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Showing posts from August, 2008

Lots of Battlestar Galactica episodes part of the treatment

Had some cold/fever type thing (almost fully recovered now) the last couple of days. So I slept a lot & when awake watched a lot of Battlestar Galactica episodes on DVD (didn't watch any episodes fully when they first aired). Pretty decent story telling & entertainment. About the show, from Wikipedia:
"Ronald D. Moore tackled the reimagining with realism in mind, portraying the shows heroes as being part of a "flawed" humanity, and drawing inspiration from the September 11, 2001 attacks and their aftermath. In the reimagined series, many characters struggle with deep personal flaws; for example, Adama and his son have a profoundly dysfunctional relationship, while Colonel Tigh is an alcoholic. Their enemy is capable of living among them unnoticed and willing to carry out suicide attacks, allowing an exploration of moral and ethical issues brought up by the War on Terrorism. The show has dealt with Cylon and human suicide bombers, the torture of prisoners, and…

Jenkins & Melancholy in Toronto

Jenkins & Melancholy sounds like either a 60's or early 90's band. But what we are talking about here is filmmaker Barry Jenkins showing his movie Medicine for Melancholy at the Toronto International Film Festival. indieWIRE has a nice interview with Jenkins; apparently breaking up is good for indie film:

(iW) "Please discuss how the idea for "Medicine For Melancholy" came about...

(Jenkins) This film spun out of breakup (lame, I know) and a filmmaking drought in the four years after graduating college. I hadn't made a film, not even a single short, since leaving film school and this breakup brought me face to face with where I was in my life and where I was and wasn't heading. When you're in a relationship, that union serves as a sort of buffer to the world. It didn't matter that I was a filmmaker, yet wasn't making films. I was in love. Being tossed out of that shell was a wake up call. The film literally grew out of those two realizat…

Real Indie success

(note: whenever I say indie in this post I most likely mean real indie - low budget/no star/off-Hollywood/affordable-to-create-for-many-humans movies, not multi-million dollar indiewood stuff like Juno, thnx!)

A film like Slacker or Stranger Than Paradise would be far more affordable to make now; on digital video - but, the likelihood of such unique/interesting off-Hollywood movies being made in great numbers is still slim, and the chances of such indie work getting wide distribution is still small.

It is however far more easier now than in the early Jarmusch (late 70's) & even early Linklater (late 80's) days to get started with filmmaking due to digital video and the availability of filmmaking information on the web.

So, what, if anything, guarantees success in the indie world? And is it easier to achieve now than, let's say, 20 years ago? Well, it depends on how you define success. It is far more easier to make a feature length film - using digital video (can be done f…

Trailer for upcoming UK indie film Bunch of Guys

Being non-"white" & concious of the artificiality of race theory & living in Europe - the home land of the current version of race theory (the one that helped out with European colonialism) popular in the world - must be, at the least, very interesting (when it doesn't totally suck). Looks like the new UK indie feature Bunch of Guys will touch on some of that reality:

Bunch Of Guys

Gabe Wardell's latest notes on the changing landscape of professional film criticism

From Gabe's blog:

"Bob Longino's coverage has centered on the film scene, interviews, and local coverage. Because of the seriousness with which he approached film culture, the Atlanta Film Festival has thrived in recent years. Coverage in the paper of record is invaluable to a non-profit event such as ours. Since we cannot afford to buy ads on par with a studio or commercial distributor. By running photos, stories, articles, interviews, and recommendations the AJC elevated a slate of "unknowns" to the level of commercial and studio releases. Without a full time critic with the history, knowledge, and critical acumen of a Bob Longino on staff, I fear that festival coverage will suffer mightily. Making it all the more difficult to reach out to the masses. Coverage in the paper lends credibility, respectability, and legitimacy to smaller indie works. Without it, such projects will suffer without mainstream coverage.

On behalf of the Atlanta Film Festival, and as a re…

Finalized Date Number One DVD cover & face designs, ordered a test/proof copy

So, at long last, step 1 in the 2 step process of creating retail DVDs of Date Number One is done. More on that here. At this rate around mid-September I should have the DNO DVDs available for sale. At least a couple of years later than originally envisioned, but on the bright side, only a couple of years later :)

- Sujewa

50 years later some French New Wave directors still at work

Yeah, that's right, 50; five zero - years, half a century later some of the French filmmakers who re-invented cinema & gave new meaning to it are still making movies. The Independent has the story. From the article:

"You might also have expected a "New Wave" to be a quick-burning phenomenon. But while Truffaut may have called for a symbolic slaughter of moribund patriarchs, he wasn't out to kill all parents: he and his peers established a different pantheon of precursors, most famously Hollywood directors such as Hitchcock, Hawks, Ford and Fritz Lang. There were idols closer to home, too: Renoir, Bresson, Jean-Pierre Melville, Roberto Rossellini. These elders were themselves notable for sustaining long careers: their teaching was that, whatever challenges the film industry or world history threw at you, you had to keep filming. The New Wave generation similarly contrived to endure, to make features even when there seemed to be no money to make them with or…

TEXAS SNOW Friday August 22 Kensington, MD

Friday, August 22, 2008
7:30 PM
FREE
Capital City Microcinema
Kensington Row Bookshop
3786 Howard Ave
Kensington, MD 20895
directions
venue phone: 301-949-9416
website
Event contact: Sujewa Ekanayake, wilddiner@aol.com, 240-354-3394

About the movie:When Jesse and Caroline discover a newfound affection for one another they struggle to keep their relationship a secret from Lee, Jesse’s roommate and Caroline’s ex-boyfriend. But when Lee moves away Jesse and Caroline find themselves questioning their feelings for one another.

REVIEWS
The Chutry Experiment
One of the things I most enjoyed about Texas Snow was Coffman’s attention to the way that twentysomethings communicate, the late night confessions and revelations that usually take place several hours (and usually several beers) after most sane people have fallen asleep. The pacing, underscored by Keegan DeWitt’s score, in fact recalled David Gordon Green’s lyrical All the Real Girls.[full review]
*
DIY Filmmaker
A very cinematic event where beautiful ph…

Schools in southern states beat African American female students - Human Rights Watch

What? US schools beat their students as a part of their disciplining process? Are we all of a sudden in like the 1830's? Did the country go through a time machine without me noticing it? Read the messed up news at Human Rights Watch. From the HRW article:

"The report found that in the 13 southern states where corporal punishment is most prevalent, African-American students are punished at 1.4 times the rate that would be expected given their numbers in the student population, and African-American girls are 2.1 times more likely to be paddled than might be expected. There is no evidence that these students commit disciplinary infractions at disproportionate rates."

And:

"The report documents several cases in which children were beaten to the point of serious injury. Since educators who beat children have immunity under law from assault proceedings, parents who try to pursue justice for injured children encounter resistance from police, district attorneys, and court…

The Reeler at work

Or rather The Reeler Stu VanAirsdale trying to work on a recent weekday morning in Manhattan while I am taking photos of him & asking him questions for the blogger doc. Thanks for the patience Stu.

- Sujewa

That's an awesome view

That's Indie Film Blogger Road Trip doc subject Anthony Kaufman hanging out at his balcony; with Manhattan in the background & Brooklyn below.

- Sujewa

Richard Rodriguez interview

Interesting interview with author Richard Rodriguez at Scott London's site. From the interview:

"London: Do you consider yourself more Mexican or more American?

Rodriguez: In some ways I consider myself more Chinese, because I live in San Francisco, which is becoming a predominantly Asian city. I avoid falling into the black-and-white dialectic in which most of America still seems trapped. I have always recognized that, as an American, I am in relationship with other parts of the world; that I have to measure myself against the Pacific, against Asia. Having to think of myself in relationship to that horizon has liberated me from the black-and-white checkerboard.

London: Do you think of yourself as an Indian?

Rodriguez: Yes, although it was something I did not know about as a child. I had an Indian face, but I never saw it as Indian, in part because in America the Indian was dead. The Indian had been killed in cowboy movies, or was playing bingo in Oklahoma. Also, in my middle-cl…

Searching for otherness in media images

From Racialicious (thanks Stuff White People Do for the link):

"I grew up trying to spot the otherness in whites—such as Janet on “Three’s Company” or the star of “Wonder Woman,” who, it turns out, is half-Mexican—because I was hungry to see myself represented in a medium in which my kind was mostly invisible. But that’s not the only reason I make such connections. On a subconscious level, I believe that I respond to white society’s rejection of blackness by projecting blackness onto whites. The rationale is that, if whites are part-black themselves, their racism doesn’t just amount to hatred of people of color but to a sort of self-hatred. In this way, it is easy to see how racism isn’t just damaging to its so-called targets but to society collectively."

Read the rest here, interesting stuff.

- Sujewa

Free movie of the day: COFFEE AND CIGARETTES

Yup, the whole movie, free, from Hulu:




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Brandon Harris interviews James "Off The Black" Ponsoldt

At Spout, check it out. Here is the intro:

"Relaxed and genteel with a disarming smile and quick wit that strike you immediately upon meeting him, James Ponsoldt, the Athens, GA native who made a big impression at Sundance 06′ with his tragically underseen Nick Nolte high school baseball umpire drama Off The Black, is a well-rounded guy. He has a masters degree from Columbia, was the president of his class at Yale, edited the student paper, was a receiver on the varsity football team and reads modernist literature with regularity. Perhaps more importantly, the Filmmaker Magazine contributor and Sundance Institute Lynn Auerbach Screenwriting Fellow for his adaptation of Benjamin Percy’s Iraqi war short story Refresh, Refresh was also one of the founding members of Yale’s Porn n’ Chicken club, where students gathered to watch XXX films and eat fried chicken."

Read the rest here.

- Sujewa

Slow Down at Washougal

From M. David Lee III:

""SLOW DOWN..." WE'RE READY TO SCREEN!

Triple Sticks Productions, is proud to announce our feature film, “Slow Down… You’re Dating Too Fast!” will screen at the “2008 Washougal International Film Festival” August 21th – August 24rd on Saturday, August 23rd, between 10am-6pm. (www.washougalfilmfest.org)

The film chronicles five adults trying to work and date in modern society. Instead of the tried and true approaches to dating, these brave souls look for love in a most unusual way… “Speed Dating.”

“Slow Down… You’re Dating Too Fast!” is a comedy that will show you just what happens when you take a “different” approach to dating… this is NOT how your parents did it.

“I think we have a phenomenal screening time! When you go to the theater to see the film, I think folks will walk away really smiling and laughing and that's what we had hoped would happen when we made the film. I can't wait until Saturday!"

M. David Lee III
Producer, Writer…

The bloggers from the doc & their blogs & sites

While I am off editing Indie Film Blogger Road Trip, check out blogs & sites of (& related to) the 14 bloggers featured in the doc: ::
Anthony Kaufman - indieWIRE - Anthony Kaufman's blog - Village Voice *
Stu VanAirsdale - Defamer - The Reeler *
Melissa Silverstein - Women & Hollywood *
Erica Ginsberg - Docs Interactive - Docs In Progress *
Chuck Tryon - The Chutry Experiment - Newcritics - Fayetteville State University *
Gabe Wardell - Gabe's Declaration of Principles - ATL 365 blog - Atlanta Film Festival *
Paula Martinez - Paula's After Thoughts - ATL 365 blog - Atlanta Film Festival *
Tambay Obenson - The Obenson Report - Beautiful Things *
Noralil Ryan Fores - ShortEnd Magazine *
Brandon Harris - Cinema Echo Chamber - Hammer to Nail - Filmmaker Magazine *
Armando Valle - Horror 101 - Armando Valle *
KJ Mohr - My World Bank Lunches - National Museum of Women in the Arts *
Brian Geldin - The Film Panel Notetaker - Clincher Entertainment *
Sujewa Ekanayake - DIY Filmmaker Sujewa - Indie Film Blogger Road Trip - Date…

Bigfoot carcass in Atlanta?

According to this New York Times article, a body of a dead Bigfoot has been found, and it is in a freezer somewhere near Atlanta. Read more at NYT. If this does turn out to be a real Bigfoot body, I am gonna have some bragging rights over someone for a long while to come (I've always thought that Bigfoot, aliens, undiscovered live dinosaurs left over from the dinosaur age were very much possibilities, while most of my friends do not believe that is the case). Of course deepest sympathies go out to the family of the dead Bigfoot.

- Sujewa

Russia using cluster bombs in Georgia - Human Rights Watch

From Human Rights Watch site:

"(Tbilisi, August 15, 2008) – Human Rights Watch researchers have uncovered evidence that Russian aircraft dropped cluster bombs in populated areas in Georgia, killing at least 11 civilians and injuring dozens, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch called upon Russia to immediately stop using cluster bombs, weapons so dangerous to civilians that more than 100 nations have agreed to ban their use.

“Cluster bombs are indiscriminate killers that most nations have agreed to outlaw,” said Marc Garlasco, senior military analyst at Human Rights Watch. “Russia’s use of this weapon is not only deadly to civilians, but also an insult to international efforts to avoid a global humanitarian disaster of the kind caused by landmines.” "

Read the rest of the article here.

- Sujewa

"Federal officials considering a rule allowing health care workers to refuse to provide contraceptives" - Houston Chronicle editiorial article

From the Houston Chronicle (heard about this story through Friends Are My Art Form blog):

"Health and Human Services officials are considering a draft regulation that would classify most birth control pills, the Plan B emergency contraceptive and intrauterine devices as forms of abortion because they prevent the development of fertilized eggs into fetuses.

The rule, which does not require congressional approval, would allow health care workers who object to abortion on moral or religious grounds to refuse to counsel women on their birth control options or supply contraceptives. It would forbid more than half a million health agencies nationwide that receive federal funds from requiring employees to provide such services. Pharmacists could use the rule as a justification for refusing to fill birth control prescriptions, and insurance companies could cite it as a basis for declining to cover the costs."

Read the full article at the Houston Chronicle.

And if you don't like what…

Back from the land where all the waitresses are from Russia & all the indie film bloggers live in Brooklyn

While in NYC earlier today I eat at two restaurants; one in Manhattan, one in Brooklyn. The servers I had at both restaurants were from Russia; good people - talked about the war over there with one while I eat (was running short on time at the 2nd place, no time for small talk).
All the NYC bloggers I interviewed for Indie Film Blogger Road Trip, except for two (Geldin in Queens, VanAirsdale in Manhattan), live in Brooklyn. I also know of several other bloggers that live in Brooklyn. It is possible that most of the blogs you read today were written by writers living in Brooklyn - it's the Brooklyn Renaissance 2008 style baby (the Brooklyn Digital Renaissance?). Filmed the very final blogger interview for the doc this afternoon - with Anthony Kaufman - guess where?
More on the trip tomorrow, with photos & links, after I get some sleep.
Thanks a lot Vamoose bus for a quick ride to & back from NYC. Vammose folds space, they have the spice.
- Sujewa

Able Danger in DC

From Brian Geldin:
"9/11 Conspiracy Thriller ABLE DANGER Plays 9/11 Truth Film Festival at Busboys and Poets in DC
WASHINGTON, DC, August 12, 2008 – ABLE DANGER, the acclaimed independent conspiracy thriller by filmmaker PAUL KRIK, will make its Washington, DC, debut as part of the the Alliance for Global Justice's and DC911truth.org's 9/11 Truth Film Festival at Busboys and Poets. The festival starts at 6pm on September 11 in the Langston Room of Busboys and Poets located at 2021 14th St NW. Other films playing in the festival include Alex Jones' "Terror Storm," a history of false flag operations, and "The Reflecting Pool," a dramatization of an investigation of the official story on what happened on 9/11. More info at http://www.busboysandpoets.com/.
That same evening in New York City, ABLE DANGER opens for an exclusive week-long engagement at Two Boots Pioneer Theater. More info at http://www.twoboots.com/pioneer/.
ABLE DANGER is the story of Thomas…

La Vie de Boheme at BAM on Tue night

From BAM's site:"La vie de bohème (1992) 100min Tue, Aug 12 at 4:30, 6:50, 9:15pm› Buy TicketsDirected by Aki Kaurismäki
A playwright, an artist, and a musician struggle to make ends meet on the Left Bank in modern-day Paris. “Aki Kaurasmäki is one of my heroes, and this film in particular had a direct effect on GTK. It’s pretty much perfect, and says it all while being funny and precise. I got a chance to thank Aki for his films in person, his response was that I ‘should enjoy youth while it lasted.’”—Azazel Jacobs"

Does blogging help other creative writing or does it hurt it?

Blogging is certainly good for generating publicity for films, speaking as a filmmaker, and it is also good for creating a community; gives several people something in common, new friends are made, etc. But, being a filmmaker also means being a creative writer; movies are first created on paper (most fiction movies) and that kind of writing is different than journalistic writing (reportage, getting the facts down & getting it to the readers in a certain form) or publicity focused writing (such as blog posts created to announce a DVD's availability, a film screening, etc.). Creative writing requires periods of not writing a lot; instead thinking, jotting down small notes, research, wrestling with panda bears, exploring info. on new things. So, if you are in the habit of blogging daily, might that get in the way of making progress on your fiction film scripts? Perhaps. Maybe such temporarily-off-the-record writing (as work done on fiction feature scripts are not readily ava…

2 example of relatively poor/not focused on wealth building & ultimately marketers of an intellectual product who have reshaped the world

Being an agnostic, I approach religion primarily as a human creative/intellectual product (which allows me access to any positive universally human elements contained in religions while shielding me from superstition, tribal mania & other "down sides" of religion). And the dissemination of religion, the work being performed by religious organizations, as possibly interesting & useful (to base other organizations/work on) examples of how humans organize to carry out certain tasks, to help themselves, in many cases.

Let's take a look at 2 religions; Christianity and Buddhism, from the perspective of analyzing success or failure of these two organizations (very broadly speaking) on Earth. And to see if there are any ideas that are useful to indie filmmakers in the story of those two organizations.

Christianity is said to be a little over 2000 years old. Buddhism over 2500 years old. By any current/modern day standard of durability of an organization; a company, a nati…

iTunes & indie filmmakers

Scott Kirsner looks around to see if iTunes is accessible to indie filmmakers; to sell their work through the service. From Kirsner's post in CinemaTech:

"I’ve harped on this issue since 2005, the year that Apple first started selling movies and TV shows on iTunes. Since then, iTunes has become the dominant marketplace for legal movie sales and rentals; in June, Apple said iTunes users were renting or purchasing 50,000 movies a day. (Apple’s rivals, like Amazon Unbox, Movielink, and CinemaNow, have never disclosed how many movies they sell and rent – but my belief is that they’re bit players.)

So how do you get your movie sold on iTunes?"

Read the rest at CinemaTech.

- Sujewa

Possible final poster for the blogger doc

Shooting Untilted NYC Comedy 9/15 - 11/15 & updates on the other 3 current projects

While the momentum thingy is happening (or while I think it's happening) & while I still don't mind being relatively poor & working hard, important things/film projects will get done in the coming weeks & months; an update:

- Date Number One DVD project: After 10 straight days of work I have this coming weekend off, I plan on fixing 2 sound issues & then creating the master DVD so that I can order some copies to sell starting later this month. This project is way overdue for completion & release (started it in 2004!), but that's cool, sometimes it goes like that.

- Indie Film Blogger Road Trip doc: Filming some final interviews the middle of next week, continuing with editing next weekend, should be completed at the end of this month/August. Then it'll be sent out to festivals.

- Actress: Script & some casting & some location selection work is happening. Official pre-production work will begin around 8/15, and I expect the film to be shot, …