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Showing posts from September, 2006

After NYC, Date Number One returns to Kensington on Thu 10/5

Subodh Samudre & Jewel Greenberg from Date Number One Copyright 2006 Sujewa Ekanayake/Wild Diner Films
After its rocktastic NYC premiere on 8/31, Date Number One resumes its screenings with a show at Capital City Microcinema/Kensington Row Bookshop on Thu 10/5. Here's all the info., see ya there DC people:

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

"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 L…

Manhattan, Kansas: on DVD & on tour

Tara Wray's SXSW '06 audience award winning doc Manhattan, Kansas will be on tour in the South in October, DVD available now from the filmmaker.

For tour dates check here.

Here's the intro to the film from the Southern Arts Federation web site:

" When she was nineteen years old, director Tara Wray fled her childhood home of Manhattan, Kansas after her mother, in a mentally unstable state, threatened to kill her. “My mother was my entire life,” she says, “But, we were always running from her demons, both real and imagined.” Her mother’s undiagnosed emotional and mental state terrorized Wray for years. “One minute she was Mom—funny, tiny, strong, a pleasure to be around. Mom,” recalls Wray, “Then she was Not-Mom—scary, dark, shrunken, yet huge. I spent my whole life trying to anticipate which one was present, which one might show up next. It made me a pretty tightly-wound kid.” Following five years of estrangement, Wray knew it was time to go back – with her camera."

H…

A two thousand word review of Andy Warhol's EMPIRE

- Sujewa

got a fame whore in the mail today

A Fame Whore DVD that is :) Fame Whore is a 1997 film by Jon Moritsugu. It will soon be out on DVD. The DVD I received today is nicely packaged - excellent cover design. Here is a quoted portion from a review or a description of the movie, from the back of the DVD:

"Fame Whore cuts between three interwoven stories examining our culture's lust for that elusive state when everybody knows your name. The triptych includes an all-American tennis star hounded by rumors that he's gay, a trust fund brat on a demonic quest for celebrity and an idealized innocent so isolated he's created a six-foot Saint Bernard as an imaginary friend."
- FILMMAKER

And I assume that quote is from Filmmaker Magazine. Other praise from LA weekly, Los Angeles Times and Jane magazine can be found on the back of the DVD.

Looking forward to checking out Fame Whore. Will write a review of it here.

- Sujewa

Upcoming screenings of Jumping Off Bridges

Go Team Bridges! Lots of D.I.Y. distribution action below, from a recent Indie Features 06 post:

Upcoming Screenings of jumping off bridges For a full list of screenings, visit www.jumpingoffbridges.com.


San Antonio, TX – 9/30
Saturday, September 30th
7:00pm
Historic Guadalupe Theater (1301 Guadalupe Street @ South Brazos)
Tickets are $8 and can be purchased at the door.
Co-sponsored by the Bexar SPC
Panel discussion will follow the screening featuring.

Austin, TX – 10/3
Tuesday, October 3rd
7:00pm
Alamo Drafthouse South (1120 South Lamar)
Tickets are $10.00 general admission
Advanced Tickets available at: http://www.originalalamo.com/lamar/frames.asp
Co-sponsored by the Travis County SPC
Panel discussion will follow the screening with filmmakers and actors in attendance.

New Haven, CT – 10/5

Thursday, October 5th
7:00pm
Critereon Theater (86 Temple St)
Tickets are $9.00 (Advanced Tickets Available)

Tuscaloosa, AL – 10/5
Thursday, October 5th
7:00pm
Ferguson Center Theater (University of Alabama
Free …

New website for The Film Panel Notetaker

Congrats Brian! Here is the official press release:

Popular The Film Panel Notetaker Blog Relaunches With New Website

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Sept. 25, 2006 — The Film Panel Notetaker, the first-of-its-kind blog created in 2005 by Brian Geldin, who provides public relations services for burgeoning independent filmmakers, has relaunched with a new website, www.thefilmpanelnotetaker.com.
The blog, well-regarded among independent filmmakers throughout the country, comprises detailed film panel discussion notes taken by Geldin at various panels he attends at film festivals, conferences, and seminars.

“I created The Film Panel Notetaker as a way for film industry novices, as well as veterans, to access notes at panel discussions they were not able to attend themselves,” said Geldin. “I welcome guest notetakers for panels I cannot attend myself, and I encourage anyone who attends the same panels as me to post their own notes in the blog’s ‘comments’ section.”

Last week, Geldin attended The Independent …

Long Lasting, Accessible & In-Control

25 years later, the hardcore punk rockers continue to inspire artists & activists.

I learned about the DIY ethic from the DC punk/indie rock scene of the early 90's, which came out of the (and were mostly some of the same key people) earlier DC harDCore scene of the 80's. Find out about those DC bands (Minor Threat, D.O.A., G.I., Iron Cross, etc. in the 80's & in the post-harDCore 90's: Fugazi, Blue Tip, The Nation of Ulysses, etc.) at the Dischord Records website.

Read all about the new doc about the US hardcore scene, 1980 - 86, titled AMERICAN HARDCORE, at this Filmmaker Magazine interview.

More on this flick coming soon.

- Sujewa

Perhaps the idea of a Medieval Sri Lankan-French merchant colony was not pure fiction after all

One of the repeated items in my movie Date Number One is a discussion about a Sri Lankan-French merchant colony in Medieval Japan. When I wrote the script in '04 I knew of no ancient/pre-2oth century contact between the French and the Sri Lankans. But tonight I found, in a book titled The Heritage of The Bhikkhu, originally published in 1946 in Sinhala & translated to English in 1974, by the monk Walpola Rahula, the following sentence on page 58, chapter: The Dutch Period:

"In 1672 a French fleet arrived in Ceylon. King Rajasimha II, who learned that the French were against the Dutch, permitted them to build a fortress near the harbor of Trincomalee, with the hope of getting their help to defeat the Dutch."

So, if Rahula is correct, then there was significant contact between the French & the Sri Lankans (Ceylon is a former name for Sri Lanka). This contact did not happen in Medieval Japan, but, a French FLEET & a FORTRESS in 1672 Sri Lanka, that is very signifi…

it's kind of hard to make a live action romantic comedy without any actors or STONEHENGE: Mass Auditions in DC coming up on Sat 9/30

Yeah, it's pretty difficult to make my low budget superdelicious comedy/romantic comedy movies w/ out actors. Luckily for me, DC's got a thing called Stonehenge - mass auditions for indie films. The next Stonehenge is happening on Sat 9/30. Here is the intro to the event from their web site:

"Stonehenge Basics:

What? Stonehenge is a one-day event held twice a year in Washington DC. If you're an actor, think of it as a mass audition like the League auditions. You'll be able to perform a monologue in front of 20 or more production companies looking to produce films in the next six months. If you're a filmmaker, think of Stonehenge as a mass casting tool, showing you over 100 actors whom you might call back to read for a specific part. If you're a National Film Challenge team looking for actors, this is a great way to find them.

The goal of Stonehenge is to be simple, effective, and inexpensive (free for actors, a small fee for companies). Past Stonehenge in…

wild, a New York Times web page for Date Number One

Not really sure how this happened but it is very cool. The New York Times web site has a relatively empty page (for now maybe, perhaps over time stuff will be added to it) for my film Date Number One. Well, at least someone there knows about the movie. Not a bad thing at all.

Here's the link for the DNO on NYT site page. Enjoy :)

- Sujewa

Jon "Scumrock" Moritsugu News

For the new kids who do not know who Jon Moritsugu is, here is the 1st paragraph of what the 2002 New York Underground Film Festival said about him & his feature (shot on Hi-8!!!) Scumrock:

" Oh guys --listen up. Do not, we repeat, do not screw yourselves and miss out on this, because everyone who has half a brain and even a milligram of taste knows that Jon Moritsugu is a LIVING FUCKING UNDERGROUND MOVIE GOD and you should be so lucky to be able to prostate [sic] yourselves before his latest work of low-fi genius. An anti-digital video shot entirely on old analog hi8 gear and edited on linear VHS, Scumrock will bathe you in an unbelievably beautiful electronic fuzz both audial and visual but the feel is not New Wave 1982, it's New Wave 1962. With a laid-back pace and poker-faced seriousness Scumrock wraps delicious nuggets of bittersweet realness inside multiple layers of tart poseur irony and spicy postpunk attitude."

Read the rest of the NYUFF intro to Moritsugu/Scu…

Notes on the IFP's DIY Screening Series presentation of The Guatemalan Handshake

Before I get to the link for Brian "The Film Panel Notetaker" Geldin's notes on the event, let me reflect for a moment on the rapid "re-habilitation" of the D.I.Y. (Do It Yourself) approach to self-distribution. Five years & more ago DIY distribution was a very unusual thing undertaken by underground filmmakers such as Jon Moritsugu or the mostly "ethnic" minority/non-"white" audience targeted projects such as The Debut or Sankofa. This year the Independent Feature Project is doing a special screening series highlighting self-distributed movies that are not specially targeted to underground or minority audiences (although The Guatemalan Handshake is not being self-distributed at the moment as far as I know - aside from film festival & special event screenings, but the series' upcoming presentations: Head Trauma & Four Eyed Monsters are definitely DIY distro projects), the Independent Film Channel's website recently wrote …

Appreciating the Pioneer Theater

The post here will tell you all about a Village Voice article not doing its proper research and calling the Pioneer Theater in NYC a sloppy operation. And the post goes on to praise the Pioneer & programmer Ray Privett for working well with filmmakers & honoring agreements in a timely manner, contrary to the picture painted by the Voice article. The East Village art house theater may have had significant problems in its operation in the past, but the Pioneer I encountered this year was a well oiled machine, easy to work with and very responsive. If all indie film theaters functioned like the Pioneer, the lives of a lot of real indie filmmakers & indie film fans may improve significantly. The Voice should be celebrating the Pioneer instead of publishing sloppy articles that unfairly criticize a valuable member of the US indie film scene. While many so-called indie film theaters in the nation are in reality outlets for indiewood product channeled through the Hollywood pipeli…

GreenCine interviews Michael Tucker re: false imprisonment in Iraq doc

Think there is something horribly wrong with tens of thousands of humans being held in prison by the US without trials? Then find out more about exactly how fucked up the situation is at this GreenCine interview with filmmaker Michael Tucker. Here is the introduction to the interview:

" If you're at a loss for what to make of the official US rhetoric on our momentum toward victory in Iraq, see the documentaries of Michael Tucker and Petra Epperlein. They made Gunner Palace, one of the best docs on the war in Iraq from the point of view of US soldiers two years ago, and they returned to this month's Toronto International Film Festival with their new doc, The Prisoner, or: How I Tried to Kill Tony Blair, the war seen from the point of view of an Iraqi captured by the same American troops."

The prisoner that the title of the film refers to is an Iraqi journalist who was imprisoned & ill-treated for months while his jailers - soldiers & other US authorities - kept …

Date Number One screening # 11: Thu October 5, 7:30 PM, Kensington, MD

And you thought Date Number One screenings were all done, didn't ya? Silly human. We are just getting started. Screening # 12 was just set up in DC for early Nov. & a couple of 1 week long runs are in the works, but before we get to all that, here is all the info. on screening # 11, at Capital City Microcinema/Kensington Row Bookshop. The new & improved version of the film will unspool (or, to be more accurate, digital info will convert to images & sound, whatever that process is called) for the first time at this screening (& I might have some of them brand new retail DVDs of the flick for sale at this event):

DATE NUMBER ONE
http://www.wilddiner.com/
a comedy about several first dates
a movie by sujewa ekanayake

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

"Date Number One" is a comedy about several first dates. This 115 minute movie is made up of …

Watched Shadows and Funny Ha Ha last night

The Potomac Video near Chevy Chase Circle (DC) is awesome. Pretty much any hard to find or rare indie/foreign movie I want, they have. Huge collection downstairs - a lot on VHS, & a lot on DVD. Last night I picked up two movies I've been wanting to check out for a while: John Cassavetes' Shadows & Andrew Bujalski's Funny Ha Ha.

Watched Shadows first. As a historical artifact, it is fascinating. As entertainment - it is OK. But, like Citizen Kane, to some it must have been something awesome at its debut period. The music in Shadows was good, jazz. Also it was brave of Cassavetes to tackle an "interracial"* romance related storyline in his first feature, made in the mid to late 1950's, a conservative time that was also cooking up, in the basement, massive social changes that would erupt above ground & shake & re-arrange life in the US in the 1960's & after. The film foreshadows some of the conflicts & changes - the sexual revolution, …

Mutual Appreciation star Justin Rice's Chilean Adventure

The "star" of a small, self-distributed US indie feature gets VIP treatment in Chile. Here is a taste of Mutual Appreciation's lead actor Justin Rice's notes from his trip to Chile to accompany a screening of the film at a festival there:

" Then it got surreal. I went to a lunch at the Bi-National Center, and sat
at the head of a giant table complete with white tablecloth. As the
waiters, who looked sharp in their tuxedos, poured glasses of wine and
served up the four-course meal, I was introduced to various filmmakers,
producers, festival programmers, and animators, most of whom were old, and
all of whom were baffled that young people responded so well to the
festival in general and to Mutual Appreciation in particular. A few weeks
ago, the U.S. embassy asked me for a bio, and I wrote one that was meant,
mostly, to be funny. Tounge, cheek, etc. They had translated this bio
into Spanish, and read aloud to the assembled host. I had a little ear
bug so I could hear the…

Bittersweet editing experience: HUGE changes are being made to Date Number One :: Got $s for the 1st 1000 DVDs

I dig the technical "flaws" in movies such as Godard's Breathless & Moritsugu's Scumrock, but many of my important peers in the indie film biz do not & certainly not many of the US audience members who I want to make happy with my movie. So, as painful as it is, major changes are being made to Date Number One. So, the version of the movie that will be screened on 10/5 will be much more "slick" & much, much less "rough", and will be shorter - perhaps by as much as 10 minutes. Since the movie represents not just my dreams/wishes/ambitions but the dreams of investors & actors & other collaborators AND more importantly, there are certain basic audience expectations (including reviewer expectations) that must be met in order to get a certain number of ticket & DVD sales in the US at this point in time, sacrifices are being made.

The new version of Date Number One will not have the scenes w/ the iris problem in Story 2 (where the …

Great Moments in Indie Film Self-Distribution History: 2001 - The Debut by Gene Cajayon

" The result? The first week at AMC Kabuki, "The Debut" outdrew every other screen at that theater -- $30,000 in admissions. The film also spurred $15,000 in merchandising sales, which Cajayon credits as essential to the film's success.

It was the last four-walling he would have to do. He now has a rep, and splits with the house."

Read all about it on this 2001 indieWIRE article.

- Sujewa

Netflix's got big plans for indie filmmakers

This Wired article spotlights Netflix's work with indie filmmakers. Of special interest: 1) Netflix buying 500 DVDs of an undistributed indie film from its maker & the film getting on HBO possibly because of Netflix customer interest, 2) future possibility of Netflix taking a look at all 3,000 or so Sundance film festival submissions BEFORE the fest selects or rejects films. Read the article here. Thanks Anthony Kaufman for the link.

3 images from the opening 5 mins of Date Number One

subodh samudre as Ananda, the bookstore worker















* rashard harrison as Watalappan, a bookstore customer

[i am playing around with the screen capture function on this lap top that i am using right now, these images are from the opening 5 mins of Date Number One. enjoy.]





& john stabb schroeder as Mark H. Temonium, the ninja!more pics coming soon**Copyright 2006 Sujewa Ekanayake/Wild Diner Films

Possible alternatives: Fan financed indie film via DVD pre-sales, Distribution through YouTube + blog exposure + DIY screenings + DVD sales ?

Two things gave me idea #1:

1. I needed a couple of hundred dollars last summer to pay for an editing related expense for Date Number One, did not want to wait 'till I got my dayjob pay, so I asked a friend who likes my movies if he wanted to loan me the money. He said he will just pre-buy 10 DVDs of Date Number One instead of doing a loan, w/ units to be delivered to him whenever they are available for sale. It was a simple solution, so I went ahead with that transaction: 10 DVDs were sold in advance, I had most of the $s I needed to solve the editing problem.

2. I will go see (or buy or rent on DVD) works by certain filmmakers regardless of what reviewers & other audience members say about the works - stuff by Jim Jarmusch, Amir Motlagh, Hal Hartley, Jon Moritsugu, etc. Filmmakers with such a hard core fan base maybe able to pay for the production & start of distro (at least making a few thousand DVDs) cost of certain ultra-low budget films of theirs by pre-selling the DVD…

YouTube trailers page & Blogger blog coming soon for US DIY Film yahoo group members

Working on it now, read the update to members below:

The plan is to post video clips on YouTube and promote, discuss them at a blog.

Test blog & YouTube page for attempting to offer trailers & clips from works by members of the US DIY Film yahoo group have been created. Both web pages will be fine tuned & tested out in the next few days. Before this weekend is over I should be able to post info. on how the US DIY Film yahoo group members can start using both the blog & the corresponding YouTube page. In the meantime, here are the links to both for you to bookmark:

The blog: http://usdiyfilm.blogspot.com/

The YouTube page: http://youtube.com/profile?user=USDIYFilmChannel1

To participate in all this, if you are a DIY filmmaker interested in self-distribution, join the US DIY Film yahoo group.

Thanks!

- Sujewa

"cartoon" version of pic from inside Pioneer Theater, NYC, 8/31 - Date Number One premiere

one of my photo editing software packages can create a "cartoon" version of photos. reminds me a little of images from Waking Life. this pic is of me & pioneer programmer ray in front of some audience members doing post-show q&a on 8/31, following the Date Number One NYC premiere at the Pioneer Theater.

original photo by Brian Geldin (!thanks brian!)

photo/image copyright 2006 sujewa ekanayake/wild diner films

Date Number One '07 Theatrical Plan: 12 US cities, 1 week each, Jan - June

The first part of the year, actually pretty deep into late summer/early fall, there aren't too many great Hollywood movies out, & the indiewood movies that are out are targeted mostly to an older demographic than my peers, so, next year, my plan is to show Date Number One for 1 week each in 12 US cities, one after the other (well, w/ a 1 week break in between the start of each engagement), w/in the first 6 months of the year: January to end of June 2007.

Hopefully those theatrical engagements will not have to be four-walled runs, but rather Head Trauma '06 esque collaborations between myself & the theaters. Additional expenses: any paid marketing, travel, etc. can be covered by one of my investors & any savings from '06 & maybe '07 dayjob work, provided those expenses are relatively low. Plus $s from DVD sales this year may assist w/ '07 theatrical related expenses. And I am going to try to get paid speaking engagements/work shops, Lance Weiler '…

Rick Stevenson joins the '06 Self-Distribution club

The big new story in indie film this year is self-distribution. The story got started way back in early '06 with Four Eyed Monsters distro news. Then it continued with stories on Kicking Bird, Head Trauma, Date Number One (that's my movie! :), Mutual Appreciation, Jumping Off Bridges, etc. As regular readers of this blog know, I am all about celebrating self-distribution, so if you missed any of the original entries re: self-distro of mentioned films, go back & look: it's archives time baby! The latest filmmaker to get major blog press re: self-distribution this year is Rick Stevenson from Seattle. His film Expiration Date sounds very interesting (bonus points for the minority - Native American - lead, go Rick!), looking forward to checking it out. Here is the GreenCine interview with Stevenson.

- Sujewa
special thanks goes out to Jerry "Hollywood Is Talking" Brewington for pointing out the GreenCine interview. thanks JB!

BUMS from Canada

The brothers Jason & Brett Butler from Canada mailed me a DVD of their movie BUMS last week. It is going on my now 2 titles deep list of movies to watch (I rented BRICK about a week ago, still have not gotten to it), so I expect to see it at some point this month. Even though I am officially out of the film review game, I will occasionally check out & write about other people's movies, as time permits. Either way, here is a description of BUMS, from the DVD's cover:
" A day in the life comedy, BUMS follows the lives of six friends as their relationships blur together to produce love, laugh, lethargy and a loose canon. BUMS is an insightful and provocative look at life neither here nor there on a day like any other day - when you don't have a clue what you're doing but all the time in the world to do it." Sounds interesting. Here is the web site, explore more.

- Sujewa

3 down, 9997 to go

How do you sell 10,000 DVDs of your no-budget, no star but superdelicious feature? Well, if you are a no-budget, DIY process addicted self-distributor like myself, then you do it 1 DVD at a time.

The retail DVDs of Date Number One are not ready yet, but I am working on them. Should have them ready for sale by the end of this month.

And just because the DVD is being sold does not mean that screenings are over. Not in the post-Funny Ha Ha/Mutual Appreciation age where an indie film can do cable or DVD & then still keep playing theaters. More screenings than ever will be happening in '06 & '07 for DNO, while I am selling the DVDs.

Crooked Beat, a local DC record & CD & DVD store ordered 3 DVDs of Date Number One today. When those sell, they'll ask for more.

My first major sales goal for DNO DVDs is 10,000 units. A goal that is to be accomplished when possible. Hopefully w/in 2 years.

So 3 DVDs placed with a retailer, and just only 9997 to go :) :) :)

Retail stores (…

New Yahoo Group for DIY Filmmakers/Self-Distributors

I just created a Yahoo Group for DIY filmmakers/self-distributors. Hopefully it will quickly evolve into a place where DIY filmmaker/distributors can ask each other questions, get answers re: distribution & production matters - w/ out having to post Qs at the Comments section at various blogs/entries & waiting around 'till they get answered, which is how it is happening now. We'll see how it goes. In the meantime, here is the link (go join!):

http://movies.groups.yahoo.com/group/usdiyfilm/

And here is the official introduction to the group:

" This group is an attempt to create a forum of communication for US based self-distributing low budget filmmakers or independent/D.I.Y. (do-it-yourself) filmmakers. Group started & moderated by Sujewa Ekanayake, director & distributor of the 2006 comedy feature Date Number One (http://www.wilddiner.com/). Hopefully this group will offer a place for filmmakers to quickly figure out answers to production & distribution…

Independent film gets more independent than ever in 2006 with the arrival of 7 new features in theaters

What were the films that defined independent film back in the 1980s & 1990s? What were they like? How were they made? Most of them were character studies. They were mostly dialogue driven. They were made for budgets that were ultra-low by Hollywood standards: from around $20,000 to around $150,000. They did not feature any Hollywood stars or television personalities. These original indie films that I speak of are: Stranger Than Paradise by Jim Jarmusch, She's Gotta Have It by Spike Lee, The Unbelievable Truth by Hal Hartley in the 1980s, and Slacker by Richard Linklater, Clerks by Kevin Smith in the early 1990s. Each of those films introduced a new American filmmaking sensibility, plus unknown directors and unknown actors to the world.

Between 1984s Stranger Than Paradise and 1994s Pulp Fiction, independent film went Hollywood, and thus Indiewood was born. Indiewood came quickly into maturity in the 1990s assisted to a large degree by the Sundance Film Festival and Miramax Film…

IFC.com profiles Mutual Appreciation, Date Number One, Head Trauma & self-distribution of those projects

Very exciting to be featured in a story on self-distribution at the IFC website. The story is an IFC News item titled "The Final Frontier of Filmmaking: Three Stories of Self-Distribution" written by Alison Wilmore. Here is a paragraph from the article:

"These days, a crowded market and the sheer difficulty of making money on a theatrical release has made distributors wary of taking any chances, and often when an offer is made, it's not at all favorable towards the filmmaker. Suddenly self-distribution, once an unthinkable rarity, seems like a viable option for filmmakers who are willing to do the work to get their films on screens. September may be the month self-distribution comes into its own. The three filmmakers profiled below are all in the midst of releasing their own films, and they're not the only ones."

The filmmakers & projects profiled are: Andrew Bujalski & Mutual Appreciation, myself (Sujewa Ekanayake) & Date Number One, and Lance W…