The ITVS Indie Roundup

A curated list of indie news and recommendations from ITVS’s Rebecca Huval.

It’s #FollowFriday! Here are the TV and film aficionados who made Time magazine’s 140 Twitter feeds to follow of 2013.

Filmmakers of all stripes are encouraged to apply to San Francisco Film Society’s six-month and year-long FilmHouse residencies. Though Bay Area dwellers are given priority, anyone older than 18 with a video budget less than $3 million is eligible! Early deadline: April 22.

The latest installment in MIT Open Documentary Lab’s “Should Filmmakers Learn to Code?” series is an interview with Hugues Sweeney of National Film Board of Canada. He encourages doc makers to team up with techies: “The time is for collaboration—get contaminated. What we call a ‘webdoc’ today is not about putting a doc online but using the web for all its storytelling capacities—its grammar.”

Occasionally, indie filmmakers feel isolated. Abstract painter Agnes Martin has inspirational words for the solitary artist: “The best things in life happen to you when you’re alone.”

Kartemquin just added some ancient gear to its “equipment graveyard”: The Auricon Sound-On-Film Recording Amplifier. “In spite of being obsolete, obscure, and something that Kartemquin never even used, it taught us about one more way filmmakers could record sound on film and fleshed out a little more of Camera #1′s history,” Kartemquin writes.

Relatedly, Kartemquin produced a video ode to its early days of cinema verite, and the penny-pinching camera that made it possible: the custom-made 16mm crystal-sync General Camera No. II.

The ITVS Indie Roundup

A curated list of indie news and recommendations from ITVS’s Rebecca Huval.

Now that social media can amplify the impact of documentaries, a “social action plan” is more useful than ever, according to MovieMaker Magazine. The must-have characteristics: “Hot Issue,” “Central Goal,” “Time Table,” “Activist Building,” and “Adaptability.”

The best of SXSW is still available online. According to Radiolab creator Jad Abumrad, ITVS’s Steve Goldbloom’s SXSW Diariesare ACTUALLY FUNNY. Like really funny.”

San Franciscans: Check out The Center for Asian American Media Festival (a.k.a. CAAMFest)! From March 14 to 24, the festival will screen top-quality documentaries, feature films, and shorts.

From the 1980s TV show World of Photography, a young Annie Leibovitz talks about her already blossoming photography career, including portraits of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Steve Martin, John Belushi, Dolly Parton, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. “I can’t really say I’ve had much of a life outside of photography,” she said. “I think I’ve lived inside my pictures.”

Vimeo is apparently all about the indie filmmakers. This week, the company announced Vimeo On Demand, a self-distribution platform that allows filmmakers to reap a whopping 90 percent of the profits.

The ITVS Indie Roundup

A curated list of indie news and recommendations from ITVS’s Rebecca Huval.

These 22 storytelling tips by Emma Coates, Pixar’s former story artist, are as uplifting and imaginative as Pixar’s films, and the guidelines are useful for non-fiction and fiction storytellers alike.

If you’re hungry for more storytelling tips, check out this Kickstarter campaign for a “creative advice book” by 50 of the world’s preeminent documentary filmmakers. “Learn from your mistakes,” says James Marsh, director of Man on Wire. “Write them all down and torment yourself with them.”

There are so many interesting transmedia storytelling projects, it seems impossible to keep up. AIR’s Public Media Scan addresses this by featuring five projects weekly “at the intersection of technology, journalism, and blended media craft.” (via @povdocs)

Interested in making a short film? IFP shares how short videos can lift your overall filmmaking career.

SXSW rages on this week in Austin with a host of compelling documentary panels, screenings, and interactive storytelling workshops. Over at Indiewire, meet the filmmakers who are presenting their work at SXSW.

Doc lovers in Chicago have just as much to be excited about. The Society for Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS) 2013 Chicago Conference will unite legendary filmmakers and critics March 6 to 10.

Something for everyone this week! New Yorkers, check out POV Digital, Non-fiction Storytelling presented by the creator of the POV Hacakthon, Adnaan Wasey, March 19 at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. The event features “insights into cross-platform and immersive projects in a completely different way from many of the fiction projects StoryCode has presented.”

The ITVS Indie Roundup

A curated list of indie news and recommendations from ITVS’s Rebecca Huval.

Priceless advice on interactive documentary filmmaking comes from an unlikely source: The Guardian’s Global Development Professionals Network. Emma Wigley, director of the interactive documentary Big River Rising, says to take a holistic approach: “Big River Rising is much more than a media project. It is a long-term educational resource for students and development organisations around the world.” (via @povdocs)

Could this be the first documentary filmed with Google Glass? This latest gadget by Google displays information in front of your eyes — imagine a smartphone strapped to your face. Gizmodo claims to have spotted a camera team filming with the elusive product still unavailable to the public.

For once, filmmakers are seeking guidance on how to transition from the theatrical film world to TV. A panel at New York Television Festival counseled indie filmmakers to invigorate projects that “might otherwise languish in cinematic purgatory.” Indiewire writes: “Over the past few years, television’s begun to challenge film as the preeminent outlet for American storytelling, the breadth of interest and means of distribution at an all-time high for a medium that can no longer be looked at as of inferior artistic merit.”

UK doc-makers now have more opportunities to receive funding for their films. The BFI Film Fund will accept pitches twice a year, when selected applicants will give a 10-minute pitch to an expert panel.

This psychedelic short video by Dutch designer and director Mischa Rozema is an homage to the 1990 space shuttle Voyager 1, combining real-life NASA footage, sci-fi animation, and experimental orchestration. (via @brainpicker)

This could be the first year a YouTube video wins an Emmy, according to Mashable. With Arrested Development on Netflix, it’s clear that some of our greatest shows are no longer confined to cable.

The ITVS Indie Roundup

A curated list of indie news and recommendations from ITVS’s Rebecca Huval.

The real reason we watch the Oscars: the surprising gaffes. Here are the best and worst moments of the Academy Awards ceremonies since 2008.

First-time documentary filmmakers, apply by March 8! You can get mentorship when you sorely need it through IFP’s Independent Filmmaker Labs, which guide low-budget films (less than $1 million) through completion, marketing, and distribution.

New York doc lovers should check out the Documentary Fortnight 2013 showcase at MoMA, Feb. 15 to March 4, and enter at POV to win free tickets to MoMA Selects: POV screenings.

Now in its third year, the upstart Open City Doc Fest in London rages on June 20 to 23. Late deadline for submissions is March 4!

If you haven’t seen it already, watch a snippet of the Oscar-nominated documentary How to Survive a Plague and learn about the filmmaker’s original inspiration. (via @TheBayCitizen)

Recovered Super 8 footage of President Nixon in the documentary Our Nixon will cap the New Films/New Directors festival on March 31.

The ITVS Indie Roundup

A curated list of indie news and recommendations from ITVS’s Rebecca Huval.

Year after year, you’re frustrated with the Academy’s choices. Now is your chance to set the record straight. The New York Times is collecting your picks for the Oscars.

Today is the deadline to submit to Rooftop Films! See your movie blazoned across an outdoor screen on a balmy, New York summer night (via @povdocs)

Follow the flurry of Twitter activity around the hashtag #MTMDC, or Media that Matters, a Washington, D.C. conference that examines how to measure of media’s impact, among other topics. Here’s the full slideshow of the keynote address: Measurement, Meaning, and Momentum: Storytelling in the Age of Data.

Familiar with the 180-degree rule? Free online filmmaking tutorials by Lights Film School teach this and other tidbits in short videos.

English-speaking residents of the Middle East: Documentary training awaits you. Goethe-Institut Kairo is accepting applications for its documentary workshops, conducted in English, in Cairo this April, Tunis in July, and Leipzig in October.

The 2013 Short of the Week Awards have been announced! Watch the nine wonderful winners here.

The ITVS Indie Roundup

A curated list of indie news and recommendations from ITVS’s Rebecca Huval.

While gathering an MFA in fiction writing and a PhD in English from Yale, the busy actor-director James Franco has been producing a documentary about San Francisco’s fetish porn industry. Kink premieres at Sundance Jan. 19.

Contrary to what you might believe, social media and viral marketing are saving the film industry, according to Mashable.

Prepare for snow season by watching a tragicomic 1973 NFB animated short, The Family That Dwelt Apart, based on a short story by E.B. White and narrated by the same. Continue reading

The ITVS Indie Roundup

A curated list of indie news and recommendations from ITVS’s Rebecca Huval.

Explore the possibilities of transmedia docs with Filmmaker Magazine’s reflections on the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam. At the festival, Doc Lab showcased choose-your-own-adventure documentaries that don’t sacrifice the main storyline.

Oscar excitement is through the roof! The shortlist for best documentary includes 15 picks, and Realscreen has interviews with seven of the directors.

Zooming out even further from the Oscar choices of 2012, here are the top 10 Sundance documentaries of the decade.

If you’ve never seen Paul Madonna’s illustrations, now is the time to start. Here is his adorable and insightful comic about the difficulties of living a creative life. Continue reading

The ITVS Indie Roundup

A curated list of indie news and recommendations from ITVS’s Rebecca Huval.

POV is drumming up excitement over the results of its “Greatest Documentaries of All Time” poll. Filmmakers are discussing the documentaries that mean the most to them, including Marshall Curry on Sherman’s March: “It pulled back the curtain on the filmmaking process and revealed the filmmaker not as a slick magician but as a human being trying to sort through the mess of life.”

Get excited! The lineup for Sundance 2013’s U.S. and World Documentary sections have been announced.

Before you rush to happy hour this Friday evening, learn the science behind how alcohol affects your brain in this upbeat animated short. Continue reading

The ITVS Indie Roundup

A curated list of indie news and recommendations from ITVS’s Rebecca Huval.

When it comes to online film distribution, you probably know about Facebook and Twitter. Update your outlook by learning what the new players — such as Sparkwise, Slated, Tugg, and reddit — can do for documentary filmmakers.

San Francisco’s DOCFEST rages on at the Roxie Theater until Nov. 21.

At another festival, DOC NYC, filmmakers gathered to discuss an overlooked role in the documentary trade: the cinematographer. Learn how some of the best DPs, including Alan Jacobsen (Racing Dreams and The Trials of Darryl Hunt) and Tom Hurwitz (Harlan County and The Queen of Versailles), captured their stunning shots.

On the feature film side, get some camerawork inspiration from Steven Spielberg’s cinematographer. Janusz Kaminski discusses his own technique beside still shots from Lincoln, Saving Private Ryan, Jurassic Park, and Schindler’s List. Continue reading