Indie Roundup is your guide to what's new and upcoming in the world of independent film. Pictured above: HOWL, Heartbreaker.
Fest Scene. It's hopping, all across the nation! New York has the Tribeca Film Festival (Cinematical's Christopher Campbell previewed the documentaries), Beantown has the Independent Film Festival Boston, the City by the Bay has the San Francisco International Film Festival gearing up, and Los Angeles thrills to City of Lights City of Angels (COLCOA) and the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles.
Deals. The opening night film from this year's Sundance has now secured distribution. HOWL, starring James Franco as poet Allen Ginsberg, will see theatrical and VOD release via Oscilloscope Pictures in September, according to indieWIRE. The film was greeted indifferently at Sundance; our own Kevin Kelly was not impressed by its "unfortunately clumsy approach to adapting one of the quintessential American poems." Mary-Louise Parker, David Strathairn, and Jon Hamm also star.
French comedy Heartbreaker (L'Arnacoeur), a selection of both COLCOA and Tribeca, has been acquired by IFC Films for US distribution, indieWIRE says. It will be available via the company's IFC in Theaters program, so it'll be available both in theaters and on demand. Directed by Pascal Chaumeil, the film stars Romain Duris as the operator of a business that breaks hearts -- and relationships -- for a price. Trouble ensues when he falls for Vanessa Paradis. IFC also picked up Lena Dunham's Tiny Furniture, which had its world premiere at SXSW last month and won a couple of prizes. The full story can be found at indieWIRE.
After the jump: Watching indies from home, which leads directly to the other point. Why don't young people support independent movies in theaters?
Online / On Demand. Tribeca offers eight feature films and 18 shorts through their Virtual Premium Pass program. Or, you can watch past fest faves via other sites: The Auteur on Hulu, Shadow of Afghanistan on Fancast, or When I Came Home on SnagFilms.
Those Damn Kids. Is the ready availability of so many independent films online and on demand curtailing the theatrical appetite of young people to head to theaters? Anthony Kaufman examines the issue in the Spring 2010 issue of Filmmaker Magazine. He talks to a good selection of industry professionals and filmmakers, all concerned with seducing the elusive under-30 crowd into theaters to see indie movies.
Except one, Magnolia's Eamonn Bowles, who thinks "the younger audience has always been the most overrated." In his view, "independent films are more complex, more intellectual, so it's really always been the domain of people that are older."
I'm not sure that demographic material exists to support these contentions. In general, the under-30 crowd sees more movies in theaters than the over-30 crowd, as a 2009 study from Nielsen confirms, but the article -- and the sources interviewed -- points toward the idea that the under-30 crowd isn't connecting with indie films or doesn't hear about them. Instead, we can presume, those damn kids spend all their money on video games and stupid Hollywood blockbusters.
Is that really the case? Maybe the marketing folks at indie distributors have been surveying audiences and thus come to their informed conclusion. Or maybe they just eyeball their local bijou and see too many gray hairs and walkers for their taste.