Independent filmmakers band together after being publicly rejected by the Sarasota Film Festival.April 16th, 2009 | Dante A. Ciampaglia
You spend years writing a script, story boarding, filming and editing -- putting all of your blood, sweat and money into a film, and finally sending it out to festivals in the hope that friends, family and the public will get a chance to see what your hard work and talent has created, but next thing you know, you've been rejected in front of hundreds of your peers. Sounds like a nightmare, but it happened to more than 350 filmmakers who applied to the Sarasota Film Festival this year. But, instead of letting it get to them, they went ahead and made the best out of a bad situation, creating their own Facebook group, laurels and even a fringe festival. The Independent's Dante A. Ciampaglia talks to several filmmakers that were part of the 350 and gets their opinion on what went down with Sarasota.
“I don’t think we should see each other anymore.” “It’s not you, it’s me.” “I just want to be friends.” “Thanks, but no thanks.”
How the Internet is changing the way independent films are seen and distributed.March 17th, 2009 | Sarah Morgan
These days you can do just about everything online: pay a parking ticket, shop for Christmas presents or take out a loan. So, it's no surprise that film festivals are finding their place on the Web, with emerging outlets like Haydenfilms, Babelgum, and the former Independent Lens Online Shorts Festival, filmmakers are finding alternative outlets that are sometimes more conducive to short-format films and new filmmakers. But, online festivals are beginning to evolve as well, pairing up with traditional festivals to give filmmakers the networking opportunities that they may otherwise miss out when they submit through solely online festivals. Very soon, with prestigious festivals like Sundance partnering with IFC On-Demand (read more about it here), we may be seeing a lot more big festivals brought to the small screen.
When Deborah Wallwork first started out as a filmmaker in the early 1980s, her goal was to get her work onto one of North Dakota’s four TV channels, and the editing process was all analog. Then the technology changed. She started doing DOS-based computer editing.
“You had to learn programming language to edit,” she says.
Independent filmmaker, Ari Sandel, talks about the night he found himself walking the red carpet and the projects he's been working on since then.January 26th, 2009 | John McMahon
Ari Sandel, director of West Bank Story (view the trailer here), shares with Independent writer John McMahon, the path that led an independent filmmaker to walk the red carpet at the 78th Annual Academy Awards, where he won the Oscar for Best Short Film, Live Action. He talks about the projects he's taken on since then, including feature-length documentary Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show and the script Brad Cutter Ruined My Life…Again which will be a film through Fox Atomic.
Ari Sandel was nervous and excited when he arrived at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood on the evening of March 5th, 2006 for the 78th Academy Awards that, for a moment, he forgot to breathe.
The Independent Television Service, or ITVS, is one of the most prestigious sources for film funding in the United States. But some filmmakers complain it's abusing its power.December 9th, 2008 | Michele Meek
The creation of the Independent Television Service in the mid-1990s as a source of funding for independent filmmakers was seen at the time as one of the great successes in the independent film movement. Today, the organization has a budget exceeding $12 million, and provides key funding to hundreds of films each year, including approving many outright grants in the six-figure range. All ITVS projects are supposed to completed and groomed for public television—but, in fact, one in three films funded by ITVS do not make to a major PBS series. Why is that? In more than a dozen interviews with filmmakers and people familiar with ITVS, some complaints emerge: namely, that ITVS is an overbearing funding partner that deploys "bulldog" lawyers and shrouds the funding process in secrecy. The Independent's Michele Meek takes a look at the organization and the independent filmmakers who rely on it, to find out what's going on.
In 2007, filmmaker Joanna Rudnick learned that her application for funding from the Independent Television Service (ITVS) had been accepted. Rudnick, a first-time director, had applied for ITVS funding to finance the completion of her documentary In the Family, a look at women who are aware they carry a genetic predisposition to breast or ovarian cancer.
For the first time, the organization publishes some of the controversial clauses from its lengthy contracts with filmmakers.December 9th, 2008 | Michele Meek
At The Independent’s request, ITVS agreed to publish its standard contract details for the first time. Some of the terms are fixed across all projects. For example, because the ITVS mandate is for each film to air on public television, the contract prioritizes those broadcasts ahead of community screenings or film festivals.
A look at how the DC Shorts, Teaneck and Slamdance film festivals got their start.November 24th, 2008 | Jericho Parms
We all love film festivals, but do we really know what goes into getting a festival up and running? The Independent takes a look at three young fests to see how they got their start, from the passion behind the festival to the funds that got them on the map.
Earlier this year, on a self-described “quixotic whim,” Oscar-winner Tilda Swinton rented an old Victorian ballroom named the Ballerina and set out to bring a film festival—complete with a quirky sense of imagination, beanbag chairs, and an unconventional lineup—to the seaside town of Nairn in the North East of Scotland.
A look at how the festival tool Withoutabox has changed the way festival directors and filmmakers handle submissions.November 10th, 2008 | Jen Swanson
Withoutabox has prevented a lot of headaches since launching its online film festival submission service in 2000. But lacking any significant competition, prices have gone up, and now the company is owned by a huge corporation. Where does that leave the indie filmmaker and the low- to no-budget festivals, now hooked on the Withoutabox system? The Independent talks to festival directors, including IFFB director Adam Roffman and filmmakers such as Ryan Gielen (see trailer from his film The Graduates) to find out their take on the popular festival tool.
Film Festivals. Whether it’s Sundance or Cannes, or something more obscure, the phrase conjures images of red carpets, artsy auteurs, and late night parties… for fans. But to filmmakers, and the often-unpaid program coordinators, film festivals are linked to getting organized, getting seen, and selling either your film, or enough tickets to do it all again next year.
A look at the role of independent filmmakers in the 2008 election.November 1st, 2008 | Jericho Parms
With online distribution becoming a viable outlet for filmmakers, The Independent takes a look at how filmmakers are leveraging the growing audiences this election season to promote political films, from Michael Moore's Slacker Uprising (see trailer here) to David Zucker’s An American Carol (see trailer here), as well as strictly YouTube releases like this video by Noshpit Entertainment.
With days left until the 2008 presidential election, images are flooding airwaves and video streams, vying for position as the lasting impression conjured just moments before pulling the lever.
Three filmmakers discuss their experiences in raising money to make their films.October 28th, 2008 | Nikki Chase
There are many ways to fund a film, but how do you know what is right for you? The Independent looks at three films: the documentary, The Linguists (see the trailer), the short, student film, The Abattoir (see the trailer) and the feature, A Good Day To Be Black & Sexy (see the trailer) to see how they went from ideas on the page to festival successes.
Long before filmmakers begin production, they face the daunting task of scraping together enough money to get their film off the ground. Choosing the right method of funding relies on many factors, including the type and subject of the film, and the experience behind the cast and crew involved in the project.
A look at what the practically-looming SAG strike might mean for Independent filmmakers.October 22nd, 2008 | Jen Swanson
Guaranteed Completion Contracts (GCCs), otherwise known as waivers, prove to be a lifesaver for indie filmmakers as the SAG and AMTFG negotiations remain at a standstill. Here is a rundown of the issues at hand and how they might affect independent filmmakers.
The continued standstill between the Screen Actor’s Guild (SAG) and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) to re-negotiate a new contract makes a strike look increasingly likely. The previous contract expired June 30, 2008.