Saturday, December 31, 2005

The Sparkies: My awards for 2005

Personally, 2005 has been great fun and what's more, I made it to Finally. Like practically everyone else. I had about five minutes of screen time in six movies that came out this year. About three minutes and 50 seconds were in "Slow Down ... You're Dating Too Fast" by M. David Lee III, and under a minute was spent on the Hurra Torpedo documentary/misadventure. So that gives you some perspective on everything else.

I do want to thank everyone who helped make those four minutes as much fun as Poor Monkey's jook joint in the Delta on a Saturday night. I can't possibly thank everyone, but let me highlight some of the folks that made this year memorable:

David Lee's dedication and love of movies was manifested in the "Slow Down ..." saga. He gave a lot of local actors a lot of leeway and good material and we all have to thank him for that. It was so grueling, however, that he took a job in New York City so he could, uh, slow down. He let me write my part, that of the incomprehensibly overprepared Farnsworth Kuhl, so here's to you, David. Also thanks to Mandy Lane for being opposite me and for being incredibly gifted and gracious.

John Harvey is a talented young director at U of M and we're all eagerly awaiting his short graduate student project "Across the River." As for me, I got to point a Sig Sauer at my head. I'm pretty sure it wasn't loaded. Dennis Phillippi and Ric Chetter (Rock 103 guys in the cast) were supposed to check it for me, but they left.

Bevan Bell's "Divine Manipulation of the Threads" oughta be one terrific feature. His colorful blog details how to put together a movie on weekends with the added benefit that you can learn from his mistakes. Apparently he makes many of them. As for me, I got to wrestle Bevan to the ground.

Kris and Natalie Boyatt's "Rookie Bookie" told a grim story that should be a lesson to us all: stay away from high stakes gambling, especially if you're Ralph Hatley. As for me, I got to glare at J.W. Williams in the High Point Pinch.

Thanks to James Mangold for letting me wear Folsom prison blues for 14 hours, shuffling around with no belt and no shoelaces, while Joaquin Phoenix warbled "Cocaine Blues" all day long. You might be able to see me in one of those long shots, but I'm not sure.

Big thanks to Ira Sachs for his thoughtful "Forty Shades of Blue," a work that dares to dispense with chase scenes and glamor, relying instead on examining relationships as they slowly shatter. As for me, I got to gesticulate like an idiot while chatting with Rip Torn.

A special thanks to Craig Brewer, although I've never gotten a thing in any of his productions. I was supposed to read for him for "Black Snake Moan," but two days beforehand, I got a call saying the part had already been cast. Obviously a terrible mistake. But the fact is that Craig is riding one helluva roller coaster going from doing what he wanted to do when he was, shall we say, poor and hungry and then finding that fame brings not only major H'wood deals but also major H'wood interference. He's had heaps of criticism piled on him, a significant amount of which came from people who just can't bear for others to succeed. Ultimately, however, you only have to understand that he's doing what his creative self needs to do. His stories about Memphis are vivid and textured and powerful. May he never stop.

A big thanks to Robert Saba, who'll take out your heart and stomp on it to get his films made. He's young and driven and is compelled to make movies. He put together "Delusions," a dark and gritty tale, over just a few weekends. He inspired his actors and crew to give everything to the project and it paid off in a film that is the more remarkable since it cost a mere $500 to make. His goal is to use that film to interest investors in other projects. He's one to watch. As for me, I got to do a sex scene in "Delusions" and fortunately for viewers, I was practically invisible.

Keenon Nikita's film "Just the Two of Us" is one of the most anticipated indie films coming in 2006. It's autobiographical, telling a compelling story about him and his daughter. There is some exceptional talent in this production as well, and I'm not just talking about myself. But since we are talking about me, I have a scene as a doctor who ... well, Keenon doesn't want me to say. Plan to see this one.

Large performing thanks to Muck Sticky who, having heard me do "They're Coming to Take Me Away" in karaoke one night, had the foresight to invite me to perform it on the New Daisy stage during the Muck Sticky Revue, and the wisdom to not ask me to do it again.

Edward Valibus Phillips of Corduroy Wednesday Productions was kind enough to cast me in his production of "Grim Sweeper." It's a fascinating psychological study and has some fine young talent working on it. As for me, I get to be a priest offering some wise counsel. Yes, I know you're all saying I'm perfect for that role.

David S. Merrill was instrumental in getting me that nice gig with the Hurra Torpedo documentary. It was quick, it was improv, it paid a little and it was a blast. And it's all about putting film work on the Internet as the primary medium.

Purest thanks to my brother Forrest Pruett for being relentlessly in love with film. He's there in sickness and in health, devoted, inspirational, good humored, forward thinking. He wants everyone else to work too (he also helped get me that Hurra Torpedo action) -- that's why he started Actors First agency. And just wait till you get a load of his thriller, "Inherit the Earth." He is one dark pussycat.

A particularly special thanks to Amber O'Daniels who is, among many other things, a teacher of the Meisner method and refreshing burst of inspiration. She helped dissipate the creative fog and allowed me to observe. "Someone to Call My Clone" is a short film I wrote and helped put together with members of our Meisner class. It would not have been possible without Amber.

There is another special thanks to Tom Walter, who retired in 2005 as the reporter covering TV and radio for the CA. I got the idea of doing a mockumentary for Tom that would interview his co-workers and folks he'd covered over the years. I had no idea I was in way over my head. I figured it would be a modest 10-minute riff and roast -- instead it was a 40-minute production interviewing about 30-plus people, including Joe Birch, Dave Brown, Mike Fleming, the Wake Up Crew and many others. I weighed in as a TV reporter of the Mike Matthews school of doom. It was a helluva project and got the best review of all from Tom himself, who spent about 40 minutes rolling on the floor in stitches. It was an inside job, but one I am pleased with.

Finally, there is the primo figure of my small personal acting adventure. I especially want to thank the man who gets it: Red West. With a special salute to his family, Pat and John Boyd.

As for me, I'm looking forward to 2006.

Looking back and looking ahead

In many ways, 2005 was like being made to watch "3000 Miles from Graceland" over and over. On the other hand, 2005 was like being able to get away from that Kevin Costner disaster and check out the excellent real-life adventures of the scrappy Memphis movie scene. All of you can recite the Big Moments but allow me to refresh your recollection: Ira Sachs' "40 Shades of Blue" taking the big prize at Sundance, Craig Brewer's "Hustle and Flow" taking the other big prize at Sundance and "Walk the Line" being released to delirious reviews. But wait, there's more! There was the Elvis miniseries on CBS, a presence of Memphis and Memphis actors in "Elizabethtown" and then the "Black Snake Moan" shoot that kept things hopping in town.

That's only the Hollywood component; it's also been a lively year for local independent productions. Morgan Jon Fox seized on the controversial "Love in Action" group that claims to be able to turn gays straight. Fox's documentary, "What Does Love In Action Look Like," was screened at Indie Memphis and remains an ongoing project. Kentucker Audley’s film "Bright Sunny South" took Best Local Feature honors at the Indie Memphis Film Fest, and has been selected to screen at the 2006 Slamdance Film Festival. "Act One" from Old School Pictures won Best Narrative Feature in the Hometowner category of Indie Memphis. Some of the other projects that made it to screening included "Delusions" by controversial director Robert Saba who had the cast improv the feature in John Cassavetes style; "Slow Down ... You're Dating Too
Fast" by M. David Lee III, which featured a large ensemble of area talent; touted young director Ben Siler's "Prom Queen"; Kris and Natalie Boyatt's "Rookie Bookie" (New Bridge Films) starring J.W. Williams played at the Memphis International Film Festival as well as the Appalachian Film Fest, the Magnolia Film Fest and the Tupelo Film Festival.

Production started and is continuing on many others, including "Divine Manipulation of the Threads" by Rusted Sun's Bevan Bell; "Just the Two of Us" by Keenon Nikita; Grim Sweeper by Edward Valibus Phillips and John Harvey's short "Across the River."

This wasn't intended to be a complete list. And that's great news for the local film scene, that there are so many things going on that it's tough to keep track. Meanwhile, other efforts have come about to make the most of Memphis movies. Two web sites have evolved to keep track of what's going on: the excellent that is mandatory for anyone in movies, music and any of the arts in and around town. It's got news, a calendar of events, showcase videos and a directory of folks involved in creative Memphis. And of course this immodest blog known as Memphis Cool Movies, really more of a bulletin board of info about auditions and links to relevant news items and such. You're here now, and I thank you.

The biggest issue was and is whether Tennessee will enact legislation to offer incentives to filmmakers the way Louisiana has done it. Louisiana has been raking in the money by luring movie and TV people to the state. Not even Katrina could much slow down the effort as productions moved from battered New Orleans to Shreveport which is still churning out entertainment. Tennessee cannot hope to stay in the game without competitive incentives. Linn Sitler of the Memphis and Shelby County Film and Television Commission has been working hard to bring this about at the state level. A deal allowing "Black Snake Moan" to use The Pyramid was a nice coup, but it was only a one-time event. Gov. Phil Bredesen formed a committee to gather facts and opinions on the benefits and intricacies of offering incentives and the committee has been touring the state. A report will be given to the General Assembly in a few weeks and that's when the lobbying begins. As much as it seems a no-brainer to allow incentives that more than pay for themselves, the fact is that it's all politics and many legislators will have to be convinced.

We may even have to offer them parts in our films. But that may be OK -- some of them have proven to be enormously entertaining.

That means that 2006 will be a huge year for moviemaking here. If competitive incentives are passed, the landscape will change overnight as it did in Louisiana. If not, then talent will be lured away and the state can forget about hosting a significant number of major productions.

But the indie spirit will thrive as it has been for years. "Delusions," for example, was made over a few weekends for $500. Indie directors are shooting when and where they can with whatever resources they can beg and borrow. Local crew and actors are game to help out to get some experience and be part of a lively creative spirit.

Stanley Kubrick was once asked by a young hopeful how to get into the movie making business. Kubrick replied: "Go make movies."

So go already.

Extras needed -- paying positions

Actors First is looking for actors/extras for the local film - "Lovely By Surprise." This is paying.

Please contact Forrest Pruett at 382-3305 for dates and times or contact Actors First.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

State incentives

Memphis Biz Journal takes a look back at 2005:
"This has been one of our biggest years," says Memphis & Shelby County film commissioner Linn Sitler. But it's an upswing that is bound to take a nosedive if action is not taken in Nashville in 2006, she says. For three years, the Memphis & Shelby County Film Commission has fought to get the state Legislature to implement incentives for filmmakers to come to Tennessee. Other states already have such incentives, and competition is growing ever tighter.

Monday, December 26, 2005

The way of the future

The latest Slate article on Hollywood economics gives us a clue:
The small screen—which includes computers, portable DVD players, and iPods as well as televisions—provides 85.6 percent (of movie studios' revenues).

Premiere of a Ben Siler film this week

“Prom Queen,” a half-hour short from -- according to the CA -- Memphis’ most promising emerging filmmaker, Ben Siler, is 8 p.m. Thursday (29th) at the MeDiA Co-op at First Congo, 1000 South Cooper. The film, as tantalizingly described in the CA, "is a series of eccentrically cropped snapshot-like video images accompanied by odd captions or slogans. The result is not so much a biography of its title character (played by Katherine Dohan of the band Scandaliz Vandalistz) as a geography of the dreaded East Memphis-Germantown nexus as experienced by clever young people preparing for the bittersweet separation of college life."

Also on the bill is the Kentucker Audley short “Bright Sunny South,” named the best local short film at the 2005 Indie Memphis Film Fest and almost featuring Memphis Cool in a scene that was, tragically, deleted.

Admission is $5. Visit

Friday, December 23, 2005

Meisner reminder

The next Meisner for the Creative classes start in less then one month and there are still 11 spots left. The cost is a paltry $100 for an eight-week class. Make the commitment and change your life. Contact Amber O'Daniels at

Let us all hustle together

Thanks to Preston Johnson for forwarding this view of some of the best ensemble work last year.
(Not counting those of us in "Slow Down ... You're Dating Too Fast).

Why all the remakes?

This Slate article gives us a clue:

What's the attraction of remakes, and how do they get made? King Kong, The Producers, and Fun With Dick and Jane are each representative of a different kind: Those fueled by a powerful cheerleader; those riding on the coattails of a previous success; and those that are repurposed simply because the studio can.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Film Families debuts with Lil' Film Fest

You know about the exceptional local movie/music/art site, right? And if you haven't been checking it regularly, you're gonna have to now.

Sarah Fleming and Christopher Reyes have put together "Memphis Film Families: The Source for Memphis Film News and Information" on the site and you'll need to go there at least as often as you come to memphis . cool . movies.

It's got news, a calendar of upcoming events and links. And there's an announcement of what should be the first of many quarterly "Lil' Film Fests." The theme for the first one is the implosion of
Baptist Memorial Hospital. Rules are: each film submission must contain footage of BMH imploding, films are 5 minutes max and deadline is Feb. 28. The winner gets $100 and a spot in next year's Memphis Indie Festival.

Sarah and Christopher are taking excellent advantage of the burgeoning indie movement in Memphis. As Key, that sage of "Hustle & Flow" said,
There are two types of people: those that talk the talk and those that walk the walk. People who walk the walk sometimes talk the talk but most times they don't talk at all, 'cause they walkin'."

Sarah and Christopher are walkin'.

Brooks movie coming

Memphis Brooks Museum of Art will screen a new documentary, "Music From the Inside Out," Thursday, Jan. 12 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Jan. 15 at 2 p.m. Selected by the International Documentary Association as one of the top documentaries of 2005, "Music From the Inside Out" is an inspirational exploration of music through the stories, the passion, and the artistry of world-class musicians of every genre. Memphis Symphony Orchestra’s musical director David Loebel will introduce the film and lead a discussion afterwards.

"Music From the Inside Out" is the result of a five-year collaboration between Oscar-nominated filmmaker Daniel Anker and the 105 musicians of the Philadelphia Orchestra. In an exhilarating 90-minute journey, the film explores the mystery and magic of the musical experience, weaving together an eclectic mix of musical performance and personal reflections. Whether onstage at the symphony hall or playing bluegrass or salsa at a local bar, these musicians embody the art of living as well as performance.

Cost for the film will be $6 for Brooks members and $8 for non-members. Tickets will be available on the day of the film. For more information, call 544-6208.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Time to party

Thanks to our social director and sublime actor Forrest Pruett for making this happen:

C H R I S T M A S P A R T Y !!!

It's beginning to look, sound, and feel like Christmas! So here one last chance to get together and toast each other before the fat man slides down the chimney.

A lot of my fellow actors are getting together for our own Actors Christmas Party. Feel free to put on your Santa caps or reindeer antlers, cause when we get together it's guaranteed to be a fun night. We're starting our night ...

Thursday Dec 22nd

7 p.m. at Willie Moffat's in Bartlett, 2779 Whitten Rd. 386.2710

THEN some of us will move over to sing karaoke at --

10 p.m. at Flashbacks, 5703 Raleigh-Lagrange, 383-7330

You're invited to show up and recap the year of acting and discuss the new year ahead. This will be a party, but its also a great place/time to find out who's doing what and when.

Big Studios and little movies

Here's a fascinating look at Paramount's acquisition of DreamWorks. It's the latest in the Slate series on Hollywood Economics and is an instructive look at what drives the movie business. It is not, in case you wondered, creativity.

Preston Johnson wonders what impact this acquisition might have on "Black Snake Moan." "If Paramount had a skimpy slate of films for the next year or so," he says, "and if BSM was one of them, and if they thus bought DreamWorks in order to have more product, does this mean BSM (a relatively inexpensive film) will be more likely to get lost in the shuffle, ignored in favor of other, higher-profile releases?"

What do you think?

Monday, December 19, 2005

Give an actor a break

Here's an invitation from Amber O'Daniels on a free Meisner workshop Tuesday:

Dec 20th at 7:30 there will be a free Meisner workshop at the Media Co-Op.
(It's free, but donations to the Media Co-Op are always appreciated).

About the workshop:

Recently I have received e-mails from parents looking for a class for their talented children. While I have taught all age groups this method, this particular class is only open for ages 16 and up. I think this workshop would be a wonderful opportunity for parent and teenage to check out what I am doing and see if this is the workshop they both agree on. If there are parents out there who have a child who is say 12 and they feel that adult language is nothing new, check this workshop out. I would allow a child under 16 to be part of the class, but only with parental approval, and only if the parent talks with me first. Because this workshop just scratches the surface it is relatively safe for all age groups, although, adult language might be used. I strongly encourage curious teens and parents to attend.

This is a workshop that gives a synopsis of what the entire class is about. Each time I offer a class I try to give a free workshop so that people know what they are getting or figure out what they want. I only wish all classes had a free workshop before I signed up for it. I know for a fact I would not have taken my child psych class at U of M (gosh was that a bad class).
This is your chance as a possible student to see what I do and to ask all sorts of questions before committing to an eight week class. It is also a way for me to get the message out there in hopes of filling up the next class.

What should you plan on for this workshop: plan to get some basic information about the class, plan to have some fun, and plan on ... it being free (unless you bring a donation).

Even if you think you will not be able to come to the actual class but you can make it to the workshop, great! Come to the workshop.

For more information check out (click on the Meisner link) or

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Off topic: Are you a blogger?

There's a get-together of bloggers in the area on Wed., Dec. 21 at 7 p.m. at Quetzal. It's informal and social for people who like to post. It's open to anyone who has a blog, a Livejournal or a MySpace page, or any other blog-like website. The space is wi-fied, so you can bring your laptop and do liveblogging.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Black Snake Moan update

Stuff you mostly already know from a story in IGN FilmForce:

By Steve Head
December 14, 2005 - You'd think the former *NSYNC star would hit a few notes in his first major movie, which happens to be about one man's love for the blues. But that's not the case with Black Snake Moan, director Craig Brewer's follow-up to Hustle & Flow. Brewer tells IGN FilmForce, Timberlake "doesn't sing. He gives a terrific acting performance. He's really someone that I've always wanted to work with. He's done a fantastic job on my movie. I'm really excited that we're working together now."

The real shining star of Black Snake Moan is Samuel L. Jackson. "He sings and plays his own guitar," says Brewer. "He also recorded his own tracks."

As for the particulars of the story, "it's about this older, black Memphis bluesman who has kind of been retired and he's now returned," says Brewer. "He kind of helps this girl. He finds this one white, redneck girl, who is kind of like the town floozy. He kind of nurses her back to health. He believes it's kind of curing her nymphomania. That's Christina Ricci, and her boyfriend is played by Justin Timberlake. He's in the Guard and he's going off to Iraq. Justin's from Memphis, as am I. And he's just terrific in the part. I really can't go into much more detail about it."

After receiving critical acclaim for the rap-based rawness of Hustle & Flow, Brewer says the same music-loving intensity will propel Black Snake Moan. "I thought it was about time to do a real blues movie. The kind of blues that I know. A blues movie that really reflects the blues music, where I'm from. It's got a lot more sex in it, a lot more anger, a lot more raw emotion to it. You know, a lot like rap."

Having completed principal photography, Brewer is currently editing Black Snake Moan in Los Angeles. "It's going pretty good," he says. "I'm looking at another couple of weeks of editing. We'll have the movie out sometime next year."

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Micro Cinema Club -- good stuff

The December meeting of the Indie Memphis Micro Cinema Club will be Wednesday, Dec. 14 at 7:30 p.m. The program:
  • West Bank Story (2005 Sundance film)
  • Art Thief Musical (2005 USC graduate film school)
  • Different
  • Child Psychology
  • Walking Between the Lines
  • Genesis 3:19
  • and other gems TBA

As always, the location is the Power House at Front and G.E. Patterson. Please bring any DVDs you would like to donate to Operation Entertainment, an initiative that sends movies to the troops stationed the Afghanistan and Iraq.

Box office blues

Hollywood ends its most disappointing year in nearly two decades.
"It's not just a slump in box office, but also in sales of DVDs. This is mainly because of unattractive movies that don't appeal to young male audiences, the cost of movie tickets, parking, the shrinking window a movie's theatrical and DVD releases."
ack Kyser, chief economist of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp

Lights, camera, CGI...

Super graphics and special effects will be the end of us, as we learn in this Slate story:

Fewer and fewer directors have the clout with the studios—or the budget flexibility—to control, even if it means redoing, the CGI side of the production. If this new economy of illusion allows the CGI side of a production to overwhelm the director's ability to tell a coherent story in his live-action side, digital effects may prove to be the ruination of movies.

Golden Globe nominees

Here's the list. Of local interest, "Walk the Line," "Hustle & Flow" and the "Elvis" TV miniseries got some of the action:

Actor, Drama: Russell Crowe, "Cinderella Man"; Philip Seymour Hoffman, "Capote"; Terrence Howard, "Hustle & Flow"; Heath Ledger, "Brokeback Mountain"; David Strathairn, "Good Night, and Good Luck."

Picture, Musical or Comedy: "Mrs. Henderson Presents," "Pride & Prejudice," "The Producers," "The Squid and the Whale," "Walk the Line."

Actress, Musical or Comedy: Judi Dench, "Mrs. Henderson Presents"; Keira Knightley, "Pride & Prejudice"; Laura Linney, "The Squid and the Whale"; Sarah Jessica Parker, "The Family Stone"; Reese Witherspoon, "Walk the Line."

Actor, Musical or Comedy: Pierce Brosnan, "The Matador"; Jeff Daniels, "The Squid and the Whale"; Johnny Depp, "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory"; Nathan Lane, "The Producers"; Cillian Murphy, "Breakfast on Pluto"; Joaquin Phoenix, "Walk the Line."

Actor, Miniseries or Movie: Kenneth Branagh, "Warm Springs"; Ed Harris, "Empire Falls"; Jonathan Rhys Meyers, "Elvis"; Bill Nighy, "The Girl in the Cafe"; Donald Sutherland, "Human Trafficking."

Supporting Actress, Miniseries or Movie: Candice Bergen, "Boston Legal"; Camryn Manheim, "Elvis"; Sandra Oh, "Grey's Anatomy"; Elizabeth Perkins, "Weeds"; Joanne Woodward, "Empire Falls."

Supporting Actor, Miniseries or Movie: Naveen Andres, "Lost"; Paul Newman, "Empire Falls"; Jeremy Piven, "Entourage"; Randy Quaid, "Elvis"; Donald Sutherland, "Commander in Chief."

Monday, December 12, 2005

Crits dis Bluff City

Passing on this note from Preston Johnson:

Awards season is heating up, and some of the critics' lists are coming out. Unlike the Spirit Awards, they mostly ignore the Memphis movies "Hustle and Flow" and "Forty Shades of Blue." Too bad.

However, Terrence Howard is getting some well-deserved notice for his big year of 4 movies ("H&F", "Crash," "Four Brothers" and "Get Rich or Die Tryin' ").

The L.A. Film Critics Association gave their "New Generation" award to him.

And the New York Film Critics Online gave him their "Breakthrough Performer" award. Go here and here.

Also, the Broadcast Film Critics announced their nominations: 3 (!) for Howard (2 for H&F, 1 for "Crash"), and 4 noms for "Walk the Line."

But there's no mention of H&F, FSOB or WTL in the AFI Awards (which lists the top ten movies only).

I'm sure the Memphis movies will do better in the Oscars, the Golden Globes, etc.!

10-Minute Play Contest

Theatre Oxford’s Seventh Annual International 10 Minute Play Contest deadline is approaching. Submittals of 10 minute plays must be received by February 15, 2006 to be eligible to win the L. W. Thomas Award which includes $1,000, a production of the winning play, a night at Puddin’ Place B & B, lunch at City Grocery and a subscription to Y’all Magazine.

Entries must be typed on no more than 10 pages. There are no theme or content requirements, but casts of less than six characters are recommended. Plays must be original and unproduced. A $10 entry fee must accompany entries. Contest rules are on the web at or for more information call contest director, Dr. Dinah Swan, 662-236-5052.

Plays (only one per writer) should be sent to:
Theatre Oxford 10 Minute Play Contest
P. O. Box 1321
Oxford, MS 38655

Friday, December 09, 2005

Casting -- TV commercial

Lunar Productions is casting speaking and non-speaking roles in a
television commercial for a national restaurant franchise. One day of shooting/Production will be scheduled during the first week
of January 2006.

Please call 722-8571 after 1 p.m. for further information.
Auditions will be held Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, December 14 -
16 at Lunar Productions, 1575 Madison Avenue.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

William Shatner wants YOU

Just got this from a press release:

The media circus surrounding Peter Jackson's $200 million production "King Kong" may be overshadowing this genius director's true legacy. Long before Universal Pictures was willing to give him a blank check, Peter Jackson directed epically entertaining movies like "Bad Taste" and "Meet the Feebles" with combined total production budgets of under $1 million. Shortly thereafter, Peter Jackson directed the cult fantasy film, "Braindead," on a budget of just $3 million. These three movies showcase the directorial talent behind the beloved Lord of the Rings trilogy before special effects and infinite budgets replaced the super fighting ninja priests and full-on zombie sex that set these movies apart from its peers.

One fan of Peter Jackson's early work is William Shatner, who played Captain Kirk over three decades of evolving budgets and technology. Although the special effects kept improving, many fans still felt a deeper emotional connection with the early Star Trek films. William Shatner has recently launched a DVD Club dedicated to helping Hollywood fans find great sci-fi movies, like Peter Jackson's early films, that didn't receive a modern day marketing blitz. William Shatner commented, "Movie fans should definitely see Peter Jackson's latest epic, but I hope that moviegoers who enjoy King Kong will take the time to discover his earlier movies."

In the end, most people will remember Peter Jackson as the director of blockbuster movies like King Kong and Lord of the Rings. But real genius doesn't need a $200 million budget, and Peter Jackson's less costly films demonstrate his creativity, his sense of humor, and his mastery of the craft of film-making in a personal way that these latter day epics do not.

So all you indie directors, keep at it. Someday you'll get your blockbusters.

Acting class tonight

This evening's class at Red West's Acting for the Camera is the last of the year, so come on out. You might read a scene, you might improv, you might sing. And just maybe it'll lead to an audition. It's 7:30 p.m. at 6676 Memphis-Arlington Rd. Call 489-8197.

Job posting

This just went up on Craigslist:

Seeking crew for all departments for internet film project filming January through February. Please forward resumes. Specifically seeking production accountant, script supervisor, sound recorder and video assist. People that can work as locals only please.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Any lithe ladies out there?

From the Hollywood Reporter:

James Cameron is moving forward on his long-awaited follow-up to "Titanic," with a casting call going out for an agile young actress to star in his sci-fi thriller "Battle Angel." The project is in development at 20th Century Fox, which declined comment. But Mali Finn Casting has placed an online ad seeking women aged 16 to mid-20s who are athletic and agile with graceful movement and have an ear for languages and dialects. Submissions are due December 19, the firm said.


A coupla sites to visit if you haven't been lately:

Sarah Fleming's Piranha Empire Productions is streaming trailers and shorts.

The Live From Memphis site oughta be a frequent if not daily pilgrimage for local film and music and art lovers. It's a vital site and will become more so as people and organizations add their profiles to the directory.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Bearded Child Film Festival All Stars ... and more!

Indie Memphis' Micro Cinema Club has a juicy offering Wednesday night.

The Bearded Child All Stars is this Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at Power House, 45 G.E. Patterson (between Main & Front Streets). Admission, please note, is free.

Northern Minnesota's Bearded Child Film Festival features a selection of experimental, low-budget, and extremely bizarre short films. For the past five years, the festival has thrived within the obscurity of Grand Rapids, Minnesota, a mill town of under 8000 people located 150 miles northwest of Minneapolis. In order to develop a niche within the crowded world of festivals, the Bearded Child specifically seeks out work that is often "too weird" or too "lo-fi" for many festivals. The festival has encouraged filmmakers to push the boundaries of corporate film culture, while entertaining local crowds of pseudo-lumberjacks and old women in the process-- a curious venture to be sure. After five years of obscurity, the Bearded Child Film Festival is now crisscrossing the nation with a selection of "All Star" films from the past five years. While the tour will hit major cities such as San Francisco, Montreal, and New York, their main focus is on smaller towns and rural areas. "Cultural missionary work!" says founder, Dan Anderson. The tour will hit such sites as Kirksville, Missouri and Harrison, Arkansas, along with several stops in the South, including Memphis. The tour kicked off at the Burning Man Festival in late August, and will continue well into the Christmas holidays. Attendees should expect a mix of experimental films, oddball comedies, and the bizarre. Many of the films have never been shown outside of Grand Rapids, Minnesota.

And then next week is the Indie Memphis Micro Cinema Club on December 14 at 7:30 p.m.

Entering its second year, the Indie Memphis Micro Cinema Club presents short films from around the world. On the second Wednesday of every month, this free event highlights a selection of short films curated by Will O'Loughlin. December's program will highlight musicals, featuring:

West Bank Story (2005 Sundance film); Art Thief Musical (2005 USC graduate film school); Different; Child Psychology; Walking Between the Lines; Genesis 3:19 and other gems TBA.

In addition, Indie Memphis will collect DVDs in new or good condition for Operation Entertainment, an effort to bring movies to soldiers stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Bring em with you.

Burlesque is alive and -- well!

Christine Gladney is a shrewd entrepre- neur, gorgeous starlet, accomp- lished musician, smart performance artist and excellent exercise instructor. She is also a terrible cigarette girl, but that's a personal story for another time. Her latest endeavor is Naughty Pilates, a brilliant concept blending burlesque and fitness.

Filmmaker John Michael McCarthy hosts the exercise video and music is from local groups 68 Comeback,The Preachers Kids, The Oblivians, Redondo Beat, Mr. Airplane Man, Lorette Velvette and others.

This is a for-real exercise video and if you do it, you'll shape up. It's also a great entertainment starring Memphis talent. It makes a great Christmas gift -- G-rated enough for your pastor's wife but wild enough for your especially imaginative friends. Check it out.

Bad guy cliches

The latest Slate article on H'wood economics wonders: Who you gonna blame?
Why don't the movies have plausible, real-world villains anymore? One reason is that a plethora of stereotype-sensitive advocacy groups, representing everyone from hyphenated ethnic minorities and the physically handicapped to Army and CIA veterans, now maintain liaisons in Hollywood to protect their images.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Memphis Cool says Memphis is cool

Hurra Torpedo and groupie
Just the other day memphis . cool . movies topped 10,000 hits since its modest beginnings back in July. Thank you all for visiting, for sending info, for clicking on the annoying Google ads and for keeping this going with your interest. I'll keep doing it as long as you find it useful.

Meanwhile, as a reward -- or punishment -- check out Memphis Cool in this exciting episode of the Hurra Torpedo saga. And be sure to email it to everyone you know, because you shouldn't have to suffer alone.


Thursday, December 01, 2005

A Harmless Internet Chain Letter Joke

Here's a one-minute local film in the New York Minute Film Festival. Check it out and vote.

Not rapturous

The latest "Left Behind" movie is out and being marketed in a novel way. But asks if it's any good as a movie. A hint:
While each installment's budget is estimated to be around $17.4 million, I think that number might be off by $16 million or so.

Spike Lee speaks

Interview on with the filmmaker. An excerpt:
People are getting tired of seeing TV shows remade, or movies from the 1950s, and comic books, and sequels. People say, well, it can't be the films; it's the video games, it's the 900 channels, it's this and that. All those things are a factor, but I think the biggest factor is that films aren't connecting with the audience. I mean, look. March of the Penguins. ... People went to see that film because there was nothing else to see. If there were good movies in the theater, they're not going to see a documentary about penguins.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Starting tonight...

Here are upcoming events at the MeDiA Co-op:

* Tues Nov 29 7:30pm Filmmaker Morgan Jon Fox will break down various scene of Sawed-Off Films Blue Citrus Hearts, and Away(A)wake.
* Sun Dec 4 6:00pm Persona by Ingmar Bergman (1966 85min Swedish w/engl subtitles)
* Tues Dec 6 7:30 Filmmaker Sarah Fleming will discuss and screen her short film work.
* Fri Dec 9 7:30pm Family and Friends Magazine present: TRANSGENERATION episodes 1 and 2. (Sundance Channel-2005 60min each episode)
* Sun Dec 11 6:00pm 8 1/2 by Fredrico Fellinni (1963 138min Itallian w/eng subtitles)
* Tues Dec 13 7:30pm Open Forum.
7:30 What Does Love In Action Look LIke: a preface (plus short films)
9:30 Blue Citrus Hearts
9:30 What Does Love In Action Look Like: a preface (plus short films)
* Sun Dec 18 6:00pm Blow-Up by Michaelangelo Antonioni (1966 111min)
* Tues Dec 20 7:30pm Meisner goddess Amber O'Daniels' gives a sample of what Meisner is all about.


Bringing it home

The latest in the series on Hollywood economics:

The Hollywood studios still make movies, of course, but by 2005, only 14.2 percent of their revenues came from movie ticket sales, while 85.8 percent came from licensing or selling their products for use in the home. Until 2005, the studio's principal access to the home market came through pay TV, free television, video rentals, and DVD sales. But now, with products such as Apple's video iPod and TiVo-type digital recorders becoming widely available, Hollywood is inching toward an even more lucrative way of exploiting the home market.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Hustle, but no flow

So much for the fairy tale. Craig Brewer's lawyer says John Singleton isn't sharing with his other playmates, as reported by the LA Times.

"The fact that Craig has not been paid is not acceptable. This has been repeatedly communicated to John and his attorneys. John said numerous times in the spring that payment was imminent. Then it was everybody was going to get paid by Thanksgiving. Now it's the next holiday coming up."

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Real men needed for extras

"Divine Manipulation of the Threads" needs extras for this shoot we are looking for MEN, and MEN only...The shoot is at 2 a.m. on Sunday at Dish in Midtown (948 S. Cooper) -- the BAR WILL BE OPEN!! Let me know if you can come or if you know anyone who can.

Christine 901 490-1965

Hollywood economics

The latest in Slate's series on the contortions Hollywood goes through when it comes to money.

Hilarity ensues

The MeDiA Co-op blog, aka, has some "celebrity" "sightings." Somebody there has an attitude! And all I can say is, it's good to be kingpin.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Actors for audience scene

Actors needed for audience scene of a corporate video. There is minimal pay
involved for a 10 hour day on December 6. We are looking for adults, all
races and ages. Please email or call if you are interested.
Thank you,
Leah Bruce
Colors Agency, Inc.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Crew call

Gothic South Productions is seeking crew for a 35 mm short film titled "Recipe for Raising the Dead," about a young, distraught housewife who goes to extreme measures to bring her recently deceased husband back to life.

Shooting in Memphis the week of Jan. 3-9. The style and tone of the piece is best described as "Tim Burton directs Desperate Housewives."

Crew positions include:
DP (Must have experience on 35 mm); AC; 2nd AC; Production Designer; gaffer; grips; Sound Recordist; Boom Operator; Script Supervisor; make-up; production assistants.

If interested, please contact Carter at

Watkins Film School -- Nashville

The Watkins Film School at Watkins College of Art & Design will hold an open casting call for its spring film projects on Friday, Dec. 2nd from 6-9 p.m. and on Saturday, Dec. 3rd from 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. The auditions will take place at the College at 2298 MetroCenter Boulevard.

To schedule an appointment, email Ricardo Cardenas at Walk-ins will also be accepted. Actors and actresses should bring a current headshot photo and resume. Participants are encouraged to prepare a one-minute contemporary monologue, though sides will also be available.

If unable to attend, please mail a headshot photo and resume to: Andrew Newell, Watkins Film School, 2298 Metrocenter Blvd, Nashville, TN 37228.

The students at Watkins Film School produce about 30 short films per semester, each requiring a diverse group of actors and actresses of all ages. With a focus on narrative filmmaking, the students write, produce and direct a wide variety of movies that can run up to15 minutes. For additional questions, call 615-277-7433.

Mo' Flow? No.

The sequel to Hustle and Flow is not necessarily a done deal, we hear. It's being talked about, yes, but not firmed up.

Update on Corduroy Wednesday

Corduroy Wednesday is the featured production company at the Media Co-Op Forum this coming Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. (First Congo Church, 1000 S. Cooper).

From Edward Valibus Phillips: "We'll talk about the trials, tribulations, and rewards of making 'Grim Sweeper.' We will also have a big surprise on can't wait...Christmas is coming early.... we'll be premiering the teaser for the film along with the marquee poster! The event is free so come by to learn, heckle, cheer...whatever your heart desires.If you can't make it, don't fret. The poster and teaser will soon make its way to the website.

Is spelling driving you mad? Well type in This simpler version takes you to the same great website, or stick with it's all good.

Editing is streaming along and we are also planning a wrap party/premiere of the *trailer* soon. So check the website often for updates! I would like to thank everyone that helped in making 'Grim Sweeper' happen. The location owners, actors, crew, producers, we thank you for making this all come true.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Reminder: tonight

Brooks is screening a documentary on William Eggleston.

Mo' Flow?

This item from is among several similar ones making the rounds. Let's just hope the sequel doesn't have DJay moving to LA:
Actor Terrance Howard has reportedly signed on to appear in a sequel to “Hustle & Flow,” a hit movie about a Memphis pimp/rapper going through a mid-life crisis. The movie was written and directed by Craig Brewer and produced by John Singleton. Since its premiere in July, the acclaimed film raked in over $22 million at the box office. According to published reports, the cast will remain the same with actors like Anthony Anderson, Paula Jai Parker, Taryn Manning, singer Isaac Hayes and Ludacris as rival rapper Shinny Black.

"Walk the Line" -- Slate review

David Edelstein's thoughtful take on WTL:

In spite of its standard biopic gaps and simplifications, Walk the Line gets the big things right. ... Along the way we get terrific impersonations of Elvis Presley (Tyler Hilton), Jerry Lee Lewis (Waylon Malloy Payne), Carl Perkins (Johnny Holiday) and, of course, June Carter (Reese Witherspoon)—onstage, in the wings, and in the caravan on a Sun Records tour. You'd get your money's worth from that show! ... Ginnifer Goodwin is very affecting as Cash's first wife ...

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

True Story Pictures

Local documentarian Joann Self and her True Story Pictures are documenting and sharing the stories of the region's best artists. Other projects of this community-based nonprofit organization are getting underway as well. The mission: "All TSP documentary productions focus on giving a voice to the often voiceless and on providing a forum for different points of view that are often overlooked or ignored but nevertheless represent a valuable perspective and place in our communities." Check it out.

Boosting "Walk the Line"

Geoff and Jan Falk will be on Channel 3's "Live at 9" Thursday morning promoting "Walk the Line." See it or Tivo it and see if they can squeeze in a plug for getting Tennessee to create an incentive plan for filmmakers.

"The Seraphim"

"The Seraphim" this Friday at 7 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall at First Congo. It's a Meisner for the Creative project and will be weird, energetic and amazing. Go.

Hollywood doesn't grow up

Here's the latest in the series of stories in Slate on the movie biz -- this one looking a why Hollywood won't be making many movies for adults.
While it's true that overall box office receipts are down so far in 2005—theaters took in 8 percent less money in the first nine months of 2005 than they did in the same period in 2004—the box-office revenues for the major Hollywood studios—Fox, Sony, Warner Bros., Disney, Paramount, and Universal—are up. So is their share of the box office, and so is their revenue.


From the CA: Major film companies filed lawsuits against two Tennesseans on Tuesday, one a Memphis man they say illegally swapped movies, including "Napoleon Dynamite," with others on the Internet.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Changes at MeDiA Co-op

From Morgan Jon Fox:

The MeDiA Co-op UPDATE

  • Sun., Nov. 13 at 6 p.m.: Films By Andrei Tarkovsky
  • Tues., Nov. 15 at 7:30 p.m.: Open Discussion on different filmmaking esthetics
  • Sun., Nov. 20 at 6 p.m.: Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price (
  • (The Films Of Fellini have been postponed)
  • Tues., Nov. 22 at 7:30 p.m.: Open Forum for discussion about current projects
  • Sun., Nov. 27 at 6 p.m.: "Celebration" by Thomas Vinterberg and "The Idiots" by Lars Von Trier


FREE TUESDAY NIGHT WORKSHOPS every Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.
Thanks to all of you who have been attending, facilitating, or even thinking about the Tuesday night workshops at the MeDiA Co-op. Coming up on our fourth year of holding these workshops every Tuesday night we are changing the format up a bit and launching an educational program at the Co-op starting in the new year. Starting immediately, Tuesday nights are going to serve more as an open forum, a place for people to discuss films they're working on, a place to seek assistance for a production you're gearing up for or to let people know what you've learned about the projects you've completed.

We officially launched our ESSENTIAL FILM SERIES to take place every Sunday night at 6 p.m. for a measly 3 bucks. These films will be scheduled in advance and advertised secretly through flyers that you can find at places like BlackLodge Video and Otherlands. This film series will feature great directors from international and American cinema, from the past and present. Each screening will be accomodated by a lecture. Some screenings will also be lectures on film history, with clips and the like. We will be encouraging people from the community to become engaged and be a part of this by selecting films and filmmakers they know a lot about and curate a night of the ESSENTIAL FILM SERIES.

The Co-op now offers four tiers of membership ranging from simple use of office space/internet/printers, to access to a G4 with editing and design software, to access to a miniDV camera/boom mic/boom pole/various low-grade lights/tripod. We also have a Patron Membership where if you donate $100 to the Co-op you can get discounts for workshops and screenings throughout the year at the Co-op. If you have more questions, please email Tim at or Andrew at

To celebrate our fourth year of being a part of the film community of Memphis after First Congregational so graciously accepted us into their wonderful building, we will be launching the FIRST ANNUAL MID-SOUTH INDEPENDENT FILMMAKERS CONFERENCE in March. The conference will be a multiday event with workshops, panels and screenings. There will also be an audition similar to the UPTAs where film actors can audition in front of a panel of directors. Through this conference we hope to unite the independent film community in the surrounding area. We hope to establish the following goals through this project:
  • The creation of the MIFD: Memphis Independent Filmmakers Database: A database of all the local directors, producers, actors and others, Including a listing of every film created in this city and who's worked on what and where.
  • A Library of all locally produced works.
  • The initiation of an info-list serve where the local film community can stay in touch with what's going on, including auditions, screenings, need to assist with crew, and so on.

We will start requesting information from individuals soon to get some of these projects off the ground. Please let us know if you'd like to help with this in any way.

The Memphis Digital Arts Co-op
1000 S. Cooper Memphis TN 38104
MeDiA Co-op blog

Morgan Jon Fox in action

Director Morgan Jon Fox and Sawed-Off Collaboratory Productions are having fundraiser screenings for a Sawed-Off Collaboratory Pictures project to finish production on the documentary "This Is What Love In Action Looks Like."

It's at the MeDiA Co-op (1000 S. Cooper, 901-278-9077) and both nights are Pay What You Can.

Friday December 16th: At 7:30 is "What Does Love In Action Look Like: a preface" (plus short films); at 9:30 is "Blue Citrus Hearts."

Saturday December 17th: At 7:30 is "Away(A)wake"; at 9:30 is "What Does Love In Action Look Like: a preface" (plus short films)

The documentary follows a story that unfolded in Memphis in the summer of 2005 that got international attention. It's surrounding the controversial "get straight camp" Love In Action and its teenage program called Refuge. Sawed-Off needs funding to complete this documentary and promote it around the country for distribution and festival screenings. "What Does Love In Action Look Like: a preface," the companion piece to "This Is What Love In Action Looks Like," was awarded the Ron Tibbett Excellence In Filmmaking award at the 2005 Indie Memphis film festival.

Sawed-Off's previous films that are being screened on the 16th and 17th have been shown around the country and are distributed by Ariztical Entertainment nationally on DVD.

Acclaim for the 2003 feature "Blue Citrus Hearts":
"One of the top 15 films of 2003" -The Commercial Appeal -The Chicago Reader

"This movie captures all the awkwardness, angst, despair, exhilaration and confusion of being a teenager. It’s raw and aching, beautiful and honest ... I am adding Fox to my list of filmmakers to watch and I am wondering just what is going on in Memphis, Tenn., to foster work so solid and accomplished." -Chicago Free Press

All screenings will be accompanied by Q and A sessions.

More talent from Walk the Line

McGhee Monteith:
"I play Reba Cash, Johnny Cash's sister at ages 15, 21 and 32. There was a lot of Priscilla Presley wedding day hair going on in 1964 when I was playing 32. It was the most incredible experience ever and I feel so privileged to be a part of the whole experience. The whole Cash legacy which is so huge and the actors involved really, really delivered."
J. W. Williams:

"I play the pill guy, the bad guy in the movie. I'm the downfall of Johnny Cash -- until they get rid of me. I'm Satan with a smile, that's the way I played it. I liked Mangold coming on the set and being the spazz that he is because it was a creative spazz, not like Quentin Tarantino. I loved that he'd come on set and say, 'Lets take the million dollars that Fox gives us to make a (bleep) movie.' I would love that -- that's a great attitude to have. That was one of my favorite parts. I like the directors. I don't like actors."
Hailey Anne Nelson:

"I played Roseanne Cash, Johnny's oldest daughter. I was involved with the scenes of Vivian and Johnny Cash. I cried in a couple of scenes and I had a few scenes with Joaquin. I thought I was going to bond with him because he plays my "father" but when I met him and got to work with him it was actually more like bonding with the actual Johnny Cash cause he was so in character. I've been in a few features, like "Big Fish" and coming in January I have a lead role in "Wild Tigers I Have Known." It's a lot like "Stand By Me" and I'm really excited about that.
Cody Hanford:
"I'm Tommy Cash, Johnny's little brother. I get to ride on Joaquin Phoenix's back and kick a can. It was really cool. Joaquin was really nice. It was his idea for me to ride on his back and it was really fun."
Brandon Raines:

"I play in the Air Force scene in Germany in 1952. I play Johnny Cash's Air Force buddy, a guy named Sikes who you don't see in the film cause it got cut. But it was great. I had a tremendous amount of good experience on the set. I got a lot of general ideas about what to expect when I go to other movie sites. Meeting Joaquin Phoenix is very very uplifting because the guy is really dedicated to being in a certain kind of character. And to play a character like this, I think he's the only one who can do it. I had a great time working with him. And I'm hopeful that in the next one I do I'll be able to be seen."
And the busy acting couple of Geoff and Jan Falk were there. Geoff appeared as the Folsom Prison assistant warden and Jan was the lady at the five and dime. They were also stand-ins for Robert Patrick and Shelby Lynne. And both are angling for parts in the upcoming Demi Moore/Ray Liotta flick "Chlorine."

Walk the Line premiere: In love with Ginnifer Goodwin

Tuesday night's premiere of "Walk the Line" was jumpin'. The stage was set at the red carpet bash at the Malco Paradiso by two gorgeous cars out front, a vintage Caddy and a classic DeSoto, both of 'em with grand, swooping fins that could fly you to heaven at 85 m.p.h.

Memphis and Shelby County Film and Television Commissioner Linn Sitler greeted invitees at the door and the lobby was packed before and after the screening with film lovers, actors, VIPs and guests.

Memphis Cool was there and scored an exclusive interview with several of the actors involved. Top of the list was Ginnifer Goodwin, the charming and heart-meltingly beautiful Memphis native who had the tough role of Vivian Cash.

I can't comment on my own performance, but making this movie was truly the greatest acting experience of my life. I think that something about -- no, not something about but absolutely being in Memphis -- having that safety net and that warmth certainly made me a lot braver, so I felt like I could really dive in in a way that I don't think I necessarily trusted myself to do before. I was at home! It's where I learned to act. That was just magical, getting to come back here to do what it is that I love and the place that made me who I am.

She and Joaquin Phoenix had an electrifying fight scene. We agreed she deserves kudos:

I hope that Joaquin and I will score some nods in the best fight category this year because we didn't have a choreographer. I can unabashedly brag that we really went for it and I got cut with that breakaway sugar glass that I wasn't supposed to get cut on!

And Memphis Cool unabashedly praised her performance because (despite Kathy Cash's opinion) Goodwin skillfully made Vivian's reactions understandable:

It was so important to me that we not villainize her because they were two people who got married very young and didn't know each other very well and couldn't give each other what they needed. It was unfortunate and she was so WRONGED. This is a movie that's lauding this very fated true love and very fated magical creative collaboration but still it's about this affair! Somehow people I think in real life saw Vivian as the other woman when really SHE was scorned. So I felt for her.

And what's coming next?

A drama series in June called "Big Love" on HBO. Sort of like "Sopranos" but about polygamists.


Can't wait.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Memphis Cool: Deluded

Reminder: You have until Monday to reserve your places for the premiere of "Delusions" Wednesday night. Here's what you need to know. By the way, the making of this movie was the source of this important essay by Memphis Cool on how to do a nude scene. Laugh? Cry? You decide.

So get your info to Waheed ( soonest.

Cameraperson to shoot motorsports/interviews

Here's a posting from Craigslist:

Experience Mandatory
An online or DVD demo reel is required
and must be received by 11/20/05.

Experience: Applicants will have experience filming sports/action interviews, and motorsports experience is highly regarded. Experience with Canon XL1, XL2 is a plus. Applicants must respond to this listing ASAP by e-mail ( with a description of relevant talents and experience.

Friday, November 25th (day after Thanksgiving)
Saturday, November 26th

Description: Racing event DVD and televised production | Memphis, TN | Hotel and food provided Chosen applicants will be contracted to film interviews during the afternoon & evening hours of 11/25 and 11/26. Will be in constant contact with film crew & director via headset communication. Expected hours are 12 noon to 10 p.m. on the Friday and Saturday following Thanksgiving day.

Compensation: $500-$800 based on experience, plus copies of work and finished product and valuable experience.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Everybody's a #&$%#* critic

The Associated Press reports:

Kathy Cash, one of Johnny Cash's five children, was so upset about how her mother is portrayed in the upcoming movie "Walk The Line" that she walked out of a family-only screening, five times.

She thinks the movie is good and that performances by Joaquin Phoenix as her dad and Reese Witherspoon as her stepmother, June Carter Cash, are Oscar-worthy.

But she told The Tennessean newspaper that the film unfairly shows her mother, Vivian Liberto Distin, Johnny Cash's first wife, as a shrew.

Kathy Cash says her mother was proud of Cash until he started taking drugs and stopped coming home.

Ginnifer Goodwin plays the role and as written, it could have been played poorly. But Goodwin did a remarkable job interpreting her character. Too bad that Kathy perceived only the worst, but people that near the limelight often have a distorted view. In fact, an exceptionally skilled Goodwin went to pains to show Vivian as someone who wanted to keep her marriage and family together and if that meant reminding Johnny of his promises and obligations, then so be it. That's not shrewish, that's tough love. And I would suppose that most viewers will see that she was put in an impossible position by Johnny's choices.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

"Stirring" -- Da!

Here's a post from the eCallboard from Paul Skidmore on his movie "Stirring."

STIRRING is a long short film (currently the script is 53 pages, so about 53 minutes), and there is now more info up on about the story and characters. It's not comprehensive, but it will get you started.

Feel free to e-mail me for more information on it. I'm actually getting a lot of response about the film (which is happily surprising), so it might take me a day or few to get back to you.

Currently the shoot is scheduled for December 7-21, 2005, which is coming up soon. Casting sessions are this weekend and next (12 and 19) from 9am to 4pm. Directions and a link to the map are on the website.

Most of all I should point out that all of the dialogue for the film will be in Russian, so we are needing Russian speakers to fill the handful of lead roles, but we have plenty of roles to fill that have a couple of lines (which could be learned phonetically) or no lines at all. The script has little dialogue, and is told mostly visually, so please don't think that a dialogueless role actually means "extra."

Thanks for everyone's interest! The energy moving behind this film has been delightfully overwhelming and joyously infectious! Hope you're able to come out and be a part of this project with us!


"Grim Sweeper" in post

Here's a news story from the Jackson paper on local film "Grim Sweeper," which is in post-production. For more info, check out the Corduroy Wednesday website.

Come out swinging

From Leah Bruce:

Colors Agency is looking for a Caucasian boxer for a commercial.
We have not been given an age range or any other specifics. The
commercial will shoot in Jackson, MS either the week before
Thanksgiving or the week after. We will be taping in our office
throughout Thursday 11/10. Please call Colors for more information.
Phone number 901-726-9300.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

"Delusions" premiere: the particulars

The screening of "Delusions" on Nov. 16 at The Complex in Memphis is for family and friends and everyone that worked on the movie. If you are a friend or were in cast or crew, email Waheed AlQawasmi at and include your name and the names of the people that you are bringing.

There's no charge if you're on Waheed's list; otherwise you'll have to pay $7.

There will be two bands playing starting at 5 p.m. and playing through 7:45 p.m. Robert Saba and Waheed AlQawasmi will then introduce the movie and give a brief explanation about the project.

Send Waheed the names ASAP -- don't wait till November 15th to do it.

WHAT: "Delusions"
WHERE: The Complex, 704 Madison, entrance in rear
WHEN: Wednesday, Nov. 16 at 7:45 p.m. (Doors Close at 8pm no one will be allowed in after that time.)
ADMISSION: Free if you're on the list. If you're not then you have to pay $7

Monday, November 07, 2005

"The choice of a good life is only a delusion"

You'll be hearing more about the movie "Delusions" in coming days. It's a tough, uncompromising story by writer/director Robert Saba with producer/dp/editor Waheed AlQawasmi. Cast includes Chris Ross, Tiffany Pemberton, Bevan Bell, Muck Sticky, Forrest Pruett, Hollywood, Michael Travis Stone, Lee Mauney, Sarah Ewell, Joe Smith and Paul Crosby. The indie was shot in Memphis over a five-month period this year.

Check out Waheed's web site ( and click on "Films" to see the trailer and some stills from the production. Or go straight to here.

Premiere is Wednesday, Nov. 16 at the Complex.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Indie Memphis Micro Cinema Club on Wednesday

The Indie Memphis Micro Cinema Club’s first anniversary party is Wednesday, Nov. 9. The theme will be country/western, with a “Rural America Roundup” program of short films, including:

Fenceliners by Chelsea Walton

Jim from Divernon by Chad Schneider

Barn Story by Cortney Kintzer

Living in A Cornfield by Sandy Dyas

Bear Hunter by Mary Robertson

Reception begins at 7 p.m. and films begin at 8.

The Indie Memphis Micro Cinema Club meets the 2nd Wednesday of every month, and screens short films from around the world. The location is the Powerhouse 45 GE Patterson Ave, next to Central Station. Always free admission and parking.

Honey I shrunk the kids

Variety has this story on changing demographics. The conclusion:

"While younger audiences are eroding or being pulled in a dozen different directions, the older auds are holding fast -- or growing."

Saturday, November 05, 2005

"Delusions": the trailer

Robert Saba (director) and Waheed AlQawasmi (producer/DP) have posted the trailer for the controversial film "Delusions." It's a tough, gritty movie done in improv style much like the influential John Cassavetes film "Shadows."

It's potent stuff. The movie premieres Nov. 16 at The Complex. Save that date.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Ebert on 40 Shades

Roger Ebert weighs in with a review of Ira Sachs' "Forty Shades of Blue." Here's an excerpt:

There is a scene of some mastery, involving a party Alan throws in his own backyard. A big barbeque, with lots of booze and live music. His guests represent a cross-section of the Memphis music communities, black and white, young and old, and they all have one thing in common: A vast indifference to Alan. Watch him move through this gathering like a ghost at a banquet. Listen to his speech, at which with a grandiose gesture he tries to make things up with Laura; he is so ignorant of healthy human emotion that he has no idea he is only insulting her again, publicly.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Brooks screens Eggleston documentary

Ed Halter of The Village Voice calls it “a subtle, elegant documentary.” Artforum’s Amy Taubin describes it as “Brilliant! A remarkably intimate but also discreet portrait.” The Commercial Appeal’s John Beifuss refers to it as a “fascinating documentary.” Judge for yourself on November 17 when Memphis Brooks Museum of Art presents William Eggleston in the Real World at 7:00 p.m.

Michael Almereyda’s film tracks Eggleston on trips to Kentucky, Los Angeles and New York, but gives particular attention to downtime in Memphis. It shows a deep connection between Eggleston’s enigmatic personality and his groundbreaking photographic work while revealing his talents as a musician, draftsman and videographer.

Local arts patron and physician James Patterson helped to produce William Eggleston in the Real World. Dr. Patterson will introduce the film at the Brooks, giving the audience some insight into the project. The Brooks will present one screening only on November 17 in the Dorothy K. Hohenberg auditorium. Tickets are $6 for members and $8 for non-members.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Meisner project performance

This is from Amber O'Daniels' Meisner for the Creative class that's presenting this special project production. It's Nov. 18, 7 p.m. at the MeDiA Co-op. If you're creative, you need to be there.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

New and updated

A couple of new additions to the "Memphis Film Sites" listing at right include:
  • Old School Pictures, makers of "Act One" which grabbed the Best Narrative Feature in the Hometowner category of Indie Memphis last week
  • Arnita C. Williams, actress, screenwriter, director and filmmaker
You should also regularly check for updates:

Casting call

Casting Session for the film STIRRING is Nov. 12 & 19 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Christian Student Center, 425 Patterson near U of M.
Primarily looking for:
About 20-30 males, ages 25 and up
At least 2 females, ages 25 and up
Children, ages 5-12
but other roles needed as well, so if you don't fit the above description, don't let that stop you!
Ability to speak Russian (or similar language/dialect) preferred, or should be willing to learn. (All dialogue in the film will be in either Russian or Ukranian)

The culture of deception

Well we're talking about Hollywood, natch. In this fine Slate article. An excerpt:
Since Hollywood is an industry dedicated to perpetrating illusion, its leaders often assume they have license to take liberties with the factual elements that support the movies they make. This practice is euphemistically described by marketing executives as "pushing the reality envelope."

Friday, October 28, 2005

Were you in 'Streaker'?

Everyone who was a part of Streaker as background talent, I need your name and the scene(location) you were in if you want a credit in the film.
Thank-you, Lisa Lax:

Divine Manipulation: Must-see trailer

Bevan Bell and the Rusted Sun gang (Anthony Howald and Brad Alsobrook) have just put out a terrific trailer for their work-in-progress "Divine Manipulation of the Threads." As Bevan points out: "This is a project done with NO BUDGET. Don't get the wrong idea that we've got a lot of dough that made this possible. This is done with free time, talent, and a severe love of the game."

And you'll see that in the trailer (in wmv and mov formats) on the Rusted Sun Films website.