Monthly Archives: July 2006

Sundance Announces Documentary Grants

The Sundance Institute Documentary Fund recently announced its first round of grants for 2006 with 14 feature-length documentary films receiving a total of $605,000. Dedicated to supporting U.S. and international documentary films that focus on current human rights issues, freedom of expression, social justice, civil liberties, and exploring critical issues of our time, the Fund was established at Sundance Institute in 2002 with a gift from the Open Society Institute and is supported by a grant from the Ford Foundation. The Sundance Institute Documentary Fund grants are announced twice a year and since its inception at the Institute, the Fund has disbursed almost $4 million to 113 projects.

A committee of human rights experts and film professionals selected the recipients from projects submitted by filmmakers from around the world. These projects present a wide range of topics including: the effect of the Israeli Military Court system on both Israeli and Palestinian societies; the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina; a public school system in inner city Baltimore that has begun to recruit teachers from the Philippines; and an extraordinary tale of Muslim orphans in China who dream of becoming tightrope walkers. In supporting such work, the Sundance Institute Documentary Fund encourages the diverse exchange of ideas crucial to developing an open society, raising public consciousness about human rights abuses and restrictions of civil liberties, and fostering an ongoing debate about these issues.

WORK IN PROGRESS GRANTS
The 14 Sundance Institute Documentary Fund grant recipients are:

Skye Fitzgerald
BOMBHUNTERS
(US/Cambodia) This project is an engrossing examination of the micro-economy that has emerged in Cambodia from untrained civilians harvesting unexploded bombs as scrap metal.

Almudena Carracedo and Robert Bahar
MADE IN L.A.
(US) MADE IN L.A. intimately documents of the lives, struggles and personal transformations of three Latina immigrants working in garment factories.

Maria Yatskova, Irina Vodar and Raphaela Neihausen
MISS GULAG
(US) Through the prism of a beauty pageant staged by female prisoners of Siberian labor camp emerges a complex narrative of the lives of the first generation of women to come of age in Post-Soviet Russia.

Shari Roberston and Michael Camerini
MY AMERICAN DREAM
(US) Shooting since the summer of 2001, this project provides a backstairs pass to the halls of power in government, tracking the vast array of voices and forces that have converged around the issue of immigration.

Ido Haar 9
STAR HOTEL
(Israel) This project follows a group of young Palestinian men as they form a precarious, makeshift community of migrant workers living illegally in the hills outside a small city in Israel.

Ramona S. Diaz
THE LEARNING
(US/Philippines) THE LEARNING follows a group of Filipina women who have left their families and native land to teach young American students in inner city Baltimore.

Melis Birder
THE VISITORS
(US/Turkey) THE VISITORS follows the lives of women who faithfully visit their sons and husbands in prison every week and the ways their own lives are constrained by their loved ones’ incarceration.

Tia Lessin, Carl Deal and Amir Bar-Lev
TROUBLE THE WATERS
(US) TROUBLE THE WATERS follows the story of one couple who lived in New Orleans’ 9th Ward and their experience before, during, and in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Petr Lom
THE TIGHTROPE
(US) THE TIGHTROPE follows the lives of several orphaned children at a school in a remote area of China, as they seek to escape poverty by following their dreams of becoming tightrope walkers.

DEVELOPMENT GRANTS

Margarita Martinez Escallon and Miguel Salazar
THE BATON RESISTANCE
(Colombia) An intense portrait of a non-violent civil resistance movement started by the indigenous Nasa people of southern Colombia against armed para-military and guerilla fighters occupying their ancestral land.

Ra’anan Alexandrowicz
JUSTICE MUST BE SEEN
(Israel) JUSTICE MUST BE SEEN is a study of the Israeli Military Court system in the Palestinian territories in the last 40 years, and its effect on both Israeli and Palestinian societies.

Marion Lipschutz and Rose Rosenblatt
CHEKPAPI
(US) CHEKPAPI is a political coming of age story about three young people who have recently returned to the Pine Ridge Reservation and are swept up in a series of interlocking fights over women’s rights, development and indigenous rights.

SUPPLEMENTAL GRANTS

Adam Zucker
GREENSBORO: CLOSER TO THE TRUTH
(US) The survivors of the 1979 Greensboro massacre, in which members of the Ku Klux Klan murdered five Communist Labor organizers, and the attempt to re-examine the killings in a present-day Truth Commission are the focus of this project.

Daniel Junge
REBIRTH OF A NATION
(US/Liberia) REBIRTH OF A NATION follows the critical first days in the presidency of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first female president in Africa, and the democratization of Liberia in the wake of a corrupt and violent regime.

Jon Else
WONDERS ARE MANY
(US) This creative exploration of the hydrogen bomb follows the making of DOCTOR ATOMIC, Peter Sellars’ and John Adam’s new opera about J. Robert Oppenheimer and the birth of nuclear weapons.

The Village of Chieftainess Nyanje

BY CYNDI GREENING, PHOENIX, USA — A few days ago, Jabbes posted a photograph taken near his mother’s village. We’ve been looking at images from Victoria Falls, Lusaka and numerous villages. It’s been a good experience for all of us because it helps us to envision where we’re going and what we’ll be seeing in the process of making these films. In addition to looking at images, Jabbes has been preparing us for the cultural differences. We’ve learned that “pants” in Zambia refers to underwear. Never say “Nice pants” to anyone in country. Asking for a “napkin” will get you a diaper. Wearing any clothing that exposes your stomach or midriff is highly offensive (not that I intended to wear any tube tops, anyway).

Chieftainess.jpgWe’ve also been taught that there’s a difference between “city life” and “village life” in Zambia. City life, it seems, will be more familiar for those of us from the U.S. We’ve seen photos of shopping malls (thanks Dave), traffic turnabouts and statues. The geography makes it resemble a city in the American Southwest. Whenever Jabbes describes an area of Lusaka, he always begins by saying the “density” of the area. The images we’ve seen have been medium or low density. I think it is the high-density areas that will be most surprising. We do shoot in a high density area for a couple of days. I’m mentally trying to prepare for that.

The third week, we will be going to the Livingtone and, hopefully, Chipata areas. We also hope to visit Jabbes’ village and meet his tribal leader, Chieftainess Nyanje (pictured above). He has prepared us for the proper way to meet the tribal elders. I look forward to the opportunity to meet her. The cultural and educational exchanges are as important to me as making the films.

Five Most Critical Things To Know

Shooting the first feature film in Zambia is one of the most exciting — and challenging — things I’ve ever taken on. Filmmakers know there are a thousand different things that need to be handled before a film can be shot; that’s why pre-production is as long (or, in our case, longer) than the actual production. There are, however, several critical things that I learned doing a film outside the U.S.

  1. Names Must Be Exact: Since 9/11, things related to travel have become much more rigid. We were told that the names on the plane tickets had to match the passports EXACTLY. I was very careful about sending the exact names but THREE of the tickets were not identical. The one without the middle name and the one with the hyphenated last name will probably be okay (I love reassurances that contain the word “probably”) but the one with the wrong first name is sure to create a problem. Whose name is wrong? The lead cinematographer. I shudder to think at the impact that would have on the film. Murphy’s Law. We’ve got ten days to sort that out.
  2. CARNET or Customs Form Must Be Completed: Taking film equipment across international borders requires that you complete a Carnet (pronounced CAR-NAY). Or, for prosumer equipment, a US Customs form 4457. This form is to prove you own the equipment when you leave the country. The only trick is that you need to go to a US Customs office with your gear.
  3. Immunizations Must Be Taken EARLY Enough: The entire crew is going to need immunizations. Depending on where you’re going, they may need a wicked pile o’ shots. Most of us ended up with five or six plus pills. Cost to each person, around $325. Depending on which malaria pills that were prescribed, there was another $40 to $240 per person. (Ironically, Zambia does NOT require that you have any immunizations to enter the country. It’s the recommendation of our physicians that motivated us to get them.) So, that’s a total of $500 per person PLUS the $3000 flight. Ouch.
  4. Many Visas Must Be Managed: There are THREE Visas to worry about when filming out of the country. The first (and most critical Visa) is the one to enter the country. Frighteningly, I had to send all of our passports to the Embassy for the multiple entry visas. After all the other costs, the $100 fee seemed reasonable. It was the sending of the passports that makes me want to blow a lung. The second “visa” is the equipment waiver that we needed to secure from Zambia. There is an import fee to bring equipment in because the government doesn’t want visitors hauling in a pile of equipment and selling it for an exhorbitant fee without paying import taxes. Of course, we’re bringing all of our equipment back but approval is required prior. The final “visa” is for getting money while in the country. Researching credit cards, conversion rates and bank fees, we discovered there is a horribly wide range of penalties one can pay when getting money. It’s important to check with your bank before you go.
  5. It’s Really, Really, Really Hard to do Pre-Production: Being half-way around the world makes it really challenging to mount a production. Initial efforts to locate actors, locations, sets, props, costumes and such have to be negotiated with great difficulty. There is a NINE HOUR time difference between Arizona and Zambia, so Jabbes and I are doing most of our telephone calls between midnight and three A.M. Calls are expensive. I had to send six faxes to Zambia and it cost over $140 to get them there. Even silly things like sending copies of the press coverage and the press kit took near Herculean effort. I wanted to get funding for award-winning cinematographer Nancy Schreiber and documentary filmmaker David Mallin to join the crew but the distance made the cost so prohibitive. No wonder everyone wants to shoot on sets in L.A. or Vancouver. Everything is so close by. We have the added challenge that there is NO film industry in Zambia so we have to bring everything with us.

The good news … if we can make this happen in Zambia, the next film should be a breeze.

Sundance Submission Deadline Announced

The Sundance website lists the requirements and deadlines for the upcoming festival. Films should be submitted to Sundance on a single DVD, packaged in an industry-standard, 5 1/4″ x 7 1/2″ plastic DVD case (the same type that most retail DVDs are packaged in). DVDs must be compatible with standard set-top DVD players — do NOT simply burn a quicktime or AVI file to a disc as data. Make sure that your disc plays in a standard DVD player before you mail it in! They don’t want fancy artwork — and absolutely NO paper label on your disc!

EARLY SUBMISSION DEADLINE:

U.S. & International Short Films
Friday, August 18th, 2006
($25 Entry Fee)

U.S. & International Feature Films & Documentaries
Friday, August 18th, 2006
($35 Entry Fee)

OFFICIAL SUBMISSION DEADLINE:

U.S. & International Short Films
Friday, September 1st, 2006
($35 Entry Fee)

U.S. & International Feature Films & Documentaries
Monday, September 11th, 2006
($50 Entry Fee)

LATE SUBMISSION DEADLINE:

U.S. & International Short Films
Friday, September 15th, 2006

($60 Total Entry Fee)

U.S. & International Feature Films & Documentaries
Monday, September 25th, 2006
($75 Total Entry Fee)

To be honest, I am a bit upset about the deadlines this year. The early submission deadline will pass while we’re still in Zambia filming. We return to the U.S. on September 4, 2006. The LATE deadline is a scant three weeks later. We’re going to have to work like crazy to get the films ready. I was so hoping that BAD T!MING (the first Zambian dramatic narrative) and the documentary VOICE OF AN AFRICAN NATION would debut at Sundance but it’s going to be dang tough to hit that date.

Sundance Movers and Shakers – Part Two

Being selected for the Sundance Independent Producers Conference is a stunning experience. The more I read about the presenters the more giddy I am to be attending. Having it occur two days before we leave for Zambia is quite inspiring, too! (Part One was posted yesterday.)

Academy Award-winning filmmaker STEVEN OKAZAKI’s diverse filmography includes children’s films, documentaries and independent features. Segments from his films have been featured on The CBS Evening News, The NBC Nightly News, ABC News Nightline, CNN and Oprah. Steven started his career in 1976, producing children’s films about racism for Churchill Films. In 1991, he won an Academy Award and a Peabody for DAYS OF WAITING, the story of artist Estelle Ishigo, one of the few Caucasians to be interned with the Japanese Americans during World War II. At present, he is producing a feature documentary about the bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Steven was born in 1952 and grew up in Venice, California. He graduated from San Francisco State University’s film school in 1976.

SUNMIN PARK, who is a writer/director/producer, began writing at a very young age in her native Korea. While studying at Columbia University, Park launched the film production and media strategies company Maxmedia. In 1998, at the Sundance Film Festival, Maxmedia made it’s first major foray into international production with the introduction of Alejandro Amenábar’s OPEN YOUR EYES (later remade into VANILLA SKY starring Tom Cruise and directed by Cameron Crowe). Park’s next production effort was the Chinese epic THE EMPEROR AND THE ASSASSIN, starring Gong Li and directed by Chen Kaige, which premiered in the 1999 Cannes Film Festival. Park produced THE OTHERS, directed by Alejandro Amenábar and starring Nicole Kidman, along with executive producers Tom Cruise, Paula Wagner, Harvey Weinstein and Bob Weinstein. Currently, Maxmedia has projects in development in numerous countries around the globe including Bolivia, Mali, Spain, Japan, Korea, the United Kingdom and China.

DOREEN RINGER ROSS, as Vice President, Film/TV Relations for BMI. Prior to BMI, Ringer Ross held artist development positions at A&M Records, ABC Records and MCA Records, and also worked in television production as a producer for a wide array of television programs. In addition to playing a pivotal role in BMI’s sponsorship of the Sundance Composers Lab, she was part of a group that planned the original Sundance Composers Labs (1986-89) and in the last nine years has been actively involved in the current Labs. Some of the composers she works close with are: Thomas Newman, Danny Elfman, David Newman, Lalo Schifrin, Earle Hagen, Randy Edelman, Mark Mothersbaugh, John Barry, Mike Post, Trevor Rabin, Mark Mancina, BT, and W.G. “Snuffy” Walden. Doreen Ringer Ross’ professional affiliations include: President of the Board, Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation; Music Advisory Board member at UCLA; Business Advisory Board of the Young Musicians Foundation; the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences; the Society of Composers and Lyricists; Independent Feature Project; Film Independent; California Copyright Conference; Women In Film; and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

cathy_schulman.jpgCATHY SCHULMAN has been an executive and producer since 1987. Currently, Schulman is raising investment capital, continuing her career-long commitment to producing and financing independent film. Schulman is also in pre-production on DreamWork’s KIMBERLY AKIMBO, based on David Lindsay-Abaire’s play and to be directed by Jake Scott. From 2002 to 2005, Schulman and her Bull’s Eye Entertainment partner, Tom Nunan, formed a venture with third partner Bob Yari to produce film and television content. The company’s feature film, CRASH, recently won a 2006 Academy Award for Best Picture, garnering Schulman an Oscar for producing the film. Ms. Schulman has numerous feature film projects in development, including THE LIONS OF AL RASSON, which will be directed by Ed Zwick for Warner Bros. An active member of the Producers Guild of America, AFI, IFP and FIND, Schulman teaches graduate level film producing at UCLA and is a graduate of Yale University.

john_sloss.jpgJOHN SLOSS is the founder of Cinetic Media, a managing partner and founder of the entertainment law firm Sloss Law Office LLP and a principal in the independent digital film production company InDigEnt. Through Cinetic Media, Sloss has facilitated the sale and financing of well over 200 films including many box office and critical successes. Sloss has executive produced over 45 films including BEFORE SUNSET, the Academy Award®- winning THE FOG OF WAR, BOYS DON’T CRY and FAR FROM HEAVEN. His law clients include Bob Dylan, Jesse Dylan, John Hamburg, Todd Haynes, Jared Hess, Killer Films, Richard Linklater, Errol Morris, Kevin Smith, Morgan Spurlock, Whit Stillman and Gary Winick. Sloss received his J.D. and B.A. from the University of Michigan. He lives in New York with his wife, producer Kathryn Tucker, and daughter Loulou.

ricky_strauss.jpgRICKY STRAUSS joined Participant Productions, as President, in March, 2005. He oversaw the company’s first slate of releases –GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK; NORTH COUNTRY; SYRIANA— to box-office success, and a total of 11 Oscar nominations. Ricky is a seventeen-year veteran of the motion picture industry with an outstanding track record in feature film production and marketing. Most recently, he ran his own film and television production company, Ricochet Entertainment, where he executive produced THE SWEETEST THING starring Cameron Diaz. Prior to starting Ricochet Entertainment, Ricky was a Senior Vice President of Production at Sony where he developed and supervised various film projects. Ricky not only brings invaluable entertainment industry experience to Participant Productions, but also a firm commitment to social issues and service to his community. Ricky has served on the Board of Directors for Project Angel Food, a non-profit organization in Los Angeles that delivers hot meals to home bound men, women and children who are threatened with HIV/AIDS and other serious illnesses. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for The Trevor Project which operates the only 24-hour national suicide hotline for troubled gay youth. He is also a filmmaker mentor for Project:Involve, a fellowship program sponsored by Film Independent, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping independent filmmakers. Ricky graduated Phi Beta Kappa cum laude from The University of Vermont with a BA in English and Theater.

mark_urman.jpgMARK URMAN heads THINKFilm’s U.S. Theatrical division. THINKFilm was founded in September of 2001 and its slate of releases has included such acclaimed films as Peter Care’s THE DANGEROUS LIVES OF ALTAR BOYS, Gus Van Sant’s GERRY, the Oscar-nominated SPELLBOUND, Jonathan Demme’s THE AGRONOMIST, Stephen Fry’s BRIGHT YOUNG THINGS, Shane Carruth’s PRIMER, Paul Provenza’s THE ARISTOCRATS, and Paul Dinello’s STRANGERS WITH CANDY. In 2004, both THE STORY OF THE WEEPING CAMEL and BORN INTO BROTHELS received Oscar Nominations in the feature Documentary category, with the latter taking home the prize. MURDERBALL, a double-prize winner at Sundance (as well as the company’s first non-fiction production), was nominated for an Oscar in 2005. Other current and forthcoming releases include the innovative Beastie Boys’ concert film AWESOME; I FUCKIN’ SHOT THAT! ; Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden’s HALF NELSON, starring Ryan Gosling, Anthony Mackie, and Shareeka Epps; Keeping Mum, starring Rowan Atkinson, Dame Maggie Smith, and Kristin Scott Thomas; John Cameron Mitchell’s groundbreaking SHORTBUS; CANDY, starring Heath Ledger, Abbie Cornish, and Geoffrey Rush; and OFF THE BLACK, starring Nick Nolte and Trevor Morgan. Urman served as executive producer on MURDERBALL and AWESOME, both of which were financed by THINK. Before joining THINKFilm, Urman served as Co-President of Lions Gate Films Releasing. During his tenure at Lions Gate he oversaw a slate that included such films as AFFLICTION, GODS AND MONSTERS, BUFFALO 66, THE RED VIOLIN, DOGMA and AMERICAN PSYCHO, garnering a total of nine Academy Award nominations and three Oscar wins. He also served as executive producer on the Oscar-winning MONSTER’S BALL, directed by Marc Forster and starring Billy Bob Thornton and Halle Berry. Prior to that he was Senior VP at Dennis Davidson Associates, a major film public relations firm, where he headed up the company’s domestic division. Before joining DDA in 1989, Urman spent nearly six years as VP of East Coast Publicity at Columbia Pictures. From 1982-84, he was head of marketing at Triumph Films, the specialized film distribution division that Columbia created in partnership with Gaumont.

diane_weyermann.jpgDIANE WEYERMANN serves as Executive Vice President, Documentary Production at Participant Productions, where she has been responsible for the releases of AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH and THE WORLD ACCORDING TO SESAME STREET; and the management of the company’s documentary slate. Prior to joining Participant in October 2005, Diane was the Director of the Sundance Institute’s Documentary Film Program. During her 4 1/2 year tenure at Sundance, Diane directed the Sundance Documentary Fund, a program supporting documentary films dealing with contemporary human rights, social justice, civil liberties, and freedom of expression from around the world. She launched two annual documentary film labs, focusing on the creative process – one dealing with editing and storytelling, and the other with film music in documentary work. Diane was also part of the Sundance Film Festival programming team, where she was instrumental in creating a platform for international documentary work, and responsible for programming the documentary content of the Filmmaker Lodge activities. Diane’s work in the documentary and international fields extends many years prior to Sundance. She was the Director of the Open Society Institute New York’s Arts and Culture Program for 7 years. In addition to her work with contemporary art centers and culture programs in the Soros Foundation network, which spans over 30 countries, she launched the Soros Documentary Fund (which later became the Sundance Documentary Fund) in 1996. Since the inception of the Fund, Diane has been involved with the production of over 300 documentary films, including such projects as the 2005 Oscar winning BORN INTO BROTHELS, and award winning films such as PROMISES, LOST BOYS OF SUDAN, CHILDREN UNDERGROUND, and LONG NIGHT’S JOURNEY INTO DAY.

holly_wiersma.jpgProducer HOLLY WIERSMA moved to Los Angeles in 1996 where she began her career as a casting associate on such films as BLADE, THE RAINMAKER, and AMISTAD. She soon developed a strong passion for independent filmmaking and switched her focus from casting to producing. Currently, Ms. Wiersma is busy with two films in post-production that were both both bought by The Weinstein Company. The first, FACTORY GIRL and BOBBY, was written and directed by Emilio Estevez. In May, Ms. Wiersma wrapped production on COME EARLY MORNING, written and directed by Joey Lauren Adams and starring Ashley Judd. In January 2006, it premiered in dramatic competition at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival. She also produced HAPPY ENDINGS, which premiered as the opening film for the 2005 Sundance Film Festival. The film was written and directed by Don Roos. The cast includes Lisa Kudrow, Steve Coogan, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Tom Arnold, Laura Dern, Bobby Cannavale, Jesse Bradford, Sarah Clarke and Jason Ritter.

gary_winick.jpgGARY WINICK teamed up with John Sloss and IFC Productions to create Independent Digital Entertainment (InDigEnt) to produce digital video feature films to be released theatrically. Winick’s producing credits include PERSONAL VELOCITY, directed by Rebecca Miller starring Kyra Sedgwick and Parker Posey which won the Grand Jury Prize and the Cinematography award at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival; PIECES OF APRIL, directed by Peter Hedges starring Katie Holmes, Oliver Platt, and Patricia Clarkson who was nominated for an Academy Award for her role; and NOVEMBER directed by Greg Harrison, starring Courtney Cox which won the Cinematography Award at Sundance 2004. Winick’s has numerous film directing including TADPOLE starring Sigourney Weaver, John Ritter, Bebe Neuwirth and Aaron Stanford. TADPOLE distributed by Miramax won the Best Director Award at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival. Currently, Winick is in post-production on CHARLOTTE’S WEB for Paramount Studios due out in June 2006. .

ron_yerxa.jpgRON YERXA formed Bona Fide Productions with Albert Berger in 1993. Their producing credits include Steven Soderbergh’s KING OF THE HILL (1993), Alexander Payne’s ELECTION (1999), Rick Famuyiwa’s THE WOOD (1999), and Anthony Minghella’s COLD MOUNTAIN (2003). Upcoming this July is the Bona Fide production LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE staring Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Greg Kinnear, and Alan Arkin; directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris. Ron Yerxa graduated from Stanford University before working as a journalist and an inner city high school teacher. He joined Time-Life Films as a story analyst and then worked as an executive at CBS and Sovereign Films before becoming an independent producer. Bona Fide has several projects in development including NEBRASKA, a screenplay by Robert Nelson to be directed by Alexander Payne, ADULT WORLD to be directed by Jason Reitman, and THE RUG MERCHANT to be written and directed by Miguel Arteta. Bona Fide made a first-look deal at Paramount starting in 2005.

Sundance Movers and Shakers – Part One

The presenters at the Sundance Producers Conference are an extraordinary group of people. They have impressive resumes and amazing experiences. Being able to spend four days with these people will have an enormous, unbelievable impact on me, Jabbes and Alec. Of course, we’re getting ready to go to Zambia to shoot BAD T!MING (the first feature film) and VOICE OF AN AFRICAN NATION (a documentary about our struggles to get that film made). The information that these people will provide will make such an impact on our efforts in Zambia. They truly are changing the world. Sometimes, people like to bash Sundance, saying it’s too commercial. As someone who has attended the festival since 1996, I get irritated with that complaint. I sure benefit from their commitment to independent voices in filmmaking.

A filmmaker and producer, JON ALPERT has won eleven National Emmy Awards for News and Documentary Programs. Alpert is the Co-founder and Co-Director of the Downtown Community Television Center, America’s largest and most honored non-profit community media center which is located in a landmark Tribeca firehouse. His filmography includes: CUBA: THE PEOPLE (1974), VIETNAM: PICKING UP THE PIECES (1977), THIRD AVENUE (1980), ONE YEAR IN A LIFE OF CRIME (1987) HIGH ON CRACK STREET – LOST LIVES IN LOWELL (1995), A CINDERELLA SEASON – THE LADY VOLS FIGHT BACK (1998), FROM GROUND ZERO TO GROUND ZERO (2002), LATIN KINGS: A STREET GANG STORY (2003), and SIBERIAN ADOPTION STORY (2005)

JEREMY BARBER is a motion picture agent at UTA where he also co-heads the Independent Film Packing & Film Finance Department. Since joining UTA in 2003, Barber has packaged and/or sold films on behalf of clients including John Singleton-produced HUSTLE AND FLOW; CRASH, produced by and starring Don Cheadle and written by Bobby Moresco; Mike Mills’ THUMBSUCKER; Phil Morrison’s JUNEBUG; Dave Chappelle’s CHAPPELLE’S BLOCK PARTY; Patrick Stettner’s THE NIGHT LISTENER; Chris Gorak’s RIGHT AT YOUR DOOR; and Michel Gondry’s SCIENCE OF SLEEP; among others. In addition Barber represents filmmakers such as John Singleton, Noah Baumbach, Alan Parker, Jared Hess, Peter Cattaneo, Tim Blake Nelson, and actors including Don Cheadle, Patrick Dempsey, Sigourney Weaver, Steve Coogan and Jennifer Jason Leigh. He is married and lives in Los Angeles.

RAM BERGMAN, is an independent film producer who was nominated this year for two Independent Spirit Awards: John Cassavetes Award for BRICK and the Producers Award (for BRICK and CONVERSATIONS WITH OTHER WOMEN). A hard-boiled noir mystery, BRICK won a Special Jury Prize for Originality of Vision at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival. Since then, Brick, which was acquired by Focus Features, has screened at numerous other festivals, including Venice and Deauville.

bob_berney.jpgBOB BERNEY, President of Picturehouse, was founded in April 2005 and born out of the combination of Fine Line Features and HBO Films. Picturehouse is a theatrical distribution company that will release 8-10 films a year. Currently in release from Picturehouse: Robert Altman’s A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION. Upcoming films include Steven Shainberg’s FUR, starring Nicole Kidman and Robert Downey, Jr.; Guillermo del Toro’s dark fairy tale PAN’S LABYRINTH; Tom Vaughan’s romantic comedy STARTER FOR TEN; Scott Z. Burns comedy-thriller PU-239; Sergei Bodrov’s MONGOL, the epic story of young Genghis Khan; and Francois Girard’s SILK. Before co-founding Newmarket Films, Berney was Senior Vice President of IFC Films where he oversaw the distribution of the box office hit MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING and release of the critically praised hit Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN directed by Alfonso Cuaron. Prior to working at IFC Films, Berney worked as an independent marketing and distribution consultant, where he was responsible MEMENTO and HAPPINESS. Berney lives in Westchester County, New York, with his wife and their two sons.

Film and Television Producer BARBARA BOYLE’s credits include PHENOMENON, INSTINCT, BOTTLE ROCKET, EIGHT MEN OUT, MRS. MUNCK, and THE HI-LINE. Her company, Sovereign Pictures, Inc., financed and distributed internationally 25 films including, MY LEFT FOOT, CINEMA PARADISO, REVERSAL OF FORTUNE, IMPROMPTU, HAMLET and THE COMMITMENTS. She is a past president of both Film Independent (IFP/West) and Women In Film. Boyle has received, among others, a Vision Award from Independent Film, the Women In Film Crystal Award and the Alumni of the Year from UCLA Law School. She holds a BA from UC Berkeley and a JD from UCLA School of Law. The most recent publication is the third edition of the Movie Business Book.

PAUL COHEN’s film financing, acquisition, marketing and distribution experience is wide ranging. As CEO/President and co-founder of Manhattan Pictures International (MPI), he acquired and distributed independently produced motion pictures which include ENIGMA, Jean-Luc Godard’s IN PRAISE OF LOVE (ELOGE DE L’AMOUR), and Alan Rudolph’s The SECRET LIVES OF DENTISTS, starring Campbell Scott and Hope Davis. More recently, Paul distributed Campbell Scott’s OFF THE MAP, starring Joan Allen and Sam Elliott. He serves as a consultant to a number of academic institutions, foundations, independent entertainment companies as well as filmmakers. His education includes a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Hofstra University; graduate work in Psychology at The New School for Social Research/Graduate Faculty and post graduate work at the Jungian Foundation in NYC.

MICHAEL COLE joined The Weinstein Company as co-president of production in November of 2005. Michael was involved in the production or acquisition of films such as: THE OTHERS, TUPAC: RESURRECTION (Oscar-nominated for Best Documentary), SWINGERS, SWIMMING WITH SHARKS, and KILLSHOT, the adaptation of best-selling novel The Nanny Diaries starring Scarlett Johansen, a remake of the SEVEN SAMURAI, Anthony Minghella’s BREAKING AND ENTERING, Kevin Smith’s CLERKS 2.

R.J. CUTLER is a producer and director who has worked in film, television, theater and radio. Last year, Cutler executive produced the acclaimed FX documentary series 30 DAYS, featuring Morgan Spurlock. His feature documentary THIN premiered this January in competition at the Sundance Film Festival, and will air on HBO this November. As a filmmaker, Cutler began his career producing THE WAR ROOM, the acclaimed feature documentary about Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign for the presidency. R.J.’s production company, Actual Reality Pictures, specializes in the development and production of non-fiction projects for film and television.

cassian_elwes.jpgCASSIAN ELWES, Senior Vice President and Co-Head of William Morris Independent, is one of the leading agents in the business of independent filmmaking. Elwes has worked on THE ENGLISH PATIENT, SLING BLADE and Robert Duvall’s THE APOSTLE. At the recent Toronto Film Festival, Elwes was involved in the sale of, Jason Reitman’s THANK YOU FOR SMOKING and David Ayer’s HARSH TIMES. Elwes began his career producing the 1983 film OXFORD BLUES starring Rob Lowe and Ally Sheedy. In the 1980’s and early 1990’s, he became one of the foremost independent producers with 30 features to his credit. In 1994, Mr. Elwes joined the William Morris Agency’s motion picture division. William Morris Independent has become the leading agency in the independent film business. In 2005 alone, it was involved in the financing and distribution of over 30 films, including such films as PULP FICTION, DIARY OF A MAD BLACK WOMAN, SOUL FOOD, HAPPY, TEXAS, SAVING GRACE, THE WOODSMAN and MONSTERS BALL, which won the Academy Award for Halle Berry.

CRAIG EMANUEL’s principal practice area is entertainment law, involving representation of writers, directors, actors, and producers in all aspects of motion picture and television transactions. Mr. Emanuel is also involved in the negotiation of strategic distribution relationships with the major studios. Mr. Emanuel’s talent clients include Iain Softley, Michael Winterbottom, Charles Stone, Jean Pierre Jeunet, Peter Chelsom, Russell Mulcahy, Alex Proyas, Gary Scott Thompson, Gary Oldman, Robert Rodriguez, Ryan Murphy, Leelee Sobieski, Vanessa Marcil, Tony Gilroy and Paul Hogan. His producer clients include Jeff Silver and Don Murphy.

MATTHEW FEURY is Senior Product Marketing Manager for Avid Technology’s Advanced Postproduction team. Since joining Avid in 1994, Matt has provided consultation to film and video professionals throughout North America. He continues to work on projects of personal interest as a freelance editor.

TOM GARVIN has practiced law since 1979, first at the international law firm Loeb & Loeb and then at Ervin, Cohen & Jessup, LLP. In 1997 he established Thomas F. R. Garvin, A Professional Law Corporation in Los Angeles. Garvin has represented films that have won every major international film award including the Golden Palm in Cannes, Academy Awards, Golden Globes and Golden Bear. He has served as a producer or executive producer on several international co-productions including THE ARC, THE GARDEN OF EDEN, Rob Tregenza’s INSIDE/OUT,; Walter Salles’ CENTRAL STATION, ENIGMA, which premiered at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival. Tom has arranged the financing and/or distribution of: K-19: THE WIDOWMAKER, THE WEDDING PLANNER, ADAPTATION, KPAX, THE QUIET AMERICAN, T3: THE RISE OF THE MACHINES, Renny Harlin’s MINDHUNTERS, Martin Scorsese’s THE AVIATOR, Oliver Stone’s ALEXANDER. He is a member of the Advisory Board of the Sundance Film Festival and the Founding Chairman of the UCLA Entertainment Tax and Finance Institute and teaches in the UCLA Graduate School of Theater, Film and Television.

PETER GOLUB‘s recent film scores include: WORDPLAY; AMERICAN GUN, STOLEN, for which he won a Best Music Award at the 2005 Avignon Film Festival; Americano; THE LARAMIE PROJECT; and SUNSET STORY, winner of best documentary at the 2004 Tribeca Film Festival. He also arranged and conducted music for THE LOST CITY. Golub, also a pianist, received a Doctorate in Composition at the Yale School of Music. In the last year he composed music for Macbeth, for Shakespeare in the Park. Golub has composed four ballets with noted choreographer Peter Anastos, including THE GILDED BAT and THE LOST WORLD.

micah_green.jpgMICAH GREEN is an agent at Creative Artists Agency in the Film Finance Group specializing in film packaging, financing, sales and branded entertainment. He began his career at the Samuel Goldwyn Company and Arnold Kopelson Productions in Los Angeles. In 1997 he began working with attorney John Sloss at Sloss Law Office. Green spearheaded the domestic sales campaigns for several of the highest profile films of the last decade, including NAPOLEAON DYNAMITE, SUPERSIZE ME, MAD HOT BALLROOM, SPELLBOUND, and BRICK. Green has also assembled financing for MURDERBALL, and BE KIND, REWIND. He received a J.D. from USC Law School, an M.A. in communications management from USC’s Annenberg School and a B.A. from Colgate University.

MATTHEW GREENFIELD is Senior Vice President of Production at Fox Searchlight Pictures. Prior to Searchlight he was an award-winning independent film producer whose feature credits include The Motel, The Good Girl, Chuck & Buck and Star Maps. In 2004 he was named Associate Director of the Feature Film Program at the Sundance Institute. He currently serves as a Trustee of Wesleyan University.

LYNETTE HOWELL attended the world-renowned Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA) and earned her degree in Enterprise Management. She was a casting assistant on MAMMA MIA, WE WILL ROCK YOU, CHICAGO and STARLIGHT EXPRESS. Ms. Howell worked as Production Coordinator on the West End Musical NAPOLEON. In 2001, Ms. Howell moved to Los Angeles to head the theatrical division of production company East of Doheny. She also helped create the Los Angeles children’s theatre company The Pickering Street Players. In 2004, Ms. Howell left East of Doheny to found Silverwood Films with entrepreneur Doug Dey. Silverwood Films’ first two feature films premiered at the 2006 Sundance Film festival: HALF NELSON, starring Ryan Gosling. Silverwood’s upcoming slate for 2006/2007 includes stage musicals, features films and documentaries.

marcus_hu.jpgMARCUS HU is Co-President of Strand Releasing. Upcoming films for 2006 include Fatih Akin’s CROSSING THE BRIDGE, Francois Ozon’s TIME TO LEAVE and Tomer Heymann’s PAPER DOLLS . Hu has worked in distribution for such companies as the Samuel Goldwyn Co, Vestron Pictures, United Artists and Columbia Pictures. Hu has served as a producer on such films as Gregg Araki’s THE LIVING END, the films of Bruce LaBruce, Todd Verow’s adaptation of Dennis Cooper’s FRISK and Charles Busch’s PSYCHO BEACH PARTY. Hu is a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences and serves on the board of FIND (Film Independent) and is on the Advisory Board for the Sundance Film Festival.

kevin_iwashina.jpgKEVIN IWASHINA is an agent in the Film Finance Department at Creative Artists Agency (CAA), a literary and talent agency based in Beverly Hills. Mr. Iwashina is involved in the packaging and representation of independently financed films and international co-productions. He also represents acting, directing and producing talent and assists the Marketing Group in international business. Some examples of recent films are MATADOR, RIZE, and CRASH. His client list includes Gabriele Muccino (L’ULTIMO BACIO), Monica Bellucci, David LaChapelle (RIZE), Gil Kenan (MONSTER HOUSE), John Waters, Christine Vachon’s KILLER FILMS and NETFLIX. A native of Los Angeles, Mr. Iwashina graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in English Literature with an emphasis in World Literature.

JAMES JACKS was the Executive Producer of RAISING ARIZONA, and then became Vice President of Acquisitions for Universal Pictures. Jacks was involved in such films as FIELD OF DREAMS, DO THE RIGHT THING, DARK MAN, TREMORS, JUNGLE FEVER, AMERICAN ME, and PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS. In 1992, Jacks left Universal to go into partnership with Sean Daniel and formed the Alphaville Company. Together they have produced: DAZED AND CONFUSED, HARD TARGET, TOMBSTONE, THE GULF, MICHAEL, THE JACKAL, A SIMPLE PLAN, DOWN TO EARTH, THE GIFT, RAT RACE, THE MUMMY, THE MUMMY RETURNS, and THE SCORPION KING. Alphaville dissolved and Jacks formed the Frelaine Company. Upcoming projects include DOGS OF WINTER, written by Scott Rosenberg and Ken Nunn from Nunn’s critically-acclaimed novel.

ROSS KATZ received Best Picture Academy Award® and Golden Globe nominations and won Best Feature at the Independent Spirit Awards as producer on Sofia Coppola’s LOST IN TRANSLATION. He previously garnered Best Picture Academy Award® and Golden Globe nominations for Todd Field’s IN THE BEDROOM, which starred Sissy Spacek, Tom Wilkinson and Marisa Tomei. After joining the leading New York-based independent film company Good Machine, he spent five years working on Ang Lee’s THE ICE STORM and Todd Solondz’s HAPPINESS. His first feature as producer was Jim Fall’s TRICK. Most recently, Katz produced Marie Antoinette. The film was written and directed by Sofia Coppola.

CRAIG KESTEL was raised in Long Island, New York and attended St. John’s University in Queens. Internships at The Shooting Gallery and Good Machine led to a period of work at Lions Gate Film’s New York office. In 2000, Craig moved to Los Angeles and began working as a Trainee at the William Morris Agency. After two and-a-half years assisting co-head of William Morris Independent Cassian Elwes, Craig was promoted to Agent in the Motion Picture Department.

As Sundance Channel’s Senior Vice President, Original Programming, LYNNE KIRBY oversees the development and production of Sundance Channel’s original series and films. In her current role, Kirby oversees the production of original series and films such as the upcoming series THE HILL, HOUSE OF BOATENG, ONE PUNK UNDER GOD and NIMROD NATION. Kirby worked at Court TV as Vice President, Alternative Entertainment. Kirby holds a Ph.D., Film and Television from the University of California Los Angeles; a D.E.A., Film Studies from the Universite de Paris III; an M.A., Art History from State University of New York, Binghamton; and a B.A., Art History and French from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

RICHARD KLUBECK is a motion picture agent at UTA and Co-Head of the Independent Film Group where he represents independent filmmakers, financiers and production companies. Most recently titles include HUSTLE AND FLOW, BLOCK PARTY, SCIENCE OF SLEEP, THUMBSUCKER, THE LIBERTINE, JUNEBUG, RIGHT AT YOUR DOOR, THE NIGHT LISTENER, and THE DEVIL AND DANIEL JOHNSTON. Klubeck represents filmmakers Joel And Ethan Coen, Mike White, Miranda July, Scott Burns, Jeff Feuerzeig, Patrick Stettner, and Alex and David Pastor. Klubeck was CEO of Jersey Films. While there, Klubeck was a producer on Jersey’s independent feature, GARDEN STATE. In addition, he was an executive producer on the IFC Indie CAMP that played in competition at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival, and supervised Jay Chandrasekhar’s comedy SUPERTROOPERS on behalf of Jersey. Prior to Jersey Films, Klubeck was Executive Vice President of Mel Gibson’s Icon Productions. Klubeck earned his JD at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law.

ROSANNE KORENBERG is President of Traction Media, which produces and represents the sale of distribution rights to feature films. Traction has handled the sale of distribution rights to over 25 films, including: BEHIND THE MASK, STEEL CITY SÓLO DIOS SABE, WHO KILLED THE ELECTRIC CAR?, DUCK SEASON, FATELESS, and PRETTY PERSUASION. Prior to launching Traction, Ms. Korenberg was Vice President of Acquisitions and Co-Productions at Twentieth Century Fox. At Fox, she acquired numerous feature films for Fox Searchlight. She also identified new directing and acting talent and remake possibilities for all divisions of the studio. Before joining Twentieth Century Fox, Ms. Korenberg was Vice President of Acquisitions at the Samuel Goldwyn Company.

With her driven spirit, TRACY MCKNIGHT is recognized as a premiere talent and has earned a place in the entertainment industry as a highly respected music supervisor, record producer, label cofounder and company head. Ms. McKnight´s music supervision projects proudly embrace a range and diversity of genres. Many of her over seventy films include films that have been seen at Sundance (THE HAWK IS DYING, WORDPLAY, MURDERBALL, BORN INTO BROTHELS), Tribeca (THE WAR TAPES) and The Independent Spirit Awards (THE WAR WITHIN). In 2006, Ms. McKnight was named head of soundtracks at Ryko Filmworks. Prior to Ryko Filmworks, Ms. McKnight co-founded Commotion Records in 2003 with Walter Yetnikoff where she was the Executive Soundtrack Producer on an impressive array of releases including HOTEL RWANDA, HAPPY ENDINGS, MYSTERIOUS SKIN, THE COOLER, and A DIRTY SHAME.

CARA MERTES has recently been appointed as Director of the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program. Mertes was the Executive Director of American Documentary, Inc., and Executive Producer of P.O.V. Mertes is a long time advocate for independent media artists, and an award-winning filmmaker, programmer, teacher and writer whose work has been featured widely in museums, festivals, on PBS and internationally. Mertes has been a visiting artist at the Walker Arts Center and the Wexner Center for the Arts, and a featured speaker at panels and festivals internationallyShe has been a panelist for the Jerome Foundation and the MacDowell Colony, a nominator for the Rockefeller Foundation Fellowships and the Alpert awards, and an Advisor for the Museum of Television and Radio Documentary Festival, the Full Frame Documentary Festival, MOMA, the Tribeca Film Festival, the Smithsonian Museum for the Native American, the MacArthur Foundation, the Sundance Documentary Program, the Human Rights Watch International Film Festival, CPB, PBS, the PBS Producer’s Academy and many others. Mertes is a member of the Writer’s Guild of America, East and the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

ROBERT MESSINGER formed First Artists Management with Vasi Vangelos in 2003. The company is a boutique agency that represents top film composers and music supervisors. Messinger was previously a founder and Senior Vice President of Blue Focus Management. Messinger began his career in music in the publicity department of IRS Records, working with bands such as REM, while attending UCLA as a Theater Arts major.

maud_nadler.jpgMAUD NADLER, Senior Vice President, joined HBO Films in March 2000. Based in Los Angeles, Maud is responsible for overseeing the development and production of independent films including Academy Award-nominated MARIA FULL OF GRACE, winner of the Audience Award Sundance 2004; Academy Award nominated AMERICAN SPLENDOR, winner of the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance 2003; REAL WOMEN HAVE CURVES, winner of the Audience Award, as well as, a Special Jury Award, at Sundance 2002.

sheila_nevins.jpgSHEILA NEVINS is president, HBO Documentary and Family, for Home Box Office. She is responsible for overseeing the development and production of all documentaries and family programming for HBO and Cinemax and their multiplex channels. She was named to this position in February 2004, promoted from executive vice president, original programming; a title she had held since 1999. Nevins has been honored with several career achievement awards, with the most recent being a 2005 Emmy® Lifetime Achievement Award for her contributions to the art of the documentary, the first time the National Television Academy has awarded Lifetime Achievement recognition to a documentarian. Nevins joined HBO in l979 and worked for four years as HBO’s director of Documentary Programming. During this period, she supervised the production of more than l50 programs, winning 35 CableAce Awards for programming excellence from the National Cable Television Association as well as the first George Foster Peabody Award presented to a cable program, SHE’S NOBODY’S BABY, produced with Ms. Magazine. Before she was named HBO vice president, she worked for three years as president for Spinning Reels, based in New York City. Nevins is a member of the Writers Guild of America, the Producers Guild of America, is on the Board of Creative Capital, Full Frame Film Festival at Duke, the Independent Feature Project and The Film Forum. Nevins holds a BA from Barnard College and an MFA from Yale University School of Drama.

Thanks to PJ for the assist with prepping this for posting.

Spiffed and Polish

prettyCyndi.jpgEvery day I think of a hundred things I should do to get ready for the Zambia shoot. I fall asleep on the couch, exhausted, every night with barely a dent in the list. I wake up around six every morning and with another dozen thoughts of things to do. I think everyone who knows me is getting a bit irritated with my sloppy phone call return rate. I just can’t wedge everything in.

Today, I went to get my hair done. (It took FOUR hours!) Sometimes, I’m such a girl. If we get any media coverage in Zambia, I want to look half way civilized. I stopped off to see Tammy and Dave and we had a great time talking about cinematography in Africa, world travel and the challenge of travelling with a student group. Dave’s a photographer for the Arizona Republic and he graciously snapped some shots of me with my lovely new ‘do.

I think he did a great job of capturing my personality. His motto is, “Don’t fight the light.” He wandered through the house putting his hands out to look at the light falling on them. He setup near the north window. Can you tell I put on a bit o’ lip gloss to catch the light? I’ve been using the same photo on everything so it’s great to have another option!

FilmDailies on Nollywood

FilmDailies posted a piece on Filmmaking in Nigeria. Thanks to CNN, we now know that Nigeria’s blossoming film industry is number 3. That’s third place after Hollywood and Bollywood.

“The efforts of early Nigerian filmmakers were frustrated by the high cost of film production. Nollywood, however, is a video movie industry. Nigerians call them home videos. All Nollywood movies are produced using digital video technology. Television broadcasting in Nigeria began in the 1960s and received much government support in its early years. By the mid-1980s every state had its own broadcasting station. Law limited foreign television content so producers in Lagos began televising local popular theater productions. Many of these were circulated on video as well, and a small scale informal video movie trade developed.

A report on CNN featured a production which had all the features of a low/no-budget production: a video camera and NO lights in sight. The scenes were shot in the blistering hot Nigerian sun! They could have used a reflector to soften the light but they probably wanted that gritty look – it looked like a gangster movie.

They are buying Sony FX1 and Panasonic HVX200 by the dozen. They are shooting a movie a week – they need to shoot 20-30 setups a DAY!”

Thanks to the folks at FilmDailies for this report … they’re on my new “must read” list. For more information:
http://www.nollywood.com
http://www.nollywood.net
http://worldfilm.about.com/od/africa/

Happy Birthday Jabbes

village.jpg

It’s Jabbes’ birthday today. A friend of his took some photographs in Zambia to help us visualize what we’ll be encountering when we go to do the film. This is the village very near to where Jabbes’ Mum lives. In the film, BAD T!MING, Jabbes is hoping to show the contrast between “city life” and “village life” in contemporary Zambia. I’ve seen numerous photos of Lusaka and it resembles some areas of contemporary Phoenix. When I look at this photo (taken in the last month), it feels to me like I’ve stepped by in time at least a century or so. I wonder how it wil actually be when we get there.

We’re a little more than two weeks away from our departure. There are so many unknowns in this experience. Sometimes, I think I’m out of my mind to have even taken it on. When I look at this village, I think about how difficult like can be for the average Zambian. The average annual income is $350 per year. The infant mortality rate is 87/1000 (as a point of comparison, the U.S. is 8/1000). The average Zambian woman has six children.

I read all these statistics and listen to Jabbes and try to anticipate how the students and I will experience Zambia. A friend of mine traveled to Africa when she was in her early twenties. She said that there were times, after she returned, that she’d pull her car over to the side of the road to cry. She said it was overwhelming to go and even more overwhelming to return. Most of the crew is about that same age. I find myself wondering how the experience will affect them. And me.

Animation Goldmine

The National Film Board in Canada has an incredible website for animation enthusiasts. One of the most exciting sections is the film section. They have FIFTY animated shorts posted for your viewing pleasure!

As a teacher, my favorite section is the Techniques Section which explains a variety of animation methods including paper cut-outs, drawings, object animation, computer animation, rotoscoping and more.

There’s a Key Filmmakers section that highlights the people behind the films.

On Living

“Do not fear death so much, but rather the inadequate life.”
      Bertolt Brecht (1898 – 1956)

“We should conduct ourselves not as if we ought to live for the body, but as if we could not live without it.”
      Seneca (5 BC – 65 AD)

Blogging in the USA

The Pew Internet Life project has just released a study on blogging in the USA —

* The most distinguishing characteristic of bloggers is their youth. More than half (54%) of bloggers are under the age of 30. Like the internet population in general, however, bloggers are evenly divided between men and women, and more than half live in the suburbs. Another third live in urban areas and a scant 13% live in rural regions.

* Another distinguishing characteristic is that bloggers are less likely to be white than the general internet population. Sixty percent of bloggers are white, 11% are African American, 19% are English-speaking Hispanic and 10% identify as some other race. By contrast, 74% of internet users are white, 9% are African American, 11% are English-speaking Hispanic and 6% identify as some other race.

* 55% of bloggers blog under a pseudonym, and 46% blog under their own name.

* 84% of bloggers describe their blog as either a “hobby” or just “something I do, but not something I spend a lot of time on.”

* 59% of bloggers spend just one or two hours per week tending their blog. One in ten bloggers spend ten or more hours per week on their blog.

World’s Worst URLs

1. A site called ‘Who Represents‘ where you can find the name of the agent that represents a celebrity. Their domain name… wait for it… is
www.whorepresents.com

2. Experts Exchange, a knowledge base where programmers can exchange advice and views at
www.expertsexchange.com

3. Looking for a pen? Look no further than Pen Island at
www.penisland.net

4. Need a therapist? Try Therapist Finder at
www.therapistfinder.com

5. Then of course, there’s the Italian Power Generator company…
www.powergenitalia.com

6. And now, we have the Mole Station Native Nursery, based in New South Wales:
www.molestationnursery.com

7. If you’re looking for computer software, there’s always
www.ipanywhere.com

8. Welcome to the First Cumming Methodist Church. Their website is
www.cummingfirst.com

9. Then, of course, there’s these brainless art designers, and their whacky website:
www.speedofart.com

10. Want to holiday in Lake Tahoe? Try their brochure website at
www.gotahoe.com

Final Draft vs. Movie Magic Screenwriter

FDvsMM.jpgThe first couple of screenplays I wrote, I used a typewriter. It was insanely difficult. Then I found something that would work on my computer. It was a $3000 computer that ran at a whopping 3MHz (that’s NOT a typo). The software was called Movie Master and I loved it. It made it so much easier!! It was great for screenwriting AND could also do character and scene breakdowns. I found it very user friendly but I must have been in the minority. It faded from popularity and was not available within a couple of years.

Two new programs rose to the forefront. I tried them both and ended up using Final Draft. Final Draft was less expensive than Movie Magic and behaved a lot like Movie Master. There were a lot of people in L.A. who said I should use Movie Magic Screenwriter. They said it was more of the industry standard. Of course it was the industry standard; it was four times more expensive than Final Draft. In the early days, the reason it was so expensive was because it was bundled with a budgeting and scheduling component. A few years later, they separated them and the other packages were sold separately. The three pieces worked well together but I wasn’t producing film at the time so the extra functionality just wasn’t important.

Well, now, this is no longer true. Initially, I entered BAD T!MING in Final Draft because I love the keyboard commands. It’s so easy to move between elements. It’s just a breeze. I had purchased Movie Magic several months earlier but I just didn’t like it as much. It was too hard to switch elements. The interface seemed clunkier. I kept using the program that was familiar.

THEN, I WANTED TO DO THE BREAKDOWNS FOR BAD T!MING. The promotional materials said Final Draft could export the breakdowns. Unfortunately, they exported in formats that could be used by other software packages but were not very user friendly. I imported the script into Movie Magic and was pleased to discover that Movie Magic could easily export Character Breakdowns, Location Breakdowns, Scene Headings … literally dozens of useful, easy to use compilations of data that I needed for production in Zambia.

I wanted to do a Day of Days Stripboard so I looked at more robust scheduling programs. I settled on Entertainment Partners Scheduling. I took the exported Final Draft breakdown and the exported Movie Magic breakdown and brought them into EP Scheduling. The Movie Magic came in like a dream. Now, I still think the interface is clunky and wish it had the keyboard commands but, BOTTOM LINE, for independent film production, I would strongly recommend Movie Magic Screenwriter. It’s hands down better.

Related Posts with Thumbnails
« Older Entries