This month we check in with a David vs. Goliath story, a filmmaker adapting the work of a legendary novelist and we give you some insight into our submission process.
To start off we were happy to have filmmaker Jennifer Nelson stop by to talk to us about her documentary she's currently filming on the "Happy Birthday" song. Last year her film made headlines after she was included in a lawsuit seeking that the song be in the public domain (yes, for decades you have had to pay a licensing fee to use the song in any film, TV show, anything you're charging someone to hear the song in your work). We chat with Nelson about her motivations for wanting to make this film and the fight ahead of her with the titan that owns the song, Warner Music Group, which pulls in around $2 million a year in licensing fees.
Before listening, here's a warm up on the issue from The Colbert Report:
(20:45) Filmmaker Daniel Schechter (Supporting Characters) showed up to talk about his lighthearted drama Life of Crime (opening in theaters and VOD this Friday). Based on the Elmore Leonard novel The Switch, Schechter has assembled an all-star cast that includes Jennifer Aniston, John Hawkes, Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def), Tim Robbins, Will Forte, Isla Fisher and Mark Boone Junior for a film (which was the closing night film at last year's Toronto International Film Festival) that is a celebration of Leonard's iconic talents (he passed away before seeing the finished film). We talk about Schechter's sudden thrust from low-budget character studies to the mainstream and the film's relationship to another Leonard adaptation, Jackie Brown.
(48:38) To wrap up this episode we grabbed TFI's Vice President of Artist Programs, Ryan Harrington, to talk a little about our upcoming submissions and some tips on what he and his team are looking for. Remember, we open submission on Sept. 5, so spend some of this Labor Day holiday weekend getting your project ready.
Host: Jason Guerrasio, TFI Web Editor
Along with creating the web content for TFI, Jason also writes regularly about movies and the film industry for numerous publications including Vanity Fair, Esquire and Movies.com. Previously he was the managing editor of Filmmaker Magazine.