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December 22 at 7:55am

Demand Jafar Panahi’s Freedom

Filmmaker Jafar Panahi has been sentenced to six years in prison, and twenty years without making films, contact with the press, or travel. Another filmmaker, Mohammad Rassoulov, has been likewise sentenced to six years in prison. They are both in Iran and sentenced by the court there. Artists and citizens everywhere must do all they can to prevent this attack on artistic freedom. The Cannes Film Festival and other organizations have started this petition that all should sign as soon as possible.


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December 21 at 10:00am

Indie Film’s Future To Be Decided Today

If your ability to earn a living as an Indie Filmmaker is not a big enough issue to catch your attention, how about considering that your freedom is at stake?  What if you knew that the principal and practice of free speech was at risk, would that wake you up? How about if you knew that corporate interests were once again being favored over those of the people?  Well, today is the day that all those things are happening, so whachagonnnado?

The FCC meets today and proposes regulations that could seriously undermine net neutrality.  It generally appears that corporate interests are being looked after, and we are headed towards a tiered internet where providers can favor some content over others.  Prepare to get really upset.  Prepare to do something to fight back and protect a free and open internet.

Al Franken says it is the most important free speech issue of our time.  VC fund, Union Square Ventures, recommends prohibiting “application-specific discrimination”, and that seems to make good sense.

You can watch it all live right here starting at 1030A EST.

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December 18 at 6:45am

181 Renewed! Indie Filmmakers Rejoice!

Why does this matter? Zak Forsman tweeted it nicely: ” if tax payer is in 35% tax bracket and the film’s shot in a state with a 42% credit, investor’s eligible to get 77% of her investment back.”

To go a tad deeper, Zak Forsman posted it well:

Minutes ago, I received this email from my friend and fellow filmmaker, Justin Evans.

Dear Film Professionals -

Section 181 has finally been renewed! The new Tax Bill was signed into law by President Obama earlier today. The tax law includes Section 744, which includes language that replaces IRS Section 181′s expiration date of December 31, 2009 with December 31, 2011.

http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-111hr4853enr/pdf/BILLS-111hr4853enr.pdf

Here is what this means:

  • Any money spent on qualifying domestic film production* in 2010 now qualifies for the Section 181 tax write-off.
  • Any money spent on qualifying domestic film production* in 2011 will also qualify for the Section 181 tax write-off.
  • There is no gap in Section 181 protection…which means all the fear and worry that someone might have begun a project in 2009, somehow didn’t get the financing in place and investors invested in early 2010 can now breath a sigh of relief.

Read all of what Zak has to say about it here. Thanks Zak!


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December 16 at 8:15am

Piracy: (Some Of) The Short & The Long Of It

Thankfully, Taylor Hackford recognizes that the film industry needs to wise up and educate itself on piracy. He and I agree on that. And I think we agree on the goal of it all, but I suspect we have completely different approaches to solving the problem.  And that is where I am really concerned.  To solve it, Hackford seems willing to sacrifice greater principles in the service of business, and that is a shame.  I hope I am wrong.

Mr. Hackford, president of the DGA, was recently speaking at the Content Protection Summit and Variety reported on it. Reading the article I remain unclear as to what Hackford’s point is about piracy beyond that it is bad and we need to make it a real concern of the industry. He seems to be saying that if we want to protect our content, we have to be willing to give up on a free and open internet. He claims groups like Public Knowledge and Free Press as enemies. Shutting down a free and open internet is not the path to solving the piracy problem; it is the path to a closed society that favors a class or capital over access and opportunity — and that is the antithesis of what we need to do.

We can not create a system that favors the powerful, the connected, or the well capitalized. [...]


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