Profiles

A Little Money, a Long Way: An Interview with Joseph Cashiola

Joseph Cashiola discusses his first feature film, IFP grant, and, “stuff.”


Director Joseph Cashiola is finishing up post production on his film "A Thing as Big as the Ocean."

Director Joseph Cashiola sits down for coffee with The Independent's Jennifer Sheffield and hashes out the details behind the making of his first feature-length film, A Thing as Big as the Ocean (view the trailer here), now in post-production and ready to hit up festivals in 2009. Cashiola discusses working with his brother, shooting on the road, and the difference between independent filmmakers and "beginner-level professionals."

Joseph Cashiola says that there has to be “exploration” in his life, or he’s not happy. This is the result of traveling around in an Army family as a kid. Fittingly, Cashiola, 27, continues on a self-taught, road-tested, and successful spiral into independent filmmaking and is not short on ideas.

Distributor FAQ: Vanessa Domico of Outcast Films

Q & A with Vanessa Domico, founder of Outcast Films, an LGBT distributor.


"Rock Bottom: Gay Men & Meth" is a recent release from Outcast, which they hope will revitalize activism on the issue.

Five years ago Vanessa Domico saw a gap in the distribution of LGBT titles and decided it was time to pull up her sleeves. Using her expertise as a director of distribution, she founded Outcast Films, now one of the foremost LGBT distributors in the country, with critically acclaimed releases like their most recent film She's a Boy I Knew (view the trailer here). Outcast is more than a distributor -- under Domico's leadership it also focuses on education and activism on behalf of the LGBT community.

Vanessa Domico was tired of seeing too few LGBT films, so she drew on her expertise as a film distributor and founded Outcast Films.

After the Oscar: An Interview with Cynthia Wade

Cynthia Wade discusses the evolution of her career, post-Oscar win.


Director Cynthia Wade filming the freeholders, the subjects of her 2008 Oscar-winning documentary.

When the paparazzi cleared and the red carpet rolled away, filmmaker Cynthia Wade, winner of the 2008 Academy Award for "Best Documentary Short Subject", rolled up her sleeves and got back to work. The Oscar winner discusses with the Independent, what she's been working on since the statue, how she finds her compelling subjects and gives some advice for aspiring documentarians.

As a sophomore at Smith College, Cynthia Wade found herself witness to a small scandal: a friend discovered she was pregnant and decided leave college, marry her boyfriend and have her child, going against the feminist attitude many of her classmates held. So, in true documentarian form, Wade’s first instinct was to get it on film.

10 Filmmakers to Watch In 2009

The Independent's list of 10 filmmakers to keep an eye out for in 2009.


A still from Joquin Baldwin's animated short, "Sebastian's Voodoo", nominated for a 2008 Annie Award.

Even the great directors had to make their start somewhere, and that meant working on short films, applying for grants and filming out of their own pocket all to gain recognition in the film community. This month, The Independent acknowledges 10 filmmakers who have stood out among the crowd. Compiled from a list of suggestions made by critics, peers and organizations, these filmmakers all have projects coming out in 2009 and represent everything from animated shorts to feature-length narratives.

From first-time directors to Fulbright Scholars and Oscar nominees these filmmakers should not be missed in 2009. With a flood of suggestions from peers, film scholars, critics and organizations such as the Sundance Institute and the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, The Independent has compiled a list of "10 filmmakers to watch" with films slated for a 2009 release.

2008 Awards Roundup for Independent Film

A overview of the nominees and winners of some of independent film's most prestigious awards.


A still from Werner Herzog's "Encounters at the End of the World" nominated for a Gotham Independent Film Award.

A one-stop update on independent film awards for 2008, including a roundup of winners from the Gotham Independent Film Awards, The Alliance of Women Film Journalists: The EDM Awards, Film Independent's Spirit Awards and a list of the nominees for The Cinema Eye Awards. Some standout films among the list include Courtney Hunt's Frozen River (view trailer here) and Carl Deal and Tia Lessin's Trouble the Water (view trailer here).

Each winter as the calendar prepares to turn a new year, the independent film community takes stock. From the vast array of new and established film festivals and theatrical releases large and small, 2008 was a vibrant year in independent film. There is much to celebrate this New Year as the much-anticipated awards season has already kicked off.

The Doc Doctor's Anatomy of a Film: "Twelve Disciples of Nelson Mandela"

The Doc Doctor profiles the making of Thomas Allen Harris's latest documentary, "Twelve Disciples of Nelson Mandela."


The subjects of Thomas Allen Harris's documentary, "Twelve Disciples of Nelson Mandela."

This month, Doc Doctor Fernanda Rossi, breaks down the making of Thomas Allen Harris's latest documentary, Twelve Disciples of Nelson Mandela (view the trailer here), which explores Harris's journey to South Africa to confront the death of his stepfather who, with his eleven comrades, spoke out against the apartheid system and helped raise support for Nelson Mandela in the 1960s.

About this column: Many filmmakers ponder in anguish, How do other people—celebrated people—do it? Am I taking too long to make this documentary? Does everybody spend as much money as I am spending, or am I spending too little? And when filmmakers share their lessons learned in interviews in the glossy trade magazines, their tales seem to follow the arc of otherworldy heroes rather than real documentary makers, i.e. human beings like you and me. So each month, the Doc Doctor will go out into the world (this real world) of filmmakers who are successful and find out how they made it. The "Anatomy of a Film Column" is a chance to learn from filmmakers' hits and misses in real life examples. —Fernanda Rossi, story consultant a.k.a. the Documentary Doctor

Distributor FAQ: Talking to Oli Harbottle of Dogwoof Pictures

A look at the inner-workings of the successful distribution company, Dogwoof Pictures.


Pete Postlethewaite, star of Dogwoof's latest film, <i>The Age of Stupid</i>.

Dogwoof Pictures, a London-based distribution company, is experimenting with modes of distribution with Dogwoof Indie, which allows filmmakers to keep the rights to their film. Dogwoof is currently celebrating their most recent Dogwoof Indie release from filmmaker Franny Armstrong, The Age of Stupid (view the trailer here), starring Pete Postlethewaite as a man in 2055 who looks back on old footage of 2008 and wonders why we didn't stop global warming when we still had the chance. The Independent's Nikki Chase picks the brain of Dogwood release coordinator, Oli Harbottle, to get the scoop on this thriving distribution company.

Already a successful London-based distribution company, Dogwoof has launched its own DVD store, an independent distribution site called Dogwoof Indie (which allows filmmakers to keep all rights to their film), and Dogwoof TV, a platform that brings independent movies from the web to the television (in conjunction with blinkx BBTV).

The Doc Doctor's Anatomy of a Film: Made In L.A.

The Documentary Doctor takes a look at filmmaker Almudena Carracedo's "Made In L.A."


Director/Cinematographer Almudena Carracedo filming in the street.  Credit: Felicity Murphy

The Doc Doctor, Fernanda Rossi, checks out Made In L.A. (See the trailer here), a documentary that takes a look at the experiences of three immigrant women fighting for their rights as they struggle, working in the garment sweatshops of Los Angeles.

About this column: Many filmmakers ponder in anguish, How do other people—celebrated people—do it? Am I taking too long to make this documentary? Does everybody spend as much money as I am spending, or am I spending too little? And when filmmakers share their lessons learned in interviews in the glossy trade magazines, their tales seem to follow the arc of otherworldy heroes rather than real documentary makers, i.e. human beings like you and me. So each month, the Doc Doctor will go out into the world (this real world) of filmmakers who are successful and find out how they made it. The "Anatomy of a Film Column" is a chance to learn from filmmakers' hits and misses in real life examples. —Fernanda Rossi, story consultant a.k.a. the Documentary Doctor

Getting it Covered: Video the Vote

Video the Vote sends independent and novice filmmakers out across the country to document the voting process this Election Day.


Angry citizens in Florida shut out on Election day in 2000.

With the power of YouTube and an army of over 2,000 videographer volunteers (you can join too), Video the Vote (see promo) hopes to ensure timely, complete, and accurate reporting of voter suppression and election irregularities come November 4 and beyond.

Between polls, pundits, and analysts, predictions of the upcoming presidential election seem endless, with many agreeing this could be yet another tight race where, in certain states, every vote will count. And if you think that's just a cliché, think of this: in 2004, George W. Bush won by taking Ohio with 118,601 votes, or about 9 votes per precinct.

The Doc Doctor's Anatomy of a Film: "Soy Andina"

The Documentary Doctor takes a look at filmmaker Mitchell Teplitsky's "Soy Andina."


A still from Mitchell Teplinsky's "Soy Andina," which took him over six year to complete.

The Doc studies Mitchell Teplitsky's first film, Soy Andina (check out the trailer) and takes a behind-the-scenes look at how Teplitsky went from marketing director to successful filmmaker living in Peru. This October, the Doc will be presenting her signature workshops on story structure and fundraising trailers in Tucson, AZ and San Francisco, CA. For details check www.documentarydoctor.com. Also, check out the Doctor's previous Anatomy columns.

About this column: Many filmmakers ponder in anguish, How do other people—celebrated people—do it? Am I taking too long to make this documentary? Does everybody spend as much money as I am spending, or am I spending too little? And when filmmakers share their lessons learned in interviews in the glossy trade magazines, their tales seem to follow the arc of otherworldy heroes rather than real documentary makers, i.e. human beings like you and me. So each month, the Doc Doctor will go out into the world (this real world) of filmmakers who are successful and find out how they made it. The "Anatomy of a Film Column" is a chance to learn from filmmakers' hits and misses in real life examples. —Fernanda Rossi, story consultant a.k.a. the Documentary Doctor

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