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Vengeance de los Muertos screening with Samurai Cop midnight 3/30 at Boston Underground

Vengeance de los Muertos is going to be screening at midnight along with the cult classic SAMURAI COP on March 30th, 2013 at the 15th annual Boston Underground Film Festival. I’ll be there. Tickets are $10.

(ticket purchase link below)
https://www.vendini.com/ticket-software.html?w=ddc492dcd92aced8f1986b7da52a688e&t=tix

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Vengeance de los Muertos – WORLD PREMIERE – SF Indiefest 2/16

I’m happy to announce, my new short film ‘VENGEANCE de los MUERTOS’ will be premiering at the San Francisco Independent Film Festival ( SF Indiefest ) on 2/16 @ midnight. I’ll be opening up for Manborg, a Canadian sci-fi film that premiered at last years Fantastic Fest in Austin. I’ll be in attendance for this event as well as some SF Indiefest parties. I’m really looking forward to this, if you’re in the neighborhood swing by and say “hi”. I’d love to see ya.

Address:

Roxie Theatre
3117 16th Street
San Francisco, California 94110

Tickets are $10

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Voodoo Swing – Keep on Rollin’ to appear in competition in Szeged, Hungary

The super 8mm music promo I shot for Voodoo Swing’s album ” Keep on Rollin’ ” is an official selection at the 11th annual Super 8mm Fesztivál in Szeged, Hungary.

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Cannes Short Film Corner – SFC Breakfast

Earlier today I attended one of the Short Film Corner SFC Breakfast sessions. For those who have a film in the Short Film Corner, you are registered on a number mailers detailing various activities going on throughout the festival. The Breakfast’s are a series of “speed dating” style meetings where filmmakers get to pitch their film’s to distributors, television aggregators and screening venues for 5 minutes in a free-for-all roundtable breakfast setting.

I thought it was a good event, and I have some promising leads for my new short once its released. To be successful, you not only need to have artistic vision, good story telling abilities and all that. You also need to be a solid business person (or work with one). I can’t stress the importance of meeting people face to face in an event like this over blind email submissions.

Some of the companies represented at my sessions were:

    SHORT TV AND SHORT HD
    L´AGENCE DU COURT MÉTRAGE
    FESTIVAL DEL FILM LOCARNO
    TV3 TELEVISIO DE CATALUNYA
    DAZOO FILM AND MEDIA LTD
    etc…

Below is a copy of the email I received informing me I’d been selected

from: sfcbreakfast <sfcbreakfast@festival-cannes.fr>
to: sfcbreakfast
date: Sat, May 12, 2012 at 6:26 AM
subject: May 20th Breakfast Confirmation – Short Film Corner

Dear participant,

We are glad to inform you that you will be able to attend a Short Film Corner breakfast on Sunday, May 20th at 9 a.m.

This session will take place at the Terrasse du Festival (in the Palais des Festivals, Level 4). Please make sure to arrive on time.

Due to a very high number of requests, please note that:

– Only one person per request and per film will be accepted. If you have asked to attend with one or several collaborators, please choose only one person to represent your film.

– The breakfast time and date will not be subject to any change.

Looking forward to welcoming you in Cannes,

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Cannes Producers Workshop – Marche du Film

Established in 2011, the Producers Workshop is a relatively new development program sponsored by the Marché du Film, the market component of the Cannes Film Festival. Its purpose is to guide producers early in their careers. The program takes place the first three days of the festival, and consists of panels held by industry professionals. Each day is broken up into a morning session and an afternoon session with either a coaching session or a guided tour around lunchtime. In addition to panels, the Producers Workshop gives participants an opportunity to network with peers at a similar stage in the evolution of their careers. Finally, participants gain access to Cinando, an online database geared towards film sales and acquisitions.

Day One:

Day One started with an introduction by Lucius Barre and a panel. During the 80s, Barre oversaw the foreign advertising of numerous films, most notably, Bernardo Bertolucci’s, “The Last Emperor”. The panel discussed a perfect day at Cannes from the perspective of: a producer, a sales agent, and a distributor. Each had various anecdotes about what they were looking for on a day to day basis, and pointed out how it was often incongruous with the goals of the filmmakers that approach them.

Available via an additional signup process were lunchtime coaching sessions and a guided tour. I was admitted into the guided tour, provided by Sydney Levine, contributing editor for Indiewire. As we walked through the market, it was apparent how truly vast her network was; as the tour progressed we ran into numerous people she knew. Not only did she seem to know everyone, but she also had interesting stories to tell about each one of them.

The second session was on the topic of new media. It was stated, that if the buzzword of 2011 was, “co-productions” then this year’s buzzword [is] “transmedia”. More than once, I’ve been asked the question, “what is transmedia?” Transmedia was a term coined in the 90s, however it has really only hit its stride in the last couple years. My best description is, “a strategy of expanding a narrative across multiple ancillary platforms in an effort to increase awareness among consumers, often utilizing direct engagement models.” This can be achieved through web series, mobile content, video games; really the sky is the limit here, as long as the stories told support the brand.

Day One concluded with a happy hour / networking mixer that included hors d’oeuvres and a sponsored bar.

Day Two:

Day Two started with the panel, “Branding yourself and your projects”. Among the topics discussed were: preparation for meetings with financiers, sales agents and co-producers. How do you analyze and determine what the relevant facts are? And to whom do you present what? Who and when do you pitch? And finally, the do’s and don’ts of project presentation.

Again, lunch was occupied with coaching sessions or a guided tour.

The second session was on production finance and film funds. Throughout Europe, there are various incentives, both on the national and regional level, available to entice filmmakers to shoot in specific locations. In addition, co-production finance strategies were a big component to this year’s lecture. I would define an international co-production as: “a production in which two (or more) companies engage in a partnership with the intent of mitigating financial risk often leveraging governmental incentives as partial forms of financing.” During the panel we explored the various regions throughout Europe in which they gave an example finance breakdown for a specific feature film.

Day Three:

Day Three started off with the question, “What kind of producer are you?” Here the panelists asked the audience to question how they view themselves. What are their motivations for being a producer? Are they a “creative” producer, or “financial” producer; are they “hands on” or “hands off”? Oftentimes indie producers need to wear multiple hats. This panel was great at identifying comfort zones and, if necessary, pushing to reach outside of it.

Lunch consisted of a guided tour for those who hadn’t attended already.

Day Three ended with Angus Finney, from the Film London Production Finance Market, asking the question, “How do you produce for the international market?”. This was possibly my favorite panel. Topics included: what stage of development is an appropriate time to approach financiers; the importance of the package and the key elements; appropriate budgeting; jigsaw puzzle financing; sales and distribution partners; as well as closing the financing. This was a great way to end the program, as there were many elements in Finney’s presentation that were touched upon by others and he was able to wrap everything up nicely.

The Producers Workshop was highly informative and I’d recommend it to anyone in the early stages of their producing careers, especially for those residing in Europe.

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Vengeance de los Muertos pre-screening May 2012 at the Cannes Short Film Corner

My new short, VENGEANCE de los MUERTOS is going to have a pre-screening later this month at the Short Film Corner, part of the Marché du Film at the 65th annual Cannes Film Festival.

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Keep on Rollin’ will appear in the inaugural edition of the Long Shadow Film Festival 11/21/11

My music promo for Voodoo Swing, Keep on Rollin’ will appear in the inaugural edition of the Long Shadow Film Festival next week. The venue is at the Filmbar in Phoenix, AZ.

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Rémy Martin The Heart of Cognac Experience

Last night I attended the Rémy Martin The Heart of Cognac Experience tasting at the Ebell of Los Angeles in Hancock Park. The event is broken into separate rooms, each focusing on a different theme. They really went all out on this, it was quite an enjoyable time. If you are at all interested in cognac, or liquor, I would highly recommend this event. I should also mention, a strict ‘no photo’ policy was in place, so I have no pictures to accompany this article.

Upon arrival, a suggested charitable donation was encouraged at the door and you are given two tokens redeemable for drinks as you wait for your ‘tour’. The waiting room is adored with quotes and various trivia relating to the Rémy Martin brand and a cognac bar. I ordered two of their sidecars, which consists of:

Rémy Martin Sidecar

    1 1/2 oz. Rémy Martin VSOP
    3/4 oz. Cointreau
    1/2 oz. lemon juice

Shake all the ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with an orange peel.

And ‘hey’, they were pretty good.

First, we were brought into a room with a flat screen TV; where they played a video detailing the process behind cognac production and what makes the Rémy Martin house different from other brands. (hint: its the grapes). At the end the presentation you are given a shot of VS cognac.

Next, my favorite part of the tour,  we were brought into a room with hundreds of graduated cylinders. Each was filled with Rémy Martin cognacs of different vintages. The crowd was broken into small groups and it was our task to best replicate Rémy Martin VSOP with 1, 2, 5, and 10 year old cognac blends. Our first attempt was way to strong. However, in the last few seconds, we put together a second milder blend and we tied another group for first place. In addition to the cognac blend that we made, this room was finished off with a shot of VSOP.

Last was a room lined with oak barrels made to replicate the cellars master distillers use to age the cognac. This room was finished off with a shot of XO.

By this time I was properly inebriated. Lucky for me, Jennifer was my ride home. And that concluded a really great night.

below is my invite

You’re Invited to the Remy Martin Heart of Cognac Tasting Event

The Heart of Cognac Experience

Come join Rémy Martin for
The Heart of Cognac Experience,
an unforgettable evening of good
friends and outstanding cognac.
If you have a passion for fine spirits
and enjoy the thrill of discovery,
this exclusive event is for you.
In addition to tasting some of our
finest spirits, you will learn how
Rémy Martin captures the
Heart of Cognac in every bottle.

You and your guests must be 21 years or older with valid photo identification to attend the event(s).

PLEASE CLICK BELOW to learn more and find the event location in your area.

http://www.heartofcognacexperience.com

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Review – The Skin I Live In (2011) – dir. Pedro Almodovar

Pedro Almodovar's The Skin I Live In (2011)
2011 Sony Pictures Classics

During the Cannes Film Festival, if you miss one of the red carpet premiers all is not lost. They replay all films that appear in the main competition at alternate venues on the final Sunday of the festival. I had the pleasure of seeing Pedro Almodovar’s The Skin I live In starring Antonio Banderas at one such venue.

At the risk of giving too much away, The Skin I Live In is the story of a brilliant plastic surgeon Robert Ledgard (Banderas) who has developed a new type of synthetic skin impervious to damage. The new skin doesn’t burn, it prevents mosquito bites and can be used in skin grafts for burn victims. His invention is a true medical breakthrough. Apon announcing his findings to the medical community, Ledgard’s colleagues plague him with accusations regarding the nature of his tests and things are further complicated through a link between his work in progress and a personal tragedy. Parallel roads cross paths when Ledgard stumbles across a botched burglary and he is forced to take action.

It should be known that my vagueness above is deliberate. The Skin I live In is a wonderfully complex tale, and unfortunately such a short description doesn’t do it justice. My goal was to avoid spoilers as best as possible. Hopefully my review will peak your interest and act as encouragement to see this film for yourself. If it’s not already understood, I think it was great and highly recommend it. It’s not often a film has such a lasting effect.

Let me know what you think in the comments section.

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Coup de Pouce workshop РCannes Short Film Corner РCourt M̩trage

As part of the Short Film Corner, the Cannes Film Festival offers a series of panels and workshops for young filmmakers. I applied and was selected for one such panel. It was called, ‘Coup de Pouce’, which roughly translates to ‘helping hand’ or ‘a push in the right direction’. My advisor was Roland Nguyen, head of the short film acquisition at France 3 television; we discussed short films and the viability of sales in an ever-crowded marketplace.

The majority of Nguyen’s advice was from a Francophone perspective. That said, the recommendations were still applicable for sales outside of French speaking markets. He said: concentrate on visually stunning productions; work with a distributor if possible, don’t try to sell your film yourself as buyers often purchase shorts in blocks; and not to spend too much time on broadcasters, focus on the internet and new media. Directors can rely on gimmicks to create buzz around their films. For example, a filmmaker offered a €100 prize via twitter to one lucky fan who both watched and shared his film. Finally, he suggested not worrying too much about recouping investment in your short. This should be the springboard to launch your career.

French television is one of the largest buyers of short films in the world. However, to receive government funding they are required to purchase a certain amount of French films. After that, they concentrate on French speaking nations like Belgium, Switzerland and Canada. Then finally, they look to the rest of the world for content. So for us in English speaking regions, it’s not the most viable game plan to try to sell to French TV.

For English speaking content there are opportunities at the following stations: BBC [UK], Channel 4 [UK], Movieola [CAN], Sundance [US], IFC [US].

While the Short Film Corner at the Cannes Film Festival is a great place to land a sale or distribution deal, Nguyen stressed that the premier venue is International Short Film Festival in Clermont-Ferrand. Clermont-Ferrand takes place in the winter before Cannes and it’s the largest short film market in the world. He asserted that you should contact your prospective buyers months before the event. You can find contacts in databases like Cinando. And plan to attend; you will strengthen your chances of success by meeting with buyers in person.

In closing, the Coup de Pouce was a great experience and I would like to thank the Cannes Short Film Corner for selecting me. It’s nice to be able to speak to someone on the other side of the fence and hear the perspective of an actual buyer. And finally, I hope those who read this write-up find my notes useful.

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