Wednesday, May 31, 2006

HEAD TRAUMA world premiere



HEAD TRAUMA will be having its world premiere at the LA FILM FESTIVAL later this month. The film will be screening in the Dark Wave section. I can't wait. The first screening will be at the Majestic Crest Theater on Sat. June 24th at 11:59pm. For more info visit http://lafilmfest.com

In other news I'm just about finished the materials for the HT dvd. It's chalk full of bonus features and the packaging design looks amazing. I'll have more details soon regarding the street date. But as I mentioned before, it will be this fall and the movie will get a wide release.

More to come...

"Date Number One" review # 2! (very positive)

This review is out of LA, from the Hollywood Is Talking blog.

Here's a segment from it:

" But if a connection is made, the plates speed up and the spectator is caught up in the jugglers, the ideas, the desire, and the wonder of it all.

Such is the case with Indie Filmmaker Sujewa Ekanayake’s feature “Date Number One”, five stories of diverse characters juggling in and around a cozy bookshop in Kensington, Maryland. It’s probably fair to say that Ekanayake has been inspired by the early work of Richard Linklater and Jim Jarmusch, two filmmakers who patiently take the time to let their characters talk, and perhaps more importantly listen, so that viewers can get to know these folks. Like these two filmmakers, Ekanayake lets his characters make mistakes, fall silent, make false starts, pulling the viewer into their story through identification and recognition."


Check out the whole thing here!

- Sujewa

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Blog admin note: weird going ons w/ the template

The links section on right hand side of the blog do not show up properly on one of my computers (thanks Blake C. for the heads up) but the section does show up properly on my other computer (the later one is running a more recent version of windows). But my other blog shows up as it should on both computers. Will be experimenting a bit w/ the blog template the next couple of days to see if I can get stuff to show up properly. Also, hopefully before this week is out I will be able to get links for all the IF06 flicks added to the links section of the blog. If the links section continues to act weird I'll be adding the links to all the IF06 flicks below my signature whenever I post. Maybe I can add the links to the intro at the top of the page also.

Btw, I saw a mention of The War Tapes in the most recent issue of Premiere Magazine. Congrats Deborah!

- Sujewa

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Friday, May 26, 2006

Silverdocs 2K6

For some reason, my personal blog isn't working right now, but I've been jonesing to blog all day (what a boring addiction), so I'll finally blog something here several months after Sujewa invited me (to be fair, I did write one quick entry back in the day). But while I'm thinking about it, I though I'd do a quick mention that Silverdocs tickets are available and to note that some screenings have already sold out for non-passholders.

Silverdocs, for people who are unfamiliar is a documentary film festival held annually in Silver Spring, MD, just outside of Washington, DC. This year's fest looks promising. So far, I'm planning to see Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady's Jesus Camp, at the major risk of bringing back any number of traumatic childhood memories; Susan Dynner's Punk's Not Dead; Gary Tarn's Black Sun, which focuses on visual artist Hugues de Montalembert's experience going blind as an adult; Alexandra Lipsitz's Air Guitar Nation (yeah, there's a musical theme), which comes highly recommended by Sara Jo Marks; Steve Anderson's Fuck, which focuses on the history and significance of the film's title; Stanley Nelson's Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple; and Michael Winterbottom's The Road to Guantanamo, which looks like an incredibly powerful and potentially controversial film, in part because of its hybrid of documentary and re-enacted scenes.

At any rate, the film schedule looks excellent, and if you're in the DC area, it's certainly worth a quick Metro ride up to Silver Spring. Hopefully things will be up and running in my corner of blogworld soon.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

James M.Johnston & David Lowery in DC

Just got home from hanging out w/ David Lowery & James Johnston at the Black Cat in DC. Earlier today we showed David & James' flick Deadroom to a small but appreciative audience at Kensington Row Bookshop. Hanging out w/ the two filmmakers from Texas has been a lot of fun.
I got to learn all about where to play in Austin & Dallas (!Metronome! (sp?)) & about the general lay of the land over there, for my Texas gigs w/ Date Number One.

David & James visited the monuments earlier today, I am sure David will blog about that & other aspects of the DC trip very soon.

Gotta visit James' wife Amy's vegan joint Spiral Diner when I visit Texas.

- Sujewa

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Just arrived in DC...

...and what can I say? It smells kinda bad. That was the first thing I noticed upon leaving the airport. At first I thought that perhaps I was at the wrong airport, since my limo wasn't waiting for me outside. Turns out it was just late in arriving. It was an '04 model, which was somewhat disappointing, but oh well. I imagine that'll be typical of my time here. Slightly below average all around.

I've been told I have a film playing here this week. I suppose I'll have to make a token appearance. Perhaps one of the plebians in the audience will actually ask a decent question, although I'll go ahead and say right now: don't ask me if Sartre was an influence on the film, because he wasn't. I don't stoop that low.

David Lowery is in DC!

David Lowery is very, very difficult to deal with. Not only did he absolutely insist that I pick him up in a 6 door limousine from BWI air port here in MD/DC area, I had to bring fresh flowers & a stripper. Immediately after meeting him, he requested that I address him as "Sir David Lowery, the III, Texas filmmaker extraordinaire" and not to ask him any questions about anything & that he will speak with me when he deems it necessary. Right now he is speaking on the phone in a very loud tone w/a certain action movie star who belongs to a controversial "religion". Lowery requested that 4 Canadian geese be made available for his breakfast in the morning. This is going to be an interesting week. I am sharpening my knives.

- Sujewa
ps: just kidding, David got here a couple of hours ago, all is well, we look forward to screening "Deadroom" at Kensington Row Bookshop tomorrow night.

Interview With A Seattle Audience Member for Date Number One

(Originally published on Sat 5/20)

Tom Kipp, Seattle resident (& former film reviewer for the Seattle alterna weekly The Stranger, if I heard correctly), came to the 7 PM show today. Here's an interview:

Sujewa: So Tom, how did you hear about my movie playing at Northwest Film Forum (NWFF) tonight?

Tom: Well, I was checking the NWFF website yesterday for info about LOVE STREAMS, and quite randomly found the blurb about DATE NUMBER ONE. I read parts of your blog, and couldn't resist a film about D.C.! [I lived in Burke, VA for five years--'87 to '92--and used to hang out in D.C. all the time.]

Sujewa: Excellent. Glad you came. So how did you like the movie (feel free to elaborate :)?

Tom: I thought the framing device you deployed [having all the characters in some way appended to the Adams-Morgan bookstore] was quite effective, and entirely plausible. It reminded me a little of the odd "social rivulets", as it were, that emanated out from The Record & Tape Exchange, which I used to manage out in Fairfax, VA, in the way that lifelong friendships and doomed "hookups" would both occur in a perfectly organic way, all because folks wanted to buy cheap music, or even kill time at the suburban strip mall where the store was located!

Sujewa: That's a bookstore in Kensington, MD. But I can see how you thought it was in Adams-Morgan. There are a lot of shots of Adams-Morgan in story # 2. Which story out of the 5 was your favorite, and why?

Tom: I think the sweetest, most relaxed, and most satisfying is #5, and the "French" lesson is really sexy, without being all that improbable! Coming in, I was most curious about #2, the "Threesome" episode, because I'd seen the photos of Jennifer & Dele on your blog, and who wouldn't want to watch actresses that gorgeous! I wasn't quite as fond of the episode as a whole, partly due to the "blah-blah" parts, though they're really funny at first. The other story I really enjoyed was #3, because the two actors were so adept at pushing each other's buttons, and they seemed so relaxed in front of the camera.

Sujewa: Excellent. Yup, Story 2 does feature two incredibly attractive performers. That one is an odd story, more dramatic (at least that was the goal) than the rest. I think it adds some interesting ideas & maybe a little bit of weight to the otherwise light film. What did you think (or did you think about this at all?) about there being many minority actors in the movie? Or what did you think about the multi-ethnic approach to casting?

Tom: I didn't register that as a Major Statement at all, but I thought it very true to the nature of the Greater-D.C. boho community as I experienced it, particularly in the sense that it's no big deal around that area to know folks from all over the world, and very common for people of different ethnicities to hang out, date, and chat about the most unusual aspects of their "pre-D.C." or "extra-D.C." lives. I found that people were always curious about my own upbringing in Montana--my sister and I grew up on three Indian Reservations there, due to our dad being a forester with the Bureau of Indian Affairs--and wondered how someone from such a rural part of the U.S. had acquired a huge record collection or knew so much about punk rock, for example. And I was always really pleased to meet people who'd done unusual things or lived overseas, which was a near-daily occurrence living around D.C.

Sujewa: Yeah, it's a strange world. Both you & Mark Andersen (DC activist - founder of We Are Family social service org & author of DC punk history book Dance Of Days) are from Montana & both of you have large record collections. And both of you lived in DC probably at the same time for a while. How do you think the movie will play in Montana?

Tom: It would've done very well, I think, in the Old Missoula of The Crystal Theater, which was the great Rocky Mountain Art House from the early-'70s until just a few years ago. And there may well be a newer venue that has filled the post-Crystal void, though I haven't been in town since '99, so I don't know that for certain. I'd say DATE NUMBER ONE is precisely the charmingly unpredictable sort of relationship-oriented movie that Missoula's filmgoing community would've flocked to when I lived there ['82 to '87], much as they did to STRANGER THAN PARADISE, DOWN BY LAW or SHE'S GOTTA HAVE IT, back in the day!

Sujewa: Thanks for those awesome comparisons Tom! Let's hope the modern day versions of that crowd discovers Date Number One. Thank you for doing this interview right here in the lobby of the Northwest Film Forum (where right now a local theater group is shooting an improve piece). Feel free to talk here about anything you want, related to the film, before we say goodbye for now.

Tom: Well, Sujewa, I'm just really pleased that I lucked into seeing your film and meeting up with you, and I'd like to congratulate you on being able to put FIVE really entertaining, fully-realized romantic interludes on the screen. Your film definitely catches the part of falling for another person that I particularly like, namely the fact that it can go ANYWHERE, and that you could never have imagined going in how it would turn out, or who the person who caught your eye would ACTUALLY turn out to be! Which is a shamefully rare achievement, considering how many films work some variation on this terrain. Good luck!

Sujewa: Thanks Tom! Feel free to ask some questions from me (if you have any).

Tom: The first thing I'd like to know, frankly, is how you wrote your script, whether one of the five stories was originally going to be the basis for an entire feature, or whether you conceived the film as an "anthology" from the git-go? And also, when in the process you came up with the bookstore-as-framing concept?

Sujewa: I planned it from the beginning as an anthology film. Looks like the last show is over & NWFF is closing. Thanks for the interview & talk to you soon Tom.

- Sujewa

Saturday, May 20, 2006

HEAD TRAUMA coming to a city near you





Over the last week or so I started booking a theatrical run for my newest feature HEAD TRAUMA. My goal is to screen the movie for at least a week on 10 to 15 screens. So far I've booked 4 screens, three in the Philadelphia area and one in Scranton, Pa - where the movie was shot. I'm waiting to hear back from screens in VT, AZ, NM, MO, CA, NY, MA and WA.

If anyone happens to know of any indie friendly venues please let me know. I've been talking to a number of independent theater owners with the goal of stitching together a number of screens across the country.

I'm structuring a 50/50 split and so far I'm planning on attending each of the runs for a couple days to help with press and promotion. In most of the cities I'll be doing some talks and workshops. I'm also putting together a series of after parties.

The run will start in August and lead up to the street date of the HEAD TRAUMA DVD on Sept. 26th nationwide.

The goal is get some of the theatrical run covered by sponsorship. I'm close to pulling together some sponsorship money to assist with travel and the production of promotional materials etc.

There are a number of other exciting things in the works as well. The alternate sound track to the movie is close to completion and will be released nationwide on Sept. 26th by a great indie label. I'll have more details about the alt soundtrack and its role within the promotion and distro of HT very soon.

Lastly, HT will be having its world premiere and European premiere at two amazing festivals in June. I'm very excited about the screenings but won't be able to make full announcements until later this month. But I'm planning on using the fests as a springboard to my platform release for the movie.

More to come...

Jacksonville and beyond: a cheerful producer

Just heard from Kat -
Our screening at the Jacksonville film festival was sold out, people were turned away and they set up a second screening on Sunday afternoon.
It's so nice to hear this when my head is down in paperwork that somewhere people are responding to the film and all these little bits of paper on my desk have a meaning beyond which stack they go in.
In other news, we're working with a friend, someone we met on our marathon team (yet another good reason to take up running) to create a marketing plan for jumping. This friend has years of hollywood connections and experience and he meets our main criteria: he's super nice.
More details later, all I can say now is that it's innovative, breaks some rules and is going to be a lot of fun.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Love Streams, Date Number One, Calvin "K Records" Johnson @ Northwest Film Forum tonight

Of course I am excited to be at the Northwest Film Forum tonight 'cause my new feature Date Number One is opening there tonight for a whole weekend worth of shows. On top of that, my excitement has been taken up to 11 'cause John Cassavetes' film Love Streams will be opening tonight. And Calvin Johnson from K Records (and if my memory serves, from Beat Happening & other bands) will be playing music prior to the Love Streams 7 PM show tonight.

!!!AWESOME!!!!!!!

See all three attractions listed at the Northwest Film Forum front page.See ya at the theater if you are in Seattle!

- Sujewa

Thursday, May 18, 2006

"Matt's Birthday Gift" screening at NYU Cantor Film Center

This weekend, I participated in the NYC Midnight Run. The theme was "revenge" and 50 teams of filmmakers had 24 hours to write, shoot, edit, and score a short film. I have to say, it was an exhilirating experience. I hardly ate and didn't even have time to "drop a deuce" (ok, the crass comedy has ended). I wrote the script from 12am--5am (woke my girlfriend up when I couldn't find some blank paper to print the script) the actors were on set by 10am, shot until 3, and edited until 11pm. I almost coughed up a lung running to the bar to hand in the finished film. I was on a creative high until yesterday, when they announced the 12 films moving on to the "BEST OF" screening, and eligible for $10,000 in prizes. Our film didn't make the cut



Needless to say, it was a great learning experience and if you're in the NYC area, come check it out. Our film is the first one slated to screen on Sat. May 12th and its only $5.


More info here: http://www.nycmidnight.com/2006/MidnightRun/NYC/Screenings/Screenings.htm

"Matt's Birthday Gift" is a cerebral short about a futuristic cell phone that ruins the lives of two hipster Brooklyn couples, kind of like a poor man's Eyes Wide Shut with a mix of Charlie Kaufman-esque comic surrealism. (Thats a mouthful!)

IN OTHER NEWS...Auteurvision has been steadily coming along, and with any luck, should have it finished and out on the festival circuit early 2007.

And come be my friend at MYSPACE http://www.myspace.com/wyattbenbernstein

Best,
WB

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Crossing the line from filmmaker w/ a work in progress to filmmaker w/ a good film in distribution

I crossed the line a couple of days ago, on Sat 5/13 in DC when I premiered Date Number One to about 100 people at Goethe-Institut. It's kind of like graduating, from high school, college, grad school, all at the same time. Now a record is being formed: in the minds of the audience members who've seen the film, in the minds of film reviewers, in the minds of media outlets that I advertise with, and in the minds of blog readers. In a very small way (and hopefully a much bigger way down the road) the film & I have become a part of US indie film history (whatever I do next or not do will be seen with Date Number One in mind).

It's all very interesting & satisfying when I have a moment to think about it. Getting a very positive audience response (they laughed a lot, very good reaction to a comedy) on Sat night made me feel very good, the two years of work was worth it. Also, my key investor who waited at least 6 years for me to make a decent film & have spent low thousands of dollars on my attempts to make a film that plays well with an audience is very happy, and that makes me happy. The excellent review from Chuck Tryon also helped in making me realize that I have entered a new territory in my filmmaking career (that was the best review I've ever gotten & the fact that it is from someone who spends most of his day thinking about film & media makes it even more special, also, the reception gotten from the audience on 5/13 was the best ever for any of my movies- this being the 4th movie in 14 years, the 2nd feature). And now when people ask me about what I do I will have a shiny silver disc to point to (which they will be able to get for $12), & maybe a newspaper ad or a review on a blog too, and if they ask on the right day I can point to a movie theater & say I'll see you there tonight when my movie plays there.

Also, the whole Date Number One project is one of many on-going tests of a process: can ultra-low budget DV filmmaking & ultra-low budget self-distribution be used to create a professional career? The verdict is YES so far.

The line that separates a filmmaker w/a work in progress and a filmmaker w/ a finished film that receives a good response has been crossed, life is simpler now, it's a whole new world.

- Sujewa

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

LOL at the Maryland Film Festival



We really lucked out with LOL, because we seem to end up at the most amazing Festivals in the country. I had heard from other filmmakers who had previously attended the Maryland Film Festival that it was a good time, but nothing could have prepared Kevin, Tipper, or I for the amount of fun we would have in Baltimore



We had our good friend Spencer Parsons crashing with us at the hotel this time. Shorts filmmakers usually don't receive the first class treatment that feature filmmakers get, so we try and lend them a hand when we can. Spencer's great film, ONCE AND FUTURE ASSHOLE, was playing in the Festival. He used to live in Baltimore, so he also served as occasional navigator when we were lost or looking for something.



The Festival really took care of us when it came to food. In addition to our hotel's free breakfast, there were often Festival sponsored brunches and dinners. This was the set-up at the Zodiac Cafe, a very cool place across from the Charles Theatre where we ended up hanging out and eating a few times during the weekend.



There was also a great filmmaker tent full of food and free Red Bull. Tipper and Kevin are figuring out their schedule and grabbing a bite to eat between movies.



After missing it at a bunch of other Festivals, Tipper and I were finally able to see Michael Tully's film COCAINE ANGEL. Here is Tully (on the right) talking to his adoring fans after the screening. Tipper and I sat next to his parents and many other friends and crew members attended the screening. We run into a lot of the same people at different Festivals, and Michael is definitely one of our favorites.



Most Festivals have very nice perks for filmmakers, but few come anywhere close to what the Maryland Film Festival offers. Our Festival badges got us free admission to most of the museums in town, and also the aquarium. Here we are at the dolphin show. I was especially thrilled that the aquarium had a special exhibit on frogs!



The hands down winner of the "Best Filmmaker Perk Ever" award goes to the front row tickets we got to a Baltimore Orioles game. Each year, Cal Ripken Jr. and his wife donate their seats to the Festival, and filmmakers get to go watch a game from the best seats in the house. It was amazing!



The game was especially fun because of the company. We hung out with (from left to right) Chris Sheridan and Patty Kim, who made ABDUCTION: THE MEGUMI YOKOTA STORY, Spencer Parsons, one of Todd Rohal's friends, and Jay Wade Edwards, the man behind, STOMP! SHOUT! SCREAM! Not pictured is Todd Rohal, who made, THE GUATEMALAN HANDSHAKE. He bought Tipper and I Dip' n' Dots and we will always be grateful to him.



Kevin, Tipper, and I took a little trip to the set of the opening scene in LOL. Chase Lisbon, who lives in Baltimore, shot the opening scene, and we were excited to visit the place that we had only ever seen in the movie. If you have seen the movie, you will recognize this living room from the video that's playing on the computer. Cool.



The closing night party turned into a DANCE PARTY!!!!! when Tipper and Lynn Shelton, the writer/director of the really amazing film, WE GO WAY BACK, started rocking out to the band. Jay Wade Edwards and I joined in and before long there were others cutting a rug.

Check us out next at the Provincetown Film Festival in June!

"Date Number One" in Seattle, May 19 - 21

What:
DATE NUMBER ONE
A Comedy About Several First Dates
A Movie By Sujewa Ekanayake

Event, Where & When:
PACIFIC NORTHWEST PREMIERE WEEKEND
NORTHWEST FILM FORUM
1515 12th Ave E
Seattle, WA
206-329-2629
Fri May 19 - Sun 21, 7 PM & 9:30 PM
* director in attendance at every screening
* Sat May 20 7 PM show is a partial benefit event for The Real Change Homeless Empowerment Project http://www.realchangenews.org/
Tickets $8, $5 for NWFF members, $6 for seniors

Quotes from a review of the film:
"Date Number One is quite funny...twentysomethings and occasional thirtysomethings looking for romance recall Richard Linklater‘s philosopher slackers and Jim Jarmusch‘s minimalist attention to conversation...also a subtle, thoughtful film...might be understood as the anti-Crash depiction of life in the city...depicts a comfortably multi-ethnic community...I’d happily recommend it."

- Chuck Tryon, media professor & blogger
The Chutry Experiment blog
http://chutry.wordherders.net/archives/005873.html

Film description:
Date Number One, 5 stories about first dates: 1. Just Another Ninja Searching For Love, 2. A Romantic Dinner For Three, 3. Washington "City Of Love" DC/Start Over, 4. Air Quotes Woman, 5. The Superdelicious French Lesson

Featuring DC Stars John Stabb Schroeder, Jennifer Blakemore, Shervin Boloorian, Dele Williams, Steve Lee, Kelley Ham, Christine D. Lee, Fritz Flad, Subodh Samudre, Jewel Greenberg

Not Rated * 115 Minutes * yummy

website http://www.wilddiner.com/ blog http://www.diyfilmmaker.blogspot.com/

Copyright 2006 Sujewa Ekanayake/Wild Diner Films

Other important information
playing with Amir Motlagh’s short film STILL LOVER

Sunday, May 14, 2006

"Date Number One" Review Number One! (it rrrooocks)

Chuck Tryon, blogger & media professor, is the first person to publish a review of my brand spankin' new film Date Number One. Chuck caught the movie last night at its World Premiere in DC. Here's a paragraph from the long review:

" Like the characters in Jarmusch's Coffee and Cigarettes who reflect on concepts of celebrity and fame, Date Number One's twentysomethings find themselves returning to certain questions, in Date's case the potential relationship between quantum mechanics and Buddhism, with varying degrees of seriousness and authority. The conversations provide some degree of unity between the various episodes, but more importantly, the conversations seem to suggest the way in which ideas or concepts can weave their way through a community of artists and readers who spend a lot of time in bookstores and coffeehouses. An overheard snippet of conversation might be picked up by someone else, and the questions about Buddhism and quantum mechanics take an unexpected direction. "

And later Chuck goes on to say:

" Date Number One is quite funny and treats the dating life of DC twentysomethings with a light touch,..."

Check out the entire review here.

Thanks Chuck for taking the time out from your busy day to check out my
"no"*-budget/no-Hollywood stars/no-Indiewood stars/multi-ethnic/ninja-american community representin'/self-distributed (on a very low budget)/superdelicious film & then writing about it.

A big thank you also goes out to everyone who helped in getting the film made, & the people who are helping out w/ screenings & other juicy distribution tasks. You rock! Can't do it w/ out ya.

- Sujewa

* the total budget - cash spent on the making of Date Number One (from script to screen) was roughly under $10K (that includes buying a mac & all necessary gear for editing), i'll total up the receipts soon

Date Number One world premiere 5/13/06 show report link

Read all about it here. The 2 shows went well. Had about 100 audience members total. They laughed at all the right places, went home happy (as far as I can tell). Raised some cash for a DC social service org. Ian "Fugazi" MacKaye came to the 7 PM show, very exciting thing, his record label Dischord is a big inspiration for me. Getting ready for Seattle now (5/19 - 21), read all about the 5/13 DC shows here.

- Sujewa

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Gigantic Service Deals = Hollywood level self-distribution, another article on the topic

With Date Number One, at the moment, I am dealing with one venue and one newspaper (for an ad) at a time, per city. What if I want to get my movie out on 1500 venues simultaneously & I need to advertise in 6,000 newspapers around the country to promote the release? Then I can go to (provided I have the money - $40K - hundreds of thousands of dollars to start off with) a company that does service deals (Artistic License, Freestyle Releasing, IFC, Newmarket, Landmark's Truly Indie to mention a few) & hire it to do the bookings & coordinate the promotions & I can also control how much money is being spent on what, when & design the advertising, etc. This would remove the chances of their being distributor dishonesty regarding $s spent & collected at theaters (most indie filmmakers who sign their films over to a distributor do not see any money beyond the advance for a long, long time, if ever, so I hear) & I would get to present the movie to the public in my exact preferred manner.

Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ was distributed this way - self-distribution on a major Hollywood release scale using a service deal w/ Newmarket (George Lucas' recent Star Wars movies were distributed the same way - except he used Fox, as far as I recall).

Here's a relevant paragraph from a Film Journal article on the subject:

" Beyond the service-deal companies, a number of traditional distributors (IFC, Magnolia, Newmarket, etc.) have gotten involved in service deals. Their successes include such hits as Capturing the Friedmans, My Big Fat Greek Wedding and even The Passion of the Christ. In these cases, the filmmakers had considerable capital at their disposal."

- Sujewa

Monday, May 08, 2006

Getting there....

So first of all, Deadroom will be coming to DVD this year. It'll be coming within a month or two, actually. Extra features are being put together. We met up to record a commentary track this evening, but are going to have to take a second crack at it on Friday, due to technical difficulties. It was really interesting to revisit the film after putting so much distance between it and us...we realized as we began to watch it that none of us had seen it since its last public screening at the Philadelphia Film Festival a year ago.

Anyway,until we have an official announcement on the release, allow my to just offer up this link to an article from the Filmmaker Blog. It's about the self distribution of An American Haunting, which opened this weekend on over 1000 screens and made 6.3 mil against the latest Tom Cruise film.

Granted, I personally have no interest in seeing this film, or making a film like it; but it's really awesome to see a DIY distribution effort achieve such mainstream success.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

The War Tapes Win @ Tribeca!

Go Deborah & Team War Tapes!

IndieWIRE says in their coverage of Tribeca Film Festivals winners:
"Best Documentary Feature: "The War Tapes," directed by Deborah Scranton, USA."

Read all about it here.

- Sujewa

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Mom is coming to the premiere, so is (maybe) one of my favorite rock stars

And when I say rock star I mean a real rock star, known to many world wide, secretly & openly worshipped by fans on all 5 continents, a dude who makes a living from music (not essential for being a rock star of course) and more importantly, one of my favorite artists. Very inspirational dude. He will try to make it he said (he's known for keeping his word, so it is a more firm statement than most peoples' "will try to make it"). If nothing else at least I got to talk to him on the phone (on my brand spankin' new "DC red" cell phone w/free incoming calls!) two days ago re: the Date Number One premiere on 5/13 Sat @ Goethe in DC. Dude is not a big fan of name dropping & over-commerciality & hype, as far as I can tell, so I won't mention his name here. But if he does show up, I'll mention it in the show report. Maybe I'll even be able to get a pic w/ him. Either way, it is all good, very happy about the premiere happening in DC, regardless of who shows up & regardless of the crazy amount of work that needs to get done now until 7 PM on Sat 5/13.

Also, The Mom is coming to the premiere. Have not hung out w/her since she returned from her once-every-two-years-or-so trip to Sri Lanka a couple of weeks ago (besides briefly hanging out w/her at the airport when she arrived). I don't think she's been to one of my premieres since "Fresh Coffee" in '92. Should be interesting :) Will write about mom's reaction to the movie here.

And of course two weeks from now I will be rockin' in Seattle w/ the flick's premiere in that storied city. Looking forward to that.

Will have pics from all screenings here.

Special thanks to Craig @ Goethe & Sheila @ City Paper & Stephen Jenner & Don Ramsey @ All Books Considered & Allison Curran for helping to get the DC premiere off the ground. And there will be lots more people to thank soon, in DC & Seattle.

Oh, the flick will play in Kensington, MD on Thu June 22 @ 7 PM. At my screening event Capital City Microcinema. Thanks Elie @ Kensington Row Bookshop for that opportunity.

First review of the flick should be on-line early next week, from Jerry B. of the Hollywood Is Talking blog fame. Looking forward to it.

- Sujewa

Coppola writes about forgetting his resume

Of course no one at this blog has the problem that Francis Ford Coppola has - matching his early successes, since we are all at best slightly a few steps past the amature level (compared to Coppola & co) and none of us have yet achieved a "The Godfather" type success (of course I am sure some of us will), but being near amatures, being closer to the starting point of our careers as opposed to being closer to its peak may not be a bad thing:

From Coppola's journal:

" 9-30-05
YOUTH
I've begun to think that the only sensible way to deal with this dilemma is to become young again, to forget everything I know and try to have the mind of a student. To re-invent myself by forgetting I ever had any film career at all, and instead to dream about having one."

and he also writes:

" So, for myself at any rate, I've decided the best course is to become an amateur and accept that I know next to nothing and love almost everything. "

Read the rest of it here.

Thanks Movie City Indie for the link.

- Sujewa

Friday, May 05, 2006

oh anxiety

got a screening tonight of "my break ups ..." at the Visual Communications FF in a few hours at the DGA...oh good God, what ever happened to "whale"

ill fill you in, in a few...

oh, and if you have never seen it, well here it is
Still Lover

back when i was young and still had a heart, my, my, the good ol days

American Messiah heading to the west coast

The Proper Care & Feeding of an American Messiah just got the official invite into STIFF -- the Seattle True Independent Film Festival. I hope to make it to this one!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

"Date Number One" World Premiere & We Are Family benefit event, DC, Sat 5/13/06

Event:
World Premiere of film "Date Number One"
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When:
Saturday May 13, 2006
7 PM & 9 PM
7 PM show is a partial benefit (50% of tix sales $s)event for local social service organization We Are Family (see info on We Are Family at end of this announcement)
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Where:
812 Seventh Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001
venue info (location, directions, etc.): 202-289-1200
event info: wilddiner@aol.com, 202-491-5536
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How Much?
$8
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Film Description:
"Date Number One" is a comedy about several first dates. This 90 minute movie is made up of 5 different stories: Story 1: Just Another Ninja Searching For Love, about a ninja who goes on a blind date (ninja is played by John Stabb Schroder from the DC punk band G.I.), Story 2: A Romantic Dinner For 3, about a woman attempting to add a third partner to a romantic relationship, Story 3: Washington "City Of Love" DC/Start Over, about a writer who tries to get back together with his ex-girlfriend, Story 4: Air Quotes Woman, about a woman who always uses air quotes, and her search for a new boyfriend, Story 5: The Superdelicious French Lesson, about a first date where a character learns a little bit of French in an unusual way.

"Date Number One" is written, produced, directed, photographed, edited and distributed by Sujewa Ekanayake. Following the World Premiere in DC, "Date Number One" will play in Seattle May 19 - 21 and will continue on to play other US cities until Spring '08.
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DVD available in late May from http://www.wilddiner.com/
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"Date Number One" Stars:
John Stabb Schroeder, Jennifer Blakemore, Shervin Boloorian, Dele Williams, Steve Lee, Kelly Ham, Christine D. Lee, Fritz Flad, Subodh Samudre, Jewel Greenberg
Crew:
Writer/Director/Cinematographer/Editor: Sujewa Ekanayake, Sound Recordists: Fritz Flad, Alex Ramsey, Production Assistants: Paula Rylands, Tim Nelson, Matt Wilmott, Frank Miller, Distribution Assistant: Allison Curran
Producers: Sujewa Ekanayake, Stephen Jenner, Tim Nelson

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For More Info:
*
7 PM show is a partial benefit event for local social service organization We Are Family :

Give the gift of your presence to an isolated senior -- and get to know the history of your community at the same time!

Small interfaith nonprofit We Are Family reaches out to the seniors of the North Capitol Street and Shaw neighborhoods. We bring advocacy, services, and companionship into the homes of the elderly, while helping to build friendships across boundaries like race, class, religion, age, culture, and sexual orientation. Most of our work is done by volunteers, coordinated by staff person Mark Andersen who has nearly two decades of serving seniors in the North Capitol and Shaw neighborhoods. While many of those who help do the work of We Are Family are seniors themselves -- who, after all, have built this community -- we need you as well. The possibilities are truly endless. Mark is able to tailor a volunteer task to whatever time or gift you might have, from helping out once a year on holidays, to calling lonely seniors once a week, to making home visits or delivering groceries on Saturday mornings once or twice a month, to pairing up individual volunteers with nearby seniors, and beyond. More than simply a social service agency, We Are Family is an experiment in building empowered, just, caring, and inclusive community -- help us to realize that dream!

For more information on We Are Family, please feel free to contact Mark at 202-638-0072o, 202-487-8698c, or wearefamilydc@aol.com.

We Are Family is a project of Northwest Settlement House and the "Faith in Action" program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Thanks!

- Sujewa

"Killing Down" Premiere Went Great...
















My premiere screening of "Killing Down" at the USA Film Festival in Dallas was a great time. We sold out a 500 seat theater and got a very positive response.

We now are doing some final tweaks on the score, sound design, visual effects and color correction. Next we'll be arranging some industry screenings in Los Angeles for distributors. And, we'll (hopefully) play a few more festivals before we sell the movie.

Above is a picture of me with two of the film's stars Natalie Raitano and Sheree Wilson at the after party.

If you're interested you can see more pix at my blog.

-Blake

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Young American Bodies

Though it's not a feature film that will be seen in 2006, I thought it would be appropriate to mention the project I'm currently working on is launching today. It's a web series called YOUNG AMERICAN BODIES that Kris Williams and I are doing for Nerve.com. It deals with a lot of the same issues we tackled in our first film, KISSING ON THE MOUTH, but it's serialized and has a lot more characters.

The show will be running every week for 12 episodes, and it's free, so you don't have to sign up for anything or pay any membership costs. You just have to head over to NerveVideo.com to catch new episodes.

WARNING: The show features explicit sex, so you might want to be careful where you watch it.