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raymac Written by raymac
Jun. 27, 2014

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Etheria Film Night 2014 Announces Official Selections & Inspiration Award Recipient Lexi Alexander

Etheria Film Festival

Premieres include Rose McGowan’s retro thriller “Dawn,” Danis Goulet’s Cree Indian science fiction “Wakening,” and AFI DWW graduate Sarah Doyle’s string theory comedy “You and Me & Her.”

Etheria Film Night is proud to announce the official lineup of short films for the July 12, 2014 event at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, California!  The North American Premiere of writer/director Axelle Carolyn’s feature film Soulmate will be followed by these short film selections:

“Wakening” - *LA Premiere* directed by Danis Goulet
(2013, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Canada, 9 mins)
In the near future, the environment has been destroyed and society suffocates under a brutal military occupation. A lone Cree wanderer Wesakechak searches an urban war zone to find the ancient and dangerous Weetigo to help fight against the occupiers.

“Job Interview” - *LA Premiere* directed by Julia Walter
(2013, Thriller, Germany, 10 mins)
When Lisa applies for a job everything seems to be turning out pretty well… Until the boss Marie starts asking strange questions and the job interview turns out to be a little different than expected…

“You Me & Her” - *World Premiere* directed by Sarah Doyle
(2014, Science Fiction, USA, 20 mins)
When 30 versions of one person pass through the wormhole at the Department of Parallel Resettlement, Anna discovers she is the worst possible version of herself.

“Dia de los Muertos” - *LA Premiere* directed by Gigi Saul Guerrero
(2014, Horror, Mexico/Canada, 12 mins)
On the night of ‘Dia De Los Muertos,’ the women of the La Candelaria strip club seek revenge on those who have abused them.

“Dawn” - *LA Premiere* directed by Rose McGowan
(2013, Thriller, USA, 18 mins)
Dawn is a quiet young teen that longs for something or someone to free her from her sheltered life. One day she meets Charlie, a high school dropout, who offers her a glimpse into a world she dreams to be a part of.

“Hide & Seek” - directed by Kayoko Asakura
(2013, Horror, Japan, 11 mins)
A school girl visits a house to take a KOTO lesson. She meets her teacher and her son and they seem to be playing “HIDE and SEEK” in the house. Koto lesson starts but the girl soon realizes that there’s something very odd about the teacher.

“The Jelly Wrestler” - *LA Premiere* directed by Rebecca Thomson
(2013, Action/Comedy, Australia, 14 mins)
With one last shot at jelly glory, washed up wrestler and barmaid Eileen must grapple with aging, betrayal and her own jelly wrestling demons - a task that may well put her down for the count.

The Soulmate North American premiere will be followed by a Q&A with director Axelle Carolyn conducted by Rebekah McKendry (Fangoria Magazine). The short film screenings will be followed by a Q&A conducted by Brea Grant (“Heroes,” Best Friends Forever) with directors Rebecca Thomson (“The Jelly Wrestler”), Sarah Doyle (“You Me & Her”), Gigi Saul Guerrero (“Dia de los Muertos”) and Rose McGowan (“Dawn”).  Director Lexi Alexander (Punisher: Warzone, Green Street Hooligans) will receive the 2014 Etheria Inspiration Award for her action and science fiction film work.  The evening will include a cocktail reception and red carpet event sponsored by Monstrosity Films, Walker/Fitzgibbon, Birns & Sawyer, and co-presented by Ms. in the Biz.

Tickets for the feature and the shorts lineup are $11 each and are available at these links:

Feature: http://www.americancinemathequecalendar.com/content/etheria-film-night

Shorts: http://www.americancinemathequecalendar.com/content/etheria-film-night-shorts-competition

The event schedule is available here: http://www.etheriafilmnight.com/event/

Etheria Film Night 2014 is co-presented by the American Cinematheque and will take place at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood on July 12th, 2014. The event is sponsored by Monstrosity Films, Fangoria Magazine, RapidHeart Pictures, Vtape, Supernova Books, All Things Horror, MovieMaker Magazine, American Cinematheque, Birns & Sawyer, Killer POV, Ms. in the Biz, Digital Bolex, Beers N Fears, Walker/Fitzgibbon, and Alternative Cinema.

2014 judges include Larry Fessenden (Glass Eye Pix), Susan Seidelman (Desperately Seeking Susan), Rachel Talalay (“Dr. Who”, Tank Girl), Chad Clinton Freeman (Pollygrind Film Festival), Patty West (AFI’s Directing Workshop for Women), Amber Benson (Drones), Brea Grant (Best Friends Forever), Elle Schneider (Digital Bolex), Alexandra West (Luminato Film Festival), Kier-La Janisse (Fantastic Fest), Briony Kidd (Stranger with my Face Film Festival), Elizabeth Stanley (“Trailers from Hell”), John Skipp (Book of the Dead), Mitch Davis (FanTasia Film Festival), Jennifer Lynch (Chained), Lexi Alexander (Punisher: Warzone), Brian Quinn (Grindhouse Film Festival), Peter Block (A Bigger Boat), Sean Marks (NYCHFF), Chris Rowan (NYCHFF), Marina de Van (Dans ma peau), Jeffrey Riddick (Final Destination series), David Decoteau (RapidHeart Pictures), Gabrielle Kelly (NYU Tisch School of the Arts), Sean Hood (Conan), and Brian Jones (Beers N Fears).

Reel Grrrls

Etheria Film Night is honored to be sponsoring an on-site charity drive at their July 12th event for Reel Grrls (www.reelgrrls.org)! Reel Grrls empowers young women to realize their power, talent, and influence through media production.  Reel Grrls is the premier year-round media-training program for girls.Reel Grrls is a 501c(3) non-profit organization. On July 12th, at our Etheria Film Night event, we will be requesting donations of gaffers tape and SD cards (new or used)  as well as monetary donations to the organization. Any other production items will be accepted as well. These girls are awesome and deserve our support! Find out more on our site: http://www.etheriafilmnight.com/reel-grrls-charity/


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NoBudgetFilmSchool Written by NoBudgetFilmSchool
Oct. 30, 2012

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Spying on “Neighbors”

I’m excited to bring you a guest article from Ron Judkins, a close friend and my producing partner on True Love, the feature I use as a case study in my No Budget Film School class.  While this is a first for me, I hope to have more guest bloggers in the future. 
 

I met Ron about 15 years ago when I was at Next Wave Films and he was finishing his feature directorial debut, The Hi-Line.  Next Wave ultimately repped the film when it premiered in Dramatic Competition at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival.  Made for around $500k, this beautiful film went on to play many festivals and helped launch the career of then-unknown Rachael Leigh Cook.  (Incidentally, it was shot by none other than Wally Pfister, whom we introduced to Chris Nolan in Park City when we were repping Chris’ film Following, which was playing at Slamdance that same year).  Though The Hi-Line was Ron’s first feature as a director, it was by no means his first time on a film set.  Ron is a two-time Academy Award winning production sound mixer and a four-time nominee.  He has worked with filmmakers like Paul Thomas Anderson, Gus Van Sant, Alan Rudolf, Stephen Frears, Barry Levinson, and most notably Steven Spielberg.  In fact, he has been with Spielberg on just about every one of his films over the last 20 years, including the upcoming Lincoln. 

Ron is an incredibly knowledgeable guy and the insights he shares below about the making of his new film Neighbors  ring very true to me.  His experience represents an excellent example of Embracing Your Limitations, the first rule I teach in my class.  I hope you enjoy this piece; I look forward to bringing you more guest pieces soon.

- Mark Stolaroff, No Budget Film School

NEIGHBORS WORKING TOGETHER

by Ron Judkins


I’ve worked in the “industry” for a good long while, mostly as a production sound mixer on movies that you may have heard of.  I’ve even won some awards.  But I’ve also enjoyed lurking on the fringes of the independent scene as well.  I directed a movie called The Hi-Line that went to Sundance in 1999.  Mark Stolaroff and I were business partners when he was formulating the ideas for his No Budget Film School, so I’m pretty familiar with what he’s up to.

And while all of the No Budget theories make perfect sense, in reality it’s often hard to make a movie and completely keep to the guidelines.  Mark would probably be the first person to admit that.  On every project it seems that there’s something that you want to do that causes you to break the rules.  You either want a different look, a higher profile cast, more interesting locations, or something.  And often that something either prevents the filmmaker from making the film, or otherwise creates a huge fly in the ointment during the process.

In the years since I made The Hi-Line, I’ve been in “development” on a variety of projects.  I took a lot of meetings, weekly phone calls, and strategy sessions.  But no films got made.  So finally I decided to gather what resources I had to just go out and make a film.  I asked my across-the-street neighbor Judy Korin, and my wife Jennifer Young (very close neighbor) to produce…Neighbors

Ron Judkins On Neighbors' Set

Neighbors is a comedic drama about a middle-aged guy (Michael O’Keefe) who, with the help of his neighbors, faces down a mid-life crises to re-connect with both his creativity, and his marriage.

When I originally visualized the film, I wanted to set it in an upscale urban Los Angeles neighborhood.  I was thinking Silverlake, or the Hollywood Hills.  But the film had specific requirements in terms of locations.  As it was written, we needed three houses in a row on the same side of the street that had sight lines and easy access to each other. That is a huge task to find when you have a very limited budget. 

I wanted to make a classic “L.A.” movie with lots of light, windows, palm trees, and maybe a vista of the distant Pacific. We looked long and hard—canvassing the people that we knew, and the people that they knew.  And lo and behold—we found it!  One of Jennifer’s long time friends had a house in the Hollywood Hills that was perfect.  He loved the script and agreed to let us film there.  And across the ravine from him was another artistic couple that might be sympathetic to our cause.  An introduction was made, and incredibly, the second couple was very open to having us shoot in their house as well.  It really amazes me what opportunities can open up for you—if you only ask.  Often we just don’t ask.  But I was so excited!  These locations were a dream come true. 

But then we turned our attention to the logistics.  While beautiful, the house had very limited parking.  We would have to set up a shuttle.  We weren’t sure how the other adjacent neighbors would react to us filming in the ravine.  One was rumored to be “not sympathetic.”  And then we couldn’t find a parking lot that was affordable—or even a side street with good parking.  And because we were committed to working only twelve-hour days, we had to think about the time lost to parking and shuttling.  With all of that, we would be lucky to be able to actually be shooting for ten hours a day.  It seemed really difficult. 

Judy and Jennifer kept gently suggesting, “Why don’t we just shoot it in our own houses?”

I was so resistant to that.  I didn’t think it would work—well, I knew that it wouldn’t work in the way I had imagined.  A big concern of mine was that I didn’t want the scope of the film to be reduced.  Houses in our neighborhood are small, and I was concerned that the locations would feel confining and claustrophobic. 

But we inched ever closer to our start date and everything started to cost more money than we had budgeted.  So it really came down to the fact that there was no way we could pull it off if we tried to shoot up on the hill.  And Judy and Jennifer brought up a good point (do you see a pattern here?!), that it was more than just a question of where to shoot the movie.  That maybe there was an opportunity to involve our neighborhood in a very organic way as a kind of a partner in the making of the movie.  And once I got off my position of the way I imagined the film, I began to understand what that could be.  Wouldn’t it make sense to shoot a movie called Neighbors in our own neighborhood?  We had so many resources there, but it wasn’t just about resources, it was about embracing a philosophy where so many other people in the neighborhood were able to come on board and collaborate on something that became very meaningful to them—for many different reasons. 

Wardrobe In The House

We ended up shooting the bulk of the movie in Judy’s house.  We were able to shoot in the house next door to hers, which had a guesthouse behind.  It was such a fortuitous choice.  When we needed to shoot a real-time Skype conversation in two locations simultaneously—our neighbors down the block let us shoot at their place. When we needed high-speed Internet in the guesthouse next to Judy’s, we just ran long Ethernet lines across the backyard.  Our own house, across the street, became an additional location as well as the production office, the hair and makeup department, wardrobe, and actor’s greenroom.  This was not without its awkward moments.  Judy had to move out of her house for the duration of the shoot.  When Jennifer and I had to vacate our bedroom so that it could be repainted, we had to sleep in the living room among the wardrobe racks. When hair and make up arrived an hour and a half early to start work, they were knocking on our front door.  We were SO sleep deprived!  Judy’s back yard was perfect for craft service and for catering.  She kept the interior of her house set up the way we had it in the film, so that months later when we came back for pickups, the house was ready to go.

Looking at the film now, it’s not that light and airy send up of Los Angeles that I had first imagined.  But there is an authenticity to the locations and to the look of the film that is pretty unique.  It really is another side of Los Angeles. 

So the no-budget filmmaking rule of “use what you have” really did work for us—and in ways which were exponentially more important and meaningful than just the savings in dollars.  Because the fact is, when making films in this manner you HAVE to engage with and inspire some kind of community or larger group of people to aggregate the kinds of energy and resources to pull it off.  For whatever reasons, people have to want to be involved with your film.  Your currency becomes your goodwill and your integrity and how these both can manifest and take root in that community.  It can be a community of three or four, or three hundred, but it is the combined energies of the individuals in that group that will allow you to make your project.  In our case, when our filmmaking community was largely populated by our actual neighbors, the project really sprouted wings.

I don’t know what kind of film we would have if we had been able to shoot up on the hill.  But I do know that by fostering win-win relationships close to where we live, we created an experience that was extraordinary.  Very few times did I feel that our limited budget seriously affected the way we made the film.  The only exception was our schedule.  I really would’ve liked to be able to shoot a more relaxed schedule.  And I have some ideas about that.

So the other day I told Jennifer, “Next time I want to make a movie with even less money.”  I have some hunches about how to pull that off in an amazing way.  Of course it has to be the right film, and the right people.

She rolled her eyes and told me to shut up!

—Ron Judkins

To learn more about Neighbors and to watch some great videos about the making of the film, check out the current Kickstarter page at:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1614136198/neighbors-not-your-daddys-mid-life-crisis-movie


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Karie (site owner) Written by Karie (site owner)
Jun. 21, 2012

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“Mary Pickford: The Muse of the Movies”

mary_pickford

If Mary Pickford is known today outside of film fan circles, it is merely as “The girl with the golden curls” or “America’s Sweetheart”.  Behind her delicate beauty, Pickford was a woman with razor sharp business acumen who rose to become one of the most powerful figures in Hollywood.  She wrote, produced and starred in her own films wielding complete creative control over every aspect of production.  She also co-founded United Artists along with Charlie Chaplin, D.W. Griffith and husband Douglas Fairbanks.  Her life, career and legacy are explored in the new documentary “Mary Pickford: Muse of the Movies” by Nicholas Eliopoulos which is now out on DVD from Cinema Libre.


The film discusses Pickford’s meteoric rise, her box office drawing power and how she helped to shape acting in film as we know it today.  This is made all the more effective by the use of rare archival interviews in Pickford’s own words.  Her life seems in many ways to be defined by ambition.  While the public loved her in the “little girl” roles, she sought to stretch herself as an artist by tackling new challenges.  In the film “Stella Maris” she played a doomed orphan.  She transformed herself so completely for the role to that she was rendered unrecognizable.  Pickford brought director Ernst Lubitsch from Germany after WWI to direct her 1922 film “Rosita.”  They clashed during production and never worked together again.  Even so, Pickford was not one to shy away from taking chances. 


She eventually began to feel confined by the “little girl” roles and felt they were artistically suffocating her.  After her mother’s death in 1928, she had her curls chopped off which made the front page of the New York Times.  This transition came along with the arrival of sound.  Pickford’s “talkie” debut was the film “Coquette” which won her an Academy Award.  Unfortunately fans were confused seeing her play a flirty socialite with bobbed hair.  It was not the Mary Pickford they were used to.  Her career began to fade along with her celebrated marriage to fellow Hollywood titan Douglas Fairbanks.  They would only make a handful of talking pictures each (including a clunky adaptation of “The Taming of the Shrew” together) before retiring from the screen.


Pickford continued to produce and remained involved with charity work until the end of her life.  She blazed countless trails for women in Hollywood and left an indelible mark on film history. 



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