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BACK STAGE WEST'S FILM FESTIVAL GUIDE 2002

TOP NORTH AMERICAN FILM FESTIVALS plus ADDITIONAL FILM FESTIVALS IN THE UNITED STATES/CANADA.

TOP NORTH AMERICAN FILM FESTIVALS

(in alphabetical order):

IFP/WEST LOS ANGELES FILM FESTIVAL

c/o IFP/West

8750 Wilshire Blvd, 2nd Fl.

Beverly Hills, CA 90211-2713

Phone: (323) 951-7090

Fax: (323) 432-1203

Website: www.lafilmfest.com

E-mail: lafilmfest@ifpwest.org

Festival Date: June 21-29, 2002

Entry Deadline: Mar. 22, 2002

More than 30,000 people attend what has evolved into a world-class event, uniting emerging filmmakers with film critics, scholars, masters, and the film-going public. After successfully launching in 1993 (then called the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival), this festival surprised many in the industry by doing the unthinkable: bringing great independent films to the center of Hollywood. During last year's nine-day event, 51 feature films (22 world premieres) and 48 short films were screened. Many acquisitions executives and other working creative people in the industry attend this festival because it provides an environment conducive to business like this. Among the films that secured distribution deals last year were Kissing Jessica Stein, which will be released in March by Fox Searchlight Pictures and which helps prove that there's more to life than getting your film accepted into Sundance.

NEW DIRECTORS/NEW FILMS

The Film Society of Lincoln Center

70 Lincoln Center Plaza, 4th Fl.

New York, NY 10023

Phone: (212) 875-5610

Fax: (212) 875-5636

Website: www.filmlinc.com

E-mail: niffilm@bellsouth.net

Festival Date: Mar. 22-Apr. 7, 2002

Entry Deadline: Passed (January)

Co-sponsored by New York's Museum of Modern Art, this festival has earned an international reputation as the foremost forum for film art that breaks or remakes the cinematic mold. As a festival dedicated to discovering emerging and overlooked artists, newcomers on the verge of mainstream success, and distinguished veterans whose work deserves wider public attention, New Directors/New Films nurtures directorial talent by creating an invaluable opportunity for that talent to win public support and acceptance. Since its beginnings in 1972, New Directors has been treated to an early preview of such talents as Wim Wenders, Steven Spielberg, John Sayles, Spike Lee, Sally Potter, Pedro Almodovar, Ken Burns, Peter Greenaway, and Whit Stillman.

NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL

Film Society of Lincoln Center

70 Lincoln Center Plaza

New York, NY 10023

Phone: (212) 875-5610; (212) 875-5638

Fax: (212) 875-5636

Website: www.filmlinc.com

E-mail: webmaster@filmlinc.com

Festival Date: Sept. 27-Oct. 13, 2002

Entry Deadline: June 15, 2002

Celebrating its 40th year, this festival continues its proud tradition of showing the newest and most important cinematic works by directors from around the world. The 17-day festival is an unparalleled showcase of inspiring and provocative cinema by emerging talents and first-rank international artists whose films are often recognized as contemporary classics. Premieres have included Pedro Almodovar's All About My Mother, Lars von Trier's Dancer in the Dark, and Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

San Francisco Film Society

39 Mesa St., Ste. 110

The Presidio

San Francisco, CA 94129

Phone: (415) 561-5000

E-mail: sfiff@sfiff.org

Website: www.sfiff.org

Festival Date: Apr. 18-May 2, 2002

Entry Deadline: Passed (January)

More than 40 years old, SFIFF boasts attendance of approximately 70,000 people each year. There are two festival components: a competitive category for documentaries, shorts, animation, experimental, and television productions, and an invitational, non-competitive category for narrative features.

SEATTLE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL (SIFF)

911 Pine St., 6th Fl.

Seattle, WA 98101

Phone: (206) 464-5830

Fax: (206) 264-7919

Website: www.seattlefilm.com

E-mail: mail@seattlefilm.com

Festival Date: May 23-June 16, 2002

Entry Deadline: Mar. 1, 2002

Nearly a month in length, this festival boasts an attendance of more than 130,000 and presents 250 features and 50 shorts from 50 countries, which makes SIFF both the largest and the longest-running film festival in the world. It offers competitive and non-competitive screenings, hosting the world premieres of such anticipated Hollywood blockbusters as George Lucas' The Empire Strikes Back and Mel Gibson's Braveheart, as well as popular indie films like Richard Linklater's Dazed and Confused and Danny Boyle's Trainspotting. The festival also attracts top-notch talent to participate: Bryan Singer, Todd Haynes, Carl Franklin, Tom DiCillo, Gus Van Sant, Sean Penn, Russell Crowe, Julianne Moore, Wallace Shawn, and Vincent D'Onofrio, to name a few.

SLAMDANCE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

5634 Melrose Ave.

Los Angeles, CA 90036

Phone: (323) 466-1786

Fax: (323) 466-1784

Website: www.slamdance.com

E-mail: mail@slamdance.com

Festival Date: Passed (mid-January)

Entry Deadline: October (early for 2003 fest); November (late for 2003 fest)

Founded in 1995, this maverick film festival "by filmmakers for filmmakers" is charming for its integrity and rebellious spirit. It takes place in the heart of Park City, Utah, to coincide with the Sundance Film Festival and has become a viable option for independent filmmakers to screen their works for many of the same people attending the larger, more dominant festival in town. As Slamdance has grown in stature, so too has the number of submissions (more than 2,000 short and feature entries were submitted for consideration for the most recent festival, out of which only about 80 films were selected).

While Sundance's roster of films increasingly includes established filmmakers and name actors, as well as distributors attached, Slamdance has remained entirely true to its very independent spirit. Its main feature competition (about a dozen or so) is strictly devoted to films without domestic theatrical distribution, with first-time feature directors, and with relatively low budgets. In addition to fiction features, Slamdance also shows shorts, documentaries, and experimental films. It also holds a screenplay competition and an online shorts competition.

SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST FILM FESTIVAL (SXSW)

P.O. Box 4999

Austin, TX 78765

Phone: (512) 467-7979

Fax: (512) 451-0754

Website: www.sxsw.com

E-mail: sxsw@sxsw.com

Festival Date: Mar. 8-17, 2002

Entry Deadline: November (for 2003 fest)

As quoted in Filmmaker Magazine, "SXSW is a rare blend of informative panels, strong programming, and a relaxed social scene... SXSW has become a staple on the festival circuit for its ability to launch a film." Founded in 1994, this film festival began as an extension of the SXSW Music and Media Conference and has quickly established itself as a formidable force in the indie film world. Divided into film, interactive, and music categories, these three industry events converge in Austin during a Texas-sized week, mirroring the ever increasing convergence of entertainment/media outlets. It lasts nine days and attracts the likes of Kevin Smith, Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez, Richard Linklater, and John Sayles.

This year's stellar lineup includes screenings of features directed by Peter Bogdanovich, Tony Shalhoub, Ethan Hawke, Roman Coppola, Guillermo del Toro, a short written by Steve Martin, and short films featuring mega-talents, including Samuel L. Jackson and Frances McDormand.

SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL

P.O. Box 3630

Salt Lake City, UT 84110-3630

California Headquarters:

225 Santa Monica Blvd., 8th Fl.

Santa Monica, CA 90401

Phone: (801) 328-3456 (UT); (310) 394-4662 (CA)

Fax: (801) 575-5175 (UT); (310) 394-8353 (CA)

Website: www.sundance.org

E-mail: sundance@xmission.com (UT); sundance@deltanet.com (CA)

Festival Date: Passed (mid-January)

Entry Deadline: September/October (for 2003 fest)

What began 20 years ago as a relatively low-key event has exploded into the premiere U.S. festival, showcasing what is considered to be some of the very best of contemporary independent filmmaking. The Sundance Institute, which puts on this much-anticipated festival each winter, was founded by Robert Redford as a means for filmmakers to gain support and creative advice from industry luminaries.

In addition to the festival, which draws sold-out crowds of 20,000 and top film-industry professionals to Park City, the institute offers a sought-after mentoring program. Alumni of the institute's labs make up a virtual who's who of indie all-stars. The festival has launched the careers of too many directors and actors to mention here, and it remains one of the prime avenues for indie filmmakers to sell their work to distributors.

Not surprisingly it's difficult to get an invitation from Sundance to show your work. Should your film be denied acceptance into the festival, however, it is far from the end of the road. As you can see from Back Stage West's comprehensive listing, it is not the only worthwhile festival to consider.

For The Complete Listing Click Here

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