BIZ OF CREATING

So, you made a film. You’re proud of it. You want it to be seen. Naturally, this is the obvious path to take with a new project. However, your big setback is that there is no longer a clear route towards distribution (at least as it was once known). Things have changed. This was the topic at a Portland Film Festival Panel with Drafthouse Films COO, James Shapiro, and others in the industry. From traditional models shifting towards the streaming world, what does a filmmaker need to do to get their film seen by the world in the year 2016? Shapiro’s advice? Focus on niche markets and always consider self-distribution as an option. Read here for more, via Filmmaker Magazine!

Over at Indie Street, Costa Rica may be a beloved, favorite locale, but its film industry doesn’t necessarily come to mind when we think about why we love the country. However, with the development of a film commission and a growing international film festival on the rise, everything we know about Costa Rica’s film community is about to change! Indiewire got to know 4 of the promising up-and-coming filmmakers associated with this beautiful, tropical region. Their work will be featured in the 2017 Costa Rica International Film Festival over the next week. Head over to Indiewire to get acquainted with the talents and insights of Roya Eshragi, Nathalie Alvarez Mesen, Sofia Quiros and Cristobal Serra Jorquera! Interested in learning more about Costa Rica and film? Read about how Costa Rica plans to build a new film industry.

What happens when you take a dash of Werner Herzog, a sprinkle of Cuba, a batch of 50 eager creative types, mix it altogether, and give it a shake? You’ll come out with one amazing and delicious opportunity being offered to filmmakers by Black Factory Cinema! They are now accepting applications for a ten day workshop in Cuba led by the one and only Werner Herzog. Filmmakers will be offered help in developing a project under his guidance. The workshop will take place next March at the Intenational School of Cinema and Television in San Antonio de los Baños, Cuba. Think you got what it takes to learn and work under a true legend? Head over to No Film School to get the full scoop on what qualifications you'll need. Fit the mold? Send in your PDF and start filling in the registration form today! Deadline is December 20th, 2016.

Video Essay: "Lessons for the No-Budget Feature"

You wouldn't expect some of the top filmmakers in Hollywood to have the most practical advice to offer up to emerging independent filmmakers making low budget films. However, one of the most important things to remember is that these big names all started their careers the same way: with shoestring budgets and abundant levels of creativity. Check out "Lessons for the No-Budget Feature" video essay from The Royal Ocean Film Society (created by Andrew Saladino) and discover some insightful tips and tricks from filmmakers such as Christopher Nolan, Richard Linklater and more!

Shorts films are “it” right now but that doesn’t mean they are easy to navigate out in this big scary world. In a way, it’s all like a game. So what exactly are the right moves in this game of short films? Industry experts Amotz Zakai, Benoit Blanchard, Anna Trzebiaowska, Inga Diev, Martin Edralin and others sat down at a 2016 TIFF panel last week to discuss what the best strategies are for getting your short to be successful in its journey. Their six tips include playing the festival circuit, signing with a manager before an agent, fully developing your vision, having a festival strategy in place at the beginning, gaining awards, and having a feature length screenplay ready to go. Read more about their tips and tricks over at No Film School now!

The distribution landscape has changed so much within the past few years that it’s now easy to see that there is no solid, clear cut path that is just going to fall into the laps of every independent filmmaker as they start to think about putting their film out there. It seems that more and more distribution strategies are having to be hyper-individualized, keeping in mind a million different things regarding content, audience, marketing, budget and the VOD field. With dozens of ways to make (and lose) money once you put your passion project out into the world, would it ever make sense to just do it for free? Well the creators behind “collective:unconscious”, a new anthology feature film that showcases 5 filmmakers producing short films pertaining to each other’s dreams, are doing just that. But what’s in it for them? A lot actually. BitTorrent just awarded the first installment of its Discovery Fund initiative to the film. This means, free BitTorrent bundles, featuring the film, are now available for download. There is even a Deluxe Bundle available for the small price of an email that gets you even more goodies. With BitTorrent knowing quite a lot about audience building, it can actually pay off to focus on gaining eyes before making money. The right eyes on a film can equal the right opportunities, and with a film that features 5 talented and promising filmmakers, it seems a smart move towards the future. Read more about the exciting “collective:unconscious” and BitTorrent venture here.

Currently working on a science or technology themed narrative feature script? Well, there’s good news out of the grant department! The Sundance/Sloan Commissioning Grant and Fellowship is now accepting applications online until September 6th. For the grant, $20,000 in cash support will be provided to screenwriters as well as a fund of $5,000 for collaboration with a science advisor. The fellowship will provide access to a Screenwriters Lab, Directors Lab, Creative Producing Lab, Summit, or Sundance Film Festival, $10,000 in support and $5,000 for a science advisor. Sundance Institute stated:  “We are looking for a diversity of stories that not only highlight science (which can include math, technology, medical research, as well as other sciences) as a central component, but also go beyond that thematically to engage us with strong characters and an engaging story. While biopics and historical films are welcome, we also encourage you to think outside the traditional mold of what a science film is, in terms of using the science/technology as a backdrop for stories about individuals, how it influences their lives, relationships, and unique perspectives.”  Read here for more info on the grant and fellowship rules and rewards as well as the eligibility requirements. If you qualify and are ready, click here for the online application! Good luck!

A new study from theatrical analytics company Movio has just found out that people under the age of 25 are going to the movie theater 8.5% more frequently than those over 30. With that discovery, the millennial moviegoing experience has been broken down even further - from seeing horror films more and indie films less, check out the full breakdown and infographic here!

 Chief Curator of Film at the MOMA, Rajendra Roy, recently sat down with a group of indie film professionals at the Seattle International Film Festival for a panel called “Who Should Release My Movie?” Distribution and acquisition professionals from The Orchard, Well Go USA, Bleeker Street and Participant Media all discussed best steps for independent filmmakers trying to get their films out there and seen and how they can find the right audiences. From navigating VOD and DVDs, to festivals and pitches, no stone was left unturned. Read here for highlights from the panel!

Still trying to figure out a way to finance your next film? Procrastinating a bit? No problem! No Film School has you covered with their extensive list of all Summer ’16 grants that filmmakers should know about! It takes some persistence in getting the hang of successfully applying to grants, but hey, you have to be prepared to start somewhere! From documentary to narrative opportunities, there’s something for all niches of the industry. You can check out the super detailed, massive list here! What are you waiting for?! Get applying!

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.