sujewa films nyc

Saturday, September 16, 2017

COMPUTER CHESS - another weird and good movie - trailer and link



Watch it here.

- Sujewa

How to make it DIY + weird (mostly re: the DIY part in this post)

DIY 2017 film movement - definition/how to do it (this is our version of the Dogme 95 manifesto :) )

9/15/17
  • written by sujewa ekanayake

(about the weird part - make it unusual - subject matter wise - surreal, a monster movie maybe, sci-fi perhaps, undefinable cult weird perhaps - something other than a romantic comedy set in the real world or a drama set in the real/normal world.  we'll know weird when we see it)

(this list is mostly to encourage people - specially artists, minorities, women - people who are not favored by the established film business in various countries - to make movies.  if we limit the development process, keep it small, keep it art making focused/based, we may be able to make more movies more often and distribute them - each movie like an unusual piece of art)

if the director, on a fiction feature film (only applies to fiction films, not documentaries) 

1 - writes the script

2 - produces the movie

3 - directs the movie

4 - shoots the movie (or plays a very significant role in capturing the images, designing the images)

5 - edits the movie

6 - fundraises, including fully or partially self-funding

7 - creates the promotional material, and does some or all promotional work 

8 - distributes the movie (either self-distributes or has a significant role to play in all distribution decisions) 

9 - makes the movie for a very low budget

10 - uses relatively unknown actors
  • using famous actors is OK if the director organically knows them - friends from the neighborhood, social media friends, etc.  or if the actors just come out and audition for the roles.  or if the actors want to help produce, market, distribute the movies.

then it is a DIY 2017 movie

why?  this is to encourage more diverse voices from around the world to make and distribute movies

and to encourage people to practice filmmaking as an art form that can mostly (most important decisions and work) be made by one artist

the film must be feature length (72 mins or over, ideally 90 mins) - it’s a greater challenge

  • ideally the films will have a diverse cast
  • and a diverse crew
  • and will largely ignore critical opinion, public opinion, industry opinion, including film festivals
  • - it is fine to participate in the film criticism world, go after a large audience, and go after film festivals, etc - but those things are not necessary to be considered a success within this new genre
  • should be interesting to some people besides the director - from 100 to 10K to 100K to 1 million people or more

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UNCLE BOONMEE WHO CAN RECALL HIS PAST LIVES - weird and good - trailer, link



Watch Uncle Boonmee here.

- Sujewa

ALPHAVILLE trailer and link



Watch ALPHAVILLE here.

- Sujewa

Film Trailer: Modern Love Is Automatic | Film 2009 | SXSW



Watch the movie here.

- Sujewa

Monday, September 11, 2017

Rian Johnson (The Last Jedi), Sujewa Ekanayake (Werewolf Ninja Philosopher) Interviews

I am looking forward to The Last Jedi.  Here's a great, recent interview with Jedi director Rian Johnson at New York Times.

Here's the trailer for The Last Jedi:


I am also looking forward to making my movie Werewolf Ninja Philosopher this fall.  Here is an interview I did with Filmwax Radio about Werewolf movie and crowdfunding.

Werewolf Ninja Philosopher is fundraising at IndieGoGo at the moment.  Check it out here, and if you dig it, support, share.

Here's my pitch video for Werewolf Ninja Philosopher project:

Werewolf Ninja Philosopher movie IndieGoGo pitch video from Sujewa Ekanayake on Vimeo.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Werewolf Ninja Philosopher movie


Werewolf Ninja Philosopher movie lead actor Art Shrian

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Help make this amazing movie happen!

"Earlier this year, while I was producing a wild puppet sci-fi project called Space Rabbit, I came up with a private detective comedy movie idea - about a character who has to investigate several show biz world murders in NYC.  Unlike in the regular world, in this version of NYC the following is true - art, indie, experimental, foreign filmmakers, and film critics, are the big entertainment world stars.  In the movie someone is killing art/indie filmmakers, and the city government cannot solve the crimes - so they call in a star private investigator to help them solve the mystery.  The private investigator they call on is a character named Werewolf Ninja Philosopher - a werewolf who has ninja skills - has fought and defeated evil ninjas in the past, and is also a character who teaches philosophy at NYU, and who uses his knowledge of philosophy to help people deal with their life problems.  This is a werewolf unlike any we have seen so far in the movies or in other media.  The werewolf will be played by NYC based Indian-American actor Art Shrian.  This is the first feature length American made werewolf movie (that I know of) with an Asian-American werewolf (prior to taking his werewolf form the lead character was an Indian-American person)."


Thanks!

- Sujewa


Monday, August 21, 2017

Why IndieGoGo is a better platform than Kickstarter for indie filmmakers

This can be seen as perhaps a critical post by some, so, let's get some basics out of the way first.

I like both Kickstarter and IndieGoGo, for different reasons, different projects.  And I am glad that both platforms exist, along with all other crowdfunding platforms, and I hope all of them thrive and continue to serve their customers well.

I have no official, professional direct relationship with either company (as in I do not work for either company, and I do not get paid from either company to promote them, but I do have personal accounts on each site for creating crowdfunding campaigns - just a regular user of the 2 sites).  I did however recently manage 3 campaigns on IndieGoGo (hired by individual campaigners to assist with their campaigns) - indie film or art film/foreign film related - and collectively those campaigns raised over $75,000 and allowed those projects to exist, come to life, move on to the next phase on the project.

I have worked on Kickstarter campaigns in the past, and may do so in the future, and I may even run my own campaigns for certain projects on Kickstarter - if I think of a project that is suited to that platform.

With all that out of the way, I think, for 90% of indie filmmakers, IndieGoGo is a better crowdfunding platform. Here are my reasons.

1 - The All or Nothing model does not make much sense for indie films.

Indie films are multi-year, multi-stage projects.  Right now I know of an indie film project on Kickstarter that has raised over $40,000, and their goal is in the $80,000 neighborhood.  The project has around 5 days left and most likely they will not hit the goal.  Of course a miracle could happen; some major national news outlet could pick up the story about the film, and that coverage could connect with the right audience and the project may hit its goal.  But hoping for a miracle is not a great plan for a project.  If that project was on IndieGoGo, the makers could have gotten a serious amount of their work started with over $40,000, and then moved on to raise money through other methods. Typically indie filmmakers do not employ an "all or nothing" approach to most aspects of our projects.  Development can take a long time, films get partially financed from one source and have to find money elsewhere, shoots get interrupted, the editing process can take years - and in a few cases decades - but we are flexible; we look for new alternatives and we try to work things out based on what we end up with, where we end up at a given point.  I know for a fact that it will be painful for filmmakers mentioned above, after having worked hard to raise $40,000 or so, to walk away with nothing - after putting in 2-3 months of work (around 2 months of prep, 1 for the actual campaign) on their Kickstarter campaign.  So, I prefer the flexible funding option available on IndieGoGo to the "all or nothing" mode (that's the only option there) of Kickstarter.  Making indie films require flexibility, so it makes sense that fundraising for an indie film is best served by a platform that offers the most flexibility.


2 - Kickstarter deadlines cannot be changed.  IndieGoGo allows you to extend your deadline up to 30 days.

On two projects that I managed recently, on IndieGoGo, the ability to extend the deadline meant an additional $5,000 for one project, and an additional $12,000 plus for the other project.  These were both significant amounts of money for each project.  New money that made a massive positive difference.

If the projects were on Kickstarter we would have lost the additional money - the new money that came in after extending the deadline on IndieGoGo.

Often press coverage dates, effective publicity start dates, how quickly target audiences start engaging with a given crowdfunding project are unknown quantities.  Sometimes great, favorable press coverage happens close to the deadline. And in those cases it would be good to have the option of extending the final deadline for the campaign.

3 - Kickstarter does not accept Pay Pal.  IndieGoGo does.

I know that many people are not fans of Pay Pal and do not use it.  On the other hand, many do.  And many may have money in their Pay Pal accounts that they may not mind sending over to an indie film crowdfunding campaign.  

4 - IndieGoGo pledges are processed immediately.  Kickstarter waits until the end of the campaign.

So if a pledge is going to fail (not enough money on the credit card, etc) it will be obvious a lot sooner on IndieGoGo.  So, the raised money on an IndieGoGo campaign - at any point during the campaign - are the actual amounts collected by IndieGoGo and eventually available to the campaign owner.  With Kickstarter no one is certain as to what percent of pledged donations will fail until after the campaign is over.  This could be a problem for some campaigns.  On this item IndieGoGo offers greater certainty.

4.5 - IndieGoGo may have greater international accessibility.

If your film has a possible audience in other countries, and possible international donors, then IndieGoGo may be the better platform for your project.  IndieGoGo allows people to create projects from almost any country in the world and allows people to donate from almost any country in the world.  Kickstarter allows people from 20 countries, other than the US, to create projects - mostly European countries.  I am not certain how easy or difficult it may be to donate to a Kickstarter campaign from a country that is not supported by Kickstarter (a country where residents cannot launch Kickstarter projects, which is much of the world at this point).  Two campaigns I worked on recently benefitted from donations from Asia.  And the donors were people who had once used IndieGoGo for their own projects, so they were familiar with the platform and the accepted payment methods.  This item may or may not be relevant to most American indie filmmakers.  But, for a project that might have international appeal, IndieGoGo looks like the better platform.  This is one item indie filmmakers will need to research on their own, in relation to their specific projects.

IndieGoGo offers a level of flexibility (deadlines, flexible funding) and certainty (pledges are processed immediately) that Kickstarter does not, in my experience and opinion, thus, I think, for most indie film projects, IndieGoGo is the better crowdfunding platform.

Contact me if I overlooked any important points and I may add them later to this post.  Or leave a comment in the Comments section.  Also if you are considering running a film IndieGoGo campaign and need professional assistance, contact me.  And, regardless of my preference, best of luck with your film crowdfunding projects on any platform - it's a lot of work either way and I am all in favor of indie filmmakers raising money for their projects using whatever means possible.

- Sujewa



Friday, June 09, 2017

Live video update re: film, #3 - The Iranian-American Art/Indie Film "Underground"

The latest live video update, Indie Film Update From Brooklyn, ep #3 - The Iranian-American art/indie film "underground", including info on the work of Amir Motlagh (btw i keep looking at the top of the hill in front of me, some dudes started playing music after i started the video. so the lesson next time is not to face a hill, as my eyes may go up to scan the horizon, sorry about that distraction. but hey, the joy of these videos is that they are live, and one take, whatever happens, happens :) ) - https://www.facebook.com/sujewa.ekanayake/videos/vb.539218365/10154705732928366/?type=3&theater

Live video update #2 - Split Screens Fest, David Chase/The Sopranos, etc

Check it out here - https://www.pscp.tv/w/1YqGokaOLLNGv

Live video update #1 re: film - split screens festival, amir motlagh's indiegogo, sujewa films update

Check it out here, a Facebook live video - https://www.facebook.com/sujewa.ekanayake/videos/vb.539218365/10154701910048366/?type=3&theater

About the video: "indie film news update from brooklyn - #1! (kind of an fb live video test :) ) subjects - split screens festival at ifc center, Amir Motlagh's indiegogo for his 2 new movies, breakthrough weekend update, werewolf ninja philosopher update, a bit about the rough cut of a short film by Devin Negrete, & reflecting on fact that's it's the middle of 2017, still time to get a lot done this year ":)

Saturday, June 03, 2017

Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Franco are amazing in HBO's new 1970s NYC porn industry story The Deuce

  A scene from The Deuce, featuring Maggie Gyllenhaal

Well, I hear it's about the porn industry in NYC in the 1970s, but I only saw the amazing pilot episode of the show on Friday night at the brand new Split Screens Festival at the IFC Center, and the pilot deals with the story before the porn industry aspect kicks in.  In the pilot episode we get to see several characters in NYC in the early 1970s; a prostitute played by Maggie Gyllenhaal, a bartender played by James Franco (who also plays his gambling addicted twin brother), and several more prostitutes, pimps, and various other people in their orbit.  In the pilot episode we see how things are for these characters on a day to day basis, and generally it ain't pretty.

This was the first time that I saw an HBO show episode on a movie theater screen.  That plus the production design of the show had me going "wow, this looks amazing, this really looks like NYC in the 1970s (as far as I can tell from visual documentation of the era), how did they do that?" half the time while I was watching the pilot. Perhaps the best way to watch HBO shows is on the big screen. Maybe this will be a regular thing in the future; HBO shows getting theatrical presentations.

Another thing that was amazing about the pilot episode was Maggie Gyllenhaal's presence.  Even though she was playing a somewhat struggling prostitute, she projected an otherworldly, movie star quality.  Maybe that's part of the creation of a fantasy aspect of sex work back in the 1970s.  James Franco did solid work on the pilot as a bartender dealing with his various life problems, and things get a bit unusual when Franco also turns up as the twin brother of the bartender.  I won't say much more about those characters; all in all great work by the actor.

The world shown in The Deuce pilot is not the campy, funny 1970s that we see in comedies.  The Deuce's world is a tough, at times brutal 1970s in NYC. But also a world full of everyday struggles, mundane work-a-day victories, and some humor.  This is a world that was partially created by crime fiction writer George Pelecanos.  And as directed by Michelle MacLaren, the pilot feels a lot like a documentary.  Outside of seeing the modern day movie stars Gyllenhaal and Franco in the show, the show immerses the viewer in the details of its time period.  It is fascinating to watch - specially on a massive movie theater screen.  I'll have to watch the pilot again at home to absorb everything that was going on in it.

The Deuce pilot shows a downbeat, colorful world of prostitution and struggle, but brought to life in a rich, detail oriented way, and featuring great performances by Gyllenhaal and Franco.


Friday, June 02, 2017

Split Screens Festival kicks off tonight

Festival happens June 2-8 at IFC Center.

Lots of amazing screenings and events for TV fans ahead.

All info here.


Wednesday, May 31, 2017

TV is the new art house, and here's a new festival about TV - Split Screens Festival at IFC Center



June 2-8, at the IFC Center, at Sixth Avenue & West 3rd Street in Greenwich Village.

About the festival: "Split Screens celebrates the art and craft of TV. Reflecting a moment when television has never been more innovative or accomplished, the festival will showcase the best of our current golden age of scripted shows, with directors, producers, showrunners and cast appearing in person for in-depth discussions about making great TV. Split Screens will also premiere episodes of eagerly anticipated new shows, as well as spotlight the next generation of DIY online creators whose work is pushing the form and content of episodic shows in bold new directions."  More here - http://www.splitscreensfestival.com/what-is-split-screens/

Festival coverage coming to this blog all week long.

Click below to take a look at the amazing line up of screenings and events:



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