Entertainment Attorney Christopher Schiller discusses the rules imposed by organizers in regards to film festival submission.
A brouhaha discussed among industry pundits was caused by the Toronto International Film Festival‘s director, Cameron Bailey’s gauntlet throw down statements a while ago. He in essence warned distributors and filmmakers that any submission to the TIFF that is not at least a North American premiere, will be sanctioned. The films won’t be shown during the prime slots of the first few days of the festival. The supposition by many is that Mr. Bailey was miffed by and was targeting the showings of TIFF touted “premieres” that had already been shown in the much smaller but maybe more prestigious Telluride Film Festival during the prior Labor Day weekend over the years. Telluride, to its credit as a long standing, boutique and unique film festival hasn’t officially commented on the issue.
The ripple effect, if any, is still to be seen but that doesn’t stop the prognosticators from speculating on how the statements and actions will change things. With the TIFF rolling out announcements of its selections for festival films from now until the actual festival, we’ll start to see who blinks. But what do all these film festival rules mean to the lowly filmmaker?
It is a safe assumption to think that most successful film festivals have somewhere near the top of their management, a core of charismatic and opinionated leaders. It takes a strong character to will a film festival into existence out of nothing and keep it going against all odds. With that necessary character, often comes the unintended baggage of ego plays and power shuffling. I haven’t met a festival director or staff yet that didn’t think that their festival was better than others.
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In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the quintessential spaghetti western, Cineteca Di Bologna restored Sergio Leone’s “A Fistful of Dollars” which include some never before seen outtakes.
Via Film Stage
When you truly love a piece of media, be it a TV series, movie, song, or YouTube Channel, you want it to be remembered and enjoyed in a tender and specific way. After all, this media entity allows us to communicate with each other through a mutual reference point, as well as better understand the world around us through its lens. Today, Mike talks directly to his favorite and most prized childhood show, and explores our deepest connections to the media we love.
Was Kim Kardashian the inevitable result once filmmakers set out to capture “real life?” After “documentary” filmmaking was born with Nanook of the North (1922), filmmakers (and TV makers) have been endeavoring to capture reality and show truth on screen. And while Kim Kardashian may not be anyone’s definition of “Real,” she and her reality brethren are the scions of almost hundred-year long documentary tradition.
Failing big is part of the creative process for Tiffany Shlain. Through behind-the-scenes footage of her acclaimed feature documentary Connected, Tiffany shares the creative process she has developed over the years — the hunch, the darkness, the breakthroughs, and everything in between.
Art Adams admits he doesn’t know much about codecs but he offers a few rules of thumb he uses to when selecting a codec for a project.
Everything I know about codecs could fit on the head of a dime. That’s after compression, of course. Prior to compression I think we’re talking a knowledge base that’s about the size of a deck of cards.
There are some people (Adam Wilt) who know enough about codecs that they could design and build them. I know just enough to be dangerous and keep myself out of trouble, mostly. Here’s what I know, in a compressed nutshell.
This seems like a no-brainer, and it is, but keep in mind that there’s considerable pressure to keep bitrates down not just in post but especially on the set, where data has to be backed up before being shipped off to editorial. That often means spending a few hundred dollars more while a data manager goes into overtime making sure all the footage lands, intact, on two or more drives. Some producers would rather spend less on overtime and settle on images that are good enough rather than excellent, and indeed there are projects where good enough really is good enough. (The trick is to recognize those projects when they come along and act accordingly.)
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Megan Griffiths offers up 17 bits of advice from a career of working on feature films.
It’s a pretty rare thing that a director has the opportunity to watch other directors at work. As a crew-member, I had a front row seat to almost every aspect of the job, pre-production through post. I never worked on a film that didn’t teach me something—whether it fell in the “to emulate” or “to avoid at all costs” column. These lessons helped me direct actors, assemble good crews, communicate effectively, have realistic expectations, and generally feel at home on a film set.
A little about me: In the past four years, I have directed three features (The Off Hours, Eden and Lucky Them) and been a co-, exec-, consulting, or straight-up producer on four others (The Catechism Cataclysm, Your Sister’s Sister, Koinonia and The Greens Are Gone). This recent uptick in creative productivity comes after a decade spent working below the line—first as a director of photography, then briefly an editor, then a 1st assistant director. Admittedly, much of the time I spent crewing was also spent longing for the day when I would be helming my own projects, but luckily I wasn’t so busy moping around that I missed out on all there was to absorb from working on other people’s films.
Crews and actors don’t work in a vacuum. There is a collective goal in play at any given moment on a set, and in order to achieve that goal, people need information. The system is highly interdependent. Logging time on a variety of sets allows you to learn how departments run, what details people need to operate at their peak, and how to communicate that without pissing anyone off. The better you get at giving people what they need, the more you’ll find that they’ll provide the things that you need.
An underappreciated benefit of serving as an AD is that you have a front row seat to basically every aspect of the filmmaking process. You can listen in on conversations between all the key collaborators and watch what unfolds afterwards to see which methods of communication were most effective. I learned a lot from my vantage point, but here are a couple huge generalizations I noticed regarding communication: Actors respond to clarity, crews respond to decisiveness, and everyone responds to respect.
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Mike Wilkinson shadows Brent Foster, asking questions about how to get started in the exploding world of drone aerial photography.
Aerial videos that have been shot by drones have been flooding YouTube for the last few years, especially as the cost and expertise needed to get into it has come down. A birds-eye point of view can add a lot of production value to a video project, but where does one start when looking to get into aerial video? I spoke with Brent Foster who told me about the doors that shooting aerial video can open, as well as the challenges they present.
Brent’s background was originally rooted in photojournalism, telling stories through still images as a photographer for The National Post in Toronto, Canada. He began adding video into his stories, and his work moved him to LA, and then eventually to New Delhi, where he was a freelance journalist, providing both video and stills for the likes of The New York Times, TIME.com, and others.
About 4 years ago, Brent moved back to Canada and started to take his video work very seriously. He invested in sliders, lights, and all kinds of gear to add production value to his projects. You might remember him being mentioned on Fstoppers earlier this year, specifically about a documentary produced in Cuba called “Home,” and the recent Nikon D810 project, “Every Moment Counts.”
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