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here.A short newsletter this week as I remind you of a few deadlines coming up. The first are for the IFP's Filmmaker Labs, which remain the only Labs that assist first-time filmmakers through the process of finishing their features and launching them at festivals, in theaters, and through alternative, DIY means. The Labs have had a lot of success recently. Alumni projects like Pariah have hit theaters, were recently bought (The Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best), won awards (a Slamdance Grand Jury Prize went to Welcome to Pine Hill,) are set to premiere at SXSW (Booster, Pavilion), or were listed by Roger Ebert as one of the best films of the year (Kinyarwanda). The documentary deadline is March 9, and the narrative deadline is April 6. I think these are really valuable programs, and you can learn more
Coming up even sooner is the submission deadline for the Vimeo Festival and Awards, of which Filmmaker is a sponsor. February 20 is the cut-off date to submit your original work that premiered online or not at all. The Vimeo Festival, which I've attended the last two years, is both informative and a lot of fun, with a very different vibe to most other fests. The awards definitely bring a lot of attention to the films' creators, attention that is amplified by the high caliber of the judges, who include documentarians Steve James and Lucy Walker, d.p. Philip Bloom, Radiohead's Colin Greenwood, and actor and director James Franco. You can learn more about the awards here.
Finally, a question. We're in the midst of exploring a new digital publication strategy. Right now, we have a digital subscription that's something of a PDF flipbook style view. It's not a fancy iPad-type publication, but you can download either entire issues or single articles, and there's no DRM. To help us develop Filmmaker for the iPad, I'd love to hear from tablet owners about the publications they read on their devices, and what they like and don't like about those reading experiences? Do you read Wired, and do you like that format? The New Yorker? Spin? Or do you prefer continuously updated apps that reformat web content, like The Huffington Post? Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any of your thoughts.
See you next week.
PS: We have a curated page on Kickstarter. ENVISION 2012: STORIES FOR A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE Envision, a unique partnership between the IFP and the United Nations Department of Public Information, is pleased to announce its new partner: JustFilms, the Ford Foundation's social justice documentary film initiative. Anchored by the UN Millennium Development Goals, Envision, which was founded in 2008, is built on the shared belief that storytelling and documentary film can be powerful tools in building a better future for all people. Just Films joins the partnership in time to host Envision 2012: Stories for a Sustainable Future at the Ford Foundation's New York City headquarters on April 16 and 17. Set against the backdrop of the upcoming Rio + 20 conference on sustainable development, Envision 2012 will focus on the urgent challenge of building a sustainable global future with opportunity for all. The program will be built around three key issues: just and sustainable cities, clean water and green energy. For more information, click here.
Hammer to Nail Review
My Heart of Darkness: An Interview with Marius Van Niekerk
Envision 2012: Stories for a Sustainable Future
JESS AND MOSS By Michael Tully
While there are many pressing existential questions, to my mind, this is one of the most significant: can one make a truly effective film about aimlessness and boredom without that film becoming excruciatingly aimless and boring in its own right? At first glance, Clay Jeter's Jess + Moss might seem to confront that issue head on, and if you aren't in the right frame of mood, your opinion might be a less than favorable one. But if you go into it understanding that this is sensory-based--as opposed to plot-driven--cinema, you'll immediately recognize that Jess + Moss is about something completely different. It's about the memory of aimlessness and boredom. In a larger way, it concerns the ineffable, mysterious power of memory itself, how it can cause us to feel so deeply when we aren't even able to pinpoint what it is that's making us feel so lonely and sad. read more BULLHEAD Belgium director Michael R. Roskam's Oscar nominated debut is an emotional rollercoaster built around a riveting performance by Matthias Schoenaerts. The film follows Jacky Vanmarsenille (Schoenaerts), a brutish, steroid-pumping cattle farmer who enters a deal with a corrupt beef trader and is consequently thrust into the criminal underworld of hormone trafficking. Expertly photographed by DP Nicolas Karakatsanis, Bullhead is intense, engaging and unexpectedly moving. UNDEFEATED Daniel Lindsay and T.J. Martin's new documentary tracks the unlikely winning streak that Memphis high school football team The Mannassas Tigers enjoyed across their 2009 season. But Undefeated is inspiring for many reasons beyond its central conceit of underdog success. The heart of the film lies in the support system that volunteer head coach Bill Courtney builds for his underprivileged players. Courtney is a man who mentors his students not only to become better players, but better people. Combine this with the fascinating subjects on display here, from an ex-con attempting to keep his temper in check to a college prospect working to pass the ACT, and Undefeated presents an inspiring football story just as engaging as those found in The Blind Side or Friday Night Lights. THIN ICE Indebted to Fargo's noirish, darkly comic perspective on mid-Western crime, Jill Sprecher's (Clockwatchers, 13 Conversations About One Thing) Thin Ice presents a case of Wisconsin theft spun far out of control. Greg Kinnear stars as Mickey, a guileless insurance salesman attempting to pull a con on an elderly client (Alan Arkin). But when the plan begins to unravel, Mickey finds himself in far over his head, forming an alliance with unhinged security expert Randy (Billy Crudup) and navigating an increasingly perilous maze of deceit. This week on the blog, Scott Macaulay shares Paul Dano and Stoya's trailer for a book,Flatscreen, filmmaker Terence Nance discusses his Post Sundance Euphoria (pictured left), and David Rosen discusses the failure of Broadband.
To read more posts from our blog, click here.
"MY HEART OF DARKNESS": AN INTERVIEW WITH MARIUS VAN NIEKERK By Daniel James Scott
The journey of an international documentary to the United States is an uncertain one. Make its subject a lesser-known foreign war and the post-traumatic effects thereof, and you've got what an American agent calls a "hard sell." My Heart of Darkness, a brooding foray into four veterans' pasts, has been traveling the international festival circuit since premiering at IDFA in 2010. The years between then and now, where it's having its U.S. premiere at L.A.'s Pan African Film Festival (PAFF), has been marked by all manner of revelations and misunderstandings--appropriate for a film about the reconciliation of four former enemies of the Angolan Civil War. read more
Boston LGBT Film Festival
Late Deadline: February 17
WAB Deadline: March 9
Festival Dates: May 3 - 13
Gen Art Film Festival
WAB Deadline: February 18
Festival Dates: June 6 - 12
Provincetown International Film Festival
Regular Deadline: February 18
Late Deadline: February 25
WAB Deadline: March 4
Festival Dates: June 13 - 17