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August 11 at 4:00pm

The Only Other Job I Think I Would Want

I am happy. I have a great mission in front of me. I can’t think of anything else I would rather be doing. Well, except running Manohla’s studio with her:

“”If I were running a studio (ha!), I would take the money that I’d set aside for the next bad idea (like a remake of “Total Recall”) and give a handful of directors, tested and less so — Todd Haynes, Barry Jenkins, Kelly Reichardt, Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Aaron Katz, Benh Zeitlin, Damien Chazelle — $10 million apiece to make whatever they want, as long as the results come in with an R rating or below and don’t run over two hours.”

Although I have to confess, I may not be quite so permissive…


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January 7 at 8:18am

What Happened To Indie Film Over The Last Decade? (Pt 2 of 3)

Yesterday, I started my reflection on the last decade of American Indie Film.  I will conclude it tomorrow (I promise).  Today, I wonder what opportunity did we miss over the last decade.

There wasn’t really ever a transfer of power in the film biz, was there?  During the growth of AmerIndie, Hollywood remained a business of blockbusters.  Yes, previously underserved audiences got full on banquets of offerings as the menu of filmed entertainments grew more diverse, but the clamoring  hordes born from  the niches didn’t climb the castle walls as some have claimed; the same power sat on the same throne as before.  Fanboys & geeks were inevitably the masters once Hollywood embraced the logic of tent poles — so there is nothing surprising about their current reign.  And yes, Hollywood’s current crop of top directors were born from that indie big bang of the nineties, but for those directors, Indie always seemed more like a training ground than sort of a manifesto.  And the power in the Hollywood system, still rarely rests with the directors.

What is it that happened between Indie’s growth in the 1990′s and now?  What did the last decade do to the hopes and dreams of  The Indie Wave?   [...]


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October 8 at 8:32am

Co-Production Studies: Strategic Partners Forum

Guest post by Yael Bergman

A few days at Strategic Partners, Halifax, Canada and a crash course at International Co-Production Financing.

I saw Ted in Toronto a few days before heading to Strategic Partners in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. He suggested I write on his blog with what went on there. I am reporting back now…

I write this as an Australian producer who recently produced a romantic comedy in Australia called I Love You Too.  It was completely financed within Australia, largely with Australian and state government investment, and the tax rebate (up to 40 per cent of Australian spend). We are fortunate in Australia to have this public funding as a resource, and whilst it is perpetually competitive, it is the way most film and television is made in Australia. It sustains the industry and ensures we continue to tell Australian stories.

My producing partner, Laura Waters, who is originally from Colorado but has lived in Australia for almost 20 years, regularly comments that she can’t believe governments actually give you money to develop and make stuff here. Well, it’s true!

To some independent American producers, this must sound like the gold pot at the end of the rainbow, but the reality is it’s a limited pool and the funding bodies (and consequently, the producers) are always trying to work out a way to make it stretch further.

One good way is via co-producing, i.e. we split the cost of making a project over two or more countries that has a vested interest, and then we can each claim it as our own as a “national film”. Arguably, the project should be culturally relevant to each producing country and there needs to be a fair split between creative elements and financial contribution, but on the whole, with a bit of juggling, it can work very well if the project calls for it.  (NB: This applies for international producers entering into an official co-production with Australia, the project becomes automatically entitled to the Producer Offset rebate as an Australian project, up to 40% of Australian spend.)

[...]


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