Latinos In The Industry

INDUSTRY INSIGHTS: MoMA Indie Summit Hashes Out Crisis

Anne Thompson has been a contributor to the New York Times, Washington Post, The Observer, and Wired. She has served as film columnist at Variety, and deputy editor of Click on Talk Back to discuss with other NALIPsters!

I came to New York to help moderate a Friday afternoon Indie Summit organized by MoMA's Rajendra Roy, IndieWIRE and Marian Koltai-Levine of Zipline Entertainment, one of several new companies that have sprung up to help indie filmmakers release their movies. That's a sign of the "indie crisis" that has emerged over the last year or so, as indie distributors have cut back and the ones that survive are far from secure. (Harvey Weinstein and Miramax's Daniel Battsek were no-shows.) IndieWIRE's Eugene Hernandez and I sat on opposite sides of the Founder's Room, which looked like something out of the U.N., with a square of facing tables and floating mikes.

MoMA director Glenn Lowry made a brief appearance at the start, making a point of the museum's avid support for film since 1938 (take that, LACMA). SnagFilms/IndieWIRE CEO Rick Allen recognized, he said, "the fragility inherent in the notion of independent, no more fragile than now." He asked the packed room of about 60 people to consider where money was coming to make films, with equity leaving the market. Where were the evangelists going to come from for indie films, with newspapers fading and critics losing their jobs? How was the distribution bottleneck going to be resolved? How were declining DVD sales going to impact the market for films? All these issues and more were hashed out over the next two and a half hours on Friday. And emotions were, at certain points, running high.


INDUSTRY INSIGHTS: Notes on a Crisis - Discussing Indie Film at the Indiewire/MoMA Summit

Scott Macaulay is the Editor of Filmmaker Magazine and a film producer who is a partner in the New York-based production company Forensic Films. Among his film producing credits are "Raising Victor Vargas," "Gummo," "Idlewild," and "What Happened Was..." Click on Talk Back to discuss with other NALIPsters!

Indiewire and MoMA jointly organized a summit at MoMA on September 25 to discuss independent film and its future direction in a time of economic crisis and technological change. That the two groups could assemble a fairly astonishing collection of about 70 distributors, producers, directors, festival reps and others from the community at one place at one time is testament to the strength of the organizations but also the widespread sentiment that our business is changing and that what is yet to come will be defined by our collective actions - or, possibly, non-actions.

1. Crisis, What Crisis? Less funding available for independent film; a retreat from the market by private equity for at least three years; no new mini-major start-ups on the horizon; the inability of any of the "old" indie companies to remain independent over time; studio emphasis on and audience acceptance of pure escapism at the multiplex; a shortage of trusted voices who will guide consumers to indie product in the digital marketplace; the difficulty of making a living as an independent producer; and the limited appeal DIY models have for filmmakers who may not be businessmen or who may not have the energy following picture lock to self or hybrid-distribute -- all of these were cited as indicators of the current crisis. But there were other points of view. Some challenged this conception, asking if the studio specialty business is really all that broken and noting that while DVD is shrinking, other ancillaries, including cable pay deals, are still robust. Are studio specialty divisions still maintaining healthy profit margins, or are they dispensable vanity labels able to be jettisoned when their corporate parents feel their bottom lines contracting? Seen another way, is the crisis simply a crisis for the indie film managerial class, who are no longer able to maintain their standard of living from the percentages thrown off from transactional indie product? And with regards to private equity, one participant pointed out that there is equity out there originating in other industries. Many of these investors are willing to invest in the sector but have been burned before and are thus looking for new deal structures that respect the value of their investment.


WGBH Lab Open Call

The WGBH Lab Open Call is an invitation for you to make a completed video short and share it with the world. To kick-start your process, we offer up a compelling theme and open content video clips for your use. Now we need YOUR fresh take and YOUR feedback.

Upload your short and follow it as our online community watches, reviews, and rates it. We call this Social Production, a crucial part of sharing your story with the world. Engage with other media makers, discuss your experience, and make your voice heard. At the end of the Open Call process, your work may even be featured on public media nationwide!

For more information visit the WBGH Lab Open Call website.

Call for Entries: Latino Portrait Project

Latino Portrait is a project encouraging people in the Americas to share their vision of who they are. It is also a venue to show what Latino/as produced in audio visual terms. Made a personal essay, a short story, a video inteview or video-collage, anything you want (use photos, real footage, mix them, etc.). Contestants may enter by submitting a five (5) minute video (maximun) to the Latino Portrait Project.

The selected videos will be screened previous to the films participating in the 2009 NC Latin American Film Festival, on November 2009.

Latino Portrait is open to anyone. However, participants age 18 or younger must have written parental consent to participate and /or submit a video. Video Submission:
1. Please limit running time to five minutes. Please submit as DVD of (or) CD with your video in QuickTime (mov), Windows Media Video (wmv), or MPEG (mpg or mpeg) format. / or send it via youtube
2. All pieces must be original, and may not include images under copyright
3. Videos with a running time of more than five (5) minutes will be eliminated or edited (with consent of the author)
4. All entries must include the printed or online entry form clearly filled out. The video has to be clearly labeled with the name of the entrant.
5. All video submissions must be received by October 10th 2009

The selected material will be presented during the 2009 NC Latino / American Film Festival. The selected material will enter the video and film collection of the Consortium in Latin American and Caribbean Studies at UNC-CH and Duke University. A selection of the videos will be broadcasted by local TV. Others TBA.

Send your questions to:
Call us: (919) 681 38 83 / (919) 358 0787 Visit us at:

California Arts Day - Friday, Oct. 2

The California Arts Council celebrates California Arts Day on the first Friday in October... And the National Arts and Humanities Month throughout the month!

Check out our website to discover California Arts Day events happening near you, find some fun downloads and arts games for kids, and listen to the Arts Day song "The Art in Me!"

Interested in supporting California arts through the California Arts Council? Buy an Arts Plate! Nearly $35 from each plate sold, and $40 of each renewal, supports arts for kids and communities.

Disney Ups 'Waverly' Order
(Variety) - The Disney Channel has ordered an additional eight episodes of "The Wizards of Waverly Place." Currently in its third season, the show earned the Emmy earlier this month for children's programming. FULL STORY

Danny Trejo Joins Predators
(ScreenCrave) - If you’re a fan of Robert Rodriguez, the latest news regarding his reboot, Predators won’t come as a shock. It appears that character actor Danny Trejo is the first person to be cast in the film. FULL STORY

A New Venue for Indie Films: Your iPhone
(ReadWriteWeb) - The lastest Jude Law movie "Rage" isn't all that remarkable in and of itself, but the way it's being distributed is: via mobile phones. FULL STORY

Jobs & Opportunities

Visit the NALIP Job Opportunities page for all the latest listings.

From the Editor
Alex Mendoza
Alex Mendoza & Associates
AMARTE Design & Digital Printing
9513 Longden Avenue
Temple City, CA 91780

1323 Lincoln Blvd., #220
Santa Monica, CA 90401

David Ortiz
NALIP Executive Board member joins Vin Diesel's company

By Dave McNary, Variety

Vin Diesel has hired former Universal exec David Ortiz at his One Race production shingle with the aim of developing films for a global audience. Ortiz worked with Diesel at Universal on the "Fast and Furious" franchise. He also worked on "Wanted" and "Role Models" at the studio.

After starting in the WMA mailroom, Ortiz was Donna Langley's assistant at Universal, went to Warner Bros. to become a creative executive and returned to U in 2005 as Langley's first hire when she was promoted to president of production.

"David brings a fresh perspective to our slate," Diesel said. "We are looking to him to bring us projects that resonate with multicultural audiences domestically and abroad."

Pablo Proenza
NALIPster editor on Michael Moore's Capitalism: A Love Story

NALIP member Pablo Proenza (LWL 2004) was an editor on Michael Moore's new documentary, Capitalism: A Love Story.

Capitalism premiered at the Venice Film Festival to an unprecedented 8 minute standing ovation. Critics are describing it as "Moore's magnum opus" (Mary Corliss, TIME) and his "most controversial film yet." (Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times). Variety also singled out the editing for praise, saying it's "aces throughout." (Leslie Felperin, Variety)

If you want to read about the experience of working on such an inspiring and revolutionary film visit Pablo's blog.

Capitalism has already opened this weekend in LA and NY to the highest per-screen average of 2009 and an overwhelmingly positive audience response. It opens nationwide on Oct 2nd.

For the trailer and information on where and how to see the film:

María José Calderón
NALIPster wins Special Jury Award at OHFF

NALIP member María José Calderón's 26-minute documentary The Edge of the Sea was awarded the Special Jury Award in the short documentary category at the 2009 Orlando Hispanic Film Festival, where the film had its world premiere on September 18th.

The Edge of The Sea tells the story of Edwin 'Pauco' Font, a 61-year old third generation fisherman from Rincon, Puerto Rico in his battle against a developer that is planning to build a mega condo project on one of Rincon's most popular public beaches. This film, explores the issue of privatization of public areas, and the social and environmental consequences of excessive coastal development.

Producer/director María José Calderón was present at the award ceremony and had the chance to speak with several members of the Puerto Rican community in Orlando who were deeply touched by the issues covered in the film.

Cristina Kotz Cornejo
NALIPster sells first feature for Russian TV broadcast

NALIP member Cristina Kotz Cornejo has sold her first feature, 3 Americas, for Russian television broadcast. Writer/Director Cristina Kotz Cornejo's foreign sales rep closes deal for Russian television broadcast from interest generated at MIPTV in Cannes, France in April.

Cristina also signed US DVD and TV Broadcast distribution deal with Vanguard Cinema in July. Digital distribution is represented by Cinetic Media's digital branch, Cinetic Rights Management of New York City.

Cristina was also recently selected a 2009-2010 Directing Fellow with Film Independent.


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