Festivals & Events

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IFP Announces Feature Films Selected for 2019 Narrative Lab

The Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP), Filmmaker‘s publisher, announced today the 10 feature films selected for the Narrative Lab, part of the IFP Filmmaker Labs, IFP’s year-long fellowship for first-time filmmakers currently in post-production on their debut feature. The Lab will support the creative teams as they prepare to finish and release their films into the world. Recent films that have participated in the Narrative Lab have included Clementine; Dead Pigs; House of Hummingbird; Jinn; Lost Bayou; Menashe; Noah Land; Nancy; and The Third Wife. The program runs July 15-19 at the Made in NY Media Center by IFP located in DUMBO, […]

Changing Documentary Release Strategies, the Rise of Podcasts and Climbing U.S. Non-fiction Budgets: Tracking Industry Change at the 2019 Sheffield Doc/Fest

A reminder that the documentary world is rapidly evolving was once again made clear at this month’s 26th edition of the Sheffield Doc/Fest. At the festival’s two-day pitch event, the MeetMarket, as well as at the lively boutique cinema hub at Showcase Cinemas, there were buzzy talks around smartphone filmmaking, the growing rise of short-form content, the emerging marketplace for podcasts and the array of distribution opportunities now available to all forms of docs. Addressing the festival’s diverse span of content —- subject matters ranging from gender relations and frayed international politics to Macedonian beekeeping woes — festival programmer Luke […]

“I Can Afford a Month of Editing Right Now”: Diana Peralta on De Lo Mio

While most independent films are birthed out of personal necessity, a time-crunch, and readily available locations, Diana Peralta’s De Lo Mio may represent a pinnacle of can-do gumption. Shot on location in the city of Santiago in the Dominican Republic, Peralta’s debut feature uses her late grandmother’s home as its central location and its truer-than-fiction narrative—following her passing, two sisters return to their grandmother’s cozy property before it gets bulldozed and the land sold. Shot last fall but percolating in the director’s mind for years, De Lo Mio is as much about the sisters in front of the camera (performed by Sasha […]

Five Questions for Quickie Fest Creators Anna Roisman and Michael Muntner

Arriving at New York’s SVA Theater this Saturday, June 29, is the seventh edition of Quickie Fest, a twice-yearly festival that showcases short films that time out at 60 seconds or less. There’s a strong comedy element to the selections, although the hosts and curators, Anna Roisman and Michael Muntner, say the films include docs, dramas and music videos as well. Roisman is a comedian, actress, singer and writer, and half of the comedy team SortaKosher. Muntner is a teacher, writer, improviser, comedian, filmmaker and actor, and he is one half of the comedic duo Garbage Farts. Below, the two […]

Davey Foundation Offers Grants for Short Films; Deadline July 5

This year’s edition of the Davey Foundation Short Film Grants—which annually bestow grant packages to shorts filmmakers—comes with a first. Founded in 2013, in past years only short films made by those 35 and under were eligible for submission. That age cap’s been removed for this year’s edition. Judged only on a script basis, four grants will be awarded: two national grant winners receive $5,000 in cash, the third $2500 cash plus use of a film gear package. Additionally, a grant for Utah-based filmmakers will be awarded for $2500 and use of a film gear package. Past grantees include Laura […]

I Will Always Love You: Amy Dotson’s BAMcinemafest Speech

Amy Dotson, who recently departed her position as Deputy Director and Head of Programming at IFP, Filmmaker‘s publisher, is headed this fall to Portland, where she will step into the role of Director of the Northwest Film Center and Film and New Media Curator at the Portland Art Museum. Today she gave a speech at the day of industry talks at BAMcinemafest and kindly offered the text to Filmmaker to publish below. Lotta change in the air, ya’ll. So much has happened of late. As some of you may know, I’m on the precipice of new adventures. That said, I’m […]

What to See at the 2019 BAMcinemafest

Following its very good opening night film — Lulu Wang’s The Farewell (also Filmmaker’s forthcoming Summer issue cover) — BAMcinemafest the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s essential early summer fest, is underway. This year’s edition is typical of the fest: a well-curated and relatively compact mix of recent festival standouts, a world premiere or two, and assorted other programs, including tomorrow’s day-long (and free) program of industry panels presented in collaboration with IFP. The festival runs until June 22, and for those in or headed to Brooklyn, here are some recommendations from us at Filmmaker. So Pretty Jessie Jeffrey Dunn Rovinelli’s […]

An On-Set Education: Graham Swon on The World is Full of Secrets

When The World is Full of Secrets showed earlier this year at a festival for debut films in remote Khanty-Mansiysk, Siberia, its director, Graham Swon (a 25 New Face of Film in 2016), briefly became almost as much of interest to the public audience and critics there as did his hypnotic cinematic spectacular. That I was there as the only international journalist in attendance to witness Swon fielding eager questions from this newfound audience of intrigued Siberian spectators strikes me now as a fluke of wondrous good fortune. The movie’s long, discursive monologues, in which 15- and 16-year-old girls narrate […]

A Sneak Peek at the 30th Human Rights Watch Film Festival

The 30th anniversary edition of the Human Rights Watch Film Festival (running June 13-20, and co-presented by Film at Lincoln Center and the IFC Center) has much more to boast than its smartly slimmed-down lineup of 13 feature-length films (11 docs and two narrative works). In addition to the requisite post-screening panel discussions with filmmakers, subjects and special guests, there’s this year’s added bonus of actual behind-the-lens parity. With half the films directed or co-directed by women, the majority directed by filmmakers of color and, perhaps most importantly, half helmed by filmmakers with actual roots in the places they’re documenting, […]

“I Just Saw People Falling Out of the Sky”: Andrew Hevia on Leave the Bus Through the Broken Window

A stranger in a foreign land, with a camera and a penchant for cheap beer: Andrew Hevia’s hyperdigital documentary Leave the Bus Through the Broken Window follows the Miami-bred filmmaker as he visits Hong Kong for the Chinese edition of Art Basel. At first determined to make a traditional documentary accessible for public television audiences, Hevia’s plans are quickly thwarted once he discovers the elusive intricacies of the region. He’s a Cuban-American who can’t understand the language of his new surroundings. Rather than view that as a hindrance, he takes to meeting artists and art collectors, attending art shows, wooing […]

“A Movie Where Nobody Wears Clothes and It’s PG-Rated”: Jessie Jeffrey Dunn Rovinelli on So Pretty

Before Jessie Jeffrey Dunn Rovinelli began the bulk of production on her second feature So Pretty, she wrote an essay for this site outlining some of the goals and background behind the production: The film is an adaptation of a 1980s German gay novel [Ronald M. Schernikau’s So Schön] that I am transposing and translating to a cast of feminine people of many genders in 2018, New York City. […] Given the explicit gender-trouble and queer elements of So Pretty, as well as the fact that it takes seriously the novella’s paraphrased subtitle “a utopian film,” my film must create an image […]

Ecological Destruction and Aesthetic Nightmares: Venice Art Biennale 2019

Although it starts just days before Cannes, the Venice Arts Biennale is routinely ignored by film journalists. Perhaps it’s because of the (incorrect) presumption that the yearly film festival sweeps up the important material, or perhaps it’s the weird art/film world divide. But key film figures routinely make their presence known at the Biennale: when I first attended in 2007, José Luis Guerín represented Spain with an installation-based riff on In The City of Sylvia, while Tsai Ming-Liang screened It’s A Dream for Taiwan. Meanwhile, a figure then best-known in the art world, Steve McQueen, shared two filmed works in […]

IFP Announces Ten Projects Selected for 2019 IFP Episodic Lab

The Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP), Filmmaker‘s parent organization, announced today the ten projects selected for the Episodic Lab, IFP’s yearlong fellowship for breakthrough content creators working on fiction and nonfiction series projects aimed for television and digital platforms. Commented IFP Executive Director Jeffrey Sharp, “The IFP Episodic Lab is the perfect place to incubate and workshop these great series projects: it offers the creators and their teams mentorship to pull off their vision in the TV and digital landscape. It is also the perfect place for the teams to strengthen their pitches before they go out to market—specifically, IFP Week […]

Winners Announced for Spring, 2019 SFFILM Westridge Grants

SFFILM, in partnership with the Westridge Foundation, announced today the five filmmaking teams receiving a total of $100,000 in screenwriting and development for their narrative features. One of the few grants open to early-stage narrative filmmakers, the SFFILM Westridge grants, awarded twice annually, “are designed for US-based filmmakers whose stories take place primarily in the United States and focus on the significant social issues and questions of our time.” In a statement, the jury said, “We are thrilled to be able to support these five filmmakers and their exceptional projects. Each has used their unique voice and experience to illuminate […]

US in Progress Paris Announces 2019 Selection of Eight American Independent Works in Progress

US in Progress, the biannual event connecting American independent filmmakers in postproduction with European industry support, has announced the eight films that will be presented June 19 – 21 at the Champs-Élysées Film Festival in Paris. The only European event devoted exclusively to American independents, US in Progress is a joint program between Champs-Élysées and November’s American Film Festival in Wroclaw. As the organizers write, “This professional programme is a collaboration between these two festivals and seeks to facilitate the circulation of American independent cinema in Europe by bringing decision makers from all over Europe to discover new US filmmakers.” […]

Cannes 2019 Dispatch 6: Parasite, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood, Mektoub, My Love: Intermezzo

A great prize list aside—better than any since at least 2011—I can’t fall in line with a majority of this year’s press corps in declaring this a banner year for Cannes; ironic, given that, on paper, this indeed was going to be a banner year for Cannes: Malick! Bonello! Hausner! Tarantino! Dumont! Diop! Lav! Bong! There was something for everyone, and most of it seemed to go down quite smoothly, even as distinctions between the good, bad, and ugly was as indiscernible as ever. On the two critics’ grids I participated in, for example, virtually every film across every section […]

Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite Wins Cannes Palme d’Or; Mati Diop’s Atlantics Picks Up Grand Prix

South Korean director Bong Joon-ho’s dark social satire/thriller Parasite won the Cannes Film Festival’s top prize, the Palme d’Or. It’s the first time a Korean director has won the award, and jury president Alejandro González Iñárritu said the jury was unanimous. First-time French-Senegalese feature filmmaker Mati Diop — the actress known for roles in Claire Denis’s 35 Shots of Rum and American indies like L for Leisure and Fort Buchanan had previously directed shorts and a medium-length documentary — won the festival’s second prize, the Grand Prix, for her Atlantics. It’s a magic-realistic-tinged tale of women left behind in Senegal […]

Cannes 2019 Dispatch 5: Fire Will Come, Tommaso

We all know that Cannes appraises itself as the supreme purveyor of a given year’s most handsome industrially-produced arthouse motion pictures (that is, those that happen to have completed their post-production by late April of said year)—a launchpad for quote-unquote major achievements by the world’s most recognizable and uncompromising narrative filmmakers. Its unwillingness to accommodate the more outre or difficult projects from directors who fit that description hasn’t been too contentious thanks, mostly, to the Directors’ Fortnight’s relatively eclectic and much less constricted programming philosophy—carried over from one artistic director to the next for more than half a century now, […]