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.

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.

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.

Guaranteed to put a goofy smile on your face: When filmmaker Bianca Giaever asked a six-year-old what her movie should be about, she recorded the interview as narration and took up each of the kid’s dares. The resulting short film, the Scared is scared, includes whimsical animations, costumes, a bear, a mouse, sage advice, and a good ol’ fashioned sleepover. (via @CDSduke)

Filmmakers, you don’t need to survive on ramen! Moviemaker Lena Khan insists there is a middle path between Hollywood elites and indies who don’t pay their crews.

Former Guatemalan dictator Efraín Rios Montt will stand trial in Guatemalan court on charges of genocide. The ITVS and POV co-production about the dictator and the movement to bring him to justice, Granito: How to Nail a Dictator, will be streaming online, in English and Spanish, until February 11.If you were debating a road trip through Missouri, now is the time. The True/False Film Fest showcases the best in documentaries Feb. 28 to March 3 in Columbia, Missouri.

With the rise of digital effects and high-quality post-production, filmmakers like Darren Aronofsky are spending fewer hours and dollars on production.

Check out the Short of the Week Awards 2013 nominees! Innovative and quirky films abound in the categories of live-action, animation, and new media. Winners will be announced next week.

Portland International Film Festival kicked off Thursday night and runs to Feb. 23.

 

The ITVS Indie Roundup

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

Female directors are way more likely to have directed a documentary at Sundance than a narrative film — 34.5 percent of documentaries were directed by women, compared to 16.9 percent of narrative films in the last decade of the festival.

One filmmaker at Sundance, Sarah Polley, proudly declared her preference for documentaries in an interview:  “I’ve always liked documentaries more than fictional narrative films. I can sit through any documentary and it will be educational even if it’s terrible, but a bad feature film can make me want to die.”

But more women than ever are competing in the dramatic competition at Sundance this year, and the topic of sexism in the film industry is out in the open. Check out videos of a Sundance panel featuring six female directors as they air out their gender-based challenges. Continue reading

The ITVS Indie Roundup

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

More documentary films are being made now than ever. To make sense of their impact, social scientists are using Big Data to measure cultural shifts within social media.

People of all professions go through quarter-life crises, but young filmmakers have a specific set of anxieties. Raindance ticks off the fears of twenty-something directors, including financial insecurity and getting into the “inside track.”

“If you don’t know who’s funding you on day one, do not start your campaign,” said Indiegogo founder Slava Rubin at DOC NYC. Learn other invaluable crowdfunding tips from Vimeo’s synopsis of DOC NYC’s online fundraising event. Continue reading