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Hope for Film: From the Frontline of the Independent Cinema Revolutions Hardcover – August 5, 2014
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"Filled with tidbits of earned wisdom and stories from the proverbial trenches..." SF Weekly
"For anyone who is a producer, dreams of being a producer, or just wants to understand how the movie world really works, this book is a must-read Hope for Film is written in an admirably honest, conversational voice..." Cultural Weekly
"One of the things I like about Hope's assessment is the way he looks at...the larger ecology, in this case, the sustenance provided by journalistic criticism..." Culture Crash
"Hope for Film: From the Frontline of the Independent Cinema Revolutions by Ted Hope is required reading for anyone that aspires to enter the world of filmmaking." Flicksided
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As a filmmaker, I cannot help but imagine what it was like to shoot Claire Denis' first short film in NYC. Ted saw something in her even at that nascent period in her life as artist. This book was a revelation- the creative collaboration between the producer and the director. To hear Ted's dedication to understanding the directors process- like giving Ang Lee time to think and translating his method to a crew that might grow hostile--was inspiring.
Ted's questioning of filmmakers' rush to make compromises even before we begin shooting and the detriment it has on creative process and ultimately the film was truly something to contemplate. The films Ted Hope made early in his career are truly artifacts of a cultural moment that will far outlive us. They are important works of cinema to be entered in the canon of world cinema. This book made me reflect as a filmmaker- in times where the viewers demand instant gratification and access to creators- can a safe be imagined for writer/ director/ producers to not just make products but to question the status quo?
Another thing Ted's book did for me was to articulate so much of the frustration of minority/ women filmmakers. Why is it that a great director like Nikki Kassel has a decade between films? How many women/ minority directors have internalized that maybe they aren't good enough or their work not strong enough to continue in this industry? The need for writer/ directors to meet a partner in a producer to develop their career- to creat e a long term relationship is so so important. This book made me realize that such a relationship is vital to create directors like Ang Lee- so they develop not just a film but push their craft with every film. Try a certain shot, a certain genre- to develop their craft.
Ted's emphasis on craft and collaboration is truly inspiring. It's what every filmmaker needs and only dreams to find.
Also the book's articulation of a growing need for community in the face of changing models for film financing/ distribution- was so spot on. It creates a mixture of unbridled enthusiasm and sobering financial reality- something that all filmmakers have to face throughout their career.
Most of all- the personal/professional anecdotes that Hope shared in the book are amazing. Many of the truths divulged are a sort of no no in the secretive world of film producing/ financing. As I read the book, I could not help but think how brave transparency truly is. Hope has often voiced uncomfortable truths for the filmmaking community- most vehemently how the digital revolution needs to revolutionize both how films are made and how we see their life after its creation. And since reading this book- Hope has moved from Fandor now to the head of productions of Amazon Films. So it makes total sense- he was an early adaptor of re-thinking the model of film and now he is leading a company that is precisely trying to that. Scary and exciting times for the future of film!
Working for a nonprofit film organization, I can easily relate to Hope's passion and struggles (especially as he described his time in San Francisco). Having never worked in the production world, Hope allowed me to be his vicarious production assistant, working with directors such as Ang Lee, Michel Gondry, Alejandro González Iñárritu and James Gunn.
The best piece of advice I have ever been given was from former NBC "Today Show" correspondent Mike Leonard. He told me, "Don't compete - create." After reading "Hope for Film," I can tell you that's exactly what Ted Hope was done over the course of his career, and then some. Read this book and be inspired.
The "here is how it happened" reveals of filmmakers such as Ang Lee, Ed Burns, Tamara Jenkins, Nicole Holofcener, Todd Solondz and others is riveting. It's been the only book in years that made me clear time on my calender - but I love Indie films.
Whether it be his right-on conclusions between the Indie film world and American culture, an impassioned story about a high risk flight to deliver a film on time to a festival, or his nuanced and invaluable lessons in dealing with directors, Hope's front-line revelations are engaging and informative. He even dares to give us his "Formula for the Perfect Sundance Film."
With different chapters entitled "Patience" -"Commitment" - "Collaboration" - and "Community" one gets a better understanding of what this novel is about. Ted Hope also gives us his personal insight to the business of film with lines like- "It wasn't just about creating one's art, but was about creating and sustaining human relationships in unexpected ways."
And finally with his informed take on the future of Indie film, dealing with the "tyranny of choice," the changing platforms of distribution, and the expanding landscape of technology, "HOPE FOR FILM" becomes an ode to an end of an era and the beginning of an exciting, unstable world of possibilities - BUT ONLY IF WE TAKE ACTION.