Indie Film News 9. 27. 19

Indie Film News for September 27, 2019

Hosted By Jason Godbey, Creative Director, Behind the Rabbit Productions

On this episode host Jason Godbey talks about the NYWIFT Road to the Emmy’s Event, the Katra Film Series, the new documentary Don’t Be Nice. The week we ask the question: why aren’t you watching indie films?

Indie Film News is a supplemental show in addition to our regular weekly episodes to keep you updated on news and events going on in the indie film world today. These are audio exclusive episodes, so subscribe on your favorite podcast app for the latest Indie Film News episodes.

Zero at the Katra Film Series

By Jason Godbey, Creative Director, Behind the Rabbit Productions

This week I attended the Katra Film Series,. This season Geoffrey Guerrero and his team put a great program of films together.

The stand out of the evening was the film Zero directed by The Brothers Lynch and starring Bella Ramsey who you may know better as Lady Mormont from Game of Thrones. The film is about a young girl who is left to survive the apocalypse alone after her father dies. Ramsey gives an exceptional performance and the film is very well-made with some stellar cinematography and special effects. 

Other standout films include: Juniper- a sci-fi short about a man who loses his wife and has her brought back via a company that can clone people. It has a very Black Mirror-esque vibe to it.  It’s a film that keeps you guessing and surprises the audience.

The Desecrated is a horror short, a real crowd-pleaser with equal parts scares and laughs. Horror is huge on the indie film scene. Making horror shorts was a road to Hollywood for David F. Sandberg. Perhaps director John Gray will take a similar path.

The Katra Film Series has four exhibitions a year, and now they’re making their home at the Alamo Drafthouse. If you’re making short films, and you’re looking for a festival, I highly recommend submitting to them. 

For more about the Katra Film Series, check out episode 421 where I interview founder Geoffrey Guerrero. He’s also the co-founder of the Bowery Film Festival which we also covered this year. You can find our interviews at both Katra Film Series and the Bowery Film Festival on our Facebook and YouTube pages.


Episode 520: Juan Castilla

Hosted By Jason Godbey, Creative Director, Behind the Rabbit Productions

On this episode experimental filmmaker Juan Castilla talks about his film, Exposed and the importance of experimental film.

No Rest for the Weekend is now live on YouTube, iTunesPocket Casts, Anchor.fmSpotify, and Google Play. Please remember to like, rate, subscribe, and share. You can also send us your questions, and suggestions for topics, and let us know if you’d like to nominate a creator to be a guest on our show.

“Don’t Be Nice. Be Necessary.”

DON’T BE NICE – Official Trailer from Radio Drama Network on Vimeo.

Review by Jason Godbey, Creative Director, Behind the Rabbit Productions

At the IFC Center in the heart of Greenwich Village, New York City, the new documentary Don’t Be Nice is currently playing in limited release. Don’t Be Nice is an unflinching look inside the Bowery Poetry Slam Team as they prepare for the National Poetry Slam competition. 

The film takes place during the summer of 2016 beginning with a night at the Bowery Poetry Club and ending with the National Poetry Slam in Atlanta, GA. At the heart of this movie are five poets; Ashley August, Timothy DuWhite, Joel Francois, Sean MEGA Desvignes, and Noel Quińońes who are guided by their coaches, Jon Sands and Lauren Whitehead as they write and perform hard-hitting poems that will advance them to the next level of competition and hopefully win them national competition honors which will open opportunities for teaching, tours, and book deals for them.

We witness the poets struggle to improve with each rehearsal and with each revision. Their performances are powerful and moving and somehow unpretentious.  Lauren Whitehead stands out as she continually pushes the young performers to dig deeper and make their poems personal and therefore more compelling. If you’re unfamiliar with slam poetry, Don’t Be Nice will open your mind and may leave you thinking “I didn’t know poetry could do all that.”

Director Max Powers and cinematographer Peter Eliot Buntaine take us inside the world of these artists and take us through their arduous and sometimes painful process. We see their breakdowns and breakthroughs as they experience deeply emotional moments. The poets talk about copeing with the death of loved ones, sexual and physical abuse, and the harsh realities of what it’s like to be a person of color in America today.

The writing sessions in the film can almost seem like therapy sessions which in the wrong hands would seem exploitative or like a cheap reality show, but somehow the filmmakers were able to capture these moments in a way that has us feeling as if we’re on this journey of discovery with the poets. We’re right their in the same room being moved by their stories and their work, not looking down at them or putting them in a box. It’s a fine line the film walks masterfully.

Following the screening there was a Q&A with producer Nikhil Melnechuk and editor David Lieberman. When I asked about the process of creating the film and how they were able to show these moments of emotion without devolving into manipulative exploitation, they explained that they conducted 10 test screenings with different audiences. After each screening, they made changes according to audience feedback. In some cases, this could prove to be a recipe for disaster due to the classic “too many cooks in the kitchen” problem and over-correcting, but it helped the film tremendously. They were able to continually improve cut by cut.

Another stand out moment is a performance of a poem by Ashley August staged in a Manhattan subway. Her poem is a satiric take on her own personal issues an anxieties. Her performance is impactful and at times hilarious. The scene could almost be considered a short film within the film as it illustrates how poetry can prove to be cinematic in the right hands.

Each performer is given a moment to shine as we see their work develop from the writers’ room to the stage. We see their courage, their audacity, and the love of their craft. This is a movie about making art for its own sake and the hope that art can make the world a better place. It’s a fantastic film and a must-see. Its title comes from the saying , “Don’t be nice. Be necessary,” and it is just that… necessary.

After a year on the festival circuit, Don’t Be Nice is now in limited release in New York City at the IFC Center until September 26th and opens in Los Angeles on September 27th. It will make its television premiere on October 11th 2019 on Fuse TV. 

Episode 519: Celia Au

Hosted By Jason Godbey, Creative Director, Behind the Rabbit Productions

On this episode Celia Au, talks with host Jason Godbey about starring on the Netflix series Wu Assassins and the award winning indie feature, In a New York Minute.

No Rest for the Weekend is now live on YouTube, iTunesPocket Casts, Anchor.fmSpotify, and Google Play. Please remember to like, rate, subscribe, and share. You can also send us your questions, and suggestions for topics, and let us know if you’d like to nominate a creator to be a guest on our show.

Our Guide to No Budget Filmmaking – Available Now for our Patrons

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Episode 518: DJI Osmo Action Review

Hosted By Jason Godbey, Creative Director, Behind the Rabbit Productions

On this episode host Jason Godbey gives you his review of the DJI Osmo Action Camera. Thanks for JMR Rentals for supplying the camera for this review. .. Also, Indie Film News- Wu Assassins trailer release party, NYC Web Fest and more…

No Rest for the Weekend is now live on YouTube, iTunesPocket Casts, Anchor.fmSpotify, and Google Play. Please remember to like, rate, subscribe, and share. You can also send us your questions, and suggestions for topics, and let us know if you’d like to nominate a creator to be a guest on our show.

Indie Film News

Hosted by Jason Godbey and Christopher Gillard

On this episode (linked above): 

The Ozzie Areu/Endavo Media merger – The latest on the new indie feature Slapface directed by Jeremiah Kipp,   The Ask for Jane VOD release starring Cait CortelyouIFP WeekBushwick Film Festival and NYC Web Fest.

Plus a preview of upcoming episodes featuring Celia Au from the Netflix series Wu Assassins, and Jordina Adorno from the ABC series Grand Hotel and more…

If you’re a filmmaker/creator with a project and you have a project you think we should know about, send a press release to info@behindtherabbitproductions.com. Be sure to include the words “Press Release” in the subject line along with the title of the project.

Episode 517: Joel Feinberg

Hosted By Jason Godbey, Creative Director, Behind the Rabbit Productions

On this episode Joel Feinberg, CEO of DeWolfe Music USA talks about the ins and outs of music licensing with host Jason Godbey.

No Rest for the Weekend is now live on YouTube, iTunesPocket Casts, Anchor.fmSpotify, and Google Play. Please remember to like, rate, subscribe, and share. You can also send us your questions, and suggestions for topics, and let us know if you’d like to nominate a creator to be a guest on our show.