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I guess I'm going down memory lane because I'm writing this while sitting on my flight headed to Cannes. I'll hit send on this newsletter when I check into the apartment and then head out to get my badge and plan my schedule. These days, I'm both more purposeful at Cannes and less. I do have some meetings set up, but I also trust that I'll run into everyone I need to meet along the Croisette or at the Grand at night. I'll be writing for the site, of course, and moderating with Joana Vicente some of the morning Producers Network meetings. I'm doing a panel on the future of film festivals at the American Pavilion on Monday too. There are of course a lot of films I'm looking forward to, even though I'm already disappointed that I'll be leaving before the new ones by David Cronenberg and Jeff Nichols.
If you want a macro overview of the event this year, Dennis Lim has a good New York Times piece entitled "They'll Always Have Cannes." He nails the contradiction of the festival: during a time of new media and myriad cultural disruption, Cannes remains the top festival precisely because of its cinematic spectacle, its old-fashioned exaltation of the power of the moving image, projected large in front of thousands of people.
The press always fixates on the big Competition titles, but the other sections are usually where you'll find the kind of American independents we cover in Filmmaker. If you read the print magazine you'll know that I loved Adam Leon's Gimme the Loot at SXSW. I introduced myself to the actress and one of the actors afterward, and they were a little dizzy after the huge response in Austin. I can't wait to see them on the Croisette, where I know the film will play like gangbusters. At the Sundance premiere of Beasts of the Southern Wild, John Cooper quipped that the film's "crew of 500" were all in the audience; I wonder how many of the sprawling team behind that picture will be in Cannes. And I'd like to meet Rodney Ascher, whose Room 237 was one of the most buzzed about films at Sundance this year. An archival footage journey down the rabbit hole that is not just Stanley Kubrick's The Shining but internet-fueled cultural discourse in general, Room 237 is an homage to one of cinema's great directors, so it's a natural fit for the festival. But as it freeze frames, stutter steps and generally deconstructs Kubrick's horror classic, it's also a film that could only exist in the age of the DVD and the 'net. IFC will be releasing the film and you'll certainly read more about it at Filmmaker.
If you're at the festival with a film or project or short film in the Shorts Corner and want to sent a note for the blog about your experience, you can always email me at scott AT filmmakermagazine.com.
See you next week.
IFP ANNOUNCES DOCUMENTARY LINEUP FOR ITS ANNUAL INDEPENDENT FILMMAKER LABS Ten documentaries selected for IFP's 2012 Independent Filmmaker Labs, IFP's annual year-long fellowship for first-time feature directors, were announced this week. The creative teams of the selected films, chosen from a national pool of 200 submissions, join the 8th edition of the Labs, taking place this week in New York City. The Labs are a highly immersive, free mentorship program supporting first-time feature directors with projects in post-production as they complete, market and distribute their films. Focusing exclusively on low-budget features, the Labs provide filmmakers with the technical, creative and strategic tools necessary to launch their films. The selected projects are: Alias Ruby Blade, Big Joy Project: The Adventures of James Broughton, For Thousands of Miles, The Last Wild Mountain, Lucky, Our Nixon, Purgatorio: A Journey into the Heart of the Border, Survival Prayer, These Birds Walk, and Where God Likes to Be. Following this week's Lab sessions, the filmmakers will return for two weeks in September and December for additional focus on their marketing and distribution plans. All projects will also participate in IFP's Project Forum of Independent Film Week in September. More on projects and Labs here. For more information go here.
Hammer to Nail Review
Beyond the Black Rainbow
The Color Wheel
The Police Procedural Breaks New Ground In Maiwenn's Polisse
IFP Announces Documentary Line-up for its Annual Independent Filmmaker Labs
THE COLOR WHEEL By Michael Tully
In The Color Wheel, writer/director/star Alex Ross Perry's second film, J.R. (co-writer Carlen Altman) and Colin (Perry) are siblings living in the cloistered world of their own making; J.R. dreams (and only dreams) of making it as a broadcast news personality while Colin, afraid of his own dreams of becoming an author, works as a writer of focus group copy when he's not living at his parents' house or trying to score with his reluctant girlfriend. Despite their hilarious and openly hostile way of talking to one another, J.R. convinces Colin to join her on a road trip to reclaim her belongings from the home of her former lover.
read more BEYOND THE BLACK RAINBOW In Panos Cosmatos' sci-fi mystery Beyond the Black Rainbow, deranged scientist Dr. Barry Nyle (Michael Rogers) holds captive a young girl named Elena (Eva Allen) in a futuristic commune. When Elena tries to escape, Dr. Nyle embarks on an obsessive quest to stop her. After screening at last year's Tribeca Film Festival, Beyond the Black Rainbow has received comparisons to the works of such diverse filmmakers as Kenneth Anger, John Carpenter and Gaspar Noe. THE COLOR WHEEL Alex Ross Perry's The Color Wheel focuses on JR (Carlen Altman), a college student who breaks up with her professor boyfriend and enlists her brother Colin (Alex Ross Perry) to help her move out. The two siblings then go on a tumultuous road trip, which threatens to destroy their relationship forever. After being featured in IndieWire's 2011 year-end best undistributed films list, Perry's sophomore feature has since been acquired by Factory 25 (who are releasing in tandem with Cinema Conservancy) and garnered great critical acclaim. POLISSE In Maiwenn's Polisse, a photographer named Melissa (Maiwenn) is hired to observe the Child Protection Unit, a department of the Paris police dedicated to detaining child abusers and finding homes for displaced children. As she witnesses the inner workings of the department, Melissa becomes drawn in to the individual lives of the officers. Shot in a documentary style, Polisse has been described as an authentic crime drama akin to a two-hour version of The Wire. This week on the blog, Nick Dawson discusses The Global High-Concept Group Film, Scott Macaulay shares photos from the Maryland Film Festival (pictured left), and interviews Think of Me director Bryan Wizemann.
To read more posts from our blog, click here.
THE POLICE PROCEDURAL BREAKS NEW GROUND IN MAIWENN'S POLISSE By Brandon Harris
Actress-turned-director Maiwenn, best known to American audiences for a supporting role in her ex-husband Luc Besson's The Fifth Element, is poised with her Cannes-winning Polisse, which opens this Friday, to leap into a class of heralded young international auteurs. As much a revealing picture of the diverse, modern French middle class as it is a ripped-from-the-headlines police procedural epic, it presents the roller coaster day-to-day reality of a devoted but all-too-flawed group of cops in the Parisian Child Protection Unit as they investigate various crimes against minors, depicting their lives with a delicate but surprisingly effective mix of gallows humor and harrowing tragedy. Read more
Zero Film Festival-New York
Earlybird Deadline: May 17
Regular Deadline: August 3
Late Deadline: September 5
WAB Deadline: September 15
Festival Dates: November 6 -11
Mill Valley Film Festival
Regular Deadline: May 18
Late Deadline: June 15
WAB Deadline: June 29
Festival Dates: October 4 - 14
Syracuse Film Festival
Late Deadline: May 20
WAB Deadline: June 1
Festival Dates: October 11 - 14