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Thompson on Hollywood

Ford Foundation Adds Sundance's Mertes as JustFilms Director, Funding Social Issue Docs

One of the key posts in the documentary world has been taken by Cara Mertes, who was director of the Sundance Institute's documentary film program. She'll now be director of the Ford Foundation's social justice filmmaking program JustFilms, which was founded by departing Orlando Bagwell and is under the Ford Media Arts and Culture unit.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • May 30, 2013 2:11 PM
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Now and Then: Remarkable New Doc 'La Camioneta,' a Masterful Miniature (TRAILER)

Spotsylvania County, Virginia and Queztal City, Guatemala are separated by nearly 3,000 miles of road, and by what would seem, at first, an unbridgeable cultural distance. But in Mark Kendall's remarkable documentary "La Camioneta" -- a brilliant microhistory of our globalized world -- you're hard pressed to consider them anything but neighbors.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • May 29, 2013 2:10 PM
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Cannes 2012 Box Office Led by 'Moonrise Kingdom,' Will Strong Fest Sales Repeat in 2013?

Led by a recent year (and possibly all time) record of 21 of 22 official competition films gaining U.S. distribution (including some yet to play), 2012's Cannes line-up (from all sections) shows 58 total -- much above average -- out of 100 titles that were presented ending up with domestic rights acquired, most of them after their festival showings.
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • May 13, 2013 2:06 PM
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Arthouse Audit: 'Stories We Tell' Shows Initial Strength, Sole Successful Opening

So far the 2013 indie box office is running far behind last year--nothing comes close to 2012's booming "Best Exotic Marigold" or "Bernie," which were both standout performers far above this weekend's group of small-grossing releases, typical for this time of year. Few recent releases -- even those that had a glimmer of hope initially -- look to do as well as the best of a year ago. Sarah Polley's "Stories We Tell" opened to a promising response, and should appeal to main limited situations as opposed to being rushed out wide as most recent successes have.
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • May 12, 2013 4:14 PM
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Zach Braff Responds to Kickstarter Campaign Vitriol: 'It's Not Like I Lobbied Congress'

Though he hasn't directed a feature since 2004's "Garden State," Zach Braff has been the talk of the town in recent weeks. With over 35,000 backers and nearly $2.5 million in funds with two weeks to go, his Kickstarter campaign has critics puzzled. Braff sat down with the LA Times in response.
  • By Ryan Lattanzio
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  • May 8, 2013 12:56 PM
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  • 5 Comments

Arthouse Audit: 'Mud' Scores Sole Strong Indie Opener Amid Specialized Market Struggles

"Mud" nearly made the weekend box office top 10 in only 363 theaters, towering over all the other new openings this week, none of which had a PSA of even $12,000 with limited New York/Los Angeles two to four theater openings. For the third time in several weeks, and in this case already in the first one, much of the money came from a wide variety of upscale theaters.
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • April 28, 2013 4:16 PM
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WATCH EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Ira Deutchman's Sundance Art House Convergence Keynote on Independent Marketing

Anyone wondering about the future of the film industry should pay heed to Ira Deutchman's warnings about sticking to the same old ways. They aren't going to work much longer. Think local and consider appointment cinema, he suggests wisely. "There's too little commercial product chasing too many screens, and too much good product chasing too few good screens." And, he sums up: "Distribution is easy. Marketing is hard. Old fashioned showmanship has got to come back."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 23, 2013 3:56 PM
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Review: Urban Poverty and Youthful Pluck Coexist in Ken Loach's 'The Angels' Share'

Just four days after the death of Margaret Thatcher, the divisive British prime minister who transformed the United Kingdom during the 1980s, Ken Loach's new film "The Angels' Share" opened last Friday at the the IFC Center in Manhattan's West Village. The timing, although of course coincidental, was instructive: it was Thatcherite policies that created the very socioeconomic conditions that Loach and screenwriter Paul Laverty--a long-time collaborator of the English-born director--set out to highlight in their film.
  • By Jacob Combs
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  • April 16, 2013 11:19 AM
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Review: Antonio Campos Returns with Sexy, Disturbing 'Simon Killer,' Q & A

"Simon Killer" marks the second feature by Antonio Campos, who previously wrote and directed the Cannes Un Certain Regard selection "Afterschool" (2008). "Simon Killer" is an icy exercise in troubled masculinity, and a bold pronouncement of cinematic style that's as strong an American indie as any in recent memory. (See IFC's Kubrickian poster below, as well as highlights from Campos' AFI FEST Q&A last fall.)
  • By Ryan Lattanzio
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  • April 4, 2013 11:45 AM
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Band OK Go Challenges Filmmakers to Make a Music Video for New Song 'I'm Not Through'

Band OK Go and company Saatchi and Saatchi are challenging emerging filmmakers to create a music video for "I'm Not Through," a brand-new song from the band's upcoming fourth album. Lead singer Damian Kulash has offered interested filmmakers a bit of inspiration, creating a montage of Instagram photos set to the new song, which can be viewed here.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • April 1, 2013 3:11 PM
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  • 0 Comments

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