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So, I’m a little surprised that two posts on films that didn’t, or haven’t, or might not get made are kicking up a lot of traffic and comments. The first is my “When Should You Give Up?” piece and the second is Gregory Bayne’s response, “When Should You Call Bulls@#t?”
Most of our guest bloggers have their own Wordpress log-ins, so when I saw Gregory’s post in the queue, I assumed he was going to call me out for negativity. Far from it, though. Gregory kind of upped the ante on my post, moving from when to abandon a stalled project to when to admit that you are deluding yourself about your own talent and future prospects. Happily -- because here at Filmmaker we go for a whistling past the graveyard sobriety rather than a bone-crushing pessimism -- he turns it around by the end with some advice that will improve your ability to function in the film business if you embrace it. “There is no ‘one’ path,” Bayne writes. “Others’ successes are great to look at, ponder, and glean inspiration from, but are ultimately not able to be duplicated. If you’re committed to the work, to doing it well, and have finally figured out that this is a relationship business, not a ‘what can they do for me’ business you’re probably on the road to something sustainable. It’s a hard line to tread, hustling your wares and being cool about it, but it’s a necessary balance to master if you want anyone to ever see or care about what it is you do.”
I’m writing this as I get ready for Toronto. I’ll be there Friday through next Thursday, and I’m really looking forward to it. If you’ve got a film there and would like to send a guest blog about your experience, you can send it to: editor.filmmakermagazine AT gmail.com. See you there, and remember to check our Toronto coverage section for interviews, news and photos all during the fest.
See you next week.
KEYNOTES ANNOUNCED FOR INDEPENDENT FILMMAKER CONFERENCE The first set of headliners for IFP’s Independent Filmmaker Conference’s daily Keynote “Conversations with...” have been announced. Kicking off each day’s programming will be conversations with Micah Green and Roeg Sutherland, co-leads of Creative Arts Agency’s Film Finance and Sales Group; Geoffrey Gilmore, Chief Creative Officer of Tribeca Enterprises; Keri Putnam, Executive Director of the Sundance Institute; Andrea Meditch, renowned documentary executive producer (Buck, Man on Wire, Grizzly Man) and President of Back Allie Films; and Josh Braun, uber sales agent and producer and Co-President of Submarine Entertainment (sales of Project Nim, The Cove, Page One, Winter’s Bone). The Conference takes place September 18-23 at the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center. If you’re planning on attending get your tickets now! Due to limited availability, Conference tickets are only being sold in advance -- not at the event. More info on this year’s Conference is available here.
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Hammer to Nail Review
Black Power Mixtape
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We Were Here
David Weissman, We Were Here
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REBIRTH By Michael Tully
On the occasion of the tenth anniversary of 9/11, frankly, at the moment, I’m finding it hard not to feel more hopeless than hopeful about things. It’s bad enough that it’s still frighteningly easy to recall the visceral shock of that fateful morning, watching the twin towers crumble to the ground on television before rushing to my Washington Heights fire escape to confirm that they were, in fact, gone. But what is even more deflating to me is the realization that so many of the problems in our present world can be remotely-to-directly attributed to that monumental act of terror. Does time heal wounds? In this case, it appears to be opening new ones. read more THE BLACK POWER MIXTAPE 1967-1975 Thirty years after a group of Swedish journalists gained exclusive access to many of the leaders of the Black Power Movement, director Göran Olsson (Danny Glover is a co-producer) brings the footage, which had been rotting in a Swedish TV station basement, to light in a mosaic of images, music and narration chronicling the evolution the Black Power movement. Highlighting the movement's high-profile participants -- Stokely Carmichael, Bobby Seale, Angela Davis and Eldridge Cleaver -- the filmmakers capture intimate moments with remarkably unguarded interviews. BURKE AND HARE The first theatrical release for John Landis in over a decade, this dark comedy on serial killers William Burke and William Hare is vintage Landis, as he mixes humor and gore to entertaining success. Set in 1828 Edinburgh, Burke (Simon Pegg) and Hare (Andy Serkis) find a lucrative profession when they realize the medical schools in Edinburgh are short on cadavers. Financed by Dr. Knox (Tom Wilkinson), the two go on bumbling exploits to continue their payday. CONTAGION With only a handful of Steven Soderbergh films left before his retirement (so he says) every release is a must see. For his most recent, Contagion, the director channels his inner Irwin Allen to create a modern-day disaster movie, focusing on our fears of recent outbreaks of H1N1 and SARS. In the film, a deadly disease has hit the world and as the body count from it builds we follow a range of characters, from an international team of doctors to a grieving father to a conspiracy-theorist blogger, to highlight how the disease has paralyzed the world. With an all-star cast that includes Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law and Kate Winslet, Soderbergh and 25 New Faces alum, screenwriter Scott Z. Burns (The Informant!), consulted with scientists to create the most realistic scenarios. WARRIOR Compared to everything from Rocky to The Fighter, Warrior has quickly become one of the most anticipated movies of the fall. Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton star as two brothers who turn to Mixed Martial Arts to fight their demons. For Tommy (Hardy), an ex-Marine, he has entered the ring to fight the memories of war while calling on his recovering alcoholic father (Nick Nolte) to train him. Brendan (Edgerton) returns to MMA fighting to provide for his family when his teaching gig can't pay the bills. Estranged from his father, Brendan is certain to cross paths with Tommy and his father as the two brothers quickly raise in the ranks. Read our interview with Edgerton on our site tomorrow. WE WERE HERE Capturing the height of the AIDS epidemic in San Francisco in the 1980s, filmmakers David Weissman and Bill Weber focus on five individuals who lived in San Francisco before AIDS and give candid interviews of how the disease changed their lives and the city. Called the “Gay Plague” in the early '80s, We Were Here illuminates the profound personal and community issues raised by the AIDS epidemic as well as the broad political and social upheavals it unleashed. Read our interview with Weissman. This week on the blog, we learn that Final Cut Studio (pictured left) is back in stores, Kevin Smith plans a nationwide simulcast for his DIY release of Red State and The Weinstein Company is the latest distrib to create a VOD label.
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DAVID WEISSMAN, WE WERE HERE By Scott Macaulay
David Weissman moved to San Francisco in 1976 and has been a fixture of the filmmaking community there, working on films like Crumb and In the Shadow of the Stars before directing his own movie (with Bill Weber), The Cockettes, a documentary chronicle of the legendary Bay Area performance group. With his latest, We Were Here, Weissman again digs into the history of the city, this time capturing the height of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s. The following short conversation was conducted at Sundance before the first screening of his film. read more SEPTEMBER
Slamdance Film Festival
WAB Deadline: September 16
Festival Dates: January 20 - 26, 2012
Sundance Film Festival
Late Deadline: September 16
WAB Deadline: September 23
Festival Dates: January 19 - 29, 2012
Santa Barbara International Film Festival
WAB Deadline: September 23
Festival Dates: January 26 - February 5