I had a longer newsletter planned, one where I walked you through our new website. Last week I teased our redesign, calling it a "soft launch" even though it was already online. But I didn't say too much. Our web designers, the wonderful people at Area 17, told us not to drive too much traffic to it just after the launch. They needed to make sure there weren't too many bugs, and we didn't want the site to crash for some unanticipated reason. But it held up fine, so you should certainly go there and check it out. We're really happy with it. It's both cleaner and more dynamic, and it's also a lot better organized. There are sections for different aspects of filmmaking, our columnists are nicely highlighted, and the redesigned home page lets you survey what's new across the site in one visual swipe. And if you just want a list of what's new, check out the "Featured" module in the top right -- there you'll see every post organized by time. (The new website is part of a top-to-bottom redesign timed to our 20th anniversary, including a new logo, new magazine design and new newsletter design.)
Again, though, I won't say too much. That's because there are a few more tweaks and additions to the site being made in the coming days. In another week or two I'll write a comprehensive post telling you how to use our site and explaining the thinking behind some of the changes. For now, though, here's some stuff to read on it:
The Gothams were this week, with Moonrise Kingdom winning the Best Picture and Beasts of the Southern Wild's Benh Zeitlin winning two. Our wrap is here, Nick Dawson's on-the-ground coverage is here and over here you can find an index of links to all the films.
The Sundance Film Festival announced their 2013 schedule on Wednesday and Thursday. There's a lot I'm excited about, including Upstream Color, Shane Carruth's long-awaited follow-up to Primer, films by our 25 New Faces (Fruitvale, A Teacher, Ain't Them Bodies Saints, Blue Caprice, Crystal Fairy, kink, The Rambler), an IFP Narrative Lab film (Concussion), and then some leftfield stuff that sounds wacked out. One of those is Randy Moore's Escape from Tomorrow and another is Interior: Leather Bar, Travis Matthews and James Franco's re-imagining of possibly apocryphal lost hardcore S/M footage from William Friedkin's Cruising.
Finally, you know I'm a huge fan of Nick Rombes' "Blue Velvet Project," which ran on the site for a year ending this August. Well, the Mar Del Plata Film Festival in Argentina got in touch with Rombes and asked if they could translate the whole series and publish it as a book. They flew him down too, so in his other column for us, "Into the Splice," he writes about watching Lynch in the land of Borges. Amazingly, this was the first time this Blue Velvet-obsessive saw the film on the big screen. It did not disappoint. Check out his account of the experience here.
See you next week.
Upcoming at IFP
Eleven IFP Program Alumni Announced for Sundance
The 2013 festival season has just begun with the first announcements of films selected for the Sundance Film Festival, with 11 IFP program-supported projects (to date) in the festival. The Sundance line-up includes Audrey Ewell, Aaron Aites, Lucian Read and Nina Kristic's 99%: The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film; Martha Shane and Lana Wilson's After Tiller; Zachery Heinzerling's Cutie and the Boxer; Dawn Porter's Gideon's Army; and Roger Ross Williams' God Loves Uganda in the U.S. Documentary Competition. Narrative films include David Lowery's Ain't Them Bodies Saints and Stacie Passon's Concussion in the U.S. Dramatic Competition; Alexandre Moors' Blue Caprice, Shaka King's Newlyweeds and Chad Hartigan's This is Martin Bonner in NEXT; and Rama Burshtein's Fill the Void in Spotlight. Blue Caprice and Concussion are alums of IFP's 2012 Independent Filmmaker Labs; Cutie and the Boxer, God Loves Uganda and This is Martin Bonner are fiscally sponsored by IFP; and all of the other films (and Cutie) were selections of Independent Film Week's Project Forum in 2011-2012. Congratulations all!.
New In Theaters
Killing Them Softly
In Andrew Dominik's Killing Them Softly, a hard recession hits the criminal underworld after two wannabe criminals rob a Mafia-protected card game. Unfortunately for the amateur crooks, the mob sends one of their deadliest enforcers (Brad Pitt) to track them down. Writer/director Andrew Dominik (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford) here adapts George V. Higgins's 1974 novel Cogan's Trade (Higgins' follow-up to The Friends of Eddie Coyle) and brings the action to recent times to illuminate the dark underbelly of modern-day America. Killing Them Softly stars Pitt alongside Richard Jenkins, James Gandolfini, Ray Liotta and Scoot McNairy, among others. You can read Brandon Harris' interview with Dominik in the current Fall issue of Filmmaker, and also here.
Beware of Mr. Baker
Jay Bulger's Beware of Mr. Baker documents the life of renowned Cream drummer Ginger Baker. Nomadic world traveler, former heroin addict and legendary musician, Baker tells his own story alongside those whose lives he helped shape and vice versa, including his four wives, three adult children and musicians such as Eric Clapton, Johnny Rotten and Lars Ulrich. A festival favorite, Beware of Mr. Baker has been praised for its equally funny and tragic portrait of a man who is regarded as one of the wildest figures and greatest talents in rock 'n' roll history. Click here for Brandon Harris' conversation with Jay Bulger.
Andrew Neel's King Kelly focuses on Kelly (Louisa Krause), a young girl who performs strip teases via her webcam and dreams of becoming an internet sensation. Kelly's life takes an unexpected turn when her ex-boyfriend steals her car, which contains a stash of drugs that she was supposed to deliver. In order to get back her goods, Kelly embarks on a road trip accompanied by her friends and her biggest fan - an insubordinate state trooper. King Kelly premiered earlier this year at SXSW and has been described as a darkly funny commentary on the YouTube generation. Scott Macaulay spoke to both Neel and Krause for the Filmmaker website, and their conversation is here.
This Week on FilmmakerThis week on the blog, Brandon Harris shares David Lynch's lithographs from Plus Camerimage (pictured left), Hope Dickson Leach interviews California Solo director Marshall Lewy, and Nick Dawson shares two rounds of program announcements for the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.
To read more, click here.
Newest Web Article
Jay Bulger, Beware of Mr. BakerBy Brandon Harris
An often shocking documentary on Ginger Baker, the wildest of wild rock 'n' roll drummers of the 60s and 70s, Jay Bulger's profoundly entertaining yarn Beware of Mr. Baker follows the original drummer of the late Sixties supergroup Cream well after he's fallen victim to bouts of psychosis and megalomania. In the mid 1960s, Cream (Baker, bassist Jack Bruce and of course guitarist Eric Clapton) achieved tremendous popularity almost overnight for their blues and psychedelia infused rock, but they burned out quickly, disbanding in 1968, prompting Baker to start a downward spiral of unparalleled substance abuse.
Forty years after Cream's demise, the reclusive Baker was tracked down in an South African gated community by Bulger, an ex-boxer and Brooklyn-based writer who found Baker to be a violent, incoherent old man who nonetheless is an expert polo player (he owns 39 polo ponies) with a morning routine that includes huffing morphine out of an inhaler and actively ignoring his mounting debts and 27-year-old trophy wife he found on the world wide web.
Festival DeadlinesManhattan Film Festival
Earlybird Deadline: November 30
Regular Deadline: February 25
Late Deadline: March 18
WAB Deadline: April 8
Festival Dates: June 20 - 30
LA Indie Film Festival
Regular Deadline: November 30
Late Deadline: December 21
WAB Deadline: January 4
Festival Dates: February 15 - 21
Kentucky Independent Film Festival
Late Deadline: November 30
WAB Deadline: December 31
Festival Dates: June 1 - September 1