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Showing posts from December, 2006

Next movie update :: Previous movie (Date Number One) update

Next movie/"Untitled January 07 Production" update: Jennifer Blakemore (pictured) from Date Number One (Jen played Sunshine in Story 2 of DNO) will be one of the lead actors in my next movie (for some appreciation of her acting work, check here and here). I have two completed scripts (one from '96, one from '98) & one of these will be updated & produced, with pre-production starting around January 15, 2007. It will be a no budget DV feature. A comedy/comedy-drama. And I hope to make it available on DVD (mail-order & through some retail stores) in the first quarter of '07, while it screens wherever I can get it to screen.

::

Previous movie/"Date Number One" update: My May '06 completed feature Date Number One will be available on DVD (mail-order & through some retail stores) starting at some point in January '07. Will know the exact date in a few days - w/ in the first week of January - will announce the exact availability date here…

Workbook's Theatrical Venue Mapping Project or how to get your indie screening venue noticed by motivated new filmmakers & overactive bloggers

Well, overactive bloggers might be stretching things a bit, but this blog, Indie Features blog & The Workbook does get a fair amount of traffic & stuff we talk about in those blogs get mentioned in other indie film blogs sooner or later, so, indie screening venue owners (including microcinemas) who might want to get the attention of motivated new filmmakers & new & old bloggers might want to go here on Workbook blog & add their venue's info. & booking contact info. One great way for real indie venues to compete with the Landmarks of America is to offer totally unique programming (as Pioneer in NYC & a few other real indie venues do) and that means being in the lookout for good films that either never made it to the festivals or did well at festivals but did not get distributor attention. Indie filmmakers & indie theaters dealing directly with each other can perhaps offer a competitive advantage to some indie venues. Sure it's a bit of extra work…

6 Favorite Film Blogs of 2006

I think I read about 20 - 30 film blogs on a regular basis (let's say every week). One that I should read more but didn't get in the habit of doing so in '06 is Cinematical. Also, The House Next Door. Perhaps in '07 I can work Cinematical & House Next Door in more. So, out of the ones I read frequently, here are my favorite blogs from this year. I am treating the indieWIRE's blogs page as a blog because some days I just go there & read parts of posts from several blogs. Looking forward to discovering more good film blogs in '07 (feel free to suggest some in Comments). OK, the '06 faves list:

1. GreenCine Daily

2. IndieWIRE's Blogs page

3. Anthony Kaufman's blog

4. Filmmaker Magazine's Blog AND Hollywood Is Talking (we've got a tie here, Filmmaker's got some solid indie coverage, & H.I.T.'s got a nice mixture of DIY/Indie & Hollywood film stuff/sensational Hollywood stuff, equally rewarding reading)

5. The Chutry Experimen…

Janus, Biograph, Outer Circle, Visions: Places of former DC art film glory

Cool DC movie theaters that are no longer there. Nice to think back on them though, as some people in the comments section of the following pages have done:

Biograph
i was in their projector room once

The Janus
saw several movies there, saw Hi Fidelity in their theater with the "column"

Outer Circle (didn't find a page i can link to)
where i saw Amelie about 5 times when it first came out

Visions
where i screened my film 17 DC Poets

- Sujewa

The Great New Wonderful is not "A Brilliant Comedy"

I just watched the movie The Great New Wonderful, a movie that Vivendi Visual Entertainment is pushing as a comedy (on the DVD box front they call it: A Brilliant Comedy, and on the back they forget to mention the real story of the movie). Wonderful is a drama about several New Yorkers dealing with the aftershock of the 9-11 attacks. It is a good drama, with some humor, and a diverse cast. But definitely not a comedy. Also not brilliant. Vivendi or whoever OK'd the DVD box packaging owes me a comedy.

- Sujewa

Back to editing, radical changes happening to Date Number One

For one, it may end up being a 90 minute film as opposed to the 115 minute film that it was in '06. After not touching the Final Cut Express files for a couple of months & just thinking about the movie, I think I've come up with several ways to polish up the movie (so that the very rough edges mentioned in several reviews can be gotten rid of) and make it flow faster & better. Also, any scenes with significant/un-fixable visual or audio problems will be cut out & the stories will be re-written through editing so that they still make sense. Also, one whole story may be taken out of the movie or one story may be drastically shortened (so, as opposed to 5 stories, we may end up with 4 stories or 4.25 stories). Back to editing. The Date Number One that people will see in '07 will be a vastly different (& hopefully much better) movie than the one they saw in '06. Very exciting. On the distribution/exhibition front I will be submitting to some festivals in &#…

2006: The Year US Independent Film Embraced Self-Distribution

Some of the most interesting art/indie movies that I saw or heard about this year were self-distributed movies. In celebration, here are some lists (titles in alphabetical order):

List 1: Select 2006 Theatrically Self-Distributed* Low Budget Indie Films (*multiple cities, commercial screenings outside of film fests or similar events):

Date Number One

Four Eyed Monsters

Head Trauma

Jumping Off Bridges

Kicking Bird

LOL

Manhattan, Kansas

Mardi Gras: Made in China

Mutual Appreciation

List 2: Select Indie Features That Took At Least 1 Step Outside of the Film Festival Circuit (at least 1 DIY theatrical or alterna venue screening in '06):

Cocaine Angel

Dance Party, U.S.A.

Deadroom

The Proper Care & Feeding of an American Messiah

List 3: Select 2006 Hybrid (Indiewood & DIY) or New Distribution Projects Worth Checking Out:

51 Birch Street

Cavite

I Am A Sex Addict

List 4: A well known director self-distributes an art movie list:

Inland Empire

Article about new biz MY MOVIE NETWORK at E-Commerce News

Here's the link to My Movie Network's site.

And the first couple of lines from E-Commerce News' article on the biz:

"My Movie Network is a very interesting free service which allows users to film their own independent movies by finding the right cast members through the embedded user network and then upload these videos for evaluation by the community. A staff member at MMN told me that the goal of their service is to showcase “the work of true filmmakers, independent, indie and student film makers who would like to create quality content such as short or feature films they would be proud to enter into a film festival or a contest.” "

Read the rest of that article here.

More on MMN soon.

- Sujewa

CustomFlix announces support for internet downloads of indie movies through Amazon Unbox

Thanks News of the Dead for the link. Here is the opening paragraph of CustomFlix's press release re: the new service (links by me):

" CustomFlix Labs, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Amazon.com, Inc., (NASDAQ: AMZN) today announced its support for Amazon.com's video download service, Amazon Unbox, by adding video downloads to its current DVD and CD on Demand services. This new CustomFlix service now enables independent filmmakers and other DVD content owners to make their content available as video downloads to tens of millions of Amazon.com customers through Unbox."

Read the rest of it here.

I checked out a download time chart of theirs, with a high speed cable connection (6 Mbps) you can start watching a 2 hour movie in less than 3 minutes through this download service, & you can watch the downloaded material on your TV once you hook your computer up to your TV (more on the Amazon Unbox FAQ).

- Sujewa

Date Number One 2006: Post 1: The Ad Art From World Premiere

So, 2006 is coming to an end, the Date Number One DVD & 2007 screenings are on the way. I am going to take the next few days of the year to revisit highlights from DNO Year 1. This was the art part of the Washington City Paper ad for the May 13, 2006 World Premiere of Date Number One. I should have another, complete version of this ad - with the location & times on it, somewhere. More '06 DNO stuff coming soon.

- Sujewa

Tsunami warning tower (1st of 100) & replica of demolished Afghani Buddha statue are now up in Sri Lanka

This AP article says that the 1st of 100 tsunami warning towers have been unveiled in Sri Lanka, on the 2nd anniversary of the 2004 tragedy. It also mentions an unveiling of a shorter replica of the Buddha statue from Afghanistan. The ancient Afghani Buddha statue was destroyed in '01 by the Taliban.

Happy Holidays from Date Number One!

And that's (from L to R) Rupa, the ex-Buddhist nun, creator of a new religion (in-progress) (played by Dele Williams), Sunshine, the woman who is working on a book to help save the world (Jennifer Blakemore), and Kamal, the indie rock star who is really into quantum physics (Shervin Boloorian), from Story 2 of Date Number One.

Happy holidays everyone!

photo copyright 2006 sujewa ekanayake/wild diner films

Alex Pacheco & new feature Praxis, blog

DC based Filipino-Canadian (how's that for some local & international flavor? :) filmmaker Alex Pacheco is working on finishing up a feature called Praxis - "about a young writer who develops a fragmented identity". I've seen short films by Alex & liked 'em. They were also well received by festivals, reviewers & audiences. Here is Alex's Praxis blog. And here is the web site for Praxis.

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

Update on the war in Sri Lanka: the separatist rebels are in trouble

The latest news from Sri Lanka is that the government forces are doing well against the separatist LTTE rebels - a group that is banned by many governments (including the US gov) due to their terroristic activities (suicide bombing, killing or trying to kill all major critics & challengers - including Tamils - the people they claim to be liberating, recruiting child soldiers, etc.). The sooner the 20 some year old war is over, the better it will be for everyone in Sri Lanka. Here is a Hindustan Times story with an update on the war.

For more news stories on Sri Lanka, these two sites are good:

Lanka Page

The Lanka Academic

For an often less official but often very informative take on the news, check out:

LankaWeb

And, for info. on one major event that we can never forget, the anti-Tamil progroms of Black July - July of 1983 (by conservative estimates 1,000 - 3,000 Tamils killed by Sinhala mobs while the then government stood aside for several days. the government has changed for the bet…

HAPPY FESTIVUS!

December 23rd is Festivus, the festival for the rest of us! Originated in a Seinfeld episode in '97, Festivus is a fast growing celebration. Over here in the DC area, at College Park, MD, there is a Festivus pole outside of the cafe College Perk. Here is the Wikipedia entry on Festivus, with a lot of interesting links (did ya know St. Louis, MO claims to be the city with one of the biggest Festivus celebrations? :).

Off the Black a "lovely, ghostly work" - The Boston Globe :: Message from director James Ponsoldt

Off the Black, the off-beat drama starring Nick Nolte, opens in DC & Boston today. The film's director James Ponsoldt has a brief message that he wants to share, so here is James:

Hey there--

"OFF THE BLACK" opens today in BOSTON (AMC LOEWS HARVARD 5) and WASHINGTON D.C. (E STREET CINEMA). Please check it out if you're in one of those cities and let your friends know that it's playing.

We need all your support! We're a low-budget independent film with a next-to-nothing advertising budget (I'm really not kidding--practically no ads!), so word of mouth is vital...or else we'll be bumped from the theater by studio flicks (like "Eragon").

Thank you so much and enjoy your holidays!

Yours and I am,
James

P.S. In addition to getting raves today in "The Boston Herald" and "The Boston Phoenix," we just received a beautiful review in "The Boston Globe." I've included it below...

'Off the Black' is on target By Ty …

US Art/Indie/Foreign/Alt Critics List

Here is the link for the indieWIRE page with the names of the critics (& their publications) who participated in iW's year end poll re: best films & performances, etc. (which is a feature imported from Village Voice). Filmmaker/distributors who are distributing a film next year may want to get a screener to the hands of some or all of the critics listed on the page. If a lot of them like your film, it will be another useful marketing thing. The list includes print & web critics.

NOW is a great time to start your fimmaking career

Talented (if not & want to be, you can learn stuff by reading about it & doing it on a small scale - short films)? A filmmaker? Storyteller? Don't have a lot of money or access to a lot of money to blow on film production & distribution? Don't have any indiewood or Hollywood connections? If you said yes to all those questions then you can still launch a filmmaking career by doing the following things, now at a lower cost than ever before: 1) study filmmaking & story telling & life & history well & then write an awesome script for a feature length project that can be produced for no money or very little money. You have plenty of projects for inspiration (any early Jim Jarmusch film, any early Hal Hartley film, Clerks, Slacker, most Woody Allen movies, most Ed Burns movies, She's Gotta Have It, just to name a few), 2) shoot the film on DV or another affordable, high quality video format (& remember to keep your day job during this entire proce…

The final battle between Caesar & Pompey was weak :: Egypt not done well in Episode 8 :: Other ROME stuff

Just finished watching Episodes 6 - 8 of HBO's mostly excellent series Rome. I say mostly excellent because in Episode 6 & 8 they glossed over 2 huge battles. The final battle between Caesar & Pompey (where Caesar was outnumbered 5 to 1 by Pompey's forces) was depicted in like 1 or 2 minutes using fuzzy, slow-mo soldiers fighting medium shots. Where is the attention to detail HBO? A gigantic battle that was the last obstacle in Caesar's path to turning the Roman republic into an empire depicted in fuzzy, slow-mo medium shots?????!!!!??? That battle alone should have been 1 whole episode, depicted in an epic manner. Also, in Episode 8 we get to see Cleopatra's Egypt. The relatively awesome production design that showed up on Episodes 1 - 3 are sadly absent when it comes to bringing Egypt to life. The main city (Alexandria?) where the Egyptian action takes place looks horribly underpopulated & it does not look like the rulers of Egypt had an army. The battle …

Heard the interview re: David Lynch's self-distribution plans for INLAND EMPIRE

David Lynch (center) working with actors.

I just listened to Lance Weiler's interview with Absurda's (David Lynch's company) Eric Bassett re: distribution plans for INLAND EMPIRE. Very informative interview & it is encouraging to see a well known director embrace self-distribution. In the interview Bassett said that Lynch will not be working inside the Hollywood system again & that on his next film he will handle not just US distribution but also world distribution. On a more local note, Lynch is supposed to be in DC for INLAND EMPIRE premiere in January (exact date & venue info. coming as soon as I figure those out), looking forward to that. Maybe he'll bring the cow. Check out the Bassett interview here.

- Sujewa

From GreenCine Daily's review of Date Number One

Still a few time consuming things to do before I can start selling the Date Number One DVD. Hopefully by the end of this week all that stuff will be finished & I can at least make 100 DVDs available for sale. Grrrr. But it will be worth the wait, the film is looking & sounding a lot better. Also, much theatrical screening plans for '07 are being worked on. Will have more March '07 screening dates to announce very soon. In the meantime, & on the bright side, here is a segment of the Date Number One review from my favorite film blog GreenCine Daily (w/ some words made large by me):

"...witty (I particularly like the recurring references to a band's unlikely popularity in Ohio), often inventive (the story in which the first date isn't really the first date at all is particularly well-written and performed) and, even better, airy: characters are given time and space to spell out their views on abortion, Buddhism, quantum physics or the ongoing war in Sri La…

The difference between us and "Rome" is The Enlightenment

I just watched the first two episodes of the HBO series Rome. Good stuff - as historical dramas go, probably the best production design of any of the movies or TV shows about the Roman old republic/empire that I've seen. Also HBO's take on Rome is more socially nuanced - with humor & greater attention to social & religious customs. In Episode 2 the Senate or whatever the political assembly in Rome is called takes a vote on declaring Julius Caesar an enemy of the republic BUT the whole procedure is treated as a religious event, with an old priest presiding over the whole affair & having the final word on what happened. So one of the main differences between old Rome and modern US & other European offshoot countries - governmentally speaking - is that the government is no longer intertwined with religion. I guess we have The Enlightenment to thank for that. Also, according to this Wikipedia entry, Enlightenment also led to liberalism & capitalism - not bad re…

Saw The Evens & Soccer Team at a Positive Force benefit in DC

Went to DC for a Positive Force benefit tonight. Soccer Team & The Evens played. $s from the show was to benefit The Washington Free Clinic. Got to hang out with Mark Andersen, Chad Clark (of Beauty Pill fame) & say hello to a person (dang, i do not remember her name, she had a nice jacket, a cool looking camera & a nice smile) who came to the 11/4 Date Number One screening/We Are Family benefit (& also finally delivered the $s raised at that event to Mark A. of We Are Family), & said hello to Ian MacKaye. It is nice to live in a city where a lot of the creative & activist people I dig are very accessible - or at least I can talk to them at shows.

The Evens sounded a lot better than when I first heard/saw them live at the same church (St. Stephen's (sp?) at 16th & Newton, NW DC) a year or two ago. The sound was a lot more fuller & felt more confident. The two member band sounded like a four member or three member band - a lot fuller sound than a duo …

Yellow Fever/I Was Only Supposed To Live Five Days/Panama Canal/Walter Reed

Had lunch with my mom & sister today - to celebrate my recent birthday. Mom told me that when I was born in Sri Lanka in the early 1970's the doctors said I would only live for 5 days because I had yellow fever. But a nurse told her to ignore the doctors & breastfeed her new baby & that it would survive. Thanks nurse! :) So obviously I did not die from yellow fever. Very cool. There is a hospital, a military hospital here in the DC area & it is called Walter Reed. According to Don, my boss/the owner of the bookstore, Walter Reed was a military doctor who figured out how to treat yellow fever. Reed figured out his yellow fever treatment when the Panama Canal was being built. Go Walter Reed! Good job. Childbirth in 1970's Sri Lanka sounded like very tough work. Mom said she was 22, knew very little about child birth, & that there were no drugs to numb the pain - & that giving birth to me was very painful. Apparently I came out with the umbilical cord wrap…

Articles on hooking up your Mac to a TV, and other ways to get web video on a big home screen (including '07's iTV option from Apple)

A lot of people are going to be making movies now that movie making is affordable, actually a lot of people are already making movies & of course a lot have already made movies in the past 100+ years. But it still costs a lot of money (& it is a lot of work) to distribute the finished movies theatrically. It costs less money or a far less amount of money in some cases to place a movie on DVD & make it available to customers all over the country - that's if you can convince various retailers to carry your DVD. Filmmakers can however stream their movies through a internet VOD (video-on-demand) service such as GreenCine VOD (note: according to GreenCine "for the moment, most Macs are not supported" by them so mostly only PCs can be used for their video-on-demand service, for now) or many other companies that offer the VOD service & get the film to the consumer's computer/to the consumers "hands" for a lower cost - both to the filmmaker & th…

Kelly Dobson's unstable robots

Apparently soon humans won't be the only highly intelligent beings who are unstable. From Renew Media 's website: "Companion Projects. A collection of robots with complicated psychological states, such as anxiety or other neuroses, in an on-going exploration of how to facilitate empathic communication between machines and humans. The machines respond to human touch in provocatively unstable ways, presenting their human companions with emotional dilemmas."

Here's the link.

Provocatively unstable robots are the best!

- Sujewa

Time article says David Lynch self-distributed Eraserhead

Then I guess Lynch is no stranger to self-distribution.

Here is the line from the Time article re: Inland Empire & Lynch self-distributing it: "...says Lynch, who released his first film, Eraserhead, himself in 1977."

Here's the URL to the article: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1568472,00.html

Exactly 30 years later & gettin' back to the roots!

- Sujewa

1 major goal for my 34th year: wide (as wide as possible) DIY distribution of Date Number One

This week is my birthday week. My best accomplishment of the previous personal year, my 33rd year, was completing Date Number One & doing 12 screenings of the movie in 5 cities. In the new year I want to do many times that many screenings & also complete some new features.
Off to prep for the new year & celebrate the birthday, so here are some Date Number One related images until I get back to bloggin' in a few days. The Date Number One DVD will be available very soon - w/in this month.

A very special thanks to everyone who made the previous year a most awesome one.

- Sujewa










James "Afro-Punk" Spooner's new movie White Lies, Black Sheep has a MySpace page

James Spooner is the director & as far as I know the distributor or one of the distributors of the doc Afro-Punk. Now it seems like he is near completion on his new movie, this one is fiction. Here is the MySpace page for White Lies, Black Sheep. And here is the description of the story & the film from that same page: " A.J.'s real name is Ajamu Talib. His dislike for his African name is the least of his problems, still it says a lot about him. Brooklyn born and bred yet outcast by his peers, his only escape was music. A.J. found freedom in rock n roll. Tight clothes, straightened hair, popular with girls and partying every night, he is fully entrenched, in the debaucherous New York rock n roll scene. For once he feels like everyone else. Well almost. He begins to find that his chosen community, the white rock world, only seems to run smoothly for white rockers. A series of events force him to recognize his friends both exotify him and are in denial of his blackness. …

Capitol of Punk piece on YouTube :: !Ulysses!

Check it out here, entertaining - if you are at all into DC punk music. The last piece of music (with lines "you're my miss washington, dc") you'll hear on that YouTube piece is from The Nation of Ulysses - one of the best/most entertaining DC punk bands of all time & one of my favorite - the 1st punk band (or post-punk/noise band) that I really liked. I think that line is from a song on their '92 album Plays Pretty for Baby. Some of the elements of the DC punk scene (DIY production & distribution, community, etc.) are very influential in how I am going about creating a DIY film production & distribution business. Also, this blog and its habit of sharing production & distribution info. mirrors DC musicians sharing music making info (Simple Machines, a local punk/indie label, published a guide to releasing music).

- Sujewa

PS:

Nation of Ulysses: Plays Pretty for Baby
-->Ian Svenonius - vocals
Steve Kroner - guitar
Tim Green - guitar
Steve Gamboa - bass

The Self-Distribution Sub Culture & The 9 Layers of the Indie Film Scene

Yup, a self-distribution sub culture has definitely formed in the indie filmmaking scene. This year was a pretty big year for us. This blog, also Indie Features (ex-Indie Features 06), and Lance Weiler's The Workbook Project, indieWIRE (specially indieLOOP) & GreenCine Daily blog, Hollywood Is Talking blog, & sometimes Filmmaker Magazine blog, DV Guru, The Chutry Experiment are some of the places on the web to learn more about/keep up with this latest development in indie film. Individual filmmakers have self-distributed in the past, focusing for the most part on their own projects, but this year several filmmakers got into self-distribution and most of us know each other & keep in touch from time to time & also, at times, help each other out. The web/e-mail has been very useful in this community coming into existence. Looking forward to seeing where we take things in '07.

I see several layers in the indie filmmaking scene right now: 1) indie filmmakers (filmma…

Screen Door Film in Austin, TX

Screen Door Film is a screening series in Austin, TX. Maybe worth checking out, here's the link. You might be able to get your film screened in Austin through Screen Door, which will give you an excuse to take a trip to that cool Texas town. And there is no submission fee for sending them your film, which is very helpful to broke indie filmmakers :)

Getting your DVD on Amazon.com, research notes set 1

I am slowly walking towards having Date Number One on DVD (this month! it'll be a December miracle! :), & so I am looking at places to sell the DVD - Amazon.com is definitely a place I want to get my DVD in to. So I just did a little bit of research on how a DIY filmmaker & ultra low budget self-distributor such as myself can get my DVD on Amazon. Looks like there are three options: 1)"ALL AMAZON" (my term): CustomFlix - Amazon's wholly owned subsidiary CustomFlix makes copies of the flick, Amzaon lists the DVDs on their site & mails 'em out to customers, costs: unknown to me at this point, more research is necessary, 2) "YOU & AMAZON":Advantage - you make the DVD & Amazon stocks a few & lists the titles on their site & fulfills orders & you get to keep up on the transactions on a regular basis & replenish DVDs as they sell 'em, costs: $29.95 a year & 55% commission, there maybe other costs, more research is…

Official website for Inland Empire release info.

This seems to be the official website for David Lynch's Inland Empire. Hopefully everyone who is trying to find out when & if the flick will get to their creepy suburbs or logging towns or tawdry entertainment capitals can find the answers there. Good luck! The movie is coming to DC in January 07, I'm gonna be there with a big grin on my face. With Lynch embracing film ART & digital production & self-distribution, the movies are gonna be alright in this new century I think.

Doug said the 51 Birch Street screening today at The Avalon in DC was sold out!

And that's no small feat, the main theater at DC's Avalon (Avalon 1) - I assume the screening was held there - holds over 400 people. I spoke with the film's director Doug Block briefly on the phone a few minutes ago (had I known earlier that he would be down here for a few hours for the screening & Q & A, we could have hung out. next time). Congrats Doug & 51 Birch Street! Perhaps this will mean more DC screenings of the film.

" Students do not have to ritually wash their hands before studying Hegel " :)

I've been doing some reading on the topic of philosophy vs. religion last night & today, and here is a link to an interesting doc I found.

Here is a segment from that article, re: the difference between religion and philosophy:

" To begin with, of the two only religions have rituals. In religions, there are ceremonies for important life events (birth, death, marriage, etc.) and for important times of the year (days commemorating spring, harvest, etc.). Philosophies, however, do not have their adherents engage in ritualistic actions. Students do not have to ritually wash their hands before studying Hegel and professors do not celebrate a “Utilitarian Day” every year."

I am not religious but I do like the fact that religions constantly (or are at least said to be, or are supposed to/generally believed to be) deal with the BIG questions of life (the meaning - if any - of it, how to live, death, post-death scenarios, etc.) In that sense, philosophy maybe a good substitute f…

Project # 2 for '07, Wild Diner review by Amir Motlagh

I had dinner with one of the stars of Date Number One a couple of nights ago, Jennifer Blakemore from Story 2 (she played the lead in that story, the blonde). Jen's always got a lot of amusing (to say the least) stuff going on but Thu night's dinner at Mimi's in DC was one of the least "insane" hang out sessions with her in a long time (good food & service at Mimi's by the way, P & 21st, NW DC, they've got singing servers). Energetic Model/actresses, or I guess in this case Actress/models, are a handful - can be stressful to hang with. But on the bright side, if they are excited about a project, working with them can be fun & you just might end up with a good film. So I am thinking about re-making my failed feature Wild Diner (1999) with Jen in the lead. We are going to explore the possibility, and if it does not work out, no biggie, we are still going to be working on Date Number One promo & possibly other projects in '07.

So, the Wil…

PBS web video on micro-lending

Just heard about this on TV. Here is the link: http://www.pbs.org/now/shows/249/micro-lending.html. And here is a segment of the introduction to the story from the PBS web site: " How can a $20 loan completely change the life of a farmer in India? In this web-exclusive video, billionaire venture capitalist Vinod Khosla tells David Brancaccio how making tiny loans, a process called micro-lending or micro-credit, can make a tremendous difference to the lives of people in developing countries. " Sounds very interesting. Here's the link again.

Village Voice has a good review of Off the Black

Of course by good I mean one that more or less feels the same way I do about the movie :) No, I read some of the other reviews that have come out & I was starting to wonder if those reviewers saw an entirely different movie. So I like this Village Voice review.

Scroll down 1 post to see my review of Off the Black. The movie opens in NYC & LA today. Check it out. I liked the movie a lot.

- Sujewa

Robots attack Pioneer Theater starting December 13! Will New York City survive?!!!

What some people are saying about the film Automatons:

"AUTOMATONS is a smart, thought-provoking tale equipped with the moody ambiance and intellectual integrity of a classic episode of THE OUTER LIMITS. That's high praise indeed."-- Steven Puchalski, SHOCK CINEMA

"...this is one of the “must see” films you always hear about but never take the time to actually check out. Folks, check it out. AUTOMATONS is politically charged; a provocative and compelling Sci-Fi Thriller."-- Brian Harris, JOE HORROR.COM

"The robot action is often much more riveting than similar scenes in movies with many times the budget and technical sophistication."-- Jay Seaver, UGO.COM

"AUTOMATONS is a wonderfully made, socially conscious low budget film and I cannot recommend it enough."-- Brian Harris, JOE HORROR.COM

"AUTOMATONS does what all good sci fi stories should."-- Adam Barnick, ENTERTAINMENT INSIDERS

"The beautiful indie sci-fi film AUTOMATONS is a tro…

Off the Black review

James Ponsoldt's debut feature Off the Black is a funny, unpredictable drama featuring perhaps one of the best performances of Nick Nolte's career.

When I first heard about this movie & saw its theatrical poster & trailer & its indiewood credentials (selected by Sundance 06, distributed by THINKFilm) I was not automatically seized with epic enthusiasm for the project. However, the fact that this movie was produced by a veteran indie producer's company (Scott Macaulay's Forensic Films) made me want to look deeper into it. Forensic has produced several very interesting films, including Raising Victor Vargas, Gummo & Clean. So off I went to a special screening in Washington, DC last Sunday to see what Off the Black was all about.

Here is the basic plot of the film: an aging, cranky, lonely auto junk yard worker/ part time high school baseball umpire (Nick Nolte) who drinks way too much & possibly is not in the best of health befriends a neglected teenage…

December 13 Is The Goal

Many deadlines for the Date Number One DVD have come & gone but this new one I am definitely going to do all I can to meet: the DVD ready for sale by December 13, 2006. So I am going to be doing less blogging for the next 6 - 7 days or so. Only essential stuff: Off the Black review tomorrow, & a post about Automatons - playing at the Pioneer starting 12/13 I believe, and whatever other essential stuff that comes up. DNO had its world premiere on May 13, 2006 so having the DVD ready by Dec. 13, exactly 7 months later, sounds like a well balanced idea to me. OK, back to work.

- Sujewa

Looking forward to Days of Glory

It wasn't just light skinned Europeans & Americans & the like that saved the world from Germany, Italy & Japan; lots of other people were involved too (I know at least one of my relatives from Sri Lanka fought for the British in WW II, also thousands of Indians) but many films about THE WAR have not adequately celebrated the non-"white" contributions to securing victory in that epic conflict. So I am looking forward to watching the French film Days of Glory this weekend or next. Here is a synopsis from Films Distribution:

"1943. They had never stepped foot on French soil but because France was at war, Saïd, Abdelkader, Messaoud and Yassir enlisted in the French Army, along with 130,000 other “indigenous soldiers,” to liberate the “fatherland” from the Nazi enemy. These heroes that history forgot won battles in Italy, Provence and the Vosges before finding themselves alone to defend an Alsatian village against a German battalion."

- Sujewa

2006: The Year of Self-Distribution comes to a vibrant finish with Inland Empire, Four Eyed Monsters and Mutual Appreciation in theaters in December

The latest film to partake in the '06 self-distribution trend is David Lynch's Inland Empire, which opens in New York this week. Four Eyed Monsters and Mutual Appreciation can also be seen on screens this month. Go here to get some links for Inland Empire, including to an excellent review at the New York Times. Go here to get links to Four Eyed Monsters, Mutual Appreciation & other self-distributed films that I have been tracking this year. The Year of Self-Distribution or perhaps Year 1 of the New Self-Distribution Movement in American indie filmmaking is coming to a close with a lot of activity in both theatrical & DVD fronts. More on this soon.

- Sujewa

Conan's Horny Manatee Sex Site

NBC late night talk show host Conan O'Brien wants you to send him "amateur horny manatee pictures or stories". Check out the web site here. I thought my friend Amanda was the only one who was into watching giant sea mamals/people dressed as them in funny suits getting it on; I guess now she'll have a lot of company.

- Sujewa

Added a CLIPS page to the Wild Diner Films website

I just added a CLIPS page to the Wild Diner Films website, for Date Number One clips. The video clips get uploaded to YouTube & then I embed the HTML code thingy that YT gives into the clips page at my web site at wilddiner.com. So when you go to my site & go the the Clips page, you get to watch the video clips that I've uploaded to YT. Got it? :) In case you want to do the same with your movie/site/& YouTube, that's how I did it.

Hmmm, maybe indie movie theaters should do this on their blogs & websites, to promote movies that they show, movies that may not have a huge publicity budget. Maybe some of them are doing that already.

I still need to figure out how to add video clips to this blog. If anyone out there knows, let me know. Thanksalot!

Go here to check out the Clips page at the web site for Date Number One.

By the way, my YouTube clip has been viewed over 175 times so far, since 11/30 (w/ about 20-30 of those views coming from me). And I've received 4 ve…

Let us now speak with a filmmaker who has grossed over 4 million $s through self-distribution (& still owns his movies!): LANCE WEILER interview

When I grow up I want to be like Lance Weiler. His first self-distributed indie feature The Last Broadcast (Wikipedia), from the late 90's, has reportedly earned (gross) over 4 million dollars so far. His second self-distributed feature, this year's title Head Trauma, played in 17 cities this fall and is now available on DVD at stores nation & web wide. Here is an e-conversation I had with Weiler re: his work & DIY film:

Sujewa: I think we are creating a new field of existence for indie filmmakers (or developing it further); the DIY field. Previously we had the indie field (make your movie independently & get it out with the help of Hollywood), and we had pure Hollywood (get Hollywood to finance & distribute the film, the filmmaker as director for hire). Now we have you, me & several other indie filmmakers such as the Mutual Appreciation team, the Four Eyed Monsters team, the Jumping Off Bridges team, & others - who are working on making the movies indep…

Fylmz interview about Date Number One & self-distribution

The indie film website Fylmz interviewed me about my movie Date Number One & its self-distribution project. Check out the interview here. Here is a segment of the interview: "Q: Can you explain DIY filmmaking to me? Isn’t every film really a kind of DIY endeavor? * A: DIY is a term borrowed from punk rock. DIY refers to artists making work and distributing the work without the assistance of the mainstream production and distribution industry or other large corporate involvement. For indie film in the US, that means Hollywood or Indiewood. DIYness is only relevant, as far as I see, in cases where the filmmaker does not have a lot of money or is not already a part of Hollywood or Indiewood. If you have $200,000 to make and distribute an indie movie, at this point in time, it does not matter if you claim you are DIY or not, because the amount of money you have will make it easy for you to get the work done. On the other hand, a young filmmaker with no industry connections making…

An old fashioned independent film success story; OFF THE BLACK director James Ponsoldt interview

James Ponsoldt is having a couple of years that most film school students dream of; his plan to make a low budget debut feature got improved upon with the addition of a famous actor (Nick Nolte) & a veteran indie producer (Scott Macaulay), & his film got selected to Sundance 06 & now the movie, Off the Black, will be opening theatrically thanks to the respected indie distributor THINKFilm. In spite of or just maybe even because of all the breaks, Off the Black is an excellent movie; fresh & unpredictable & a lot funnier than it looks in its promotional material - I will have a review of it here this week. I spent about 12 hours today (Sunday 12/3, starting with a 10:30 AM screening at The Avalon in DC that was attended by 300 - 400 people!) talking about, & first watching on screen, the world of Off the Black & the world of Ponsoldt. His quick rise to indie success has not been a 100% smooth ride & his current situation is not without frustrations, but …