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Showing posts from October, 2007

Questions sent to Mrs. Clinton's campaign re: her recent comments about the LTTE

I blogged about this item previously (the link is in the question below), and here is the follow-up, my questions to Hillary Clinton's campaign (sent through their website) re: her recent comments re: the terrorist group LTTE:

"Hello,

My questions are re: Mrs. Clinton's recent comment re: the terrorist group the LTTE in Sri Lanka (made at a Guardian Unlimited interview, I blogged about it here: http://diyfilmmaker.blogspot.com/2007/10/hilary-clinton-fine-with-suicide.html).

The questions:

1 - Does Mrs. Clinton know about the nature of the LTTE (the fact that they are clearly a terrorist group & have been banned in many countries, etc.)?

2. If elected President, does Mrs. Clinton plan on removing the LTTE from the list of terrorist groups banned by the US government?

Thank you.

- Sujewa Ekanayake"

Looing forward to Mrs. Clinton's or the campaign's response.

- Sujewa

Is Hillary Clinton fine with suicide bombing, use of child soldiers & blowing up heads of state ???!!!!????

Is the possible next president of the US suggesting that the ruthless terrorist group LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) in Sri Lanka need a more nuanced second look from the US government, even though the LTTE have been banned in the US since 1997 and they have assasinated the Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and have killed thousands of people in Sri Lanka - including Tamils; the minority that the LTTE claims to be fighting for? Very strange, do not know much about this yet, maybe I'll have to contact the Clinton campaign to figure out all the details re: her statement. But, in the meantime, here is the original statement from the Guardian Unlimited article:

"(Guardian Unlimited) Yeah. Do you think that the terrorists hate us for our freedoms, or do you think they have specific geopolitical objectives?

(Hillary Clinton) Well, I believe that terrorism is a tool that has been utilized throughout history to achieve certain objectives. Some have been ideological, others te…

Can anyone identify this sci-fi monster movie?

An early 30-something years old friend of mine who grew up in Argentina said he saw the following bit of a sci-fi horror movie (American or European - originally in English, could also be Canadian or Australian too) on TV one night when he was a kid, got scared, turned off the movie part way through - and now, as an adult in America, he's been asking people if they've ever seen this movie & if they can name it, but so far no luck, so here's the description, let me know if you know what the title of this movie is;

the movie is about a third eye type thing in the brain that can be activated by some sort of a device. a man is driving & thinks about an event that happened in a house; two people put on the third eye device & then they are able to see previously invisible creatures floating around. one of the creatures - a giant fish like creature - looks at one of the guys, then swoops down & bites the dude's head off, the man dies.

OK, let me know if you kn…

Ed Burns's latest feature Purple Violets will be available through iTunes

Get all the info. on this development at this New York Times article.

Thanks Filmmaker Magazine blog for the info.

Unlike some too-cool indie filmmakers/fans, I've always liked Burns's movies to some degree or another (yes, including Looking For Kitty). Will check out Violets, through iTunes or most likely through DVD or cable when it gets to those formats - looking forward to it.

Find out more about Purple Violets here.

And here's the iTunes movies page.

- Sujewa

Kurt Cobain About A Son opens in DC on Fri 10/26 :: Great review of pic at Washington Post

About A Son plays at E Street Cinema starting tomorrow, get all the info. here at the official blog for the flick.

Here's the post w/ the link to the very positive Washington Post review of the film.

Go see this ultra-creative doc about the Nirvana singer by the maker of the They Might Be Giants doc Gigantic.

- Sujewa

2 down 298 to go OR I expect it to take about 5 years to complete all 6 of the 50 short films series

Dimensional Portal, short film # 1 in the 50 Short Films About America series, is done. Also Rock Collection, short film # 1 in the 50 Short Films About Kensington series, is shot & is awaiting some titles in order to be complete. So, 2 down basically, and 298 to go; there are 6 series of short films planned with 50 films per series (find out more about this project here) totaling 300 short films in all. I expect the entire project to take about 5 years (it could happen a lot faster, but let's just say 5 years for now) or until the end of 2012 to complete.

I am digging this gigantic short films project because some shorts can be made literally for $0 (or you can spend some money on them & make them extra fancy) and you are able to explore new things, try new (or at least new-to-you) filmmaking approaches through shorts (not a lot of money tied in shorts, also they are not as "serious" as features, as far as your overall filmmaking resume is concerned - thus more r…

Mindy Kaling interview at Radar Online :: Kaling's blog

Was kind of under the weather this weekend, took it easy, home & in bed pretty much the whole weekend, watched a lot of The Office; good show to watch when you are not feeling too well :) No, really, there is hope for Hollywood/mainstream TV when it/them can turn out a pretty decent show like The Office. So, to show my appreciation, here is some Office related blogging.

Mindy Kaling (Kelly Kapoor in The Office) interview at Radar Online.

Also, Kaling blogs here (as Mindy Ephron).

- Sujewa

Confessions of a film festival judge

This week's Washington City Paper has an article in which a judge of the DC Shorts film festival tells us about his experience. Here is the first paragraph from the article:

"When I tell people I judged films for this year’s DC Shorts Film Festival, their first reaction is, “Cool!” Their second reaction is more circumspect. I don’t own a television. Or any movies. Why was I qualified to judge?"

Read the rest here. Lots of inside-film-festival entertainment for those who may be into that kinda thing.

- Sujewa

Why Did I Get Married? sounds a little like The Celebration or The Big Chill

Tyler Perry's film Why Did I Get Married? sounds a tiny bit like the Dogme 95 film The Celebration or the Lawrence Kasdan film The Big Chill.

From the Variety review of the flick:

"At a fateful dinner party, the camera circling ominously, Angela, outraged that Mike has brought along his mistress (Denise Boutte), triggers an avalanche of aggressive secret-telling that leads to disaster."

From Armond White's review at the New York Press:

"He convenes a group of thirtysomething professionals, psychologist and relationship expert Patricia (Janet Jackson) and her friends: criminal attorney Dianne (Sharon Leal), esthetician Angie (Tasha Smith) and plus-sized housewife Sheila (Jill Scott). They rent a winter cabin in Pemberton, Colo., for a weekend marriage retreat with their husbands,..."

Might be interesting. Here's the official website for the movie. Playing in lots of theaters now.

- Sujewa

Next 2 Weeks

a few time consuming things to do over the next 2 weeks, not too exciting, check out the brief version of the list here. be back around 11/1 (unless "something film related that must be blogged about" comes my way).

for Burma stuff & other non-film stuff check out the Year 200007 blog. there are a couple of things that i need to post there in the coming days.



- Sujewa

First Lady vs. Burmese junta; Washington Post article

Nice to see Laura Bush taking an interest in the situation in Burma.

Here's the first paragraph of a long Post article re: the First Lady's work on behalf of the Burmese people:

"It's a long way from the broad expanse of Texas to the lush forests of Burma, from the boots-and-broncos rodeo in nearby Waco to the bloody crackdown against barefoot monks in Rangoon. Yet that troubled faraway land somehow has gotten under the skin of a former librarian from the Lone Star State and vaulted toward the top of the U.S. foreign policy agenda."

Read the rest here.

- Sujewa

Darjeeling OK :: CNN article mentions Anderson's duck-hunting boots

Saw Darjeeling Limited. Nice to look at; nice images of India, the train looks cool, some of the music & shots looked good together, and there are some very sad moments in the movie. The banter between the brothers was amusing at times. Darjeeling was OK, I liked it more than I liked Life Aquatic. I'll probably check it out again on DVD.

::

From a 10/11 CCN article re: Anderson:

"Anderson, the middle of three brothers, grew up in Houston. At the University of Texas he met Owen Wilson, who was at first put off by Anderson's eccentric getup of duck-hunting boots and shorts."

Check out the full article here.

- Sujewa

Francesco Uboldi's Burma films: On the Road to Bagan, The Burmese Fable, Waiting

Filmmaker Francesco Uboldi has several Burma related projects. Here are brief descriptions & links:

On the Road to Bagan

"On the road that leads from from Mount Popa to Bagan – the main tourist site in a country, Myanmar, which only recently has opened its borders to visitors – a farmer speaks of his everyday toils. Listening to his words, gradually the account throws light on the wider social and political situation in former Burma. The country has been subject to a ferocious military dictatorship since 1962."

::

The Burmese Fable (in production)

"A journey into the Golden Land, the charming country of thousands pagodas, among monasteries, temples, and a deep, archaic spirituality. Villages scattered among rice fields, mounted in between rivers, lakes, and mountains. Simple lives, smiling faces, an unreal quietness.

And a journey underneath the surface of this rural paradise, beyond the appearance of political propaganda. The military regime, the social instability, th…

Is this year 2007 or 200,007?

This National Geographic article from '05 says we (humans) are somewhere around 200,000 years old - the species, as "modern" humans. 200,000 years is a very long time. What exactly happened on Earth; what kinds of interesting things did humans do in various cities, villages & caves & who knows where else, during all that time? Assembling a comprehensive history of the species might be a cool thing to do (i think i feel a new blog coming on :). So I would have to say this is both year 2,007 according to the modern calendar, and also year 200,007 in the number of years (more or less, maybe give or take a few thousand years? :) that the species has been alive & kicking; year 200,007 in the age of the "modern" human. The mind, as they say, boggles.

UPDATE: Check out my new blog Year 200,007.

- Sujewa

Undercover in Rangoon

Latest from the BBC, a report on Burma post-crackdowns. Here is a bit:

" The government is also trying to play down the scale of the protests and the ensuing crackdown, saying they were the result of a few "destructive elements" fomented with the help of outside broadcasters such as the BBC Burmese Service and Voice of America.

But I did not meet anyone in Rangoon who actually believed this. The people I spoke to said unanimously that the protest marches were part of a popular movement borne out of grinding poverty, and that most of those who took part were not active members of pro-democracy or opposition groups - they were just monks and ordinary civilians."

Read the rest here.

- Sujewa

Saw Finishing the Game, excellent movie, it kicks (well, you know)

Saw the Justin Lin mockumentary Finishing the Game tonight through IFC In Theaters, had a great time. The movie feels pretty much like a documentary that may have been made in the 70's (complete with fake sponsor credits). I do not think a lot of reviewers & critics get this movie (see many of the lukewarm at best critical responses at the recent GreenCine Daily round up of Game reviews), but I certainly had a great time watching the process of finding a replacement for Bruce Lee play out in all its 70's production design/Asian-American issues/70's identity & other politics filled glory. I am looking forward to checking Game out again at some point soon. There was a little bit of sadness and also a heart warming quality mixed in with the low key humor and 70's re-creation in Game. Sweet.

And now, the link to the Cinematical review of Finishing the Game (i think they liked it as much as i did). Here is a little bit:

"The high points of the film are sidesplit…

Notes from candle light vigil for Burma :: DIY film lessons for activism :: Impossibilities and indie film

Notes from the candle light vigil for Burma

I got to the International Buddhist Center (which is primarily a Sri Lankan Buddhist temple) in Wheaton, MD around 6:30 PM tonight, with about 50 candles in hand. I was not sure about how many people may show up to the event. By 7 PM there were about 60 - 75 people at the temple; Sri Lankans/Sri Lankan-Americans, Burmese/Burmese-Americans, & other Americans - mostly Sri Lankans in the crowd - ready for the candle light vigil. The head monk at the temple, Bhante Uparatana, introduced the event. Brief speeches about the situation in Burma and in praise of activism that celebrates & supports the Burmese pro-democracy movement were given by a lay (non-monastic) staff member from the IBC and also by Dr. Sein Win, Prime Minister of the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma (NCGUB). The 7 or so Buddhist monks present chanted, candles were lit, it was a beautiful & moving sight & experience. In closing the event I said a…

About A Son theatrical action; NYC & LA now, soon elsewhere

Check this page out for theatrical opening dates for About A Son, AJ Schnack's wildly creative documentary about Nirvana singer Kurt Cobain.

Don't wait for the DVD, see this movie in a movie theater, where you can get lost in the images & sounds & think about things in the dark.

Even though the movie is about a world famous rock star, it is definitely a real indie movie, and probably should receive lots of awards for the very creative way it deals with its subject.

Check it out! I'll see it again when it opens in DC later this month.

- Sujewa

Candle Light Vigil for Burma - Sun 10/7, Intl. Buddhist Center, Wheaton, MD

Candle Light Vigil for the people of Burma (Myanmar)
in support of their peaceful struggle for democracy

Sunday October 7, 2007 :: 7 PM

At
International Buddhist Center
2600 Elmont Street (see map & directions below)
Wheaton, MD 20902
phone: 301-946-9437
website: http://www.thebuddhistcenter.us/
media contact: Bhante K. Uparatana, 240-460-6385, kuparatana@gmail.com

An opportunity to show your solidarity with & appreciation for the work of the Buddhist monks & other pro-democracy activists & ordinary people hungry for freedom in Burma.


Additional Information

In Burma (Myanmar) a non-violent pro-democracy movement is working to end the misrule of the country for the past 15 years by military dictators. In the last few weeks, various protests, Buddhist monk led marches and other actions gained international attention due to the size of the number of people involved. The Burmese military junta violently cracked down on the peaceful protesters, beating many, also shooting and killing a…

video link for US Senate hearing on Burma's Saffron Revolution

Go to this page and click on Burma's Saffron Revolution link to see the video of the Wed 10/3 US Senate hearing on the recent pro-democracy protests in Burma (Myanmar). Good stuff. The Senators were very motivated & interested, looks like there will be some very targeted & useful financial/banking restrictions crashing down on the junta, plus many other useful things to come - quite possibly. Check out the hearing here.

- Sujewa

The mythical king Ravana was apparently a real ruler in ancient Sri Lanka :: Ancient rock inscriptions translated

One of the elements of the founding mythology of the Sinhalese in Sri Lanka always bothered me; that was that when Prince Vijaya (the founder of the Sinhala people/race & Sri Lankan civilization according to the ancient chronicle Mahavansa) came to Sri Lanka he encountered various groups of people already living there, people with trappings of civilization, but then the story of Prince Vijaya moves on, just focusing on what his dynasty and kings after them did in Sri Lanka, without looking at who these other people - the Yaksas - that Vijaya encountered were. Looks like a new book provides the answer to the question of who those people were.

I received the '07 published book The Lost Dynasty: Uncovering Sri Lanka's Secret Past in the mail today, and the book is an intoxicating feast of historical material, amazing new interpretations, and beautiful photographs. Anyone familiar with ancient Indian mythology will have heard of the Ramayana; an epic poem that tells the story o…

The indie box office issue

To many engaged in filmmaking & distribution in America, how much money a movie makes is a very, very important issue, and is in fact deeply connected to their survival, jobs, self-esteem, how much love they get, and many other essential things.

However, there does seem to be something incredibly vulgar (and i am not the first person to express this) about the obsession that the mainstream media has about how much a movie makes, $s wise - at the box office. This obsession has also creeped into indie film media.

In the "we are mostly just making entertainment products for making cash" areas of the entertainment industry; such as porn, video games, and most Hollywood or mainstream European movies or even Bollywood movies for that matter - all perfectly useful things to many people by the way - there is no issue re: movies making money; movies must make money, a lot of it, end of conversation.

Even in the independent film world, making money is important. The indie film scene …

Stallone re: Burmese junta's violence against the Karen: "This is full scale genocide."

Sylvester Stallone was in Burma filming John Rambo recently. A Herald Sun article talks about what Stallone witnessed. Here is a segment from the article:

"He returned before the Burmese military's violent crackdown against monks and residents participating in the largest pro-democracy protests in Burma in two decades. Burmese journalists estimate between 40 and 50 people have been killed since last Wednesday, with details emerging of some of their fates.

The Burmese army has also waged a war against ethnic groups - raping women and killing innocent victims. Hardest hit have been the Karen - one of several minority groups seeking greater independence and autonomy."

Read the rest here.

And later in the article:

" "This is full scale genocide. I want an 'R' and I want the violence in there because it is reality. It would be a whitewashing not to show what's over there,'' he told Associated Press."

Read all about it here.

And here's a wikip…

Daily Mail: thousands massacred in Burma, bodies dumped in jungles, & a defection

From this Daily Mail article.

Here is the intro:

" Thousands of protesters are dead and the bodies of hundreds of executed monks have been dumped in the jungle, a former intelligence officer for Burma's ruling junta has revealed.

The most senior official to defect so far, Hla Win, said: "Many more people have been killed in recent days than you've heard about. The bodies can be counted in several thousand." "

Read the rest here.

Well, the junta is not down with peaceful protesters, so maybe an invasion by a UN peacekeeping force is necessary. Actually, maybe NATO, as in Bosnia. Or, most likely, it will just fall on the Burmese people themselves, including exiles & the million or so refugees living on Thai border, to liberate themselves from the junta through war.

- Sujewa

Karen rebels reportedly killed 4 Burmese soldiers

From this article at Mizzima news.

Here is a segment:

"I don't know where this battalion will be posted as they have been ordered to move back to base. I don't know if they will be deployed in Rangoon to kill protesting monks and students. But it is a reinforcement. That's why our people have attacked them," Pado Mann Sha told Mizzima.

Read the rest here.

If true, get used to news like this Burma, as non-violent protesters get beaten down & killed, armed action against the military dictatorship will increase. Either way, in the end, the junta will be out of power because 400,000 people (the size of the Burmese armed forces when i last checked on it) can't keep 50 million angry people (or the total population of Burma) down for long. The change could have come peacefully but looks like the junta has chosen the violent path. it won't be pretty.

- Sujewa

US Campaign for Burma calls for boycott of 2008 Olympics in China

From UC Campaign for Burma website:

" China is paralyzing UN Security Council action on Burma. They are the main economic, military, and political supporters of the military junta. For fifteen years China has refused to press its closest ally to allow its people human rights, and used its veto power to block the UN Security Council from acting. As a result, the UN is making the same mistakes it made on Darfur and Rwanda. We are calling on people of conscience throughout the world to boycott the 2008 Chinese Olympics, join our efforts.���������������������������������������������������������������������…