Tuesday, October 31, 2006

link to a FAY GRIM review

check it out here. comes with a neat/kinda hot still of Parker Posey.

- sujewa


In NYC this weekend (11/3 & 4). Read all about it at Indie Features 06.

- Sujewa

Two Che Guevara films coming from Soderbergh

That's right, not one but TWO films, telling the story of two episodes of the rebel leader's life. Read all about it at Variety.

- Sujewa

A few Date Number One images, praise, Sat 11/4/06 DC show info

ninja at bookstore
"Date Number One is quite funny...twentysomethings and occasional thirtysomethings looking for romance recall Richard Linklater's philosopher slackers and Jim Jarmusch's minimalist attention to conversation...also a subtle, thoughtful film...might be understood as the anti-Crash depiction of life in the city...depicts a comfortably multi-ethnic community...I'd happily recommend it."
- Chuck Tryon, media professor & blogger, The Chutry Experiment blog

rupa from "a romantic dinner for 3"

"I found the characters and the premise sexy, sexy, sexy." - Jerry Brewington, Hollywood Is Talking blog, on Story 2 of Date Number One http://hollywoodistalking.com/Blog/508/

ninja & missy on their blind date

"...witty...often inventive...and, even better, airy: characters are given time and space to spell out their views...views that never bear the artificial markings of a Hollywood screenwriter's compulsion to reduce them to sound-bites."- David Hudson, Editor, GreenCine Daily blog http://daily.greencine.com/archives/002353.html

"FIVE really entertaining, fully realized romantic interludes...a shamefully rare achievement"- Tom Kipp, Seattle audience member, former film reviewer for Seattle alternative weekly The Stranger http://diyfilmmaker.blogspot.com/2006/05/interview-with-seattle-audience-member.html

"Heartfelt...poignant...I loved it!"- Jon Moritsugu, award winning filmmaker

screening # 12 !The Final Screening of 2006!
SAT NOVEMBER 4 :: 8 PM :: $6
a benefit screening for We Are Family,
a DC non-profit that assists the elderly
WAREHOUSE Screening Room
1017-21 7th St., NW
Washington, DC 20001
Date Number One Copyright 2006 Sujewa Ekanayake/Wild Diner Films

Monday, October 30, 2006

INLAND EMPIRE, December, links for 3 theaters

Inland Empire at Laemmle Theaters

IFC Center, NYC, 12/6/06, from indieWIRE:

- Sujewa

Thanks $1000 Spielberg blog

$1000 Spielberg blog mentioned this blog recently, check it out here. $1000 Spielberg's got tips on ultra low budget DV film production. Thanks a lot for the mention $1000 Spielberg blog!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Date Number One screening/We Are Family benefit Sat 11/4 DC

Here is the essential info. re: the next Date Number One screening:

screening # 12
!The Final Screening of 2006!

SAT NOVEMBER 4 :: 8 PM :: $6
a benefit screening for We Are Family, a DC non-profit that assists the elderly
WAREHOUSE Screening Room
1017-21 7th St., NW
Washington, DC 20001

Will post the longer version of the announcement later today. Thanks! see ya there dc ppl

- Sujewa

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Just finished writing the 3 page synopsis (or is that a treatment in H-wood lingo?) for a South Asian war movie :: a good reason to film in SL

My South Asian War Movie/Ghost Story Script:

Just finished writing a set of detailed notes re: plot & characters for a war movie that takes place in South Asia. Of course I am thinking about shooting the film in Sri Lanka (see below for some good financial reasons) specially since I've got tons of notes about the wars down there - more my reactions & thoughts & speculations than direct news report like notes - & since I've got many possibly useful connects there (at least a bunch of family to crash with:). A war is - for a story teller - an interesting situation - though it is horrible in real life - but a war is a very interesting device for telling a story - there is immediate drama & intensity, hard to look away for those people who are into those kinds of things. My South Asian war movie is also kind of a ghost story - perhaps Holloween is having an effect on me. I expect to finish the script before 1/1/07. From a talky DIY comedy/romantic comedy to a war movie? Why not. Who knows when & where I will be able to shoot this script - but hopefully soon & hopefully in Sri Lanka. The flick will use mostly local/South Asian or South Asian-American actors.

A Good Reason to Film in Sri Lanka

This news story talks about the imminent collapse of the Sri Lankan film industry (not sure exactly how true that is) but more importantly says the following: "In Sri Lanka, a small budget film costs $74,508 and a commercial one $280,000". Now, as every film producer knows, a film can cost whatever we want it to cost, but the possible low $ figures for a 35MM feature is very attractive. Specially for a story that uses all or most local/Sri Lankan/South Asian talent. $280K for a "commercial" 35MM film (I am guessing it is 35MM since SL theaters, as far as I know, has not converted to digital in any significant way). Regardless, my script is being written to be shot in SL or if impossible, perhaps India, 'cause I am from there & I want to make a movie down there, a movie that would play well world wide. And the cheap cost of making a movie down there is an added bonus.

Once I finish the script I might want to ask my Indie Features 06 buddy Blake about making an action movie since I've never done it before :) Looking forward to the challenge, whenever I can get to shooting it.

I have made arty movies (with more on the way) & I've seen a ton of war movies, so it'll be interesting to see what I can come up with.

- Sujewa

Fri 10/27/06 Notes: '07 project, Catch A Fire, DNO 11/4 DC

- conceived of an epic directing project for '07

- saw Catch A Fire, good movie, liked it, enraging at times, mostly a positive thing, sad too. definitely worth watching. here's GreenCine Daily's post, w/ a lot of links, re: the movie.

Here is a good quote from the director of Catch A Fire, Phillip Noyce, from an excellent GreenCine interview:

" PN: There are a lot of issues that a film like this inevitably brings up, but only inasmuch as any examination history is illuminating - because the mistakes of the past are repeated in the present and the future. We know that. If you're asking if there are any parallels to be drawn between wars that are fought today and the events of yesterday, the answer is absolutely not, because if anyone tries to compare the struggle for emancipation in South Africa with some of the acts of terror that are being committed today, they're crazy. There's no comparison whatsoever.

On the other hand, there are some cautionary tales that you can draw from this, for example, our need to be careful that our solutions don't make the problem worse, particularly in the way that we incarcerate and treat our enemies. Now that's a real issue that I think you can reflect back on these events and draw some conclusions, or at least food for thought, about today. But mainly, we made the film because it was a wonderful story, and an uplifting one."

- getting ready for the Sat 11/4 screening of Date Number One in DC, less than 1 week away (need to update the website). should have some DVDs for sale around that time.

- Sujewa

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Saw American Hardcore

Saw American Hardcore earlier today. Good doc, but it felt like Act I of a bigger movie. Like they could have talked about the many social service and activist projects that grew out of the hardcore scene, like in DC over $200,000 has been raised & given away to various social service & humanitarian activist projects by Positive Force, with the help of punk/post-punk/indie musicians. Positive Force is an organization that grew out of the hardcore scene. The hardcore punks didn't just play music, they worked against what they did not like through other means also. I am sure hundreds of people around the country were introduced to social injustice/thinking about working against such through the hardcore punk scene & then they went on to do work that tried to make messed up situations better. In the Mark Andersen co-authored book Dance of Days, we get to see what happened to the hardcore kids (at least the DC hardcore kids) as they grew up: some went on to form awesome bands (Ian MacKaye & friends/Fugazi), some went on to work for peace & justice, some were inspired by their music making youth and approached book publishing & other businesses with the same DIY enthusiasm: some opened restaurants & clubs (Dante's, The Black Cat), some opened record stores, and some left the scene all together. If American Hardcore makes you curious about the kind of people featured in the film, check out Dance of Days for more on them, at least the DC branch of them.

It is still close to midnight in America (hundreds of people STILL getting shot & killed every year in DC & Baltimore & elsewhere), definitely midnight in much of the world (for example in Sri Lanka: civil war, forcibly recruited child soldiers getting shot, death squads, also peace talks), and some of the positive energy that grew out of the hardcore days are still out there, doing useful things, fighting evil. I want to see American Hardcore Part II, III & IV, I want to see what happened after 85/86 & what continues from that initial early 80's social explosion to this very day.

But back to American Hardcore, the movie in theaters now: it is good, worth checking out as an introduction or a reminder to the fact that not all kids/people are happy with the state of the world & that some do some crazy & interesting things to try to make it tolerable or at least protest or in the most hopeful of cases: to make things better, a starting point for further exploration.

- Sujewa

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Phil Hall drops by The House Next Door for a chat about independent film distribution book

From the introduction to the interview with film critic, book author, and ex-film publicist Phil Hall at The House Next Door blog:

"...having experienced both sides of the spectrum (and hanging up his publicist’s hat in 2004 to focus on criticism full-time) Hall has had the opportunity to see the strange balance of art and commerce that comprises the motion picture business. His previous book, The Encyclopedia of Underground Movies: Films From the Fringes of Cinema was a way of categorizing the films Hall felt needed a little more exposure, as well as a celebration of the art form. His latest, Independent Film Distribution: How to Make a Successful End Run Around the Big Guys, is all about the business--its rare success stories and its many pitfalls."

Check out the interview here.

- Sujewa

While indie film gets ever more indie (thanks DV, web & self-distribution!), IFP warmly embraces Hollywood with '06 Gotham Awards

Pretty much everyone is blogging today about the indie film non-profit IFP/The Independent Feature Project ignoring their pro-indie mission & nominating 3 big budget Hollywood films for their Gotham Awards program, so I will begin by pointing to The Reeler's excellent entry re: the subject.

So, why bother with the pretense of independence IFP? Just change your name to the Feature Project, drop the Independent from the title (which will only be a symbolic gesture now since you've already shown your preference for Hollywood/the-budget-&-stars-makes-it-impossible-to-ever-call-it-indie films with this year's Gotham Awards nominations), & have yourself fully funded by the big studios in exchange for getting them some press & publicity for their movies.

Looks like the era of big indie film non-profits is coming to an end, with 2006 being a significant year for that slow death. Some organizations die due to lack of member interest (AIVF), while others sell their approval to Hollywood/adjust their definition of independent film to include Hollywood's big budget films and become irrelevant to indie filmmakers (first FIND/ex-IFP LA, & now rest of IFP or at least their Gotham Awards). Meanwhile, real indie filmmakers such as Lance Weiler, Andrew Bujalski, Kelley Baker, and Team Jumping Off Bridges self-distribute their low budget, non-Hollywood movies. Independent filmmaking has become a larger field of activity this year, thanks to digital video, the web & self-distribution, and in this same year IFP heads towards getting out of the assist-independent-filmmakers business and going into the help-sell-Hollywood-movies business.

- Sujewa

DNO still of the day: Rupa/Dele Williams

Photo Copyright 2004 Sujewa Ekanayake/Wild Diner Films

And that is Dele Williams, who plays the character Rupa in Date Number One 's Story #2. A favorite DNO story of many, including Amir "Whale" Motlagh & Jerry "Hollywood Is Talking" Brewington.

- Sujewa

InDigEnt has made several good & interesting movies so far

What is the biggest link between Tadpole, Personal Velocity & Pieces of April? They are all good movies, true, and they are all movies shot on digital video, true again, but the biggest link is that they are InDigEnt movies. InDigEnt is America's answer to Dogme 95. Find out all about them here. I need to go see Wim Wender's Land of Plenty, another InDigEnt movie. I saw Lonesome Jim recently, yet another InDigEnt movie, pretty good. Been seeing Sorry, Haters DVD box checking me out at the video store, may have to rent it, another InDigEnt movie.

- Sujewa

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Excellent document: Scott Kirsner's "Getting Paid: Sites that Help Video Producers Make Money"

Scott Kirsner of the CinemaTech blog has compiled a list of sites that allow filmmakers to sell their work on-line, mostly through streaming & downloads, & a few cases of DVD "on demand" burning services, plus links & descriptions of several relevant up & coming services. Here is the introduction to the document:

" New revenue opportunities are emerging with the recent boom in video viewing on the Web. On this chart, I've tried to list all of the Web sites that enable video producers to make money from their work. I've ranked the sites subjectively, based on how much traffic and buzz they've been attracting, and also how likely it seems that a video producer would actually manage to earn a significant return by posting a video to them. The majority of these sites are geared shorter-form content, but a few, like Brightcove, EZTakes, and GreenCine, make it possible for producers of hour-long or feature-length projects to generate revenue."

Check out the page here.

Thanks a lot Scott!

- Sujewa

Saturday, October 21, 2006

On my list to watch: Young Soul Rebels (1991)

I remember reading something about this film a long, long time ago, and I just ran into a write up on it, check out this page on the 1991 British film Young Soul Rebels, sounds interesting: the film is apparently about 2 DJs in 1977 UK. It's going on my WATCH list. Has anyone seen it? What did you think?

- Sujewa

Friday, October 20, 2006

Andrew Bujalski in DC this weekend w/ Mutual Appreciation

Hey DC Area Indie Film Fans,

There is a very interesting & funny movie called Mutual Appreciation playing in Dupont Circle this weekend http://www.fandango.com/TheaterPage.aspx?wssac=58&tid=AABXW&wssaffid=11480
and the film's director & distributor, Andrew Bujalski, will be there for tonight's (Fri), & Sat night's & Sun night's shows. Here is the movie's website for more info (the film is about a young musician who moves from Boston to NYC): http://www.mutualappreciation.com/funfacts.html

The movie has won all kinds of awards, and it is entertaining & is a good example of low-budget filmmaking excellence. Unlike many of us contemporary DV lovin' indie filmmakers, Andrew uses motion picture film for his movies, and Mutual was shot on 35 MM B&W. Very interesting. Check it out & chat w/ Andrew if you feel like it. I am sure the event will be entertaining & educational & inspiring to many DC indie filmmakers.


- Sujewa

Mutual Appreciation opens in DC this weekend

Andrew Bujalski's charming '05 film Mutual Appreciation f-i-n-a-l-l-y gets a more than 1 day run in DC, starting tomorrow, Fri 10/20 @ Dupont Circle. Mutual was one of my favorite films of '05 (i saw it on DVD), & I am looking forward to seeing it on the big screen, the way it should be seen, in a couple of days. It tells the story of a young musician who moves to NYC from Boston. Mutual is far, far better than Funny Ha Ha (Mutual is the Stranger Than Paradise to Funny Ha Ha's Permanent Vacation). For more appreciation of Mutual, go here. And then go check Mutual out at the theater this weekend with some friends.

- Sujewa

Mark Andersen & Mark Jenkins (Dance of Days) talk with the makers of American Hardcore in Washington City Paper

In this week's Washington City Paper the punk authors Mark Andersen & Mark Jenkins (who is also a CP film critic) have a conversation with Paul Rachman & Steven Blush, the makers of the doc American Hardcore, which opens in DC tomorrow (Fri 10/20). Hardcore's got a lot of DC in it, thanks to Bad Brains, Dischord Records, Minor Threat & no doubt countless others who made the early 80's scene happen. Looking forward to the history lesson this weekend. Here is the link to the interview. Here is a bit of the interview:

" Andersen: In the film, Ian MacKaye says something to the effect of, “I didn’t leave hardcore. Hardcore left me.” And of course Ian is part of something that happened in D.C. in 1985 called Revolution Summer, which in many ways is a reaction against the limitations and the contradictions of hardcore. What do you think Ian was trying to say?

Rachman: There are two quotes in the film that are really important. There’s that quote, and there’s Greg Ginn’s. When Ginn talks about breaking up Black Flag, he says that the environment that surrounded the music changed. The early years of teenage, fucked-up, fuck-you angst can’t carry on. I think that’s what they’re talking about."

Go check out the movie Washingtonians, dig some local music history!

- Sujewa

Thursday, October 19, 2006

What's the status of internet VOD Jonathan? :: A mini-interview with GreenCine's Jonathan Marlow

There is one up-and-coming field of indie film/film distribution where the no/low-budget filmmaker/distributor may be able to rule (or at least have a fair chance of competing well in), and that is internet VOD (video on demand). Doing D.I.Y. theatrical screenings & tours is a lot of work, & can get expensive, and the range/how many places the film can be delivered to in a short period of time - can be very limited. Same for playing the festival circuit. Even hawking the DVD can get expensive, 'cause you may have to buy a lot of ads in the non-web world to let a lot of people know about the existence of the DVD. Internet VOD should be far less work & far less expensive to use as a distribution method - customers can pay $s through the web & the film can be delivered to them through the web, and blogging & reviews can create free publicity for movies that are available through internet VOD. But what is the current state of internet VOD? Are filmmakers making a significant amount of money through internet VOD yet? I asked Jonathan Marlow, the director of content acquisitions and business development of GreenCine, which is, according to them: "...the #1 online shop and source for film addicts. Boasting one of the largest libraries of independent, international and documentary films in the world, GreenCine offers more than 80,000 titles over 250 genres for download, rent or sale. With a diverse and ever-expanding community of members, GreenCine is the #1 destination for film discovery, debate and information." And they have an awesome blog. Here is my mini-interview with Marlow re: the state of internet VOD:


Sujewa: There is a lot of talk right now on the web about downloading feature films through the web being the future of indie film distribution. But isn't that already here? Hasn't GreenCine been successfully selling indie features through Video-on-Demand, to the customer's computer, for some time now?

Marlow: It depends on how you define "success." While independent filmmakers were certainly able to digitally distribute their films from the moment we launched our VOD service in 2003, the audience still prefers to watch these films in a theatre or, failing that, on television. For the majority of filmmakers here and elsewhere around the world, theatrical distribution opportunities have significantly decreased over the past decade (except for festival screenings). TV has become the most likely avenue to discover these works since, unsurprisingly, watching feature films on a computer monitor hardly registers as a feasible choice for most folks. Until there is a seamless method to bridge the home computer and the living room television, the numbers for VOD will continue to be relatively small compared to video or theatrical royalties. Fortunately, that bridge isn't far off -- "early adopters" crossed the PC-to-TV barrier long ago. We continue to collaborate with our technology partners to make this option easily possible for the rest of the potential audience as well.

But I digress. For a filmmaker to consider on-demand delivery to be a real success, it needs to represent more than a supplemental revenue source for their work. It needs to become the primary source, lucrative enough to allow the person to continue making films. Ideally, within the next eight months, we will finally see a real "hit" in the VOD space.


Thanks Jonathan!

- Sujewa

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Appalachian Hardcore?

Here's where I heard about it:


Here's the MySpace page for the band O'Death:


From an article about the band (http://www.portlandmercury.com/portland/Content?oid=48714&category=22153):

"An ensemble of guitar, banjo, electric fiddle, ukulele, and junk percussion, their ingredients—like some crazy backwoods whiskey mash—are varied. Old-timey ghost songs and gospel call-and-response rave-ups meet punk sensibilities. Guttural howling over twangy instrumentation, stomps and shouts, and the sinner's simultaneous pleading/don't-give-a-shit evocation of greater power surge through each raucous number. At other moments, the songs are more deliberate, measured, pensive—the day after a drinking binge during which you punched your best friend in the face and then went home alone to savor the memory of someone lost and gone. But even this, to a certain degree, is celebratory—every party has its quiet moments by comparison; even dancing skeletons need time to catch their breath."

Sounds very interesting. Must check them out.

And by the way, on a slightly related note, Date Number One has some sweet bluegrassy rock music, courtesy of the brothers Cory & Yann Seznec (who also, along w/ Shervin Boloorian, are the fictional band The Punk Mariachi All-Stars in the movie, they made some real music, look out for it perhaps on the DVD or in the latest version of the movie). Maybe we will create a soundtrack CD at some point.

- Sujewa

Shooting People likes DIY Filmmaker Sujewa blog

Shooting People picked this blog as a Pick of the Day today. Check it out here:

Thanks Ingrid from SP for checking out the blog.

& thanks Brian, The Film Panel Notetaker for letting me know about the SP pick this morning.

- Sujewa

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

"one of the hottest up-and-coming DIY filmmakers" - Cinematical

:) :) :) Gee, thanks Kim Voynar! She opens her Cinematical article on the DV Guru interview with me with the following sentence: " Our sister site DV Guru has an excellent interview up with one of the hottest up-and-coming DIY filmmakers out there, Sujewa Ekanayake, whose latest film, Date Number One, has been doing quite well." Regardless of the relative truthiness of the hot factor statement (isn't there only like 8 DIY filmmakers self-distributing features right now in the US? :), it is always nice to have some positive press coverage from Cinematical. Here is the rest of the opening paragraph:

" Ekanayake shot the film entirely on digital video using an XL1S camera and also a VX2000. The entire project cost him about $10K and took about 2.5 years from start-to-finish; Ekanayake financed the film himself from his paychecks and investments from a few friends and family. He's also distributing the film himself -- the film has so far shown in Seattle, NYC and Washington DC (where Ekanayake is based)."

Read the rest of the excellent article here. At its end Voynar wants to hear from filmmakers about the future of indie film distribution.

Thanks again for the coverage Kim Voynar/Cinematical!

- Sujewa

Doug Block's 51 Birch Street opens in NYC tomorrow

51 Birch Street, a documentary about filmmaker Doug Block's parents/aspects of their marriage that Block did not know about until his mother died, opens in NYC tomorrow:

" Oct 18 - New York City (Cinema Village) Show times: 1, 3, 5, 7, 9:10pm (daily). Purchase tickets online here. (Doug, Mike and Kitty Block will appear at the 7pm screenings Oct 18-20. Doug Block will appear at 7 and 9:10pm on Oct 21, and 3pm on Oct 22) "

Go here to read quotes from reviews of the film.

- Sujewa

YouAreTV's FAQ item re: converting DVD footage for web

I visited the YouAreTV website yesterday. YouAreTV looks like a more indie film focused version of YouTube. While exploring the site I found a possibly very useful item on their FAQ page: info. on converting footage on a DVD to a format that can be uploaded to the web, to
YouAreTV or the several other places that carry video clips. Go here & scroll down to "How do I get footage from a DVD, and convert it?".

They recommend using a program called AutoGK, their link did not work for me, so here's the AutoGK link if anyone needs it.

I have not tried it yet, but I have been on the lookout for this type of info. for a while. Thanks YouAreTV.

If anyone else has info on converting DVD footage for web upload, let us know, use the comments field below.

Of course it goes without saying: don't use the tools to violate copyright, just to upload your own stuff/stuff you created or stuff you own the distribution rights to.


- Sujewa

Monday, October 16, 2006

DVGuru.com's Interview re: Date Number One & self-distribution

I'll write more about this later today, but for now, check out this very long interview I did with DV Guru.com re: Date Number One & self-distribution. Lots to read, thanks Brian!

- Sujewa

GreenCine Daily mentions Amir Motlagh's review of Date Number One

It's always fun to read about my film Date Number One in my favorite film blog GreenCine Daily. Here's what GCD said on Sun 10/15 about filmmaker Amir Motlagh's review of DNO:

" Amir Motlagh on Date Number One: "The film is very specific to its location, and its quirks and ticks represent the feelings and moods of the particular area, which I find almost exclusively missing from Hollywood films... There is only a positive through line in this film, and that is rare to see, especially when dealing with characters in their late to early thirties." "

Read Amir's entire review of DNO here.

To see the GreenCine Daily mention of Amir's review, go here & scroll down 'till you see a pic from The Wind That Shakes The Barley.

Thanks GreenCine Daily. Thanks Amir.

- Sujewa

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Date Number One screening/We Are Family benefit, Sat 11/4, Washington, DC

a comedy about several first dates
a movie by sujewa ekanayake

Saturday November 4, 8 PM
WAREHOUSE Screening Room
1017-21 7th St., NW
Washington, DC 20001
202-783-3933 directions
:: :: a benefit event for We Are Family,
a DC non-profit that assists the elderly :
" Small interfaith nonprofit We Are Family reaches out to the seniors of the North Capitol Street and Shaw neighborhoods. We bring advocacy, services, and companionship into the homes of the elderly, while helping to build friendships across boundaries like race, class, religion, age, culture, and sexual orientation. Most of our work is done by volunteers, coordinated by staffperson Mark Andersen who has nearly two decades of serving seniors in the North Capitol and Shaw neighborhoods."
For WAF info, contact Mark Andersen: wearefamilydc@aol.com

Film's Description: "Date Number One" is a comedy about several first dates. This 115 minute movie is made up of 5 different stories: Story 1: Just Another Ninja Searching For Love, about a ninja who goes on a blind date (ninja is played by John Stabb Schroeder from the DC punk band G.I.), Story 2: A Romantic Dinner For 3, about a woman attempting to add a third partner to a romantic relationship, Story 3: Washington "City Of Love" DC/Start Over, about a writer who tries to get back together with his ex-girlfriend, Story 4: Air Quotes Woman, about a woman who always uses air quotes, and her search for a new boyfriend, Story 5: The Superdelicious French Lesson, about a first date where a character learns a little bit of French in an unusual way.


Featuring Hot DC Indie Film Stars John Stabb Schroeder, Julia Stemper, Jennifer Blakemore, Shervin Boloorian, Dele Williams, Steve Lee, Kelly Ham, Christine D. Lee, Fritz Flad, Subodh Samudre, Jewel Greenberg

Not Rated * 115 Minutes * yummy

Director will attend the screening.

"The film is about as charming as they come...presents a world in which cultures don't clash, they mesh. It's refreshing to see characters who all appear to have a natural optimism, as opposed to the typical indie-film predilection for bitterness and cruelty. "
- Michael Tully, Rotterdam & SXSW film festivals selected filmmaker

"I found the characters and the premise sexy, sexy, sexy."
- Jerry Brewington, Hollywood Is Talking blog, on Story 2 of Date Number One

"...witty...often inventive...and, even better, airy: characters are given time and space to spell out their views...views that never bear the artificial markings of a Hollywood screenwriter's compulsion to reduce them to sound-bites."
- David Hudson, Editor, GreenCine Daily blog

"FIVE really entertaining, fully realized romantic interludes...a shamefully rare achievement"
- Tom Kipp, Seattle audience member, former film reviewer for Seattle alternative weekly The Stranger

"Heartfelt...poignant...I loved it!"
- Jon Moritsugu, award winning filmmaker

"Date Number One is quite funny...twentysomethings and occasional thirtysomethings looking for romance recall Richard Linklater's philosopher slackers and Jim Jarmusch's minimalist attention to conversation...also a subtle, thoughtful film...might be understood as the anti-Crash depiction of life in the city...depicts a comfortably multi-ethnic community...I'd happily recommend it."
- Chuck Tryon, media professor & blogger, The Chutry Experiment blog


website: http://www.wilddiner.com/
blog: http://www.diyfilmmaker.blogspot.com/

Copyright 2006 Sujewa Ekanayake/Wild Diner Films

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Angry Filmmaker on MySpace

Ultra indie filmmaker & self distributor Kelley Baker, who completed several US tours with his movies over the last few years, is on MySpace. Here is the introduction from his page:

" About me: I am probably best known for working with other people. I was the sound designer on six of Gus Van Sant's feature films including, MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO, GOOD WILL HUNTING, and FINDING FORRESTER. I designed the sound on Todd Haynes feature film, FAR FROM HEAVEN, with Dennis Quaid and Julianne Moore. I was the picture editor/sound designer on Will Vintons The Adventures of Mark Twain, and Meet The Raisins for CBS. I have also Written and Directed 3 features, (Birddog, The Gas Cafe, and Kicking Bird), 8 short films and a few documentaries. My films have been shown all over the world in film festivals and have aired on PBS, The Learning Channel, Canadian and Austrailian Television. I tour the US twice a year showing my movies and teaching filmmaking workshops. check out www.angryfilmmaker.com. I am the angry filmmaker. End of Story."

I've seen his feature Kicking Bird, it is an excellent drama, well made.

Here is the link to Kelley's MySpace page one more time.

- Sujewa

Friday, October 13, 2006

***** time for a little celebration - got the 1st check from a US theatrical booking of Date Number One ! :)

the amount of the check is not the important thing - although, for a low/no budget DIY filmmaker & distributor w/ a day job like myself it is a pleasant amount, no, the important thing at this point is that the item exists - as an indicator of the possible potential of success in a very risky, foolishly risky even, business (indie film) - one which i am approaching through a still relatively unusual method (low/no-budget d.i.y. production & distribution). so what's all this about? i received a check from the pioneer theater in nyc today, for my share of ticket sales from the 8/31 screening of date number one.

this of course is not the first time i made some money (cash coming my way, not necessarily a profit) through showing a film, and this is not even the first time i made some money from showing date number one, but the pioneer booking was specially important because: 1) it was the pioneer theater - one of the best venues for real indie films in the US, & it's in NYC - the birthplace of US indie film & 2) it was a booking in an actual movie theater, most of my screenings thus far have been 4-walled screenings/space rentals at alternative/typically non-theatrical screening venues.

a copy of this awesome thing (w/ all sensitive info. blacked out of course) is going to go on my wall, as an inspirational item. perhaps this check is a sign of more good things to come from date number one. at least that's what it will mean to me. thanks a lot pioneer theater.

- sujewa

51 Birch Street opens on Wed 10/18 :: my DVGuru.com interview

51 Birch Street

Filmmaker Doug Block is a brave man. He has chosen to take a close look at an area of life that most of us would rather not know too much about: the parent's troubled marriage and related details. His doc 51 Birch Street sounds very interesting, has gotten excellent reviews, lots of festival play and apparently both Al Jazeera & Israeli TV are big fans. The film opens in New York on this coming Wednesday - October 18, I expect to have a review here before then. Check out the film's site for more information on screening dates & reviewer reactions.


My Interview with DVGuru.com

Just did a lengthy interview for DVGuru.com re: Date Number One & self-distribution. It should be up next week, will post the link here.

Kind of related: still no definite word on when the Variety article that may feature Date Number One will run. Will let ya know when I know something firm.

Have an excellent weekend.

- Sujewa

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Got ANYTOWN, USA in the mail yesterday

Film Movement's got good graphic design sense, I like how they package their DVDs (in a clear case, two sided insert, a good amount of white space on the cover/front of the insert, and the actual DVD itself looks very respectable - just the series & flick title & web site URL on one color background - overall simple, elegant & colorful). Plus they have good taste in movies, I liked the last Film Movement flick I saw. So it is always exciting to find a Film Movement DVD in my mail for review. I received the documentary Anytown, USA yesterday. Looking forward to checking it out this month.

In the meantime, here is Anytown, USA's description, at least some of it from the back of the DVD case:
"A funny and eye-opening look into a hard-fought mayoral race between a legally blind, blunt-speaking, conservative Republican incumbent, a retired Democrat brought back into the fray and a legally blind write-in candidate, in the small town of Bogota, New Jersey."

Sounds more interesting than most fiction movies.

Here is the website for the movie.

- Sujewa


Do you absolutely love Kevin Smith's Clerks & also ultra low budget filmmaking & also perhaps you are from Canada or have some roots/friends there? Then BUMS by the Butler brothers might be the low budget indie film for you. It is a comedy about a few slacker friends in Toronto and their attempts to find sex and or romance. There isn't much of a plot, but there is some very well written dialogue in the film. On the downside, the well crafted dialogue is often not delivered in a naturalistic manner - specially in the first half of the film, but perhaps that was intentional. The film did not become very interesting for me until the last 15 minutes or so, when two of the characters discover if they are going to be getting together or not. I did a quick search on the web and found a few reviews by people who enjoyed the movie a lot more than I did. So, in the spirit of low budget indie filmmaker solidarity, I will point you in the direction of those reviews & will point you to the website where you can buy a DVD of the movie, if it sounds interesting enough to check out. The Butler brothers definitely show promise, it will be interesting to see how they use their filmmaking potential on future projects.

First, here is Bums on IMDB, for all the who-did-what-on-this-film details:

Here is Blogcritics review of Bums:

Cinema on the Verge on Bums:

Kevin Carr's review:

And here's the link for purchasing the Bums DVD:

- Sujewa

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

David Lynch to self-distribute Inland Empire


Read all about it here.

Thanks indieWIRE for the link.

Go Mr. Lynch, smart move.

Looking forward to checking out this apparently very experimental DV epic.

- Sujewa

All Our Power's definition of punk

All Our Power was a punk activist conference that happened this past weekend in DC. I knew it was coming, lost track of the exact dates, caught up with it at their website just now.

The name of the conference (in my opinion) may refer to ideas expressed in local punk, activist & author Mark Andersen's book All the Power: Revolution Without Illusion, which advocates opening up to/interacting with & including mainstream America in punk's (& also The Left's in general) attempt to build a better America & world.

Here is All Our Power's definition of punk:

" PUNK: just a label, one among many for a creative, compassionate, questioning lifestyle; a spirit or attitude of truth-telling and do-it-yourself-ism, applicable for all times and places, and any stage of life.

PUNK is NOT necessarily a form of adolescent rebellion, a fashion, a certain type of music, or hairstyle or personal adornment, it is about the inside, the deep reality, not superficialities.

As the word PUNK has for centuries referred to people who were considered worthless, unimportant, and weak, punk politics most fundamentally suggest a stand with such throwaway people, reclaiming the term to suggest the immense value of all people, and the need to be in effective, on-going solidarity with them and their struggles.

Anyone who buys into these ideas, wants to make them real, anyone who is up for doing what they can with whatever they have wherever they are RIGHT NOW, those people are welcome in our idea of PUNK, no matter their taste in music, fashion, their age, race, religion, or nationality. "

Sounds pretty good.

And Mark Andersen & friends in Positive Force DC & others have been helping people out, pushing useful ideas for well over a decade and a half now.

Find out more at All Our Power's site.

Related: Positive Force DC.

Also related: All the Power: Revolution Without Illusion by Mark Andersen (co-author of Dance of Days: Two Decades of Punk in the Nation's Capital).

A glimpse of DC punk rock history can also be caught at Dischord Record's website.

- Sujewa

Date Number One screening Sat 11/4 @ Warehouse Screening Room, WDC

After playing Seattle & NYC (& not to mention Kensington, MD & Takoma Park, MD of course :), Date Number One returns to Washington, DC on Saturday Nov. 4, 8 PM, at the Warehouse Screening Room. DNO had its world premiere in DC back in May (Chuck Tryon's review after seeing the flick at the premiere). Here's the short version of the essential info:

Saturday November 4, 8 PM
WAREHOUSE Screening Room
1017-21 7th St., NW
Washington, DC 20001
:: :: a benefit event for We Are Family,
a DC non-profit that assits the elderly


Will have lots more info. closer to the date, as usual :) Make plans to be there interested DC people, make those plans.

It is quite possible that this will be the last screening of the flick in '06 - I usually start hibernating after November 15 or so every year, to re-surface in Spring/March or so of the following year with a new coat of fur and a fresh pair of horns.

- Sujewa

Monday, October 09, 2006

American Hardcore interview at Washington Post

Looks like the makers of the doc American Hardcore engaged in a discussion with a few interested Post readers recently. Here is a slice from the on-line discussion/interview:

" Steven Blush: "American Hardcore" is not just a rock documentary. It is a testament to the power of youth. These bands didn't change the world, but they changed the music scene forever. When you look at bands today, there's stage diving and slam-dancing and ferocious lead singers, and DIY records and DIY tours. And that is the legacy of hardcore, or formative bands like Black Flag, Minor Threat and the Bad Brains.

Paul Rachman: What all these bands had when they were kids, when these guys started, these guys were strong. They didn't fear failure, they trusted and acted upon their gut instincts, and they didn't care what anyone thought of them. Those are important things for youth today to have in anything they do. That foundation is always solid. "

Looking forward to checking out the flick when it gets to DC.

- Sujewa

Sunday, October 08, 2006

The Departed is excellent :: 3 indie film reviews coming this week

Just saw the new Scorsese flick The Departed - excellent, although there are a few loose ends in it & a few things that are mysterious - but I guess the credit should also go to the original, the Hong Kong flick that Departed is based on. Maybe I'll check it out - Infernal Affairs/Mou gaan dou is the title. Departed is definitely a good thriller. Also reminds me of the samsara is nirvana, nirvana is samsara idea found in some Buddhist writing.

Without giving much away hopefully re: Departed, I think the central female character's relationship with the male characters could have used more work. That's all I'll say for now, will do a lengthier post re: the flick when the DVD comes out.

Received 51 Birch Street - a documentary about a father, & Manhattan, Kansas - a documentary about a mother, in the mail a couple of days ago. Reviews coming this week.

Also a review of the Canadian indie flick Bums is on the way.

- Sujewa

Friday, October 06, 2006

Thu 10/5 Kensington screening: a rejuvenating experience

I was verrry lazy about promoting the Thu 10/5 screening - just did a few blog posts & sent out a couple of group e-mails, that's it, no fliers, no notices to local media, no press releases, nothing. I was kind of taking a break before starting up a new wave of more publicized screenings that will commence with the 11/4/06 DC screening at the Warehouse theater & will continue into middle of '07 at various US cities - details soon. But, once the showtime rolled around today I was happy. A handful of locals showed up, including several family members of Jen Blakemore, the hot star of Story #2.

Movies should always be watched on as big a screen as possible. I need to hook up a 5 foot screen & a projector in my room, for editing & movie watching purposes. It was very exciting to see my movie again on a large screen today. Got me energized about pushing the upcoming screenings & the DVD.

The audience dug the show. Got some positive feedback & DVD orders. All in all I probably did 5 hours of work over the course of 1 week (most of it today) for this screening (posts & e-mails, picking up gear & setting up, overseeing the screening & packing up afterwards). With the DVD pre-orders I received today the event was close to profitable, $s wise. Of course there is quite a ways to go before the entire project becomes profitable, but with the coming DVD sales & screenings & the largely positive audience responses, the future looks very good for Date Number One - in terms of $s & also fame, on the indie scale of things of course.

Had a fun dinner with Jen, her dad Bob (who has seen the movie 3 times now - 3 times! - dude even came to NYC to see it. either he loves his daughter a lot or he reaallly likes the movie, probably both, he is planning on coming to the 11/4 screening in DC) & Allie at the one of the too few late night restaurants in Wheaton, MD after the show. Lots of seafood action went down at the table.

Unlike when watching the movie at home while editing or for other reasons, watching the movie with an audience today made me remember all the drama that surrounded some of the shoots. I am at the point where those memories are no longer painful but are taking on a golden hue - epic, nostalgic, sweet. This means I am only a couple of months (definitely less than six) away from being ready once again to tackle the beast that is low budget indie feature film production. Better camera work & waaay better location sound next time.

Sharing the movie with an audience on a large screen is a wonderful experience. Looking forward to doing it again.

Film is kind of bizarre & interesting to think about - we humans like to see & hear & experience stories about other humans, & see those stories projected on big screens - the people in the movie appearing much bigger than they are in real life. What does that mean? Why is watching a movie (well, a good movie) a pleasurable experience? Why is cinema more exciting to more people than any other form of art or entertainment invented by us? There is something magical about seeing people & places reflected large in front of you. This becomes very obvious when watching the movie at the location it was shot at and with some of the people who appear in the movie (which was the case today - the bookstore where the screening happened tonight was a main location in the movie). Because the real things are right there - near me, yet the cinematic representation of those things is more interesting in a certain way. Maybe its because you can't stare at real people, and because the reality we see reflected in a movie is a simplified reality, a captured & safe reality - less anxiety inducing, and it is a reality with quick meaning - dialogue & character actions create the plot & story - a simpler & easier to comprehend version of life.

The experts who are currently declaring the death of the theatrical cinema experience are wrong, the theatrical movie going experience will not go way. Watching a movie in any other place besides inside a movie theater or a similar setting does not alter our experience of reality & time to the same high degree. Plus, watching a movie with a bunch of strangers in a dark space & feeling the same emotions at the same time is a magical, kind of communal, hope inducing thing. Can't get that on yer DVD player/TV combo, the new iPod or on yer computer screen, or through your Betamax deck for that matter. Humans are social animals who like to see ourselves & our existence glorified - even distorted & even when the story is sad, cinema is a glorification, a celebration, of existence. That's why the theatrical experience will not go away. If one set of entrepreneurs can't make it happen $s wise, others will soon find a way. Because we get too much out of watching a movie in a theatrical setting for us to let it end.

I am sure I can go on & on regarding the topic of film, but it is time for bed now, so, good night. See ya soon - on the screen, in real life or through the web.

Even if only part time at the moment, I am engaged in one of the most exciting social & creative & entrepreneurial activities on the planet - the movies. Feels very good.

OK, good night for real.

- Sujewa

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Date Number One: Central Europe possibly soon, Kensington, MD tomorrow (Thu 10/5, 7:30 PM)

Can't say much about it at this point as it may turn out to be nothing or something that takes a loong time to happen, but there is some interest in Date Number One from a very well known global company re: possibly showing the flick in Central Europe (Poland, Hungary, etc.), of all places - quite far from DC :) Working on figuring out what's what, should have more info. on this new distribution possibility in a few weeks - it's something that just came my way a couple of days ago w/ no effort in my part in that direction (showing the flick in central europe that is). the film may be entering a weird & interesting zone of low key fame & exposure, something that i find to be utterly hilarious & wonderful...let's see what happens, the life of a DIY no-budget filmmaker/project is very entertaining if nothing else, more on all this soon hopefully.

In the meantime, the flick screens tomorrow, Thu 10/5, @ 7:30 PM in Kensington, MD. Here is the essential info:

a comedy about several first dates
a movie by sujewa ekanayake

Thu Oct 5, 2006 :: 7:30 PM :: $5
Capital City Microcinema at
Kensington Row Bookshop
3786 Howard Ave., Kensington, MD 20895
301.949.9416 :: MapQuest :: Directions

Go here for some reviewer quotes & other details re: the flick.

And here's the link to the latest review of the movie, by filmmaker Amir Motlagh.

Talk 2 ya soon, see ya on Thu night.

- Sujewa

the least expensive way to produce DVDs that i can think of

so you have a good movie, but do not have the $750/$1000 - $1250/$1500 (prices based on quotes from replicator/duplicator Nationwide's website, + shipping cost estimates + misc. expense $s) that it would take to create 1000 retail ready replicated DVDs?

but you still want to sell your movie on DVD to interested customers at screenings & through the web?

here is the least expensive way i can think of to create oh let's say 100 DVDs for sale:

(& before we get to that, let's address the whole replicated vs. duplicated issue: most pros recommend replicated, which is guaranteed to play in most players most of the time - w/ like only 1%* failure rate quoted by some pros. as opposed to a 5%* failure rate assigned to duplicated DVDs. however, i know 3 filmmakers who have sold 100s of duplicated DVDs, made at home, w/ very little to no playback failures reported by their customers. so i guess replicated is the way to go when you have the cash & for the long term, but in the short term, duplicated may do, up to you to decide & check out)

1. create the final version of the movie in your computer, don't worry about extras - have a nice menu page w/ an image from the flick & START MOVIE button
2. buy 100 DVD cases (i've seen them for as cheap as 1 cent per case on e-bay) - so let's say $15 for the 100 cases
3. buy some high quality blank DVDs - the ones i use for screeners are from apple, i think $35 for 25 blank DVDs - so for 100 let's say $150 - w/tax (note: it is very important that you use the highest quality blank DVDs around, will play in more players)
4. create a cover for the DVD that can be duplicated cheaply - maybe black text & drawings, symbols, etc. on bright color paper. you can create the master cover using ms word or works & your cut & paste skillz (analog, real world - like w/ scissors & glue/tape, if u do not know graphic design programs) for images if necessary. my local copy shop can copy 100 of those covers on 8.5"x10" paper (u can cut it down from there or u can get the copy place to cut it down to proper size) for around $13 (12 cents or less per copy & tax).
5. find an inexpensive but effective way to mark the title & copyright info on the face of the DVD. perhaps a stamp or maybe using a color marker that will not wash off? let's say $20 for whatever supplies you have to get.
6. burn/copy/duplicate your movie on to the 100 DVDs, 1 at a time of course. may take a couple of days.
7. assemble your 100 DVDs for sale (mark title & copyright info on DVD face, place DVD in case, slip cover into the case's sleeve, and u r done!). total cost in $s: $198 ($15 for 100 cases, $150 for 100 blank DVDs, $13 for 100 covers, $20 for DVD face marking tool/method). plus of course your unpaid (yet) dozens of hours of work.

don't worry too much about not having splashy extras & shiny packaging for your DVD. if your movie pleases your audience, they will not miss the extra stuff.

maybe you can sell each DVD for $10 - $15. if you succeed in selling all of them, you should have $1000 - $1500.

oh, hey, when you get that kind of $s, maybe you can get 1000 replicated, fully packaged/retail ready (w/ bar code for bigger retailers) DVDs made from a pro DVD replicating service? wow, check it out, pretty cool :)


1. * not sure about the failure rates of replicated DVDs cited above, after thinking about it i am inclined to guess that perhaps there are almost no failures with properly repicated DVDs. with duplicated DVDs, the story may be different, but even then it is probably far less than 5% these days. that said, replicating seems the safest way to go for large quantity retail purposes.

2. Disc Makers has a deal where you can get 100 duplicated DVDs for $274, in cases, with covers - might be a good low budget deal, just found out through their catalog.

- sujewa

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Amir Motlagh's Review of Date Number One

The ever productive West Coast based indie/D.I.Y. filmmaking champ Amir Motlagh recently took a break from his work (he is currently at work on a feature called Whale, also creating & putting out music & other art work) & checked out my new flick Date Number One. Here is a little bit of the goodies from his review of Date Number One, which was posted today at his blog Still Lover :

"The film is very specific to its location, and its quirks and ticks represent the feelings and moods of the particular area [DC], which I find almost exclusively missing from Hollywood films. The films first scenario is about a Ninja looking for Love. As tough as that is to swallow, and believe me, I had a hard time at first, but somehow, someway, in the end, the love of the characters, the postiveness of the film, and Sujewa’s disregard for conventions wins you over. The act of making this film wins you over. There is only a positive through line in this film, and that is rare to see, especially when dealing with characters in their late to early thirties."

Read the rest of the review here.

Thanks Amir for checking out the movie & writing about it!

- Sujewa
P.S. - Date Number One screens in Kensington, MD on this Thu night. Go here for all the details.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Made some progress on the YouTube project

I tested out posting video to YouTube today. Works pretty well, although, having a faster connection may help me get more video up sooner. Here's a quick overview of the process, for any interested souls: 1) create a video file on your computer, know where it is (most recent computers - PCs - should come with some sort of a video editing program, such as Windows Movie Maker or something - use that along with a Firewire cable to bring video in from your camera (not sure yet how to do this directly off of a DVD), then convert the footage to a video file using Real Player or another program - the video editing software in your computer should be able to do this for you, look at the video editing program's File menu, Export options), 2) set up a YouTube account, 3) follow Upload Video instructions at your YouTube account - you'll have to locate the video file on your computer & hit upload, pretty easy. I am working on setting up two YouTube pages: 1 for my own stuff, and another for all the members of the US DIY Film Yahoo group, to post our trailers & clips on line. Hopefully by the end of this week both those YouTube pages will be up & running w/ some interesting/entertaining/rocktacular content. The US DIY Film YouTube page will have a corresponding blog where members & fans & other interested folks can talk about what they posted & other related stuff. More on all this soon - including all the links, after I take care of some more day job work & promoting the upcoming Thu 10/5 Date Number One screening in Kensington.



Indie Film Blogger Road Trip

At DIY Filmmaker Blog's Facebook Page


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Breakthrough Weekend teaser trailer on YouTube

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