The Independent: obsessed with independent film since 1978

Monday 22nd of September 2014

Public Launch of The Independent's Digitized Archive Open to All - October 30, 2014

Join The Independent and our archiving partner, UMass Amherst Libraries, for a celebration of the launch of our new website and digitized archive. Hosted by UMass Boston Film Series, the FREE evening includes a reception, screening of Captivated: The Trials of Pamela Smart, and panel discussion. Open to all. Starts at 6pm.

Inspired by Personal History, Hong Khaou Releases “Lilting” to US Audiences

In Hong Khaou's Lilting, available on DVD and VOD September 29th, a mother grieves for her son by getting to know her son's partner. Khaou told The Independent his debut feature came, "from a place that’s deeply personal, especially that of grief. I lost my dad when I was 12 and the character in the film loses her son. So I had to expose myself in a certain way writing this."

TIFF 2014: Safdie Bros Borrow From Life on NY Streets in "Heaven Knows What"

Heroin addiction and life on the New York streets take center stage in Josh and Benny Safdie's latest, Heaven Knows What. The morning after their North American premiere at TIFF, they riff on the why and what of it all with the film's star and inspirational scribe, Arielle Holmes.

TIFF 2014: The Cinema Guild is Evolving with Cinephiles On and Offline

Sprinkle a little adamant optimism over a new digital partnership with The Flaherty Film Seminar and a heaping embrace of the educational market, and you have a few of the most recent distribution strategies that The Cinema Guild's Ryan Krivoshey discussed with The Independent's Courtney Sheehan at TIFF.

From Screen to Political Action, Cinema Politica is a Global Catalyst

Cinema Politica is the world’s largest campus and community-based documentary screening network, reaching a total audience of over one million across its network each year. Engaged, questioning, eager to take action: this is the type of audience filmmakers dream of.

TIFF 2014: Drafthouse’s Tim League on the State of Distribution and Oppenheimer’s “The Look of Silence”

From his purview at TIFF 2014, Drafthouse's Tim League weighs what is and isn't apocalyptic about the future of distribution in a season of down box offices and new acquisitions such as Joshua Oppenheimer's The Look of Silence.

Michael Apted Talks "Bending the Light" and the Move from Film to Digital

Michael Apted talked with Canon's factory workers and artisans in Japan, as well as the filmmakers who have used those lenses, in his latest documentary, Bending the Light. Rebecca Reynolds caught up with him (on camera!) at the Traverse City Film Festival.

Picture Motion Mobilizes Indie Film Audiences to Take Action

Remember how kids started sharing their bullying stories after the doc Bully came out? The NYC-based firm Picture Motion creates social impact campaign strategies to help independent films find audiences and affect social change. The documentary Rich Hill is one of their upcoming projects, set for release on August 1st.

CIFF's Points North Adds a Fellowship for Docmakers

This year, Camden International Film Festival's annual Points North Documentary Film Forum adds a new documentary fellowship opportunity. Five full-package fellowships will be announced in early September.

Linklater's 12+ Year Gamble on "Boyhood" Pays Off

With Boyhood, "Richard Linklater, already one of America’s most persistently inventive independent filmmakers, has made movie history with the longest real-time dramatic memoir," writes senior critic Kurt Brokaw. Read his mostly admiring review here.

10 Filmmakers to Watch in 2014: Stephanie Martin

Keep tabs on cinematographer Stephanie Martin. She had been shooting professionally for more than 14 years before she decided to direct her first film. Inspired by her own observations of the plight of wild horses in the American West, she wrote and directed a successful short, Wild Horses, and this summer she's working on the feature-length script.

10 Filmmakers to Watch in 2014: Miho Yamamoto

From making news to making indie films, Miho Yamamoto is on our 10 to Watch list for her work on the powerful documentary about one of Canada's most horrific crimes, The Exhibition.

10 Filmmakers to Watch in 2014: Darius Clark Monroe

Evolution of a Filmmaker: Darius Clark Monroe makes our 10 to Watch list for his documentary Evolution of a Criminal, which premiered at SXSW. Read about how Monroe's autobiographical documentary gives us his inside view on past errors and forgiveness.

10 Filmmakers to Watch in 2014: Marie-Emmanuelle Hartness

With her short film After Ella, Marie-Emmanuelle Hartness turned the heads of Cannes' programming committee. In fact, she's at the notable fest this minute! Her expertise ranges from acting to directing to producing to writing and her film achievements span fact and fiction. Learn more about why she's a spectacular choice for 10 to Watch in 2014.

10 Filmmakers to Watch in 2014: In Country team (Mike Attie, Meghan O’Hara, and Lindsay Utz)

This year, the filmmaking team of 10 to Watch is co-directors Mike Attie and Meghan O’Hara, and editor Lindsay Utz for their collaborative work on In Country. Read about how their film documents veterans who participate in reenactments of the Vietnam War.

10 Filmmakers to Watch in 2014: Jay Bushman

Jay Bushman is ahead of the curve when it comes to transmedia and new techniques for filmmakers. He talks with The Independent's Maddy Kadish about The Lizzie Bennet Diaries and what's brewing for him in 2014, #hamlet and a new start-up.

10 Filmmakers to Watch in 2014: Effie T. Brown

Producer Effie T. Brown has high hopes for the satire she produced, Dear White People, as it makes the rounds on the festival circuit and preps for an October theatrical release. Check out why she's on our 10 to Watch list this year.

10 Filmmakers to Watch in 2014: Sharon Greytak

The Independent's Rebecca Reynolds talks with 10 to Watch filmmaker, Sharon Greytak, about the range of her work within film and painting, including her latest project, the narrative feature Archaeology of a Woman.

10 Filmmakers to Watch in 2014: Liss LaFleur

Liss LaFleur forges connections with her interactive documentary, One Way Home, about an organization in Texas that reunites AIDS-inflicted people with their families. Not only is she producing great work, but she is an open and brave artist. That's why she's one of our 10 to Watch.

10 Filmmakers to Watch in 2014

10 to Watch is the annual series that highlights filmmakers who stand out as leaders in the field of independent storytelling. Starting May 12th, we will post a new filmmaker each day for 10 days in a row.

10 Filmmakers to Watch in 2014: Robert Greene

Robert Greene's unique vision and practice for documentary caught our attention. Check out his plethora of work in 2014, including Actress and Approaching the Elephant, on 10 to Watch.

Jumpstart Your Creativity with a Short Film Challenge

Tired of all of the talk about making a movie? Take action today by signing up for one of more than a dozen short film challenges where you write, shoot, edit, and screen your film sometimes in 48 hours or less.

Tribeca 2014: Interactive's Audience Now Has an Audience

From playing the giant piano inspired by Big to starting to fan stalk other media fans, Tribeca's cutting edge Innovation Week brought all things transmedia (and more) to the forefront of the conversation, and better yet, to the hands-on Interactive Playground. Senior producer Maddy Kadish was on the scene.

Tribeca 2014: Critic's Choice

Of Tribeca's 89 features and 60 shorts, senior critic Kurt Brokaw elaborates on his favorites. Chef, Venus in Fur and Virunga started us off and Dior and I, Helium, Today’s the Day, Love In the Time of March Madness, Human Voice, Shaking Free and The Vortex Finds a Host round off the list.

Cinematic Lessons From a Cold War Era

Kurt Brokaw matches Thom Andersen and Noël Burch’s tour de force of clips in their 1995 documentary Red Hollywood with a likewise ambitious recap of those clips. Film students take note, thanks to McCarthy, you haven't seen everything yet, but this doc will help you get there. Screening at Film Society of Lincoln Center August 15-21, 2014.

Distributor FAQ: FilmBuff 2014

Get a sneak peek at one of the new additions to The Independent's Guide to Film Distribution: FAQ with FilmBuff CEO Janet Brown on the who-what-why of FilmBuff's VOD-centered distribution mission.

Finding the "Mystery Woman" of Street Photography

Imagine an artistic discovery you simply can't keep to yourself. The images are that penetrating. For John Maloof, Vivian Maier's street photography demanded to be seen. Two books and one documentary later, the world can trace Maloof's path toward Finding Vivian Maier.

New Directors/New Films 2014 - Critic's Choice

Horror doesn't scare our senior film critic Kurt Brokaw. Two cutting films make his cut (Buzzard and The Babadook) plus he returns to Romania's cinema frontier with QED (that's the short title) gets unfrozen in Greenland and takes a ride with the Phantom, Nick Cave.

Rendez-Vous With French Cinema 2014

"You may not be persuaded by a minute of it, but if you have a sweet tooth for French neo-noir, you can’t help but believe your lying eyes." That's senior critic, Kurt Brokaw, on his fourth consecutive year choosing a critic's choice from Rendez-vous With French Cinema. Curious about which one he's talking about? Read more.

Back to the Past: Keva Rosenfeld’s 1987 Documentary "All American High" Finds a New Audience

Is our nostalgia for the 80s replacing our nostalgia for the 50s? Michele Meek suggests so, using a resurgence of interest in Keva Rosenfeld's 1987 documentary, All American High, as her primary example. It screens March 9th and 12th at SXSW.

Now Playing (Again): "Fort McMoney"

Fort McMurrey's oil production represents 20 percent of Canada's GDP says the trailer to the interactive reality doc, Fort McMoney. As a result, everything there is larger than life. The real-time game, divided in episodes, is back on and anyone can dip their toe in the oil through February 16th.

Sundance 2014: I Want You... to Be the New Frontier

Sundance's New Frontier section took form through data visualization, transmedia, virtual-reality, and interactive film exhibits. Maddy Kadish highlights what hit and what missed from this year's festival.

Sundance 2014: Three Films Disturb the Peace

Despite the unavoidable Park City glitz, Neil Kendricks writes, "Sundance still provides a forum for much-needed cinematic troublemakers." Read how three films in particular grabbed him by the collar, Only Lovers Left Alive, 20,000 Days on Earth, and Rat Pack Rat.

Sundance 2014: Animators Pump New Visions into Documentary Aesthetic

Neil Kendricks takes a look at how animation was used in the documentaries at Sundance 2014 and speaks one-on-one with Watchers of the Sky's Molly Schwartz.

Sundance 2014: The Independent’s Top 10 Moments for Women

From creepy to awesome, women made their mark on and off screen at Sundance 2014. The moments were many but we've opted to share 10 of our favorites with you. Enjoy!

Sundance 2014: Sorrow and Beauty in Doc Shorts Program II

The Independent's senior producer, Maddy Kadish, reviews three short documentaries from Sundance 2014: I Think This Is the Closest to How the Footage Looked, Notes on Blindness, and Remembering the Artist: Robert De Niro, Sr.

New York Jewish Film Festival 2014 - Critic's Choices

Of his NYJFF critic's picks, Kurt Brokaw writes that Ida "was the most closely watched film of this fest even before it opened," and The Jewish Cardinal "is a film any NYJFF devotee will find worthy of the closest attention." He's also added Regina and GentleDog to his list. The fest runs January 8-23, 2014.

Confessions of a Failed Screenwriter

Randy Steinberg, friend of The Independent has been involved in all aspects of screenwriting for more than a decade. In this cut-to-the-chase, brutally honest essay, he explains why he think he failed and how articulating the process may benefit other screenwriters.

Do You Know Where Your Film and Video Masters Are?

IFP founder Sandra Schulberg and former New York Film Festival director Richard Pena are spearheading a national initiative called indieCollect to save American independent films from extinction. The first meeting will be held on December 9th at 6 pm. Click here to learn about the meeting and about the effort, which is not limited to New York City.

An Indie Film Odyssey: Making (and Screening) “Homer and Penelope”

Hang in there with Danny Powell, as his journey into making his first feature, Homer and Penelope (which streams free December 11-15), will ring true to anyone who has been crazy enough to try likewise. Notice that with Odysseus as a guide, one can find joy long after all that has been "wrought and endured."

Critic's Choice - 2013 Finale

As awards season begins, the must-see lists for 2013 start piling up. Senior critic Kurt Brokaw offers three final critic's choices for the calendar year: Tim's Vermeer, August: Osage County, and The Past.

IDFA 2013: The Endless Frontier of Interactive Reality

Though still indefinable, the world of interactive documentary is slowly being shaped into existence. LJ Kessels offers the latest according to leaders in the field at IDFA's Interactive Reality Conference.

The Free Spirits of Contemporary Canadian Cinema

The Independent’s Patrick Pearce gets the inside scoop on Festival du Nouveau Cinéma's Canadian line-up from directors featured at the fest: Raphaëlle Bilodeau (Épicentres), Ashley McKenzie (Stray), Frédérick Pelletier (Diego Star), and Elza Kephart (Go Into The Wilderness).

Zero Time with Programmer Julien Fonfrède

Montréal's Festival du Nouveau Cinéma is running on all cylinders through October 20, 2013. Mid-festival, Patrick Pearce caught up with programmer Julien Fonfrède to find out just exactly he was looking for when selecting films for the edgy Temps 0 section.

New York Film Festival 2013 - Critic's Choice

Broader. Wider. Deeper. That's the report from the 51st New York Film Festival which senior critic, Kurt Brokaw, suggests is taking cues from the big-tent Tribeca Film Festival. Here he assembles his critic's choices from NYFF 2013, which runs from September 27th through October 13th.

TIFF 2013: President of the Club of Romantics

Veteran French filmmaker Patrice Leconte makes his North American and English-language debut at TIFF 2013 with A Promise. He told The Independent, "I realize that my life, day after day, is totally turned to focus on movies and I'm not sure whether it's good or not that I let myself be invaded to that point." And yet, romance like what's in this film is what helps him feel most alive.

TIFF 2013: "Visitors" and Experimentation on a Grand Scale

The spectacle of Godfrey Reggio's experimental film, Visitors, wowed TIFF audiences with live orchestral accompaniment of a Philip Glass score and a flood of meditative images. But will this film "experience" travel?

TIFF 2013: Report from the Second Annual Asian Film Summit

China-US co-production, Man of Tai Chi, was a case study, of sorts, at TIFF's second Asian Film Summit. Katherine Brodsky offers highlights of a discussion that addressed the growing Chinese film market.

TIFF 2013: When Movies Bring On- and Off-Screen Families Together

Writer/director Terry Miles and actor Lauren Lee Smith pooled personal resources to make Cinemanovels. Partly that meant money. Mostly it meant something far more personal: trust. Jennifer Beals joined the duo in making this story about a woman who assembles a retrospective of her father's film work after his death.

Documenting a Man who Refused Interpretation

Salinger is a multi-platform crash course in all things J.D. Salinger, the reclusive writer, who, after publishing the global bestseller The Catcher in the Rye in 1951, never fully surfaced again. Was he writing? If so, what? Kurt Brokaw assesses the new documentary that answers many elusive questions about Salinger's life.

1D's "This" is Sweet as a First Crush

Despite the fast-food-of-culture analogies (and they are super-sized), Beth Brosnan defends the boyish charms of One Direction and Morgan Spurlock's documentary about the manufactured teen band.

Mother-Daughter Take On "Austenland"

If someone else starts a mother-daughter indie film club or a mother-daughter indie review department, know that we've had this on the burner 4EVAHHHH! Thanks to current book critic and former Austen professor Rebecca Steinitz and her daughter Eva Steinitz for getting the ball rolling with dueling Austenland reviews.

‘Tis the Summer of Women Falling Apart in Films

Kurt Brokaw on Blue Jasmine: "This is Woody Allen in 2013, and even Cate Blanchett can barely climb over all the furniture stacked in her way." On Lindsay Lohan: "You’re watching an aging process not seen since the jazz trumpet virtuoso Chet Baker lost his dream-boy looks by turning into a ravaged heroin addict." There's more. Just open and read these reviews, you'll enjoy yourself. Promise.

TFI Transmedia Case Study: "Hollow"

As six newly funded TFI transmedia projects go under construction, Maddy Kadish looks at how 2012 grantee, Elaine McMillion, integrated community voice and storytelling in her just-launched interactive doc, Hollow.

An Affair of the Rock Doc

Rick Springfield superfans Sylvia Caminer and Melanie Lentz-Janney teamed up to make a rock doc about the star and the audience that has never left his side. A thousand fans wanted to appear in An Affair of the Heart but only seven made the cut.

All Indie Family

You can't dump siblings and they don't blow smoke up your $#@... Rebecca Reynolds talks to siblings Jason and Sarah Trost about their collaboration on three indie projects, The FP, All Superheroes Must Die, and Wet and Reckless.

Postcard from DocsBarcelona

Documentarian Greta Schiller takes in the 16th year of DocsBarcelona and its array of global docs ranging from the traditional to the cutting edge. Violence emerged as an important theme and many docs Schiller saw handled the topic with gripping storytelling approaches.

Artifacts from Cinematic Heaven and Hell: The Kubrick Cult Lives at LACMA!

Do you heart Kubrick? Or the fine art of movie-making? "With its numerous production-design sketches, props, and annotated screenplays on display, the show might be the greatest example of a museum exploring the crossroads where the parallel worlds of art and film merge..." That's Neil Kendricks on an exhibit he saw, loved, and writes about here. Now through June 30, 2103 at LACMA.

10 Filmmakers to Watch in 2013: Errol Webber

Errol Webber has been behind the camera on some of this year's most influential and touted documentaries, including American Promise, Remote Area Medical, and 12 O'Clock Boys. Here he explains why it's AOK to watch Gossip Girl as cinematography "homework," and how he's making time for a childhood passion...

10 Filmmakers to Watch in 2013: Sarah Gertrude Shapiro

Senior critic Kurt Brokaw admired Sarah Gertrude Shapiro's narrative short (Sequin Raze at New Directors/New Films) so much, the rest of us wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Now, we want you to see for yourself.

10 Filmmakers to Watch in 2013: Jason DaSilva

Doc-maker, animator, app-entrepreneur... it seems that Jason DaSilva can do it all. In a revealing personal doc released at Sundance earlier this year, DaSilva shares what happens when he loses the ability to walk. Read here about what other projects he has planned for 2013.

10 Filmmakers to Watch in 2013: John Alan Thompson

A near death experience had staying power for experimental filmmaker John Alan Thompson. His short-in-progress, Lend a Hand for Love is one we don't want to miss.

10 Filmmakers to Watch in 2013: Andrew James and Team

We know every film is a collaboration and we know the buck stops with someone on every project. That said, the doc feature Street Fighting Man has one brilliant team. That's why Andrew James, Sara Archambault, Katie Tibaldi, and Jason Tippet together make our 10 to Watch in 2013 list.

10 Filmmakers to Watch in 2013: Lu Lu

Remember her name: Lu Lu. We've got it right and so will you after you learn more about An Early Summer, the narrative short that Lu Lu is developing into a feature. That's why we've got an eye on her through 2013.

10 Filmmakers to Watch in 2013: Tom Bean and Luke Poling

Tom Bean and Luke Poling’s much-anticipated documentary about the ever-varied life of writer and journalist (among other careers), George Plimpton puts them on our 10 to Watch list for 2013. Their documentary has its theatrical premiere at the end of May. Here’s why this duo makes 10 to Watch.

10 Filmmakers to Watch in 2013: Lucy Mulloy

No one expected that Lucy Mulloy's graduate thesis film would take her as far as it has. Mulloy's dedication to her craft and persistence to achieve her creative vision has served her well. Read about filmmaker Lucy Mulloy and her Tribecca 2012 winner, Una Noche. It's why we think she has something special as a filmmaker to watch out for in 2013.

10 Filmmakers to Watch in 2013: Dawn Porter

Since her Sundance premiere, Dawn Porter has been turning heads and hearts with Gideon's Army, her first feature documentary about the tough but vital role of public defenders in the US justice system. Here's why The Independent has an eye on her in 2013.

10 Filmmakers to Watch in 2013: Katie Graham and Andrew Matthews

In true indie fashion, Andrew Matthews and Katie Graham moved from LA to Austin with their sights set on directing a narrative feature together. Zero Charisma premiered at SXSW, is now making festival rounds, and puts this duo on our 10 to Watch in 2013 list.

10 Filmmakers to Watch in 2013: Chiemi Karasawa

Several years passed between when Chiemi Karasawa, one of our 10 to Watch in 2013, met and then started filming the inimitable Elaine Stritch. Karasawa thought her doc project may need "someone famous" to direct it. But Stritch had already decided Karasawa was the right woman for the job.

10 Filmmakers to Watch in 2013

10 to Watch is an annual series that honors filmmakers who stand out as exceptional talents and leaders in the field of independent storytelling. This story has our complete list.

Why Edginess Counts in Doc Distribution

Not easily summarized or described, docs Leviathan and Act of Killing have been praised--and picked up for theatrical distribution--because of their beyond-the-norm approach to cinematic storytelling.

Outsider Writers: Four Not-in-LA Grad Programs in Screenwriting

Jared M. Gordon is convinced that studying screenwriting outside of NY or LA can greatly benefit budding scribes. He spoke to graduate program directors at Carnegie Mellon University, Hollins University, Northwestern University, and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas to gather facts and substantiate his theory.

How to Talk Experimental Film: A User's Guide

Underground may no longer exist but the world of experimental film is teeming with new species everyday. If it takes one to know one, then The Independent has artist/filmmaker Minhae Shim here to share how she uses the terms experimental, avant-garde, and more.

Film Festival Scholarship and Professional Networks on the Rise

According to Film Festival Academy co-founder Tomas Prasek, "I have seen so much useless competition in areas where collaboration would have benefited both parties...everybody says, ‘How do other festivals deal with that?’ and that's exactly what people should be asking through some kind of platform." He recently told The Independent's Courtney Sheehan why professionals could benefit from playing on the same team.

Distributor FAQ: Shorts International

Linda Olszewski tells The Independent that Shorts International is looking for "celebrity films, comedies, CGI-animated films that are family friendly..." and a whole lot more. Find out how this short film distributor reaches more than than 50 countries in theaters, on TV, and the Internet.

Can I Shoot My Low Budget Indie Film in New York City?

"Let’s just say we started out to shoot a low budget psychological thriller in rural northwestern Michigan and ended up shooting an ultra low budget neo noir thriller in New York City," says The Girl on the Train's producer, Rebecca Reynolds. Here she shares tips and trade-offs for shooting on location in the Big Apple.

Filmmaker's Journal: Crowd Funding in Cambodia

Jason Rosette reports from Cambodia in another installment of his Filmmaker's Journal, four years after his last update. Here he chronicles the ups and downs of getting what he calls his most ambitious project yet, the feature narrative Freedom Deal, off the ground in Cambodia, including the unique ways he's approached casting and fundraising.

Saying Goodbye to My Steenbeck

Ralph Arlyck's documentary, Following Sean, spanned four decades, several generations of technology, and earned Arlyck the Albert Maysles Excellence in Documentary Filmmaking Award at the 2012 Mendocino Film Festival, celebrated this June. In this essay, Arlyck revisits his days spent cutting Sean and other films on his now dismantled Steenbeck console.

Motherhood and Moviemaking (Not Always in that Order)

Motherhood can't seem to escape controversy, even on the weekend meant to honor them. Yet three filmmaking moms are quietly figuring out what it means to parent, work a day job, and manage a passion project, and have generously shared their perspectives with The Independent.

Reasons for the Cutting Room Floor

An editor's technical toolbox may have changed since the 80s but there are still lessons to be learned from classic ensemble dramas like The Big Chill. All those adults in one kitchen, dancing? Editor Mike Sullivan caught up with editor Carol Littleton to ask how she cut that scene and about the significance of leaving Kevin Costner on the cutting room floor.

State of the Film Industry in Southeast Europe

Tax incentives. Public and private funding. Transnational co-productions. During a year abroad to study regional film festivals and exhibition, Courtney Sheehan takes in Southeast Europe through the lens of presenters at the third annual industry Cinelink forum during the Sarajevo Film Festival.

Friend Your College Film Programmer, Pronto!

Every minute you let your nearest college film program go by without becoming acquainted with its schedule, leadership, and selection process, is a day you miss of fresh, often free cinema (and popcorn), and a chance to get eyes on your latest masterwork. Courtney Sheehan gives a behind-the-scenes account of running a college film program in Iowa and suggests that filmmakers and distributors should seek out these venues now, before they disappear.

Maximizing Film Exhibition Quality at Festivals

Finally, your work screens at a festival. But the sound is off and it looks terrible. Kelly Gallagher asks festival programmers and filmmakers how to increase exhibition quality at festivals. In addition to post-production, improve your audience's experience through preparation and developing rapport with festival staff.