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.