Profiles

10 Filmmakers to Watch in 2013: Dawn Porter

Dawn Porter makes our 10 to Watch list in 2013 with her documentary "Gideon’s Army."


Brandy Alexander is one of the public defenders featured in "Gideon's Army." Photo by 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.

The odds may be long, but it is possible to see your first film be accepted by Sundance, win a Sundance award, and be bought by HBO. All you need is talent, passion, drive, determination, discipline, great collaborators, support, luck, perspective, intelligence and a killer idea at the perfect time. Do you have all that?

10 Filmmakers to Watch in 2012

The Independent chooses the 10 Filmmakers to Watch in 2012.

A still from <i>Losing Ferguson</i>, a film by one of the Independent's 10 to Watch in 2012, Trisha Gum.

The Independent shines a spotlight on 10 innovative filmmakers to keep your eye on this year, and coming years. We've got web series creators, animators, and filmmakers of all genres... and in the last month we've been releasing exclusive new extras on Facebook.

It's another year, and time to announce 10 filmmakers we at The Independent think you should keep your eye on. It's a varied group, to be sure, but each filmmaker has a few key things in common: talent, drive, and the desire to innovate.

Reasons for the Cutting Room Floor

Mike Sullivan learns some lessons from Hollywood editor Carol Littleton, at a new monthly film series in Boston.


Editor Carol Littleton deftly cut together the ensemble cast of "The Big Chill."

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.

It’s not every day that you get an opportunity to speak with one of Hollywood’s premiere film editors. If you ever have the means, I would highly recommend it. For those in the Boston area, the means may be closer than you think.

Facebook Exclusive Content for 10 to Watch

Via Facebook, The Independent announces our 10 to Watch in 2011 with one filmmaker (and one piece of exclusive content) per day, from May 6th through the 15th.

A still from <i>Short Term 12</i>, a film by Destin Daniel Cretton, one of The Independent's 10 filmmakers to Watch.

We'll be announcing our annual list of 10 of the most talented filmmakers we think you should keep your eye on by posting exclusive content daily on our Facebook page.

Editor's Note: This collaborative reporting effort was led by Nikki Chase, Maddy Kadish and Beth Brosnan.

Struggle and Triumph for Haiti's Ciné Institute

Against all odds, students and faculty at Haiti's Ciné Institute use their cameras to transform pain and destruction into artful moving images.


The tent that functions as Ciné Institute's classroom.

In a special report for The Independent, Beth Brosnan speaks with students and staff of Ciné Institute, Haiti's only professional film school, about life after the region's devastating earthquake. Brosnan explores how, months later, they're using filmmaking techniques to cope with tragedy, rebuild, and even thrive in the face of adversity.

On January 12th, Haiti’s only professional film school, Ciné Institute, lost its main building in the massive earthquake that devastated the Port-au-Prince region.

Three Approaches to Marketing an Independent Film

Three independent filmmakers discuss how they succeeded in marketing their films.


Sterlin Harjo, director of "Barking Water" (above), marketed his film through the Internet and by taking it on the road.

Completing a film is a Herculean task—especially for independent filmmakers. So it’s tempting to feel that once the film is in the can and ready to be shown, the hard work is over. But getting a film ready to be seen is only half the battle; one of the biggest filmmaking challenges still lies ahead: marketing your movie. This month, The Independent takes a look at three filmmakers who took different approaches to marketing their films: Gadi Harel, co-director of Deadgirl (view the trailer here); Sterlin Harjo, director of Barking Water (view the trailer here); and Bill Daniel, director of Who is Bozo Texino?(view the trailer here).

Independent filmmakers don’t have the luxury of the publicity divisions employed by studios. Yet smart filmmaker know that a film’s marketing is crucial to its success or failure—and doing it well requires an enormous amount of time and effort.

Digging In: An Interview with Eugene Rosow and Bill Benenson of "Dirt! The Movie"

How two filmmakers turned a book on environmental science into an award-winning documentary.


<i>Dirt! The Movie</i> does more than just preach, it tells the story of people's relationship to the earth.

Eugene Rosow and Bill Benenson sit down with The Independent's Emily Cataneo to discuss how they were able to transform an environmental science book into a funny, socially relevant and award-winning documentary film. Based on William Logan's book Dirt, the Ecstatic Skin of the Earth Rosow and Benenson sought to create something that would make a difference without sacrificing art and entertainment, and they did just that, going on to win the audience award for the best green documentary at Sundance this year. See the trailer for Dirt! The Movie here.

Independent filmmakers aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty.

At least, Eugene Rosow isn’t. Rosow recently teamed up with fellow filmmaker Bill Benenson to create Dirt! The Movie, a funny, socially relevant, award-winning documentary about dirt.

Distributor FAQ: Udy Epstein of Seventh Art Releasing

Ten years since their last interview with The Independent, co-founder Udy Epstein talks about the changing face of Seventh Art Releasing


A still from Seventh Art's recently released film <i>The Queen and I</i>.

In June 1999, The Independent asked Seventh Art Releasing where the company would be in ten years (read the original interview here). They answered, “Still open for business doing films we like.” And Seventh Art has done just that. And though there have been some changes, Epstein insists that despite the technological and economic turmoil of the past ten years, the company’s original vision has stayed the same. Exactly a decade after the last interview, The Independent’s Emily Cataneo sits down with co-founder Udy Epstein to find out what those changes are.

Seventh Art Releasing is a distributor and sales company founded in 1994 by Jonathan Cordish and Udy Epstein. The company is known for distributing award-winning documentaries and fiction films, many dealing with Jewish culture, lesbian and gay issues, human rights, music, and popular culture.

Feverish Ambitions: Northern Ireland's First Independent Film Festival

Filmmaker George Clarke starts Northern Ireland’s first independent film festival—and sets out to change his country’s attitude towards independent filmmaking.


A still from Clarke's <i>Battle of the Bone</i>, the film that led him to pursue YFIFF.

The Independent goes behind the scenes of a start-up film festival in Northern Ireland as the director tries to revive independent filmmaking in the country. The Yellow Fever Independent Film Festival is the first independent festival in Northern Ireland, and founder and filmmaker George Clarke (view the trailer for his kung fu zombie film Battle of the Bone here) faces some large hurdles to get the festival up and running for its August debut. The Independent's Dante A. Ciampaglia discovers Clarke's motivations and hopes for YFIFF and how it can bring change to the indie-deprived nation.

Kung fu zombies are rarely catalysts for film festivals. Rather, they’re the stuff of cult canons and film student fever dreams. Rarely seen together, the two B-movie genre standards are a mother lode of midnight movie possibility and it’s amazing more filmmakers haven’t mined it.

Funder FAQ: Roy W. Dean Film & Video Grants

Carole Dean answers questions about how her nonprofit supports independent filmmakers.

Founder Carole Dean, giving a consultation.

Somewhat different than many filmmaking grants, the Roy W. Dean Film & Video Grants provide goods and services, rather than funding, with the goal of helping filmmakers not only complete their film, but gain connections within the independent filmmaking community. The Independent's Enette Ngoei talks with foundation founder, author, and producer Carole Dean to find out exactly what Roy W. Dean grants have to offer independent filmmakers.

Carole Dean, founder of the the Roy W. Dean Film & Video Grants and From the Heart Productions, talks with The Independent about her foundation.

What are the Roy Dean Film & Video grants?

These grants are designed to support documentary and independent filmmakers by giving them the goods and services to get their films off the ground.

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