Tuesday, December 17, 2013

This Is What A Rewrite Looks Like

From my good friend and creative collaborator Sean Hood at Genre Hacks:

What is the most important screenwriting tool?  (originally I answered this question on Quora)

For me, a "tool" is some process, habit or approach that can be taught. When I work with screenwriters at USC's School of Cinematic Arts, I can't help the students with talent or luck, which are by far the two most important factors in a screenwriter's success.

Likewise, I can't really teach imagination, stamina, or even self-delusion (important as they are). Practical knowledge of industry standards as well as willingness to listen to honest feedback are certainly necessary, but I expect both of these when a student walks into the classroom or an aspiring screenwriter asks me for advice.  What I can teach is a process.

To read the whole post, go here: http://genrehacks.blogspot.com/2013/12/this-is-what-rewrite-looks-like.html

Monday, December 16, 2013

15 Predictions On The Future Of Indie Film

Another great post from the great Ted Hope:

I have written about the good things in indie film. I have done it quite a bit. I have written about the bad things, and more than several times there too.  I have written about the thinkers and doers who are shaping where we are (and will post that later this month).  I have examined the cultural changes, the realities of our industry, and provided recommended best practices. I examined why it is sooo slow to change. I would like to help us find our path forward; what more can I do to help?

To read the whole post, go here: http://bit.ly/18LXym8

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Sexiest And/Or Most Sexually Provocative Films Ever. What do you think they are?

Of course we must do our cinematic research before beginning the real work on "Connection". Not to mimic what's been done before, but to learn from it, perhaps build on it, maybe subvert it and/or simply be inspired by it. So, I built myself a little list of sexy and/or sexually provocative films (NOT porno) that are required viewing.

Given what I'm doing with "Connection" (see previous posts), would love to know what you think I'm missing. Or just tell me sexually-themed films you think I must see.

Here it is in no particular order....

To view the full post, go here:

What I'm exploring with "Connection"

I'm often asked that question, or something like it. Why are you making this film? Well, it's a question all filmmakers should ask themselves long and hard before they jump into a film. What does this film truly mean to me? Is it something that needs to be made - i.e. am I adding something fresh and meaningful to the cinematic landscape or is it just more movie detritus clogging up the distribution pipeline?

Good questions. But I think most people are really asking me what personal issues I have that would make this film relevant to me. They don't ask me straight up like that, of course, but that is the subtext of their question when they ask "Why are you making this film?" Am I a swinger? Am I interested in the lifestyle? Do I have intimacy issues? Sexual issues? Am I just a horn dog or kinky bastard?

They often think I'm making porn. But obviously, I'm trying to explore something more than just sex in this dynamic. Hence, the title "Connection". But I do feel there is a lot to explore in the sex itself. Sex is a very powerful and complex cinematic metaphor, because it is such a hot button topic for psychological, social and spiritual reasons. Even porno, as superficial and direct as it is, speaks volumes about who we are individually and culturally. The reasons it (or any individual pornographic act within a porn film) stimulates us, reviles us, or leaves us indifferent says a lot about our beliefs, choices, preferences, fears, fetishes, issues and more.

To see the full post, go here:

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

So, what the hell have I been doing?....

....If I haven't been writing blogs?

Not that anyone is asking, but I'm gonna answer my own question, anyway. Why? Because this blog is called A Filmmaker's Life. So, here's my filmmaking life the last few years - challenging, revelatory, infuriating, all-consuming, fulfilling, disappointing, fun, exhausting and more, as always. I'll probably blog a bit about each thing over time, but here's the capsulized version.

  • First and foremost, I've been living and enjoying life (most of the time, anyway). Anybody who has spent time with me over these last few years knows that whatever is going on with me - personal or professional - I always make room for having a good time. If life gives you lemons, make lemonade....and put vodka in it. Or, get a new life. :)
  • Spent far too much time obsessing on the end-all, be-all website for filmmakers. I've been working on it since '07. 1907, that is. Or at least it feels like it. I plotted, planned, schemed and dreamed. I worked with designers, I sought out techies, I solicited investors, I pitched to sponsors, I reached out to partners, I hunted for tools, I sought out other sites, I built and rebuilt it on paper and in my head dozens of time. But alas, was not to be. Not by my own hand, anyway. So, of course, just when I finally set it aside, I meet Kiran Sanka, who shares the "vision" (disease is probably more like it). So, I'm still in it, albeit from a more distanced perspective. The current incarnation is this: http://www.cinpost.com/. But there's much more to come....I hope.
  • Still doing other Filmmakers Alliance stuff, although less and less of it as we re-tool the organization and re-emerge in a way more relevant to the current filmmaking climate. But in the meantime, still facilitating production, connecting peeps, doing fiscal sponsorship, holding get-togethers and festival parties and hosting too-inconsistent screenings at the Echo Park Film Center. And, of course, always fundraising....Yucch. :) 
  • Taught screenwriting and acting on camera at AMDA for two semesters. The whole teaching experience is definitely worthy of it's own post. You know the cruel saying, "Those who can't do, teach"?....It haunted me. 
Notice the charming student on the left showing
me what he'd rather be doing....

  • Got heavily involved with 3rd Page, which was started by my friends Davidson Cole and Tom Bailey. 3 page scripts every week based on a prompt. LOTS there to talk about.
  • Produced a couple things - including a Coke Zero commercial, of all things. Also, consulted on LOTS of films - through Filmmakers Alliance and outside of it. I know a lot of paid consultants who do pretty well helping filmmakers AND being compensated for their time/expertise. I haven't figured out that second half yet. I guess I'm just a guy who can't say no. But I'm going to learn. Or at least figure out how best to be of service AND value my time/knowledge.
  • I've been part of the programmed team for LA Film Festival for the last few years. I'm an Associate Progammer, which is basically those of us not part of the in-house programming team who bring an outside perspective to films that aren't actively soliciting. Love doing it and gives me great inside perspective on the process - and the filmmaking zeitgeist. Not sure if they'll ask me back because they like to keep the mix fresh. But if they do, I'm there, again.
  • Before I settled on the film I am about to make, "Connection", I spent a lot of time developing feature and t.v. show ideas - sketching out concepts, writing treatments, exploring characters, etc. T.V. is kinda awesome these days, so I would love to be a part of the current renaissance as it plays out on cable (network still mostly sucks), but have never written a t.v. script. Gonna do one soon.
There ya have it. And more, of course. But I can't think of everything in one blog post. And I have something more to say about all of it. Stay tuned....

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Over 30 Really Good Things In The Indie Film Biz 2013

Ted Hope is at it again....Great stuff!! Check it out!!

Over 30 Really Good Things In The Indie Film Biz 2013 
by Ted Hope (reprinted from Truly Free Film blog)

We have plenty to be thankful for.  Things are getting better — at least in the Indie Film Biz they are…  Or should I say Specialized Film Biz? Artist First Film Biz? Whatever this is, let’s celebrate.  We have plenty to be thankful for.

I have over 30 points to prove it to you.  Granted I have something close to an equal number on the negative side too, but I will shield you from those for the time being. Besides, those negative things still to come  are all just opportunities, right?  So what is this cornucopia of things we have to be thankful for? Well…

To read the full article, click HERE!

“Directors These Days Really Have to Understand the Business of Film”

“Directors These Days Really Have to Understand the Business of Film”: Producer Christine Vachon in Wroclaw (reprinted from Filmmaker Magazine) by Ashley Clark

Kill Your Darlings

“I’ve been around so long that I’ve seen the ‘death’ of independent film at least three times” – Christine Vachon, Producing Masterclass

Widely regarded as one of the key figures in American independent cinema, Christine Vachon is now well into her fourth decade of film production. Her first feature film as a producer was Todd Haynes’ corrosive, Jean Genet-inspired Poison (1991), which set the tone for the host of fearlessly confrontational films that followed, including Tom Kalin’s Swoon (1992) and Larry Clark’s Kids (1995). In 1996, alongside Pamela Koffler, Vachon co-founded the NYC-based production company Killer Films, which has been behind a remarkable string of lauded American indies including, but not limited to, Kimberly Peirce’s Boys Don’t Cry (1999), Haynes’ Far From Heaven (2002), and, in the past year, Ramin Bahrani’s At Any Price and John Krokidas’ Kill Your Darlings.

At the recent 4th annual American Film Festival in Wroclaw, Poland, Vachon was the subject of a career retrospective. She also delivered a witty, informative masterclass on the art of independent film production, and spoke of her key career achievements and professional relationships. I was on hand to capture the highlights.

To see the full article, click HERE.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Top 10 Indies in the iTunes Store This Week

Top 10 Indies in the iTunes Store This Week: 'Therese' Joins The List and 'Blackfish' Rules the Roost. (reprinted from IndieWire.com)

Each Monday we present you with the most up-to-date list of the top 10 (indie) movies in the iTunes store (combining rentals and purchases)......

To view full article, go HERE!

The First "Connection" blog!

Check it out:


Friday, November 22, 2013

I'm back!

Yes, it's true.

It's been, effectively, a two-year hiatus from this blog. Sure, I've posted stuff, but nothing personal. Nothing that really speaks to the title of this blog. The drought is over.

Partially, because I am about to make a film and nothing can speak more directly to the title of this blog than chronicling the step-by-step process of making this film. (our Twitter page is up, so please follow us: https://twitter.com/Connection_film)

But also, because I have not felt I had anything new to share...and now I do.

I've often marveled at people who can keep their blogs fresh and relevant on a consistent basis year in and year out. I'm not that guy. I need to build up new experiences and develop or change perspectives to feel I am sharing anything I haven't said before....and have it be meaningful.

A lot of filmmaking things have happened in the last couple of years, so I'm going to share in pieces. For now, gonna leave you with a behind the scenes cell phone shot of the behind-the-scenes from a photo shoot we did to develop key art for the film (we don't shoot until 2014) - as well as the synopsis. But the subsequent posts will be about all aspects of my filmmaking life mingled with regular posts about the film. So, let the journey begin....


"CONNECTION" follows the mood-drenched, sometimes subtly comic, journey of a young couple during their first experience at a “lifestyle” (swinger) party. 

It is told in the style of "Transaction" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGdBGf68FlU), with a direct, honest story-telling style that creates a "fly on the wall" experience. However, key subjective moments in the story take us a step deeper inside this dynamic.

Benjamin and Melissa Hughes seem to have an ideal relationship on all levels. But a vague need for something “more” coupled with a desire to fully explore their sexuality, compels them to an attend a party, and be introduced to a growing sexual culture, that will amuse, titillate and ultimately challenge them individually…and as a couple.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

"The Future Starts Here" - Episode 6: The Creative Process in 10 Acts

My friend, Tiffany Shlain, has a new episode of her awesome show "The Future Starts Here". Check it out!


Genre Hacks: Publishing Screenplays as Ebooks: eScriptsHub

My good buddy and creative collaborator, Sean Hood, has a new post up on his blog "Genre Hacks". Check it out!

Genre Hacks: Publishing Screenplays as Ebooks: eScriptsHub

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Opening Night! - Sundance's new NEXT WEEKEND Film Festival in LA!

Hey All!

The Sundance Film Festival is having the kick-off event for our brand spanking new summer festival called NEXT WEEKEND (August 8-11) at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery and I want to gather as FA group members as possible to join. They will be screening one of our all-time favorite documentaries AMERICAN MOVIE. If you’ve seen the film I know you will want to see it again and if you haven’t then I can’t think of a better place to watch it….especially because as a bonus they'll be screening the short film COVEN which the making of is chronicled in the doc. Information how to get tickets is below and please bring as many of your friends as possible. We really want to pack it with good people who love cool films.

To purchase tickets to AMERICAN MOVIE and COVEN, please visit:

For the special ticket discount code: you must sign up for membership and request from us here: http://filmmakersalliance.ning.com/

American Movie trailer - https://vimeo.com/9733536

If you can’t make it I’d love your support by posting to social media, forwarding this to friends, soapbox sermons, whatever to get the word out.

Below is link to buy tickets to the other #NEXTWEEKEND films. FYI - There are only 10 feature films and one shorts program. These tickets will most likely sell-out prior to the festival. -http://filmguide.sundance.org/event/films/festival/NEXT13

Thank you so much. I hope to see all of you at NEXT WEEKEND!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Two more awesome projects to support!

Hey All!

Reaching out again for your small bit of support on a couple of great projects. 

One is a doc on the amazing and legendary ROB NILSSON - admittedly a great personal friend of mine, but also an amazingly talented, prolific and ground-breaking TRULY independent filmmaker. They are only trying to raise $600 bucks with 13 days left, so I hope it's a no-brainer to show your support. But let's push them far past their way-too-modest goal.

Also, my extremely talented buddy Justin Grizzofi is finally doing his feature "Speedwagon". It will be an awesome film that he's doing for far less money than his talent deserves. Check out his Kickstarter page and see some of what the film will have to offer.

Thanks so much, all!!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

TONIGHT - $5k In An Hour: Fundraising Webcast at LA Film Fest In Support Of My New Film “CONNECTION”

Yes, we’re at it, AGAIN! The webathon was so awesome and successful, we're doing it again!! Since we're almost there, this time the goal is smaller and the webcast is far shorter!

We will  be broadcasting during our event at The 2013 Los Angeles Film Festival -TONIGHT, June 16th from 9:30 p.m. until Midnight.


CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE WEBCAST (starting tonight at 9:30 p.m.)!

Thanks so much for your support, however it shapes up.


"Connection" is my first feature film in over 10 years. It is the feature film companion to my award-winning short film "Transaction" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGdBGf68FlU). It is a different story and circumstance, but very similar approach and aesthetic. "Connection" follows the mood-drenched, but sometimes subtly comic, journey of a couple during their first experience at a swinger's party. The film will use a direct, honest story-telling style that creates a "fly on the wall" experience. However, key subjective moments in the film take us a step deeper inside this dynamic.


Perks for your contribution

Love and Appreciation
Deep gratitude. A "shout-out" on the show. And a thank you on the film's website.

Gratitude and Protection
All of the above plus a box of condoms used - or, rather, unused - in the film!
Estimated delivery: October 2013

First In Line
All of the above, plus an autographed, pre-release DVD (and digital link). Be among the first to get the film!
Estimated delivery: January 2014

Credit Where Credit Is Due
Get all of the above plus be credited by name alphabetically in the "Special Thank You To Our Funders" list in the end credits of the film.
Estimated delivery: January 2014

Be On Set
All of the above plus an opportunity to be on the set while shooting - and what a set it will be! You don't have to be in the movie, unless you want to....
Estimated delivery: August 2013
Only 50 available

Party Hard
All of the above, plus an invitation to both the wrap party and the Premiere party in Park City. (We hope - but you're invited wherever it is!)
Estimated delivery: August 2013
Only 20 available

Executive Producer
All of the above plus you will be a credited (and contracted) Executive Producer on the film.
Only 10 available

CLICK HERE TO DONATE NOW! - https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=TB6BZQ6CG82MA

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE WEBCAST (starting tonight at 9:30 p.m.)! - http://filmmakersalliance.org/CONNECTION_Fundraiser.html

Thursday, June 13, 2013

FIlmmakers Alliance Celebration at Los Angeles Film Festival THIS Sunday

Hey All,

....all of the films and filmmakers at The 2013 Los Angeles Film Festival.
In particular:

"Forty Years From Yesterday" directed by Robert Machoian and Rodrigo Ojeda-Beck, "The House That Jack Built" directed by Henry Barrial and "Llyn Foulkes One Man Banddirected by Tamar Halpern and Chris Quilty.


THIS Sunday, June 16th at 9:30 p.m. at the Event Deck of the Los Angeles Film Festival.

To get details and register for the event, go here: http://fa-at-laff-2013.eventbrite.com/

You MUST register at EventBrite link above to gain admittance!

COMPLIMENTARY TICKET: To join us as a Special Guest, please click the "Enter promotional code" link that appears below the "Quantity" drop-down menu in the Ticket Information box. Use the promotional code: famember

We look forward to seeing you all there!!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Mark Your Calendar! MAY 30TH: $50k In A Day: A 24-hour Webathon In Support Of My New Feature "Connection"


 "Connection" is my first feature film in over 10 years and YOU can help me make it!!



http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/connection-a-single-day-fundraising-webathon-for-the-film (not live until Midnight of the 29th)

 "Connection" is the feature film companion to my award-winning short film "Transaction".

The feature is a different story and circumstance, but very similar approach and aesthetic. "Connection" follows the mood-drenched, but sometimes subtly comic, journey of a couple during their first experience at a swinger's party. The film will use a direct, honest story-telling style that creates a "fly on the wall" experience. However, key subjective moments in the film take us a step deeper inside this dynamic. 

We're having a SINGLE DAY fundraising campaign - MAY 30TH - with a LIVE webathon done old school, Jerry Lewis-style. To see it, click HERE

Why a single day? Because there's no point in hassling you for support for weeks on end. Let's just have some fun and get on with it. 

I'll start broadcasting from midnight of Wednesday the 29th and will be on air continuously until midnight of Thurday, the 30th. I'll mostly be talking and having various film people come on to chat, but will also be having various performers on the LIVE guest channel throughout the 24 hour period. Please check back for the full schedule. 

To see the LIVE guest performances on the day, click HERE and scroll down:

Finally, would love to have YOU call in to chat. Here's my number: 323-397-2164. You'll see me talking to you on the broadcast. If I'm in the middle of something, leave your number and I'll call you back. You can also Skype me and we can both be on the webcast. My Skype name is jacquesthelemaque.

Beyond all that, would love as much support as you are comfortable with, of course. Let's hit our goal and turn this unique fundraising process into a real success story. 

Thanks so much for your support, however it shapes up. 


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Movies you can help make!!

If you haven't already noticed, from time to time, I'll be posting crowdfunding projects you can support to which I have a personal relationship and/or I think are just really awesome.
Here's two very good ones, both from the Filmmakers Alliance family....

Secrets Of An Unborn Child
by Evelyne and Gabriela Tollman
In Secrets Of An Unborn Child the lives of two sisters intersect. Clare loses her baby and Anna, in the midst of an emotional crisis, inadvertently abandons her child. The film follows the two sisters as they overcome their worst fears and help each other rebuild their lives.
For more info/details, click here:

Andrei Tarkovsky Documentary: 
Time Within Time
by PJ Letofsky
A poetic documentary into the life, love, and work of Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky, based on his diary and those who knew him best...
For more info/details, click here:

And one more from our friends down in Dallas......

THE BAD - A Comedy Series from the Fires of Hell / Suburbia
by Blair Rowan starring Chris Gardner

A comedic webseries following the trials and tribulations of the world's most unsuccessful and delusional garage rock band, The Bad.

For more info/details, click here:

Thanks so much for the support, all!!

The Art Of Asking

The following is a repost of Peter Broderick's excellent distribution newsletter....


Amanda Palmer has made an art of asking for help. In May 2012, the singer-songwriter ran a 30-day Kickstarter campaign seeking $100,000 to finance a new album, a tour, and an art book. 24,883 fans contributed and she raised $1,192,793 (five times more than any other Kickstarter music project).

Her campaign video is one of the best crowdfunding pitches ever. It conveys her goals, her passion, and her persona in 3 minutes. Her music drives the video and her spirit makes it infectious and irresistible.

Amanda’s recent TED talk on The Art of Asking is required viewing for filmmakers and other artists determined to maintain their creative independence. More than 2.7 million people have watched it in two months.

To read the whole article, click here:

Friday, April 12, 2013

A Few Projects To Support....

Hey Guys!

Here's a few projects from friends of mine that are worthy of your support. Click on the titles and check 'em out. If they strike you the right way, toss in a $10, $20 or $100,000...whatever makes sense for you.

John Harden's short film: "New"

The new Mark Stolaroff (producer) and Henry Barrial (director) feature: "The House That Jack Built"

The Dan Rosen written feature with : "Darci's Walk Of Shame"

Thanks for helping to keep us filmmakers making films!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

3rd Page, yo!!

Hey All!

I, and some of my filmmaking cronies (as well as my Filmmakers Alliance community) are involved in something called 3rd Page. It's an awesome creative exercise, an inspiring project and talent incubator as well as a great short form filmmaking vehicle. But here, I'll let it speak for itself. At the bottom are a bunch of my own 3rd Page scripts. Enjoy!

3rd Page is a collective of writers and filmmakers who like to make stuff. We started as an informal writing group creating “3-pagers,” our term for three-page screenplays that are self-contained (i.e. they have a beginning, a middle and an end). To spur our respective imaginations, we come up with weekly writing prompts consisting of three (often divergent) elements, for instance: an animal. a religious figure. a distant sound.
We interpret these elements in any way we wish, with one simple guideline: the resulting screenplays must be easily producible with micro to zero budgets. We try to set our screenplays in accessible locations with as few spectacular car chases and fire breathing demon spawns as possible. This makes it easier for us — and for you — to make our 3-pagers into actual movies.
And that’s the whole point of 3rd page: we encourage anyone, anywhere, to use our screenplays or finished films for whatever purposes they wish, as long as they adhere to theCreative Commons license agreement [read more]. So please, go ahead: shoot these screenplays. Add to them. Remix them. Submit your own for publication on our site. Let’s make stuff.
We don’t have a manifesto. But if we did, it might contain these 3 principles:

#1: Shared culture

We embrace the idea that cultural works should be shared, freely and openly.  We think this philosophy contributes to a creative environment that cultivates the unconstrained, the unusual and the unexpected. That’s why we’re huge proponents of Creative Commons [more info]. Every piece of writing on our site is freely available for your creative interpretation.

#2: Micro Cinema

Why 3 pages? It may be an arbitrary limit, but we know from experience that smaller-scale projects spur experimentation. Each week we challenge each other to tell a complete “micro” story at exactly three pages in length. As writers, we find these parameters to be both frustrating and freeing. In any case, we believe “micro” is the ideal length for digital producers and online audiences alike — easily producible and consumable.

#3: Take risks

We strive to challenge ourselves (and our audiences) with writing that stretches the boundaries of conventional style, form and content.

My 3rd Pagers (alphabetically):

Sunday, March 31, 2013

First Mondays at The Surly Goat - April 1st!

First Mondays is TOMORROW NIGHT - April 1st. NO JOKE!! 

As always, it starts early in the evening at 6 (to catch happy hour and be able to do other stuff afterward). 

In the spirit of April Fool's day, feel free to come with your best, smartest practical jokes (just make sure no body gets hurt - emotionally or otherwise). Or just good practical joke stories!!

Again, as always, you will be in the company of obscenely fascinating people, so please remember to be as interesting as you can possibly be.  Of course, feel free to bring others who are equally, if not more, compelling!! And finally, as always, remember that this is a hang, NOT a networking event. No agendas allowed :). 

Hope you can make it!

First Mondays
Monday, April 1st, 6 p.m.
The Surly Goat
7929 Santa Monica Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90046
(323) 650-4628

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Great Night At Echo Park Film Center Last Night

Great night last night at The Echo Park Film Center!! Totally packed house with AMAZING films and filmmakers. And lots of incredible energy. Thanks so much to all who helped make it happen! See you at the next one!!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Filmmakers Alliance Screening at Echo Park Film Center THIS Friday!!

Hey guys! There will be a some amazing filmmakers at this screening, so you def don't want to miss it!!!.....

Films and Filmmakers - that's what it's all about!

The next FA Screening at The Echo Park Film Center is THIS Friday, March 29th at 7:30 p.m.

All filmmakers will be in attendance!

Come and see what FA members and other members of the LA and global filmmaking community are up to creatively, and support the great work that the EPFC people are doing in our community. The center is a volunteer run organization that offers fantastic super 8mm film classes, youth classes, and much more, so we do ask that you leave a $5 donation at the door to help keep the Center going.

There is a brief Q&A after each film, not to mention complimentary food & drinks. So come on out and eat, drink, connect and watch!

Screening sponsored by Hollywood Casting and Film (https://www.hollywoodcastingandfilm.com/home/)

Here’s the line-up: 


Director: Goran Dukic
4 minutes, color, U.S.A./Israel
A most unusual love story unravels when the objects in a young man's pockets come to life.


Director: Song E. Kim
9 minutes, color, South Korea/U.S.A.
Life is a constant struggle for a husband and wife. She is suffering from stomach pain, and the doctor has no clue about a cure. Meanwhile, her husband is on his own journey of hunting a snake.


Director: Jesse Atlas
11 minutes, color U.S.A.
War, fate, and a broken walkman transcend time and space in this sci-fi love story.


Director: Tom Bailey
5 minutes, color, U.S.A.
Mommy's recent decision to transform the household provokes her volatile son Lancaster, who has never had to solve his own problems. Until now.


Director: Damien Chazelle
18 minutes, color, U.S.A.
An aspiring drummer enters an elite conservatory’s top jazz orchestra.


Director: Riley Stearns
5 minutes, color, U.S.A.
Wolves make the best parents.


Director: Michelle Morgan
16 minutes, color, U.S.A.
A guilt-ridden, but well-intentioned, yuppie goes to great lengths to prove she is a decent person.

Total Program Running Time: 68 minutes

FA at Echo Park Film Center
Friday, March 29th at 7:30 p.m.
Echo Park Film Center
1200 N. Alvarado
Los Angeles, CA 90026

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Top Films of 2012 - guest post

The following is a guest post from my friend George Zaverdas (or George Zaver), who's a filmmaker with a day job in film marketing. He's also one of the most passionate film lovers I've ever met. Just his opinion, of course, but a nice intro to a lot of films if you haven't seen them all like he has. Here's his take on the films of 2012:

by George Zaver

Much to my surprise 2012 was a terrific year for movies. This list is from seeing 127 films.  There is no one best of the year, all the films listed are worthy for different reasons. But in order of preference.

1) LINCOLN  A great story beautifully told, that had me riveted and moved by the spoken word. Spielberg’s most subtle direction and Kushner’s  intelligent screenplay. I never imagined the political process can create such riveting drama. To add an amazing ensemble cast led by Daniel-Day Lewis. Easy to just say its another one of his great performances but its more than that. Daniel’s performance makes you feel as if you might have known what it would be like to have known Lincoln. It feels like he was transported from another time and place. I was deeply moved. This film will stand the test of time and its wonderful that audiences are embracing it.

2) ARGO  From the opening 70’s Warner Bros logo I was prepared to love this film.  I did!  Reminding me of the best of many 70’s films that had something to say but also entertained us. Expertly directed by Ben Affleck on so many levels, excellent editing, intelligent screenplay and another solid ensemble cast.  This is one of the best political thrillers, that’s hard to believe really happened.

3) AMOUR  The most harrowing depiction of death since Bergman’s Cries And Whispers. Watching this film I felt it  a bit cold without  an once of sentimentality.  A very difficult, realistic film experience, almost clinical in its approach about a man’s love for his wife in the face of death. I had to turn away from the suffering of Emmanuelle Riva astonishing performance. I never felt I was watching actors but  human beings deeply living one of the most intimate moments of someone’s life.  I have thought about this film more and more having aging parents and thinking about my own mortality.  Not a film experience to have if you don’t want to see one of the most powerful depictions of dealing with death.

4) BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD  Magical. A visual tone poem is the best way to describe it. Quvenzhane Wallis and Dwight Henry both non-actors give  extraordinary performances that will not be easily forgotten.  Director Behn Zeitlin is a major talent in his feature debut.

5) SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK  This film I have now seen twice. Why? I love these characters an the journey they all go through.  One of the best ensemble casts in a long time. This movie shows honesty in its emotions, with lots of heart!  I can’t wait to see it again!

6) RUST AND BONE  Here is a story that is melodramatic, often can be called contrived but filmmaker Audiard who’s last film A Prophet was brilliant has a visual style that is so visceral and exciting that it makes a familiar story seen with fresh eyes. Marion Cottilard  continues to amaze with an emotionally raw knockout performance. These characters are not easy to like or understand but you can’t turn away from how damaged these human beings are. A moving drama that showed me the strength of the human spirit.

7) LIFE OF PI  A beautifully made visual experience. Transporting is the right word. I just could have done without the opening and closing conversation explaining the spiritual experience this film offers.  And yes its worth seeing it in 3D. Which I almost always avoid.

8) SEARCHING FOR SUGARMAN  A remarkable and fascinating documentary. This film is a triumph to every artist who feels he will never be recognized. The less I say about this moving film the better. And if you’re a music lover like me you will love it even more.

9) THE INVISIBLE WAR  Ever since I saw this documentary at Sundance I have not forgot the victims of this powerful expose of the abuse of power. It created such rage in me. I was in tears. This is what great docs can do, expose the evil that lurks in this institution and help make a change.

10) THE MASTER  The most challenging film I saw this year. A film that was always compelling, mysterious even though when it was over I was not fully satisfied. I admire P.T. Anderson for taking risks. Phoenix creates a powerful portrait of a damaged soul like I have never seen. Hoffman flawless as a man possessed by his own beliefs. A film with hints of greatness. I think it will be more appreciated 10 years from now.


THE SESSIONS. I saw this moving, funny and honest look at sex at Sundance when it was called The Surrogate. An unforgettable and heartbreaking performance by John Hawkes. Right when the film would steer into sentiment Hawkes humor centers it to truth. Helen Hunts best performance in years. A film about physical and emotional triumph.

EASY MONEY  One of the most exciting crime thrillers from a filmmaker  to watch, Daniel  Spinoza from Scandinavia.

QUEEN OF VERSAILLES  A fascinating documentary that is hard to believe.  The American Dream gone to shit.  Be prepared to laugh and be shocked at the same time.

  I found most of this film procedural, but journalistic filmmaking at its best. The last 25 minute climax had me breathless and on the edge of my seat in its intensity.

 DJANGO UNCHAINED  Outrageously entertaining  is this  new adventure from Tarantino. Once again he takes a film genre from the past, this time the spaghetti Western and turns it upside down.  Christoph Waltz once again creates an unforgettable character. DiCaprio  in one of his best performances.  Tarantino’s movies are so full of life and the love of cinema.

I have to single out one unforgettable cinematic moment not from a film but an episode of the TV series Louie.  The ending of his date with Parker Posey on a rooftop deeply moved like no other scene this year. Don’t ask me why.  Maybe human beings strong desire and fear to connect. See the episode for yourself.