Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Katrina's aftereffects

Reported by Variety:

At least three shoots were underway in New Orleans when movie crews were ordered to evacuate. "The Guardian" starring Kevin Costner, and "Deja Vu" with Denzel Washington, were among those preparing to begin filming.

Disney studios chartered a plane to whisk 70 crew members from both films to safety. Spokeswoman Heidi Trotta said it was too early to know if production would be affected.

Generous tax breaks in states such as Louisiana have seen production expenditure soar in recent years. Last year 27 films were made in the state. It is feared the incentives are done for. Costs will soar, power and communication lines could be down for months and accommodation will be hard to find.

Michael Keaton’s "The Last Time" was reportedly already filming in New Orleans. "The Reaping," starring Hilary Swank, was shooting in Baton Rouge.

Frank von Zertner, executive producer on "Vampire Bats," which had been shooting in New Orleans, said they were lucky most of what was left could be filmed anywhere.

“Nobody’s eyeballed this, but I have a feeling my trucks are under water,” he told Variety.

The Los Angeles Times said other movies due to be shot in Louisiana later this year include "Bug," starring Ashley Judd, and "Big Momma's House 2," with Martin Lawrence. Some producers said their films were still on schedule while others said they were looking for alternative locations.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Auditions for "dead anonymous"

Intense young filmmaker/ writer Tommy Kha is looking for actors. This from him:

Auditions will be held for my official film, "dead anonymous" on Sept. 24 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the MeDiA Co-op, 1000 S. Cooper. If you, or anyone you know would like to audition, please contact me at

Anyone 17 and older is welcome to come to the casting call for this dark humor dramedy. Resumes and headshots are greatly appreciated, but not necessary.

The story: Most of us wonder if there is an afterlife or post-life, but no one knows death is literally among us. Based in Memphis, death serves as a network of getting everyone to where they need to be, but eventually, some souls get lost when their physical bodies die. In order for them to adjust to their post-life, they must enter a twelve-step program of ridding their addiction to life itself. Eidolon, a recently departed teen, enrolls in the twelve-step program. Fortunately for him, he has a sponsor who may or may not be Jimmy Hoffa teaching him the ropes of death and gets a job as an escort ferrying souls to the post-life. Everyone comes to terms with their post-lives differently. As for Eidolon, he's kicking and screaming.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Micro Cinema Club -- required viewing

Indie Memphis's excellent and free monthly Micro Cinema Club series has its next screening Wednesday, Sept. 14 at 7:30 p.m. Clear your calendar and book it. September’s lineup includes:
  • "Free Radicals" (pictured): Dreaming of hot sand, females, and mahi-mahi, three Rocky Mountain cockroaches enter the extreme ski contest of a lifetime. Image courtesy University of Southern California.
  • "Joey," an intimate and vivid portrayal of the lives of children growing up amid gangs and violence in South Los Angeles, by Nancy Montuori.
  • "Packrat," the filmmaker’s examination of her family's struggle to deal with "packratting,” which may be a symptom of obsessive compulsive disorder, by Kris Britt Montag.
  • Venom Sportswear Ad Campaign, a series of mockumentary ads by 24-year-old Christopher "C-dub" Wang (director Jimmy Tsai) at the hoops rapping about Yao Ming, genetics and becoming the first Chinese basketball player in the NBA.
  • "Distance from the Sun," a glimpse of the internal struggle of today's American Muslim through the eyes of Naim, a Middle-Eastern immigrant chef in small town America, by Eyad Zahra.
  • Indie Memphis Television Commercials, a five-minute program chronicling the eight-year history of the Indie Memphis Film Festival through TV spots produced by various indie filmmakers.
Indie Memphis, God love 'em, is the organizer of the annual Soul of Southern Film Festival. The Micro Cinema Club is the second Wednesday of every month at 7:30 p.m. in the Power House gallery, 45. G. E. Patterson. Admission is free and screenings generally last 90 minutes with free popcorn and beverages provided. The official boilerplate: Indie Memphis, founded in 1998 to provide a voice and forum for the diverse Memphis film community, is an initiative of Delta Axis, a non-profit 501(c)3 arts organization. Recognizing the contributions of the Delta to music and literature, the Delta Axis mission is to highlight similar contributions in contemporary visual arts. Indie Memphis promotes the contributions of Southerners and independent artists to what is arguably today’s most important art form: filmmaking. The Indie Memphis Soul of Southern Film Festival is held annually in October and features more than 70 films from filmmakers worldwide as well as workshops and panels. The 2005 festival will be held at Muvico Theater in downtown Memphis’s Peabody Place October 21-27.

Hollywood and $$$$$

There's another installment in the series on how the movies make money. This one addresses the often misunderstood foreign market.

The place where the studios look for their profits is not that elusive: It is America. The Hollywood studios make—and have always made—most of their money in the domestic market.

Furthermore, the "world" market is highly concentrated:
In the first quarter of 2005, just eight countries provided nearly 75 percent of the studios' total foreign revenue. Britain alone accounted for 20.7 percent of it; Germany, 12.8 percent; France, 9.6 percent; Canada, 8.1 percent; Japan, 7.2 percent; Italy, 6.1 percent; Australia, 5.1 percent; and Spain, 4.8 percent.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Auditioning seminar @ Oxford Film Fest

Jeffrey Nightbyrd, director of Acclaim Talent Agency, will conduct “Intensive On-Camera Film Auditioning Seminar” as part of the Oxford Film Festival. Two sessions will be offered on Wednesday, Sept. 7 and Thursday, Sept. 8 from 7 until 10 p.m. at Isom Hall on the Ole Miss Campus.

This intensive workshop explores techniques used by professionals to land television and film roles. The cost for each session is $45. Class size is limited, so call or email Johnny McPhail today to reserve your spot. Email: Phone: 662-234-5551. Cell: 662-816-7614.

Acclaim Talent is a 14-year-old agency, the largest in Texas. Acclaim has opened a new office in New Orleans and is in search of talent from this area.

(By the way, here's the schedule for the Oxford Film Festival -- you need to be making your plans now).

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Local bands and/or filmmakers: Deadline approaches

Memphis bands and Memphis filmmakers have a chance to showcase music videos at the 2005 Indie Memphis film festival. Videos will be screened at Muvico’s Peabody Place 22 Theatre and an award will be given for “Best Music Video/EPK.” If you are a local filmmaker or local band with a music video, submit it by Sept. 15, 2005. For more information and the entry form, visit

The basic rules: Six minutes max and it has to have been completed within the last two years. Entry fee is waived, so get on it.

Keep hitting me. I like it.

Thanks to all who have been coming to this blog. It's topped 2,000 hits, which averages out to about 70 a day, so I'm assuming it's useful. Let me know (jonwsparks (at) if you'd like to see more or less of anything.

As Joe Mantegna's character said as he was being shot several times at the end of "House of Games": "Thank you sir, may I have another?"

Hollywood in Cape Girardeau

Producers of "Killshot" have confirmed that Diane Lane and other stars and crew will be in Cape Girardeau, Mo., later this year or in early 2006 to shoot scenes for the movie.

Based on the 1989 novel by Elmore Leonard, Killshot will tell the story of a married couple who find themselves in Cape Girardeau while on the run from a pair of hitmen.

Scenes for the film will be shot in late December or early January, said Jerry Jones, executive director of the Missouri Film Commission. Filming starts in Toronto on Oct. 11. There will be about three days of shooting in Cape Girardeau, which is about 175 miles north of Memphis.

Killshot, directed by John "Shakespeare in Love" Madden, also will star Mickey Rourke and Justin Timberlake. It is expected to be released next year.

Friday, August 26, 2005

More downtown movie thrills

Guests at the Orpheum’s presentation of “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” will share in some of the thrills experienced by Harrison Ford even before the film begins to roll. The Memphis Zoo and Outdoors, Inc. will add to the excitement when “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” screens at 7:15 p.m. tonight, August 26.

Live spiders and snakes from the Zoo, a rock-climbing wall from Outdoors Inc., plus door prizes are part of the evening that will also feature the final installment of the Orpheum Summer Movie Series’ Buck Rogers serial, as well as, a pre-show concert on the theatre’s mighty Wurlitzer organ.
It's $6 and doors open at 6:15 p.m.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Movie on South Main tonight

From The South Main Association:

The Art Trolley Tour is today, Aug. 26 from 6 to 9 p.m. in the South Main Arts District, and features the Memphis Chapter of The Recording Academy (the Grammy organization) hosting its grand opening. Galleries and shops will be open with new exhibits and special offerings as well as an assortment of refreshments for visitors.

Fresh Air Flicks, the South Main Association-sponsored open-air film, will feature “Make It Funky!” The movie is 2% jazz, 98% funky stuff! It is the story of New Orleans and its legendary musicians, who composed and performed songs that changed the world of music, influencing the course of Rhythm & Blues and Rock & Roll. It features the best of New Orleans’ musicians, plus special guests Bonnie Raitt and Keith Richards. Artists featured in the documentary include Allen Toussaint, Aaron Neville, Big Sam’s Funky Nation, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Earl Palmer, Irma Thomas, Ivan Neville, Jon Cleary, Kermit Ruffins, The Neville Brothers, Snooks Eaglin and Walter “Wolfman” Washington. Special commentaries by Ahmet Ertegun and Cosimo Matassa. “Make It Funky” will be shown at 9 p.m. in the space between Earnestine & Hazel’s and Gestures. Admission is free and refreshments are available.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Vintage Memphis indie

It was before Craig Brewer, before Ira Sachs, before John Michael McCarthy ... waaay back in the day when Betamax still had a chance to beat out VHS. So some of you weren't even born when "I Was a Zombie for the F.B.I." came out in 1982. Written and directed by Marius Penczner, it's going to be released on DVD on August 30, 2005. More details here. You can get it at Amazon or your favorite supplier and see not only how it was done back in ancient days, but note a number of actors who are tops on the local stage scene.

Casting Call for Indie Short

Posting this one for JT Harrell: Looking for 18 to 23 year old actress to do a 10 - 15 minute short film. Tattoos and piercings welcomed. The film will be shot at night, and the filmmaking will take no longer than a couple of days. The short will be entered into festivals following its completion. If interested, please email me at Thank you.

Volunteer actors

This is a repost of a post on the eCallboard:

Request for volunteer actors on Sept. 16 downtown for the opening reception of the Student Youth Travel Association's National Conference.The party that we need actors for is at AutoZone Park. The theme for the conference is "The Live and on Stage." The AutoZone park theme is "Memphis, Hollywood of the South."

They will roll out the red carpet for the delegates arrival. As delegates walk down the carpet, we would like to have easily recognizable Hollywood celebs mixing and mingling.Elvis will also be in the crowd, possibly arriving on the carpet also. They will also need people dressed with a shirt that says "Press" and "Paparazzi."Basically they're looking for people who are willing to "dress up" or create a crowd for the arrival of the guests here in Memphis that evening.

If you're interested, contact Eric Roux at with the word SYTA in the subject line. He will pass along details about the party then and what you'd get in return for your time, whether it's food, booze, tickets, etc.

PAs needed

Check this out at

Looking for reliable PAs that have experience working with a film and tv crew. Must be living in or around the Memphis area. A car is a plus! Rate is $100/day for a one day shoot at the end of September. This is for a children's documentary for HBO.

The amazing Brooks

If the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art is not on your radar, it should be. The museum's lively 1st Wednesdays programs are informal, festive events that feature cutting edge presentations in dance, film, and music. Next up on Sept. 7 -- reserve that date on your calendar -- is a screening of Craig Brewer's first film "Poor and Hungry." For those of you who've been "meaning to" see it for the last five years, your excuses are about to expire.

But wait, there's more... Ernest Withers and Memphis: Capturing a City is an exhibition of photographs by internationally renowned artist Dr. Ernest Withers on display at the museum. You'll see those as well as a performance by the New Ballet Ensemble inspired by Withers' photos.

Plus there will be music by Native Son and you'll be able to dine at the Brushmark restaurant. (Event is from 6-9 p.m. Sept. 7. Brushmark serves from 6-8:30 and the Poor and Hungry screening is at 7:30).

Admission to 1st Wednesdays is free for Brooks members and $5 for nonmembers. Future 1st Wednesday offerings will feature more Memphis-made cinema.

Black Snake Moan status board

Who got a callback? Did you land a part? We hear that Lindsey Roberts is up for a role as best friend of Rae (Christina Ricci's character). Lindsey's performance as Harper in "Poor and Hungry" was electrifying and if you didn't blink, you might have seen her in "Hustle and Flow" reprising the role. Folks from Monday's casting call are getting second callbacks to read for Craig Brewer. Let us know if you made the cut.

Should Malco be nervous?

From a story in Slate on emerging technology:
Sony and its rivals plan to have Blu-Ray DVDs available in less than a year. So, in the near future, the weekly audience that goes to movie houses will have another option: staying at home and watching a high-definition movie with interactive features that is more or less equal in picture quality to what they would see at the multiplex.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Another blog for movie makers

The MeDiA Co-op has an official blog. Bookmark it and check it often. And contribute what you can to this group that's putting a lot of energy into its program for budding local videomakers.

From -- which is not a Craig Brewer enterprise -- has film related jobs from time to time. Thanks to Rachel Hurley for pointing out:

“Things That Go Thump In The Night” – A bone chilling horror movie due to film strictly in the local area. All featured and principal roles are cast. Therefore all we are looking for is non-union extras. You say that you have no experience; we say “so what”. No previous experience is required. All that is needed is reliability. We need people that we can count on to show up to the set on time, ready to go. 800-641-5758. Job location is Memphis. Compensation: Daily pay is between $68 to $150 depending on role. This is a part-time job.



WE (Women's Entertainment) Announces a groundbreaking Documentary/Reality series. Each week, we will feature a new father-daughter relationship and document an important event in their lives (party, graduation, bat mitzvah, sports event, wedding, surgery, trip, new car, etc.) We're looking for fun, fabulous, outrageous girls whose Dads would give them the world if they could. If you are interested, or know anyone who might be, please visit our website: and fill out an online application.

CA on the casting call

Here's John Beifuss' excellent story in The Commercial Appeal on Monday's casting call.

Monday, August 22, 2005

"... it actually begins to look like a movie ..."

"I guess now it's real. Up until now, you know, we've been looking at a lot of stuff that's being built, we've been looking at a lot of locations, we've been listening to a lot of music. But once you start casting all the other roles and once the actors show up to start rehearsing and putting my words in their mouths, it actually begins to look like a movie instead of being this hypothetical thing on a page. So it's a strange day that's kind of tinged with about half excitement and half anxiety."
--Craig Brewer at the casting call for "Black Snake Moan" today.

Just after 11 a.m. today there were more than 350 hot hopefuls in a queue that doubled and tripled back under the awning on the south side of The Pyramid. The daylong casting call for Craig Brewer's "Black Snake Moan" was well underway.

They would be admitted to The Pyramid in groups of twenty, the first ones having arrived much earlier. Actress Arnita Williams was No. 22 and had been there since 8:30 a.m. "I've got ice, makeup, tons of clothes, my head shot and resume," she reported in full effervescence. Something paid off since she got a callback for Tuesday to read for one of the 27 speaking roles being cast locally. In fact, a hefty number of those who showed up were given a schedule and a side for callbacks. Many actors had already read for parts last week. Agents have been dealing with the casting office and thespians with representation got first crack at it last week. But the monster casting call -- cattle call if you prefer -- gives everyone an opportunity to look a casting director in the eye and make that impression.

First, though, you have to make it through security. It was no problem if you were abiding by the rules, but God help you if you ran afoul of Paul Hardy. He's the head of security for The Pyramid and a step ahead of everyone, especially the gent who tried to squeeze in among the first group. "We've had this conversation before," Hardy told him while deftly hustling him back outside. "But I've directed ..." mumbled the man, protesting with a slur. "I don't care if you directed 'Hustle and Flow,' " Hardy said. "There's that smell of alcohol." And the man was quickly out and efficiently gone. Hardy turned to two beefy Memphis police officers on the scene and said, "If you see him again, would you ...?" And the two cops just smiled and nodded.

Meanwhile, Memphis and Shelby County Film and Television Commissioner Linn Sitler was all about rounding up and distributing water and ice to the hundreds waiting in the sun.

And then: "OK, relaxation is over, it's work time now." That was casting assistant Nicole Stoll giving instructions to attendees on where to go and what to do.

The routine, as hundreds would find out, was to pass by a table to get your release form stapled to your picture. Then you marched into a room outfitted, as Don Meyers noted, in fine funeral home style. Actors sat in rows of chairs facing a long table where the interviews took place. At one end was Winsome Sinclair whose Winsome Sinclair & Associates was handling local casting. At the other end was Kim Hardin, the principal casting agent for the movie. In between was U of M student Erik Morrison managing the stacks of paper -- sides, appointment slips, headshots and resumes. Hopefuls sat before one of the casting bosses and turned in their paperwork and chatted a bit. If the look and the resume called for it, they would be asked to return sometime this week for a reading. Hardin said, "If you're not right for the speaking part, then you'll be considered for extras casting." She said she expected that, among many possibilities, there would be a scene in a juke joint and one at a high school football stadium that would use extras.

Lots of talent was on hand, enough to shush any Hollywood-centric snoot who thinks the only talent pools are on the ocean coasts. Among the locals: actor-writer-director Moses Peace, a stage vet whose also been in the movies "Making the Grade" and "The Delta"; J. W. Williams of "Rookie Bookie" and "Walk the Line"; Carole F. Rowland of "Dog Me: Potluck" and "Slow Down ... You're Dating Too Fast"; the amazing Jeannette Comans of "Shutter"; Ritchie Longoria of "Someone to Call My Clone"; plus Tiffany Pemberton, Lauren Shepard, Scarlett Williams, Lee Mauney, Michael McLendon, Abby Amsden and Marcus Seaberry. And loads of other talent.

And while there's no sure way to guarantee a part, you can increase your chances by being savvy. "It's just like going for a job," said Hardin, so be as confident and competent as you can. Sinclair offered these tips: "Always be professional. Come with your picture and resume. Know the tools of auditioning. You have five minutes to make a good first impression. Be prepared. Preparation and opportunity are the formula for success."

Acting classes at Theatre Memphis

Theatre Memphis is offering opportunities to work on a variety of performance skills. Stage oriented, but good stuff for camera people too. Consider these seriously. To sign up or to receive more information, e-mail Kell Christie:
kell@..., or call Theatre Memphis @ 682-8601

AUDITION PREPARATION Mondays, 5:30-6:30 pm
6 weeks $90 Sept. 12-Oct. 17
Learn the basics of what is expected before rehearsals start. Emphasis will be given to monologue preparation, cold readings, audition demeanor, and directors' expectations.

MUSICAL THEATRE DANCE Tuesdays, 5:45-6:45 pm
10 weeks $125 Sept. 6-Nov. 8
Students will encounter the various styles of musical theatre dance, including jazz and modern. A great class for those auditioning for this season's production of Cats.

BASIC ACTING Wednesdays, 5:30-6:30 pm
10 weeks $125 Sept. 7-Nov. 9
A class for actors who want to learn about technique. Perfect for the beginning actor or the student looking for a fun place to experiment.

TAP DANCING Thursdays, 5:45-6:45 pm
10 weeks $125 Sept. 8-Nov. 10
Tap dancing for students with some tap experience.

PLAYING WITH SHAKESPEARE Saturdays, 10 am-12:00 noon
3 weeks $40 Oct. 15-Oct. 29
A class for the experienced performer who wants to explore techniques and gain confidence working with Shakespeare's text. (You're probably not as far away as you may think.) Optional: Bring a memorized speech of +/- 20 lines from the Shakespeare play of your choice. Taught by Joanne Malin, director of our upcoming production of MEASURE FOR MEASURE.

6 weeks Jan. 23-Mar. 6
For actors who love Shakespeare and want to create their own opportunity to work on a favorite scene from an "underproduced" play. This class culminates in a performance of scenes developed in class.

6 weeks Mar. 20-May 8
Are you an experienced actor looking to deepen your skills? Are you interested in sharpening your director's eye? This class will allow you to work on scenes that have always interested you.

Bring your Ben Nye kit and learn about make-up techniques for stage and screen.

14 weeks Feb. 4-May 6
Conducted in a workshop format, participants will bring new work to the class, read for fellow playwrights, and discuss. A great way to develop a new script.

Each class allows singers to work on a particular area of the musician's craft.
Auditioning TBA; Ballads TBA; Acting and Singing TBA




For more information or to enroll, call Kell Christie (901) 682-8601 or e-mail, kell@...

The filmmakers of tomorrow are already at work

The Commercial Appeal has a story on young Matthew Frazier, budding filmmaker.
In July, Frazier went to the four-day University of Mississippi Filmmaking workshop, courtesy of Indie Memphis and the Memphis & Shelby County Television and Film Commission. Frazier said the camp helped him work on the fundamentals of filmmaking, lighting, producing, or the process of "getting your stuff out there."

A few million reasons to make movies in Tennessee (or Mississippi or Arkansas)

Excerpted from an Associated Press story:

California receives millions of dollars in tax revenue when movies are filmed in the state, but about 60 percent of all productions last year were shot elsewhere. California loses more than $10 million when a $70 million movie is made outside the state, and $3 million for a 12-episode drama, the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. said.

Sponsored by labor and industry groups, the 20-page report showed that 236 features, or about 40 percent of all productions, were shot partially or exclusively in the state last year.

"The real threat is that this major economic engine could gradually leave the state, one project at a time," according to the report.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a former actor, is pushing the legislation that would provide a 12 percent tax credit on a feature film's spending, with a cap of $3 million per production. Made-for-TV movies could get an additional 3 percent credit.

The report said states such as New Mexico and Louisiana have successful used tax breaks to lure filmmakers. For instance, director Taylor Hackford said he shot the Oscar- nominated film "Ray" in Louisiana because of a $3.7 million tax credit.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Indie woes

The Fort Worth Star Telegram has a thought for those of you who would make it big in the world of indie filmmaking:

Here's a disquieting cautionary tale for all those would-be filmmakers out there dreaming of becoming the next big indie thing.

On makingYou can have an original, attention-grabbing premise. You can win the support of Hollywood bible Variety and grand pooh-bah critic Roger Ebert. You can make a movie that is disarming, intelligent and consistently surprising -- indeed, one of the very best things to show at the Sundance Film Festival.

But unless you have a big-name star, or perhaps an MTV-ready hip-hop soundtrack, you're still going to have a heck of a time getting your movie into theaters.

"Pretty much everyone said no," says Andrew Wagner, the writer-director of "The Talent Given Us," a strange, but immensely likable hybrid of fact and fiction featuring Wagner's own family members playing themselves. "We had been to Sundance, where the audience response and the critical response were both very enthusiastic. The distributors, both large and small, seemed to very much like the film. In some cases, they liked it a great deal.... But they just weren't willing to take the risk."

Actors needed for PSAs

Reposting from the eCallboard:

Churchill Studios is gearing up fast for a series of three Public Service Announcements to be created for the Department of Homeland Security. The three spots will educate and enhance awareness for the fact that District 11 (the Mid-South) has recently acquired its own local office, one of the few districts throughout the country with this privilege. The spots will be positive-feeling, national-quality and most likely filmed within the next 2 or 3 weeks, in hope for a Sept. 11 rollout.

Primary needs:
African American woman, age 25 - 32
African American girl, age 8 - 11
Middle Eastern man, age 25 to 50
Asian woman, age 25 - 50

Secondary needs:
All varieties of adults and children, mainly for a diverse crowd scene.

The Primary list are definitely paid positions. I'm still waiting back to hear about the secondary needs as far as pay goes.

We are excited about this campaign and I'm posting here because of the diversity of the community, as well as I am hoping to find people who do not normally get the opportunity to work in T.V. spots if they are not involved with Colors Talent.

Please email us your information and perhaps a small picture, and keep in mind anyone you may know who would fit the bill and love to be involved.

For this initial call, please contact us at:

John Moore, Producer
Churchill Studios High Definition Production & Post
Grade One Entertainment / Namesake Pictures, L.P.
Studio 901.754.6675 . Grade One 901.754.4535 . fax 901.754.6088 -

Friday, August 19, 2005

Black Snake Moan casting call

The Memphis & Shelby County Film and Television Commission provides us with the full info on Monday's call for "Black Snake Moan":

Location Casting Director Winsome Sinclair – a veteran Hollywood professional who has worked with such directors as Steven Spielberg (“Amistad”), Spike Lee (“Malcolm X”), and John Singleton (“2 Fast 2 Furious”) , is eager to cast Memphians and Mid-Southerners in her next project, Craig Brewer’s “Black Snake Moan.”

From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Aug. 22 at The Pyramid in downtown Memphis, Sinclair will be looking for “all types … and all looks” for both extra and speaking parts for Brewer’s third feature film. Actors are asked to enter through the south doors of The Pyramid (the side closest to the interstate). Parking is available on the south side, on the part of the lot closest to the river. The south entrance and parking will be clearly marked.

“Black Snake Moan” will be shot in and around Memphis for seven weeks beginning September 2005. The only restriction for actors interested in attending Monday’s open call is age: all actors must be at least 18 years of age. The exception is for actors applying for one specific role — which calls for an actor who can play a male African-American between 13 and 15 years old.

All those interested in being a part of the film should attend Monday’s casting call and bring a recent snapshot and a pencil. If you are interested but unable to attend, please send photos (with contact information written on the photo’s back) to:


(Actors: please no drop-ins or phone calls)

“Black Snake Moan” is the story of a small town girl, “Rae” (portrayed by Christina Ricci), who plunges into wild excess when her true love, “Ronnie” (portrayed by Justin Timberlake), leaves for military service. Beaten and left for dead, she’s taken in by “Laz” (portrayed by Samuel L. Jackson), a reformed bluesman. Fiercely committed to his task, Laz makes it his business to give Rae a chance at emotional freedom, and finds his own way back to a full life in the bargain.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Hollywood's losin' it (but New Orleans is gettin' some)

Thanks to Johnny McPhail who points us to an article in The Los Angeles Times that tells a sad Hollywood story. Sad for Californians who see that everyone wants in on the act. Every city wants to be "Hollywood on the (name of your river here)."
"Over the last two decades, scores of movies have left town in search of the cheapest labor, weakest currencies and best financial incentives. ... Thanks to an array of tax incentives offered from Rhode Island to New Mexico, screenwriters are recasting their plots to accommodate new locales, producers are learning new math to stretch budgets and Hollywood has settled into a multiple-time-zone way of life."
New Orleans is a major beneficiary of the portability of the movie biz. The state of Louisiana has been making it easy for Tinseltown bottom liners who don't care where a project is made as long as it's profitable.
"The Louisiana incentives helped movie production spending soar to more than $125 million last year, up from $3.9 million in 2002, the state says. Along the way, an estimated 3,000 jobs were created. ... In 2004, 27 feature films and TV movies were made in the state, up from five features in 2003."
There's no voodoo math involved, although it seems to escape legislators in other Mid-South states. Whether the tax breaks are called incentives or investments, the end result is more money coming in.
"Louisiana last year paid out $67 million in tax credits to movie and TV productions, and has dispensed about $40 million already in 2005. The state estimates that 2004 productions generated $39.4 million in production-related payroll to state residents and a total of $125.9 million into the economy."
So if the concept is one that is appealing across party lines and can benefit rural and urban constituencies and will generate revenue for every region in the state, why aren't our legislators jumping all over this? After all, it's a starring role.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Black Snake Moan roles

Passing this along. Keep in mind the casting call for Monday posted below under "Black Snake Moan cast and crew info"

Feature Film
Paramount Classics
Producers: John Singleton / Stephanie Allain
Director: Craig Brewer
Writer: Craig Brewer
Casting Director: Kim Hardin
Casting Associate: Michelle Adams
Local Casting Director: Winsome Sinclair
Local Casting Assistant: Nicole Stoll
Start Date: Mid September
Location: Memphis, Tennessee


[LINCOLN JAMES] A 13 year old African-American boy, Lincoln works at Melvin's Feed Store, and regards Lazarus as an older man to be respected. Still a virgin, Lincoln comes to Laz's house for a visit, and is easily seduced by Rae. Kicked out when Laz comes home, Lincoln gradually loses his shame and recovers his equanimity, and assists Laz and R.L. in their quiet efforts to reunite Rae and Ronnie...LEAD (12)

[DEKE WOODS] Laz's brother, African-American, he is younger than Laz and a bit smaller. In his own odd way, Deke loves his older brother -- but that didn't stop him from falling in love with Laz's wife Rose. A guy who wants to make peace with Laz, Deke foolishly confronts him, tentatively trying to reach out to the man he has wronged -- but Laz isn't listening to Deke's whiny self-justifying pleas, and Deke winds up with a broken botle at his throat...2 speeches & 5 lines, 1 scene (14)
[JESSE] About 23 years old, female, Jesse is one of Rae's girlfriends from high school; she graduated about 5 years ago. Aware that Ronnie has shipped out for probable duty in Iraq, Jesse spends time with a desolated Rae, watching a football game at their old school and then going out for a night of drinking. Jesse is sharp enough to know when some guy just wants to get her pants off...1 speech & 11 lines, 4 scenes (16)
[KELL] About 23 years old, Kell also is one of Rae's girlfriends from high school, along with Jesse; she graduated about 5 years ago. Aware that Ronnie has shipped out for probable duty in Iraq, Kell spends time with a desolated Rae, watching a football game at their old school and then going out for a night of drinking...5 lines, 3 scenes (16)
[SANDY] Rae's mother, Sandy is in her late 40s, a grocery store clerk with bleached hair and dark roots. Long estranged from Rae, Sandy was once a sexy girl, then a very young mother -- but now she's lost all her tread. Cool towards Rae, whom she regards as a perpetual embarrassment, Sandy denies all responsibility for Rae's libertine lifestyle, and is furious when Rae reminds her that one of her many boyfriends raped her when Rae was still a child...1 speech & 12 lines, 3 scenes (11)
[MARK] Skinny and harmless, he's a sophomore, a local boy who works at the Fisherville Grocery along with Sandy. Aware of Rae's horrible reputation, Mark is surprisingly polite and courtly when he asks her for a date...10 lines, 3 scenes (18)
[BOJO] A short and stout African-American man, who looks like a sad bulldog, Bojo runs a blues bar with a jukebox, a place where people come to get drunk, dance together and listen to the blues...7 lines, 2 scenes (13)
[RED] An old African-American man, Red is a local who works as a caretaker for Melvin, an even older white man. He hangs out in the Fisherville Square with Melvin...3 lines, 2 scenes (28)
[MELVIN] An old Caucasian man in his early 80s, Melvin hangs out in the Fisherville square with Red, his paid caretaker...1 line, 2 scenes (28)
[ARCHIE] He's another fruit and vegetable vendor, an old African-American man in his early 70s, who knows Laz very well...1 line, 2 scenes (55)
[GENE] He's another fruit and vegetable vendor, a short Caucasian man in his 50s, who knows Laz very well and works alongside Archie...1 line, 2 scenes (55)
[ELLA MAE] A wide woman with white hair, in her late 50s, Ella Mae runs a women's clothing store. She helps Laz buy a dress for rae, and later helps Rae pick out a wedding dress...2 speeches & 4 lines, 2 scenes (57)
[RHONDA] A 19 year old African-American girl, she is Ella Mae's assistant, who lets her boss do all the lines, 2 scenes (57)
[MAYELLA] A heavy, 40 year old African-American woman, mayella is a regular at Bojo's, who wears blue snakeskin shoes, a blue neon tube top and matching short pants that stretch across her healthy ass. She chats idly with Bojo while Laz waits to see Deke...1 speech & 7 lines, 1 scene (13)
[HERMAN] 40 years old, one of the locals at the Lamplighter Bar, Herman is a knowledgeable military veteran who questions Ronnie closely about his unexpected discharge from the National Guard...1 speech & 6 lines, 1 scene (73)
[WAITRESS] A kind and twangy waitress, she offers coffee to Laz and Rose...1 line, 1 scene (6)
[CONNER] This high school student is a linebacker for the Fisherville Dusters, so dumb he thinks the Florida State team spies on its opponents using satellite technology...1 speech & 1 line, 1 scene (17)
[BATSON] Another skinny, harmless sophomore, Batson tries and fails to hit on Jesse, trying to get her wasted on hillbilly heroin...3 lines, 1 scene (18)
[BRYAN] A young football player, he chats with Rae during a drunken orgy, but he only wants to have sex with her...3 lines, 1 scene (20)
[GUARDSMAN] This National Guardsman shakes Ronnie awake...1 line, 1 scene (25)
[MAN] A young man in construction worker clothes, he hits on Rae in a vulgar manner...1 line, 1 scene (11)
[CHARLIE] The owner of the local pool hall, Charlie lets Tehronne use the back room as a place of business...2 lines, 1 scene (32)
[GIRL] An apathetic looking girl at the front counter of Macon Drugs, she points Laz towards Angela...2 lines, 1 scene (58)
[HERSHEL] An African-American man in his 30s, Hershel invites Rae to dance at Bojo's...1 line, 1 scene (97)
[ARTY] Seen in flashback, Arty is a horny guy who tries and fails to seduce Rae in a bathroom...2 lines, 1 scene (99)

STORY LINE: Dumped by his wife ROSE, former blues singer LAZARUS WOODS is wallowing in his misery, when he finds a half-dead white girl abandoned on his doorstep. After helping bring RAE DOOLE back to life, he learns that she is a sex addict with a reputation for indiscriminate, orgiastic sex -- but in fact, she is a love-hungry young girl whose boyfriend RONNIE has gone off to war, and whose loneliness has driven her back to her former lust-maddened ways. Impelled by something deep inside himself to try and help Rae, Lazarus isn't sure if his motive for keeping her a prisoner in his home comes from God or the devil.

The hits just keep on coming...

A Village Voice blogger essays an opinion about Memphis movies and Southern rap:
"As a movie, Hustle & Flow is pretty contrived and predictable until the ending, which is contrived and surprising—but then I don't know anything about movies. I know a couple of things about music, and the music in Hustle & Flow is good. ... I can sleep at night knowing that Hustle & Flow got Southern rap sort of right."

Tunica flicks

Thursday nights are movie nights at the Tunica Museum: Screening of "The African Queen" with Bogart and Hepburn. It's on the 18th at 6 p.m. The following Thursday (25th), it's "Dr. Strangelove." And I'll bet a Raisinette that not one of you (except Petra) knows that the German form of Strangelove is "merkwurdigliebe." Here are directions.

Oxford Film Festival: clear your calendar

The Third Annual Oxford Film Festival will be held in Oxford, Miss. Sept. 6-11. Here's the schedule (and we especially recommend "Glorious Mail," screening Sept. 10 at the Ford Center Main Venue at 2:45 p.m.) One Day Pass: $10 each or $7 with a valid student I.D.; Six Day Pass: $45 each or $30 with a valid student I.D.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

No sex, please. Wanna see my monopsony?

Apparently Hollywood is giving up sex. OK, fine, then it's up to indie moviemakers to make up for it. Robert Saba, that's your cue. And beware the monopsonist (i.e. Wal-Mart).

Indie film casting

Posting this notice from Lisa Lax of Lax Casting:

"I'm casting a short independent film to be entered into the festivals this Saturday, Aug. 20 from 1-4 p.m. I believe in this project and this director will have many more behind it so I would love to see you guys be a part of this. There are some great characters. Please email me at or call me at 818-644-3976 to set up a time."

The list:

10 year old Angelic girl
Vixen- female 20's
GOD- white bearded man
Mother and Father-
Wealthy overweight lady
2 Gentlemen
3 Limo Drivers
6 Security Personell
Two 12-14 year old boys-chiseled faces
Presbyterian Minister


Monday, August 15, 2005

Slacker Central Productions: crew call

Collierville-based Slacker Central Productions is looking for crew for its project "Made in Taiwan." Shoot dates are Sept. 24-25. Contact the site for particulars.


Corduroy Wednesday, now in the process of making "Grim Reaper," redesigned its website today. Check it out.

Nashville Film Festival: call for entries

Nashville Film Festival (NaFF) has announced its call for entries for the 37th Annual event April 20-26, 2006, at the Regal Green Hills Stadium 16.

Prizes include the Regal Cinemas/Nashville Film Festival Dreammaker Award, which entitles the winning feature film to a week's run in a Los Angeles County Regal Cinemas theater. The L.A. screening qualifies the 35mm film for Academy Award consideration. (Films must not have acquired U.S. distribution to qualify for this award.) The Festival highlights music films through its Music Films in Music City section sponsored by Curb Entertainment. This section includes two special awards: Best Music In A Feature Film to go to a feature film's composer, director, music supervisor, and/or producer for innovative use of music, whether through the original score, imaginative musical arrangements, or songs; and Impact of Music Award, given to a feature or documentary that most effectively explores or celebrates music's role in the human experience. Other music awards include Best Music Video and Best Nashville Music Video. Also included in our awards are short narrative, animation, experimental, Tennessee filmmaker and young filmmaker categories. NaFF is an Academy Award qualifying festival for narrative and animated shorts. Audience awards are given for narrative and documentary features.

NaFF also will feature workshops, panel discussions, live music showcases, and guest appearances by nationally recognized figures in the film and music worlds. Nearly 15,000 filmgoers attended the 2005 edition­ -- a 14 percent increase from 2004­ -- that featured 231 features, documentaries and shorts from 37 countries.

Call for Entry forms may be obtained through or by downloading from the Festival's web site. For more information, call 615-742-2500 or email the Festival at

• Feature Narrative (60 min. and over)
• Documentary Feature (40 min. and over)
• Documentary Short (under 40 min.)
• Short Narrative (under 60 min.)
• College Student Short Narrative
• Animation
• College Student Animation
• Experimental
• Music Video
• Young Filmmaker (18 and under)

Submission Deadlines & Entry Fees:

Early Deadline: Sept. 9, 2005

Under 40 min…………….…..$35
40 min. and over……………..$50

Regular Deadline: Nov. 4, 2005
Under 40 min…………..……$40
40 min. and over………..……$55

Extended Deadline: Dec. 2, 2005
Under 40 min…………….…..$45
40 min. and over……………..$60

All Deadlines:
Young Filmmaker…………...$15
Music Video ..…………….…$20

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Black Snake Moan cast and crew info

There's an open call for "Black Snake Moan" Monday, Aug. 22 at The Pyramid from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. They'll be looking for extras and will consider speaking roles. Bring a current photo and resume. If you can't make it, mail the photo and resume to 203 Beale St., 2nd floor, Memphis TN 38103.

If you want to be on the crew, fax your crew resume to 901 521-8279 or call 578-3550.

Open audition

Writer and filmmaker Brian Pera is making a movie he describes as "essentially a road movie about identity theft and confusion. It will have about seven to eight principal roles, twice as many bit parts, and many extras. The shoot will be about a month, in Memphis and Yellville, Ark. Inspirations are: Three Women, Performance, Mullholland Drive, Secret Ceremony, Purple Noon, Vertigo, Images, The Servant, and Mr. Klein, among others."

The shoot will be in October. Looking for all types: actors, non-actors, principals and extras, 20 and up. Also interested in twins and redheaded males for non-speaking roles.

Auditions are Saturday, August 20, 2005, 1-4 p.m. at the Media Co-op in First Congo, 1000 South Cooper

Please bring a photo of yourself if you have one.

Questions? Contact Brian Pera at

Friday, August 12, 2005

Eine Kleine Nachtmusik

This isn't a film event but passing it along anyway for all you who love to improv. This was on the eCallboard from Jo Lynne Palmer at the Memphis Symphony:

The Memphis Symphony is looking for some actors for one evening. I can't promise pay, but it would be a fun gig for a night.

It's Mozart's 250th Birthday and the Memphis Symphony Orchestra is going to celebrate! The symphony will be performing a "Mozart Anniversary Spectacular Concert" at 8 p.m. at the Cannon Center on January 27, 2006.

Actors (3 men and 2 women) will be needed from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. to play Mozart, Constanze, Salieri, King Leopold and his Queen (costumes and wigs provided). The actors will be needed before the concert to mingle in the lobby - sit in the audience during the concert - and mingle afterwards with the patrons at the birthday party.

If you would like to participate call Jo Lynne at the Memphis Symphony Orchestra office, 324-3627.

Wanted: Zombies

Passing this along:

Saturday August 13th. Actors needed to play zombies for evening shoot. Call time is 5:30 p.m. at 11315 McCormick Rd Arlington. Cell contact if lost: David Ferguson 355-8091 or Lonnie 870-5846. Thanks for your support.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Audition notice

Posting from Actors and Others Agency:

-Seeking male and female swimmers (actors) for possible audition for major motion picture to be filmed in New Orleans starting November and running through February, 2006. Age range is early- to mid-twenties, all ethnicities, who would be comfortable in challenging ocean conditions including athletes who compete in water polo, diving, triathlons or are qualified life guards. Must be excellent swimmers able to handle crisis situations in the water and tread water for a long time.
Please submit headshots/resumes via e-mail only to by Sunday, August 14 at 6 p.m. Be sure to include all contact numbers where you can be reached for discussion of possible representation for this project. Thank you!
--Pat West

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

"Forty Shades of Blue"

Ira Sachs tells us that the website for "Forty Shades of Blue" is up at It's one slick site, although the trailer and soundtrack purchase portions aren't operational just yet. They'll be up soon, Sachs says. As for the movie, "The screening schedule is in process, but we open on Sept. 30 in Memphis, with the premiere the night before at the Studio in the Square and Stax." He adds: "We're very excited to show the movie back in Memphis!"

And we can't wait.

Film series at the Brooks

In celebration of Architecture Month, co-sponsored by the Memphis Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA Memphis) and Memphis Heritage, Inc., the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art will present a series of films exploring the work of some of the most talented and intriguing architects of our time. Three films will be presented on Thursdays in September in the Dorothy K. Hohenberg auditorium. Local architects will be on hand to introduce each of the films. Admission is $5 for Brooks and AIA members and $7 for non-members.
  • Sept. 8, 7 p.m.: Santiago Calatrava's Travels. The recipient of the 2005 AIA Gold Medal, Calatrava is known and respected across the globe, most recently due to his cathedral-like design for the World Trade Center Transportation Hub. His other projects includethe Milwaukee Art Museum and the Olympic Sports Complex in Athens.
  • Sept. 22, 7 p.m.: Berlin's Jewish Museum: A Personal Tour with Daniel Libeskind. Libeskind is interviewed by Alan Riding, New York Times journalist, as he takes him through the building. During this walking tour, he reveals the architectural and philosophical concept of the building's design. Libeskind explains his intention to make the building confusing and somewhat threatening, as he felt that this was appropriate to the history of the German Jews.
  • Sept. 29, 7 p.m.: Philip Johnson: Diary of an Eccentric Architect. Johnson has always been on the forefront of stylistic change, and his property in New Canaan, Conn., is a kind of laboratory where Johnson is his own best client. It was there that he built the famous "Glass House" that he still resides in. The house has no walls and an accompanying guesthouse, by contrast, has no windows, though it is light and sensuous inside.

Extras needed tonight

Extras needed tonight (Aug. 10) for an all-white party scene in Collierville for Keenon Nikita's movie "Just the Two of Us." Must have on all white (bougie, multi-cultural crowd). Call Arnita 901-870-2483 or Keenon 901-949-2457 for more info.

Actresses needed for indie film

Looking for 5 actresses/models for a group scene in an independent film to be shot in Memphis. Looking for women that can play age 18-35. Email resume and photo/video files to Please include one face shot and one body shot. These need not be professional composition card photographs. Any pictures that clearly show your face and your body are acceptable. There in no nudity in this film. We are only interested in working with reliable actresses/models who are serious about their career. Must be able to follow directions. Many Thanks! Forrest Pruett

Film fests with Memphis connections

The Toronto International Film Festival announced titles Tuesday for its Sept. 8-17 event, featuring a couple that did filming in Memphis. The world premieres include Cameron Crowe's "Elizabethtown," starring Orlando Bloom as a son who returns home for his father's funeral and James Mangold's "Walk the Line," starring Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon as Johnny and June Carter Cash.

Outflix film festival this week

Outflix Film Fest @ MeDiA Co-op, 1000 South Cooper. It's $5 to get in, $15 for a festival pass.

Thursday, Aug. 11, '05
7:00 p.m. Fish Can't Fly
8:30 p.m. 20 Gay Stereotypes Confirmed
8:45 p.m. Latter Days

Friday, Aug. 12, '05
7:00 p.m. The Moment After
7:20 p.m. The Graffiti Artist
8:50 p.m. Nightshadows
9:10 p.m. Menstrual Monsters: The Ginger Snaps Triology
9:40 p.m. Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginning

Saturday, Aug. 13, '05
6:00 p.m. The Betsy Wetsy Timebomb Effect
6:30 p.m. We Are Dad
8:00 p.m. Gaydar
8:25 p.m. Never Rob a Bank with Someone You Love
8:40 p.m. Whatever Happened to Peaches Christ?
9:15 p.m. The Mostly Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green

Sunday, Aug. 14, '05
1:00 p.m. Freedom to Marry
2:10 p.m. silenceofmind
3:45 p.m. Fish Can't Fly

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Craig Brewer on 'The Poor and Hungry'

The day after Craig Brewer premiered "Hustle & Flow" in Memphis, he attended a screening of "The Poor and Hungry" at the Orpheum. Afterwards, he got on stage with actor Eric Tate, actor/ culture queen Wanda Wilson and moderator John Beifuss, the CA's movie critic, to field questions from viewers. (Photo is of Brewer when he received an honorary doctorate from Memphis College of Art in May).

Here are some notes from the Orpheum Q&A:

Brewer, asked why he shot in Memphis, responded drily, "Well, I do live here." But it is far more than that. He feels the singularity about this place: "There is a community. There is a neighborhood. You can't banish or judge them. It is something I've experienced here that I haven't anywhere else."

Brewer also grasps that prejudices are more often trumped by the fact that Memphians fundamentally share the essentials of love and ambition and regret and randomness and inspiration. "There isn't the divide a lot of people think there is."

Tate met Brewer at a bookstore. They spent two years on "P&H." "If you didn't love it, you'd leave it," said Tate who was both in the cast and on the crew. "And some did. Craig taught me the vernacular of being a filmmaker -- putting emotion and content on the screen."

Brewer noted that FedEx planes flying over his shoots with regularity were but one of a host of issues he had to deal with. "We timed our takes. Me and my brother-in-law Seth (Hagee) made the lights. It took us two years of shooting on weekends. We'd have two in the crew, two actors and no excuses. But the P&H was a perfect place to learn."

Brewer on commitment and getting it done: "The easiest way to make a movie is to write one. A lot of people want to make movies but some crews want just to be able to say that we're making a movie."

How did Brewer arrive at the title? "I was working at Bookstar and had been shelving Dostoyevsky. Wanda told me that P&H stood for poor and hungry and I thought it sounded like Dostoyevsky."

Casting for indie movie

Reposting this:

Outdoor weekend shoot Aug. 12 night, Aug. 13 day and night, Aug. 14 day. Not required to be there all three days. Movie is feature length and will receive a wide video release. Looking for actors who don't mind playing monsters-vampires, zombies, demons, etc. We really need help with applying make-up, and helping actors get into costume. Most roles will require Special Effects foam latex prosthetics application or masks (male and female available). Unfortunately no monetary compensation will be provided however proper screen credit will be given. Contact Spencer at

Swimming in money

How does the Hollywood money game work? Here's another installment in's series on the numbers behind the industry.
"The movie studios' biggest profit center is not theatrical movies, or even DVD sales; it is TV licensing."
But as you'll see, the moguls need all three parts to make it work.

Monday, August 08, 2005

H&F at the BO

So how is "Hustle & Flow" doing at the box office? Here's a list the top 12 movies at North American theaters Friday through Sunday, followed by distribution studio, gross, number of theater locations, average receipts per location, total gross and number of weeks in release, as compiled today by Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc.:

1. "The Dukes of Hazzard," Warner Bros., $30,675,314, 3,785 locations, $8,104 average, $30,675,314, one week.
2. "The Wedding Crashers," New Line, $16,035,177, 3,106 locations, $5,163 average, $143,634,354, four weeks.
3. "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," Warner Bros., $10,968,363, 3,702 locations, $2,963 average, $169,426,750, four weeks.
4. "Sky High," Disney, $9,005,945, 2,912 locations, $3,093 average, $32,009,202, two weeks.
5. "Must Love Dogs," Warner Bros., $7,357,405, 2,505 locations, $2,937 average, $26,220,397, two weeks.
6. "March of the Penguins," Warner Independent, $7,117,206, 1,867 locations, $3,812 average, $26,414,009, seven weeks.
7. "Stealth," Sony, $5,923,794, 3,495 locations, $1,695 average, $24,581,921, two weeks.
8. "Fantastic Four," 20th Century Fox, $4,266,519, 2,339 locations, $1,824 average, $143,990,723, five weeks.
9. "War of the Worlds," Paramount, $3,548,295, 1,940 locations, $1,829 average, $224,615,038, six weeks.
10. "The Island," DreamWorks, $3,117,486, 2,138 locations, $1,458 average, $30,944,371, three weeks.
11. "The Bad News Bears," Paramount, $2,746,321, 2,618 locations, $1,049 average, $28,910,153, three weeks.
12. "Hustle & Flow," Paramount Classics, $2,508,734, 1,016 locations, $2,469 average, $18,676,961, three weeks.

Micro Cinema Club

The Indie Memphis Micro Cinema Club has its monthly screening this Wednesday (10th) at 7:30 at the Power House (45 G. E. Patterson by the Central Station). It's short films and videos, usually runs maybe an hour or an hour fifteen and it's free. There are refreshments and a tip jar, so don't tell me there's a better deal Wednesday evening.

Les Edwards, director of Indie Memphis says the selection process is going on for the festival that runs Oct. 21-27. The web site should be updated soon and the announcement of the featured movies will be made around the first of October.

"The Firm" free at the Orpheum

The Orpheum invites residents of downtown and friends of the theater to watch "The Firm" for free on Sunday, August 14 at 7 p.m. Orpheum president Pat Halloran is offering it as a gesture to friends of the venue and supporters of downtown. There will be door prizes and a downtown Memphis trivia contest with a grand prize of an Orpheum gift basket valued at $500. Food and beverages will be allowed in the auditorium.

Script writing workshop

Thanks to Arnold Edwards II for this notice: Tuesday night (Aug. 9) the Media Co-op will have a free script writing workshop. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the workshop begins at 7:30 and runs until about 9:30. Another workshop on shooting a scene will take place for those not interested in script writing. Same place, same time.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

American Idol auditions

They're Monday, September 5 at the FedExForum. Be there no later than 8 a.m. and even then you may not be able to audition. Get a release form from and bring it with you. You can bring one friend but not a musical instrument. You may not have any of the following:
  • a contract for talent representation (for example, a talent agent or manager)
  • a music recording contract
  • an acting and/or modeling contract
  • a merchandising agreement or
  • any other contractual arrangement that would prohibit you from entering into a management contract, recording contract, talent contract, acting contract and/or merchandising contract.
Good luck and remember when you land that big ass contract that you not only heard about it here but you beat out me and my infamous rendition of "They're Coming to Take Me Away."

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Triple Sticks notches another one

Kudos to M. David Lee III, tireless filmmaker and creator of "Dog Me: Potluck," a 2003 indie that has snagged another milestone, a screening at this year's Bluegrass Independent Film
in Louisville, Ky., the weekend of September 9-11. David is immersed in post-production of the comedy "Slow Down ... You're Dating Too Fast" that, like "Potluck," has involved numerous local actors. For more info on David and his work, check out his Triple Sticks Productions.

Friday, August 05, 2005

May we borrow your cemetery?

Corduroy Wednesday Productions is shooting "Grim Sweeper" and is in need of a cemetery for one scene. Director Edward Valibus Phillips requests one that has nice statues and is well maintained. Something like Elmwood, but that one's not available. Names on tombstones will not be visible. The scene involves two people meeting after a funeral. Simple and discreet, promises Phillips, who you may contact at

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Film festival postponed

Somerville, Tenn., has plans to put on a film festival although it has been postponed for now. It had been set for Aug. 12 but is being put off due to technical difficulties according to Rob Winfrey who is doing all he can to make it happen. We'll keep you posted when a date is rescheduled.

Extras needed

This Sunday, August the 7th, from 4:30 until whenever at the Central Library, 3030 Poplar, at the small bookstore inside the library near the entrance. The movie is "Just the Two of Us" by local writer/director Keenon Nikita. If you have questions please contact Arnita at 901-870-2483.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Automusik @ First Wednesday

There's art, music and an indie film at Memphis Brooks Museum of Art tonight. All for a mere $5 at its First Wednesday program. Our friends at Memphis Mojo have the skinny.

Casting call for indie film

Casting call for John Fuess' "Mailcall," a short indie film set in Midtown.
Aug. 6 at 1 p.m. at MeDiA Co-op at First Congo, 1000 South Cooper
Main characters:
Female 25-28, strong-willed, confident, recovered addict
Male 25-28, exec, money manager, high-flyer
Male 25-28, easygoing, laid back Midtowner
Other parts: 2 bartenders (1 male, 1 female), shopkeeper, gamers, bar patrons, etc.

The mojo of art films in Memphis

I recommend Memphis Mojo to keep up with arts and entertainment events around town. This week there's a reminder of Malco's Highland Quartet in its new role as a $4 art moviehouse. This week's lineup is stellar: "Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill," "Howl's Moving Castle," "Yes" and "The Bridge of San Luis Rey." Pretty birds, a Miyazaki animation, a screenplay entirely in iambic pentameter and Kathy Bates. How fine is that?

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

How *%&#@ is it?

Bruce Ryan advises that "The Aristocrats" is "screamingly funny, and worth checking out if one's sense of humor isn't too fragile. After the movie I said, 'This will NEVER play within 500 miles of Memphis!' " He found out, however, that it is scheduled to open at Studio on the Square Sept. 2 but still says, "I suspect it won't be in town for long (the city's 'champions of decency' couldn't possibly let that happen). See it while you can!"

The film, if you don't know, is an documentary/comedy, an examination of a joke, not just any joke but the filthiest one imaginable, told by and discussed by top comedians. It is a study of creativity although of the most obscene sort. It's not about the punchline, but rather the process of telling the tale -- it is a story that comedians tell other comedians.

So we have a film that's gotten excellent reviews and wallows in sublime vulgarity. Do you imagine the city's "champions of decency" will be mobilized?

Well, I don't know about that. It's been a long time since some form of public outcry got a movie banished around here. I recall some ineffective picketing at Scorsese's "The Last Temptation of Christ" in 1988. But the reality is that the champions of decency -- and who are they anyway? -- are unlikely to mount much of anything. First of all, take note of the statistic cited below (in the blog entry "The video window") that a mere 9 percent of the population goes to movies. Second, it's a documentary and thus doomed to limited exposure anyway. And what may be most determinative, the decency brigade has for years focused inward, developing its own entertainment in music, theater and movies. Just look at what the churches have in the way of performing arts facilities. Plus, the enormous variety of entertainment possibilities makes it hardly worth the efforts of crusaders to do much more than write a press release condemning a movie, TV show or song before interest peters out. Even papal grumpery hasn't diminished the magic of Harry Potter.

Audition workshop notice

This was posted on the eCallboard from the Colors Agency and I'm just passing it on. Click here for more on Moore Casting.

Master audition workship with Regina Moore of Moore Casting

Aug. 20th 2005
9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Regina Moore is without a doubt the busiest casting director in this region. She casts feature films, TV pilots, commercials, music videos and all other areas of on-camera performance. This is a rare opportunity to be one of a small group to study and audition for this very in-demand talent specialist in an intimate and informal atmosphere.

* Advanced audition techniques
* Scene work
* Improvisation
* How casting directors and talent agents communicate
* Important relationships for performers
* Learning who you are professionally
* Promotional materials and marketing yourself
* First impressions
* Evaluation

Call (615) 831-0039

Shall we gather at the river?

Today's CA has details on The Pyramid's role in Craig Brewer's upcoming movie:

"Black Snake Moan" will be shot entirely in Memphis and the Mid-South, despite economic incentives that would have saved the production $875,000 if it had relocated to Georgia, a state that has been trying to recruit Brewer's film for months. "To be honest, this is the deal that kept us here," said Brewer.
Here's more from the article by John Beifuss:
  • About 350 extras will be hired, along with numerous crew members.
  • Shooting begins Sept. 12.
  • Producer Stephanie Allain and Brewer have formed a company, Southern Cross the Dog, that has a two-year deal to develop projects for Paramount. It will develop "an extensive slate of local projects, including a television series set in Memphis."

Movies about the South

Phil Morrison, the director of "Junebug," gets a story in The New York Times that looks at Southern sensibilities. (You may need to register to read the story on the NYT site, but let me know if you can't get to it.) If you've lived in Memphis for a minute or more, then you've seen how often stories/movies cancheapen the Southern experience or get it flat wrong.

Mr. Morrison was not content to merely dash or discard Southern stereotypes. He calls that a "fool's errand," and ridicules the clich├ęs that await those who try: "Salt of the earth. Simple people have greater wisdom. Blah, blah, blah."Instead, his film ... quietly skewers not only Southern caricatures, but also the Northerners who condescend to them, and the Southerners who allow and even encourage them to do so.

And there are degrees of authenticity:

"We Southerners are complicit in defining our region by what is peculiar about it," Mr. Morrison said. This may be lost on some viewers, he acknowledged, but it should be all too familiar to anyone who has exalted barbecue or Elvis for effect. "It quickly becomes kitsch," he said. "It's broadcasting what is idiosyncratic, as opposed to just being good."

So the question is, who's getting it right?

Though, with Hollywood taking up Southern subjects ranging from the cartoonish "Dukes of Hazzard" to "Elizabethtown," Cameron Crowe's version of an awkward homecoming scheduled to open in October, Mr. Morrison's small film could hardly be called exploitative.
By contrast, he pointed to three other Sundance films set in the region - "Hustle & Flow" and "Forty Shades of Blue," both stories about music in Memphis, and Tim Kirkman's "Loggerheads," a film with gay themes set in North Carolina - as the kind of company he hoped to keep.
"It may be nothing, but it may be something," he said of the spate of specialty films from Southern filmmakers. "Maybe it's people wanting to speak for a multifaceted South, and we all wanted to take that on, and say, This is what it means, to me."

Monday, August 01, 2005

The video window

The Hollywood studios call the shots, but what happens when they're no longer sure what to do? Distribution is the ponderous question in the second article in Slate on the survival of Hollywood in Slate. The first one (posted below) wonders about the so-called box office "slump."
"Back in the 1940s, when studios owned the movie houses and television was not yet available, more than 60 percent of the population went to the movies every week. Today, about 9 percent of the population goes."