g The Film Panel Notetaker: Brian's Top 5 Favorite Panel Discussions and Q&As of 2009

Monday, December 14, 2009

Brian's Top 5 Favorite Panel Discussions and Q&As of 2009

To launch The Film Panel Notetaker into a new year, we have opened a fundraiser on Kickstarter.com, which we hope you will visit and contribute to help us expand and grow our efforts to continue to bring you helpful notes and information from more film festivals and events in 2010. Our fundraiser is now live and you can start to contribute here. "Help us go, so you can be in the know!" Thank you very much, and happy holidays!

Reflections on 2009

In addition to all the great panel discussions and filmmaker Q&As we attended, 2009 was a very busy year for me personally. I got to moderate some discussions, program some of my own at the Royal Flush Festival, and was lucky enough to be involved with the publicity of some wonderful films including Danae Elon’s documentary “Partly Private,” which won the prize for Best New York Documentary at the Tribeca Film Festival, and “Em,” which won the Producers Award for Jim Jermanok at the Brooklyn International Film Festival.

In February, I attended the World Premiere of Sujewa Ekanayake’s infamous, yet endearing documentary, “Indie Film Blogger Road Trip,” in which I was interviewed. Sujewa along with other indie film bloggers who appeared in the film attended the screening at Anthology Film Archives, where we spoke during a Q&A moderated by Kevin Lee. Also that month, I moderated a Q&A with David Teague and Greg King for their work-in-progress screening of “Our House” at DocuClub. Additionally, I moderated a panel discussion on Networking in Media at Metropolitan College of New York, where contributing notetaker Liz Nord was one of the panelists.

And Amy Peters, Liz, and I got an exclusive sneak preview tour of the SVA Theater while it was undergoing major renovations. I got to later see the theater in its full glory during Tribeca and Newfest (where Kelly Deegan shined big time with her interview with figure skater Johnny Weir and best pal Paris).

Also this year, I conducted some One-on-One Q&As with filmmakers Hugo Perez, Daryl Wein, and Rory O’ Connor.

Before I go into my Top 5, I just want to take a moment to give a really special thanks to Erin Scherer, who contributed a ton of notes to The Film Panel Notetaker this year. She attended South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, as well as the High Falls Film Festival in Rochester, New York, and together, we both attended the Woodstock Film Festival in Woodstock, New York. She also interviewed a bunch of filmmakers including Andrew Bujalski, Ry Russo-Young, and Kris Swanberg among others. Because Erin contributed so many of her own notes this year, I have given her the honor of coming up with her own Favorites list, which you can find here.

Brian’s Top 5 Favorite Panel Discussions and Q&As of 2009:

#1: Route '21 Below' QEW (not BQE) to HotDocs – May 8, 2009

To get to know the filmmakers of “21 Below” a few years earlier, and to see their film finally come to fruition during its HotDocs premiere in Toronto, which I attended with my mom only two hours away from our hometown of Buffalo, New York, the same town in which the film takes place, and then to see and hear the filmmakers talk about their film afterwords was a completely moving and enriching experience for me. I am very happy with all the great festival acclaim “21 Below” has received, and I hope it will be given the chance to have a theatrical release.

#2: Woodstock Film Festival - Redesigning Humanity – The New Frontier - October 2, 2009

The normal state of affairs at most film festival panels are a distribution panel here or a film journalism panel there and so on. But what about “transhumanism,” aka virtual human life? Put together a panel of the world’s leading experts on science, technology, and futurism matched with the World Premiere of the science fiction film “2B,” and you have what perhaps might be the most unique and interesting film panel discussion of the year.

#3: State of the Movement - NewFest - June 6, 2009

NewFest gathered filmmakers and gay rights advocates to reflect on the current state of the LGBT movement and how it has progressed since Stonewall 40 years earlier. In a year where same sex couples are still not given rights to legally marry in most states, this panel was ever so timely and important.

#4: Silverdocs - "Defamation" - June 19, 2009

While taking a controversial stance on anti-Semitism, Yoav Shamir’s documentary is very thought provoking and garnered many questions, comments and concerns from its audience at Silverdocs.

#5: All of the Stranger Than Fiction Q&As I attended in the early part of the year including:

"Upstream Battle" - Jan. 13, 2009

"The Education of Shelby Knox" - Jan. 20, 2009

"Must Read After My Death" - Feb. 3, 2009

"The Axe in the Attic" - Feb. 10, 2009

Honorable Mentions:

I was debating on whether I could even put this in my Top 5, since I programmed this panel myself, but I must at least give major kudos to the Docs Under Duress panel that Pamela Cohn moderated at the Royal Flush Festival. Pamela really did her homework. She deeply cared about each filmmaker and their films, asked poignant questions, and received incredibly in-depth and informative responses. And the panel was followed by a pizza party in honor of panelist Ross Kaufman’s birthday :)

Special mention for Rooftop Films during IFP's Independent Filmmaker Week. They held incredibly fun outdoor screenings and Q&As with the filmmakers, one at Solar One for "Burning in the Sun," and the other next to the Brooklyn Bridge for the IFP Filmmaker Lab Showcase.

And finally, one panel that gets its own annual “Least Boring Panel Discussion” category is Martha Frankel’s Actors Dialogue at the Woodstock Film Festival.

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At 11:41 PM , Blogger Liz Nord said...

Another great year for The Film Pael Notetaker! Thanks for all that you do for the filmmaking community, Brian.


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