Tag Archives: sabi pictures


Paul Rachman and Brian Newman pre Summit Slamdance 2010 - Photo by Saskia Wilson Brown

I haven’t posted anything since the Sundance and Slamdance lineups were announced, but here are my thoughts post-Park City, 2010.

Throughout my career—which began by documenting the Hardcore Punk movement in the early ’80s, followed by making music videos at Propaganda Films in Los Angeles to my current filmmaking career and my involvement with Slamdance—I’ve always felt compelled to help other filmmakers, whether by editing or shooting for others, or sharing advice with new filmmakers.  Now, more than ever, is the time for that kind of generosity and collaboration within the independent filmmaking community.

This was my 16th year at Sundance and Slamdance, enough years to actually see things come and go, and come back again.  I started going to Park City in 1995, at the beginning of the indie craze.  Fox Searchlight launched that year with the acquisition of THE BROTHERS McMULLEN.  Miramax was bought by Disney.  And most Sundance competition films from then on were cast with a new breed of indie A-list actors and budgets upwards of $8 to 12 million.  Yes, the indie business was looking good for the studios, investors and a multitude of new distribution companies.  That same year, the 35mm short dramatic film called DRIVE BABY DRIVE that I directed and produced did not get into Sundance.  Instead of slumping away in defeat, a dozen other Sundance 1995 rejects and I went to Park City with our own films and projectors, and found an audience. Slamdance “Anarchy in Utah” was born.  We were all helping each other.

Sixteen years later it seems the clock has turned back to pre-1989 (the year SEX, LIES AND VIDEOTAPE won the Sundance Audience Award and was the catalyst for Hollywood taking notice of independent films).  There are very few distributors, and the obstacles for indie filmmakers to get their films screened theatrically end up being insurmountable for all but a few in larger cities.  These issues, and the barriers indie filmmakers face today, needed to be part of the discussion in Park City 2010.  I helped put together the 2010 Slamdance Film Festival Summit so that new filmmakers could access the tools and knowledge necessary to keep their momentum after the festival.  The idea was born when I attended The Workbook Project’s DIY Days in Philadelphia this past summer.  Lance Weiler and Slamdance alum Arin Crumley, director of Slamdance’s 2004 Audience Award Winner FOUR EYED MONSTERS, are two of the pioneers of these all-day free seminars on DIY distribution for indie filmmakers.  I immediately thought that all Slamdance filmmakers could benefit from learning new ideas about DIY distribution.  Hence, the Slamdance 2010 Filmmaker Summit.

Looking back to the early ‘80s, US indie pioneers like Jim Jarmusch, John Sayles and Spike Lee all faced similar challenges in finding their audiences and booking their films theatrically.  Some of them used the rising punk/alternative and art movements to find their audience—people sharing and turning others on to information and ideas.  It was an exciting time, and they found new ways of telling stories.  What’s different about their challenges versus ours today is that they did it without the digital and social networking tools at our fingertips.  Ultimately, it all comes down to finding a way to share the information and to turn others on to some very innovative, groundbreaking filmmaking. The filmmakers still must possess the passion, but this time the available tools can often be enacted with the click of a button, reaching potentially thousands of people at one time.

Below are some clips and links with valuable information to help filmmakers to get out there and make things happen.  It’s something we’ve heard since kindergarten, but the old adage remains: We’re all in this together. Share, help others, turn people on to tools they don’t know about, and help audiences access films they wouldn’t otherwise see.

NEW BREED: An Open Discussion

The following discussion was taped before the Slamdance 2010 Filmmaker Summit by filmmakers Zak Forsman and Kevin K. Shah of Sabi Pictures. It focuses on the need for an alternative network to connect filmmakers and audiences. Featuring: Peter Baxter, Saskia Wilson-Brown, Brian Newman, Paul Rachman and Lance Weiler.

NEW BREED: Discovering the questions
Filmmakers Zak Forsman and Kevin K. Shah of Sabi Pictures arrive at Park City with an intent to define the questions most relevant to independent distribution options. Insights from Brian Newman, Dan Mirvish, Jon Reiss and Ira Deutchman open a path toward discovering some real solutions.

NEW BREED: Seeking the Answers Pt1
SABI filmmakers Zak Forsman and Kevin K. Shah move away from identifying the questions toward some possible answers that may, in fact, lead to the solutions we seek. Insights from Linas Phillips (Bass Ackwards), Jon Reiss and Brian Newman are fleshed out with more thoughts from the pre-Filmmaker Summit roundtable.

NEW BREED: Seeking the Answers Pt2
SABI filmmakers Zak Forsman and Kevin K. Shah move away from identifying the questions toward some possible answers that may, in fact, lead to the solutions we seek. Insights from Linas Phillips (Bass Ackwards), Jon Reiss and Brian Newman are fleshed out with more thoughts from the pre-Filmmaker Summit roundtable.

A report from the Slamdance / Open Video Coalition Filmmaker Summit


A link to Brian’s thoughts and outtakes from the Sundance panel entitled “The Doctor’s in the House” on distribution,

Here you can read Saskia Wilson Brown’s Manifesto
Here is the official Slamdance 2010 Filmmaker Summit page: