g The Film Panel Notetaker: Panels with a Breeze and View

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Panels with a Breeze and View

Rooftop Films "Panorama" returns this year for a special four-day long mini festival within the 2009 Summer Series that is meant to demonstrate what makes Rooftop Films the truly unique, community-based organization that it is. And on Saturday, June 13 (see details below), in conjunction with IndiePix and Shooting People, Rooftop Films will host panel discussions on the state of independent filmmaking and the ways that truly independent filmmakers can survive and make new work, bringing in filmmakers, programmers and funders to discuss issues that are crucial to Rooftop Films’ mission.

Persona Non Grata (Fabio Wuytack Belgium & Venezuela 90 min.)
US Premiere! Prosecuted as a rebel. Banned as a priest. Committed as an artist. Loved as a father. An inspiring and important documentary co-funded by Rooftop Films.

Venue: On the roof of the Old American Can Factory Address: 232 3rd St. @ 3rd Ave. (Gowanus/ Park Slope, Brooklyn) Directions: F/G to Carroll St. or M/R to Union Ave. Rain: In the event of rain the show will be held indoors at the same location

5:00PM: Panel discussion: “Message vs. Craft,” outside in courtyard
6:30PM: Panel discussion: “Filmmaking Strategy,” outside in courtyard
7:30PM - 9:00PM: Reception in courtyard including free sangria courtesy of Carlo Rossi
8:30PM: Live music presented by Sound Fix Records 9:00PM: Film Tickets: $9 at the door or online at www.rooftopfilms.com. Presented in partnership with: Cinereach, New York magazine, IndiePix, Shooting People & XØ Projects

Persona Non Grata (Fabio Wuytack Belgium & Venezuela 90 min.)
Prosecuted as a rebel. Banned as a priest. Committed as an artist. Loved as a father. An inspiring documentary—co-funded by Rooftop Films - about the filmmaker’s father, Franz Wuytack, a radical left-wing Belgian missionary in the slums of Venezuela in the 1960s. With a new liberal movement sweeping Latin America, and people like Wuytack needing to continue the fight for social justice in the US and around the world, this film is crucially relevant today.

Wuytack was a hands-on activist, gathering scrap lumber by himself to build housing for the homeless, frolicking with hundreds of impoverished children in the fountains of wealthy Caracas to protest the lack of clean water for the poor. You can see in his face and hear in his voice the deeply personal connections to the people he was fighting for. And all these years later, hearing the stories from the people who lived them, the connections he forged come alive, there to excite and incite us.

But Wuytack’s very public tactics ran afoul of the conservative church, causing a rift that stung him deeply, but didn’t dampen his passion for activism. Stories of being hounded by the police, and hidden like a fugitive, play out with the energy of an action film. Eventually Wuytack was exiled—twice—and returning to Belgium to become an internationally acclaimed politically-minded sculptor. Now with the new left-wing movement led by Hugo Chavez, Wuytack is finally allowed to return to Venezuela for a revelatory solo art show and a joyous homecoming.

Part of Rooftop Films and XO Projects’ INDUSTRIANCE Series: films, discussions, installations and more about the changing landscape in industry, architecture, agriculture, labor and related fields, and the way these changes affect individuals around the world.

PANEL DISCUSSIONS, presented with Cinereach, Shooting People and IndiePix:

5:00-6:00pm
Message vs. Craft: The Art of Effective "Issue" Storytelling
When a filmmaker takes on a topic related to social justice or human rights it is often with the hope of influencing public opinion and inspiring action. To achieve that, a film must reach and engage the right audience, in the right numbers. It must also portray the human impact of the issue or problem persuasively. How does a “social issue” filmmaker balance the need to educate with the public's desire to be entertained? How does he/she move past preaching to the choir and make a film that can become a catalyst for real change? This panel will provide advice on the above from documentary and fiction filmmakers including Justin Schein (No Impact Man), Fabio Wuytack (Persona Non Grata) and Paola Mendoza (Entre Nos), whose work successfully walks the issue/entertainment line. Leah Sapin of Arts Engine (which specializes in production and outreach for socially relevant films), and New York magazine film critic Bilge Ebiri will join the discussion, to be moderated by Lina Srivastava.

Panelists include: Lina Srivastava (consultant to non profit media companies working for social change) - moderator
Justin Schein (Co-director of No Impact Man)
Fabio Wuytack (Director of Persona Non Grata)
Bilge Ebiri (film critic from New York magazine)
Leah Sapin (Arts Engine)
Paola Mendoza (Director of Entre Nos)

6:30-7:30pm
Filmmaking Strategy:
Tips, Tools and Wisdom to Help You Make the Right Decisions For Your FilmFilmmakers have to be both artists and strategists to get their films made and seen and this is the case now more than ever as changes in funding and distribution force filmmakers to shoulder more of the crucial decisions on their own. This panel will help you learn how to be the best advocate for your film by asking all the tough questions that you will have to ask along the way. For example: How much work (and what work) do you need to achieve on your own before approaching a funder? And how can you tailor your pitch to communicate your vision to a foundation vs. an equity investor? What other funding options are there? How do you balance traditional outreach to festivals, sales agents, broadcasters, and distributors with the need to also create your own fan base? Which distribution deals do you accept? How do know when a deal is a good deal? How do you hope for the best but plan for the worst?

Panelists include:
Adella Ladjevardi (Cinereach)
Janet Brown (Cinetic)
Liz Ogilvie (B-Side)
Tia Lessin (Co-Director of Trouble the Water)
Andy Bichlbaum (Co-Director of The Yes Men)
…And more

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