Thursday, April 30, 2009

Is there a second generation Iranian-American/Iranian-European "New Wave" happening?

10 years ago (1999) I did not know of - did not hear about in the media - about a single art film director who is 2nd generation Iranian-American or Iranian-European. Now I know of 4 - three well known in the art/indie/foreign film world & one who just made a very promising first feature. Here are the names & some links:

Caveh Zahedi (I Am A Sex Addict)

Ramin Bahrani (Man Push Cart, Chop Shop, Goodbye Solo)

Marjane Satrapi (Persepolis)

&, just entering the feature filmmaking arena:

Amir Motlagh (Whale)

So is this a new & significant development? I'd like to hear from people who know a lot about creativity in the Iranian diaspora & about art/indie/foreign films in Comments.

- Sujewa


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The Limits of Control may have some elements in common with The Matrix, says O'Hehir & Jarmusch :: Release expansion plans

I plan on watching The Limits of Control on Sunday, so, I am wondering if I'll encounter a sublime, mind-altering Jarmusch film like Mystery Train or something far more difficult to get into & enjoy like Coffee & Cigarettes or Year of the Horse. This interview with Jarmusch by Salon's Andrew O'Hehir makes the movie sound very interesting. From the intro to the interview:

"But the suave hero, the sharp clothes, the noirish atmosphere and the spectacular settings are only one layer of the onion. Jarmusch's title is meant to be metaphysically suggestive, referring not just to the limits of political control (that's a clue, but not a spoiler) but also to the fact that the movie itself is a fiction, and to the possibility that the world is not what we perceive it to be. There are hints that De Bankolé is able to control the landscape around him, at least at times, almost like the author of a story or like Keanu Reeves in "The Matrix.""

And:

"It's not nearly as straightforward as something like "The Matrix," where we see that reality is actually totally constructed. But one could go in that direction in interpreting your film.

Yes, there's certainly that theme in there, it's even in the title ... What if you just flipped around these arbitrary values that are put on things? We are constantly told, "We drive these fossil-burning vehicles because that's just the way it is." But the imagination and science have a thousand different possibilities, so why is one of the worst ones the one that's employed? And the answer is obvious: because it's profitable for people that control this. That is a theme repeated several times: "Reality is arbitrary." It is a theme in the film that your consciousness and your perspective on anything is your own and should be valued as your own and not just be part of a herd of sheep because that's the direction we were told to go."

Read the rest of the interview at Salon.

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LoC opens in NYC & LA on May 1, The Playlist has a list of dates for the rest of the country.

- Sujewa


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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Interview with Amir Motlagh, director of new film Whale


whale_feature film trailer_director Amir Motlagh from Amir Motlagh on Vimeo.

Amir Motlagh is a Los Angeles area based independent filmmaker & actor. After winning accolades from film festivals and web audiences for several short fiction & documentary pieces, Motlagh recently completed Whale - his first feature length film, a beautifully shot & edited work of fiction about an aspiring writer who returns to his parent's house to figure out the next phase of his life. I spoke with him recently about Whale, certain trends & other happenings in the indie film world - including the existence of several well regarded independent filmmakers with Iranian roots:

Sujewa: What was the starting point for Whale? What experiences, other movies, career needs, other things led you to create Whale?

Amir: Maybe I started Whale abstractly in 2001. It was the first film I had ever envisioned making, but I didn't have the know-how, resources and understanding of the filmmaking process. The physical production started in 2005, planning and prep. At that time, I was desperate to get back into narrative filmmaking, as I spent a year and a half working on two documentaries, Pumkin Little and my break ups into a million pieces. Both, and especially Pumkin Little, esoteric and reactionary. I was feeling like I reached the end of that particular process of filmmaking, and wanted to get back into fiction, the reason I was enthralled with filmmaking to begin with. Also, the need to make a feature was eroding my core, as I prolonged it because of many reasons (life). Whale is often a film about prolonging things.

Sujewa: Was it difficult to convince the non-actors (your parents, your friends) to appear in the movie? What was it like to direct them? How were you ultimately able to capture the necessary performances from them?

Amir: I have worked with both professional actors and amateurs from the beginning. There is a different approach and ultimately a different effect with both. I trained for two years as a professional actor (Adler, Meisner, Strasburg, Stanislavski), thus I think that this preparation helps me deal with actors of all kinds. Ultimately, when you stick a camera on someone, and it is a work of fiction, they become an actor. So, there might not be such a thing as a non-actor. Only an experience issue. Also, when you are using amateur actors, you might be using them because they provide the context already packaged for what you are trying to convey in character. The homework has been done, so then it comes down to convincing them, that the choices they naturally make as themselves might be best. Putting amateurs in films with heavy dialogue and conflict is very difficult. How would you expect a professional performance when you cast an amateur? But in these types of smaller, realist movies, the amateur brings authenticity that is hard, if not impossible, to get otherwise.

My parents, well that was fun. My mother hated the idea, and she still does. My father, he took direction well. I shot another film with them in it (Absorbed in Accidents, in post), and I feel that our working relationship is over. My friends, well, some of the cast in Whale was used in my first film, Dino Adino in 2001. This is a type of documentation for me. My relationship with them is not the same as then, as I am not in contact with them as much (in fact, Dino Adino was under similar but less distant circumstances). But they are old friends with lots of personal history, so a real camaraderie exists. In Whale, I mix my cast with professionals and amateurs, as I have done in many of my films. (Again, I want to reiterate that the film is fiction, these are actors playing a role. How much is fact or fiction is really an inconsequential byproduct in my opinion)

I cast in terms of the story I am trying to tell and performances I want to get. I wasn't using amateurs that I’ve known as some philosophical stance, laziness, or because I couldn't get anyone else (this is silly to even make a point out of, because we all know how many great (unknown) actors are available to work with just by placing an ad in the trades). I had a sincere relationship to the cast, and I knew possibly what and how far I could take each individual. Also, this type of working condition is very personal, and is a different method to making film. In whale specifically, the other main cast member, Darren Oneil, who also co-produced the picture helped tremendously as a silent crew member throughout most of the production. There is no way that I could have handled all of this myself, and I feel indebted to the cast.

All these methods for me are about the individual project I am working on. Of course, some intertextuality exists between my own films, but for everything they share, there are many differences, both in process and results.

Sujewa: Why did you use the DVX100 camera for Whale, as opposed to shooting it on film or another video format - HD perhaps?

Amir: Well, at the prep stage of filming, we really had two choices that I was sold on, a DVX100a or an HVX200. At that time, I was very familiar with the DVX, having used it in my break ups into a million pieces, but the shiny new toy was on the horizon. Well, we put in the order for an HVX200, but I had an opportunity to get two DVX100's immediately (this was a very shady set of circumstance, but all parties have reached a happy settlement). Also, the way I wanted to shoot, which was a long-term project, the work flow of the HVX200 didn't make sense. But in the most honest sense, I had set out to make a DV feature film. I loved the way SD progressive looked, in comparison to film. It was so reactionary at the time, and a historic change of course. How could you not be enthralled with the idea, to, say, fuck the system, fuck your resolution, your tools, history and ultimately the grand gatekeepers. What is an artist if your only guiding voice is to follow behind everyone else's footprint? So, I decided to continue with that mind state, if only a temporary delusional, angsty one.

Film was not even an option for this type of project. Film would also destroy a level of authenticity to the model of production for Whale. But, again, I state this in reference only to this project. I have no interest in a film vs. digital debate. That shit is so 1999. I love 35MM, what's not to love about it? Oh it takes too long to set up a shot, Jesus, stop being so fucking impatient. And it cost too much, well who said you should pay for it yourself? Don't!

Sujewa: How do you feel about the current state of film in America? What would you like to see more of or less of?

Amir: This is an incredibly broad and difficult question. Film in America, well, it depends on what glasses you are looking through. Maybe we are in resurgence again, in terms of American cinema. The nineties were an incredible time for American Indies, but the 2000's were not so stellar in my opinion. My feeling is that people have finally figured out the new tools available, and as the front line experiments, this will translate into the more traditional production methods loosening the grip on what they can achieve with narrative. It’s always good for the arts to experiment. I'm not talking about the avant-garde, because in most people’s opinion, film is a popular medium. When a mainstream director starts playing with expectations, then the form revitalizes itself in the eyes of the larger population. Being John Malkovich is this concept in effect. But, I don't know much else in the mainstream; I don't go to the theater every day to watch Fast & Furious. I mean, other then 12 year olds, who gives a shit (apparently lots of people judging by the numbers). It must be more exciting just to play the video game.

Sujewa: Let's see, I know of three active indie feature directors who are from an Iranian background: Caveh Zahedi, Ramin Bahrani, and you - are there as many Iranian-American directors working in Hollywood or in Television (that you've heard of)? And if not - or either way - do you think Iranian cinema influences Iranian-American filmmakers to tell stories in a certain "foreign"/"non-Hollywood"/"indie" way?

Amir: Truly, I don't know how many there are, those two are the highest profile, especially Bahrani these days. I also believe that Harmony Korine is half Iranian. Iranian cinema certainly might be an influence, but those directors are so different from one another. Maybe to the extent in which the narrative is dealt with. The similarities, or through line between us, might be our insistence on adding documentary style elements into narrative, and maybe for some of us, a persistent self-reflexive instinct. Is there a line differentiating doc and fiction anymore?

My hope would be that as ethnic American directors, that we don't just repackage the type of work that appeals to just a film festival going audience. Especially some of the overtly sentimental elements induced by some Iranian cinema. I'm not exactly sure how to quantify that, only that authenticity remains central to the work, and not as maybe, just for critical effect.
My focus at this time is more about the assimilation of the ethnic entity than the strict identity cliché. Again, this comes down to the notion of subtlety and restraint. It’s hard to keep from working the clichés when dealing with the obvious. Also, the culture of assimilation will remain a primary concern moving forward.

Sujewa: How do you feel about Mumblecore films & filmmakers? Are there marketing/publicity/career-building lessons to be learned from that group of indie filmmakers - stuff that may be useful for other indie filmmakers in developing their careers?

Amir: Ah, the Mumblecore question. First, let me get this out of the way, Mumblecore might refer to a social group more then anything. Second, is there a definable set of things that make a film Mumblecore? Maybe a certain lack of context, some ironic elements. Could it be DIY approach? With all that said, when you see it, you go, oh yeah, that's Mumblecore. So, with that out of the way, well, I want to be careful in how I word this, as to not be taken out of context. As far as cinema goes, and in comparison to say, Neo-Neo realism, Mumblecore might be a more original entity.

Neo-Neo Realism is just what the word implies, a newer form of what De Sica was doing in the late 1940’s. Mumblecore has elicited more excitement, and involvement to a younger generation then the aforementioned because it gives them an entry point, and it feels contemporary. That is a grand compliment. At the same token, much of the work is a little pedestrian for my taste (but who gives a shit what my opinion is). Regardless, I salute those filmmakers for also saying fuck the system, and continuing despite any related backlash, and regardless of critics. Time will sort all this shit out. Till then, you do what’s in your heart.

Sujewa: Did you enjoy coming out to New York for a few days to work on Brooklyn Fantastic recently or was that just a very painful experience?

Amir: It was a little bit of both. Also, it was more then just a few days Sujewa. Susan and Ryan were very fun. I didn't enjoy Chinese take-out much. Also, you have a way with waitresses.

Sujewa: That's a nice cryptic & fun answer - we'll explore that topic more when we do your Brooklyn Fantastic interview in a few months. Back to Whale - I thought the film was unique & very interesting - not like most other indie or Hollywood movies being made at the moment in America - what led you to use the methods that you used in Whale - including the use of documentary type footage, and at times almost an observational/security camera type footage where it feels like the camera is recording events unfolding in front of it without being guided by an operator, and sequences where a character is directly addressing the camera/as if he is being videotaped by another character in the movie - using those approaches as opposed to using the regular narrative story telling method of just characters interacting with each other in traditional scenes?

Amir: The methods used in Whale were my grand personal journey to figure out what DV cinema meant to me. I have always thought of Coppola's Fat Musician (Filmmaker) quote. What happens when you deconstruct the division of labor in film production, put the gear for an unlimited time into the filmmakers' hands, and let them do what they will, but still restrict the film to certain rules, mostly, not to bore the hell out of the audience.

As much as I love the films of Tarkovsky, we are far from those ideals now (maybe then too, I unfortunately wasn't around then). It’s a different world, so my question was, how to reach people but keep a certain, distinct voice. How to create an original product when we are often told that it won’t work? With all the tools and techniques available, why do we still insist on rehashing the same product over and over again? Certainly, from a careerist perspective, I see why, and only the bravest souls can keep the ideals of change or progression. Its always a losing battle, so as Gus Van Sant does, one for them, one for yourself. That’s the modern auteur.

Sujewa: There is a Neo-Neo Realist quality to Whale except it is not dull/deeply serious or at least did not feel to me like it was attempting to convey a somber, reflective "realism" at all times - there is a quite a bit of humor in the film - did that arise naturally out of your personality/the process of making the film or was that intentional/planned? Or, to put it another way, did you at first conceive the film as being just a drama type film as opposed to, in my opinion, the drama/comedy/journey type film that it ended up being?

Amir: This might just be a subjective response. Also, I do not find the Neo-Neo Realist films dull at all, although they are not expressively original, which is not meant in a derogatory way. As for Whale, I didn't make the film out of any genre. And also, the film deals in realism, on a personal, more forthcoming way, then in maybe a Neo-Neo Realist way. It’s just a different form of realism, because somehow, it is out of a subjective lens. Whale is not Cinema Verite by any means, but can go into it and does often. That is how new media works. When you introduce all those elements, then it breaks away from a concrete mood. In life, we deal with humor all the time, no matter how dire our circumstance, so maybe that’s where those funny moments came out in. The film also doesn't deal with matters of life or death (as when dealing with poverty), but a certain middle class dilemma. It might not be as sensational (overrated anyway), but the film does deal directly with a generation.

Sujewa: Whale points out the fact that its characters are aware of economic & racial/ethnic realities of life in America. How has the amount of money you have access to and how others react to you as far as you being "non-white"/other affected both the type of movies that you've made/your decisions to make certain movies/tell certain stories as opposed to others and your development as a filmmaker/career development? Do you think, in 2009 America, it is still easier for some people to "make it" in the film business due to either their ethnic background & perhaps gender & it is still difficult for others who are not a part of those favored categories? Or is it pretty much a level playing field now, in your opinion?

Amir: Again, I have found that the idea of race, and certainly economic realities in this film would be subjectively interpreted depending on one's own view. Certainly characters play the race card, but Cameron is fully integrated into a "whitewashed" way of getting on. Cameron is first an American, and an Iranian second. Suburban culture is formed by homogenization and regionalism, more so then ethnicity.

Also, one can't deny that they are living in what many would dream is paradise, but we are aware that even in the middle class, there are different economic realities, especially when you are still not able to get by on your own. There is certainly a type of desperation in some of the characters in the film.

Now back to the question, Bahrani's (and many others) success proves that everyone has a chance. Although, maybe it comes down to the stories you are trying to tell. It's never a level playing field, but if you are determined, hustle, and continue to be proactive, your time will come. The scale in which you work is another story all together, I’m certainly not going to guarantee your safety, be forewarned.

Sujewa: What's been the reaction to Whale so far? Especially from your friends who are not typically into art/foreign movies?

Amir: Well, it’s been very positive. While I was cutting it, I feared that it might be too esoteric, so I scaled down the length, and adjusted the pace. The fact that people who are mostly into Hollywood films have dug the film gives me great pleasure. Ultimately, I don't want this film only being watched by the art house crowd. That defeats its purpose in many ways.

Sujewa: What are the current distribution plans for Whale?

Amir: Well, we shall try the world of the film festival first. If they pass on it too frequently, I will turn to the web, VOD and DVD. I stand by the film, and you better get the fuck out my way, and I mean this in a very gentlemanly manner.

For more on Whale, visit this site.


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New limits set, Feed back on

So, took a couple of days, figured out how I want to use this blog now (as little as possible, only for projects that I am directly involved in, more here). And, after speaking with a few people & getting some requests, the Feed is back on, so the blog posts will show up at various places once again, whenever they do happen.


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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Brooklyn Fantastic project update

here


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New limits to blogging

From now on I'll only be blogging about my own projects or about, sometimes, certain projects of collaborators (people who work with me on my projects, or projects of others than I work on). I think these new limits will help me cut down significantly on blogging - making more time available for making & distributing my movies.

- Sujewa


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Monday, April 27, 2009

MovieMaker article about Blank City

Check out MovieMaker article about new doc Blank City - about DIY filmmaking activity in NYC in the late 70's & early 80's. From the article:

"Later I spoke to Tess Hughes-Freeland, assistant editor for Fingered, Richard Kern’s 1986 violent porn-as-antiporn film starring Lydia Lunch, who remarked that today’s explosion of instant DIY moviemaking—via digital outlets such as YouTube—mirrors the spirit of the Super8 moviemakers. She also praised Danhier for the comprehensiveness of her approach to chronicling that dynamic time."

Check out the article at MovieMaker.

And here's the website for Blank City.

- Sujewa


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Sunday, April 26, 2009

2000 some blog entries later

Over the last few years - starting in '04 - I've done quite a bit with blogs: posted over 2,000 entries, made new friends, made a doc about blogging (screened it in NYC & made it a part of the recent Atlanta Film Festival) & learned a little about engineering & managing indie film publicity. Now I plan on applying a similar productive approach to making & distributing indie movies - less blogging, more film work in its place.

So, in that spirit, coming very soon (working on these items now, should be up on the web w/in the next 7 days):

- All of Indie Film Blogger Road Trip to Vimeo, Blip.TV, & YouTube in episodes.

- All of Date Number One on Vimeo in several parts.

- Both movies available in their entirety with the help of a new e-commerce solution for indie filmmakers that's in its beta phase - for those who want to contribute some $s towards the projects & or do not want to see the movies as separate episodes.

- The same "new/experimental solution" will offer the movies as on-demand DVDs for a low price - for those who want the movies in that format.

[The DNO DVDs made through DiscMakers are also on the way - should be ready to ship those out in mid-May, - those will be marketed to a wider audience, beyond the blogosphere/web]

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It's easier to blog than to make & distribute movies (but ultimately filmmaking & distribution is far more rewarding for me), so hopefully I can bring a similar level of high productivity to filmmaking & distribution over the next few years that I brought to blogging over the last four plus years.

- Sujewa


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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Feed off soon

I want to start using this blog a little differently, so, the feed going out from here will be cut off soon, meaning, if you read this blog primarily at indieWIRE's blogs page or at another place that uses the feed, you may want to bookmark the blog if you want to read stuff here in the future - once the Feed is off the posts will not be showing up at iW page, etc. Thanks.

- Sujewa


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Friday, April 24, 2009

Interview about Frownland at Cinemad

I haven't seen Frownland, but have met a few people who like it a lot, check out an interview with the film's director at Cinemad.


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Dog Days of Summer site

Here's the site for a new movie called Dog Days of Summer - looks well made & spooky (judging by the trailer). Out on DVD now.


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Jonathan Rosenbaum can't wait to see The Limits of Control again

From a recent post on Limits by Rosenbaum:

"I can’t wait to see this movie again."

Read the rest of the post here.

- Sujewa


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The Limits of Taking Your Own Photo

Sujewa Ekanayake, Jim Jarmusch, 4/23/09 NYC
photo (c) 2009 SE

Video clip - Jarmusch speaking about making Permanent Vacation, 4/23/09, NYU



From the Evening with Jim Jarmusch event presented by the Museum of the Moving Image.

Copyright 2009 Sujewa Ekanayake

On the way to Atlanta



a scene from an upcoming sci-fi movie - a modern day location - the mcdonald's - is surrounded by a hologram/force-field emanating from the military installation inside the nearby mountain, creating the illusion of a late 1960's type (undeveloped/no buildings, wooden electricity poles, open highway, quality of sunlight, etc.) surrounding. one of the traverlers do not know this - trouble waits.

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copyright 2009 sujewa ekanayake/wild diner films

Thursday, April 23, 2009

La Rencontre

Alain Cavalier interview link

An interview with French filmmaker Alain Cavalier, at Dizzidenz.com blog. From the interview:

"You studied at IDHEC. What led you to move away from “traditional” narration to a purer style today?

It’s the mental path you take when you’ve used a tool in a certain way, and suddenly you try something else. The narrative, the script, predictability, shooting the film, actors who take charge of their emotions, the crew, the production, the cost, our economic relationship with the world… freedom is strictly economic. All of that mixes together and eventually, with lighter and more refined equipment and tools, you manage to better define the scope of your work and avoid certain conventions you used to take pleasure in using. You don’t disown them, but they just don’t fuel you anymore. They don’t inspire you. And you sort of have the illusion of renewing yourself, that you’re following the successive metamorphoses of your life, and so are your films."

Read the rest of the interview at Dizzidenz.com.

- Sujewa

"Hanging out" with Jim Jarmusch tonight

And by "hanging out" I mean I am going to the An Evening with Jim Jarmusch event tonight. Should be fun. Here's info. on the event from the Museum of the Moving Image website (it's sold out, but, you know, some people might not show up & there maybe some space so if you live in NYC & love Jarmusch movies, might want to show up & see if there are any "no-shows"/available seating):

"SPECIAL EVENT
An Evening with Jim Jarmusch
Thursday, April 23, 8:00 p.m.
At the Cantor Film Center, NYU
36 East 8th Street (between University Place and Broadway)

Jim Jarmusch, whose brilliant and laconic style has made him one of America's most distinctive filmmakers since his debut with Stranger than Paradise in 1984, will participate in a conversation with clips moderated by Chief Curator David Schwartz. In addition to an exclusive look at scenes from his remarkable new film The Limits of Control, which was photographed by Christopher Doyle and has an ensemble cast including Isaach de Bankolé, Paz de la Huerta, Gael Garcia Bernal, and Bill Murray, the evening will include scenes from Stranger than Paradise, Mystery Train, Night on Earth, Dead Man, Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai, and Coffee and Cigarettes.

Tickets are sold out. For more information call 718.784.4520."

- Sujewa

"networking these days involves lots of cocaine"

A new interview with Amir Motlagh (his first feature Whale is now making its way across America in the form of screeners, soon to be at film festivals no doubt, see Whale trailer here) at BRAINTRUSTdv. Here's a taste of the interview:

" BRAINTRUSTdv
You’ve said that L.A. doesn’t have a community of independent filmmakers like you’ve seen in New York. How does your isolation affect your working methods and the films themselves?

Amir Motlagh
It’s hard to find the same isolation that was afforded before the web. Now everything is displayed in lightning speeds on the web, and everybody knows what everyone else is doing. The connectivity is good, but is also problematic because of the insular nature of independent film and the interwebs. That’s why we are developing schemas faster then ever, to categorize and reference things that are immediate. To develop, some distance needs to be in place between the community and the individual. That’s why I have been largely absent from the web and in fact enjoyed my residence in Los Angeles. It provides me a sense of solace from continual discussion and also from having to see what all my contemporaries are working on all the time. So in that way, I feel that my concepts are not tainted—a better word might be influenced—to the degree that maybe some New York filmmakers have to deal with. Again, the downside is also taxing. Without a community, who do you look to for career growth, support, education and inspiration? I am coming to the point of having to answer that question. The solace is beginning to bother me, and having been to New York recently for an extended stay, the feeling of community is strong. In Los Angeles, we are dealing with Hollywood, so that trains the soul to react to things under the larger umbrella of the BIZ. Also, it seems like networking these days involves lots of cocaine, which I am not that interested in. Again, I am older than I was yesterday."

Read the interview at BRAINTRUSTdv.

- Sujewa

A post about the films of Thomas Imbach at Anthology

At TrustMovies.

An article longer than most movie cab rides



A long article at TMC's MovieMorlocks.com blog about cab drivers in movies, check it out.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Roundtable Discussion on Self-Distribution

At BRAINTRUSTdv. Featuring Angelo Bell, Amir Motlagh & others.

Maryland Film Festival 2009 is ready to go


Here's a brief intro to the cinematic festivities that await you in Baltimore, MD next month:

"Maryland Film Festival has announced its 2009 line-up, including Opening Night hosted by Bobcat Goldthwait and its Closing Night title, Kathryn Bigelow's Hurt Locker. The festival will take place Thursday, May 7 through Sunday, May 10 in beautiful downtown Baltimore, screening more than 40 new features and more than 80 new short films -- representing documentaries and narratives; live-action, experimental, and animated; domestic and foreign; underground, indie, and Hollywood.

Opening Night (Thursday, May 7, 2009), as is a Maryland Film Festival tradition, we will spotlight a variety of short films, including new work by Eric Dyer (screening a work-in-progress), Jay Zimmerman, Michael Langan, Andy Cahill, Julia Kim Smith, Marc Kess, and Jim Jacob. Bobcat Goldthwait will host the event, and included in this program will be his own short Goldthwait Home Movies.

The Closing Night (Sunday, May 10, 2009) film will be Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker, winner of the 2008 Venice Film Festival SIGNIS Grand Prize, with Bigelow presenting. "This film represents moviemaking at its highest level," says MFF director Jed Dietz. "Kathryn Bigelow has an amazing track record, and she has brought all her skills as a filmmaker to bear on this intense and entertaining story."

In addition to new films from Barry Levinson (who will present his PoliWood alongside Matthew Modine), Joe Swanberg, Shane Meadows, Craig Baldwin, David Redmon and Ashley Sabin, Cory McAbee, Ry Russo-Young, David Russo, David Lowery, and Kris Swanberg, the eleventh Maryland Film Festival will also present Seventh Moon, the latest horror feature by Eduardo Sanchez (of The Blair Witch Project); So Yong Kim's Treeless Mountain; The Deagol Brothers' Make-Out With Violence; Christophe Honoré's Love Songs, chosen and presented by John Waters; and the rarely screened documentary Nina Simone: La légende, chosen and presented by guest-host, musician Ian MacKaye (of Minor Threat, Fugazi, The Evens, and Dischord Records fame).

For this year's schedule, including further details on all of the above screenings, see:
http://www.md-filmfest.com/films.cfm"

Maryland Film Festival takes place May 7 - 10 in Baltimore, MD.

- Sujewa

Tambay Obenson & several other bloggers have a new site covering cinema of the African diaspora

Shadow And Act is the name of the site. Here are the list of contributors:

"Tambay A Obenson of The Obenson Report

Invisible Woman of Invisible Cinema

Daryle of Black Box Office

KJ of Must Love Movies

Jo-Issa of Black Film Academy

Karen of Reel Artsy

Victor of V-Knowledge"

Check out Shadow And Act.

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LINKS

2013 Oscar Nominees

Breakthrough Weekend teaser trailer - on Vimeo - HD

Breakthrough Weekend teaser trailer on YouTube

Indiewire

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CARTER screens in Brooklyn on May 23

Ryan Andrew Balas's second feature Carter screens at Aeon Logic Art Gallery in Brooklyn on May 23 - get all the info. here.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Photos from State of Film Criticism discussion - Sat 4/18/09 Atlanta Film Festival

Waiting for the event to begin

Sujewa Ekanayake, Michael Sragow, Molly Haskell, Noralil Ryan Fores
Sujewa Ekanayake (Indie Film Blogger Road Trip), Michael Sragow (Baltimore Sun), Molly Haskell (latest book: Frankly, My Dear: Gone with the Wind Revisited), moderator Noralil Ryan Fores (ShortEnd Magazine)

Part of the audience

Sujewa Ekanayake, Michael Sragow
Another view from the audience area

The State of Film Criticism discussion on Saturday went by fast - it was an hour long but it felt like we barely got started on the topic. Moderator Noralil Ryan Fores did an excellent job I thought - working in both her own questions & questions from the audience re: several matters: recent changes in the world of film criticism, the increasing number of film blogs and how that relates to the world of print film criticism, how each of the panelists got started in writing about film, stories & events related to film criticism from decades past - as remembered by Molly HaskellMichael Sragow, advice to new filmmakers re: getting reviews, plus discussions re: several other relevant items. Atlanta Film Festival videotaped the discussion, so, we may see it on the web at some point soon. Being a part of the panel was a great experience for me (my first panel!) & it was educational. Enjoyed meeting Haskell & Sragow, looking forward to discovering their work.
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Special thanks to Amanda Haynes for taking the photos. Photos Copyright 2009 Sujewa Ekanayake/Wild Diner Films.
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BREAKTHROUGH WEEKEND Teaser Trailer

DATE NUMBER ONE on Vimeo VOD

Indie Film Blogger Road Trip

At DIY Filmmaker Blog's Facebook Page

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BREAKTHROUGH WEEKEND Teaser Trailer on Vimeo

Breakthrough Weekend teaser trailer on YouTube

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