Monthly Archives: November 2011

Two New Documentary Film Funds

Here are two new cool opportunities for filmmakers.

The Bertha BRITDOC Documentary Journalism Fund – for filmmakers from around the world working at the intersection of film and investigative journalism — films that break the important stories of our time, exposing injustice, bringing attention to unreported issues and cameras into regions previously unseen. £250,000 a year for 3 years is available to filmmakers as a mixture of grants and investments. Soniya Kirpalani’s We The People, about a miscarriage of justice against migrant workers in Dubai, is announced as the first production grant. Jess Search said, “This fund is urgently needed. Documentary is becoming an increasingly important medium for breaking stories which require long term investigation and the commitment to gather evidence and amplify voices. ‘We The People’ is just such a film and we are proud to be supporting it.”

The Bertha BRITDOC Connect Fund – the first outreach and engagement fund in Europe, is open to filmmakers from around the world with smart, strategic outreach campaigns that have the ability to achieve real change on a local, regional or global level. £250,0000 a year for 3 years is available in grants. Steve James’s The Interrupters is the first grantee. Rebecca Lichtenfeld said, “‘The Interrupters’ represents the best of contemporary social justice filmmaking. We believe that this film can inform and improve the lives of individuals and communities and we want to help that happen.”

“25 to Life” Campaign Launch

25 to Life is a feature documentary about William Brawner, a young man who contracted HIV at the age of two, and kept his HIV status a secret for over twenty-five years. Now he seeks redemption from his promiscuous past, and embarks on a new phase of life with his wife, who is HIV Negative. This film paints a riveting picture of an average American community that is upturned by one man’s HIV diagnosis.

25 to Life, a documentary film by Mike Brown, is celebrating its campaign launch on World AIDS Day on December 1st from 7:00 – 9:30 pm at BOFFO NY, located at 57 Walker Street between Church and Broadway in New York City. The launch will feature a screening of the extended trailer, music by live footage and drinks. RSVP at RSVP@25TOLIFEFILMSITE.COM.

Joffrey: Mavericks of American Dance

Hybrid Cinema is pleased to announce the world premiere of the feature length documentary Joffrey: Mavericks of American Dance at Dance On Camera Festival’s opening night in New York City on Friday, January 27, 2012 at 8:30pm. A repeat presentation will occur at Dance On Camera on the following day, Saturday, January 28th at 1:30pm. Both Dance On Camera screenings of Joffrey: Mavericks of American Dance will be held at Walter Reade Theater in Lincoln Center. A stellar line-up of dance world panelists will be featured in Q&A sessions at both New York City screenings of the film.

Joffrey: Mavericks of American Dance, the first film to chronicle how the legendary Joffrey Ballet revolutionized American ballet by daringly combining modern dance with traditional ballet, will also simultaneously premiere in theaters around the country via simulcast through Emerging Pictures on Saturday, January 28th. An accompanying art exhibit, featuring bold photos and posters by Herbert Migdoll (painter and official photographer for The Joffrey Ballet) will also be displayed during the month of January at the Frieda and Roy Furman Gallery at Walter Reade Theater.

Dance On Camera’s opening night celebration will launch with the world premiere of Joffrey: Mavericks of American Dance and include attendance by the director, Bob Hercules, and several members of the cast. The film, and associated Q&A session for the Saturday, January 28th matinee screening at 1:30pm, will simultaneously premiere for dance enthusiasts in participating theaters across the country via the Emerging Pictures network of theaters. A pioneering project, this marks the first time a film has simulcast its world premiere out of a major festival. Audiences at premiere screenings across the country will be able to participate in the New York City Q&A session on Saturday through a live Twitter feed. Walter Reade Theater and the Freida and Roy Furman Gallery are located at 165 West 65th Street, Lincoln Center, New York, NY 10023. Tickets for the screenings go on sale Thursday, January 5, 2012 at the Walter Reade Theater’s box office and online at FilmLinc.com. Continue reading →

Distribs, theaters take on new media

Check out this interesting new article in Variety on the ever-changing world of film distribution. Yours truly was one of Gregg’s sources.

Firstrun screenings have become events by Gregg Goldstein

Can kung-fu fighting monks, cave screenings and feral, caged Santa Clauses save the movie biz?

Exhibitors sure hope so. Around the globe, theaters and distribs are fighting competition from new media by turning firstrun screenings into the kind of events one expects at a theme park or state fair.

London’s Future Cinema, set to hit New York and Paris next year, draws up to 17,000 people for its surprise Secret Cinema screenings, with a troupe of actors mingling with the audience in environments staged to match the film. Alamo Drafthouse flew a real-life “Iron Man” with a custom jet pack above one of its theaters on the film’s opening weekend. Microdistrib Variance Films enlisted local comedians for 10-minute warmup sets and post-screening Q&As for its comic doc “American: The Bill Hicks Story.”

Though indie films can often make their biggest profits via one-night or weekend event screenings, one stumbling block to this approach, notes filmmaker and “Think Outside the Box Office” author Jon Reiss, is that news outlets usually won’t give crucial reviews for films booking less than a weeklong run. Another is that box office for these runs usually isn’t tallied by Rentrak or other tracking services, which can handicap filmmakers looking for ancillary deals.

Read the rest of the article at variety.com.

Five Question Q+A with Jon Reiss for NAMAC

I recently did a short Q+A for Rachel Allen with the National Alliance for Media Art + Culture (NAMAC). NAMAC is an invaluable resource of independent film, video and multimedia organizations, and I recommend everyone checks them out.

Five Question Q+A with Jon Reiss by Rachel Allen

Meet Jon Reiss. Jon is a filmmaker (Bomb It, Better Living Through Circuitry), author (Think Outside the Box Office) and consultant whose most recent book is Selling Your Film Without Selling Your Soul which he co-wrote with The Film Collaborative and Sheri Candler. He works with numerous film organizations, film schools and festivals to bring a variety of distribution labs and workshops around the world. His upcoming books concern new models of artistic entrepreneurship and the concept Producer of Marketing and Distribution.

RA: What drew you to your work?

JR: I made a film called Bomb It, which is about graffiti all over the world. We frankly thought that we were going to sell the film in a traditional fashion and we didn’t. There’s a long story behind that. Basically, I ended up distributing the film mainly myself, but I had other distribution partners. I started writing about it and people liked the writing that I did. I realized that I enjoyed talking to filmmakers about this process and I decided to write a book about it. I enjoyed talking to people about new ideas and how filmmaking has changed in terms of engaging with audiences. Continue reading →