Showing posts from July, 2006

Variety interview, IFP panel coming up :: Still not motivated to submit to festivals

Looks like I will be interviewed for a Variety article next week. It's for an upcoming indie film issue of theirs (didn't know they had indie film issues, very cool). Will write more about this after the interview happens. Also, speaking of new indie film opportunities, last week I was invited to speak at an IFP panel event in October re: self-distribution & using new media/alternative publicity methods, etc. Will do a full post about this in the coming week. The panel event sounds interesting & useful. One that I would attend even if I wasn't a part of it. I've never been on an indie film panel before, so this is exciting. & the event will be in NYC, which doubles the excitement level. Still not motivated to submit Date Number One to film festivals. Fest deadlines come & go w/out having any real impact on me. I've had good luck with 4-wall screenings & a couple of excellent bookings, so I think I'll just keep heading in that direction. F

Out of Wassup Rockers, Devil Wears Prada, Clerks II, Miami Vice, Scoop, the best is...

I've been on an indiewood/Hollywood new flick watching kick lately. Who knows why, maybe thinking about what to avoid in my next flick (& perhaps what kind of things to consider adding). Saw Woody Allen's new movie Scoop last night. Scoop was photographed well and there were at most 3 moments that I found to be lightly funny, but overall the flick is not very engaging, or, the flick is dull. But I did like Match Point quite a bit. And Woody Allen will remain one of my film heros 'cause he made Manhattan & Annie Hall & several other excellent movies. Anyway, out of all the indiewood & Hollywood flicks seen recently, Clerks II is the clear winner for "the best movie seen in a while" title. Now I will return to watching & writing about excellent indie/DIY flicks that most mall movie goers will not hear of and of course promoting the NYC premiere of my flick Date Number One on 8/31, 9 PM @ the Pioneer Theater. If you only get to see one movie this

Miami Vice knocks down the "digital can't be beautiful & cinematic" argument

Just got back from watching Miami Vice (a dude's gotta take a break from a steady diet of d.i.y. film activity & sample some hyper-hyped hollywood stuff every once in a while :). What sealed the deal on going to see MV was the New York Times review I read today, it said something like that MV is an art film for action fans or an action film for art film fans, something like that. Plus a little bit of decadent shiny-ness reflected back from the 80's was thought to be a welcome diversion for a couple of hours. Anyway, back to the artiness of MV: yeah, it's arty. A lot artier than most Hollywood action flicks. At one point the camera pans away & focuses on ordinary highway activity, this happens at the end of an intense confrontation between the two MV cops & an informant, then the flick completely surprises us by....(see the movie for that :) and then jumps into the next, unrelated to the previous, scene as if nothing happened while the audience collected their br mentions Date Number One 8/31 NYC screening

Here's the link to the post . Thanks a lot! See Date Number One 's website for all the info. on the film. The flick screens at the Pioneer Theater on Thu, 8/31 @ 9 PM, buy tix here ASAP if u r interested in attending the event (if the 8/31 screening sells out by 8/1 Tue or so, Pioneer may add more screenings & that would be sexcellent, so let's get the 8/31 show sold out!!! :). Thanksalot! - Sujewa

Real indie filmmaker Kelley Baker is angry at Michael Moore's fest, fake indies

At his blog Angry Filmmaker Kelley Baker says: " Michael Moore Can Bite Me! I just finished reading an article about Michael Moore's new film festival. "Moore Hopes Film Festival Sends Message" (AP). GIVE ME A BREAK!!! He is showing films like The Wizard of Oz, and is ending the night with a special screening of Woody Allen's new movie SCOOP. In between we are getting films by Jeff Daniels and Larry David. And let's not forget a film starring Julianne Moore and Woody Harrelson. Atta boy Mike, that is INDEPENDENT!I am so sick and tired of all of these Hollywood movies acting like "Independents". Is it because they have budgets under 10 million dollars? Wow, that is "indie"! And a few moe paragraphs of anger later, we get: " Hey Mike! How about a film festival featuring movies made for under $100,000 with good actors that no one has ever heard of? How about lending your name and your publicity machine to actually helping REAL Indepe

Indie Features 06 is popping with info. on several excellent real indie flicks

At Indie Features 06 you can now read about the self-distribution adventures of several indie flicks: Date Number One playing at Pioneer Theater in NYC on 8/31 (info link)- 9 PM (tix link), upcoming LOL & Jumping Off Bridges screenings in NYC (Pioneer again), The Proper Care & Feeding of an American Messiah getting into several festivals & its director driving cross country to screen his movie in MD, Angry Filmmaker Kelley Baker's DIY touring & screening adventures with Kicking Bird & other movies of his, Lance Weiler's ambitious multi-city theatrical screenings & nationwide DVD release of his new movie Head Trauma, and that's just info. on a few titles off the top of my head. Indie Features 06 is THE place for news on real indie films right now. Tired of reading about fake Hollywood indies in every other blog & magazine baby? Then stroll on down to IF06 , spend some time reading through the blog - there's over 100 entries there - all from th

You can NOW BUY TICKETS to the Aug 31, 9 PM NYC premiere of Date Number One! :: less than 84 seats left

Want to experience the superdelicious, no-budget, ninja-errific DIY filmmaking & self-distribution glory that is Date Number One when the flick has its New York City premiere? Want to hang out with the filmmakers & actors, possibly make some new cool friends? Then go HERE to buy tickets to the Thu, Aug 31, 9 PM NYC premiere screening of Date Number One at the Pioneer Theater . As far as I know, less than 84 seats are available now. Buy tix, spread the word, let's have an awesome time on 8/31! - Sujewa ps: I am going to be speaking about self-distribution at an IFP panel event in October, it would be very nice to have a DNO NYC premiere tix sales success story to tell :) thanksalot.

Notes from inside the process of getting & promoting an indie film screening in NYC

From the outside, the event looks pretty simple, as a lot of complex occurrences may appear: 1. man in DC makes a movie, 2. man submits movie to a NYC movie theater to get a screening, 3. the movie theater offers a screening, 4. man accepts the screening offer & begins promoting the event. Step 1 took about 2 years to complete. Steps 2 - 4 took about 2 weeks. The completion of step 4, promoting the screening until it happens, will take about a month. But there is more inside this seemingly simple process, read on. I noticed the Pioneer Theater through my web searches on indie film at least three years ago, around 2003. And about two plus years ago I decided to make an ultra-low budget, 100% indie, self-distributed feature on digital video. Prior to that I had created a feature on 16MM, spent a lot of money, and the result was less than expected, so the film never made it past (i didn't let it get past) my hometown, Washington, DC. But the plan this time around was different:

Date Number One screening listed at Pioneer's website!

It looks beautiful. Letters in various bright colors on a black background, quotes from Michael "Cocaine Angel" Tully, Jerry "Hollywood Is Talking" Brewington, Jon "Scumrock" Moritsugu & Chuck "The Chutry Experiment" Tryon, and a description of the flick. Go here and scroll down until you see DATE NUMBER ONE at the August 31 slot. The BUY TICKETS link should be active in a few days. Thanks Pioneer! - Sujewa

Less War, More Date Number One

Ananda (Subodh Samudre) & Missy (Jewel Greenberg) from Date Number One. photo copyright 2006 sujewa ekanayake/wild diner films I just discovered a new site, thanks to filmmaker Agnes Varnum (she's hip to new useful teknological stuff - also introduced me to Flikr), called Looks like its a tool to help plan & promote outings. The link above takes you to the Date Number One NYC premiere notice/ page for it, which is happening on 8/31 @ 9 PM at the mighty Pioneer "Independent Film Without Excuses" Theater . Thanks Agnes! - Sujewa

Date Number One NEW YORK PREMIERE Thu Aug 31, 9 PM at Pioneer Theater!

DATE NUMBER ONE a comedy about several first dates a movie by sujewa ekanayake Thursday, August 31, 9 PM The Two Boots Pioneer Theater 155 East 3rd Street (between Avenues A and B, closer to A) New York, New York 212-591-0434 ticket prices: $9 adults, $6.50 members :: link for advance ticket purchase will be available soon :: Director will attend the screening. "The film is about as charming as they come...presents a world in which cultures don't clash, they mesh. It's refreshing to see characters who all appear to have a natural optimism, as opposed to the typical indie-film predilection for bitterness and cruelty. " - Michael Tully, Rotterdam & SXSW film festivals selected filmmaker "I found the characters and the premise sexy, sexy, sexy ." Jerry Brewington, Hollywood Is Talking blog, on Story 2 of Date Number One http://holl

Got a couple of characters for the next flick

Date Number One distribution project is just getting started (9 screenings so far, DVD v1 coming around 9/1 - will be available through 's STORE, $12, & lots more screenings coming starting in September) but I am already thinking about the script for the next flick. Unlike in the past I won't give too much away until the flick is made, but this much I can tell right now: the next feature will be shot in early '07, John Stabb Schroeder (ninja from Story 1 of DNO) & Jennifer Blakemore (Sunshine in Story 2 of DNO) will reprise their roles (in the case of John he will play the ninja's twin brother, a bartender, seen in one scene in DNO, Jennifer will play the same character - Sunshine). Making decisions on the plot & story right now, collecting notes for characters & scenes. This next feature will also be an ultra low budget, DIY, self-distributed flick. But for the rest of this year & until the next flick is ready to play at some point

a bunch of Mutual Appreciation screenings coming up

In about a month or so, 8/22 & 23 it looks like. Get the info. here . - Sujewa

Clerks II is very funny, best Kevin Smith movie so far

Just saw Clerks II . Me & the rest of the audience at the packed theater in Silver Spring, MD (!sharktown! there is a huge shark on top of the Discovery Channel building right now, Shark Week promo) enjoyed the movie a lot. There are 3 kinds of Kevin Smith movies: the comedies, the drama (Chasing Amy), and the one I was not interested in seeing (Jersey Girl). Of the comedies, Clerks II is the best, and the original Clerks comes in at a close second. Cinematography in Clerks II was the best, if I recall correctly, out of all the Smith flicks. Tonally, this movie feels right. There is more sadness in this one than in the original Clerks. There is also one of the wildest climax (end of Act II?) scenes ever in this movie, involving confession of important secrets, the police, the fire fighters, a donkey and a half naked man in leather. Whereas his peers (of sorts) Jarmusch, Hartley, & Linklater staked their claims to a certain kind of storytelling & kept getting it right more t

Dischord promises a whole lot of new DC punk in the 2nd half of '06

From their News page : " 6.29.06 So .... we always say that we release records along with the ebb and flow of our community here in Washington, DC. Well this idea will be well illustrated after a year of relative calm with a VERY active release schedule planned for the second half of 2006. IN 2005 and 2006 the DC punk scene has taken a turn back to the underground and we are now beginning to see the fruits of this period of introspection with forthcoming albums from Channels, Soccer Team, The Evens, Joe Lally, French Toast, The Aquarium and possibly Antelope. " Read the rest of the update here . Dischord Records is an awesome punk label (home of Fugazi, Nation of Ulysses, etc.) and a source of inspiration for D.I.Y. artists everywhere. - Sujewa

Lance Weiler's awesome hybrid (DIY theatrical + DVD release w/ partner co.) approach to distributing Head Trauma

Head Trauma gets to play in theaters & also gets into stores nationwide on DVD while Lance retains all the important distribution rights to the flick. Here's the initial Indie Features 06 post that introduced the HT DVD distribution topic. Here's a portion of Lance's comment re: a question about how he is getting his DVD into stores nationwide while doing DIY distribution of the film: " I'm doing a hybrid model. The theatrical is DIY and the DVD release is in conjunction with a small label. After running my own label I wanted to find a partner that I could do the release with. Last time I spent 2 much time on management. So this time I struck a deal with a small label that helps me reach retail and rental BUT allows me to hold all rights. Plus I was able to create an amazing deal - I leveraged the theatrical release to help get me the best terms possible. I carved away all digital rights, VOD, Theatrical, even the rights to sell DVD's over my sites and

iLOOP Film Projects group for Date Number One

There is yet another place on the web to promote your film, and this one is connected to a website w/ a rapidly increasing membership: indieLOOP. iLOOP has a Groups choice called Film Projects, so far 5 projects are a part of this group. iLOOP now has over 2500 members, and I find it more relevant to me than MySpace (vast majority of the iLOOP members are involved w/ indie film, as far as I can tell, & iLOOP does not have any underage teen scandals associated w/ it, yet? :) at this point. I created an iLOOP group called Date Number One to promote my movie. Posted an update on the DNO distribution project there. - Sujewa

Saw "No More Tears Sister" last night

Saw the PBS re-broadcast of the Canadian made doc No More Tears Sister last night. Sister is excellent. It tells the story of Dr. Rajani Thiranagama, a young Sri Lankan Tamil professor of anatomy, mother & human rights activist who was most likely killed by the LTTE/Tamil Tigers because of her non-violent, peace & justice demanding work. The doc is a good, relatively brief introduction to the violence that has been rocking Sri Lanka since the early 1950's, the volume of which grew massively after July 1983 or Black July when 1000-3000 (by most accounts) Tamils were killed by Sinhala mobs while the then government & police stood by & watched & in some cases aided in the killings & other violence against Tamils. At present the LTTE runs a military dictatorship in some of the Tamil populated areas in the north of Sri Lanka and there are frequent clashes between the LTTE and the Sri Lankan government and its allied paramilitary groups. As it was pointed out

Handmade Fassbinder t-shirts by Jordan Mattos

That's right, there's a person out there who draws images from & inspired by Fassbinder flicks & flicks by several other filmmakers on t-shirts & sells them at $150 a pop. That person is Jordan Mattos , a filmmaker who works for IndiePix . Jordan's t-shirt samples can be found at his site. I think this is a cool little hobby. Possibly a good way to raise $s for a project, special handmade t-shirts. Chloe Sevigny is a fan of the shirts. If you feel like getting one of those special t-shirts, you can order one throught the site. - Sujewa

Ed Burns has a new movie!? :: The Groomsmen

Either I haven't been reading my blogs very carefully or Ed Burns' new flick's distro company has not sent any press material to the blogs I read. Anyways, the good news is Burns has a new flick called The Groomsmen , playing now in NYC & LA, according to the flick's website . Burns' Sidewalks of New York saved my life when I was shooting Date Number One in '04. Sidewalks' DVD extras had a segment where Burns talks about shooting the flick like a doc or editing it like a doc (quick shooting, jump cuts, etc.) and that approach helped me save the shooting of Story 2 in Date Number One. So, as a thank you, & since he's always made pretty decent movies (not as experimental as Jarmusch & Hartley, not as funky as Linklater, but solid stuff, & more enjoyable than Kevin Smith's work, to compare Burns with some of his peers) I am going to check out The Groomsmen as soon as I can. Maybe it'll play in DC, if not I'll check it out on DVD.

DNO looking at NYC

DNO in NYC, it's gonna be awesome! Date Number One , the ultra indie DIY self-distro movie of mine playing in New York City, the traditional homeland of indie film, will be magical. First stop to check: the Pioneer theater, the CBGB of new indie films. Pioneer should have received the DNO screener today. So, at some point this month, hopefully, I'll know if I will be screening DNO at Pioneer or not. And that's the latest from Date Number One land. Maxin' & relaxin' & getting ready for the early August DVD v1 release, preparing it, & getting ready for Fall screenings & some festival play. Working on the slow transformation of self into a smooth operatin' DNO distribution machine. Also waiting for some new reviews. Details coming very soon on various juicy DNO distro projects.

Introduce us to your favorite painters & paintings.

There's a PBS (i think) show on French painters right now. Other, older, forms of art, & the people who made them, can be inspirational & useful for filmmakers I think. I've learned a lot from indie rock (some aesthetic stuff, lots of bidness stuff), maybe I can learn stuff from painting too. So in July & August I am going to blog about painters & I would like you to comment & tell us about your favorite painters & other interesting stuff about painting. Painting is thousands of years old. Filmmaking is a little over 100 years old. US Indie filmmaking as we know it is perhaps a little over 50 years old (w/ the beginning somewhere around the time when the Cassavetes generation got its inspiration/started work). Us new indie filmmakers - the digital/web/DIY generation, can probably learn a lot by taking a look at/getting to know, painting & other older art forms. I'll start w/ Edward Hopper . Here's page w/ a lot of info on him. His most

Actor Eclipz at Hollywood Is Talking blog

The latest effort to assist the filmmaking scene from the fine folks at Hollywood Is Talking blog is a project called Actor Eclipz. The Eclipz are 1-minute clips of aspiring actors performing a piece from a play, film, book or original work for 1: our enjoyment and 2: to get work! Here's a link to the post about this new feature: and here's a direct link to the page: . Now go discover some hot new talent! - Sujewa

IFILM wants more trailers & video from real indie films

Hey Real Indie Filmmakers, Mike Everleth from IFILM asked me a couple of days ago to spread the word about their indie section: IFILM's Indie Film page . Mike said that while IFILM gets a lot of video material from the bigger distributors, they do not at the moment get a lot of video material from smaller, real indie, DIY, and self-distributed projects. So go check out their page & submit your trailers & clips to them. Could result in a higher profile for your movie. One thing I've learned from DIY distribution is that we can never have too much publicity for our small-promotional-budget projects. IFILM & other real indie friendly web sites can help us a lot. As soon as I take care of some overdue work that should have been done like 6 months ago, I am going to cut a trailer for Date Number One & send it off to IFILM & other websites that promote indie films through clips & trailers. I should be able to get the trailer

Takoma Park screening, Date Number One screening #9!, went well

Just got home from showing Date Number One at Takoma Park, MD. Highlights: awesome venue, Sangha does Fair Trade business w/ artisans from around the world, very cool place to play. Pretty decent turn out, everyone seemed to enjoy the movie. An audience member named Roland laughed a lot, almost at every funny situation. Dele William's (one of the stars in Story 2) sister & a cousin showed up to the screening, enjoyed the movie, asked some interesting questions about the film after the screening. Takoma Park has a film festival coming up later this year, perhaps I'll submit DNO, maybe I can sell some DVDs at the event or because of the exposure from the event, if the film gets in. I guess I should submit the film to at least a few festivals (even though I am not all that excited about the festival route, see previous post), mainly because quite a few important-to-the-project people expect me to do so, they think it will be good for the movie in the long run. So I will sub

Indie Filmmaker Questions the Value of Indie Film Festivals to Real Indie/DIY Film Projects

Of course the generally accepted and probably overwhelmingly true answer is: yes, indie film festivals are very valuable and if your film gets into one & plays, it will be a useful thing in selling the film to a distributor or to the audience. But there is always a but, and that's probably why I have not yet submitted my new indie feature Date Number One to a single indie film festival and probably will not do so in the future. Read on. The problems with the festival route: 1. The Psychological Factor or dude, rejection is tough. When starting off on a new epic endeavor such as distributing a feature film you need all the feel good energy you can get. Getting rejected by a festival or festivals will probably affect how you see the film and probably yourself, and not in a good way. So I think it is useful to avoid getting rejected by a film organization early on in the distribution process. Maybe avoiding that option forever is a good thing. 2. The Right to Judge or who gave

Date Number One screening, Thu July 13, 8:30 PM, Sangha, Takoma Park, MD

DATE NUMBER ONE a comedy about several first dates a movie by sujewa ekanayake "The film is about as charming as they come...presents a world in which cultures don't clash, they mesh. It's refreshing to see characters who all appear to have a natural optimism, as opposed to the typical indie-film predilection for bitterness and cruelty. " - Michael Tully, Rotterdam & SXSW film festivals selected filmmaker "I found the characters and the premise sexy, sexy, sexy ." Jerry Brewington, Hollywood Is Talking blog, on Story 2 of Date Number One Thursday July 13, 8:30 PM, $5 SANGHA 7014 Westmoreland Ave Takoma Park, MD 20912 301.891.3214 website: directions: Director & some of the stars will attend the screening. "FIVE really entertaining, fully realized roman

Chris Hansen's wild ride to DC to show Messiah

And by wild I mean lots of driving & doing the show/making some new fans & lots more driving back to a hotel room in the early, early AM. Chris came down from Virginia Beach to Kensington, MD to show his excellent movie The Proper Care & Feeding of an American Messiah on Thu 7/6. He wrote about the experience at his blog, check it out here. Thanks a lot for coming down to K-town Chris! That was some fine Summer '06 DIY film distro/screening action. Very cool.

Former Navy SEAL & Iranian-American filmmaker Cyrus Kar sues Rumsfeld

This week filmmaker Cyrus Kar sued Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld & others over a two month long imprisonment in Iraq. Here are some details from the AOL article (man, AOL's got quite a few interesting articles today): " Kar was taken into custody in May 2005 after he visited Iraq to make a documentary film about Cyrus the Great, the Persian king who wrote the world's first human rights charter. Potential bomb parts were found in a taxi in which Kar was riding. He was released July 10 after his family sued, accusing the federal government of violating his civil rights and holding him after the FBI cleared him of suspicion. He is a former U.S. Navy SEAL, according to news reports. " Read the entire article here . - Sujewa

India not cool w/ PDA, reaaallly not cool w/ gay people being alive

From an AOL article about an Indian royal family disowning a prince for being gay: " Homosexuality is banned in India and punishable by up to 10 years in jail, but gay activists are trying to lift the veil of secrecy over the community in a country where public hugging or kissing even among heterosexuals invites angry stares, lewd comments and even beatings." Read the whole article here . Probably a rich cinematic vein waiting to be created there: movies (they would have to be indie movies more or less I think) about being gay in India. Time to export the idea of a Queer Cinema movement to India. Time to discover the Indian versions of Greg Araki , Todd Haynes , Christine Vachon , Todd Verow & the like. Also a Public Display of Affection film movement could be useful there too. - Sujewa

Fri 7/7 DIY, Indiewood, Hollywood notes: Messiah, Date, Rockers, Pirates

Chris Hansen came all the way down from Texas (by way of Virginia Beach) for a quick visit & screening in Kensington last night. His movie The Proper Care & Feeding of an American Messiah played well to Kensingtonians, Chris had a good time, made some money (enough at least to get his car some gas to get back on the road to his next destination), perhaps he will blog about his screening experience at some point soon. I gave Chris a copy of Date Number One, so perhaps there will be a Chris Hansen review of Date Number One this month. Date Number One screeners were mailed out to David "GreenCine Daily" Hudson & Amir "Still Lover/Whale" Motlagh this week. So more reviews soon I think. Screening #9 of Date Number One will be happening next Thu, 7/13, at Sangha in Takoma Park. Will have all the details on that screening later today. Larry Clark 's Wassup Rockers opens today in DC (yup, at a Landmark theater, oh well. now that Caveh's Sex Addict is

Stranger Than Screenwriting

Jim Jarmusch's movies are unlike any other American movies around. Characters spend a lot of time without doing much or saying much. It would be very strange for a screenwriter other than Jarmusch to write a script that could work as a Jarmusch movie because financiers & producers will probably be very hesitant to support such an unorthodox script. Yet the weirdest of all possible film lawsuits are happening, GreenCine Daily points to this story about a screenwriter accusing Jarmusch of stealing the script to Broken Flowers. Perhaps the legal system will produce the truth. It would suck if it turns out that Jarmusch did steal the Broken Flowers script. But I guess if that happens I can still be a huge fan of Stranger Than Paradise, Down By Law, Mystery Train & Night On Earth, since their originality is uncontested. Until proven otherwise, I am going to assume that Broken Flowers is a Jarmusch original. It certainly bears a lot of Jarmusch signs: quirky characters, dry h

Happy 4th!

Saw "Syriana" (well made, sad) last night but even that was not enough to keep me from getting enthusiastic about independence day. Happy 4th of July everyone, have a lot of (mostly safe) fun! Enjoy the holiday today, we'll get back to making ourselves & the world better tomorrow. - Sujewa

Head Trauma "a true independent film"

From The Beach Reporter 's coverage of Lance Weiler's new feature Head Trauma & its appearance at the LAFF: " A true independent film, “Head Trauma” is written, directed and produced by Weiler. He is even handling his own press. But this is nothing new for Weiler who also wrote and directed the digital feature “The Last Broadcast,” which just finished a run on HBO and can be seen on IFC. He was also in “development hell” with a pilot that tested well but never got picked up, an inspiration for “Head Trauma.” “I think in some ways it's very rewarding and there's that creative control,” said Weiler of independent filmmaking. “It's a case of the grass is always greener. You want more resources but you hear when people are working on studio films what they're looking for is more creative freedom. They're looking for the ability to own the negative, own their work. So I think it's always a Catch-22. It's very hard when you have to do all this s

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