Showing posts from June, 2008

What's Chinese for customer service?

No more Chinatown buses (if can at all be avoided w/ out paying a lot for an alternative) I think; the ride from NYC to DC took about 6 hours!!!! Some of the reasons for the delays: the bus circled around NYC for like 30 mins to 1 hour, I got on the bus @ 10 AM, the bus left NYC close to 11 AM, no explanations or apologies from the driver/management, etc., then in Philadelphia we had to get off the bus (very difficult to get a clear answer from anyone who is running the operation as to exactly what's happening - many of the employees do not seem to speak or understand English well), wait for another bus about 30 - 45 mins, and finally we were back on the road (several passengers had by this point gotten into arguments with the "management" or other employees who were running the bus service re: the non-existent customer service, lack of clear (or almost any) communication re: unexpected changes, etc.) - so all seemed a bit better for a while, heading towards DC - EXCEPT -

Tambay Obenson on being interviewed for the indie film blogger doc

From Tambay's blog The Obenson Report : "After the day was all over, I sat in my apartment staring at nothing for an extended period of time, realizing how invigorating it all was, spending time with these 3 fellows. These are the kinds of people I need to be around more often, for reasons I already mentioned. As an artist, especially a scribe, one can lead a rather insular life, understandably; but the experience of being around other artists from time to time is just as necessary, and that's something I tend to forget sometimes... until I have a day like I did yesterday. Thus I plan on making a habit of this." Read more here . Related: Brian "The Film Panel Notetaker" Geldin on observing a shoot for the doc . - Sujewa

Got 2.5 hrs of interviews for The Indie Film Bloggers (a great start) - Thanks a lot NYC!

Thanks to the Chinatown bus, a very helpful MTA/NYC subway train station employee, and specially Brian " The Film Panel Notetaker " Geldin, Tambay " The Obenson Report " Obenson, & Brandon " Cinema Echo Chamber " Harris, & of course a sweaty but still beautiful New York City, I shot the first 2.5 hours of interview footage for my doc The Indie Film Bloggers today. Had a great time filming the interviews, learned a lot. Will have some photos from the weekend when I get back to DC/MD this week. And possibly a "in-production"/promo trailer for the doc in the coming weeks/July. Lots more interviews with lots more indie film bloggers in the coming weeks (any indie film blogger who is interested in being in the doc can e-mail me ( ) & we'll see if we can work together on this project). Speaking of IFB subjects, check out this Amazon page for info. on Tambay's real indie & self-distributed feature Beautifu

Happiness Is No Fun at The Obenson Report

Check out filmmaker & blogger Brandon Harris's blaxploitation meets Godard short film Happiness Is No Fun at filmmaker & blogger Tambay Obenson's blog The Obenson Report . While I was in Brooklyn earlier today I got a chance to check out a rough cut/one possible version of a new short film by Harris ; featuring Ry Russo-Young in a lead role - very interesting, very well done, looking forward to seeing the final version. When I hear about any screenings of Harris's new short I'll mention it here. - Sujewa

Be back Mon...

... with photos from the Hot Summer Night Shorts (event went well, the handful of people who attended had a good time, Hansen's Clean Freak was a favorite) screening event, & perhaps notes & pics from shooting interviews for The Indie Film Bloggers in NYC on Sat. - Sujewa

Got the full title for the indie film blogger doc

Here it is: The Indie Film Bloggers: A Portrait of a Community . More about it here . - Sujewa

TONIGHT - Hot Summer Night Shorts in Kensington, MD

* * Image from GDMF by James M. Johnston Hot Summer Night Shorts USA 2008 Seven new short films by directors from various parts of the U.S. of A. Being shown on a large/10 foot long screen, away from the summer heat in one of the coolest bookstores in Maryland, with some of the filmmakers in attendance. Lemonade will be served. Event programmed & presented by filmmaker & blogger Sujewa Ekanayake. Interesting times will be had; come join us. Films: GDMF, 1 on 1, Clean Freak, Magnus & The Air Quotes Woman, knock.knock, Plain US, (and a short by Dave Nuttycombe, details soon). Total running time of the program: 2 hours. Go here/Capital City Microcinema site/blog for the rest of the info. - Sujewa

Mary Stuart Masterson on self-distributing her film The Cake Eaters

Masterson on that subject and more at The Film Panel Notetaker blog . - Sujewa

Brandon "Cinema Echo Chamber" Harris is in for the blogger doc

More on that at The Indie Film Bloggers site/blog. - Sujewa

Jarmusch in the Simpsons

Apparently Jim Jarmusch acted in a Simpsons episode recently, more info. here . - Sujewa

The book industry may be a good model to use in accomodating the new developments & growing the US film industry

The following three things, I believe, are true: 1 - Hollywood movies are popular, both in the US & world wide 2 - Because of digital production & the web, more non-Hollywood filmmakers can make movies now, and thus more movies are made now than 10 years ago 3 - There are more film festivals in existence now, compared to the number 10 years ago; and most festivals are generally well attended So what does this mean for the US film industry, in all areas (Hollywood, indiewood, real indie/DIY, etc.), for the future? Reportedly around 600 movies were released theatrically in the US last year. Several thousand, around 5000 according to one count , movies are made in the US - in Hollywood & outside of Hollywood, and most likely that number will increase. Is there a US creative industry where tens of thousands of unique products/titles are released to consumers each year? Yes, the book industry. According to this & other sources, in recent years over 100,000 books wer

NC 7/11, Atlanta 7/12 to do interviews for The Indie Film Bloggers

It is quite possible that the only indie film blogger in Fayetteville, NC is Chuck Tryon , but in any case, will be in F-ville on Fri 7/11 to interview Chuck for my doc The Indie Film Bloggers . Then the next day, Sat 7/12, I'll be in Atlanta, to interview Noralil Ryan Fores & friends for the doc. Summertime indie filmmaking road trips to new (at least new to me) parts of the world, very exciting. - Sujewa

Congrats on 20 years of indie excellence Zeitgeist!

If I were to develop an indie film theatrical distribution business (which, come to think of it, I would like to do), I would follow the Zeitgeist Films model (from the Village Voice article re: the company's 20 year anniversary): "Gerstman and Russo, veterans of indie distribs First Run Pictures and Interama, respectively, joined forces in 1988, working in an elevator-sized apartment in the West Village for $175 per month. "We started the company with $1,000 each and $900 on a credit card," recalls Gerstman. Their first release was Bruce Weber's nonfiction boxing portrait, Broken Noses, followed by a collection of shorts from Todd Haynes and Christine Vachon's Apparatus Productions. Soon after, they released Haynes's feature debut, Poison, along with a bevy of work from budding auteurs, such as Guy Maddin's Archangel, Atom Egoyan's Speaking Parts, and The Films of the Brothers Quay." More here . And, the company is cool when approaching

The real indie film perspective backlash to Mark Gill's "sky is falling" speech has officially begun

I just spoke with a couple of non-indiewood/real indie filmmakers who have completely bought into the wisdom expressed in Mark Gill's L.A. Film Festival "sky is falling" speech as being relevant to them & the entire indie spectrum. I tried to convince them that Gill is talking about indiewood stuff; movies made for over $5 million or so, using Hollywood filmmaking skills & experience & featuring Hollywood actors & promoted by Hollywood distribution skills & muscle, & with Hollywood expectations of box office success and not real indie movies ("no" budget, no star, more or less self-distributed in most cases, first or second or third time features, very small crews, etc.), not sure how successful I was at getting my point across. However, not everyone in the indie world believes that Gill's perspective applies to the entire indie film realm. 2 examples: My post from earlier today. Anthony Kaufman's post re: the 20 year anniversa

Tales of the Starlight Drive-In - a comic book

Click on the image to go find out about this intriguing comic book . - Sujewa

Barry Jenkins interviews cinematographer Asif Siddiky

At ShortEnd Magazine . From the interview: "SM: (laughing) See that’s funny because I always feel like on a set the DP has the most responsibility. AS: To be honest, I haven’t had much responsibility DP’ing for narrative. Natural Causes was my first time doing that so I don’t have too much to base that on. With that experience in particular, the four of us [Siddiky and collaborating directors Michael Lerman and brothers Alex and Paul Cannon] were sort of sharing the load of making that film. And so in some ways I had the least to worry about of the four of us. I’ve definitely worked on films doing behind the scenes documentaries for bigger productions, and I’ve seen that; I’ve seen the hundred man crews and all the lighting and all the stuff that goes on to produce the one shot after hours of work, and as I’m thinking about where I want to go with this, that’s really not the direction I want to head in at all. I prefer to work with small crews." Read the rest of the inte

The Obenson Report is going to be a part of The Indie Film Bloggers

Discovered a new blog called The Obenson Report - focusing on Africa related filmmaking (or re-discovered it, I think I saw it at one point in the past), & the blogger Tambay Obeson is interested in being interviewed for my new doc The Indie Film Bloggers , so, that interview will be happening this weekend in NYC. Check out The Obenson Report if you haven't yet, the first few posts that I read were interesting. There are thousands of indie film bloggers, at least, and my movie can probably provide portraits of at least a dozen or so. So far the line up of subjects for the doc is shaping up well; self /Sri Lankan-American DIY filmmaker & blogger, Brian Geldin/ Film Panel Notetaker ; NYC based unique film blog (i don't know of any other blogger that does what Brian does - as the 100% focus of their blog), Chuck Tryon ; media professor & blogger (thus his writing style is generally different & more detailed than those of most other non-academic bloggers), Noralil

Yeah, don't worry about that Mark Gill speech too much, fear is mostly a Hollywood thing

Yes, some divisions - the "indiewood" ones - of Hollywood may be in trouble, as Mark Gill spoke of in his recent speech; but, the list of problems don't really affect real indie filmmakers. See the indieWIRE article for Gill's list of woes in their full & original version; I'll just offer a brief version of each "sky is falling" item & my brief thoughts about each as it relates to real indie film: 1: Re: Picturehouse and Warner Independent closing That's an indiewood thing, does not affect real indie filmmaking & distribution. 2: Re: New Line 's staff cut Again, an indiewood thing. 3: Re: Paramount Vantage Another indiewood thing. 4: Re: Sidney Kimmel Another indiewood thing (i think, not too familiar with SK). 5: Re: ThinkFilm 's financial troubles, lawsuits, etc. Now we are bordering on the real indie world. Hopefully Think & filmmakers, vendors will work out their problems (meaning people owed money will get p

Will be interviewing/filming bloggers this weekend in NYC for my indie film bloggers doc

I'll be in NYC this coming weekend (Sat 6/28 & Sun 6/29) interviewing & filming indie film bloggers for my new film - the documentary The Indie Film Bloggers . Any NYC based bloggers who write about indie film & are interested in participating in the doc (specially if we have not spoken about it already) can e-mail me ( ), and we can see if you/your blog is of interest to the doc and if this doc is a project relevant to you/your blog. Thanks. - Sujewa

SilverDocs '08 winners

Here's the SilverDocs award winners press release: "SILVERDOCS ANNOUNCES FESTIVAL WINNERS THE GARDEN Wins Sterling US Feature Award Special Jury Mention to TROUBLE THE WATER THE ENGLISH SURGEON Wins Sterling World Feature Award Special Jury Mention to THE RED RACE WHAT WOULD THE DROP KNOW ABOUT THAT? Wins Sterling Short Award Honorable Mention went to GROUND FLOOR RIGHT and ONE DAY Music Documentary Award Goes to THROW DOWN YOUR HEART THE ORDER OF MYTHS Wins The Cinematic Vision Award The WITNESS Award Goes to PRAY THE DEVIL BACK TO HELL KASSIM THE DREAM Wins the American Film Market/SILVERDOCS Award Writers Guild of America Documentary Screenplay Award to FORBIDDEN LIE$ Feature Audience Award to be announced Monday, June 23, 2008 Short Audience Award to be announced Monday, June 23, 2008 ACE Grant winner is THE ELEPHANT IN THE LIVING ROOM Silver Spring, Maryland, June 22, 2008—SILVERDOCS: AFI/Discovery Channel Documentary Festival announced its distinguished a

Hurricane Katrina doc Trouble the Water Q & A notes from SilverDocs, at Film Panel Notetaker

Check out the notes here . From the post: "Q: How did you decide before the storm to start doing the videotaping? What was going through your mind? Why did you decide you wanted to document what was happening? Kimberly: I purchased the camera I had used a week maybe or so before the storm came. My purpose for purchasing the camera was to record family events. I had never used a camera before in my life until the day before I started recording. That's not in the movie, but I was just playing with it. Once we realized we were going to stay, I figured that it would be history. Once we realized we couldn't leave, it was like we have no other choice but to stick it out. If it's going to happen how they say it is, we're going to record it. We were like, we can sell this to the news if we get something good. (Audience laughs out loud.) Another aspects was if we die, people would know exactly how we died if they found the tape somehow." Read the rest of the Q &

100 new indie bookstores opened last year

From Paul Constant's Text Message from Los Angeles article in The Stranger: "BEA attracts 36,000 booksellers, publishers, publicists, sales representatives, agents, lawyers, and authors (along with 1,000 journalists who report incredibly polite accounts of the weekend's events) to a different city every year, and every year the American Booksellers Association (ABA) kicks off the weekend with a party in a grand ballroom. This year, there is actually something to celebrate—something that cuts against the industry's self-fulfilling death wish: One hundred new independent bookstores opened in America last year. One speaker describes "recolonizing the parts of America that chain stores had left barren." This is, by any measure, a big deal." Read the rest of the article here . Thanks GreenCine Daily for the link. - Sujewa

Interview re: marketing the balloon doc Twisted

At The House Next Door .

Wedding over, SilverDocs, etc. tomorrow

It was a long day in badly designed dress shoes but on the bright side, an awesome wedding, good times hanging out with many members of the family, good food, lots of videotaping. I plan on checking out some SilverDocs action tomorrow & Sunday. Too bad I missed the Spike Lee event on Thu; would have been cool to see a discussion featuring one of the most relevant US filmmakers of the last quarter century. - Sujewa

Beginning Filmmaking, a short by Jay & Ella Rosenblatt, @ SilverDocs

Just watched a screener DVD of Jay Rosenblatt's short film Beginning Filmmaking, about his attempt to get his 4 year old daughter Ella interested in filmmaking. Short is funny, simple, touching/sweet, and at times surreal (also at times I wondered if parents pushing what they are into too hard on their kids is a bad idea), and overall relatively unweird goodness. Here is SilverDoc's description of the film; from this page : "In this endearing portrait of a very young artist, an enthusiastic father discovers truth in the cliché “creative differences” when he attempts to teach his 4-year-old daughter about filmmaking. Ella learns what she wants to, discards what she doesn’t, and is determined to be a star in her own mind." Short screens in the Shorts Program 3 on Friday 6/20. Go here for more info. - Sujewa

OK, a bunch of people will get the chance to see Medicine for Melancholy

indieWIRE reports that Medicine for Melancholy will be distributed by IFC Films. Read about it @ iW: . Thanks Camera Stilo blog for the link. - Sujewa

SilverDocs '08 is on yo

Check out the films list here . And go to the front page & scroll down for some video from Day 1 of SilverDocs. - Sujewa

Rescuing the Critical Mass With 'Exile Cinema' article

Note to current or future film/indie film entrepreneurs out there; 1. there is a market for interesting, well done writing about art/indie/foreign movies (as there is a consumer appetite for such movies; witness the mushrooming of film festivals), 2. a lot of the people - film critics - who can do the writing are being let go by their employers - newspapers, 3. if you can create profitable platforms to deliver good writing about art/indie/foreign films, there will be a large pool of talent who can do the work, 4. so, get busy, think about ways to build businesses/revenue streams that make use of the talents of film writers; not only will such businesses be very interesting ones to be a part of & operate, you'll contribute to the preservation and broadening the influence of a rewarding - on several levels - art/entertainment form. For an introduction to the world of people who take art/indie/foreign movies seriously & can write well about them, check out the New Yor

Chuck Tryon & Amir Motlagh are into the bloggers doc project

I plan on interviewing both Chuck Tryon & Amir Motlagh for The Indie Film Bloggers this summer. - Sujewa

The most important stuff you would need to shoot a DV short or feature available for sale

Buying used gear is always tricky (hell, even buying new camera gear can be tricky, once I bought a 1 chip camera brand new & had to return it to the manufacturer because of a pixel issue on the flip-out LCD display), but if you know who the seller is, I guess the risk is less. Film fest programmer & blogger Tom Hall is selling his VX-2000 3 CCD DV camera. Comes with a shotgun mic & a few other useful things such as a Beachtek adapter if you want to hook up XLR audio cables to the camera ( all the info., w/ links to info. on accessories, here ). That camera & mic, etc. can be used to shoot features & shorts & whatever else you might want to videotape. Check out the Ebay auction of the camera here , bids start at $999. If the camera is in good shape (Tom says it is, he's gotten it checked out by a service shop, more info. here ), it could be a good deal. And yes, I know a lot of people are thinking about switching over to HD gear, but I feel like I jus

Plain Us and knock.knock reviews at Hollywood Is Talking

Brief reviews of Amir Motlagh's shorts Plain Us and knock.knock at Hollywood Is Talking . - Sujewa

Don't drink the tap water in some parts of Montgomery County, MD for the next three days

From Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission : "OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS & COMMUNITY RELATIONS ***update 7:15am*** BOIL WATER ADVISORY FOR CUSTOMERS IN PORTIONS OF MONTGOMERY COUNTY MANDATORY WATER RESTRICTIONS ALSO IN EFFECT Contact WSSC Communications 301.206.8100 (Laurel, MD June 16, 2008): The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) is issuing a precautionary boil water advisory for Montgomery County outside the beltway, with the exception of customers who receive their water from the City of Rockville. The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission experienced a major water main break at 9:15 p.m. on Sunday evening. This resulted in the loss of water pressure or water service for large areas of Montgomery County outside the Beltway. When water systems lose pressure there is an increased risk of contamination. Although we do not have an indication that the water system has been contaminated, as a precaution, the WSSC and the Maryland Department of the Environment reco

Review of Fauborg Treme in ShortEnd Magazine

At ShortEnd Magazine check out the review of David Logsdon's documentary Fauborg Treme: The Untold Story of Black New Orleans . From the review, written by Tracy Jones: "The dominating factor in this film to me, as an African-American, was how detached I felt in part because I had no idea how influential and important New Orleans was to America. "New Orleans is not so much overlooked as put into a separate category," Elie explains. "All Americans are aware of the city and have a vague knowledge of the music and celebrations here, but they don't connect that to the mainstream of American history and culture." When Katrina struck New Orleans, the media appeared to have a moment of honesty and determination to passionately report on this tragic event through a perceived objectivity. They managed to expose the incompetence of the federal government, but in all their human interests stories, from MSNBC to CNN, they somehow missed revealing the vast, ingen

Miracle at St. Anna trailer

Re: Jonathan Marlow's "There are far too many people making movies that have no business picking up a camera" idea

In his follow up to the post about film festivals and indie film distribution, Jonathan Marlow says the following: "About 20 years ago, David Thomas (frontman for the legendary Pere Ubu ) suggested that there were far too many bands in the world. I think it's time to revive his appeal and apply it to the motion picture industry. There are far too many people making movies that have no business picking up a camera. I've said it on panels and now I'll put it in print - if you're a filmmaker and you suspect that you're not up for the challenge, please stop! We've had enough. The business of filmmaking, like the process of politics, often discourages our best and brightest. These days, the good ones generally give up on the Sisyphean hurdles and find some other practical line of work. Audiences are then regularly left with a particular personality type that continues to make films-about-nothing long after they should've stopped. If we can promote the form

Until The Indie Film Bloggers doc is done, follow its progress at its site/blog

Soon there will be too many posts re: The Indie Film Bloggers for this general interest blog, so, until that doc is done, follow its progress at its own blog . When the doc is finished I'll post here re: screenings & other distribution related items. Also will post here when something major & or very interesting happens during the production phase. - Sujewa

To Georgia in July

Will be taking a little road trip to Georgia in July to interview ShortEnd Magazine's editor Noralil Ryan Fores (and anyone else from ShortEnd who happens to be around that day) for my doc The Indie Film Bloggers . Been to Savannah, GA a couple of times a few years ago (my brother went to school there for a bit); they had nice looking gigantic moss covered trees there - other than that I have not spent much time in The GA. Looking forward to visiting Georgia in July. - Sujewa

What she does when she is not directing

One filmmaker, Anne Norda , writes about how the days were spent during a month in which she did not do anything related to movie making; at MovieMaker magazine's blog . An excerpt: "So, during this long, dry “no moviemaking” fast, I accepted a one-day gig at the Eclectic Theater Company, writing and directing for their 24-hour festival. It ain’t Hollywood… it’s LIVE Hollywood! Actually, it’s NORTH Hollywood, which, these days, is becoming a dead-ringer for the other H. All the participants in the 24-hour madness were out-of-work somethings with this special day of respite from unemployment, strike fall-outs and half-hearted tinkerings on their computers." Read the rest of Norda's post here . - Sujewa

Site/blog for the new doc The Indie Film Bloggers is up

No posts of consequence there yet, working on getting the links, etc. up. Soon there will be stuff there, oh yeah. Go here & bookmark it , add to your favorites; for it is the site for a doc , most likely, about people like you; indie filmmaker/fan types who blog about indie films & related matters. The Indie Film Bloggers movie site/blog is now in existence; let it be known :) - Sujewa

The Incredible Hulk...This time it's emotional

From the Jimmy Kimmel show:

Obama, Bush, McCain pay tribute to Tim Russert

Tim Russert did some very good work. Very sad to hear that he suddenly, unexpectedly passed away at such a relatively young age (58). Three US leaders remember the departed news person:

Indie film blogger doc

I've started shooting footage for a documentary about indie film bloggers. If you are one, and you want to be a part of the documentary, e-mail me ( ). I am going to interview/videotape indie film bloggers in NYC, DC area, Baltimore & places close to those cities this summer about this thing that we do. The finished film might be interesting, might be entertaining, and will certainly be a snapshot of sorts of how quite a bit of indie film news, ideas, opinions get expressed & circulated at the moment. I hope to have the doc finished in the fall. - Sujewa

Family wedding that week, won't be able to cover SilverDocs

My sister is getting married the week of 6/15, so, the whole family (well, at least several key members out of the thousands) is in town from many parts of the world (including parts unknown ), causing me to schedule in much hang out time w/ these people who are reported to be related to me, so, I won't be at SilverDocs feasting on their offering of docs. However, luckily for all of us, Brian "The Film Panel Notetaker" Geldin will be in town, taking notes, interviewing people & otherwise turning his blog into a red hot sexy source of SilverDocs '08 info. - Sujewa

What I learned by arguing with a bunch of people who hate Spike Lee and are big fans of Clint Eastwood

On the down side, I lost a few hours of work during the last couple of days commenting at the Guardian Film Blog post re: Lee and Eastwood , but on the up side, I received a reminder lesson on a few things; value of people, their work and historical events can completely and totally be different from person to person/value of things is definitely in the mind of the beholder, Spike Lee is an incredibly unique & valuable figure in the history of American and western cinema; perhaps more people will articulate this in decades to come (since Lee does a good job, perhaps too good of a job promoting himself, perhaps a lot of people are hesitant to add to the praise at present), some people find Lee to be a threatening figure; they take everything he says at face value or as the final word on things/Lee's final perspective as opposed to perhaps being the starting question, the opening, to a discussion or an argument, and, interestingly enough, the time spent dealing with Lee haters

Michael Ondaatje's got a "new" book; Divisadero

The "new" is in quotes 'cause even though Divisadero is new to me, looks like it came out in '07 or so. Check out this NPR page re: Divisadero . For all you Running In The Family, English Patient, Anil's Ghost, etc. fans. This one takes place not in Sri Lanka or during WW II but in 1970's California & pre-World War I France. - Sujewa

Ed Halter's article on microcinemas at FilmInFocus

Check it out here . Thanks Filmmaker Mag blog for the link. - Sujewa

How filmmakers will get paid through the new

THR has some of the info; here . Thanks GreenCine Daily for the link. Check out for more. - Sujewa

Miracle at St. Anna poster at Cinematical

Cinematical has the poster to the upcoming Spike Lee movie about African-American soldiers in Italy; check it out here . Looking forward to this movie. A first of its kind I think (American/Hollywood movie about African-American soldiers in WWII). - Sujewa

Latest re: the 6/27 short films screening

Go to the Capital City Microcinema site/blog for the latest. Still creating the program, will have all the final info. & links up at this same post later today. - Sujewa

Dirty Harry is angry at Spike Lee; lots of Guradian Film Blog readers think it's totally cool

According to this Guardian Film Blog post , when Spike Lee pointed out that the contribution of African-American soldiers to WWII has not been reflected in many Hollywood movies about WWII (specifically Clint Eastwood's Flags & Iwo Jima), Eastwood responds by telling Lee to shut up. And a lot of the commenters at the Guardian Blog automatically takes Eastwood's side. Even though Lee's complaint is accurate; most Hollywood movies have ignored, for DECADES, contributions made by non-"white" soldiers in the battle against the Nazis, Facist Italy & Imperial Japan. If I recall correctly, aside from African-American soldiers, hundreds of thousands of soldiers from India & other British colonies served on the side of the Allied Powers (including at least one of my own relatives from Sri Lanka), also non-"white" soldiers from French colonies. However, most WWII movies thus far, specially ones from Hollywood, have ignored the non-"white&qu

Notes from a Where Internet and Film Collide event, June 5

At Film Panel Notetaker . - Sujewa

Religion Sunday post: Buddhism and war

It's Sunday in America, lots of people are doing religious stuff; so this morning I am thinking about the bizarre situation re: Sri Lanka; a deeply Buddhist country that boasts Buddhism as the state religion for over 2500 years has one of the worst human rights records in the world. How did this come about? No doubt there are many & lengthy answers to that question. A google search produced this document ; Buddhism and war: Two Reviews . The document looks at the book Zen War Stories , a book by Brian Daizen Victoria, about WWII era Japanese Zen Buddhism and its collaboration with the imperial Japanese government in its war & conquest project. An excerpt from the review: "The author argues that violence is incompatible with Buddhism’s message of peace and compassion and pursues the weighty evidence of Zen’s failure to live accordingly. Victoria documents the support given by Zen Buddhists to the military regime, including masters who would later bring Zen to the we

Trailer for Amos Poe's EMPIRE II

0. I've thought a couple of times about the trailer for Empire II since I came back from NYC. 1. Amos Poe's site , where you can buy a DVD of Empire II . 2. A review of Empire II (from the 2 reviews I read, perhaps the 3 hour movie is best watched in pieces, ideal thing to do using the DVD). 2.5. I would of course like to check out Empire I or Andy Warhol's Empire at some point (maybe not the whole 8 hours or whatever). 3. Trailer for Empire II:

Disappearances in Sri Lanka video on Human Rights Watch site

Great (well made but sad & troubling) video, check it out here . Some background: the Sri Lankan government is fighting the separatist Tamil Tigers (who are worse than the government; uses suicide bombers, child soldiers, is a military dictatorship, kills Tamil dissidents & moderate politicians, kills innocents/non-combatants through bombing passenger buses, etc.) at the moment. One of the unofficial tools being used in this war by the government is the kidnapping & murder of anyone that they perceive is a threat to the government (the government will deny this, but people who live in Sri Lanka know this is happening, as well as outside observers). A tactic that the government of that time employed successfully to put down the Sinhala/JVP insurrection in the late 1980's. It would be far more effective & useful for the Sri Lankan government to adopt generally accepted human rights & security practices, protection of civil liberties - including the right to dis

Take Out sounds good

Check out Aaron Hillis's review of the new movie Take Out at the Village Voice . And for more Take Out links, GreenCine Daily . Playing now at Quad Cinema in NYC . Official website . - Sujewa

Conchords - "BOOM!"

Kurt Cobain About A Son on Sundance Channel tonight

Read all about the event from the director himself, here . If you get the Sundance Channel & you have not seen About A Son yet & you are remotely interested in indie/punk/90's rock, lives of artists, & very creative filmmaking, check it out. Sundance Channel's page for the film . Their description: "Documentary filmmaker A. J. Schnack (GIGANTIC: A TALE OF TWO JOHNS) breaks nearly every established rock documentary convention in this "deeply moving" (Village Voice) examination into the short life of Kurt Cobain. The voice of the Byronic grunge rock icon is heard in excerpts from revealing interviews recorded a little more than a year before his 1994 suicide. Cobain is heard ruminating about fame, drugs, his childhood and his band as impressionistic images of locales from Cobain's life in the Pacific Northwest provide a visual counterpoint." Congrats to Team Son on the SC premiere! - Sujewa :: ADVERTISEMENT Al Maiorino -

Re: festivals representing the collective judgment of the independent film community

At this blog post , IndiePix's Bob Alexander says: " Question: If a festival can’t pay a filmmaker, then why are festivals important? Answer: Because they represent the collective judgment of the independent film community." (thanks A.J. Schnack for the link to Bob's post) But do festivals really represent "the collective judgment of the independent film community"? I would have to say no. Because, the independent film community is, by my definition (and this is probably a definition that most people involved in indie films to some significant degree can agree with) people who purchase/watch indie movies (at theaters, on DVD, at festivals, etc.), people who make indie movies, people who distribute indie movies, people who promote indie movies, people who organize film festivals and other indie film screening events, people who criticize or otherwise write about, discuss indie movies. That is a lot of people; several hundred thousand people, at least, in th

New Date Number One screening dates, DVD info. by the end of this month

I am working on setting up screenings of the new version of Date Number One . Also the DVD (will be selling the DVD just from/through my websites/mail order until all the '08 & possibly part of '09 screenings of the film are done, after that will try to sell the DVD through all open avenues). I am going to try to make the DVD available for purchase at some point this month. That is the latest re: that film; more DNO news by the end of this month/June. - Sujewa

All the Vermeers in New York review at NYT in '92

Still have not seen this movie; was doing some web browsing re: Vermeer, found this New York Times review from '92, check it out here . A little bit from the review, the basic plot of the movie: "One afternoon, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Mark observes Anna as she observes his favorite Vermeer, a portrait of a pensive young woman gazing out from the canvas. Struck by Anna's resemblance to the woman in the picture, which is not all that pronounced, Mark begins to pursue her. He pays no attention to her lack of enthusiasm and rudeness. He sees in her something of the healing serenity he associates with Vermeer. She sees him as a convenience and borrows $3,000. " Read the rest here . - Sujewa

Photos from the 5/30-6/1/08 NYC trip

It was my girlfriend Amanda's birthday last weekend, and she had never visited NYC before, so we took a trip. Had a great time. On the film front got to visit Pioneer Theater, Brooklyn International Film Festival, and hung out with Brian "The Film Panel Notetaker" Geldin, Mumblecore Erin/Erin Sherer , and Marc "Frownland/Yeast" Raybin . Among other attractions, Amanda visited the Folk Art Museum, and she was pretty excited about that. At the end of the trip she said she loved NYC. - Sujewa

Interview with the stars of The Secret Society For SLOW ROMANCE - 9.7.20

Filmmaker Brandon David Wilson interview - On Covid19, Sepulveda movie, the future, growing up in LA

The Amazing Dan Mirvish! - Making indie movies, from Hollywood - an inspiring discussion