Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Independent Spirit Awards Nominations Too!

Don't you just love this time of year? Congrats to the indie filmmakers making movies! We salute you!

2013 FILM INDEPENDENT SPIRIT AWARD NOMINATIONS

BEST FEATURE
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Bernie
Keep the Lights On
Moonrise Kingdom
Silver Linings Playbook

BEST DIRECTOR
Wes Anderson, Moonrise Kingdom
Julia Loktev, The Loneliest Planet
David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook
Ira Sachs, Keep the Lights On
Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild

BEST SCREENPLAY
Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola, Moonrise Kingdom
Zoe Kazan, Ruby Sparks
Martin McDonagh, Seven Psychopaths
David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook
Ira Sachs, Keep the Lights On

BEST FIRST FEATURE (Award given to the director and producer)
Fill the Void
Gimme the Loot
Safety Not Guaranteed
Sound of My Voice
The Perks of Being a Wallflower

BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY
Rama Burshtein, Fill the Void
Derek Connolly, Safety Not Guaranteed
Christopher Ford, Robot & Frank
Rashida Jones & Will McCormack, Celeste and Jesse Forever
Jonathan Lisecki, Gayby

JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD

Breakfast with Curtis, WRITER/DIRECTOR/PRODUCER: Laura Colella
Middle of Nowhere, WRITER/DIRECTOR/PRODUCER: Ava DuVernay, PRODUCERS: Howard Barish, Paul Garnes,
Mosquita y Mari, WRITER/DIRECTOR: Aurora Guerrero, PRODUCER: Chad Burris
Starlet, WRITER/DIRECTOR: Sean Baker, PRODUCERS: Blake Ashman-Kipervaser, Kevin Chinoy, Patrick Cunningham, Chris Maybach, Francesca Silvestri
The Color Wheel, WRITER/DIRECTOR/PRODUCER: Alex Ross Perry, WRITER: Carlen Altman

BEST FEMALE LEAD
Linda Cardellini, Return
Emayatzy Corinealdi, Middle of Nowhere
Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Quvenzhané Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Smashed

BEST MALE LEAD
Jack Black, Bernie
Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
John Hawkes, The Sessions
Thure Lindhardt, Keep the Lights On
Matthew McConaughey, Killer Joe
Wendell Pierce, Four

BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE
Rosemarie DeWitt, Your Sister's Sister
Ann Dowd, Compliance
Helen Hunt, The Sessions
Brit Marling, Sound of My Voice
Lorraine Toussaint, Middle of Nowhere

BEST SUPPORTING MALE
Matthew McConaughey, Magic Mike
David Oyelowo, Middle of Nowhere
Michael Péna, End of Watch
Sam Rockwell, Seven Psychopaths
Bruce Willis, Moonrise Kingdom

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Yoni Brook, Valley of Saints
Lol Crawley, Here
Ben Richardson, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Roman Vasyanov, End of Watch
Robert Yeoman, Moonrise Kingdom

BEST DOCUMENTARY (Award given to the director and producer)
How to Survive a Plague
DIRECTOR: David France
PRODUCERS: David France, Howard Gertler

Marina Abramoviæ: The Artist is Present
DIRECTOR: Matthew Akers
PRODUCERS: Maro Chermayeff, Jeff Dupre

The Central Park Five
DIRECTORS/PRODUCERS: Ken Burns, Sarah Burns, David McMahon

The Invisible War
DIRECTOR: Kirby Dick
PRODUCERS: Tanner King Barklow, Amy Ziering

The Waiting Room
DIRECTOR/PRODUCER: Peter Nicks
PRODUCERS: Linda Davis, William B. Hirsch

BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM (Award given to the director)
Amour
Once Upon A Time in Anatolia
Rust And Bone
Sister
War Witch

16th ANNUAL PIAGET PRODUCERS AWARD - The 16th annual Piaget Producers Award honors emerging producers who, despite highly limited resources demonstrate the creativity, tenacity, and vision required to produce quality, independent films. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Piaget.

Nobody Walks PRODUCER: Alicia Van Couvering
Prince Avalanche, PRODUCER: Derrick Tseng
Stones in the Sun, PRODUCER: Mynette Louie

19th ANNUAL SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD - The 19th annual Someone to Watch Award recognizes a talented filmmaker of singular vision who has not yet received appropriate recognition. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant.

Pincus, DIRECTOR: David Fenster
Gimme the Loot, DIRECTOR: Adam Leon
Electrick Children, DIRECTOR: Rebecca Thomas

STELLA ARTOIS TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD - The 18th annual Truer Than Fiction Award is presented to an emerging director of non-fiction features who has not yet received significant recognition. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant.

Leviathan
DIRECTOR: Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel
The Waiting Room, DIRECTOR: Peter Nicks
Only the Young, DIRECTOR: Jason Tippet & Elizabeth Mims

ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD - (Given to one film's director, casting director, and
its ensemble cast)
Starlet, Director: Sean Baker

2013 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES FILMS IN U.S. AND WORLD COMPETITIONS, NEXT <=>


2013 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES FILMS IN U.S. AND WORLD COMPETITIONS, NEXT <=>

Park City, UT — Sundance Institute announced today the films selected for the U.S. and World Cinema Dramatic and Documentary Competitions and the out-of-competition NEXT <=> section of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, January 17-27 in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden and Sundance, Utah.

Robert Redford, President & Founder of Sundance Institute said, “Every great film starts with an idea, and it is a testament to artists that they continually find new ideas, new stories, new points of view and new ways of sharing them, year after year. We look forward to hearing from these artists not just through their words and images onscreen but also through the larger dialogue they create with audiences at our Festival and beyond.”

John Cooper, Director of the Sundance Film Festival, said, “The films, both documentary and narrative, selected for our 2013 Festival have a particular immediacy and fearlessness to them showing us that independent film is as vibrant, creative and relevant as ever. Filmmakers are telling raw, powerful stories that are sure to create new energy in audiences and communities across the globe in the months to come.”

For the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, 113 feature-length films were selected, representing 32 countries and 51 first-time filmmakers, including 27 in competition. These films were selected from 12,146 submissions (429 more than for 2012), including 4,044 feature-length films and 8,102 short films. Of the feature film submissions, 2,070 were from the U.S. and 1,974 were international. 98 feature films at the Festival will be world premieres.

In addition to those announced today, the Festival presents feature-length films in the Spotlight, Park City at Midnight, New Frontier, Premieres and Documentary Premieres sections. Those announcements, as well as selections for the Short Film section, are forthcoming.
On Day One, January 17, 2013, the Festival will screen one narrative film and one documentary from both the U.S. and World Cinema competitions, as well as one shorts program.

A selection of films from the 2013 Festival will also be presented at the second Sundance London film and music festival, April 25-28 at The O2.

Keri Putnam, Executive Director of Sundance Institute, said, “Each year at this time we look forward with great anticipation and excitement to the discovery of new voices at the Sundance Film Festival. The Festival continues to reflect the spirit of innovation and creativity in independent cinema, not only in the stories themselves but also in how the films are produced and making their way to audiences.”

U.S. DRAMATIC COMPETITION
The world premieres of 16 American narrative feature films.
Afternoon Delight / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Jill Soloway) —  In this sexy, dark comedy, a lost L.A. housewife puts her idyllic hipster life in jeopardy when she tries to rescue a stripper by taking her in as a live-in nanny. Cast: Kathryn Hahn, Juno Temple, Josh Radnor, Jane Lynch.
Ain't Them Bodies Saints / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: David Lowery) — The tale of an outlaw who escapes from prison and sets out across the Texas hills to reunite with his wife and the daughter he has never met. Cast: Rooney Mara, Casey Affleck, Ben Foster, Nate Parker, Keith Carradine.
Austenland / U.S.A., United Kingdom (Director: Jerusha Hess, Screenwriters: Jerusha Hess, Shannon Hale) — Thirtysomething, single Jane is obsessed with Mr. Darcy, as played by Colin Firth in Pride and Prejudice. On a trip to an English resort, her fantasies of meeting the perfect Regency-era gentleman become more real than she ever imagined. Cast: Keri Russell, JJ Feild, Bret McKenzie, Jennifer Coolidge, Georgia King, James Callis.
C.O.G. / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Kyle Patrick Alvarez) — In the first ever film adaptation of David Sedaris' work, a cocky young man travels to Oregon to work on an apple farm. Out of his element, he finds his lifestyle and notions being picked apart by everyone who crosses his path. Cast: Jonathan Groff, Denis O'Hare, Corey Stoll, Dean Stockwell, Casey Wilson, Troian Bellisario.
Concussion / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Stacie Passon) — After a blow to the head, Abby decides she can't do it anymore. Her life just can't be only about the house, the kids and the wife. She needs more: she needs to be Eleanor. Cast: Robin Weigert, Maggie Siff, Johnathan Tchaikovsky, Julie Fain Lawrence, Emily Kinney, Laila Robins.
Emanuel and the Truth About Fishes / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Francesca Gregorini) — Emanuel, a troubled girl, becomes preoccupied with her mysterious, new neighbor, who bears a striking resemblance to her dead mother. In offering to babysit her newborn, Emanuel unwittingly enters a fragile, fictional world, of which she becomes the gatekeeper. Cast: Kaya Scodelario, Jessica Biel, Alfred Molina, Frances O'Connor, Jimmi Simpson, Aneurin Barnard.
Fruitvale / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Ryan Coogler) — The true story of Oscar, a 22-year-old Bay Area resident who crosses paths with friends, enemies, family and strangers on the last day of 2008. Cast: Michael B. Jordan, Octavia Spencer, Melonie Diaz, Ahna O'Reilly, Kevin Durand, Chad Michael Murray.
In a World... / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Lake Bell) — An underachieving vocal coach is motivated by her father, the king of movie-trailer voice-overs, to pursue her aspirations of becoming a voiceover star. Amidst pride, sexism and family dysfunction, she sets out to change the voice of a generation. Cast: Lake Bell, Demetri Martin, Rob Corddry, Michaela Watkins, Ken Marino, Fred Melamed.
Kill Your Darlings / U.S.A. (Director: John Krokidas, Screenwriters: Austin Bunn, John Krokidas) — An untold story of murder that brought together a young Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs at Columbia University in 1944, providing the spark that led to the birth of an entire generation – their Beat revolution. Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Dane DeHann, Ben Foster, Michael C. Hall, Jack Huston, Elizabeth Olsen.
The Lifeguard / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Liz W. Garcia) — A former valedictorian quits her reporter job in New York and returns to the place she last felt happy: her childhood home in Connecticut. She gets work as a lifeguard and starts a dangerous relationship with a troubled teenager. Cast: Kristen Bell, Mamie Gummer, Martin Starr, Alex Shaffer, Amy Madigan, David Lambert.
May in the Summer / U.S.A., Qatar, Jordan (Director and screenwriter: Cherien Dabis) — A bride-to-be is forced to reevaluate her life when she reunites with her family in Jordan and finds herself confronted with the aftermath of her parents’ divorce. Cast: Cherien Dabis, Hiam Abbass, Bill Pullman, Alia Shawkat, Nadine Malouf, Alexander Siddig. DAY ONE FILM
Mother of George / U.S.A. (Director: Andrew Dosunmu, Screenwriter: Darci Picoult) — A story about a woman willing to do anything and risk everything for her marriage. Cast: Isaach De Bankolé, Danai Gurira, Anthony Okungbowa, Yaya Alafia, Bukky Ajayi.
The Spectacular Now / U.S.A. (Director: James Ponsoldt, Screenwriters: Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber) — Sutter is a high school senior who lives for the moment; Aimee is the introvert he attempts to "save." As their relationship deepens, the lines between right and wrong, friendship and love, and "saving" and corrupting become inextricably blurred. Cast: Miles Teller, Shailene Woodley, Brie Larson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Kyle Chandler.
Touchy Feely / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Lynn Shelton) — A massage therapist is unable to do her job when stricken with a mysterious and sudden aversion to bodily contact. Meanwhile, her uptight brother's foundering dental practice receives new life when clients seek out his “healing touch.” Cast: Rosemarie DeWitt, Allison Janney, Ron Livingston, Scoot McNairy, Ellen Page, Josh Pais.
Toy's House / U.S.A. (Director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts, Screenwriter: Chris Galletta) — Three unhappy teenage boys flee to the wilderness where they build a makeshift house and live off the land as masters of their own destiny. Or at least that’s the plan. Cast: Nick Robinson, Gabriel Basso, Moises Arias, Nick Offerman, Megan Mullally, Alison Brie.
Upstream Color / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Shane Carruth) — A man and woman are drawn together, entangled in the life cycle of an ageless organism. Identity becomes an illusion as they struggle to assemble the loose fragments of wrecked lives. Cast: Amy Seimetz, Shane Carruth, Andrew Sensenig, Thiago Martins.

U.S. DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION
The world premieres of 16 American documentary films.
99% - The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film / U.S.A. (Directors: Audrey Ewell, Aaron Aites, Lucian Read, Nina Kristic) — The Occupy movement erupted in September 2011, propelling economic inequality into the spotlight. In an unprecedented collaboration, filmmakers across America tell its story, digging into big picture issues as organizers, analysts, participants and critics reveal how it happened and why.
After Tiller / U.S.A. (Directors: Martha Shane, Lana Wilson) — Since the assassination of Dr. George Tiller in 2009, only four doctors in the country provide late-term abortions. With unprecedented access, After Tiller goes inside the lives of these physicians working at the center of the storm.
American Promise / U.S.A. (Directors: Joe Brewster, Michèle Stephenson) — This intimate documentary follows the 12-year journey of two African-American families pursuing the promise of opportunity through the education of their sons.
Blackfish / U.S.A. (Director: Gabriela Cowperthwaite) — Notorious killer whale Tilikum is responsible for the deaths of three individuals, including a top killer whale trainer.Blackfish shows the sometimes devastating consequences of keeping such intelligent and sentient creatures in captivity.
Blood Brother / U.S.A. (Director: Steve Hoover) — Rocky went to India as a disillusioned tourist. When he met a group of children with HIV, he decided to stay. He never could have imagined the obstacles he would face, or the love he would find.
Citizen Koch / U.S.A. (Directors: Carl Deal, Tia Lessin) — Wisconsin – birthplace of the Republican Party, government unions, “cheeseheads” and Paul Ryan – becomes a test market in the campaign to buy Democracy, and ground zero in the battle for the future of the GOP.
Cutie and the Boxer / U.S.A. (Director: Zachary Heinzerling) — This candid New York love story explores the chaotic 40-year marriage of famed boxing painter Ushio Shinohara and his wife, Noriko. Anxious to shed her role as her overbearing husband's assistant, Noriko finds an identity of her own.
Dirty Wars / U.S.A. (Director: Richard Rowley) — Investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill chases down the truth behind America’s covert wars.
Gideon's Army / U.S.A. (Director: Dawn Porter) — Gideon’s Army follows three young, committed Public Defenders who are dedicated to working for the people society would rather forget. Long hours, low pay and staggering caseloads are so common that even the most committed often give up.
God Loves Uganda / U.S.A. (Director: Roger Ross Williams) — A powerful exploration of the evangelical campaign to infuse African culture with values imported from America’s Christian Right. The film follows American and Ugandan religious leaders fighting “sexual immorality” and missionaries trying to convince Ugandans to follow biblical law.
The Good Life / U.S.A. (Directors: Sean Fine, Andrea Nix Fine) — Dr. Leslie Gordon and Dr. Scott Berns fight to save their only son from Progeria, a rare and fatal disease for which there is no treatment or cure. In less than a decade, their work has led to significant advances.
Inequality for All / U.S.A. (Director: Jacob Kornbluth) — In this timely and entertaining documentary, noted economic-policy expert Robert Reich distills the topic of widening income inequality, and addresses the question of what effects this increasing gap has on our economy and our democracy.
Manhunt / U.S.A., United Kingdom (Director: Greg Barker) — This espionage tale goes inside the CIA’s long conflict against Al Qaeda, as revealed by the remarkable women and men whose secret war against Osama bin Laden started nearly a decade before most of us even knew his name.
Narco Cultura / U.S.A. (Director: Shaul Schwarz) — An examination of Mexican drug cartels’ influence in pop culture on both sides of the border as experienced by an LA narcocorrido singer dreaming of stardom and a Juarez crime scene investigator on the front line of Mexico’s Drug War.
Twenty Feet From Stardom / U.S.A. (Director: Morgan Neville) — Backup singers live in a world that lies just beyond the spotlight.  Their voices bring harmony to the biggest bands in popular music, but we've had no idea who these singers are or what lives they lead – until now. DAY ONE FILM
Valentine Road / U.S.A. (Director: Marta Cunningham) — In 2008, eighth-grader Brandon McInerney shot classmate Larry King at point blank range. Unraveling this tragedy from point of impact, the film reveals the heartbreaking circumstances that led to the shocking crime as well as its startling aftermath.

WORLD CINEMA DRAMATIC COMPETITION
Twelve films from emerging filmmaking talents offer fresh perspectives and inventive styles.
Circles / Serbia, Germany, France, Croatia, Slovenia (Director: Srdan Golubovic, Screenwriters: Srdjan Koljevic, Melina Pota Koljevic) — Five people are affected by a tragic heroic act. Twenty years later, all of them will confront the past through their own crises. Will they overcome guilt, frustration and their urge for revenge? Will they do the right thing, at all costs? Cast: Aleksandar Bercek, Leon Lucev, Nebojsa Glogovac, Hristina Popovic, Nikola Rakocevic, Vuk Kostic. World Premiere
Crystal Fairy / Chile (Director and screenwriter: Sebastián Silva) — Jamie invites a stranger to join a road trip to Chile. The woman’s free and esoteric nature clashes with Jamie’s acidic, self-absorbed personality as they head into the desert for a Mescaline-fueled psychedelic trip. Cast: Michael Cera, Gabby Hoffmann, Juan Andrés Silva, José Miguel Silva, Agustín Silva. World Premiere. DAY ONE FILM
The Future / Chile, Germany, Italy, Spain (Director and screenwriter: Alicia Scherson) — When their parents die, Bianca starts to smoke and Tomas is still a virgin. The orphans explore the dangerous streets of adulthood until Bianca finds Maciste, a retired Mr. Universe, and enters his dark mansion in search of a future. Cast: Manuela Martelli, Rutger Hauer, Luigi Ciardo, Nicolas Vaporidis, Alessandro Giallocosta. World Premiere
Houston / Germany (Director and screenwriter: Bastian Günther) — Clemens Trunschka is a corporate headhunter and an alcoholic. Drinking increasingly isolates him from his life and leads him away from reality. While searching for a CEO candidate in Houston, his addiction submerges him into his own darkness. Cast: Ulrich Tukur, Garret Dillahunt, Wolfram Koch, Jenny Schily, Jason Douglas, Jens Münchow. World Premiere
Jiseul / South Korea (Director and screenwriter: Muel O) — In 1948, as the Korean government ordered the Communists’ eviction to Jeju Island, the military invaded a calm and peaceful village. Townsfolk took sanctuary in a cave and debated moving to a higher mountain. Cast: Min-chul SUNG, Jung-won YANG, Young-soon OH, Soon-dong PARK, Suk-bum MOON, Kyung-sub JANG. International Premiere
Lasting / Poland, Spain (Director and screenwriter: Jacek Borcuch) — An emotional love story about two Polish students who fall in love with each other while working summer jobs in Spain. An unexpected nightmare interrupts their carefree time in the heavenly landscape and throws their lives into chaos. Cast: Jakub Gierszal, Magdalena Berus, Angela Molina. World Premiere
Metro Manila / United Kingdom, Philippines (Director: Sean Ellis, Screenwriters: Sean Ellis, Frank E. Flowers) — Seeking a better life, Oscar and his family move from the poverty-stricken rice fields to the big city of Manila, where they fall victim to various inhabitants whose manipulative ways are a daily part of city survival. Cast: Jake Macapagal, John Arcilla, Althea Vega. World Premiere
Shopping / New Zealand (Directors: Mark Albiston, Louis Sutherland, Screenwriters: Louis Sutherland, Mark Albiston) — New Zealand, 1981: Seduced by a charismatic career criminal, teenager Willie must choose where his loyalty lies – with a family of shoplifters or his own blood. Cast: Kevin Paulo, Julian Dennison, Jacek Koman, Alistair Browning. World Premiere
Soldate Jeannette / Austria (Director: Daniel Hoesl) — Fanni has had enough of money and leaves to buy a tent. Anna has had enough of pigs and leaves a needle in the hay. Cars crash and money burns to shape their mutual journey toward a rising liberty. Cast: Johanna Orsini-Rosenberg, Christina Reichsthaler, Josef Kleindienst, Aurelia Burckhardt, Julia Schranz, Ines Rössl. World Premiere
There Will Come a Day / Italy, France (Director: Giorgio Diritti, Screenwriters: Giorgio Diritti, Fredo Valla, Tania Pedroni) — Painful issues push Augusta, a young Italian woman, to doubt the certainties on which she has built her existence. On a small boat in the immensity of the Amazon rain forest, she faces the adventure of searching for herself. Cast: Jasmine Trinca, Anne Alvaro, Pia Engleberth. World Premiere
Wajma (An Afghan Love Story) / Afghanistan (Director and screenwriter: Barmak Akram) — A young man in Kabul seduces a girl. When she tells him she’s pregnant, he questions having taken her virginity. Then her father arrives, and a timeless, archaic violence erupts – possibly leading to a crime, and even a sacrifice. Cast: Wajma Bahar, Mustafa Abdulsatar, Haji Gul, Breshna Bahar. World Premiere
What They Don't Talk About When They Talk About Love / Indonesia (Director and screenwriter: Mouly Surya) — Mouly Surya’s film explores the odds of love and deception among the blind, the deaf and the unlucky sighted people at a high school for the visually impaired. Cast: Nicholas Saputra, Ayushita Nugraha, Karina Salim, Anggun Priambodo, Lupita Jennifer. World Premiere

WORLD CINEMA DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION
Twelve documentaries by some of the most courageous and extraordinary filmmakers working today.
Fallen City / China (Director: Qi Zhao) — Fallen City spans four years to reveal how three families who survived the 2008 Sichuan earthquake to embark on a journey searching for hope, purpose, identity, and to rebuild their lives in a new China torn between tradition and modernity. North American Premiere
Fire in the Blood / India (Director: Dylan Mohan Gray) — In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Western governments and pharmaceutical companies blocked low-cost antiretroviral drugs from reaching AIDS-stricken Africa, causing 10 million or more unnecessary deaths. An improbable group of people decided to fight back. North American Premiere
Google and the World Brain / Spain, United Kingdom (Director: Ben Lewis) — In the most ambitious project ever conceived on the Internet, Google has been scanning the world's books for 10 years. They said the intention was to build a giant digital library, but that involved scanning millions of copyrighted works. World Premiere
The Machine Which Makes Everything Disappear / Georgia, Germany (Director: Tinatin Gurchiani) — A film director casting a 15-23-year-old protagonist visits villages and cities to meet people who answer her call. She follows those who prove to be interesting enough through various dramatic and funny situations. North American Premiere
The Moo Man / United Kingdom (Directors: Andy Heathcote, Heike Bachelier) — A year in the life of heroic farmer Steve, scene stealing Ida (queen of the herd), and a supporting cast of 55 cows. When Ida falls ill, Steve’s optimism is challenged and their whole way of life is at stake. World Premiere
Pussy Riot – A Punk Prayer / Russian Federation, United Kingdom (Directors: Mike Lerner, Maxim Pozdorovkin) — Three young women face seven years in a Russian prison for a satirical performance in a Moscow cathedral. But who is really on trial: the three young artists or the society they live in? World Premiere
A River Changes Course / Cambodia, U.S.A. (Director: Kalyanee Mam) — Three young Cambodians struggle to overcome the crushing effects of deforestation, overfishing, and overwhelming debt in this devastatingly beautiful story of a country reeling from the tragedies of war and rushing to keep pace with a rapidly expanding world. World Premiere
Salma / United Kingdom, India (Director: Kim Longinotto) — When Salma, a young girl in South India, reached puberty, her parents locked her away. Millions of girls all over the world share the same fate. Twenty-five years later, Salma has fought her way back to the outside world. World Premiere
The Square (El Midan) / Egypt, U.S.A. (Director: Jehane Noujaim) — What does it mean to risk your life for your ideals? How far will five revolutionaries go in defending their beliefs in the fight for their nation? World Premiere
The Stuart Hall Project / United Kingdom (Director: John Akomfrah) — Antinuclear campaigner, New Left activist and founding father of Cultural Studies, this documentary interweaves 70 years of Stuart Hall’s film, radio and television appearances, and material from his private archive to document a memorable life and construct a portrait of Britain’s foremost radical intellectual. World Premiere
The Summit / Ireland, United Kingdom (Director: Nick Ryan) — Twenty-four climbers converged at the last stop before summiting the most dangerous mountain on Earth. Forty-eight hours later, 11 had been killed or simply vanished. Had one, Ger McDonnell, stuck to the climbers' code, he might still be alive. International Premiere
Who is Dayani Cristal? / United Kingdom (Director: Marc Silver) — An anonymous body in the Arizona desert sparks the beginning of a real-life human drama. The search for its identity leads us across a continent to seek out the people left behind and the meaning of a mysterious tattoo. World Premiere. DAY ONE FILM

NEXT <=>
Pure, bold works distinguished by an innovative, forward-thinking approach to storytelling. Digital technology paired with unfettered creativity proves the films selected in this section will inform a “greater” next wave in American cinema.
Blue Caprice / U.S.A. (Director: Alexandre Moors, Screenwriters: R.F.I Porto, Alexandre Moors) — An abandoned boy is lured to America and drawn into the shadow of a dangerous father figure in this film inspired by the real life events that led to the 2002 Beltway sniper attacks. Cast: Isaiah Washington, Tequan Richmond, Joey Lauren Adams, Tim Blake Nelson, Cassandra Freeman, Leo Fitzpatrick.
Computer Chess / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Andrew Bujalski) — An existential comedy about the brilliant men who taught machines to play chess – back when the machines seemed clumsy and we seemed smart. Cast: Patrick Riester, Myles Paige, James Curry, Robin Schwartz, Gerald Peary, Wiley Wiggins.
Escape from Tomorrow / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Randy Moore) — A postmodern, surreal voyage into the bowels of "family" entertainment; an epic battle begins when an unemployed, middle-aged father loses his sanity during a close encounter with two teenage girls on holiday. Cast: Roy Abramsohn, Elena Schuber, Katelynn Rodriguez, Annet Mahendru, Danielle Safady, Alison Lees-Taylor.
I Used to Be Darker / U.S.A. (Director: Matthew Porterfield, Screenwriters: Amy Belk, Matthew Porterfield) — A runaway seeks refuge with her aunt and uncle in Baltimore, only to find their marriage ending and her cousin in crisis. In the days that follow, the family struggles to let go while searching for things to sustain them. Cast: Deragh Campbell, Hannah Gross, Kim Taylor, Ned Oldham, Geoff Grace, Nick Petr.
It Felt Like Love / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Eliza Hittman) — On the outskirts of Brooklyn, a 14-year-old girl’s sexual quest takes a dangerous turn when she pursues an older guy and tests the boundaries between obsession and love. Cast: Gina Piersanti, Giovanna Salimeni, Ronen Rubinstein, Jesse Cordasco, Nick Rosen, Case Prime.
Milkshake / U.S.A. (Director: David Andalman, Screenwriters: David Andalman, Mariko Munro) — In mid-1990's America, we follow the tragic sex life of Jolie Jolson, a wannabe thug (and great-great-grandson of legendary vaudevillian Al Jolson) in suburban DC as he strives to become something he can never be – black. Cast: Tyler Ross, Shareeka Epps, Georgia Ford, Eshan Bay, Leo Fitzpatrick, Danny Burstein.
Newlyweeds / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Shaka King) — A Brooklyn repo man and his globetrotting girlfriend forge an unlikely romance. But what should be a match made in stoner heaven turns into a love triangle gone awry in this dark coming-of-age comedy about dependency. Cast: Amari Cheatom, Trae Harris, Tone Tank, Colman Domingo, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Adrian Martinez.
Pit Stop / U.S.A. (Director: Yen Tan, Screenwriters: Yen Tan, David Lowery) — Two working-class gay men in a small Texas town and a love that isn't quite out of reach. Cast: Bill Heck, Marcus DeAnda, Amy Seimetz, John Merriman, Alfredo Maduro, Corby Sullivan.
A Teacher / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Hannah Fidell) — A popular young teacher in a wealthy suburban Texas high school has an affair with one of her students. Her life begins to unravel as the relationship comes to an end. Cast: Lindsay Burdge, Will Brittain, Jennifer Prediger, Jonny Mars, Julie Phillips, Chris Dubeck.
This is Martin Bonner / U.S.A.(Director and screenwriter: Chad Hartigan) — Martin Bonner has just moved to Reno for a new job in prison rehabilitation. Starting over at age 58, he struggles to adapt until an unlikely friendship with an ex-con blossoms, helping him confront the problems he left behind. Cast: Paul Eenhoorn, Richmond Arquette, Sam Buchanan, Robert Longstreet, Demetrius Grosse.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Gotham Awards 2012: And the Winners Are...

Best Feature: Moonrise Kingdom
Directed by Wes Anderson
Produced by Wes Anderson, Scott Rudin, Steven Rales, Jeremy Dawson




Best Documentary:
How to Survive a Plague
Directed and produced by David France
Produced by Howard Gertler



Best Ensemble Performance:
Emily Blunt, Rosemarie DeWitt and Mark Duplass in Your Sister's Sister

 

Breakthrough Actor:
Emayatzy Corinealdi in Middle of Nowhere

 
Breakthrough Director:
Benh Zeitlin for Beasts of the Southern Wild 



Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You™:
An Oversimplification of Her Beauty
Directed and produced by Terence Nance
Produced by Andrew Corkin and James Bartlett


Gotham Independent Film Audience Award:
Artifact
Directed by Bartholomew Cubbins
Produced by Jared Leto and Emma Ludbrook

Here's a taste of Jared Leto's 30 Second to Mars (the band is the focus of this film):
 

The euphoria Calvin Klein Spotlight on Women Filmmakers ‘Live the Dream’ Grant:
Stacie Passon for Concussion

The Bingham Ray Award:
Benh Zeitlin, director of Beasts of the Southern Wild 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Current Look at International Film Sales for Independent Film

I came across this excellent Q&A, The State of International Sales for Independent Film, with Ariel Veneziano of Recreation Media on the Film Collaborative Web site.  I thought I would share it.

Everything that Ariel discusses in this Q&A rings very true based on the experiences I've had with international sales. In today's market, what we have come to find out is that indie dramas really have no foreign sales value unless they were directed by an A-list director and premiere at a major festival (Cannes, Berlin, Venice) and star major actors. I find it interesting that according to Ariel, the foreign market doesn't care about Sundance or Toronto premieres (two of the most coveted premieres for American indie filmmakers).

No foreign value for indie dramas actually goes against what a large number of indie filmmakers with minimal foreign sales experience believe. I often hear new filmmakers say, I'll make money in the foreign market because other countries like dramas much more than the American market.

Well, it's quite possible that foreign audiences may like indie dramas more than American audiences (I'm not sure that's true), but that doesn't matter if foreign sales agents won't rep them and foreign buyers will not buy them. And that is exactly what is happening.

So when you are putting together your business plan for your indie drama, do not expect foreign monies for your film. This breaks my indie filmmaker heart but we all need to come to terms with this reality and plan appropriately for our next films.

Also, from my experience, sales projections can change based on the current economy and they have the ability to plummet should certain sales not be realized. So make your film for the least amount of money that you possibly can because sales projections can radically change on you, often due to factors outside of your control.

1) There could be high expenses that eat up your revenue.
2) You could have a dishonest sales agent who doesn't pay.
3) You could have a sale you were counting on, fall through.
4) The world economy could sink just as it has in recent years, resulting in less sales and lower advances and even no advances.

I will often budget a film for as low as I can and then cut it in half and figure out how to make the film for that amount. The cuts hurt but I can usually figure out how to make the film happen and I have delivered every film I've made to date. I have never had to stop filming or the finishing of a project because I ran out of money. Where there's a will, there's always a way!

This report is discouraging but it's also a wake-up call that we all need to hear. There's no way indie filmmaking can survive if we aren't realistic about the sales market and creating appropriate business plans for our films and investors.

I know you are probably thinking, how can I make an indie drama as a first-time director with no-name actors? And you're right to be asking yourself this question. You need to figure out why you want to make this film - because money will not be the goal. Then you need to decide if your reasons are worth the money needed to make the film.

For example, you may decided that you want to make this film as a calling card for your writing, directing or acting career. If that's the case, you and your investors may decide that is worth $60k, knowing you may never see that money back. It's quite possible you will make the money back, but you need to go into it being okay with the fact that you may not get your money back.

Having no guarantee of a return on a film is true for any film investment for films of all shapes and sizes. Even the studios can struggle making back their money on $100 million movies, directed by top directors and starring A-list actors, so we're not alone in the battle for film investment recoupment. But let's make sure when we go into battle that we are well-armed and have a great battle plan. Hoo-ah!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Your Gut Is Your Best Friend as a Filmmaker

I was just responding to a student's question about which film school he should attend and I thought I would talk about my best friend as a filmmaker: my gut.

Why is my gut so important? It's had years of practice, living through the ups and downs of my life and career. She's a straight shooter when it comes to making life decisions. She's hard core and not very forgiving.

My mind on the other hand may forget about the ugly days and even glorify the challenges of the past. Those were the days...yeah right.

My gut seems to never forget reality. She's probably the most skeptical side of myself. And trust me, I need that skepticism. I am prone to be the eternal optimist; I need my gut whispering to me, "What are you thinking? Are you insane?"

Sometimes I wish my gut would be more forgetful - allow me moments of living in la la land. But in the end, I'm grateful she's not.

Here's a good example of my gut keeping me grounded. Looking back on when I first started working in film (the glory days), my gut doesn't forget the two years I spent in film production in NYC with only about a day off between gigs and working 14- to 18-hour days and nights and the resulting exhaustion.

My mind on the other hand looks back fondly on these glory days of working on an Academy Award-winning film (A Beautiful Mind) and the joy and pride I had being part of some great cinema.

Both my gut and my mind speak the truth. I was running myself into the ground and having a great time doing it. What I have found though is that my gut looks out for what makes sense for me. While my gut understands that those two years were incredible and fun and exciting, it knows that deep down I needed a life and time to express myself creatively - two things I was not able to do while working in production full time.

My gut led me toward what I really needed to be doing as a filmmaker. I'm still not exactly where I want to be, but I'm closer than ever. And that's exciting.

Bottomline, there's no right or wrong in career choices, unless you're planning a life of crime - I'll just assume you're not:) But there is a right or wrong in deciding upon what will make you satisfied personally and hopefully happy. I realize not everyone is happy in their jobs, but many are satisfied knowing that what they are doing works for them at that moment in their lives. And if it's not then they know to keep working at it until they can find that satisfaction - even for the short term.

And all of this holds true for developing new film projects. I may read a story and think, wow, that is a beautiful story with rich characters. It would make a great movie. But my gut may say, yeah, I agree, but there's no audience for it and it will make no money as a film. Let it enrich people's lives as a book. It doesn't need to be a movie. And that's when I thank my gut. She has my back. She watches the box office and analyzes royalty reports. She knows the state of industry. I trust her.

As a producer, I have to think about the money. I have to know the film will be marketable so my investors can make his/her money back. I appreciate my guts input during development.

So, long story short, when I thought about the advice I was going to give this student about where he should attend school, my first reaction was to say: follow your gut. Don't let your mind talk you away from your gut. Because guess what? Your guts not going anywhere. In fact, it will get keep talking and it will get louder and it will keep challenging your mind. And one day, I guarantee, you will hear yourself saying, "I should have followed my gut."