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Showing posts from November, 2007

Film Movement's Le Grand Voyage

I saw Le Grand Voyage (an On The Road in Europe & the Arab world story, except with a family member & some family drama), distributed by Film Movement, a few months back & liked it a lot. Here is a synopsis:

"A few weeks before his college entrance exams, Reda (Nicolas Cazale), a young man who lives in the south of France, finds himself obligated to drive his father to Mecca.

From the start, the journey looks to be difficult: Reda and his father (Mohamed Majd) have nothing in common. The wide cultural and generational gap between the two is worsened by the lack of communication between the two. Reda finds it hard to accommodate his father, who demands respect for himself and his pilgrimage.

From France, through Italy, Serbia, Turkey, Syria, Jordan to Saudi Arabia- the two will embark on a road trip to Mecca that will change their lives."

Le Grand Voyage was directed by Ismael Ferroukhi.

Find out more about the movie & Film Movement here. Movie is available on DV…

Paisan sounds interesting

I have not seen it yet, but this 1948 New York Times review of the movie Paisan makes it sound very interesting, kind of like some contemporary indie dramas & comedies I've seen. Here is a little bit from the review:

"It is useless to attempt an explanation, in familiar and concrete terms, of its basic theme and nature, for it is not an ordinary film—neither in form nor dramatic construction nor in the things it has to say. In some ways, it is the antithesis of the classic "story film," and certainly it throws off glints of meaning which are strangely unfamiliar on the screen. Possibly for some persons who are accustomed to the routine sort of film, it will be completely bewildering and leave a sad sense of emptiness. But at least it cannot fail to rattle the windowpanes of your eyes. And for many it will crash into the consciousness and leave the emotions limp."

Read the rest of the review here.

- Sujewa

Ramin "Chop Shop" Bahrani interview :: Chop Shop description

Here is a little bit from the Pop Syndicate interview with director Bahrani re: movie Chop Shop:

" Q: It was a very gritty, New York film but it could have been filmed anywhere. Although we usually think of kids who fall between the cracks living in a 3rd world environment. Why New York? A: Because the location really is in New York. Also to help erase ideas of entitlement and the brainwashing of colonialism that spur on false classifications such as “3rd world.” Categories like 3rd and 1st world, or East and West, or the “Orient” were shrewdly created in order for one to exploit the other, economically, mentally, and imaginatively."Read the rest of the interview here.And an intro to Chop Shop (i believe this came from the AFI Fest):"Chop Shop USA, 2007, 84 min, 35 MM

DIR: Ramin Bahrani
SCR: Ramin Bahrani, Bahareh Azimi
PROD: Jeb Brody, Marc Turtletaub, Lisa Muskat
DP: Michael Simmonds
ED: Ramin Bahrani
PROD DES: Richard Wright
EXEC PROD: Peter Saraf
MUS: M. Lo
CAST: Alejandro…

Alex "Midnight Kiss" Holdridge interview at Film Threat

From the interview:

" What was the inspiration for your film "In Search of a Midnight Kiss"?

I was dumped, flat broke, at a career low after watching my life fall apart in three months and working at a video store on New Year's Eve when I started to consider, "In Search of a Midnight Kiss." I wanted to watch a really funny and cynical movie about how ridiculous New Year's Eve was when you were dateless and depressed. So that led to thinking about that nether zone of the year between New Year's and Christmas when all the lonely people are hanging around their families going crazy and thinking about the next year and what they will do differently. So Sara Simmonds (Vivian in "ISOAMK") and I walked the streets of downtown talking about this movie and discovered all of these amazing locations. We could not believe that no one had captured the beautiful and post-apocalyptic downtown. That set the wheels in motion, but it took getting the axe wit…

Humanists to honor Golden Compass author

And I thought it was just a kids movie. From the press release:

"The American Humanist Association announced today that Philip Pullman, esteemed author of the controversial book, "The Golden Compass"--which has been made into a movie scheduled for release December 7--will be honored with the International Humanist Award in Washington DC in June. The award decision comes near the end of a two-month protest by the Catholic League, which has charged that the book and film are "anti-Catholic" and that the film, by being less confrontational, is part of a deceitful "stealth campaign" to promote an "anti-religious" book series.

"We didn't hear complaints about a pro-evangelical stealth campaign when C.S. Lewis' ‘The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe’ was made into a film," noted Fred Edwords, American Humanist Association director of communications. "No humanists organized protests nor did the Catholic League complain of evan…

Flip Video camera: $180, YouTube friendly

As I was checking out a DVD at my local Blockbuster Video store earlier today, I saw a small video camera called Flip Video for sale there. Price: $180, stores 1 hour worth of video, looks like it is very easy to use & the best part is that it has a USB arm that plugs into the computer; no cable needed. Looks like it is a cheap & easy to use YouTube machine - a device created pretty much for people interested in easily capturing home/amature/non-professional quality video & getting it up on YouTube & other similar sites. I guess this camera has been around for a few months now, but the first time I found out about it was today. Might make a nice gift for someone who is interested in getting some stuff up on YouTube but is not interested in doing the post-production stuff that comes with shooting on tape. Some Flip Video links:

Official website

CNN Money article on the camera

geeksugar article

- sujewa

Purple Violets trailer :: flick available from iTunes now

Check out the trailer for Ed Burns's new movie Purple Violets here. Violets in now available for download/purchase from iTunes.

Here is a synopsis of Violets (from Apple's site):

"Set in lower Manhattan, PURPLE VIOLETS is a relationship comedy about four friends from college ready for change. PATTI PETERSON (Selma Blair) is a promising writer, but her marriage and conventional job keep her from her dream. She longs to return to her writing, especially after running into her first love BRIAN CAHILL (Patrick Wilson), a successful crime novelist. KATE (Debra Messing) is Patti’s best friend since college. She’s a tough-talking schoolteacher who plays therapist to all Patti’s problems, while she’s got a few of her own. Despite Brian Cahill’s gorgeous Tribeca loft and perfect house in the Hamptons, he longs to write works of greater literary value. MURPHY (Ed Burns), his lawyer and best friend from college still carries a flame for his former girlfriend Kate, even though their r…

Ed Burns interview re: Purple Violets/iTunes at MovieMaker

check out the interview at MovieMaker.

here is a segement:

"MM: Since you are the first person to premiere a feature on iTunes, you get that added press, too. EB: There is that, yeah. We never really factored that in or gave that much thought cause the press, it still may very well prove to be not necessarily positive. I think it was more about… none of my films have played theatrically in St. Louis since 1996. There are plenty of people there who like my stuff, so maybe now they can see it on the day it opens. MM: Exactly. Is there any thing you can see though as a threat to the success of this experiment? EB: I don’t, you know. You’re a filmmaker, and especially as a kid in film school, you dream of sitting in the movie theater and seeing yourself projected on a big screen. I mean, that’s why I think people become filmmakers and actors. You fall in love with the environment and the feeling you get sitting in a theater with an audience. That being said, my movies to date haven’t …

Hollywood actors to appear in Speechless web video campaign to support the WGA

From Deadline Hollywood Daily:

"On Thanksgiving Day (November 22), a group of Writers Guild Of America members will begin posting Public Service Announcements featuring A-list Screen Actors Guild talent as part of an independent WGA membership's "Speechless" campaign conceived by director/writer George Hickenlooper and writer Alan Sereboff. For the first time in the TV and movie industry, high-profile SAG actors will be taking their talents directly and exclusively to the Internet -- the very medium which is at the center of the current WGA labor strike against the Alliance Of Motion Picture & Television Producers.

The spots will begin appearing on Thursday morning which will begin posting Thanksgiving Day and run exclusively on DeadlineHollywood.com through Sunday night. Beginning Monday, they can be found on SpeechlessWithoutWriters.com with links on UnitedHollywood.com and every day thereafter during the duration of the strike.

Included are SAG talent such as Se…

Bamboo Laptop

Coming in '08, read about it here.

Now, in a somewhat unrelated note, this might tie in with one of my "wacky" theories about ancient civilizations having computers; what if we eventually make all computers completely (& relatively quickly) bio-degradable, then, in a couple of hundred years after a city is abandoned, there may not be any trace of that city having computers left for future civilizations to discover. This kind of thing could have happened in the past. I think that it is possible that flight, nuclear weapons, computers, etc. could have been invented & used at some earlier points in the 200,000 year long human past; or that as our modern age discovers them, this may not be the first time that those high tech gadgets have made an appearance on Earth. Perhaps that's a theory best left to a sci-fi movie script :) But, the drive to create both high-tech & eco-friendly products does make me wonder.

- Sujewa

go DIY young screenwriter, sayz one media professional

(well, to be entirely accurate, what Wagner James Au said was "Screenwriters, DIY!", i just couldn't resist using a version of go west... :)

In the article "Screenwriters, DIY!" (thanks to Thompson On Hollywood for the link), we find the following:

"In the mid 90s, during a strike against The San Francisco Examiner, a bunch of staff writers and editors abandoned the newspaper to start up their own “web magazine.” Though it seemed like a weird idea at the time, the web mag eventually became Salon.com, now a site with more readers than most newspapers — including The Examiner itself. As the WGA strike moves into its second week, it’s hard not to see a similar opportunity: What’s to stop WGA writers (especially those associated with well-known TV shows and movies) from doing a similar thing with YouTube? Create new, low-budget shorts à la Lonely Girl, then leverage them as spinoffs for new TV series/movies when the strike ends? Or perhaps even better, come up …

A Sundance, Cannes, Toronto, SXSW selected mainstream accessible comedy by an acclaimed indie director opens in ONLY 1 THEATER...(WTF!???)

According to a little known & rarely active indie film blogger named Matt Dentler, Greg Araki's stoner comedy SMILEY FACE was selected by Sundance (that's THE SUNDANCE f*ing FILM FESTIVAL - "#1" in America), Cannes (that's THE CANNES INT'L f*ing FILM FESTIVAL - "#1" in the world), Toronto & SXSW film festivals (all together that's four of the most important film festivals in the western world & Austin!!!) YET the film is only being released in 1 theater!!!!!!

The mind boggles.

It is actually still boggling.

OK, boggling over, let me list other ticket sales friendly qualities of this movie (granted, i have not seen it, but, given these ingredients, i am sure TONS of kids will want to see this movie):

- directed by Greg Araki; yes, not a household name across America, but, a well respected indie director with a solid following. Didn't his last "properly released" film (MYSTERIOUS SKIN) earn several million dollars?

- starring …

Why'd you bury "Smiley Face" First Look? :: Director Greg Araki interview at indieWIRE

Greg Araki's stoner comedy Smiley Face might have been a lot of fun to check out at the theater. However, the pic's distributor First Look is only going to show it on one screen in LA (as far as I know at the moment. First Look's website didn't have any information on Smiley). I guess I'll have to wait for the DVD :(

indieWIRE's got an interview with Greg Araki re: Smiley Face.

- Sujewa

WGA responds to the AMPTP newspaper ad

A segment of the response from WGA West's website:

"WGA Statement in Response to AMPTP Newspaper Ad

LOS ANGELES, NEW YORK -- The Writers Guild of America (Writers Guild of America, East and Writers Guild of America, West) issued this statement today in response to the AMPTP's misleading newspaper ads:

Nice try, AMPTP. In the words of the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts. The AMPTP's paid and patronizing advertisement in today's New York Times and Los Angeles Times is guilty of what most charitably could be called sins of omission.

The AMPTP maintains, “It is important to make clear that writers currently do receive residuals for digital downloading (regardless of whether the download is temporary or permanent)... The Guild is seeking at least a 700 percent increase over what writers currently receive, and more than a 200 percent increase over what they receive for Internet 'pay per view.'…

Clip-O-Rama: Day For Night, Irma Vep, Living In Oblivion, Bowfinger

Have not seen Francois Truffaut's movie Day For Night yet. This YouTube clip/video makes it look interesting:



And, from another French movie about making movies; some Irma Vep clips:



Now a clip from everyone's favorite indie movie about indie moviemaking; a tiny bit of Living In Oblivion:



I think the rain is fat because there are aliens in it. A Bowfinger clip (with subtitles from an unknown land):



Any other good movies about making movies?

- Sujewa

A scene from Casablanca, if there were no writers

From Late Show Writers On Strike:

"CLASSIC MOVIE SCENES IF THERE WERE NO WRITERS

It's time for...CLASSIC MOVIE SCENES IF THERE WERE NO WRITERS by Lee Ellenberg

"Casablanca"

INT./EXT. AIRPORT HANGAR - NIGHT


RICK


ILSA


RICK


ILSA


Ilsa's eyes fill with tears. Rick puts his hand to her chin and raises her face to meet his own.


RICK


Ilsa boards the plane.


OUT."

Visit Late Show Writers On Strike for more.

- Sujewa

Mark Andreessen says long guild strikes & current web developments could lead to Hollywood being rebuilt in the shape of Silicon Valley

Check out the article here, very interesting.

Here is a lil' bit of it:

"This is not a difficult thing to envision. And in fact, it's already happening. Will Ferrell's Funny Or Die, in which I am a minority investor, is one early existence proof of this model. And there are a ton of other such new companies either already underway, or currently being incubated, or currently being negotiated."

Read the rest here.

Hollywood labor & owners/studios issues aside, the article has some ideas that can apply to the independent film world RIGHT NOW, specially those of us who are slanted towards the DIY/real indie side of things; those of us interested in owning our creations, having final say on how our movies are made at each stage of production & controling the distribution of same.

- Sujewa

Perhaps a quick way to explain to the general public why residuals are an essential part of screenwriter compensation?

To put it relatively briefly, is it accurate to say:

Screenwriters get residual payments because the total value of a script cannot be determined at the time the script is sold to the production company.

(by total value i mean what a movie based on a given script makes upon release, year after year. and that value cannot be known at the time of sale of the script because no one knows how a given movie will perform in the market place until they actually release it; they may have rough ideas at the moment the script is purchased, but those estimates can be way off)

So, people who know a lot about this issue, what do you think?

::

[Some background:
I posted the above in a couple of discussion threads at a couple of WGA strike related blogs (Artful Writer, John August - check those sites out for even more background on this issue). They are having long (or at least very involved) discussions re: residuals - as in; do screenwriters deserve them?, how to best explain to the general public why re…

New Indie Film Movements waiting to happen?

As some commentators believe at the moment, the Mumblecore film movement is over. So what's next, American indie film movements wise ('cause it's fun - at times - to read about low budget indie film movements)? Here are some possibilities - possible ways to organize new indie films, makers, & market them as film movements:

1. The Elderly In Indie Film film movement; lots of new indies are made by people in their 20's - 30's, featuring actors/friends in the same age group, so how about a group of low budget indie films that deal with the comedy & drama of being older - like about being in your 50's, 60's, 70's or so?

2. Hip Multi-Ethnic Suburban Non-Creative People film movement; I live in the suburbs and there is a lot of ethnic diversity out here (at least in the DC suburbs), and a lot of these people are not creative professionals or aspiring creatives but rather hold more traditional jobs (attorneys, bankers, teachers, etc.), and are pretty muc…

A Thousand Years of Good Prayers & The Princess of Nebraska reviews at Variety

Didn't know Wayne Wang recently completed two new movies. Here are the Variety reviews of A Thousand Years of Good Prayers and The Princess of Nebraska. Of the two Nebraska sounds more interesting to me, so here is a little bit from the review:

"Whereas “Prayers” is anchored by formal, quiet compositions, “Princess,” which was shot and co-directed by Richard Wong (“Colma: The Musical”), goes wild with hand-held, off-the-cuff-style shooting. Approach is mannered in the way it apes current fashion, and yet pic builds a certain interest via the shorthand fashion in which it presents its protag. Sasha (Ling Li), a student from China who’s recently started college in Omaha, arrives in San Francisco with the idea of aborting the fetus conceived on a one-night stand back in Beijing. Her text messages to the man responsible go unanswered, however, and she’s got to deal locally with a gay Yank, Boshen (Brian Danforth), who was also her lover’s lover."

Read the rest here.

- Sujewa

Bigger than Texas & California combined, only about 11 million people, peaceful, got gold, uranium & oil (& giraffes :): NIGER

Took a cab from Silver Spring to Kensington tonight & learned about a country in Africa that sounds like a great candidate for some kind of a development project (mostly due to its low population, peacefulness, gigantic land area, etc.). The name of the country is Niger (wikipedia).
I hear it is one of the poorest countries in the world, yet it has uranium, gold & oil. I think the place needs a new management team or something. Anyway, it is nice to hear that there is still a lot of uninhabited land in this world. The cab driver Ibrahim said that Niger has a lot of desert, but that it is arable. Also the people there are said to be very friendly. Maybe eventually I can make a movie there or buy a bunch of cheap land & start Sujewaland there :)

Read more about Niger here.

- Sujewa