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No, the problem this week is time -- weíre at press on our Fall issue, and I should really be focused on that. Besides, I havenít processed it all. (I know, thatís a novel concept in the Internet era of instant response.) For example, I moderated a panel on Sunday titled, ďIndependent Film: Is it a Hobby or a Business?Ē The panelists were producers Ted Hope and Mynette Louie, and one person tweeted afterwards that it was both ďdepressing and invigorating.Ē It was hard in just under an hour to fully embrace the question, the answer to which I think is ďneither.Ē Or perhaps ďboth.Ē I mean, it depends on who you are, and your ability to know yourself. There are certainly people making a living as independent filmmakers and producers. And there are people who make films but rely on income from other activities to sustain themselves. I do think there are specific reasons why itís harder today than it might have been 20 years ago to make a career out of independent film, but these same reasons are ones affecting creators in every content industry. And, as much as things are harder to make a living, I also think itís actually easier to enter the field today and do your own thing.
I guess what I wanted to talk a little more about were the personal decisions in our lives that make filmmaking a hobby or a business. There are people whose tastes and personalities sync naturally with the industry. They gravitate towards material that has a commercial appeal, and their personality and skills are such that they can easily live within the system that produces this work. For others, though, the material chosen is more difficult, or idiosyncratic. Or, maybe, itís what is dubbed ďexecution dependentĒ -- which means you have to see it before you know itís good. Some people have great ideas but arenít as great at navigating the business. Other people are hardwired against the personal instability that a career in film can mean.
Itís a big topic... and one that, amidst everything else going on this week, is hard to wrap my mind around. For a future newsletter -- hopefully, with your comments.
See you next week.
ON THE GROUND AT INDEPENDENT FILM WEEK IFP's Independent Film Week wraps up today. By the end of the day, filmmakers from the 145 selected projects of the Project Forum will have taken 2000+ meetings with the industry. To get an inside look at what happened this year, read the posts by IFPís own Dan Schoenbrun and by some of the attending filmmakers who blogged on Filmmaker's website during IFW: Helen Alexander, Samantha Buck, Maris Curran, Penny Lane, Julia Meltzer, Tommy Minnix, Gillian Robespierre, Ron Simons and Tim Sutton.
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WEEKEND By Michael Tully
It is Independent Film Week in New York City. As this is the first time that Iíve personally been involved in IFPís annual program to the extent that I have (Iím pitching my life away in the No Borders International Co-Production Market with my next project), I am forced to cut my losses and admit that it has become flat-out impossible for me to write an even somewhat well-conceived review of Andrew Haighís Weekend. But if there is any movie in 2011 that deserves to be a Hammer to Nail Pick of the Week, Weekend is it. read more LIMELIGHT The creators of the high-octane doc Cocaine Cowboys have returned with a stylish look at the rise and fall of New York's Limelight nightclub. Director Billy Corben profiles Peter Gatien, owner of NYC hotspots Tunnel, Palladium, Club USA and the restored church on Sixth Avenue, and who became the king of Big Apple nightlife in the '80s and '90s. But with lawsuits mounting and constant pressure from then-mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Gatien's empire quickly evaporates as does an exciting and somewhat decadent era in New York. SHIT YEAR Premiering at Cannes' Directors' Fortnight in 2010, Shit Year, Cam Archer's follow-up to his debut feature Wild Tigers I Have Known, looks at the darker side of Hollywood. Ellen Barkin stars as Colleen, a retiring actress who, having done her final talk show interview, retreats to a cabin in the woods, avoiding neighbors and flashing back to an affair she had with a younger actor. Trapped with her thoughts, Colleen is forced to deal with loss, failures and mistakes. Read our interview with Archer. WEEKEND A love story that has received raves from SXSW to Karlovy Vary, Weekend, by writer-director Andrew Haigh, looks at the lives of two gay men (played by Tom Cullen and Chris New) who spend three days together in bars and bedrooms, getting drunk, talking, and trying to figure out each other as well as themselves. Read our interview with Haigh. This week on the blog, Livia Bloom gives her first and second posts on TIFF's Wavelengths program; Scott Macaulay gives his thoughts on Netflix's new DVD arm, Qwikster (pictured left) and reports on Joe Swanberg's DVD deal with Factory 25; while Gregory Bayne discusses PMD and whether independent film is dooming itself to obscurity.
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INDEPENDENT FILM WEEK COVERAGE
Read posts from filmmakers involved at this year's event, check out photo galleries and more. read more SEPTEMBER
Santa Barbara International Film Festival
WAB Deadline: September 23
Festival Dates: January 26 - February 5, 2012
Sundance Film Festival
WAB Deadline: September 23
Festival Dates: January 19 - 29, 2012
Cleveland International Film Festival
WAB Deadline: September 30
Festival Dates: March 22 - April 1, 2012