Author: Courtney Sheehan

Courtney Sheehan is a film programmer, writer, and business strategist. Most recently, she served as executive director for Northwest Film Forum, the independent film nonprofit in Seattle. She is a frequent contributor to The Independent.

Articles Written by Courtney Sheehan:

TIFF 2015: Volatile Times for Indie Exhibitor-Distributor Relations

Before the 40th Toronto International Film Festival, the film market was characterized as “cold,” “slow,” “weak,” and downright “volatile.” Speculations and predictions abounded about the significance and potential reverberations of Netflix’s first substantial feature acquisition, Beasts of No Nation alongside the entry of companies like Netflix’s peer, Amazon, into the market, as well as the addition… Read more »

TIFF 2015: Frederick Wiseman on Thoughts at the Edge of His Brain

Fittingly, Frederick Wiseman attended the 4oth edition of the Toronto International Film Festival with his 40th documentary, In Jackson Heights, which captures a historic and remarkably diverse New York neighborhood in a moment of flux. The Independent sat down with Wiseman to discuss the role of daydreaming while editing, discovering the communities of Jackson Heights, and screening all… Read more »

TIFF 2015: Doc Breathes Life Into Afghan Film Archive

Pietra Brettkelly’s belief that “cinema is the most important vessel of the last 100 years of all of our cultures,” inspired her to document the labor-intensive and passion-fueled project of restoring the Afghan Film Archive. The resulting documentary, A Flickering Truth, contains incredibly rare footage from Afghan films dating back to the first days of… Read more »

TIFF 2014: The Cinema Guild is Evolving with Cinephiles On and Offline

In recent years, the The Cinema Guild has cemented its position as a leading distributor of independent, foreign, and documentary films. Just a few of their latest critically and commercially successful releases include Leviathan, The Turin Horse, Museum Hours, Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, and Sweetgrass. The Independent caught up with Ryan Krivoshey, head… Read more »

TIFF 2014: Drafthouse’s Tim League on the State of Distribution and Oppenheimer’s “The Look of Silence”

Forty-eight hours before Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Look of Silence won the Grand Jury Prize at Venice (it’s also been awarded best film prizes fromFIPRESCI and others), Tim League of Drafthouse Films, its distributor, is drinking a beer on a patio in Toronto. On a break from his four-a-day movie-watching schedule at TIFF, League contemplates how… Read more »

Why Edginess Counts in Doc Distribution

What do documentaries about the commercial fishing industry and a 1960s Indonesian genocide have in common? Their distributors picked them up because of, not in spite of, jarringly original content and unconventional cinematic style. This spring and summer Cinema Guild is releasing Leviathan and Drafthouse Films will release The Act of Killing theatrically in the… Read more »

Film Festival Scholarship and Professional Networks on the Rise

As international film festival circuits become increasingly visible online, scholarly interest in festivals as objects of study, particularly outside the US, continues to grow. At the same time, festival professionals are realizing the potential in forming collaborative partnerships through membership networks. Enter the Film Festival Academy (FFA) and the Film Festival Research Network (FFRN), two… Read more »

Approaches to End of the World Docs

Two social justice docs at IDFA targeted and systematically attacked the same universal villain: progress. Four Horsemen and Surviving Progress are both “big picture” documentaries that tackle some of today’s most globally pressing issues. At their best moments, both films leave audiences wondering not only what they can do to help, but also about their… Read more »

IDFA 2011 – Int'l Perspectives on Digital Distribution and Doc Financing

Rembrandtplein, Amsterdam – A square crowded with coffee shops and clubs (and therefore crawling with tourists) is the proud center of the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), the world’s largest doc fest and the beating—and oftentimes bleeding—heart of the documentary industry. Locals say that as far as nightlife options go, the Escape Club at Rembrandtplein… Read more »