About Sara Zia Ebrahimi

Persian bohemian, indie films cheerleader, Social Media Specialist at American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). Love to: write, read, sew, eat, cook, run.

MUBI: online streaming of indie, international and cult films

MUBII swear this post isn’t an ad, even though it’s going to maybe sound like one. I recently signed up for MUBI, a curated online service that allows you to watch a selection of independent, international and cult classic films. I’m sharing this because I think it’s a cool service and I’m looking forward to it as a way to continue my ongoing film studies.

Rather than the Netflix model of offering hundreds of selections, MUBI only offers 30 films at a time (one new film a day). The curators select and post a film, and then it remains available for 30 days. The selection so far seems really fantastic, and stuff that is unique and not readily available on Netflix (see the screen shot for a sample of some of the current offerings). It also has an app that allows you to watch from an iPad or other devices.

Best part? It’s only $3 a month if you subscribe for a year.

If you’d like to try it out for a month free of charge, you can use this referral and give it a whirl.

A handy list of video editors for your next project

20141118-202319.jpg I’ve been in the midst of a search process for an editor for the webseries I shot a little over a month ago (after my sweetheart had to reluctantly back down due to a family member’s serious health issues).

I sent out an email to several friends and fellow mediamakers asking for recommendations, and collected a stellar list of folks with impressive work.

If you’re looking for an editor for an upcoming project, here’s a handy list for you of a few of the recommendations:

Dan Feeny

Erin Greenwell

Justin Crowell

Todd Dayton

Valerie Keller

Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival Kicks Off Tomorrow!

PAAFFThe Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival kicks off tomorrow through November 22nd! They’ve got an impressive collection of films, panels and parties lined up.

I’m of course curious to see Farah Goes Bang and see what my fellow first generation Iranian American mediamakers are up to.  I’m also excited to check out this panel, Reflections on the Evolution of Asian Cultural Influences in the Hip Hop Community which includes legends like Jeff Chang and DJ Rekha.

Submit your digital storytelling projects to SXSW

Film_DigitalDomain_2013If I ever make it to SXSW one day, the Digital Domain workshops would probably be my top pick to attend–they’ve looked so interesting the last few years! My project is not ready for submitting this year unfortunately. One day, one day.

If you’ve got a project ready though, jump on this opportunity!

Media makers are invited to submit their work to be presented in the Digital Domain for SXSW 2015.The Digital Domain, a SXSW Convergence track tackles new directions in storytelling across a range of exciting new digital platforms. Works can include interactive documentaries, web series, apps, experimental performance work, augmented reality and more. Deadline to apply is December 12, 2014.

Digital Bolex grant for women cinematographers

bolexlogoUntil a coworker at my day job passed this on to me recently, I had no idea that Bolex offered this grant for productions with female cinematographers of up to $10,000 of equipment rentals for up to 21 days! The application is a ongoing rolling submission.

As part of this initiative, they have some statistics on their website about women in the film industry. None of it is startling for those in the field who know how male dominated it is–but it’s still a sobering reminder of how far there is to go (and transgender folks are of course not even on the radar of these kinds of stats collections yet).

  • Film schools in the United States have 50% male and 50% female graduates.1
  • No female director of photography has been nominated for an Academy Award.
  • The first studio film with a female director of photography was FATSO (1980).
  • The first female member of the American Society of Cinematographers, Brianne Murphy, was invited to join in 1980.
  • As of 2014, 14 of 374 members of the ASC are women, just 3.7%.2
  • From 2008-2014, an average of 11% of independent narrative and documentary features screening at major US film festivals had female cinematographers.3
  • Women comprised 7% of cinematographers working on narrative features screening at festivals in 2013-2014.3
  • Women accounted for 12% of cinematographers working on documentaries screening at festivals in 2013-2014.3
  • Women comprised 3% of directors of photography on prime-time broadcast television shows from 1997-2013.4
  • Women comprised 2% of directors of photography on all shows on broadcast networks, basic cable, pay cable, and Netflix original shows from 2012-2013.4
  • Women accounted for 3% of all cinematographers working on the top 250 domestic grossing films of 2013.5
  • 36% of the top 250 films employed 0 or 1 woman in the key roles of director, writer, executive producer, producer, editor, or cinematographer. 2% of films employed 10 to 13 women in these positions. Conversely, 1% of films employed 0 or 1 men in key roles, and 32% employed 10 to 13 men.5

Submit your experimental film to David Lynch juried screening at PAFA

dlCan you imagine David Lynch hand-picking your film to exhibit somewhere? (And then winning some money on top of that?) Well, here’s your chance!

Between October 1 and November 30, 2014, filmmakers may submit films 5-minutes or less to PAFA. Juried by David Lynch and his studio, the top 5 films selected will air during an exclusive screening on January 8, 2015. Films submitted are encouraged to be inspired by art, PAFA’s David Lynch exhibition, and the city of Philadelphia — a city that Lynch has said to be both fantastic and terrifying. http://www.pafa.org/filmproject

“Dear White People” opens this week and next in select cities

If you haven’t heard the buzz about Justin Simien‘s upcoming Sundance Award winning feature length film Dear White People, I’m here to add to the buzz and put it on your radar.

I haven’t watched it yet, but the trailer and small clips that they’ve released so far are really promising with a sophisticated and multi-layered comic take on race.

In order to help this film succeed, folks in the four cities where it’s screening starting this Friday October 17 (ATL, NYC, DC and LA) need to come out in full force and max out the ticket sales so it gets added to more theaters nationally.

And Philly, let’s show the film some love when it opens here on October 24.