IFP's Independent Film Week wrapped up Thursday, Sept. 20, but before it did Indiewire fanned out to cover a number of provocative panels and events around Lincoln Center. Below, you can find all of Indiewire's coverage of IFW 2012 in one place; just click through for the full stories.
Midway through Independent Film Week 2012, IFP held a closed panel titled "Reinvent: Media Arts for the 21st Century" at the Walter Reade Theater that featured seven speakers weighing in on the evolution and potential of independent film, its growing distribution options and the nature of storytelling itself. On the roster were former Apparition and FilmDistrict exec Bob Berney; National Black Programming Consortium director of programming Leslie Fields-Cruz; Film Society of Lincoln Center director of digital strategy (and Indiewire co-founder) Eugene Hernandez; Cinedigm Entertainment Group co-president Susan Margolin; Cinetic Media founder John Sloss; ARTE France Cinema executive director Michel Reilhac; and storyteller extraordinaire Lance Weiler. Bookended by comments from Filmmaker Magazine editor-in-chief Scott Macaulay and an open debate among the 80-90 indie-film players in attendance — including IFP executive director Joana Vicente, Sundance Institute fixtures Michelle Satter and Bob Hawk, SXSW programmer Jarod Neece, Sheffield International Doc/Fest director Heather Croall, producer (and Indiewire blogger) Ted Hope and independent distributor Louise Rosen — the forum spanned everything from the nuts and bolts of digital distribution to the transmedia possibilities of stories crowdsourced by fifth graders and shot into space. READ MORE
Panel moderator Liz Rosenthal, of digital media group Power to the Pixel, opened Independent Film Week's "Transmedia is for the People" discussion by lamenting declines in the time and money that audiences have to devote to media, even as the quantity and variety of content and channels grow. Today's viewers, she said, are fragmented across platforms, where they expect to follow the stories they consume and have those stories follow them. Audiences have also evolved from passive absorbers to active collaborators who anticipate personalized experiences from their entertainment. Seeking to bridge the gap between an errant viewership and filmmakers stuck in traditional creative models, Rosenthal turned the conversation over to a three-man panel. The hour-long chat between Adnann Wasey, digital director of of POV docs; Eric Brown of production company Kornhaber Brown; and Steve Coulson, creative director at Campfire, highlighted a number of key ideas about building and keeping audience allegiance. READ MORE
The Sundance Collection at UCLA is designed to house and protect work made by Sundance Institute alumni over the last 30-plus years. But since DuArt in New York City stopped processing and storing film materials at its lab two years ago in its transition to digital, Sundance is pushing its filmmakers to move their films and donate them to the UCLA archive for free preservation. Given that a pair of films from the collection is chosen to screen at the festival each year, even recent Sundance films placed in UCLA’s care could end up back at the festival as special presentations decades from now -- as long as they’re taken care of. READ MORE
The Thursday afternoon Independent Film Week panel “What Is Real?” sought to delve into the ethics of documentary filmmakers applying fictional techniques to their films. What it ended up doing was nearly erasing the distinctions between cinematic fiction and nonfiction entirely. A&E IndieFIlms VP Molly Thompson moderated the discussion with panelists Caveh Zahedi (“The Sheik and I”), Grace Lee (“Janeane From Des Moines”) and Jay Bulger (“Beware of Mr. Baker”) in the Bruno Walter Auditorium at Lincoln Center’s New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. Discussing the methods used in the directors’ films, the terms used to define them and the reactions from confused audiences eventually led to a more heated debate about whether there are real differences left between documentary and journalism, and between narrative films and nonfiction ones. READ MORE
The "Filmmaking in Conflict" panel discussion held Thursday incited an engaging conversation about the trials of documentary filmmaking in the modern age. From conflicts with subjects to dealing with lawsuits, the discussion's panelists provided insight into the process of getting a documentary made and navigating the roadblocks along the way. The talk was led by Heather Croall, the festival director of Sheffield Doc/Fest, and the three panelists were Joe Berlinger ("Paradise Lost"), Doug Block ("The Kids Grow Up") and Alison Klayman ("Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry"). In an attempt to make the most of the 60-minute time frame, Croall broke down the conflicts into seven categories: Subject, Team, Government, Corporations, Family, Other Filmmakers and Funders. Of course, any filmmaker could attest to the fact that there are countless complexities and unforeseen conflicts involved in the process of making a film, and that there are no simple solutions. Block aptly pointed out that he and each of his co-panelists would be better fit to describe their filmmaking conflicts if each was allotted a five-hour window. By the end of the hour, and after dozens of conflicts had been dissected, one audience member posed the question: "How do you keep going?" READ MORE
Chicago-born filmmaker Rose Troche got her start in directing with her debut feature "Go Fish," a lesbian romance that was a '90s indie milestone. After "Bedrooms and Hallways" and "The Safety of Objects," she felt a desire "to keep on working on things that didn't take three years," and began delving into directing hour-long television episodes of shows like "Six Feet Under" and "The L Word," for which she also wrote. Daniel Minahan ended up writing "I Shot Andy Warhol" with Mary Harron after the two found there wasn't enough footage of Valerie Solanas to make the BBC documentary they originally planned to put together. After writing and directing his own feature debut "Series 7: The Contenders," a battle-to-the-death-style skewering of reality TV, Minahan was brought on to helm episodes of "Six Feet Under" himself by show creator Alan Ball, and has since directed installments of everything from "Deadwood," "True Blood" and "Game of Thrones" to "Grey's Anatomy." Troche and Minahan, joined by the New York Television Festival's Terence Gray, headlined a panel at IFP's Independent Film Week to discuss going from filmmaking to episodic directing, how the two worlds differ and the nature of small-screen collaboration. READ MORE