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Showing posts from September, 2007

Thousands march in London for democracy in Burma

From this BBC article:

" Thousands of people have taken to Britain's streets to support pro-democracy protestors in Burma.

The Burma Campaign UK said an estimated 3,000 people attended a march in London, which was the biggest protest for Burma in the UK so far.

Gatherings were also held in Newcastle and Brighton."

Read the rest of the article here.

- Sujewa

At 9/28/07 BBC article: India's lack of action on behalf of the people of Burma seen as "disgusting"

From this BBC article that outlines world response to pro-democracy movement/recent protests & marches in Burma:

" INDIA

Relationship: It has close economic and diplomatic ties with Burma. It has expressed concern over the current crisis but generally maintains a careful silence over the situation, describing it as an internal affair of Burma. Former Defence Minister George Fernandez has described India's current position as "disgusting".

Interests: India is concerned above all with protecting its oil interests in Burma, signing a new deep-water exploration deal in the same week that protests got under way. India also sells arms to the military regime in Rangoon. But as the world's most populous democracy, India is under pressure from the West and from activists at home to take a stronger stand in support of democratic forces in Burma.

Comment: "As a close and friendly neighbour, India hopes to see a peaceful, stable and prosperous Myanmar, where all sec…

YouTube videos, Free Burma protest DC 9/28/07 Fri: "China, China Shame On You" & international Buddhist monks chanting

This first video is some footage of DC protesters outside the Chinese Embassy on Fri 9/28/07 afternoon:




This video is of Buddhist monks from several countries (i know for a fact that several Sri Lankan monks are in that line up) chanting in front of the Chinese Embassy in DC, as a part of the same protest shown above:



- Sujewa

video: In Hiding: A year of survival under the Burma Army 2004 - 2005

Check out the video at the pro-democracy group in exile National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma's web site.

Here is a description of the video:

" "In Hiding" is a detailed account of human rights abuses committed by the Burma Army against ethnic minorities inside Burma over a one year period. It is an unrelenting documentary of disturbing images and firsthand stories; unadulterated evidence that the brutal military dictatorship of Burma continues its tyranny. And yet the film shows a people who resist the Burma Army and who, despite incredible difficulty, have hope. (Credit: Free Burma Rangers)"

Check it out here.

- Sujewa

link to a photo of today's Free Burma protest in DC :: Update: other photo & video & text links

check out a photo here (at some hard working photo-bloggers Flickr page, my photos will be up tomorrow (Sat) on this blog). the photo was taken in front of the Burmese Embassy it looks like.

That small sign with the blue letters, in the background (read "Free Burma Now!"), is the one that i made/was holding for much of the time (rest of the time Ms. Amanda was holding it).

more Burma protest photo links coming as i find them.

Update: about a dozen photos from today's protest can be found here.

Update: Channel 4 DC/NBC news segment with some footage from the protest in front of the Chinese Embassy

Update: a blog entry with a list of Free Burma protests world wide

Update 9/29/07: a YouTube video, of one of the several places that the protest & march group demonstrated on Fri 9/28



- sujewa

Some notes from pro-Burma/pro-democracy protests in DC today :: Photos coming soon

Weather wise it was a lovely day for a protest & march. About 300 or so people gathered in front of the Burmese Embassy in Washington, DC today; Burmese people, various types of Americans, others, Buddhist monks, etc. There were signs expressing our concern for the peaceful protesters in Burma. We chanted & shouted about the need to free Burma, end the violence, free political protesters. Then the protest moved down to the Chinese Embassy, several blocks away, on Connecticut Ave. There were 300 - 500 protesters in front of the Chinese Embassy. A group of about 7 Buddhist monks (from various countries; Sri Lankan, perhaps Burmese, maybe Vietnamese or Thai also) addressed the crowd & chanted prayers. Then various speakers gave small speeches about the situation in Burma; the growing call for boycott of the '08 Olympics in China if China does not do anything positive & significant re: the situation in Burma, and plans for additional protests were announced. Pr…

Camera Stilo joins the US indie film bloggers re: Burma blog-a-thon

"Please use your liberty to promote ours" - 1991 Nobel Peace Prize receipient (& democratically elected & currently imprisoned leader of Burma) Aung San Suu Kyi

Is two people blogging about something a blog-a-thon? :) Maybe. But, as the Burmese military dictatorship clamps down violently (some estimates say hundreds of protesters killed as of today & hundreds of monks in detention), protests outside of Burma will need to continue in order to get the world to push the Burmese junta into doing the right thing (like not beating & shooting peaceful protesters for one, also releasing the elected leader of Burma from a decade plus long house arrest).

I am off to go to a protest & March in DC (see info. on protest & march at post below). Will blog stuff re: Burma later. In the meantime, here is Camera Stilo re: the US indie film bloggers re: Burma blog-a-thon. If you are an indie film blogger & you write about Burma this weekend, let me know or leave …

Protests at Burmese Embassy and Chinese Embassy tomorrow (Fri 9/28/07) in Washington, DC

Protest is organized by US Campaign for Burma.

On Fri 9/28/07 at 4:00 PM protest (against current violent opposition to peaceful protesters in Burma) at the Burmese Embassy followed by a march to the Chinese Embassy along Connecticut Ave NW.

Addresses & Directions:

Burmese Embassy (meet there at 4 PM)
2300 S Street NW
Washington, DC 20008

Directions to the Burmese Embassy from the Dupont Circle Station on the Red Line:

- Exit station using Connecticut Ave & Q St NW exit
- Walk approx. 2 blocks NW on Connecticut Ave NW
- Turn left on S St NW
- Walk approx. 2 blocks W on S St NW.

Then march to (walking east on S St NW, and then north on Connecticut Ave NW to the Chinese Embassy):

Chinese Embassy
2300 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC

From a USCB e-mail passed on to me today by a Sri Lankan Buddhist monk in Wheaton, MD:

"We are calling upon the one country that has military, economic, and diplomatic leverage over Burma to do something. That country is China. As host of the 2008 Olympics, …

Over 25 Hollywood celebrities send letter to UN Secretary General re: securing the release of imprisoned Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi

Finally a news item that connects the film world (not indie film, but close enough for now :) and the pro-democracy protests in Burma, from US Campaign for Burma website, the introduction to the letter (letter dated 9/6/07):

"Today, over 25 Hollywood celebrities sent a letter to the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urging him to "personally intervene" to secure the release of Aung San Suu Kyi, the world's only imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize recipient. The letter was organized by the US Campaign for Burma and Human Rights Action Center and led by Oscar-winning actress Anjelica Huston. Click Here to Read the Letter …

What you can do to help Burma - from US Campaign for Burma website

From US Campaign for Burma website:

" Show Your Solidarity With the Saffron Revolution

We are working on bringing in as many world leaders, celebrities, news agencies on board with this story, but you need to play your part as well. It will not just be Americans working for this, but a global movement as well.

Starting this Wednesday (September 26th) we will begin a global week of ACTION. With an explosion of action we will make sure that everyone from world leadersto your next door neighbors have their eyes focused on Burma. Having this global focus will not only help in the protection of those demonstrating, but also make sure that the calls of the monks and civilians gets turned into international action.

HERE'S WHAT YOU CAN DO:

- Be a part of our 88,000 signatures campaign. I am asking people to collectively gather 88,000 signatures from around the world, calling on Chinese President Hu Jintao to compel Burma towards valid national reconciliation. Sign the petition here onlin…

An hour by hour account of events in Burma at Mizzima News :: Article on armed rebels (from 10/06)

Read about the junta's crackdown on peaceful protests here at Mizzima News.

When peaceful protests are crushed, more Burmese might turn to violence & armed rebellion in order to improve their living conditions, as the people written about in this article at The Independent have had to do.

- Sujewa

How can a pacifist organization be useful to the Burmese people in a struggle against a violent & armed dictatorship? BBC article explains

Full disclosure: one of my relatives is a Buddhist monk, belonging to the same school of Buddhism - Therevada - that the Burmese monks belong to, and having been raised Buddhist (although I am no longer one; happily agnostic now) in Sri Lanka, and being aware of the activist nature of the Buddhism taught in Therevada Buddhist countries (initially as a revolt against Hinduism, and in more recent times as an anti-colonial & anti-despotic force - which has in Sri Lankan history also sadly led to, at times, being an anti-minority (Tamil/Hindu/Christian, etc.) voice; very un-Buddhist IMO, anyway, a different subject for a different day there), the monks led protest in Burma is of great interest to me. This event in Burma is probably the first time in my life that I've seen the social engagement & activism potential (and, as I can see, activism mandate) in Buddhism being wielded as a weapon (a non-violent weapon) at such a large scale (a recent monk led march was estimated to ha…

the video image humanizes/brings you closer OR emotionally beautiful photography in Cache

Saw Hollywoodland last night, very good movie, but the use of motion picture film & the period production design kind of kept me at a certain distance from the movie. Saw the film Cache tonight, another very good movie. Enjoyed (well, enjoyed might be the wrong word given the subject matter of Cache, but lets say an aesthetically engaging experience) it a lot more, was able to get into it more because the director Michael Haneke used video (HD most likely) to shoot the film, all the lighting was as natural as could be, star Juliette Binoche looked like an ordinary person/more approachable/vulnerable/and thus more likeable in this movie (compared to a handful of other movies I've seen her in).

So, motion picture film is definitely more visually beautiful, but video resonates more emotionally, a higher degree of emotional beauty in that medium, at least for me. Motion picture film is like a well lit/studio photo of a hot model, a stranger. Video is like a good photo, taken by…

Book claims to have proof of a lost dynasty (over 3,000 years old) in Sri Lanka

Heard about this book while visiting a relative last night. Sounds very interesting, I am ordering a copy to check out. Claims to have proof of a pre-Vijaya (Indian prince credited with starting Sri Lanka in the 6th century BC) dynasty that traded with other kingdoms & states in various parts of the world. Here is the Amazon link for the book, title The Lost Dynasty: Uncovering Sri Lanka's Secret Past - by Nishantha Gunewardena.

A description from the Amazon page:

" It is the story of a king, shrouded in mystery, introduced as fiction, betrayed by history, unveiled by a tsunami that reintroduces himself, his kingdom, and his dynasty ... as true history. For centuries Sri Lankans and many historians have believed that the Sri Lankan civilization begins with the arrival of Vijaya, the supposed first king and progenitor of the Sinhalese, from northeastern India in the sixth century BCE. "If so," the author asks, "how is it that Egyptian Pharaohs, Prophet Moses, …

Interview with director & script writer of Rwandan movie Munyurangabo

At the Evening Class blog.

Here is a segment:

" Michael Guillén: I'm sure I'm not the first one to express that it's somewhat startling to have the best African feature at the Toronto International be the work of a Korean-American and a White guy. [Laughter.] How did that come about?

Lee Isaac Chung: Thank you for saying that. It came about originally because my wife had been doing volunteer work in Rwanda for the last three summers. She does art therapy and she wanted me to come with her. We had just been married and it was the first summer after we'd been married. She wanted us to go together and she asked me to volunteer as well to do something. I figured cinema and filmmaking is all that I know that I could teach so I figured we were going to teach it. But as I was looking at the sort of films that were coming out of Rwanda, it seemed a little sad that there was nothing that focused on contemporary Rwanda. Everything just seemed to recreate what went on with the…

DC art house Dupont 5 is closing on January 13

Read the Washington Post article about the closing of another art house in DC, after a 20 year long run.

The last movie I saw there was Mutual Appreciation a few months ago (or maybe late '06?), with director Andrew Bujalski present for a Q & A afterwards.

Here is a little bit from the article, summing up other DC art house closings:

" In June 1996, the Biograph in Georgetown closed after a nearly 30-year run as an independently owned, single-screen art house that was "the closest thing to a true underground cinema the D.C. area has ever seen," according to an article in The Post. The next year, Palisades residents protested the closing of a theater by the predecessor to AMC Loews, Cineplex Odeon. It became a CVS Pharmacy. In June 2002, the Janus 3 in Dupont Circle, which once had its own film club and midnight showings of experimental films, closed. In May 2000, the Embassy was resurrected as Visions Bar Noir, a two-screen venue at the crossroads of the Dupont …

Conversation with Eric "Camera Stilo blog" Strattman

Eric Strattman's blog Camera Stilo has been one of my regular stops on the web for sometime now. Eric writes about DIY film, the similarities between DIY rock/punk/indie rock scenes of the 80's & 90's and the current DIY film scenes, and about his own development as a filmmaker & a blogger. Here is a lengthier introduction to Eric & Camera Stilo blog in the form of an interview:

Sujewa: Hey Eric, what's the meaning of the name of your blog? What is "camera stilo"? Why did you name your blog that?

Eric: It means "camera as pen." I found the phrase used in an article about documentary filmmaker Ross McElwee. I liked the sound of the phrase and what it implies. I was thinking about starting a blog and wanted a film-related name for the blog. When I ran across the phrase I thought "perfect!" I checked to see if the URL was available and it was. So, that sealed it.

Sujewa: Have you made any movies thus far? Is there any in the works at…

DC area man decides to watch an IFC First Take movie on TV after seeing ad for theatrical run of same movie in local newspaper

So, every other night or so I scroll through the various cable channels & their movie offerings at Amanda's (girlfriend) house, looking for a good movie to watch. For a few days now I've seen the ad & clips for the IFC First Take movie I Want Someone To Eat Cheese With but there was something I guess a little too "television" & not "real movie" about it which made me pass over it in favor of other movies - "movie" movies that played in theaters - or full on weird/half-baked/half-OK & half cringe-y television shows such as Californication (I saw two episodes last night, no aliens yet (a healthy amount of T & A though, some questionable writing & directing/acting in episodes 1 & 2, ideal tone not fully found yet/got potential maybe), got my fingers crossed on the aliens though, Fox Molder (lastnamesp?) is there, aliens can't be too far behind, anyway, pretty good show/guilty pleasure thingy, nice to see David Duchovin…

Interview with Great World of Sound star Kene Holiday at Blackfilm.com

Check it out here.

Here's a little bit from the interview:

KH: "...‘Great World of Sound’ was being shot in Charlotte, North Carolina and I had never been there. I’d done some road shows nearby and made some friends, but I had never really established myself with the community. So I went and had the opportunity to be there for an extended period of time and I loved it. I fell in love with the city and met a beautiful woman whom I loved dearly and she’s now my wife. She’s from down there and we just made one heck of a movie. We opened it at Sundance and received rave reviews from the New York Times, the L.A Times and all the big papers. This is what independent filmmaking should look like..."

Read the rest here.

- Sujewa

Shopping for a filmmaking education in the Boston area

That's what Eric Strattman (lastnamesp?) is doing over at the Camera Stilo blog.

Here is a little bit from his post re: filmmaking education options & costs in the Boston area:

" In an ideal world, no one would have to worry about the cost of education. But at least for me, the cost of any class or program is a major determining factor as to whether or not I can sign up for it. So, I researched the cost of some certificate, MA and MFA programs in the Boston area that allow students to develop as a film or video-maker."

Check out the rest of the post here.

- Sujewa

"And Wes Anderson starts coming because we have the chess night."

Interview with actor Kumar Pallana at The Believer, from March 2003. Pallana has appeared in at least 3 Wes Anderson movies.

Here is a slice from the interview:

"KP: The problem was, India was marching for freedom. Gandhi was just coming up, the Congress party was ten, twenty years old, and they wanted to kick the British out. And they have the different parties. There were especially two: one with the violence, one with the non-violence. The violent people were underground. My brother was involved with the freedom fighters, with the violence. My brother was involved and we didn’t know and then all those people were captured and we find out that they are freedom fighters. And they were violent. They used violence because in those days the Raja and Maharaja were puppets. They were using people like slavery and then all the army controlled the land."

Read the rest here.

- Sujewa

2 Actors At A Diner After An Audition :: Use of this blog

Is the working title of the new short that I am making in collaboration with a few DC area filmmakers, more here.

::
I think this is how this blog will be used in the future; to point to significant posts at Wild Diner Films blog (my regular blog these days). The day to day updates on projects will be at Wild Diner Films blog - while this blog will be used to promote certain items/important items at that blog; since posts on this blog gets carried on iW's blogs page & thus has the chance of being read more widely. Most likely I will post here a couple of times a week at most. Also, non-WDF stuff, like the Water Flowing Together interview that I still need to transcribe, will be posted here. So I guess this blog is only semi-retired.- Sujewa

Links to 3 new projects :: Getting the blogging habit under control

After this post pretty much all the future posts (except for at least 2 more posts re: SilverDocs '07 stuff) at this blog will be directly about one of my movies (a little trick to get me to work on making movies more instead of writing about other people's movies), more on this below.

3 New Projects I've Heard About:

Texas Snow

Flying Dead Birds

A Stupid Movie for Jerks

::

Getting the Blogging Habit Under Control

Blogging is fast, unlike filmmaking. Thus, blogging can be very addictive, something that will take up a lot of time. So, the decision has to be made re: whether I am going to spend a lot of time writing about film or a lot of time making & showing & selling films. I am going with the making films option, with blogging being used strictly for my filmmaking related promotional work.

Since it is easy for anyone to start a blog, other filmmakers should definitely look into it. If you do start a blog about your indie film or indie film in general, e-mail me the l…

Photos iW BLOGGER MEET UP # 1 NYC 2007 8/23 Thu night Botanica bar :: Happy Labor Day hard working iW bloggers! :)

Sujewa Ekanayake (Wild Diner Films Blog, film Date Number One), Eugene Hernandez (indieWIRE)


Tom Hall (The Back Row Manifesto blog, Sarasota Film Festival), Agnes Varnum (Doc It Out blog), Pamela Cohn (Still In Motion blog)
Sujewa Ekanayake, Matt Zoller Seitz (New York Times, The House Next Door blog, film Home)
Brian Geldin (The Film Panel Notetaker blog), Amy Peters (The Film Panel Notetaker blog), S.T. Van Airsdale (The Reeler)
Matt Dentler (Matt Dentler's blog, SXSW Film Festival), Mike Tully (Boredom at Its Boredest blog, film Cocaine Angel, film Silver Jew), Alex Karpovsky (film The Hole Story)


Eugene Hernandez, Brian Geldin
Wide shot of people at the event
Adam Roffman (Independent Film Festival of Boston), Craig Zobel (film Great World of Sound)
Mike Tully, Pamela Cohn, Doug Block (Doug Block's Doc Blog, film 51 Birch Street) Matt Dentler, i believe that is Mark Rabinovitz from The Rabbi Report, S.T. Van Airsdale, Mike Tully


Amy Peters, Brian Geldin
Amy Peters, Brian Gel…

Indie filmmaking for working people - some tips

It is Labor Day in America, so let's take a look at the intersection of other kinds of work and independent filmmaking.

It is completely possible to work full time at whatever kind of job and to make movies in spare time; nights, weekends, etc. Not the ideal working situation for a filmmaker, but a way to get started and even a way to develop a significant body of work. With the low cost of production brought about by digital video this is doable. I've made 4 movies so far (1 short - Fresh Coffee, 1 one hour long doc/performance video - 17 DC Poets, 1 fiction feature on 16 MM - Wild Diner, one DV fiction feature comedy - Date Number One) with money from other work (office work, retail work, film & video production work, etc.) being one of the main sources of financial support for making the movies.

Of course it takes time to do things this way, and getting a studio or investors to put up all the money for projects is a lot more lucrative & quicker way to go probably, …

Got main character & story line selected for Stranger Than Hollywood :: early call for possible leads

To set my movie about making movies apart from several other art/indie/foreign type movies about making movies- the lead character will be female; so, a story about a female indie film director, to be played by a dark skinned minority actress (since I've been complaining lately about the lack of minorities in lead roles in indie/real indie films, specially dark skinned people). The rest of the cast will be multi-ethnic; "white" as well as non-"white"actors.

Out of like seven possible story lines for this movie, I am going to go with a story that I've written about a weekend shoot, going from Thu - Sun, to film scenes for a crucial segment of an indie feature; a 15 minute segment. I like the limited time frame - four days, that the story will take place in (I thought 2 Days In Paris worked really well because so much was condensed into a limited amount of time; see my post re: that flick below).

And that is the latest re: my new movie Stranger Than Hollywood…

Saw 2 DAYS IN PARIS, liked it a lot - will be added to my top 5 faves list, will see it again a couple more times soon

Saw the Julie Delphy written & directed comedy 2 Days In Paris last night. Movie is funny, warmly human (accepting of some human shortcomings & also appreciative of good things about people), and ultimately romantic. Even thought the movie is about a young couple & their relationship, it is not a typical romantic comedy; it is more abrasive. The flick is also, in passing, concerned with French & American relations, politics, male and female attitudes and ideas about each other, sex/attitudes regarding sex & sexuality, war, racism, crime & also ethnic relations in France. And, in the end, like I said before, ultimately romantic (just so you are not turned off by the list of mostly non-romantic things that I just gave). All in all, one of the best/most enjoyable movies I have seen in a long time. Will want to see it at least a couple of more times. Great script by Delphy, also well directed by her. Film stars Delphy and Adam Goldberg - who does a good job…

NYC trip PHOTOS 2; Theaters; Pioneer, Anthology, Angelika

Pioneer Theater marquee (sorry about the finger tip in that 1st pic) - one of my favorite NYC indie theaters (if I lived there I would probably be there several nights a week)



Anthology Film Archives - the professional home of Jonas Mekas, their New Filmmakers series sounds very interesting - every week/all year long, not too far a walk from Pioneer



Angelika Film Center, where I saw Tom DiCillo's Delirious on 8/23 Thu, notice the Great World of Sound poster - I hear that flick is very good, coming soon to theaters

(other NYC trip photos are being prepared for upload now, all should be up this weekend)- Sujewa

Paris based Haitian-American filmmaker Michelange Quay's EAT, FOR THIS IS MY BODY to screen at TIFF

Michelange e-mailed earlier today and told me that after some initial disappointments that he is very happy that he is able to screen Eat, For This Is My Body at the Toronto International Film Festival (9/6 -15). Here is a description of the movie, from the TIFF site:

"EAT, FOR THIS IS MY BODY Michelange Quay, Haiti/France An unusual relationship between a privileged white woman and her young servant, Patrick, sets them on a visceral and hypnotic journey of self-discovery across poverty stricken Haiti. For the first time, she will see and hear the land and its people, witness their suffering, and sense the reality of her own body."

OK, sounds very French (and that's not a bad thing :). Good luck in Toronto Michelange & Team Eat!

- Sujewa