Friday, April 28, 2006

Boston Busts Out LOLing

I'm still on the road, but here's the update from the super-ultra-wonderful-we can't believe it really happened Independent Film Festival of Boston. Wow! What a great Festival! Get your films ready for next year. You don't want to miss this one. I'm already devising schemes to make sure I will be back. The Festival was small enough to feel intimate but large enough to offer plenty of choices. A large percentage of filmmakers were in town as well, which was great for catching up with old friends and meeting new ones.



Free gifts were flowing at the Festival. This sweet bag was just the start. It was full of CDs and we were also given a Festival T-shirt, coupons for ice cream, and even a pair of shoes (!!!) from a company called No Sweat that doesn't use any sweatshop labor.



A dedicated staff of volunteers took care of us all weekend and made sure the food was constantly replenished and the Red Bull was flowing. We spent every moment we could hanging out in the Filmmaker Lounge.



The Festival put us up in a super swank hotel that came with multiple leopard print robes. If you send Kevin an email he might show you some pics from our late night photo shoot featuring this robe.



Before our first Boston screening, Kevin and I took the film to Prividence, RI for a screening at the Rhode Island School of Design. Kevin went to school here and we were excited to show the film to students. The screening took place in The Tap Room.



The screening was great, and lots of people showed up to check it out. Special Thanks to Paul Connelly, who help us set this event up.



We had our first of two sell-out screenings, and our best Q & A yet, on Friday night. The audience was great and asked very intelligent questions after the screening. They really seemed to "get it" and were excited about the way we made the film. Our wonderful moderator Joshua can be seen on the far right.



The Festival hosted a bunch of really fun parties, featuring acts like UV Protection, seen here. We ran into a lot of filmmakers that we knew from previous festivals...



...like the gang from THE LAST ROMANTIC. You can also see our new friend, Troy Morgan, in the background on the right.



We also spent a lot of time hanging out with the super cool Michael Tully, who we will be seeing a lot of on the Festival scene over the coming months. I plan to finally see his film, COCAINE ANGEL, at the Maryland Film Festival in May.



Festival Co-Founder and Director Jason Redmond took a moment from his hectic schedule to pose for a photo with Kris and Tipper.



The last time I saw Arin and Susan, the masterminds behind FOUR EYED MONSTERS, I was dropping them off at a train station in Chicago as they rushed to the airport to catch a plane back to NY. They were in Boston to present their podcasts promoting the film.



Adam Roffman (Festival Programmer) and I do our impersonation of the FEMs. Adam invited LOL to the Festival and we tried all weekend to express our gratitude. We hope to be back next year with a new project.

LOL will be showing next at the Maryland Film Festival on May 12 and 14. Come see it if you can.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Using Festivals as a springboard to a Platform Release


It’s my feeling that the distribution strategy of “hoping to get acquired at a festival” isn’t a strategy. Year after year filmmakers pin all their hopes on being invited to a major festival in search of the elusive 7 figure advance. I think it’s time to change the way we view festivals. I think we use them for what there great for; networking, promotion, travel, seeing new films AND as a way to release a film.

That’s how I’m viewing the festival circuit. I’m planning on using festivals as a springboard to a platform release. When I say platform release I mean the festival becomes the first step in a distribution strategy that I’ve put in place. It becomes a vehicle for promotion, a way to push the publicity and exposure towards monetizing the film. Platform releasing isn’t something new – it’s used by the studios, the mini majors and many independent distributors. But it isn’t something that most filmmakers tend to do when considering their festival strategies. Here’s a breakdown of what I’m planning.

  • Start selling foreign territories at the Cannes Film Market next month
  • Domestic festival screenings early summer through fall
  • Promotional and speaking engagements – horror conventions and various industry conventions starting in May and continuing into the Fall
  • Limited theatrical release on 5 to 8 screens starting a month before the street date of the DVD
  • Fall street date for the DVD which places the film in retail and rental outlets nationwide (I’m also currently working on a deal for the soundtrack, which would place it everywhere from iTunes to retail outlets across the country.) So the DVD and CD would street the same day.
  • International festivals before and after the release of the DVD in the states
  • Attend the AFM in Nov. to continue foreign sales
  • Continue the international festival circuit after US street date for about a year to help push sales overseas
  • Starting NOW and continuing through the end of the platform release I’ll be working the press - pointing everything towards the DVD release date.

So how does one go about creating a platform release? It depends on many factors; who’s the audience, what are your resources, and what do you hope to gain from distributing your film. The above strategy targets a wide audience from horror fans to the general viewing public. It works with a foreign sales agent, a DIY theatrical release combined with smaller DVD and music labels that have national distribution in place. And last but not least it will get the film seen by a large number of people here and abroad, which in the end will help me to make more films.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Review and Interview -- American Messiah

If anyone's interested: Hollywood is Talking's review of the The Proper Care & Feeding of an American Messiah. An interview with me is also featured on the site, but I can't seem to link to it directly...

1000 DVDs replicated, retail ready, for $1.25 each

Been shopping for DVD replicating (glass master, blah, blah, blah) & packaging services. Nationwide CD in Texas seems to have the best deal: $1.25 each for 1000 DVDs (or $1250 for 1000), retail ready ($55 extra for the UPC code I hear). Check it out here.

- Sujewa

Monday, April 24, 2006

Pic 2 from Kelley Baker's visit to DC area last week


That's Portland based (but often on the road) Angry Filmmaker & Indie Features 06 member Kelley Baker, DIY Filmmaker & self-distributor, sound designer on 6 Gus Van Sant features + 1 Todd Haynes feature. Pic was taken when Kelley visited the DC area to teach a sound design class & show his excellent new drama "Kicking Bird". Kelley is standing outside Silver Spring, MD's Tastee Diner in the above pic.
Photo Copyright 2006 Sujewa Ekanayake.

See pic #1 here, along w/ a tour update from Kelley's blog.

- Sujewa

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Date Number One to play Washington, DC and Seattle, Washington in May

May '06 is gonna be huge for Date Number One. The flick will now have its World Premiere in DC on Sat May 13, 2 shows (7 PM & 9 PM) at Goethe-Institut (prior to this engagement coming into existence a 5/12 lo-key "preview screening" was set up at Kensington Row Bookshop, now that's been cancelled & the Goethe shows will require lots of promotion/bigger venue, higher profile and thus now the World Premiere label will have to be affixed to the Goethe shows, before that the Seattle shows had it). Then the Pacific Northwest premiere of the film happens May 19 Fri - 21 Sun, 6 shows (7 PM & 9 PM daily) at Seattle's Northwest Film Forum . I expect to have retail DVDs ready by the 5/13 World Premiere (if not, definitely by 5/19, and if not, definitely definitely at some point in May :).

I am finishing up a screener DVD at the moment. Fellow Indie Features 06 blogger Kelley Baker will check out the sound mix tomorrow or Thu (Kelley recorded sound for 6 Gus Van Sant features). Then on Fri or Sat I will be mailing screener DVDs to bloggers who requested them. At some point next week I expect to see the first review of the movie up on the web.

And that's the latest exciting news from here. Will have more on these developments next week.

- Sujewa

hello from philly

Just wanted to introduce myself - my name's Lance Weiler and I'm a filmmaker. This year I'll have two features in distro. First up is a number of festival screenings for my newest feature HEAD TRAUMA. Then come fall my first feature THE LAST BROADCAST will get a re-release collector's edition. The DVD will be released nationwide on Sept. 26th.

Thanks for the invite Sujewa, indie features 06 is a great concept and I'm excited to contribute and hear about everyone's distro experiences.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Made a page for Date Number One at MySpace Film

Check it out here. Here's the URL: http://www.myspace.com/69525376. Will be adding more stuff to the page later this month. Thanks!

- Sujewa

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

LOL leaves Philadelphia LOLing

We are home from the Philadelphia Film Festival, and once again, I have a wrap-up report with lots of pictures. This Festival is great, and everyone should be sure to submit for next year's event. They fly you out to Philly and put you up, the attendance is good, the programming is good, and overall it's just a really fun Festival. I was able to meet cool people and still have time to do some chilling and looking around. The city is easy to navigate without a car, though public transporation tends to stop pretty early compared to Chicago. The Fest seems to be on an upward trajectory, and everyon was talking about how much it has grown in the past few years. Definitely check it out.



We all landed at separate times, but we coordinated to have a driver from the Festival get as many of us as possible. The wonderful Mark James picked Kevin, Kris, and I up, but we couldn't find Tipper. We were driving around the airport when one of us spotted her walking. We yelled her name through many lanes of airport traffic and she finally heard us and came over to the car. She claims that our many phone calls to her did not show up on her phone.



The Festival was nice enough to hook us up with a place to stay. Since there were so many of us in town, we got an apartment, instead of a hotel room. Here we are after just arriving.



Our first screening was very well attended and we had a great Q&A session afterward. We got some new questions and the audience seemed to really like the film.



As is our custom, we handed out free LOL Soundtracks after the Q&A. It's great to have people come up and talk to us individually after the film. We always meet a lot of nice people.



Here is Tipper talking to filmmaker Paul Harrill after the screening. We spent some time hanging out with Paul during the weekend and talking about the changing landscape of indie film. He's keeping up with all the changes on his blog.



One of the nice things about traveling to Festivals is the chance to do touristy things.



The Festival threw a delicious brunch for the Guests at a swank downtowm restaurant. The food was amazing and we got to meet other filmmaker who were in town.



Here I am with Jesse Dubus, PFF's amazing print-traffic guy. Chris and Jesse were friends before the Festival, and he served as our unofficial guide for the weekend. He knew where all the parties were happening, and how to get us from one place to the next.

The next stop is Boston. We will be there April 19-24th. Please come see the film if you have a chance.

World Premiere Screening

Just a quick shameless plug...

My new feature film "Killing Down" has been accepted and will world premiere at the 36th Annual USA Film Festival in Dallas, Texas. The screening is on Tuesday May 2nd at 7:00pm.

We're excited about the screening, BUT our final sound mix won't be done until mid-May and our final color correction won't be done until late May. So... we will be screening a version with a temp mix and quasi-color correction (done within our Avid suite - not on the full scale DaVinci system). Most folks probably wouldn't even notice, however, we are screening in HD.

Oh yeah, and we're still doing some looping too. Seems no matter how much time you have everything always gets done at the last minute! :)

-Blake

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

IFP Distribution Panel Discussion

Last night there was a very informative meeting about distribution at the Imaginasian Theater in Midtown Manhattan. It was sponsered by IFP and the panel was moderated by Scott Macauley of Filmmaker Magazine. The panel was Jay Duplass, director of the Puffy Chair, Caveh Zahedi (I Am a Sex Addict), and Susan Leber (producer of Down to the Bone).

The filmmakers discussed their strategies on the festival circuit, a few clips were shown, and there was a Q + A. Caveh cracked the audience up with some one-liners.

From what I remember, one of them mentioned "Netflix" and their willingness to work with independent filmmakers. They seem like a viable distribution outlet for DIY filmmakers.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Gigantic discussion re: AIVF & the indie film community going on at Jim McKay's indieWIRE article

A couple of days ago filmmaker Jim McKay* wrote about AIVF & the state of the indie film community. There is now a gigantic (meaning long comments, lots of ideas) going on at the comments section of that article at indieWIRE. Check it out & join in on the fun.

- Sujewa

* from indieWIRE: "Jim McKay is a writer/producer/director based in Brooklyn. His films include "Girls Town," "Our Song," "Everyday People," and the upcoming "Angel." He is a former AIVF board member."

Sunday, April 09, 2006

September 12th wins Best Feature at Longbaugh!

I am happy to announce that September 12th just won the Best Feature Award at the 2006 Longbaugh Film Festival in Portland, OR. It has been a great festival, and we are very thankful to David Walker and Joe Lesher of Willamette Week, the festival directors. There will be a repeat screening tonight of the film.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

The oldest Date Number One blog: the production blog

This blog covered Date Number One production, from script (March '04) until the end of shooting (August '05) and slightly beyond (a little bit of editing got done in late '05, but most of the editing did not start happening until a few weeks ago).

- Sujewa

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

September 12th, Longbaugh Film Festival and self-distribution

September 12th will be at the Longbaugh Film Festival in Portland, OR this Saturday April 8. Willamette Week, a Portland newspaper that sponsors the festival has two articles that talk about the film. The first one calls it "emotionally powerful." The second by festival creative director and film critic, David Walker, should be interesting to the readers of the blog as it mentions newer forms of distribution. I spoke with David and he said Longbaugh is interested in highlighting good indie films, especially those that have a form of self-distribution.

It looks like it will be a very good festival.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Monday, April 03, 2006

Houston Bound

Stacy, Tracy and I are headed to Houston this weekend to give a workshop and screen Rescue Me. It'll be a nice little road trip. I think the three of us are mostly excited about cable television in our hotel room. Inevitably when I stay in a hotel I fall into the reality TV trap ... Me and Bobby Brown, Project Runway, Next Top Model. It's sad. So sad. But I don't care.

Workshop Details:
Developing Scripts for Low Budget Features
Saturday, April 8, 2006
9am - 2pm @ Houston Community College, Town and Country Campus

Screening Details:
Rescue Me - A Dogumentary
Saturday, April 8, 2006 at 3:00 p.m., $5
Houston Community College -- Town & Country Campus
Performing Arts Center
1060 West Sam Houston Parkway North
(Located at the Northeast corner of I-10 and Beltway 8)

Florida Must Love Us...

...because another film festival in the Sunshine State has invited The Proper Care & Feeding of an American Messiah to screen there.

This one is the South Regional 'Indie Gathering' Film Festival, in Ft. Lauderdale in mid-June.

Thanks, Florida! We love you, too.