I hope all of you are having a great holiday. Mine was good, although a big chunk of it was, and continues to be, getting our Winter issue ready for the printer. It's the same every year for our team, so I'm used to it. And there's something nice about how quiet it is this week -- how few phone calls and emails there are. It makes the work go a lot faster, and for whatever reason, we seem to be a bit better organized about it this year than usual.
Organization. Focus, Productivity. Are New Year's Resolutions about anything else? (Other than weight loss?) Two years ago I woke up New Year's Morning determined to do more for the blog in the following 12 months. I started by writing "New Year's Resolutions for Filmmakers," a post that got a lot of traffic and inspired at least one filmmaker to make his film. (Or, at least write a blog swearing he was finally going to make his film after reading my post. I wonder if he did?) Last year I contemplated a part two, but I couldn't come up with much. I felt I said it all the first time. This year, though, I've already sketched out a second installment. It's more pointed, more specific, and less gooey self-help-y. I'll admit that Josh Brown's "Seven Ways to Make 2013 Your Most Productive Year Ever," published at his Reformed Broker blog, kicked my ass a bit. What are your New Year's Resolutions? Smart and inspiring guest blog posts are always welcome. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What else? Our holiday sale continues until December 31. Print subscriptions are discounted to $10, and subscriptions to our Bluetoad digital edition are only $6. And, we've got an assortment of giveaway items that all new and returning subscribers are eligible for. We only do this once a year, so please check out the holiday sale page and consider making a Filmmaker subscription one of your 2013 resolutions. Or, if you're a new (or old) iPad owner, check out our iPad edition. You get the complete print edition plus supplemental video content. (Right now, that consists mostly of links plus one short video profile of David Lowery, but it will increase in the issues ahead.) The early reaction to the app has been great, and you can see for yourself by downloading it for free and then clicking on the Library tab, where you'll find our Summer "25 New Faces" issue for free. Beginning in the Spring, our print issue will get you the iPad edition as well, so that makes now an especially great time to subscribe.
Thanks for reading Filmmaker these past 12 months, and I hope everyone has a fantastic New Year. Looking forward to '13.
See you next year.
P.S. Speaking of the last 12 months, here are our 12 top posts of 2012.
Upcoming at IFP
IFP's Holiday Membership Deal - See 35+ of the Year's Best Films for Only $80!
Through January 20th, use discount code SPRT13 at www.ifp.org to get 20% off a one-year Individual Membership to the Independent Filmmaker Project, the nation's oldest and largest community of independent storytellers. Coming this January, IFP will host its annual Spirit Award screenings in New York City, giving members a chance to see 35+ of the year's most buzzed about independent films (including Beasts of the Southern Wild, Silver Linings Playbook, Moonrise Kingdom, Bernie, How to Survive a Plague, Amour, and many, many more). And you'll also get year-round access to exclusive preview screenings, networking events, educational panels, affordable health care, a print subscription to Filmmaker Magazine, and many more great benefits. To join IFP today and learn more, go here.
New In Theaters
West of Memphis
Amy Berg's West of Memphis examines the infamous case of the "West Memphis Three" - Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley Jr. and Jason Baldwin, who as teenagers were convicted for the murder of three young boys in Arkansas. After serving 18 years in prison, the men were released following the presentation of forensic evidence in 2011. Although the West Memphis Three case is not new ground in film - having been initially covered by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky's Paradise Lost trilogy and inspiring Atom Egoyan's forthcoming Devil's Knot - Berg's documentary (produced by filmmaker Peter Jackson and his wife) makes a strong case for the innocence of these men and presents evidence for police to revisit the case with a new suspect.
Adapted from Ronald Harwood's play of the same name, Quartet focuses on the Verdi gala concert at Beecham House, a retirement home for opera singers, and the disruption caused by the arrival of Jean (Maggie Smith), a notorious diva. Jean's temper threatens to derail the show as well as the reunion with her former quartet-mates, one of whom is also her ex-husband. Also starring Billy Connolly, Tom Courtenay and Pauline Collins, Quartet is actor Dustin Hoffman's directorial debut and the film is generously populated by (and pays tribute to) real-life veterans of the arts.
Promised Land frames the hot topic of "fracking" (resource extraction via the fracturing of rocks by pressurized fluids), around an easily relatable story. Steve Butler (Matt Damon), a small-town boy on the rise to being a corporate power player, and his partner (Frances McDormand) arrive in a down-on-its-luck rural community to propose buying drilling rights. But what they think is an easy sell becomes complicated by opposition from a school teacher (Hal Holbrook) and an environmental activist (John Krasinski). Promised Land is directed by Gus Van Sant with a screenplay penned by Damon and Krasinski (based on a story by Dave Eggers).
This Week on FilmmakerThis week on the blog, Scott Macaulay revisits "Our Top 12 Posts of 2012," Adam Cook lists his Top 10 films, Mark Harris discusses the the Film Society of Lincoln Center's premiere of his transmedia project The Lost Children, and Michael Murie reviews the top camera developments of the past year.
To read more, click here.
Newest Web Article
The Pact: Miguel Gomes on Cinema and TabuBy Zachary Wigon
Part realism and part fantasy, half 35mm and half 16mm, part post-colonial and part colonial, half a swooning love story and half a clear-eyed political assessment, Miguel Gomes's Tabu functions, as he puts it in this interview, within a structure of oppositions. Simultaneously a rebuke - and vindication - of the concept that "the personal is the political," Tabu is a carefully constructed film in two halves, each of which comments upon the absences articulated in the other.
We start in present-day Portugal, with Pilar (Teresa Madruga), a middle-aged woman who works for an unidentified lefty non-profit. Pilar is of good conscience but quite lonely, a non-romance with a painter whom she finds annoying the only thing we see as occurring in her love life. Without children, she spends some time checking in on her next-door neighbor, an elderly woman named Aurora (Laura Soveral) who is constantly accusing her nurse, Santa (Isabel Cardoso) of performing witchcraft upon her. Aurora doesn't play a central role in the film's first half until its end, when her health takes a turn for the worse and Pilar has to track down an old man she once knew, Ventura (Henrique Espirito Santo). This leads to the film's second half, a dialogue-less romanticized affair that revolves around the romance between young Aurora (Ana Moreira) and young Ventura (Carlo Cotta) 50 years earlier in colonial Africa. As romantic and fantastic as the first half is even and realistic, this second half is a real feat of filmmaking, with Gomes using the full power of an older, now-romanticized kind of style (think Murnau, from whose 1931 film the title is taken) to serve a thoroughly modern end. I had the chance to Skype recently with Gomes, who, it must be said, smoked cigarettes during our interview with the casual air of a young Jean-Luc Godard.
Festival DeadlinesTribeca Film Festival
WAB Deadline: December 28
Festival Dates: April 17 - 28
Sonoma International Film Festival
WAB Deadline: December 28
Festival Dates: April 10 - 14
Palm Beach International Film Festival
Late Deadline: December 31
Festival Dates: April 4 - 11