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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

state of inde film distribution

"The rest of the market never really got fired up. Part of the problem was that there was a distinct lack of commercial product with known names, buyers griped. That’s bad news for the smaller-scale dramas that need big names in order to guarantee foreign sales. As studio executives and indie players noted privately, the movie business has done a terrible job of minting new stars over the past decade, and that’s creating real headaches for riskier movies looking for some insurance by casting big names in order to get bankrolled."

-- from an article on the Toronto Film Festival. What annoys me is the statement - distinct lack of commercial product with known names. 

Is this really why less indie films are being sold at festivals? It probably is but what a shame. Why don't these mind numbing idiots look at films with a different mind set, like if it's a great story or not. Are they really qualified to judge if something is commercial? I do not think so. Example, I'm sure the knuckleheads who made Righteous Kill, a film starring DeNiro and Pacino surely thought it had a commercial product with big name talent. What happened? Perhaps the story sucked? Who saw it?

Get off your high horse and forget the notion you can tell if something is commercial. Don't see it as a product. It's not a fucking hamburger! It's a story. Aren't good stories commercial?

To read the full article click here:

Toronto: Smaller Deals Show Tough Market for Indie Film Business

Friday, September 26, 2014


Somewhat off the indie film topic but so fuckin what? His advise on being on time is extremely on point in the film world. If you can't be punctual, stay away from me!

Anthony Bourdain's Life Advice

What’s the best advice you ever received from anyone and who gave it and when?
Show up on time. I learned this from the mentor who I call Bigfoot in Kitchen Confidential. If you didn’t show up 15 minutes exactly before your shift, if you were 13 minutes early, you lost the shift, you were sent home. The second time you were fired. It is the basis of everything. I make all my major decisions on other people based on that. Give the people that you work with or deal with or have relationships with the respect to show up at the time you said you were going to. And by that I mean, every day, always and forever. Always be on time. It is a simple demonstration of discipline, good work habits and most importantly respect for other people. As an employee, it was a hugely important expression of respect and as an employer, I quickly came to understand that there are two types of people in this world: There are the type of people who are going to live up to what they said they were going to do yesterday and then there are people who are full of shit. And that’s all you really need to know. If you can’t be bothered to show up, why should anybody show up. It’s just the end of the fucking world. 

For entire article:

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

LOVE STREAMS - John Cassavetes

LOVESTREAMS is the last film of indie godfather John Cassavetes, and for the first time, it is being released on DVD and streaming by Criterion. One of my all time favorite films. For me, it's his masterpiece. A culmination of every idea, emotion and theme he worked on throughout his career. A must see, so you must see it! Dig?

Criterion link:

Click here to view TRAILER:

Monday, September 22, 2014

Get Up, Stand Up

A 21 Protest Song Salute

Singer and activist Tom Morello says it’s his job as a musician “to steel the backbone of people on the front lines of social justice struggles, and to put wind in sails of those struggles.” Here’s a list of 21 songs that have done just that — from Woody Guthrie’s This Land is Your Land to Public Enemy’s Fight the Power

So my fellow indie filmmakers, how can you all put some wind in the sails of the oh so many struggles we face today?

Here's a link to the list, with videos of every song:

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Peter is one of THE guys on the indie scene. He's now a consultant to indie filmmakers - which is an amazing resource, one which all indie filmmakers should use. I first met Peter at SXSW when my 1st indie film Sleepwalk premiered there. Then, he was working at IFC's Next Wave, and he purchased Sleepwalk to run on IFC.

His wisdom on the ins and outs of indie distribution is pure gold. Here are some snippets, then click the link for full article.

You’ve finally finished your film and have just received your first distribution offer. Now what?

Negotiation is an essential but little understood part of dealmaking. To make fair deals with good distributors, there are mistakes you must avoid and steps you need to take.

  1. Don’t submit to festivals too early. Most filmmakers do and end up regretting it. If your movie is not as good as it’s going to get but you submit anyway, you increase the already high odds of being rejected. You should resist the siren calls of festival deadlines until you’re confident you’ve made the strongest film you can make. You need to put your best foot forward with festivals, press, and distributors. Utilize test screenings with strangers (rather than family and friends) to determine if your film is ready to premiere. These screenings will help you determine what changes need to be made. Then you can test screen a new cut for another audience. 
  2. Don’t submit your film to distributors or producer’s reps without internally having a customized distribution strategy. This strategy should include your plans for each avenue of distribution. Too many filmmakers follow the old playbook and take a formulaic approach to submitting their movies to the usual suspects without having a clear vision of how they want their films to come into the world.
To read the rest, click here:

Monday, September 15, 2014

an extremely well written film

One can not see every film, listen to every piece of music before one dies. Let's be thankful for that, yes? Of course, yes.

You Can Count On Me is a film I've been meaning to see for a while. Don't know why I never caught up with it, but I finally did and yes sir, mam and all in between - here I am saying watch this film!

Not often do I see characters who truly seem real. These do. The end isn't overblown and roses don't rise out of the pavement. A brother and sister with real needs and real problems. Drama with humor, humor with drama. Excellent acting and yes, these two actually feel like brother and sister!

Here's a NY Times review:

You Can Count on Me is a 2000 American drama film starring Laura LinneyMark RuffaloRory Culkin, and Matthew Broderick. Written and directed by Kenneth Lonergan, it tells the story of Sammy, a single mother living in a small town, and her complicated relationships with family and friends. The story takes place in the fictionalized Catskill communities of Scottsville and Auburn, New York.[1][2][note 1] The film was primarily shot in and around Margaretville, New York.
The film and Linney's performance received numerous positive reviews among critics, and dozens of award nominations and awards at film festivals and during the awards season, including two Oscar nominations.

The film was primarily shot in and around Margaretville, New York in the Catskill Mountains, circa June 1999.[note 2]
While the bank exteriors were filmed at Margaretville's NBT bank, the interiors were filmed in another bank closer to New York City since NBT considered interior filming a security risk.[2]
The scenes where Rudy Jr. walks home in the rain were filmed with the assistance of the Margaretville Fire Department which used their trucks and hoses to create the rain.[3]
Many outdoor scenes away from the Village—most notably the fishing trip—were filmed in Phoenicia, New York.[3] The cemetery seen in the film is not the Village's—which cannot be seen from the road—rather it is a smaller cemetery four miles outside the village on Route 30.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

indie film on showtime

Around June is still playing on Showtime. Click link below for times. And yes, a real indie film - made for under 500K w/out a distribution deal.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

domestic violence

Yes, I know this is off topic as the space here is dedicated to filmmaking ramblings, but since that word rambling is indeed part of our lexicon permit me to ramble. What the fu*k! It took the NFL to view a video of a guy punching out his woman to suspend him? Really? Her being knocked out totally and a video of her be dragged out of an elevator wasn't enough?

I should be ENOUGH! It should have been more than enough for the local authorities to put this guy behind bars ASAP. Why do the police treat protestors with more malice than they do with men who punch out their women? To protest is not a crime, last time I check. To assault someone is. Priorities? Can we not get them straight?

Fu^k the NFL!

And to all of you young and inspiring filmmakers - do something!  Write a story about this bullshit. Please.
I feel we're at a tipping point. I hope we are. That is, how people of color are treated by the police. How women are treated. Viewed. Keep the pressure on - social media, films, blogs, essays, etc.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Werner Herzog on Creativity, Self-Reliance, Making a Living of What You Love

Werner Herzog on Creativity, Self-Reliance, Making a Living of What You Love, and How to Turn Your Ideas Into Reality

“If your project has real substance, ultimately the money will follow you like a common cur in the street with its tail between its legs.”
Werner Herzog is celebrated as one of the most influential and innovative filmmakers of our time, but his ascent to acclaim was far from a straight trajectory from privilege to power. Abandoned by his father at an early age, Herzog survived a WWII bombing that demolished the house next door to his childhood home and was raised by a single mother in near-poverty. He found his calling in filmmaking after reading an encyclopedia entry on the subject as a teenager and took a job as a welder in a steel factory in his late teens to fund his first films. These building blocks of his character — tenacity, self-reliance, imaginative curiosity — shine with blinding brilliance in the richest and most revealing of Herzog’s interviews. Werner Herzog: A Guide for the Perplexed(public library) — not to be confused with E.F. Schumacher’s excellent 1978 philosophy book of the same title — presents the director’s extensive, wide-ranging conversation with writer and filmmaker Paul Cronin. His answers are unfiltered and to-the-point, often poignant but always unsentimental, not rude but refusing to infest the garden of honest human communication with the Victorian-seeded, American-sprouted weed of pointless politeness.
The best advice I can offer to those heading into the world of film is not to wait for the system to finance your projects and for others to decide your fate. If you can’t afford to make a million-dollar film, raise $10,000 and produce it yourself. That’s all you need to make a feature film these days. Beware of useless, bottom-rung secretarial jobs in film-production companies. Instead, so long as you are able-bodied, head out to where the real world is. Roll up your sleeves and work as a bouncer in a sex club or a warden in a lunatic asylum or a machine operator in a slaughterhouse. Drive a taxi for six months and you’ll have enough money to make a film. Walk on foot, learn languages and a craft or trade that has nothing to do with cinema. Filmmaking — like great literature — must have experience of life at its foundation. Read Conrad or Hemingway and you can tell how much real life is in those books. A lot of what you see in my films isn’t invention; it’s very much life itself, my own life. If you have an image in your head, hold on to it because — as remote as it might seem — at some point you might be able to use it in a film. I have always sought to transform my own experiences and fantasies into cinema.

To read full article, click below: