Tuesday, August 08, 2006

3rd I NY confusion

The happy ending of the story is that the South Asian media organization 3rd I NY will tell the 3000 or so people on their mailing list about the NYC Premiere screening of Date Number One at Pioneer theater on 8/31. Which is very cool, thanks 3rd I NY! But before we got to that point today, there were a couple of hours of confusion, mild panic, early preparations to stop a possibly unauthorized screening, e-mails & phone calls. Here's what happened:

I check my e-mail early afternoon today to find an e-mail from an organization that I've heard about (3rd I NY) but never dealt w/, & from a person named Shilpa Mankikar, a person that I do not know, and the relevant part of the e-mail read:
"we are screening your film for 3rd i in new york this month. can you come up for a q&a?"

I was like: interesting, that's news to me. I did not agree to or authorize a screening of Date Number One for 3rd I NY. In fact I had never dealt w/ them re: Date Number One (or re: anything else for that matter, as far as I recall) before. And if I, the director & distributor of the film, do not know about such an event, then there is something very wrong. So I e-mailed Ray Privett, the programmer at the Pioneer theater & e-mailed & phoned Shilpa to get an explanation. Since I had not requested or authorized a screening from 3rd I NY, I wanted to get to the bottom of the story quickly. Also, I made an agreement with Pioneer, when the 8/31 booking was made, to not do any other NYC screenings until after the Pioneer engagement - I wanted to make sure that agreement was being fulfilled.

About an hour to two hours later I get an e-mail back from Shilpa saying that they are showing Date Number One & asking me again if I will be attending the event. So I sent a clearly worded e-mail to Shilpa saying that 3rd I NY is NOT showing Date Number One & that the 8/31 screening was organized by the Pioneer theater & myself w/ out any involvement of 3rd I NY.

Ray from Pioneer e-mails me back saying that Shilpa is probably confused, thinking that the 8/31 Date Number One screening is an official 3rd I NY booking, since 3rd I NY does a screening every other month at Pioneer. He said he will speak to the main organizer of 3rd I NY later today to straighten things out.

And while I was composing a second e-mail to Shilpa, reiterating the fact that the 8/31 screening of Date Number One is not a 3rd I NY event, Shilpa calls me back. She said that 3rd I NY promotes South Asian films that play at Pioneer (I guess mine qualifies since I was born in Sri Lanka, even though the flick itself has very little directly to do with South Asia, but it does have an Indian-American actor in a lead role, & Sri Lanka is talked about in the movie), and that the whole thing is free publicity for my event & that they are not making any money from the event or anything like that. Sounds good I said, & I had a pleasant & brief conversation w/ Shilpa.

Very glad to have the promotional support of 3rd I NY & everyone else who is spreading the word about the 8/31, 9 PM screening of Date Number One.

However, just to make it clear for everyone: the 8/31 screening at Pioneer is not an official 3rd I NY booking. That screening is the result of an arrangement made between myself & Pioneer theater.

And I am open to working with 3rd I NY in the future, or with any other non-profit cultural organization for that matter. I just need to be consulted way in advance before hearing that a group that I had not dealt with is going to show my movie.

That's the latest from the Date Number One distribution adventures.

Here is the website for 3rd I NY, aside from the misunderstanding today, they sound like a swell organization.

- Sujewa

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