There’s More to Film Independent Than Just the Spirit Awards

Published On January 21, 2013 | By admin | Blog Post, Director, film production, Independent Film

argo-poster-header[1]With Awards Season in full swing most eyes turn to Film Independent because of the Independent Spirit Awards, which will be held this year on Sunday, February 23rd and televised on IFC. However, this is also when their Directors Close-Up Panelists are announced and the group lined up for the Series beginning in February and continuing on into March is an amazing one.  Although Series passes are already sold out, a limited number of day passes will be available at the door on the night of the events at a cost of $35.00 for members and $45.00 for non members and if you are in the Los Angeles area I would suggest trying to sit in on one of these. 

The Series will kick off on February 6th with Benh Zeitlin, writer/director/composer of the acclaimed Beasts of the Southern Wild and his sound team discussing Sound Advice: Moving Beyond the Picture.  Sound designer and re-recording mixer Steve Boeddeker and supervising sound editor and re-recording mixer Bob Edwards will join Zeitlin in discussing the power of sound and taking the audience through the process of designing the film’s exquisite soundtrack.

On February 13th Ben Affleck will talk about The Road to Argo and share his insight on directing and his evolution as an artist as he moved from acting to screenwriting to directing establishing himself as a versatile director creating films that are bold, smart and entertaining.  From earlier releases like Gone Baby Gone and The Town to his recent critically acclaimed project Affleck will share his thoughts about his creative journey.

SilverLiningsPlaybk900For the third event on February 20th, Film Independent will present The Independent Spirit: A Directors Roundtable featuring three 2013 Film Independent Spirit Award nominees, Julia Loktev (writer/director, The Loneliest Planet), David O. Russell (writer/director, Silver Linings Playbook) and Ira Sachs (writer/director, Keep the Lights). The trio will talk about their films and careers and the way in which they balance artistic integrity with the demands of the marketplace and explore their creative visions.

Week 4 on February 27th is The Creative Team: Executing the Vision which takes a look at how the director’s vision comes to life through collaboration.  Gangster Squad Director Ruben Fleisher and members of his creative team from the film production designer Maher Ahmad (Zombieland), Editor Alan Baumgarten (Zombieland) and costume designer Mary Zophres (True Grit) will explore the process utilized in creating Gangster Squad from the initial stages of research to the execution on the set. This includes explaining their choices in setting the mood and achieving the look through cinematography, editing, production and costume design.

images[2]The final event on March 6th will cover The Actors: Getting Great Performances and focuses on writer/director Jill Soloway’s debut feature Afternoon Delight, which is premiering during the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.  Known prior to this for her writing and producing The United States of Tara, Soloway solicited touching performances by a standout cast of emerging female comics and talented veterans in this film.  During Film Independent’s interactive session the actors and casting directors will join Soloway to discuss how they collaborated in order to achieve the movie’s unforgettable moments.  Joining her will be casting directors Courtney Bright and Nicole Daniels and actors Kathryn Hahn (Wanderlust), Michaela Watkins (Wanderlust), and pending availability Jane Lynch (Glee) and Jessica St. Clair (Bridesmaids).

These are the types of events that I enjoy promoting because they offer filmmakers at all levels the opportunity to get a close up look at what is working for others who have made their mark in the field and become immersed in discussions about developing and fine tuning their own talents in an exciting and supportive environment.  I would just like to see more of these types of sessions made available in a webinar type situation so that they could be enjoyed by more people regardless of where they happen to be located.  Even if you could purchase a digital download of the Series at a later date that would create revenue for the organization and open up more possibilities for sharing.  In the meantime, if you’re going to be in LA on any of those dates please keep these events in mind and check out how to become a member of Film Independent by visiting their website at



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