BIZ OF CREATING

Archiving documentary footage and films may not be a sexy issue, but in this digital age, it's an increasingly critical one. To help call attention to it, the IDA and DOC NYC are hosting a two-day Documentary Preservation Summit, which began March 31 and continues on April 1.

The speakers at the summit include Academy Award winning directors D.A. Pennebaker ("Monterey Pop," "The War Room") and Barbara Kopple ("Harlan County USA," "American Dream"); producer-director Warrington Hudlin, the founder of the Black Filmmaker Foundation; Margaret Bodde, the executive director of The Film Foundation, and Sandra Schulberg, the head of the IndieCollect film documentation and preservation campaign. More HERE

I think everyone can agree that it’s a difficult endeavor making your first film. But what’s less often talked about is the notoriously challenging second feature. Sundance Institute is here to the rescue! In order to help filmmakers overcome the feared sophomore slump, they have created their FilmTwo Initiative. With support from NBCUniversal and led by Sundance’s Feature Film Program, the initiative plans to offer 13 filmmakers both creative and strategic help in beating the challenges that they face when creating their second feature film. The first round of selected fellows have been chosen and the talent is looking extremely promising! For more info on the FilmTwo Initiative and bios on the current fellows, read here.

Over here at Indie Street, we are always thinking about alternative modes of distribution in order to get films to new audiences. But hand in hand with distribution, it’s always good to think about exhibition practices as well. It seems AMC Theatres is looking to get a bit controversial with their methods. Their potential next move may just be another act in the ever-changing landscape of the future of movie theatres. In an effort to bring in more (younger) customers, the theatre chain was apparently exploring ways in which moviegoers would be allowed to use their cellphones during films. They have a long way to go in figuring out a way to allow these targeted millennials to text without distracting and scaring away the older generations that do want to watch in peace. The idea has been getting a lot of backlash and has even been refuted by others after CEO Adam Aron’s original remarks, but if people are already even just thinking this way about the future, maybe we should be sitting up a bit and listening. Read here to learn more about the reasonings behind Aron’s millennial approach.

It’s safe to say that the future of truly independent film is still being written. Holiday film ‘Christmas, Again’ and its partnership with both Factory 25 & Fandor is a great example of a hopeful outlook. Matt Grady, founder of Factory 25, a successful independent distribution company, wrote an article over on Sundance’s Blog about how they were able to distribute, market and soon bring in a profit for the tiny yet buzz-worthy holiday festival favorite. Read more about the insightful process regarding the future of both small independent distribution companies and the films they bring to audiences here.

Throughout Asia, airport movie theaters and pop-up cinemas are apparently a big trend. Passengers are actually treated to the opportunity to watch films before their flights, not just on them. The good news is that now the concept is coming to the US, with the Portland International Airport being the latest to take up the trend. While both Minneapolis-Saint Paul and the Miami International Airports have hosted airport cinemas that have screened art films and silent classics, the non-profit Hollywood Theatre in Portland will be opening the Hollywood Theatre @ PDX and will be showing short films. The programming will mostly focus on work from regional filmmakers with an emphasis on stories specific to the Pacific Northwest. Artist Residencies are also in the plans. And don’t worry travelers, this is all free entertainment for you to enjoy!  Want to be a part of brightening up someone's day before a long haul on a cramped plane? The programming at the Hollywood Theater @ PDX will be rotated quarterly and curated films will be selected on a rolling basis via Film Freeway submissions. So you can be a part of the action! Want to have your film in the first cycle this summer? Remember, films must be submitted by April 30.

Writer and aspiring first time filmmaker Sophie Monks Kaufman studies how to go about channeling personal, real-life experiences into her first film script. While interviewing other filmmakers and discussing their journeys into their own personal histories, she uncovers the honesty and resolve needed to be successful at practically anything. It’s all about the attempt, no matter if it’s good or bad. For an inspirational read, check out Sophie Monks Kaufman’s article over at Little White Lies.

Disney, Lionsgate and Fox are teaming up and investing in a new ticketing app that would see new variable ticket pricing for certain types of movies. Called Atom Tickets, the novelty app would introduce concepts such as group discount pricing for a herd of friends going to see a big budget film. Could both Hollywood and smaller budget indie films possibly see any potential benefits from this endeavor in the long term? Or will Atom Tickets only exist to help us start thinking about the future of ticket pricing between big budget vs low budget films in general before its novelty wears off?

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From the moment we entered pre-production on my first feature, Bella Vista, in Missoula, Montana, I knew I wanted to do a statewide screening tour.

It felt important to show Bella Vista in the place that inspired it, but regardless of how distribution panned out for us, it was clear it would be a challenge to reach our state’s heavily rural audience. Following our premiere at Rotterdam in 2014, my producers and I began plotting.

Call it entrepreneurial or just plain practical. First and foremost, however, it was an experiment. Could we bring in audiences in Montana, where few independent theaters exist? Could we do it on a tiny budget, without the help of PR professionals? And then, how would our movie—a long-take, landscape-centered narrative—be received? These days everyone talks about “knowing your audience,” but aside from the amorphous “art”/”art-house” category, we didn’t fit into an obvious niche or genre. But we believed Bella Vista could appeal to a Montana rancher as much as a European festivalgoer, so we took a leap of faith. We were going on the road."  Read Full Interview

Ernesto "Neto" Villalobos' feature debut, "Por las plumas" ("All About the Feathers"), premiered simultaneously at TIFF 2013 and San Sebastian 2013 and was selected by 30 other festivals, including Rotterdam, Vancouver, San Francisco and the Film Society of Lincoln Center's Latinbeat series. This deadpan comedy tells the story of Chalo, a security guard who wants to get into the cockfighting game and acquires a rooster, whom he names Rocky. Read More.

The Tribeca Film Festival has announced its call for submissions and dates for its 2016 installment, which runs April 13-24.

For those looking to submit, the submission dates are: 
September 14: Submissions open for feature films, short films and interactive storytelling projects.
October 16: Early deadline for feature films and short films. 
November 25: Official entry deadline for feature films, short films and interactive storytelling projects
December 23: Late entry deadline for feature length world-premiere films only. Read more