Thursday, July 22, 2010

IFP Announces New Partnerships and Opportunities for Producers

IFP is thrilled to announce two new partnerships - one in South America and one in South Asia - which will help our community to continue to expand their networks in the international marketplace.

First, through our partnership with Latin American Training Center, IFP will select up to five American independent producers to participate in their Rio International Festival Producer’s Panel September 23-28, 2010 .

The Rio International Film Festival’s Producer’s Panel is a week-long program which runs concurrently with the Rio International Film Festival. Conceived to boost international co-productions and encourage production in Latin America, the fellowship with LATC will be offering many formal and informal networking opportunities throughout the week to assist producers in finding partners for their projects and expanding their international contacts.

Open to emerging and established producers, the Fellowship will cover the cost of full program registration fees for the selected producers, but participants must cover their own travel and lodging to attend.

Qualifications: Applicants should have at least one feature-film producing credit and be a current IFP member. Applicants should clearly state why they are interested in participating by citing either a history of Latin American co-production experience OR current projects in their slate that require Latin American and/or Spanish Language co-production partners. Documentary and Narrative producers are welcome.

In addition, the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) India, will select an American independent filmmaker and/or producer to participate in the Film Bazaar November 23-26, 2010. The Film Bazaar is a four-day market held alongside the International Film Festival of India in Goa. It is a South Asian sales and distribution platform to facilitate greater collaborations between the Indian and international film industries for distribution and production.

The Fellowship will cover the cost of full program registration fees for the selected writer/director and/or producer, as well as travel and accommodations.

Qualifications: All filmmaker or producer applicants should be a current IFP member and have fiction projects that deal with Indian/South Asian subject matter; filmmakers who are part of the Indian diaspora are given preference. Scripts should be current, with WGA registration between September 2009-2010.

Those interested in consideration for the program should apply with a one-page letter of interest describing the project(s) that would be presented and a resume to Amy Dotson, Deputy Director, IFP, at by Thursday, August 5th.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Lab & Emerging Narrative directors in Filmmaker's '25 New Faces'

Every year we eagerly anticipate who the Filmmaker Magazine staff will highlight as the current class of hot indie talent in their "25 New Faces" issue. There's always a few surprises, and this year, we're pleased that a few of our own talented alumni have been highlighted-

Rebecca Richman Cohen participated in the 2009 Documentary Independent Filmmaker Labs with her film War Don Don, about the international defense team for, and war crimes conviction of a Sierra Leonean rebel leader. War Don Don has played and won awards at numerous festivals, and will air on HBO in September 29.

Victoria Mahoney and Susan Youssef were both among the powerhouse women directors bringing their features to this year's Narrative Independent Filmmaker Labs.

Victoria Mahoney's Yelling To The Sky, which Scott Macaulay calls a "powerful, emotionally nuanced debut feature about a New York City teenager growing up in a mixed-race family" features Zoe Kravetz, Tim Blake Nelson and Gabourey Sibide.

Habibi Rasak Kharban (Darling, Something's Wrong With Your Head) from Lebanese-Syrian-Brooklyner Susan Youssef is the first film to be shot in Gaza in 15 years. Habibi is based on the ancient Sufi parable of the Majnun Layla, the story of a man so smitten with a nearly unattainable woman he goes insane in his quest for her.

Habibi Rasak Kharban and Yelling to the Sky are both in post-production and are available for meetings with industry at Independent Film Week; industry interested in more information about these projects can register to participate here.

Matt Porterfield, is our fourth in the 25 New Faces. Porterfield came to Independent Film Week's Emerging Narrative program with his script Metal Gods in 2008. The script won our Panasonic camera package grant, but the shoot turned into his acclaimed Putty Hill, a Baltimore-based tour of the friends and family of a recently OD'd young man which debuted in Berlin and was recently picked up by Cinema Guild for a Fall theatrical release.

Congratulations to you all - we knew you when!

Monday, July 19, 2010

News & Documentary Emmy Nominations for IFP alumni

Big Congratulations to all our IFP alumni for their recent News & Documentary Emmy Nominations! Good Luck! We'll be crossing our fingers for you when the winners are announced on September 27.

The Way We Get By (PBS)
Aron Gaudet – Director
Gita Pullapilly - Producer
Independent Film Week - Spotlight on Documentaries 2008

Fixer: The Taking of Ajmal Naqshbandi
Ian Olds – Director
Nancy Roth - Producer
Independent Film Week – Spotlight on Documentaries 2008
IFP Fiscal Sponsorship

The Good Soldier ("Bill Moyers Journal"; PBS)
Producer/Directors - Lexy Lovell, Michael Uys
IFP Fiscal Sponsorship

The Mosque in Morgantown ("America at a Crossroads"; PBS)
Composer - Kareem Roustom
Brittany Huckabee – Director/Producer
Independent Film Week – Spotlight on Documentaries 2007

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Amicus Brief in Support of Joe Berlinger

Today, a panel of three Federal Appeal Court judges heard arguments to determine whether Joe Berlinger will have to turn over to Chevron 600 hours of raw footage he shot while producing the documentary CRUDE. Chevron went to court to gain access to the footage to help in defending itself against a massive Ecuadorian class action lawsuit brought by workers and residents of the Amazon who are seeking redress for years of environmental pollution.

Michael C. Donaldson filed an Amicus Brief on behalf of IFP, as well as 22 other industry organizations and individuals, who saw the order to turn over the footage as a threat to the future of investigative documentaries. The judges heard from attorneys for Chevron, for Joe Berlinger, and for the Ecuadorian plaintiffs. The hearing, which was initially scheduled to last forty-two minutes, lasted an hour and forty minutes. About the only thing the attorneys could agree on in their oral arguments was that the fate of Berlinger’s appeal was controlled by a 1998 case – issued by this same court – entitled Gonzalez v. NBC. In fact, the three-judge panel that heard Berlinger’s appeal included Judge Leval who was on the panel for the Gonzalez case.

The judges have taken the case under submission, promising to issue their decision “expeditiously.” Although one can never predict exactly what a court will decide, it’s of Donaldson’s opinion that the lower court’s order to turn over the 600 hours of footage would be substantially cut – and that an additional step would be taken of putting restrictions on how the information gathered could be used by Chevron, i.e.: that it could not simply be used in the massive PR campaign Chevron has mounted, but that it could be used only in court or government proceedings. Additionally, Donaldson felt that the judges were prepared to confirm the test set forth in the Gonzalez case which stated that, in order for a journalist to turn over material that is non-confidential, the material at issue must be of likely relevance to a significant issue in the case and not be reasonably attainable from other available sources – a test that is extremely important to the documentary community.

Other potential decisions could include sending the case back to the trial court with some clear direction as to how to decide these issues, ordering the trial court to view the footage before Chevron is able to view it, throwing out the subpoena in its entirety, or issuing an order that combines one or more of the above options.

After the hearing, Donaldson – who authored the Amicus Brief for filmmakers – praised the International Documentary Association for recruiting co-signers to their Amicus Brief. He felt that the voice of filmmakers was heard, stating “Everyone was extremely well prepared. The judges were attentive, interested and extended the arguments by asking extensive, well-informed questions. You can’t ask for much more –except a decision that favors the filmmaker.”