My on-going VideoBlog, as much for me as it is for everyone else…I’m aiming for bi-daily updates, as they come, and I’ll be as forthcoming as possible. Some networks and deals are best not spoken about directly until the ink is dry, if you know what I mean, but I’d like to have this as straight up as it can be!
When Karim Kanji of XConnectTO asked me to represent indie filmmakers on the FilmConnect panel in Toronto in September, I was delighted. When I found out the topic was the convergence of film and newmedia, I went from delighted to ecstatic: there are very few topics I prefer to wax poetic about.
If you’d like to catch some of the live tweeting chatter from September just search #FCTO on Twitter!.
This year, the winners of the biggest prize at the film festival founded by myself and my brother were, fittingly, brothers. The Mississauga News covered Mike & Dan Palermo‘s win with a great article:
A film by brothers Dan and Mike Palermo of Collingwood took top honours last weekend at the Mississauga Independent Film Festival.
Their movie, Feature Presentation, won best feature film. The story follows two naïve filmmakers who have to pay back a debt to a production company run by mobsters. "It’s a bit of a disorienting comedy. At its core, it’s a film about the predictability of movies and the cynicism it causes, with a comedic nod to The Sopranos," Dan said.
The brothers both said they were honoured to receive the award. "We were a little surprised," Dan said. "You’re watching your film and looking at everything you want to fix."
The pair gained notoriety with their short film, Being Human, which was screened at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City in 2008.
Dan said this award now lends the film credibility with film distributors and executives. "We’re able to say we’ve won an award at a film festival," he said.
Every year The Mississauga Independent Film Festival finds its way into the pages of The Mississauga News. Sometimes we’re front page news, and this year we had the entertainment section virtually to ourselves:
Mississauga actor Austin MacDonald and the cast of the Family Channel television series Debra! were among the shining stars who made a special appearance last night at the Mississauga Independent Film Festival (MIFF).
Like in past years, the festival launched in style with an opening reception at the Art Gallery of Mississauga, where they rolled out the red carpet to welcome people from Canada’s film and music industry.
Founded four years ago by brothers Matthew and Jeff Campagna, MIFF is making a mark this season with more than 40 films being presented at the AMC 24 Theatres at Winston Churchill Blvd. W. and the Queen Elizabeth Way until July 24.
On reel for tonight at 8 p.m. is Casino Jack, starring award-winning actor Kevin Spacey (American Beauty, Pay It Forward). It’s the first of five films that have been selected as festival features.
Festival co-founder Matthew Campagna wrote on the MIFF website that it’s hard for him to believe the success of the festival, which is now recognized by IMDB (Internet Movie Database). Many of the films presented at MIFF earn major distribution deals.
MIFF2011 graced the pages of The Saug for the first time this year, benefitting from the clever and whimsical writing style of Mr. Matt Hunter.
Best of all? It ends with a quote Darth Vader:
I took a taxi to the gala. The cabbie didn’t want to turn on the air. It was hot. Terribly hot. The humidex was 45 yesterday. I asked the cabbie to turn on the air, so he shut the windows and turned it on low. Five minutes into the ride, I realized I wasn’t going to win, so I asked him to open the windows. He spent the next 20 minutes pantomiming about how he could feel air coming out of the vents.
When I arrived at the Art Gallery of Mississauga, I was more sweat than Matt. I had to do something to stop sweating. Focus. Focus on the job. Report for theSaug.com. Tell the good people of the Saug what the MIFF is all about.
“When Mississauga’s formal granting bodies rejected our application for funding, my brother and I didn’t take no for an answer. We appealed to city council. Hazel was flabbergasted that we were turned down by the people at city hall and she gave us $5000 of her own money, because she’s the original gangstah like that.”
–Matthew Campagna, Co-Founder, MIFF
The 4th Annual MIFF was the first that I actually attended (because as Ying will tell you, I am a jerk), so I had to ask MIFFMatt about the fest before I showed up, just so I wouldn’t look like a total rube.
That webseries about wine that I’ve been directing for the last few years, The Naked Wine Show, has evolved into a new wine series for the Food Network called Grape Notes (if you like wine, you should join the Facebook group). Now that the press releases have gone out and the show has gone live, the gag-order on me any my social media tentacles has also been lifted! Here’s one of my favourite articles so far, it’s from MediaCaster Magazine:
"Raising a glass to toast a new online content deal, FoodNetwork.ca and Toronto-based production company Frogwater Media have more to celebrate than simply their partnership on a new digital series called Grape Notes.
Making its online debut today, Grape Notes is one of a number of digital initiatives the two companies are uncorking.
Specialty channel Food Network Canada is entering its second decade, having celebrated its tenth broadcast anniversary just last month. With new portable media and smartphone applications available and a recently redesigned website, Food Network is confident of continued growth and popularity as it head into the teen-aged years.
And Frogwater is in a celebratory mood, too, both with the official launch this week of Grape Notes, as well as other content developments that build on its successful track record of online and broadcast TV program production."
“A couple of years ago, there was a story about two brothers, Matt and Jeff Campagna, who “crashed” the Toronto International Film Festival to sell their indie film Six Reasons Why, a post-apocalyptic Western shot in the badlands of Alberta. Although this isn’t at all standard behaviour, these boys used guerrilla marketing tactics (we’re talking James Bond stuff, like making fake IDs and schmoozing stars like Susan Sarandon at VIP parties) to cleverly weave through the system, find a sales agent who appreciated their chutzpah and ultimately signed them on to sell their film to ThinkFilm in a quarter million dollar bidding war.
In the age of the internet and filming anything and everything, the boys ended up posting video blogs about their occasionally unbelievable infiltration. TIFF caught wind of it, found it pretty amusing, but ultimately asked the boys to take it down for obvious legal reasons. I can’t help but wonder if it has to do a bit with wanting to remove any public evidence that their system could be infiltrated like that. Just saying.
The point is: how friendly is TIFF to emerging filmmakers? Sure, it’s not technically a sales market film festival the way the Cannes International Film Festival and Berlin International Film Festival are. But according to Paco Alvarez, president of Forward Motion Entertainment, an international sales and distribution company, TIFF is poised to become a major sales market and emerging filmmakers should be taking advantage of this..”
The Examiner was on-hand at MIFF2010 and rocked a great article about the indie films and stars that were showcased at the festival:
"Harrelson says “independent filmmaking helps characterize cultures by relaying different points of view that might be too risky for studio productions, which tend to be constrained by commercial considerations. Festivals like MIFF provide a stage for their recognition. I’m excited Defendor is the opening-night feature and hope your audience will enjoy it as much as I did making it.” Official selections were unveiled in June and included Mind the Gap by Gemini award winning comedian Shaun Majumder (CBC’s This Hour Has 22 Minutes)."
MIFF’s VIP Gala is always one of MIssissauga’s biggest nights for Glitz and Glam, and so the Mississauga News found its way onto the Red Carpet to snap some paparazzi shots of a few of the people behind MIFF2010. Here’s an excerpt:
"Mississauga actor Austin MacDonald and Toronto singer Hilary Weaver were two of the shining stars who sparkled on the red carpet last night as the Mississauga Independent Film Festival (MIFF) got underway. The festival launched in style with an exclusive gala at the Art Gallery of Mississauga, where they rolled out the red carpet to welcome people from Canada’s film and music industry."