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Showing posts from November, 2008

A Photo from India

Indian schoolchildren at a candlelight vigil in memory of victims of Mumbai attacks. More photos here.

Started the blog/site for my next fiction feature

The blog/site is here. Working on script & fundraising for the next 3 months, so probably not much to blog about, but who knows :)

Flick takes place in Brooklyn. One of the story lines will be the one I've been working on for Actress movie. I hope to start shooting in March.

That's about it for this untitled project for now - am calling it Brooklyn Movie while it is in script & production stages.

Anyway, whenever there is more to report on the Brooklyn Movie project, it'll be at its blog/site.

Tweeting the terror: social media & attacks in Mumbai

Check out the CCN article Tweeting the terror: How social media reacted to Mumbai. From the article:

"Neha Viswanathan, a former regional editor for Southeast Asia and a volunteer at Global Voices, told CNN, "Even before I actually heard of it on the news I saw stuff about this on Twitter.

"People were sending in messages about what they were hearing. There were at least five or six blogs from people who were trapped, or who were very close to what happened."

One tweet from "Dupree" appeared to be coming from inside one of the hotels: "Mumbai terrorists are asking hotel reception for rooms of American citizens and holding them hostage on one floor."

A group of Mumbai-based bloggers turned their Metroblog into a news wire service, while the blog MumbaiHelp offered to help users get through to their family and friends in the city, or to get information about them, and has had a number of successes."

Read the rest of the article here.

- Sujewa

Indian commandos rescue hostages in Mumbai

Full story at CNN. From the article:

"Indian security forces appear to be gaining control of two Mumbai five-star hotels attacked by terrorists in a wave of violence that has lasted more than 24 hours.

But a standoff continues at a Jewish center in the city, said a spokesman for the Israeli foreign ministry."

Read the rest of the story here.

*
Best wishes to India in recovering from this terrorist attack/tragedy.

- Sujewa

Moved to Brooklyn

After a few years of wanting to do it, & then having access to a place in Queens this year & then having a sublet in Brooklyn for a couple of months this fall, I've finally rented a permanent place in Brooklyn (even though I am writing this from MD at the moment - here for the holidays & also will be here quite often since I've got several important things going on here & MD is less than 4 hours away on Vamoose) - so thus begins my NYC period as an artist/filmmaker.

NYC is very photogenic (also kind of crumbly in places, but the energy is generally sexy), looking forward to making movies there. I am going to try to finish shooting a new feature in NYC before the end of Spring '09.

- Sujewa

Really, that's not what this thing is about

Some indie filmmakers that I've heard from through the magic of electronic mail are disappointed that their DIY films have not yet made them rich and or famous by Hollywood standards. What I have to say to that is if you want to get rich & famous by Hollywood standards, then you should try to make a Hollywood movie & get it distributed widely - & get tons of tickets & DVDs sold & get tons of cable & foreign licensing & then make sure you get paid properly for your work. DIY film, as I & many others understand it, is generally not a smaller version of Hollywood nor is it a quick stepping stone to Hollywood. DIY film (as I & some others practice it) is about making interesting films through means available to you at the moment, and also distributing those films through means available. On a grand scale there is a relationship between DIY film production & distribution & Hollywood stuff - but there is no guaranteed link between the two area…

This holiday season maybe we should donate to Facebook better versions of whatever thingys they use to determine if a message is spam or not

I really have no idea what kind of magical product Facebook uses to determine if their members are sending spam to one another or if a certain message being sent to members of a group is legitimate or not, BUT, whatever they use does not work too well. Though I've never sent any spam to any of my Facebook friends or to my groups, Facebook keeps warning me about sending spam. Obviously whatever filtering thing they use is not very effective. It's a good thing I still have my MySpace & Friendster accounts & this blog, other blogs & sites - yay for options! We'll see what happens - maybe due to communications limitations Facebook will drop out of popularity as quickly as they became popular. But, other than the warnings re: & limits to legitimate activity, being on Facebook has been a pretty good thing so far (it's been a few weeks).

Balas's blog

Met Ryan Andrew Balas, a NYC based indie filmmaker, this past weekend. Ryan's got a new movie called Carter heading out to screenings, and another feature called Sandcastles on its way to DVD. For all manner of info. on Ryan's projects, check out his blog.

- Sujewa

Brian Geldin saw Indie Film Blogger Road Trip this weekend

From Brian's blog The Film Panel Notetaker:

"I like Indie Film Blogger Road Trip as a social commentary on a growing community...a kind of multi-city film panel discussion on digital video. Sujewa makes great use of a diverse bunch of unique bloggers, each speaking about the state of indie film blogging and how it's evolved from and its affects on more traditional means of film journalism and criticism, what each of us brings to the table, and where we see things going."

Read the rest of the post here.

- Sujewa

Cookies & Cream

Cookies & Cream, directed by Princeton Holt, is one of the strongest - well made, generally effective - ultra low budget debut feature dramas I've seen in several years. Although Cream is not technically polished as Medicine for Melancholy, both of these new features take a step away from "digital video tales of young people looking for love" land & decide to bother themselves with questions that deal with traditions & assumptions & perhaps questionable practices in the greater society. In Cookies the underlying subject matter is sex work. However, the main story is about a girl trying to find the right guy. This romantic drama in disguise is shot, edited, & scored well. Any lack of technical smoothness/a certain "raw"-ness in some places added positively to the world that was presented in the movie - or, the sometimes documentary like quality of camera & sound work heightened the realism factor - made the movie seem like a chronicle of …

Interviewed at Spout!

At Spout blog there is an interview with me for their feature The Media Diet. From the intro to the interview:

"For two and a half years Sujewa Ekanayake has provided the indie film world with one of its funniest and most arresting blogs, DIY Filmmaker Sujewa, where the thirty-four year old Washington D.C. based Sri Lankan offers an insightful glance into the world of the independent filmmaker outside of the New York-LA indie axis. His newest film, Indie Film Blogger Road Trip, brings him into the homes and working spaces of 14 film bloggers and is perhaps the first extended meditation on the impact, limitations and peculiarities of the film blogosphere to date. We caught up with him this week to discuss the charms of Battlestar Galactica, where Kevin Smith went wrong and finding his long lost copy of Tom Wait’s “Rain Dogs”."

Read the interview here.

Thanks a lot for the press Spout!

- Sujewa

Frustrating (& in retrospect hilarious) conversation re: feminism & sex leads to story line in my new movie

On Sunday night, in Brooklyn, I found myself trapped in a very frustrating conversation that ultimately dealt with feminism & how ideas introduced by that movement/philosophy affects human sexuality - or maybe I should say sex in America & other post-feminist countries (much of the world has not heard of feminism too clearly yet). I was talking with another dude - and a lot of the misunderstandings arose (i think) from each of us having drastically different definitions for & understandings of the same terms/words (also, maybe I was not very clear in making certain arguments). This is also a subject I've talked about with various girlfriends over the years - and, I think, part of the problem (confusions arising at the intersection of feminism & sex - or perhaps feminism & gender roles, responsibilities, expectations - both public & private) is people are afraid to talk about the matter because they are afraid of being perceived as someone having an unacce…

Godard's My Life to Live would be a good companion movie for Cookies & Cream

Godard's movie My Life to Live deals with the how's & why's of a sex worker's life. Princeton Holt's Cookies & Cream deals with a sex worker attempting to have a "normal" life while she engages in sex work - and does not elaborate fully on how she got to where she is in life and why she does not take certain actions to change her life - or even why she does not feel a great need for a complete change. In a way I feel that the two stories can be looked upon as two points in the life of one character or one type of character (even though the two films are separated by many things - time, place, age of the characters, filmmaking style, and perhaps how each filmmaker feels about sex work, etc.).

- Sujewa

The Cookies & Cream/Sexy Int'l Fest Adventure

We'll get to a proper review or the proper reviews of Cookies & Cream soon (we are still thinking it over), but, in the meantime, let me share with you some details from a DIY film event that took place on Saturday night in Manhattan. Things started off around 6 PM in Brooklyn - I was tired from traveling all over Brooklyn searching for apartments in the cold. So, as I finished up my dinner I decided to skip the Cookies & Cream screening, but right then local filmmaker & blogger Tambay Obenson called & said he is on his way to the screening - Tambay was heading out from Brooklyn. And I already knew that Brian "The Film Panel Notetaker" Geldin was heading over to the screening from Queens. So, I decided to ignore the tiredness & drag myself over to Manhattan to check out Princeton Holt's debut feature - specially since I told both Tambay & Brian about the screening & suggested that we all go to it.
The screening itself was a well attended &…

Coming soon - more on new DIY filmmakers - Range Life team, 1 Way family, & others

As noted in Filmmaker Magazine blog & elsewhere, there are four DIY filmmakers on tour together at the moment - a project led by Todd Sklar of Range Life Entertainment.

And in New York there are several new filmmakers taking ultra-indie production & self distribution to heart, working together, & coming out with several new feature projects - heard about this new NYC DIY group through Princeton Holt - of 1 Way or Another Productions.

I am working on an interview with Sklar and will be attending a screening event (Sexy International Film Festival) featuring a 1 Way film (Cookies & Cream, directed by Holt) this weekend in NYC, so, more on these two new groups of DIY filmmakers soon at this blog.

Also, have received (yet unanswered in some cases) e-mails from several other new DIY filmmakers recently, will look into their projects also.

Looks like the ultra-low budget production & self-distribution path is catching on with more & more young filmmakers - most excell…

Cookies & Cream at the Sexy International Film Festival - Sat Nov. 22 - NYC

Until I got the invite from the people who made the new feature Cookies & Cream, I never know there was a fest called the Sexy International Film Festival. So I am going - really, how can you turn down an invitation to an event called Cookies & Cream at the Sexy Int'l Film Fest :) More info. below, come check out the fest this coming weekend:
First, Sexy IFF (I almost typed SIFF - but didn't want people to confuse this fest w/ Seattle Int'l) on Facebook. The fest happens on 11/21 Fri (shorts), & 11/22 Sat (Cookies & Cream - feature).
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Sexy International Film Festival
Time and Place
Start Time:

Friday, November 21, 2008 at 7:00pm
End Time:
Saturday, November 22, 2008 at 9:00pm
Location:
Helen Mills Theatre
Street:
137-139 West 26th Street
City/Town:
New York, NY

View Map
*
21st of November 7pm
Tickets available at door or email info@sexyfilmfest.com to pre book.
JE TE LOVE Canada 9 mins Canada
FROM HERE TO MATERNITY Australia 3 mins Dir. Bill Flowers, Tom & Shannon P…

Jurors pick film they did not enjoy as winner in St. Louis

Congrats to Mary Bronstein & team Yeast for their victory at the St. Louis International Film Festival.

From the St.Louis Post-Dispatch:

"Bronstein’s psychodrama about three co-dependent young women is reminiscent of John Cassevetes at his most claustrophobic. None of us jurors–Variety critic Scott Foundas, St. Louis Art Museum assistant education director Bill Appleton, novelist Scott Phillips and P-D critic emeritus Harper Barnes–confessed to actually enjoying it; yet none of us could forget it either. It was a welcome reminder that there are still all kinds of ways to make a movie. As Goodman said, with all the technology at our disposal, there’s never been an easier time time to make a movie–even if there’s never been a harder time to make money at it."

Read the rest of the article here.

Thanks to Boredom At Its Boredest blog for the link.

For the record, I did enjoy Yeast when I saw it at the Maryland Film Festival last year. But that quote above - re: jurors not enjoyi…

1st reaction to Indie Film Blogger Road Trip is in!

If you want to skip this intro & go directly to Chuck Tryon's post about my new doc Indie Film Blogger Road Trip, here's the link, dive in.

As Chuck says several times in his post, he is a part of the doc so his post is not really an official review. Regardless, I am glad that the idea I had a little over 6 months ago is now alive & visible & audible as a feature length doc & it is very satisfying to get a response - a lengthy & well thought out response - from someone other than myself/another audience member re: IFBRT. As fas as I know Chuck is the first person (other than myself) to see the completed movie. Certainly he is the first media professional to write about it. From Chuck's post:

"At the same time, Sujewa is attentive to the various ways that all of his interviewees are invested in blogging as an activity, even if, as Anthony Kaufman confesses at one point, we don’t always like doing it or like what it has done to film and entertainment j…

Pray the Devil Back to Hell in DC this weekend

This doc sounds very interesting, all the info. in great detail here:
“PRAY THE DEVIL BACK TO HELL” OPENS NOV. 14 AT E STREET CINEMA
Uplifting, True Story In Theaters in Nov. and Dec. Including LA, NY, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Chicago, Boston, Atlanta, Portland and Seattle
Washington, DC – Opening November 14 in DC, Tribeca’s Best Documentary and SILVERDOCS’ Witness Award-Winning Pray the Devil Back to Hell is the inspiring true story of a group of brave and visionary women who, armed only with white t-shirts, demanded peace for Liberia, a nation torn apart by a decades-old civil war. Directed by Oscar® nominee and Emmy® winner Gini Reticker and produced by Abigail Disney, Pray the Devil Back to Hell has also earned Jackson Hole Film Festival (Audience Choice: Documentary), Traverse City Film Festival (Special Jury Prize: Non-fiction Filmmaking), and the Heartland Film Festival (Best Documentary).

Jane Fonda calls Pray the Devil Back to Hell “a real uplift,” while Desmond Tutu says t…

Met a dude who was saved by fellow villagers in 1958

I was at a local restaurant today, had a business meeting, eat some food. After the meeting I hung out, made some notes, was enjoying my coffee & thinking about stuff. Started talking with another person - a stranger - at the restaurant. We started talking because it appeared that we were from the same part of the world. Turns out this dude grew up in Sri Lanka, and ultimately moved to India & then came to the US. After talking about many interesting things - religion, missionary work, agnosticism, war in Sri Lanka, etc. - as I was getting ready to leave, this dude told me an interesting story.

When he was a kid, in 1958, him & his family lived in a village that was mostly Sinhala, and his family is Tamil (for those unaware of Sri Lankan politics & conflicts, people in that island believe that they belong to two races - Sinhala and Tamil - and have been killing each other for centuries). Anyway, when a Sinhala mob came to kill him & his family in 1958 his fell…

Alex Karpovsky interview at ShortEnd Magazine

From the interview:

AK: "The word truth should not be used anywhere in the ballpark of film. Everybody knows that, but people still seem to use that within the field of documentary film. (The Hole Story) is partially a documentary, and (Woodpecker) is also, much more partially a documentary, and the movie I’m doing now TJ & Dave is a full-on documentary, but I would never call it a nonfiction work because I think there is this notion that if it’s called nonfiction it’s somehow true or real. And that’s crazy. As soon as you put music underneath a scene, you’re incredibly, aggressively manipulating any vestiges of truth."

Read the rest of the interview at ShortEnd.

A few photos from Gayani's wedding

That's my sister Gayani - on her wedding day, this summer.

Gayani & Mike - brand new married couple - dancing. With the Sujewa on video cam duty on the right side of the pic.
Quite a few Sri Lankan ladies in Saris. On the left - three aunts, mom in blue sari in the middle, Gayani in white sari, 2 more aunts on the right.

From the rehearsal dinner - Sujewa, sis Gayani, The Mom, bro Chandana. Perhaps more photos from the wedding in the future.

Provocateur Pictures

Looks like an interesting new company, here's the press release:

"Underground Film Veteran Launches Provocateur Pictures

(Los Angeles, CA) 2008 saw the launch of Provocateur Pictures, an independent DVD label for alternative cinema. Founded by curator and co-founder of Other Cinema Digital, Noel Lawrence, Provocateur aims to create a space for challenging and offbeat works to thrive within an increasingly competitive media marketplace.

“When Hollywood rejects your work, I’ll screen it,” says Lawrence. “When your film is called weird or subversive, I’ll embrace it. I am interested in taking chances on the films that other distributors appreciate but decide against releasing because they are too deemed too risky. It is my belief that there is an audience for quality alternative cinema.” Providing major backbone and backup, Provocateur has enlisted Microcinema International, to distribute its film catalog both in the retail and institutional sectors. Founded in 1996, Microcinema …

indie film distribution related thoughts while attending warner theatre in dc

since i will be dragging ms. amanda to see zack & miri later this month, i allowed myself to be dragged by her to see cassandra wilson & band perform at the warner theatre in dc tonight. good show. but, being a filmmaker, i was also interested in being in what must have been a movie palace of the 20's or 30's - a super gigantic & ornate movie theater with deco stylings. the venue was packed - several hundred people - maybe over a 1000 to 2000 people - and i think the cheapest tickets were like $50 or so (i didn't have to pay - another good thing about the outing tonight :). so, with those numbers - i am sure the event brought in a nice amount of $s. in a way the concert was similar to a specialty film screening or a film festival event - people who were really into the artist went, knew about the event, and payed good money to be there, & enjoyed the event. i can see certain films & filmmakers of the future employing such a distribution strategy - a fil…

Wed. Nov. 12 is A GOOD DAY TO BE BLACK & SEXY in NYC!

Here's all the info. re: the screening, see ya there!
::
ANF Film Collective & NY Perks
Presents
A New York Premier
"A Good Day To Be Black And Sexy"
2008 Gotham Independent Film Award BREAKTHROUGH DIRECTOR Nominee
A perfect day indeed! In a daring and sexy film debut, Dennis Dortch offers us an unusual and merciless view into the myths and truths of Black sexuality. Six funny and intertwined skits show men and women in Los Angeles who explore desire, sex and love. Stereotypes are dismissed, yet at the same time, Dortch also reveals some sexy secrets, which are generally unspoken. http://theblackandsexymovie.com/

On Wednesday November 12th
At 7 pm
At Cobble Hill Cinema Brooklyn, NY 265 Court St (Corner of Court & Butler St) Take F or G to Bergen St
*
After Party At NY Perks 193 Smith St. *
Admission $10
::
rsvp@actnowproduction.org ::
For Advance tickets & More Info http://www.actnowproduction.org/ Or Call 347-274-0563
::

One more reason why religions sometimes suck: Mormon hate towards a right guaranteed by the California Constitution

As far as I can piece together from Maryland, here's how the Proposition 8 scandal went down in California:

1. The California Supreme Court recognized that the CA Constitution gave same sex couples the right to marry

2. Mormons or the LDS Church did not like it, and thus they poured MILLIONS of dollars into convincing Californians that a right guaranteed by the state constitution should be taken away (I guess Mormons believe that their quite possibly non-existent God would be angry at them for not doing something about gay marriage in CA?)

3. Proposition 8 narrowly passes in CA - putting the legality of thousands of existing gay marriages in question for the moment, & depriving Californians of a right that had been previously available to them

4. So, basically, religion/fantasy (all religions seem mostly like myths designed to help believers deal with human existence/living on earth) interfered in a secular & personal matter in CA, taking away a right for millions of Californi…

Link & intro to new Facebook group Positive Humans on Earth

I started a new group on Facebook this morning - Positive Humans on Earth - a place to share good news, celebrate things that are being done to make the world a better place, and a place to discuss things that still need to be done - ultimate goal of the group is to help make available peace & prosperity to every individual on the planet (yeah, that'll happen real soon :) - but you gotta keep the ball rolling, eventually we'll get there if we do it). Here's the intro to the group, join if it sounds interesting:

Intro to Facebook group Positive Humans on Earth:

"In 2008 of the Common Era on Earth the following things exist: developed/easy to live areas and underdeveloped/difficult to live areas, peaceful areas and areas with war/without peace, individuals grouped into often competing tribes/clans/"races"/nations and other collections of individuals, religious people (people whose motivations are ultimately supported by/because of an otherworldly deity, a…