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Showing posts from February, 2007

That quality of life thing

WHO THINKS A PLACE WITH A WAR OFFERS A BETTER QUALITY OF LIFE?

A very close relative of mine just relocated to Sri Lanka because the quality of life there is better for that person. Sri Lanka is of course a place that has had a war type situation for the last 20 years or so. Granted, it is not widespread, mostly limited to the north, but still, how can a place that has a freakin' WAR/armed conflict going on be better than the most productive & one of the wealthiest, most free, and safest countries on the history of this planet; the US of A? I guess it all depends on what you use as your criteria to figure out which place provides a better quality of life. Living in Sri Lanka is certainly far cheaper. A person can live comfortably in Sri Lanka for about $200 a month. That's right, two hundred dollars a month. And if you are from that culture or immersed in that culture and a big fan of it, then there is probably no place better.

ONE POSSIBLE PROBLEM WITH SUCCESS

Living …

The Academy should add an independent category to the Oscars

Not independent as in Little Miss Sunshine independent, but real independent, produced and distributed outside of Hollywood, like: Mutual Appreciation, The Debut, Jumping Off Bridges, Robot Stories, Head Trauma, Four Eyed Monsters, etc. The Oscars already have a foreign film category - for films made outside of the US & without (i think) Hollywood involvement to any significant degree (i may be wrong on that for certain "foreign" projects, but nevertheless, there is a line that separates domestic films from foreign films - thus the separate category in the Oscars). Certain Indiewood projects like Half Nelson are recognized by the Academy/A.M.P.A.S., but it would be cool if they added a complete new category for real indie/DIY movies - movies that were made completely outside the Hollywood/Indiewood system & are distributed outside that system. Now why would they want to do that you ask? So the Oscars would be more complete in recognizing domestic (US) filmmaking and …

breaking news - US ambassador hurt in Sri Lanka

UPDATE 12:18 AM, 2/27/07

According to this post, the US ambassador & the Italian ambassador were "slightly hurt". Read it here.

::

11:55 PM, 2/26/07

Just heard about this; sounds like the US ambassador to Sri Lanka has been injured by a mortar attack. Here is what's available at Forbes so far:

"COLOMBO (XFN-ASIA) - US ambassador to Sri Lanka Robert Blake was wounded in an artillery attack by suspected Tamil Tiger rebels in eastern Sri Lanka, human rights minister Mahinda Samarasinghe, who accompanied him, said."

About my '07 feature comedy FILMMAKING FOR THE POOR

2/26/07
GreenCine Daily Mentions Filmmaking For The Poor Movie Project :: Update On Script

Thanks GreenCine Daily!

The script is now going to have multiple stories about the making of low budget movies. I may or may not keep the storyline inspired by the making of Date Number One. Maybe the DNO production & distro stories are better saved for the DNO DVD v2 - for the extras. Either way, FFTP should be rocktasticly entertaining.

2/25/07
The title of my next film is FILMMAKING FOR THE POOR

That's right, I am going to use the name of a blog of mine, Filmmaking For The Poor, as the title of a new feature length comedy-drama about low budget filmmaking. I've been working on several possible scripts for some time now, and this one is the one that I am most excited about, the one that I want to shoot next (I've actually started shooting a little bit of stuff for this movie a couple of days ago). I plan on starting full-on production around May 15 to June 15 of this year. Hopeful…

Run Cody & This Is My Home at Busboys and Poets, WDC, March 10, 10 PM

Go enjoy excellent food and drink and see 2 great short movies to benefit Hurricane Katrina victims. RUN CODY (30 MIN.), directed by Amy Flannery is a fiction piece in which the hero is a victim of Hurricane Katrina. THIS IS MY HOME (25 MIN.), produced by Advancement Project is a documentary about people in New Orleans trying to reclaim their homes post Katrina.

WHEN:March 10, 10 p.m. (doors open at 9 p.m.)
WHERE:Busboys and Poets (seating capacity -- 120; first come first serve)
2021 14th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20009
202-387-7638
www.busboysandpoets.com
It costs $3 to attend the screening.

All the proceeds will be donated to a reputable charity to benefit Hurricane Katrina victims. Larger donations are welcome.

ABOUT THE FILMS:

RUN CODY
Thirteen-year-old Cody escaped hurricane Katrina, but can he survive life in Washington DC with his drunken father? A little man with big aspirations, Cody plots to sail away from his troublesome world with the woman of his desires. Always just beyon…

note on new post presentation format

an upcoming screening events post for Date Number One & an ad post for the DNO DVD (which is for the moment a post about the coming 3/15 availability of the DVD) will precede any new posts for a given day. so even if u see familiar looking posts at the top of the page for several days, that does not mean new posts have not been made, just scroll down a couple of posts to make sure. thanks a lot.

- sujewa

Turning your festival experience into cash

Alright, so you make an indie film. Maybe, like me, you are self-distributing thus you do not care about some distrib exec watching yer film at the fest & picking it up & possibly making you rich (well, at least a tiny, tiny bit more than before) & the movie famous (at least a little). So, on that front you can ignore fests & go on with your DIY screenings. BUT, there are many, many, many, many, many festivals. And festivals are a gathering place for film enthusiasts and the press (also hot, intelligent members of the gender you like to play with who think indie filmmakers are sexy?). So, participating in a festival maybe fun (i have not been attracted enough to festivals to try to participate in them thus far with Date Number One, but i have done a few group screenings in the past with other movies, & those were fun) and you may get a cool critic at a big local paper writing a nice review about your little film out of the deal. From what I can tell most indi…

Is Saudi Arabia beheading people with 15 year sentences, with the help of possibly unfair trials?

This news story from Sri Lanka indicates that Saudi Arabia maybe sword-happy when it comes to capital punishment. Apparently a Sri Lankan who was sentenced to 15 years in jail was beheaded in Saudi Arabia. Perhaps Saudi Arabia is a place that needs a regime change - or at least an overhaul of their capital punishment system. I wonder what other evil stuff is happening in Saudi Arabia. Time to start looking.

- Sujewa

Thinking outside Hollywood & Indiewood time frame for DIY success

What is the Hollywood & Indiewood time frame for the initial most significant period of distribution of a film & making money back from the project? I'd say usually 12 - 24 months. Within that time a film will have its theatrical wide release (if Hollywood) or have its premiere at one of the famous film festivals (if Indiewood, and now some Hollywood films too) and, if Indiewood, may go on to some level of theatrical distribution (most Hollywood theatrical goes far wider), or will go to DVD and other markets (both Hollywood & Indiewood stuff). All that happens within a 12 -24 month period, as far as I can tell, for most Hollywood & Indiewood projects with a theatrical & DVD distribution component. And through all that the Hollywood or Indiewood companies that own the films may make a lot of money, and may make the film and its director and perhaps some if its actors famous. And all that work would have been accomplished by spending a lot of money (hundreds…

Mike Tully's COCAINE ANGEL opens for a 1 week run tomorrow (Wed 2/21) at PIONEER THEATER, NYC!!!

Go here to buy tix for tomorrow's screening.

Pioneer's website with info. on the other 6 upcoming screenings of the film (scroll down 'till you see COCAINE ANGEL).

Here's the Cocaine Angel website.

About the movie:

"The flip side of the sunshine state. COCAINE ANGEL is caked with legitimate, unforgettable grime, one that makes similar Hollywood efforts seem as fake as an orange juice commercial."
- FILMMAKER MAGAZINE

"Another American low-budget highlight, first-time director Michael Tully's convincingly grimy Cocaine Angel goes a long way toward rescuing the addiction drama from junkie stereotypes and self-help cliches, thanks in no small part to star/screenwriter Damian Lahey, whose shambling presence is well matched by his gift for free-ranging monologues.”
- THE VILLAGE VOICE

"Most impressive about the film is its conclusion, which hits just the right note of optimism; Scott may be doomed, but the world he's living in turns out to have a little …

Rob Nilsson plays movies about love

Received an interesting screening announcement from filmmaker Rob Nilsson today. Here it is:

" CITIZEN CINEMA SCREENINGS

I am inaugurating a series of screenings at the Edwin Johnson Screening Room here at 1418 5th. St., Berkeley, home offices of Citizen Cinema, our new film institute/production company. The newly completed screening room, designed and built by Charlie Wilson of Sonic Zen Records, also located in the building, is named in honor of Edwin Johnson who was a major force in all of the Tenderloin yGroup films from CHALK to the 9 @ Night series.

We will begin with a 12 week series on the subject of love. Capitalized or not, in or out of italics, it is everyone’s sacred cow. Without love there would be no human race. Without an interest in sex the human race would be over in 40 years. Without eroticism, Art would end up desiccated and dead. Without friendship and comraderie we might live in isolation chambers viewing porn, which could happen anyway, because pornography has …

Coppola: The Indie Years?

I don't mean Sofia, I mean the other famous filmmaker in the Coppola family: Francis Ford. Sure I loved his big Hollywood movies like The Godfather before I discovered indie films, but Hollywood's broad spell has not been so powerful after that. So FF Coppola was not a director I thought about much in the last 14 years or so. But his new self financed (from his day job?/side job? in the wine biz - in classic real indie style/making yer movies with money from yer day job :) Youth Without Youth sounds very interesting. As is the general real indie direction that he is heading with his career. Read all about it here. Maybe he'll self-distribute YWY - David Lynch style or possibly even new Star Wars or Passion of the Christ style - for total indie freedom. Either way, looking forward to the flick. I've read & liked some books by YWY author Mircea Eliade. YWY is a great title & a great name for a band. I bet there already is, or if not, soon will be, some …

TV torture trouble

Very interesting article in the New Yorker about various reactions, including a couple of different military reactions, to the use of torture by the "good guys" in Fox's show "24". Read it here. Thanks GreenCine Daily and CineFile Video for the link.

And of course, it goes without saying, when in doubt, regardless of what a TV show may or may not imply, don't torture! Torture is: generally illegal, unconstitutional, a war crime, useless & counter productive under all circumstances. Many experts will tell you the same, more in the article. Even if some "bright" legal scholars & attorneys play with the exact meaning of the word torture in order to allow you to carry it out or if certain circumstances will allow you to get away with it temporarily, torture is wrong. If you do it you will most likely have to pay for it one day; victims, their families, and most countries have long memories when it comes to these things.

- Sujewa

next movie kind of like Manhattan

of course by the time it is done, it should not bear much resemblance to the very early models that i keep in mind while i am writing the script, even before the film is shot; but my next feature will be kind of like Woody Allen's Manhattan. of course the city will be DC, not NYC. it'll be in color & in digital video, not black & white & in 35mm film. the lead character will be nothing like a Woody Allen lead character. it will be a comedy/romantic-comedy/comedy-drama like Manhattan. if i am very lucky i will end up with some great music as Allen did with Manhattan, i doubt mine will be classical though. maybe only i will be able to see the similarities between my next movie & Manhattan, but, as long as it turns out halfway decent, the whole thing will be a fine & worthy undertaking. it helps me to have some models for the film as i am making it. my '06 movie Date Number One is, in some ultimately minor ways, similar to certain Jim Jarmusch movies (spec…

Microinvesting in DIY/ultra-low/"no" budget films

My newest indie filmmaking related past time is trying to help fellow low/"no" budget filmmakers make their second or third or whaterver, post-first & good, "no" budget feature. And by "no" budget I mean under $10K ($3K to $5K budget would be best, it is doable, Swanberg & Dance Party, USA & Kelley Baker & others have done it in the past). Often it isn't the exact amount of money that makes a big difference in an ultra-low budget project, it is the fact that someone other than the filmmaker believes enough in the filmmaker or the project to give any money to the project. I have been supported at very crucial times by small investments in my most recent project Date Number One. So I would like to return the favor, help another filmmaker or two this year.

I offered $500 (to be handed over in May, after taxes & current Date Number One debt & other related expenses of mine are well under control) towards the next feature of a filmm…

the Date Number One ninja wishes you a Happy Valentines Day

Photo Copyright 2006 Sujewa Ekanayake/Wild Diner Films

hope you get all the romance you want on Valentines Day. so says the Date Number One ninja.

- sujewa

all about the new doc featuring Melvin Van Peebles

How To Eat Your Watermelon In White Company (And Enjoy It) a feature documentary on Melvin Van Peebles directed by Joe Angio 2/15, 9 PM on IFC and here's info. on the film from a promo e-mail that i received (looking forward to seeing this one): " Synopsis: Melvin Van Peebles created a new style of African-American filmmaking in 1971, when on a shoestring budget he made Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song, a violent action picture about a sex-show stud on the run from the police that below the surface served as a call for revolution in the black community. But Sweet Sweetback was hardly Van Peebles' first or only bold achievement in the arts. After brief careers piloting cable cars in San Francisco and flying fighter planes in the Korean war, Van Peebles moved to Paris, where he wrote five novels, became a regular contributor to an anarchist journal, and directed his first feature film, The Story of a Three-Day Pass. On the strength of its critical acclaim, Van Peebles ret…

newspapers & other media on google maps

knowing where to play your movie & sell your DVD is not enough, you've gotta have press to let yer audience know that yer film exists. here's the newspapers google map search that i just did. i expect a similar kind of search can be done for television & radio.

for blogs i guess a general search in google for the type of blogs you want will probably be enough, since the physical location & mailing address to the blog is not all that important since blogs can be contacted through e-mail, through addresses that would most likely be listed on the blogs themselves.

quite possibly all the video stores in America

want a complete list of all the video stores in America so you can possibly look into selling your indie movie on DVD to them? then check out google maps to figure out the important info; fast & free. this map is a general search on US video stores. shows, quite possibly, all the places in America that sells videos & DVDs & then some (the search returned over 1 million entries, a too high of a number to be accurate i think, may include businesses that have anything to do with videos & DVDs & no longer active stores, more refined searches will be more useful). i also did some searches for all the Blockbuster & Hollywood video locations, just to see where they are, & the google maps were very helpful with that task. but generally i think google maps will be useful in identifying independent video stores. since the thousands of Blockbuster locations may be accessible from one central office, & the same with Hollywood & other large chains. anyway,…

punk love

a photo exhibit in dc. here is the introduction to the show, from Govinda Gallery's site: "Govinda Gallery is pleased to present Punk Love, a selection of photographs by Susie J. Horgan that is both an exceptional contribution to the history of punk as well as a true reflection of punk values. After meeting Henry Rollins and Ian MacKaye while she was working at the Häagen-Dazs in Georgetown, Horgan began documenting the birth of the early Washington, D.C., punk movement in 1979. D.C. punk was a different kind of punk. It was hardcore. It was explosive. It was revolutionary. Often misread as a music of hate and anger, punk rock was spiritual and, at its core, the message was about basic values--self-respect and justice. In short, it was punk love."

So, self-distribution in 2006: how did it go?

::

2/6/06 (date started, updated after that as noted):

I definitely think it was a success, an exciting new development in US indie film. 'cause to me it looks like indie filmmakers embraced self-distribution at a greater number than ever before (since the birth of the new wave of US indie with Stranger Than Paradise in '84) AND had a few instances of success (depending on how u define it; but Head Trauma & Mutual Appreciation became well known among & available to their target audiences in '06 through self-distribution, to mention just 2 projects) AND self-distro also spilled over to Lynchland with INLAND EMPIRE. But I want to know what others who care about this topic think; let the discussion begin. I already sent an e-mail to one David Lowery, filmmaker, gentleman & Texas mischief maker, inviting him to weigh in on the '06 self-distro events, perhaps he will (a few of us had a long conversation about self-distribution at David's blog in early '06)…

Puccini For Beginners, Smiley Face

Even thought the title of the movie sounds & feels way too much like Italian For Beginners, one of my favorite Dogme 95 movies, I'll still check out Puccini For Beginners (links galore from GreenCine Daily) 'cause I believe director Maria Maggenti is from Rockville, MD & the movie sounds interesting. :: I like the story of Greg Araki's career, very inspirational for low budget indie/arty/DIY filmmaking dudes like me, but so far I have not seen a movie of his that I really enjoyed. Perhaps Smiley Face (GreenCine Daily again) will be the one, it sounds good so far, looking forward to it.

Date Number One screening on 3/15 :: First of new features to be shot in April/May

DATE NUMBER ONE SCREENING: There is a Date Number One screening coming up on March 15 in Kensington. Get all the info. here. More on the screening coming as the date nears. :: NEW FEATURES: I think I want to shoot a bunch of ultra-low/"no" budget features this year, DV films even lower budgeted than Date Number One, maybe less than $2K per feature. I am working on a few scripts. It will be film as entertaining art, projects with very little regard to most indiewood & Hollywood expectations, but hopefully as interesting & entertaining as the best of them. I am going to look at collaborating with new actors (new to film that is) & non-actors in order to get the movies done in an affordable way. Another goal with the new films is to get them done very fast (Date Number One took way too long to make, but i liked the way it turned out, it will be a model in some ways for the '07 films). It is possible to make high quality movies on a low budget and to ma…

stranger & sadder than fiction: weird astronaut love triangle problem

i was spending the morning in bed thinking up plots & characters for a movie & then i turned on my computer to check the e-mail, saw this story, sounds too fantastic to be true, but there it is, in the news. weirder & more tragic than any fiction i came up with this morning. i thought astronauts were pretty low key & together people, but it is also nice to know that they can be as crazy as the rest of us when it comes to romance, sometimes.

The Gadabout Traveling Film Festival

Who are they? From their site: "The Gadabout is a nationally touring film festival that screens a program of 20+ international short films. Independent in every sense, these films share the same willingness to challenge the conventions set for filmmaking. The Gadabout is a distribution avenue for truly indie filmmakers that distrust Hollywood and the commercial film festival circuit. We are NOT a competition, rather a celebration of what is possible in independent film and video." Find out more here, they sound very cool.

perhaps simpler will be better for the Date Number One DVD cover

now that i've had a day or so to think about the possible Date Number One DVD cover (& the DVD face art), i think i still need to take another pass at it to get the final cover (see the current version of the cover in the post prior to this one). i think simpler will be better. although i am happy with the DVD face art (see a couple of posts prior, the circular graphic), it just needs a few more words & possibly a small photo or drawing added to it. i expect to finish up the design work this coming week, along with the final work on the DVD content - the movie. hopefully by 2/15 the DVD will be available for purchase.

pretty much the final Date Number One DVD cover design

back cover is on left, front cover on right. this is pretty much the current plan for the upcoming Date Number One DVD's cover. music credits need to be added, but other then that, i think this is the cover (for now/1st run of DVDs, who knows what i will feel like doing in a couple of months :). once i have the DVDs made & ready to be sold, will post more detailed pics of the packaging & other related stuff.

DV Guru closes up shop

The informative digital video related blog DV Guru is closing. Read all about it here. Thanks for all the excellent work Team DV Guru, it was great while it lasted, & best of luck with future projects. This article lists the future plans of each of the writers; looks like they'll be doing some very interesting things & blogging from other places. I enjoyed my 15 mins. of DV Guru fame when Brian Liloia interviewed me last year re: Date Number One & DIY filmmaking. Check out that bit of the DV Guru past here.

and this (most likely) will be what the face of the Date Number One DVD will look like

working...working...working on it. the dvd is coming this month. can't wait :) the face of the dvd may very well look like that, except with more vibrant colors (the title is in red btw, not pink as it appears on my screen right now). should have an awesome sleeve/DVD box cover design soon. of course the inside of the movie is gonna be as yummy as the packaging, many changes have been made to the movie since the '06 screenings. the movie flows, and looks, and sounds a lot better now.

DC record label link of the day: DeSoto Records

check them out here. started & run by some of the folks responsible for Jawbox & other fine indie bands. and while you are there, read about cal robbins & how you can help. here is a little bit about DeSoto from their About Us page: "Deeply rooted in Washington, DC's independent music scene, DeSoto Records was nominally created in 1989 by members of the band Edsel to release their first single. Later that year, Kim Coletta and her bandmates in Jawbox offered to keep the DeSoto name alive by using it for their first EP. Before she knew it, Kim had turned DeSoto into what she now calls a "full-time labor of love." read the rest here. and one last link: cal robbins's parents have set up a blog for him, check it out here, and here's the introduction to cal's medical situation.

new Date Number One screeners available next week

i know i still owe a dozen or so screeners to various people from last year. those requests will be fulfilled next week. the new version, the final version, of Date Number One will be ready early next week (received the final missing element for the project today, thanks amir!). it might still take until the middle of this month (February) to have the retail DVDs available for sale. but for bloggers who are interested in checking out the movie & possibly writing about it, screeners will be available next week. if you are a blogger who wants to check out the movie, let me know (wilddiner@aol.com). be sure to e-mail me the URL to your blog also. thanks!

- sujewa