Can You Spend A Bit Of Today WIth Me?

I don't know if you made it out to either of the panels or discussions I did last weekend in NYC. If not, perhaps this weekend will be easier. Particularly since I am willing to come to you where ever you happen to be. Why? Simple. Check this out... Last week I did an interview with Noah Nelson for the Turnstyle Podcast. You can stream or download it here.

It's a special for SXSW where SUPER is having it's US Festival Premiere. I won't be there, alas. If you are there, can you do me a favor? Give us a vote on Festival Genius here.

I Am Inspired By Alrick Brown's KINYARWANDA

Tuesday night next week, we will be screening Alrick Brown's KINYARWANDA as part of our This is that Goldcrest NYC screening series. I remember why I want to make movies when I see films that take me to other lands and help me gain a better understanding of the world I am part of. When a film is able to also deliver such understanding in a personal and intimate way, making me feel at one with a diverse group of characters on multiple sides of an incredibly complex issue, the passion to create meaningful work grows even stronger.

I remember why I want to make movies when I see films that take me to other lands and help me gain a better understanding of the world I am part of. When a film is able to also deliver such understanding in a personal and intimate way, making me feel at one with a diverse group of characters on multiple sides of an incredibly complex issue, the passion to create meaningful work grows even stronger. When the work refuses to oversimplify or rely on overt sentimentality to do this, when the filmmakers clearly have made great sacrifices to get the movie made, when those filmmakers fill -- what in some other hands may have been a bleak or upsetting venture -- with love, hope, and the vitality of life, I recognize why movies matter so much. I believe such a work will make our world a better place.

Alrick Brown's directorial debut, KINYARWANDA, winner of the World Cinema Audience Award at Sundance this year is a deeply felt & personal film that looks at an array of characters' lives before, during, and after the 100 day Rwandan genocide as they strive for peace and reconciliation. It is also the first feature film produced by Rwandans.

I am confident that I will never have to endure anything as horrifying as what the characters in Brown's film experience, but I am thankful that Alrick chose to dramatize both how easy it is for evil to infect strong people, and how hard it is for the strongest of people to act righteously when presented with an easy opportunity. The differences in all of us will continue to be exploited by those desiring power and privilege, but art, such as KINYARWANDA, will always be one of the necessary bridges to bring us together.

Please check out this movie as soon as you get a chance. Their Facebook page is here.

35 WAYS TO KEEP THE FAITH IN TRULY FREE FILM

I was invited to speak in Amos Poe’s “Media & Mavericks’ NYU Film School Undergrad class last month. Salman Rushdie and Abel Ferrara spoke before me. Patti Smith was set to follow (so does that mean I’ve opened for Patti?). How could I say no to Amos? Particularly when it was in such illustrious company? His offer to speak got me thinking about what have been the underlying philosophies that have helped me enjoy a prolific life in a capital intensive mass market art form. I entered the film world with the belief that I would be denied access to my lack of connections, class, and rarefied tastes & desires. These "philosophies" that I found, be they mantras, or just helpful reminders, have driven me through the decades and continue to fuel my fire. I hope they help to inspire more good work of yours and want to hear what additions you have to this list. To understand the underlying principals that guide me though, requires the proper context. Producing is a much different pursuit than pure artistic creation; producers bridge art and business. We facilitate many voices. Our work is as much about helping the work connect with others, as it is about getting it made, or made well. What we create, enables others to create -- or just the opposite: our failures make it harder for the next to step ahead.

Producing remains a difficult pursuit to both get started in and to sustain -- particularly producing independent films, or truly free films. The mantras I tell myself have done a great deal to both get me started and to maintain. The forces that are out there that are motivated to discourage you or corrupt you are quite powerful. The bad often gets more attention than the good; it certainly makes more noise. How do we fortify ourselves to sustain in face of the negativity?

In an industry populated (thankfully, not exclusively mind you!) by narcissistic, deceitful, misanthropic, malcontents, that rewards repetition and encourages defensive action, how do you maintain a commitment to diverse and ambitious work of all forms?

1. Know that what you have to say matters. Make sure you communicate it. 2. Remember that the world can be better and work to take it there. 3. Don't ask or wait for permission. 4. Creativity is the essence of life -- so create. 5. What people want most is to connect and to relate (and having fun and learning rate pretty high too). 6. Don't wait for others to lead, succeed, or even try. Leap forward and over. 7. Subscribe to authenticity, and emotional & political truth. 8. Believe in the wisdom of others, and listen to them. 9. The outside has a clearer vision of what is really inside than those in the center; those on the periphery are the ones who really know what is going on. 10. Focus on the reality of the present. Power lives in the past and can't see the moment you are living in. 11. Question Power's authority. The Status Quo is always the most conservative. 12. There is no security to be had -- there's no reason to strive for what doesn’t exist. 13. Action is always a good alternative; stop waiting. Let impatience be a virtue. 14. Never be ashamed of your passion. Let your exuberance show. 15. Learn and take, but don't climb. The ladder leads to the plantation. 16. Will to fail. Don't deliver proofs but strive to be the eternal student/amateur. Don’t settle for your work to be a proof of what you know, but make it a proof of your desire to know more. 17. Embrace your limitations. 18. To hell with your limitations! 19. Don’t worry what others think (about you, your work, the way you look, act, speak, write, etc.) 20. It can never be about the money. 21. Lend a hand; it’s not just about your work. 22. Get it done and move on. Next! 23. There’s a much bigger world than just what you do. That’s what really matters. 24. Pet the sweaty; don’t sweat the petty. 25. Power comes to those that work. 26. Don’t ever expect to get it all done; there’s just too much to do – and that’s a good thing. 27. We are mayflies on the windshield of history. 28. Time is our most limited resource. Value it. And respect the time of others. Most of, don’t squander it. You are going to die soon. 29. Respect your & others’ labor; it is how we use time. 30. Respect the results of your labor; give them proper context. 31. Encourage choice (vs. impulse) even if that choice is not yours. 32. Process shapes more than intent does. How you do it needs more effort than what you want to do. 33. Enjoy, wonder, respect, revel, & rejoice. 34. You are obligated to and responsible for the world you live in. 35. Don’t let others’ bad ways effect your good behavior.

If I can have my every action reflect these beliefs, then everything is going to be okay.

Doesn't This Make You Want To Go Out And Make Some Movies?

Okay, if it doesn't make you want to make them, it should make you want to see some.

Cassavetes Retrospective (trailer) from Cinefamily on Vimeo.

I continue to be 1000% impressed with CineFamily's programming. Watching this I dream that all of LA changes its tune and starts aiming to make movies of emotional truth. Well a guy can dream...

Check out the entire Cassavetes program this month in LA at Cinefamily.

IndieFilmFinanceModelV2011.1 : The Ten Factors

Last week I went into some of the factors determining how the Model for IndieFilmFinanceV2011.1 may be set. Previously, over at my old home, I spent some time trying to better define that model. If you were taking notes you probably recognized that what follows below ARE a the key factors, but I thought it was worth jotting them down for our cheat sheets: What Ten Factors Are Needed To Get Your Film Financed By Something Other Than Love Or Insanity: 1. Price point / negative cost below $5M; 2. "Estimated" Foreign Value at 80% or higher of negative costs; 3. Track record of collaborators in US Acquisition market to project 25% of negative costs; 4. Utilization of Soft Money/Tax Benefits as revenue -- not enhancement; 5. Manufacture desire: inject freshness & an ability to cut through the noise; 6. Predetermined & Accessible Audience; 7. Aura Of Inevitability= Polished Script+Show Reel or Look Book + _________? 8. Urgency of the deal; 9. Something old (proven genre) 10. Something new (fresh scent).

What does this all add up to? Is there a formula we can use? I think so. Why don't we just get to that another day? Stay tuned.... Much more to come on this subject.

Thomas Mai On Today's New Film Business

Have you heard Thomas Mai's presentation on Social Media and what it means to the film business? I had the good fortune to witness it this past summer, and thus am very happy that it is now up on the web for you all to benefit from. Thomas used to run Trust Film Sales which handled Lars Von Triers' films and many others. These days he generally travels and spreads the social media gospel for the filmmaking set. The full presentation runs an hour, but frankly if you are reading this now, you must take the time this weekend to make sure you are up to speed. I am sure you will be glad you did. Thomas starts things off with a video on the rise of Social Media. Even if you've seen this before, it still is stunning. His lecture begins about four minutes in. I am eager to hear your thoughts on this.

Thomas Mai Presentation ETMA, Strasbourg from Thomas Mai on Vimeo.

So what do you think?

Free Money for Your Transmedia Projects!

Well... Tribeca is helping that heaven get a tad closer to your daily existence. The deadline to help shape it is coming up fast, so in case you missed it...

Tribeca has launched a new media fund and they want your input now on how to shape it, guide it, and make it work best for your needs. How sweet is that? As their site informs us:

We are really excited about this new fund at the Tribeca Film Institute. New technologies are allowing filmmakers to tell stories in new ways and to reach audiences in direct and dynamic ways. Submissions will open April 4, 2011 but before that we have decided to solicit feedback on how to shape our submission guidelines. Why?

Because we want to create an open dialog about what is possible in this new field. In this same spirit of collaboration, we will soon be launching an online resource for media producers and seasoned cross-platform practitioners to share best practices, case studies and discoveries in this field.

We Are On The Verge Of A New Creative Culture

We are! We are! We are! Here' s the proof. I got to participate in PressPausePlay, a documentary that will be premiering at SXSW and seems to have covered a wide array of the disruptive voices pushing out of the past into this bright glorious future. Truly free film will find it's compatriots in all other forms as the audience becomes the creators and the barriers between all sectors break down. Check out what is to come next...

Wake Up Early & Join Me Tomorrow...and maybe I will give you a free gift (seriously)...

I know told you before, but why say something once when you can say it two or three or more times? I am here to help. I am here to share what I have learned. I am here to offer some hope. At least for the moment... So tomorrow I am participating in two public events. One is free. The other you have to pay, but the money goes to support a great organization (IFP). And to someone who knows the secret word and meets me at either of the events, I have a gift to give you. So if you come to either....

x

And by either I mean:

tomorrow's IFP ScriptToScreen conference where I will be moderating a case study of MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE with Borderline films, including writer/director Sean Durkin, and producers Antonio Campos and Josh Mond.

DIY DAYS NYC where I will be conducting a conversation with indie film producing legend Christine Vachon.

Come find me and stand on one foot while you tell me the actual name of the Lou tune that Mike Connel in the movie I did with Greg Mottola butchers the title of, and I will give you a couple of DVDs and other swag, and of course thank you for coming. I might as well as start clearing out those closets, right?

Sometimes I feel like I am an infomercial, so why not give out the indie equivalent of a knife set?

Can You Join Me In NYC This Saturday?

I dare you come to see me at both my engagements this Saturday. Come on, I dare you. Both events. C'mon! Both are on the same day in the same part of town and only two hours apart, so you have no good excuse to miss either of them. Is it too much to ask? What can I say? I love independent film and I believe I truly believe we can make it better together. When an organization or individual or film team I believe in, and they ask me for my help, know what? I try to help. I was really thrilled to be asked to partake in some excellent events on behalf of excellent people by excellent organizations. So will I see you at...

My double header starts with IFP's Script To Screen Conference at the Tribeca 92nd St Y on Canal and Hudson. The whole program is pretty close to dynamite, but our sure fire stockpile of don't miss info goes on at 1030A. I have the privilege of talking with the Borderline team. These guys are the biggest talents to come out of NYC in at least a decade: Antonio Campos, Sean Durkin, and Josh Mond. They've written and directed a slew of films, all to great acclaim, many to Cannes, several to NYFF. I saw Antonio's AFTERSCHOOL and had to wonder why he wasn't on the cover of the Village Voice yet. I got to start to work with them on Sean's feature directorial debut, and that went on to win Best Director at Sundance this year: MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE. We will reveal the controversial techniques they employed to get the script ready and expose the brutal tactics they use on all their works. Although this will be but a simple conversation, I warn you, it is not for the squeamish and faint of heart.

Two hours later you will be able to find me at the New School (12th Street between 5th & 6th Aveneu) for the now legendary DIY DAYS organized by Lance Weiler and The Workbook Project. If Indie had a Burning Man or an X-Games, this would be that. Okay maybe not, but DIYDAYS is one of the coolest events around, and not just because it's free. Lance and his gang pull together a true cross-platform smorgasbord of thought & community leaders that can't be more tasty if they tried. Even though I don't fit into any of those categories, DIYDAYS is so damn inclusive, I got to be keynote last year. Check out my rant here. This year will be even better though because they have none other than indie film legend and provocateur Christine Vachon on hand to stir things up. And you know what? I am going to get to have a public conversation with her. Some of our planned talk has already been outed on Wikileaks so we may just have to be spontaneous this round.

This was my talk last year:

Ted Hope - DIYDays - Keynote from ZAFFI Pictures on Vimeo.

IndieFilmFinanceModelV2011.1: Necessary Attributes

Last month, I started laying out what I felt was the necessary attributes of a project to get financed within the mainstream indie film industry these days, call it my IndieFilmFinanceModelv2011.1. Those posts have focused on budgets, foreign estimates & value, US acquisition price, and the type of investors involved in films these days. Today, we will look at other attributes that make a film viable for acquisition in different markets.

You might as well as forget about hypothesizing about the percentage of your negative cost that you might recoup in the US or foreign Acquisition Markets; they have to want in you the first place to qualify for such a gift. Why do you think your film will you get picked up? We are talking about a market, and for there to be a market, there has to be demand and desire. First thing you have to do is manufacture desire.

I see two principals usually at play in terms of manufacturing desire in the fields of indie acquisition: freshness and the ability to cut through the noise. Freshness is a close cousin of originality, but without the latter's capacity for daring. Freshness's greatest quality is its scarcity of stale. Freshness cuts through the noise in that it is sure to generate its own noise. The familiar cuts through the noise too but is never really fresh. "Trusted sources" do likewise and no longer have the burden of being fresh on them (or is it that they are eternally fresh?). Certain actors at certain times deliver both qualities, and they generally will not be the same ones that also possess that illusive foreign value -- leaving the filmmakers needing to cast in two directions at once -- that is if they want this IFFmodel to work.

If you are trying to get your project financed in the mainstream industry, it is important to remember that the movie business is all about people keeping their job. If you are trying to work in the business side of things, you have to look out for all your collaborators. On the finance side, what are your potential collaborators trying to determine with your film? You need to show them that there is an audience for your project that is reachable. The more that a film team has aggregated its potential audience in advance of shooting, the easier time the executive that is championing you is going to have getting your project greenlit. The more engaged that audience already is with both the subject matter and team, the easier it will be to roll film (or record x's & o's).

Fortunately, the script and the vision for a project still carry some weight in this world. Yet, many filmmakers miss what this really means in today's terms. It is not just the conception and execution that is important here, but also the distance those elements have traveled and construction that they've generated around them.

For instigating value (the financial amount that a 3rd party accesses your project to be worth that actually allows you to raise funds) to be set on a film idea, we have to create an aura of inevitability around it. If that script still has room for notes and improvements, the financiers will delay their decision -- for they believe all others will do likewise. There won't be the call to action until they feel they know absolutely what they are getting. If an investor's reader can still ask a question that starts with "why does...", chances are they won't finance your film. You get once chance these days to finance your project, and that requires a truly finished script.

Creating an aura of inevitability requires creating a fuller vision than what a script or a track record can provide. Image books certainly help, but show reels are becoming even more commonplace these days. When we hear tales of Michel Gondry and Aaron Ekhardt creating show reel for their collaboration, it doesn't even matter if it is true or not; those of lesser genius than those men damn well better show what they got if they want to get it going. You have to come from a place of tremendous privilege to not have to demonstrate your vision prior to receiving funds. In addition to our image books, it's time we started preparing to create show reels to jump start our projects.

As crucial as that quality of inevitability is, urgency is equally necessary. No one is going to act these days until they have to. Frequently urgency is created by market demand. If buyers and financiers all want your project, the urgency comes from fear of losing it. But we've been in a buyer's market for some time now, and generally buyers are willing to wait until the last moment to acquire something. Urgency now is generally determined by availability of actors, locations, and seasons. Timing of the submission of a project for financing needs to balance realistic expectations with the potential to stimulate a sense of urgency.

Beyond strategies to stimulate commitment, some of the standard qualities still hold true. Of course the content of the script still matters, and in these times of mitigated risk it probably matters even more so than before. Yes, it needs to be "good", but it also needs to have a proven audience and to somehow be fresh. Frequently these are looked at a contradictory elements: the need to be recognized as previously successful, and the need to not be like what has come before it. We tend to tread into genres to fulfill the prior demand: we know where to find or how to attract the fans of horror, thrillers, and several other genres. To commit to satisfying the dictates of these genres will increase that illusive foreign value. To also make it fresh, will create the hope and anticipation that you might be able to rise above the genre's previous expectations.

So where does this leave as to determining to the model for IndieFilmFinanceV2011.1? Next week, I will recap and then provide the math. It is almost as simple as 1+1=2. Yeah, right...

Hey Docu-makers! The Deadline Is Approaching

The PUMA CREATIVE IMPACT AWARD is something all doc filmmakers should apply for -- and it's NEW this year. This £50,000 prize will be given annually to the documentary that has made the greatest social impact. This unprecedented award is administered by the Channel 4 BRITDOC Foundation and supported by PUMA. Deadline: April 1 (and it is open to filmmakers from any country). Check out the guidelines and submission process here.

Stay Inside Today & Make Yourself Eligible For A Film/Video Grant From Creative Capital

Seriously, so what if it is warm and sunny and you need to wash away your winter blues. An opportunity like this comes around, well, once every three years. That's not every day, so you better get cracking. The deadline to submit just the "Letter of Inquiry" is March 1st and... You can learn more about Creative Capital's Film/Video & Visual Arts grant here. You can access the guidelines here. And you can apply here.

Seriously though, we live in a country where the arts are not recognized as either a cultural necessity or an economic force. That will not change until we demand it. One measure of that demand is the number of applications. Creative Capital is a fabulous organization. I am thankful we have them to help.

What Did We Miss? The Overlooked Movies Of 2010

What's with all the attention for the movies that everyone saw? Spirits, Oscars, Critics Groups: doesn't it sometimes seem like the wrong emphasis? All this money is spent, all this noise is made, for what we have all already have seen. Okay, I get it. If you are reading this, you are not like regular people anyway. You probably go to the movies, and all the events of this weekend are actually for the folks that don't go to the movies. Is it ironic that people watch the Oscars, but don't want to pay to see movies (but that's something for later). If we started our own awards show for the films that needed more love than what they got, what films would be this year's nominees? I recognize my dream of an awards show for overlooked movies would not have much of attendance beyond maybe me and the filmmakers, but that sounds like a good party to me! So any sponsors out there want to back next year's Overlooks? I think we will make the statuettes (they have to be small so that even the recipients overlook them) out of organic material; not only will they be "green", but the awards will perish on the vine, just like the films did!

When a great -- or even a good movie -- does not perform in the US, what's to blame? The distributor? The Superabundance of content? The infrastructure and the release strategy? Timing? The audience? All or none of the above? Or is just because sometimes the world just sucks. What ever it is, we know it is hard out there for a flick.

I do think we can start to get it figured out if we look at what deserved better. It is a healthy activity for us to take a moment this weekend and speak about the great movies that more people would have dug, if only we could have gotten them to the movie palaces.

Now, sometimes there are good movies that do come out that don't get much attention or audience, but I would not call them overlooked. We still make, release, promote, and celebrate movies that have a limited audience. Really a lot of the films on my Top Ten movies, generally fit into this category -- partially because they have limited love returning to them, I feel compelled to love them more.

So... What movies deserved more attention than they got? Now these may well not be "Academy" worthy films. They don't have to be "prestige" titles and smell like vegetables and vitamins. They do have to be films that are however about the craft, about the filmmaker clearly achieving the majority of her goals -- whether we like them or not. I do think they should be films that are fun, but my sense of that, is not everyone's. I have included a few films that did get some love mind you, but not the love I personally feel they deserved.

But without further adieu, allow me to nominate a few:

Animal Kingdom Daddy Longlegs The Disappearance Of Alice Creed Fish Tank I Am Love I Love You, Phillip Morris The Illusionist LittleRock Monsters Please Give Red Riding Trilogy The Square The Wild And Wonderful Whites Of West Virginia

I haven't yet seen, but suspect I would feel the same about:

Carlos Dogtooth Down Terrace
It wouldn't be a list worthy of the title "Overlooked" if I didn't overlook a few myself. Please add to this list.

The New Model Of Indie Film Finance, v2011.1 Investors

Today I continue my series attempting to define the NMOIFFv2011 with a look at the individuals who make the courageous decision to back a film in this current climate. We've already determined that it is hard to predict success either here in the US or abroad with an independent film. Will an investor commit without a clear upside -- and if so, why the hell will they?!! The answer to this generally dictates whether your film will get made and certainly indicates WHO will finance your film.

When I started this series of posts I thought it would a simple and single one. I have a formula I have been using, that when I am able to follow it, I am confident that I will be able to finance my film. I want to share that with you, but feel I need to provide a little context first. My original post on the New Model Of Indie Film Finance v2011 conveyed that a film needs to make absolute sense. I then addressed foreign value and it's dictates, and domestic (US) value in hopes of helping to explain what absolute sense was. Examining the market here and abroad makes it clear that one will never be truly secure predicting the value of your film. There will always be risk, right? So what kind of individual or corporate entity will those that assume that risk and put up the equity needed for your film?

I see five types of financiers interested in movies these days:

  • 1) Those that can take advantage of Federal 181 tax provision;
  • 2)Those not only want to do well, but those that want to do good too -- these are more than just patrons of the arts -- they often look to advance the social issues as well;
  • 3)Those that need a steady supply of product, and hence are generally corporate entities;
  • 4) Those that can gain by association to the film and those involved with the film;
  • 5) Those that are looking for excitement, glamour, and glitz.

I find that investors regardless of their persuasion, have one common attribute. No one wants to look stupid or foolish. They might have different goals, but they need to be able to show their friends why your project offers a clear path to that goal. It is your job to explain it to them. Your ability to do so will greatly enhance your ability to close with them.

Investors in film generally either made their money in another field or inherited it from someone that did. Investors usually believe that the lessons they learned coming to the film biz are applicable to our industry too. Some may well be, but most film investors still marvel at the way we do business, for better and for worse.

To get a movie made often requires profound ego, bullheadness, and outright arrogance -- or else when confronted with the realities of the field, most aspirants would surrender. These "gifts" may be useful in getting work made, but they are not particularly helpful when it comes to collaboration.

Investors are filmmakers collaborators and your ability to at least appear to be ready to collaborate is helpful in closing an investment deal. Your ability to actually collaborate is going to determine what kind of experience you will have. The nature of your business relationships will effect the work you make. Understanding both your investors' wishes, expressed and not expressed, and learning how to work with them is required to close a deal and yield the intended result.

We are half way through an examination of NMIFFv2011.1 now. You have your numbers and you have your investors (or at least know what they will look like when you seem them). But it is not just numbers and willing investors that gets your project funded.

To make your film happen, there are some factors you need to inject into your project if you reasonably want to expect it to happen. Let's discuss that next, okay?

My New Home Means...

Today is my first post on IndieWire. I think it is going to be a great home, and like any home most of the value comes from opening it up to guests. As we now reside on a platform dedicated to expanding its reach, our collective voice just got a whole lot louder. It's time to expand our community. I got into the habit of defining HopeForFilm/TrulyFreeFilm as part of my experiment in social media. When I got started blogging, the media mattered a great deal more to me than the social. As I begin my experiment v2.0 the social matters more to me than the media.

There were a lot of reasons why I felt I needed to step forward and begin blogging. Business has been bad in the film world for several years, but opportunity still remains great. The potential to have a sustainable culture and community dedicated to diverse and ambitious voices, free from mass market dictates, grows daily -- what I define as Truly Free Film. Social media is second only to the film community's desire in terms of being the necessary foundation . The community still lacks leaders with experience dedicated to an open and transparent film culture that embraces the audience and the artist alike. In fact, the majority of participants in our film culture remain dedicated first and foremost to their own individual work rather than the health of the community at large. I remain committed to the belief that we all benefit when our focus moves away from ourselves and towards true unity. Independent is the antithesis of what I hope non-corporate filmmaking can become. Artist-driven for sure, but community-centered.

I have always been a generative sort. I have enjoyed having an outlet that encourages community but doesn't require perfection. Blogging has exposed me to new ideas, new processes, and new friends. It has given me a front row seat to an ever expanding community of Brave Thinkers and committed artists. My greatest rewards have come from contact with other bloggers and offering up this platform to the community at large. The conversation we have here and the diverse ideas and methods we have are truly the initial steps towards building it better together.

The strength of a society can be seen in the culture it creates. Corporate filmmaking, driven by profit only, rarely any more gives rise to the sort of movies that inspired me, helped me empathize with people from all walks of life, connected me to individuals and communities of ambition for a better world, or exposed me to the expansive and transformative nature of the human spirit. Independent film -- as we can build it to be -- will never die out, but it desperately still needs our help to gain the foothold that can allow it to really flourish. Those days are before us, but it takes more than just lending a hand. We determine the culture we have. It requires stepping up and giving voice.

It is my sincere wish that HopeForFilmv2.0 continues to expand well beyond my own musings. I am easy to find. Let me know what needs to be said and say it. This will not be my blog. I want it to be ours.

SUPER World Premiere

SUPER World Premiere Clip from Ted Hope on Vimeo.

A clip from the forthcoming extreme superhero film, SUPER, written and directed by James Gunn, starring Rainn Wilson, Ellen Page, Liv Tyler, Kevin Bacon, Nathan Fillion, Linda Cardellini, and Michael Rooker. Miranda Bailey was my producing partner. It will be distributed in the U.S. by IFC Films.

Cage Match: Are the Kids Alright? Youth Audiences in the Art House - Independent Film Conference 2010

Are independent and art-house film doing enough to draw young audiences away from the multiplex and the computer screen, or is the theatrical experience for a older demographic? On September 19th I was invited to participate in a "cage match" with Jeff Lipsky as part of Independent Filmmaker Conference's panelist speaker event last month. We were able to agree on one thing: independent filmmakers need to draw a younger audience. Moderator: Liz Ogilvie, Crowdstarter

Panelists: Ted Hope, This is that Jeff Lipsky, Filmmaker, TWELVE THIRTY

Watch it here:

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IndieWire also covered the debate in an article here.