The ITVS Indie Roundup

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

San Franciscans, rejoice! Nick Offerman, who plays the meat-lovin’ libertarian and all-around heartthrob Ron Swanson on Parks and Recreation, will be in-person at the Roxie Theatre Saturday for the indie flick he stars in, Somebody Up There Likes Me.

MacArthur Foundation just awarded nine documentaries grants of more than $1 million total. Check out the lucky grantees, including ITVS-funded Cooked by Judith Helfand.

The 42nd edition of New Directors/New Films runs March 20 to 31 in New York City at the MoMA and the Films Society of Lincoln Center. Here are Hammer to Nail’s picks to watch.

Destin Daniel Cretton just won SXSW’s 2013 Grand Jury Award and the Audience Award for Narrative Feature competition for his premiere of Short Term 12. The San Francisco Film Society produced a lovely video interview of Cretton, where he talks about his filmmaking process and his start as a young storyteller, “building forts or making plays to perform to my mom or creating choreographed dance moves.”

Live chat with Ashley Sabin, director of Girl Model, and model Rachel Blais March 24th at 7 p.m. EST at POV.

Good news for The Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum, featured in the documentary Typeface! The collection of “over one million pieces of wood type” has a new location in its hometown of Two Rivers, Wisconsin, but twice the size. (via @Kartemquin)

“Should Filmmakers Learn to Code?” asks MIT Open Documentary Lab as part of its new blog series. In the second installment, documentarian Elaine McMillion (Hollow) said, “As an interactive storyteller, you need to have an understanding of user experience, design and coding, but most importantly you have to understand what makes a strong narrative.”

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.

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.

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

POV Unveils the 25 Greatest Documentaries of All Time

By Maria Goodavage
Managing Editor, ITVS

Your votes are in, the ballots have been counted, and the PBS series POV has announced the 25 Greatest Documentaries of All Time. Some may surprise you, others not so much.

The top contender is far from a new film. In fact, it’s one of the older documentaries on the list. But despite its gray title, it’s a lively, quirky, colorful story – one that 37 years later is still mesmerizing viewers. We’re not giving away its name, because you’ll want to go to the winners’ list, where you can see clips from all the top films. But if you’re a big documentary buff, you’ve probably figured it out by now.

“Great” is in the eye of the beholder, of course. POV received more than 1,000 suggestions of beloved documentaries during the November online voting period. What do you think of the list? If you voted, was your film on there? And you can tell us: Did you believe in your favorite film so much that you voted more than once? (It’s OK. Unlike presidential elections, you were encouraged to cast more than one vote.)

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.

Can’t let go of election excitement? Here are 12 movies about elections that deserve a close rewatching, including The Manchurian Candidate (1962, 2004) and Milk (2008)/The Times of Harvey Milk (1984).

What a week for festivals! New York’s DOC NYC, an all-nonfiction fest Nov. 8-15, has an especially strong slate of films, including Oma & Bella, a documentary about two octogenarian survivors of the Holocaust in Berlin who cook childhood meals that conjure up vivid memories.

Another intriguing doc premiering at DOC NYC: The Pervert’s Guide to Cinema. Philosopher Slavoj Zizek tours through the history of cinema with a hilarious and insightful eye turned toward our unconscious urges. Here’s an interview with director Sophie Fiennes.

For those on the West Coast, the Napa Valley Film Festival will offer cinema with a side of wine and delicious food Nov. 7-11.

You might know The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters, a doc that follows hardcore arcade players trying to hit the world’s highest score on Donkey Kong. It’s not the only fabulous nonfiction film about oddballs. Here are nine others, including Independent Lens’s own Beauty is Embarrassing. Continue reading

The ITVS Indies Roundup

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

Has the line between highbrow and lowbrow vanished? When we have film festivals for cat videos, you have to wonder. A.O. Scott and David Carr chew over this question (literally, as Carr snacks on Cheez-Its and Diet Coke) in a casual video filmed in the New York Times newsroom.

Here’s a great way for directors and producers to dive into TED talks: Filmmaker IQ compiled 10 TED talks for filmmakers.

The Emmys were announced this week, with ITVS winning four news and doc Emmys and our sister show POV winning 4 Emmys as well. You can watch four of POV’s award-winners online for free.

This is your brain on stories. In an animated video, neuroscientist Paul Zak explains the power of empathy in storytelling and how the chemicals that stories provoke can actually change our brains.

Comedians in show business, including Tina Fey, have a soft spot for an erudite writer: David Foster Wallace. Continue reading

The ITVS Indie Roundup

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

Is your camera bag feeling like an anvil on your shoulder? The Tiziano Project just taught a filmmaking course in Kosovo with iPads, and they make a strong argument why you might want to go the lighter route.

Win $2,000! The 2012 James River Shorts mini-festival is accepting short films of all genres, as long as the running time is under 30 minutes, until Sept. 30.

A number of solid films are now streaming at POV: Emmy-nominee Better This World (until Oct. 10), My Reincarnation, the story of an exiled Buddhist master and his son (until Sept. 20), and Sound of Vision, a short film about a blind man’s experience of New York City. Continue reading