Letters

Useful Info in #50

Absolutely love this last issue! Came away
with a lot of very useful information. Just wondering how many
people have pointed out to your art director that the large picture
of the Canon XL1 with the Mini 35 adapter on page 28 is… reversed!
No biggie. Your mag is great. Keep it up.

—Ted Stratton, PHOENIX, AZ

Ted—A few! Thanks for the kind words. —TR

Long Live Duvall

Ijust finished reading your wonderful interview with Robert Duvall
in the latest issue of MM. All I can say is Bravo! It’s
the best interview I’ve read… ever. I’ve met Mr. Duvall and he
is positively charming and I think you captured this charm and
his intelligence, along with a wonderful rundown of his career.
I’ve seen Assassination Tango and to say that I loved this
movie would be an understatement, since I’ve managed to see it
nine times and can’t wait for the DVD. So Mr. Duvall, independent
moviemaker, needs a new story to tell? Well, I for one will be
thinking of something. I hope this man works until he’s 100. Thanks
again.

Mary Ann Cavalleri, NEW YORK, NY

Letter to Editor was “Sour Grapes”

As a filmmaker who will sorely miss Next Wave Films, I
feel compelled to offer a rebuttal to the reader whose letter you
published in your Winter issue. My film, Fighter, was repped
and received finishing funds from Next Wave Films, and I found
them anything but “unresponsive.” On the contrary. Once they took
on a film, that film became their personal crusade. Mark Stolaroff
and the gang burned the midnight oil many a night for Fighter,
even after they found me a distributor. Peter Broderick
never ignored my calls. On the contrary, we spent long hours on
the phone hashing out minutia like the precise wording of press
releases. I found their investment in the film generous, at no
small risk to themselves. And I know my perspective on Next Wave
is not unique. Every filmmaker I know who worked with them had
a positive experience. This reputation was widespread, as evidenced
by the over 2,400 submitted films that Next Wave had to turn away.
Which, by the way, may explain the reader’s sour grapes. Paine
mentions “mature” filmmakers in his diatribe. Mature filmmakers
don’t complain about a popular institution just because their phone
calls aren’t returned right away.

—Amir Bar-Lev, NEW YORK, NY

Moviemaking Booming at “End of World”

Dear Mr. Rhys:

Hello, I’m writing from Santiago, Chile. I
subscribed to your magazine a few months ago, and I received
this week your Special 50th Issue, with a smiling Robert Duvall
on the cover. I didn’t know anything about your magazine until
I discovered it on the Internet when I was searching for a good
movie magazine, because here we don’t really have any. Very interesting
and complete source. Just exactly what I needed! I subscribed
and now have my first issue of your great magazine in my hands.
I read your “Notebook” and
I totally agree with you about the DV phenomenon. It’s to be a
huge movement in U.S., but believe me, here at the end of the world
it’s not so different.

In Chile it used to be common to hear the saying, “Pick up a stone
from the floor, and you’ll find a poet.” We have a great historical
tradition of poets, including two Nobel prizes. But now, under
every stone and in every cafe you seem to find a filmmaker that
says to you Shhhh! We are shooting!” Starting five or six
years ago, we are in a real boom of cinema—and it’s still growing.
Lots of young people are making shorts or movies on DV and 35mm,
and a lot of universities are including film in their offerings.
The demand to study filmmaking is enormous. But we don’t have a
film industry yet—it’s growing up like a teenager, searching for
maturity and identity, with the same energy, doubts and dullness
of adolescence. That’s the same situation for our country, really.

This is a country in the middle—not in the third
world anymore, but not in the first world, either. Just growing
and growing (for good or for bad). Ten years ago, Chile was very
different  than
now. It’s no longer anymore “Macondo” (like the little town in
Gabriel García Márquez’s, One Hundred Years of
Solitude
), now it’s more like McOndo (like a McDonald’s in
Plaza Tobalaba Shopping Mall, a low  class suburb of Santiago).
In the ’70s and ’80s, all the films here were about the difficult
political situation, in a sort of guerrilla style. Today, the political
issues in Chilean movies are minimal. You can find almost all genres,
especially social comedies like in Italy in the ’50s and ’60s.
This is good, but still I’m waiting for great Chilean movies, for
a real industry with diversity and power. In some Latin countries
you can find very powerful films, like Adrián Caetano’s Bolivia in
Argentina and Amores Perros and Y
Tu Mamá También
in Mexico. But I have a lot of hope in Chilean
Cinema.

I want to make movies in the future… I bought
a Panasonic DV camcorder and every week I write some ideas in
my sketchbook. I’m in the middle of the poles you mentioned,
between your 10-year-old son and 72-year-old Robert Duvall; part
of this global movement. I started to shoot recently, and I’ve
taken many courses—film criticism,
theory and screenwriting—over the past five years. Here in Chile
you have a lot of chances to do things. It’s not so difficult to
make some media noise—you only need ideas and enthusiasm. Even
this e-mail encourages me to get out and shoot something.

José Luis Gaete, SANTIAGO, CHILE

”Mean-spirited” Attack on Next
Wave Unfair

Having been President of Next Wave Films during
its five-and-a-half years of operation, I’d like to correct the most glaring
inaccuracies in John Paine’s mean-spirited letter about Next
Wave (Issue #49, Vol. 10). Paine clearly misunderstood or misinterpreted
what he asserts “one Next Wave associate” said, since
his description of Agenda 2000’s record is patently false.
Next Wave provided production financing through Agenda 2000 to
three features, two of which we fully financed without stars. Paine
also states that Agenda 2000 “went nowhere.” Two of
the films are in post-production and the third, Manic, premiered
at Sundance, played at Toronto, Rotterdam, Seattle and other festivals
and is opening theatrically this spring.

Paine’s description of our record of finishing films is
also erroneous. He states that we acquired films “at a pittance.” The
truth is that Next Wave made substantial investments in the films
we finished—both in terms of money for completion and delivery,
and in the countless hours of staff support with festivals, press,
sales and distribution.

Paine is entitled to his embittered opinions, but his analysis
of the role of money in independent filmmaking today is also false.
The crisis is one of distribution, not financing. Filmmakers with
limited financial resources are using digital tools to make exceptional
movies. But as the barriers to production have fallen, the barriers
to distribution have risen. The old distribution system is no longer
serving independents. We need to create new models that will give
audiences around the world full access to outstanding independent
cinema.
Peter Broderick, LOS ANGELES, CA

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