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Showing posts from March, 2008

Wonderful Town review at Variety

Check it out here.

From the review:

"With minimal dialogue and assured performances from its well-matched leads, pic registers powerfully as a pure romance and as a haunting portrait of a place that has rid itself of the physical reminders of trauma, but where the population remains largely in a state of suspended animation, emotionally."

More here.

- Sujewa

Video interview with Emily "The Toe Tactic" Hubley

Stonehenge VI in DC was awesome! :: Some thoughts

Attended the DC area mass indie film auditioning event Stonehenge today; glad I did - briefly met 120 or so actors, collected head shots/resumes, got to know some local filmmakers. Team Jabberwocky, the producers of 'henge, did an excellent job today - all went very smoothly, with zero frustrations to me as a filmmaker attending a 'henge event for the first time. Stonehenge is a great resource for DC area indie filmmakers.

Each of the actors who auditioned had, I believe, 90 seconds (i may be wrong on this, either way, no more than 2-3 minutes) to perform a monologue. The performances that I found most effective; ones that allowed me to observe potential skills of the actors were ones where the actor did not use an incredibly dramatic/shocking monologue. I'll explain; when I was watching actors I was not evaluating the exact monologue they chose, but rather how it was delivered, specially what I call "the low notes" - it is kind of difficult to totally fai…

Millenium Declaration video

About the video:

"In 2000, 189 nations came together and made a promise to eradicate extreme poverty by 2015. (Extreme poverty is defined as living on less than a dollar a day). This promise led to the Millennium Declaration - a document outlining 8 specific goals to help the world realize this promise."

Video was created by Good.

video link - 17 yr old putting on shows :: Above the Influence call for submissions

First, go check out this video story about a 17 year old who is organizing rock shows in a town in NJ; here - pretty neat.

Related; Above the Influence call for video submissions:

"AbovetheInfluence.com Asks Teens and Young Adults to Submit Videos

Tell the World How You Live Above the Influence

Visit abovetheinfluence.com for the specifics.

This is your chance to be a part of the Above the Influence team and tell the world what you think. Share your version of what it means to be Above It.

Your personal video expression can be almost anything – a dramatization, documentary-style interview (with yourself or others), a montage, or even a commercial-style video that you might create for the campaign. Or tell us how you live above it – you know, how you deal with pressures, stay healthy and avoid drugs. And in the next few months, we’ll pick a few of your videos to post on the site. Be creative, be original and be yourself.

Visit our Web site, AbovetheInfluence.com, for more guidelines to …

Mr. Freedom clips

Weird & interesting:




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About the movie, from GreenCine:

"Mr. Freedom (1969) William Klein moved into more blatantly political territory with this hilarious, angry Vietnam-era spoof of imperialist American foreign policy. Mr. Freedom (John Abbey), a bellowing good ol' boy superhero, decked out in copious football padding, jets off to France to curtail a Commie invasion from Switzerland. A destructive, arrogant patriot in tight pants, Freedom joins forces with Marie-Madeleine (satirically sexy Delphine Seyrig) to combat lefty freethinkers, as well as insidious evildoers Moujik Man and the inflatable Red China Man, culminating in a gloriously star-spangled showdown of kitschy excess. Delightfully crass, Mr. Freedom is a trenchant, rib-tickling takedown of gaudy modern Americana."

More about Klein's movies here.

- Sujewa

The Cool School trailer link

I had to ask around a little (couldn't find the trailer on YouTube to embed), but here is the link to the trailer for the doc The Cool School, a film about an LA art scene that started in the late 50's:

http://www.aadf.org/ferus.html

Flick looks very interesting. I think I remember reading about these guys in an Andy Warhol biography (i think he went out to LA for a show at their gallery Ferus).

- Sujewa

Slant's Ed Gonzalez's article "Barack Obama: A Story of Race and Politics"

From the article:

" "I turned away, embarrassed for her, irritated with the people around me." Those are Obama's words, about his mother and the crowd at the revival theater, but they could just as easily be mine, describing what I often feel whenever I see predominantly white audiences swoon for obscene films like Crash, Blood Diamond, and Under the Same Moon, wishing they could see how those films pander to white prejudices by condescending to non-white experience, and how that's a symbiotic relationship worth affronting."

Read the rest here.

Thanks House Next Door for the link.

::

And let me add something to this discussion and say that there is a lot of experiences that "white" humans and "non-white" humans have in common; so much so that artists should not be afraid to write about or film characters who do not look like them or belong to a different "race". When a unique human character is created it is possible to rise above r…

NYT: Groups Respond to Obama’s Call for National Discussion About Race

From today's New York Times: "The speech Senator Barack Obama delivered Tuesday morning has been viewed more than 1.6 million times on YouTube and is being widely e-mailed. While commentators and politicians debated its political success Wednesday, some around the country were responding to Mr. Obama’s call for a national conversation about race."

Read the rest of the article here.

- Sujewa

Wild Diner DVD site is up

A site for selling DVDs of my movies has been set up, go here to read about it, & go here to see it. First DVD will of course be Date Number One (4 years after i started writing the script!!!; script was written - for the most part - in early '04!). The Wild Diner DVD site is bare bones at the moment, but it will be full of all kinds of info. by the end of this coming week; info. on ordering the DNO DVD, etc.

A DNO trailer, clips are also on the way; this coming week.

By the end of the coming week I'll be announcing the pre-ordering info. for the DNO DVD. I should be able to start mailing DVDs out before 4/15. Exact dates & more info. coming next week.

- Sujewa

James M. Johnston's short film GDMF

Description: "GDMF is an improv based short narrative about an exotic dancer named Bridgette. An only child raised by a caring yet judgmental single mom, she has grown into an exquisitely disengaged woman seeking her own brand of independence. One night, after performing at a party Bridgette's private and professional lives are catastrophically blurred by an unsettling personal discovery."

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gdmf from Atombomb.tv on Vimeo.

Eat, For This Is My Body trailer :: 3/27 & 3/29 screenings in NYC

Here's the trailer:



*
And info. on 2 upcoming NYC screenings:

EAT, FOR THIS IS MY BODY
("MANGE, CECI EST MON CORPS")
the award winning visionary Haitian film
by Michelange Quay

starring Sylvie Testud, Hans St Val Dacosta and Catherine Samie

WINNER GRAND PRIZE MIAMI FILM FESTIVAL 2008
IBERO AMERICAN COMPETITION

OFFICIAL COMPETITION ROTTERDAM 2008
SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL 2008
TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2007
TOKYO FILMEX 2007

The film will be playing in New York City, at the Museum of Modern Art/Lincoln Film Society's prestigious "NEW DIRECTORS/NEW FILMS" Showcase.

Please feel free to share this invitation with friends and lovers of both Haiti and new provocative art cinema.

EAT FOR THIS IS MY BODY
Thursday March 27 9 pm MoMA's Titus 1 Theatre
Saturday, March 29 3:45 at Film Society (Walter Reade Theater)

ticket info: http://www.filmlinc.com/ndnf/tickets.html

Patricia "Under the Same Moon" Riggen interview at GreenCine

From the GreenCine interview:

"Are you American or Mexican?
I was born and raised in Guadalajara, Mexico. I moved to New York City ten years ago, where I got an MFA at Columbia University, in Film Studies. Then I moved to Los Angeles around three years ago.

According to the IMDB, you have made only two short films previously.
Yes, the first was a narrative short subject, 27 minutes long called La Milpa (The Cornfield) It went to 40 festivals, and won over 20 awards. Then I made another 28-minute documentary called Family Portrait about a little boy who was photographed by Gordon Parks for Life magazine in 1968. It deals with poverty in Harlem. This one also went to many festivals and won the jury prize at Sundance. The shorts and their success allowed me to raise money to finance my first feature-length film."

Read the rest here. And check the post below for Moon trailer & review links.

- Sujewa

Happy 1 year anniversary ShortEnd Magazine!

I've read some good articles over at ShortEnd Magazine over the course of the past few months (most recently a long interview with Barry "Medicine for Melancholy" Jenkins), and today SM announced their 1 year anniversary. Congrats on 12 months of writing about indie film SM! Go here to read about their first year. They've produced an impressive amount of data re: their coverage (yum, stats :).

- Sujewa

"The perception of the American experience is a global commodity with real fiscal consequences the world over"; BARRY JENKINS INTERVIEW

images: a scene from Medicine for Melancholy, Barry Jenkins, MfM poster

"As far as low budget American Independent Filmmakers are concerned, hell yes they can change the world!" - Barry Jenkins :: Barry Jenkins is the writer and director of the new American independent film Medicine for Melancholy. ::
I N T E R V I E W
The Can Low Budget American Indie Filmmakers Help Save The World question Q1- Sujewa: Do you think there is a unique & positive (beneficial to the well being of a nation or a community) role that filmmakers - specifically indie filmmakers - can play in the world that elected officials, business people, and military people cannot do? As in, the entire human experience is heavily framed by story telling; people are taught about who they are or who they are supposed to be through stories - whether it is the stories of the Bible, stories about the Founders of the US, stories about the Buddha, ancient Hindu epics like the Mahabharata - narratives play a central role i…

Later on Arthur C. Clarke; great job on all those books & very useful ideas like the internet :: Clarke's 90th birthday video

From Washington Post's obituary of legendary sci-fi writer Arthur C. Clarke, who died on 3/18 in Sri Lanka:

"In addition to his books, he wrote more than 1,000 short stories and essays. One of his short stories, "Dial F for Frankenstein" (1964), inspired British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee to invent the World Wide Web in 1989."

Read more at the Post.

I remember reading Clarke's 2001: A Space Odyssey in Sinhala as a kid. It must have been the late 1970's, there was a wedding in Rambukkana (the one near Kegalle), near the police station, my family knew the family that was having the wedding, I believe I borrowed 2001 from someone related to the wedding. I don't think I finished the book, but, years later (maybe a decade later), I did watch Kubrick's movie version of the story in America - thought it was very interesting; I guess that's my Arthur C. Clarke memory :)

More on Clarke, from the Post obit:

"Although he rarely left Sri Lanka,…

Obama's speech on race (& re: Rev. Wright)

Yup, another great speech. And yup, lots of people have "difficult" :) relatives so what are ya gonna do? Judging the candidate by his own actions & words should be enough, at least for the sane voters. Anyway, here's the full 37 min. speech from earlier today, if ya haven't seen it yet:

New website for Date Number One

The new website for Date Number One is here.

I used a Blogger blog template to create the site; so it's both a site for a movie & the blog for the movie - pretty convenient (and free, if anyone needs a site for their movie, try that route - it's fast).

The old DNO site will be around for a while, it'll be turned into a DVD sales site & a place for promoting my future projects.

Speaking of DVDs, the DNO DVD is coming along, should have it available for purchase in April (from DNO's new site, old site, this blog, etc.) - for all 6 of you who are eagerly awaiting that DVD :) It'll be worth the wait - the movie is 1/2 hour shorter (now around 90 minutes), & a lot smoother than it was in '06 & '07.

Trailer for the film coming this week.

It's Cinema Eye time!

Go here to learn about all the docs nominated for the first ever Cinema Eye Awards. The awards ceremony is tonight at the IFC Center in NYC. Go to AJ Schnack's blog to read about how the Cinema Eye Awards came into existence. Congrats to all the filmmakers & others who made the event & the awards happen and to all the nominated films & their makers; everyone gets a big round of applause for creating a hot new event for the doc film community.

- Sujewa

First Take Film Festival in Augusta, GA 4/8 - 4/12, late deadline 3/25

This new festival sounds interesting; from their site:

"With the explosion of the film festival market, the circuit has become less about giving new and upcoming artists a platform as it has become just another vehicle for mainstream to strut their “artistic” side. First Take strives to be a return to the festivals of the late eighties and early nineties where visionary young filmmakers, musicians, and now visual artists, can premier the next great song, sculpture, or feature. As a result, the materials the founders will be looking for will be edgy, against-the-grain, and possibly even controversial."

More at First Take Film Festival.

And here's the withoutabox page for the fest.

- Sujewa

Strange love triangle in St. Louis - TEXAS SNOW review

The heart can certainly be a lonely hunter, and unfortunately for a couple of characters in Aaron Coffman's new drama Texas Snow, the heart can also be easily misled, and confused, and overwhelmed, and drive a person to move to Maine and live in an eco-commune in order to escape from the ever present scars of a recent romantic disappointment. Granted, living in an eco-commune in Maine is probably not that bad for you, might even be a very good thing - certainly good for the environment, and perhaps the ideal thing a guy needs in order to recover after being rejected for marriage. Here's the Texas Snow story in bold strokes: girl (Caroline, played by Julia Rust) was dating guy 1 (Lee, played by Ryan Shields), guy 1 thought the girl wanted to get married, he proposed, got rejected, now girl and guy 1 are friends, guy 2 (Jesse, played by John Gregory Willard) is sharing an apartment with guy 1, girl is secretly dating guy 2, and, of course, complications ensue. This is not a stor…

Texas Snow trailer

Trailer for the new film Texas Snow, by Aaron Coffman:



Texas Snow synopsis:

"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."

More here.

- Sujewa

Short versions of NYTimes film reviews set to clips (could this kind of thing be a tool for saving jobs of print film reviewers?)

Just discovered this feature at the New York Times site; saw/heard A. O. Scott give a quick review of J'Entends Plus la Guitar and Chop Shop. Check it out. Maybe this is print reviews becoming more multi-media w/ the help of web & video technology. Previously I've only known A.O. Scott as a print reviewer and have not seen or heard him on TV, web, radio, etc. I can see how these quick (they do not need to be quick, why not do a 10 minute version of this?) web video & audio presentations can be created by any print publication (for their web sites of course, and this is far cheaper than making a TV/cable film review show); more work for the print reviewers (or reviewers who traditionally have written just/mostly for the paper version of the publication, w/ a copy of the work being posted on line), and a good way to perhaps hook in "short-attention-span, need video & audio" audience members (maybe after seeing a few of the video presentations they'll wa…

Selected By...Andrew Bujalski series at Brattle Theater, Cambridge MA 3/14 - 3/19

From the Brattle site:

"a mélange of the films that may (or may not) have influenced a young Bujalski. Included in this wonderful hodgepodge are a mind-bending triple-and-a-half feature of Hitchcock, Marker and Gilliam; an election year special with THE BEST MAN and WILD IN THE STREETS; and nods to Bujalski influences both obvious (Cassavetes) and not-so-obvious (Sirk). Also in the mix, HOHOKAM, an independent, undistributed feature by Frank V. Ross that Bujalski marks as one of his favorites from recent years. Join us for this fascinating glimpse into the mind of a very interesting young filmmaker."

More here.

Thanks Camera Stilo blog for the link.

- Sujewa

Medicine for Melancholy to play in Maryland Film Festival, Philadelphia, Sarasota, IFFBoston, San Fran Int'l

A low budget indie/real indie/D.I.Y. movie that combines a personal story with a political situation well (from what I hear) and features minorities in lead roles? I'm there! Looks like I'll be able to see it at the Maryland Film Festival in May. Go to MfM's site (scroll down on front page) to see if it'll be coming to a fest near you.

In other MfM news, Filmmaker Mag's Scott Macaulay has some positive words re: MfM here (scroll down 'till u see the photo of 2 ppl in front of photos of a lot of other ppl, or just read the whole article re: SXSW '08 :).

- Sujewa

Eran "The Band's Visit" Kolirin interview at indieWIRE

Saw The Band's Visit tonight (w/ special guest to DC area James "Off the Black" Ponsoldt & a friend), liked it a lot, & the general consensus from our camp was that Visit is like an early Jarmusch movie, but set in the Middle East, and "with heart". The movie felt both familiar and tense/somewhat suspenseful, but generally charming & hopeful - might have to watch it again.

In celebration, here is the link to an interview with Visit's director.

From the intro to the indieWIRE interview:

"After the screening in last year's Cannes, the applause wouldn't stop, keeping the visibly moved filmmakers and cast in the theater. The film was "The Band's Visit," a first feature from Israeli director Eran Kolirin. Arriving without buzz on the Croisette, it quickly emerged as a gem of Cannes '07, and nabbed the international critic's prize for the Un Certain Regard section. "Band" is a quiet, pared-down film, which li…

A possible 100% D.I.Y./indie filmmaking career path model; for people who are interested in that kind of thing

1. You need money to survive & pay bills & keep you in your favorite vices, so, most likely, you already have a day job. Keep it. Get even another one, a part time one, if you feel like it. And look into saving & investing - learn how to do those things well. Having your own money will make you free from investors & other funding entities. Not that there is anything wrong with them, just in case on certain projects you want zero interference from investors or funders, self-funding is the way to go.

2. Buy the gear you need, learn to use it well, take good care of it. Most likely the essential tools are: at least a 3 chip DV camera (1 chip will do if there is no other option) & accessories, lights, sound gear (boom mic, lavs, boom poles, maybe a mixer) & accessories, Final Cut Pro or Express & a Mac to run it on, & all kinds of other post-production programs that you might want to play with. You can always rent or barrow the gear for various proj…

There's gonna be a new indie film screening space in Silver Spring, MD

Not a movie theater that shows indie stuff everyday, but more like a microcinema that will be happening on a regular basis - at first monthly. The people who are starting it are working on getting the venue ready at the moment, hmmm what else - the place will have screenings & parties (good food & drinks for sure), & most likely this new space will begin screenings in May. More on the venue when I get the official OK to reveal the details & also info. on submitting movies, stay tuned.

- Sujewa

The migration patterns of the most talented people

Since US indie filmmaking has at least a little to do with job creation, this October '07 Gallup World Poll article might be of interest to filmmakers, producers, distributors & others involved in building & maintaining the industry. Two important items from the long article so far:

"Gallup is committed to conducting the World Poll for 100 years, but we may have already found the single most searing, clarifying, helpful, world-altering fact. If used appropriately, it may change how every leader runs his or her country. But at the very least, it needs to be considered in every policy, every law, and every social initiative. All leaders -- policy and law makers, presidents and prime ministers, parents, judges, priests, pastors, imams, teachers, managers, and CEOs -- need to consider it every day in everything they do.

What the whole world wants is a good job."

And:

"Twenty-five years ago, virtually every economist, liberal and conservative, forecast that the GDP …

Evening Class review of Medicine for Melancholy

From the MfM review at The Evening Class blog:

"What is a "Black" person? What do they look like? What do they act like? What kind of music do you associate with them? What part of the city do they live in? What are your presumptions about them? What are your expectations? And why—if you are not Black—should it matter to you? Is it perhaps as Robert F. Reid-Pharr has written in his assessment of Cheryl Dunye's The Watermelon Woman that a predetermined conception of Blacks "has come to lend a certain type of ontological stability to all American identities"? And if two African-American characters are introduced who do not match stereotypes does it induce a kind of vertigo? If say, both are civilized young people compromised by a sense of social displacement, do the forces that create that social displacement appear less than civilized?"

Read the rest here.

- Sujewa

1000 True Fans

Perhaps the number of customers you need in order to make a nice living from your film & other creative work is far less than the number most people would imagine;

"Assume conservatively that your True Fans will each spend one day's wages per year in support of what you do. That "one-day-wage" is an average, because of course your truest fans will spend a lot more than that. Let's peg that per diem each True Fan spends at $100 per year. If you have 1,000 fans that sums up to $100,000 per year, which minus some modest expenses, is a living for most folks. One thousand is a feasible number. You could count to 1,000. If you added one fan a day, it would take only three years. True Fanship is doable. Pleasing a True Fan is pleasurable, and invigorating. It rewards the artist to remain true, to focus on the unique aspects of their work, the qualities that True Fans appreciate." Read the rest at the 1,000 True Fans article by Kevin Kelly.

Thanks to Blake "…

Pink x 25 more

I received the following update from the creator of the web series Pink:

"Thought I'd shared some cool press regarding our web series "Pink". The show was recently acquired by Santa Monica-based company Generate, run by former WB Network CEO Jordan Levin. We're now gearing up to produce 25 more episodes to be released over the summer... Hollywood Reporter: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/business/news/e3ic8069f8098734cd40e0f68323f74fca5 Variety: http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117981872.html?categoryid=1009&cs=1 NewTeeVee: http://newteevee.com/2008/03/04/generate/ Broadcasting & Cable Magazine: http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/CA6538138.html?desc"

Congrats Team Pink!

- Sujewa

Great interview with director of Medicine for Melancholy at ShortEnd Magazine

Check out the interview here; it's great because the interviewer & the subject know each other through previous interactions & thus topics are approached from different angles than they would have been had the interviewer been a relative stranger (i think). Plus the interview is long, I like long interviews with filmmakers; specially if they have a lot of interesting things to say. A segment of the interview:

"SM: Looking at both of those characters, I feel the same way about race. Having grown up in white suburbia, I wasn’t forced to think about those issues very often, but if you’re thinking about the conversation you have to have in your head when you begin to think about race, there has to be that part of you that rallies out against it, in the way that Micah does, and there has to be the part of you that doesn’t necessarily want to deal with it, that part that just wants to look at the progress and wants to move on in the way that Jo’ does. For me that worked, b…

This movie could be big (well, at least by real indie/DIY standards) - MEDICINE FOR MELANCHOLY trailer, review link

There are probably about a dozen, at least, indie movie ideas that deal with ethnic diversity in the US & will also strike a po$itive chord (that $ is for modest financial success - by real indie/DIY standards - low millions?) with a general audience at this point in time; & Medicine for Melancholy (official website) seems like it is exploring one of these ideas - ethnic identity - specifically African-American identity or identities - in an officially post-race, multi-ethnic, comparatively very successful, & post-historical society - specially at a time when an African-American candidate is very close to being nominated for president by the democratic party/an epic historical first. With the right kind of marketing & $s behind it MfM could be a cross-over indie film success (as far as I can tell at the moment, w/out having seen it - MfM does seem to have some great ingredients for a real indie success story, & well positioned; w/ SXSW selection, & most likely …

India to pay money to save girl babies

From the Guardian article India will pay families to have girls to end foeticide:

"The Indian government yesterday announced a scheme to pay poor families to give birth to and bring up girl children, in a bid to stop the trend of parents aborting female foetuses at the rate of half a million a year.

Families in seven states are set to benefit from a series of cash payments amounting to 15,500 rupees (£193) to poor families to keep their girl children.

Ministers say more than 100,000 girls will be saved in the first year."

Read the rest of the article here.

Wired article - "Inside Obama's Surging Net-Roots Campaign"

From the article at Wired:

"From controlling the canvassing operations to corralling e-mail lists, organizing meetings and overseeing national phone drives, Obama's web network is the most ambitious, and apparently successful, internet campaign effort in any presidential race in the web's short history.

"It's sort of MeetUp meets Facebook meets MySpace in one area," Champion says."

Read the rest here.

- Sujewa