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Industry News – January 2009

1 Jan , 2009  

Written by Erin Trahan | Posted by:

Sundance helps film people look ahead, RI and CT start production coalitions, RIIFF and Coolidge name new staff, and more... the January 2009 report of industry news, festivals, and happenings.

This Month

The best and worst lists are tallied. The films scrambling for Oscar have finally been released. And there’s a chance you have a tree to undecorate and drag to the curb. Good thing Sundance gives film people something new to talk about, and preferably to look forward to throughout 2009.

Out West…

Some New Englanders will have that chance later this month as they accompany their films to Park City for the festival, which runs January 15-25. Just last month profiled Tze Chun. His film, Children of Invention will premiere at Sundance.

Likewise for two films produced by WGBH — Earth Days and Wounded Knee. Grace’s writer/director Paul Solet grew up in Cambridge and attended Emerson College. His vampiric film about an undead child who craves blood made the Sundance cut. So did Mystery Team directed by Dan Eckman of Manchester, NH. Once More with Feeling about a karaoke-crazed psychiatrist was shot in Connecticut.

Madeleine Olnek, director of Countertransferance grew up in Connecticut and was reunited on-set with her longtime friend Deb Margolin, who plays a main character in the film. Olivia Silver, director of Little Canyon, and Christian Simmons, director of Pencil Face, also hail from the Constitution state.

Director RJ Cutler is a Harvard grad; he spent nine months on the coattails of Vogue editor Anna Wintour to make The September Issue, which secured a Sundance debut. And finally, Newton native John Krasinski (The Office) will show his stuff as the writer and director of Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, based on stories by the late David Foster Wallace, Amherst graduate and inspiration for many local literary lights.

Lest we forget Slamdance. IFF Boston’s own Adam Roffman will serve as a member of its jury this year. Planning to show your film or attend these fests, why not write and tell us what you thought?

Meanwhile in EST…

The Rhode Island Film & TV Office is hosting an industry town hall meeting on January 7th. Film Office director Steve Feinberg will emcee; Todd Treanor of Treanor Brothers Animation will introduce the Rhode Island Production Coalition.

Connecticut is likewise rallying the Connecticut Production Coalition. Membership is free – just click here to sign up for industry announcements to help sustain the state’s television and digital media industry.

Boston Center for Adult Education hosts a seven-session course, “Hollywood In Boston: A History of Movie-Making in the Hub,” on Tuesday nights starting January 13th. Charles Hoyt, a lecturer at Northeastern, leads the way.

Unofficial ‘most interesting event of the month’ award goes to Boston College for its two-day festival, The Raven Returns to Boston in celebration of of Edgar Allen Poe. Among the festivities is a screening of The Last Days of the Raven slated for January 16th at 7:30 pm. Allegedly the first feature film based on Poe’s life (could that be?), the film is followed by a Q & A with Brent Fidler, its co-director, screenwriter, and star. (If you like Poe, check out Tell Tale Heart, a snappy and spooky animated short.)

Williams College Queer Film Festival takes place January 16-22 at Images Cinema.

It’s a busy month for Women in Film & Video/New England (WIFV/NE). First, the organization opens its seventh annual screenwriting competition co-sponsored by Lesley University’s MFA in Creative Writing program. Debbie Danielpour, a screenwriting professor at Boston University, will judge the top three scripts. Second, this month the organization is accepting applications for mentors and mentees for the WIFV/NE Media Mentors Program. And third, the organization hosts its annual member meeting on January 21st (location TBA), which includes a presentation by the Plymouth Rock Studios.

Waiting for Armageddon, a documentary three years in the making by area filmmakers Kate Davis, David Heilbroner, and Franco Sacchi will close The New York Jewish Film Festival on January 29th. The film examines why a growing number of Christian Fundamentalists tie Israel and the Jewish people to an imminent apocalypse. Frequent contributor Hermine Muskat worked as an associate producer on this film.

Upcoming Workshops & Festival and Fellowship Deadlines

The Jane Morrison Memorial Film Fund is accepting applications through January 15th. For complete guidelines, please visit

David Tames, one of’s go-to tech experts, is teaching a documentary video bootcamp at MassArt from January 12-16. For more info, click here.

The Boston International Women’s Day Film Festival is seeking films that explore national and international women’s issues. The submission deadline is January 30th.

Wheaton College in Norton, MA is accepting applications for a visiting artist in residence through February 1st. Learn more at

Get your films to Central Productions for the 8th Annual Boston Cinema Census by February 10th.

Submissions are open for the 11th Annual Provincetown International Film Festival until February 16th. For more information visit

Coming Soon

The Boston Society of Film Critics gathers for its second annual ceremony on Feburary 9th. Special commendations go to three outgoing members of the MFA Film Program – Bo Smith, Stefanie Lubkowski, and Kelly Teer, as well as outgoing Coolidge Corner executive director Joe Zina. Paul Sherman (author of Big Screen Boston) and HFA’s Steve Livernash, whom they called “the unofficial dean of Hub 35mm projectionists,” round off the locals singled out for their contributions.

Held Over

As of January 1st, Media Services, an entertainment accounting, payroll, and software provider, has acquired CrewStar, Inc., a Boston-based payroll, search, and booking company. According to a press release, CrewStar management and employees will remain on staff. Joe Maiella, CrewStar senior vice president of sales and marketing, will be responsible for business development for Media Services. Greg Pickert, CEO and president of Media Services cites company growth as the reason for the acquisition. Media Services is headquartered in Los Angeles with offices in New York, Boston, and Toronto.

The Rhode Island International Film Festival announced the promotion of Demetria James Carr to the position of managing director, where she will oversee the creation of events, participate in marketing, and work on developing community awareness. Prior to her work with RIIFF, Carr served on the board of Festival Ballet Providence, worked with Rhode Island Monthly Magazine in Providence and Vegetarian Times in Chicago.

The Coolidge Corner Theatre named Denise Kasell as its new executive director. Kasell served as the executive director of The Hamptons International Film Festival from 1998 to 2007. She also served as film commissioner and executive director of the Hudson Valley Film Office and Festival and president of the NYC production company Sloane Kasell HR Productions.

Friends and screenwriting partners Randy Steinberg and Joseph Hughes (both BU grads) have started blogging at Steinberg is a frequent contributor to and has often shared the trials and tribulations of screenwriting from New England with our readership. So click on over.

Young@Heart — about the senior chorus from Northampton — has been nominated for a Critic’s Choice Award in the documentary category. The awards air live on VH1, January 8th. (The film cannot be nominated for an Academy Award because it was originally made for British TV.)

Related Image: Demetria Carr accepts a promotion from RIIFF.