Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Helping to shoot an anti-war/Vietnam related feature this spring & summer in MD

Gene Ertel, a local pro DP, got me to sign up to help out with the shooting of an indie feature this summer - project happens over 10 weekends or so, starting 5/10 - I'll be needed as the DP for 2 or 3 weekends (w/ maybe another weekend assisting the regular DP/Gene), a very ultra-indie D.I.Y. type shoot - a crew of about 3 or 4 for most days. Gene liked some of the videography I did for Date Number One, so this new gig - paid (always nice, even if it is ultra-low-budget indie pay), & a chance to make a local feature happen, but most importantly a chance to brush up on my videography skills before I shoot Actress this summer (we'll be using a new Canon HD camera, more info. on that soon). The film is an anti-war drama, has to do with the Vietnam war. More info. on the project soon.

- Sujewa

Yeast links: iW interview, Tully's review

From an indieWIRE interview of Yeast director Mary Bronstein:
"Please elaborate a bit on your approach to making the film.

I am actually very excited with how this project ended up getting made. After I decided to make the thing, I didn't really know what to do. I approached Greta Gerwig about making a project together with the same themes, but sort of a different story. She had the awesome idea to set this part of the film on a camping trip. Then I thought I'd bring in more from my original outline and asked my long-time friend Amy Judd to be involved. I made another outline that combined the two stories and sent it to both Greta and Amy. They made additions, changes and fleshed out their characters and sent it back to me. We did this until I had something to finalize into a script. However, we used the script as a blueprint for doing the creative work of the movie within, rather than a master document of how the film would be. I would meet with the actors before a scene and we'd go through everything, the entire arch of the scene. Then, once on the set we'd film the entire process, from rehearsal to final take. Ronnie acted as assistant director, pushing the energy of the performances and helping me stay on track because...well, directing yourself is very, very hard! I plan on perfecting this off-set/on-set directing process for the next project."
Read the rest of the interview at iW.
Mike Tully reviews Yeast over at his Boredom at Its Boredest blog. From the review:
"Trying to uncover a cinematic precedent for Mary Bronstein’s Yeast is quite the assignment. Has there ever been a film written and directed by a female--and perhaps most importantly, starring--that is so unflinching, unflattering, and uncomfortable? Barbara Loden’s Wanda? Marina de Van’s In My Skin? Jodie Foster's Little Man Tate? (Just kidding about that last one.) Yet those comparisons don’t apply completely, because while Bronstein’s debut more than deserves those blunt, abrasive adjectives, it also happens to be laugh-out-loud funny and somehow, against all of those seemingly insurmountable odds, surprisingly light."
Read the rest of the review here.

Yeast screens at the Maryland Film Festival in Baltimore, MD this weekend, Sat 5/3 & Sun 5/4:


May 3,
1:30 PM
Charles Theater 1
Buy Tickets

May 4,
4:30 PM
Charles Theater 2
>> Buy Tickets "


More at the MFF site.


- Sujewa

Yeast trailer :: Film screening at Maryland Film Festival this weekend

While preparing a book I took a look at all the indie film director interviews I've done over the course of about 2 years, and I think there was only 1 female director (Jennifer Fox) in the entire bunch - out of about 20 or so interviews. Either there aren't many indie films being directed by women or they are not being publicized & distributed through media & retail avenues that cross my path or female indie directors are not seeking/not interested in or are not accessible to indie film blog press (or just my blog) or something stranger is going on.

But on the bright side, Mary Bronstein's new feature Yeast is going to play at the Maryland Film Festival this weekend, go here for dates & times & tix, and here's the trailer:

Yeast [trailer]

Looks interesting. Go here for more on Yeast.

- Sujewa

Interview with Amir Motlagh, director of new short film Plain Us

First, the trailer:

For my review of Plain Us, a new short film about a touring musician who visits his home town, go here. And now, the interview with Amir Motlagh, the director of Plain Us:

Sujewa: So let's start with some basic stuff; what lead you to pick the subject of a touring musician dealing with a domestic issue (visiting his young daughter, attempting to reconcile with his estranged former lover/the daughter's mother)?

Amir: Well, I feel that given my own circumstance as a person who plays in a band, blending this alter-reality is very interesting. I felt that I could give this world some personal realism but in a narrative, fictional type of way in which I play out issues that I wanted to write about. I have my own band, but obviously the circumstances in this film are made up. The character is make believe. I don't have the same issues and conflicts as this character, well, not entirely, but to the degree presented is a fabrication. It's post modern in a whimsical way, the idea of it, not the film. I also wanted to do another character piece, and try to get as deep as I could within my time constraints working in the short film form. But because its short, I could also really work much more on character then worry about plot. And these days, instinctively I think about having kids. I wouldn't mind it, but it's not so easy right?

Sujewa: Having kids is probably easier than shooting some indie movies. What were the technical challenges encountered in making Plain Us? Was it as easy to work with 35MM as it was with digital (same amount of prep & set up, w/ just a different type of capture media in the camera or did everything have to be done differently than when using digital in order to accommodate the use of 35MM film?)?

Amir: Well, really there wasn't. Time I think is the only real burden when it comes to shooting on this type of budget. Oh, and shooting in a tiny room with two 35mm cameras is a bit tricky, specially when its about 90 degrees in the room. This isn't the first time I shot on 35mm so, other then set up time, it's just a damn camera. The medium is just one part of what it is you are actually doing, which is, filmmaking. But I worked again with the same cinematographer as
knock. knock., Zamir Kokonozi, who is always a pleasure to work with. He is very patient and talented.

Sujewa: I saw that you used digital for a couple of scenes - the opening scenes where the main character is performing & is on the road with his band. Did this come out of the fact that these scenes were added later to the film/not originally planned & thus were easier to capture on digital or was it because you wanted to have a low-budget tour documentary type feel or even fan footage type feel to those scenes?

Amir: No, those were always planned. It's mostly about how it feels. It's intended to be a video diary of the character on the road for lets say, a DVD release when his new record comes out, right. It's the three stages of conceptual realism I was after. That intro is how many of us view the world on YouTube these days.

Sujewa: I guess this wouldn't be a DIY Filmmaker interview if we did not touch on some issues related to "race", specially if the film warrants it :) So, here's a question: even though there was little dialogue in Plain Us, you chose to have the lead character mention, perhaps jokingly, perhaps seriously, that his band was not getting enough press because he was "brown". In your personal experience, has this been the case - have you felt that media was ignoring your music work because your band was lead by a non-"white" person/you? Or have you observed this happening to other bands that are fronted by non-"white" performers?

Amir: Ha, you had to take it there. The issue of race is a small through line within the film. But there are other character issues as well. It's a small piece of a living, breathing character. I don't buy that argument about race holding someone down anymore, at least as it pertains to me, and even if it did, I refuse to get into that debate because it's just a hindrance and an excuse. So, with that said, you would have to address that question to Cyrus, the character in the movie. Maybe he was joking, but maybe he is hung up on things.

Sujewa: Tell us about your future plans for Plain Us; distribution wise, etc., and when we can expect to see the couple of feature films that you have been working on for the past year or so.

Amir: Well, what can we do but first try the festivals? It's a short film, so that's were it goes first. I am certain that a new DVD compilation of my works will come out soon and it will include this, but until then, if you are interested, please talk to your local fest programmer and get this damn film screened. The trailer is up, and if you are a reviewer, curator or programmer, contact me and I will send out a screener. I have a feature film (it was titled Whale and it might still be) that I will release in a month or two at the most. It's part of a broader work palette, with Plain Us being its distant cousin. Other that that, My Darling Dia, the Shanks and the Dreamers new album drops in the Summer, and I'm working on a new feature script.

Thanks Amir!

For more on Plain Us, go here.

- Sujewa

Live from Maryland! :: my Maryland Film Festival 2008 coverage - links to all the posts



Notes from Maryland Film Festival 2008

5.4.08 Sun (fest day 4)
5.3.08 Sat (fest day 3)
5.2.08 Fri (fest day 2)
5.1.08 Thu (fest day 1)
The real YEAST poster
This might be rare (& good); three fiction features by African-American directors at a "regular" film festival (Maryland)


Yeast links: iW interview, Tully's review

Yeast trailer :: Film screening at Maryland Film Festival this weekend


Looks like I'll be seeing Greta Gerwig on the screen a lot this weekend


If they keep up this kind of programming, the Maryland Film Festival is gonna be another SXSW (which is a very good thing for real indie film)


Confessionsofa Ex-Doofus-Itchyfooted Mutha at Maryland Film Festival

Interview with Julie Checkoway, director of Waiting for Hockney, at Filmmaker blog

Medicine for Melancholy is closer to Shadows and Stranger Than Paradise than anything Mumblecore


Press coverage on my MD fest related blogging

GreenCine Daily, 4/30

GreenCine Daily, 4/29


- Sujewa

Aaron Coffman's TEXAS SNOW screening at Lo-Def in August

Julia Misaki Rust plays Caroline in Texas Snow
For the brand spankin' new indie film screening series Lo-Def in Silver Spring, MD, we chose St. Louis's Aaron Coffman's debut feature Texas Snow as the movie to screen in August.

Texas Snow @ Lo-Def screening date is Thu August 21.

We have not yet chosen the Lo-Def movies for June or July. Those selections coming soon. The Lo-Def movie for May is Date Number One, screening on May 22.

More info. re: Texas Snow coming to the Lo-Def site & this blog next week. In the meantime, the show is up on the Lo-Def Calendar.

Check out my review of Texas Snow here.

More on Texas Snow at its site.

- Sujewa

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Modern Day Jesus - The Date from Funny or DIE

Funny. But maybe not for like hard core believers. Here it is:

- Sujewa

Looks like I'll be seeing Greta Gerwig on the screen a lot this weekend

Maybe Gerwig (MySpace page, Paper mag profile) is the Hardest Working Lady in Real Indie Film at the moment; she has a lead role in 4 movies (including one that she co-directed) at this weekend's Maryland Film Festival:

"Impressed by the small successes of a local, low-budget filmmaker, four struggling actors decide to head for a cabin in the woods and write their masterpiece -- with juicy roles for themselves, of course. Standing in their way? Shortages of just a few things: talent, motivation, energy, and inspiration. Oh, and a surplus of two -- hormones and alcohol -- as multiple romantic entanglements and a fridge full of beer take the friends further and further away from a completed screenplay."

"Yeast begins by throwing us into an awkward situation -- a young woman, Rachel (Mary Bronstein) rousing her disheveled roommate Alice (Amy Judd) for a camping trip they've planned with Gen (Greta Gerwig, star of MFF 2007's Hannah Takes the Stairs). Alice refuses to come, and at first we're struck by her seemingly unmotivated surliness towards Rachel. But as Rachel and Gen venture into the woods, what slowly emerges is a warts-and-all portrait of a manipulative person who compulsively undermines the people in her life -- and the also-imperfect friends who've decided they've finally had enough."

"Nights and Weekends explores the problems of two people trying to navigate the unique pains and challenges of a long-distance relationship. The logistics impose themselves in very specific centrifugal ways. With a fearless commitment to explore each challenge to their relationship, and without forcing the action into predictable movie plot-points, Greta and Joe want us to feel the hard work and good luck it takes to establish a real partnership in today’s world. Following the higher public profile both attained with Hannah, the small and intimate Nights and Weekends also finds the pair declaring their intention to continue telling their stories the way they want to tell them."

"A minor-league baseball player and his fiancée struggle to pursue the American dream."

- Sujewa

Insidest of inside baseball: my post re: Film Festival Secrets post re: LA Diary's are fests worth it? post

For people who spend a lot of time thinking about indie film & indie film fests, this post at Film Festival Secrets should be entertaining (and also the post that inspired it, at LA Diary - which is a feature at Guardian's Film blog).

My current thoughts re: the issue ("Are film festivals really worth entering?" - LA Diary): Fests are OK, some are great, but if you don't like what the fest world offers or don't like having to submit your film & pay $s, you can set up DIY screenings of your movie somewhere (& then spend a lot of time & some $s publicizing the event so that ppl know about it, generating press, etc., on the bright side you get to keep any box office $s) or you can set up a monthly screening series (such as Lo-Def in Silver Spring, MD) for your & others movies (requiring the same type of work as doing a single DIY screening, but more in terms of quantity of work). Ultimately, it is good to have fests around as one possible choice for exhibition, press, career development for indie filmmakers. The fact that fests exists need not limit DIY filmmakers from doing other events, including ones created by themselves, to promote their movies & careers.

- Sujewa

Capitol of Punk - The Mall

Several DC musicians talk about their memories of & ideas re: the National Mall in Washington, DC:

- Sujewa

iW/indie film blogger Meet Up #2 update

Since iW's Eugene H. & most likely few other important-to-this-event bloggers will be away for Cannes (official site) the week ending on 5/31 (possible meeting date time frame suggested in my previous post re: this event), we are working on figuring out a better day to hold the meet up. The event will happen in June, July, or August. Stay tuned for the decision on the date. If you have any suggestions for a meet up date & a venue in NYC, let me know. Thanks.

- Sujewa

A little Matt Zoller Seitz print review days memory

Ekanayake & Seitz (R), August 23, 2007, NYC

As most people who read the indie film blogs I regularly read know by now, New York Times's Matt Zoller Seitz has announced his retirement from print reviews. And at this conversation at Matt's blog House Next Door, he is excited about now being able to put all his attention & energy into filmmaking. Very cool, maybe we'll see Home 2: The Morning After The Party soon :).

And now, a little memory from Matt's print review days. And some thoughts about it.

I live in the DC area & get most of my news from the web & TV, thus am not a regular reader of the New York Times print edition (not a regular reader of NYT's web editions either, though some stories there get my attention from time to time). Anyway, it was August 22, 2007, around 2 PM in the afternoon, I got to Chinatown in DC to get on a bus to go to New York. The lady at the "office" for the bus, at a sparsely decorated small restaurant/maybe a carry out if I remember correctly, told me that the 2 PM bus won't be leaving DC 'till 3 PM. So I had an hour to kill. I went to the Chinatown Starbucks, bought some coffee, and a New York Times so that I'll have something to read for an hour. On the second floor of Chinatown Starbucks I sat next to a window, summer sun shinning, people & traffic & noise flowing below me. As I leisurely flipped through the Times issue, I found this article, about the premiere of Hannah Takes the Stairs, & Generation DIY series at IFC Center, written by Matt. Of course by this point in time, Matt, Hannah, Mumblecore, etc. were all people & things I knew about & had conversations about, & sometimes with, in the case of Matt - for at least a year or so on the web. Reading that article that summer day during an unplanned moment of waiting for a bus, and seeing a fast moving, multi-faceted web conversation frozen in one form on the pages of the Times, in an article written by Matt, evoked in me a feeling of being something like a time traveler; maybe the feeling of seeing an artifact from the distant past - my distant past, even though the article was about something that was happening that day. Perhaps newspapers are a nostalgic medium. For me the internet, or web articles & posts, specially at blogs where comments are allowed, is always a present medium; a thing where facts are open to interpretation and discussion and not fixed into an unchangeable form. The internet feels alive and in comparison, and this is not a bad thing in this case, just different, an article on a print newspaper feels like an impression of something that once lived but not the living thing itself. I enjoyed reading that New York Times print edition article by Matt on that summer day while waiting for the Chinatown bus. And now I look forward to reading Matt's future writings and or reading about Matt's future film work in blogs, on the web, in the comments enabled medium of the perpetual present.

- Sujewa

Monday, April 28, 2008

Let's create at least 600 new DIY film screening opportunities a year in the US

If 1 filmmaker from each of the 50 major cities (or metropolitan areas) in the US starts a monthly DIY film screening series such as Lo-Def in Silver Spring, MD, we would have at least 600 new opportunities in the US to screen DIY films to the public.

The math = 1 monthly screening series = 12 screenings a year x 50 cities = 600 new screening opportunities in the US.

And if more than 1 filmmaker decides to organize a screening series in each city, the total number of screening opportunities will go up. For example, if in Chicago let's say, 3 filmmakers decide to create 3 separate monthly screening events, the total number of screening opportunities will go up to at least 36 in Chicago (higher if each month's event in one or all series includes several shorts as opposed to just one feature). So, if that approach gets duplicated in 25 major US cities (3 filmmakers in 1 area producing 3 monthly series, equaling 36 screenings a year), the total number of new DIY film screening opportunities in the US will go up to 1200 (25 x 36 = 900 + 300 [12 x 25 = 300 (the other 25 filmmaker/programmers from cities where there is only 1 monthly DIY film screening series]).

What exactly is a monthly screening series you ask? Basically you find a place where you can put a video projector, speaker(s), a DVD player, a large screen, chairs & then you organize a screening of a film or films at least once a month at that place. The films that you would screen at the monthly event would come from your own filmmaking work, films of friends, other filmmakers that you can contact through their blogs or sites, & films that you hear about through festivals or other sources - basically any film & filmmaker that is interested in the opportunity & that you like (films that you like, & also filmmakers that you like - people that you can work well with, relatively trouble-free people, will save on headaches). This could be a non-profit event funded by donors, a self-funded project that could be a useful resume item or advertisement for the filmmaker/programmer or this could be funded through a combination of private/personal $s, donors, ticket sales to the event, sponsors, etc.

A single screening can be produced for $0 - $500. $0 if you own all the gear needed to screen the movie or if you can get free access to the gear, and if you use free or very cheap/already existent/owned by filmmaker/programmer publicity avenues (e-mail, blogs, etc., maybe $20 for some fliers can't hurt), & if you do not pay a screening fee to the filmmakers (it would be far better if you did). In the DC area all the gear needed to put on a screening can be rented for around $300. So my $500 figure for a screening includes some money for advertisement, and a fee for the filmmaker whose work is being screened at the event.

As far as classifying this type of event into the screening categories that are popular in the indie film world at the moment, the DIY screening would be similar to a film festival screening as far as film festivals and distributors are concerned. However, the event - 1 screening a month - most likely will be comparatively a lot smaller in its public awareness impact than a film festival or even a short theatrical run; it should not pose a competition threat to people who operate/program festivals & theaters, & thus filmmakers who participate in a monthly screening series should also be able to participate in film festivals, & also deal with distributors.

As the DIY music scene of the 80's & the 90's & beyond was built through musicians organizing their own shows (the music - hardcore punk rock being one type - did not easily fit into the existing public performance opportunities, as some DIY films might not), the DIY film scene that is possible (and is already happening on a small scale) through relatively inexpensive digital filmmaking, inexpensive publicity through the web, etc. should develop - would be useful to develop - a nation wide, interconnected, network of screening opportunities. Such a thing would be very useful for wider distribution/availability of DIY movies, & for building filmmaking careers.

And, it is also just a lot of fun to show a movie you made, or a cool movie by another filmmaker, to people in your town. If you don't show it, most likely many people in your area might never hear of that movie.

Anyway, something for you to think about if you are an indie/DIY filmmaker & you are interested in sharing your movies, or other DIY movies that you like, on a large screening with the public . I am doing it in Silver Spring.

Let me know if you decide to do it in a city near you, we can keep in touch and build a DIY film screening circuit.

- Sujewa

Texas Snow review at Hollywood Is Talking

Check out the H.I.T. review of Aaron Coffman's debut feature Texas Snow here.

From the review:

"Suffice it to say, there is a scene where Jesse and Caroline are partying with her old school chum, Libby Bibb, who comes off like a budding lesbian alcoholic (don’t we all have friends like that?) who just laughs insanely throughout her scenes with Jesse and Caroline. But Jesse is young and in love, blind to the signals that Bibb is wheezing through bowls of beer, namely that she nor Caroline nor anyone really is serious at this stage of life; and blind to the hurt he has caused his friend and roommate Lee. If this all sounds trite it need not. Coffman is minimal in dialogue and directed his actors and cinematographer (Keith Hueffmeier) to follow suit, and the result has a certain poetic vibe that avoids many clichés."

Read the rest here.

- Sujewa

Capitol of Punk - Mt. Pleasant

In this YouTube video several DC musicians talk about living in the Mt. Pleasant neighborhood in the early 1990's:

- Sujewa

Music for Monday - Why Didn't You Call Me, Mt. Pleasant, Alphabet of Nations, Kiss, Sabotage, Give Me One Reason, When The Saints Go Marching In

- Sujewa

Notes from Glory at Sea fundraiser screening

At Film Panel Notetaker.

- Sujewa

Sunday, April 27, 2008

One of the best looking restaurants in the DC area

Granted, I have not been to every restaurant in this town. But, even long before I started working with Jackie's on the Lo-Def screening series, I was a big fan of the look of the restaurant (future location for a film shoot? oh yeah) & of course the food is as delicious as the visual design of the place. Here, judge for yourself re: the look of the place - as seen above, & more pics at the site. Mouth watering interior design for a filmmaker who likes colors & interesting shapes.

- Sujewa

Dave Nuttycombe's blog

Filmmaker & Washington City Paper writer Dave Nuttycombe has a blog, check it out here.

Here are his notes on movie watching '07.

- Sujewa

Music for Sunday

If they keep up this kind of programming, the Maryland Film Festival is gonna be another SXSW (which is a very good thing for real indie film)

Yes, I will have to call the MD fest "a smaller SXSW, of the east".

Man, MD fest's line up this year is so good, I am going to have to trek up to Baltimore during all 3 days of the fest (5/2 Fri - 5/4 Sun). Check out their selection of films here.

Some of the MD fest movies that I am excited about/will try to catch:

(that melvin van peebles movies with the long title)

"Telling the fantastic, mystical tale of a man with few resources who joyfully becomes a merchant marine, travels far and wide, and enjoys a wide variety of romantic entanglements, the film champions independent exploration. Distilling years of cultural experience through the eyes of one lone adventurer, the film pulls us into its protagonist's world with cunning and magic. Melvin Van Peebles himself, with only a glancing reference to his chronological age of 75, plays the lead character as he progresses from young boy to middle age. Kaleidoscopic, epic, and handmade, sweeping but intensely personal, this is the perfect incarnation of Melvin Van Peebles’ indefinable and singular artistic career."


American Teen

"One could argue that American teens have been observed on film and television enough. From MTV “reality” to fictional studio movies, filmmakers can’t seem to get their minds or cameras off teens. But by choosing to take their cameras to the metaphoric middle of America -- Warsaw, Indiana’s lone high school -- Nanette Burstein and her filmmaking team have made a movie about teenagers from America's heartland that is full of insight and fun."



"Impressed by the small successes of a local, low-budget filmmaker, four struggling actors decide to head for a cabin in the woods and write their masterpiece -- with juicy roles for themselves, of course. Standing in their way? Shortages of just a few things: talent, motivation, energy, and inspiration. Oh, and a surplus of two -- hormones and alcohol -- as multiple romantic entanglements and a fridge full of beer take the friends further and further away from a completed screenplay"



"citizens of the capitol city of Mali convene to stage an unusual trial. The defendants? The World Bank and International Monetary Fund, on trial (with actual judges and lawyers playing those roles) for crimes against the nations and peoples of the "Third World." Meanwhile, the film ventures into a series of asides: ecstatic musical numbers performed in a local nightclub, which will particularly thrill anyone interested in African soul, jazz, and R+B music; and a film-within-a-film, the spaghetti western Death in Timbutktu, starring Danny Glover (executive-producer of Bamako), and Palestinian filmmaker Elia Suleiman."


Beautiful Losers

"Some of the most provocative and influential visual art of the 1990s came from a group of young outsiders who drew their inspiration less from the Western art canon, and more from their own involvements in youth cultures like skateboarding, punk, hip-hop, and graffiti. Many of these "beautiful losers" found each other in New York City in the early '90s, convening on a small DIY art space run by Aaron Rose."

Chop Shop

"Alejandro (Alejandro Polanco) is a 12 year-old, savvy street kid trying to find a way to get ahead financially and provide a better life for his older sister, Isamar (Isamar Gonzales). He lives in the attic of the "Iron Triangle" (as Willet's Point is also known) chop shop where he works illegally, all the while saving money towards starting his own small business. But hard urban realities press down on the pair, making every day a struggle and every laugh or smile a rare, cherished commodity."



"Intimidad follows young Mexican couple Cecy and Camilo over four years. The great love the couple feels for each other is tangible, but financial realities threaten to tear them apart. Both find work in the factory-lined border city of Reynosa, and dream of earning enough money to buy a small plot of land and build a modest home. But in order to pursue this dream, they've had to move away from their daughter, leaving her with grandparents and extended family back in Puebla -- and when they visit their child over a Christmas vacation, the couple has to ask themselves hard questions about their life in Reynosa and whether the few dollars a month they save will ever buy their dream home."

Low and Behold

"To kill some time and make some money, uninspired Turner Stull (Barlow Jacobs, who also co-produced) accepts an invitation from his Uncle Stully (Robert Longstreet) to process insurance claims for an opportunistic company in post-Katrina New Orleans. Instructed to work fast in order to make as much money as possible, Turner ignores a plea for help from Nixon (Eddie Rouse), a local man simply looking for his lost dog. The tables are turned when Turner finds himself in need of Nixon’s help, causing the two to form an unlikely partnership among the mass destruction they must both navigate."


Medicine for Melancholy

"Two young African-Americans wake up to the aftermath of a party, attempting to shake off the awkwardness of last night's one-night stand (and to remember each other's names). As eager-to-connect charmer Micah (Wyatt Cenac) pursues the mysterious, reluctant Jo' (Tracey Heggins), their conversation heads for some deep and unexpected places: gentrification and its race and class components; black identity in San Francisco, the city with the smallest percentage black population of any major American city; African-American history and art; and, perhaps most of all, their differing attitudes towards interracial relationships."


Moma's Man

" To describe Azazel Jacobs’ Momma's Man is to sell it short, for on the surface it is one of the most oft-told stories in the indie-film book. In this case, however, descriptions are deceiving, for in reality, Jacobs’ heartfelt drama is an unexpectedly resonant example of artistic expression at its fiercest and most deeply personal. Mikey (Matt Boren) is an emotionally stunted young man in his early thirties, who has left behind his wife and baby in California for a few days in order to visit the cluttered, cavernous TriBeCa loft in which he grew up. When his work is done and it’s time for Mikey to return to his new home, something prevents him from doing just that. As he continues to ignore his wife’s desperate phone calls, Mikey lounges around the loft like a kid again and reunites with a few old friends, to the rising concern of his loving, supportive parents."


Not Your Typical Bigfoot Movie

"Dallas and Wayne live in southern Ohio, stomping the Appalachian hills for traces of the legendary creature known as Bigfoot. They capture photographs and video footage, contribute to Bigfoot-themed web sites, and participate in larger expeditions with like-minded individuals. The two appear inseparable -- until Wayne screws up during an online radio interview, putting a wedge between the two friends and giving skeptics plenty of ammunition with which to belittle their research and evidence."

Waiting for Hockney

"MICA graduate and Maryland resident Billy Pappas was convinced that a graphite drawing, when executed at the highest level, could capture the essence of a subject better than any other medium -- with greater resolution and realism even than a photograph. He set out to reinterpret the famous photograph Richard Avedon took of Marilyn Monroe, and he vowed to spare nothing to get it right. He set up a special harness so he could steady his arms for the eight-hours-plus each day he stood drawing; he hired models so he would know exactly how lips and neck hairs looked; he wore special glasses and used a 20x magnifying glass for pinpoint accuracy; he formed an eclectic and loyal support group to take care of life’s necessities while he worked. Without any sense his work would be valued, he gave up everything to concentrate on his mission. Eight and a half years later he was finished."

White Lies, Black Sheep

"The hero of White Lies is A.J. (Ayinde Howell), a smart, hip black New Yorker who has rejected anything “too black." Structured like a documentary, White Lies examines the predominantly white rock-club milieu in which A.J. moves, and collects interviews with friends, coworkers, and scenesters. Everyone seems to love A.J. -- until we begin to meet people in his life, both white and black, who feel A.J.'s actions don’t ring true. This group includes his proud, Afrocentric father, who feels rejected by A.J., and his best friend, who encourages him to read Malcolm X. After a series of setbacks trying to connect with a popular white woman, A.J. undergoes an inevitable clash of conscience -- and begins to feel the weight of all that he has rejected and the unnaturalness of other things he accepted too willingly."


"A small, economically dying bayou town in Eastern Arkansas is given a new lease on life after a possible sighting of the fabled Ivory-Billed Woodpecker in the area. This true-life phenomenon began several years ago, and Woodpecker establishes it in documentary style. But the focuses of this hybrid movie are the conflicting goals of all interested parties and the bizarre quest of one quirky loner, and in exploring their twists and turns the film abandons its documentary backdrop for rich fictional territory."


Check out info. on all the other movies playing next week in Baltimore at the MD fest through this page.

Yeah, excellent choices MD fest, see ya next weekend!

- Sujewa

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Yes, but when was the last time someone who was not a young "black" male got shot over a dozen times & killed by multiple plain clothed NYC cops?

So the legal system has exonerated the 3 police officers who shot Sean Bell 50 times and killed him. The only other time in recent memory where such a killing happened was, again, in NYC, & again the victim was another "black" male - and that time, yes again - several plain clothed police officers, shot Amadou Diallo 41 times & killed him. And in both cases the victims were unarmed. Coincidence or are some NYC plain clothed officers just very nervous/trigger happy when they think a "black" male is reaching for a gun? (but really, 50 shots! ????) Maybe the Justice Department's review of the Bell case will provide some answers as to why some plain clothed police officers in NYC are using excessive & deadly force against unarmed NYC citizens; specifically young "black" male citizens - 1 time could be discounted as a freak accident, but 2 times is definitely a pattern.

(and yes, i am not blind to the hundreds & thousands of other incidents yearly where the NYC cops do their job well & help people, etc. my personal interactions with them have been pleasant. and i know the police have a very tough job to do & i am glad they are there - BUT the Diallo & Bell cases are very disturbing)

Several different takes on the matter, from YouTube:

- Sujewa

Mini-review of Amir Motlagh's new short Plain Us

Plain Us is a 20-30 some minute (not sure about the exact running time, will find out & update soon), shot on 35 MM (w/ the first scene or two on digital video), slice of life drama depicting a touring musician's visit to his home town. The musician - an indie rocker of course :) - (played by Motlagh) has a young daughter. Motlagh's character is not on good terms with his daughter's mother. The short is well acted (always impressive whenever I see low-budget indie directors work well with child actors), and well shot & overall well made; well directed, acted, photographed, edited and scored. Plain Us is definitely not a plot-driven piece, more a low-key observation of a few special moments, & also some dramatic moments, in the lives of three people. The short also feels like it could be a part of a feature; does a really good job introducing an interesting character & a situation; a young artist with a home vs. the road conflict - and it would be even more interesting to see that character inside a bigger story; maybe something like this will happen in the near future, as I hear that Motlagh is currently editing a couple of features that he filmed during the past couple of years.

For more info. on Plain Us, go here.

Here's the trailer:

- Sujewa

Notes on Tribeca conversation re: Standard Operating Procedure, at Film Panel Notetaker

Check out the notes on the conversation at the Film Panel Notetaker. Here's the intro:

"Academy-Award-winning documentary filmmaker Errol Morris (The Fog of War) participated in a discussion lead by Jarhead author Anthony Swofford during the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival after a screening of Standard Operating Procedure, Morris’ latest film where he interviews the American soldiers who took the iconic Abu Ghraib photographs."

Read the rest here.

- Sujewa

Director Jon Favreau interview re: Iron Man from Wonder Con

From Swingers to Iron Man in less than 2 decades (right? when did Swingers come out anyway?) or so, not bad.

Check out the video interview here.

- Sujewa

Iron Man clip

Tony Stark learning to fly. So when are we going to see the Iron Man armor/weapon/flight suit/jet pack combo whatever available for US & NATO military use anyway? I bet Lockheed Martin are working on it. Related: not quite Iron Man level armor, but liquid body armor, we have it already. And there's already an armor suit protecting Humvee gunners in Iraq. An armor suit that can withstand an attack by a suicide bomber would be a good thing to develop, since that type of warfare will most likely be a method used by the deeply desperate for years to come. Anyway, the trailer:

- Sujewa

Friday, April 25, 2008

LO-DEF, The monthly screening event in Silver Spring, MD starts Thu May 22!

Well, this has been in the works for some time, & now I can finally announce it; a new indie screening series, happening once a month (for now:) at The Back Room of Jackie's (quite possibly one of the coolest - great food & decor, warm people - restaurants in Silver Spring) - here's the brand new site & blog for Lo-Def.

1st movie being screened (Thu May 22, 8 PM, FREE) is the new version of Date Number One. More info. soon re: the new DNO. Also trailer & clips coming to the web next week; plus screener DVDs for review for interested film bloggers & other media. For more info. on the screening, go here (or visit this blog in a few hours :).

And now, more on Lo-Def! Filmmakers & or distributors interested in submitting for future Lo-Def screening events, check out the submission info. at the site (link on right hand side) or e-mail me with a description of your fiction or doc feature or feature length collection of shorts, w/ links to sites, reviews if any, etc. Films from any place, made at any time on any medium for any budget are welcome (DC area indie filmmakers are highly encouraged to submit); as long as they are very interesting, & or entertaining or otherwise high quality (if u r not sure, just submit, we'll figure it out, it is free to submit of course). Filmmakers who screen at Lo-Def receive $100, plus other benefits to be announced soon.

Some of those excellent real indie films that have been trapped on computer screens & TV screens will soon get a chance to play on a big screen & meet an appreciative audience in Silver Spring, MD.

- Sujewa

Tribeca panel event PARADISE LOST? FILM CRITICS OF THE FUTURE - Fri 4/25, 6 - 7 PM

If I were in NYC tomorrow, I would check this Tribeca fest panel event, at the American Express Insider Center, located at 27 Union Square West, out:


Much has been said recently about the transition of film criticism from newsprint to the web. The topic is emblematic of seismic shifts in journalism in general. The potential for unparalleled access to content, real-time interactivity and diversity of dialogue is immense but what does it mean for the future of film critics? Bloggers and film critics and film critics who may soon be bloggers posit their thoughts. Film critics Leah Rozen (People Magazine), Elizabeth Weitzman (Daily News) and Bilge Ebiri (New York Magazine) will share their viewpoints at this lively discussion moderated by the Tribeca Film Institute's Brian Newman.

Friday, April 25 from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m."

And here's the site for Tribeca fest.

- Sujewa

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Current print review jobs disappearing might be, in the long run, one of the best things to happen to people who are serious about film criticism

The empire is crumbling, few chosen officials will lose their dream jobs, but the whole situation has already been partially replaced by a fast growing democratic republic that will become much larger & more influential & richer than the old empire ever was.

If you are a writer who dreams about criticising or reviewing movies for a living, the current situation - with print review jobs being cut left and right - might be disheartening.

However, let's take a look at exactly what you may be losing and what you, and the world, might be gaining.

The relationship between Hollywood and the rest of the world is an imperial relationship. Few companies in LA & NYC & elsewhere work together to produce filmed entertainment that generates a lot of revenue (& also employs a large number of people, a very good thing). All the power rests in the hands of the studios or Hollywood - or, in these day of "independent" Hollywood producers and companies - in the hands of the financiers, distributors and studio executives. The business is a quest to make bigger and bigger profits. Thus the product that gets created by the business is often, not counting some of the 5% of prestige pictures, not something that should intellectually or emotionally fulfill a grown, observant, critical, creative person year after year after year.

So you, the film critic, earned money by spending your talents & intellect analyzing a large amount of Hollywood product designed for maximum profit at the expense of any other quality that the medium of cinema is capable of displaying. Now you find yourself in a world full of inter-connected home computers - basically a fancier version of paper - a medium through which words and images can be shared, and in a country full of 200 - 300 some million people always looking, desperately looking in many cases, and willing to pay lots of money, for new ideas, new distractions, new ways of seeing things, or even old familiar things packaged in new ways - a country full of lots of potential customers for your talents; the ability to make aesthetic judgements, compare art/entertainment and various aspects of real life, teach and explain things to people, and even motivate & challenge people. Unless you were the 5% of print critics who always spent a lot of time writing about challenging art/indie/foreign & rare excellent Hollywood & indiewood films, how happy were you really to watch & write about "blockbusters" and or only-slightly-different-than-last-week's-movie-about-the-same-sex-and-violence, very-few-non-white-people-if-any, topic concerned Hollywood movies week in and week out?

The imperial world of Hollywood film production and distribution & marketing through print papers and magazines is being successfully challenged at the moment by the democratic world of the internet, the home computer, & other more interesting forms of entertainment & pass times. However, for people who are able to write well, and more importantly, think well; creative people who can come up with a million new ideas or ideas that just seem really new to the rest of consumer America because they do not spend their time keeping an eye on history and the future, there will always be work, and most likely very satisfying work, in this information and ideas and aesthetics driven country (and increasingly, world).

Print film criticism and reviews might die today, might die 5 years from now, or might never die - might remain a niche activity forever. But you have talents, and your life is finite, and you live in the midst of an information boom, of a consumption & consumer boom when it comes to the hunger for new & different ideas & things. Much of the world is under developed but is hungry for advancement in all areas, including in the so called developed countries with good economies and law and order. In very few places are most people doing well & accessing even a quarter of the awesomeness that humans are capable of accessing - thus, lots of work for people who are able to work with ideas and who can think critically; lots of opportunities to re-create and re-imagine the world, and to try to help implement those visions. On a less grand level, use your evaluation skills to evaluate how you can take advantage of the zillion opportunities that will open up by you losing your full time or part time job which required you to watch and think about Hollywood product, for the most part.

When you get over the fear of the job hunt, when cash flow is back on track, and when you are using your writing and analyzing and reviewing skills to fulfill & create other dreams that you once had and that you will have again - you might end up being glad that you were escorted out of your Hollywood funded (perhaps indirectly) print criticism situation.

And, since you know a lot about movies, now might be the time to collaborate with people and take your love of cinema to the next level - write some screenplays, make some movies (using the same digital technologies that are putting print media out of business). I know you've thought to yourself a million times during your current or previous film critic/reviewer job that you could do better than the questionable art/entertainment that you were asked to evaluate and or help sell, however indirectly, to the public. And you might be right on that instinct, some French critics back in the 50's/60's were, and they gave the world not only one of the great reasons to desire the position of film critic, but the ability for humanity to see itself in a new way - through film as art.

If all that has not convinced you, let's take the long view. Modern humans are over 200,000 year old as a species. Hollywood and the job of film criticism is barely 100 years old. If Hollywood, indiewood, real indie film, the entire structure of art/entertainment/commerce/ego/power/happiness/status/misery were to completely implode and disappear from the planet, we won't miss it all that much after a while; and we might re-discover other talents & other pass times & other ways of being happy that might actually be healthier, more fulfilling, more wealth generating - you get the idea. Humans do not need movies, we have gotten by very well without it for over 199,900 years, give or take a few. And if Hollywood disappears, all of us will be doing what some of us are already doing, what you might have to do very soon as the paycheck derived through Hollywood product disappears - come up with a better way to spend your limited time on this awesome planet & comparatively awesome democratic republic.

The important things - your talents and desire and vision - still exist, just one source of employment is disappearing. Not an insurmountable challenge for one who knows every plot twist at the screenwriter's disposal, flawed characters who redeem themselves after great struggles, and of course happy endings - as well as you do.

Regardless of what happens with print film criticism, someone who has written or who can write a good movie review has the intellectual skills to organize information that can allow that person to do a decently paid job somewhere; from which savings can be invested to develop fortunes in the long term (we are an open individualist capitalist economy, meaning most anyone can invest in most publicly traded companies, as far as I know) - and in the after hours, after the day job work day, you can still join the thousands who take to their computer to share their passion for the movies - and most likely, since you have more training & skill then them at that task - your blog or site can become successful, and can lead to other paid work or collaborations where you can use your film critic skills.

Or, what I am saying is that the end of print film criticism is not the end of film criticism.

Most likely there will always be movies during our lifetime & beyond - with hundreds of new nollywoods & dogme 95s & DVD labels & VOD conglomerates springing up everywhere every day - and thus there will always be film reviewing & criticism that someone will have to do well; maybe you.

I am sure you knew all this stuff already; but perhaps it is interesting to hear it from a real indie filmmaker with a day job - where nothing about that work condition compares one way or other to the joy of being able to make & show movies, and to the joy of enjoying life in a country full of opportunities, choices, and delicious distractions. Even if filmmaking becomes the sole source of income for me at some point, the fearlessness with which artists must approach their lives will still be necessary to maintain the life that I now enjoy - the creative life; there is no work guarantee in art/entertainment/creativity - when you lose the desire to dream and create new work, it is all over, money or no money, indiewood connections or no indiewood connections - and nothing kills desire faster than fear. The fearful are not bold. And happy creatives - filmmakers or entrepreneurs or film critics - must suppress their fear of unemployment (failure) to a sufficient degree, must be bold, so that they can venture out and create; live their dreams and desires, generate work & money & community & more work & more rewards.

Anyway, don't worry, even if the entire print film criticism game completely ends tomorrow, you will be fine as long as you get back in touch with the dreams and skills that drove you to become a film critic in the first place, and as long as you look around with wide open eyes and search for all the better work that you could do to fill up the vacant time, and as long as you, most importantly, move forward boldly.

- Sujewa

Doing it wrong for...20 years! A little video celebration of DC's Dischord Records

Actually it's 28 years at this point I think. Here's the video, very nice:

Controversial Sri Lankan film Prabhakaran to begin screening 4/25 in SL, 4/27 abroad

Read all about it here.

- Sujewa

SILVERDOCS '08 to honor Spike Lee

Read all about it here.

- Sujewa

2nd annual film blogger meet up NYC the weekend of 5/31?

The first film blogger meet up NYC last year was a lot of fun (i should have stayed longer). I'll be in NYC the weekend of 5/31, if any film bloggers want to have meet up #2 that weekend. Let me know. Thanks.

Maybe Thu 5/29 night is a better time to meet than the weekend. Suggest dates & times & places any interested bloggers (Botanica was good last year, maybe the same place?).

- Sujewa

Interviews with directors & others from the indie film world - 2005 to July 2007

I believe these are all the indie filmmaker (plus a couple of other important members of the community) interviews that I've posted at my blogs, up to July '07:


Caveh Zahedi I AM A SEX ADDICT 11/05

Caveh Zahedi 2

Amir Motlagh WHALE

Jon Moritsugu SCUMROCK

Matt Zoller Seitz HOME


James Ponsoldt OFF THE BLACK

Lance Weiler HEAD TRAUMA

Doug Block 51 BIRCH STREET






Jonathan Marlow GREENCINE



Interviews during & after July '07 will be listed at another post soon.

- Sujewa

Confessionsofa Ex-Doofus-Itchyfooted Mutha at Maryland Film Festival

A new movie by Melvin Van Peebles. Read about it here at MD fest's site. From the site:

"Telling the fantastic, mystical tale of a man with few resources who joyfully becomes a merchant marine, travels far and wide, and enjoys a wide variety of romantic entanglements, the film champions independent exploration. Distilling years of cultural experience through the eyes of one lone adventurer, the film pulls us into its protagonist's world with cunning and magic. Melvin Van Peebles himself, with only a glancing reference to his chronological age of 75, plays the lead character as he progresses from young boy to middle age. Kaleidoscopic, epic, and handmade, sweeping but intensely personal, this is the perfect incarnation of Melvin Van Peebles’ indefinable and singular artistic career."

More here.

Film screens May 4 @ 7:30 PM @ the Charles theater in Baltimore, MD; buy tix here.

- Sujewa

Is Obama a Mac and Clinton a PC?

I hope not, lots & lots more people own PCs than Macs. Check out the NYT article here.

- Sujewa

Gigantic NYT article about the media using Pentagon approved & promoted "independent" military analysts

It's a huge article - 11 web pages huge, check it out here. From the article:

"To the public, these men are members of a familiar fraternity, presented tens of thousands of times on television and radio as “military analysts” whose long service has equipped them to give authoritative and unfettered judgments about the most pressing issues of the post-Sept. 11 world.

Hidden behind that appearance of objectivity, though, is a Pentagon information apparatus that has used those analysts in a campaign to generate favorable news coverage of the administration’s wartime performance, an examination by The New York Times has found."

Read the rest here.

- Sujewa

Instrument of the day - the accordion

Accordion music is favored by directors of many quirky indie/art/foreign movies (or at least i heard a lot of it in Amelie). Maybe this instrument is making a comeback :)

Not sure what these guys are singing, but it looks like they are having a good time:

- Sujewa

Interview with Julie Checkoway, director of Waiting for Hockney, at Filmmaker blog

Check out the interview at Filmmaker.

Here is a description of the film, from the interview:

"For her debut feature, Julie Checkoway, a Salt Lake City based ex-radio reporter and writing professor, chose to follow the ten year struggle of Maryland artist Billy Pappas, as he attempted to create the world's most detailed portrait. This fascinating 2005 New York Times article details just a portion of the long journey Checkoway's film took to find the screen."

More here.

- Sujewa

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Created a book of new indie filmmaker interviews

I spent a few, at first a little frustrating & then somewhat blissful, hours last night playing with the Blurb software & created a book of new indie filmmaker ('05 - April '08) interviews, pulled from my many blogs. It's gonna be a somewhat fancy book, a little celebration of a certain period in American indie film, & of certain young/new directors & their films, maybe it'll be of some value to indie film geeks in like 20 years :). And in the immediate future maybe it'll be another little useful publicity thing for the filmmakers featured in the book; web interviews in a more tactile, physical form, digital information made more real. The book will be available for purchase from this blog this summer; June - July let's say. More on this project in the coming weeks. Next: get the first copies printed & see what it looks & feels like.

I'll say one more thing re: the process, turning blog entries into a book is a lot easier than editing/making the DVD of a low/no-budget feature & making it very slick & smooth.

- Sujewa

Medicine for Melancholy is closer to Shadows and Stranger Than Paradise than anything Mumblecore

Sometimes people wake up with strange thoughts in their minds; and here's what I am thinking this morning - the film Medicine for Melancholy, even thought it is closer in production date and uses a similar digital format as the majority of the Mumblecore movies, has more in common with Stranger Than Paradise (young alienated characters, the theme of America and assimilation, low key humor, also shot on black & white stock - Melancholy looks and more importantly feels black & white most of the time even though it is presented in heavily modified color) and Shadows (dealing very directly with race, America & assimilation, also segregation & racism). Some are calling Melancholy the "black"-Mumblecore movie, however, if we take another track - that of not defining creative product of minority filmmakers through a relationship with their immediate majority/"white" peers - and were to place the work in a broader American independent film history context - Jenkins's Melancholy seems closer to Jarmusch's Paradise and Cassavetes's Shadows than any work by Bujalski, Swanberg, Katz, Duplass brothers, etc. As in Paradise, Melancholy is mostly indirect in dealing with America and assimilation; but in both movies the theme is very present and becomes explicitly articulated in certain scenes. Shared concerns between Shadows and Melancholy are obvious; one major one being attempts by young Americans to navigate and relate in a social environment heavily shaped by slavery, racism, segregation and in Melancholy's case the disparities in wealth created by the aforementioned forces.

- Sujewa

Monday, April 21, 2008

Hollywood & Silicon Valley: The Sequel

So says this NYT article.

- Sujewa

Turning blogs into books (& now on the cheap too, under $13 per)

First, the NYT article Turn Those Bytes Into Books.

And if the concept sounds appealing to you, go check out; they'll tell you all about it, including links to software that'll help you turn your web musings into a book.

For an example, check out the Daily Film Dose book; blog entries turned into an expensive (around $90 for hardcover, around $80 for softcover) book.

- Sujewa

Music for Monday - Island In The Sun

Stonehenge VI DC auditions on YouTube!

Here are a few, see all the ones available (about half of the actors who auditioned on 3/29) at YouTube.

Kami Locklear

Rohit Jindal

Jackson Dismukes

Tanya Hartwell

Inji Islam

Bruce Allen Dawson

Christina Borders

Check out all 61 audition videos featuring DC area actors here.

Stonehenge VII is happening in Baltimore on May 18.

- Sujewa

Barack Obama and 35,000 Pennsylvanians

From Obama '08 site.

- Sujewa

Plain Us, new short by Amir Motlagh, trailer & info.

I hear that a DVD of the short is on its way across America to me, so a review will be up on this site soon. In the meantime, here is the trailer to Amir Motlagh's new short Plain Us, shot on 35 MM:

Info. on the film, from Motlagh's blog:

"So, my new film Plain Us is finished and i ‘m ready for both the love and the hate. I wrote and directed the piece. It was shot by cinematographer Zamir Kokonozi on 35mm, who also shot my last film knock knock.

The film also features songs on the upcoming full length Shanks and the Dreamers album, My Darling Dia.

Here is a short synopsis: “Cy, a touring musician in an up and coming band drops into the town he grew up in”:

In my next few post i’ll get more in depth with the process, and conception of the piece.

The film features:
Kindy Barr
Nadia Anwar
Art Toussi
Tom O’Connell
Rami Dogg
Kristen Penza
Josh Virnick"

Once again, Motlagh's blog.

- Sujewa

Sunday, April 20, 2008

France's Actions Against Hunger demands international investigation into the killing of their humanitarian workers in Sri Lanka

From the Action Against Hunger /Action Contre la Faim (ACF) website:

"Even as the Sri Lankan organization University Teachers for Human Rights (UTHR) publishes its report on an investigation into the savage 2006 assassination of 17 Action Against Hunger / Action Contre la Faim (ACF) aid workers in Muttur, ACF is calling for an international inquiry to fully investigate these murders to reveal the whole truth and bring those responsible to justice.

ACF is shocked by the amount of detail exposed in the UTHR report: trails of responsibility are disclosed that have never before been mentioned during the investigations that the Sri Lankan authorities have been conducting for the past year and a half."

Read the rest of the ACF statement here.

Read the UTHR report Unfinished Business of the Five Students and the ACF Cases here.

From the report:

"On 4th August 2006 17 aid workers were extrajudicially executed in their Action Contre la Faim (ACF) compound in Mutur town. Through blatant cover up by the Sri Lankan authorities, their experts, Attorney General and diplomats overseas the facts of killings have been suppressed along with any potential association between this massacre and the killing of five students on the Trincomalee foreshore on 2nd January 2006.

With the support of individuals equally interested in bringing out the truth and finding justice we have uncovered information that reveals that the 17 aid workers were killed by at least one member of the Muslim Home Guard (Jehangir) and two police constables (Susantha and Nilantha) in the presence of the Sri Lankan Naval Special Forces. Four different types of guns were used. Evidence suggests that the killers had prior approval from ASP (Sarath Mulleriyawa) and OIC (Chandana Senayake) for their vile enterprise. But it is highly unlikely that the ASP and OIC would have taken a reckless approach or that they had any particular reason to want the aid workers killed and they had earlier received orders from Trincomalee to ensure the safety of the aid workers. We believe they may have received an instruction from their superiors in Trincomalee (namely the DIG Rohan Abeywardene and SSP Kapila Jayasekere) that the aid workers should be killed. The commandos must have been informed by their superior to let the killings take place and may be directly responsible for firing the bullets that killed at least one of the aid workers.

SSP Kapila Jayasekere, along with Zawahir (OIC Crime Harbour Police, Trincolmalee), is widely known to have been responsible for planning, orchestrating and covering up the killing of the five students by STF assassins amidst a naval security cordon and hundreds of witnesses, who were part of a captive audience. The intimidation of families and witnesses and the killing of witnesses and a journalist who pursued the case are well documented."

And later:

"Several factors point to the crime being a deliberate act in the full knowledge that the victims were humanitarian workers.

It was widely felt among the constabulary in Mutur that Home Guard Jehangir was intent on killing Tamils on that Friday. His homicidal disposition on that day featured in discussions among policemen. For the ASP and OIC to send Jehangir with two of their henchmen and the Special Forces to go and see if there were LTTE at the ACF is none other than an instigation to kill. Jehangir was already railing that the LTTE were there.

The ASP and OIC would not have made such a fatal move by themselves without instruction and cover provided by DIG Trincomalee. Kapila Jayasekere may have been a super SSP who could ignore Nihal Samarakoon, his senior, but an ASP tasked with murder would have wanted further guarantee.

There were no exigencies of war, which might have allowed the explanation of the incident as a mishap. There was no fighting in the vicinity at that time. No one challenged the party that went to the ACF office at any point. The victims were clearly unarmed and were well known in Mutur as humanitarian workers."

Read the rest of the report here.

- Sujewa

Scott Kirsner takes a look at indie movie download sites

Check out Kirsner's article A Law-Abiding Look at indie Movie Download Sites at FilmInFocus.

Thanks GreenCine Daily for the link.

- Sujewa

Teaser trailer for Julius Onah's new short The Boundary

For info. on filmmaker Julius Onah go here. Onah's recently completed short The Boundary stars Alexander Siddig from Siriana, Kindgom of Heaven, & of course Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (Siddig played Dr. Julian Bashir).

And the Boundary teaser:

Here's the site for The Boundary.

- Sujewa

Going Out West - Tom Waits

White Lies Black Sheep at MD film fest

From a recent press release e-mail, re: screenings of James Spooner's fiction feature White Lies, Black Sheep:

" MARYLAND Film FEST - MAY 1-4. - 107 East Read st., Baltimore MD, 21202

Saturday, May 3 at 5:30 PM, Charles Theater 5
Sunday, May 4 at 4:00 PM, Charles Theater 5

This will be our fist screening of White Lies Black Sheep in the DC/Baltimore. I’ll be in town to do the Q and A's. The films star Ayinde Howell, is also scheduled to be down there for that. Check soon for a complete schedule, map, phone numbers etc."

- Sujewa

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Censored scenes from Syndromes and a Century

Thailand's loss (from CinemaRatty; check out the post there for some thoughts re: these scenes):


Read about these clips at CinemaRatty.

- Sujewa



Indie Film Blogger Road Trip

At DIY Filmmaker Blog's Facebook Page


BREAKTHROUGH WEEKEND Teaser Trailer on Vimeo

Breakthrough Weekend teaser trailer on YouTube

Good Reads