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There's a lot more, and the IFP has just posted an addition to its website giving further details as well as concept drawings. To say that everyone at the IFP is excited about this would be an understatement. The staff, led by Executive Director Joana Vicente, has been working on the vision and details of the Center for months, and to stand on its future site yesterday and hear Bloomberg, Vicente, New York City Media and Entertainment Commissioner Katherine Oliver and other officials talk expansively about the artistic and economic potential of new forms of storytelling was galvanizing and inspiring. We'll obviously be telling you a lot more about the Media Center in the weeks ahead, and we can't wait to see some of you there when it opens next spring.
When we launched Filmmaker 20 years ago, our tagline was "by filmmakers, for filmmakers." And, to this day, we still try to use filmmakers as journalists and editors. Recently, this approach has paid dividends beyond informative content -- two high-profile directors agreed to be featured by us because they knew they'd be in conversation with a fellow filmmaker. (In the next print issue, virtually every interviewer and writer is an active filmmaker.) So, having filmmakers as contributors means that sometimes their movies hit the theaters, and I hope you don't mind if I point out a couple of them. The first is James Ponsoldt's Smashed, opening today. James is a regular writer for us and most recently interviewed Paul Thomas Anderson about The Master. His new film is a beautifully directed, warmly compassionate and smartly anti-melodramatic story about a relationship threatened by alcoholism, and it boasts a break-out performance by Mary Elizabeth Winstead. James is a friend but I wouldn't write this if I didn't think the film was really good. Kevin Canfield interviewed him for the site, and you can read that here.
The second, also opening today, is Ava DuVernay's Middle of Nowhere. Ava is a writer, director, head of the African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement, and she appeared in our magazine for the first time last issue when she interviewed Spike Lee. She won Best Director at Sundance this year for Middle of Nowhere, a piercing drama about a woman negotiating the shifting terrain of her own interior life while fighting for her incarcerated husband's parole. In our next issue, producer Nekisa Cooper interviews DuVernay, observing that she didn't just make a film, she's inventing a distribution model too. There's a lot of talk in that piece about careers, DIY strategies, and what it means to do grassroots in the 21st century. So, here I just want to say that DuVernay has with Middle of Nowhere made a beautiful film containing real emotional wisdom. Bradford Young shot it, so it looks amazing, and the lead performance by Emayatzy Corinealdi will stay with you for days. It also opens today, in an innovative partnership between AFFRM and Participant Media.
So, there are two movies this weekend by directors who are actively engaged with other filmmakers in our pages about the art and act of making independent films. I hope you check them out, and see you next week.
"MADE IN NY" MEDIA CENTER TO OPEN IN BROOKLYN AND BE DEVELOPED AND OPERATED BY IFP Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Media & Entertainment Commissioner Katherine Oliver and New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky yesterday announced that IFP will develop and operate the "Made in NY" Media Center, a centralized hub for the local media industry to collaborate and grow. The "Made in NY" Media Center will provide workspace, educational programs in partnership with General Assembly and networking events for content creators and entrepreneurs. The center will be housed in DUMBO, Brooklyn at an 18,000 square foot facility that will bring together professionals from the film, television, advertising, new media, gaming, marketing and branding industries for collaboration and new opportunities. It is expected to open in May 2013.
At the Center, a host of programs and workshops will be offered to foster the development of the next generation of content creators. General Assembly, a leading global education company headquartered in New York, will provide classes, workshops, and long-form educational programming covering technology, entrepreneurship, and design. IFP will offer classes on creativity & craft, cross-media strategy, and career sustainability. The curricula will be designed to address the needs of would-be entrepreneurs seeking to transition to emerging career fields in media, individuals looking for specific skills and practical knowledge to fill gaps in their toolkit and those looking to stay current in their chosen career. To encourage interaction and collaboration among the different participants in the "Made in NY" Media Center, several programs will be embedded into the agenda, including the Transmedia Incubator, the nation's first dedicated transmedia incubator to jump-start and support innovative projects from idea to conception and beyond. Networking events, workshops, training sessions and panels will also take place at the center.
To read the full press release of yesterday's announcement, click here.
Middle of Nowhere
James Ponsoldt, Smashed
"Made in NY" Media Center to Open in Brooklyn and be Developed and Operated by IFP
GAYBY Jonathan Lisecki's Gayby focuses on Jenn and Matt (Jenn Harris and Matthew Wilkas), two single thirty-somethings and best friends from college. Jenn has no time for boyfriends and Matt can't get over his last one. Fearing the biological clock, Jenn decides she wants to have a baby with Matt and their friendship is put to the ultimate test. Based on Lisecki's award-winning short of the same name, Gayby garnered accolades at several festivals including Ashland, IFF Boston and Kansas City Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. R. Kurt Osenlund met with Lisecki to discuss his relationship comedy. SMASHED James Ponsoldt's Smashed follows Kate (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and Charlie (Aaron Paul), a young married couple whose feelings for each other are matched only by their love of drinking. When Kate's alcohol dependency starts getting the better of her, she decides to get sober and, as she comes face to face with past demons, starts to question whether her marriage was based on anything more than alcohol-fueled ecstasy. Smashed premiered earlier this year at Sundance and received rave reviews for its affecting portrayal of alcoholism and the raw and earnest performances of Winstead and Paul. Read Kevin Canfield's interview with Ponsoldt here. MIDDLE OF NOWHERE In Ava DuVernay's Middle of Nowhere, med student Ruby (Emayatzy Corinealdi) puts her studies aside, devoting her attention to her recently imprisoned husband (Omari Hardwick). Years later, Ruby's husband grows distant and she begins to wonder whether her sacrifices were in vain. Middle of Nowhere is DuVernay's second feature and earned her the best director award at this year's Sundance Film Festival. The film has been described as an honest, restrained and melancholic portrayal of a woman punished for her selflessness. This week in the blog, Lady Vengeance discusses the horror anthology V/H/S, Musa Syeed reflects on Emerging Visions, Dan Ouelette talks about Dreams from a Petrified Head (pictured left), and a second trailer for Django Unchained is released.
To read more posts from our blog, click here.
JAMES PONSOLDT, SMASHED By Kevin Canfield
Movies about heavy drinkers are almost as old as film itself, but Smashed, the follow-up to Ponsoldt's much-praised 2006 debut Off the Black, is less about alcoholism than the vicissitudes of married life and the nature of the commitments that not-quite-fully-formed people make to one another. "I like stories about damaged people trying to connect with other people, and maybe trying to fix themselves or get better," says Ponsoldt, 34, "and it really is irrelevant to me whether they're pursuing it in a rational or successful manner." With a cast that includes popular TV stars Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally and Oscar winner Octavia Spencer, it's the kind of artfully constructed, smartly acted indie film that's easy to admire.
Slamdance Film Festival
WAB Deadline: October 15
Festival Dates: January 18 - 24
Full Frame Documentary Film Festival
Regular Deadline: October 15
Late Deadline: November 30
Festival Dates: April 4 - 7
Myrtle Beach International Film Festival
First Deadline: October 12
Second Deadline: December 2
Third Deadline: February 8
Final Deadline: February 22
Festival Dates: April 25 - 27