Tuesday, December 24, 2013

My Top Films of 2013 & New Year Resolutions

Four of my top ten films of 2013 happen to be directed by women: Lake Bell's In A World,
Eliza Hittman's It Felt Like Love, Shannon Plumb's Towheads, and Hannah Fidell's A Teacher

Indiewire asked me to list my top ten films of the year, and talk about what I'm looking forward to in 2014. To my delight, nine of the ten films are "true indies," four were directed by women (see photo above), and all of them are narrative features. (Sadly, I don't have much bandwidth to watch documentaries, though I'm eager to see so many of them.) Check out my complete list and resolutions here.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Follow me, says Indiewire

According to Indiewire, I'm one of the "100 Filmmakers to Follow on Twitter." Aw shucks. Thanks, Indiewire. Woot!

So...please follow me? @mynette

And while you're at it, check out my Facebook too. Lots of heated debates about film, race, and gender, with a bunch of snark on the side.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Sorry boys, but it's time to change the game!

Me, Mary Jane Skalski, Julie Parker Benello, and Dan Cogan on a Brooklyn rooftop
(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles TimesSeptember 20, 2013)
I'm very excited to announce my new gig as President of Gamechanger Films, the first for-profit film fund dedicated exclusively to financing narrative features directed by women!

Check out the Los Angeles Times piece about the company: 
“New movie fund Gamechanger Films is formed to back women directors”

Here's to more diversity in film!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Me Me Me

I recently did a very long 6-part interview with The Black List's Go Into the Story blog. Check it out if you can. Perhaps you will find something useful, or at least amusing, in it. If not, I am sorry.

Part 1: “I’ve probably known since 7th grade that I wanted to produce films. Growing up in New York and seeing movie sets in the street all the time, I was always fascinated by how that whole circus of crew, cast, lights, and trucks got assembled.”

Part 2: “Put yourself in other people’s shoes to figure out how to negotiate with them. Poverty breeds creativity. Try not to let them see you sweat. Feed your crew well. Don’t produce and AD at the same time. Guard the truck!”

Part 3: “I only take on projects that I’d be willing to lose sleep and nutrition for, and that I’d be proud to put my name on.”

Part 4: “So it behooves you to not put all your eggs in one basket, to make films back-to-back or even simultaneously. It’s an insane way to live. No indie film producers actually sleep.”

Part 5: “The next person who sends me an immigrant drama or microbudget Mumblecore comedy will get it chucked back in their face! (Unless, of course, it happens to be brilliant.)”

Part 6: “As a producer, I look for characters that great actors would want to play because the vast majority of indie films are still financed by way of cast attachments.”

Saturday, September 21, 2013

"Cold Comes the Night" Premieres in the UK!

The crime thriller I produced, Tze Chun's "Cold Comes the Night" starring Alice Eve, Logan Marshall-Green, and Bryan Cranston, made its world premiere across UK theaters yesterday! 

Check out the reviews, the trailer, and our Twitter and Facebook page. And if you live in the UK, buy tickets!

We'll also be doing some sneak previews at regional film festivals ahead of the film's US premiere--stay tuned for more info.

We're all very proud of this film, and would be grateful if you helped spread the word about it. Thanks!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Hey Filmmakers, Just Quit!

Ha! Just found this interview I did last year with National Film Society at IFP's Filmmaker Conference, wherein I tell all filmmakers to quit. 

By the way, registration for Independent Film Week 2013 is now open (if you haven't quit film already).

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Notable Asians in American Indie Film

Asian American mumblecore: Wayne Wang's "Chan is Missing" (1982)

In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, I've put together a list of notable industry movers and shakers who traffic in the American narrative independent film world and also happen to be Asian. This list is not meant to ghettoize the people on it, but merely to call attention to their good work. They all belong on general "notable film people" lists too!

This list is totally off the top of my head, so it is far from comprehensive (apologies in advance to the many I've missed). Emphasis is on "American," "narrative," and "indie," so it's thin on international, documentary, and studio folks. I also haven't included many people from the Asian American film festival community because there are too many to name, but check out the list of festivals here. And I have not included crew, actors, or directors for that same reason, but I would like to point out one editor, one DP, and one director whom you should especially keep your eye on. ;)

All of these folks should be on your radar--Google them!

(for the sake of simplicity, I'm only listing one company or film)
Joan Huang & Jimmy Tsai - Cherry Sky Films
Karin Chien - dGenerate Films, 2010 Independent Spirit Producers Award Winner
James Choi - Joint Body
Soojin Chung - Escape From Tomorrow
Gina Kwon - The Future, 2005 Independent Spirit Producers Award Winner
In-Ah Lee - Au revoir Taipei, Independent Spirit Producers Award Nominee
Melissa Lee - Bends
Reuben Lim - Saving Lincoln
Sophia Lin - Take Shelter, 2012 Independent Spirit Producers Award Winner
Amy Lo - Battle of the Year
Geoffrey Quan - Detonator
Shrihari Sathe - It Felt Like Love
Anish Savjani - Blue Ruin, 2011 Independent Spirit Producers Award Winner
Emily Ting - The Kitchen
Derrick Tseng - Prince Avalanche, Independent Spirit Producers Award Nominee
Peter Phok - Beneath
Brian Yang - Linsanity
Nina Yang Bongiovi - Fruitvale Station

Abby Davis - Preferred Content
Jason Ishikawa - Film Sales Company
Kevin Iwashina - Preferred Content
Winnie Lau - Fortissimo
David Koh - Submarine
Peter Trinh - ICM Partners

Angel An - Samuel Goldwyn Films
Marcus Hu - Strand Releasing
Christine Kim - YouTube
Laura Kim - Inside Job
Mona Kwan - Jaguar
* Josie Liang - FilmDistrict
Lejo Pet - Exclusive Media
Chan Phung - Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions
Ellie Wen - CBS Films
Ryan Werner - Consultant, formerly IFC Films

Rose Kuo - Film Society of Lincoln Center
Anderson Le - Hawaii International Film Festival
Dennis Lim - Film Society of Lincoln Center (see also: Press)
Konrad Ng - Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program
David Ninh - Publicist, Film Society of Lincoln Center
Rajendra Roy - Museum of Modern Art
Sean Uyehara - San Francisco Film Society
Rosie Wong - Sundance Industry Office
Kim Yutani - Sundance Film Festival

Chris Chang - Film Comment
Justin Chang - Variety
Irene Cho - The Daily Buzz with Eugene Hernandez
* Ryan Koo - No Film School
Michelle Kung - Speakeasy, Wall Street Journal
Kevin B. Lee - Fandor
Nathan Lee - Film Comment
Dennis Lim - NY Times, LA Times (see also: Exhibition)
David Magdael - David Magdael & Associates
Tim Wu - Slate
* Jada Yuan - New York Magazine

Stefanie Huie - Outreach Consultant, A3 Foundation Fellowship at Sundance Institute
Jane Hwang - Film Independent
Anne Lai - Sundance Creative Producing Initiatives Director
Thuy Tran - Consultant, formerly USA Artists

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Better Film Panels Now

In the year and a half since Brian Newman wrote his very apt and memorable post, “Killing the Film Fest Panel,” panels haven’t improved much. In that time, I’ve spoken on or moderated over a dozen panels, and it seems that panel organizers haven’t really taken Brian’s suggestions to heart. The majority of film panels remain as excruciatingly boring and useless as ever.

So, let’s try a different tack: I propose that we panelists and moderators step up our game and give the (sometimes paying) audiences a better panel. Here’s how...

[Read More]

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Make It a Triple Feature!

Marshall Lewy's CALIFORNIA SOLO, which premiered at Sundance and hit theaters at the end of last year, is finally out on Video-On-Demand and DVD!  Get it now on cable VOD, Amazon, iTunes, Netflix, Google Play, Vudu + many more outlets!

And when you are done with that, surf on over to Olivia Silver's ARCADIA starring John Hawkes. It won the Crystal Bear at the 2012 Berlin Film Festival and is available on cable VOD till March 13 only, so hurry!

Finally, check out an oldie but goodie, Tze Chun's debut feature CHILDREN OF INVENTION on Google Play. We've just lowered the price on this Sundance film to $1.99 for a 48-hour rental, and we--the filmmakers--get the majority of the rental price!  You'll wanna watch it in advance of our new film COLD COMES THE NIGHT, which is gonna be great.

Enjoy the show(s) and thanks so much for watching!

Friday, March 8, 2013

I Spoke at the Spirit Awards and It Was Frightening

Here's my Piaget Producers Award speech from the Independent Spirit Awards.  Even though I was reading a teleprompter and the lovely Paula Patton introduced me so graciously, it was pretty nerve-wracking.  Thank goodness that's over!  And thanks again Film Independent and Piaget!

Here are some other videos related to the Awards:

Sunday, January 13, 2013

I'd Like to Thank...

Me with Adam Leon, winner of the 2013 Independent Spirit "Someone to Watch" Award
&  fellow Hunter College High School alumnus!

So, I won the Independent Spirit Awards' Piaget Producers Award yesterday (see photos here!).  I'm absolutely honored, incredulous, elated!  There is a slew of people I want to thank, and since this is a blog and not a stage at an awards show, here they all are (apologies if I have missed anyone!):

Film Independent - For having supported me for years, by accepting my projects into Fast Track (twice!), giving me an equipment grant from Hollywood Rentals, a free DCP from IndieDCP, and booze for the premiere party for "California Solo" (thanks Jameson!). And now, for giving me this award! I'd especially like to thank Josh Welsh for allowing me to bend his ear & making intros to industry folks over the years.

Piaget - For your generous support of independent film. Oh, and for the 25 Gs! It will allow me the time, resources, and freedom to focus on getting my new projects off the ground.  You are not just supporting me with this grant, you are also supporting my directors and all of the cast, crew and vendors I will eventually hire once these films get off the ground!

Sundance Institute - For accepting me as a 2009 Creative Producing Lab Fellow--that $5K personal grant + $5K project grant gave me the cushion I needed to keep producing just as I was ready to call it quits. Thanks Anne Lai, Michelle Satter, Ilyse McKimmie & Rebecca Green for always being there to bounce ideas off of (and for your moral support!).  And thanks for creating and continuing to foster a community of independent producers who can lean on each other.

Sundance Film Festival - For premiering Tze Chun's "Children of Invention" in 2009 and Marshall Lewy's "California Solo" in 2012, and for opening so many doors. (And for the parties!) Thanks Caroline Libresco, Trevor Groth, John Cooper & the whole lot of you!

Rotterdam Lab - For being the very first film program to accept me in 2008, when I had only produced 4 shorts and co-produced one feature.  It was a fantastic education in filmmaking around the world, and I met many producers whom I'm still friends with (like my fave, Anish Savjani, winner of the 2011 Piaget Producers Award). Thanks Jacobine van der Vloed and Marit Van Den Elshout!

IFP - For accepting 3 of my projects into the IFP Emerging Narrative & No Borders Project Market, and for nurturing a vibrant, collaborative and supportive film community in my native New York.

Tribeca Film Institute & Film Festival - For inviting me to participate in the All-Access Key Ingredients program and for premiering P. Benoit's "Stones in the Sun" in 2012.

Berlin Talent Campus - For accepting me to the 2010 Talent Campus, where I met so many amazing talents from around the world and furthered my knowledge of international filmmaking.

All The Other Festivals That Have Screened My Films - Too many to name, but here are some great ones: Woodstock, Hawaii International, Edinburgh, Sarasota, IFF Boston, Nashville, BAMcinemaFEST, Sidewalk, and Denver.

Hawaii Film Office - For allowing me the opportunity to author the 15-20% refundable film tax credit (and thereby learn about state tax credits and the legislative process inside out!). And thanks Donne Dawson for being an amazing boss & friend.

Time Magazine, SportsIllustrated.com & Jupiter Research - For giving me a solid background in business that has made me a more effective producer.

My Professors & Teachers - For teaching me just about everything I know, not least how to read and analyze creative texts. Thanks especially to Leo Ou-fan Lee (I'm still sorry I ditched writing a thesis on 6th generation Chinese film; I hope you've forgiven me!), Emma Teng, Andrew Jones, Judith Ryan, Henry Louis Gates Jr., Robert Coles, and William Handley.

Asian American Community - For supporting my work!  Thanks especially to Angry Asian Man, Visual Communications, San Diego Asian Film Festival, and Center for Asian American Media.

NYU Tisch - For indirectly offering me a free education in film producing. Thanks to Wendy Pan (wherever you may be) for hiring me as a volunteer PA for 3 days on Godofredo Astudillo's "Brighter Days" after I answered a random ad in the MOFTB job list (because that's what 28-year olds who want to change careers & don't know anyone in the film industry do!).  On this graduate thesis film, I met Sen-I Yu, Wei-chen Chang, and Michelle Chai, and ended up producing their NYU thesis films. I also met Eric Lin (who has shot 2 of my films and whose own feature I'm producing) and Mark Duplass on this film. (And through Mark, I met his brother Jay, whose apartment I scouted with Andrew Bujalski for "Mutual Appreciation." The apartment wasn't right, but Buj and the Duplasses ended up reconnecting at SXSW 2005, and the rest is Mumblecore history.)

Producer Mentors & Friends - For being a brain to pick, a shoulder to cry on, an ear to freak out to. There are so many in this category, but here are a few: the aforementioned Anish Savjani, Anne Carey, Ron Yerxa, Darren Goldberg, Lynette Howell, Mary Jane Skalski, Paul Mezey, Jay Van Hoy & Lars Knudsen, Ted Hope, Scott Macaulay, Mike S. Ryan, Gill Holland, Cara Marcous, Jess Levin, Jennifer Lee, Thomas Woodrow, Jeremy Kipp Walker, Sophia Lin, Noah Harlan, Chip Hourihan, Carly Hugo, Cora Olson & Jen Dubin, and my co-nominee Alicia Van Couvering.

Cast, Crew, Vendors, Agents, Distributors, Publicists & Supporters of Every Film I've Ever Worked On - For Example

My Attorneys - Andre Des Rochers & Anita Surendran of Gray Krauss Stratford Des Rochers. Generous, smart, sensible, comforting...amazing!

My Executive Producers - Rick Rosenthal & Nick Morton of Whitewater Films, Joan Huang & Jimmy Tsai of Cherry Sky Films, Dan Cogan of Impact PartnersThree Point Capital, Ron Simons of SimonSays, Joey Carey & Stefan Nowicki of Sundial Pictures, & so many more!  Thank you for your faith in me and my projects.

My Co-Producers - You guys are my rock in some very stormy seas! Ross Girard, Matthew Medlin, Trevor Sagan, Dave Saltzman, Terry Leonard, Ben Howe, Karin Chien, Louise Lovegrove, Emily Ting, Julien Favre, Aimee Karr, Roy Gokay Wol, Flavio Alves, Dia Sokol, and Ethan Vogt.

My (Writers &) Directors - You are the yin to my yang, the peanut butter to my jelly. You are my reason for being. Thank you Tze Chun, Marshall Lewy, Andrew Bujalski, Olivia Silver, P. Benoit, Doug Karr, Ishai Setton, Bill Guttentag, Eric Lin, Aaron Katz, Rory Kelly, Cherien Dabis, J.P. Chan, Michelle Chai, Sen-I Yu, Wei-chen Chang, Brett Wagner, and Karen Lin.

Finally, thank you to my parents, sisters, friends & especially my husband for all of your support and love.

It takes a village to raise a producer!