Policy

Can I Shoot My Low Budget Indie Film in New York City?

Indie producer Rebecca Reynolds explains how her production company, 8180 Films, maximized a change in film tax credit policy.


Actor Stephen Lang on the monitor (and behind the desk) on the double-duty set of "The Girl on the Train."

"Let’s just say we started out to shoot a low budget psychological thriller in rural northwestern Michigan and ended up shooting an ultra low budget neo noir thriller in New York City," says The Girl on the Train's producer, Rebecca Reynolds. Here she shares tips and trade-offs for shooting on location in the Big Apple.

Wondering if you can afford or manage an indie shoot in New York City? Sure, if you have to, like we did...

State of the Film Industry in Southeast Europe

Courtney Sheehan reports from the third annual Cinelink forum at the Sarajevo Film Festival.


Oleg Novkovic's "White White World" is a transnational production of Serbia, Sweden, and Germany.

Tax incentives. Public and private funding. Transnational co-productions. During a year abroad to study regional film festivals and exhibition, Courtney Sheehan takes in Southeast Europe through the lens of presenters at the third annual industry Cinelink forum during the Sarajevo Film Festival.

For the past three years, film professionals from all over Southeast Europe have gathered at the Sarajevo Film Festival (SFF) to discuss the state of the regional film industry during the Cinelink forum, the track of the festival established for that purpose.

Greater Filmmaker Responsibility in the New Documentary Paradigms

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.


"Restrepo" was one of the films discussed at IFP. Photo by Tim Hetherington.

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?

The Show Must Go Green

"Going green" might be en vogue—and environmentally responsible, of course—but what does sustainable filmmaking really entail?


Miranda Bailey, director of the eco-documentary, <i>Greenlit</i>.

Prompted by Miranda Bailey's recent documentary, Greenlit, The Independent's Steven Abrams asks two eco-experts for tips on simple, environmentally conscious filmmaking methods.

Miranda Bailey's recent film-within-a-film documentary, Greenlit, portrays the hopes and eventual challenges of making the production of The River Why "green." There's an initial hope that making the Why production eco-friendly is doable, and even money-saving.

Health Care Legislation: What’s The Hold Up?

In the second installment of The Independent's series on the health care debate, Enette Ngoei explores why reform legislation is currently at a standstill.


Prescription drugs, one speedbump on the path to health care reform.  (Photo credit higlu, Flickr.com)

In the second installment of a new series about the United States' health care debate, The Independent examines the next step in the process, and why, exactly, legislation seems to be at an impasse.

Christmas is less than two weeks away, and the clock is ticking loudly for Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada), who wants a health care bill before the holidays. As the Democrats have desperately tried to accelerate the legislation’s passage this month, there have been two main speed bumps: abortion and the public option.

Health Care Reform: Getting Filmmakers Up to Speed

In a new series that examines how health care reform will impact self-employed and freelance filmmakers, The Independent's Enette Ngoei offers a primer on what's happened thus far.


The scene of the furious health care debate. (Photo credit Starslate, Flickr.com)

You might be hard-pressed to find a more controversial, debated, constantly evolving topic than health care reform. In the first installment of a new series about the health care debate and how it might affect you, The Independent offers a summary of what's happened and happening on the Hill.

This past weekend, while Washington, D.C. area residents were out enjoying the first snowfall of the season, members of the United States Senate were on Capitol Hill debating the health care bill.

Beg, Borrow, or Steal? Deciphering Fair Use for Filmmakers

Understanding Fair Use can save documentary filmmakers time and money.


A screen shot of the archival footage from Vance vs. Judas Priest used by filmmaker Van Taylor for his doc, "Dream Decievers."

So, you're assembling your documentary and you desperately need to include a certain song, image, or archival scene to tell your story, do you need to get permission? How do you know if it's copyrighted? Independent writer Jen Swanson talks to Patricia Aufderheide of the American University Center for Social Media and one of the authors of The Documentary Filmmakers Statement of Best Practices, as well as filmmakers David Van Taylor and Gordon Quinn, to help break down Fair Use and how it applies to documentary filmmakers.

David Van Taylor first engaged questions of Fair Use when he was working on his film Dream Deceivers in 1990, a documentary that explored the lawsuit filed against the heavy-metal band Judas Priest by the family of James Vance, a teenager who tried to commit suicide after smoking marijuana and listening to the group's lyrics. The film incorporated copyrighted music and clips.

ITVS: Has This Key Funding Partner Lost its Way?

The Independent Television Service, or ITVS, is one of the most prestigious sources for film funding in the United States. But some filmmakers complain it's abusing its power.


PBS series Global Voices picked up the controversial "Father Roy: Inside the School of Assassins" ten years after its release.

The creation of the Independent Television Service in the mid-1990s as a source of funding for independent filmmakers was seen at the time as one of the great successes in the independent film movement. Today, the organization has a budget exceeding $12 million, and provides key funding to hundreds of films each year, including approving many outright grants in the six-figure range. All ITVS projects are supposed to completed and groomed for public television—but, in fact, one in three films funded by ITVS do not make to a major PBS series. Why is that? In more than a dozen interviews with filmmakers and people familiar with ITVS, some complaints emerge: namely, that ITVS is an overbearing funding partner that deploys "bulldog" lawyers and shrouds the funding process in secrecy. The Independent's Michele Meek takes a look at the organization and the independent filmmakers who rely on it, to find out what's going on.

In 2007, filmmaker Joanna Rudnick learned that her application for funding from the Independent Television Service (ITVS) had been accepted. Rudnick, a first-time director, had applied for ITVS funding to finance the completion of her documentary In the Family, a look at women who are aware they carry a genetic predisposition to breast or ovarian cancer.

Voices from Issues Past

What happened at AIVF over the last 30 years?

AIVF: And What it Meant to Me

I first became aware of AIVF when Martha Gever was editor of The Independent. I marveled at this national organization that put out each month a magazine chock full of weighty, intellectual and critical articles on film and video.

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