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in Columns
on Oct 6, 2011

Media Current is a monthly heads-up tracking developments effecting the indie film scene. It’s a big — and forever getting bigger – world out there, so readers are encouraged to e-mail me stories I’ve missed or something you believe is important for others in the indie community. I can be reached at drosennyc@verizon.net.

The IFP’s Independent Film Week 2011

The IFP market, established in 1979, was rebranded several years ago and was held this year at Lincoln Center’s Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center. It drew a diverse, friendly crowd ranging from seasoned professionals long battling in the indie vineyard to newbies just out of film school struggling to make their first feature.

Ann Rose, formerly EP original programming at the Sundance Channel, and I offer two heads-ups on the changing status of docs and new distribution options.

Grateful for Small Favors

Living in a metro-market, one can take broadband wireline and wireless services for granted. For a revealing exposé of the sad state of broadband in heartland American, check out what’s going on in Potlatch, ID.

The U.S. lags in Internet speed, ranking 15th globally in average connection data rate speed, averaging only 5.3 Megabytes per second (Mbps) in Q-1 2011. In comparison, Korea’s average data rate was nearly three times faster (14.4-Mbps), Hong Kong’s nearly twice as fast (9.2-Mbps) and even Romania had an average rate of 6.6-Mbps.

The Film Con

Mark Litwak, the longtime L.A. indie movie attorney, offers a helpful tale about a failed film financing scam that bilked investors of millions of dollars.

Litwak recounts how federal authorities recently arrested 12 defendants from Florida and Southern California in a scam to solicit $25 million for a slate of films, many of which went straight to DVD or were never made. Investors were solicited through call calls. The companies behind the alleged scam were two L.A.-area entities, Cinamour Entertainment LLC and Q Media Assets run by a former CIA agent.

Data Caps & the Movie Squeeze

In order to undercut net neutrality, telcos are imposing “data caps” on both DSL wireline and “4G” wireless services. For example, AT&T is capping its DSL bandwidth 150 Gigs per month; additional 50 Gbps will cost $10. Its also limiting its wireless 4G plans to 2 GB a month. (As a rule of thumb, an average full-length HD film uses around 3.5 GB; an average hour TV drama series uses 800 MB.)

Michael Wineberg of Public Knowledge analyzes the impact of this new pricing model on wireless users.

Case Study

Sebastian Gutierrez is the writer and director of Girl Walks Into a Bar (pictured above), an indie feature shown earlier this year at SXSW. It is reported to have cost less than a $1 million to made and its cast includes Zachary Quinto, Carla Gugino, Rosario Dawson, and Alexis Bledel and Danny Devito.

Liz Shannon Miller examines Gutierrez’s claim that it is “The First Major Motion Picture Made For The Internet.”

David Rosen is a writer and business-development consultant. He is author of the indie classic, Off-Hollywood: The Making & Marketing of Independent Films (Grove), originally commissioned by the Sundance Institute and the Independent Feature Project. His most recent contribution to Filmmaker Magazine is “TV Wars” (Spring 2011). For more background information, check out DavidRosenWrites and DavidRosenConsultants.

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