FILM FESTIVALS

What a week!!! The first annual Indie Street Film Festival came to a close on Saturday July 9th after 4 days of screening 75 new independent films! And what an amazing experience the whole festival was, bringing together a community in the spirit of independent film and art!  Women Who Kill directed by Ingrid Jungermann won the award for Best Narrative Feature and Romeo Is Bleeding directed by Jason Zeldes took home the award for Best Documentary Feature.  The Jury also chose to honor the Ensemble Cast of Sam Kretchmar’s Keep In Touch with the Special Jury Award.  Short film winners were: BEST ANIMATED SHORT – The Past Inside the Present directed by James Siewert BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT – Love Wins directed by Robin Kampf BEST NARRATIVE SHORT – Thunder Road directed by Jim Cummings  The Awards ceremony took place on stage at the Count Basie Theatre prior to the closing night screening of Ira Sachs’ Little Men.  Encore screenings of the winning films took place at the Red Bank Middle School on Sunday, July 10.  The Jury for the Inaugural Indie Street Film Festival was comprised of New York Magazine chief film critic David Edelstein, Founder and Director Emeritus of the Black Maria Film Festival John Columbus, IHeartMedia co-host/News Director Shelli Sonstein, Emmy-winning film producer Sylvia Caminer (Chosen), Co-Founder and CEO of Cartuna James Belfer, and Indie Street partner filmmakers Alex Steyermark (The 78 Project Movie) and Benjamin Wiessner (Ornana Films).  ISFF Audiences had a chance to vote on their favorite films throughout the festival and the Audience Awards were handed out to: BEST SHORT: The House Is Innocent (Documentary) directed by Nicholas Coles BEST FEATURE: Auld Lang Syne (Narrative) directed by Johanna McKeon BEST NEW JERSEY FILM: After Sandy (Documentary) directed by Joe Minnella  ISFF Feature competition included the World Premiere of Johanna McKeon’s Auld Lang Syne and New Jersey premieres of James Morrison’s Diverge, Juan Pablo Arroyo Abraham’s Day Six, Sam Kretchmar’s Keep In Touch and Ingrid Jungermann’s Women Who Kill.  Documentaries included: Joe Minnella’s After Sandy, Livia Ungur and Sherng-Lee Huang’s Hotel Dallas, Beatrice Alda’s Legs: A Big Issue in a Small Town, Adam Irving’s Off the Rails and Jason Zeldes’ Romeo is Bleeding.  Indie Street Film Festival Director of Programming Bill Augustin said “I am extremely proud of the inaugural program of the Indie Street Film Festival.  It was a diverse and artistically rich mix of independent films that exemplified our motto of ‘Story over Budget’.  We received nearly 350 submissions from over 20 different countries and were excited to bring unique voices from around the world to Red Bank.”  Since ISFF is more geared toward cooperation than competition, all feature films accepted into the festival have been awarded the opportunity to join Indie Street as a partner filmmaker and be promoted through its VOD platform. Winners from each feature film category will enjoy a minimum 1-week theatrical release in NYC. Short film winners from each category will be considered for coop inclusion and will be presented and promoted through the Indie Street platform.  It was an amazing week and we look forward to already planning for next year’s second annual Indie Street Film Festival!! Keep checking out indiestreetfilmfestival.org to keep up to date on winners and more!

We all know that making films is an ongoing learning cycle that truly never ends. You are constantly learning from your own mistakes, taking advice from the ones that came before you, and seeing a shift in tastes/technologies within the industry. Though it’s an exciting time to be a filmmaker, trying to stay on top of things while also creating a breakout film on the festival circuit can be a daunting, overwhelming task. Indiewire recently caught up with a few up-and-coming indie filmmakers with works showing in the “New Auteurs” and “American Independent” categories at the 2016 AFI Fest. They talked about all they learned while creating their breakout festival films. Check out some of the invaluable advice they impart to other up-and-comers over on Indiewire.

The 54th New York Film Festival hit the ground running last week, and it doesn’t look like it's making plans to slow down anytime soon. This year’s festival runs from September 30th - October 16th at the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York City. If you plan on being in town over the next week, you should definitely check out the program and hit up some of the amazing films, interactive programs, events, parties, and more that they have planned! In the meantime, take a look back at what appears to have been a pretty successful and exciting opening weekend by checking out NYFF’s roundup video

 

New York City’s biggest, most prestigious film festival is only a couple of days away from the opening night of the 54th annual event. The 2016 lineup is diverse and intimate - larger than life in scope but human and down to Earth in story. Village Voice has compiled your essential guide to the 2016 NYFF and if you’re a film lover, this is one to check out. Read more over at Village Voice and then head on over to the Film Society at Lincoln Center’s website to get the full scoop and festival program info.

Ah, films. Some are beautiful, touching, and romantic. Others are funny, strange and absurd. And then, every once in awhile, there’s...that one. Yes, THAT one. It looks like audiences at the Toronto International Film Festival have discovered just what THAT means. The festival wraps up this weekend, and though over 400 different films were screened during its course, the horror film “Raw” made quite the lasting impression. According to The Hollywood Reporter, paramedics were called to the midnight showing of the French-language cannibal feature. Why? Multiple people had to be treated for passing out! Julia Ducournau’s feature debut follows the story of a young girl that goes through a humiliating hazing ritual at veterinary school. After being forced to eat a raw rabbit liver, her craving for flesh starts to grow. No word on which scene caused the medical mayhem but we look forward to catching the film upon its release by Focus World. Read more on the incident here.

The 73rd annual Venice International Film Festival came to a close last night, wrapping up almost two weeks worth of days packed with exciting film premieres and events. Interested in learning which films took home the coveted prizes? Indiewire has a full breakdown of all the award winners, from the Gold Lion to the Silver Lion and everything in between. Check out the list here!

TheWrap announced the winners of its 5th annual ShortList Film Festival this week and on the list was none other than Indie Street fav Jim Cummings and his brilliant film THUNDER ROAD. Other winners included Maïmouna Doucouré’s MAMAN(S) and David Hansen’s SLINGSHOT. Each winning filmmaker took home a $5,000 cash prize. Interested in learning more about the awards and the event? Well, click here for more info via TheWrap!

The 54th New York Film Festival and the Film Society of Lincoln Center have just announced the lineup for their highly anticipated immersive storytelling program, Convergence. Featuring nine interactive works and five panels, NYFF’s mission is to show that the art of immersive storytelling is constantly changing and evolving. From works fusing augmented reality and comic books together to viewers using digital devices to solve crime, the lineup is an impressive selection of work that proves we are heading towards innovative means of storytelling in the future! The program will also be complemented by panels talks from various innovators in the field, including Hilmar Koch, Lindsay Doran, Mike Knowlton and others. Click here for the full lineup and more info!

We are thrilled that the upcoming Venice Film Festival has officially launched its 2016 lineup, including both in competition and out of competition films. The festival will open with Damien Chazelle’s “La La Land” and close with Antoine Fuqua’s “The Magnificent Seven.” In between that will be an exciting array of offerings from well-known auteurs, anticipated follow-ups like Ana Lily Amirpour’s “The Bad Batch”, and premieres from first time filmmakers. Venice Film Festival kicks off next month, running August 31 - September 10. You can check out Indiewire’s photo gallery featuring some of the line-up here!

Michael Moore is using his film festival, the Traverse City Film Festival to be exact, to challenge the issue of sexism in the film industry. How? By making every official selection, all 32 of them, films directed or co-directed by women. And what’s the name of the one programmed sidebar at the festival? How about, “Men Make Movies - The Struggle Continues.” Moore spoke to Indiewire on the topic, “Every film in our Official Selection (US), fiction and nonfiction, is directed or co-directed by a woman . . . And they’re all incredible movies. As an expression of tokenism usually reserved for women, I am bringing five films by American men in a sidebar called, ‘Men Make Movies —The Struggle Continues.'” The initiative is freaking fantastic for the continuing recognition of females in the industry as well as the sidebar being a hilarious stab at the establishment and high profiling of male filmmakers. However, it does signal a sad state of affairs when things like this can be seen as gimmicks, news-worthy stories that should actually be something expected and accepted. That being said, this is an amazing push for films that may otherwise be overlooked or only seen as fulfilling circumstantial programming measures. Hopefully this festival initiative will become a beacon and inspiration for many festivals to come! Read more on Moore’s lady-filled festival here!

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