The Independent Directors Committee (IDC), East hosted a reception for the directors whose films screened during this year's Tribeca's Film Festival (TFF). IDC director members Brad Anderson, Dan Algrant, Michael Caton-Jones, Raymond DeFelitta, Tom DiCillo, Marc Levin, Nancy Savoca and Gary Winick attended the reception to meet and chat with the up-and-coming directors.
Nancy Savoca commented on the festival saying, "I think it's a little secret all of us directors have. This is why we make movies, so people can come see them." If the level of energy in the room was to serve as any indication, then Savoca was right.
Tim Daly, known for his role in the television series Wings, was not an exception. Bereft, his directorial debut, would screen only three days later. "I'm scared to death," he said. "It's like you have a baby, you think it's a really beautiful baby but you haven't shown it to anyone yet, and you're scared that when you show it to them they'll say, 'Ooh, can't you do something about that poor child?' " he joked. To gain perspective Daly reminded himself of the importance of one of the festival's mission, which is to bring business back to lower Manhattan.
"I told Jane [Rosenthal, TFF co-founder with one of this year's DGA Honors recipients, Robert De Niro], that after 9/11 I realized that if I wasn't making a film, I would have not died happy that day," added Rich Devaney whose festival entry, Brooklyn Bound, marked his directorial debut. Over the course of 13 months, Devaney produced and directed nine separate shoots for the film, all with the intention of screening it at Tribeca. The final print of the film had been completed just hours before and was on the way to the theater where it would screen that night. "It's a very exciting time," Devaney said.
Director Anja Baron, whose documentary The Last of the First chronicles four years in the lives of the earlier jazz pioneers, musicians ranging in age from 85 to 96, said, "The thing that struck me most is that they're some of the greatest jazz musicians in America and these people went through some very very hard times, especially in the '30s and '40s, and they came out to be incredibly graceful, very humble, elegant and kind."
Across the room from Baron stood Dick Rude, whose documentary festival entry, Let's Rock Again, follows musician Joe Strummer (formerly of The Clash) during what would be his last tour. Rude had been friends with Strummer for 17 years before they collaborated on the project. Strummer's untimely death underlined its significance as a way to share his music with a large audience. "I kind of feel like my whole life has led up to this point," Rude said.
These directors, and the many others on the verge of promising careers, learned firsthand from DGA IDC members about the benefits of DGA membership.
Committee member Michael Caton-Jones also linked the DGA's involvement in the festival to the importance of fostering a community for independent filmmakers. "It seems to me that we're all filmmakers and since we live in New York, I think it's important for us to show that we're supportive of any event in New York that helps filmmakers," he said. "More than just living in New York, we all want to make films here."
The directors were eager to hear about the committee and the Guild and spoke with the members on topics ranging from insurance to the DGA's Low Budget Agreement to help in arbitration. What is perhaps the most valuable benefit of the committee was on display that evening as directors from vastly different backgrounds shared stories with one another about their experiences. "The best thing for me so far is that [the DGA's] provided me with this network of other film directors like myself," said IDC member Brad Anderson. "Independent filmmakers, particularly here in New York are all doing the same thing, struggling to make movies."