Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from January, 2008

Tre review at LA Weekly

Check out the positive review of Tre at LA Weekly. Here is the opening:

"Unlike most indie dramas about rudderless 20-somethings who exorcise their hang-ups by talking and screwing each other to death, Tre is something rare: a perceptive, nonindulgent chamber piece that wrings a little art from that anxious age."

Read the rest here.

To find out more about Tre, go here.

- Sujewa

Trailer, site, a MySpace page for Eric Byler's new film Tre

Here's the trailer, thanks AsianAmericanFilm.com!:



Here's the official website for Tre.

And the Tre director's MySpace page.

A synopsis of the film, from a press release, via AsianAmericanFilm:

"Tre arrives unannounced at a secluded mountain home where his friends Gabe and Kakela allow him to crash on their couch. But Kakela becomes increasingly annoyed with Tre when he begins a revenge-fueled sexual affair with her best friend, Nina. As Kakela watches Nina's marriage unravel, she begins to question her devotion to Gabe. Unsure of her motives, she accepts a dare devised by Tre -- a simple 10-second experiment that changes her life forever.

Sexual competition and moral ambiguity are the only constants in Eric Byler's searing follow-up to his critically acclaimed 2003 Independent Spirit Award nominated film, "Charlotte Sometimes," the sexy anti-romance celebrated by film critic Roger Ebert as a "breakthrough for Asian American cinema."

“Tre” was co…

Director Vimukthy Jayasundara interview re: The Forsaken Land

From June '06, at American Buddhist Net. Here is a segment:

"The film seems to waver between a comment on the human condition in general and on the condition of war. What do you think is the relation between the two?Any war film, when you call it such - and we have seen thousands of war films coming from Hollywood or other parts of the world - is generally called an "action" film, as you know. But in my experience, war in Sri Lanka or elsewhere, there is not that kind of "action" in the war. So the war in action films is completely fabricated, fictionalized by the filmmakers. None of us experience the real war and the real results of the war in that way. So I thought of putting it a different way, by completely removing the subject called "action" from the film, but of course keeping the action that is there in day-to-day life, normal people, how they behave, how they act in normal life."Read the rest of the interview here.

::

And here is M…

Idea Lab asks "Will online video make the world a better place?"

From this article:

"But can film really unite us? Can it evoke empathy for people we've never met and likely never will? And even if powerful film does inspire empathy, will that lead to real change?

Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee and Hannah Merriman, co-founders of the Global Oneness Project believe that it can. According to their website, the Global Oneness Project "was created to discover and document the diverse ways in which the emerging consciousness of oneness is impacting people's lives. We are traveling worldwide with a small camera crew, asking people from a variety of disciplines whose work is grounded in a perspective of oneness for their stories and insights."

Read the rest here.

- Sujewa

Baghead goes to Sony Pictures Classics

The Puffy Chair by the Duplass brothers was funny & enjoyable, & it received good distribution for a low/"no"-budget, no-star DV movie, and now it looks like the Duplass's new movie Baghead will also be seen by a bunch of people; from The Hollywood Reporter:

"Sony Pictures Classics has picked up all North American rights to "Baghead," the sophomore feature from brothers Mark and Jay Duplass."

Read the rest of the story here.

- Sujewa

The Sundance movie that was shot in one room

From a New York mag Stanley Tucci interview re: the Sundance '08 film Blind Date:

"And you really shot it all in one room?

Yes, we shot the film in seven days, all in one room. It was at once a blessing and a curse. After a while you really have to figure out ways to make the room feel interesting without getting tricky or hokey. But it was so exciting. We would shoot fourteen pages a day! It was definitely grueling, but once you’ve written something, you know it so well that you really save a lot of time. You don’t even have to look at the script."

Read the rest of the interview here.

Thanks GreenCine Daily for the link.

Blind Date trailer at YouTube:

knock.knock at Smogdance Fri 1/25 Claremont, CA

Amir Motlagh's short knock.knock is gonna play at Smogdance, the Pomona Valley's 10th annual film festival. More info. here, and here, and here.

The official word from Amir's blog:

"Come and watch. knock. knock. play at the 10th annual Smogdance Film Festival.When: Friday Jan 25, 2007 @ 7PM
Where: Galileo Hall @ Harvey Mudd College, 260 E Foothill Blvd. Claremont, CA 91711Link to schedule:http://smogdance.com/2008.htmlLink to knock. knock. page:http://smogdance.com/2008/motlagh.html"
- Sujewa

Night of Henna

Yes, another "my immigrant parents don't want me to marry so and so..." story, but then again, just because a story seems familiar does not mean the movie is going to suck. Have not seen Henna, but here's some info. on it for any who are interested:
"Night of Henna (The Wedding Night) is a feature film written and directed by Hassan Zee, shot primarily in the San Francisco Bay area.
In the film, Hava (Pooja Kumar), a beautiful Pakistani-American girl, returns fully grown to America after a traditional upbringing in Pakistan where her parents felt she would be untainted by American culture. Finding herself in an exciting new environment, Hava's eyes open to life's possibilities. She thinks her dream of going to the University will come true, but her marriage has already been arranged by her parents. As a result, Hava finds herself engaged in not just a clash of cultures, but a battle for her very survival as an individual."
Find out more about the fil…

Dogme 95 + monster from hell + 1/8 of an indie DV rom com situation + a tragic story + AWESOME MOVIEMAKING = Cloverfield

Saw it tonight.

Loved it (as much as you can love a movie that reminds you of Godzilla).

Camera work & editing awesome.

If you were personally & deeply affected by the 9/11 attacks, you might not enjoy this movie. If a friend or someone you love died in those attacks, you probably will not enjoy this movie. Cloverfield is a monster movie, but it is also about something like a surprise attack from terrorists hell-bent on carnage & destruction.

If Cloverfield is on one level a 9/11 story, is it in favor of the War on Terror? I think so. Yeah, it's a pro-war movie, specifically the War on Terror.

See it in the theater, with a big audience if possible, for the full monster movie effect.

And don't believe anything that you hear about the ending until you see it for yourself.

If you are sensitive to motion sickness, you probably need to skip this movie. It's shakier than Blair Witch.

Clips from the movie could also work as a good ad for the army or the national guard; &…

Perhaps an intro to indiewood; Epstein's '05 article "The Indie Game"

Not sure how true or how current the info. is, but this 2005 article about the indie film business by Edward Jay Epstein is an interesting, & perhaps useful, read for filmmakers who might want to make an indiewood movie - an independent movie that, among other things, features some recognizable Hollywood actors. From the article:

"The genius of the indie film business lies in its use of Hollywood stars. The same actors and actresses who quote Hollywood studios $20 million per movie will work on indie films for a small fraction of that fee. Often they accept “scale,” as the Screen Actors Guild’s minimum wage of $788 a day is called, or “near scale” of about $10,000 a week plus overtime."

Read the rest here.

- Sujewa

Elections to be held at a recently liberated province of Sri Lanka

Hopefully soon the whole island will be free from the LTTE menace. But for now, some good news; from a Bloomberg article:

"Sri Lanka began the process of holding elections in the Eastern Province, the region captured by the army from the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam last July after 14 years of fighting."

And:

"President Mahinda Rajapaksa's government is seeking $1.8 billion in aid to meet its pledge to rebuild the Eastern Province and encourage investment and tourism in a region that has a 462-kilometer (287-mile) coastline of white sands. The LTTE's defeat left the group with bases only in the north to continue its fight for a separate homeland in Sri Lanka.

``We can bring democracy and peace to the region,'' Media Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa said at a briefing in Colombo earlier this week."

Read the rest here.

- Sujewa

NYC's new online volunteer match system helps fight hunger

First, here's the site; New York City Coalition Against Hunger

A brief description of the organization, from the NYCCAH site:

"The New York City Coalition Against Hunger (NYCCAH) represents the more than 1,200 nonprofit soup kitchens and food pantries in New York City and the more than one million low-income New Yorkers who are forced to use them. The Coalition works to meet the immediate food needs of low-income New Yorkers and enact innovative solutions to help them move "beyond the soup kitchen" to self-sufficiency."

And about the match system, from this page:

"New Yorkers are now able to search by neighborhood, nearby subways lines, available times, and personal skills sets, etc. to find the anti-hunger volunteer opportunities that fit best with their schedules and abilities. New Yorkers with special skills such as expertise in computers, accounting, public relations, web development, law, strategic planning, or graphic design can also use the system to “a…

On a jealous cinematographer & Wolf from Living In Oblivion

One of my favorite characters from Tom DiCillo's indie filmmaking comedy Living In Oblivion is the eye-patch & leather wearing cinematographer Wolf. Apparently that character was inspired by a real cinematographer; first a little back story from Johnny Suede (DiCillo's first feature) days:

"I still quake in fear in memory of it. On top of stolen wardrobe and collapsing buildings I was dealing with a very talented Director of Photography who later confided to me he was so jealous I was directing my first feature he couldn't’t stop himself from intentionally sabotaging the shoot."

Read more at the Jan 14, 11:18 PM comment by Tom at this post.

And now, on to Wolf:

"I based the wardrobe of Wolf (the cameraman in Living In Oblivion) on this guy’s clothes. He had everything; the leather beret, the black, half-fingered gloves, the sleeveless leather vest, the motorcycle boots. He thought the camera was a weapon. He didn’t know he looked (and acted) like a cross bet…

Sayles & Rinzi on hand-picking a marketing/distribution team for Honeydripper

Interview is at Film Publicity Help.

From the interview:

"John Sayles: My feeling is that the distributors who exist now who have any size to them look at a film as how much work would this be to get a bunch of people to see it. They’re only going to put out X number of movies a year and is this one that’s going to be a lot of work? Will we have to hire more people to think up new ideas, or can we just put this out the way we always put things out and look at the opening weekend and then react to whether the opening weekend is good or bad, which is pretty much what Sumner Redstone and the guys that run the huge studios do. They just look at the numbers. When we first started, it was a much more labor-intensive process. I don’t really think it’s a problem of the big studios getting into it, I think everybody is looking for that home run that just falls in their lap."

Read the rest here.

- Sujewa

A tale of 90's indie film glory: Tom DiCillo remembers making Johnny Suede

Wow, this one's got it all folks; discovering Brad Pitt, & Catherine Keener, first time feature filmmaking trouble, an un-gentrified Williamsburg, Harvey Weinstein & a lot more, read it here at DiCillo's blog.

Here is a segment:

"I took another look at the photo Marcia had handed me and said, “What the fuck, bring him in.” The actor’s name was Brad Pitt. Call me an idiot if you want but I was certain of 2 things the moment he walked in: 1. He was Johnny. 2. He was going to be a star.

He did his audition without me saying a word to him. And without me saying a word to him he understood that beneath the posturing exterior Johnny was really a lost soul–someone who literally had no idea who he was. This lead Brad to a brave acting choice; to bring a hesitant vulnerability to the character–something no one else had been able to do; even with my prompting."

Read the rest here.

Johnny Suede was one of the first indie films I saw, upon discovering the existence of indie f…

ABC says Denmark is the happiest place on Earth

That is of course by mainstream US standards. But sounds pretty convincing to me, check out more here.

Here is a segment from the article:

"Could the Danes really be the happiest people in the world? When ABC News anchor Bill Weir traveled there to find out, he asked random Danes to rate themselves in terms of happiness, on a scale of one to 10. Many people rated themselves at least an eight, and there were several nines and 10s. Finally, one grouchy Dane came along who said she didn't believe Danes were so happy. But then she quickly conceded that she herself felt rather content with her life, and said Danes in general had very little to complain about. Danes do have one potential complaint: high taxes. The happiest people in the world pay some of the highest taxes in the world -- between 50 percent and 70 percent of their incomes. In exchange, the government covers all health care and education, and spends more on children and the elderly than any country in the world per ca…

Interview with Driftwood director Pete Middleton

A couple of days ago I heard that the UK based filmmaker Pete Middleton made a feature called Driftwood for $200. I checked out the trailer for the film, it looked good. So I contacted Pete and asked him a few questions about his super-ultra low budget movie & related matters. First, here's the Driftwood trailer:




And now, The Interview:

Sujewa: Hi Pete, thanks for taking the time out for this interview. First, why did you decide to make Driftwood for such a low budget?

Pete: Hi Sujewa. I don't think it was a matter of deciding to do this project for a low budget, I didn't have any other option! It would have been a lot easier for me if we had had a few thousand to throw at it and I guess I wouldn't have overslept so many times risking my proper job! We had no other alternative but to do it for this amount.

Sujewa: It is awesome that now filmmakers can make movies for such low budgets, whereas ten years ago a low budget for a good/well made indie feature was around $20,…

Liberty Kid trailer :: Film now playing at Pioneer Theater, NYC

Read about the film Liberty Kid (official website) at GreenCine Daily; lots of links to follow there.

Film is playing at everyone's favorite indie film theater in NYC, Pioneer.

A few quotes:
CRITIC'S PICK:
"There's not a single wrong note in “"Liberty Kid,"...

Tender, wise and deceptively low-key... Quietly accumulates emotional power...
Not until the graceful, perfectly judged conclusion do we realize how much we care."

NEW YORK TIMESCRITIC'S PICK
"Chaiken's subtle narrative touch, along with the exceptionally strong performances of
leads Al Thompson and Kareem Savinon, gives this one a rare emotional pull."
NEW YORK MAGAZINE
"the least explicit yet most affecting film yet to depict New York
in the weeks and months after the towers fell."

NEW YORK SUN"An …

Message from Pete Middleton, director of "$200 feature" Driftwood

An e-mail I received through a local filmmaking group, re: ultra-low budget (very, very ultra low i hear) feature Driftwood:

"I've just finished authoring to DVD, a full-length feature film that I
made for a 100 pounds! (approx. 200 dollars!)

Of-course this message is going out to all the film-makers who already
have their BASIC equipment ready, including a standard DV camera, a PC
and to those who aren't bothered about re-using a few of their DV
tapes! If you would like any free help, advice or have any further
questions in regards to how I achieved Driftwood, including any
pre-production or post production problems, please feel free to email
me at:

internationalpictures@fsmail.net

What's the catch? If you find any of my advice useful or if you
simply enjoy the clips of my low budget film below, please subscribe
to my movies whilst you are visiting my youtube channel! (Due to the
vast amount of emails I am currently receiving, please allow 2 to 3
days for me to reply!)

See an extra…

Roger Ebert, Tom DiCillo, & a "Kafkaesque nightmare"

It is a simple conversation but one conducted & shared through e-mail & 'net articles & blogs; so a Web Age conversation. It is about a 90's product - the independent movie with a budget & a couple of known actors, created by a previously well received director, & shot on film - adapting to the theatrical exhibition & other distribution realities of the mid to late 2000's. A conversation between Tom DiCillo, one of the original (or we can say First Wave - from the early Jim Jarmusch & Spike Lee days) indie film directors (his Living In Oblivion is still the best comedy about that kind of indie filmmaking), and famous film critic Roger Ebert. At Tom DiCillo's blog, here's a segment:

"A few months ago I was still staggering around reeling from the “theatrical release” of Delirious and I realized I was getting no answers to any of my questions from no one–not even Dr. Owen. More as an attempt to simply get the questions out of my own br…

The sound of Old Men

New York Times article about the sound design of No Country for Old Men.

A paragraph:

“The essence of sound design is you can’t record the sound,” Mr. Lievsay said. “You have to take a lot of sounds and put them together. You can’t just go somewhere with a shotgun and a silencer. It wouldn’t be the sound that Joel and Ethan wanted anyway.”

Read the rest here.

I enjoyed the minimal use of music in No Country. Also the attention paid to certain sounds over others in a given scene. I think the sound design contributed a lot to the success of the movie; the lack of a score in most scenes made the movie very unpredictable.

- Sujewa

Trent Reznor's 'net music experiment

Read about it here at ars technica.

Here is the opening paragraph from the article:

"Radiohead isn't talking numbers, but Trent Reznor is. After producing Saul Williams' The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust and offering it to fans online, Reznor yesterday laid out the numbers from his experiment. Saying that it's easy for artists to know "what NOT to do these days, but less obvious to know what's right," Reznor found that 18.3 percent of users who grabbed the album paid $5 for it; the rest paid nothing. Is this what success looks like?"

Read the rest here.

Also check out:

NIN.com

niggytardust.com

Saul Williams MySpace

- Sujewa

From Here To Awesome discovery & distribution fest

Here's some info. on this new fest & key dates (from this page):

"Have you made a film you think the world should see? FROM HERE TO AWESOME is a discovery and distribution festival that might be the perfect system to get your film blasted to audiences in theaters, living rooms, online and via mobile phones. All filmmakers are welcome to be a part of the festival. There are NO submission fees, filmmakers retain their rights while receiving revenue directly from the distribution outlets. A wide range of major promotional partners and distribution platforms are on board. All we need now is your film. Please submit ASAP to give the festival’s audience time to vote your film into the top 10, so it can be a part of the April Showcase. FHTA was founded by DIY filmmaking pioneers Lance Weiler (The Last Broadcast, Head Trauma), Arin Crumley (Four Eyed Monsters) and M dot Strange (We Are The Strange).

KEY DATES

JAN 10th - START ACCEPTING SUBMISSIONS

MARCH 7th - SUBMISSION DEADLINE

MARCH…

Burmese monks living in Sri Lanka launch protest march against the Burmese junta

Read about it here.

Here's a segment of the article:

"The organizers said that the march will continue until Tuesday when they intend to reach the UN office, Colombo. A petition to be handed over to the UN office requesting international action against the military junta by the monks, the sources added. "

Read the rest here.

- Sujewa

Jerky filmmakers feeling threatened by my work; also by Motlagh & McNelly's work

Micheal Sarti & Jason Sheinkopf, the Maryland based (as far as i know) makers of A Stupid Movie for Jerks, had the following to say recently about my 2/13 screening announcement (this was preceded by a long, obsessive rant about my blog):

"footage of a diner, or a girl's rock collection, where nothing happens -- that's not a movie. nor is it art. it's just lowering the bar so you and lucas mcnelly and amir can step over it.

stop giving REAL indie filmmakers who put in the REAL work a bad name."

So I guess they believe that they are the "REAL" indie filmmakers, except no one pays attention to them or their movie because they are too real. Poor babies. Or it could be that Sarti & Sheinkopf are incredibly annoying & whiny, and because of that no one wants to have much to do with them. They leave hate-lite comments on my blogs a few times a month. A habit that started when I decided to not write about their masterpiece's premiere a few mo…

Sri Lanka withdraws from the cease fire agreement with the LTTE

Latest on the old (over 20 years now) & ugly war in Sri Lanka. From Time:

"The government declared in July that it has routed the rebels from the east. In recent months, the military has focused on crushing the rebels in their de facto state in the north, with near-daily battles raging along the front lines deep in the jungle."

Read the rest here.

- Sujewa

'08 movie watching note 1 - The Heartbreak Kid

How many movies do I watch in a year? In an effort to figure that out, this year I am going to try to make a quick note whenever I watch a movie that I have not seen before. Just the title, that's it (maybe a little bit more about the movie too if i feel like it). Saw The Heartbreak Kid tonight, the recent Ben Stiller version, directed by the Farrelly bros. Liked it. Some funny stuff. Great cinematography. There, my first movie of '08.

Do TV shows, web stuff, cable shows count for this? Hmmm. Maybe I'll just stick to making a note of just the movies for this year, but they can be from any outlet (DVD, TV, cable, theaters, etc.).

::

1/8/08 Update:

- Saw The Hoax (w/ Richard Gere) a couple of days ago, pretty good
- TV & old/previously seen films watching note: Sopranos Season 2; several episodes, about 10 mins. of Flesh Gordon (yeah, i don't think i'll watch the rest of it :), about 30 mins of 28 Days Later (good movie, & shot on DV - excellent)

::

- Sujewa

SCREENING * In April or May '08 * New (& old but updated) Films By Sujewa Ekanayake

[3/10/08 update: will have exact screening date (& possible new venue) this month.]

* Date Number One(2008)
90 mins, an updated (shorter & better/yummier) version of 2006's "witty" (GreenCine Daily), "funny" (The Chutry Experiment), "sexy" (Hollywood Is Talking) comedy about several first dates

* Rock Collection
15 mins, 2007
kensington, md resident amanda haynes shows us her rock collection

* Magnus & The Air Quotes Woman
3 mins, 2006 - 2007
a man threatens to break up with his girlfriend if she does not change an annoying habit


Venue To Be Determined

Operation Brown Sugar

Just heard (from Cinema Echo Chamber) about a movie called "I Am Through with White Girls", sounds funny. Here's a description from IMDB:

"Jay Brooks is that black guy who digs indie rock, graphic novels, and dates white chicks. After a slew of bad break-ups, Jay gives up white women, "cold turkey," and he goes on a mission: "Operation Brown Sugar". But because Jay doesn't fit the "brotha" stereotype, he fails miserably with the "sistahs." Then he meets the dynamic Catherine, a misunderstood "Half-rican Canadian", who's as righteously quirky as he is. To win her heart, Jay must confront his fears as he realizes commitment is a bigger issue than race. I'M THROUGH WITH WHITE GIRLS, written by Courtney Lilly (Arrested Development, Everybody Hates Chris, My Boys), is a quirky romantic-comedy addressing race, class, and cultural identity in America."

More about the film at the IMDB page.

I'll have to lo…

Real Indie & Fun = Honeydripper, Smiley Face :: trailers

With John Sayles's new film Honeydripper & Greg Araki's new film Smiley Face, 2008 is already a better year for real indie film than 2007. Yes, both films have recognizable actors & their budgets are bigger than those of no-budget DV real indie films, but for indie authorship history, & distribution - in Honeydripper's case, & embracing of unusual/diverse topics - again in Honeydripper's case, these two movies are far more real independents than a whole lot of so called indies from Hollywood. Check these movies out if they play at a theater near you or on DVD, they look fun; let two veteran indie filmmakers entertain you.

For Honeydripper theatrical screening dates, go here.

Honeydripper trailer:




::

Smiley Face screens at the IFC Center in NYC starting Jan 2, go here for info.


Smiley Face trailer:



- Sujewa

Update on all projects

Here is the update on all my present & past film projects:

1. untitled '08 feature #1, status: script/being written

2. Date Number One (2008), status: in post, most likely will be available on DVD in January '08 (this month!)

3. Magnus & The Air Quotes Woman (2007), status: released, available on the web at Funny or DIE, MySpaceTV, & YouTube, will be an extra item in the upcoming Date Number One DVD

4. Rock Collection (2007), status: in post, most likely will be available on the web in January '08/later this month, & as a DVD extra at some point in '08

5. Dimensional Portal (2007), status: in post, will be available either on line or as an extra item on a DVD in 2008

6. Date Number One (2006), status: this version of DNO was significantly altered to produce DNO '08; the '06 version will most likely find its way to being a DVD extra item at some point in '08

7. Capital Heartbreak & Sweetness: 17 DC Poets (2002), status: completed, & p…

"Plan 9 from Syracuse" review at Film Threat; "year's best documentary" says Phil Hall

Here's para 1 of the review:

" “Plan 9 from Syracuse” is the year’s best documentary, bar none. This astonishing film details the extraordinary lengths that a single dream-driven individual dared to travel in pursuit of what many people might consider to be a cockamamie dream. Not unlike the Ed Wood anti-classic that inspired its title, the film is fueled by a logic and energy that is distinctive unto itself. But unlike Ed Wood’s endeavor, this “Plan 9" is a thoroughly compelling work of art."

Read the rest here.

MySpace page for "Plan 9 from Syracuse".

- Sujewa

Seattle True Independent Film Festival, June 6 - 15, 2008 :: Regular Deadline 1/15/08

From Withoutabox:

"Taking its inspiration from other underground festivals, STIFF aims to be Seattle's Slamdance. Festival organizers strive to put on a first-rate, smoothly-run event and to provide opportunities to help STIFF filmmakers to attain their goals, get distribution, press, or a wider audience for their films. The Festival is rapidly emerging on the indie scene, and brings together a diverse offering of original new voices in independent film from the Northwest, and around the world.

The STIFF schedule is made up of packed screenings, parties, a music and comedy festival, and press and promotion opportunities for participating filmmakers. The Festival is held at multiple venues throughout Seattle, including theaters such as the Jewel Box Theater and Central Cinema, both of which serve beer and meals during screenings.

STIFF 2008 filmmakers compete to win career boosting opportunities; for instance, the Grand Jury Prize winner gets to take a meeting with an acquisition…