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LEF Fellows Beyza Boyacioglu, Warren Cockerham, Amy Jenkins and Brynmore Williams at the Flaherty Seminar

Four New England filmmakers were selected to attend the 60th Robert Flaherty Film Seminar from June 14-20, 2014 as LEF Fellows. These filmmakers are Beyza Boyacioglu, Warren Cockerham, Amy Jenkins, and Brynmore Williams. The following are reflections from the fellows about their Flaherty Seminar experience:

A few weeks ago, LEF Program Assistant Gen Carmel sat down with David Hartman, Program Director of the Massachusetts Production Coalition (MPC), who shared details on the unique opportunities for Bay State filmmakers that have appeared since the MPC was created in 2005. The coalition works as an advocate to promote film and media production in the state, and as a platform for professional development.

Just two short weeks ago, I found myself in Park City, UT; an extremely fortunate and grateful fellow attending the Sundance Creative Producing Lab & Summit. Sundance is supporting a film I’m producing called STREET FIGHTING MAN ( and what I’ve found in this experience is that, in their ardent championship of independent film, the Sundance Institute provides an incredible amount of guidance to all the projects they fund.

This is the end of my fourth and final year as Program Assistant at LEF New England; with complete confidence, I’m handing over my keys to the LEF office to Gen Carmel, who is already showing uncanny job aptitude (she also has interesting insights into independent filmmaking in Beijing - ask her about it!). I’m moving on, which is a little sad, but I’m looking forward to staying in touch with the people I’ve been lucky to get to know during my time at LEF...
From June 15 – 21, the Flaherty Film Seminar hosted its 59th program: HISTORY IS WHAT’S HAPPENING. For the uninitiated, this annual, intensive weeklong seminar brings filmmakers, programmers, scholars and students together to discuss, dissect and celebrate cinema. Since 2009, LEF Foundation has supported a fellowship program that sends New England-based filmmakers to the seminar for professional development and, importantly, inspiration. This year’s fellows were Beth Balaban, Chico Colvard, Hunter Synder, and Jim Wolpaw. Below, we are sharing some of their reflections about their experiences at the legendary Flaherty.

LEF Fellow Hunter Synder (left), filmmaker Yoni Brook, LEF Fellow Beth Balaban (right)

Independent filmmakers looking for ways to get their content both monetized and in the hands of audiences, Vimeo has just the thing for you! At SXSW 2013, Vimeo announced their new Vimeo On Demand platform, a service that grew from their “Tip Jar” concept. With Vimeo On Demand, any Vimeo PRO member ($199/year) can make their content available for a fee. The filmmaker has ultimate flexibility in setting price, launch date, rental time or download, countries available, etc. iTunes and Amazing offer similar deals to filmmakers, however what is unique for Vimeo On Demand is that Vimeo only takes 10%; the majority of the profit goes to the content creator.
With all the reports filtering back Eastward from the 2013 True/False Film Festival in Columbia, MO as a non-eyewitness I can't really pin down what happened out there, between the game shows, parades, parties and secret screenings and the festival's commitment to questioning the genre line between fact and fiction. Luckily LEF's Executive Director Lyda Kuth was at True/False to take in all the exciting new work that's happening and to applaud LEF grantees Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Verena Paravel in being the recipients of the 2013 True Vision Award

One new element of the festival that caught our attention at LEF was the Neither/Nor screening series, launched this year to provide "a historical overview of films that explore and/or break free of the dubious dichotomy of fact and fiction." The series makes a selection of works that are outside of the fact/fiction divide - films that can be called "Chimeras" after the mythological figure made up of different animal parts.
For the past two years, the LEF Foundation has supported a forum created by the team at the Cinema Eye Honors. The Forum takes place each year the morning of the event, gathering Cinema Eye nominees and industry leaders for a round table discussion. The intent is to engage filmmakers in a discussion of their experiences and challenges, find areas of mutual benefit and concern, and strive to work collectively toward learning and change.
Aron Gaudet and Gita Pullapilly are the poster children for the new generation of entrepreneurial independent filmmakers.

This past weekend was the 2012 Camden International Film Festival in Camden, ME, and the staff of LEF New England turned out in its entirety. LEF’s Executive Director Lyda and Program Director Sara were industry delegates for the Points North Forum, and I was there to screen my short documentary Gold Party. It's a big deal to have this high-quality, all-documentary festival in the New England region that brings in really great international and national films to screen alongside Maine- and New-England focused stories.

On September 19, I went to a salon-style event organized by the MIT Open Doc Lab where author and film scholar Scott Macdonald talked about his new book The Cambridge Turn. The book looks at the development of a tradition of documentary filmmaking in the 1960s and 70s right here in Cambridge, MA, exemplified by the work of filmmakers like John Marshall and Ed Pincus.  I’m looking forward to reading the full book when it’s published, since the films he's studying really resonate with me. As well as the connections between these films Prof. MacDonald is looking at the intellectual context behind them; he pointed out a potential link between the categories of filmmaking that flourished in Cambridge, which he defined as Personal and Ethnographic (in a way “different sides of the same coin” since they’re both rooted in the filmmaker’s direct experience), and the development of experience-based Pragmatism philosophy in Cambridge.
I juggle a lot of hats in this inspiring, and often bewildering, game we call documentary. Program Director at the LEF Foundation is one of them. Programmer at The DocYard is another. And a third, of which I am very proud, is Producer of the non-fiction feature film (currently in post-production) Street Fighting Man. It was with this last hat on that I set off to New York for Independent Film Week, last week.

There are many people locally who are working feverishly ( how else) and somewhat below the radar ( no surprise) in all aspects of the media industry. To make visible the range of activity going on in Boston, we'll be blogging  about some of the people who make up this broad, and very vibrant community, that we're all a part of.  

Recently I took a trip to the WGBH complex in Boston to talk with Eric Gulliver, an Assistant Editor at FRONTLINE, the public affairs documentary series on PBS that's been on air for more than 30 years. I wanted to learn a little bit about how they put together the show and what it's like to work at a place where there's a shiny wall of Emmy and Peabody awards adjoining the break room.

Our 3rd DocYard summer season has wrapped and another collection of amazing films and artists has come and gone. Nearing the end of this summer’s programming, several people approached me asking about how we select the films. I’ve been programming screening and discussion events with filmmakers for my entire professional life, and these inquiries made me realize that what seems so rote to me is actually a total mystery to others. Now that the summer season is closed and we’ve turned our eyes to the next round of films in our scope, I thought it was a good time to share a bit about the process and thinking behind our programming.


I met Mina T. Son and Sara Newens at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival earlier this year. The California-based filmmakers are hard at work hard on their first feature documentary, Top Spin, which follows teenage US table tennis players all the way to the London 2012 Olympics. They recently finished a Kickstarter campaign (check it out here) that raised an impressive $75,000. I came across the Top Spin Kickstarter via Facebook, and Mina and Sara's telethon-style live webcast during the last days of their campaign caught my attention. It was absorbing to see them under pressure and working against the clock, getting donations in real timetrying to keep up momentum and make it to their goal I think it was similar to the way a lot of people feel while watching sports, actually (I don't, but I get the idea), so it was a nice match between the subject of the film and the fundraising approach.

With crowdfunding now such a standard option for filmmakers (LEF Program Director Sara blogged about it here), it's important to consider what might work best for each individual project to make it work; this is just one example of a winning strategy. I interviewed Mina about their experience:

LEF is very proud to have supported Leviathan, a documentary about the fishing industry in New Bedford, MA, by Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel. The film received Production and Post-Production Moving Image Fund awards, and it's been exciting to see the film progress to its confident conclusion in the hands of some of the best documentary filmmakers working in New England. Leviathan has been making a Swiss splash  at the Locarno International Film Festival, where it just had its world premiere. Eric Kohn at Indiewire enthuses:  

"Leviathan" resembles nothing like the existing format for nature documentaries, but it does point to a different approach to it. Generally speaking, the genre is predicated on distance between the viewer and subject. "Leviathan," on the other hand, delves into the thick of it, the camera merging with subjects living and dead, fashioning the natural world into the ultimate expressionistic accomplishment.

You can read more glowing mentions of the film at the Hollywood Reporter and Filmmaker Magazine. Leviathan will screen in the US at the New York Film Festival in October.

I have to say that I am often finding myself saying “Thank God for Ingrid Kopp.” Ingrid is the Director of Digital Initiatives at the Tribeca Film Institute and one of the brightest minds out there thinking about what’s next for digital storytelling. Professional accomplishments aside, just her Facebook page is an encyclopedia of the interesting, provocative, and newest in new developments in next generation media. As a part of the Tribeca Film Festival this spring (2012), Ingrid, through her work on the TFI New Media Fund, collaborated with XO Labs to created a one-day event bringing together some of the best minds in the field for conversation and learning – and they called it TFI Interactive. For those who couldn’t make it live, Ingrid has written a great synopsis of the day, including video clips of some of the sessions like the keynote by Baratunde Thurston (author of How To Be Black), a conversation with Campfire’s Steve Coulson about their interactive marketing campaign for Game of Thrones, and Local Projects’ Jack Barton speaking about the innovative work they’ve done with the 9/11 Memorial Museum. You can see all of this and more here thanks to Ingrid’s write up

Plenty has been written online about French filmmaker Chris Marker, who died this past Sunday. 

Here's Richard Brody in The New Yorker, and Colin Marshall at Open Culture, where you can watch full some of Marker's films online (Chris Marker documents the Tokyo Olympics - London 2012 take note: Le mystère Koumiko (1965)). Zachary Wigon at Filmmaker Magazine laments the extent to which Marker, a filmmaker obsessed with memory, has been forgotten about: “you’ll see plenty of notice given the man in the wake of his death, but Marker hasn’t held the attention of the film world in the way that his contemporaries Jean-Luc Godard and Resnais do since, well – never."

He was certainly no showboater; the filmmaker who Ty Burr describes as "a ghostly fellow traveler" alongside the French New Wave seldom gave interviews and refused to be photographed. He expressed a desire, as Richard Brody quotes from a rare interview, "to give the floor to people who haven’t got it, and, when possible, to help them to find their means of expression." But his presence is infused everywhere. 

There's the influence of Marker's unclassifiable films; this is the person who "pioneered the flexible hybrid form known as the essay film" according to Dennis Lim's NYT obituary; who made Sans Soleil; and who once saved me personally (as I'm sure he's saved others in the past), from the consequences of several rolls of ruined film during a class project. NB. you can get away with pretending you were planning to do the thing “La Jetee  style,” and get away with it, exactly one time. 

Then there's his presence in other people's movies. Personal, like his appearance in his friend Agnes Varda's The Beaches of Anges in the guise of an animated cat; or harder to trace, like his role as the kind of fairy godfather behind Patricio Guzman's The Battle of Chile. Guzman recalls how Marker, who was to him just a well-known Left-wing French filmmaker, showed up at his doorstep one day to buy Guzman's film The First Year. When the Chilean political situation began to escalate and Guzman sensed that huge events would need to be captured on film, he reached out to his acquaintance:


The Battle of Chile turned out to be a great film and an important part of a country's memory; the reverberations of Chris Marker's response are still felt. Who knows how a generous action or a willingness to take a creative risk will play out in the future? We can all take lesson's from Marker's far-raging work.

Each year LEF sponsors 4 New England filmmakers' attendance at the Robert Flaherty Film Seminar, a weeklong immersive experience where filmmakers, artists, scholars and curators gather to watch and discuss films. The theme of this year's seminar was "Open Wounds," programmed by Josexto Cerdán. Garth Donovan was one of this year's LEF New England Flaherty Fellows  and he wrote about his experience at the seminar - we look forward to sharing posts from all 4 of the LEF Fellows soon...

Not attempting to earn brownie points here, but I actually did enter this year’s Flaherty Seminar with little or no preconceptions, especially about what I would be seeing up on the big screen. Honoring the mantra of its creator Robert Flaherty harvested a great deal of insightand inspiration both to the simple human and the filmmaker inside me.
Sometimes they seem like the overlooked little siblings of the movie family, but short films need nurturing just like their feature-length counterparts. Fortunately, there are some exciting opportunities out there right now for shorts;  if you’re in the process of making one, these avenues might help shepherd it towards a successful future.
At the end of last month I went to a Copyright and Fair Use Workshop with Attorney Karen Shatzkin, sponsored by Emerson College’s department of Visual and Media Arts. Karen focused on the basic ideas of copyright and Fair Use as they apply to documentary filmmakers, and I took notes. Filmmakers – don’t quake under the threat of legal action, read up on your rights!

Earlier this year, we decided a party was in order as part of celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the LEF Moving Image Fund.  Due to capacity issues, we were limited to inviting those filmmakers we had funded and colleagues we work closely with.  But the spirit of the event was to celebrate the filmmaking community as a whole—not just those in the room-- and to affirm that none of us does this work alone.

The LEF staff has been out and about! Following up Sara’s post about True/False, I’m reporting back on my time at the Big Sky Film Festival in Missoula, Montana where the Big Sky team headed by Mike Steinberg put together some really wonderful programming.  Highlights for me included the Jury Prize winner Chasing Ice, about photographer James Balog and his beautiful/devastating glacier photography (audience members were audibly gasping) and getting to see one of my favorites, DA Pennebaker’s Don’t Look Back, on a big screen. I was also really impressed with how well the shorts blocks pulled films together under thematic headers that provided a context for the movies to interact. 

After an amazing weekend in Columbia, Missouri at the True/False Film Fest, I was prepared to write a full-on public Love Letter (capitals intended) to the festival praising its spirit, its vision and its whimsy. 

Last week LEF took part in a workshop for media grant seekers at New England Foundation for the Arts in downtown Boston. Dan Blask from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, MassHumanities’ Hayley Wood and LEF’s Sara Archambault were there to talk about what funding is available for film- and video-makers, demystifying the grant application process and fielding questions from potential grant recipients .

Here are my notes from the workshop (thanks to NEFA for hosting us!)



WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 11, 11.00am - 12.30pm

Ampitheater, 144 W. 65th St, New York, NY

Cinema Eye invites directors and producers with at least one feature doc credit to participate in this open conversation about key issues impacting our community.

The Balagan Film Series had its final screening of the season earlier this week with "Our Departed," a program comprised of work from filmmakers who passed away in 2011.  As co-curator Jeff Silva noted, it's been a rough year for the film community in terms of losses, and he likened the Balagan program to another take on the "in memorium" section of the Oscars - a flipside to the usual Hollywood tribute since it featured work from very independent filmmakers like George Kuchar, Robert Breer, Owen Land, Karen Aqua (whose film Twist of Fate was screened on a great 35mm print), Ricky Leacock, Raúl Ruiz and Omar Amiralay. 

Some of the films I'd heard of and was eager to see - like Leacock's Chiefs, about a police chief convention in Hawaii right after the 1968 riots at the Chicago Democratic Convention - and others, like Owen Land's 3-minute No Sir Orison, were pleasant surprises. 


As part of the ongoing Frederick Wiseman retrospective happening at the Harvard Film Archive,
this week brings us screenings of the Cambridge-based filmmaker's Belfast, Maine (1999) (Sunday 20 Nov. at 6pm) and Titicut Follies (1967) (Monday 21 Nov at 7pm). Belfast, Maine is "serenely composed of the illuminating routines and intimate minutiae" of a New England town, while Titicut Follies, Wiseman's first film (also set in New England, in Massachusetts), "proved so shocking in its unadorned rendering of a state mental institution that it remains the only American film to have been completely censored for reasons other than obscenity or national security."  No matter what slice of American life he chooses to film, Wiseman's documentaries are engrossing - this is a chance to see a part of his panorama of work on a big screen.

In a special event on 2 Dec, the filmmaker will be at the HFA in person to talk about The Last Letter (La Dernier Lettre), his only fiction film. The last movie of the series is State Legsislature on 2 Dec - a film that LEF supported with a Production grant.

The screenings at the HFA coincide with Frederick Wiseman's Phelps Lecture at the Radcliffe Institude for Advanced Study on Dec 1:"Shooting, Editing, and Reading a Documentary Film"

"Frederick Wiseman will discuss—and illustrate with sequences from his films—his approach to documentary filmmaking. He will address choice of subject, fundraising, technical filming
issues, sound recording and editing, analysis of sequences, relation of facts to metaphor and abstraction, and the creation of a dramatic structure. Wiseman will end with a discussion
about how he applies the principles of "close reading" to film." 

The lecture is free and open to the public on Dec 1 at 4pm at the Radcliffe Gymnasium, 10 Garden St. Cambridge MA.

- Nellie

The Center for Social Media at American University has created yet another helpful and informative study examining the work of nonfiction filmmakers. This one is "Honest Truths: Documentary Filmmakers on Challenges in Their Work"; a report based on conversations with 45 filmmakers about the ethical challenges they face in the creation of their work and how they handle them.
The Media, Culture, and Special Initiatives program of the John and Catherine T MacArthur Foundation in Chicago is funding the production and distribution of documentary films with an open call that begins Nov. 1 with proposals due Dec 2.  The guidelines are fairly specific, and the deadline will be competitive, but If your project does meet the Foundation's criteria, this is a great chance to apply for some substantial funding!
A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending the IFP’s Indie Film Week. It had been years since I had gone and I knew that in just the last year or so, the format had changed dramatically. LEF had one film in the market this year, Banker White’s THE GENIUS OF MARION, and so I took the opportunity to see what was new at the IFP.
I love Maine. As you cross the border into this fair state, you see the sign “The Way Life Should Be” and you learn in just moments from the fiery hills and the salty fresh air that it’s true, this is the way life should be. I am nothing but grateful that the Camden International Film Festival (CIFF) gives me an excuse every year to get up there. CIFF is an amazing festival celebrating the best, brightest, and newest ideas in nonfiction cinema, and it keeps getting better every year.
To add to the list of things to be excited about at the upcoming Camden International Film Festival: Northeast Historic Film Presents: Working Waterfronts of Maine.

This program of film clips from the Northeast Historic Film Archive promises seamoss harvesting, lobstering and boat launching, among other coastal activities. The screening takes place on Saturday, October 1 at 10:30am at the Farnsworth Museum in Rockland, ME, with NHF Executive Director David Weiss on hand to talk about the films.

For filmmakers or other interested parties attending CIFF, a side trip to check out Northeast Historic Film in Bucksport, ME might be worth investigating. This past July I attended the annual Summer Symposium at NHF – the 2011 theme was Das Wunderkino: A Cinematic Cabinet of Curiosities,...
Producer and LEF Grantee Yu Ying Chou (also known as Sally Wu) is working with director Marlo Poras on the epic tale THE MOSUO SISTERS, about two spirited daughters of China's last matriarchal society and their challenges as they balance their responsibilities to their family, their culture, and themselves. Sally and Marlo were selected to participate in the 2011 Sundance Creative Producing Summit, held recently in Utah. Here are some of Sally's thoughts about the experience....
Hats off to Channel 4 BRITDOC for taking on the huge challenge of tracking what kind of difference a documentary can make!
From July 28 through July 30, Northeast Historic Film in Bucksport, Maine is hosting its 12thAnnual Summer Symposium: “Das Wunderkino: A Cinematic Cabinet of Curiosities.” With presentations on peepshow phenomenology, magician/taylor/filmmakers, laryngoscopes, amateur-made trick films, 1980s Australian youth culture, and much more, this is a conference that sounds like it will mentally transport participants even farther than the 227 miles it takes to get there from Boston.
Most people have a summer reading list. I have a summer screening list. Which, thanks to Mike Stoltz, has just gotten longer. LEF Flaherty Fellow Mike Stoltz gives us his "must see" list from the seminar.
Please share in the Flaherty glow. Jesse Epstein shines it brightly!
I had the privilege of attending a tribute to Ricky Leacock over the weekend at MIT's Media Lab. The program was filled with honest, funny, and moving stories from those who knew him best - his collaborators, his students, and, of course, his beloved family.
Hats off to Lesley Norman, Jen Kaplan and the whole Filmmakers Collaborative team for their hard work in creating a fantastic event!
With all of the new documentaries in town this week for the Independent Film Festival Boston (don't miss the LEF-sponsored panel When Does a Story Become a FIlm? From Idea to Documentary), it's also good to remember some older nonfiction films that have been screening at the Harvard Film Archive - the Middletown Film Project, which conclude this Sunday with SEVENTEEN.
I've been reading some wonderful content on the Nieman Storyboard, a great resource from the Neiman Foundation:

"A project of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard, Nieman Storyboard looks at how storytelling works in every medium. In addition to highlighting outstanding print narratives, we seek to feature the best examples of visual, audio and multimedia narrative reporting. As a bonus, we’ll also give you occasional updates on conferences, awards, and other narrative news."

If you're an avid reader of non-fiction, it’s really interesting to learn more about the processes behind this kind of writing.
A diverse group of screenings, from LEF grantees and other filmmakers of interest, to help get from the current lion-like part of March to the lamb-like part at the other end:

The Salem Film Fest, not to be confused with the Salem (Oregon) Film Festival, is happening soon – March 4 – March 10 in Salem MA.

It’s exciting to have a relatively new (this is it's fourth year), all-documentary festival in New England, one with a carefully-chosen program of 30 films.
I’ve been meaning to talk about movie posters since this post at’s daily notebook naming the SWEETGRASS poster as one of the top 10 of 2010 (one of the few documentaries to make the list).

With lots of festivals happening now and in the near future, plenty of filmmakers are getting their promotional materials ready to go. It’s an exciting opportunity to create an interesting and good-looking poster or flier that stands alone as a visual - all the more exciting for being a finishing touch once the work of making the actual film is done.

Below are some of the posters we’ve been collecting from LEF-funded filmmakers: it’s not just to pep up the walls in the LEF office - it's a great reminder for us of the variety of work that the Moving Image Fund has helped support. - Nellie


Here at LEF we’re preparing for a busy couple of months. There’s our LOI deadline – only a week away – plus the upcoming  season of The DocYard.  Still, we’re always trying to keep one ear open for news about films LEF has supported in the past.  Next week, work from two LEF-funded filmmakers is being showcased:
The Cinema Eye Honors for Nonfiction Filmmaking were founded in late 2007 to recognize and honor exemplary craft and innovation in nonfiction film.  Cinema Eye’s mission has been to advocate for, recognize and promote the highest commitment to rigor and artistry in the nonfiction field.
I have to say that when the online fundraising hype-machine first got started, I didn’t buy it.
We here at the LEF office were saddened to hear that Massachusetts Film Office maestro Nick Paleologos is leaving his post.
Always looking around for New England documentaries, even if we have to go inside other movies that aren't New England documentaries, like The Fighter...
It's time to start thinking about applying for LEF's upcoming deadline: production and post-production LOIs are due on Friday, 28 January at 5pm.
The LEF Foundation is proud to contribute to the KAREN SCHMEER FILM EDITING FELLOWSHIP. As described in the Fellowship’s mission statement:

“The Karen Schmeer Fellowship is a year-long experience that encourages and champions the talent of an emerging editor. It creates opportunities to help cultivate an editor’s artistry and craft, and expand his or her professional and creative community. Awarded annually, the Fellowship was created to honor the memory of gifted editor, Karen Schmeer.”
At Coolidge on December 6: IDA and the Center for Independent Documentary are presenting AN EVENING WITH JULIA BACHA - a Boston Installment of IDA's Doc U Seminar Series Tickets »

Right before that: the BITAHR FILM FORUM, which is bringing films and speakers to the Brattle Theatre from December 2-5 in order to raise awareness of human sex trafficking.

"Recognizing the need for greater public and academic awareness of sex trafficking, Human Rights and Sex Trafficking: A Film Forum will explore the power of film in effectuating a movement to combat commercial sexual exploitation and modern-day slavery"

Here's the Facebook event -...

Political Documents: Marlo Poras' Run Granny Run and the official White House Videographer Arun Chaudhary.

In the wake of the midterm elections I’ve been thinking about political movies. It’s a familiar genre that taps into those stirring clichés about democracy that make us get excited and patriotic around election times.

It's a long way from New England, but back in the Olde Worlde the Sheffield Doc/Fest is happening now. Check out their website for a long list of films, pitch sessions and forward-thinking learning opportunities of all stripes.

The Scottish Documentary Institute is premiering some of the documentary shorts from its Bridging the Gap Program at Sheffield. The program provides funding, training and guidance for new Scotland-based filmmakers:

“The scheme aims to bridge the gap between training/graduation and a first broadcast by offering the opportunity to work closely with BBC Scotland, and all those filmmakers who have not made documentaries for the big screen.”    

A place-specific mentorship/talent incubation/grants program that receives...
Creepy experimental animators the Quay Brothers (Brothers Quay?), have been commissioned to make a film at the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia. I visited the Mutter recently - it's the museum of the Surgeon's College of Philadelphia and full of antique medical curiosities originally used for teaching medical students. It's really neat - I liked the drawers that catalogue objects extracted in patients airways, sorted by size and type.

The Quay Brothers film is using the museums' artifacts as the basis for stories in "the latest attempt by a museum to expand its audience by enlisting artists to interpret its collection" and is being funded by a $287,000 grant from the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage (this is all from the New York Times article about the project). It's a very fitting, Halloween-appropriate collaboration between the filmmakers and the museum's collection. Maybe more...

When even A.O. Scott is having a hard time defining contemporary documentary, imagine how difficult it must be for the rest of us:

New York Time Article: "Documentaries (in Name Only) of Every Stripe" » 

We're used to seeing home movie footage, or faked home movie footage, used in all kinds of movies - personal documentaries and fiction film credits come to mind right away, and I'm pretty sure that the opening sequence of Toy Story 3 was an animated home video sequence, which just goes to show what a powerful moviemaking standard they are.

Home Movie Day, on Saturday, October 16, is a unique opportunity to see this most common and beautiful form of non-fiction filmmaking screened in its own right. Audiences can bring their own home movies to show, whether on 16mm, 8mm, super 8 or video (VHS and DVD clips limited to 5 minutes).

Part 2
Independent Film Week

Prior to my trek north to Maine, I spent time in New York City at Independent Film Week, 19-23 September. Two LEF funded projects were part of Spotlight on Documentaries: Betting the Farm (Jason Mann, Cecily Pingree) and Ivan and Ivana (Jeff Silva). The works-in-progress screenings are the highlight for me at IFW. I met and saw the work of many filmmakers outside the NE region, as well as being introduced to some NE filmmakers I didn’t yet know.

At both IFW and Points North, similar notes were struck related to distribution and financing. Some food for thought:

Part 1
Camden International Film Festival: Points North and Pitching


In its second year, Points North at the Camden Film Festival is the place for New England filmmakers to connect with people in the documentary film industry. The impetus behind Points North was to connect New England filmmakers to the industry, and the industry to New England filmmakers.  And it’s succeeding at both.

Hopefully soon we'll have some updates from the Camden International Film Festival (happening now!) and IFP week, but like so many falling autumn leaves, there are lots of October events to keep track of:
It's September already. If you haven't had the chance to get to a Docyard screening at the Brattle this past summer, the last film is Lixin Fan's Last Train Home on Monday, 13 September.
It's already time to start thinking about the fall film festivals and your hit list of "must attends," ESPECIALLY for New England filmmakers, should include the Camden International Film Festival (CIFF) taking place Sept. 30th through Oct. 3rd! 
If it’s too late for you to start bilingual-immersion kindergarten like the kids in Speaking in Tongues, second-language films are one way to get exposure
Among the many satisfying elements of working in the world of documentary funding is seeing a project that your foundation supports gain further recognition, grant support, and accolades from the industry broadly. At LEF, one name that we frequently see stand out in the crowd of funders is CINEREACH.
Watching Fred Wiseman’s Hospital at the last Docyard screening, as patients at New York’s Metropolitan Hospital bled and vomited their way into our hearts, I kept wondering “How is he filming this?”
Cooling off visually with one of LEF's grantees...

New England