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By Heidi Martinuzzi | July 13, 2004

L.A. New Filmmakers is a spin-off of New York New Filmmakers. For lack of a better description, it is a yearlong filmmakers festival series showcasing the talents of independent filmmakers who submit their work. In pure unadulterated essence, it works like a film festival, with one very big exception. New Filmmakers allows independent filmmakers the chance to show their films on an on-going basis. The festival never ends! After a successful 6-year stint in New York City, the creators decided it was time to bring this amazing resource to Los Angeles. But who would head up the new faction?

Chris Castillo showed his film “The Sky Is Falling” at their monthly screening (a Polanski/”The Tenant”/ thrilling/genre/ whatchamacallit) and so impressed the New York New Filmmakers that they asked him to literally move to Los Angeles and start it up here. And he did. Why would anyone do that?

“I know where I came from, and I always will”. Sounds like the lyrics to a song, but what that is is Chris Castillo’s passion for independent filmmaking shining though the pressures of the studio system, Hollywood glamor, and the sparkly but unfulfilling fairy dust that keeps so many of Los Angeles’ talent down. The films “Primer” and Open Water were both candidates for early showings of New Filmmakers Los Angeles, but once distribution companies snatched them up, (A-hem! Lion’s Gate. Lion’s Gate, we love you yet hate you) they became terribly difficult to see or to screen. And who can blame them? They’re just indie films that happen to have caught the eye of some higher-up because they involved an interesting premise, a once-great but now washed-up actor, or a surprising, and undeniable range of talent and creativity that even the retards who made “The Mexican” cannot deny. (For more films like this see Blair Witch Project, “SAW”, and Razor Eaters). Because they have been snatched up their creators now have the chance to pursue a real career in the film business, something that making the festival circuit routes doesn’t always allow you to do, even if you make it to Cannes. For all the great films that do make it, there are literally thousands, equally great, that don’t. And their lonely creators are sitting there, print in hand, passing out fliers and screening at Leammles everywhere, hoping to catch the eye of someone with the ability to help in any way. Well, now there is an intermediary. Whereas groups like Indie Club have tried to gather a group of people with a common goal in one room, New Filmmakers goes beyond that simple premise and pushes the limits of who can see indie films on the big screen. Without Distribution. While Indie Club is a great way to connect with other filmmakers, and to learn about the business, New Filmmakers is purely about showcasing your skills in a professional environment.

What’s the difference between the New York and Los Angeles Factions of indie film?

“Los Angeles is more genre related, everything has to look more professional.” Should have known.

The Arclight theatre on Sunset Blvd. in Los Angeles is the nicest theatre in town. You can even drink inside at their handy little bar built right next to the entrance! A big bonus for me. And it shows indie films once a month at the price of a regular ticket. Pure genius. It is open to the public, and open to new talent that needs, no- that demands! to be taken seriously in an age when independent film is reaching absurd levels of commonplaceness (is that a word?) in our entertainment system.

The downside? No digital projection. That does make it tougher, because of the costs involved in putting your film on, well, film. So many talented filmmakers have been turned away, not because their film sucked, but because they didn’t have the funds to transfer it onto a different medium for screening. One downside doesn’t sound that bad. And there seems, at present, to be only one.

Chris Castillo, program director, is currently seeking submissions. It’s free to submit, folks. And, says Chris, “It doesn’t have to be good. As long as the film shows promise.”

Well, be that as it may, for the sake of the reviewers out there (a la moi) please try to make them good. My head is about to explode from watching films called “Zombie Armageddon 7” if it wasn’t good the first 6 times, Johnny Filmmaker, it ain’t gonna be good Number 7. I promise. And I’m not even a filmmaker.

If you want to submit your film or just attend, check this s**t out. I know I’ll be there every month.

Here are a few reviews just so you know what you’re in for…

The 17th Man ^ Wholey Moses ^ Eternal Gaze ^ Time Enough at Last

For more info, visit the New Filmmakers website.

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