Friday, June 29, 2007

"Introducing The Dwights" / "Clubland" (2007)

Brenda Blethyn, Khan Chittenden

Last night we went to the New York premiere of Introducing The Dwights - an Australian independent film directed by Cherie Nowlan. A fun and moving ensemble piece starring Brenda Blethyn (who attended the screening) as the "never got her big break because she had children and one of them is handicapped" comedienne and mother of two boys in the throws of "coming-of-age". Altogether a film about growing and the stumbling block your family can be in that process.

I laughed, I cried, there was a good amount of good-looking-people-sex - what more could you want?

Maybe they put it on a bit thick at times, I admit it. Even some plot points were just too over-the-top and on-the-nose.

But there was also a lot of truth in the child
's perspective of the failing parent and their need to protect that parent. Ah, it breaks my heart.

I definitely recommend this film, especially to those who loved funny, sad movies about quirky families like "Little Miss Sunshine" or "Little Voice".

The title doesn't fit the film well and was apparently changed from Clubland for the US release.


The party after the premiere was pretty fun. Decent drinks, food and great company. And then there was
the entertaining other-worldly factor of being at the bar HOME, a bottle club, where, once it opened to the public, you had to buy an entire bottle (for at least $300) to sit at a table. Wow, amazing what people are willing to do. After the party, walking through the "Outer Chelsea" (which I only knew as the gallery district during the day), it felt like we were in LA or New Jersey. Until that moment I hadn't realize how well I actually fit into the whole Brooklyn/Lower Eastside scene. Fun, anyway.

Introducing... on IMDb
Introducing... on Rotten Tomatos
Introducing... on Netflix

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Filmmaker Collective

Since I've mentioned the filmmaker collective MIH a few times I wanted to write a quick note about the group.

We originally grew out of a competitive screenwriting mentorship program at the AIVF (RIP). After the program was over we continued to meet and take advantage of scheduled deadlines and meetings, the highly-valued feedback of the group and the support network of peers.

Because all of us are not only screenwriters but also work in all other kinds of filmmaking and writing endeavors the group quickly grew into a more general filmmaking collective.

Over the years the group shrank in number a bit but grew in strength of knowledge, support and body of work.

To me being part of this group is essential to my work as a filmmaker and creative person. Not only do I get to get feedback about my work, I get to learn by viewing and discussing the work of others. I get to feel like I'm part of something - and even during an unproductive phase or while things look bleak the group reminds me that I am a creative. Maybe most importantly is the comfort of a support group that I can trust and that cares about my work and me.
Thanks guys & gals!!!

While this entry is filed under "about us and for you" please also consider this as a recommendation: if you are working in any creative field and haven't done so yet, join or form a collective of like-minded people, meet regularly, help each other out, make it happen.

Film Panel Notetaker

Also last night we finally met Brian - The Film Panel Notetaker - in person. He and his team provide the incredible service of sharing notes from film panels and other film related events online. And the service is FREE!

For us filmmakers these seminars and panels are incredibly informative and are part of the never-ending learning process of the craft and especially of the ever-changing industry.

Most of these seminars take places in New York, LA and at festivals around the country. Obviously not everyone can attend. Making the notes available to people globally is a great gift to the film making community.

Thank you, Brian.

Revolution '67

Newark, July 1967

Last night Scott and I went to the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens to watch the excellent documentary Revolution '67 by Marylou Tibaldo-Bongiorno (who is a member of the filmmaker collective MIH) and Jerome Bongiorno.

The documentary about the 1967 "riots" in Newark will be premiering on PBS July 10, 2007. Last night it screened at the museum to celebrate 20 years of the outstanding documentary film series

The screening was followed by a Q&A with Marylou, Jerome and Cynthia Lopez, VP of POV. The content and point of view of the film certainly stir up discussion. For example, it questions the appropriateness of the term "riot" vs. "revolution" and criticizes the behavior of the national guard, the media and the politicians leading up to and during the "rebellion", among other points.

It was so great to see a (very hard working) colleague and friend's creation garner such success. I hope they continue to have a blast screening their film all around the country and in Europe!

Monday, June 18, 2007

More Pictures from Bonnaroo

Scott just uploaded a bunch more pictures from Bonnaroo. I'm just posting a few favorites here.

Tonight is the last night of the festival. Sounds like, besides getting some work done Scott also had a ton of fun.

My current job is not quite as thrilling: I'm overhauling our website (long-long-long overdue).




Decemberists' audience

White Stripes



Flaming Lips show

Flaming Lips' audience

Lily Allen

Tom Morello, Scott Solary and two pairs of glasses

the interview set

Friday, June 15, 2007

Pictures from Bonnaroo

Scott just sent some photos from Bonnaroo.

Scott with legendary documentary filmmakers Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker

Lily Allen during her outstanding show (per Scott) just about an hour ago

Apparently Lily Allen drank an entire bottle of Jaegermeister during the show
(which oddly resonates with a wedding we recently attended in Germany)


This week Scott is at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival. Together with friend, colleague and Bonnaroo veteran B. Singer he is shooting interviews with musicians and comedians performing at the festival near Nashville.

Highlights so far have been meeting/filming Tom Morello (One Man Revolution and Rage Against The Machine guitarist) and hanging out of a helicopter to get some bird's view footage for Current TV.

This evening they're supposed to sit down with comedian Lewis Black and then Scott is going to see Lily Allen sing... OMG - I'm afraid he's gonna faint ;-P

Thursday, June 14, 2007


Tuesday we held call-back auditions/meetings.

These were the last auditions we intend to have for this show.

I shall say no more.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

I <3 net_work

Michael_Torpey, Mike_O'Gorman

The funniest online show coming out of Brooklyn?

net_work on

I'm totally hooked.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Rachel back in Brooklyn

Rachel Iannelli, one of the three women starring in my documentary All's Well and Fair, just visited us for a few days with her husband Nick and son Cecil. They were on the return trip from Vermont where they had dropped off her daughter Tessa at culinary arts school.

Of course, this is quite a milestone for Rachel and Tessa. But because Tessa was a little 7-year-old during the filming of the first part for All's Well and Fair I'm also struck by the fact that this year Tessa turned 18, graduated from high school and moved out to go to college in another state. Wow!

While we missed out on visiting with Tessa this time around, it has been great to have the rest of the family here. Besides some celebrating and reminiscing I also had the opportunity to show them the trailer for All's Well and Fair. Rachel and Nick both really liked it!

Actually, I don't think I ever got around to noting here that I cut together a 7-minute work-in-progress trailer for the documentary. I just finished it before our trip to Germany and in the midst all the casting activities.

It's been quite magical to finally put some of the 1996 footage together with some of the 2006 footage. In this case the product is clearly bigger than the sum of its parts.

Almost a bummer was when instead of using the degraded 1996 edited version (3rd generation VHS) I used the original VHS footage and it turned out to look so crisp that the contrast to the DV footage of 2006 might not be stark enough for everyone to be able to tell apart the time shifts. I might just have to make the 1996 footage look worse through digital effects! That'd be quite funny.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

"Thirsty" on Atom Films

Bridget Barkin, Jonathan Sale

Congratulations are in order to several friends of ours: director Bo Mehrad, producer Amanda Doss (Ugly Betty Productions) and writer/producer Caitlin Cassaro (Spun Helga Productions).

Their short film "Thirsty" was acquired by Atom Films. You can now watch it for free on

On a total side note: I was the script supervisor - so I don't want to hear any complaints about the 180 or other continuity issues.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Another day of auditions

Yesterday we had another day of auditions for our new online project. Met even more interesting and talented people. It's really been fun. Especially because we're focusing less on an actual audition (just a bit of a camera test) and more on just getting to know each other, talking about the project and seeing if we've got "the perfect match".

It's become very clear: it's going to be very difficult to make a choice.

Google Map Street View

Great Lakes in Brooklyn


Scott just discovered the new "Street View" on Google Maps. With Street View you can actually view 360 degree images of the street and buildings at the given address and then start a virtual walk through the neighborhood.


Apparently they drove around the streets of several cities with a 360 camera.

So far they've only done a few cities - including parts of New York. Here's a view of an old time favorite Great Lakes bar in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

Or type in an address on google maps in New York, Denver, San Francisco, etc. and then click on Street View.


Thursday, June 7, 2007

Quick Germany Trip

Church at the Haseldorfer Schlosspark, Haseldorf

We just returned from a super quick trip to Germany. It was fun as usual - although there were quite a few complications along the way.

Polizei at ASAM/G8 Protest in Hamburg

Highlights include among others:
playing "Demo Tourist" at one of the daily ASEM/G8 protests, visiting with friends at Anna's new bar Wildwechsel in Hamburg, attending the wedding of pre-pre-school (seriously) friend Cordula Ruffmann (now married to Soenke Voss), looking out over the fields and rivers of the ol' Heimat and realizing there is not a single person for miles and miles and miles, Torte and fresh strawberries in Haselau, and as always spending time with my family in our beautiful garden (of which I would love to include pictures but can't for reasons listed below*).

Zigarettenautomat with sticker in the Schanzenviertel, Hamburg

The bummers were:
the flight there, the flight back (with plane replacements and 5 hours delay), rainy Amsterdam, missing my dad's art opening (including the opening speech by the Hamburg Kultursenatorin Prof. Dr. Karin v. Welck), dealing with's so-called "customer service" in Manila and Mauritius among other random call centers and therefore the inability to change our flights to stay a little longer --> WE WILL NEVER EVER BOOK THROUGH ORBITZ AGAIN! (this is not a bummer, this is just a result), * Scott's luggage getting lost on the flight back
(there still is no trace of it!) with all of our chargers, cables, German tissues... and also as always: way too short of a visit with my family and not enough time to see all the friends.

Building near the Haseldorfer "castle", Haseldorf