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“25 New Faces.”Some stuff I learned after compiling this year’s
1. Curation matters. No less than four filmmakers on the list -- Yance Ford, Brent Hoff, and the team of Andrew S Allen & Jason Sondhi -- spend big chunks of their days looking at other filmmakers’ work. All of them commented on the relationship between curation and filmmaking, whether it was on the struggle to define their own aesthetics or simply on the application of what they learned about marketing and distribution to their own work.
2. Science fiction is no longer an independent film anomaly. With a few exceptions -- Pi and Primer being notable ones -- science fiction has not been well served by independent film. But as young viewers who grew up on the smart science fiction of the ‘70s and ‘80s become filmmakers, we’re seeing more and better indie genre work. This work is being enabled by the expanding toolkits of these directors, many of whom do their own compositing and motion graphics. In our list, check out Panos Cosmatos, Eddie Alcazar and Brent Bonacorso.
3. The world is your backyard. This isn’t necessarily a new story, but, still, I was struck by the shooting locations of some of this year’s picks. From the Salton Sea to Tripoli, Lebanon, and Rwanda to Beijing, new filmmakers emboldened by lightweight cameras are redefining the concept of hometown moviemaking.
4. It’s easy to find people. This is the first year I rarely had to scout around for someone’s email. Everyone’s on Facebook, and it was easy for me to connect to people and request their work directly. In many cases, their work was already online, and I could check it out completely on my own.
5. Manage your digital footprint. Related to the above, because curators/editors like me can find your work so easily, be careful about how it’s presented online. Particularly, if you decide to build your own digital platform, make sure it’s updated. People would tell me about an interesting film in production, I’d find the film’s website... and notice that the blog hadn’t been updated in a year. That wouldn’t make me feel that the film had any kind of heat around it. Similarly, make sure your website points to your best work. Often, a filmmaker’s best short film might be buried underneath a slew of less-good video; find a way to highlight it.
6. Good content enables new revenue streams. Two filmmakers on the list -- Kirby Ferguson and Joe Nicolosi -- are either making or planning to make their living through the release of web content. For Nicolosi, it’s going to be through the Machinima YouTube Channel. For Ferguson, it’s through crowdsourced donations on his own website, and the related speaking fees his project has enabled.
What trends did you see on our list?
See you next week.
IFP AT NEWFEST 2011 As one of New York City’s premier LGBTQ arts organizations, NewFest empowers, educates, entertains, and provokes the culturally rich and diverse communities of the greater metropolitan region. With seven IFP program alumni films screening in this year’s festival, IFP will be co-presenting two of them. Angela Tucker’s (A)sexual, an alum of Independent Film Week 2008) follows the growth of a community that experiences no sexual attraction. In 2000, David Jay came out to his parents. He was asexual and was fine with it. As soon as he began to be vocal about his self-identified asexuality, he realized he wasn't alone, so he started asexuality.org, an online community for asexuals. Jonathan Lee’s Paul Goodman Changed My Life (alum of IFP’s 2009 Documentary Lab) is the first documentary portrait of the bisexual author, anarchist, intellectual, co-founder of Gestalt Therapy , and key figure in urban design whose Growing up Absurd became a generation’s sacred text. NewFest runs July 21-28. More info here.
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The Myth of the American Sleepover
Vadim Jendreyko, The Woman With the Five Elephants
IFP at NewFest 2011
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Select stories from our Summer issue are now available, including this year's 25 New Faces of Independent Film. You can also read online our interviews with Steve James on his new film The Interrupters, Evan Glodell talks about Bellflower and doc filmmaker Paul Devlin looks at the battle between documentary filmmakers and the IRS. Plus, columns Culture Hacker, Industry Beat and more. The issue hits stands next week, but you can read it now on your desktop by subscribing to our digital issue. Learn more here. ANOTHER EARTH Mike Cahill’s debut narrative feature finds him embracing a strange and ambitious new world -- our own Earth, transformed by a scientific discovery. A sleeper hit at this year's Sundance Film Festival, Another Earth chronicles a love affair between Rhoda (Brit Marling), a young ex-con, and John (William Mapother), a widowed composer, as the two grapple with the appearance of a duplicate Earth and their own personal demons. Wonderfully inventive, especially considering the threadbare budget, Cahill's film is the rare indie sci-fi that is as emotionally honest as it is innovative. Read our interview with Cahill and Marling now by subscribing for a digital issue of the magazine. THE MYTH OF THE AMERICAN SLEEPOVER Filmmaker David Robert Mitchell's debut operates within a very familiar sub-genre -- the "one crazy night teen sex dramedy." The film follows a group of teenagers on an after-hours adventure as they attend high school parties and attempt to raid a church-group sleepover. Well traversed territory, yes -- but where The Myth of the American Sleepover distinguishes itself is in its execution. More indepted to American Graffiti than Superbad, Mitchell wrings surprisingly strong performances from his non-professional ensemble. As a result, Sleepover stands out as an honest, nostalgia-twinged ode to adolescence. Read our interview with Mitchell and his team about the film's journey to the screen. This week on the blog, David Leitner offers more musing on Final Cut Pro X, Scott Macaulay reports on Tanzania-based filmmaker Jason Byrne's new project (pictured left), the trailer for Joe Swanberg and Adam Wingard's film Autoerotic and the Economist Film Project's new website.
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VADIM JENDREYKO, “THE WOMAN WITH THE FIVE ELEPHANTS” By Damon Smith
Anyone who reads literature in translation probably has some inkling of the effort it takes a specialist to mold foreign masterworks into readable prose that feels alive and inviting. Some translators have earned renown for their impeccable renditions of the classics — Lydia Davis comes to mind — but such formidably intelligent people are accustomed to working, for the most part, in complete obscurity, unknown except to the book publishers who commission their interpretive labors and those who bother to notice bylines. Until her death last year at age 87, Svetlana Geier was the most distinguished translator of Dostoyevsky in Germany, having shouldered the monumental task (beginning in 1992) of rendering the Russian novelist’s “five elephants” (Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, The Brothers Karamazov, The Devils, and The Raw Youth) into her adopted language. Born in Kiev, Ukraine, Geier began her work in the late fifties, but developed a special passion for the Slavic existentialist that consumed the last two decades of her scholarly life. read more JULY
Late Deadline: July 22 WAB Deadline: July 29
Festival Dates: November 2 - 8
Southwest Gay and Lesbian Film Festival
Regular Deadline: July 22
Late Deadline: August 1
Festival Dates: October 7 - 13
Hollywood Black Film Festival
Early Deadline: July 24
Late Deadline: August 14
Festival Dates: October 27 - 30