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July 31 at 8:30am

It All Begins Somewhere

I went to NYU Film Undergrad with the idea I was going to be a director. I got a scholarship, and the school encouraged me, but I felt that my destiny as a director was to be but a hack. I could get things going, but I was just regurgitating others’ ideas (ah, if only that was enough to stop most…). Sure, imitation is a path to learning, but I was impatient too. If I couldn’t be brilliant, I at least wanted to be around brilliance. I pivoted. [...]


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July 27 at 5:45pm

Film Society of Lincoln Center and Hope for Film presents : Indie Night Screening Series – FRANCINE – Wednesday August

Hello again Film Friends,

American Indie film is often too dialogue-heavy — especially when that dialogue comes at the expense of other cinematic elements like performance, image, sound, time, and process. I have always been drawn to filmmakers who are willing to challenge themselves, and the audience by setting limits to what they provide, helping all of us to learn and grow in the process. With very few words ever spoken, Filmmakers Brian M. Cassidy and Melanie Shatzky do just that with their deeply moving and highly disciplined first film FRANCINE.

Okay, some may say that when you have Melissa Leo to rest your camera on how can you go wrong. And granted it is rare to witness an actor as committed to her role as Ms. Leo is in Francine. But [...]


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July 25 at 8:15am

Indie Film in South Africa Part 2

By Jon Plowman

How do you turn your passion for film into a profit? How does one take all that experience built up on non-paying indie projects, and turn it into a career? I’m glad you asked. Welcome to the second part of a two-part article on indie filmmaking.

It seems to me that a lot of filmmakers are chronically losing sight of a very simple fact: there has been a total revolution in the film industry in the last few years. [...]


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July 24 at 8:15am

Indie Film in South Africa Part 1

By Jon Plowman

Ted asked me for this article last year. I agreed, because there are a couple of important points I’d like to put out there to encourage filmmakers in the same kind of position as I find myself. But before I could actually get around to writing the damn thing, I found myself retrenched. That’s “laid off” to most of you. I lost my job. Yeah, you know the one I mean, the one that actually pays the bills while I work on movies. My boss gave me a sob story about how he couldn’t afford to keep me on because the business was struggling. He has a wife and two small kids, and his business was their sole income. I couldn’t blame him. We feel the global recession here just as keenly as the US or Europe. So there I was, out on the street with R150 in my pocket. To put that in perspective, R1 = US$0.15, give or take.

Welcome to life as an indie film maker on the southern tip of Africa. [...]


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July 23 at 5:44pm

Building Storyworlds Podcast (Episode 1, Featuring… Me!)

The always stimulating Lance Weiler has launched a new podcast, and this morning I was his first guest.  Check it out here.  We had a lot to talk about. [...]


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July 21 at 9:30am

Who Is Making The Best Short Films Out There?

If you were going to give an award to the “Best Short Film Director”, what would be the criteria? I think the director would have to have made at least three shorts. Maybe over a five year period. If a director only has made two shorts, my sense is that they aren’t doing it for the love of the short, but more for their “career”. Three shows a commitment to the form. Making one great, or even two great short films does not detract from the strength of those shorts, but again it does not show the devotion to the form.

Now, as I believe that the dominance of the feature film form is on it’s last legs, and that ending it is TGHOTFOC, I think we will see even more great short directors in the years ahead. Presently though, I am a bit at a loss to nominate multiple directors who have made three or more excellent shorts. Nonetheless, that limitation does not reduce my enthusiasm for my nomination.

I had the good fortune of being asked to be a judge at TropFest NYC this year. It was an incredible program, and in the highlights of years passed, I was reminded of how great Nash Edgerton’s short work is (I also dig his feature The Square). Can you name a filmmaker who has made three shorts stronger than these: [...]


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July 20 at 4:00pm

Why Filmmakers Must Use Social Media, aka Zodiac MF Loves Collaborator

People once hid in their office.  If you knew them from hanging out at the bar you had a unique relationship.  Still it was damn hard to make connections, no matter where you were on the totem pole.  But now those totem poles have been burned down to the ground.  The old ways are over and 1000 phoenixes rise from the ashes daily.

The fact is we’ve learned how to speak to each other.  We may not always speak the same language but we speak.  And that’s fucking awesome.

My case is point is how Zodiac Motherfucker shares his love for Collaborator  with writer/director Martin Donovan on Twitter: [...]


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