Formerly: DIY Filmmaker Sujewa Blog - Werewolf Ninja Philosopher and other 2018 movies! DIY = Do-It-Yourself. DIY film = low budget indie films made and distributed by the filmmaker. This is a blog by filmmaker Sujewa Ekanayake. 2018 films - Werewolf Ninja Philosopher, Breakthrough Weekend, Brooklyn Fantastic, Agnes the Alien. Blog active since 2006. Since 4/28/18 blog is called NEW ART FILM (since 2018), see post below for more re: the new direction.
Just saw another recent Ed Burns movie - The Groomsmen. It is very good. Rent it or buy the DVD. A comedy-drama about getting married. It's late & I am sleepy, will write more about the flick tomorrow. TG is probably the best looking Burns film I've seen, and I've seen almost all of them.
Check out these Jonas Mekas DVDs available for purchase. Why not, right? If paintings can go for thousands of dollars I guess a DVD by certain filmmakers can go for a thousand dollars. Anyone who has bought one & wants to be interviewed about that experience on this blog, let me know.
Earlier this month I was worried about blogging too much & not making more movies. But I am no way ready to quit blogging & in '07 my main film project will be Date Number One distribution so I do not know how many new features I will be able to complete in '07; so, perhaps combining blogging & editing & shooting video & keeping a journal may be the way to go for me. So, I am going to try to post 365 video blog posts in '07. Each post will be a few seconds to 5 minutes long - they'll be everything from diary entry type posts to short films. Perhaps they will be posted on YouTube & also in this blog. I got the idea from Jonas Mekas - he will be posting 365 short films in '07. I've got a bunch of stuff to figure out - I have not posted a single video blog entry yet. But it should be fun. Making & releasing a feature takes a long time - short video blog posts will keep me involved with filmmaking on a daily basis - actual writing, shoot…
It's got a Hollywood star (Nick Nolte) & is not a self-distributed D.I.Y. movie, but still low budget perhaps, but most importantly, it looks like a good movie (regardless of where it falls in the indie index) - at least the trailer does. Check out the trailer here, will have more info. on this movie soon.
Here is the MySpace page for the movie, with all the release info.
And of course the blog. I believe it is being written by the director.
Also, Off the Black was selected for Sundance 06 & it is a debut feature (as far as I know, again, will have more soon).
Read an interesting Time magazine story (thanks to ex-housemate Allison's subscription :) while doing some late night eatin' & writin' at IHOP Wheaton (seems well lit cheap diner/old timey eatery like places i can relax & write it, i can't imagine writing at a Starbucks or even at Tryst in Adams-Morgan); a story about an aging (42) indie rocker (from Mr. T Experience) writing a book with a teen protagonist at the urging of a fan in the publishing biz & then Will Ferrell & co. buying the rights to make the movie. The book is called King Dork, & the main character in it "rails against "the cult of Catcher in the Rye" ", so I read in Time, sounds interesting - here is the link.
Here's the link to an interview I did last year with filmmaker Amir Motlagh. It's about Date Number One & self-distribution. Not much has changed in how I do things from then to now, except perhaps for the film fest thing - at that point I was planning on submitting to fests & then later on I re-thought that approach, since relying on fests would get in the way of my DIY distro magic. Anyway, possibly a good read for DIY minded filmmakers; check it out here.
What's the point of reading a blog if you can't comment on it? Well, I guess you can learn some interesting stuff - but one of the best/most interesting & sometimes very entertaining aspects of the blog world is the comments - for me (and I think for a lot of other people). The blog Cinecultist, however, feels differently. Cinecultist celebrates the fact that they don't allow comments and is picking on a director who dares to comment on a review published in indieWIRE. Check it out here.
So, again, comments = good, no comments = not that good, bit dull. (I do however like the Edward Hopper image on the Cinecultist blog, another topic for another time; blog design).
Also, by allowing comments the blog owner is creating room for a community of readers to form around the blog. Makes the blog more interesting.
I haven't read it yet but I am looking forward to it (Krisner's thorough list of web sites where video producers can make money is awesome). Here is a little bit of the description of the book, from e-tailer lulu.com's site:
"... “The Future of Web Video” details twelve tectonic shifts reshaping the entertainment landscape. It includes interviews with senior execs from Brightcove, Revver, TiVo, Verizon, and Ogilvy & Mather, as well as Web video pioneers like Judson Laipply ("Evolution of Dance"), Fritz Grobe ("Extreme Diet Coke and Mentos"), and Gregg Spiridellis (“This Land”).
Full of up-to-date stats, original interviews, and valuable case studies, “The Future of Web Video” also contains charts covering:
> Sites that help video producers earn money > Online viewership habits > Devices that bring Web video to the TV > Oppor…
Date Number One will screen in Kensington, MD on March 15, 2007, at the Kensington Row Bookshop/a Capital City Microcinema screening. More info. & links closer to the date.
DNO DVDs will be on sale at a booth (& there maybe other promo activities happening, also perhaps other DNO merch) at the Day of the Book festival in Kensington, MD (one of the newest & most popular literary events in the DC area) on April, 22, 2007. More on that event coming soon.
Lance Weiler talks with Alex Afterman of the DVD label Heretic Films. Here is the intro from Lance's post at The Workbook Project:
"Today’s guest is Alex Afterman of Heretic Films. In our conversation Alex breaks down how the DVD side of the business works and what filmmakers can do to best prepare themselves to reach retail and rental outlets."
The Date Number One self-distribution project is about to enter its 9th month. This is a 24 month long project (at least, well, for the initial release, and I am sure it will be an eternal/life long PT project after that, which is fine by me), and so far things are going pretty well. I should have the DVDs available for sale in early December, and then more screenings in '07 & in '08.
In 2006 several other filmmakers also engaged in DIY distribution: Lance Weiler, Kelley Baker, Kat Candler, Andrew Bujalski, etc. At the end of this year I will have a thorough post on the '06 DIY distribution activities. For now, here is a post with many relevant links.
Here's the post, from October 2005, that announced my plan to explore DIY distribution using Date Number One (and so far no major changes in how I view the future):
The New US Indie Film Frontier: D.I.Y. Distribution
I don't want to take away your "figuring it out" experience, so, until you see The Fountain, don't read this post.
Now, for the people who have seen the movie, here's my take on the plot; let me know what you think:
I think that Story 1 - the one about Spain & the Conquistador, never happened in the real world of the film - it is merely a story created by Izzy - the female lead character in Story 2 - the one with the doctor & the monkey. It, Story 1, is also a symbolic story - a tale - that hints at what will happen to the real person - Tom in Story 2, as he continues with his quest for immortality.
Story 3, the space story set in the future, is a continuation of Story 2. The male lead is the same male, Tom, from Story 2. The tatooing that he started in the modern time, our time, after Izzy's death, continued for hundreds of years & by the time we get to the space story, the dude is covered in tattoos. Also, the two stories being the tale of one char…
Brian, The Film Panel Notetaker, came down to my part of the world for the Thanksgiving weekend & I introduced him & his cool writer friend Sarah (sp?) to some delicious Vietnamese food in Wheaton, MD. Much quality fun was had. Brian posted a photo of me that he took this weekend at my dayjob - the bookstore - over at his blog, check it out here.
L-R: Dele Williams & Jennifer Blakemore from Story 2: A Romantic Dinner For 3, John Stabb Schroeder & Jewel Greenberg from Story 1: Just Another Ninja Searching For Love, Dele Williams from Story 2, small DNO promo image featuring ninja, Christine D. Lee from Story 4: Air Quotes Woman. All from Date Number One.
Images Copyright 2006 Sujewa Ekanayake/Wild Diner Films
Get the early warning here. The robot war movie Automatons will play at the Pioneer Theater, NYC starting 12/13. I'll have a review, & some pics maybe, here soon. Will humanity survive? We'll know soon.
" Somewhere in the distant future, The Girl is alone. She is the last of her people, the others having died in a generations-long war that she continues to fight with the assistance of a group of antiquated robot helpers and soldiers. Her only connection to her long-dead people is a collection of recorded journal entries made by the scientist who cared for her as a baby. His is the only friendly human face she’s ever seen. The regular transmissions from her enemy leader are always filled with threats and taunts. The girl responds to these invasions by attack of her own, carried out by her mechanical soldiers on the contaminated surface where no human can survive. Men started this war. The machines…
Independent film = in the United States a movie made outside of Hollywood or Indiewood (divisions of Hollywood companies that deal with low budget movies) or without the assistance of large corporate or institutional support, a movie made for a very low budget (if you have a lot of money to spend on your film, the fact that it is made outside of Hollywood or Indiewood is largely irrelevant), a movie made by a person or a team of people unknown to/previously not well employed by Hollywood or Indiewood & a movie featuring actors unknown to/previously not well employed by Hollywood or Indiewood.
What is a low budget in late 2006? The independent film Dance Party, USA was reportedly made for $3,000. My independent movie Date Number One was made for under $10,000. I would say around $50,000 or less for a digital video originated movie and around $200,000 or less for a film made using 16 MM motion picture film are low budgets for this point in time.
Ed Burns & Kevin Smith, though close to me in age, are part of a different generation of filmmakers - they are of the "make your breakout feature on 16 MM, get picked up by Holly/Indie Wood, get famous/start career" generation - members of perhaps the first & the last generation - The 90's Indie Filmmaker Generation - of American film artists to get their careers started the way I described above. Because, as Burns says in the Looking For Kitty commentary, those days are over; distributors are telling him that the specialty film business of the 90's is no more.
Check out this Q & A with Burns re: The Groomsmen (still have not seen that, looking forward to it), he talks a bit about the changing financing & distribution landscape that he finds himself in:
It's a low key drama-comedy so it is best to approach this movie by Ed Burns with modest expectations. Looking For kitty does deliver in the end, after a few unexpected twists and turns. The movie is about two men searching for a missing woman, at least that is the thin plot; inside that we get to see many warm snapshots of people grappling with the inevitable truth, slow changes in a new direction, and the streets of New York City bathed in the winter sun. This movie is unlike all of the other Burns movies I have seen (I believe I have seen them all except for The Groomsmen). Like a sip of fresh coffee on a cold day, Looking For Kitty is good & is recommended.
The DVD is available now from THINKFilm. I stumbled upon a copy at my local Blockbuster Video yesterday, so it is probably everywhere now.
The following is an excerpt from a recent interview I did with Aaron Katz, the director of the indie drama Dance Party, USA. We got off the topic of his film & started talking about race & the indie film scene for a bit. Here is that portion of the interview:
" Sujewa: It was cool hanging out with Stacy Schoolfield, a producer of the currently self-distributed flick Jumping Off Bridges, last night in Silver Spring, MD. We talked for a moment about the apparent low number of women & minorities in key positions in indie film production & distribution. I think the numbers are going up, but with the DV revolution I expected them to go up much quicker - since the cost of entry is now low & films can be made with just 1-5 or so crew members & very little equipment. Why do you think at the moment it seems like US indie film is mostly a liberal "white" male thing (not that there is anything wrong with that)? The indie film scene does not seem as diverse…
- getting the 12 screenings of DNO done this year, again a lot of people helped with that one, u know who u are
- Chuck Tryon's review of DNO after the World Premiere screening in May, very thankful for that, it was way better than what I expected
- all the other positive reviews of DNO from this year, very very thankful for those; from Hollywood Is Talking blog, GreenCine Daily & Amir Motlagh
& a big thanks to anyone who is not covered by the above items but helped me with my indie film stuff this year. indie film maybe independent of hollywood, but it is very dependent on a lot of cool people, at least that is the case in my experience - so thanks thanks thanks a lot to…
Eight Men Out is an excellent movie. And when I first saw it & then liked it; read about it, it was difficult for me to believe an independent filmmaker had made that movie 'cause at that point (early 90's), to me indie filmmakers meant folks like Jim Jarmusch, Hal Hartley & Gus Van Sant - w/ a slightly rougher, more off-beat style & take on life than the very polished & kind of classic Eight Men Out style & view. Eight Men Out's director John Sayles' career goes back further then that of my early 90's indie filmmaker heros, and now web surfers can read all about it at what appears to be the official John Sayles site.
The other link find of the day was the Emerging Pictures blog. I got the John Sayles site link from the EP blog.
Thanks Filmmaker Magazine's blog for the EP blog link.
Now we just need the official Jim Jarmusch website or the official Jim Jarmusch blog :) Then all will be nearly perfect on the web regarding the presence of classic…
I don't recall reading reviews of this flick or seeing any sign of a theatrical release. I don't know if the movie is good, but it's ED BURNS, shouldn't a film by him get a theatrical release; given that he's made several movies, some very good, & was one of the stars of Saving Private Ryan (i bring that up only to point out that Burns is not an unknown in the film biz - not a huge risk to put out a flick starring him & made by him to theaters i think)? I saw Kitty on DVD at Blockbuster today, rented it, am about to watch it.
Ed, if you read this, get in touch, let's do an interview re: the fate of Kitty. Why did it not get released theatrically? And what's with The Groomsmen not getting a wide(er) theatrical release - even a wider indie level theatrical release? I don't think it came to DC. And I only saw very little press & publicity for that flick. Something weird is going on.
Aaron Katz is the director of the well reviewed ultra low budget indie drama Dance Party, USA (check out my review here, I enjoyed the flick). The movie recently started playing at the Pioneer Theater in New York City. I was able to ask Katz a few questions recently about his film work and some related topics during this e-mail interview:
Sujewa: Hey Aaron, I liked Dance Party, USA a lot. Since other recent interviews (GreenCine Daily's links for the movie) have talked a lot about the movie, I'll start off with a question about the movie that you just finished: Quiet City - what's that about?
Aaron: Quiet City is about a couple strangers, Charlie and Jamie, who meet and hang out in Brooklyn over the course of 24 hours. Jamie's supposed to be meeting her friend, but the friend never shows so she just keeps hanging out with Charlie. I'm excited about it. Cris and Erin, the two leads, were amazing to work with. They were both totally open.
Lance Weiler, one of my co-bloggers at the indie film group blog Indie Features (formerly known as Indie Features 06) has started a video site for clips of films by IF bloggers. Check out the video site here.
There is at least 1 more IF video site coming this year; a project I started working on about a month ago at YouTube but have not completed yet. It'll get done before '07.
Thanks Lance for setting up the first Indie Features video site! Hopefully next week I can add some Date Number One clips to it.
My Fylmz Interview
The indie film site Fylmz interviewed me today about Date Number One & self-distribution. Will let ya know when they have the interview up on the web. Thanks Fylmz!
Got much plans to hang with family & friends on T-giving day. Hope you've got some warm fuzzy stuff going on that day too. Have a happy Thanksgiving.
Saw Fast Food Nation last night. Yummy may be the wrong word to describe it, but the movie certainly was well done & let's say nutritious. The scenes of cows getting killed were very effective, I could not bring myself to eat meat today. FFN was exceptional for a couple of other reasons: in the story the bad guys are basically pawns of a system - a system that stays alive because of the consumer preference for meat, and the good guys are not very effective. Which makes me as the audience member ask myself: "well, what's the solution?". If the burger industry executives are too weak or basically unable to do the right thing (that being stopping or cutting back on making burgers, or at least making sure the entire burger making process is as painless as possible for everyone involved) I guess as a customer, it is up to me to help influence change by not consuming meat. That's right; cows get slaughtered & all manner of laws get violated in order to make a…
This is a segment from a long interview I did with indie film publicity consultant & former publicist Reid Rosefelt:
" Sujewa: Back in '83/'84 did you think Jim Jarmusch & Stranger Than Paradise would become the icons that they are now; when you first saw Stranger & met Jarmusch? Any related stories about the early days of Jarmusch would be much appreciated. I see his career (the high profile/level of success) as being very odd & unpredictable - as in, typically things that get big in America, American art & entertainment - seems to have a lot of flash, noise & drama to it - specially in movies - Stranger certainly does not, at least not in any kind of a typical way. Like I can watch an early Scorcese or Spike Lee or Speilberg movie & believe that those directors would catch on in America (let's pretend that I did not know those directors were famous already), Stranger doesn't send out the same vibes. Anyway, let me stop here so you can …
Well, this really sucks, Seinfeld's Micheal Richards freaked out at a stand up performance this past weekend & started insulting a couple of African-American audience members/hecklers. Thanks Matt Dentler's blog for the word on this story. I guess I can try to remind myself that the Kramer character is a fictional creation and not Micheal Richards, but its gonna be hard to enjoy the re-runs of one of my favorite comedies of all time from now on. Not sure how Richards is going to try to recover from this one, he wasn't drunk as far as I know - so that's one excuse he won't be able to use. Richards issued an apology for the melt down on the Letterman show on Monday night, I saw a little bit of it just now on the TV news, doesn't look like Richards really knows what went wrong this weekend at the comedy club. What's with all the ugly rage Richards? You were probably set for life & beyond because of the popularity of Kramer. Sad & stupid. And it mus…
John Stabb Schroeder as the ninja Mark H. Temonium in Date Number One. Photo Copyright 2006 Sujewa Ekanayake/Wild Diner Films
First, starting in May 2006, some people started seeing a ninja in a feature comedy, in Date Number One. Looks like the DNO ninja is about to get some company, perhaps next year, check out this post about a ninja comedy in the works (thanks GreenCine Daily for the link), from Hollywood, starring Rainn Wilson from The Office. Should be fun. Perhaps the existence of this new Hollywood ninja comedy feature will result in some additional press for my ultra-indie ninja comedy feature. There really can't be too many ninjas in comedies, as I always say.
Film publicity consultant and former publicist Reid Rosefelt has, according to one of his on-line resumes, "worked on films by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Werner Herzog, Wim Wenders, Jean-Luc Godard, Federico Fellini, Eric Rohmer, Jacques Rivette, Andrei Tarkovsky, Paul Verhoeven, and Jim Jarmusch (on “Stranger Than Paradise”). For seven years I was a unit publicist on studio films, working with directors like Ridley Scott (“1492”), Peter Weir (“The Mosquito Coast”), Susan Seidelman (“Desperately Seeking Susan”), Mike Nichols (“Heartburn”), Adrian Lyne (“Jacob’s Ladder”), and Francis Coppola (“The Godfather: Part III”)".
That is perhaps one of the most impressive lists of work experience in all of art/indie/foreign film that I have ever seen. I was fortunate enough to be able to ask Rosefelt a few questions this weekend regarding specialty film, his career & passion for film, and film publicity.
Sujewa: You have been a part of the indie & specialty film business since wa…
I like movies about making movies. So I went to see For Your Consideration tonight. Kind of funny, pretty good movie. But not as funny as Best In Show, another movie by the same filmmaking team.
The best movie so far, the best comedy at least, about making movies that I've seen is Living in Oblivion. I have not seen Truffaut's Day for Night, which sounds like more of a drama about filmmaking than a comedy, looking forward to checking it out. Here is a page that reviews both Living in Oblivion & Day for Night DVDs.
Ananda (Subodh Samudre) & Missy (Jewel Greenberg) from Date Number One photo copyright 2006 sujewa ekanayake/wild diner films * Here is the current synopsis (a new, more poetic & detailed one is on its way) & a few reviewer & audience response quotes for Date Number One: * DATE NUMBER ONEhttp://www.wilddiner.com/ a comedy about several first dates a movie by sujewa ekanayake 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,…
Made it just in time for tonight's NIH sponsored screening of Jumping Off Bridges at AFI Silver. There were a lot of people in attendance, 100 - 150 or more perhaps. The film tells the story of a family dealing with grief & suicide. After the screening there was a Q & A session with mental health professionals & producers of the film. And after that I hung out with producer Stacy Schoolfield (one of my Indie Features 06 co-bloggers) & friends at an Austin Grill of all places (Stacy is from Austin). Good movie, good people, that's the main story from tonight. It was nice to see Team JOB in action, traveling with the movie/getting it out to screens DIY style, & being well received by the DC area audience.
The Date Number One DVD is on its way, should be ready for sale this month. And I am planning out several production & distribution projects for '07. Got a new plan re: blogging, thus the name of the blog is changed to reflect my production company name: Wild Diner Films.
The new plan is to BLOG LESS & DO MORE FILM PRODUCTION AND DISTRIBUTION. So, the focus of this blog will now narrow to mostly Date Number One related news & stuff on my upcoming, '07 films. Of course I will not be able to not write about very relevant DIY/indie film news when they happen, but for the most part this blog will be different starting now.
Also, I will not be doing an '07 version of my Indie Features 06 blog, in order to blog less & spend less time on blogging related matters & devote more time to film work. IF06 is a very cool & very successful group blogging experiment. Something that other filmmakers can imitate if they wish. Blogging can be a lot of work, but it is ve…
Dance Party, USA is a $3K digital video feature with some excellent cinematography; specially the night time driving scenes of the city, the colors reminded me a little of a DV version of Mystery Train. The story DPUSA tells is a sly coming of age story. Cole Pensinger (who looks a little like one of the SNL actors) plays Gus, the male lead of the story & Anna Kavan plays the somewhat mysterious female lead Jessica. The two meet at a party, Gus tells Jessica a dark secret, and then we are not sure exactly where the story is going to go. It is a pleasant unpredictability. DPUSA is quietly pleasurable & absorbing. First time feature writer & director Aaron Katz has crafted a very impressive debut. The party goes down every night for the next week and a few nights more at the Pioneer Theater in NYC, starting tonight. If you are open for some low key escapism through reflections of simultaneously ordinary and extraordinary events from the border years of official adulthood, t…
Dance Party, USA Received a VHS tape of Dance Party, USA today. Sneaked a 10 minute look at it at work, looks pretty good: funny, real-esque, absorbing, Slacker like so far-in a good way of course, will write more about it after I watch the whole thing. In the meantime, check out this Reverse Shot post re: the flick's opening tomorrow in NYC @ Pioneer Theater (the theater's info on the flick + buy tix links).
Adrienne Shelly Anthony Kaufman blogs about a new foundation created in memory of actress Adrienne Shelly, check it out here. And here is a recent (11/08) New York Times article with an update on Shelly's murder investigation.
Some projects, such as my flick Date Number One - 12 screenings in 5 cities (including Seattle, NYC & DC) this year, got a pretty good start on theatrical self-distribution in '06 & is preparing to do more in '07. And other projects, such as Lance Weiler's Head Trauma, went through relatively wide - for no budget DIY (do-it-yourself) distribution - theatrical releases in '06 & moved into the DVD release realm. And then there were the hybrid release projects where the filmmaker & an established indie distribution company tried out new distribution tactics, as was the case with I Am A Sex Addict & as is the case now with 51 Birch Street. There is a lot to take a look back at, a lot to analyze & think about, a lot to figure out as to the meaning of all the New Distribution activity this year in the low budget indie realm. Taking a look at several '06 self-distribution & new distribution projects may help me & other indie filmmakers make…