sujewa films nyc

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Trailer for Registered Sex Offender

This film is traveling to various cities with its maker & screening now - part of the Range Life Fall tour. Here's the trailer, flick looks well made & funny:


RSO Trailer from Dean Peterson on Vimeo.


For more on RSO, check out the flick's site.

- Sujewa

Friday, November 28, 2008

A Photo from India

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

Started the blog/site for my next fiction feature

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

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

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

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

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Tweeting the terror: social media & attacks in Mumbai

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

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

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

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

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

Read the rest of the article here.

- Sujewa

Indian commandos rescue hostages in Mumbai

Full story at CNN. From the article:

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

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

Read the rest of the story here.

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

- Sujewa

Updates re: terrorist attacks in India @ Daily Kos

Get the latest re: the situation, w/ many links to follow, at Daily Kos.

Something to check out when you are bored at your parents' house tomorrow

Trailer for Jon Moritsugu's underground/indie/punk/DIY/whatever classic Mod Fuck Explosion (!happy thanksgiving!):

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Moved to Brooklyn

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

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

- Sujewa

Uptown trailer

Trailer for a new NYC indie/DIY film called Uptown, directed by Brian Ackley:

"Uptown" teaser

Really, that's not what this thing is about

Some indie filmmakers that I've heard from through the magic of electronic mail are disappointed that their DIY films have not yet made them rich and or famous by Hollywood standards. What I have to say to that is if you want to get rich & famous by Hollywood standards, then you should try to make a Hollywood movie & get it distributed widely - & get tons of tickets & DVDs sold & get tons of cable & foreign licensing & then make sure you get paid properly for your work. DIY film, as I & many others understand it, is generally not a smaller version of Hollywood nor is it a quick stepping stone to Hollywood. DIY film (as I & some others practice it) is about making interesting films through means available to you at the moment, and also distributing those films through means available. On a grand scale there is a relationship between DIY film production & distribution & Hollywood stuff - but there is no guaranteed link between the two areas of art/entertainment making activities. A Hollywood movie is like a gigantic stadium show - you know, like a concert by U2 or some other epic band - takes a lot of money & people to produce & brings in a lot of money. A DIY film typically is like a young singer/songwriter performing for 50 people at a small venue - creative, interesting, can be done without losing money, may even be profitable eventually, but, as far as $s - it is like a small business as opposed to Wal Mart or some gigantic retailer. The same goes for being accepted into name festivals & having a big budget or stars or any other signifier of Hollywood or Indiewood level success. If those are the things you dream about, you should totally go after those. But, making features on digital video with unknown actors & showing those films, selling those DVDs most likely will not get you the level of fame & wealth that comes to some people in Hollywood. DIY film (as I see it) is a space for artists, entertainers, & entrepreneurs who like to make low budget film works & distribute them. DIY film is not really just another name for indiewood: indiewood was a smaller version of Hollywood, and that thing is dying at the moment (maybe it'll come back to life in a few years, who knows). There is the rare chance that one or more of your DIY projects will make a lot of money or become known US or world wide - but you should not be too disappointed when that does not happen or audiences respond negatively to your film (that actually happens to Hollywood movies too). Anyway, if you are a fan of interesting movies & do not care about stars & budgets - as far as the kind of movies that you watch, then ultra low budget filmmaking & self distribution - DIY as I know it - is a path to making & sharing/selling similar works of your own with others. DIY is however not a replacement for Hollywood. DIY film is its own unique thing - with valuable aspects all its own - unrelated to what's good about Hollywood or the benefits that a filmmaker can get from a successful Hollywood movie. Being able to make movies, show them at festivals or at your own screenings, sell DVDs is awesome - even without having famous actors or millions of dollars involved in the projects. And when you make some money from your projects you can try to save it up - maybe it'll add up to a lot eventually. But if you are unhappy with not having Hollywood level success - then stop making DIY films & try to make a Hollywood movie. Hollywood is one thing, DIY is completely another thing, and the two are not similar or closely related when it comes to budgets & ability to provide fame. Obsession with big budgets, getting into name festivals, having stars in your movies, getting a positive review from a certain critic or site are indiewood things - related to Hollywood & are ways of aspiring to be close to Hollywood. Nothing wrong with having those ambitions - but know that DIY is not really about that stuff, it is about the joy of being able to make interesting movies, show & sell those movies to people, run a small business - at least that's how I see DIY film - it is an empowering & wonderful thing (at least can be in its finest moments) but is not Hollywood. If you don't like having or needing a day job from time to time or permanently, and if you are not very excited about having to develop multiple streams of revenue for yourself (other than $s from your filmmaking activities) or if you are mostly just interested in film as a quick path for fame & wealth, then you should totally look into making it big in Hollywood. On the other hand, if you can't imagine living (or living well, happy) without being able to make movies, then the DIY route/approach will make it possible for you to make movies NOW (now being like a few months to a year :) - it will allow you to do something very interesting & rewarding (in some cases, for some) with your time & life. That's how I see it.

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

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

Balas's blog

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

- Sujewa

Brian Geldin saw Indie Film Blogger Road Trip this weekend

From Brian's blog The Film Panel Notetaker:

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

Read the rest of the post here.

- Sujewa

Tambay Obenson's DIY film weekend podcast

Tambay Obenson talks a little about watching Indie Film Blogger Road Trip and Cookies & Cream this past weekend at this podcast.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Cookies & Cream


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

In Cookies Carmen (played well by Jace Nicole) is engaged in a variety of sex work: porn, web cams, and perhaps other activities in that arena. Pretty quickly we learn that Carmen has a child - story of the father is not told - and is seeking a "normal" guy (a guy who is not heavily into porn & the sex-for-money world I guess, or at least not into her because she is in porn) AND is cool with the way that she makes money. One of Carmen's close friends who is also in the same line of work does seem to have a "normal" boyfriend who supports what she does for a living. Without giving away details that would reveal how the story ends, we see Carmen deal with 2 potential partners in the course of the movie. And, Cookies distinguishes itself from most recent DIY movies about 20-30 somethings by bringing in Carmen's parents into the story.

Though sex work is the character's occupation, this is not a sexually explicit - at least not visually - movie.

One problem I had with the movie - I know reviewers are supposed to deal with what is actually on the screen, but, as it was the case for me I am sure it will be the case for at least a few others - was that if the central dilemma of the main character is finding a "nice" guy, why doesn't she quit the porn biz? I talked with a few audience members who saw Cookies with me at the Sexy International Film Festival this past Saturday about this issue and most of them were not concerned with that question. Some of them had filled in the missing information on their own as to why Carmen does not give up porn in order to find the "right" man. So perhaps this question would not get in the way of most people in their attempt to enjoy Cookies. I would have liked to see more details - how & why did Carmen get into sex work/porn biz? What exactly is keeping her from finding a job in another industry that is less controversial/would not be an obstacle towards building the desired romantic relationship? But, these questions that I had may be beside the point - since the film declares in the beginning that the character wants to both keep doing what she does for a living AND wants to find a guy who treats what she does as just another job (even though it isn't). I believe the film does succeed in creating a story that seems realistic for a character who has what I think is a relatively impossible goal. In the end, I would also have liked to have seen exactly how the path the character chose as the answer to her dilemma came together.

Holt & Nicole do succeed very well in creating an intriguing main character. Cookies captures Carmen during one very interesting period in her life, but it did seem that there is a lot more to the character, and that the character will live on outside the final scene - I guess what I mean is that the character seemed like a real person even though her goal & circumstances were unusual/not similar to people I know well.

One aspect of the movie that I did enjoy a lot is the "post-racial" nature of the film. Cookies reflects the ethnic diversity that one sees in New York City.

Being a huge fan of NYC, I also enjoyed the beautiful shots of the city - there are many in the film. One of my favorites being a lengthy shot at a park where Carmen & a new guy that she met can be heard talking on a date long before we see their exact place in the frame - the shot felt like a painting - in a positive way.

I believe there is the potential for a significant commercial life - lots of DVD sales, cable, maybe theatrical - for Cookies, since the movie is a very interesting character driven drama with a unique protagonist - portrayed well - and the film deals with sex as work & sex as a commodity. Also, it is possible that many audience members will sympathize with the lead character & will even be able to relate to her since - specifics of her dilemma aside - she is attempting to secure a unique outcome from a difficult situation - something many of us are engaged in, sometimes on a daily basis.

For people who enjoy art/indie/foreign movies and are excited about the filmmaking revolution that has been possible due to the use of digital video, and for those who appreciate seeing the multi-ethnic nature of the real world being reflected in cinema, Cookies & Cream is a must see.

- Sujewa

Interviewed at Spout!

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

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

Read the interview here.

Thanks a lot for the press Spout!

- Sujewa

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

On Sunday night, in Brooklyn, I found myself trapped in a very frustrating conversation that ultimately dealt with feminism & how ideas introduced by that movement/philosophy affects human sexuality - or maybe I should say sex in America & other post-feminist countries (much of the world has not heard of feminism too clearly yet). I was talking with another dude - and a lot of the misunderstandings arose (i think) from each of us having drastically different definitions for & understandings of the same terms/words (also, maybe I was not very clear in making certain arguments). This is also a subject I've talked about with various girlfriends over the years - and, I think, part of the problem (confusions arising at the intersection of feminism & sex - or perhaps feminism & gender roles, responsibilities, expectations - both public & private) is people are afraid to talk about the matter because they are afraid of being perceived as someone having an unacceptable or negative opinion on the matter (reminds me of that Seinfeld scene where the characters are uncomfortable talking about race). Thus, a fiction comedy-drama is a great place to discuss this issue - so I added a new storyline to my next movie - one that deals with this issue, hopefully to both useful & entertaining effect. The next film is generally about Brooklyn - made up of multiple story lines. Still working on the script. Maybe I can shoot it in the Spring (though I am going to start shooting b-roll stuff this month, also images/video that could work as rough drafts for the final images).

- Sujewa

Indie Film Blogger Road Trip has an IMDb page

Check it out here.

Monday, November 24, 2008

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

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

- Sujewa

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Cookies & Cream/Sexy Int'l Fest Adventure


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

The screening itself was a well attended & lively event. Afterwards there was a brief question & answer session, with Princeton & the cast & crew getting a lot of love from the audience made up of friends, family, & strangers (in one case, a little too much love - some dude kept yelling out "P-Diddy!" every 5-10 minutes during the Q & A session - it wasn't fun after a while).

Afterwards the cast & crew & quite a few of the audience members from the screenings went to the nearby Holiday Inn bar, drank, eat, & hung out. I made several new NYC DIY filmmaker, actor, & musician/composer friends. More on them & their projects soon.

At the end of the day I was very glad I went on the Cookies & Cream adventure. Check out the movie or the Sexy International Film Festival if you get a chance.
And, if you are a blogger & you want to check out C & C so that you can write about it, get in touch with Princeton & see what can be arranged - flick is definitely a great debut feature - but more on that later.

- Sujewa

Friday, November 21, 2008

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

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

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

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

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

Looks like the ultra-low budget production & self-distribution path is catching on with more & more young filmmakers - most excellent. Why are such driven, self-reliant & collaborative people with initiative important? Because, I think, that's the type of people who will eventually become the next generation of leaders in the indie film world - also potential collaborators on many kinds of creative & business projects (in and beyond the indie film world), and employees or employers of the future for various projects for many people. Will have more on this new DIY generation soon.

- Sujewa

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sandcastles trailer

Well, from the trailer (visuals & audio/music) Sandcastles looks like a Mumblecore-type movie but maybe it isn't. Either way, perhaps worth a look:




For more on Sandcastles go here.

- Sujewa

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

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


Until I got the invite from the people who made the new feature Cookies & Cream, I never know there was a fest called the Sexy International Film Festival. So I am going - really, how can you turn down an invitation to an event called Cookies & Cream at the Sexy Int'l Film Fest :) More info. below, come check out the fest this coming weekend:

First, Sexy IFF (I almost typed SIFF - but didn't want people to confuse this fest w/ Seattle Int'l) on Facebook. The fest happens on 11/21 Fri (shorts), & 11/22 Sat (Cookies & Cream - feature).

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Sexy International Film Festival
Time and Place
Start Time:

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

View Map

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21st of November 7pm

Tickets available at door or email info@sexyfilmfest.com to pre book.

JE TE LOVE Canada 9 mins Canada

FROM HERE TO MATERNITY Australia 3 mins Dir. Bill Flowers, Tom & Shannon Priestley

RING-AROUND-A-ROSIE Australia 8 mins Dir. Larelle Bossi

BETWEEN THE SHEETS USA 5 mins Dir. Katrine Burkitt

SEXY CRIMES: MAID TO ORDER Australia 5 mins Dir. Jean-Luc Syndikas

PUNCH France 10 mins Sotiris Dounoukos

CHANNELING Australia 7 mins Dir. Dave Wade

THE CURE USA 7 mins Dir. Ryan Jafri

WOODEN HEART Australia 18 mins Dir. Jason Turley

THE GIRL IN THE MOON Australia 14 mins Dir. Althea Jones

22nd of November 7pm

COOKIES & CREAM+ Q&A with Director Princeton Holt & cast

Exclusive Sneak Preview!!

For more about the movie Cookies & Cream, go here. Here's a little about the movie from its site:

"Cookies & Cream is a character piece that centers on Carmen (Jace Nicole), a racially mixed single mother, who maintains an adult entertainment job in order to take care of her daughter and herself. Carmen longs for the same loving relationship that her roommate Jodie (Naama Kates), who has the same job, shares with her steady boyfriend. She sets out on a short series of relationships, including a musician (Ardie Fuqua) and a teacher (Brian Ackley), while seeking a man who isn’t aware of what she does for a living, in hopes that someone will eventually love her for who she is, and not for what she does for a living. This tastefully told tale of new age dating and unbreakable career ambition, is told through the eyes of an independent woman trying to find the strength to continue on through the toughest of circumstances."

More here. And here's a teaser trailer for the flick:


Created a Facebook group for Indie Film Blogger Road Trip

Check it out here. Join up if you are interested in IFBRT, indie film, blogging, blogging about indie film, or related matters.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Submitted IFBRT to SXSW, IMDb

More on that here.

GreenCine Daily links to Chuck Tryon's post about Indie Film Blogger Road Trip

Is getting a link from a GCD post worth blogging about? Most definitely yes, I think (since maybe 50,000 times more people read that blog than this one :). Check out the GCD mention here.

Thanks GreenCine Daily!

- Sujewa

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

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

From the St.Louis Post-Dispatch:

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

Read the rest of the article here.

Thanks to Boredom At Its Boredest blog for the link.

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

- Sujewa

Sunday, November 16, 2008

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

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

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

"At the same time, Sujewa is attentive to the various ways that all of his interviewees are invested in blogging as an activity, even if, as Anthony Kaufman confesses at one point, we don’t always like doing it or like what it has done to film and entertainment journalism. Other bloggers complicate the perception that the indie film community is a completely inclusive, utopian space. As Judy Wajcman observes in her excellent book, TechnoFeminism, “networks create not merely insiders, but also outsiders, the partially enrolled, and those who refuse to be enrolled” (42-43). Melissa Silverstein, for example, took the time to challenge the “all boys club” tendency of many blogging communities, while Armando Valle pointed out that indie festivals often have less room for genre pics such as low-budget horror films. To Sujewa’s great credit, he took great care to ensure that he presented a multi-faceted and diverse portrait of the blogging community, while also acknowledging the ways that we sometimes fail to be fully inclusive. In addition to all that, it was certainly fun to see so many of the bloggers I’ve been reading, in some cases, for several years and to get some history of film blogging from people, such as Kaufman and S.T. VanAirsdale, who have (like myself) been practicing the fine art of film blogging for some time."

Read the rest of the post here.

- Sujewa

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Pray the Devil Back to Hell in DC this weekend







This doc sounds very interesting, all the info. in great detail here:

PRAY THE DEVIL BACK TO HELL” OPENS NOV. 14 AT E STREET CINEMA
Uplifting, True Story In Theaters in Nov. and Dec. Including LA, NY, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Chicago, Boston, Atlanta, Portland and Seattle

Washington, DC – Opening November 14 in DC, Tribeca’s Best Documentary and SILVERDOCS’ Witness Award-Winning Pray the Devil Back to Hell is the inspiring true story of a group of brave and visionary women who, armed only with white t-shirts, demanded peace for Liberia, a nation torn apart by a decades-old civil war. Directed by Oscar® nominee and Emmy® winner Gini Reticker and produced by Abigail Disney, Pray the Devil Back to Hell has also earned Jackson Hole Film Festival (Audience Choice: Documentary), Traverse City Film Festival (Special Jury Prize: Non-fiction Filmmaking), and the Heartland Film Festival (Best Documentary).

Jane Fonda calls Pray the Devil Back to Hell “a real uplift,” while Desmond Tutu says the film “eloquently captures the power each of us innately has within our souls to make this world a far better, safer, more peaceful place.”

In Pray the Devil Back to Hell, these unsung Liberian women and their historic achievement at last find a voice. The documentary intersperses contemporary interviews, archival images, and scenes of present-day Liberia together to recount the experiences and memories of the women who were instrumental in bringing lasting peace to their country. The coalition of Christian and Muslim women confronted cruelty and corruption, taking on Charles Taylor and the warlords. Their persistence brought about the exile of Charles Taylor and the election of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa's first female head of state.

Pray the Devil Back to Hell marks the vanguard of a new wave of people taking control of their political destiny around the world. Balcony Releasing is distributing Pray the Devil Back to Hell, which is presented in association with Wide Angle Thirteen/WNET and Fork Films. Following its theatrical premiere on November 7, 2008 in New York City, Pray the Devil Back to Hell will have a national roll-out in Los Angeles, Washington DC, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, Atlanta, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, and additional markets.

The film is unrated with a running time of 72 minutes. Schedules, art, trailers, music, and more are available at www.praythedevilbacktohell.com/press."

Met a dude who was saved by fellow villagers in 1958

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

When he was a kid, in 1958, him & his family lived in a village that was mostly Sinhala, and his family is Tamil (for those unaware of Sri Lankan politics & conflicts, people in that island believe that they belong to two races - Sinhala and Tamil - and have been killing each other for centuries). Anyway, when a Sinhala mob came to kill him & his family in 1958 his fellow villagers - other Sinhala people - formed a line and stood between the family & the mob. The villagers told the mob that if they wanted to harm the Tamil family they would have to harm them (the Sinhala villagers) first. The mob apparently backed down & went away after a while.

Even though not enough of that kind of looking-out-for-the-neighbor went on in Sri Lanka in the following decades (resulting in the current 20 plus year old war in SL, resulting in thousands of deaths & an incalculable amount of grief), both I and the dude who told me about the event in 1958 agreed that there is always hope for a better future.

- Sujewa

A Dracula Puppet Musical

From Forgetting Sarah Marshall (good movie, just saw it. had i known about this a few weeks earlier this would have made a good halloween post):

Friday, November 14, 2008

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Alex Karpovsky interview at ShortEnd Magazine

From the interview:

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

Read the rest of the interview at ShortEnd.

A few photos from Gayani's wedding

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

Gayani & Mike - brand new married couple - dancing. With the Sujewa on video cam duty on the right side of the pic.

Quite a few Sri Lankan ladies in Saris. On the left - three aunts, mom in blue sari in the middle, Gayani in white sari, 2 more aunts on the right.

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

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

About 25 days 'till the Date Number One DVD

At looooong last everything on Date Number One is done, and DVD's have fi-fi-finally been ordered. So, early December we'll have DNO DVDs for sale.

- Sujewa

Provocateur Pictures

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

"Underground Film Veteran Launches Provocateur Pictures

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

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

“We are proud to be distributing Provocateur’s releases,” says Joel S. Bachar, Founder of Microcinema International. “Noel’s vision and curatorial aesthetic is in perfect sync with our distribution efforts and his acquisitions will add significant value to our repertoire of unique and diverse titles.”

Provocateur Pictures released its first title, Rob Nilsson’s “Words For The Dying,” in September, a revealing cinema verité portrait of the former Velvet Underground musician, John Cale, in creative collaboration with Brian Eno. Director Nilsson (“Northern Lights” – Camera d’Or, Cannes, “Heat and Sunlight” – Grand Jury Prize, Sundance) follows them to Moscow, London and Wales for the recording of a new album, “Words for the Dying”, built around four Dylan Thomas poems.

2009 will see many more releases from Provocateur Pictures including:
"Experiments in Terror 3" – The third installment in Noel Lawrence’s collection of avant-garde works that borrow tropes and footage from the horror genre. Pounding a stake through the heart of genre convention, this shocking program expands the cinematic language of fear, breaking the chains of narrative logic and leaving only the black void of the infinite unconscious. Includes work from Mike Kuchar, J.X. Williams, Clifton Childree, Jason Bognacki, Carey Burtt, and a collaboration with Marie Losier & Guy Maddin.

"Fidel" – Saul Landau’s controversial 1969 profile of Fidel Castro. Fidel drives around the countryside, talks to locals, philosophizes and plays baseball in this personal profile of the leader which chronicles a unique moment in Cuban history, ten years after the revolution. "The great quality of this remarkable film is that it is educational in the best possible sense. It gives you a feeling for what revolution - any revolution - is actually about, what it means in all its implications and how it affects the lives of the people. I found it completely absorbing from the start to finish. A tapestry for history" - Ralph Gleason, Rolling Stone

"New York Nihilism" – Curated by critic and author Jack Sargeant (“Deathtripping,” “The Naked Lens”), NYN is an anthology of works from the seminal 1980s underground film movement known as The Cinema of Transgression. A mix of sex, death, hate, and power, this DVD showcases a cross-section of works from these radical underground filmmakers, most of which have never been released on video in the US outside of hard-to-find artist's tapes. The final program is under wraps for now but let’s just say “the usual suspects” are involved.

ABOUT PROVOCATEUR PICTURES
Provocateur Pictures champions the practice of cinema as an art form. We promote alternative visions from the contemporary underground as well as oddities from the archives that challenge, stimulate, inspire…provoke.

Provocateur Pictures is exclusively distributed by Microcinema International
For more info, go to: http://www.ProvocateurDVD.com"

Sunday, November 09, 2008

indie film distribution related thoughts while attending warner theatre in dc


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

for a film that is not being widely distributed, there is no reason that the ticket price has to stay around the $10-$12 range (or $9 in some parts of the country) - since the product/presentation is a rarity. if a filmmaker with a following wants to, prior to releasing a film widely, he or she could try to do several special event screenigs for his/her fans - at maybe $25 - $50 or so per ticket. i know that if i heard that jim jarmusch or hal hartley or another one of my fave filmmakers were going to do one screening in my city of their new & yet unreleased film & they would be attending the event & the tix cost $25 or so per person, i'd go (even though the tix price is much higher than at regular movie screenings).

i guess the big idea of the night is that limited/specialty film distribution does not necessarily have to follow mall megaplex pricing guidelines. specially since that eventually the movie will be available for all on DVD for a few dollars anyway. so, maybe such "unique" films could do some kind of a special events tour (with high tix prices) prior to getting released at regular theatrical (with normal tix prices) & then going to DVD, etc.

if a filmmaker were to do several nights at warner theatre size venues in various cities with tix at $25-50 per person, i bet quite a bit of the $s spent on production can be recouped (let's say for an under $1 mil indie feature).

just a thought.

- sujewa

Friday, November 07, 2008

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


Here's all the info. re: the screening, see ya there!

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ANF Film Collective & NY Perks
Presents
A New York Premier
"A Good Day To Be Black And Sexy"

2008 Gotham Independent Film Award BREAKTHROUGH DIRECTOR Nominee
A perfect day indeed! In a daring and sexy film debut, Dennis Dortch offers us an unusual and merciless view into the myths and truths of Black sexuality. Six funny and intertwined skits show men and women in Los Angeles who explore desire, sex and love. Stereotypes are dismissed, yet at the same time, Dortch also reveals some sexy secrets, which are generally unspoken. http://theblackandsexymovie.com/

On Wednesday November 12th
At 7 pm
Brooklyn, NY
265 Court St (Corner of Court & Butler St)
Take F or G to Bergen St

*
After Party At NY Perks
193 Smith St.
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For Advance tickets & More Info http://www.actnowproduction.org/
Or Call 347-274-0563
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One more reason why religions sometimes suck: Mormon hate towards a right guaranteed by the California Constitution

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

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

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

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

4. So, basically, religion/fantasy (all religions seem mostly like myths designed to help believers deal with human existence/living on earth) interfered in a secular & personal matter in CA, taking away a right for millions of Californians - a right that was previously granted by the (secular) CA Constitution & Supreme Court

Even though this issue - gay marriage in CA - does not concern me directly (straight, live in MD/DC area & NYC), religiously motivated action depriving people of rights granted by secular law & institutions is a serious problem in a country designed to protect people from religious zealotry.

Hopefully Proposition 8 results will be fought, and hopefully people around the country & the world - of all sexual orientations and both non-religious & religious leanings will support (DONATE MONEY & assist in other ways) the effort so that the passing of Prop 8 - a hate & fear filled act - can be undone.

For more, go here (Advocate article), and here (Human Rights Campaign), and here (Humanist org blog), and here (Facebook).

And for people who are too lazy to click, here's a little about the Prop 8 struggle from Wikipedia:

"Proposition 8 is a California State ballot proposition that would amend the state Constitution, to limit marriage to unions between a man and a woman, overturning a recent California Supreme Court decision that had recognized same-sex marriage in California as a fundamental right. The official ballot title language for Proposition 8 was "Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry". On the day after the election, the results remained uncertified. With 100% of precincts reporting, the vote was 52.5% in favor of Proposition 8 and 47.5% against, with a difference of about 504,000 votes;[1] as many as 3 million absentee and provisional ballots remain to be counted.[2] The organizers of the "No on Prop 8" campaign conceded defeat on November 6, issuing a statement saying, "Tuesday’s vote was deeply disappointing to all who believe in equal treatment under the law".[3]"

- Sujewa

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Obama wins Dixville Notch!

That's right, the 1st result of the '08 Presidential Election is in - Barack Obama wins in Dixville Notch - Obama 15, McCain 6. Congrats Senator Obama! Hopefully a taste of things to come later today.

- Sujewa

Monday, November 03, 2008

Link & intro to new Facebook group Positive Humans on Earth

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

Intro to Facebook group Positive Humans on Earth:

"In 2008 of the Common Era on Earth the following things exist: developed/easy to live areas and underdeveloped/difficult to live areas, peaceful areas and areas with war/without peace, individuals grouped into often competing tribes/clans/"races"/nations and other collections of individuals, religious people (people whose motivations are ultimately supported by/because of an otherworldly deity, afterlife or similar unprovable scheme) and irreligious/non-religious/secular/agnostic people (people who doubt the claims made by the religious). Those are but a few differences that exist on Earth among the lands and the people.

This group is for people who believe that the individual human being, and his/her survival & happiness, are one of the most important things on Earth. And, for people who also recognize that it is possible - at all times, lands, from all tribes/nation - that it is possible for individuals to act in a positive - beneficial to the well being of self & others, conducive to peace & prosperity of many or all - manner.

Ultimately the goal of this group is to assist with discussions and organization & activity that leads to peace & prosperity for every single individual on Earth (who wants it) and peace & prosperity to all lands on Earth.

A big goal, to be sure - but hey, could be fun & useful to try to achieve it. Perhaps a nice little thing to do in your spare time.

Generally this group is against the following: offensive wars (as opposed to defensive wars, which maybe necessary), racism, sexism, homophobia, poverty, corruption, lack of law & order supported by good laws, to name a few items (will add more as they come up in discussion).

This group is for: individual liberty, peace, commerce, creativity, friendly competition among people, ability to think freely about any subject, freedom to discuss any subject, freedom to question any subject, practice, tradition, folklore, etc., responsibility, cooperation, getting things done, and all manner of ideas and practices that may lead to enjoyable & long lives for individual humans world wide (again, more items will be added as discussions happen).

Membership is open to all who generally agree with or come close to agreeing with statements made above.

Immediately this group can be used to celebrate positive activities being performed by individuals or groups world wide. Perhaps recognition & celebration of such activities will lead to the multiplication of same - more of it happening."

And here's the link to the group page.

- Sujewa


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1 -http://farzadrostamidelawaretobacco.blogspot.com/2013/04/hundreds-of-help-wanted-ads-from.html- Farzad Rostami Delaware Tobacco - 100s of help wanted ads from Delaware post

2 - http://farzadrostamidelawaretobacco.blogspot.com/2013/04/filmmakercom.html - Farzad Rostami Delaware Tobacco Film site post

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5 - http://farzadrostamidelawaretobacco.blogspot.com/2013/04/nike-nasa-launch-sustainable-materials.html - Farzad Rostami Delaware Tobacco post re: Nike, NASA sustainable challenge

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Farzad Rostami Delaware Tobacco blog post 3/24/13:


Farzad Rostami Delaware Tobacco – Florida:


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Farzad Rostami Delaware Tobacco – California:


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Farzad Rostami Delaware Tobacco blog


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Farzad Rostami Delaware Tobacco 3 blog


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Farzad Rostami – Delaware Small Business Grants page


Farzad Rostami – Delaware Small Business Chamber


Farzad Rostami – Delaware History Trail


Farzad Rostami – Delaware Historical Society


Farzad Rostami – History of Delaware


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THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2013 Delaware Small

Business Grants page Great page, check it out here. :: A blog post

from FaVisit Tobacco Expressrzad Rostami, Delaware blog. Delaware History Trail -
Historic Sites Check out Delaware History Trail - Historic Sites.  Very

interesting. :: A blog post from Farzad Rostami, Delaware blog. History of Delaware – Wikipedia From Wikipedia's History of Delaware page:

"The history of Delaware as a political entity dates back to the early colonization of North American by European settlers. It is made up of three counties established since 1680, before the time ofWilliam Penn. Each had its own settlement history. Their early inhabitants tended to identify more closely with the county than the colony or state. Large parts of southern and western Delaware were thought to have been in Maryland until 1767. All of the state has existed in the wide economic and political circle of Philadelphia." Read the rest at Wikipedia.

Tobacco industry tobacco growing sales Tobacco Express SAFETY NEWS RELEASE AND OF
AND TOBACCO September 20, 2012 CONTACT and Tobacco at Claymont
Store and Information Farzad Rostami, 50, Wilmington He was on a Date September 19, 2012
Location - Tobacco Express, 671 Naamans Road, Claymont A 50-year-old Wilmington man The
owner of the business, Farzad Rostami, was not was conducted Rostami in
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2013 Delaware Small

Business Grants page Great page, check it out here. :: A blog post

from FaVisit Tobacco Expressrzad Rostami, Delaware blog. Delaware History Trail -

Historic Sites Check out Delaware History Trail - Historic Sites.  Very

interesting. :: A blog post from Farzad Rostami, Delaware blog. History of Delaware – Wikipedia From Wikipedia's History of Delaware page:

"The history of Delaware as a political entity dates back to the early colonization of North American by European settlers. It is made up of three counties established since 1680, before the time ofWilliam Penn. Each had its own settlement history. Their early inhabitants tended to identify more closely with the county than the colony or state. Large parts of southern and western Delaware were thought to have been in Maryland until 1767. All of the state has existed in the wide economic and political circle of Philadelphia." Read the rest at Wikipedia.

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2013


Check out this Cuban cigars article at puffing cigars.com.  From the article:

"According to Best Premium Cigar of the World and tobacco and wine specialist James Suckling, Cuban cigars from Habanos S.A. took the majority in the list of the Top 10 (2012). The expert said he has been smoking Cuban cigars during 2012, and would still call havanas one of the most amazing cigars."

Read the rest of the article here.

:: Visit Tobacco Expres FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2013

For your next visit to NYC! Check out the page here.



Check out the page at Tobacco Farm Life Museum site.

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