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Nonetheless, I can give you something of a Toronto preview. Here are 10 films I'd look forward to if I were you, starting with two we have a particular connection to:
1. Shepard & Dark. After seeing this film in rough cut, I selected director Treva Wurmfeld for this year's "25 New Faces". The documentary is a portrait of the decades-long friendship of actor and director Sam Shepard and Johnny Dark, an archivist who works days at a Santa Fe deli. It's not only a great doc about Shepard, it's a fantastic look at male friendship.
2. Detroit Unleaded. First-time filmmaker Rola Nashef brought her Detroit Unleaded to the IFP Narrative Lab last year, and after seeing it in rough cut I selected Rola for last year's list. There's a bit of Spike Lee in Rola's affectionate look at Detroit's Arab-American community through the lens of one small filling station. And her two stars are enormously charismatic.
3. Museum Hours. I'm dying to see Jem Cohen's feature Museum Hours, set in Vienna's grand Kunsthistorisches Art Museum.
4. At Any Price. Ramin Bahrani is one of American independent film's best directors. I fell in love with his Goodbye Solo at Toronto a few years ago, and now he's back with a heartland drama that scored great reviews out of Venice.
5. Foxfire. Premiering in Toronto is Laurent Cantet's follow-up to his Palme d'Or-winning The Class. It's an adaptation of Joyce Carol Oates' novel Foxfire, which has been adapted once before in a version starring a young Angelina Jolie.
6. The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Many years ago -- in 1994, I believe -- Steve Chbosky took his first feature film, Four Corners to Nowhere, to Sundance. I thought the movie was great, and we covered it in the magazine. That picture never broke out, but Chbosky went and became an in-demand Hollywood and TV screenwriter. Now, almost 20 years after his debut, he's back with a high-school drama based on his own novel.
7. The ABCs of Death. Oftentimes omnibus films aren't that great, but with its 26 slots, this horror anthology looks to have more chances to blow us away.
8. Something in the Air. If I had to name my favorite international director of the moment, it'd probably be Olivier Assayas. Owing a bit to his early Cold Water, Something in the Air is a look at young student radicals in the early '70s.
9. The Place Beyond the Pines. Here's another 25 New Face -- Derek Cianfrance -- following up his excellent Blue Valentine with another Ryan Gosling drama, this time co-starring Bradley Cooper.
10.Spring Breakers. Finally, fresh off strong reviews in Venice is Spring Breakers, Harmony Korine's sun-and-Skrillex-drenched ode to teen bacchanalia. Harmony told me that he's especially proud of the movie, and I've heard from people who've seen it that it has sequences that will blow your mind.
There's a lot more, of course. Read about them on the site and see you next week.
IFP FILMMAKER CONFERENCE - TICKETS STILL AVAILABLE Held September 16th to the 20th during IFP's signature Independent Film Week, the Filmmaker Conference brings together the international filmmaking community to explore the art and business of 21st century storytelling. Highlights include keynotes from producer Christine Vachon and Focus Features' James Schamus, filmmaker JC Chandor, ARTE's Michel Reilhac, and the Ford Foundation's Orlando Bagwell, as well as case studies of Beasts of the Southern Wild and How to Survive a Plague, and vital info you can use to produce your latest & greatest works. Meet the Decision Makers - real meetings for Conference passholders with top distributors, agents & managers, grants & fellowships. Limited tickets available! For the latest schedule, pitch workshop info, and to purchase tickets, click here.
Keep the Lights On
Damon Russell & Curtis Snow Talk Snow On Tha Bluff
IFP Filmmaker Conference - Tickets Still Available
DETROPIA Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady's Detropia is a cinematic portrait of the city of Detroit. Once a shining example of the American dream, Detroit now stands on the precipice of destruction as companies fall apart, houses are demolished and countless jobs are taken away. In examining the city's struggles, Ewing and Grady shed a more sympathetic light on the people who refuse to give up in the face of economic collapse. Read R. Kurt Oselund's interview with the directors here. KEEP THE LIGHTS ON Ira Sachs' Keep the Lights On is a semi-autobiographical chronicle of a young gay couple's tumultuous relationship in '90's New York. The film focuses on Erik (Thure Lindhardt), a documentary filmmaker who falls for a lawyer named Paul (Zachary Booth). Their relationship quickly intensifies but takes a turn for the worst when Paul's drug addiction rises to the surface. Based on Sachs' real-life relationship with Bill Clegg, author of the memoir Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man (also about their relationship), Keep the Lights On is a critically acclaimed and multi-layered drama. Sachs sat down with How To Survive a Plague's director/producer David France to share a conversation for Filmmaker's Summer issue. GIRL MODEL David Redmon and Ashley Sabin's Girl Model in an insider look into the Siberia/Tokyo modeling industry. The film follows Ashley, a scout who discovers a 13-year old Siberian girl named Nadya and takes her to Tokyo with the hopes of turning her into a profitable model. While Nadya hopes to earn money to send back to her family, Ashley's focus is solely on success. Girl Model explores both of their journeys as they navigate one of the most difficult and corrupting industries in the world. This week on the blog, Malika Zouhali-Worrall photoblogs the "25 New Faces" in Tacoma, Mariel Falk interviews director Emily Hagins about her film My Sucky Teen Romance (pictured left), Livia Bloom previews TIFF 2012, and Scott Macaulay reports on missing Syrian filmmaker Orwa Nyrabia.
To read more posts from our blog, click here.
DAMON RUSSELL & CURTIS SNOW TALK SNOW ON THA BLUFF By Hannah Fidell
After debuting at the Slamdance Film Festival in 2011, Damon Russell's Snow on Tha Bluff had a small theatrical release earlier this year. Writing about it then, Filmmaker's own Brandon Harris described the film as "An incredible combination of found footage, no-budget narrative ingenuity and pulled-from-the-streets doc immediacy, [which] discovers in its incredibly charismatic and troubled protagonist, Curtis Snow, an American life many of us would probably rather forget about." Since becoming available through such platforms as iTunes and Netflix Watch Instantly, Snow on Tha Bluff has found a new and highly engaged audience which has discovered and been electrified by the film. Filmmaker asked one of those viewers, 2012 "25 New Faces" alum Hannah Fidell, to interview both Snow on Tha Bluff's co-writer/director Russell (himself a "25 New Face" from 2011) and co-writer/star Curtis Snow about the film, its making, and the reason it has received such a strong response from viewers.
Slamdance Film Festival
Regular Deadline: September 5
Late Deadline: October 10
WAB Deadline: October 15
Festival Dates: January 18 - 24
Boulder International Film Festival
Regular Deadline: September 7
Late Deadline: October 1
WAB Deadline: October 8
Festival Dates: February 14 - 17
Bronx International Film Festival
Late Deadline: September 7
WAB Deadline: September 14
Festival Dates: November 8 - 10