Interviews

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.

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.

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.

The Free Spirits of Contemporary Canadian Cinema

Patrick Pearce asks Canadian filmmakers about what's happening in its regional cinema and why.


Isaka Sawadogo stars in Frédérick Pelletier's "Diego Star," which picked up two jury awards at FNC.

The Independent’s Patrick Pearce gets the inside scoop on Festival du Nouveau Cinéma's Canadian line-up from directors featured at the fest: Raphaëlle Bilodeau (Épicentres), Ashley McKenzie (Stray), Frédérick Pelletier (Diego Star), and Elza Kephart (Go Into The Wilderness).

Montréal’s Festival du Nouveau Cinéma (FNC) just wrapped up its 42nd edition.

TIFF 2013: President of the Club of Romantics

At 65, Patrice Leconte makes his first English-language film, the quietly romantic "A Promise."


Director Patrice Leconte works with English actors for the first time in "A Promise."

Veteran French filmmaker Patrice Leconte makes his North American and English-language debut at TIFF 2013 with A Promise. He told The Independent, "I realize that my life, day after day, is totally turned to focus on movies and I'm not sure whether it's good or not that I let myself be invaded to that point." And yet, romance like what's in this film is what helps him feel most alive.

A Promise is a romantic drama filled with silent glances, small gestures, and hidden emotions. It is set in Germany, just before WWI, and revolves around a married woman (Rebecca Hall) who falls in love with her husband's (Alan Rickman) protégé (Richard Madden).

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.

All Indie Family

Third generation Trosts, siblings Jason and Sarah, combine hyphens and skills for an indie trifecta.


On location in Thailand for #wetandreckless.

You can't dump siblings and they don't blow smoke up your $#@... Rebecca Reynolds talks to siblings Jason and Sarah Trost about their collaboration on three indie projects, The FP, All Superheroes Must Die, and Wet and Reckless.

In the land of Hollywood hyphens, the Trost family shares more than titles and a familiar last name. Together, they have enough skills to staff their own projects.

10 Filmmakers to Watch in 2013: Dawn Porter

Dawn Porter makes our 10 to Watch list in 2013 with her documentary "Gideon’s Army."


Brandy Alexander is one of the public defenders featured in "Gideon's Army." Photo by Dawn Porter.

Since her Sundance premiere, Dawn Porter has been turning heads and hearts with Gideon's Army, her first feature documentary about the tough but vital role of public defenders in the US justice system. Here's why The Independent has an eye on her in 2013.

The odds may be long, but it is possible to see your first film be accepted by Sundance, win a Sundance award, and be bought by HBO. All you need is talent, passion, drive, determination, discipline, great collaborators, support, luck, perspective, intelligence and a killer idea at the perfect time. Do you have all that?

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?

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