Declaration of Principles
Film Festivals: Playing the odds
DIY Film Projects
Cinema vs. Home Theatre
For Those With Writer's Block
So You Wanna Go to Film School: 1
So You Wanna Go to Film School:2
The new and improved SRF.
If you’re looking at this website in anything other than an RSS reader you can probably tell that we’ve completely overhauled the website. Thanks to our wonderful designer friends at Nathanna, we’ve both expanded and simplified the Self-Reliant Film website.
As we mentioned a few weeks ago, our new look is based on some new directions for the website.
Today, with the launch of the new site you can do a few things that you couldn’t do before:
Sign up for the email list. Our new email newsletter will have exclusive content we don’t put on the blog. We’ll share tips on great films we’ve recently discovered, we’ll provide some extra filmmaking tips, and you’ll get access to see our films for free. The newsletter is only sent once a month, we never sell or share others’ email addresses, and it’s ad-free. Subscribe!
Watch our films: Some folks that visit this site do so because they’re fans of our films. Others visit the site because of the blog. If you’ve not seen our work, or you want to see our films again, or you want to see more of them… we’ve spelled out all the ways to watch.
The easiest and least expensive way is to sign up for the email list. But there are other ways, too. Find out more here.
Must reads: Look to the sidebar on the left. These are a few of the most popular posts on the site. Check them out if you’re new here or if you’ve not read these. The Declaration of Principles was the first post on the blog, and it’s still pretty much as relevant today as it was when it was drafted in November 2005.
Resources: If you click on “Resources” (look to the upper left of this page) you’ll see some of the more helpful pages we’ve assembled for filmmakers (and everyone) since beginning the site. Over the coming weeks we’ll be updating and expanding these pages.
Submission guidelines: We’ve always received emails from readers wanting us to watch and/or review our films. This has been done pretty much catch-as-catch-can in the past. We finally drew up some ideas about how to do this, as seen in the sidebar on the left. We want to review and put a spotlight on great films more than we’ve been able to recently. This is a way to encourage this. Click on the Submission Guidelines and and let us know if you’ve got a film you want us to watch.
What hasn’t changed?
Our blog still features all the same stuff that we’ve championed and discussed from the beginning — DIY, regional, and personal filmmaking. We’ve moved it to selfreliantfilm.com/blog, so update your bookmarks.
(If you bookmarked an old page from the blog it should automatically redirect to the new permalink structure, but if you encounter a broken link, let us know!)
Finally, one other thing that hasn’t changed: This site is still ad-free.
For us, self-reliance has always gone hand in hand with the idea of simplicity. While filmmaking is a vocation that often resists even our attempts to simplify the process of making movies, we feel the least we can do, sometimes at least, is keep our tiny corner of the internet quiet from flashing banners, pop-ups, and google ads buried within our own reflections. This website, like our films, continues to be a labor of love.
We hope you like the new site, and the things to come. If you do, spread the word by sharing with a friend by using facebook, twitter or, you know, by actually telling someone about it face-to-face.
Posted in Basics, Blog-related, Business, Creativity, DIY, DIY Filmmaking, DVD, Films & Filmmakers, For Memories' Sake, Grants, Movie Making, Post-Production, Pre-Production, Principles, Principles & Productivity, Production, Productivity, Quick Feet Soft Hands, Regional Film, Technology, Tools/Equipment | Comments Off
Ashley and I have been on the Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers for a week now. As I type these notes, we are driving on I-55, heading from Memphis to a screening tonight in Jackson, Mississippi.
The program we are screening on this tour have been appropriately packaged together under the title “Southern Stories.” The two fictional films (Gina, An Actress, Age 29 and Quick Feet, Soft Hands) were shot in Knoxville, Tennessee, and the documentary (For Memories’ Sake) is a portrait of a woman who’s lived in a rural area outside Nashville all of her life. The cast and crew for these films is largely drawn from the areas in which they were shot.
Guest house. Charleston, SC.
So, while there is a truth, and a convenience, in advertising the films as “Southern Stories”, I’m also ambivalent about labeling them this way. I have long believed that the South is not a monolithic place, except in American mythology, but that there are, instead, many Souths.
Visiting the three places we’ve screened so far — Johnson City, TN, Charleston, SC, and Memphis — has driven that home in dramatic fashion. I can’t remember touring three cities in such short succession that are more different in their cultural, racial, economic, and geographic diversity.
Posted in Distribution & Screenings, For Memories' Sake, Principles, Quick Feet Soft Hands, Regional Film, Southern Circuit 2011 | Comments Off
During the month of March, Ashley and I will be screening our films in eleven cities throughout Southeast as part of the Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers. We will be screening Gina, An Actress Age 29; Quick Feet, Soft Hands; and For Memories’ Sake.
Southern Circuit is a long-running program of SouthArts (formerly the Southern Arts Federation). As described on their website, “Southern Circuit is the nation’s only regional tour of independent filmmakers.” The program is supported by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, with other support coming from the National Endowment for the Arts. To say that we’re honored to be selected and excited to screen our work this way would be an understatement.
Here are the dates and venues of our tour. If we’re coming to your area, come see us. If you have friends in any of these cities, spread the word! We’ll be posting Facebook invites to screenings and notes from the road to the new Self-Reliant Film fanpage.
Tuesday, March 1, 2011 – East Tennessee State University – Johnson City, TN
Friday, March 4, 2011 – Halsey Inst. of Contemporary Art – Charleston, SC
Sunday, March 6, 2011 – Buckman Performing Arts Center – Memphis, TN
Tuesday, March 8, 2011 – Millsaps College – Jackson, MS
Wednesday, March 9, 2011 – Clemson University – Clemson, SC
Thursday, March 10, 2011 – Western Carolina University – Cullowhee, NC
Friday, March 11, 2011 – Center for Doc. Studies @ Duke Univ. – Durham, NC
Monday, March 14, 2011 – Capri Theatre – Montgomery, AL
Wednesday, March 16, 2011 – Manship Theatre – Baton Rouge, LA
Friday, March 18, 2011 – Arts Council of Central Louisiana – Alexandria, LA
Wednesday, March 23, 2011 – Lucas Theatre – Savannah, GA
Besides us, this year’s Southern Circuit includes tours by Alex Karpovsky, Jenny Abel, and Kimberly Reed, among others. You can read more about all the filmmakers here. For our tour page on the SouthArts website, click here.
Posted in Basics, Distribution & Screenings, DIY Filmmaking, Films & Filmmakers, For Memories' Sake, Principles & Productivity, Quick Feet Soft Hands, Regional Film | 5 Comments »
On July 9th my short film Quick Feet, Soft Hands will be on nearly a hundred PBS stations across the country, including stations in New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Dallas/Ft. Worth, and Boston. If you’ve not already seen it, tune in or set your DVR. Many stations are playing it three or four times throughout the day.
To determine if it will be broadcast in your area — and, if so, which PBS station (many cities have multiple streams) — you can click here and enter your zip code.
Another way is to check is to look at this listing of all PBS World stations. If your city is listed here, then look at that station’s local listings for July 9. Almost all of these will be doing the broadcast.
Here’s the trailer from 2008, when it was about to begin playing on the festival circuit.
Posted in Distribution & Screenings, Films & Filmmakers, Quick Feet Soft Hands, Regional Film | Comments Off
The Year SXSW Got Big. While I don’t agree with David Lowery that it’s (yet) in danger of becoming Sundance, attendance swelled this year. The growing pains were sometimes apparent, especially with sell-outs and long lines.
From my perspective, I think sell out screenings are good, both for the fest and for the filmmakers. But more than a few noteworthy films were only programmed once during the main festival (Fri – Tues) and others were booked at venues that were far too small for the demand. In previous years, these issues wouldn’t have been a problem. This year, though, even with a Gold Badge, if one hoped to attend a screening it meant standing in line for more than an hour. Needless to say, all that time spent in line cut down on the films one could see. I took it in stride, in part because my badge was complimentary for moderating the Cinematography for Improv panel. It wasn’t hard, however, to hear the grumbling of others standing in line. As long as I’ve been attending, SXSW has been well-run, so I’m hoping that this is just a hiccup and I’m optimistic that festival organizers are looking for solutions for next year.
Two Highlights. Of the films I did get to see, the highlights were Justin Molotnikov’s Crying With Laughter and Jukka Karkkainen’s The Living Room of the Nation, both of which stand a good chance of making my Top 20 list at year’s end. The former is a Scottish thriller set against the backdrop of stand-up comedy. The centerpiece of the film is a tour-de-force performance by Stephen McCole. Living Room, on the other hand, is a deadpan chronicle of the lives of ordinary Finnish citizens in their homes. Shot with an almost entirely static camera, the film has a mix of comedy and desperation that is hard to shake.
A Few Disappointments. When I come to SXSW I especially seek out the regionally-produced independent narrative films. In the past this has been, for me at least, one of SXSW’s most distinctive areas. This year the handful I caught were somewhat disappointing. My policy on this blog is not to write negative reviews — particularly for small movies that need all the help they can get just to be noticed by audiences — so I won’t name names. That said, I was surprised that the low points of the festival were all centered in this area. Perhaps it was just an off year, or maybe I just saw the wrong films?
Did I mention I missed a lot of films? With a fest this big, it’s easy to miss movies you really want to see and this year I missed more movies than I saw. I missed some, as previously mentioned, because of sell-outs. Others I missed because of time conflicts with other movies, or conflicts with my panel. Regardless of the reason, here are some films I’ll be eager to see in the coming year: Audrey the Trainwreck,Cold Weather, And Everything is Going Fine, Myth of the American Sleepover, Lovers of Hate, Tiny Furniture, and World Peace and Other 4th Grade Achievements. That’s a lot to look forward to.
Posted in Distribution & Screenings, Films & Filmmakers, Regional Film, SXSW | 1 Comment »