Project Twenty1 2010 Holiday Picks: Gifts for Every Kind of Artist
A series by Stephanie Yuhas, artist and chronic comparison-shopper.

Part 2: Gifts for Filmmakers

Okay, so you don’t exactly have the funds to purchase your filmmaking friend the brand new Panasonic AG-HPX370, but you still need something cool and even more importantly, PRACTICAL, to put under the tree. Here are a few ideas that won’t break the bank.

“Official Rejection” is required viewing for any newbie filmmaker or even professional filmmaker trying to make their way around the festival circuit. Haven’t heard of it? Check out our review! (Or click for trailer)

Another great movie suggestion for not just filmmakers, but  writers interested in book adaptations and powerful scripts with limited budgets is “Man from Earth”.The award-winning film is based on an original book by Jerome Bixby and produced by Project Twenty1’s very own judge Robbie Bryan. The movie gained recognition in part for being widely distributed through Internet peer-to-peer networks and its producer publicly thanked users of these networks for this, adding to the film’s popularity. It’s a fascinating study on how one indie filmmaker handled piracy and used it to his advantage! (click for trailer)

Speaking of awesome indie films, our 2008 Philadelphia Filmathon Official Selection “Left/Right” just received home video distribution. Left/Right is a coming-of-age comedy that follows a small-town have-not who has grown up to be a conspicuous, big-city socialite. But after losing his job, he returns home to feebly check the boxes on his embellished resume. If you missed it while it was in our theaters, you can preorder a copy today and be the first kid on your block to own it! Congrats to our friends at East Front Street Productions!

Another Project Twenty1 community member, Rich Riedel, just received distribution of “Target Practice”, an action movie based on true events. Five blue-collar friends on a fishing trip inadvertently stumble into the middle of an undercover operation involving a CIA agent and a hidden training camp for homegrown terrorists. This is yet another example of an independent film shot on a low budget with a high-budget feel.  Special thanks to our friends at the Thriller! Chiller! Film Festival for turning on to this amazing film and rising-star director!
A great gift combo is the book by Robert Rodriguez,  Rebel without a Crew: Or How a 23-Year-Old Filmmaker With $7,000 Became a Hollywood Player. Grab a gift basket from the dollar store and wrap it with the 3-Disk Giftpack Robert Rodriguez Mexico Trilogy (El Mariachi / Desperado / Once Upon A Time In Mexico), along with some gourmet (and organic!) Mexican coffee for all of those sleepless nights. And if you’re feeling really generous, round it out with Machete, since we loved movies that are based on jokes that have gone way, way too far.

Enough movie suggestions? Maybe it’s time to make your own movies! Not everyone can afford to buy a big expensive camera for their loved ones this holiday season, but nowadays, everyone has a small flip-type camera for behind-the-scenes podcasting, including us! A lot of people ask us which camera we use, and we try to keep it simple. While we have a few “expensive” Panasonics & JVC’s in-house for ACTUAL production, we wanted a portable camera that captured picture at at least 720p and was cheap enough to smash around in my purse without feeling guilty. We were delighted that the Sanyo Xacti CG-10 not only achieved our goals, but was less than $200, captures pretty decent sound for a cheap camera, and gives us truer blacks in low light levels compared to its rival the Flip Camera.  The CG-10 is sale this week for around $115 and is available in several colors. At the time of this post, the red one was $30 cheaper than the identical black one (and much easier to find at the bottom of a bag, if you ask me). If you don’t mind spending a little more money,  Sanyo just released a new version, the Xacti VPC-CG20 High Definition Camcorder, which shoots in full HD 1080, 60i Video (1920 x 1080) AND takes 10MP Photos, all for around $160. We like it SO much that we’re adding it to our own Christmas Wish List (hear that, Santa?)

You here it over and over again – it’s all who you know. A Project Twenty1 1-Year Membership is a fantastic gift for a filmmaker, animator, writer, actor, musician, or general film enthusiast that wants to be in Philadelphia’s in-crowd. Members  enjoy exclusive member-only events,  discounts on film and animation tickets & merchandise, and access to special raffles, giveaways, and annual gifts. New for 2011, Members receives access to Project Twenty1’s 21-Day Filmmaking Competition Film Library in a private Member-only gallery. Membership also comes with the satisfaction of knowing that you’re supporting a volunteer-run organization, so we can continue to provide inspiration, connections, exhibitions, and promotion to help our artists evolve their hobbies into successful careers. Family/Business and Premium Memberships are now available, too, on sale until Nov. 25!

Anything I missed, filmmakers? What’s on your list?

Stephanie Yuhas is the Executive Producer of Project Twenty1, a non-profit organization that works with hundreds of “undiscovered” filmmakers and animators with productions that have not yet hit main stream markets. She gained her knowledge about art supplies and animation tools from her studies at the Philadelphia University of the Arts, as well as her experience at Utrecht as a dealer, and at J&A as an Art Director. Her art has been in exhibited in respected galleries, her films and animations have been screened around the world, her TV series pitches have won international contests, and her writing has been published in several newspapers and magazines.

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