Stand for change

August 29, 2008

Oscar® deadline nears. Did you theatrically screen your film as required?

August 28, 2008

Docsider reminds us that Tuesday, September 2 is the deadline for submitting short or feature-length documentaries for Academy Awards consideration — that is, if your film has met the requirements for a one-week theatrical screening in LA and Manhattan.

In light of how filmmaking and film distribution is evolving, I’m wondering if the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences rules will always and forever include this requirement for a theatrical screening.   Marc Rabinowitz suggests documentaries should be allowed to qualify based on festival play or award wins.  That’s not a bad idea.  But what about narrative features?  Digital technology continues to develop, and audiences are increasingly introduced to films that debut, not in the traditional model of theatrical screenings, but on alternative distribution platforms like web streaming and downloads, not to mention the plethora of straight-to-DVD offerings. 

Will these new forms of screenings ever reach a mass critical enough to compete with theatrical screenings?  And if so, would that be enough of a shift to cause the AMPAS to ease, if not eliminate, the rule of required theatrical screenings?  Without the use of a crystal ball, it’s impossible to say.  It will be interesting to see how, or if, the AMPAS will react in the future to the continued evolution of the art and science of making and delivering motion pictures.

Update: In the meantime, documentary filmmakers have been scrambling to meet the theatrical screening requirements, without publicity or marketing the films to audiences, who apparently are scratching their heads about a slew of films they’ve never heard of suddenly appearing in theaters.

When you get to the top of the mountain…

August 24, 2008

Questions from the chat widget: Recommendations for producer’s reps?

August 21, 2008

An indie filmmaker named Susan IM’d me yesterday on my meebo chat widget, saying she was looking for a producer’s rep, but was hesitant to blindly respond to listings on the Web, and asked if I had any recommendations.  Unfortunately, she signed off from chat before I could finish composing my response.  

My answer is that I totally understand the hesitance to blindly pick a producer’s rep.  The relationship between filmmaker and producer’s rep is very critical. Even though it’s a professional relationship, personal preferences do come into play.  it’s very important that the parties share a vision about the filmmaker’s project, that they work well together. It’s a very indidualized relationship, and for that reason, I don’t offer recommendations.  Instead, I encourage filmmakers who are searching for producer’s reps to reach out to their colleagues, other directors and producers, and ask for their feedback on who they’ve been happy with in representing them.

There are lots of places on the web where filmmakers congregate to network, exchange ideas, and generally support each other and the craft.  One of my favorites, FILMCOMMUNITY.COM, is a good place to seek opinions from filmmakers on options and recommendations for producer’s reps.

City Council to filmmaker: “Don’t film here, we don’t want bad publicity.”

August 19, 2008

Fergus Falls, Minnesota — apparently it’s hard out here for a filmmaker to make a movie, even when he offers to pay the city $10,000.  Dav Kaufman wanted to shoot some scenes for his psycho-thriller at a former treatment center that is scheduled to be redeveloped into a college.  The  campus developers didn’t like the idea, saying the film would bring negative publicity and give the school a bad reputation.   They convinced the city fathers to reject the filmmaker’s offer.

A pity.  Not to mention a bit shortsighted on the part of the developers and city council.  How cool would it be to be able to say, when marketing the new college to potential students, that a psycho-thriller was filmed there?  It could have been a great opportunity for potential partnerships to market the school and the movie, and perhaps even put Fergus Falls on the map.  Not to mention adding a few quid to the city coffers.

The olympics fakery continues…

August 12, 2008

… and it just gets worse and worse.  First, fake fireworks.  Now, fake singing. The nightmare of a fake olympics that I just described in my earlier post today?  It appears to be coming true.

Fake Olympics fireworks turn me off

August 12, 2008

Through the years, the olympic games have, for me, symbolized the purity of athletic competition (notwithstanding the occasional scandal) and the international camaraderie when the nations of the world come together to celebrate sport.  I was a bit disappointed when the US made the decision, some years ago, to allow professional athletes to compete in the olympics, because that seemed, to me, to move away from the original intent of the games. However, I understood the reasons behind the decision.  Other countries were sending professional athletes to the olympics, and America needed to maintain a competitive position in the international games.



The olympics have become more spectacular over the years. The opening ceremonies continue to increase in scope, becoming gargantuan productions involving tens of thousands of performers and who knows how many millions of dollars to produce. I’ve liked most of it, most of the time.  Some of the pageantry I’ve found a little over the top.  Frankly, I think the organizers of the 2008 summer games’ opening ceremony went too far when they decided to insert fake fireworks into the broadcast being watched by millions of TV viewers. Read the rest of this entry »