DAILY NEWS: Doc and Interactive Programming; Early Cannes Plans
by Eugene Hernandez, Brian Brooks and Maud Kersnowski/indieWIRE
>> New Focus for Doc Funding
(indieWIRE: 01.13.02) -- Two thirds of the documentaries in competition at
Sundance this year are properties of HBO, PBS and ITVS. These three companies have established themselves as the major sources of funding for non-fiction filmmaking in the U.S. They've also been aggressive at marketing their titles,
many of which have budgets of more than $500,000 -- big bucks in the doc world.
For documentary filmmakers with a finished movie on their hands, it's recently
become a good time to look for support with their marketing campaigns.
"One of the worst things filmmakers can believe is that once the film is done
their jobs are over," said Ruby Lerner, Executive Director of grant provider
Creative Capital." "We're going to do shit nobody's ever heard of before,"
Lerner exclaimed during a Sundance House of Docs panel yesterday. "You have to
be just as creative in getting your film out there as in developing it."
Creative Capital is taking a hiatus from funding new projects until 2003 to
focus on marketing projects they've already supported. Plans include producing
a catalog, grouping works in different media by topic and creating new
Not all of this support is as direct as Creative Capital's. When the Soros
Foundation joined forces with The Sundance Institute recently, the marriage
created an entity that provides an even greater amount of prestige and acess.
"One of the advantages to having The Fund at Sundance is the large network
that suddenly became available," according to Diane Weyermann, director of the
new Sundance Documentary Film Fund.
But documentarians should still be aware that deals with major funding entities
don't always come without strings. Both the National Endowment for the
Humanities and ITVS have right of first refusal agreements with PBS, which has been known to leave projects in limbo, neither broadcasting them nor returning
rights back to the filmmakers. "PBS can be a black hole for your film. If you
don't have those ties, you can shop [your film] around to Nightline, MTV,
wherever," said Jon Else, who is spearheading a low-cost documentary film
program at the University of California at Berkley. [Maud Kersnowski]
>> ITVS Kicks Off Electric Shadows
(indieWIRE/01.13.02) -- The Independent Television Service (ITVS) has
negotiated financing deals for Rob Mikuriya's "Face to Face" and Jilann
Spitzmiller and Hank Rogerson's "Circle of Stories." The programs will be the pilot projects for ITVS' Electric Shadows, a new initiative that will
produce interactive content about under-served communities for the Web.
"Face to Face" will parallel the experiences of Japanese Americans in the
1940s and present-day Arab Americans with personal stories. It will feature
a combination of audio, photos and Flash animation. "Circle of Stories" is
a series on Native American storytelling that will utilize audio, video,
photos and animation. Electric Shadows will also feature a special section
for children entitled "How to Record Grandma and What Questions to Ask."
The projects will eligible for use on pbs.org and are expected to be
completed by summer, 2002. ITVS was established by Congress to serve as a
catalyst for innovative work aimed at serving the needs of minority groups.
>> Lynch to Head Cannes Jury in 2002
(indieWIRE: 01.13.02) -- The snowy streets and slopes of Sundance may be
miles and months away from springtime on the French Riviera, but Park City
festivalgoers are already receiving news about the 55th Cannes Film
David Lynch, who shared best director honors at Cannes 2001 for his work on
"Mulholland Drive," has been tapped to head the jury for this year's event,
running May 15-22. "I am filled with excitement, fear and the full meaning
of responsibility as I accept this honor to be named president of the
fifty-fifth Festival de Cannes - the greatest film festival in the world,"
Lynch said in a prepared statement.
The Festival has also made a slight change to its official title. Once known
as the "Festival International du Film," the event has now adopted "Festival
de Cannes" to coincide with it's overall strategy to streamline its visual
In addition, the festival announced that it will commemorate the 20th
anniversary of the death of Jacque Tati with a screening of a restored 70mm
version of "Playtime" at the famed Cannes Palais. Public screenings of other
Tati films will be held on a local beach. [Eugene Hernandez]