News & Updates
It’s coming close to that time of year when key players across the media and entertainment world will gather for the 33rd annual Walter Kaitz Foundation dinner, the most prestigious fundraising event in the cable industry. Every year the foundation recognizes organizations that demonstrate an unwavering commitment to diversity. This year, the honors go to the National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP) and A + E Networks. In anticipation of the event, we caught up with Axel Caballero, the executive director of NALIP, to find out how the diversity advocate honoree is helping minorities in the business better navigate today’s changing media landscape.
Under Caballero’s leadership in the past three years, NALIP has come a long way in its mission to reach and advance the professional interests of Latino content creators.
NALIP, which has been around for 17 years, started as a gathering of creators and producers who saw the need to expand opportunities for Latino content creators in media. But over the years, as the media landscape went through drastic changes, it transformed into a professional development organization on top of an advocacy organization. And when Caballero took the helm in 2013, NALIP went through a full transformation. “While in the past we focused on mainly film and documentaries and access to those opportunities, we adjusted our focus to include TV components, cable access, technology and digital training,” said Caballero. NALIP’s leadership then restructured operations and program offerings to serve a wider membership and to appeal to the new media age. Even the logo changed from a film reel to a play button.
Caballero relayed that he drew a lot of inspiration in bringing NALIP to where it is now from a previous project that he founded, called Cuéntame. Cuéntame was an online Latino community coalition geared toward empowering Latinos in various social issues. Realizing that Cuéntame was opening up a lot of conversations at the national level, Caballero wanted to bring that same sense of empowerment to the voices at NALIP, and to focus on creating more pathways to funding and networking opportunities to help drive that empowerment among the membership.
NALIP’s revamped mission is best seen through its “incubators,” a series of initiatives that allow Latino content creators to gather together, share their best work, network and receive training that take their careers to the next level. Today, the incubators, along with the array of mentorship programs, media summits and showcases hosted by NALIP and which bring together key players in the cable, media and entertainment worlds, have expanded the meaning of what being a producer means. “In this day and age, everyone is a content creator. You have writers, directors, YouTube folks,” said Caballero.
Latino Lens is the media incubation program that contains specific tracks for Latino content creators, including film, digital, documentaries, TV, and technology arts. Caballero said that while the organization takes pride on promoting the diversity component in its mission, it’s also about showing its membership what is happening out there in the media landscape, and preparing them to compete and work within that framework. For example, the technology arts track is currently in development to include an emphasis on virtual reality, gaming and media mobile apps, and falls in line with where the media and entertainment industry is headed. In five years, Caballero hopes to see these new media projects fueling the careers and growth of NALIP’s membership. “As opposed to just NALIP being a springboard to opportunities, we want the organization in and of itself to be an opportunity,” he said.
So far, NALIP’s offerings are paying off, as many members and participants go on to write for hit shows. And another testament to that success is Nickolas Duarte, a NALIP member, film writer and director, who signed a deal last year with Warner Bros. at one of NALIP’s events to develop original digital content.
NALIP will be honored at the Kaitz dinner held in New York City during Diversity Week on September 21. To have that peer recognition, Caballero said, is incredibly important in moving forward: “It recognizes the hard work not only of the hundreds of individuals at NALIP, but also the hard work of our membership. Without them, there would be no NALIP.”
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by Tom Collins
Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) has joined forces with Instagram to create the TIFFXINSTAGRAM Shorts Festival, and their team of judges will be choosing 30 shorts to be featured on TIFF's website and Instagram channel August 8-17.
Since 60-second videos became a thing on Instagram, the platform has become more enticing for filmmakers wanting to showcase their work. So, here's your chance to impress some industry professionals and finally have your Instagram posts noticed amidst all the selfies and food pics.
The acclaimed panel of judges include Ava Duvernay, Xavier Dolan, Illustrator and Animator Rachel Ryle, and Director and Photographer Nabil Elderkin. They will be selecting 30 finalists and a judges' award from all submissions. A fan favorite prize is also up for grabs for the most likes on Instagram. There are no guidelines as to what genre or style of content is encouraged, except that on the TIFF website, they state the shorts must be the original work of an aspiring or established filmmaker. So, in other words, go nuts!
Submissions have been open since early July, and the deadline is the July 20. All submissions must be shared on Instagram with the hashtag #TIFFXINSTAGRAM. There is also a submission form, which can be found here.
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by Eric Kohn
IndieWire’s ongoing efforts to support the next general of critics and entertainment journalists continues this fall with the fifth edition of the New York Film Festival Critics Academy, produced in collaboration with the Film Society of Lincoln Center and its publication, Film Comment, in addition to support from IndieWire’s parent company, Penske Media. The workshop, which also takes place with an international group of participants at the Locarno Film Festival in August, runs in New York from September 30 – October 16.
The application process begins today; the deadline to send entries is August 1. Accepted critics will be notified by August 22. Emphasis will be placed on strength of writing and a diversity of voices, backgrounds and cultural interests.
This year, in addition to welcoming applicants from the New York area, IndieWire and the Film Society are announcing the potential for limited slots for those from other parts of the United States. Participants will contribute to IndieWire and work closely with Film Comment to hone their skills. In addition to covering the lineup of the festival, they will also discuss and engage in criticism of other art forms.
The Critics Academy was designed to foster the aspirations of strong writers with a focus on their role in contemporary film culture. Participants engage in a series of roundtable discussions with working journalists and other members of the industry, in addition to tackling a series of writing assignments. Alumni of the program have gone on to contribute and work at publications including IndieWire, Film Comment, Sight and Sound, The Los Angeles Times, The Guardian and Vulture. Others have pursued careers in distribution, publicity and programming.
Requirements: Applicants must have completed a minimum of three years of undergraduate study or have no more than two years of experience creating critical and/or journalistic content about movies. They must demonstrate an interest in film criticism and/or film journalism as well as the ability to speak and write fluently in English.
Applications must include the following:
● CV: A basic, one-page resume.
● Three articles or film reviews written in English. Please refrain from including lengthy academic papers or other scholarly materials that may not give an accurate reflection of the applicant’s capacity to succeed in this workshop.
● A 500-word statement of intent. Tell us about your background and why you would make an ideal candidate for the Critics Academy. Make sure to note any particular interests (genres, national cinemas, etc.). Passion, strong writing skills, and a deep knowledge of film history matter more than overall professional experience.
Please send applications to [email protected].
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By: Nosotros / Producers Resource Group / Film ConnectionWEDNESDAY AUGUST 10th in Hollywood, CA / @ 6:30PMRSVP NOW -- SPACE IS LIMITTED
This is a rare opportunity for you to join a WORKSHOP INTENSIVE that covers the true "ins and outs" of what it takes to make a project with the end (sales) in mind -- FROM THE PEOPLE THAT ACTUALLY DO THE BUYING!
The Intensive Workshop was designed NOT to be another boring panel discussion filled with unrelated business and financial discussions. A large portion of the seminar will be dedicated to answering questions from YOU! With the rapid growth in filmmaking technology over the last decade, almost everyone wants to make a movie... and almost everyone has tried! BUT NOT EVERYONE CAN SELL A MOVIE. There is a huge demand for content, but only a few filmmakers know how to profit from that demand.
So be it with 10k or 300k - you'll learn how to maximize your budget to increase your chances of selling your film by filmmakers that have done just that. You'll get an understanding how all of the different roles fit together: distributors, sales agents, producer’s reps, acquisitions, aggregators, film festivals, and film markets like the American Film Market (AFM).
*** Please note: The workshop will concluded with a 30-minute mixer where you can mix & mingle with the speakers and executives from companies such as (+) Entertainment, Mucho Mas Media, Cinetel Films and Cinedigm Pictures as well as other filmmakers - so bring your business cards and have your pitch ready! ***
Who should attend: Producers, Filmmakers making their first feature film, anyone involved in low-budget filmmaking or anyone with a film ready to sell!
Requirements: Something to take notes with and plenty of questions.
By the end of this Workshop, you will know:
How to maximize your ultra low budget.
How movies are valued and distributed .
How to put together a realistic strategy to get the best distribution.
RSVP on and learn more on Eventbrite.com
John Shearer/Getty Images
Star Wars star Oscar Isaac is in negotiations to star opposite Mark Rylance in The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara for Amblin Entertainment.
Steven Spielberg is putting together the true-life religious drama to tackle after he wraps the sci-fi thriller Ready Player One.
Tony Kushner, who worked on Spielberg’s Lincoln and Munich, wrote the script adapting the David Kertzer novel, which has been in development with the filmmaker since 2008.
The true story centers on a 6-year-old Jewish boy in Bologna, Italy, in 1858 who was seized by the police and removed from his parents' home. He was subsequently raised as a Catholic and became a priest in the Augustinian order. Rylance will star as Pope Pius IX.
Spielberg, Marc Platt and Kristie Macosko Krieger, who produced Bridge of Spies, will produce Mortara.
Isaac had a breakout year in 2015 with a buzzy turn in Alex Garland’s sci-fi thriller Ex Machina then scene-stealing work in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. He last appeared as the villain in X-Men: Apocalypse.
Isaac recently wrapped Star Wars: Episode VIII as well as the Paramount sci-fi thriller Annihilation, which reteamed him with Garland.
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Exec will head up development initiative for directors.
Frank Bennett Gonzalez is expanding his role in overseeing the Directors Guild of America’s diversity initiatives.
Now the executive in charge of the DGA’s diversity programs and committees, Gonzalez will manage the guild’s growing diversity programs.
That includes the DGA Director Development Initiative, a networking and educational program that started in January.
The program helps members further their television directing careers, utilizing various tools, including a director mentorship program.
“Frank’s commitment to increasing diversity in DGA-covered categories has been a valuable asset to our Guild,” said DGA national executive director Jay D. Roth in a statement on Wednesday. “And that benefit will continue to grow as he steps into this expanded role designed to strengthen the diversity programs and resources available to our membership.”
Gonzalez will also continue working on the DGA’s diversity strategy alongside the guild’s Diversity Task Force and committees. Gonzalez reports to associate national executive director Bryan Unger.
Before Gonzalez joined the DGA in 2014, he worked for more than 13 years on diversity initiatives for the Disney/ABC Television Group.
Among other jobs there, he was the director of creative talent development, where he launched and grew creative initiatives and talent development programs, including the Disney/ABC Writing Program and the Disney/ABC-DGA Directing Program — for which he worked closely with the entertainment guilds and built strong relationships with community arts organizations.
Gonzalez has an MFA from the UCLA School of Film & Television Producers Program and a B.A. in Film Studies from UC Irvine.
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NALIPster Alex Ferrari oversees popular podcast on indy filmmaking.Encouraged by what he learned over the years as a writer, director, producer and post production/vfx supervisor, created a blog and podcast to share with indie filmmakers and enthusiasts. Featuring interviews with Academy Award® / Oscar nominees and industry professionals Ferrari, shares what it takes to survive and thrive in the industry.Check it out on indiefilmhustle.com