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19 Great Ways to Brainstorm Short Film Ideas

28 August 2015 2:26 PM, PDT

There's three things different in the film industry from when I started Raindance in 1992: - In the early '90s, every film was shot on expensive celluloid. Now it's all shot on digital.             - Back then, films were distributed in cinemas and broadcast television. Now internet distribution rules supreme.     - When I started Raindance, I bought expensive newspaper and magazine ads. Now it's all web ads. Everyone is screaming for content today: visual content. The other fact is that people's attention spans are dropping meaning that short films get the kinds of eyeballs that feature filmmakers dream about. An understanding of short film idea generation is almost a carte blanche to becoming known as a filmmaker of short films with the kind of pedigree associated with Oscar-nominated feature filmmakers. What is more, your short films can be seen by a huge number of people.  Read More: Watch: Short Film Tips from an Academy. »

- Elliot Grove

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Springboard: '6 Years' Star Ben Rosenfield Wants You to Be Vocal About His Film

28 August 2015 1:52 PM, PDT

Read More: Review: Taissa Farmiga and Ben Rosenfield Improvise the End of a Relationship in '6 Years' Indiewire's Springboard column profiles up-and-comers in the film industry worthy of your attention. Hannah Fidell's deeply emotional "6 Years" is a a purposely intimate experience. The newest feature from the "A Teacher" filmmaker focuses on Dan (Ben Rosenfield) and Melanie (Taissa Farmiga), a seemingly blessed and blissed out young couple who appear to have it all. As the film moves cleverly moves through time, however, it becomes clear that the golden pair might not be able to survive a series of increasingly violent upheavals. The film, which premiered at this year's SXSW Film Festival, is a true two-hander, and both Farmiga and Rosenfield breathe life into their complicated characters. Rosenfield's burgeoning cinematic career has been peppered with interesting roles in complex films, from "Greetings From Tim Buckley" to "Song One." He's »


- Kate Erbland

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9 Most Riveting Post-Apocalyptic Movies

28 August 2015 1:36 PM, PDT

1. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)This year, we were treated to one of the most engaging post-apocalyptic films in movie history. George Miller's tone-poem creation envisions a steam-punk future of sparse, arid landscapes, impoverished colonies ruled by dictators, and, most importantly, fire-guitar-wielding road warriors. Every day is a struggle for survival, every human encounter a test of sheer resilience. Water and gasoline are the scant currency of life. With little to no dialogue, Miller builds out a rousing spectacle full of gorgeous action sequences rendered with extreme attention to detail. In most scenes, it doesn't matter much what's actually happening — the frenetic choreography and stark beauty of the images will leave you rapt. But make no mistake: There's substance to be found here, not the least of it in the virtues of feminism and revolution. Read More: Review: Craig Zobel's 'Z for Zachariah' is Not Your Typical Post-Apocalyptic Romance2. Snowpiercer. »


- Emily Buder

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Jonathan Ames on 'Blunt Talk,' Diva News Anchors and the Future of 'Bored To Death'

28 August 2015 1:04 PM, PDT

Jonathan Ames can only write one way, and that way is distinct unto himself. Both of his major television programs have featured a style that's hard to pin down, as well as a narrative pace that's as addictive as it is unique. "Bored to Death" featured such an easily identifiable premise — a struggling writer searches for success as a P.I. who accepts cases from Craigslist — it actually makes it harder to explain what makes it so special to anyone who hasn't seen it. The same can be said for Ames' latest. "Blunt Talk" is officially about a disgraced British anchorman who's still struggling to overcome his vices and deliver the nightly news with his respectability intact. Yet with a loyal manservant for a best friend, an eclectic cast of characters in his news room and that unidentifiable X-factor, the show feels like so much more than its logline when watching. »


- Ben Travers

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How First-Time Director Max Joseph Got Zac Efron to Star in 'We Are Your Friends'

28 August 2015 12:12 PM, PDT

Read More: Watch: Ride The Faders With 7 Clips From 'We Are Your Friends' Starring Zac Efron For his directorial debut, Max Joseph wasn't looking to go big. The "Catfish: The TV Show" co-host and short film director's first feature outing, "We Are Your Friends," was originally imagined as a small-scale indie about Edm music, bros being bros and what life is like for ambitious strivers who can't quite make it over the hump (literal and figurative) between Southern California's San Fernando Valley and Hollywood proper. Initially slated as a Working Title Films production, once the low-budget film unexpectedly snagged Zac Efron as its leading man, it suddenly became a hot commodity on the studio market. In November of last year, Warner Bros. purchased the domestic rights to the film for an undisclosed sum, a move that instantly set up the erstwhile indie as a studio picture. This week, »


- Kate Erbland

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Attention, Screenwriters: Read This and Stop Procrastinating

28 August 2015 12:11 PM, PDT

This blog post originally appeared on Film Independent's blog and appears here with the permission of the author. One of the main differences that distinguishes amateurs from professional writers is that amateurs sometimes write. They write when they have the time or when they feel like it, or when they take a class and have an immediate deadline, whereas professionals write on a regular basis. Professionals set a writing schedule and stick to it no matter what. They understand that consistency is critical to success. In a recent New York Times profile on Jerry Seinfeld, the comedian shared one of the reasons why constant practice is so important.  When asked why he still insists on getting up on stage every week to work on his comedy, even though he's clearly an expert with decades of experience, Seinfeld responded, "I read an article a few years ago that said when you practice a sport a lot, »


- Corey Mandell

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Attention, Filmmakers: 9 Tips for Maximizing Your Film's Success on the Festival Circuit

28 August 2015 12:09 PM, PDT

As the director of The Portland Film Festival, I was recently invited to speak on a panel with other festival organizers called, "Maximizing Your Film's Success on the Festival Circuit." To prepare my presentation, I reached out to colleagues from other festivals to ask for their tips on how filmmakers can get the most out of their film festival experience during every step of the process. I compiled some of their tips below: Read More: Attention, Filmmakers: 5 Regional Film Festivals with Deadlines Coming Up 1. Do your research before applying. "Research the past programming of the festivals you intend to submit to. No use submitting to festivals who aren't interested in your type of film." - Alan Lafave, Hell's Half Mile Film & Music Festival "Research the festivals that seem to make sense for your film. Check out the festival's website and previous programs. Ask other filmmakers what festivals they think would be a. »


- Josh Leake

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Watch: Exclusive '11 Minutes' Trailer is 19 Seconds of Heart-Racing Mysteries

28 August 2015 12:06 PM, PDT

Read More: Venice Film Festival Unveils Lineup: Includes 'Equals' and 'The Danish Girl' World Premieres, New Noah Baumbach Documentary Polish filmmaker Jerzy Skolimowski is no stranger to the fall festival circuit. Over his five decades in the business, the writer-director has won the Venice Grand Jury Prize ("Essential Killing"), the Cannes Best Screenplay award ("Moonlighting") and the Berlin Golden Bear ("The Departure"), among other prizes, so consider us quite excited that his new film, "11 Minutes," will world premiere in Venice before hitting the Toronto Film Festival's Masters of Cinema section this September.  The official synopsis reads: "A jealous husband out of control, his sexy actress wife, a sleazy Hollywood director, a reckless drug messenger, a disoriented young woman, an ex-con hot dog vendor, a troubled student on a mysterious mission, a high-rise window window cleaner on an illicit break, an elderly sketch »


- Zack Sharf

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Essential Gear These Top Indie Filmmakers Can't Live Without

28 August 2015 10:33 AM, PDT

Read More: 6 Essential Tech Tools for Filmmakers Whether you're an established filmmaker or just making your first short, you'll soon find that you quickly grow attached to specific gear or other tools that make life on set a lot easier and more efficient. We reached out to a selection of independent filmmakers and asked them "What's the one piece of filmmaking gear you couldn't live without?" You'll find their responses below, in no particular order: "This could hardly be considered 'gear,' but my most important thing is having as many copies of the mini quarter-sized sides on me as possible. I'm normally a really well organized, put-together guy, but when I'm shooting I'm only trying to think about my actors and the Dp and what I need to get, so I'm constantly losing my sides. Any Ad I've worked with has known to always have a few extra on »

- Paula Bernstein

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Indiewire Emmy Ballot 2015: Our Endorsements (And a Plea For Sanity After Last Year's Debacle)

28 August 2015 10:11 AM, PDT

Heading into the 2014 Primetime Emmys, most prognosticators believed in a few predominant theories: "Modern Family's" four-year winning streak as Outstanding Comedy Series would be snapped, most likely by "Orange is the New Black," which would make it the first-ever winner in the category from a streaming network. Matthew McConaughey and Billy Bob Thornton would be rewarded for their work on "True Detective" and "Fargo," respectively, since one was nominated for Actor in a Drama Series and the other for Actor in a Miniseries or Movie. Louis C.K. or William H. Macy would take the stage as Outstanding Comedy Actor, and "The Normal Heart" would take home a bunch of trophies, including one for Matt Bomer.  But none of that happened. It's not that we here at Indiewire don't like upsets. Unpredictability is an exciting element of award shows (and one becoming more and more rare at the Oscars with all »


- Ben Travers

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Watch: Matt Damon and Ben Affleck Aren't Making A Reality Show in Exclusive 'Project Greenlight' Trailer

28 August 2015 9:59 AM, PDT

When you hear that "Project Greenlight" is a reality competition show, you might expect a "Project Runway"-style showdown series, but here's the twist: The winner gets picked in the first episode. That's because the show's focus — as vaguely well-known men about town Matt Damon and Ben Affleck explain in the above trailer — is on the truth of what it's like to actually make a film.  The fourth season of "Project Greenlight" follows the production of a comedy produced by the Farrelly Brothers, with a promise to focus on the difficulties underlying the art of filmmaking. Because with no time and no money, the drama is very real.  "Project Greenlight" Season 4 premieres September 13 at 10pm on HBO.  Read More: 12 Scripted TV Episodes That Take Down the Myths of Reality TV »


- Liz Shannon Miller

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Podcast: Spike Lee, Quentin Tarantino and the Challenges of Making Movies Today

28 August 2015 9:47 AM, PDT

This week's episode of Screen Talk is presented by Vimeo. Head here to check out movies you can rent on Vimeo selected by Indiewire's Eric Kohn, including the Sundance-acclaimed "Call Me Lucky" (above), which you can watch at a 15% discount using the promo code "eric15." If you want to sell your film or series on Vimeo On Demand, all you need is a Vimeo Pro account. Go to vimeo.com/startselling and use promo code eric20 for 20% off Vimeo Pro and start selling. This week, the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that Spike Lee would be among the recipients of its Honorary Awards (another one will go to Gena Rowlands). The decision prompts serious questions about the message the Academy is trying to send. Lee, after all, hasn't made a big studio project in years, and rarely gets along with Hollywood — yet »


- Indiewire

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Peter Bogdanovich on Assembling an All-Star Cast and Returning to NYC for 'She's Funny That Way'

28 August 2015 8:56 AM, PDT

Read More: Watch: Dysfunctional Relationships Explode in Owen Wilson, Jennifer Aniston Comedy 'She's Funny That Way' After spending his first 25 years in New York, Peter Bogdanovich moved to Los Angeles, where he was based when  he directed "The Last Picture Show," "Paper Moon" and other '70's Americana classics. But Bogdanovich has always been a true New Yorker at heart. He returns to that city as a setting in his latest screwball comedy, "She's Funny That Way," starring Owen Wilson, Imogen Poots and Jennifer Aniston (and featuring cameos by Graydon Carter, among others). The film was originally titled "Squirrels to the Nuts" after a line from the 1946 Ernst Lubitsch romance, "Cluny Brown," which should provide a good taste of what the finished product plays like for those familiar with Lubitsch's fast-talking comedies. Bogdanovich joined Indiewire over the phone from Los Angeles about his new movie and the key contributions of. »


- Miriam Bale

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Watch: Michael Shannon Evicts Andrew Garfield in Grueling '99 Homes' Exclusive Clip

28 August 2015 8:43 AM, PDT

Read More: Watch: Michael Shannon and Andrew Garfield Battle for Housing in Pulse-Pounding '99 Homes' Trailer The blood-boiling relationship at the center of Ramin Bahrani's "99 Homes" begins in the exclusive new clip above. The drama premiered to rave reviews at the Venice Film Festival late last year and will finally be hitting select theaters this September, courtesy of Broad Green Pictures. Andrew Garfield leads the cast as Dennis Nash, a father and construction worker who is forced to move his family, including his his mother (Laura Dern) and young son, out of their long-time home after he is evicted by an intimidating real-estate broker (Michael Shannon). Unable to find work and hungry to support his family, Nash starts working for the broker and gets swept up in his lavish lifestyle. But when Nash's new job forces him to carry out the same evictions on families that left him broken in the first place, »


- Zack Sharf

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Review: 'Narcos' Season 1 Had Promise, But Netflix Could Have Learned From 'Entourage'

28 August 2015 8:16 AM, PDT

The new series "Narcos," created by Chris Brancato, Eric Newman and Carlo Bernard, represents a pretty ambitious step for Netflix. Set over several years in the 1970s and '80s, the crime drama pairs the story of Steve Murphy (Boyd Holbrook), a tough and obsessive DEA agent, with that of notorious drug kingpin Pablo Escobar (Wagner Moura), who played Robin Hood to the poor folk of Colombia while racking up billions of dollars in the cocaine business. Read More: 7 New Netflix Shows to Binge Watch in August 2015 (And the Best Episodes of Each) It's a pretty classic story of sex, drugs and violence, and one that's been popularized a hundred times over. In fact, in advertising copy, Netflix has been using the tagline "First they got the coke. Then they got the money. Now the Colombian cartels want the power" — a clear reference to one of the most classic gangster film lines ever uttered, »


- Liz Shannon Miller

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Why 'Z for Zachariah' Director Craig Zobel Hasn't Gone the Blockbuster Route

28 August 2015 7:54 AM, PDT

Read More: Review: Craig Zobel's 'Z for Zachariah' is Not Your Typical Post-Apocalyptic Romance With three feature films under his belt, filmmaker Craig Zobel isn't quite a veteran, but he's no longer a newbie. Zobel's first two features played to strong acclaim on the festival circuit — 2007's "Great World of Sound" played at New York's New Directors and New Films Festival and also earned Zobel the Breakthrough Director Awards at that year's Gotham Awards, while "Compliance" premiered at Sundance in 2012, going on to screen at Locarno, Deauville and BAMcinemaFest, among others — but neither rocketed the filmmaker to the top of blockbuster wish lists, as has become far more commonplace over the years. But the cast for Zobel's new film, "Z for Zachariah," comes complete with three big names from the blockbuster world, including Margot Robbie (soon to be seen in DC's "Suicide Squad"), Chris Pine of »


- Kate Erbland

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Vote for Project of the Week: Will It Be 'Hala,' 'The Esquire,' 'When the Well Runs Dry,' or 'The Friendless Five'?

28 August 2015 7:36 AM, PDT

The winning filmmaker will become a candidate for August Project of the Month. That winner will be in the running for Project of the Year. The four projects up for this week's Project of the Week are listed below (with descriptions courtesy of the filmmakers). You can vote at the bottom of the page. Hala: A Muslim-American girl faces the tensions between faith, family and sexual exploration. The Esquire: Nearing the end of his life, a defrocked guru from the 60's lures the son he's never met into creating a film about his extraordinary and bizarre life. When the Well Runs Dry: After accidentally killing a bearded goat with their father's truck, two incompatible siblings in their teenage years, embark on a journey of reconciliation.  The Friendless Five: Two polar-opposite sisters must come together to track down an historic treasure before it falls into the wrong hands. Voting will end Monday, »

- Indiewire

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10 Highlights From the Indiewire TV Team's Reddit Ama, from 'The Leftovers' Season 2 to 'The X-Files'

28 August 2015 7:35 AM, PDT

Liz Shannon Miller and Ben Travers, informally known as Team TV here at Indiewire, spent a couple hours on Reddit today to talk to fellow TV fans about, well, anything. Read More: 2015 Fall TV Preview: 21 New Shows You Need to Know Redditors posed questions ranging from TV viewing rituals, to the amount of time Liz and Ben spend watching television, to opinions of Season 2 of "The Leftovers. Here are some of the highlights. You can take a look at the entire thread here. Best show on TV, not on a major network? Ben: Though I'd be hard-pressed to define what qualifies as a "major network" these days, I'm a fan of "Catastrophe" on Amazon and "Kingdom" on DirecTV Audience Network. Liz: Yeah, the "major network" thing is a really hard one to define. But I'd say "BoJack Horseman" on Netflix also doesn't get a lot of attention. And if you enjoy period dramas, »


- Jessica Cariaga

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Here Are All the Movies Opening Today, August 28; What Will You See?

28 August 2015 7:34 AM, PDT

Here are the films opening theatrically in the U.S. the week of Friday, August 28. All synopses provided by distributor unless listed otherwise. Wide No Escape Director: John Erick Dowdle Cast: Owen Wilson, Lake Bell, Pierce Brosnan, Sterling Jerins, Spencer Garrett, Byron Gibson, Sahajak Boonthanakit, Claire Geare, Russell Geoffrey Banks, Damian Mavis, Kimia Sun, Dollar Tan, Jimmy Chhiu, Bonnie Zellerbach, Sam B. Lorn, Suphornaphat Annie Jenselius, Hiroyuki Kobayashi Synopsis: "In their new overseas home, an American family soon finds themselves caught in the middle of a coup, and they frantically look for a safe escape in an environment where foreigners are being immediately executed." Criticwire Grade Average: C- (8 reviews) War Room Director: Alex Kendrick Cast: Priscilla Evans Shirer, T.C. Stallings, Karen Abercrombie, Beth Moore, Jadin Harris, Tenae Downing Synopsis: "The family-friendly movie explores the transformational role prayer plays in »


- Steve Greene

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Watch: Forbidden Love Leads to Tribal Warfare in Exclusive 'Tanna' Trailer

28 August 2015 7:27 AM, PDT

Read More: Venice Critics' Week Announces Lineup of Debut Features Filmmakers Bentley Dean and Martin Butler explore love and warfare on a remote South Pacific island in their upcoming drama, "Tanna," which will premiere during the Venice International Film Critics' Week. The film is based on a true story and is performed by the people of Yakel in Vanuatu.  The official synopsis reads: "'Tanna' is set in the South Pacific where Wawa, a young girl from one of the last traditional tribes, falls in love with her chief's grandson, Dain. When an inter-tribal war escalates, Wawa is unknowingly betrothed as part of a peace deal. The young lovers run away, but are pursued by enemy warriors intense on killing them. They must choose between their hearts and the future of the tribe." Watch the exclusive trailer below, and checkout the film's gorgeous debut poster below. Read More: Venice »


- Zack Sharf

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