Randi Cecchine challenges the documentary community to pull together, avoid the pratfalls of pleasing too many constituencies, and maintain open dialogue about the reality of getting docs funded and seen.November 4th, 2010 | Randi Cecchine
In anticipation of this month's Distribution U, hosted by IFP, The Independent's Randi Cecchine continues to investigate the changing landscape of documentary funding and distribution with notes from the field and a call for community.
Anyone who cares about documentary filmmaking wants to know: In the current post-financial crisis, insecure-industry environment, how can filmmakers fund projects and reach audiences when traditional distribution models have crumbled...when even established filmmakers can’t secure the kinds of distribution deals, broadcast partnerships or investment/foundation funders they used to rely on?
In an interview with FilmBuff's Chris Horton, The Independent asks about the evolving landscape of digital distribution, and whether or not it's an independent filmmaker's new best friend.July 30th, 2010 | Courtney Sheehan
More and more filmmakers use digital release platforms like iTunes, Netflix Streaming, and Video-on-Demand. Chris Horton, head of acquisitions for FilmBuff, explains the role his company can play in digital distribution.
FilmBuff is a digital distribution service provided by Cinetic Rights Management (CRM). Although FilmBuff is less than three years old, its sister company, Cinetic Media, has been a major player in film sales since 2001.
With her recent narrative feature, "Toe to Toe," Emily Abt learned how to move from documentary to fiction filmmaking.June 17th, 2010 | Angela Wu
While shooting Losing Control, director Valerie Weiss discovers that the right support system can trump location changes, technical difficulties, and anything unexpected.April 7th, 2010 | Valerie Weiss
Lights fall and break, talent doesn't show, locations fall through. The process of making a film can be stressful. So, as director Valerie Weiss points out, it's helpful to surround yourself with a supportive family—both on-set and off.
In my last installment of my film journal, I wrote about the importance of pre-production for laying the groundwork for principal photography.
In surveying more than a year of films and filmmaker interviews, Randi Cecchine decides that yes, funding streams can influence form, and the difference between the US and foreign models may surprise you.March 4th, 2010 | Randi Cecchine
US docmakers may feel pressed by funders to change the world with every film. The Independent's Randi Cecchine asks how is that mandate influencing docs' form, and what happens when funding models drastically differ, as they do abroad?
Over the past few years, I've had the pleasure of attending a number of film festivals and conferences, some with a press pass blogging for The Independent, some as a filmmaker; and each time I watch films, attend panel discussions, and most importantly, speak to documentary filmmakers to learn about their creative practice and the realities of producing.
Chicago has served as a backdrop for a number of films...but as Jennifer Sheffield found out, Illinois has a lot more to offer than just a pretty skyline.February 22nd, 2010 | Jennifer A. Sheffield
In the third installment of The Independent's Film-Friendly State series, we explore the indie ins and outs of Illinois, including tax breaks, the infamous skyline, and why Central Illinois is the next cinematic hot spot -- no, really.
In her role as managing director of the Illinois Film Office, Betsy Steinberg spends a lot of time talking with filmmakers on both coasts and overseas. “In Chicago, and around the state, the abundance of looks is never-ending,” she says. “Every filmmaker says it is the most under-photgraphed place in the movies.”
Social media is free, can reach a large audience, and did we mention it's free? Two filmmakers share pointers on how they used social media to their advantage.February 17th, 2010 | JBlair Brown
Let's face it...social media is quickly taking over the world. With everyone and their mother – literally – on sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, how can independent filmmakers use social networking to find and build an audience?
Your film has all the elements of an underground hit: tears, laughter, intrigue, love, hate, betrayal… audiences will love it! But you spent your entire budget on production.
So the question remains: How can you effectively spread the word so that your film is viewed by as many people as possible, particularly when you lack adequate funding?
What Is Social Media?
The Independent's Angela Wu takes an in-depth look at why shooting your next film in the mountains might not be such a bad idea.January 22nd, 2010 | Angela Wu
In the second installment of The Independent's new Film-Friendly States series, Angela Wu explores why, if you're an independent filmmaker, Utah offers much more than Sundance.
From New Hampshire’s “no filming permits” policy to Michigan’s 42 percent tax credit, states are fighting to stay competitive with low-cost international filming locations — and each other. For filmmakers, this means a slew of incentive programs that might make financing your next film a bit easier.
Pre-production is one of the most vital aspects of filmmaking. In the third installment of her journal, Valerie Weiss discusses how she laid the groundwork for a successful film.January 5th, 2010 | Valerie Weiss
Filmmaker Valerie Weiss shares her experiences of financing, planning, and producing her first independent feature film Losing Control in this monthly film journal. In her third installment, Weiss writes about the trials and triumphs she experienced during pre-production.
In my first two installments of my Film Journal for The Independent, I wrote about the philosophy behind the $200,000 independent film. In this installment, I will talk about laying the groundwork to make our film at this budget, the period known as pre-production, and how the making of Losing Control reinforced the film's theme that faith is more valuable than proof.
The Independent's Randi Cecchine interviews Mercedes Stalenhoef, the Dutch director of the documentary, "Carmen Meets Borat."November 23rd, 2009 | Randi Cecchine
Filmmaker Mercedes Stalenhoef thought she was filming a young woman with dreams of escaping her poor Romanian hometown for a better life. But then another film crew descended on Glod, Romania, to shoot scenes for Borat, forever changing the villagers' prospects and not necessarily for the better. The Independent's Randi Cecchine interviews Stalenhoef about the process of making and distributing her documentary, Carmen Meets Borat.
I had the pleasure of seeing Carmen Meets Borat at the International Women’s Film Festival in Seoul, and was deeply moved. Carmen tells the story of a young Romanian woman with big dreams but who lives in a poor town.