look behind the collaboration between Jacobs and screenwriter Patrick deWitt now by subscribing for a digital issue of the magazine. This week on the blog, Lauren Wissot covers the Human Rights Watch Festival's tribute to late documentary filmmaker Tim Hetherington (pictured left), David Leitner shares his first impressions of the newly released Final Cut Pro X, and Scott Macaulay discusses the trailer for David Cronenberg's A Dangerous Method.
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THE MICROBUDGET CONVERSATION: PERSPECTIVE By John Yost
So last week we presented one type of manifesto knowing full well itís almost impossible to define what this all is. The feedback was wonderful and I want to take a moment before I present the next two manifesto perspectives to comment. I think some people are completely right about the fact that sometimes the point of micro-budget is to NOT be part of a group. However, as humans, we group ourselves, and others, together so that we can quickly categorize and compartmentalize the world around us. Which is the very reason I started thinking about a rule book. Groups in the past that have allowed others to define who they are, have often found it was not where they wanted to be. I love the fact that we all have our own idea, or perspective of the micro-budget world. I simply want to unite us to forgo labels, to garnish support for one another, and to drive the bus towards a future we are all a part of. read more JULY
Abu Dhabi Film Festival
Late Deadline: July 1
Festival Dates: October 13 - 22
Santa Fe Film Festival
Regular Deadline: July 1
WAB Deadline: August 19
Festival Dates: October 20 - 23
Austin Film Festival
Late Deadline: July 1
Festival Dates: October 20 - 27