Film Society at Lincoln Center and Double Hope Films Present: Indie Night Screening Series -- CARRÉ BLANC -- Wednesday May 2nd

This will be our 3rd Indie Night at Film Society Of Lincoln Center, and although I have been programming movies for you for close to three years now, I have not yet been able to bring you any sci-fi films.  That changes with this offering, and, man, it's been worth the wait.

When first features work, as this one does, they can be remarkable displays, often representing what the director has long dreamed of expressing, free of the general self-censorship that market considerations bring.  On their first feature,  creators often feel a far greater pressure to demonstrate what their authorial voice represents; perhaps it is because of this pressure that it is hard to find true confidence and discipline on display in many early works.  But, holy cow, that is that not the case with Jean-Baptiste Leonetti's CARRÉ BLANC (White Square) -- yet a further proof of the colossal wave of international greatness that is defining cinema today.

Whereas America's corporately engineered cinema implicitly lusts for a dystopian future while it delivers pat excuses of psychological backstory (instead of character complexity), empty images full of flash (but devoid of real-world emotion, politics, ethics, or meaning), surface level editing (that removes any understanding of place), a willingness to introduce new narrative elements solely to advance the plot, & shock  (for sensation not understanding), cinema worthy of the term art -- like CARRÉ BLANC -- does quite the opposite.   If you are looking  for an antidote to THE HUNGER GAMES or even want to see a true alternative, join us.  Some people may call CARRÉ BLANC too tense or brooding, dark or bleak -- but for me it is nothing short of exhilarating, heartfelt, electrifying. thoughtful, and fully capable of maintaining a sense of humor and fun in these dark times.  

Leonetti's nameless and brutal totalitarian regime is far more scary than what we've been delivered as of late precisely because it seems like a future we not only could have had, but still might.  CARRÉ BLANC is delivered in haunting precise images, sounds, and actions. Full of legitimate suspense, references and riffs, from Stanley Milgram's social science experiments to classic sic-fi cinema like SOYLENT GREEN & SILENT RUNNING, we are given a world that extends far beyond the narrative's confines, where constant threat of violence indicates the begging need for revolution -- be it of the society and it's practices or that of the individual's heart and mind.  At the heart of CARRÉ BLANC remains a love story, capturing both the trauma and shared mission that modern society needs to breed honest love and it does this with us, not in spite of us.

This is a world of cinema that I want more of: sci-fi for adults, expressing ideas while maintaining a discipline, love, and even sense of humor for composition, and an appreciative commitment to both restraint and excess -- the ying/yang that makes each element truly sing.  CARRÉ BLANC is a film that benefits from its financial limitations, enhancing its art with imagination, while remaining committed to cinema's core attributes of image, sound, & time (composition, juxtaposition, pace).  It raises the bar for what we should demand from all cinema.

CARRÉ BLANC is the type of film that summons your memories of great works by the great directors, and it doesn't suffer for it.  BRAZIL, 2001, SOLARIS, THX 1138.  It made me giddy in the same way that Aronofsky's PI & Jone's MOON did, in that I knew a major new director arrived, and one that would take me to places I myself would never imagine, yet once arrived, would forever dream (not always pleasantly!) about.

Order tickets: www.filmlinc.com/films/on-sale/carre-blanc

If the following review doesn't make you order a ticket right now then you clearly are not the audience for the film: www.dailyfilmdose.com/2011/09/tiff-2011-carre-blabc.html

"George Orwell as filtered through Andrei Tarkovsky" -- Todd Brown / Twitch.com

And more: smellslikescreenspirit.com/2011/09/carre-blanc-review/

Watch the trailer here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=l3X4YW50Ptk

And please come see the film Wednesday May 2nd at 8:00 PM at the Elinor Bunin Monroe Film Center at the Film Society of Lincoln Center.

Wed, May 2

8:00 PM

Elinor Bunin Monroe Film Center

144 W. 65TH St

New York, NY 10023

Take a break and come join me, director Jean-Baptiste Leonetti, and some of his team at Film Society of Lincoln Center’s “Indie Night”.

Most sincerely, and forever hopeful about film,

Ted

Film Society at Lincoln Center and Double Hope Films Present: Indie Night Screening Series -- A LITTLE CLOSER -- Thursday April 5th

Hey Film Friends,

Our debut screening at Lincoln Center last month was a great success and completely sold out. Everyone had a great time. I encourage you to order tickets to our next show right now, and use the "affiliate" code to save money when you order. The café in the theater has terrific food and drink so you can make a night of it as we did last month. And of course we have another great, truly indie, film for you this coming Thursday night.

What with the bombast of Hollywood's regular fare, I find sanctuary in the true indie work that is committed to unlocking our present day reality. My next screening at The Film Society of Lincoln Center's INDIE NIGHT delivers all of this to you: 

emotional truth and honesty,

clarity and discipline, 

simplicity yet reach and ambition -- 

and most perhaps, 

enjoyment and pleasure in the odd, little moments that can define a life.

Director Matthew Petock's A LITTLE CLOSER, won best feature at the Lone Star Film Festival.  A remarkably assured first feature for a director barely out of film school, Petock's debut rips a page out of Raymond Carver's stories.  Far more seasoned artists have struggled to capture emotional truth while not falling into the trap of sentimentality. Petock manages to walk that line.

Martin Scorcese had this to say about A LITTLE CLOSER:

"Matthew Petock's first feature shows him to be a director of depth sensitivity and assurance. He captures the quiet emotions and heartbreak of his characters with profound respect for the dignity of the everyday struggles in life and what it means to be a family. A LITTLE CLOSER is a hauntingly beautiful film and a remarkable debut."

As with last month's WITHOUT and its director Mark Jackson, Petock’s A LITTLE CLOSER is part of a trend (dare I say: a movement) of naturalist micro-budget filmmaking emerging from Brooklyn, but blossoming in far off locales.  They share a gaze towards the class divide that defines our time, a respect for working people and the challenges we all now face.

Matthew Petock does not wallow in the filmmaking constraints financial hardship imposes, but instead delivers a full vision, never wanting, with all the creative aspects in full service to his vision. A LITTLE CLOSER introduces us to a working mother who may be a single parent with two young sons who try her patience and test their boundaries, but we also get to share in her joy when she too gets the brief respite she's been yearning for.

Great movies!  Great discussion!  Discount tix!  Discount food & booze!  Pretty awesome if you ask me.

Check out the trailer: http://alittlecloserfilm.com/trailer

Check out A Little Closer's website: http://alittlecloserfilm.com/

Order tickets now at: http://www.filmlinc.com/films/on-sale/a-little-closer

And please come see the film Thursday April 5th at 8:00 PM at the Elinor Bunin Monroe Film Center at the Film Society of Lincoln Center.

"A LITTLE CLOSER"
Thursday, April 5th
8:00 PM
ELINOR BUNIN MUNROE FILM CENTER
144 W. 65TH St
New York, NY 10023

Take a break and come join me, director Matthew Petock, and some of his team at Film Society of Lincoln Center’s “Indie Night”.

Most sincerely, and forever hopeful about film,

Ted 

25+ Things I Want To Know From New Filmmakers

When I moderate a panel, I get to ask some questions that aren't the kind I often get to ask in a regular meeting. The questions are as much, and maybe perhaps more so, for the audience. Still though, I am generally trying to get at something: the how and why of creativity at this time in the world.

I learned a lot from moderating the "New Faces Of Indie Film" panel at Lincoln Center on Saturday June 11, 2011. Yes, in the future when I am involved on a panel I will insist upon diversity, and yes, I will set a limit to the number of people on the panel. But I also learned from the answers folks gave. I didn't get to ask all of them, but had I, I had the list prepared. These are those questions.

Getting Started

Was there a particular event or time that you recognized that filmmaking was not just a hobby, but that it would be your life and your living?

Is it harder to get started or to keep going? What was the particular thing that you had to conquer to do either?

What advice would you give to someone who wanted to have a life creating film?

What was the most important lesson you had to learn that has had a positive effect on your film? How did that lesson happen?

You are a collaborator. How have you discovered members of your team and how do you keep the relationship with them strong?

You are here at the Universe’s Grand Temple Of Cinephilia. You are here because of your work and how you do it. What are personal attributes that make for a good filmmaker, and what do you do to foster them?

When I wanted to devote my life to making movies, my first decision was NY or LA. How does where you live influence how and what you make, and how do you think NY currently effects your work and process?

The Love Of Cinema

What makes a film great for you? Are there certain qualities that make a film better for you?

What films have been the most inspiring or influential to you and why?

When you get angry at a movie, what sets you off? Are there common qualities in cinema today that you dislike? Is there something you try to subvert or avoid or rebel against in your work?

We are all here presumably partially because we LOVE cinema. How did your love for movies get sparked and what can we -- as a community -- do to help others discover a similar pleasure?

The Process Of Creating

Generally speaking, when we want to learn about a film, we talk to the director. But those that make films, know how much they are really collaborations. What makes a fruitful collaboration? What do you do to enhance the collaborative process?

It is said that there are only six stories. Maybe twelve. It’s all been done before. And we have seen it all. What do you do to keep it fresh? Is there anything that you can do to subvert the process to keep it original?

We get noticed because of our successes – but we create them on the back of our failures. We learn best from the experiences where it doesn’t work. And yet we still only discuss the success, not the failure. What failures (of your own) have you been able to learn from? How did they change you and your process?

I often say one of the best methods of producing is “engineering serendipity.” Have you encountered serendipity in your work and do you think there is anything that you can do to bring more of it into your creative process? Why or why not, and if so, what is it that you and your team can do?

Films evolve through the creative process – sometimes most dramatically in the editing process. It’s often really hard to reconcile the difference between what we desired and what we achieved. How have you encountered this and how do you move through it?

“It all starts with the script.” Maybe not, but when do you know a script is ready to shoot, and what is your process of getting it there?

Several directors have told me that most of directing is actually casting. Regardless of whether that is true, some actors have “it” and sometimes they need something to make “it” pop. You’ve spotted that “it” and captured “it”. What is “it” and how do you find “it”?

I often wonder why anyone would want to direct. Why would you want to always have 100 decisions in front of you and have over 100 people waiting on your answer?

Film, perhaps more so than any other popular art form, is the compromise between art and commerce. How has your art been shaped by both the money you have had or not had? Do you create with budget limitations in mind?

The Structure Of The Business

Is the film business fair? Why or why not? How do you make the apparatus work for you?

Is it the filmmaker’s responsibility to find and develop your audience? Why do you feel that way?How will you collaborate with your audience, and how won’t you?

What do audiences want? And is it the filmmaker’s role to worry about that?

Is it possible to sell out? What would that mean to you and would you like it to happen or not? What do you do to encourage the professional approach you want?

If I was asked what was the most important advice I could give a filmmaker starting out, it would be “Try to manage your life so that you will feel as good about the film industry in fifteen years as you do now.” In your experience, is that true, and what can filmmakers do to achieve that challenge?

What role have film festivals played in your life so far? Why are they necessary? How do you get the most out of them?

The Changing Film World

When I got started, if your film got into Sundance, it meant people would see it in America, and maybe the world. I used to be confident that my partners and I could get two or more major distribution slots a year. Now that control and scarcity don’t define the Entertainment Economy, but superabundance & access do, how does that change things for creators? There are 45,000 films generated globally annually, and the largest consumption market in the world – the US – currently consumes only 1% of the output. Recognizing that, are you changing the way you work, changing what you create? How? Why? Or why not?

I am a big believer in the importance of social media in many aspects of the film process. Are you on social media and do you use it in your work? Why or why not?

When I got started there were two screens: the movie screen and the television screen. Now there are also computers, tablets, and phones. And screens are everywhere: the home, the bus stop, the elevator, the taxi cab. As a creator how does this effect the stories you tell and how you tell them?

If there is one or more thing you think would make the film industry better, what would it be?

Ethics of Creating

Do filmmakers have any responsibility to culture? Do you feel that being a creative person requires that you give back or tell a particular story or not do something else? Why or why not?

Your Second Chance: New Faces Of NYC Indie Film Video

We had a packed house at Lincoln Center for our "New Faces Of NYC Indie Film" panel. It was a good conversation. Sure, my game show idea did not work out, but hey, when you have eleven people up on the stage with you, it means you have eleven people not talking and that's hard to keep it lively. Luckily, all eleven people had a lot to say and are clearly a group of passionate and committed filmmakers, making sacrifices for the privilege of making their art. If you didn't get there, now through the miraculous power of the internet, you can give us two hours of your time and see what it is you missed.

Watch live streaming video from innovent at livestream.com

And yes, both I and Lincoln Center know, that this panel is very white, young, and generally male and probably straight -- and thus not truly representative of the diversity of talented filmmakers in our city. The Film Society of Lincoln Center has to be acknowledged (and praised) for what may well be the most diverse programming in the world -- this panel excluded. This panel evolved out of an initial idea to focus on new collaborative teams and that was shaping the "casting". It's not an excuse, just an effort to provide context. Of course, we can do better. And I will.

Come Play At My Panel Today At 4P At Lincoln Center

I am moderating the "Some Of The New Faces Of NY Independent Film" panel today to help kick off Lincoln Center's new theaters. They are truly beautiful and will surely be a must-see destination for all Cinemaniacs throughout the universe. As I believe we will have eleven panelists on the stage with me (it having been determined that that is the magic number required to get me to shut up and let someone else talk), it is going to be a bit of a circus.

Not being one to leave chaos well enough alone, I am going to inject it with some more distortion, just for kicks. I have come up with some rules to turn this panel into a bit more of a game.

Lincoln Center New Faces Of Indie Film Circus
Saturday June 11, 2011 4P

STRUCTURE:
Participants: 11 panelists, 1 moderator.
Duration: 2 hrs (90 mins of Q&A, 30 min of audience questions)
Questions: 30 prepared…
Basic Math: 30 questions x 2 minute answers + 1 minute rebuttal = 90 minutes

ADDITIONAL PARTICIPANTS:
Six members of the audience will be selected to be “Extenders”. Extenders have the power to provide the panelist with additional time to answer the question.

3 Extenders will have the power to offer a single 2 minute extension to a panelist.

3 other Extenders will have the power to twice offer a 1 minute extension to a panelist. These extensions can not be combined into one answer, but must be limited to a 1 minute extension.

RULES:
Each answer will be STRICTLY limited to a two-minute response.

After a panelist answers a question, they will not be permitted to answer again until every panelist has answered a question.

Each answer, once the extension has been utilized if so granted, will be offered for rebuttal to another panelist.

Rebuttals will be STRICTLY limited to a one-minute response.

Rebuttals will be offered to the first panelist closest to the left of the answerer who has their hand raised. If no rebuttal is desired, the next question will be asked.

There are no extensions to rebuttals.

At the one minute mark, the panelist to the right of The Answerer has the power of The Gong. By saying “GONG!” loudly this panelist becomes The Disruptor. , The Disruptor stops The Answerer and is granted the power to answer the question themselves for the full two minutes.

Extensions apply fully to The Disruptor’s answers.

ADDED CHAOS:
The panel will be URL broadcast live at: http://mediadroplets.innovent.tv/

There will be a live Twitter feed. Use the #TedNYC hash tag please to participate.

The Twitter feed will be part of the broadcast.

As moderator, I will consider the questions posed in the Twitter Feed.