Saturday, February 28, 2009

Distribution Crews

This was a comment I typed up at this post at Truly Free Film (computer I am on is making it tough for me to leave the comment there), so here it is for more people to read - I think this could be a useful idea for many indie filmmakers who self-distribute:

" A possible thing to try out when you self-distribute or co-distribute (w/ a small co or DVD label) your next indie/DIY/off-Hollywood movie:

Distribution Crews

We raise money & budget for & or talk people into being in the Production Crews for our movies - but when self-distribution time comes it's just the filmmaker & if he/she is lucky, a couple of volunteers that may or may not have the skills & the experience needed for the job.
A better way to go would be to prepare for distribution the way we prepare for production. Including raising a distribution budget & or recruiting the best possible people who can help us with publicity, booking, DVD creation, mail order, etc. that needs to get done for distribution.

Once the Distribution Crew puts in a month or so of work getting the film on DVD, into festivals (research, submission work done), with all media contacted, PO Box set up for mail orders, streaming, on-demand etc., set up, ads created & placed (or ready to go with a couple of clicks), etc., then the filmmaker maybe able to maintain the distribution project by him/her self.

Anyway, I am shooting a feature now. It'll be more or less self-distributed, and I plan on trying out this Distribution Crew idea when the time comes. Just as it is nearly impossible to shoot a multi-character sync sound fiction feature by oneself, it probably is nearly impossible to do distribution of a finished film well by oneself - that's probably why we don't have several hundred awesome self-distribution success stories (success in term of $s & reach) to point to in the indie film world right now.

We know how to get movies made for very little, we or the independent film scene has been doing it in heavy numbers for a couple of decades now. The next thing is figuring out how to market them well, & how to deliver the product to the consumer well. After that we'll have an actual indie film scene that makes & distributed work outside of Hollywood & indiewood, as the indie rockers did with their music in the 90's (& still do). Right now independent film is at best only half-independent - we are dependent on festivals & distributors to get the work out to consumers, by and large. That will have to change. Getting more help when we distribute our movies, just like getting people to help when we make our movies, could make a huge difference when it comes to success"

[ok, back to work, just a small break to get the discussion/wheels in the brain going re: this item]

- Sujewa


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2013 Oscar Nominees

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Friday, February 27, 2009

See ya in April

Aside from any posts re: DNO & IFBRT distribution news, this blog will mostly be in hibernation mode while I am shooting the Brooklyn Movie in March. So, see ya in April with some photos & news from the new film.


Alfonse Maiorino - Italian Genealogy, Public Strategy Group, & more! -

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Alfonse Maiorino/Al Maiorino blog -

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Moving Pictures Move Out of New York article link

Check out Moving Pictures Move Out of New York article for an easy-to-follow overview of the incredibly successful NY film production credit program (resulted in "$92.2 million given in tax credits, $546.1 million were received in tax collections—a net profit of $453.9 million" for the State) and it's current status - out of money, & film jobs leaving the state in large numbers.

The article also talks about people who are working to improve the situation:

"Aside from letters to the governor and public statements made by Assemblyman Gianaris, Senator Lanza, and State Senator George Onorato, none of our politicians seems to be doing much of anything. “The issue has fallen on deaf ears,” says Alex Zablocki. “I’m disappointed that more elected officials haven’t jumped on this.” Fortunately Mr. Zablocki, who is running for public advocate in November, created a Facebook group and teamed up with Derek Yip who started the online petition. This one-man awareness campaign, ginned up on a BlackBerry, sprung up over the past two weeks. The online petition has over 11,000 signatures and the number is growing."

Read the rest of the article at Moving Pictures Move Out of New York.

Thanks Truly Free Film for the link.

- Sujewa


Alfonse Maiorino - Italian Genealogy, Public Strategy Group, & more! -

Blogger: User Profile: alfonse maiorino

Alfonse Maiorino/Al Maiorino blog -

Alfonse Maiorino - Linkedin

New Projects COMING SOON at:

Alfonse Maiorino blog 2

Alfonse Maiorino blog 3

Alfonse Maiorino blog 4

Alfonse Maiorino blog 5

Links at Alfonse Maiorino Blogger Profile page:


The Graduates free & on the web this weekend

Go to The Graduates site to check out the debut feature by Ryan Gielen. A little bit about The Graduates, from the site: "a comedy about four friends who head to the beach without a care in the world. Through surprising and hilarious events, the guys find themselves learning that there's a little more to life than having a good time."

Check out The Graduates here.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Movieline gets VanAirsdale

According to this post by Anne Thompson, S. T. VanAirsdale is now working for Movieline. Congrats Stu!

Even the negative reviews of my doc Indie Film Blogger Road Trip praised Stu's appearance in that film, so, looks like he will have even more fans - new ones - now through his work at Movieline.

From Thompson's post, which features a press release:

"MOVIELINE, the acclaimed arts and entertainment magazine, announced today that it will be relaunching its prestigious brand as a web portal covering all things Hollywood. In addition, Media Corporation (MMC), Movieline LLC’s parent company, announced that it is hiring three full-time staff members from the entertainment industry website Defamer: Seth Abramovitch, S.T. VanAirsdale, and Kyle Buchanan."

Read Thompson's post here.

- Sujewa

Is it possible for The Puffy Chair to have generated over $1 million in sales so far?

This post is related to my previous post about the possibility of ultra low budget/no star/dv films to generate over $1 million in sales.

I wonder if The Puffy Chair - which had its first contact with the paying public back in 2005 at film festivals, has gone past the point of generating $1 million through sales. From a 2007 NYT article:

"Last year Netflix and the distributor Roadside Attractions combined forces on a tiny film called “The Puffy Chair” (Class of Sundance 2005). Netflix sent E-mail alerts to its subscribers when “The Puffy Chair” was in theaters, where it earned $200,000 after two months. And when the film hit DVD, 100,000 subscribers put it in their Netflix queue. “If those people were buying tickets, it would have made a million dollars,” said Howard Cohen, a co-president of Roadside Attractions."

Read the rest of the article here.

So, what's the dollar value of 100,000 Netflix subscribers putting your film on their queues? And how many DVDs of TPC has been sold so far? What about revenue generated from DVD rentals of TPC? What about ad revenue generated from every web page that ever mentioned TPC or did a special feature on it & also had ads on it?

Take a very close look people, this no budget/no star thing that we are involved in may actually be making some real money, in some cases, over time, for various people & organizations.

The next step, of course, is to try to set things up so a good chunk of that money flows to the filmmakers who've spent years developing their craft & network so that they can make & bring to markets their no budget/no star works.

- Sujewa

So, how many 2000's no budget/real indie movies have grosses over 1 million $s so far?

I have the sneaking suspicion that even though most real indie/DV/ultra-low budget filmmakers from this decade are not rich that their work may have, over the course of a few years, earned or brought in - for various entities & individuals, over $1 million - in some cases.

What's $1 million anyway? That's 100,000 people spending $10 each on a movie. This could have happened through film festival screenings, DVD purchases, streaming/web VOD purchases, cable on-demand purchases, and other revenue generating distribution methods.

Do you think your real indie film that was made & released in this decade has been seen by one or few hundred thousand paying customers (paying through any sales environment - festivals, DVD purchase, etc.) so far? If so, let us know in comments.

If it hasn't happened yet, I don't think the day is far off when a under $5K - $20K or so no star DV or HD feature ends up generating over $1 million in revenue through all of the many avenues available for selling indie movies to interested customers - festivals, web, cable, DVD, theatrical, etc. - including revenues generated through ads placed on free web offerings of the work.

Instead of worrying about making Hollywood money from real indie features, we should think about trying to make great small business money from our work. And I think most small businesses would be thrilled with a product/service that brings in $1 million or over during the course of a few years.

- Sujewa

12 Steps to Self-Dsitribution by Angelo Bell

Check out Angelo Bell's 12 Steps to Self-Distribution.

From Step 5 - Film Festivals:

"Before you begin, first eliminate tier 1 festivals from your list by conveniently forgetting to submit to Sundance, Slamdance, SXSW, Toronto, Cannes, etc. Focus on filmmaker friendly local film festivals in the regions you've selected. There are hundreds of them. This way you can invite local press to attend and get reviewed in the local paper. Add the reviews to your website."

Rest of the list at Angelo Bell's site.

Thanks One Way Community blog for the link.

- Sujewa

Dog Me: Potluck

Check out info. on an indie film called Dog Me: Potluck here. From the flick's page:

" "Another local feature of note is M. David Lee III's Dog Me: Potluck, a naturalistic ensemble comedy... it's as smoothly directed and acted as any local feature in recent years, having some of the same character and dialogue driven charms as the recent indie hit The Anniversary Party." - Chris Herrington, Memphis Flyer "

For more on Dog Me: Potluck, go here.

Dog Me: Potluck is now available through Netflix.

- Sujewa

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Forum des Images

This might be a cool thing to do in NYC, from The Paris Blog:

"The initial mission of this archive was the “preservation of the audiovisual memory of the city of Paris,” whereby any film that made any reference to the capital was stored in its ample database. This translates into 5,500 films, documentaries, shorts, and even newsreels and advertisements. Gone With the Wind made it in because at one point Rhett brings Scarlett a hat from Paris."

More at The Paris Blog.

Did indieLOOP pass away quietly?

My links to indieLOOP haven't worked for a while, & there is no link to iL from the main indieWIRE page, so I am assuming that indieLOOP is no more. When it was around I thought it was interesting & I did make some new contacts through it - but I guess everyone is on Facebook now so maybe iL was no longer necessary.

What's your strategy for ending poverty on Earth? Next conversational doc project

I liked doing Indie Film Blogger Road Trip between the more demanding fiction features (DNO in '04 -'06/'08 & untitled Brooklyn movie in spring '09). Met some interesting people, learned a few things by making IFBRT. So, I have an idea for another conversational doc (there is no narrative - or at least not a classical narrative in these docs, it will just be me talking to people about a subject for 90 mins. or so) - will shoot it after Brooklyn movie is edited, starting this summer, before I shoot the next fiction feature in the fall (this "global anti-poverty plan" doc need not be finished in the summer, maybe by the end of the year).

Since we have some very old, large, concerned-with-well-being-of-people institutions on this planet, also large & capable organizations such as non-profits & militaries, I'd like to know if they have a plan for ending poverty on Earth - mainly because:

- poverty can be evil - or, desperate people will do desperate things in order to survive
- poverty can be a security threat - lack of money can lead to lack of governments or inadequate governments which can lead to warlords, militias, civil wars, pirates, etc.

I plan on speaking with representatives of all the major religions, also non-religious but concerned with ethics & behavior/secular orgs like Humanists, and reps of non-profit/humanitarian activist organizations, governments (a few), definitely US gov reps, and hopefully US military reps. Will shoot the doc in NYC & DC.

Should be interesting. Maybe I'll learn some useful things. If you have some ideas re: ending poverty on Earth to contribute to this doc, let me know.

- Sujewa

"...movies could be simultaneously like jazz and like philosophy..."

Miriam Bale talks with the New Yorker's film editor Richard Brody, mostly about Godard, at The House Next Door. From the interview:

MB: I’d like to bring up three myths of Godard, that I neither quite agree nor disagree with (or that I don’t think are necessarily quite positive or negative: 1) His adolescent obsession, 2) His sexism. And the third, which I don’t agree with at all, is that he’s pretentious. But that’s complicated. So let’s focus on the first two.

RB: By adolescent obsession you mean his relationships with young women? In his later film he’s, of course, very open about it. The relationship between older men and younger women is the subject of most of his later films. Back in the 1960’s it was a different story.

His relationship with Anna Karina is a personal relationship as well as an artistic relationship. He explained subsequently that he thought of the director/actor relationship as a primal trope in the classic cinema: Josef Von Sternberg and Marlene Dietrich, Orson Welles and Rita Hayworth, Jean Renoir and Catherine Hessling…. And he thought maybe he would reproduce a similar personal and artistic collaboration in his relationship with Anna Karina. There was an age difference: Godard is ten years older than Anna Karina. But there was also a significant difference in interests. Godard was and is an intellectual. Anna Karina was not and is not an intellectual. He always said in interviews that one of the difficulties he had in their relationship is that he couldn’t necessarily talk to her about movies the way he wished she could and would do. He also said that for her he felt the problem was that she wanted to go to Hollywood, and these kind of films weren’t going to get her to Hollywood. That she had a more traditional view of what it is to be a movie star and an actress, but mainly a movie star."

Read the rest of the interview at The House Next Door.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Terminal USA out on DVD!

"TERMINAL USA is finally out! Executive produced by James Schamus (Focus Features, Brokeback Mountain, Crouching Tiger), shot with Panavision gear, and not available on DVD until now! This is Moritsugu's asian freak-out magnum opus that shocked America when it was broadcast on television in the mid-90's!

DVD includes uncensored version of the movie + never-before-seen "director's rough-cut" with 14 extra minutes of footage."

More info. at Moritsugu's site.

The Lionshare premieres at Anthology tonight

A new indie film called The Lionshare, debut feature by Josh Bernhard, premieres at Anthology tonight. Check out the film's blog here.

And here's the Facebook page for the event.

When I see a synopsis or a trailer will post it here.

It Was Great, But I Was Ready To Come Home trailer

Flick premieres in SXSW in March:

Trailer - It was great, but I was ready to come home. from David Lowery on Vimeo.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Weird War visits Pancake Mountain

Actual kids rocking out to DC band Weird War:

Standards, Hollywood influences, critical & audience expectations

This is not an attack on either of the two bloggers who recently wrote negative reviews of IFBRT but a general explanation of what my standards are when it comes to making a movie (one blog reader suggested that I articulate them so that there will perhaps be less confusion in the future - for some).

After thinking about this subject for a day I realized that most modern day film critics (or maybe just most film critics from any time period) and even most audience members & I will not agree on what I think is good or acceptable in a movie so I will probably have to stop reading all film reviews of my movies (also never rely on them for marketing purposes) and also ignore all or most of the audience reactions to my movies or clips, trailers, etc.

So what are my standards when it comes to a movie? What do I consider good or acceptable?

1. There is absolutely no wrong way to make a movie. A movie need not even contain both images & sounds (it might be impossible to make it interesting without at least one of those elements). Or a single 90 minute take of someone looking out a window could be a movie.

2. A movie, in order for it to be good - in my opinion - needs to be interesting. And I find a lot of things in life interesting (engaging conversations, good food, blogging about film & filmmaking :).

3. The less expensive and less complex a camera is, the better. Images captured by such devices - relative to more expensive devices - feel more real & honest & more alive, to me. For example, at this point, a 1 CCD or 3 CCD SD DV camera image vs. an HD DV camera image. Actually Hi-8 would be even better than a 1 or 3 CCD image, for what I am talking about.

4. Yes, I would pay money to see a single take 90 min. movie shot using a 1 chip MiniDV camera that told a story that I thought was interesting - even if all that happens in the movie is a person talking to someone who stops by their window (the conversation would have to be very interesting in this case).

5. This makes it sound like that a home video might be what I consider to be good - doesn't it? I think actually the truth is probably not too far from that point. Except, I would need an interesting event or story to be happening in order to be engaged in the said home video/movie for 90 mins. or whatever the length of the feature is (if we are talking about a feature).

6. All filmmaking & distribution is legitimate (from an absolute amateur shooting something on a cell phone to whoever is directing Entourage shooting the next episode of that show) - as long as films get made & they get distributed. There are a variety of responses to movies - based on audience tastes, and there are a variety of ways to measure distribution success - but any method that gets a movie out to the world is legitimate.

When most people - ordinary people, bloggers, semi-pro reviewers, even most pro critics - talk about a good movie/the technical stuff that makes for a good movie - they are really talking about image & sound quality of major television shows or music videos or TV ads - something that is well lit, with smooth camera movements, with crystal clear sound, with attractive people in the frame doing dramatic or hyper-interesting things, with usually an epic goal that needs to be reached by the time the show is over. Such a product is not difficult to create - just hire very experienced technicians & writers, tell them what you want, & they'll put it together. But for me, movies - like music, or a painting, or a book - good ones/ones that I think are very interesting - are pretty much hand crafted, imperfect (compared to music videos, ads, most Hollywood movies, etc.), unpredictable things. It is like the difference between looking at an actual busy, messy street in Brooklyn vs. looking at a set that is created to function as a Brooklyn street for a movie or a television show - the real thing is far more interesting, it resonates more - it is more alive. Also the real thing does not look as good as the fake version of it - from a Hollywood/mainstream film production/television production standard.

However, there are some moments where the critics or the film writers and the filmmakers align in their tastes - such as this article about Paradise. So, perhaps all is not lost, and there is hope for interesting, non-Hollywood looking movies out there & them receiving a warm reception from film writers in some very rare cases.

But, like I said, those instances are rare. And I am right now, and have been for a while now, active on a daily basis with making & distributing movies. So, I'll have to leave the critics & the commentators behind and just keep doing what I think is good & interesting. Of course people who think there are right & wrong ways to make movies may be disappointed, & even angry, when they watch my movies. I'll just have to learn to be cool about that - like, I imagine, most other artists - painters, photographers, musicians, writers - do. I guess a small price to pay for being able to make & show movies that I think are interesting - kind of movies that I myself would pay money to see if someone else made them.


So, on that note, off to start shooting my next fiction feature. Unless I am posting up IFBRT or DNO distribution news or posting an item related to someone else's project, this blog will probably not be as active as it was this year prior to today (80 some posts this year already!) from now on. Be back in a month or so with some production stills from the next feature - a comedy about Brooklyn, starring Susan Buice & several other, lesser-known-in-the-real-indie-film world, actors.

- Sujewa

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Indie Film Blogger Road Trip @ Atlanta Film Festival in April, & @ New Vision Cinema, NYC in March or April

Both of these items re: IFBRT is slightly old news & I don't have any new details on either screening event yet, but, for those who are just hearing about Indie Film Blogger Road Trip - from press generated by its 2/17 premiere in NYC - there will be at least a couple of chances to see the doc over the next two months - as a part of the New Vision Cinema screening series that takes place in NYC (in March or April), & as a part of the 2009 Atlanta Film Festival, which takes place in April. Should have details about both events w/ in the next two to three weeks, & will post all the info. here.

People who are not in NYC or Atlanta should be able to catch the doc on the web both as a part of Atlanta Film Fest (streaming is a part of the fest's planned presentation of the doc) & then later, starting in May or June, in several parts/episodes at Of course DVDs of the doc will be available at some point from me/Wild Diner Films between now & the middle of this year - will post the DVD ordering info. at this blog as soon as they are available.

- Sujewa

Friday, February 20, 2009

IFBRT on starting near mid-2009

All the info here, at Indie Film Blogger Road Trip's site/blog.

Photos from IFBRT premiere night - before, during, & after the event, Anthology Film Archives, NYC, 2/17/09



After (Q & A moderated by Kevin Lee)

After After (dinner at Moonstruck on 2nd)

Photos Copyright 2009 Sujewa Ekanayake
Will label these this weekend, in the meantime - check 'em out & enjoy - some of you might recognize some people in the pics. Thanks a lot to everyone who came out to the event!
- Sujewa

Let's take a look at Slant's review of Cocaine Angel

Since Mike Tully is wandering around the web declaring what legitimate filmmaking is & what legitimate film writing is (something he has done in defending his work at Hammer to Nail - a site that I actually like - so, for the moment, we'll leave that one alone) - let's take a look at a review of Tully's first & only fiction feature thus far - Cocaine Angel (don't worry Mike, if nothing else, this negative attention might sell a couple of DVDs of CA, since all press is good press right?) - from Slant:

"Piling miscalculation atop intolerable cruelty, this first feature by Michael Tully aims for Half Nelson's salient understanding of the strange, almost seductive allure of drug addiction. It's easy to see where the film goes wrong, beginning with the poetic strain of the title and ending with the main character's idiotic emotional unloading on a girl who looks like she might have been raped on her prom night. Somewhere between the opening title sequence and the film's embarrassing capper, Scott (Damian Lahey) receives a 30-minute blowjob from a pregnant woman. I don't know what's worse, the ridiculous foley work that attempts to approximate the sound of human mouth-on-cock suckage or the apparent smoke burn the woman has around her mouth when she comes up for air, but this much is true: Cocaine Angel talks more smack than Scott ever gets to snort up his nose or shoot into this veins."

Read the rest of the Slant review here.

I saw CA back in '06 or '07 on a DVD screener & thought it was an alright first time feature drama - well made, but I wasn't all that into the story - anyway, so what's the point? The man -Tully - who spends his time judging the work of other filmmakers as worthy/legitimate has received some very negative reviews for his work. And he has not made another fiction feature since (granted, it has only been 2-3 years, so, not that long of a time) but he has built a resume as a film writer. Anyway, when Tully unloads on the work of other filmmakers - and in the case of IFBRT fails to see anything positive or useful about the film - perhaps he is attempting to get back at the critics who dissed his first feature - in some strange way - anyway, whatever - good luck with your self-medication Mr. Tully.

Looking forward to Tully's next fiction feature - no doubt it will be "legitimate" - or I guess I'll finally be able to see what this "legitimate" filmmaking that Tully is so hung up on looks & sounds like. Hopefully Silver Jew - Tully's follow up project after CA - a doc about a band - is not an example of this elusive "legitimacy" - I turned it off after 30 mins of boredom 'cause that flick was made for fans of the band & I had barely heard of them before & the flick definitely did not give me a lot of reasons to stick around and try to get to know the band. Anyway, what do I know - so, according to the expert Tully - if legitimacy equals Cocaine Angel & Silver Jew, I don't think I want any of that.

- Sujewa



Indie Film Blogger Road Trip

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BREAKTHROUGH WEEKEND Teaser Trailer on Vimeo

Breakthrough Weekend teaser trailer on YouTube

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