DIY = Do-It-Yourself. DIY film = low budget indie films made and distributed by the filmmaker. This is a blog by independent filmmaker Sujewa Ekanayake. 2018 films - Werewolf Ninja Philosopher, Breakthrough Weekend, Brooklyn Fantastic, Agnes the Alien. Blog active since 2006, with posts on cinema, NYC, positive news, various other concerns. Indie film can save the world (or at least entertain a part of it :) ).
Since movies - features - can be made for $0 to million$ - I don't think it's healthy for me to set up a specific $ standard (as was mentioned in this post) to meet before embarking on a new project (reminds me of the not very productive 16 MM era - ah the sweet sweet wasted nineties :). Maybe my real thinking was that it would be nice to have a whole bunch of money around when I am making & distributing my next fiction feature so that there will be greater flexibility - more room to get things done well, pay bills early, etc. So, the plan from that post is still on - raise $s & put it aside for film projects - but - the filmmaking track will be independent from the overall financial life track - unless of course I get the deep urge to make a period epic or something (which i do not see happening any time soon) - or some such project that absolutely requires a lot of money to get started on.
Anyway, work (mostly writing at the moment) on the next project is happening, a…
Well, not so little - SilverDocs wants you to submit your doc to SilverDocs '09, go here for the info. You should do it, among other things, if you get in, it would be a good excuse to come visit the DC area (& perhaps hang out with the new prez & vp team! - hopefully this one).
So, moving a couple of steps away from "no" budget filmmaking on my next project - a fiction feature (the Actress story will be a part of it, overall the next feature is about several young travelers - without giving too much away before the script is done) - it will still be an ultra-low budget project but I would like the luxury of working on it full time so that I can 1) get it made very well, and 2) not take forever to make it (having a FT job doing something else for $s & then making films on the side results in the films taking a long time to finish).
I do not think it will be too difficult to raise $200K. That's 1000 sources providing $200 each or 200 sources providing $1000 each, or some other combination similar to those formulas.
One of the up sides of having a $200K budget will be that I will be able to pay everyone who works on the movie, and not be in personal debt by the time the film is completed.
The $200K budget includes making & marketing a signifi…
Too much to do in DC/Kensington today, will not be going to Brooklyn, so, the little house screening of the blogger doc will have to wait 'till next weekend - perhaps on Sat 11/1 - will have info. towards the middle of next week for those who are interested.
SAT 10/25 Early AM Update: Will not be able to go to Brooklyn today, so, the screening will have to happen next weekend. Stay tuned.
(here's the original post, no longer valid) If all the 2 Do items in front of me at the moment get done properly tonight & tomorrow, I should be watching my new doc Indie Film Blogger Road Trip in Brooklyn this Sat 10/25 eve/night @ a friend's/my temp house. Since most of the NYC bloggers featured in the doc are from Brooklyn, I think this is in some way very appropriate. Anyway, if you are interested in attending this little event, let me know.
Here's my comment re: SpoutBlog's post Does Ballast Really Deserve a Backlash? In that question lies another question - is it acceptable for a director to make a film about people who belong to another social/ethnic/political/economic/"racial" group? Here's what I said about it:
I don’t see any problem with a person from one group making a work of art/entertainment about a person or people from another social/religious/political/national/ethinic/”race”/whatever group. We (humans) have been doing it for thousands of years. Some do it well, others don’t. But either way, it’s alright to do.
I thought Gandhi was well done - not that I am an expert on the life & times of Gandhi - but, as a movie goer - what I saw & heard seemed like a good reflection of what I knew about Gandhi, even though the movie was made by a non-Indian & “white”, British director. So, it is possible, I think, for a person to make a good movie about a person or a group of people from…
In Battlestar Galactica the main characters face enormous challenges, and most of the time they overcome those challenges, and the audience is satisfied by that pattern. Of course if all the humans or main characters - human & Cylon - who the audience identifies as positive - end up dying at the end of the series next year, perhaps the audience will be very disappointed. Success, in the Galactica world, ultimately means survival. Success in our world can also mean survival, except, we know all of us will die one day - from old age, etc. So, even though survival works as the ultimate signifier of success in the Galactica world - or in our judgement of the lives of the characters in that world, that is not an option that we have in our/the real world. Survival is only available to us as a source of temporary happiness - we know we are alive now, but who knows what will happen in 10 minutes or 10 years? Let's take a look at another kind of success, another kind of happiness, in a…
Pretty good movie. Mongol is part 1 of 3 apparently, about the life of Genghis Khan. Some aspects of the story was difficult to follow, probably because I do not know details of Mongolian history, but, generally, very well made ancient warrior epic. Here's A.O. Scott's review in the New York Times.
A clip, from a battle scene towards the end of Mongol:
"Macrinas, from Brescia in north Italy, served Emperor Marcus Arelius as a confidant. Macrinas was the pro-consul of Asia, and the emperor wanted him to lead Roman troops in battle against Germanic tribes to the north, the BBC reported."
If you are a fan of the most entertaining (& probably most realistic - in the sense that most non-soldier humans who may find themselves in a very strange, post-apocalyptic man vs. robots space war situation may act as Baltar does) character on the new Battlestar Galactica, check out this Facebook page.
Also, fans of both Galactica & Obama may appreciate this video:
Here's what the video above is parodying, actually 4 different versions of it, from the 4 seasons of BSG:
So how did I end up reading about the relationship between gun control & genocide tonight? Let's see, I saw an episode (Resistance, from Season 2) of Battlestar Galactica - one that I had missed in my initial binge of BSG watching a few weeks ago - where Admiral (or is it Commander?) Adama - basically the head guy on the ship - is shot, & is recovering from surgery & the temporary guy in command - Tigh - suspends the civilian government of the fleet & institutes martial law. Then, when the civilian fleet refuses to go along Tigh sends Marines to a civilian ship to enforce his orders, resulting in civilian deaths. This got me thinking about the strange role militaries play (often protectors, but can be misused by evil politicians or other not so great leaders), and also about the relationship between civil/non military governments and the militaries. Anyway, some research web searches later I ended up on this page - with a chart (scroll down to the middle of the…
Check out some shorts from the Rooftop Films summer festival series at IFC's site.
More about the films: "The films posted are an eclectic mix of both live and animated narratives as well documentaries. All of these films are selections from the Rooftop Films summer festival series, which means that each week three more shorts will be posted on IFC.com available for viewing."
Apparently there is a guidebook called Washington, DC From A to Z out there and my '99 released feature/my first feature (shot in 1 day on 16 MM color, 70 mins. long) Wild Diner is mentioned in it. Check out the mention at this link. Pretty cool, thanks goes out to the authors, needs to get me a copy of that book. Wild Diner is not in distribution at the moment, but, perhaps in the future it will make it on to a DVD as an extra item. Some Wild Diner trivia related to a more recent & much better received indie movie: the DP of Wild Diner was Sean Williams, who also shot - years later - Ron Bronstein's Frownland. Williams also appears in a brief role in Mary Bronstein's Yeast. For Wild Diner Williams had to work under some very difficult conditions (like shooting a whole feature script in one day in a living room badly made up to look like a diner! :), and I don't think he was very happy with his work on that movie - so he was credited using a pseudonym in the flick. …
In the multi-page article From Indie Chic to Indie, SheeshAnn Hornaday takes a look at the history of indie film - from Charlie Chaplin to Jim Jarmusch to Barry Jenkins - but mostly the article is a protest against the mainstreaming of quirk through indiewood movies, check it out at the Washington Post. Was a great Sunday morning read.
Yeast was one of my favorite films at this year's Maryland Film Festival. A little weird, action packed, somewhat disturbingly funny, in glorious tight close up hand held digital video - check it out through this post at Matt Dentler's blog - Yeast definitely will not put you to sleep.
If you've been wanting to buy those DVDs, check out the links above.
I've been selling books, for work/the day job, for a couple of months now through Amazon and have been very impressed with the results. So now I will also be selling art, indie, foreign DVDs & related stuff & other media products (including my own DVDs - as soon as they are ready :) through Amazon. Just started my Amazon store, but should have a few interesting items there soon.
Update: 8:29 PM - both of the DVDs listed above sold today/within the first day that they were listed, so, I added a couple more used DVDs to my Amazon store: In Praise of Love by Godard - $9, and Van Sant's Drugstore Cowboy - $9.50. Looks like some items will sell fast on Amazon - way cool. Time to unpack all my boxes from the move (& also go shopping for new merchandise…
The summer before I went to film school (I think) there were lines of people outside a small movie theater in Dupont Circle in DC waiting to check out Slacker. When I finally saw the movie in Chicago a couple of months later I thought it was kinda neat. Since then, specially in the 90's - I think I've seen this movie on VHS fully or in part over a dozen times (great thing about Slacker you can drop in on it at any point & then leave when you get tired of it - not plot driven, each scene is its own story). Here's Slacker on Hulu:
When I feel like there is too much to do, I read about or check out interviews with the Fugazi dudes - for rest & inspiration - 'cause they've done a LOT of work over the years & a lot of interesting work too - along with like the I don't know 80% of support/routine/maintenance work that needs to be done in order to accomplish the 20% that is interesting to other people/consumers/stuff of DIY art/entertainment glory, no doubt. Anyway, saw this entertaining interview on YouTube a couple of days ago - was a nice little break from lots of not-too-exciting but necessary work:
"There is an artistry at work here that recalls European cinema from the 1970s or early 1980s. Which is interesting, for that works in conjunction with Russo-Young’s main goal: to contemplate how the past continues to reverberate in the present. Watching the film, an interesting question arises: was Russo-Young influenced by her own childhood or by films from that era? The answer appears to be both. In the best way possible, she and her actresses have found a way to cloak the emotions of their own past histories in an artificially constructed story."
"As freelancers, many members of the creative community -- writers, artists, and filmmakers -- often struggle to find the best health insurance for themselves and their families. Since artists typically do not work as employees, they are not eligible for insurance through a company. And it's not always an option to tag onto a partner's or parent's policy. But there are still plenty of options out there, if you know how to find them. Emerging and veteran artists may not realize that, in fact, they are eligible as artists to join certain organizations, and thus obtain a variety of more affordable health insurance options. So The Independent put together this list, broken down by state with the aim of helping artists learn their insurance options."
...or if it's even a good thing for me (I like selling DVDs of my movies & selling tickets to screenings of my movies, so, for the consumer end, I don't want my movies to be free), BUT, there is a blog written by producer Ted Hope about (a new idea?) called Truly Free Film, go check it out here, might be interesting.
Spent like 12 hours on Tue moving all my stuff from one place in Kensington, MD to another place in Kensington.
Then got on the Amtrak (hanging out & working & snacking on a table in the cafe car while the land rolls by outside big train windows is the way to travel from DC area to NYC), came over to Brooklyn, picked up the keys to my 2 month sublet in Kosciuszko St., hung out/dinner with a couple of film bloggers from Indie Film Blogger Road Trip - Brandon Harris & Brian Geldin, & afterwards met the new roommates; good times.
And today, just had breakfast at a local diner near Kosci street (pretty cheap - $6.35 for 2 eggs, home fries, sausage, toast, & coffee - & good), met/talked with a few of people who live in the neighborhood/fellow diners at the diner. At a cyber cafe nearby at the moment.
Nice to be in Brooklyn. Living in 2 places (NY & MD) for the next couple of months should be fun. Also am planning on shooting a new movie in NY & MD over the next…
Maybe post-World War II India is kind of the new old world, not quite the old old world, anyway, a clip from an interview with Satyajit Ray (look below the clip for a little bit about Ray, from the youtube page):
"Ray directed thirty-seven films, including feature films, documentaries and shorts. Ray's first film, Pather Panchali, won eleven international prizes, including Best Human Document at Cannes film festival. Along with Aparajito and Apur Sansar, the film forms the Apu trilogy. Ray did scripting, casting, scoring, cinematography, art direction, editing and designed his own credit titles and publicity material. He was a fiction writer, publisher, illustrator, graphic designer and film critic. Ray received many major awards, including an Academy Honorary Award in 1992."