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Showing posts from June, 2006

Texas Filmmaker Chris Hansen & "American Messiah" in Kensington Thu July 6

Texas based indie film director & screenwriting professor Chris Hansen and his funny & excellent movie The Proper Care & Feeding of an American Messiah are coming to the DC area on Thu July 6. The film is about a man who believes that he is a regional Messiah, & his quest to find a special mission from God. Messiah will play at Kensington, MD's Kensington Row Bookshop as a part of the Capital City Microcinema screening series. Read all the
life-changing information below:

The Proper Care & Feeding of An American Messiah
A film by Chris Hansen

Best Feature FILM EXPO TEXAS 2006, Official Selection STIFF Seattle's True Independent Film Festival 2006, Official Selection South Regional INDIE GATHERING Film Festival 2006, Finalist PEC Independent Film Championship 2006, Official Selection MYRTLE BEACH International Film Festival 2006, Official Selection COSMOS International Film & Video Game Festival 2006

" Many of the sequences fire on all cylinders, …

Fort Reno 2006 Schedule

Even though we in DC may not have as many cool things happening here as our epic - only 4+ hours away - neighbor NYC, we do have the free concerts at Fort Reno every Summer. I attended several of these Fort Reno shows last Summer, dug them a lot. Local indie bands (including some w/ large followings, such as Metropolitan & The Evens) give free performances at a park (near a former Civil War era? fort, remains of a fort?) every Thursday night, all Summer long. Here's the schedule for this Summer's concerts at Fort Reno. See ya at a show. Bring an umbrella.

- Sujewa

IMDB has a bare-bones page up for Date Number One

Not sure why IMDB does not have the cast, crew & director info. up on its Date Number One page, but I have re-submitted that info. so perhaps soon we will see that info. up on IMDB.

In the meantime, here is the IMDB page for Date Number One.

If you are one of the 200 or so people who've seen the movie so far, you may want to partake in the many interactive features IMDB offers: ratings, reviews, message board, etc.

There will be a 1 week long run of the film coming up most likely in September in DC. Will have more info. on that late next week.

Speaking of incomplete tasks, I am off to finish up the promo e-mails for Chris Hansen's The Proper Care & Feeding of an American Messiah screening on 7/6 in Kensington. More on that very soon.

- Sujewa

I saved a Four Eyed Monsters screening @ The Avalon

Tonight I was at the Four Eyed Monsters screening in DC & the projector kept breaking down.
Well, it wasn't really the projector but the computer that was feeding the film/the file to the projector. The first time the film stopped (lost image, audio could still be heard) it came back on a couple of minutes later. The second time we waited for about 5 mins & nothing happened. So I went to the projection booth to see what was going on. The projectionist & a young theater employee were dealing w/ an unfamiliar projection system (the flick was being played back from a hard drive) & they had no idea how exactly to fix it. I got on the keyboard after the computer was shut down & restarted, then once the project was loaded back up I figured out how to get the flick back up to the point where we lost the image & all was good. The Avalon hooked me up w/ some popcorn for my services :) Then like 20 mins later, right after we learnd that Susan's character was accep…

Michael "Cocaine Angel" Tully reviews "Date Number One"

Mike Tully (director & co-producer of the Rotterdam, SXSW, Sarasota, IFF Boston, & Maryland film fests selected '06 feature "Cocaine Angel" ) came to see "Date Number One" on Sat night at Kensington Row Bookshop & he reviewed the flick today at his blog. The review is brief but very positive. Here are a couple of lines:

" The film is about as charming as they come, which left a pleasant taste in my mouth. Sujewa 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. "

Read the whole review here.

Thanks for coming to the show Mike! & thanks for taking the time out to write about the flick.

- Sujewa

A big THANKS to everyone who came to the show last night!

The Date Number One screening last night went very well: full house, show started pretty close to on time, the film was a bit better w/ the little bit of music that I tried out w/ some scenes, good Q & A session, nice hang out/party session afterwards, & good post-post show action @ the Tastee w/ John Stabb, Mika, self, Chuck Tryon & Allie.

It was nice to see some people I haven't seen in a while (Matt Wilmott (sp?), Lisa Helfert, etc.) & it was very cool of award winning internationally known Maryland New Wave filmmaker Mike Tully to show up for my little screening at a bookstore. Thanks Mike & Rob w/ helping out w/ the technical difficulties at the start of the show.

Didn't get a chance to take any photos, but will do at the next show - 7/13 @ Sangha. Chris Hansen's Messiah is going to screen on 7/6 @ Kensington Row Bookshop - the same place I was showing last night. More on Messiah soon.

I am going to spend much of my Wild Diner Films work time this com…

California in August

I'll be in California in August. Looks like from around 8/5 to around 8/20 I will be in San Francisco & LA. A week in each city. I am working on getting at least a couple of screenings set up in each city. And there will be much hanging out, the no-budget D.I.Y. version of Entourage :) - except filmmakers instead of actors. Will have all the details before mid-July. It's gonna be hot!

New gig: programming Indie Film Nights at Sangha in Takoma Park, MD

Although the 1960's/French New Wave era filmmakers are very important, I find it slightly disappointing that there seems to be a seemingly/comparatively never ending amount of their films being shown at art/indie houses and not enough of films by art/indie filmmakers from subsequent generations (and let's just say it, specially my own) not being shown at these venues. The work of the 60's indie filmmakers I guess have become one of the the essential bodies of work of the art/indie "genre" for the moment and there is a relatively small but built in audience for those flicks so programmers keep programming them. And not to mention the fact that cats like Cassavetes & Godard does need to be celebrated year after year because they did do some groundbreaking stuff. But, what if rock clubs stopped at the Elvis generation of musicians & did not make room for the subsequent generations? Well, our selection of music will be far less & it would be less relevant…

10 DIY & Self-Distro Features In 5 Years Project :: DIY filmmaking & Studio filmmaking :: Jacques Thelemaque re-defines the "BIG filmmaking dream"

The 10 DIY & Self-Distro Features In 5 Years Project

I did the math late last week. Selling 2000 DVDs of "Date Number One" will allow me to continue to work on its distribution at a higher level (spend more time on the distro project & set up more screenings & promote them) and also will allow me to shoot my next ultra-low budget feature. Through my mailing lists, networking sites & blogs I am in touch with more than 1000 people, so, once the DVD comes out in July I should be on my way to reaching that 1st sales goal: 2000 DVDs. Maybe w/ in the next two months I will be able to reach that goal. 2000 "Date Number One" DVDs sold by September? We shall see.

It may be possible for me to take an idea from script through production to distribution in 6 months. So I am going to set a 5 year production & distribution goal: 10 features. Under that goal I expect to make 2 new ultra-low budget features & get their DIY distribution started every year, gen…

Nacho Libre: Mexploitation-lite, sometimes very funny, very predictable & uninspired plot, Black does a good job

Saw the new Jared "Napoleon Dynamite" Hess directed Jack Black movie Nacho Libre tonight. It is pretty funny, even hilarious at some points. But about 15 minutes into the movie I said to my date that Mexico is not gonna like this movie. It's a cartoonish movie so taking a deeper view of its racial, ethnic, national politics & viewpoints are probably not warranted - or but are they? Simple, widely distributed movies can easily set up negative stereotypes & reinforce negative perceptions, so I think it's cool to question exactly what we are seeing. Beyond the initial layer of a goofy movie about a monk who moonlights as a wrestler, here is what I saw & cringed at: 1) all adult characters save 2 - Black's Nacho & the nun - the object of Nacho's desire - are corrupt & without heroic qualities (they are sometimes likeable, but not consistently heroic & charmingly human as Black's character). Nacho - since he is played by Black - even wi…

"Date Number One" screening # 8: Kensington, MD Sat June 24

DATE NUMBER ONE
http://www.wilddiner.com/

a comedy about several first dates
a movie by sujewa ekanayake

"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

Sat June 24 7 PM $5
Kensington Row Bookshop
3786 Howard Ave.
Kensington, MD 20895
301.949.9416

Director & some of the stars will attend the screening.

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

"Date Number One is quite funny...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

Cucalorus in Wilmington, NC sounds like a cool fest

It's a non-competetive fest, which I like. Here's some info. about the fest from their website:

" What keeps Cucalorus going? Over the years the festival has been directed by a small number of passionate and creative individuals. Founded by a small filmmaking collective known as Twinkle Doon, the festival has adhered to its noncompetitive roots. Why noncompetitive? Almost every other film festival in the world dangles prizes before its participants, creating an atmosphere of intense competition; by compare, the laid back atmosphere at Cucalorus offers a breath of fresh air on the hectic film festival circuit. The festival's driving force is to create an open and relaxed atmosphere for both filmmakers and filmgoers. Inspiration is found; friendships are forged. Ask any alumni filmmaker and you'll find that most feel that they've become part of a fierce family of like-minded spirits. "

Submission deadline is July 15. The fest happens Nov 8 - 11. Here's th…

100 Most Valuable Independent Films List

Some of the choices are indie only in spirit, not in production & distribution (The Player for example), but some of the choices are dead on/essential viewing for anyone interested in American independent film as a distinct creative field (Shadows, Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song, Stranger Than Paradise, Metropolitan). All in all a very good list for the moment. It will have to be upgraded in 5 years or less I think as the term "indie film" gets re-defined by relatively ultra-low budget, fully or partially self-distributed (I Am A Sex Addict, The Puffy Chair, Robot Stories, Four Eyed Monsters, LOL) or "largely seen in film festivals before appearing on very limited theatrical/DVD/VOD" digital video features replace the mostly 16 MM, relatively higher budgeted, Hollywood & indiewood distributed productions that were the norm in American indie 10-15 years ago. One of the few exception to this new reality is Andrew "Mutual Appreciation" Bujalsk…

GreenCine article on real indie films

GreenCine's Head of Acquisitions (if that's not his exact title, it's pretty damn close) Jonathan Marlow writes about several real indie films (independently produced, low budget as opposed to Indiewood/Hollywood produced) and their distribution paths in an entry posted today to the excellent film blog GreenCine Daily. All 3 Maryland New Wave films, including Date Number One, and Bujalski's Mutual Appreciation, The Puffy Chair & several other new indie movies are mentioned.

Read it here.Thanks!

- Sujewa

The ghost of Jack Kerouac said..

...see what's going on with the On The Road movie. Not much info. found so far on the web. But here is the IMDB page for the project:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0337692/

It'll be interesting to see how Salles brings the book to life. Did I hear that it was going to be shot on B & W ? I would have gone with color. Rich 50's colors. But then again I haven't made a successful bio-epic yet, so perhaps Walter knows a thing or two about this kind of a project.

I am a huge fan of On The Road the book. It saved me from a bleak Chicago Winter in the early 90's. Looking forward to seeing the movie.

If you've got any cool On The Road movie links, post 'em in comments please. Thanks.

- Sujewa

Date Number One at Sangha in Takoma Park on July 13, & other exciting real indie film news!

Went to see several bands at a performance venue/store called Sangha in Takoma Park, MD last night. Saw/heard the local Kensington, MD darlings The Parlor Scouts & discovered a new & excellent band called Nice Zombie. Bought the Nice Zombie CD "Zombie Tea Party" (only $5!), good stuff, rocked out to it on the drive home last night. Sangha has a screen so a Date Number One screening has been set up there for July 13 at 8 PM, $5. Will have all the details soon (like later today).

I had to return my computer monitor to its owners on Fri (thanx jim & ellen!) so went shopping for a new one yesterday. Got a used 17" monitor from a place called PC Retro in Beltsville, MD for $30! Sound & music editing on Date Number One coming up this week (doing a bunch of it tonight!!!), & it'll be happening on my new monitor. Should be able to have a final version of the movie this coming week, will mail out screeners to reviewers & theaters & fests, & wi…

Interview with Northwest Film Forum co-founder Jamie Hook

Filmmakers Jamie Hook and Deborah Girdwood started the Seattle film production organization WigglyWorld Studios in 1995. Over the next few years WigglyWorld expanded, acquired film screening capabilities, and eventually became the Northwest Film Forum (NWFF). At present NWFF is a Seattle cultural landmark that screens art, independent, and foreign films and assists filmmakers in creating their work. For a lengthy history of NWFF, go here. Hook is engaged in film production projects in New York City at the moment. Earlier this week I interviewed Hook through e-mail regarding NWFF, regional filmmaking, his controversial year in Minnesota, and his future plans.

Sujewa: Jamie, you are credited with co-founding the mighty & awesome art/indie/foreign movie theater Northwest Film Forum (NWFF) in Seattle, can you please elaborate on that & tell us about what things were like - film screening wise - in Seattle prior to the coming of the NWFF & also can you tell us about the actual p…

My Date With Drew

Saw "My Date With Drew", pretty good flick. The actress who played Drew Barrymore towards the end of the movie did an awesome job I thought :) LA should be a fun place to hang out. Looking forward to visiting that famous movie city & playing Date Number One there at some point this year & hanging out w/JB & the H.I.T. crew & other friends. LA looked fun & kind of normal in MDWD. A lot of the LA peeps may not care about the kind of no-budget, DIY, no star movies that I care about, but they do care about movies in general, so it won't all be massive alienation all the time, we'll have some stuff in common.

- Sujewa

Gonna play 9 major US cities this year (w/ out spending a lot of money), & 11 next year

Here's the plan so far:

Date Number One theatrical screenings
Ultra-low budget D.I.Y. US tour, part 1
July - November 15 (or so), 2006
Cities (exact order to be determined):
Washington, DC (again)
Baltimore, MD
New York City, NY
Chicago, IL
Los Angeles, CA
San Francisco, CA
Seattle, WA (again)
Austin, TX
Dallas, TX

Number of screenings per city, exact dates & times, venues, related special events, are all being figured out this month.

In addition to those cities, we are playing Kensington, MD on June 24th (see SCREENINGS at wilddiner.com for more info).

In '07 I will be playing 11 additional cities, part 2 of the Date Number One US tour. More info. on '07 screenings will be available in the coming months.

The film will also be submitted to several festivals around the country. So it is entirely possible that you may be able to see the movie in a theatrical setting this year even if your city is not on the above list.

And if none of that works for you, the flick will be available on DVD…

Making new indie film biz friends through Caveh's blog: how I met Northwest Film Forum founder Jamie Hook

The thing about leaving comments at blogs is that it is a non-real time conversation that may or may not happen fully, and when it does happen, due to only getting typed words, may lead to misunderstandings. So, the opportunities for miscommunication are great during blog comment conversations. This is however a true life story about a blog comment driven conversation that was unexpected & that went really well/had a very positive outcome. Here's how it unfolded:

1. Around 11 AM today, I am up, groggy, having my morning tea, checking out Caveh's (Caveh "I Am A Sex Addict" Zahedi's) blog, some person posting in the comments section is down on regional filmmaking, so I post a pro-regional filmmaking comment as a reaction.

2. 1 PM or so, I get to work, check my e-mail, the author of the "down on regional filmmaking" comment has e-mailed me. Turns out that person - Jamie Hook - is one of the two founders of the awesome Seattle indie/art/foreign film venue…

Date Number One update - current work, release plan

I am working on fine tunining the audio & image, adding some music to Date Number One at the moment.

Poster & other promo art, perhaps some merchandise design & creation will also be dealt with this month. If a significant amount of music gets used in the film, I'll create a soundtrack album. If not, perhaps the music used can be offered to people through the website, we shall see.

Here's the theatrical & DVD release plan, as it stands at the moment:

2006:
- Very Limited, DIY, theatrical* screenings - hopefully at least 60 of them (they'll be listed at the SCREENINGS page at the film's site)
- perhaps some Film fest screenings (gonna start submittin' to some fests this month)
- Limited availability of the DVD (limited only in the sense that I am not going to spend gobs of money to advertise it all over the place just yet, and a few retail & web outlets will carry the DVD this year). DVD should be available for purchase for $12 each through the ww…

The Break Up is not that bad

It's OK, decent(for a Hollywood comedy-drama). All the critics I've read have been saying bad things about it. Both The Break Up & The Puffy Chair (two new flicks that I saw this weekend) deal w/the ending of a romantic relationship, and ultimately I think The Puffy Chair does a better job at the task. The cinematography in The Break Up is definitely better, but overall, for my $9, Puffy is the better film of the two.

- Sujewa

The Maryland New Wave goes to see The Puffy Chair

Went to see The Puffy Chair on Fri 6/2 night w/Michael Tully & Todd Rohal & a few others. Puffy is a funny & interesting movie, good acting (specially by the lead), the camera work was not so hot, but all in all - RECOMMENDED.

Except for a fainting Amanda episode who gave us all a scare (she's fine), it was an excellent night. Was nice to meet Mike & Todd in person finally. Hope to see their flicks (Cocaine Angel, The Guatamalan Handshake) soon. Viva MD New Wave!

- Sujewa