Author: Jen Swanson

Jen Swanson is a freelance writer living in New York City.


Articles Written by Jen Swanson:

A screen shot of the archival footage from Vance vs. Judas Priest used by filmmaker Van Taylor for his doc, "Dream Decievers."

Beg, Borrow, or Steal? Deciphering Fair Use for Filmmakers

David Van Taylor first engaged questions of Fair Use when he was working on his film Dream Deceivers in 1990, a documentary that explored the lawsuit filed against the heavy-metal band Judas Priest by the family of James Vance, a teenager who tried to commit suicide after smoking marijuana and listening to the group’s lyrics…. Read more »

Ryan Gielen in production on The Graduates, a film submitted using the Withoutabox tool.

With or Withoutabox?

Film Festivals. Whether it’s Sundance or Cannes, or something more obscure, the phrase conjures images of red carpets, artsy auteurs, and late night parties… for fans. But to filmmakers, and the often-unpaid program coordinators, film festivals are linked to getting organized, getting seen, and selling either your film, or enough tickets to do it all… Read more »

A SAG strike may not effect independent filmmakers.

Let’s Make A Deal: SAG Strike Looking More Likely

The continued standstill between the Screen Actor’s Guild (SAG) and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) to re-negotiate a new contract makes a strike look increasingly likely. The previous contract expired June 30, 2008. On October 1, SAG’s negotiating committee asked its 120,000 members to vote to allow strike authorization for its… Read more »

Some members of the Meerkat Media Collective discuss decisions in the editing room.

Documentary 2.0: Making Media That Matters

Each June, The Media That Matters Film Festival selects a group of 12 shorts by independent filmmakers designed to spark action and debate in twelve minutes or less. Unlike other festivals, MTM works to promote its selections year-round through online streaming, broadcasts and community screenings. Finalists from this year’s festival, which just premiered in New… Read more »