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Distributor FAQ: FilmBuff 2014

The Independent's Erin Trahan talks with FilmBuff CEO Janet Brown about the VOD boom and FilmBuff's role in it.


"Escape From Tomorrow" was a surprise hit for its filmmakers and its VOD distributor, FilmBuff.

Get a sneak peek at one of the new additions to The Independent's Guide to Film Distribution: FAQ with FilmBuff CEO Janet Brown on the who-what-why of FilmBuff's VOD-centered distribution mission.

Five years ago, FilmBuff (an affiliate of John Sloss’s Cinetic Media) set its sights on the topsy-turvy unknowns of digital distribution. And while FilmBuff has grown exponentially in that time, VOD remains its primary area of expertise.

Finding the "Mystery Woman" of Street Photography

Sarah Coleman talks with co-directors John Maloof and Charlie Siskel about bringing the hidden story of street photographer Vivian Maier to life.


"Finding Vivian Maier" uncovers street photos that could've been lost to history.

Imagine an artistic discovery you simply can't keep to yourself. The images are that penetrating. For John Maloof, Vivian Maier's street photography demanded to be seen. Two books and one documentary later, the world can trace Maloof's path toward Finding Vivian Maier.

Vivian Maier never wanted to be famous. Working as a nanny in 1950s Chicago, Maier always locked her bedroom door and insisted her employers never enter her space. Though she didn't hesitate to stick a camera into other people's faces, she disliked giving people her name and referred to herself as "the mystery woman." If not for a series of lucky accidents, Maier would have stayed unknown.

New Directors/New Films 2014 - Critic's Choice

New Directors/New Films showcases emerging international cinema in New York from March 19-30, 2014.


"Buzzard" is the third collaboration between actor Joshua Burge (pictured) and director Joel Potrykus.

Horror doesn't scare our senior film critic Kurt Brokaw. Two cutting films make his cut (Buzzard and The Babadook) plus he returns to Romania's cinema frontier with QED (that's the short title) gets unfrozen in Greenland and takes a ride with the Phantom, Nick Cave.

Senior film critic Kurt Brokaw is viewing the 42nd annual New Directors/New Films (all 27 features plus 11 shorts) and presents his critic’s choices below.

Quod Erat Demonstrandum
(Andrei Gruzsniczki. 2013. Romania. 107 min.)

Rendez-Vous With French Cinema 2014

Kurt Brokaw reviews his top choices from the 19th annual showcase of contemporary French film.


Deneuve in the driver's seat in Emmanuelle Bercot's "On My Way."

"You may not be persuaded by a minute of it, but if you have a sweet tooth for French neo-noir, you can’t help but believe your lying eyes." That's senior critic, Kurt Brokaw, on his fourth consecutive year choosing a critic's choice from Rendez-vous With French Cinema. Curious about which one he's talking about? Read more.

Senior film critic Kurt Brokaw is viewing all 24 features in the 2014 Rendez-vous With French Cinema lineup. The series screens March 6-10 at the Film Society of Lincoln Center.

Young & Beautiful
(François Ozon. 2013. France. 95 min.)

Back to the Past: Keva Rosenfeld’s 1987 Documentary "All American High" Finds a New Audience

Michele Meek talks with director Keva Rosenfeld about his decision to re-master his 1987 original.


Is this how we remember high school? Photo courtesy of Keva Rosenfeld.

Is our nostalgia for the 80s replacing our nostalgia for the 50s? Michele Meek suggests so, using a resurgence of interest in Keva Rosenfeld's 1987 documentary, All American High, as her primary example. It screens March 9th and 12th at SXSW.

The 1980s are the new 1950s. We have entered an era where big hair, landlines, and nightly news feel as remote and charming as poodle skirts and soda shops did in Back to the Future.

10 to Watch 2014 Criteria and Nominating Jury


Photo by Lee J. Haywood.

The Independent is seeking nominations for our annual 10 to Watch series from you! Our nominating jury leads the charge in our goal to honor 10 independent filmmakers who stop us in our tracks. Take a look at our criteria and send us your nominations by February 28, 2014.

The Independent's 10 to Watch is launching again for its 6th year. This annual series highlights talented filmmakers, producers, programmers, etc., whose work challenges, inspires, and who we think will rock it in the coming year.

Now Playing (Again): "Fort McMoney"

LJ Kessels returns to the virtual world of Canadian oil fields as a player of "Fort McMoney."


Fort McMoney: Where Film Meets Video Game.

Fort McMurrey's oil production represents 20 percent of Canada's GDP says the trailer to the interactive reality doc, Fort McMoney. As a result, everything there is larger than life. The real-time game, divided in episodes, is back on and anyone can dip their toe in the oil through February 16th.

David Dufresne’s interactive documentary game is back for a second round.

Sundance 2014: I Want You... to Be the New Frontier

Senior producer Maddy Kadish assesses the cutting-edge New Frontier section at Sundance 2014.


Pink and blue balloons populate the data in "I Want You to Want Me."

Sundance's New Frontier section took form through data visualization, transmedia, virtual-reality, and interactive film exhibits. Maddy Kadish highlights what hit and what missed from this year's festival.

Park City, UTAH -- For its 8th year in the 30-year-old Sundance Film Festival, the New Frontier section continued to unabashedly embrace change.

Sundance 2014: Three Films Disturb the Peace

Neil Kendricks on the cinematic raconteurs that stormed Sundance 2014.


Nick Cave's process in "20,000 Days On Earth." Photo by Amelia Troubridge.

Despite the unavoidable Park City glitz, Neil Kendricks writes, "Sundance still provides a forum for much-needed cinematic troublemakers." Read how three films in particular grabbed him by the collar, Only Lovers Left Alive, 20,000 Days on Earth, and Rat Pack Rat.

Park City, UTAH -- Rocking the boat is practically a pastime for the most adventurous films at the Sundance Film Festival, which turned the big 3-0 this year.

Sundance 2014: Animators Pump New Visions into Documentary Aesthetic

Neil Kendricks talks with Molly Schwartz about animating the doc, "Watchers of the Sky."


From "Watchers of the Sky."

Neil Kendricks takes a look at how animation was used in the documentaries at Sundance 2014 and speaks one-on-one with Watchers of the Sky's Molly Schwartz.

Park City, UTAH -- Animation is the new trend, changing the rules of documentary filmmaking with pencil and paper, computers, and a surplus of imagination. The writing on the wall—or drawings in this case—is that the old methods of relying on knowledgeable talking heads and archival footage to drive a non-fiction film are no longer enough for contemporary audiences.

Sundance 2014: The Independent’s Top 10 Moments for Women


Billie's mom decides to transition to male in "52 Tuesdays."

From creepy to awesome, women made their mark on and off screen at Sundance 2014. The moments were many but we've opted to share 10 of our favorites with you. Enjoy!

Park City, UTAH -- Sundance inspires—it is full of creative and passionate people. This year the amount of outstanding and exciting work by female filmmakers brought a distinctly different tone to the festival, certainly more representational, and even more cutting edge than in past years.

Sundance 2014: Sorrow and Beauty in Doc Shorts Program II

Senior producer Maddy Kadish reviews the three short docs in Program II.


"I Think This is the Closest..." used inanimate objects in innovative ways.

The Independent's senior producer, Maddy Kadish, reviews three short documentaries from Sundance 2014: I Think This Is the Closest to How the Footage Looked, Notes on Blindness, and Remembering the Artist: Robert De Niro, Sr.

Park City, UTAH -- At Sundance 2014, the three shorts in Documentary Shorts Program II used different devices to exhibit sorrow and beauty. All three films show the humanity, flaws, and hope that lives in all of us. These types of films are the reason that I come to Sundance.

New York Jewish Film Festival 2014 - Critic's Choices

Kurt Brokaw picks his top choices from the 23rd New York Jewish Film Festival.


In "Ida," a Polish nun discovers that she's Jewish.

Of his NYJFF critic's picks, Kurt Brokaw writes that Ida "was the most closely watched film of this fest even before it opened," and The Jewish Cardinal "is a film any NYJFF devotee will find worthy of the closest attention." He's also added Regina and GentleDog to his list. The fest runs January 8-23, 2014.

How inspiring that The Film Society of Lincoln Center has partnered with The Jewish Museum for more than two decades in presenting world, US, and New York premieres of films from around the globe.

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