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No Budget Newsletter Issue #7

August 12, 2007

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1.  2007 LA Film Festival - No-Budget Wrap-Up

2.  Next Classes - Los Angeles & Kansas City, MO

3.  Other courses around town

4.  Filmmakers Alliance VisionFest

5.  No Budget Filmmakers in the News

6.  What's on the Web Site



Like the proverbial elephant to the blind men, the 2007 Los Angeles Film Festival was a lot of different things to different people.  To the cinephile, the LAFF was an excellent opportunity to see rare foreign-language films from a variety of countries.  To the parent, the Westwood-based event was a great place to bring your children, replete with kiddie films and fun-filled outdoor activities.  To the film hound, the festival was a cornucopia of revivals, ranging from John Ford and Samuel Fuller to campy genre classics.  To others it was a place to see powerful documentaries or new releases weeks before the general public.  And while it might have disappointed the attendee expecting to see a huge assortment of new American Indies (there were only eight films in Narrative Competition and not all of those were premieres), it once again managed to satisfy Yours Truly, loyally on the prowl for good no-budget fiction features.  









My next (and last for this year) Los Angeles class will be held in two weeks, August 25th and 26th at Raleigh Studios' Chaplin Theater.  As with past classes, this edition of "The Art & Science of No-Budget Filmmaking" includes several great guest speakers and an incredible software giveaway--all students will receive Axium's Budgeting and Scheduling software absolutely free, (a $400 value), making this course an appropriately excellent value.  If you're reading this and you haven't taken one of my classes, what are you waiting for??  Visit the website for more information and to register:


For those of you in the Kansas City, MO area, I will be teaching my two-day class there in October, hosted by the Kansas City Filmmakers Jubilee.  Please stay tuned for exact dates and guest speakers.

For those of you interested specifically in distribution or screenwriting, there are a couple of great courses coming up you might be interested in. I was recently on a panel with filmmaker Jerome Courson, who is teaching his one-day seminar, "The Secrets to Distribution: Get Your Movie Distributed Now!" on Saturday, August 18th at the Marriott Courtyard Hotel in Sherman Oaks. Jerome uses the experience selling his own films as the basis for this extremely practical class that focuses on the do's and don'ts of finding traditional distribution. If you've already made your film and are struggling with what to do with it, this class is a must. For more information, call: (323) 662-887, or visit his website:
If you're a writer with an idea for a feature, then you'll want to catch screenwriter and noted instructor Pilar Alessandra's upcoming On The Page screenwriting course, "Six Steps To A Screenplay." Unique writing tools and in-class exercises help you brainstorm, organize your story and go from idea to script pages in six simple steps. This class meets in Sherman Oaks Thursdays at 7:00pm - 10:00pm, from September 6 - October 18, skipping September 27; or Saturdays at Noon - 3:00pm, from September 8 - October 20, skipping September 29. Pilar is offering a discount to my subscribers--just mention No Budget Film School and get $25 off the course. For more information, call: (818) 905-8124 or email:, or visit:


Every year Filmmakers Alliance, the dynamic LA-based filmmaking collective, puts on their annual VisionFest, a celebration of not only their members' work, but also of independent, "greenlight yourself"-styled filmmaking.

In addition to the screenings, which are consistently outstanding, one of the highlights of the evening is always the presentation of the Vision Award to a respected filmmaker who embodies the spirit of independent filmmaking. In past years I have been thoroughly enlightened, entertained, and inspired by the speeches of these recipients, who have included Alexander Payne (enlightening), David O. Russell (entertaining), and Terry Gilliam (inspiring, "Be Bold!", he said). This year's edition, (FA's 10th!) features two award presentations, to visionary filmmakers Mark and Michael Polish and indie-friendly actress Laura Dern. As always, this event is as much a party as it is a screening and awards show--the evening finishes with a spectacular anniversary celebration catered by some of Los Angeles' best restaurants.

The event is this Wednesday, so if you haven't already purchased tickets, do so now--advanced tickets are considerably less than tickets at the door. And get there EARLY! This is a very popular event and overthrow crowds are delegated to the smaller theaters in the DGA.

The 10th Anniversary Filmmakers Alliance Awards, Screening and Celebration

Wednesday, August 15th, 7:00pm
Directors Guild of America Theater Complex
7929 Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood, CA 90046

For more information, call: 310-568-0633 or email:, or visit:

A very special Shout Out to two No Budget Film School alumni with films screening at this year's VisionFest:

* Marty Elcan - "Crossing The Line"

* Amanda Sweikow - "Plus Or Minus: A Few Things I Thought I Should Consider"



Prolific and eclectic filmmaker Marc Forster is adding a new genre to his resume--high budget action franchise film. Forster ("Stay," "Finding Neverland," "Stranger Than Fiction") has been tapped to direct the next installment in the James Bond series. Forster made a name for himself with the Academy Award winning "Monsters Ball," but got that gig after directing the little-seen but critically acclaimed no-budget feature "Everything Put Together," shot on the miniDV Sony VX-1000. It is assumed he will get something like 2000 times the budget of "Everything" to make the upcoming Bond film.

The equally busy David Gordon Green, a guest speaker in my last LA class, is finishing up his first big-budget studio film. "Pineapple Express" is in post production with a scheduled release date of August 2008. "Pineapple" is produced by the uber-comedy duo of Judd Apatow and Shauna Robertson ("Superbad," "Knocked Up," "40 Year Old Virgin") and co-written by Seth Rogen. Green works with a combination of Hollywood stars, (Rogen, James Franco, Amber Heard) and North Carolina Mafia regulars, (Danny McBride, Eddie Rouse, Robert Longstreet). Green's first film was the influential "George Washington" (2000), which was shot on 35mm for only $50,000. Green was also one of the producers of Craig Zobel's "Great World Of Sound"; Zobel will be talking about "Sound" in my upcoming LA course.

The work of photographer, filmmaker, and No Budget Film School alumna Monique Lai is on view in the upstairs lobby of the Arclight movie theater through September 12th. The exhibition, entitled "Private Property," is a series of photographs depicting the loss of our natural environment. For more information, please visit:


You'll find my LA Film Festival Wrap-Up with pictures and links on
The No Budget Report page, and previous editions of the Report are archived on the site.

The full stories on each of the no-budget films I profiled can be found on my
No Budget Films page, along with many other profiles. Most of these mini case studies are the result of extensive interviews with the filmmakers and you'll find information here about some films that you won't find anywhere else. All include links back to the film's web sites and many include trailers. Embedded in the collective experience of the filmmakers profiled are valuable lessons for prospective no-budget filmmakers. Reading them together, a modern, dynamic model for no-budget filmmaking emerges. You'll want to bookmark this page and return here often to read new profiles or catch updates on existing films. And if you can, make a point of supporting these films when (and if) they make it into theaters; that's how we keep this kind of filmmaking alive.

As always, archived editions of this newsletter are available exclusively to Newsletter subscribers. Click below if you missed any earlier editions:


Don't forget the No Budget Film Resources page on my web site. These are hand-picked links and resources for no-budget filmmakers provided exclusively for No Budget Newsletter subscribers. Please let me know if there are categories or links you would like me to add:


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