July/August 2006

Letter from the Board

AIVF's Future Uncertain, Efforts Underway to Continue The Independent

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In the March issue of The Independent, we reported that AIVF faced a financial crisis and an uncertain future. As of this writing (June 2, 2006), AIVF is in the process of closing down operations and vacating its office space.

Why We (Still) Need AIVF


When I started to write this article, I began with a David Letterman-esque list of 20 reasons we need AIVF. I included practical items like “to get a job,” “to fill out an IRS schedule C for an unincorporated business,” and “to find out which film festivals are scams.” But the real reason we need AIVF is to find each other. We need to know where we are.

Movies on the Move


The original idea was to drive filmmaker Ben Blaine into the countryside and abandon him, but since Ben can’t drive and doesn’t own a mobile phone, his friends “thought it’d be great to do an event where I’m driven into the countryside and abandoned and people have to find me just using the Shooting People mailing list,” explains Blaine.

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.

Mentors for Media Makers


“We were starving artists. Starving to feed ourselves on celluloid and barbequed chicken,” recalls filmmaker Ron Mann of the time during the late ‘70s when he hitchhiked from Paris to Cannes, slept on the beach, and carried his sleeping bag to meetings with producers. Somewhere along that route, he met director Frederick

Voices from Issues Past

What happened at AIVF over the last 30 years?

Toward a Post-Theatre Age

The future of distribution


For years, the holy grail of independent distribution was Miramax. Then mid-sized companies like ThinkFilm, Magnolia Pictures, and IFC Films emerged around the millennium, while mini-majors such as Sony Classics formed to compete with the Weinsteins. Meanwhile, smaller, mom-and-pop operations, trusted for their integrity—Kino, New Yorker, and Zietgeist—inhabited

Now & Then

A forerunner on 40 years of Super 8


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Long before Super 8’s 40-year march from home movie to Kodak’s hot new kid, long before camcorders, and long before desktop editing and filmmakers like us needed information, Bob Brodsky and I were pleased to have Super 8. When we began filmmaking in the 1970s we used it more often than 16mm to make community documentaries and short films.

Multiple Endings

Ask the Documentary Doctor


Dear Doc Doctor:
My documentary has three potential endings. How do I choose one?

False starts, fake endings, such are the tricks that storytelling—and life—plays on us. But it’s important to remember that endings are choices, even when documenting real events.

Love's Labor Lost

James Schamus weighs in on what happened at AIVF


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Alot of what AIVF did was to create an interface between very diverse communities of independent media makers and audiences that work structurally through the realms of public television. Not just public TV a la NPR and PBS, but also public access to media spaces like Collective for Living Cinema, Film/Video Arts, Millennium, and Anthology.

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