THE FILMMAKER’S CORNER – Emily Hagins (ZOMBIE GIRL: THE MOVIE)

Posted in Uncategorized by johnwildman on March 30, 2009

Zombie movies inspire a lot of passion – both from fans of the films and people who view them with enthusiastic distaste. The idea of fighting for your own survival against something that used to be one of you (basically) opens up so many avenues of horrific implications that it’s no wonder the genre (ironically) is evergreen. And that thought is one of the reasons that make ZOMBIE GIRL: THE MOVIE an absolute delight. Directed and produced by Aaron Marshall, Justin Johnson and Erik Mauck, the film follows 12-year-old Emily Hagins as she sets out to make a feature length zombie movie. She is determined, she is creative, and she is learning countless life lessons beyond the practical knowledge of how to get a shot with distracted classmates before you lose your light or how to effectively do zombie brains effects (with the help of her mom). And all right before our eyes. It’s fun to watch the young auteur-in-training and not only do you root for her to have a successful debut, you look forward to that eventual Hollywood epic in her near future.

What was the most difficult thing about making your movie, PATHOGEN?

Re-shooting after we lost footage from one of our biggest days of filming.

Did you ever feel like “firing” your mom (and if so, why)?

Occasionally, yes. Our mother-daughter relationship would sometimes interfere with our working relationship, which created a few problems. I’m glad we were able to share the experience together though. Her support really helped me persevere.

Was there any moments when you asked Justin and Erik to stop filming you?

There was one I remember in particular. I was having trouble getting the tripod plate back on the tripod, and Erik was filming from a couple feet away. I called my dad over to help me, but he couldn’t get it either. I turned to Erik and said, “If you have enough footage of us struggling, can you help us get this part back on?” I don’t remember anything else, though.

What was the biggest lesson you learned during the course of filming?

Perseverance is key to finishing any project, especially because things are bound to not go exactly the way you plan.

What was the biggest difference between making PATHOGEN and your feature-length follow up, THE RETELLING?

We had a crew for The Retelling, which was made up of about 10 people (8 of which were under 18). They all worked incredibly hard, and the production value was a lot better as a result.

You have said the only film genre that doesn’t appeal to you is “chick flicks”. So, why not a “zombie chick flick”?

That would be awesome! I’d love to see one. It reminds me of the tagline for SHAUN OF THE DEAD: “A romantic comedy…with zombies”

Give your honest assessment – Was TWILIGHT cool or lame?
I really enjoyed the books (like every teenage girl on the planet), but I thought the movie was okay. Having heard a bit about the production, I understand why certain things I didn’t care for turned out the way they did. I’m looking forward to seeing what changes they made for the sequel.

What’s the status of THE RETELLING?
It is in the process of being scored by a local composer, Brian Satterwhite.

In your opinion, can 28 DAYS LATER or 28 WEEKS LATER be considered “zombie” movies?

I think they’re good movies (bigger fan of 28 DAYS LATER), but I’m not sure if they are zombie movies. Even though zombies aren’t very logical, it does seem to make sense that being dead should prevent them from running. Maybe they’re “running dead people” movies?

Name your top three zombie movie and why.
NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD: Set the standards for the modern zombie movie.

UNDEAD: First zombie movie I saw, very silly and fun.

SHAUN OF THE DEAD: Combined comedy and horror in a unique and clever way. One of my favorite movies.

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THE ACTOR’S CORNER – Elaine Hendrix (ROCK SLYDE)

Posted in Uncategorized by johnwildman on March 30, 2009

Chris Dowling’s ROCK SLYDE is the kind of comedy that screams guilty pleasure at you. Until you’ve seen it. Then – if you favor the silly and absurd, you discover you can tuck those presumptions of guilt away. The film stars Patrick Warburton as a hard-bitten and disaffected private eye who personifies the term “his own agenda” caught up in a dubious case courtesy of a sultry Rena Sofer while he fights an office space turf war with a bizarre Scientology-esqe religion led by a frustrated spiritual leader played by Andy Dick. (Now you can take a breath.) Dowling seems to have never met a gag, gimmick or pun he didn’t like and if the first one doesn’t do it for you…well, it will be mere seconds before the next one is fired away. In the middle of all the self-referential craziness is Elaine Hendrix as the faithful and plucky secretary of Warburton’s private eye character with a talent for making the coffee that makes his life worth living. It is the logic of this film that her loss to the clutches of Dick’s cult leader becomes the thing that sends everything off-kilter. Well, to be fair – even more off-kilter, than it already was.

Did you draw on any real /former life experiences running an office for your role?

When I was a little girl I spent A LOT of time at both of my parent’s offices.  Then when I got older I had a few office jobs. I didn’t even think about this aspect for Judy, so I guess that shows how familiar I am with them.

Do you think if it was presented without an irony that Bartology could actually find some followers in LA?

Are you kidding?  I’ve already made a million dollars with my Hollywood chapter alone…and gained 20 pounds.  We’ll be branching out into the Valley pretty soon.

Since you began your career as a dancer, do you harbor any dreams to ever doing a musical or at the least, dance in a film?
Absolutely!  I set an intention for that this year, as a matter of fact.  I also sing, so to be creative with all three (acting, dancing and singing) would be a dream!

Did your cat Goodie Cornbread get a producer credit on your film GOOD INTENTIONS?

No, but he became the CEO of my production company. All the kibbles he wants. Only problem is that he’s not so good at holding up his end of the workload. A lot of calls and emails go unreturned.

Describe the difference in Andy Dick crazy versus Molly Shannon crazy.
Wow. GREAT question. I won’t say which one is which, but one is more of an “act” and one is a little more “real.”  They are both immensely talented and good friends.

How much running did you actually have to do for the film?

Well, considering I’m a serious method actor, once ‘Judy’ got kidnapped I was like ‘Forrest Gump’ – I just ran and ran and ran. They could barely get me to sit still for my lines. Bartology is hardcore. (See me about membership.)

If there were a cookie that could have the hypnotic side effects that Bartology cookies have, what kind of cookie (flavor) would it have to be?
The ones they had were pretty tasty.  (Of course, on low budget films you’re just happy they have food and will eat almost anything.) Given a choice -I’m a chocolate gal, myself.

Seriously, with that last name – How much pressure is there to play the guitar?

Phone calls are the best because I totally get away with claiming I’m his daughter. I don’t play, but I BBQ a mean Stratocaster.

ROCK SLYDE screens Tuesday, March 31 at 10:30PM @ Magnolia 5 and Wednesday, April 1 at 4:30PM @ NorthPark.7.

Elaine Hendrix will attend both screenings and participate in Q&As afterwards.

IFFLA Announces 2009 Full Schedule

Posted in Uncategorized by johnwildman on March 30, 2009

7TH ANNUAL INDIAN FILM FESTIVAL OF LOS ANGELES
ANNOUNCES FULL SCHEDULE

THE FAKIR OF VENICE IS OPENING NIGHT GALA PRESENTATION

DR. SANJAY GUPTA AND SUNEEL GUPTA LAUNCH
KAHANI MOVEMENT

FILMS ANNOUNCED INCLUDE EIGHT WORLD PREMIERES,
NINE U.S. PREMIERES AND THIRTEEN L.A. PREMIERES


LOS ANGELES, CA, March 30, 2009 – The 7th Annual Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) announces the full schedule of films for the 2009 edition of the popular festival which runs April 21-26, including five feature films making their world premiere, five features making their U.S. premiere, and five features making their L.A. debut.

Celebrating its 7th anniversary in a year where Indian cinema has come to the forefront both in the national and international consciousness, IFFLA has firmly established itself as the first and largest film festival worldwide devoted to a greater appreciation of Indian cinema and culture through showcasing films, honoring entertainment industry performers and business executives, and promoting the diverse perspectives of the Indian diaspora. The six-day festival is set to open on Tuesday, April 21 at ArcLight Hollywood Cinemas with the World Premiere of Anand Surapur’s THE FAKIR OF VENICE, and close on Sunday, April 26 with Megan Doneman’s YES MADAM, SIR a documentary profiling Dr. Kiran Bedi, the first woman to join the Indian Police Service and a controversial and inspiring figure in India. Dr. Bedi will be in attendance as a guest of honor that evening along with director, Doneman.

Surapur’s THE FAKIR OF VENICE is about a hustler who is tasked with finding a fakir – a holy man, known for performing feats of endurance. Instead he finds a poor man who buries himself in sand on the beach to collect money from passersby and tourists. Together, the two con men venture to Venice, finding themselves in a strange land where their culture is commodified and exploited for artistic, political and spiritual purposes. Ultimately, they are forced to examine the course of their individual lives. Produced by Phat Phish Motion Pictures, the film stars noted filmmaker Farhan Akhtar, in his acting debut and Anu Kapoor. Surapur and Akhtar will both be attending the festival.

Regarding the film’s premiere, Akhtar said, “It is an honor to have THE FAKIR OF VENICE open the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles. The film is an apt representation of a new kind of Indian cinema and I hope it will serve as a window through which the world can glimpse this evolution. Anand Surapur has been pushing the creative boundaries in television, music and film for years and this opportunity and recognition is truly well deserved. Congratulations to him and the entire team at Phat Phish.” An entertainment company on the pulse of contemporary Indian media/entertainment, Phat Phish Motion Pictures also is behind the feature QUICK GUN MURUGUN, screening at IFFLA this year.

Highlights of the 2009 program include high profile films from women including Nandita Das’s directorial debut, FIRAAQ, Deepa Mehta’s HEAVEN ON EARTH (the follow up to her Academy Award-nominated film, WATER), Sooni Taraporevala’s LITTLE ZIZOU (executive produced by Mira Nair), and Nina Paley’s animated SITA SINGS THE BLUES. The films lead an impressive list of nine films helmed by female filmmakers at this year’s festival.

Highly anticipated this year will be the salute to Bollywood legend Anil Kapoor one of Indian cinema’s most significant and popular personalities. The salute will include screenings of Kapoor’s classic films LAMHE (1991) and VIRASAT (1997) as well as the world premiere of the English language version of GANDHI, MY FATHER (2007). Kapoor produced the film which explores the cost Mahatma Gandhi’s own family bore due to his efforts to free the nation of India.

As part of IFFLA’s ongoing commitment to supporting and showcasing restored prints of Indian classic films, the festival will pay homage to BR Chopra by screening his classic, NAYA DAUR. One of the great Indian filmmakers, B.R. Chopra was famous for making hit Bollywood musicals with socially relevant themes. NAYA DAUR is arguably his most famous work, as it tackled the conflict between traditional Gandhian ideals and modern technology. The visually stunning restored colorized print will display the film in all its splendor on ArcLight Hollywood’s screen.

CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Suneel Gupta will officially launch the Kahani Movement at IFFLA. The brothers are co-founders of the film project to capture and share stories from Indians that immigrated to the United States. Kahani accomplishes this by motivating second-generation Indian Americans to pick up a camera, interview their parents, and then post that footage to a central website. “These cherished stories are evaporating along with the people who lived them,” says co-founder Dr. Sanjay Gupta. “It is our generation’s responsibility to preserve those stories, so that they are never lost.” The process of collecting the stories has informally taken place for nearly a year prior to this official unveiling.

Also among IFFLA’s featured events will be a dinner to honor those selected for Korn/Ferry International’s list of 25 Most Influential South Asian executives in the U.S. entertainment and media industry. The list was created to recognize senior executives of South Asian background who have excelled in various roles within the entertainment business community.

The Opening and Closing Night Galas will feature music by DJ Sandeep Kumar and performances by Project Pulse, the popular Indian/Bollywood Fusion dance and drama team that incorporates an eclectic mix of styles. Chakra Cuisine will again delight with its delectable Indian-inspired feast, complimented with libations from Malibu Family Wines, official wine sponsor of IFFLA 2009, and Western Liquors.

IFFLA Festival Director Christina Marouda notes this year’s festival is very significant due to Hollywood’s enthusiastic embrace of SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE and the recent surge of business taking place between Mumbai and Los Angeles. “IFFLA is solidifying itself as a key touchstone in the US for the Indian entertainment industry at a time when the Indian film industry and the film business community in Hollywood are truly coming together.”

Five feature-length films will be making their world premiere at IFFLA 2009. Those films include the narrative features BOMBAY SUMMER; THE FAKIR OF VENICE; GANDHI, MY FATHER (English version), 7 DAYS IN SLOW MOTION and the documentary feature LEAVING HOME: THE LIFE AND MUSIC OF INDIAN OCEAN. The short films CURIOUS TODD AND THE MYSTERY DREAM; THE JOURNEY; and MUSIC BINDS ALL will also make their world premiere.

Five feature-length films will be making their U.S. premiere. That group includes the documentaries CHILDREN OF THE PYRE; SUPERMEN OF MALEGAON; the narrative films THE DAMNED RAIN (Gabhricha Paus); QUICK GUN MURUGUN and SIDDHARTH THE PRISONER. The short films DHIN TAK DHA; EYES OF SILENCE; A MANGO TREE IN THE FRONT YARD and THE PASSION OF CRICKET will also make their U.S. debut.

Five feature length films will be making their Los Angeles debut. They include the narrative films FIRAAQ; HEAVEN ON EARTH; KANCHIVARAM; LITTLE ZIZOU; and the documentary YES MADAM, SIR. The short films ANDHERI; BATTLE OF THE ALBUM COVERS, CANADA; EYES OF SILENCE; KAVI; KEY TUMI?; NARMEEN and SUKRIT’S SUNDAYS will also screen for the first time in Los Angeles.

The IFFLA full festival lineup, curated by a team including esteemed India-based senior programmer Uma Da Cunha, will showcase 20 features (15 narrative and 5 documentary) and 16 shorts for a total of 36 films representing 5 countries.

The 2009 IFFLA films (in alphabetical order) are:

FEATURE LENGTH NARRATIVE

BOMBAY SUMMER – DIR/SCR: Joseph Mathew Varghese (USA/India)
Cast: Tannishtha Chatterjee, Samrat Chakrabarti, Jatin Goswami, Gaurav Dwivedi
Three young people from very different backgrounds form a fleeting and delicate friendship as they attempt to make their way in modern day Bombay.
English/Hindi (English subtitles)

THE DAMNED RAIN (Gahricha Paus) – DIR/SCR: Satish Manwar (India)
Cast: Girish Kulkarni, Sonali Kulkarni, Jyoti Subhash, Veena Jamkar, Ammanul Attar
A young wife worries about her husband as farmers commit suicide everyday in a drought ridden village in Maharashtra.
Marathi (English subtitles)

THE FAKIR OF VENICE – DIR/ED: Anand Surapur (India)
Cast: Farhan Akhtar, Anu Kapoor, Kamal Sidhu
A black comedy, where a fakir, a mystic known for performing feats of endurance, is taken to Venice by a con man to be featured in an installation art exhibit.
English

FIRAAQ – DIR: Nandita Das (India)
Cast: Naseeruddin Shah, Paresh Rawal, Deepti Naval, Raghuveer Yadav
The directorial debut of acclaimed actress Nandita Das, FIRAAQ follows the emotional journeys of various people dealing with the aftermath of the 2002 Gujarat Riots.
English

GANDHI, MY FATHER – DIR/SCR: Feroz Abbas Khan (India)
Cast: Akshaye Khanna, Bhoomika Chawla, Darshan Jariwala, Shefali Shetty
The film is a rare exploration of Gandhi’s family and the pains they experienced living in his shadow as he struggled to free a nation.
English

HEAVEN ON EARTH – DIR/SCR: Deepa Mehta (Canada)
Cast: Preity Zinta, Vansh Bhardwaj, Balinder Johal, Rajinder Singh Cheema, Ramanjit Kaur
Preity Zinta stars as a young woman who retreats into fantasy to deal with her oppressive marriage into a family of frustrated Punjabi immigrants living in Canada.
Punjabi/English (English subtitles)

KANCHIVARAM – DIR/SCR: Priyadarshan (India)
Cast: Prakash Raj, Shriya Reddy, Shammu
When his daughter is born, a silk weaver begins stealing bits of silk every day so he can provide a sari for her eventual wedding day, but his dream collides with his efforts to unionize his fellow weavers in 1940’s South India.
Tamil (English subtitles)

LAMHE – DIR: Yash Chopra (1991) (India)
Cast: Anil Kapoor, Sridevi, Anupam Kher, Waheeda Rehman
A Rajasthani prince leaves home and moves to London in an attempt to escape the tragic loss of the woman he loved, only to cross paths with her daughter 18 years later.
Hindi (English subtitles)

LITTLE ZIZOU – DIR/SCR: Sooni Taraporevala (India)
Cast: Boman Irani, Sohrab Ardeshir, Zenobia Shroff, Shernaz Patel, Imaad Shah, John Abraham
The Mumbai Parsi community is viewed through the eyes of a soccer-mad eleven-year-old when the lives of its quirky residents are uprooted by the rivalry between a newspaper publisher and a self-proclaimed religious leader.
Hindi (English subtitles)

NAYA DAUR – DIR/PROD: B.R. Chopra (1957) (India)
Cast: Dilip Kumar, Vijayanthimala, Ajit, Jeevan
When an entrepreneurial man from the city takes over the main business in a small village and attempts to modernize it by replacing the workers with machines, the villagers unite to show the heartless businessman that they can outperform his fancy contraptions.
Hindi (English subtitles)

QUICK GUN MURUGUN – DIR: Shashank Ghosh (India)
Cast: Rajendra Prasad, Ramba, Naseer, Raju Sundaram, Vinay Pathak, Anu Menon
A hilarious curry western from Southern India in which a gunslinging vegetarian crusader is murdered by a homicidal bandit who wants to force everyone to eat meat, only to be reincarnated in modern day India to face his nemesis once more.
English

7 DAYS IN SLOW MOTION – DIR: Umakanth Thumrugoti (India)                                                                                                       Cast: Teja, Kunal Sharma, Shiva Varma, Rajeshwari Sacdev, Ayesha Jaleel
A boy and his friends set out to make a film in seven days after chancing upon a filmmaker’s lost camera.
Hindi & English (English subtitles)

SIDDARTH THE PRISONER – DIR/SCR/ED: Pryas Gupta (India)
Cast: Rajat Kapoor, Sachin Nayak, Praddip Sagar, Pradip Kabra
Recently released from prison, a novelist’s attempts to reconcile with his family are derailed when the briefcase with his latest manuscript is accidentally switched with one filled with a gangster’s money.
Hindi (English subtitles)

SITA SINGS THE BLUES – DIR/PROD/SCR/ED: Nina Paley (USA)
Cast: Annette Hanshaw, Aseem Chhabra, Manish Acharya, Bhavana Nagulapally, Reena Shah
Set to 1920’s jazz vocals, this animated film retells the mythological story of Rama and Sita from a hilarious, modern and refreshingly female perspective.
English

VIRASAT – DIR: Priyadarshan (1997) (India)
Cast: Anil Kapoor, Tabu, Pooja Batra, Amrish Puri, Milind Gunaji
After finishing college in London, a young man returns home to his village in India to be caught in-between ambition and familial responsibilities as he looks to set right a world torn apart by hatred and violence.
Hindi (English subtitles)

FEATURE LENGTH DOCUMENTARY

AIR INDIA 182 – DIR/SCR: Sturla Gunnarsson (India)
Cast: Gurpreet Chana, Ujjal Dosanjh, Michael Hamper, Baljinder Singh
A personal and multilayered examination of one of the most deadly terrorist attacks in history.
English

CHILDREN OF THE PYRE – DIR/PROD/DP: Rajesh S. Jala (India)
Featuring: Ravi, Gagan, Yogi, Ashish, Manish, Sunil, Kapil
At the sacred cremation grounds in Varanasi along the Ganges River adolescent boys try to support themselves any way they can.
Hindi (English subtitles)

LEAVING HOME: THE LIFE AND MUSIC OF INDIAN OCEAN – DIR Jaideep Varma (India)
Featuring: Susmit Sen, Asheem Charkravarty, Rahul Ram, Amit Kilam
This music documentary captures the unique sounds and sensibilities of the four men who make music together as Indian Ocean.
English & Hindi (English subtitles)

SUPERMEN OF MALEGAON – DIR/PROD: Faiza Ahmad Khan (India)
Featuring: Sheikh Nasir, Akram Khan, Shafique, Farogh Jafri
Armed with a small camera, a desktop computer, and their passion for movies, a small group of filmmakers work feverishly on their own project for, by, and of the people.
Hindi (English subtitles)

YES MADAM, SIR – DIR/DP/ED: Megan Doneman (Australia/India)
Narrator: Helen Mirren
Featuring: Kiran Bedi
An evocative look at the extraordinary and controversial career of Dr. Kiran Bedi, the first woman to join the Indian Police Service.
Hindi & English (English subtitles)

SHORTS

ABRIDGED – DIR/PROD/SCR: Arjun Rihan (USA)
The daily commute is disrupted when two Golden Gate bridge supports fall in love… with each other.
No Dialogue

ANDHERI – DIR/SCR: Sushrut Jain (India/USA)
Tragic fate intervenes when a live-in maid decides to run away from her domineering employer in Mumbai.
Hindi (English subtitles)

BATTLE OF THE ALBUM COVERS – DIR: Rohitash Rao (USA)
Iconic rock-and-roll album covers fight to the death.
English

CANADA – DIR/SCR: Anjali Sundaram (USA)
A teenage girl is forced to cope when her irresponsible mother uproots her and her siblings for a sudden move to Canada.
English

CURIOUS TODD AND THE MYSTERY DREAM – DIR: Ganesh Gothwal, Rahul Jogale (India)
When his water tank goes dry, Todd tries to rein in a nearby rain cloud before learning an important environmental lesson.
No dialogue

A DAY’S WORK – DIR/SCR: Rajeev Dassani (USA)
In this Student Academy Award winning short, a simple job escalates into a violent misunderstanding between a family and the immigrant laborers they have hired to help them move.
English/Spanish (English subtitles)

DHIN TAK DHA – DIR/SCR: Shraddha Pasi (India)
A film-obsessed villager sees the hard work that goes into entertainment while driving a traditional theater troupe around rural India.
Hindi (English subtitles)

EYES OF SILENCE – DIR: Avi Sidhu (India)
An explosives expert has a crisis of conscience while carrying out a terrorist mission.
No dialogue

THE JOURNEY – DIR/SCR: Ashish R. Shukla (India)
A man takes an emotional boat ride on the Ganges River.
No Dialogue

KAVI – DIR/PROD/SCR: Gregg Halvey (India)
A young boy tries to lead his family out of bonded labor in a brick kiln.
Hindi (English subtitles)

KEY TUMI? – DIR/PROD/SCR: Kunal Sen (Canada/India)
With a guitar, a catchy tune and an inquisitive mind a young boy tries to combat stage fright.
English

A MANGO TREE IN THE FRONT YARD – DIR/PROD/SCR: Raveendran Pradeepan (France)
In war-torn Sri Lanka, even walking home from school proves to be dangerous for three children.
Tamil (English subtitles)

MUSIC BINDS ALL – DIR: Pushpendra Prakash Sagar, Sharad Mante (India)
Indian tribal art styles come together through the power of music.
No Dialogue

NARMEEN – DIR/SCR: Dipti Gogna (India)
During the partition of India, a young Muslim mother tries to cope with the loss of her child by befriending a little Sikh boy.
Hindi/Punjabi (English subtitles)

THE PASSION OF CRICKET – DIR/SCR: Shyam A. Salunke (India)
The sport of cricket infects the daily lives of everyone in the city of Mumbai.
No Dialogue

SUKRIT’S SUNDAYS – DIR/PROD/SCR: Vasant Nath (India)
Young Sukrit (Tanay Chheda from SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE) learns the importance of his weekly trips to see his grandfather.
No Dialogue

Tickets go on sale on April 1 at ArcLight Hollywood Cinema’s box office located at 6360 W. Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood, CA and online at http://www.arclightcinemas.com.

Festival passes will be available starting April 1 at http://www.itsmyseat.com/IFFLA.html.

For more information on IFFLA please go to http://www.indianfilmfestival.org.

TEN BURNING QUESTIONS – Justin Hilliard (THE OTHER SIDE OF PARADISE)

Posted in Uncategorized by johnwildman on March 27, 2009

Justin Hilliard’s THE OTHER SIDE OF PARADISE is a confounding movie. And I mean that in the best possible way. It is a confounding movie because it doesn’t fit perfectly within a DVD Library Dewey Decimal System label it and slap it on a shelf kind of way. Because it doesn’t just defy your personal need for it to be a basic rediscovered-later-in-life romance. It doesn’t reject outright your hope for a wayward pursuit of a charismatic, yet enigmatic muse movie. You can’t even pin a proper road movie label on this thing. So, while you are working on reconciling the fact that while it liberally delivers elements of each throughout its romantic adventure, yet not one completely trumps the other – it does something else entirely. Something much more satisfying. It gives you a rooting interest with an original couple. Not two perfect people by any means. But two people you could imagine somehow working it all out. Just not perfectly. And that is confounding goodness.

1 How much autobiographical material is there to the film?

Quite a bit of the film is based on real life events that were experienced by Arianne and myself. Our history is really at the heart of the film and was the primary inspiration for Rose and Alex’s relationship. We went through those same issues of trust, abandonment and love. I guess…luckily, the supporting characters, sensationalized drama, and zany comedy come more from our creative collaboration than our past.

2 Who is easier with the script notes – wife and star, Arianne or good friend and producing partner, Ryan?
Both Arianne and Ryan are incredible collaborators. I’d say Ryan is a little easier to deal script notes. From the beginning of the creative process, he manages to find a few things in the story that he will stick to his guns to get. Whether it’s a nude scene, a zebra, or an alpaca (not necessarily in that order or dealing with one another), Ryan knows what he wants. Arianne is incredible when dealing with characters. She takes on writing from a perspective that only an actor could. She understands such depth and subtleties when it comes to defining very 3-dimensional characters in a film.

All that being said, I’m the one that receives the notes from them. Our process generally consists of us writing out the synopsis and scene breakdown. Then, I take it scene by scene and start to flesh out the pages.  Next, Arianne reads through and gives me substantial notes and character ideas. We talk through, butt heads, share a drink or two, and after that, we rewrite and rewrite until we are both happy. Finally, we call Ryan in to read over and make further suggestions and tweaks. When that is done, I return to the script and make the adjustments. Now, whom do I find it easier to take notes from? Ha! I’ll leave that one for another interview.

3 Other than the benefits of screening a film locally, what is the best part of having your film at AFI DALLAS?
It’s a top tier fest with an incredible staff, excellent press coverage, red carpet exposure, and an amazing selection of other films I can’t wait to see. I’m am honored to have THE OTHER SIDE OF PARADISE accepted in to AFI Dallas and thrilled that I have the opportunity to invite my close friends and supportive parents to a red carpet world premiere. I was born and raised in the DFW metroplex and am looking forward to doing my part in representing the local film community at this year’s fest.

4 What was your favorite location in Texas to shoot?
We shot the above ground pool dare scene at the Purple Martin Ranch in Gilmer, TX.  It was so deep country that it doesn’t even register on Google Maps. Despite being extremely hot, it was an incredible couple of days. We arrived the night before with the crew, a couple cases of Lone Star beer, and some scotch. After a relaxing night’s sleep at the ranch house, we woke up and started shooting one of the more entertaining scenes from the script.

Our location was provided by Cecil Martin and his wife. We had a long day that included swimming, some of the best improv outtake lines (provided by the uninhibited and brilliant Michael Price and John Elliott), chasing cows for the perfect shot and the most delectable craft service lunch in history of craft service lunches. Cecil and his wife had cooked us up the best mouth-watering ribs, brisket, homemade potato salad and dessert that I have ever had. It was a wonderful day, and a nice distraction from the fierce Texas heat.

5 What should a director do that they never think of until it’s too late?
Okay, I have three useful tidbits:

First, propose to and marry your leading lady. Because of that choice, I’m linked personally and professionally to the most incredible woman I’ve ever met.

Second, sleep.

And last but not least, take time to hire people that love what they’re doing and are passionate about their work. Finding a hardworking and collaborative crew is a wonderful dynamic. And don’t take their hard work for granted!

6 What’s the most underrated job on the set?

Well, according to my answer to question # 4, craft service would be up there on the list; however, I’d have to say art direction. My sister, Randi Frances Hilliard was the production designer/art director for THE OTHER SIDE OF PARADISE. She created the world that our characters inhabit. From costume to location design, Randi was such a primary reason that our film looks the way it does. Of course, Arianne, Ryan, and I had visual ideas from the start, and Ryan and I designed shots and color schemes for the scenes; however, it would all have been pointless without her hard work. The art department’s efforts are as important to the final product as the lighting, editing, direction, performance, et cetera. Randi did a phenomenal job.

7 What was more difficult: Shooting your wife, Arianne in love scenes or trying to keep your dog, Larry David from stealing scenes?
Are you kidding me?!?! Larry, you just put in position, sit back, and witness a pretty perfect subtle performance. Directing Arianne in love scenes was absolutely a challenge. I was literally in the other room watching from a monitor, so I could be as removed as possible. Believe me, I was the first one to say it if I didn’t find it real or true to her character…and that wasn’t easy. I completely trust her as an actress and as a professional. All that being said…they were not the most fun scenes for me to shoot.

8 What were the challenges in creating the right balance between the light hearted and whimsical with the dramatically intense material in the film?
Finding that right balance never seemed like too much of a challenge once the script took shape. It always felt like real life and especially the reality for these characters. We all have moments when we’ve been goofy, silly, happy, adventurous, or head over heels for someone, and I’m sure there’s been a separate time when we might feel the opposite, maybe heartbroken, lonely, helpless, or hopeless. Good and bad exist.

The balance between the two came with the relationship between ‘Rose’ and ‘Alex’. They are both people who want to trust, hope, love and explore a life where happiness is possible. A life where the good either outweighs the bad or you have someone to trust and share the burden with you. I also tried to give this film an equal share of some of my main influences. As much as I draw on the influence of Stanley Kubrick’s films, I am equally inspired by the brilliant zaniness of Looney Tunes cartoons. From Peter Sellers and Blake Edwards to DeNiro and Scorsese, I pulled from all that I love in cinema, television, music, and art to help appropriately tell the story of THE OTHER SIDE OF PARADISE.

9 What was the last film that made you cry? Laugh out loud?

Well, this year I’ve missed quite a few films, since we’ve been busy making one. Last film that made me cry was probably LA VIE EN ROSE. Last film to make me laugh out loud was either THERE WILL BE BLOOD or BURN AFER READING. Last film to make me cry and laugh out loud at the same time….has to be PUNCH DRUNK LOVE.

10 Popcorn or candy?
Got any scotch?

DVD EXTRA
Your production company is called “Striped Socks Productions” Explain.

In ninth grade, I played bass in a band with some of my friends. We’d practice about thirty minutes, get bored, and decide to grab a camera and shoot a short film. One day, we were trying to pick a name for our band and our drummer looked as his socks and said, “Uh, how about Striped Socks?” We all laughed at him and told him how that was such a ridiculous name for a band; however, the next time I shot a credit sequence for one of our short films, I scribbled ‘Striped Socks Productions’  on a piece of paper and officially had a production company name. It was the perfect name to represent the fearless joy and passion that I had for pursuing filmmaking as an artist. No matter what else was taking up my time in life, I needed to make films. That was the case then and now. That is ‘Striped Socks Productions’ (http://www.striped-socks.com). I love being a storyteller and filmmaker. No matter where I’m at in life, I’ll be doing those things.

THE OTHER SIDE OF PARADISE screens Sunday, March 29 at 9:15PM @ NorthPark 3 and Tuesday, March 31 at 10:15PM @ Magnolia 4.

Justin Hilliard, Ryan Hartzell and Arianne Martin will attend both screenings and participate in Q&As afterwards.

THE ACTOR’S CORNER – Jess Weixler (PETER AND VANDY)

Posted in Uncategorized by johnwildman on March 27, 2009

Jess Weixler was the girl from TEETH. If you are one of the film fest faithful (or frankly, even if you weren’t) that’s what you heard. “Wait, a minute wasn’t that the film where the girl’s hooha had teeth?” And if you did more than just recoil at the thought of the film’s premise or giggle like a teenager at the idea and saw the film, you likely had a gotcha moment. And much of that was due to Jess Weixler and specifically her level, yet emotional performance. And now, in PETER AND VANDY, she follows up with a tortured romance opposite solid-as-they-come Jason Ritter. And when we say tortured, we mean the kind of torture that evolves when two people are not made for each other. Yet still love one another. It’s a simple equation that just doesn’t add up. And one of the reasons that ultimately make it tangibly tragic is that longing to make the relationship math work that Weixler conveys. I’ve been there. And you’ve been there. And Weixler does a damn fine job of reminding us how much it could suck while still holding on to the hope that it could all still be good again.

There is an admirable quality about the way the characters you and Jason Ritter play in PETER AND VANDY are presented that is more than willing to delve into the mismatched at best or unlikable at worst. How tough is it as an actor to fight against our natural urge to be liked or seen as attractive?
Thank you. Yeah, I would say the urge to be liked is one of the harder things about acting. You personally want to be liked, but what people/ characters want at a given point in time is not always admirable. What is likable about everyone is usually not the full story. Every character I play I want to be whole and flawed, but what’s good, is that usually people are trying to make their lives better, there is just no quick answer for that. Yeah – sometimes when I see myself do stuff on screen I think ‘yuck, what is your problem?’.

Was there an official ceremony where Zooey Deschanel handed you the indie girl crown she received from Parker Posey or has she not willingly surrendered it yet?
Ha! I would be hard pressed to say that Parker Posey or Zooey Deschanel have taken off their crowns, nor should they. I believe they are both still the queens of their own indie universes. I just want to hang with them.

Jay DiPietro has said that PETER AND VANDY is “just as much about what the characters are thinking as it is about what they are doing”. What do you think he meant by that?
I guess what Jay meant is that these two are not always saying what they are thinking. And very much like in life, you can usually tell what they are thinking anyway, it’s just hard for the characters to admit it to themselves or each other. I hope the audience can tell what we are thinking.

Your roles in TEETH, PETER AND VANDY and ALEXANDER THE LAST all share a degree of fearlessness. Have you turned down a role yet because you thought it was too risky?
Thank you again. I have not turned down a role because I thought it was too “risky”. But in my mind the idea of taking a risky role is, reading a script and thinking, “Oh, this is kinda bad and cheesy, but I’m gonna do it anyway because I need the money, and just hope it turns out”. That is risky.

Having top lined a series of films already at this stage in your career, what is the percentage to scripts being offered to you outright versus projects you are asked to audition for?
Uhmm, I’m not being thrown offers or anything, I audition for most everything aside from stuff that involves friends. PETER AND VANDY is an exception because I just took a meeting with Jay and he must have thought to himself that he trusted me for whatever reason. I’m very grateful for that. Honestly, auditioning is the pits. I’ve spent a decade trying to convince myself I like it, but I really think it depends on how people are wired. It’s a bit of a nightmare personally to try and smash lines in my head for a day or two and then walk into a room and act. I just think sometimes it takes longer to digest; so much of my energy goes into thinking “what’s my next line”. People don’t act in a movie or play the way they act in an audition room (at least not from what I’ve seen). For most people the idea of getting offered something is adream come true because it’s so difficult.

Choose which cross comparison people actually have made on IMDB that you are most happy with:
A) Meryl Streep and Kate Hudson
B) Natalie Portman and Alicia Slverstone
C) Kate Winslet and Sarah Polley
D) Joan Cusack and Sharon Stone
E) Heather Graham and Juliette Lewis

I’m totally flattered by most of those comparisons and I’m a fan of at least someone in every letter, but if I had to pick, weather it’s at all true or not … C. They are both amazing…Sarah Polley has a reigning indie crown too, right? I mean she directed AWAY FROM HER. Wow.

PETER AND VANDY screens Saturday, March 28 at 5:30PM @ NorthPark 7 and Sunday, March 29 at 10:30PM @ NorthPark 7.

Jess Weixler will attend the first screening and participate in a Q&A afterwards.

TEN BURNING QUESTIONS – John Chester (ROCK PROPHECIES)

Posted in Uncategorized by johnwildman on March 26, 2009

When you are delivered the life story of a man who has spent forty-some years photographing everyone from Jimi Hendrix to Led Zepplin to Elton John and Santana to SLASH and Panic At the Disco and pretty much everyone in between… Well, you’ve been delivered gold. Now, let’s say this rock n’ roll photographer also captured the last images of guitar legend Stevie Ray Vaughn before his untimely death – yet, refused to sell them to the highest bidder out of respect for the artist and the man? Still not sold? Seriously?! Okay, here’s your third act – the guy finds and champions a little band called  Sick Puppies. Maybe you’ve heard of them. Or maybe you “need a hug”.  Wait – he’s not done, because he might just have found a kid that could be the next legit guitar hero. This guy’s name: Robert Knight. The title of the movie: ROCK PROPHECIES. And the director who spun a great film out of all of this: John Chester. Movie gold.

1         How did you learn about Robert Knight and his story?

As a documentary filmmaker, it’s a rare thing to capture even more than you had hoped when you first set out to follow a story.  I don’t know if it was luck or tenacity, but somehow incredible things happened in front of the lens. Now to your question… I met Robert through my producer, Tim Kaiser. Three years ago, Tim calls me and says he’s met this amazing guy who has spent 40 years as a rock photographer and claimed he was friends with some of the worlds greatest guitar legends. He dropped names like Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Stevie Ray Vaughan. The thing that captured my attention was this story where Robert in 1990 was actually the last person to photograph Stevie Ray Vaughan at Alpine Valley in Wisconsin. These were big claims, did he really have friendships with these guys? I was skeptical so I set up a meeting with Robert in LA at the Sunset Marquis. I showed up early and Robert was sitting at a table with another guy who was wearing a backwards hat, mirrored glasses, a cigarette hanging from his lips and a black tee shirt that said “I support strippers”. Robert said John, meet SLASH. And all I could see was the dumb look on my face reflected in his glasses. Okay, so he knows these guys. An hour later SLASH left the building and Robert and I had our first real face to face. Just for notes I grabbed my camera and shot our conversation in Robert’s hotel room. The audio from that interview actually became 75% of the VO for the film. As most filmmakers know a second interview is never as good as the first. I can’t explain it fully but the main reason I decided to do the documentary had to do with how Robert handled the big money offers from Rolling Stone and everybody else the day after Stevie Ray died. Plain and simple, Robert’s decision to not sell those photos is why I wanted to tell his story.

2         How did you weigh the decisions regarding the balance of telling Robert Knight’s story versus the artists he actually influenced?
At first I thought we were making a film about Robert Knight retelling amazing stories from the road with Led Zeppelin, Elton John, Alice Cooper, Rolling Stones, and Jimi Hendrix. But within two weeks, I realized Robert Knight is what Malcolm Gladwell would call a connector. I watched him spend more time connecting young bands to people who could help their careers than he did photographing concerts. I thought, “Wow, here is a guy who gets more joy out of being the connector than he does out of making money shooting them”. So the balance came from that: Robert knew what he was looking for because of 40 years studying the common threads that link all of the legends together. When we visit with Jeff Beck, SLASH, Santana, Steve Vai and others we begin to see the common characteristics. Robert uses these as clues when looking at young acts. I’d say it’s about 50% gut and 50% recognizing the traits of his legendary guitar friends.

3         On the surface, making a documentary about the guy taking the pictures as opposed to what he’s taking pictures of wouldn’t seem the way to go. What was your way “into the film”?
Well, considering Robert is the common thread in all of these stories, I would say Robert was our way in. It seemed natural to make a film about him and let things branch out from there. Robert’s a wonderful storyteller, so even if the whole film had been him talking into the camera, it would have made for an entertaining time regardless, but if you look at his life, Robert has been in the right place at the right time so many times that we just knew it would happen again. And it did. Since we started filming, Sick Puppies have blown up, Panic at the Disco has blown up, and the Answer is opening for AC/DC. The film became about Robert – who at age 60 felt his relevance as a photographer hinged not on his past success but on his future ability to find the next great guitar talent. And amazingly, he found just that person and we thank god we captured the ride. But watch the film and judge for yourself.

4         Who was the most surprising interview for the film?

Honestly all of them. I think what the film reflects most is how in control these guys are of their individual creative processes. The words they use to describe this translate to any artist and for that matter anyone who has ever wanted anything out of life. They are the ultimate happiness seekers who turn obsession into art. Which is the natural process most people ignore. Steve Vai, SLASH, Santana, and Jeff Beck all fight the same battle every day. The same struggle I have as a filmmaker and, sure enough, the same struggle Robert Knight has as a photographer wrestling with his own self worth, relevance and desire for his career to never end…

5        Seeing as how Robert is accustomed to being the one capturing the image, how difficult was it for him to be the one in front of the camera so frequently and insistently?
Now would be a good time to tell you what made Robert most uncomfortable. It was my clothes. Look, I’m from Maryland, and the LA rock star world is fairly new to me. He hated that I didn’t wear black pants, shirts, and a leather jacket. He despised my sun scorched tee shirts and shorts. I think I embarrassed him in front of his way- cool rocker friends. On several occasions he pulled me aside and asked me to wear more black. I bought a black shirt but can’t see the use of a black leather jacket in sunny CA.

Now, as for Robert – yes, he was uncomfortable with the idea of Tim and me making a film about him. He never liked that idea, he wanted it to be about the guitar players. And to a large degree this film is about them. However I think he did an amazing job of opening up and being vulnerable and honest about his shortcomings as a man, as an artist. The more he opened up about his creative desires the more we all wanted him to see them achieved. Tim Kaiser and I could not have asked for anything more.

6         If you couldn’t make films, what would your second career choice be?

In the film, Jeff Beck is asked that same question, and he says he’d probably be a serial killer. I have been making films since I was 8. I don’t know if I know how to do anything else. I hope one day I get better at making films… Or serial killing may be my only option.

7         What recent documentaries have made an impact on you?

Everything Erroll Morris and (Werner) Herzog. There’s that wonderful Werner Herzog quote about how a filmmaker’s job is to provide people with images they’ve never seen before, and that’s my goal every time I set out to make a film. I can only speak for myself here, but the image of Steve Vai successfully playing the guitar with his tongue is one that will stay with me for the rest of my life, for better or worse.  I cut it out of the film three times before finally leaving it in.

8         What is the best thing about having your film at AFI DALLAS?

Well, lots of reasons. There’s a big fan base in Dallas for both the Sick Puppies and Tyler Dow Bryant, two artists whose careers Robert Knight helped get going. Plus AFI is one of those festivals that still does it right.

9         So admit it – Which rock star stories did you geek out about the most?

Surprisingly, the craziest stories came from another rock photographer, Robert’s mentor Jim Marshall, also in the film. Let’s just say it started with him punching artist “Matthew Barney in the fucking mouth” and ended with a .45 caliber bullet going through a picture of Janis Joplin and Grace Slick, which was hanging in his living room. Did I mention that Jim is 72? As for guitarists, I have loads of admiration for Steve Vai’s mind. He’s got some sort of alien brain.

10       Popcorn or candy?

Since my wife Molly is a health supportive chef… I’d have to say sprouts. She claims I’ll live longer.  And given how long it takes to make a film nowadays, I should be able to make at least three more.

ROCK PROPHECIES screens Friday, March 27 at 7:30PM @ Magnolia 5 and Saturday, March 28 at 4:00PM @ Magnolia 5.

John Chester will attend both screenings and participate in Q&As afterwards.

THE ACTOR’S CORNER – Jake Hoffman (ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE UNDEAD)

Posted in Uncategorized by johnwildman on March 26, 2009

Jordan Galland’s ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE UNDEAD is one of those ideas for a movie that can go one of three ways: Moment of wild inspiration is never acted upon because it’s just too ridiculous, the script is written and the movie is made and everyone wonders what the hell they were thinking in the first place, or the “it’s just so crazy it might work” idea turns out to be just that. The nearly everything but the kitchen sink horror comedy about a 2000 year old conspiracy involving Shakespeare, vampires and the Holy Grail entertains and gets the silly laughs. But one of the primary reasons that it all works is because of the grounding presence of Jake Hoffman as a young theatre director sucked (yes, pun intended) into a web of vampirific intrigue. Deadpan is the only thing that can save him and he definitely knows how to use it.

How did you become involved with the film?

I’m old friends with Jordan. He asked me to do the table reading and afterwards he said ‘wanna do it?’. I was just relieved he was talking about the movie.

Have you ever had any real involvement in the New York theater world?

Recently I did my first play, “Christmas Present” By Amy Herzog, part of the EST’s 30th annual marathon of one act plays.

For a modestly budgeted indie-film, your fellow cast members of ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE UNDEAD are an eclectic collection of names (Devon Aoki, Ralph Macchio, John Ventimiglia, Jeremy Sisto, Polina Frantsena among them). Did you ever look around during crew meals and have a thought toward the relative randomness of it?
Hmm. I think about the randomness of life all the time. And I grew up loving Ralph’s movies, so that was pretty cool.

Your character in the film not only can claim Devon Aoki as an ex-girlfriend, but he also has a parade of beautiful actresses finding their way to his bed. Did that scenario make the job more fun or did it just add to the challenge of pulling off a role as a “lothario”?
I guess I thought of him less as lothario and more of a lost romantic. But to answer your question, it was fun.

You seem to have a natural affinity for the dead pan. Where do you think that comes from?

I’m not sure but appreciate the compliment.

Seriously, do you think that Jordan just made up that story about meeting Tom Stoppard?

I think Tom Stoppard made up the story about meeting Jordan, and Jordan doesn’t want to hurt his feelings. Jordan’s a nice guy.

Rumor has it you were spinning records at LA Fashion Week. If so, can you give us one of your go-to no-doubt-about-it song mixes?

I DJ as a hobby sometimes. Actually, when Jordan comes to hang out and hear me spin, I usually pay homage/embarrass him by playing some vintage Dopo Yume.

A lot of people in the film had to work with the fangs. Give us the scoop: who struggled with it and who were naturals?

John Ventimiglia was really convincing. I’m still a little freaked out.

ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE UNDEAD screens Friday, March 27 at 10:15PM @ NorthPark 3 and Sunday, March 29 at 4:15PM @ Magnolia 4.

Jake Hoffman will attend the first screening and participate in a Q&A afterwards.

SHORTS…and to the point! Chad Jackson (HUNGER)

Posted in Uncategorized by johnwildman on March 26, 2009

Chad Jackson’s horror short HUNGER is as direct a shot to the solar plexus of our national political malaise as it gets. Placing you alongside a corrupt politician who has found himself chained to a log in the middle of a field – confused, scared and being descended upon by a hoard of yes, hungry country folk, it effectively disorients and frightens the viewer as much as it’s politician/prey. But the thing that is striking about the film is the populist anger it taps into – the feeling that as things go from bad to worse, that we are still somehow beholden to professional politicians who can’t see the country from beyond the end of their own desks and offices. Like the farm hands after this politician, the longer you aren’t “fed”, the more frightening that “hunger” can become.

You have cited corrupt politicians, Chinese imports and global climate change as inspirations behind HUNGER. Could you give us a little more detail as to where it really came from?
I wrote the script for HUNGER in the summer of 2007.  We were still deep in the age of Bush.  The war was not going well from our perspective here at home, gas prices were high, there was talk of several new cement plants and coal plants being built in Texas, It was generally very miserable. Then, there was the whole lead paint toy debacle from China, as well as some sketchy dog food, yet it was almost impossible to find anything not Made In China. When my wife, Linda came home with an American flag and we realized it too was made in China – that was it – that was what my movie was going to be about. It’s a cautionary tale.

Do you believe we need to look below the surface “monsters” of horror films to find what is truly frightening us?

In the good ones, there is always something more being said below the surface.  That goes for action movies too.  If that element isn’t there, the films typically aren’t very memorable.

After making a living for a period as a storyboard artist, do you think it’s necessary to completely storyboard a film before you shoot?
Storyboards are very helpful when you don’t have much time or money. You always know what shots you need to make the edit work. They are also helpful when doing intricate action sequences. But, you always have to be open to things changing. Films tend to take on a life of their own once you start shooting.

Your main location was a farm used in the film PLACES IN THE HEART. How would HUNGER have been different with Sally Field playing the politician?
If you watch the movie, there is a cemetery sequence. The cemetery is surrounded by scarecrows made up of other politicians that were killed and eaten. One of them is a woman. That would have been Sally Field. If the movie had been about her, overall it wouldn’t be that different. Perhaps instead of shackling her to a log they would have locked her in a metal oil drum and left her in the sun to cook slowly. It’s all a game to them. Each victim gets is put in a situation that suits their corrupt sensibilities.

Politicians – taste like chicken or tender like veal?

The more evil and corrupt they are the more sinfully tender and delicious they taste.

What will happen in the feature-length sequel to HUNGER?

There will be no feature length version of HUNGER. Moving on. Next project.

HUNGER screens as part of MIDNIGHT SHORTS Saturday, March 28 at 10:00PM @ Magnolia 4 and Sunday, March 29 at 10:15PM @ Magnolia 4.

Chad Jackson will be attending both screenings and will participate in the Q&A afterwards.

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IFFLA & Korn/Ferry Announces 25 Most Influential South Asians in U.S. Entertainment

Posted in Uncategorized by johnwildman on March 26, 2009

KORN/FERRY INTERNATIONAL

IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE

7TH ANNUAL INDIAN FILM FESTIVAL OF LOS ANGELES

ANNOUNCES

25 MOST INFLUENTIAL SOUTH ASIANS
IN THE ENTERTAINMENT AND MEDIA INDUSTRY
BASED IN THE UNITED STATES

HOLLYWOOD, CA, March 25, 2009– Korn/Ferry International, the world’s largest and leading executive search firm, today announced its listing of the U.S. 25 Most Influential South Asian Executives in the Entertainment and Media Industry.  The list was created to honor senior executives of South Asian background who have excelled in various roles in the entertainment business.

In announcing the release of the list, Bill Simon, Senior Client Partner and Managing Director of Korn/Ferry International’s Global Media & Entertainment Practice, said, “We have all heard of the magnitude of the Indian entertainment sector, phenomenal success of Indian themed content with a main stream audience, and expansion of Indian companies into Hollywood.  What we are celebrating with this list, however, is the remarkable story of talented business executives who have moved through the ranks and now occupy the top rungs of the corporations that control the entertainment sector.”  Simon, who has personally assisted both Indian and global companies in securing senior corporate talent, worked closely with his colleagues in India to develop and refine the list.  “While we could have added 25 more names to the list, we believe that those who made the cut represent the very best in their respective areas of focus and expertise,” Simon explained.

The individuals on the list will be honored at a Gala Dinner during the 7th Annual Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) hosted by Globosat Entertainment LLC.  Delivering the keynote address at the dinner is Ashok Amritraj, Chairman and CEO of Hyde Park Entertainment, and one of the most successful producers in Hollywood.  Amritraj has produced over 100 films for the global audience.

Christina Marouda, Executive Director of IFFLA, observed that this year was particularly significant because of the recent success of Danny Boyle’s SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE at the Oscars and high profile corporate acquisitions by Indian companies such as Dreamworks by Mumbai based Reliance Entertainment.  “We are delighted to be able to put the spotlight on executives of South Asian origin who now manage and influence broad areas of the traditional entertainment business,” Marouda noted.

The List:

Movie Mogul: Ashok Amritraj
Chairman and CEO
Hyde Park Entertainment

Finance: Bedi A. Singh
President, Finance and Administration &
Chief Financial Officer
MGM

Strategist: Salil Mehta
President of Business Operations, Strategy and Development
NBC Universal

Television: Roma Khanna
President, Global Networks and Digital Initiatives
NBC Universal International

Cable: Krishan Bhatia
Senior Vice President,
Strategy & Development
Comcast Interactive

Sports: Bobby Sharma
President & General Counsel, NBA Development League
National Basketball Association

Interactive: Bhavesh Patel
Vice President, Interactive Media
Fox Cable Networks

Digital: Salil Dalvi
Senior Vice President, Digital Distribution
NBC Universal

Digital Rights and Security: Rajan Samtani
Senior Director, Business Development
Digimarc Corporation

Technology: Kumar Mahadeva,
Founder and Former Chairman
Cognizant Technology Solutions Corporation

Online: Ramu Yalamanchi
Founder and CEO
hi5 Networks, Inc.

Industry Organizations: Noel de Souza
Studio Liaison
Hollywood Foreign Press Association

Marketer: Rohan Oza
Senior Vice President of Marketing
Glaceau

News and International Affairs: Fareed Zakaria
Editor
Newsweek International

Publishing: Aparna Pande
Vice President and General Manager, U.S. Consumer Magazines
Disney Publishing Worldwide

Mobile: Manish Jha
President and Chief Executive Officer
envIO’s

Music: Nusrat Durrani
Senior Vice President and General Manager
MTV World

Advertising: Chris D’Rozario
Executive Creative Editor
JWT

Media Communications: Latha Sundaram
Senior Vice President & Global Account Director
Starcom Worldwide

Brands: Deepak Masand
Senior Vice President & Global Head, Innovation and Commercial Marketing
VISA International

Public Relations: Rohit Bhargava
Senior Vice President, Marketing
Ogilvy 360 Digital

Distribution, Television: Superna Kalle
Senior Vice President
Sony Pictures Television International

Distribution, Film: Deborah Tellis
Senior Vice President, International Distribution
Summit Entertainment

Post Production: Syed Ahmed
Vice President
Deluxe Laboratories, North America

Attorney and Strategist: Arnold Peter
Partner
Raskin Peter Rubin & Simon, LLP and RPRS Media Partners, LLC

SHORTS…and to the point! Trevor Anderson (THE ISLAND)

Posted in Uncategorized by johnwildman on March 25, 2009

Trevor Anderson’s short films that have played at both AFI FEST and AFI DALLAS the past two years, ROCK POCKETS and CARPET DIEM were clever applications of Anderson’s wit and animated musing. As droll and smart as those films are, they now stand as a warm up for his latest short, THE ISLAND. There are few things better than liking someone’s work and then seeing it leap forward. And that’s what happens here. Anderson takes a disturbing homophobic hate e-mail (suggesting that he and all the other gay men be sent to an island where they should give each other AIDS) as an inspiration to create something so unexpected and so telling as to his wonderful nature that it obliterates any relevance the thought or the writer behind it ever might have clung to. His “idea”, mind boggling as it may seem is to agree with the e-mail and then – before you have a chance to condemn him as insane, to whimsically turn the entire idea on its pointy little hate-filled head.

Was the e-mail that inspired THE ISLAND a rarity or was it the one in a series that “broke the camel’s back”?

Thankfully, it was unique. I live in a pretty loving bubble, so to receive that kind of hate mail was like waking up and finding part of an ancient cold war satellite on my lawn.

Describe the process of pairing the live action you with the animated “fantasy” island?

I went to a place in Northern Alberta called Cold Lake with my Director of Photography and a Steadicam Operator. We just shot me six ways to Sunday walking across the ice, then came back to the city and looked at the footage with the animators, discussed, the editor put together a skeleton, and we jazzed it all in from there. Watching the film now, I forget the experience of trudging, bundled, across that frozen lake in what was actually (surprise!) hot sun. (P.S. It was spring and the lake was starting to melt… couple of dodgy moments with the Steadicam rig!)

I can’t imagine that your approach (however darkly humorous you might describe it) to look at the “bright side” of an island where all the gay men would be sent to give each other AIDS would ever be expected or even “appreciated” by anyone in the gay community. So, what has the reaction been like so far?
So far, so good! Luckily us fags, like most people, like to laugh.

Of all the jobs they could be trained for – gorilla masseurs?
Well, monkey butlers was taken.

Honestly, will you feel a little empty inside if next year rolls around and you don’t have a film at AFI FEST or AFI DALLAS?

Yes.

What will happen in the feature-length sequel to THE ISLAND?

Global warming. But don’t worry. The lesbians will save us.

THE ISLAND screens as part of SHORTS PROGRAM ONE Friday, March 27 at 9:00PM @ Magnolia 3 and Saturday, March 28 at 12:00PM @ Magnolia 3.