2002 SEMINARS

 

 A BRUNCH/CONVERSATION WITH HASKELL WEXLER
AND HAROLD LEVENTHAL

Catered by Oliver Kita Catering

Join us for brunch/conversation with two legendary figures from the film and music industry. At 2 pm catch the academy-award winning Bound For Glory at the Tinker Street cinema.

HASKELL WEXLER 

Haskell Wexler, ASC, is considered to be one of the most important cinematographers of our time. His wide body of work has earned him five Academy Award nominations and two Oscars for Best Cinematography. His nominations came for his work on his first feature documentary, The Living City; a short film, T for Tumbleweed; Milos Forman’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest; John Sayle’s Matewan; and Blaze. He took home statuettes for his work on Mike Nichols’ Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Hal Ashby’s Bound for Glory.

As a director, Wexler directed Medium Cool, a groundbreaking film shot during the Democratic convention in Chicago and Latino in Nicaragua. In addition he has directed over fifty documentaries, rock videos and award-winning commercials including: Introduction to the Enemy, Interview with My Lai Veterans, which also won an Academy Award; No Nukes with Barbara Kopple, Target Nicaragua: Inside a Secret War and Five Days in March.

Wexler has been elected by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to the Board of Governors to represent the cinematographers branch. He has also received the American Society of Cinematographers’ Lifetime Achievement Award and his the first cinematographer in over thirty-five years to receive a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.


HAROLD LEVENTHAL

photo by David Ganr

Harold Leventhal has had a varied career as a personal manger, music publisher, theatrical and film producer, and concert promoter spanning the last fifty years. He has long been revered for his tireless devotion to folk music and the people who create and perform it. In the course of time, Harold represented such outstanding artists as Cisco Houston, Judy Collins, The Tarriers, Theodore Bikel, Alan Arkin, and Arlo Guthrie. As a concert promoter, Harold was the first to bring folk music artists to the stages of New York's great concert halls, presenting The Weavers, Jacque Brel, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem, Joni Mitchell and many others from all over the world. In addition to producing Bound For Glory, he produced Arthur Penn’s Alice’s Restaurant, the film starring Arlo Guthrie, based on his popular song.  


ACTORS DIALOGUE

Celebrity interviewer Martha Frankel will hold a conversation with actors, Parker Posey and Marcia Gay Harden

Parker Posey who co-stars in Personal Velocity was named "Queen of Indies" by Time Magazine, has appeared in over 30 films in the last 7 years including "The House of Yes" (Special Jury Prize 1997 Sundance Film Festival, dir: Mark Waters) "SubUrbia" (dir: Richard Linklater), "Waiting For Guffman" (dir: Christopher Guest), "The Daytrippers" (dir: Greg Mottola), "Dazed and Confused" (dir: Richard Linklater), "You've Got Mail" (dir:Nora Ephron), and three films for Hal Hartley; "Amateur," "Flirt" and "Henry Fool." She has also appeared in all three installments of Armistad Maupin's "Tales of The City" trilogy. She can
be seen reuniting with her "Waiting For Guffman" team in Christopher Guest's "Best in Show," which is about the world of dog shows. Parker starred in the Los Angeles premiere of John Patrick Shanley's "Four Dogs and a Bone" and made her Broadway debut starring opposite Matthew Broderick in Elaine May's "Taller Than a Dwarf." She can also be seen in "Anniversary Party," a film co-directed by her "Josie and the Pussycats" co-star Alan Cumming. Posey can be last seen in Roger Krumble's "The Sweetest Thing" and is currently in production on Christopher Guest's "A Mighty Wind."

Marcia Gay Harden received the Supporting Actress Oscar® for her portrayal of Lee Krasner, the artist wife of abstract expressionist painter Jackson Pollock, in Pollock. This stage-trained player of film and TV made her feature debut in Joel and Ethan Coen¹s Miller's Crossing and has since appeared in many films including Meet Joe Black,The Daytrippers, The
Spitfire Grill. She recently finished work on John Sayles¹s Casa de Los Babys  and Clint Eastwood¹s Mystic River.

(Other guest may be announced. Actors, participation is subject to their schedule)


A CONVERSATION WITH ISMAIL MERCHANT  
Mr. Ismail Merchant  will be speakingabout his experiences making indie films.

ISMAIL MERCHANT (Producer and Director)

 Although Ismail Merchant was born in Bombay, he has lived and worked for most of his life in the West, completing his education at New York University where he earned his Masters Degree in Business Administration.

 Merchant’s first film was a theatrical short, The Creation of Woman, which was nominated in 1961 for an Academy Award and was an official entry from the United States in the Cannes Film Festival that same year.  While en route to the Festival, Merchant met James Ivory, who agreed to form a partnership, Merchant Ivory Productions, to make English-language theatrical features in India for the international market.

 It was not only the visual beauty and charm of India that attracted Merchant, but also the opportunity to finance his films with funds from frozen Rupee accounts of major American distributors.  These accounts contained distribution proceeds that the Indian government would not allow to be repatriated, but which could be utilized under an agreement to make films in India.  Thus, The Householder was Merchant’s first feature and first Indian film to be distributed worldwide by a major American company, Columbia Pictures.  It was followed by more Indian features, all in some way funded wholly or in part by an American studio: Shakespeare Wallah (1965), The Guru (1969), and Bombay Talkie (1970).

 For over thirty years, Merchant Ivory Productions has endured as one of the most productive collaborations in cinema, bringing forth such films as The Europeans, Quartet, Heat and Dust, A Room with a View, Mr. and Mrs. Bridge, Howards End, The Remains of the Day, Jefferson in Paris, Surviving Picasso, and The Golden Bowl.

 In addition to producing, Merchant has directed two television features of his own: a short entitled Mahatma and the Mad Boy and a full-length television feature The Courtesans of Bombay made for Britain’s Channel Four.  The first feature film he directed, In Custody, was based on a novel by Anita Desai and starred Shashi Kapoor.  It was filmed in Bhopal, India, and went on to win four National Awards from the Government of India, for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Costume and Best Production Design.  His second feature, The Proprietor, starred Jeanne Moreau, Jean-Pierre Aumond and Christopher Cazenove, and was filmed on location in Paris.  Cotton Mary, Merchant's project as Director and Producer which was filmed in Kerala and released in 1999, has been described as the finest example of his ability to combine the best of East and West in modern cinema.

 Merchant’s most recent film as Director was The Mystic Masseur, filmed in Trinidad, and starring Om Puri, Aasif Mandvi, James Fox, Ayesha Dharker, and Sakina Jaffrey.  The film, based on V.S. Naipaul’s novel, tells the tale of Ganesh Ransumair, a schoolteacher who rises to power through his gifts of writing and healing, proving that decency and hard work triumph over chicanery and double-dealing.

 Merchant is also a renowned chef and author of a number of books on cookery.  These are Ismail Merchant’s Indian Cuisine; Ismail Merchant’s Florence; Ismail Merchant’s Passionate Meals and Ismail Merchant’s Paris: Filming and Feasting in France.  In addition, he has authored a book about the making of the film “The Deceivers” in 1988 called Hullabaloo in Old Jeypur, and another about the making of “The Proprietor” called Once Upon a Time . . . The Proprietor.  His new book, Ismail Merchant: My Passage to India, will be published by Viking Studios in October 2002.

 The most recent Merchant Ivory collaboration, Le Divorce, from the novel by Diane Johnson, starring Kate Hudson, Naomi Watts, Glenn Close, Matthew Modine, Stockard Channing, and Sam Waterston, is currently in post production and will be released by Fox Searchlight in early 2003.    

 In addition to numerous accolades Merchant has won in the world of film, he is also an Honorary Doctor of Arts at Bard’s College, New York, and an Honorary Doctor of Arts at Wesleyan College, University of Illinois.  He has been honored by the Mayor of New York, received the Marie des Paris for his outstanding contribution to cinema and has also received the Commandeur de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from the Ministry of Culture in France.


UNIONS AND THE INDEPENDENT FILMMAKER

Unions and guilds representing both "above the line" and "below the line" film personnel are gathering at the Woodstock Film Festival to present a panel discussion on the production of independent films under their collective bargaining agreements. Panelists will include the union representatives responsible for independent film production in both digital and film form: the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists; AFL-CIO;  the Directors Guild of America; the International Brotherhood of Teamsters; the Screen Actors Guild and the Writers Guild of America. Produced by attorney Don T. Carmody.


DIGITAL PRODUCTION

 

Variety film reporter and columnist Charles Lyons will lead a panel on how new digital technology affects the substance and style of today’s independent filmmaking. With executive producer John Sloss  (Personal Velocity, Chelsea Walls, Boys Don't Cry), producer Lemore Syvan, executive producer Richard Hawley and director/producer Jason Kliot (Love in the Time of Money, Lovely & Amazing, Chuck & Buck, Site). (update: Gary Winick will not be available for the panel)


PANELIST BIOS

John Sloss has acted as Executive Producer for over twenty-five feature films including John Sayles' City of Hope, Passion Fish, The Secret of Roan Inish, Lone Star and Men With Guns; Richard Linklater's Before Sunrise, subUrbia, The Newton Boys, and Waking Life; Errol Morris' Mr. Death; Brad Anderson's Happy Accidents and Session 9; Kimberly Peirce's Boys Don't Cry; Michael Almereyda’s Hamlet; Ethan Hawke’s Chelsea Walls; Gary Winick’s Tadpole;  Rebecca Miller’s Personal Velocity and Todd Haynes’ Far From Heaven.
In March 2001 Mr. Sloss founded Cinetic Media, a consulting firm specializing in producer representation (securing distribution for independent features and other content), providing consulting services to end users and/or media financiers worldwide, and securing financing for packaged motion picture projects. Mr. Sloss' other Cinetic activities include consulting for several high-profile film financiers and producers, as well as a partnership in Independent Digital Entertainment (InDigEnt), a series of digital features made in collaboration with established filmmakers and actors, which is quickly becoming the gold standard in digital filmmaking.

Producer, Lemore Syvan's most recent credits include Personal Velocity (grand prizewinner at 2002 Sundance Film Festival) and Maze. She heads up the production company Blue Magic Pictures and is currently producing John Sayles's new film Casa de Los Babys.


Jason Kliot, along with Joana Vicente, is the co-founder and co-president of Open City Films and its digital division, Blow Up Pictures, both of which are dedicated to the discovery and advancement of groundbreaking independent vision in film. Together and separately they have worked on over thirty feature films, shorts and commercials, including Three Seasons, Down To You, Chuck and Buck, Series 7, Love in the Time of Money and Welcome to the Dollhouse Site was shown at the 2002 Sundance Film festival at the 2002 Berlin Film festival and at New Directors/New Films. It is part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art.


Richard Hawley, Executive producer


Moderator Charles Lyons is the New York film reporter for Variety. This is his first film. Prior to Variety, he was a development executive for Mr. Holland's Opus director Steve Herek in Los Angeles. The author of the book The New Censors: Movies and the Culture Wars, Lyons associate produced the PBS documentary More Than Broken Glass: Memories of Kristallnacht and worked in production on such films as Billy Bathgate.


ALTERNATIVE DISTRIBUTION: SUSTAINABILITY OF INDEPENDENT MEDIA IN A MARKET WORLD

 

 

Filmmaker Deedee Hallek, entertainment lawyer Innes Smolansky, POV executive director Cara Mertes and Paola Freccero (Sundance Channel) will discuss alternative distribution outlets. Saturday, September 21.

DeeDee Halleck is a media activist, the founder of Paper Tiger Television and co-founder of the Deep Dish Satellite Network.  She is Professor Emerita at the University of California, San Diego and author of the recent book, Hand Held Visions: The Impossible Possibilities of Community Media.  Her films have been featured at the Venice Film Festival, Cannes, the London Film Festival and many other international venues.


 Currently the Executive Director of P.O.V./American Documentary, Cara Mertes has been an advocate for independent and alternative media for over a decade. She is an award-winning filmmaker, programmer and writer whose work has been featured widely in museums, festivals, PBS and internationally. She was the Executive Producer/Director of SIGNAL TO NOISE: Life with Television, a PBS series examining the impact of television on American society, as well as being producer for New Television for public television, an annual series featuring the best in international experimental video work, and Independent Focus for WNET/New York, at the time the premiere public television showcase for American independent video and film. Recently she was Consulting Producer for There She Is: A History of Miss America, featured on PBS’s American Experience, and is currently researching for her NEH-supported film Catching the Shadow: Women and 19th Century Photography. Mertes is a Contributing Editor to The Independent and has served on the boards of ITVS, the International Flaherty Seminars and Media Alliance among others.


Paola Freccero is Sundance Channel’s Senior Vice President, Film Programming.  In that role, she supervises the acquisition, programming and scheduling of Sundance Channel’s film line-up which includes independent American and international features, documentaries, and shorts.  In addition, Freccero’s responsibilities include creating the programming plan for the recently-announced Sundance Documentary Channel.  She will also be overseeing Sundance Channel Home Entertainment, the newly-created home video line to be distributed by Showtime Entertainment.
 
Freccero originally joined Sundance Channel in 1999 as a publicity consultant.  Shortly thereafter, she was appointed Vice President, International, spearheading Sundance Channel’s business development activities overseas.
 
Prior to joining Sundance Channel, Freccero was Artistic Director of the Nortel Palm Springs International Film Festival and the Palm Springs International Short Film Festival.  During her tenure, she was credited with making the feature festival, held annually in January, a showcase for the international films submitted for Oscar™ consideration for Best Foreign Language Film.   She also launched Palm Springs’ first short film market, which runs concurrently with the short film festival each year in August.
 
Before joining the festival, Freccero spent five years working as a film publicist on such films as Academy Award™-winners The Usual Suspects, and Anne Frank Remembered; Oscar™ nominees Before the Rain, and Troublesome Creek:  A Midwestern; and with directors such as Allison Anders, Gillian Armstrong, John Badham, Steve Buscemi, Marshall Hershkovitz, Derek Jarman, Roland Joffe, Spike Lee, Mike Leigh, Richard Linklater, D.A. Pennebaker, Sally Potter, Tim Roth, and Ed Zwick, among many others.  Her previous television experience includes publicity efforts for ITVS, HBO and Turner Broadcasting.

Innes Smolansky is an entertainment attorney in New York City. She represents film and television producers, film production companies, distributors, financiers, directors, writers and authors in business transactions for independent film production, documentaries, television, international co-productions and book publishing.


DIGITAL EXHIBITION - COMING TO A THEATER NEAR YOU

2002 has been an important year for digital cinema, including the acquisition of the DV features Personal Velocity and Tadpole by traditional distributors United Artists and Miramax respectively, and the mobilization to bring digital projection to select movie houses for the release of Star Wars: Episode II.  The great promise of the Digital Cinema Revolution is to slash costs and democratize the production, distribution, and exhibition of films.  Films will be shot cheaply with DV cameras, delivered via satellite to exhibitors, then screened with digital projectors, leading to much more diverse and affordable programming in theaters throughout the world.  But is it an urban legend - or just a matter of time?
 
In this program, industry veterans and pioneers discuss their visions for the future and tackle questions about the next stage of the Digital Revolution: widespread distribution and exhibition.  Topics include: What are current distributor strategies for acquiring DV films, vs. long-term strategies?  How long will DV films need to be blown up to film for wide commercial release?  Will the Digital Cinema Revolution really bring more diverse, independent stories before a wider audience?


Panelists include:

Moderator: Eugene Hernandez, Editor-in-Chief, indieWIRE,


Gary Bouchard, Business Development Manager, Cinema Operations, Eastman Kodak. Gary's 23 years of experience at Eastman Kodak includes stints in Consumer Imaging, Digital and Applied Imaging, and Entertainment Imaging. Bouchard's expertise includes understanding the needs of Kodak's customers, and how products and services can be designed to meet those needs. Bouchard joined Kodak's Entertainment Imaging division in 1995 for the launch of Kodak's Vision family of products.  In his current capacity with Kodak's Cinema Operations group, he is working with the motion picture industry to devise a business strategy for Digital Cinema that works for all players and which takes into account the existing structures in the film distribution business.


 
Ira Deutchman, President and CEO, Emerging Pictures.
Ira Deutchman has been making, marketing and distributing films for twenty-seven years.  He was one of the founders of Cinecom, the film distribution company known for such diverse releases as Merchant/Ivory’s A Room with a View, Jonathan Demme’s Stop Making Sense, and John Sayles’ The Brother From Another Planet, and later created Fine Line Features where he acquired and released Jane Campion’s An Angel at My Table, Gus van Sant’s My Own Private Idaho, Robert Altman’s The Player, Alan Rudolph’s Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle, and the award-winning Hoop Dreams, among many others.  Currently Deutchman is President and CEO of Emerging Pictures, a New York-based digital film production and exhibition company. He is also a partner in Redeemable Features, an independent production company that he founded to develop and produce a wide range of theatrical and television programming, and serves on the advisory boards of the Sundance Film Festival and the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival.)


Sarah Lash, Director of Acquisitions, IFC Films


Susan Wrubel, VP Film Acquisitions, Madstone Films
During her eight years in independent film distribution, Susan Wrubel has worked at Cinepix Film Properties (now Lions Gate Releasing), October Films, and as VP of Acquisitions and Theatrical Distribution for New Yorker Films. She worked on acquiring and distributing Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne’s La Promesse, Abbas Kiarostami’s The Wind Will Carry Us, Claire Denis’s Beau Travail, and Brigitte Roüan's Post Coitum, as well as films by world-renowned directors Claude Chabrol, Werner Herzog and Krzysztof Kieslowski.  Wrubel currently heads the Madstone Film Acquisitions department.

 

Produced by Libby McInerny

Presented by New York Women in Film & television

  .


SCORING FOR FILM

Moderator Doreen Ringer Ross will explore the working relationship between Composer David Robbins and his brother, filmmaker/actor Tim Robbins.  Rejecting traditional film music formulas, they favor a more fearless and open-minded approach. This process has led them to create unique sound tracks for Bob Roberts, Dead Man Walking and Cradle Will Rock. Sponsored by


WORKING METHODS OF FILM CRITICISM

Leading film critics will discuss the tools of their trade, shedding light on some of the things they look for when they review a film. Panelists will include critics Godfrey Cheshire (New York Times, New York Press, Variety Talk, former chairman, NY Film Critics Circle), Amy Taubin (contributing editor to Film Comment and Sight & Sound), Owen Glieberman (Entertainment Weekly) and others TBA. Moderated by Jonathan Foreman (New York Post).


An Anglo-American dual national, Jonathan Foreman was born in London and grew up there and in Los Angeles. He was educated at Cambridge University (he read History at Gonville & Caius College) and the University of Pennsylvania Law School. On receiving his JD in 1991 he came to New York as a corporate attorney for the international law firm of Shearman & Sterling.

After two years of toil at the bar, Foreman gave up the law. He went to Asia to travel and write, mostly in the Indian subcontinent.

On returning from Asia, he embarked on a career as a freelance journalist, eventually becoming Contributing Editor at City Journal, the quarterly journal of the Manhattan Institute and a Contributing Writer at the National Law Journal. He published articles in periodicals ranging from The New Yorker to New Woman on a variety of subjects ranging from Anti-Americanism in India, to the New York Taxi industry, and the pros and cons of workplace romance.

In 1997 he was awarded the South Asian Journalists’ Association First Prize for “Bombay on the Hudson”, an article in the City Journal exploring the experience of Indian and Pakistani immigrants to New York.

In April 1998 Foreman joined the staff of the New York Post as a member of the newspaper’s editorial board. Six months later he was offered and took up the position of Film Critic.

Although a lifelong film-buff, this was not a job he had long hoped to get. Having grown up in the movie industry (he is the son of Carl Foreman, the blacklisted screenwriter of “High Noon”) and worked as a p.a. on films as a youth, Foreman was raised in at atmosphere generally suspicious of, if not actually hostile to film critics.


Amy Taubin  is a contributor to Film Comment and Sight and Sound. Her first weekly film criticism job was at the Soho Weekly News. She has also written for the New York Times, Art Forum, the Millennium Film Journal, US, Mirabella and many other magazines. From 1987 until her departure in 2001, she was a film critic for the Village Voice.

Her book, Taxi Driver, was published in 2000 in the British Film Institute's Film Classics series and is already in its second printing.

She started her professional life as an actress, appearing on Broadway most notably in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, and in avant-garde films, among them Michael Snow's Wavelength, Andy Warhol's Couch, and Jonas Mekas' Diaries, Notebooks and Sketches.

Her own avant-garde film, In the Bag (1981) is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art and the Friends of Young Cinema Archives in Berlin.

She has a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and an M.A. from N.Y.U. in Cinema studies. She teaches at the School of Visual Arts.


THE ART OF SCREENWRITING

"Truth or fiction: Which makes a better film story?" When working from historical fact, do writers have a responsibility to not embellish? Or like political cartoonists, can writers get to a deeper truth by exaggerating reality? And even in a work of supposedly pure fiction, do the characters become richer if the writer bases them on people he or she knows? This panel will explore these questions, along with the process of creating good stories. Panelists include Tim Robbins (Cradle Will Rock, Dead Man Walking, Bob Roberts), Tim Blake Nelson (The Grey Zone, Kansas, Eye of God), Mary Harron (American Psycho, I Shot Andy Warhol) and Zachary Sklar (JFK). Moderated by editor Annie Nocenti (Scenario magazine). Sponsored by .  


DAY AT THE ROUNDTABLES: OPEN TO YOUTH AGES 13-22

Hear ye, hear ye--An invitation to all Knights, Ladies and Swains to joust with us at our Day at the Roundtables. Join us for an informal chat with industry professionals who will discuss what they do and how they do it so very well. This is an excellent opportunity to learn where your role may be in the exciting and ever-changing film/television/documentary/rock video/commercial industry.

At the event, there will be a grouping of roundtables that you will be able to sit at and move between while industry professionals discuss their role in “the business." From the world of Producers to the role of the cameraman, to the work of a director. Find out exactly what a casting director and documentary filmmaker does. Learn how an editor puts a film together and what a development director looks for when choosing a film script.

Produced by Jeremiah Newton, industry liaison, New York University.

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