PRODUCTION TIPS: YOUR Calendar for the Top Film Festivals and Markets in 2015

As the new year begins, you find yourself feeling excited by what you have accomplished in the previous year and what you will accomplish in the new year. And as a filmmaker, one of your goals should be to screen at a festival or visit one. It goes without saying that screening at a film festival will boost your career but even if you don't screen at one you should visit as many festivals as possible. Doing so will expose you to films that you can't see anywhere else. Aside from supporting the art and the business of film, you will find yourself inspired, entertained, or educated (ideally, all of the above) if you go to the festivals. Of course your time is limited and so while I advocate going to your local fests as much as possible, I also recommend going international. Of course, having your film screened in practically any film festival is a blessing and something to be proud of.  But there are a select few festivals that everyone wants to get into because of t

CASE STUDIES: The Best 14 End-of-Year Film Industry Lists of 2014

Among the many traditions that befall us throughout the month of December, the end-of-year-lists can not be avoided. Whether we read them or write them, lists are everywhere. Film magazines and blogs partake in that tradition by putting out their best/worst list of films for the year. I have nothing against them, personally, but I wanted to go deeper and probe the news and trends in the film industry for my own list which would be of strategic use to filmmakers and producers. However, my trip to Cuba for the Festival Internacional del Nuevo Cine Latinoamericano and the usual holiday fanfare put to sleep all that. Still, my Catholic guilt insists that I share something with you. Since I did read some really good lists that go beyond the fun but banal topic of what film was the best/worst in 2014, I have compiled them here.  The 14 lists below can either help you understand the industry better, give you a glimpse of where the industry is going, or deepen your love and knowledge for th

SCRIPT TO SCREEN: Andrei Tarkovsky - A Compendium

ANDREI TARKOVSKY : BAM Cinematek just wrapped up a 2-week run of The Sacrifice and I've been on a Tarkovsky bender watching his films on Hulu. But I'll be the first to admit that when I first started watching his films ( Solaris ), I was confused. I didn't understand what was going on and the pacing was not what I was used to for a sci-fi film. But the power of the film's sounds and imagery remained deep inside me and I couldn't stop wondering about what I saw and the hauntingly beautiful images that appeared throughout the film. As I watched more of his films, the more I realized that Tarkovsky's films are a rich meal of visual poetry for those willing to savor his cinematic flavors. It is no wonder why he is worth the time to listen to when it comes to creating art. Even if you haven't watched all of his works, you have probably heard of him and his influence on cinema. To get a glimpse of his genius for creating visual poetry, watch this short coll

PRODUCTION TIPS: 10 Film Questions That Will Make You a Better Director

How many times have you asked someone about a movie and they just said, "It was great!" or "It sucked!"? More times than you can count, I'm sure, in fact we all do it, even the person who writes a dissertation on the brutality in millenial horror films and French art cinema . There is nothing wrong with that per se since we don't always have the time or the interest to analyze a film.  BUT as budding filmmakers and lovers of cinema, it is worth the time to dig deep into a film that moves you to love it or hate it. We have all heard the stories of film directors who never went to film school but just watched tons of movies and learned everything they needed to know about directing and storytelling from that. Legendary screenwriting teacher, Syd Field, always recommends watching movies as part of his way to teach screenwriting. Advising filmmakers to watch movies to become better directors is nothing groundbreaking but it bears repeating. Howev

PRODUCTION JOURNAL: Chris Cooke's BBC Director Diary part 3

BBC has recently launched  a series of diaries by directors . Reposted below is  part 3  of 8 journal entries filmmaker  Chris Cooke  has written to give you a glimpse of the creative thought process and the practical obstacles filmmakers have to overcome during development.  Read and see how it relates to your production life. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Chris avoids Americanisation in his third video diary I am ill and tired as usual, as regular watchers of these video diaries will know already. My flat has a small and unhealthy ergonomic triangle that is bad for me when I am writing at home. I sit typing only two feet from my refrigerator and two feet from my sofa, fags and remote control... my routine seems to be: Type and smoke; walk to fridge, make sandwich; walk to sofa; chill out and smoke and watch some film or other while eating, smoking, etc... lie down and think up new script-based idea. Er, that's it! It's all

PRODUCTION JOURNAL: Chris Cooke's BBC Director Diary part 2

BBC has recently launched  a series of diaries by directors . Reposted below is  part 2  of 8 journal entries filmmaker  Chris Cooke  has written to give you a glimpse of the creative thought process and the practical obstacles filmmakers have to overcome during development.  Read and see how it relates to your life. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Chris outlines outlines in his second video diary For a moment I thought I was having writer's block. You sit down to solve your writing troubles and find that there's nothing going on in your head at all... but the great thing about developing these current projects is collaboration. While we are in development you can follow us on the early stages of that process. I am writing with two people: Helen Solomon is co-writing our bleak comic road movie; and Steve Sheil and I are developing our comedy of pain set in the world of regional wrestling. He appears in the two diaries so far because

PRODUCTION TIPS: Elia Kazan on Writing for the Stage and Writing for the Screen

Before starting to direct a new play or movie, Elia Kazan would purchase a little school notebook and, as rehearsals and early performances proceeded, fill it with his thoughts. Taken together, these notebooks constitute a unique (and as far as I know unparalleled) record of an uncommonly passionate and acute directorial mind at work and, in edited form, they are the fascinating and unsparing core of "Kazan on Directing." These notes are very writerly. They may sometimes have been scribbled in haste, after a hard day on set or stage, but they are not fragmentary. They are often written in the second person, with Kazan addressing himself as "you." His main idea, restated in several ways, is that "Directing finally consists of turning Psychology into Behavior" and, in a sense, that's what happens in this book. Kazan consults his psyche and turns what he finds into insight by writing down his thoughts. His effort was always to find what he like