Screenwriting

Inspired by Personal History, Hong Khaou Releases “Lilting” to US Audiences

Director Hong Khaou shares the personal and professional journey behind his Sundance award-winning feature debut, available on DVD and VOD on September 29, 2014.


Pei-pei Cheng (L) and Ben Whishaw (R) star in Hong Khaou's "Lilting." Photo courtesy Strand Releasing.

In Hong Khaou's Lilting, available on DVD and VOD September 29th, a mother grieves for her son by getting to know her son's partner. Khaou told The Independent his debut feature came, "from a place that’s deeply personal, especially that of grief. I lost my dad when I was 12 and the character in the film loses her son. So I had to expose myself in a certain way writing this."

In 2011, Hong Khaou maxed out his credit cards to fund his attendance at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.

TIFF 2014: Safdie Bros Borrow From Life on NY Streets in "Heaven Knows What"

Josh and Benny Safdie, and actor Arielle Holmes, talk the morning after "Heaven Knows What" premieres at TIFF.


"Heaven Knows What" is based on Arielle Holmes' life while addicted to heroin.

Heroin addiction and life on the New York streets take center stage in Josh and Benny Safdie's latest, Heaven Knows What. The morning after their North American premiere at TIFF, they riff on the why and what of it all with the film's star and inspirational scribe, Arielle Holmes.

In the Q&A after the North American premiere of Josh and Benny Safdie’s Heaven Knows What at the Toronto International Film Festival, star Arielle Holmes remarked on the surreal nature of her first film experience.

Confessions of a Failed Screenwriter

Moving to LA would have made a big difference according to Randy Steinberg.


Photo by orangeacid.

Randy Steinberg, friend of The Independent has been involved in all aspects of screenwriting for more than a decade. In this cut-to-the-chase, brutally honest essay, he explains why he think he failed and how articulating the process may benefit other screenwriters.

Editor’s note: Our friend Randy Steinberg sent along an essay he originally wrote for Scriptshadow and we asked if we could re-publish. He said yes.

An Indie Film Odyssey: Making (and Screening) “Homer and Penelope”

Catherine Epstein tracks the ups and downs of Danny Powell's first feature film.


The making of "Homer and Penelope" was its own odyssey. Photo courtesy Cinema With Cinema.

Hang in there with Danny Powell, as his journey into making his first feature, Homer and Penelope (which streams free December 11-15), will ring true to anyone who has been crazy enough to try likewise. Notice that with Odysseus as a guide, one can find joy long after all that has been "wrought and endured."

Partway through Homer’s The Odyssey, the hero Odysseus is advised, in the midst of epic challenges, “Even his griefs are a joy long after to one that remembers all that he wrought and endured.” The line is grandiose and majestic, but it somehow feels relevant to young filmmaker Danny Powell, whose first feature, Homer and Penelope, endur

TIFF 2013: When Movies Bring On- and Off-Screen Families Together

Katherine Brodsky crashes a reunion with "Cinemanovels'" key actors and writer/director Terry Miles.


"Cinemanovels" reunites writer/director Terry Miles with Lauren Lee Smith and Jennifer Beals.

Writer/director Terry Miles and actor Lauren Lee Smith pooled personal resources to make Cinemanovels. Partly that meant money. Mostly it meant something far more personal: trust. Jennifer Beals joined the duo in making this story about a woman who assembles a retrospective of her father's film work after his death.

This may well be a cautionary tale of having good email etiquette. After wrapping Terry Miles' A Night for Dying Tigers (2010) actress Lauren Lee Smith sent Miles a note thanking him for the experience and saying how great it would be to work together again some day.

Outsider Writers: Four Not-in-LA Grad Programs in Screenwriting

Jared M. Gordon interviews graduate program directors at schools in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Illinois, and Nevada.


Hollins was a great fit for Gordon when he was a student.

Jared M. Gordon is convinced that studying screenwriting outside of NY or LA can greatly benefit budding scribes. He spoke to graduate program directors at Carnegie Mellon University, Hollins University, Northwestern University, and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas to gather facts and substantiate his theory.

You don’t have to spend your whole savings and attend a graduate program in Los Angeles or New York to learn screenwriting. In fact, could a program, unshackled from geographic proximity to Hollywood, actually be a unique and advantageous experience for its students?

Making CONNECTIONS

Rebecca Reynolds asks the "Missed Connections" team how they pulled off their festival-favorite comedy on a shoestring budget.


The "Missed Connections" team L-R: Rudin, Stevenson, Davies, and Kissack.

On and off-screen partners Kenny Stevenson and Dorien Davies teamed up with producer Lisa Rudin and director Eric Kissack on the indie festival comedy hit Missed Connections, which makes its international debut later this month. Rebecca Reynolds inquires about casting, budgeting, and the recipe for "comedy chops."

Writer/actor Kenny Stevenson and his wife, actress Dorien Davies, joined forces with producer Lisa Rudin and director Eric Kissack to make the award-winning indie comedy, http://mi

Laura Colella's Seminal Summer

Laura Colella's third narrative feature, a summer story about neighborly, multi-generation relationships, stars Colella's real-life housemates and has its world premiere this week.


"Breakfast With Curtis" stars Colella's neighbors Theo Green (foreground) and Jonah Parker.

"I think everyone has a particular summer when your life took a real shift," says Laura Colella to The Independent's David Pierotti within days of her third narrative feature debut. Colella calls Breakfast With Curtis a no-budget feature. It takes place in her real-life backyard starring her real-life neighbors... and marks at least one character's seminal summer.

Providence, Rhode Island, director Laura Colella was gearing up for the Los Angeles Film Festival earlier this week. Her third narrative feature, Breakfast With Curtis, will get its world premiere screening before an audience on June 14th.

10 Filmmakers to Watch in 2012

The Independent chooses the 10 Filmmakers to Watch in 2012.

A still from <i>Losing Ferguson</i>, a film by one of the Independent's 10 to Watch in 2012, Trisha Gum.

The Independent shines a spotlight on 10 innovative filmmakers to keep your eye on this year, and coming years. We've got web series creators, animators, and filmmakers of all genres... and in the last month we've been releasing exclusive new extras on Facebook.

It's another year, and time to announce 10 filmmakers we at The Independent think you should keep your eye on. It's a varied group, to be sure, but each filmmaker has a few key things in common: talent, drive, and the desire to innovate.

10 Filmmakers to Watch in 2011

The Independent's Nikki Chase lists the top 10 filmmakers we think you should watch this year.


An image from "When the Mountains Tremble," a film by Pamela Yates, one of our 10 to Watch. Photo by Jean-Marie Simon © 2011.

Wondering who will be named to The Independent's 10 to Watch 2012 list? Here's a reminder of last year's inspiring filmmakers as we put the finishing touches on this year's roll out.

It's time for our annual 10 Filmmakers to Watch list. We’ve pooled our resources and brainpower to get the scoop on who’s who this year.

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