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Next up was the "one for them and one for me" approach, best typified by Steven Soderbergh in the late '90s through mid aughts. This was less of a model than an aspirational dream for many filmmakers but some - arguably David Gordon Green - succeeded at it. There were other models, of course: "Indiewood," with the fees provided by its well-capitalized mini-major labels and then, later, off-balance sheet financiers; the anticipated innovative schemes of the initial dotcom boom; and then the new models that are still kicking around in some form today. These range from the "lower budgets/grants/ Kickstarter" model that is increasingly prevalent to the direct-to-fan/artist-as-brand model that is still more successful when practiced in the music world. Older models still abound, like the John Sayles model of writing for them and directing for you and that old reliable standby: subsidizing your work through a second job.
I was thinking about all of this because of a couple of stories in our new issue. The first is our annual "25 New Faces" feature -- our enthusiastic picks of new, up-and-coming filmmakers. The second is Anthony Kaufman's "Industry Beat" column (print issue only), in which he writes about the struggles new filmmakers face in progressing their career beyond the microbudget stage. Anthony continued this conversation a bit at Indiewire, asking if this year's selections "have a future." To be honest, these filmmakers' future earning potential doesn't figure into our selection process. We simply try to create each year a diverse list capturing the interesting and fresh currents coursing through our film art.
But still, filmmakers have to survive. So, if you're a filmmaker, what's your model? Are you thinking about how to sustain yourself over five, 10, 20 years? Or is it all about the next film? What models have I missed here? Email me at email@example.com and maybe this conversation will turn into something bigger.
See you next week.
P.S.: There's other stuff only in our print issue too, like Donal Foreman's piece comparing the production philosophies of three low-budget productions and Ariston Anderson's piece on how to pitch your projects through images. It's on newsstands now. INDUSTRY REGISTRATION FOR INDEPENDENT FILM WEEK Independent Film Week is a destination where the community of individuals involved with independent film can annually convene - from the filmmakers selected for their exciting new projects to the individuals from companies, festivals and organizations aimed at helping the work get made and ultimately seen by audiences. Recent industry attendees of IFP's Project Forum met the filmmakers or got their first looks at projects such as Beasts of the Southern Wild, The Queen of Versailles, Pariah, If a Tree Falls, Incendies, Nobody Walks, Una Noche and more. Industry registration continues currently for those broadcasters, distributors, festivals, sales agents, financing and production companies that want a first look at the projects beginning in early August as industry meetings begin to take shape. Independent Film Week takes place from September 16-20 at Lincoln Center in NYC. More registration info here.
Hammer To Nail Review
Searching for Sugar Man
Mikkel Norgaard, Klown
Industry Registration for Independent Film Week
KILLER JOE By Michael Tully
As I get older with each passing year, I've begun to process the world--and, by extension, cinema--in a different light. While I'm not turning into an outright prude, I am becoming much less tolerant of art and entertainment that takes a condescending and contemptible attitude towards humanity. On an ethical, theoretical level, there's no denying that the way to best appreciate and enjoy a movie like Killer Joe is to look down upon and get a hilarious kick out of all the underprivileged, uneducated, bad-decision-making redneck idiocy on display. Shocking violence and rampant stupidity? No thanks. But not so fast. In the case of William Friedkin's second feature film collaboration with playwright/screenwriter Tracy Letts (the first was Bug), the complicated-to-swallow truth is that it is so well acted and spins into such outlandish directions that ethics be damned. As much as I want to say that I don't approve of Killer Joe, I can't do that. This movie is one seriously gonzo romp.
Read more KILLER JOE In William Friedkin's Killer Joe, Chris (Emile Hirsch), a small-town drug dealer, has his stash stolen by his mother and must raise $6,000 or die. He hires Detective "Killer" Joe Cooper (Mathew McConaughey), a local cop who moonlights as a hitman, to kill his mother in order to acquire her life-insurance money and pay off his debt. Friedkin reunites with wunderkind screenwriter-playwright Tracy Letts (Bug, August: Osage County) for this dark comedy noir. The stellar supporting cast includes Gina Gershon, Thomas Haden Church and Juno Temple. RUBY SPARKS Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris' Ruby Sparks focuses on Calvin (Paul Dano), a novelist whom after achieving early fame finds himself at a loss with trying to come up with new material. He creates a character named Ruby (Zoe Kazan) and feels inspired again, only to see her actually come to life. Ruby Sparks is Kazan's screenwriting debut and her first starring role alongside her real-life boyfriend Dano. The film also marks a comeback for Little Miss Sunshine directors Dayton and Farris. SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN Malik Bendjelloul's Searching for Sugar Man documents the journey of two South Africans as they attempt to learn more about the mysterious disappearance of 1970's Mexican-American musician Rodriguez. Music doc director Bendjelloul, who has worked with the likes of Bjork and U2, sheds light on a musician who was once considered to be the voice of a generation in South Africa only to fade into obscurity. Searching for Sugar Man was an award-winning audience favorite at this year's Sundance Film Festival and went on to earn many critical accolades. This week on the blog, Scott Macaulay shares the trailer for Ang Lee's Life of Pi, Roger Ross Williams reports from Sundance Documentary Labs (pictured left), and Kevin Canfield interviews Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry director Alison Klayman.
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MIKKEL NORGAARD, KLOWN
Long considered one of the funniest shows in Scandinavia, the television series Klown features Danish comedians Casper Christensen and Frank Hvam playing Curb Your Enthusiasm-style variations on themselves, getting into hysterically awkward encounters with friends and strangers, loved ones and frenemies, including other Danish celebrities such as actress Iben Hjejle (High Fidelity, The Boss of It All) and Jorgen Leth (the co-director, with Lars von Trier, of The Five Obstructions). Running for six seasons, it propelled the comic duo to the heights of Danish celebrity and mainstream popularity. Now there is a film version of Klown directed by Mikkel Norgaard, who conceived and directed much of the series with Christensen and Hvam, an uproarious and vulgar and sneakily sentimental comedy, playing like an odd riff on the significantly inferior The Hangover series. Whether it is a canoe trip from hell or the single most unforgettable masturbation joke/set piece you'll likely ever see, the film contains a wealth of golden comedic moments. Read more
Glasgow Film Festival
Earlybird Deadline: July 27
Regular Deadline: September 14
Late Deadline: October 5
WAB Deadline: October 8
Festival Dates: February 3 - 24
Tallahassee Film Festival
Regular Deadline: July 27
Late Deadline: August 17
WAB Deadline: August 31
Festival Dates: November 9 - 11
Crown Heights Film Festival
Late Deadline: July 27
WAB Deadline: August 10
Festival Dates: October 30 - November 04