... is busy! In case you missed it, there was some pretty big news this week on the Tribeca front: the establishment of the Tribeca/ESPN Sport Film Festival as a part of this spring's TFF. This should actually be a really exciting addition to this year's festival, and the key word there is "addition." The TESFF isn't taking sports films that wouldn't otherwise make Tribeca and it's not going to be comprised of solely big-budget, TV-produced documentaries. It's just going to be a sidebar event that will bring a little more focus, during the regular festival, to sports and competition-oriented films. And you know what? The sports films Tribeca has shown the past few years deserve that. Last year, one of my favorite films in the festival was The Heart of the Game, a phenomenal doc about a girls' high school basketball team in Seattle and the journey of its female star. Personally, I thought this movie was as fascinating as Hoop Dreams, and yet Miramax gave it a very limited and not-well-publicized release. (If you missed it, that's what Netflix is for.) It's also will certainly not be all documentaries, nor will the films necessarily be focused on traditional major sports. Spellbound and Wordplay both could have fit; and if I have any influence (which I don't, necessarily), I've already seen a film which I hope gets into the festival and the TESFF.
Meanwhile, as I mentioned a few weeks (but only two posts) back, things at the job have been picking-up, and the release of the above news is only a small part of it. In addition to my regular duties, for the past month I've been a sort of managing editor of the TFF newsletter and contributor to the website as well as its redevelopment. Today is, in fact, the "official" deadline for submissions to the 2007 festival. Why is "official" in quotes? Because it's not the final deadline; it's just a less expensive deadline. If your film is postmarked today, the submission fees are $70 for a feature and $50 for a short. The drop-dead-no-submissions-accepted-beyond-this-point date is a month away -- Jan. 5 -- and if your submission is postmarked on that date, the fees are $90 and $70. A film isn't penalized in any way by coming in at the later deadline other than the slightly higher submission fee, so if you've been rushing to make it by today but could really use another couple weeks, you should take it.
I've been screening submissions recently ... a lot of them. A few things have been great, many have been kind of meh and then there's the usual large contingent of, "Oh my god! What were they thinking? Money has so many better uses." I have noticed one fascinating trend this year, however: several films with very elaborate, creative and well-produced title sequences followed by basically nothing else. And I'm not talking about even "big" budget, mainstream indie films. I mean small, lower- and low- budget truly independent pictures. It's actually quite fascinating. There are a few movies where I am absolutely convinced that more thought, time and care (and I suppose maybe money) went into conceiving, creating and producing the title sequence than in writing the script. Part of me wants to gather them all up at the end, edit together the title sequences and show a program of those, but without the rest of the movies.
Anyway, that's where I've been. I hope to get myself and my schedule a little more into balance and under control soon. In fact, I've been so relatively busy with work and a few other things, that I still haven't seen Casino Royale! I know ... for shame. I'm even disappointed in myself.