Wednesday, January 31, 2007

If you liked Eagle vs. Shark...

People are digging (GreenCine Daily) Eagle vs. Shark, as I hoped/had a hunch that they would. Now, if you like Eagle vs. Shark, you might also enjoy Date Number One, at least Story 1 of DNO where a ninja goes on a blind date: more colorful characters in costumes looking for love. DNO should be available on DVD in February, from here & other places. Also dozens of screenings of DNO coming this year, in various cities, details by late winter/March.

Michael Tully's COCAINE ANGEL at Pioneer Theater, NYC Feb 21 - 27

Get all the info here. Congrats Mike & the rest of the CA team! (another md new wave film shines in nyc :) :) :)

- Sujewa

nah, i think i'll go with a more pro looking cover

hmmm, the home made DVD cover (see the two posts below) is cute, but i think a more pro looking cover will serve the film better. be back in a couple of days with that cover.

playing with possible ideas for DVD covers: 1 - the home made cover, front image

well, this is not the best of photos (it's a scan actually) & this rough version of a DVD cover was made using some xeroxed images & put together using scotch tape, but this is one possibility for the Date Number One DVD box front. something like this may grace the outside of at least the first 100 DVDs, those will be more or less home made. or maybe this will just be a screener cover. either way, had fun making it tonight & it was easy to make. couple more things to finish up on the movie, so in early February (quite possibly later this week), i should be able to start selling the movie on DVD. i have a couple more ideas for the DVD box covers, including a totally Hollywood/indiewood release looking one, perhaps those will be up here soon.

back of the possible DVD cover 1: the home made cover

the text on the back is the description of the film, some quotes, cast & crew list, copyright info., most of that can be found here. whatever design i end up going with, will post better images of it, this scan makes this cover look all watery/blurry or something. hey, maybe i should've scanned the cover outside of the plastic sleeve of the DVD box, hmmm, let's try that.

Interview with DANCE PARTY, USA director Aaron Katz

Next to my own movie (naturally) one of the best movies I saw last year was Aaron Katz's Dance Party, USA. It is simple, sometimes awkward, but ultimately very good. Read this interview I did with Katz in Nov. Even though it is about 3 months old, it still tastes pretty good.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Eagle vs. Shark review at Cinematical

The reviewer likes the kooky little movie from New Zealand. Read it here. Eagle vs. Shark is coming to screens this year from Miramax.

Reid Rosefelt remembers Adrienne Shelly

Rosefelt and Shelly were friends, and he directed her in a short film. Read Rosefelt's recollections and thoughts about Shelly and her work here.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Amir Motlagh's hot UnFamiliar Occurence indie music video

Good pumped up & exciting sounds, great visuals - stills animated kind of look & feel, a story - not too clear - better because of it, need to watch it again to get the story fully, more exciting than most music videos I've seen because of its indie California vibe. Check it out here at YouTube.

- Sujewa

new script: kind of Repo Man & Pulp Fiction like, and the other new script: the comedy/romantic comedy

Wrote the synopsis for a new film today, will be working on the script in the coming month while getting Date Number One out (DVDs for sale & '07 screenings set up). This new film idea is kind of similar to Pulp Fiction (noirish-comedy) and Repo Man (blending a subculture with an alien story), and I probably will not be able to shoot it for an ultra-low/"no" budget since it has some explosions, gun play, space ships & fighter jets in action, and a couple of elaborate sets - but who knows, maybe CGI & other technology is a lot more affordable now - will have to see. So I am thinking that this Untitled Noirish-Alien-Comedy of mine will cost over $100K to produce. I may need some indiewood or Hollywood (gasp!) help with this one.

In case that film takes forever to make because the budget is bigger than what I've worked with thus far, I am also working on (has been for about two weeks now) a script for a comedy/romantic comedy about several young writers (initially the movie had a lot to do with Valentines Day, now it goes far beyond that), this one I'll call the Untitled Comedy About Writers. This flick can be produced for under $50K.

I want to get at least one of these films shot in '07. Of course I will be completing both scripts in '07 (early '07), if nothing else :)

But the biggest project of '07 will most likely be (well, if not the biggest, then the most important) Date Number One distribution.

During the last few months I've been tossing around a lot of ideas for '07 movie projects, but it looks like those 3: DNO distribution, the Noirish/Detective-Alien-Comedy script & production, the Writers Comedy script & production will be the 3 film projects that I will be putting a lot of time into this year.

More on all these projects soon/as interesting & blog-worthy developments occur, no doubt.

- Sujewa

Some tips on producing DIY screenings

A post from March of last year at Filmmaking For The Poor blog, still useful. A few ideas for indie filmmakers re: DIY (do-it-yourself) screenings/showing their own work to a paying audience. Check it out here.

Spike Lee's filmography

If Jim Jarmusch is a great example of keeping things very indie for a long time, then Spike Lee (who released his first widely distributed feature She's Gotta Have It in '86, 2 years after Jarmusch's Stranger Than Paradise) is a great example of: keeping the indie voice (more or less i think), getting a lot of movies made, and being able to work comfortably in many filmmaking arenas (TV, Hollywood, etc.). Check out Lee's filmography at this New York Times web page.

Kevin Smith vs. Kyle Smith

It would take a little bit of time to introduce the conflict but maybe it would be better if you were to go here and scroll down to Kyle Smith's photo & read from there. Kevin Smith reacts to Kyle Smith's reaction to Kevin Smith's acting in Catch & Release. Of course, were it not for Kevin Smith's appearance in that movie (many critics are pleased with his performance, check out the quotes here), I don't think I would ever mention Catch & Release in this blog :) But, since KS is in the movie, I may have to rent the DVD of C & S or something. The Kevin Smith vs. Kyle Smith conflict is funny, as it involves reactions to a "dude lit" (male version of "chic lit") book.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

1 week and 23 posts later, the Jim Jarmusch blog-a-thon comes to an end

A big thanks to everyone who participated in the Jarmusch blog-a-thon. It was fun, & useful, filmmaking wise, to reflect on Jarmusch's career so far. Perhaps I'll do this again next year, next January, for Jarmusch's next birthday.

Here's what else is going on over here this weekend: the latest Iraq war protest is happening in DC - very interesting, huge turnout I hear, hopefully something good will come out of it. I went to see an opera tonight in Rockville - long, interesting, like a movie but without cinematography, liked it (at least until the intermission, was kinda tired after that) - saw Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro (first performed in 1786!), performed by the Bulgarian State Opera (i thought they did an excellent job), i think this was my first time at an opera. Did some work on the Date Number One DVD & posters, DVD cover yesterday, more work on that coming this week & hopefully by the end of the week the DVD will be completed, and will be ready for sale (f-i-n-n-n-a-l-l-y :).

- Sujewa

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Jim Jarmusch's short films at Jonas Mekas's site

The Eyeball Kid blog says that several Jim Jarmusch short films are available for download from jonasmekas.com. Check out the post here.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Some love it, some hate it, Jim Jarmusch's COFFEE & CIGARETTES


Although I am a big fan of several Jarmusch movies, I must say that I did not connect too greatly with Coffee and Cigarettes. There are a couple of excellent segments in that movie: the one with Alfred Molina, also the final one where an old man hears classical music while he shares a cup of coffee with a friend. Here are a couple of reviews of the movie, some loved it, some hated it:



In Love with C & C:

Time

Peter "Rolling Stone" Travers


Not So Crazy about C & C:

Film Forward

"Smug and Rather Pointless", review from the World Socialist Web Site

::

Now let's end this post with a link to a lengthy consideration of the movie (he likes it) by Jonathan Rosenbaum.

Regardless of the reaction to the movie, it is inspiring to see a whole feature being built on a few simple things: usually a couple of people meeting for a conversation. In that regard C & C is a valuable film for indie filmmakers to think about. It may be possible to use the C & C "format" & create some very interesting movies.

- Sujewa

Norway and the Sri Lankan terrorist group LTTE

I guess I am taking a little break from indie film news and reading up on world affairs. The latest find (or re-discovery, I've seen this site before): This website accuses Norway of supporting the Sri Lankan terrorist group LTTE. LTTE and the Sri Lankan government have been at war for close to 20 years. Recently, government forces have been achieving significant victories against the LTTE. Millions of people in Sri Lanka and around the world, myself included, eagerly await the return of peace to that island nation.

an '05 USA TODAY article on the '85 police bombing & killing of 11 Philadelphians

someone (perhaps Spike Lee or the next "Spike Lee"?) should make a movie about Philadelphia police bombing the MOVE house in '85 & killing 11 people, including children (of course the movie should show how things got to that point & the aftermath, some background can be found in this Wikipedia article). regardless of what MOVE members may have done to get the police & the local government to act against them (which do not include military style lethal assaults on people by MOVE members, as far as I know), getting shot at & bombed & killed by government employees that citizens pay to protect & serve the community must have sucked majorly. here is the link to an '05 USA TODAY article on the matter, 20 years later. here is a segment from the article: "Twenty years ago this Friday, city police dropped a bomb on this block and let it burn. Five children and six adults, members of a small radical collective called MOVE, died; 61 homes in a middle-class neighborhood were destroyed. As the nation watched, Philadelphia became the city that bombed its own people."

Thursday, January 25, 2007

back to the old green & white template

the previous one did not look too good, after a while, i didn't like the dark background, so we are back to the old green & white template for this blog. still missing a lot of the links, those coming soon.

- sujewa

Aunt Lotte in Stranger Than Paradise is Jim Stark's Grandmother

if you look carefully, that's Aunt Lotte (Cecillia Stark) on the 3rd photo from top, on right hand side of the frame. if anyone sees a bigger version of that still out there on the web, let me know.

If you've seen & liked Stranger Than Paradise, then you probably remember Aunt Lotte (played by Cecillia Stark). The scenes with that character are very funny & also kind of sweet. In this Vue Weekly interview producer & filmmaker Jim Stark says that Aunt Lotte is played by his grandmother. Here is the relevant segment of the interview:

" VUE WEEKLY: Your film career begins with Jim Jarmusch’s early features. Did you guys know each other from Ohio?

JIM STARK: No, I was a corporate lawyer in New York and had met his girlfriend Sara Driver, who’s also a filmmaker. She approached me, and I got involved in Stranger Than Paradise, which starred my 86-year-old grandmother, among other people. She plays Aunt Lotte. Some people think she steals the movie."

Read the entire interview here.

- Sujewa

Great article at Filmmaker about self-distributing a feature in rural areas

The article is by Jay Craven, writer/director of Disappearances. Craven talks about how a very small team took the film to 100 small towns, here is a segment of the article:

"That’s when I decided to launch a 100 Town Tour of the state. We needed cash, so while we waited for movie theaters to clear their schedules, we started playing town halls, granges and old opera houses. You can rent most of them for $50 and set up the show in less than an hour. And you take home all the cash at the end of the night.

My two-person staff is no stranger to self-distribution. Immediately after playing the 1994 Sundance Film Festival, we cycled my first feature film, Where the Rivers Flow North, to 212 U.S. venues over 51 weeks, helping to stimulate a healthy video release. But we’d never gone so deep into our home state."

Read the entire article here.

Day For Night blog points to text re: Jarmusch & independent film

Day For Night blog quotes a few paragraphs from Jonathan Rosenbaum's book Dead Man, which is about the Jarmusch film Dead Man . The quoted segment deals with the notion of independence in filmmaking as it is played out through the careers of Jarmusch and Tarantino. Check it out here. And just a side thought from myself: if it isn't already, Dead Man will eventually be considered one of the best/most important/valuable American movies of the 20th century by important people who make such lists & collections: AFI, Time magazine, the Library of Congress, etc. That's what I'm feeling.

DIY Film News Break: American Messiah review at Filmmaking for the Poor, DVD at Customflix :: Date Number One DVD coming in Feb!

Tired of hearing about Japanese financed, indiewood distributed Jim Jarmusch movies at this blog? Wanna hear about some ultra-low budget, self-distributed and excellent films? Then take a look at this long review I wrote of the yet-largely-undiscovered but well made & entertaining indie mockumentary The Proper Care & Feeding of an American Messiah. Flick's director Chris Hansen just announced that the DVD is available through Customflix. Check out the review! Buy the DVD! And we'll be back with more Jarmusch posts soon :), got 3 days left on the JJ blog-a-thon! :: And in other DIY DVD news, my well received (by the 500 or so audience members so far, including a half a dozen reviewers) flick Date Number One will definitely be available on DVD starting at some point in February (just a half a dozen more hours of work left on the DVD portion of the project) from the Wild Diner Store & a few other places, more on that DVD & the film very soon. Screening of DNO on 3/15 in Kensington, MD - many more screenings of the flick coming up in various US cities in '07, info. by March.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Dead Man's Gary Farmer to speak at Indiana University on 2/1/07

Read all about it here. Farmer speaks after a screening of Dead Man. Here is a segment of the press release: "Gary Farmer, a cultural activist, musician, citizen of the Cayuga Nation and an actor who has performed in more than 75 films and television shows -- including director Jim Jarmusch's Dead Man and the highly successful Smoke Signals -- will speak next Thursday (Feb. 1) at the opening night of the Native Film Series at Indiana University Bloomington." Read the rest here.

Dead Man review at The Film Vituperatem blog

So how's that for an interesting blog name? Complex name aside, The Film Vituperatem has an enthusiastic review of Jim Jarmusch's Dead Man, written for the Jarmusch blog-a-thon happening now. Here is a segment from the review: "Aftertaste: I have no idea what happened to Jim Jarmusch in the four years between Night On Earth and this. It's like he became an entirely different director. From two films about short stories with very little plot, to this deep tale of fate, rebirth, and spirituality. I have two more films to watch of his to complete my study of his works, and after having seen this and Ghost Dog, I'll tell you I'm completely stoked." Read the entire review here.

Esoteric Rabbit Blog joins the Jarmusch-a-thon with a Dead Man post

Check out the quote from a Dead Man review & a few excellent stills that illustrate the point at the Esoteric Rabbit Blog.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Night On Earth at Wikipedia

5 cabs, 5 cities, 1 night. Night On Earth is perhaps the last film in the initial mostly comedy wave that Jarmusch rode starting with Stranger Than Paradise. After this movie, Jarmusch movies became more serious, with Dead Man & Broken Flowers (not counting Coffee & Cigarettes, which I consider to be a long term side project, a B-sides type thing, but still funny & good at points, more on that flick later). Night On Earth is the first Jarmusch movie that I saw in a movie theater. It was a grand experience. I think some of the people in attendance at a theater in Chicago (I think, maybe DC, memory fuzzy on that item) clapped when they saw a tracking shot that looked like one of Jarmusch's famous sidewalk/road tracking shots from Down By Law or Mystery Train. This Wikipedia entry is a good introduction or a re-introduction to Night On Earth. The Brooklyn & Rome sections of that movie were truly hilarious. Being stuck in a cab for a long time is tiring at times, but still one of the best Jarmusch comedies; this and Down By Law maybe the funniest of all the Jarmusch movies. Will have a poster image for the flick tonight, when I am at the better computer. Also more writing & links on this film coming soon.

template change, LINKS will be back later today or early tomorrow

google's adsense was placing some undesirable ads in this blog (namely, an ad for what looked like an escort service) so i disabled the ads (yeah, we're wild, but not THAT wild :), which messed up the template, so i am going with this new template (i was getting tired of the old template anyway). will have to add the old links to this blog, be back later today or early tomorrow with more Jim Jarmusch posts & the links where they should be. thanks!

I was a Japanese prisoner: Screamin' Jay Hawkins in a YouTube clip


In the YouTube clip (not sure what show or doc this clip is from, if anyone knows, let me know, i wanna buy it or rent it) Screamin' Jay Hawkins (pictured - from Mystery Train. a song of his, i think the title is I Put A Spell On You, was introduced to a whole new audience through Jarmusch's Stranger Than Paradise, and of course Hawkins acted in Mystery Train) talks about being a POW in WWII, being tortured by the Japanese (is this a true story or a Tom Waits like act/made up story?). Also in the clip: Jarmusch talking about how Hawkins had a hard time, at first, working with the Japanese actors in Mystery Train. Very interesting clip. Check it out here.

- Sujewa

Ray Privett's Broken Flowers haiku

Read it here. Another JJ blog-a-thon post!

Forest Whitaker article at The Reeler


Here's what Ghost Dog star Forest Whitaker had to say about Jarmusch in the article: "I really liked working on [Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai]. It was different because it started different. Jim had an idea, and he would meet with me, and we would just talk for hours and hours about myth or about codes or about whatever. And we would do that a few times. Then he went away and wrote the script, came back and gave it to me. In his way, he felt it represented a part of me. That character to him is a symbolized way of how he perceived me." Read the whole article here. More Jarmusch posts coming all this week, as this is the JJ blog-a-thon week. And here is the IMDB page for Ghost Dog.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Mystery Train review from Washington Post


From 1990. Check it out here, good stuff re: my favorite of all of Jarmusch's movies.

Reid Rosefelt remembers Jim Jarmusch's Stranger Than Paradise breakthrough

Read the post here.

photo of Martin Scorsese and Jim Jarmusch in Silver Spring, Maryland

from an event, a Silverdocs discussion thing from last year i think, that i am still sorry about missing. check out the photo here.

photo of Jarmusch with a bunch of magnets

yeah, really. check it out here.

Link to "Ordinary Existence.../Boston Globe article" post

This is something I wrote earlier this month re: Jarmusch movies and a Boston Globe article from the Down By Law period ('86). Check it out here.

Jim Jarmusch's career summary (up to '02) and great interview at GreenCine

Here is a segment of the GreenCine article, published in November '02, written by Nina Rehfeld: "Mystery Train (1989) is Jarmusch's first film shot in color and his first experiment with time; Rashomon-like, to pull out the old cliché, the same story is told three times from three different points of view. Night on Earth (1991) is another formalistic experiment, dropping in on various taxi drivers on various spots of the globe in a single night.
In his 1996 review of Dead Man, Jonathan Rosenbaum called the film "as important as any new American movie I've seen in the 90s." Important enough to him to write a book about it, too. When 2000 rolled around, many critics included Dead Man on their best-of-the-decade lists. It was quite a departure for Jarmusch. A genre film, a Western; a period piece whose haunted pace is set by Neil Young's score. There was a certain sense natural progression, then, when Jarmusch's next film would be a portrait of Young and his band, Year of the Horse (1997)." Check out out the whole article here.

GreenCine Daily mentions the Jim Jarmusch blog-A-thon!

Thanks GreenCine Daily, best film blog around. Check out their post here. The blog-a-thon goes all week long, so let me know if you write something on Jarmusch or his movies, e-mail me at: wilddiner AT aol.com or leave a comment. Thanks!

What's He Filming In There writes about Broken Flowers



The Jim Jarmusch blog-a-thon is on baby, it's on! Cool film blogs that I have not seen before are writing about Jarmusch movies & linking to this blog re: the blog-a-thon. Most excellent.

Oh, it is officially January 22 now, so: HAPPY BIRTHDAY JIM! Here's hoping for a gazillion million more birthdays for ya & at least a few dozen more awesome movies from ya. U Rock 'cause U made (as far as i can tell, by making Stranger & its success) indie film as we know it possible (warts & indiewood & $undance & all, but still better than a lot of things in this crooked caravan of a world :), yup, the world is a better place - at least for some film geeks, maybe for a few more peeps, by you being here & doing what u do).

The blog What's He Filming In There writes lovingly about the Jarmusch film Broken Flowers. Check it out here.

Anyone else who posts anything about Jarmusch this week, let me know about it (wilddiner AT aol.com, or leave a comment), will link to it from here. Getting to know some new bloggers, chasing the cold winter blues away, hot chocolate style, oh yeah.

- Sujewa

an awesome '86 Washington Post review of Down By Law

check it out here. brings back some fond memories of the movie.

FilmFanatic reviews Down By Law


Just in time for Jim Jarmusch's b-day week celebration blogging festival/blog-a-thon/whatever, FilmFanatic has reviewed Down By Law. Check it out here.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

The Films of Jim Jarmusch, The Mystery of Stranger Than Paradise :: A post in celebration of Jarmusch's birthday on 1/22.


I saw the Jim Jarmusch movie Mystery Train for the first time in the winter of 1991, in late December I think, in cold cold Chicago. After watching it for the first time I was thrilled to have discovered an incredibly interesting & entertaining movie, a work of art that excelled on several filmmaking fronts, so I immediately popped the VHS tape back in and watched the movie again. That night and following morning I must have watched the movie at least four times. A few weeks earlier, in film school, they tried to show me Stranger Than Paradise but I was half asleep, not moved by what I was watching. But after seeing Mystery Train, Stranger Than Paradise and all other movies by Jarmusch (fiction features so far, post-film school: Stranger Than Paradise, Down By Law, Mystery Train, Night On Earth, Dead Man, Ghost Dog, Coffee and Cigarettes, Broken Flowers) took on a special meaning, value, and glow. So that winter Jarmusch became my favorite filmmaker and Mystery Train my favorite film. About 16 years later, those things have not changed (except Amelie shares the favorite film spot w/ MT now). Jarmusch movies have rarely failed to offer something interesting to watch, experience or think about. Above all, Jarmusch movies offer a trasnsformative window that encourages me to take another look at ordinary existence and to look for special moments. A very valuable thing for me as an artist, an ultra-low budget indie filmmaker, and overall as a human being who must navigate existence on a complex and busy America & Earth.

STRANGER THAN PARADISE or Why Does This Movie Work!?!

Stranger Than Paradise was well received by the Cannes Film Festival in 1984 - winning the Camera d'Or award - and subsequently became a US critics favorite, a low budget/no star success, and a reliable source of inspiration for a generation or two of independent filmmakers thus far. Most people reading this blog will no doubt be familiar with the slim plot of Stranger: A man - Willie (John Lurie) - leads a low key existence in New York, his cousin Eva (Eszter Balint) visits from Hungary, stays with Willie for a while, and then, a year later, Willie and his more talkative but perhaps less bright friend Eddie (Richard Edson) visit Eva in Cleveland, and then the three take a road trip to Florida where the tale ends with gambling at dog races and missed connections at the airport. There isn't much dialogue in the film. For the most part the audience watches the camera observe settings where nothing much happens. The cinematography is in black and white, low rent and charming. The counterpoint to the many passionless-on-the-surface or slow moving, not-much-happening aspects of the movie's world comes from a passionate song by Screaming Jay Hawkins, who howls that he's put a spell on you.

After falling in love with Stranger I showed it to a friend of mine and we almost ended up having a fist fight because he felt that the movie was an utter waste of time. So why does Stranger work so well for some but completely not for others? What is the magical power of this movie that has held the attention & memory of a small but important number of passionate movie fans world wide for over two decades? Some of the reasons maybe: 1. people were/are tired of the typical storytelling methods of Hollywood & television, and Stranger showed another way of looking at the world & existence through movies - where even if not much happens, and even if whatever little that was happening was not important in any sort of a larger societal way, that those little things - moments of life lived - can still be interesting, even enjoyable, and thus are valuable, 2. seeing familiar characters in an unusual setting, in a foreign film type frame, may have made it easier for some people to open themselves up to foreign films, arty foreign films, thus Stranger could have served as a bridge to discovering a whole new world of cinema for some, 3. the simplicity and the implied honesty of the movie is appealing, even though the characters in the film do not say anything important directly, the way the movie presents minor things as important in a matte-of-fact way, and often with humor - reflects an appealing humanistic; concerned with human existence and valuing it - world view of its creator, and 4. Stranger clearly announced the existence of both a new, important talent in American film - Jarmusch - perhaps the second most important American independent film director since the birth of that branch of the art form (the first being John Cassavetes), and the birth of a new wave in American indie film or at least the maturity, in terms of commercial prospects & critical response, of the independent filmmaking movement/practice up to that point, plus maybe - 5. people were able to see something of themselves reflected in the movie, for better or for worse.

In the year of its release Stranger was able to hold its own as a remarkable creative work against foreign art films and domestic/Hollywood films - which appears to have been a rare accomplishment for an American independent film in the early 1980's. 23 years after it appeared on US movie screens, Stranger remains an important work of film art that still inspires new filmmakers and continues to pleasantly surprise certain audience members who discover the film's familiar and alien beauty for the first time.

- Sujewa

Date Number One World Premiere Yellow T-Shirt


on sale at the cafepress store now. features ad art featured in washington city paper for the may 2006 world premiere of the film. features name of story 1 star john stabb schroeder. art drawn by director sujewa ekanayake.

Coming up at this blog

After this coming week - which is the Jim Jarmusch birthday week & thus the week of the JJ Blog-a-Thon (should other bloggers decide to post some Jarmusch items), I will be writing less about general film/indie film/other stuff and writing only when a relevant Date Number One or another Wild Diner Films news item comes up. This should give me more time to get lost in the new script and also put more energy into Date Number One distribution and of course get more done at the day job - which helps with film stuff & the overall life maintenance/quality of life project. That's the latest direction for the blog. But first, something about Jim Jarmusch, coming later today!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Interview with Gordy Hoffman

Gordy Hoffman


Interview with Gordy Hoffman: screenwriter of Love Liza, director of the feature A Coat of Snow, USC cinema professor, & the founder of the BlueCat Screenplay Competition (& the brother of an actor you may have heard of).

Sujewa: Hi Gordy, thanks for taking some time out for this interview. In your 2005 Locarno Film Festival selected feature A Coat of Snow you did not use professional camera operators. Why did you do that? How were the results? How did the audiences, including reviewers & critics, respond to the cinematography of that movie?

Gordy: By having the actors carry the camera, the story was decidedly more emotionally authentic. They did a great job. We did have a great cinematographer, Dave McFarland, who chose locations with existing light. We have an amazingly well lit movie for one shot with our parameters of camera and budget. Some audience members do get sick!

Sujewa: What is the current status of A Coat of Snow? More festivals or other screenings coming up? Theatrical? TV? DVD availability?

Gordy: We have no distribution, but we have a few more screenings this year, Denver, Boston perhaps. We’re wrapping it up.

Sujewa: I want to check out the movie when I get a chance - maybe at a festival, screening or eventually on DVD. On to the BlueCat Screenplay Contest, how did that get started?

Gordy: BlueCat was started in 1998, back in the Bronze Age of screenplay contests. As a writer who had submitted to a few competitions, I wanted to start my own from the perspective of what I wanted out of a competition. This sentiment drives the mission of BlueCat to this day.

Sujewa: Does it feel strange to be a screenwriter yourself & also produce a screenwriting contest? Do you get involved in picking winners?

Gordy: I pick the winners. It doesn’t feel strange at all. You wouldn’t want a lawyer judging your screenplay, would you? I love judging the contest as it teaches me and teaches me. It’s very rewarding reading the special scripts.

Sujewa: Have the careers of previous BlueCat winners been positively affected by participation in BlueCat? Or, what are they up to now - have any of the scripts been produced?

Gordy: Our 2005 winner, GARY THE TENNIS COACH, recently wrapped shooting in Austin, directed by Gary Leiner and starring Seann William Scott. It will be in theaters this year. Two years ago, it was a file sitting in a harddrive in Nebraska. Then they submitted it to BlueCat. Now, our 2006 winner, HYUNG’S OVERTURE, is in pre-production.

Sujewa: On your resume it says that you spent some time in my current stomping grounds - Washington "City of Luv" D.C. Can you talk about your DC days? Or was it too traumatic to revisit?

Gordy: I love DC. I just went back for a screenwriting conference, I hope to screen A COAT OF SNOW at the DC Independent Film Festival. I wrote my first play in DC, in Adams Morgan. This is where I first wrote dialogue.

Sujewa: Is your brother (Philip Seymour Hoffman) constantly bugging you to let him act in your movies? :)

Gordy: We try to be brothers, and let everyone else do the bugging.

Sujewa: And now, the easy/non-film industry related question; in 4 parts: how do you feel about this world? Are things getting better for humans or are they getting worse? Will we discover the secret to physical immortality soon? Can screenwriters & filmmakers change the world for the better (with or without Hollywood & Indiewood's help)?

Gordy: I think we’re in trouble, with the war and the climate, but I have a lot of hope we will get through this. So it’s getting worse, but it will get better. We are not doomed. I hope we don’t discover how to stay alive forever. What an awful thing that would be. And yes, we can make the world a better place. Look at Borat!!

Sujewa: What's it like teaching film at USC? Is it awesome or is it not so great most of the time? How do you deal with students who think that they are the next Charlie Kaufman, but may or may not have the skills to support that perception?

Gordy: Teaching is great, as I am taught by the experience, and my writing stays alive and vital. I make pictures first and foremost, and teaching is a way of reminding me of that, and passing on what I struggled to find. You can learn things in film school.

Sujewa: Are you planning on directing anything in the near future?

Gordy: Yes, I have a digital project I want to shoot this year. Cross your fingers.

Thanks Gordy!

- Sujewa

Help Date Number One star & excellent DC actor Steve Lee get into LiveMansion The Movie


Go vote for Steve!
Steve says he is in the top 3 & that he needs everyone's help to get to the next round.
Here's some info. on LiveMansion. They are an on-line creative community that is producing a movie at the moment. Go read more here.
And then vote for Steve here.
Thanks! Steve did an excellent job in Date Number One, so it will be very cool to see him in other movies.
- Sujewa

Friday, January 19, 2007

Date Number One World Premiere Magnet from CafePress





















one of several DNO merch items that are on sale now here.

$s from the sales will help with getting this fine flick distributed.

Date Number One MERCH at CafePress!

In a fun effort to raise some of that most necessary cash for this year's Date Number One distribution efforts, I created a CafePress store for the flick's merchandise. Check out the store here & support the flick by doing some shopping. So far we've got a lovely yellow t-shirt with b&w art, a coffee mug, button & magnets, and an '07 calendar. I used the World Premiere ad art from May '06 (pictured) for this line of DNO merch products. Check it out! (& let me know if there are other nifty DNO products that you would like to see, (the DVD is coming very soon - early '07/winter '07 definitely)). T h a n k s!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The GoodTimesKid sounds interesting

Go to this New York Times page to see a segment from a Matt Zoller Seitz review of the film The GoodTimesKid. Flick sounds interesting, will have more about it soon.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Cinetastic Washington

Today I started a new blog called Cinetastic Washington to write about all manner of film events happening in the Washington, DC area. Check it out here, got 4 posts there already!
If you've got some film thing going on in the DC area (screenings, fests, productions, etc.), let me know (comment or e-mail to wilddiner AT aol.com), maybe I'll write about it at the new blog.

Next DATE NUMBER ONE Screening: March 15 at Kensington Row Bookshop
































DATE NUMBER ONE
a comedy about several first dates
a movie by sujewa ekanayake
Thu March 15
8 PM
Kensington Row Bookshop
a capital city microcinema event
3786 Howard Ave.,
Kensington, MD 20895
301.949.9416
$5
running time: 115 mins.

About Date Number One:

A ninja, a woman who always uses air quotes, a writer who is working on an easy manual for saving the world, and other relatively ordinary Washington, DC area characters discover the seemingly epic drama, tragedy and the humor of being on a first date. The dates include an attempt at having a first date by previous lovers who could not make the whole romantic relationship thing work the first time around, and the playing out of an elaborate plan to expand the regular boundaries of a relationship by adding a third partner. The film has been found to be witty, funny & sexy.

Here are some reactions to Date Number One by a few people who watch a lot of movies (and sometimes get paid to write about movies):

"Date Number One is quite funny...twentysomethings and occasional thirtysomethings looking for romance recall Richard Linklater's philosopher slackers and Jim Jarmusch's minimalist attention to conversation...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
http://chutry.wordherders.net/archives/005873.html
*
"I found the characters and the premise sexy, sexy, sexy."
- Jerry Brewington, Hollywood Is Talking blog, on Story 2 of Date Number One http://hollywoodistalking.com/Blog/508/
*
"...witty...often inventive...and, even better, airy: characters are given time and space to spell out their views...views that never bear the artificial markings of a Hollywood screenwriter's compulsion to reduce them to sound-bites."
- David Hudson, Editor, GreenCine Daily blog http://daily.greencine.com/archives/002353.html
*
"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
http://diyfilmmaker.blogspot.com/2006/05/interview-with-seattle-audience-member.html
*
"Heartfelt...poignant...I loved it!"
- Jon Moritsugu, award winning filmmaker


SCREENED IN New York City's Pioneer Theater * Seattle's Northwest Film Forum * Washington, DC's Goethe-Institut & Warehouse Screening Room* Kensington, Maryland's Kensington Row Bookshop/Capital City Microcinema * Takoma Park, Maryland's Sangha IN 2006

Monday, January 15, 2007

Anyone self-distributing any interesting ultra-indie/high quality/low budget movies this year? Lemme know.


Image: Ninja & blind date from Date Number One. Copyright 2006 Sujewa Ekanayake/Wild Diner Films

d.i.y. 2007? All the upcoming movies from Hollywood & indiewood are kind of interesting, but not as interesting as ultra-low budget, self-distributed D.I.Y. film action - as we saw in '06 with several projects, including Head Trauma, Mutual Appreciation, Jumping Off Bridges, etc. It's like watching far away fireworks (h-wood & i-wood stuff) vs. eating a small well backed yummy cake with a nice cup of coffee at a well lit & colorful all night diner with some fine company/good conversation/eye candy/hot possibilities and good music (high quality, ultra-low budget, self-distributed diy stuff).

I am getting myself & Date Number One ready for a whole bunch of DVD & theatrical distribution action this spring. Details on the DNO distro action coming soon/this month.

We should also be able to see Amir Motlagh's first feature Whale at some point this year, around May - June I think.

If anyone else has or knows about any interesting ultra-indie, low budget self distributed movies for '07, leave a comment or send me an e-mail, will look into those projects & perhaps write about them this year. 'cause we will no doubt hear an endless amount about the H-wood & i-wood movies, so gotta make some room for the ultra-indie (quality ultra-indie stuff) to keep my media universe in balance & moving forward.

maybe i'll start things off with checking out what's coming up at the ever reliable real indie theater Pioneer in NYC.

i guess i should also get my lazy butt over to the AFI Silver before 1/18 to check Inland Empire out. for diy distro solidarity if not for much else.

silencio (or whatever that crazy lady said at the end of Mulholland Drive). '07 could be awesome.
- sujewa

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Eagle vs. Shark coming to theaters in June from Miramax

Maybe they already had the distribution deal in place before they got involved with Sundance. Either way, the Sundance bound film Eagle vs. Shark is to be released by Miramax on June 1, according to this LA Times article.

Also coming this year: Alien vs. Predator 2! (i saw the 1st A vs. P twice - it both sucked & was good), also a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle movie!!! (& along with the Transformers movie, this year is a definite flashback to my 80's toy/comic/movie obsessions - only thing missing is a G.I. Joe movie). Read about the coming films at this article.

Thanks GreenCine Daily for the link. '07 looks like its gonna be a good year at the movies. Specially since Date Number One will be playing at some fine venues around the country :), details coming soon.

- Sujewa

Idiocracy funny. Why no lots in theaters? Fox.

I just watched Mike Judge's movie Idiocracy on DVD. I would have checked it out at the movie theater last year but it never came here to DC (as far as I know) or if it did play here, it was for a tiny bit of time and not with much advertising (otherwise I would have heard about it/would have had a chance to check it out). Who knows what happened? But the movie is very funny, a smarty Hollywood comedy, well made, & well acted by the lead Luke Wilson & the rest of the cast.

In Idiocracy an Army librarian (Wilson) is placed in hibernation and he wakes up 500 years from now to find out that he is the smartest man on the planet. Then he must first try to stay out of jail and then try to win a presidential pardon by solving all of mankind's problems (the authorities find out that he is the smartest man alive). There are lots of small funny things to discover in this movie - including a time traveling prostitute role played by Maya Rudolph, but nothing too controversial - although, thinking too much about the movie may lead some audience members to not so happy conclusions about the current world and where things may be headed. I did not see any technical problems with the image or the sound. Tech problems were one of the reasons mentioned by a couple of writers in '06 for the limited theatrical release of the movie. Maybe Fox corrected the tech issues for the DVD release.

If you want a well made, intelligent and silly, and most importantly an actually funny Hollywood comedy, check out Idiocracy. I am sure, in time, Idiocracy will come close to being as big a home entertainment hit as Office Space - the other theatrically under appreciated Judge movie. The Idiocracy DVD should be available now through all major rental & retail outlets.

Further reading: Village Voice on Idiocracy, including the suppression controversy (but be warned, the Voice article takes the movie a little too seriously).


- Sujewa

TV on the Telephone

The Chutry Experiment blog told me about this article on the Sci-Fi channel tech blog, about TV on Verizon phones. Here's a segment from the article:

"Verizon unveiled their new VCast Mobile TV service here at CES this week, delivering streaming, live television to cell phones in the U.S. for the first time."

Read the rest of the article here.

- Sujewa

Friday, January 12, 2007

low budget filmmaking tips at $1000 Spielberg blog

$1000 Spielberg blog chronicles events related to the making of an ultra low budget movie. Recent posts there have talked about screenwriting, directing, producing and cine/video-graphy items that would be useful to ultra-low budget filmmakers. Check out the $1000 Spielberg blog to see if you find anything interesting.

Re: Jarmusch's b-day being in Jan

To me it is somewhat very appropriate that Jim Jarmusch's birthday falls in late, well, the start of the late period, early 20's (1/22), January. 'cause over here in DC area January is cold winter (usually), not much is happening, streets are usually emptier than in other parts of the year (just as in movies by you know who). But January is a very important month, the first month of the year, a month that is both the definite end of the previous year and the definite beginning of the new year. This, to me, feels like a good month for Jarmusch's birthday, since January has some qualities that Jarmusch movies have. Just a fleeting thought.

- Sujewa

The Reeler mentions the Jim Jarmusch Blog-a-Thon

Today I started working on my hopefully rather large post re: Jarmusch movies, for 1/22, for the Jim Jarmusch Blog-a-Thon (goes all week, for all you busy bloggers out there, write something about Jarmusch that week & let me know & I'll mention it here & will link to it - thanks!). The NYC cinema blog The Reeler mentioned the Blog-a-Thon recently. Here's what The Reeler said:

" --Bloggers unite! Or whatever it is we do: DIY filmmaking guru Sujewa Ekayanake proposes a Jim Jarmusch blog-a-thon in honor of the director's forthcoming 54th birthday Jan. 22. I'll have my hands full, but I figure someone around here might be able to pull something together."

(btw, Reeler misspelled my last name, it's Ekanayake (not -yana-), easy enough mistake though, that's a tough one for non-Sri Lankans I bet :)

Check it & other Reeler stuff here.

Thanks Reeler!

- Sujewa

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Update on Adrienne Shelly's film Waitress

Check it out here at the Risky Biz blog.

- Sujewa

Switched to the new Blogger

Blogger has been bugging me for weeks to switch to the NEW Blogger. Switched yesterday. Apparently the new Blogger comes with new stuff, have not explored them yet. As a result of the switch some stuff may be disrupted for a bit: RSS feeds, etc. - check on things on your end if the WDF blog posts are not showing up where they should, thanks! And that's the latest from the tech department.

- Sujewa

Conversation with A Scanner Darkly producer Tommy Pallotta

Lance Weiler talks with Tommy Pallotta, producer of Richard Linklater directed film A Scanner Darkly. Check it out here.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Ghost Dog at Film Society of Lincoln Center

Alright, another chance to plug a Jarmusch project during the Jim Jarmusch Birthday Month/January.

Jarmusch's Ghost Dog at Film Society of Lincoln Center as a part of On Screen: Forest Whitaker program, which runs Jan 19 & Jan 20.

Here is the info. from the Film Society of Lincoln Center's site:

" Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai, Jim Jarmusch, 1999; 116m. Whitaker is superb as a hit man for the mob who lives his life according to the code of the Japanese samurai. When one of his hits goes awry, he is marked for death, leading to a war of old school philosophies. One of Jim Jarmusch’s best directing efforts."

Buy tix here.

- Sujewa

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Am I really going to watch a 3 hour David Lynch movie that does not have a clear plot? :: INLAND EMPIRE @ AFI Silver 1/12 on, Lynch in person Sun 1/14

Aspects of David Lynch's INLAND EMPIRE project sounds good: shot on DV, self-distributed. Other aspects that I have heard about are not so hot: no plot (in any conventional sense), even less clear than Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (i walked out of that movie half way in, at a dollar theater!), and it is 3 hours long. In 3 hours I can watch two 90 minute movies, or do some editing or writing, or work at my day job & earn some money. INLAND EMPIRE is going to play Sat 1/14 at the local movie theater AFI Silver in Silver Spring, MD. With Lynch in attendance. The tickets cost $15. So am I going to enjoy INLAND EMPIRE? Is it worth my time & money? I don't know. I guess it is a one of a kind movie. Maybe I'll go. Now I need to find someone to go with (at the first ask, no one I know was excited about going to see IE). Maybe I'll see if Manohla Dargis is free - I think she liked the movie, she called it art.

UPDATE - a couple of hours later;
The 7:30 PM 1/14 AFI Silver show of INLAND EMPIRE, w/ Lynch in person, has sold out (and that's at like a 400 some seat theater)! Silver has added an 11:30 PM screening, with Lynch introducing the show.

NOTE: INLAND EMPIRE opens on Jan 12 at AFI Silver for an "exclusive limited run" (so far the flick is set to play through 1/18 - last day for the moment?, see calendar here).

Monday, January 08, 2007

Eagle vs. Shark destined to become a Sundance 07 success story & make million$ if...

If the movie is as entertaining as the photo and the interview on this indieWIRE page, then Eagle vs. Shark is going to be a huge, Sundance 07 backed, indiewood hit (i could, however, be wrong, but am looking forward to seeing this flick). You read it here first ladies & gentlemen. Can't go wrong with smarty indie kinda rom-commy flicks with lead characters in silly costumes, as my grandma was fond of saying back in the early 40's in Sri Lanka.

Eagle vs. Shark director Taika Waititi's definition of indie film is both prophetic and prophylactic:

indieWIRE: "What is your definition of "independent film?"

Taika Waititi: "My definition of "Independent Film" is a film which doesn't take any shit from any other film. It's independent, it's not gonna listen to your film or that big, rich film over there... No way, this film is gonna do what it wants. If it wants to go out and get a job then it can. It it wants to vote, that's cool. This film is gonna pay its own way, and it doesn't need your charity, so go back to the hills and swim in your infinity pool 'cause this film is hanging down here in the film ghetto."

:) Sweet.

Read the entire iW interview here.

- Sujewa

On YouTube: Tom Waits/"It's Alright With Me" music video by Jarmusch

Here's the link. Shot in black & white (video i think, maybe Hi-8), ghostly, fun. I heard the music video is made up of practice/rough draft footage that Jarmusch shot while he was scouting locations & prepping to shoot the video on film, which ended up not happening. I think the original song is by Cole Porter (i could be very wrong on that one). Check it out.

- Sujewa

Jordan Carlos on the joys of being an African-American comedian

The Blogger spell check feature is not working at the computer I am writing this at, so excuse any spelling errors until I get to my regular computer later today. But anyway:

There is definitely a good idea for an indie movie in this Post article. Not just a movie, not a hollywood movie (they would try to make it too broad & mess it up i think), but a good indie movie (maybe a Curb Your Enthusiasm type/fake-varite approach); NYC based comedian and actor Jordan Carlos (MySpace) wrote an essay for the Washington Post (as a part of the Posts' multi-part feature about being a Black male in America) about being a Black comedian who does not fit certain stereotypes. Here is the introduction to the essay (the whole thing is good reading, features a Colbert Report guest appearance in it):

"Casting directors can be anxious creatures. In their zeal to find the right actor for a part they often use shorthand to explain what they want. "More Chris Rock! Less Cosby!" or "Can you play it with lots of energy and attitude?" (That's code for "black it up.") Sometimes I wish they'd come right out and ask if any actors in the waiting room can break dance while spinning a chicken wing on their finger like a basketball. But I am a young comedian and actor, and until I get my big break I have to take such jabs in stride."

And:

"Like an idiot, I quit my job and plunged headlong into performing, going on auditions and doing comedy sets at rathole clubs. I battle it out for black roles with black men in auditions conducted strictly by white people. White people who look you over and examine your body, your hair, your teeth. No, the casting director didn't enslave my ancestors, but it doesn't mean you can't be aware that black people don't take too kindly to close inspection of their bodies by white eyes."

Read the rest of the essay here.

And if you like that story (and you've got the producing skills & tools), think about working with Carlos and turning his story into a nice little indie comedy. Feel free to send me some tickets to the premiere if it all works out :)

- Sujewa

Tryin' to get into a post-holiday jazzy productive groove

Hmmm, here's what the upcoming week lookes like: day job work/FT - got bills to pay, Date Number One DVD creation (!deadline 1/15 IS NEAR!!!), preparing for the Jim Jarmusch Blog-a-Thon (happening the week of 1/22 - JJ's b-day), getting the room organized (that item has been postponed all 2006 long, time to tackle it now), some family & friends visits, general maintanace stuff (sleep, communing with the UFO dudes, etc.), working on the new screenplay (hung out with star Jen B. a couple of nights ago, got some interesting ideas for possible stuff for her character's story in the new flick), I think that's about it. Talk to ya soon/when something interesting happens or happens to come past my eyes.

- Sujewa

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Jim Jarmusch's notes for a Ghostbusters sequel

From McSweeney's. :)

Jarmusch B-day month post 3: Ordinary existence is enough, Boston Globe article from Down By Law period

January is Jim Jarmusch's birthday month so much of my blogging this month will be regarding the director and his films. I am encouraging other bloggers to join me in the festivities the week of Jarmusch's b-day - the week that contains Jan. 22 - and blog something about Jarmusch - so that an old fashioned Blog-a-Thon may happen. This is my post #3 re: Jarmusch this month. See post 2 and post 1 by scrolling down.

Ordinary Existence Is Enough

What is the subtext of Jarmusch movies (specially the earliest one to contain his mature style - Stranger Than Paradise)? What relatively invisible thing draws the fans back over and over to Jarmusch's movies. I say relatively invisible because usually not much happens in a typical film fashion in Jarmush movies. Even far less than in Seinfeld, a show famous for being a show "about nothing". One attractive thing might be the fact that Jarmusch movies - specially Stranger Than Paradise and Mystery Train, also Night On Earth to a certain degree, makes ordinary existence, the in-between, rushed through, quickly forgotten moments that make up much of most of our days, sacred. The message delivered by American television and most American movies & media is that those who are successful and wealthy and are the powerful people in society or are celebrities are living a better life then you, but there are a few things we can sell you to make your life like theirs - to make your life better. But a movie like Stranger Than Paradise says the opposite: interesting things happen to completely un-interesting (by mainstream media standards) people, and that ordinary existence is enough, or that it may even be plenty. This quality that I attribute to Jarmusch movies is something that keeps bringing me back to his work. I believe that there are many among his fans who might share my view. In a victory worshiping, wealth worshipping nation/culture (not that there is anything wrong with that, i'd much rather live in a place obsessed with victory and wealth instead of loss/death/the glorious past and poverty) Jarmusch movies offers a break - a chance to catch my breath.

Boston Globe Article

A segment from a Boston Globe article, about Jarmusch's life around 1986, the year of Down By Law's (link to an Amazon page for Criterion's DVD, check out the New Orleans/Katrina related comment in Customers Reviews, btw - that Criterion DVD of the flick is excellent - lots of cool extras),(IMDB) release:

"Although Jarmusch has been, uh, visible, since the success of "Stranger Than Paradise," he doesn't like to think it's changed him much. At 33, the prematurely gray filmmaker from Akron by way of Columbia University still dresses in New Wave black, still remains close to the New Wave music scene, although the group with which he played, the Del-Byzanteens, has dissolved. When he won the Camera d'or award at Cannes in 1984, the prize was an actual camera, valued at $25,000. It sat in US Customs for months because Jarmusch didn't have the $2,000 he needed to pay the duty. He's since ransomed the camera."

Read the rest of the article here.

- Sujewa

Saturday, January 06, 2007

GreenCine Daily mentions the call for the Jim Jarmusch Blog-a-Thon

Thanks a lot GreenCine Daily (best film blog around). Check out the mention here, on the very top of the page! Here's the link for the call for the Jim Jarmusch Blog-a-Thon, which I posted yesterday. Let's make it happen during the week of January 22nd (JJ's b-day): 1/21 - 1/27. Let me know if you post any Jarmusch items for the event, or at any point this month - leave a comment. Thanks!

Jim Jarmusch's birthday month is January - Blog-A-Thon? (perhaps on the week of 1/22 (JJ's b-day)?)

Indie film, as we know it, probably would not have happened when it happened without Jim Jarmusch's Stranger Than Paradise becoming the unexpected success that it became around 1984. So let's show some appreciation. Jarmusch's birthday, according to this Wikipedia article, is on January 22. If anyone wants to join me in a Blog-A-Thon that week & post something about Jarmusch on your blog, let me know. I'll link to posts here. Thanks!

- Sujewa

The True Economy of Skin?

You may have read about the porn industry making billions of dollars. But this Boing Boing article indicates that those figures may not be accurate. Thanks Hollywood Is Talking for the link.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Date Number One will screen in DC, LA (& hopefully NYC) this Spring






Pictured: John Stabb Schroeder (ninja), Jewel Greenberg, Dele Williams, Cory Seznec, Shervin Boloorian, Christine D. Lee from Date Number One.
Photos Copyright 2006 Sujewa Ekanayake/Wild Diner Films

There are LOTS of details to be worked out still, good thing we are only on January 5th at the moment. But, thanks to a couple of friends, some LA screenings are being set up for late March or early April. I am working on some DC screenings for March & April (& working on creating THE FINAL version of the film, after which there will be no mo editing on that thing fo evah). I may get some much-more-experienced-than-I-in-indie-film-distro folks to help me with NYC screenings (definitely want to do at least a week there this year) - hopefully in February I'll know about NYC/DNO/Spring '07 theatrical. DC, NYC & LA are the three early theatrical screening goals in '07 for DNO. After that, as many places in the US as possible (& maybe some fests & screenings in other countries if the opportunities arise). That's what's going on with DNO theatrical right now - lots of planning & slowly getting things set up for Spring.

Here are some positive takes on Date Number One, from 2006 screenings & screeners:

"...witty...often inventive...and, even better, airy: characters are given time and space to spell out their views...views that never bear the artificial markings of a Hollywood screenwriter's compulsion to reduce them to sound-bites."
- David Hudson, Editor, GreenCine Daily blog
http://daily.greencine.com/archives/002353.html
*
"Date Number One is quite funny...twentysomethings and occasional thirtysomethings looking for romance recall Richard Linklater's philosopher slackers and Jim Jarmusch's minimalist attention to conversation...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
http://chutry.wordherders.net/archives/005873.html
*
"The film is about as charming as they come...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. "
- Michael Tully, Rotterdam & SXSW film festivals selected filmmaker
http://blogs.indiewire.com/tully/archives/010529.html
*
"I found the characters and the premise sexy, sexy, sexy."
- Jerry Brewington, Hollywood Is Talking blog, on Story 2 of Date Number One
http://hollywoodistalking.com/Blog/508/
*
"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
http://diyfilmmaker.blogspot.com/2006/05/interview-with-seattle-audience-member.html
*
"Heartfelt...poignant...I loved it!"
- Jon Moritsugu, award winning filmmaker

music to make you feel normal :: aaron leitko on tom waits's latest at washington city paper

things are bad but they are almost always worse for Tom Waits's characters. he's back with a whole lot of stories of lowlifes, rejects, and other assorted lively characters it sounds like in this Washington City Paper review of his latest release Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards.

Here is a bit from the review:

" On his take on Lead Belly’s “Ain’t Goin’ Down to the Well” (a Brawler), an unsteady tambourine keeps time as Waits does rhythm fills with his voice, coughing the lines “Ain’t going down/Mama to the well/Mama to the well...no more” like Cookie Monster on an oxygen machine. There are no guitar solos, just amped-up spiritual uncertainty and sin. “Lie to Me” (another Brawler) finds Waits paying homage to Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. Here Waits’ voice quivers with bluesy swagger and rare jittery energy as he begs his lover to “Slap me baby/Give me your grief/I have no use for the truth.” "

i will need to get some of Orphans, yes i will.

and that's one well written article Aaron Leitko, that's how art reviews should be done (of course if all artists are as good as Waits, the job would be easy). anyway, good job on the article, it's reading that fills ya up like a hearty meal.

must...listen...to...cd...

- sujewa

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Washington Post article about the "time traveling" Ethiopian born Israeli actor Sirak Sabahat, star of Live and Become :: Sabahat at Avalon tonight

Sirak Sabahat, who immigrated from Ethiopia to Israel at age 12, is the lead actor of the Israeli movie Live and Become. Here is a little bit from a Washington Post article , about the actor & his family's first trip to Israel:

" They walked and walked, until they boarded what they thought was a giant bird, but what was really a time machine taking them, quite literally, to the Promised Land.

Israel. Circa 1991.

There, the travelers encountered not a land of milk and honey but a place of telephones and TV sets, of porcelain contraptions called toilets and white people who claimed to be Jews, too."

Read the fascinating article here.

Live and Become has been playing in Washington, DC's Avalon theater for several weeks. Sabahat appears for the 7:50 PM screening & the post-screening discussion tonight at the Avalon, get more info. here.

Here is a little bit about the film:

" Live and Become is the emotional story of one boy's chance survival amidst the Ethiopian famine of the mid-1980s. A mother conspires to place her seven year old non-Jewish son with a group of Falashas (Ethiopian Jews) bound for Israel as part of "Operation Moses." Her parting words to her child are that he should never tell anyone his true identity. And so, the child (Sirak Sabahat) grows up pretending to be both Jewish and an orphan in modern Israel, where he embraces Judaism and Western values but also feels the sting of racism. Though he maintains his secret, the tension between his truth and the reality of his situation builds to an emotional climax." - Washington Jewish Film Festival

Awards:
WINNER of 16 Awards for Best Picture!
2005 Washington Jewish Film Festival
2005 DC Filmfest • Runner Up
Audience Award - 2005 Berlin International
Best Writing - 2005 César Awards
(Nominated for 4 César Awards)

Matt Zoller Seitz is writing for the New York Times

Pretty cool development I think...even we all the way over here in DC get that newspaper! Congratulations Matt! Here is the link to a recent article by Mr. Seitz, in the NYT.

Matt is the founder & a frequent contributor to The House Next Door - a good film blog, and an indie film director ("Home"), and he used to write for the New York Press newspaper and I think a couple of entertainment related publications.

At his blog Matt describes his current work for the Times (from a Comment at this post): "For now it's looking like two or three short reviews a week, with a possibility of doing longer essays or features if they like what they see."

It will be fun to see the name of (and the writing of) someone I know from the blog world when I open up the NYT on some days.

- Sujewa

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

These two humans are gonna be in my next movie as leads (2 of many), new script update, DNO DVD update :: Mekas's '07 short #2













pictured: Jennifer Blakemore, me (Sujewa Ekanayake)
photos copyright 2007 sujewa ekanayake/wild diner films

I need to get some good recent photos (another thing for that '0l '07 2 do list) of myself (the hair hasn't been punkdyed for years now). New Movie Update: working on the script, I think I have a title, the film is gonna have multiple, interconnected stories, with several leads (Date Number One style). I have not acted in a movie since like '98, looking forward to acting again, this time with the conveniences of digital video & its gift of multiple, multiple takes (for a review of my acting in my ill-fated '99 released feature Wild Diner, go here ("at times perfect for the role, at times not so much..." - Amir Motlagh), we shot that feature on 16 MM, w/ pretty much a 1 to 1 shooting ratio, in pretty much one weekend - not a good idea, too many things were rushed, I've "suppressed" that movie - will probably put it out on DVD in late '07 w/ some other early movies of mine). Anyway, back to what's been written so far on the new film's script (i decided to write a new script from scratch instead of using one of my older, unproduced scripts, it is more fun this way): the story with me & Jen will focus on a conversation. I've had some wild, hilarious & at times infuriating conversations with Jen over the last couple of years, so those will be a starting point for our story. All in all I think there will be 4 or 5 separate stories in the new movie/Untitled January 07 Project or the UJ07P. Heavy work on this new movie should commence as soon as the Date Number One DVD is out/available for purchase. I am thinking around 1/15. Aside from the "conversation with Jen" story, I have several good ideas for other stories (did a bunch of writing today at IHOP Wheaton, I like writing in well lit, relatively empty restaurants - like IHOP & Tastee Diner Silver Spring on weeknights, on paper, with pen, not the laptop/computer for the early phases of writing), but more work is necessary before they can be fully chosen. I came up with the unifying concept for the movie/the several stories today, but will wait to announce that & the title until after the script is finished. Hopefully this new movie will meet its audience in early Spring, on some screens & on DVD, which is a lot faster than it took DNO to get out to the world. This year is gonna be (hopefully): 2007, The Year of Much Productivity on the Filmmaking Front. 2006, The Year of Self-Distribution, has given me a lot of energy & hope, now that I know I am able to deliver my movies to the audience (at least on a very limited basis, but distribution nevertheless :). This new feature is gonna have awesome cine/video-graphy & excellent sound. I got the screenwriting & directing thing down pretty well (for the needs of the moment), now I will be doing a lot of cinematography/videography & sound recording skillz buildin', prep & tests before I shoot the new feature - need to see improvements in those technical areas. Work continues on the DNO DVD; should have the final version of the movie on DVD by this weekend, and after some paper work gets finished, should be able to make it available for sale around 1/15, from the Wild Diner Store & other avenues. Stay tuned.

::

And check out Jonas Mekas's short film # 2 of '07 (Mekas is raising the productivity bar! watch out - !365 shorts in 365 days!!!), each day's film is available for free on that day (u need an mp4 player to watch the flicks, i am still trying to see them/download a free working mp4 player program, lemme know if ya got any helpful tips, thanks!) .

- Sujewa

Coming in Feb: Paul Robeson: Portraits of the Artist

From Criterion. Very exciting. Looking forward to finding out more about (& seeing the work of) Robeson & some of his contemporaries such as Oscar Micheaux. Here's the synopsis for the box set, from Criterion:

" All-American athlete, scholar, renowned baritone, stage actor, and social activist, Paul Robeson (1898-1976) was a towering figure and a trailblazer many times over. He was perhaps most groundbreaking, however, in the medium of film. The son of an escaped slave, Robeson managed to become a top-billed movie star during the time of Jim Crow America, headlining everything from fellow pioneer Oscar Micheaux's silent drama Body and Soul to British studio showcases to socially engaged documentaries, always striving to project positive images of black characters. Increasingly politically minded, Robeson eventually left movies behind, using his international celebrity to speak for those denied their civil liberties around the world and ultimately becoming a victim of ideological persecution himself. But his film legacy lives on and continues to speak eloquently of the long and difficult journey of a courageous and outspoken African American."

Here's Criterion's page for the project, for more info. such as the films included in the box. Coming in February.

- Sujewa

First 2 Jonas Mekas short films of 07 are up

Jonas Mekas is planning on releasing 365 short films this year, 1 a day. The first two are available here.

- Sujewa

BREAKTHROUGH WEEKEND Teaser Trailer

DATE NUMBER ONE on Vimeo VOD

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