Saturday, December 29, 2007

Casting Ideas

So now I'm thinking that Jason Schwartzman is my first choice to play the role of "Camera One" in ODD BRODSKY...


One word: AMAZING! Wes Anderson is a filmmaking genius. He's the king of killer music and slow-motion montages. The cinematography is outstanding; the movement, the compositions, the way the camera pans and the way the actors hit their marks perfectly. The acting is "right on". Earnest and skillful. The production design is spectacular. (Do trains really look like that in India, or is this all the doing of an amazing designer?) The color pallet -ooh la la!

And the story. If you know me, you know that this is my kind of plot: a spiritual journey with a sense of humor, that tugs at the heart. I never expected this film to become so very deep, or to come around full circle,but it does! AND there's this one last symbolic moment toward the end, that set my soul soaring. It was like icing on the cake.

The film begins with Bill Murray missing his train, and being left behind. Ha! (Fans of Wes Anderson know that Bill Murray has been in every Wes film since BOTTLE ROCKET!) The story: Three brothers are on an adventure which includes finding their mother who left them (although 2 of the brothers don't know that's the real reason for the trip). After they find their mother, it's clear she has not changed. But the adventure releases their baggage, but not their scars. BRILLIANT!

It was especially poignant for me, since I have not seen my mother in 21 years, and have decided to find her... This definitely seemed like a sign from the Universe.

Where is the kindness?

Alright, I'm upset. It's one thing when legitimate critics are overly harsh on a film, but when my dear friend's little blog slams my husband's film, it makes me wonder: has the whole world gone mad?

My friend writes of Adrienne Shelly's WAITRESS " I don't think critics would have been so nice to it if she hadn't died. Sorry, someone had to say it."

Someone had to say it? Really? And of all people, you felt it had to be you; the close friend of the filmmaker's wife?

I'm an artist. I like when people having an opinion. I like when they speak their minds. What I don't like is when people think their 0pinion is the only opinion. That's one of my biggest pet peeves. My second biggest peeve is the diminishing amount of kindness in the world. So you can only imagine how much this short statement triggered me.

Being a filmmaker, I know MANY filmmakers. And being on the screening committee for a film festival here in Los Angeles, I see a LOT of films. I see a lot of SUB PAR films. One thing remains true: I am always kind.

Maybe not many people have "said it" because... not many people think it. Maybe it was a completely different experience for the critics and audience who saw the film in a theater up on the big screen, in a proper environment, surrounded by other people laughing and crying, than watching it at home alone on video, (which would certainly explain the drop in rating since it's release to the masses on DVD).

Reviewers are NOT a kind bunch. They look for any reason to tear a film to shreds. And in this modern age everyone's a critic, thanks to the internet. People are cruel. To me this means they actually liked the film, even if my friend did not.

And if the tragic circumstances subconsciously made some reviewers look at it with more love, GREAT! Shouldn't all filmmakers have the experience of critics actively seeking to find the value in our films? But, just so you know, it wasn't just the critics who liked the movie. Audiences did too. In our extensive travels around the country and Canada this year , we came to realize that nobody outside of LA and NY even knew the director had died. (It was quite refreshing). And for the critics who did think it, kudos to you for holding your tongues for once, and being respectful.

It's one thing for a stranger to be unkind... But I just can't understand how a friend can be so mean? Where is the abundance mentality? Don't you know that when one little film does well, it opens doors for all of us?

OK.. Wow. I actually feel a lot better. Maybe this is why people blog!

So now the question is: Do I tell my friend how much this upset me? Growing up an only child to an absent mother, I never learned to tell people how I feel, work through things, and let them go. Maybe this blog will be a great opportunity for me to grow.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The shot-lisitng for ODD BRODSKY is done!

Today Matt and I finished shot listing the entire 108-page script for ODD BRODSKY. Normally this would be something that the director and cinematographer would do about 4 weeks before the shoot, but since Matt will be prepping/shooting his next feature (Rob McKittrick's PICTURES OF YOU) right before I hope to begin our shoot for OB, we had to do it now. It's so exciting to see it all there on the page. Every single shot of the entire film! wooooooooooooo!!

I AM LEGEND: Lighten up the darkness

Matt and I saw Will Smith's latest film I AM LEGEND yesterday. We see most of our screenings at the Director's Guild Theater, so it was a thrill going out to the local multiplex and getting to watch trailers for a change, (although the trailers turned out to be a bit depressing). There's just so much darkness in movies these days. One movie trailer was for the most ridiculous-looking film that appeared to be a studio version of THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, only with lots of torture. It's strange to see a studio film using ugly (and seemingly inexpensive) video aesthetics to emulate a small indie. I guess it's a way they can save money too. But the real kicker for me was the premise: hundreds of videotapes are found that were shot by a serial killer, showing his victim's deaths as he recorded them. OMG! I'm sorry, but I'm so over this torture genre.

Getting back to I AM LEGEND, it had a great theme to it. The Tag-line was "Lighten up the Darkness", which really spoke to me (and seemed particularly apropos considering the preceding trailers). Will is such a talented actor. You've got to love his passion and commitment.

Todays films are teaching me more and more about myself. Over the past several years I've come to realize that I don't respond to film (or art) that is out of balance, showing only the dark side. Like I AM LEGEND says: Lighten up the darkness.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Goodbye 2007, Hello Blog

2007 really was an incredible year for Matt and me. I hate that it's over! Here's a quick recap. In January, Canon USA traveled us up to San Francisco to talk about their cameras at MacWorld. A week later, my first feature PURGATORY HOUSE was wide-released on DVD. It was fun to see it on the shelves of Blockbuster and Hollywood Video stores as we traveled throughout the land this year!

Later in January, Matt and I found ourselves back at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah, where his film WAITRESS (starring Keri Russell) was the hit of the festival! Seeing it with it's first audiences was amazing. They laughed, cried and cheered. Fox Searchlight picked it up the night after it's world premiere, gave it a high-profile theatrical release in May, and it reached #4 at the Box Office! This latest Sundance success led directly to new agents for Matt, who landed him a lyrical, true-story 1940’s period piece called THE PARDON (starring Jaime King), which whisked Matt away to Shreveport, Louisiana for ten weeks.

Only four weeks after getting home from shooting THE PARDON, Matt was whisked away to Toronto for another ten weeks to shoot THE ECHO, where he learned to speak Canadian, eh? THE ECHO is a remake of the Filipino hit SEGAW, produced by the same people who did THE GRUNGE, THE RING, and THE DEPARTED.

Meanwhile I spent the year gathering forces for my next feature film, a quirky comedy called ODD BRODSKY. Hot off the success of PURGATORY HOUSE, I landed a meeting at Sundance (in January) with Saturday Night Live alumnus Rachel Dratch. She read the script and loved it. I think it could be a break-out role for her. With Dratch attached (Matt loves to say that rhyming pair), I began a string of meetings with potential producing partners, meticulously laying the groundwork and building a strong team. Later in the year, I met up with Chris Wyatt (the producer of NAPOLEON DYNAMITE), who said he’d loved what I did with PURGATORY HOUSE and hoped to work with me! Pretty wild!

Between pre-production work, film festival screenings and Canon shows, I also acted in 3 films this year, was a judge for the Prism Awards, Cine Eagle Awards and served on the Selections Committee for the Dances With Films Festival. And somehow I managed to travel out to both Shreveport and Toronto and spend a decent chunk of time with Matt while he was shooting those 2 films! On our time away from the set, we took in all the sights of Shreveport… well, not much to do in Shreveport, but we had a blast in Toronto! We even went down to Niagara by the Lake, and Niagara Falls—which featured the most spectacular rainbow we’ve ever seen! (See photos). I attended the Toronto Film Festival with Diane from Tehcnicolor, and Matt saw the Blue Jays play at home, adding to the extensive roster of stadiums he’s visited across North America.

Other travels included our yearly pilgrimage to Portland to visit Matt’s dad and family, and my trip to Austin, to visit my brother Josh and his fiancĂ©e Amy. Later, while Matt was still working in Toronto, my friend Katrina and I drove up to Napa to attend their beautiful wedding. Around this same time I completely redesigned our little bathroom and turned it into a whirlpool spa that Matt hardly recognized when he got home!

Considering the busy-ness of the rest of the year, our last couple months have been quiet and restful, including a relaxing cruise to Catalina and Ensenada. We’ve enjoyed driving around in our new Prius, and would recommend it to anyone, especially with the high gas prices right now. It's getting an average of 47 miles to the gallon. That about does it for this year. Goodbye 2007. You were very good to us. Life doesn't get much better than this. We'll miss you...

Wishing you a very happy holidays, and spectacular New Year!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Purgatory House Chronicles -January 2007

January 2007

The big day has finally arrived! After years of hard work, 22 film festivals, 11 awards, 2 Prism Nominations, 7 appearances on "Best Films of the Year" lists by critics and amazing reviews, PURGATORY HOUSE is available in video stores all around the country including Blockbuster, Hollywood Video, Netflix, Amazon and all your favorite local stores! You can also order directly from our website for a great discount. Amazing things continue to happen, and I am so thankful for everyone's support of our little movie. The Mass Bay Film Festival gave PURGATORY HOUSE an encore screening as part of their "Best of the Fest" series this month, and PH brought in the New Year by screening at Zen Sushi on New Year's Eve. The Numbers Movie Review Site is giving away a signed PURGATORY HOUSE DVD as a prize for their contest (pretty cool!), and PH received an "Honorable Mention" in the Fylmz contest. (We were not eligible to be a semi-finalist, since we already have a distribution deal). It was fun to see the Washington Post list PH on their list of "Notable DVDs being released this Tuesday".

I wanted to send out one final, heartfelt THANK YOU to everyone who helped support this movie. It's hard to believe that our journey together began over 5 years ago! I think one of the biggest lessons I've learned is that when you have no money, it takes a long time! But we did it, at last....Now, this little film may have the opportunity to make it's way into the hands of parents and teens across the country, and open up doors of communication, and maybe even save lives. I will never forget the part that each of you has played in making this a reality. Thank you for believing in me and Celeste. Thank you for lending your talents, your hearts and your time to project that was so dear to my heart. This could not have happened without each and every one of you, and I will be forever grateful. With much love and gratitude.