IFP Announces 10 Projects Selected for 2017 Screen Forward Labs

Angry Black Women

The Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP), Filmmaker‘s publisher, announced today the ten projects taking part in its third annual Screen Forward Lab for story-driven, serialized projects. Among the projects, which span web series, VR and cross-platform storytelling, are works set in the world of extreme sports, gentrified Brooklyn, and a youth rehab center. Characters include young scouts and their scoutmasters, a gay-curious heterosexual woman, and angry black women — the latter in the series, Angry Black Women. Screen Forward Lab creators begin their program today with five days of workshops and seminars at the Made in New York Media Center, where they will meet with Lab Leaders including Filmmaker 25 New Face Nadia Manzoor (Shugs and Fats), producer Jordana Mollick (Hello,…  Read more


Grass Roots Marketing, Speaking Fees for Filmmakers, Publicity Tips and the Release of I Am Not Your Negro at DOC NYC’s Marketing Bootcamp

I Am Not Your Negro

This is the third and final part of coverage of DOC NYC’s Marketing Boot Camp. (Read parts one and two here at the links.) Christie Marchese of Picture Motion, a marketing and advocacy firm for issue-driven films (Leonardo DiCaprio’s Before the Flood, Ava DuVernay’s 13TH, and Michael Moore’s Where to Invade Next), gave a presentation on developing social action and grassroots marketing campaigns. She made the point that grassroots marketing and impact campaigns are two different things: grassroots marketing targets audiences who are pre-disposed to be interested in your film. Impact campaigns are geared toward those who aren’t organically interested. One of the key services Picture Motion provides during a film’s social action campaign is bringing on partners to help…  Read more


28 Tips on Crowdfunding and Promoting Your Film via Social Media from DOC NYC’s Marketing Bootcamp

(Photo: Hadrian / Shutterstock.com)

Continuing my coverage of DOC NYC’s Marketing Boot Camp (read part one here), this installment focuses on two information-packed presentations dealing with crowdfunding and promoting on social media. First up was Liz Cook, Director of Documentary Film at Kickstarter, who talked about the marketing and audience building and engagement aspects of crowdfunding. First, some basics. Most people know that Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing fundraising platform: if you reach your goal, you’ll receive all the money raised, minus fees. If you don’t, nothing will be charged to those who pledged, and you’ll get no money. Cook also relayed some interesting stats: • 30% of backers will be strangers • One in ten who back a campaign on the site back a…  Read more


Tribeca ’17: Five Questions with Water Warriors Director Michael Premo

Water Warriors

I saw Water Warriors in February, just a month after Donald Trump’s inauguration, during its world premiere at Big Sky Documentary Film Festival in Missoula, Montana. The short film and multimedia photo exhibition provided an element of much-needed hope at a time when the environment is increasingly imperiled by big business interests. But rather than focusing on dire statistics and predictions about climate change, Water Warriors highlights a rare success story of ordinary citizens — including members of the Mi’kmaq Elsipogtog First Nation, French-speaking Acadians and white, English-speaking families in New Brunswick, Canada — who fight to protect their water from the oil and natural gas industry. In addition to doing the film festival circuit, Water Warriors is being presented in schools and communities around…  Read more


How To Cut a Trailer, “Audiencing” as a Verb, and Branded Content: A Report from DOC NYC’s Marketing Bootcamp

The Greatest Story Ever Sold (Daniel Marracino/Sony Pictures Classics)

On Thursday April 13, DOC NYC PRO put on an all-day conference they dubbed the “Documentary Marketing Bootcamp.” It was a densely programmed event promising filmmakers insight into audience building for non-fiction films as well as career development. The various speakers indeed had much insight to share to share on these topics, and my takeaways are below. Following an intro by DOC NYC Artistic Director Thom Powers, who promised a cocktail reception after the long day (well played!), there was keynote speaker Morgan Spurlock, who kicked things off with a roundup of his work. Like Alex Gibney, Spurlock is as much brand as filmmaker. Building on the success of his 2004 hit Super Size Me, he is one of a…  Read more


Anatahan, Woman of the Year, Baby Boom and La La Land: Jim Hemphill’s Home Video Recommendations of the Week


Director Josef von Sternberg’s last film, Anatahan (1953), represents one of those rare cases where a director got to go out on the absolute perfect note: it sums up many of his philosophical and aesthetic preoccupations while also starkly departing from the kinds of lavish Hollywood productions that made him famous. Loosely based on a true story, it follows ten Japanese soldiers who are stranded on an island during World War II and remain there for years, reduced to their primal instincts by their surroundings as well as the lone woman they discover inhabiting the island. Von Sternberg shot the movie in Japan, though there’s no real reason he needed to — everything was built on a stage constructed for…  Read more


Spring Festivals on the Sea: Borscht, Miami and Annapolis

Rob Reiner in LBJ

Around the time Miami’s Borscht Diez went down in late February, Black Cinema seemed to take over the world for a second. That was cool; Get Out was all anyone wanted to talk about. The doldrums of the country’s greater ills lifted somewhat during that thriller of a week, in which the Oscar Best Picture winner and the number one movie in America were suddenly, and for the first time ever, directed by African-Americans. That the former had been incubated by the country’s most outlandish short filmmaking outfit, Borscht Corp.— which goes out of its way to produce work by people of color and respect the need for total autonomy among the filmmaking voices of women, a collective which baffles Hollywood while seeking…  Read more


Tribeca 2017: Exclusive Clip, Mark Grieco’s A River Below

“We need action!” That’s Richard Rasmussen, one of the two main subjects of Mark Grieco’s Tribeca documentary premiere, A River Below, in this exclusive clip provided to Filmmaker. The film, Grieco’s follow-up to the Sundance-premiering Marmato, has its first screening on April 22. Here, from the press materials, is a further description: A River Below is a gripping journey into the Amazon that follows a Brazilian wildlife TV star and a renowned marine biologist as they each attempt to save the endangered pink river dolphin from being hunted to extinction. As we burrow further into the Amazon, the film takes a number of stunning and unexpected turns, digging deeper than your average environmental doc to become a fascinating look into…  Read more


Oregon Doc Camp Now Accepting Applications

Now in its fourth year, Oregon Doc Camp invites experienced documentary filmmakers to a four-day documentary retreat May 18-21, 2017 at Silver Falls State Park in central Oregon. Developed by Women in Film Portland, Oregon Doc Camp gives working documentary filmmakers an opportunity to gather in an informal setting, learn from each other and build community in an ever-changing industry. This year, Kate Amend, editor of the Academy Award-winning documentaries Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport and The Long Way Home, as well as The Case Against 8, and many other films, will present the keynote speech. Currently on the faculty of the School of Cinematic Arts at the USC, Amend will explore strategies for editing compelling and provocative openings for…  Read more



An audience at the Ragtag Cinema (Photo by Billie Stock, courtesy of Ragtag Film Society)

Projecting Outside the Echo Chamber

In the past decade, I have screened thousands of documentary festival submissions. That amounts to countless hours of observing — or, more often than not, being told about — the horrifying effects of war, discrimination, depression, censorship, animal slaughter, plastic bottles, shoddy reporting, asbestos and…  Read more

Apr 13, 2017

Festivals & Events

The Protectors: Walk in the Ranger's Shoes

28 Films, TV and VR Pieces We’re Excited About at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival

Kicking off tonight with an all-star Radio City concert following the premiere of the Clive Davis doc, The Soundtrack of Our Lives, the Tribeca Film Festival once more offers a near-overwhelming array of new work spread across not just film but TV, VR, gaming and…  Read more

on Apr 19, 2017

VOD Picks

  • La La Land Drama Musical Romance
    Official site
    4/25/17 MOD VOD
  • Jackie Biography Drama
    20th Century Fox
    Official site
    3/7/17 MOD VOD


Cynthia Nixon and Jennifer Ehle in A Quiet Passion

“The Language is Being Destroyed”: Terence Davies on A Quiet Passion

A Quiet Passion is a film of many firsts for Terence Davies: his first biopic, his first all-digital-feature, and — unexpectedly — his first work which, for a time, could pass for a comedy. Davies introduces Emily Dickinson as a young girl, spends the metaphorical first…  Read more

on Apr 13, 2017


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