November 2009

Borat's Aftermath: A Romanian Town Seeks Damages

The Independent's Randi Cecchine interviews Mercedes Stalenhoef, the Dutch director of the documentary, "Carmen Meets Borat."


The star of <i>Carmen Meets Borat.</i>

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.

Doc Doctor's Story Strategies: Is Narration a Storytelling Red Flag?

Doc Doctor Fernanda Rossi explores the myth: What's so terrible about narration?


The use of narration is an oft-debated topic in documentary filmmaking. (Photo by brtsergio.)

Is voiceover a red flag for bad storytelling? Doc Doctor Fernanda Rossi enters the debate on whether or not narration can be a creative tool and explores the prejudices associated with the use of voiceovers, suggesting why documentary filmmakers may want to consider the device when crafting stories.

Myth #5

“Narration in a documentary is bad storytelling.”

Says who?

The myth in all its glory

Exhibitor FAQ: Enzian Theater

The inside scoop on how filmmakers can command the screen at Central Florida's only full-time, noprofit, alternative theater: the Enzian in Maitland.


Table seating at the Enzian Theater in Maitland, Florida.

At the Enzian Theater in Maitland, Florida, you can cozy up to the screen with a glass of wine or cold bottle of beer. But adult beverages alone do not keep the crowds happy. According to programming director Matthew Curtis, it's the quality of films. "They trust what we put on the screen," he told The Independent. Curtis gives the inside scoop on how filmmakers should approach Enzian with their latest projects.

For 25 years, Orlando area audiences have flocked to the Enzian Theater to enjoy independent films in a unique atmosphere. Instead of the usual stadium seating, the intimate Maitland, Florida art house cinema has four floors with tables for two and four. In its front section, gorgeous purple velvet captains' chairs and couches with coffee tables claim the space.

Film Journal: Philosophies for Financing Your Film

In the second installment of filmmaker Valerie Weiss's film journal, she offers advice on an ever-important, much-talked-about topic: how to successfully finance your independent film.


Valerie Weiss rehearses actors for "Losing Control." L-R: Reid Scott, Miranda Kent, and Weiss.

Filmmaker Valerie Weiss shares her experiences of financing, making, and marketing her first independent feature film Losing Control in this monthly film journal. In this installment, she writes about how she raised financing – a topic that is likely on every independent filmmaker’s mind.

In the last installment of my film journal for The Independent, I wrote about the various circumstances that facilitated the raising of $200,000 to direct my feature film, Losing Control, a quirky romantic comedy about a female scientist who wants proof that her boyfriend is “the one.” In this install

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