Congrats to the 2012 Sundance Winners!

Sundance 2012: 'Beasts Of The Southern Wild' Wins Top Honors

Sundance 2012 Winner
By SANDY COHEN   01/29/12 07:02 AM ET   AP
PARK CITY, Utah -- A mythical film starring an 8-year-old girl and a documentary about the war on drugs took top honors at the Sundance Film Festival.
"Beasts of the Southern Wild" won the grand jury prize in the U.S. dramatic competition, and "The House I Live In" won the same honor in the U.S. documentary category Saturday at the independent film festival's awards ceremony.
Directed and co-written by 29-year-old first-time filmmaker Benh Zeitlin, "Beasts of the Southern Wild" follows a girl named Hushpuppy who lives with her father in the southern Delta. The film also won the cinematography prize.
Zeitlin said he was grateful to the Sundance Institute and labs, where he worked on the film for more than three years.
"This project was such a runt, this sort of messy-hair, dirty, wild child, and we just have been taken care of and just eased along until we were ready to stand up on our own," he said in an interview after the ceremony. "It's just great that it happened here. This is the right place for the world to meet the film."
Zeitlin described his spunky young star, Quvenzhane Wallis, as "the biggest person I know." She said she is ready to be a movie star, but first will be going back to third grade.
Fox Searchlight acquired the film earlier this week.
Eugene Jarecki's documentary "The House I Live In" examines the social, human and financial costs of the war on drugs. The filmmaker won the same award in 2005 for his documentary "Why We Fight."
As he accepted his award, Jarecki called the war on drugs "tragically immoral, heartbreakingly wrong and misguided."
"If we're going to reform things in this country, putting people in jail for nonviolent crime, in many cases for life without parole, for possession of a drug, for sentences longer than is now given for murder in this country, must end," he said.
Kirby Dick's documentary about rape in the military, "The Invisible War," won the audience award, as did Ben Lewin's heartfelt drama "The Surrogate," which stars John Hawkes as a paralyzed 38-year-old man who hires a sex surrogate, played by Helen Hunt, to help him lose his virginity. Fox Searchlight acquired that film, too.
"I don't think most people have ever seen this sort of story before," Lewin said after the ceremony. "I think it was very new and unexpected... From the experiences I've had seeing it with an audience, it seems to be a real emotional ride."
"The Surrogate" also won a special jury prize for its ensemble cast.
World cinema jury prizes went to the documentary "The Law in These Parts," about Israel's legal system in occupied Palestinian territories, and the drama "Violeta Went to Heaven," about Chilean musician Violeta Parra.
The audience favorites in world cinema were the documentary "Searching for Sugar Man," which also won a special jury award, and the drama "Valley of the Saints," which also claimed the Alfred P. Sloan film prize. A second winner of the Sloan Award, which recognizes films with science as a theme or a scientist as a major character, was "Robot and Frank." The film, which premiered at Sundance, stars Frank Langella as a retired jewel thief who befriends the caretaker robot his children have given him, eventually bringing the robot along on his illegal outings.
Other winners:
_ U.S. drama directing award: Ava DuVernay, "Middle of Nowhere."
_ U.S. documentary directing award: Lauren Greenfield, "The Queen of Versailles."
_ World cinema drama directing award: Mads Matthiesen, "Teddy Bear."
_ World cinema documentary directing award: Emad Burnat, Guy Davidi, "5 Broken Cameras."
_ U.S. drama screenwriting award: Derek Connolly, "Safety Not Guaranteed."
_ World cinema screenwriting award: Marialy Rivas, Camila Gutierrez, Pedro Peirano, Sebastian Sepulveda, "Young & Wild."
_ U.S. documentary editing award: Enat Sidi, "Detropia."
_ World cinema editing award: Lisanne Pajot, James Swirsky, "Indie Game: The Movie."
_ U.S. documentary cinematography award: Jeff Orlowski, "Chasing Ice."
_ World cinema drama cinematography award: David Raedeker, "My Brother the Devil."
_ World cinema documentary cinematography award: Lars Skree, "Putin's Kiss."
_ U.S. drama special jury prize for producing: Andrea Sperling and Jonathan Schwartz, "Smashed" and "Nobody Walks."
_ U.S. documentary special jury prizes: "Love Free or Die," "Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry."
_ World cinema drama special jury prize: "Can."
_ Short film audience award: "The Debutante Hunters."
_ Best of NEXT audience award: "Sleepwalk With Me."

DIY Film Fest Gala Event in March

Just a glance back at last year's winner: Cody Blue Snider's "All that Remains."

 Made when he was 19 for a total of $15K it embodies what we look for in films at the DIY Film Festival. It has a beginning, middle and an end.  It tells a story in a way we've never seen before, and embodies the DIY spirit to tell a good story with the tools at hand.  Congrats Cody Blue, we expect great things from you.

Meanwhile, this year we've gotten hundreds of films from countries all over the world.  Thank you filmmakers from far and way and near and close to submitting your work to the film festival. We're hunkering down now and going through them all - (anyone who submits after the Jan 25th deadline, their film will roll into the next year's festival.) and good luck to all of those fabulous filmmakers who submitted films for this year's fest.

As always, we're surprised, amazed, in awe of you filmmakers who just dove in where angels feared to tread, picked up a camera and told a compelling story.  Kudos to all of you!

We all know how difficult it is to finish a film - and then to distribute it, get it out to the film festivals - applause to all of you who finished your films.  And the best of luck to you wherever it winds up.  It's key to just keep going forward  - never get up - never tire - and never forget why you picked up a camera in the first place.

To tell a story.

Results will be posted as soon as possible, and the winning films will be invited to a gala affair at the Roosevelt Hotel in early March (tentatively March 3rd).

Finalists will be notified as soon as the results are in, and excerpts from the winning films, and some of the winning films, will be screened at the event.  Details to follow.

Best wishes and luck and all that goes with saying that,

The folks at the DIY Film Festival.


Getting close to the finish line!

The deadline for submitting to the DIY Film Fest for films made in 2011 LOOMS LARGE.

The deadline is the 25th of January.

Films that arrive after the deadline, will be eligible for the following year's festival and awards.

Happened to hear the filmmaker Werner Herzog

Werner Herzog
 talking about his "Rogue Film School" on NPR the other day. He doesn't post the location of his school, he doesn't allow students to bring in camera, recorders, or laptops.  It's just you and him in a room. Alone. (oooh. scary!)

He teaches his students how to make rogue films.  He includes lessons in "how to pick locks" and "how to fake film permits" - I love his droll delivery and his dry sense of humor.  For any of you who've had to "get the shot no matter what" you'll appreciate what he has to say on the topic. (and here's more on FB)

One thing he did say jumped out for DIY Film Fest notice: "It only costs about ten thousand dollars nowadays to make a film.  You should take a job that allows you to get enough money to make that film and go and make the film.  Get a job that's interesting, a bouncer in a strip club, working in an emergency room, something that is exciting and gives you characters, so when you make your film it will be rich."

I'm paraphrasing, but you get the idea.  And nothing embodies the DIY spirit more than the above paragraph.  So here's to you Werner, and here's to your Rogue Film School!  Cheers!