Starting Point: A Short Q&A About A Short Film’s Journey to Festival

Oh, what a difference a year can make! It hasn’t yet been a full 365 days since filmmaker Sirada Tritruengtassana first walked onto the campus of Sarah Lawrence College to attend the International Film Institute of New York’s summer filmmaking course. In the months since “graduating” from the five-week intensive film program, Sirada has hit the ground running with her short film that was created in the summer of 2017, entering it into several international festivals.

In the Q&A below, #IFI caught up with Sirada the weekend of her film’s debut at the International New York Film Festival in Manhattan (and, she won Silver!!!).

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  1. Why are you a filmmaker?  I love telling a story. For me, making a film is like projecting my dream into moving pictures.
  2. Can you describe your film in three sentences?  I think three sentences will reveal everything in my five-minute short film. So, I  will give you three words : a girl, invisible, and murder.
  3. What was the best thing about making your film?  The best thing is my team. They are so awesome. I became friends with them in such a short time because we had gone so much together during the shoot. Without them, I don’t think I could have made this film happen.
  4. What was the worst thing about making your film?  Well, every shoot has its own struggle. My struggle was my first actress walked away from my set before we even began shooting. It was hard for me, but it also made me learn how to adapt with the situation and keep going — even without the lead actress. I think I have become a good problem solver after that [experience].
  5. Why did you decide to enter your film in INYFF? Are you planning to enter it into any other festivals?  Actually, I have entered my film, Invisible Murder, into a lot of festivals and INYFF is one of them. I chose this festival because it supports minorities in the film industry – both female and international filmmakers.
  6. What are the next plans for you and your film?  I’m still waiting for some festivals to reply for this film, and my new film that I just made this year. I’m also planning on making a new film this July. It’s going to be different from my current films and relating more about my tradition and culture.
  7. Who is your filmmaking inspiration?  don’t think I have anyone in particular. Anyone or anything can inspire me to make film.

If you’re considering a career in film or pursuing an interest within the industry, IFI has several summer courses to suit your needs. Visit www.nyfilmschool.com to learn more about the Five-Week Summer Filmmaking Collective, One-Week Introduction to Filmmaking and those with very little free time, the Two-Day Introduction to Filmmaking.

Beyond IFI: A conversation with filmmaker Courtney Harmstone

Repost from Sarah Lawrence College Summer Programs Post.

The confidence I gained at IFI has propelled me throughout my career.  The passion and the buzz I first felt in that casting room in Columbia University has not left me. Whenever I doubt myself, I think back to that day and that memory gives me the energy to continue.”  ~ Courtney Harmstone, International Film Institute, ’08

 

chCourtney Harmstonea self-described American-British hybrid” took one her first steps in film during the International Film Institute’s Summer Intensive at Sarah Lawrence in 2008. Since then, she has worked in film on both sides of the Atlantic, working as a producer, mentor, and co-founder and programmer of Catfish Shorts, a networking and film festival created for women in the film industry. Courtney recently shared with us about her in the film industry, future projects, and favorite memories of her time as at Sarah Lawrence College.
How did you initially get involved in the International Film Institute summer intensive?
When I was in high school I was always passionate about film and television, but my school did not offer a course in filmmaking.  I had previously attended summer film courses at SCAD that were only one week in duration.  It was a nice taster, but I longed for more. After researching various programs, I found IFI at Sarah Lawrence College which had the depth and breadth I was looking for as well as fabulous teachers active in the industry.   I was excited to be part of this intensive and immersive environment where I could experiment with the craft and find out if this was what I wanted to do with my life.  Spoiler alert! I am still working in film!
What is your favorite memory from that experience?
A great memory from my time at IFI was casting for the short film we were required to make during the course.  It was pretty inspiring to have these young and incredibly talented actors come and read portions of our scripts to us at Columbia University.  There was a buzz in the room and the energy was overwhelming.  I couldn’t believe these young professionals were interested in working with us! It was a great experience. It was very professional.

Another is being around so many creative people who, like me, knew little about the art of filmmaking or had minimal experience. It had a synergistic effect that created a supportive environment that allowed us to experiment with new ideas and take risks.
How has it impacted your life since then?
IFI had a huge impact on my life and my future career decisions.  It was the first opportunity I had to really explore filmmaking and to learn what it meant to work in the dramatic arts; how to plan, structure, shoot and edit a short film.  The course inspired me to pursue the film industry as my future career.  When I returned from New York, I knew I wanted to be a filmmaker and set my sights on pursuing a B.F.A. in film production.  In 2013, I graduated from The Florida State University College of Motion Picture Arts and then continued my education two years later at The University of Exeter and The London Film School with an M.A. in International Film Business.   
What advice would you give to your younger self?
If I could go back to myself at that age I would probably say TAKE MORE RISKS! Don’t be scared to experiment and have the confidence to just go out with a camera and shoot.  However, it is with the understanding that I did not take enough risks in filmmaking (and possibly with life) when I was younger – playing it safe, so to speak – that drives me so much now to push myself to take every opportunity that comes my way, and not to turn it down because I’m scared of the consequences (which, so far, have been very positive).  

I’d probably also tell myself to avoid rum, but I think everyone can relate to that one!
What’s next for you going forward?
The next steps for me are to continue working hard on my independent projects – Catfish Shorts and Indigo Valley – and to look for opportunities that will strengthen my skills as a Producer as I attempt to carve my way through this complicated jungle that we call an industry.  Sometimes you just have to follow the three Ps, as laid out by Robert Wise (Director, The Sound of Music, West Side Story) – “My three Ps: passion, patience, perseverance. You have to do this if you’ve got to be a filmmaker.


The elements of a successful movie have remained constant since the inception of the art form. The International Film Institute of New York (IFI) was founded in 1997 to provide those with a sincere and abiding interest in filmmaking with a high-quality, low-cost education in all aspects of the filmmaking process: screenwriting, directing, producing, cinematography, and editing in a curriculum combining classroom instruction and hands-on technical workshops. http://www.nyfilmschool.com

Filmmaker Snapshots: Kate Montgomery

Fast Facts: Kate Montgomery


IMG_8870.JPG.jpegCinematographer, Writer

Current project: CHRISTINE

Recent work: An untitled project with the late actor Martin Landau

You might have seen her: Premiering CHRISTINE at OutFest LA or WINNING Best Short Film in the Women in Film & Television Atlanta Short Film Showcase

Based in: New York

Spends summers: In Bronxville. Kate has worked as an instructor during IFI’s Five-Week Summer Filmmaking Intensive held at Sarah Lawrence College. The program is designed to completely immerse students into the filmmaking process, from screenwriting to post-production. In 2017, Kate taught IFI’s Camera Tech course.

See below for a trailer of CHRISTINE:

With the help of her best friend, Christine redefines her perception of strength and what it means to be herself.

Written and Shot by Kate Montgomery
Directed by Jessica Adler
Produced by Stephanie Serra of Triserratops Productions

 

👋 Thanks for getting to know IFI.


The elements of a successful movie have remained constant since the inception of the art form. The International Film Institute of New York (IFI) was founded in 1997 to provide those with a sincere and abiding interest in filmmaking with a high-quality, low-cost education in all aspects of the filmmaking process: screenwriting, directing, producing, cinematography, and editing in a curriculum combining classroom instruction and hands-on technical workshops. http://www.nyfilmschool.com 

 

Filmmaker Snapshots: Kyle Wilamowski

Fast Facts: Kyle Wilamowski


Screenwriter, Director, Instructor

Current project: Grass Stains

You might have seen him: Showing Grass Stains at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival

Based in: Brooklyn, N.Y.

Spends summers: In Bronxville. Kyle has worked as an instructor during IFI’s Five-Week Summer Filmmaking Intensive held at Sarah Lawrence College. The program is designed to completely immerse students into the filmmaking process, from screenwriting to post-production. Kyle has taught screenwriting and directing for us.

Check out his work: Grass Stains centers on Conrad Stevens (Tye Sheridan) a teen discovering his first love (Kaitlyn Dever). When a prank goes awry and causes the death of his girlfriend’s older brother, Conrad must balance his secret guilt with his feelings for the girl.

 


The elements of a successful movie have remained constant since the inception of the art form. The International Film Institute of New York (IFI) was founded in 1997 to provide those with a sincere and abiding interest in filmmaking with a high-quality, low-cost education in all aspects of the filmmaking process: screenwriting, directing, producing, cinematography, and editing in a curriculum combining classroom instruction and hands-on technical workshops. http://www.nyfilmschool.com 

 

Talking Cannes With Filmmaker Andres Rosende

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With the 2016 Cannes Film Festival fresh underway, we turned to some of our esteemed faculty here at the International Film Institute of New York in order to gather their personal insights and observations regarding Cannes, the surrounding excitement, which films and filmmakers to look out for in 2016 and also to gather their opinions about the industry as a whole.

Today, we sat down with Andres Rosende, a director, filmmaker and longtime IFI instructor, for a Q&A to discuss his insights on the 2016 Cannes Film Festival and provide inspiration to aspiring filmmakers looking to burst into the festival scene. Here’s the full Q&A with Rosende:

Q: What films, if any, have caught your eye from this year’s selections?

A: Cannes is a very auteur driven film festival so I’m always excited about the new movies of those filmmakers I admire and follow. This year looks spectacular: Almodovar,  Assayas, The Dardenne brothers, Ken Loach, Jeff Nichos, Paul Verhoeven or Nicholas Winding Refn are here. I can’t wait.


Q: What filmmaker/film program is doing a consistently good job presenting films year after year?

A: I don’t think any filmmaker is infallible, but I’m a huge Woody Allen fan, so I feel his movies (even the lesser ones) are never a disappointment. I also feel that the career of the Darden Brothers can be followed through Cannes.


Q: What does it take to compete at Cannes?

A: Cannes is the most prestigious and famous festival in the world. As I mentioned before is a filmmaker driven festival, so usually smaller, more personal movies are the one that compete there. Like any other big festival, there are political reasons, special relationships and other considerations too that affect the selection.


Q: What one piece of advice would you give someone pursuing Cannes?

A: I don’t think my approach to Cannes is necessary different than my approach to any film festival. Be confident in your work. Now that your film is the same going to a festival than not going to one; with awards and without awards. This is a very subjective process and nobody should put their self-esteem in it.


Q: Besides Cannes, what other international moment is important to film?

A: I think there are many festivals and events around the world that celebrate film. We have the big film festivals: Berlin, Venice, San Sebastian, Toronto, New York, Sundance, AFI, SXSW… We have the specialized festivals: Sitges, Locarno, Fantastic Fest… We have museums like MOMA or LACMA, awards shows like the Academy Awards (not just the Oscars but every country’s Academy Awards), etc.


About Andres Rosende:

Andres was born and raised in Santiago de Compostela, Spain where he graduated summa cum laude from Universidad Complutense of Madrid with a B.A. in Film Studies and Communication. Aside from being an MFA candidate in Film Directing at Columbia University, Andres has also won several awards including the James Bridges Award for excellence in working with actors and the prestigious Fundacion Barrie de la Maza scholarship.

Talking Cannes With Director Maggie Greenwald

With the 2016 Cannes Film Festival fresh underway, we turned to some of our esteemed instructors and colleagues here at the International Film Institute of New York in order to gather their personal insights and observations regarding Cannes, the surrounding excitement, which films and filmmakers to look out for in 2016 and also to gather their opinions about the industry as a whole.

Today, we sat down with Maggie Greenwald, an independent writer / director, for a Q&A to discuss her thoughts on the 2016 Cannes Film Festival and provide inspiration to aspiring filmmakers. We thank Maggie for her time in responding to our questions! Here’s the full Q&A with Greenwald:

Q: What films, if any, have caught your eye from this year’s selections?

A: I’m excited about the strong presence that the Amazon features will have at the Cannes Festival in 2016; as always, I’m disappointed that so few films by women have been included in the festival.


Q: What does it take to compete at Cannes?

A: I’m really not positive in regards to what it takes to get a film into Cannes. Honestly, having major connections – such as producers and filmmakers that the programmers know – seems to go a long way. As all top-tier festivals, they are swamped with films and need some mechanism to help sort through. Personally, I don’t think my films fit into their sensibility, so I stopped focusing on Cannes some time ago for my work; it’s still very much a boys club.


Q: Are you currently participating in Cannes in any way?

A: My new film, Sophie and the Rising Sun, is represented in the market by a foreign sales company called Seville Int’l. They are selling international rights.


Q: Besides Cannes, what other international moment is important to film?

A: There are many wonderful European festivals that are just as amazing and can bring great visibility and acknowledgment to American films – Venice, Berlin, Locarno, Munich, London, San Sebastian are all amazing festivals and provide great opportunities for filmmakers. There are dozens more, smaller festivals which may be better fits for lesser known filmmakers. Some festivals are less interested in American films and focused more on Europe or Latin America. But, I’d always advise a new filmmaker to submit a film to as many festivals as possible. The best place for you and your film could very well be a smaller festival where it won’t get lost. My film, Sophie and the Rising Sun, will be screening at the Munich Film Festival in June. I’m thrilled.


About Maggie Greenwald:

Maggie Greenwald is an independent writer and director. Her recent film, Sophie and the Rising Sun, premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. Maggie also wrote and directed The Ballad of Little Jo, a critically-acclaimed, groundbreaking Western which was released worldwide by Fine Line Features and Polygram Filmed Entertainment and shown at major festivals around the world. Maggie’s other work has appeared at festivals in Munich, London, Deauville, Toronto, Edinburgh and Torino. She is currently creating and writing a new TV series, Called to Gilead, in addition to developing Nella Larsen’s novel Quicksand as a feature film.

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Talking Cannes With Filmmaker Shrihari Sathe

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With the 2016 Cannes Film Festival fresh underway, we turned to some of our esteemed faculty here at the International Film Institute of New York in order to gather their personal insights and observations regarding Cannes, the surrounding excitement, which films and filmmakers to look out for in 2016 and also to gather their opinions about the industry as a whole.

Today, we sat down with Shrihari Sathe, an independent filmmaker, producer and longtime IFI instructor, for a Q&A to discuss his company’s involvement in the 2016 Cannes Film Festival and provide inspiration to aspiring filmmakers looking to burst into the festival scene. Here’s the full Q&A with Sathe:

Q: What films, if any, have caught your eye from this year’s selections?

A: Money Monster, The Nice Guys, Psycho Raman, Tramontane, Mademoiselle


Q: What filmmaker/film program is doing a consistently good job presenting films year after year?

A: Bruno Dumont, Dardenne Brothers, Anurag Kashyap


Q: What does it take to compete at Cannes?

A: Cannes is the mecca of the film festival circuit so the films have to be of high quality – typical the main festival selection is made up of masters and the parallel sections are a combination of emerging filmmakers and masters.


Q: What one piece of advice would you give someone pursuing Cannes?

A: It’s important to understand the festival marketplace and know the right people in order to set up the right meetings. It’s also important to have a specific purpose in coming to Cannes.


Q: Are you currently participating in Cannes in any way?

A: Yes, I launched a new distribution label – Silk Road Cinema in partnership with Kino Lorber, an established American distributor. I’m also doing meetings for my projects in the development and financing stage.


Q: Besides Cannes, what other international moment is important to film?

A: From a marketing perspective, these four: The Berlin Film Festival, the European Film Market in Europe, the Sundance Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival in North America. In terms of major festivals, these are important as well: Festival del Film Locarno, the Venice Film Festival, the Karlovy Vary Film Festival, the Telluride Film Festival and New York Film Festival.


About Shrihari Sathe:

Shrihari Sathe, an independent filmmaker and producer, joined IFI as an instructor in 2015. Sathe recently launched Silk Road Cinema in partnership with Kino Lorber, an established American distributor, with the aim of bringing top films from South Asia over to the United States. In addition to producing and co-producing several films (i.e.: Jaron Henrie-McCrea’s Pervertigo (2012), Eliza Hittman’s It Felt Like Love (2013) and Elisabeth Subrin’s A Woman, A Part (2016)), Sathe’s feature directorial debut, 1000 Rupee Note, has won over 40 awards. Sathe is a Sundance Institute Creative Producing Fellow and Trans Atlantic Partners Fellow who has also received fellowships from the HFPA, PGA, IFP, Film Independent and more.

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