INDIESTREET

Walking down Main Street of the Sundance film festival this year, it felt like there was an ever-growing gap between the east and the west side of the street. Hollywood and Independent seem to be growing further and further apart, making the Sundance film festival, and other L.A. hyped festivals like it, such an increasingly awkward phenomena. You have a festival director who wants to keep the slate as Independent, fresh, and intriguing as possible, an audience that attends who has come to expect way more “accessible” stories, and big biz owned media companies like Variety claiming the festival “suffered from too much Brooklyn” and squawking at 2 million dollar advance tags for indie films in today’s market. We feel for you Mr. Redford, we do…but you created this monster, and now it ‘s become a near perfect representation of the dichotomy within the film Industry. The divide: This is not an East vs. West thing, but more of a continued divide in mentality and approach to film. It is exclusivity, public relations, and celebrity versus collaboration, community building, and storytelling. Old Hollywood versus new thinkers. Creatives vs. creative exploiters. I think there is some ancient adage about a poor old man with a paint brush who grew frightened he may never be able to buy paint again if something were to happen to his even older brother who convinces the village people that the old man’s art is worth money. If there is no adage, then now there is. The artist and the thinker are inherently self-critical and the Hollywood older brother is inherently opportunistic. Ah’ the parties: As this is more of a state of the industry post and not a review of the actual films we saw, I think it is appropriate to tell a story of this microcosm within the microcosm. I was able to attend a few LA parties and a few non-LA parties, and from my vantage point, the two settings were effortlessly distinguishable. In the same evening we attended: At Party One: A writer/filmmaker engaged me and got me excited about new methods of audience building he had executed that I had never even considered. I offered him some biz techniques that were working for us at IndieStreet. Awesome for us. At Party Two: After a quick intro, a girl yells out to me that they were just at a party and Aaron Paul was there. Awesome for you. She then stared waiting for a reaction or possibly a one-up name drop. So I yelled over the pumping bass, “I was just at a party with Zack Lieberman Betchhhh. (the filmmaker I had met earlier) The girl laughed at the Jesse impression, and assumed that my name drop was of some Hollywood celebrity that she just didn’t know yet. She didn’t ask who he was, because guess what, she didn’t care. And this woman is not at all representative of the creative capital in Hollywood, but is representative of the focus of Hollywood. Get the masses salivating about names and exclusivity and make that money. 3 conceivable paths from the growing divide: At Sundance, there was panel after panel of NY and SF and other natives discussing how to navigate a sustainable career as an artist and new ways to own your product through distribution. In opposition to this progressive think tank atmosphere, the LA crowd was sending out fluff about how wow they can’t believe how low the sales were this year. Indie filmmakers better start making more relatable films they said (films that they can sell to their mass markets). God forbid an artist tells a story in their true voice that may only relate to (and knock the socks off of) 200,000 people and the content creator make the majority of the revenue from the film’s exploitation. That’s not good business for the west side of main street. So with this continuing divide comes a few crossroads, and many individual choices will determine the aggregate path of Indie film, with SunDance as a small but representative piece. Here are three paths (or some combo of the 3) that could arise from the growing gap in philosophy. 1. Big Brother reels Independent back into a headlock, leaving Indie with a continued Identity crisis. This path would be driven by Hollywood’s acquisition of progressive production & direct-distro companies. Money talks, and if this occurrence is too prevalent in the near future at least a few amazing films will not be made that should be. 2. A new breed of middle ground filmmakers arises to fill the gap created by the divide. If the most talented of story tellers keep pushing the envelope, their stories will continue to slowly lose mass appeal. This combined with studios continuing to opt for lower risk epic franchises might create a new more clearly defined space for soft Indie products. Films with Indie feel that have formulaic stories. Old stories wrapped in hip new boxes: the middle child that isn’t as tough as the older one, and isn’t as smart as the youngest. 3. The most talented Indie filmmakers change their philosophies. Realigning goals away from the traditional “Success = Hollywood recognition” and toward more self or group reliant success routes. We know that it is nearly impossible to not get sucked in when there is an opportunity for mass exposure. Creating a film that is finally getting some type of official stamp of approval is something we all yearn for, but if the goals when beginning your project can shift, the landscape and power of big brother will shift with it. If you center the goals around building an audience that will care about and support your future career, then the fantastical aura of Hollywood will lose its luster. A true storyteller will be at the happiest (=most successful) when they can personally see and experience his/her impact on their audience. The more new talent that finds the courage to give themselves that stamp of approval and take some control of distribution, the less reliant the Independent community as a whole will be on their older brother who really just doesn’t share the same interests. Based on the risk-taking films at Sundance and the energetic bursting of forward thinking companies like Tugg, Heretic Films, Seed and Spark, Big Vision Empty Wallet, Candy Factory Productions and many others we had the pleasure of meeting, we are all smiling wide on the sidewalk of IndieStreet; gazing toward the west with a subtly confident smirk (that Hollywood will hopefully confuse as growing insecurity) - Jay Webb, IndieStreet www.indiestreet.com @indiest_films

2016 was quite the year - one full of turmoil and disappointments. Sadly, 2017 has basically been exactly like last year except x1000000 in craziness. We have to do what we can to find any glimmer of hope possible. This is exactly what filmmaker Sean Wang’s sparkling indie gem “3,000 Miles” offers - a filmic glitter of touching beauty and hope. At only 5 mins, this sweet doc chronicles, via a visual montage of snippets of a city in motion and voicemail audio, Wang’s year living and working abroad in New York City. The story is told through voicemail messages left by his mother, from July 2016 to just recently, checking in on him over the course of a turbulent 12-month period in modern American history. Scenes of the city, reminders of the Trump administration, the feeling of simultaneous opportunity and oppression of being in a foreign country all emotionally seep through a beautiful concoction of words and images. Please take 5 minutes out of your day to experience this moving portrait of time, history, place and family…and hey, why not give your loved ones a ring afterwards! 

The last couple of years have seen an explosion of lyric music videos. They are less expensive and easier to make than regular music videos and they keep fans on the channels of artists rather than give them the opportunity of exploring unofficial sources. So, it has become somewhat of a custom for well known artists to do one or two lyric music video for tracks they are also planning to release. Most of them are quite straight-forward. Some, however, are rather creative. Here are three fresh releases, worthy of your time!        Green Day – Too Dumb To Die  A very beautiful collage style video with a retro look, this promo is an absolute joy to watch. Smart use of typography fusing brilliantly with the simple yet effective animations, all incorporated in MiraRuido's aesthetic. The director is actually called Joseba Elorza and comes from Basque County in Spain. He studied to become a sound technician but his evening hobby of working on collages later prompted him to become an illustrator/animator.  

  Taylor Swift – Look What You Made Me Do Before there was the super expensive video everybody liked to talk about, Taylor released this beautiful ode to Saul Bass a.k.a 'the man who changed graphic design'. Created by ODD and produced by Taylor herself, together with Joseph Kahn, director of her official promo, this lyric video is (we think!) waaay more witty and interesting than the live action one.  

  P!nk – What About Us A more low budget lyric video but with a very special approach to the actual typography. Mimicking handwriting, the words become harder to read in the songs' more emotional and dramatic moments. As a matter of fact, a number of fans have complained that the promo defies the whole idea of a lyric music video whose purpose should be to see the actual words that are being sang. But it is this precise illegibility that makes it stand out - not to mention perfectly fits the song's message (that of a deteriorating relationship). Even more so, it also beautifully compliments the stirring live action video directed by Georgia Hudson.  

 About Maria: "Multimedia in Human Form. Media researcher. Journalist. Filmmaker. PR and Social Media Mind. Cinephille. TV Shows aficionado. Books Lover. Music Video guru and former curator of the 2Pause.com project"

One of Indie Street / Indie Street Film Festival's absolute favorite documentaries from the past year has FINALLY reached the big screen! Winner of the second annual ISFF award for Best Feature Documentary, UNREST has landed at IFC Center in NYC! If you missed the premiere event this past weekend, don't fret! Filmmaker and subject of this poignant and beautiful study on ME/CFS and chronic ilnness, Jennifer Brea, will be in-person for a Q&A after the 7:50 screening this Thursday, September 28! Believe us, you'd be crazy to miss this opportunity! For more information on tickets and screening times, head to IFC Center's website. And be sure to watch the trailer for the film below! 

If you love short films, then you've most definitely heard about Jim Cummings' 2016 ultra-successful Sundance-winning short film THUNDER ROAD. If you haven't, then you've probably been living under a rock and that's no good. First things first, if you've not seen this short film, remove the rock from on top of you, stop everything else you're doing and experience one of the best, most emotional rides provided in a short film....pretty much ever. And if you've seen it - heck, watch it again right now! At Indie Street, we can't get enough of this short - it even won the inaugural Indie Street Film Festival Best Narrative Short Jury Award. A film fit for all the acclaim in the world! So, what could literally be better than this film? Um, probably the potential of A FEATURE LENGTH VERSION OF IT. Yes, you've heard me right. The team behind THUNDER ROAD are at it again and are looking to raise the money to fund one of the best filmic ideas of all time. If you appreciate any level of film, story, innovation, perseverance, creativity, Springsteen, and talent, you've GOT to donate to this cause right now. Over an hour of ace storytelling and camerawork will be gifted to all film lovers around the world. What more could you want?? Head to the THUNDER ROAD Kickstarter NOW and get donatin'!!! 

 About Maria:

We're ending the summer in a quirky breezy way with an arts & crafts style video! LAMAR + NIK go back to the simple yet witty concept that made them famous. Before lyric music videos were even a thing, they made this dazzling piece that featured the song's words made of gigantic cardboards. “Magnolia” was everything we loved about indie, low budget productions...not to mention it was also environmentally friendly given the letters were made from discarded cardboards from grocery stores. For The Shins' new video, they chose another tactic - yet, it's still as ground-breaking and impressive: filmed on a white backdrop, edited, then printed out. “Half A Million” was created with 5,566 stickers, hand cut from 4,868 frames and animated by sticking them down on top of each other at each of the 40+ locations. Great concept and an awesome twist for a video based on a band performance! 

 About Maria: "Multimedia in Human Form. Media researcher. Journalist. Filmmaker. PR and Social Media Mind. Cinephille. TV Shows aficionado. Books Lover. Music Video guru and former curator of the 2Pause.com project"

Hard to believe that the 2nd annual Indie Street Film Festival started almost a month ago already! The good news is that this means only 11 more months until the 2018 edition! While we are already excitedly counting down the days until next year, it doesn’t hurt to start collecting and watching some awesome indie films to bide our time. A good place to start? With some of the best short films of this year’s fest - one's that are already available online! This week we are proud to feature filmmaker Caitlyn Green’s short AUGUST - an experimental mediation on a woman waking from a fever dream, deep in Lousiana’s swampland, where it has been August for 16 years. An audience favorite, AUGUST had a superb run on the festival circuit, including playing at Slamdance Film Festival, and was recently featured on Short of the Week. Kudos to an innovative short that we were proud to program and share with NJ audiences! If you missed out on watching in Red Bank last month, check out the poetic narrative now on Vimeo!  

I've got both good news and bad news. The bad news? If you missed the soon-to-be cult hit DAVE MADE A MAZE on Opening Night of the 2017 Indie Street Film Festival...well, let me just say: BOY, DID YOU MISS OUT! But hey, the good news? The jaw-droppingly innovative indie film that everyone is raving about is NOW AVAILABLE to watch in theaters AND online on VOD! Red Bank audiences absolutely loved this impressive feat of story and cardboard, saying that it was a festival defining film for ISFF....and now is your chance to join the fandom. This is one quirky, crazy, fun and one-of-a-kind film that has something for everyone. Believe me, you don't want to miss this one! Watch the trailer below and then head to the film's official site to check out showtimes and where to watch online!  

Starving for some delicious indie cinema? Well, all you hungry, hungry film lovers…today is your lucky day! Matthew Salleh and Rose Tucker’s Indie Street Film Festival hit BARBECUE launches on NETFLIX globally….TODAY! If you had the fine honor of attending the screening in Red Bank last July, as well as the community cookout held afterwards at Bow Tie Cinema, you’d know that it was definitely one of the most “appetizing” highlights of this year’s second edition fest! If you missed out, well, no fear! Take those rumbling bellies and head to Netflix to treat yourself to one tasty, culturally eye-opening documentary. The award-winning film premiered at SXSW 2017, was a crowd favorite at ISFF and is set to take the online foodie community by storm with its VOD release. Giving its audience a journey around the world through the eyes of cooking and barbecue, Salleh and Tucker show us so beautifully that food can bring the world together, in an almost religious way! It's exactly what we need right now. Join the cinematically delicious cult movement - don't delay! For more info, head to the film’s website or check out the filmmakers’ latest interview with Australian media. Oh and watch NOW

The past week was a whirlwind of creative energy, community-boosting moments, innovative films and overall, a seriously cool culmination of indie spirit in Red Bank, NJ at the second annual Indie Street Film Festival! It’s hard to believe that another year has come and gone! And after an inspiring 5 days, the team behind Indie Street Film Festival was beyond honored to announce this year's award winners! "Like Me", directed by Robert Mockler, was named the best narrative feature and "Unrest", directed by Jennifer Brea, took the top prize for best documentary feature as we concluded five days of film screenings plus a wide array of special events and entertainment in Red Bank, New Jersey. Short film winners included Best Narrative Short – "Hold On", directed by Christine Turner and Best Documentary Short – "Little Potato", directed by Wes Hurley and Nathan M. Miller. Best Animation Film was awarded to "Pussy", directed by Renata Gasiorowski. The jury, including noted film critics, producers and filmmakers Alison Willmore (Buzzfeed), Dominic Davis (Rooftop Films), Heidi Reinberg (Producer), Leah Sapin (Human Rights Watch), Meredith Alloway (Writer), William Cusick (Filmmaker/Programmer), James Belfer (CEO, Cartuna), James Siewert (Award-Winning Director/Animator) and Ben Wiessner (Producer, Ornana Films), also presented Special Jury Awards for Best Editing to "Fish Story", directed by Charlie Lyne and Best Comedic Vision to "Business", directed by Kati Skelton. Red Bank artist and resident Gerda Liebmann earned an Audience Choice award for Best New Jersey Film for her first documentary, "You will be Persecuted". Audience Favorites included Best Narrative Short – "Resolutions", directed by Tamara Fisch and Best Narrative Feature – "Life Hack", directed by Sloan Copeland. Among the many discussions presented, notable panels included Adaptation, which included festival Advisory Board Member and noted Actor/Producer Arian Moayed (Rock the Kasbah) and Oscar-winner Mara Kassin, and Meet the Programmers, featuring Larisa Apan (Hamptons Film Festival) and Opal Hope Bennett (Nantucket Film Festival, Doc NYC). A community mural project at Kitch Organic, an appearance by special surprise guest Actor Amir Arison (The Blacklist), a community barbecue, provided by JBJ Soul Kitchen following the screening of "Barbecue", a documentary directed by Matthew Salleh, and the world premiere of "Brothers", the latest work from New Jersey filmmaker Jack Ballo, about two brothers who lived off the grid for four years in the woods of Sayreville, NJ filmed using only the camera in Ballo’s iPhone, were also festival highlights. “The films we’ve shared made us laugh, cry and hungry,” noted Jim Scavone, Executive Director of Red Bank RiverCenter, and the festival’s Managing Director. The films were screened and the special events held at multiple theatrical venues in Red Bank, including the historic Count Basie Theatre, the Two River Theater, Bow Tie Cinema and Red Bank Middle School. Winners from each feature film category will enjoy a shared 1-week theatrical release in NYC. At the awards presentation, Indie Street Film Festival’s Artistic Director Jay Webb confirmed the event would return to Red Bank in 2018 and planned a long-term commitment and partnership with sponsors and the local arts and business communities. Webb also posed a rhetorical question, asking attendees why support for independent artists and filmmakers was important. "In a world of digital content overload that demands more curation and leaves us less physically connected, gathering people in the community around film screenings and the arts is something our whole team believes is of critical importance,” Webb concluded. “Audiences in a theater or at a live art event in the presence of the creators will feel the shared emotional vibrations of the exhibition and truly become a part of the story.  Offering locals, especially young people, these types of shared creative experiences can help them learn to accept human differences and not be afraid of them.” For more information about the screening of films from the festival, or how to connect with Indie Street Film Festival organizers, artists and filmmakers, visit www.indiestreetfilmfestival.org or follow us on social media!

Oh man! We're less than 2 weeks out from the second annual Indie Street Film Festival! What could be more exciting?! We know: more killer indie news surrounding the fest! ISFF has just announced their special screening slate for this year and if you're an indie film lover, dance enthusiast, or just a Michael Caine fan, you're gonna love this pretty sweet lineup. The New Jersey premiere of the 2017 Slamdance fav "Dave Made a Maze", a breakout film directed by artist/writer Bill Watterson, will open the 2nd Annual Indie Street Film Festival on Wednesday, July 26. Valérie Müller and Angelin Preljocaj’s "Polina", featuring Academy Award-winner Juliette Binoche will be the closing film on Sunday, July 30. The NY/NJ premiere of "Coup D’Etat", directed by Lisa Addario/Joe Syracuse and starring Academy Award and Golden Globe Award-winner Michael Caine and Katie Holmes, and "Person to Person", written and directed by Dustin Guy Defa and starring Michael Cera, Abbi Jacobson and Philip Baker Hall, will also screen at the fest set for July 26th through the 30th in Red Bank, NJ. “From a live art performance by local artist Ronnie Jackson, who carves New Jersey landscapes and scenes into surfboards, a cookout after the screening of the documentary Barbecue with local sponsors, to a Liquid Lights creative workshop, we know festival attendees will enjoy what ISFF brings to the community,” noted ISFF artistic director Jay Webb. “What sets this festival apart from other film events is the integration and cooperation of Red Bank’s venues, restaurants and bars, retail shops and the local arts community which all gel to make the ideal atmosphere to celebrate the creativity of independent filmmakers.” "Dave Made a Maze", featuring Nick Thune as Dave and Meera Rohit Kumbhani as his girlfriend, Annie, is the story of an underachieving artist who builds a fort in his living room only to wind up trapped by fantastical pitfalls, booby traps and critters of his own creation. Ignoring his warnings, Annie leads a band of oddball explorers on a rescue mission. Once inside, they find themselves trapped in an ever-changing supernatural world, threatened by booby traps and pursued by a bloodthirsty Minotaur. In "Polina", a promising classical ballet dancer about to join the prestigious Bolshoi Ballet discovers contemporary dance, a revelation that throws everything into question on a profound level. "Coup D’Etat" is the story of a sixteen-year-old American girl who develops a pen pal relationship with Anton Vincent (Michael Caine), an island nation dictator, who unexpectedly seeks refuge in her suburban garage when he is deposed by his own people. "Person to Person" follows a variety of New York characters as they navigate personal relationships and unexpected problems over the course of one day.The festival will present more than 60 independently produced narrative, documentary and animated films, panel discussions, Q&A’s with filmmakers, live art, an interactive community mural project, a community cookout, and both live and DJ music performances. For a complete schedule and to purchase tickets/passes, please visit www.indiestreetfilmfestival.org!

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