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Tuesday, December 30, 2008


What am I going to do with all my VHS?
I'll have to have a night of Shaz before the VCR goes...
First Polaroid and now VHS.... so sad.

Friday, December 19, 2008

AFI FEST FILMS available on line

My new obsession online is The Auteurs and the Criterion Collection online - I've been watching and reading about some amazing films I haven't seen in awhile that I love!

There is nothing like being in the dark watching films on the big screen... still this is pretty cool.

It got me thinking about what AFI FEST FILMS were online that I hadn't seen in awhile and I found a few - I'm sure I've missed some but here's a start.

Enjoy! See you next year at the festival.























Read more about the film at The Auteurs site:



Thursday, December 18, 2008

Not to send to Festival Programmers

Just a little tip to aspiring filmmakers....
This bloody bat came in the mail during the submission process with a
scary note attached, "watch my movie."
Please note, this did not help get the film in the festival....

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The College Years

Recently, everyone has been posting old photos of themselves on Facebook - which has made me look back in my files and realize that I only have one old photo of me from the University of Utah daze. It's not because I threw them all away in embarrassment or anything like that or as my friend Brian just posted on Facebook, "why does everyone else's photos look cute and fun, for me, it's like being emotionally raped over and over" - I laughed about that for days.

For me, it's just that I've moved so many times since college, and stored my stuff in people's basements that I can't even remember their names... somehow the photos have disappeared - when I become president of the world - I hope someone finds them in their basement somewhere and posts them for me to see.

I loved these photos in TIME from an aspiring college photographer of Obama. If anyone I went to college has any of me, I think I was there... let me know. In the meantime enjoy... a slew of hilarious photos from our president and one of me and my dog Furious Styles - named after Boyz in the Hood so now you know when I was in college.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Prop 8 the Musical

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Tree 2008

I want to go out and do stuff but I'm hypnotized by the tree!
Happy Holidays! Yow!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I love Documentaries!

I'm such a documentary junkie - Jean-Pierre gets so mad at me cause have our Netflix queue is full of documentaries.

What luck that today you can read two awesome posts from folks who have a lot to say about docs.

Eugene Hernandez great post from IDFA:

Thom Powers new post:

I would add to the list of great documentaries one must see:

SILVERLAKE LIFE: A VIEW FROM HERE - bring your tissues.

Oh I could go on and on... docs rock.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

O Superman

Walking around Silverlake on a sunday....
Now I have that Laurie Anderson song stuck in my head. Huh huh huh
huh.....O Superman.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Always improves the day.
Was having a deja vu about going to Roscoe's last year about the same


Ah the search of the Tan!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Gonzo beer

My husband loves me so much - he brought me Gonzo Beer for our anniversary.
Te amo, mi amor!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

love this photo

i'm a sucker for this kind of stuff!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Repeal Prop 8 - the election sinks in.

Man, I have been celebrating Obama's win for a full week! First of all this was us in the box office working at AFI FEST the night of the election.
It still sometimes hits me and I'm giddy again.

However this Prop 8 is such a bummer and such a travesty! Redefining marriage - we have redefined marriage hundreds of times because we have been wrong. Starting with interracial marriage which was illegal in many states in America as late as 1967. Our president's parents couldn't have married in 1/3 of the states in the US when he was born.

And as my friend Amy Saeed said in a beautiful email recently, if her family was going off a "traditional" marriage, she could have been married to some distant Afghan cousin when she was a teenager.

The majority should never vote on the rights of the minority, our ancient Greek philosophers talked about that and other concepts - change often is rejected by groups because they can't always see beyond what they think they know - that's why civil rights are almost always decided in the Courts.

I got married this year and while Jean-Pierre and I have been together for six years and were already legally domestic partners because I work for a company that's progressive enough to recognize that....not everyone works for that kind of company... still when we stood up in front of our friends and family and got married - it was revolutionary and so amazing.

I am a minister legally too and have married 4 couples as seen here - including my dear friends for the third time legally this summer - they have been together for 19 years - we should all be as lucky to find this kind of love. This was a photo taken at the wedding of all 5 couples - we're all bummed prop 8 passed.

As many of you know I grew up Mormon so it's such a drag that the church put in all this money to pass Yes on 8 - I get that and I'm mad about that too... I am looking forward to the rally on saturday and maybe because I grew up Mormon and know some great Mormons including my whole family, don't blame the whole group, especially since the voters here in California were the ones who cast the ballots.... and sadly, it's not just the Mormons who are against this... Catholics, Protestants, and other "christians"

I find it a little funny that all these folks that voted for Prop 8 would never have voted for Mitt Romney because they think he's in a cult!

What the hell happened to all the smart californians who voted overwhelming for change and diversity and hope???

Then I started reading about some folks who want to boycott Sundance because it's in Utah... I get it - there is a desire to do something!!

But as several people including me have pointed out - Sundance has been a proponent and a haven for diversity - including and screening films from under represented voices including GLBT filmmakers.

I think this is an interesting article from Indiewire about the issue.

Boycotts do work but many Mormons in Utah would be thrilled to have Sundance leave and I totally get what Cooper says about the irony and power of Sundance being there isn't lost on him.

In my final point on this rant I want you to hear this moving, passionate speech from MSNBC Keith Olbermann on Prop 8 and Marriage.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Gerardo Naranjo, Tobias Datum, Shaz Bennett in Guanajuato Mexico

One of my personal heroes is an AFI and an AFI FEST Alumnus, David Lynch, but he’s not the only one. At the world-renowned AFI Conservatory, the emphasis is on narrative visual storytelling and personal expression. Filmmaking is a collaborative art and each class breaks into teams that mirror a real production environment. Those teams collaborate and produce more films than at any other graduate-level film program.

Since 1969, over 3,500 artists have graduated from the AFI Conservatory. Every year at AFI FEST we are thrilled to include some of these talented Alumni.

One in particular this year, Tobias Datum, graduated from AFI with an emphasis in cinematography. He’s had an extraordinary year with the success of Azazel Jacob’s film MOMMA’S MAN out of Sundance. (Jacobs is also an AFI Alumnus and on the Narrative Jury this year at AFI FEST.

Datum then collaborated with acclaimed Mexican filmmaker, and AFI Alum, Gerardo Naranjo on I’M GONNA EXPLODE, which is screening in our World Cinema section.

I had an opportunity to talk to Datum before the festival.

Where are you from originally? How did you first hear about AFI and what made you decide to come to school there?

I’m from Frankfurt, Germany. I decided after graduating from film school in Berlin, that it would be good to try out the US. Since I wanted to study cinematography I decided to apply to AFI.

AFI is a built on the conservatory model with a focus on the collaboration of the artists in film—can you talk about the people you met at AFI and how those working relationships developed?

AFI is not very big, so after a week there you know all the faces and can make out the people that interest you. Then you are making all these “cycle projects” [AFI teams collaborate and produce more films than at any other graduate-level film program] together. So, it doesn’t take long before you connect with people you might want to work with. The backgrounds of the Fellows in my year and the year before me were very diverse. There were people from all over the world, and they all had various levels of experience in film. Some had not been on a set before. Meeting all those people and working with them did provide a variety of inspiration since everybody’s background was so different. Learning about people and yourself is a very important aspect of filmmaking, and AFI had a very diverse group of students who were all interested in the same thing but not exclusively film nerds

How did you start working with Azazel Jacobs and Gerardo Naranjo?

Aza and Gerardo were a year ahead of me. I knew Aza a little bit but we didn’t work together until after AFI. I had shot a film called HOW THE GARCIA GIRLS SPENT THEIR SUMMER that was directed by Georgina Garcia Riedel who was also in their class. I think that film got them interested in maybe working together. After that, I helped Aza and Gerardo when they were shooting THE GOODTIMESKID but was already committed to shoot another project so I helped them for only four days. Then Gerardo asked me to shoot DRAMA/MEX and last year Aza and I did MOMMA’S MAN.

I must say that I feel extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to meet and work with such a talented group of people who have also become some of my best friends.
The year Aza, Gerardo and Georgina came out of AFI (2001) was a really good year for talent. Mikal Lazarev and Goran Dukic, who made WRISTCUTTERS, graduated that year, too.

Where did you shoot I’M GONNA EXPLODE?

We shot some interiors is Mexico City and the rest was shot in the city of Guanujuato.

What did you shoot on?

We shot Super 35 3-perf on Kodak 5279 Vision2 Expression 500T. Zeiss with high speed lenses on a moviecam MK2 compact, for most of the time.

Do you speak Spanish? I understand most of the crew was local?
I learned just enough to be able to communicate with the crew. But I don’t really speak Spanish. But, we understood what we were trying to accomplish.

Can you talk about working with Gerardo Naranjo as a director?
We are different in some ways. Gerardo knows a lot of movies and has studied them. I have not seen that many movies and most of them I forget. So usually he tells me some movies I should watch and then we have conversations about them in regards to the film we are trying to make. For I’M GONNA EXPLODE it was clear that it was stylistically based on our experience with DRAMA/MEX so we went from there.

He makes a lot of drawings and scrap collages and I don’t. We talk a lot about the movie beforehand while going through the script and scouting, and most of the time we come up with similar stuff. But he is over-prepared so that there is always something to fall back on. It’s hard for me to rationalize this, because I am not so sure myself how I work. I follow my instincts a lot and try to just listen and pay attention.

While shooting, we usually started the day with a coffee and watching some dailies. Then we decided what to shoot depending on how the actors and Gerardo felt. We had a relatively long schedule of, I think, 40 days, so we had a good amount of time. A lot of people on this movie also worked on DRAMA/MEX, so it was a family affair. For me it felt like I am the distant cousin of the Mexican family that comes to visit and we have a family event that lasts for a few weeks. I did end up with a hangover actually.

The biggest struggle was to keep the set intimate, because there were considerably more people working on I’M GONNA EXPLODE than on DRAMA/MEX.

Will this be the first time seeing the film on the big screen?
No I saw it in NYC before, but since I live here it’s the hometown screening.

It’s a homecoming of sorts.

AFI Alumni Films playing at AFI FEST

This year’s AFI FEST includes these films of AFI Conservatory Alumni filmmakers:
ADAM RESURRECTED: Paul Schrader (Dir.)
A NECESSARY DEATH: Daniel Stamm (Dir./Scr.), Zoltan Honti (DP), David Kashevaroff (ED), Brian Udovich (Prod.),
BUCKETS: Nick Simon (Dir.), Todd Serlin (Prod./Scr.), Patrick Russo (DP), Michael Griffin (ED), Elizabeth Chase (Scr. ED)
THE CHASER: Shinho Lee (Scr.), Sujin Kim (Prod.)
DEADGIRL: Harris Charalambous (DP)
DEFIANCE: Edward Zwick (Dir./Scr./Prod.), Marshall Herskovitz (Exec. Prod.), Pieter Jan Brugge (Prod.), Steven Rosenblum (ED), Scott
Jacobs (PA)
THE DESERT WITHIN: German Mendez (Exec. Prod.), Ana
Garcia (ED)
DOWNTOWN LA: Nick Higgins (Dir.)
I’M GONNA EXPLODE: Gerardo Naranjo (Dir./Scr./Prod.), Tobias Datum (DP),
THE SOLOIST: Susannah Grant (Scr.)
WORLD’S APART: Kim Magnusson (Exec. Prod.),
THE WRESTLER: Darren Aronofsky (Dir./Prod.).

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Red carpet at AFI FEST

Tonight "Poundcake" "A Good Day to be Black and Sexy" "Lion's Den" and
more screening tonight!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

If ya have to work...

On this day! You might as well make it your headquarters!

Rock on!

This is an awesome day!


Celebrating Barack Obama's win!!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Jake Mahaffy, whose second feature WELLNESS is playing at AFI FEST
Fri. Nov 7, 9:30 pm, Mann 03 and Sat. Nov 8, 12:45 pm, Mann 06 was nominated for the “Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You” category for this year’s Gotham Awards. The category highlights films that have yet to receive theatrical distribution.

Here’s your chance to see it in the Theatre!

Monday, October 20, 2008

AFI FEST starts in 10 days!

AFI FEST is right around the corner!

We have an awesome line up of films again this year, especially, if you like finding new films and some directors and actor that aren't household names YET! - this is my ninth year programming at AFI FEST, and I think this is one of the strongest years for discovering new talent and one of the best years to see films you might not get a chance to see anywhere else!

One of the best parts of programming in Los Angeles, besides the weather! - there are 3.8 million film lovers living in LA who speak 224 different languages – it’s one of the most diverse cities in the world. This year at AFI FEST we have 151 films, representing 38 countries. You can see some amazing films from all around the world next week from Oct. 30 - Nov. 9th.

Come see some movies!

Everyone always asks what are your favorite films? That is an impossible question to answer... I like the one playing when you can come! We have 8 theatres this year, so trust me - there is a "not to be missed" film playing whenever you can make it to the Arclight or the Mann Theatre anytime from Oct. 30 - Nov. 9.


Please forward this to all your film loving friends and spread the word - there's nothing like seeing films in the theatre and for many of these films - this might be your only chance to catch them!

In case you are looking for a particular kind of film - here are some links!

If you're interested in African/African-American Films:

If you're interested in American Independent Cinema:

If you're interested in Animation:

If you're interested in Argentine Films:

If you're interested in Asian Films:

If you're interested in Brazilian Films:

If you're interested in Chinese Films:

If you're interested in Comedy:

If you're interested in Digital Films:

If you're interested in Documentary Films:

If you're interested in Environmental Films:

If you're interested in Experimental Films:

If you're interested in French Films:

If you're interested in GLBT Films:

If you're interested in Horror/Thriller Films:

If you're interested in Iranian Cinema:

If you're interested in Japanese Films:

If you're interested in Korean Films:

If you're interested in Spanish Language and Latino Films:

If you're interested in Mid Eastern Films:

If you're interested in Mexican Films:

If you're interested in Music and Music Documentaries:

If you're interested in Oscar Foreign Language Films:

If you're interested in Political Films:

If you're interested in US Premiere, North American Premiere, World Premiere Films:

If you're interested in Scandinavian Films:

If you're interested in Short Films:

If you're interested in Sport Films:

If you're interested in Films by Women Directors:

See ya next week!


Sunday, August 31, 2008

What? Why?

Just saw this 3 comedy films in a box set at Amoeba of the governor.... who buys something like this?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

David Cronenberg's THE FLY!

This photo is from an AFI FEST screening of SPIDER - Miranda Richardson is saying, "Nice pants!"

Next week Sept. 3rd we're screening a new print of THE FLY at the Dome right before the Opera of THE FLY.

I already have my tickets for both the film and Opera!

I love David Cronenberg. I have a kind of "game" I like to play to weed out new people I meet as to whether or not we should be friends. When I first meet a new person - I ask them whether they liked Cronenberg's CRASH or not? You can tell alot about a person when talking about Cronenberg!

Go see the movie and opera and then let's meet for drinks to discuss in depth.

AFI’s Directors Screenings presented by Audi – ArcLight Hollywood CINERAMA DOME

1986 95 MIN RATED R
DIR David Cronenberg SCR David Cronenberg and Charles Edward Pogue, from a story by George Langelaan CAST Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis, John Getz, Leslie Carlson

THE FLY is an extraordinary example of Cronenberg’s particular brand of “body horror”; flesh transformed by disease. Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) is an eccentric scientist, whose experiments with teleportation go awry, leading to one of the horror genre’s most disgusting and gory physical transformations. Ultimately, David Cronenberg’s version of THE FLY – based on a short story by George Langelaan and the 1958 film that starred Vincent Price — is a dark romantic tragedy about the wasting away of a brilliant man who mutates into an insect as his loved one looks on helplessly.

AFI, in association with the LA Opera, presents a brand new print , to coincide with the US premiere of the opera The Fly.

Plácido Domingo conducts the LA Opera-commissioned opera written by Oscar®-winning composer Howard Shore (LORD OF THE RINGS), with libretto by Tony Award-winning playwright David Henry Hwang (M. Butterfly). This also marks the LA Opera debut of Academy Award-winning production designer Dante Ferretti (THE AVIATOR, SWEENEY TODD). More information about the opera is available at

A Q&A with David Cronenberg and Howard Shore will precede the screening.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I'm sad....

I'm sad today, because Todd might leave AFI... so I found this video to make me smile!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Greatest Yardsale Ever!

How awesome to see two matching dragqueen liberty short short pantsuits next to a pink Natori jacket at a yard sale!

Can you believe no one bought them?
I still have them.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Be Kanye!

So I was watching late night TV and this ad came on... at first I thought it was the wine talking... hilarious.

See more funny videos at Funny or Die

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Diablo Cody at the New beverly!

One of my favorite theatres in LA is the New Beverly because it reminds me of the trashy "art" theatres of my college days.

I grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah and there was one art house that was in the basement of this building close to downtown SLC.

We'd watch old movies, weird new movies, disturbing animation and foreign films and then go to the IHOP and talk about life, philosophy all the amazing films we had seen.

So, i just read, (i know, i'm behind! but i've been watching film submissions all night for my job)... anyway, just read that Diablo Cody is guest curating a week or so of films at the New Beverly.... yay.

check it out!

I'm spending Pioneer Day with Diablo and Pretty in Pink!
If you don't know what Pioneer Day is... you have to go to Utah on the 24th of July - you will forever make an annual pilgramage.

JULY 23-24 - Chick Night

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Echo Park Lotus Memorial

I love this blog about LA Life (Echo Park in particular).
Saw this link about an awesome art memorial to the lotus in Echo Park.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

sit n spin thursday june 26, 2008

Yo! I'm performing tomorrow night at Sit n' Spin!
Come check it out!

jordan birnbaum
alan olifson
kristen ciasulli
shaz bennett
carlos kotkin
the lonely men's chorus

and music by chani!

sit n spin takes place every other thursday at 8 pm at the comedy central stage at the hudson theatre- 6539 santa monica blvd- hollywood, 90038

call for reservations~ the show is incredibly free! 323-960-5519

Sunday, June 22, 2008

RIP George Carlin

Just heard that George Carlin died. So sad, I used to memorize and
practice George Carlin routines off the LPs when I was a kid!
ah hell...

Yow! California rocks!

So proud to be a Californian! I had the great honor of officiating at the third!!! wedding, making it finally legal, of my good pals P.David and Todd.

I love this article on about the first couple to marry on monday at 5:01.

Jean-Pierre and I are psyched to be getting married in the second summer of love!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Sunday, June 8, 2008

The Pier is cool.

Just spent the morning at the Santa Monica Pier with the coolest 3 yr
old in the world. Check it his name is Axel. That's hard.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

AFI FEST early deadline June 13th!

This could be you.

Submit your film to AFI FEST - the early deadline for submissions is a week from Friday, June 13th! It's a lucky day!

Friday, May 30, 2008

David Lynch 55 second short!

David Lynch rocks, this is David Lynch's 55 second short filmed with an original Lumiere camera. 40 international directors were asked to make a short film using the original Cinematographe invented by the Lumière Brothers, working under conditions similar to those of 1895. There were three rules: (1) The film could be no longer than 52 seconds, (2) no synchronized sound was permitted, and (3) no more than three takes.

You can see more awesome Lynch videos here.

David Lynch 52

Oh my god! I can't wait.

I just heard from the awesome staff at Cinevegas that as a juror I'll get a reserved seat to go to this show at the Wynn! I can't freaking wait!

As a part of the 10th Annual CineVegas Film Festival, a site specific installation featuring an animation piece by renowned international artist Takashi Murakami will be featured at Wynn Las Vegas for one night only on Monday, June 16, 2008.

I have dreams of doing something like this at AFI FEST on the Cinerama Dome or at the Kodak.

Last week to catch California Video

The amazing video show California Video that has been running since May in Los Angeles ends June 8th!
It's not too late to catch a few more of the pieces and installations.
some super cool work - check it out.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Obama and Luke!

Where do these guys have the time to create these films?
I love it.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Cannes Poster

I love the Cannes 2008 official poster with a photo taken by David Lynch, so gorgeous.

I absolutely adore David Lynch and I wish I could have seen the art show he did this summer in Paris with the fetish artist Louboutin where the Cannes image came from.

Here are two more of the images from the show.

Also, if you aren't familiar with the David Lynch Foundation take a look at these links! Trust me, it'll change your life.

Interview w/ David Lynch about creativity and consciousness! from Release TV on Vimeo.

Volcano in Chile

I was reading this article on the National Geographic Site about the volcano in Chile.
This photograph is just extraordinary. I hope everyone is okay there, I remember when Mt. St. Helen erupted, it was terrifying. Still this photo is just amazing.

50 Bullets, No Conviction

How is this still possible?

Kanye West blogs

I love Kanye West's blog. Check it out, he highlights awesome design and cool stuff.
I used to have a real coffee cup that looked like those paper cups you get in every New York deli it just made the coffee taste better. I'm buying these cool cups to drink my cheap wine out of - just like you would at an awesome house party.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Cannes circa 1959

Christian was searching You Tube and found these old news reels!

Love it! Cannes 1959 - the glamour, starlets might meet that producer!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

This American Life simulcast!

Sitting in the movie theatre waiting for the "live" show to start
broadcasting across the country.
Very cool idea - looking forward to seeing it.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Strange Culture and Steve Kurtz!

We screened this amazing documentary "Strange Culture" last year at AFI FEST and finally Steve Kurtz has been cleared of all charges!

If you haven't seen it! GO! rent it! and watch! Congratulations to Steve Kurtz and all his friends who were able to stand up to this injustice and win! So awesome that filmmaker Lynn Hersham Leeson had the guts to make this film and shine a light on this fascinating and terrifying story of our government at work.

I love this film and think it's so important, I wrote about it last at AFI FEST saying this.

Blasting the screen with sure-footed conviction, director Lynn Hershman Leeson has crafted a powerful documentary that shines a light on the netherworld of homeland security and the artists who choose to use their freedom to question it and the state of the world - in America.

The surreal nightmare of Steve Kurtz, an acclaimed artist, professor and founding member of the activist art collective Critical Art Ensemble, began the night his wife Hope died in her sleep of heart failure. Police who responded to Kurtz’s 911 call deemed Kurtz’s art suspicious and called the FBI. Within hours, the artist was detained as a suspected "bioterrorist" as dozens of federal agents in Hazmat suits rifled through his work and impounded his computers, manuscripts, books, cat and even his wife’s body. With this fascinating subject matter and a unique filmmaking style, director Lynn Hershman Leeson implicates her viewers as co-conspirators in one of the most surreal abuses of power since the Teapot Dome scandal. Because Kurtz can't talk about the events leading up to his arrest, Leeson got Tilda Swinton, Thomas Jay Ryan and Josh Kornbluth to re-enact the artist's story. Actor Peter Coyote is also featured in the film.

Lynn Hershman Leeson follows her subjects with a seamless flow of kinetic energy—weaving together recreations, comic book art, and personal interviews—creating a vibrant, informative documentary of true political relevance. A constitutional comedy of errors, the joke is on all of us.

Idiocy rules.

Sometimes I wake up in a cold sweat, I have a reoccurring nightmare that the world of the film "Idiocracy" is real. Well, it appears that we are truly heading in this direction. According to this New York Times article "Ignorance in the United States is not just bliss, it’s widespread." yikes.

Albert Hoffman - Father of LSD Died at 102

"I believe that if people would learn to use LSD's vision-inducing capability more wisely, under suitable conditions, in medical practice and in conjunction with meditation, then in the future this problem child could become a wonderchild." -- Albert Hofmann (1906-2008)

I used to be a bit obsessed with LSD when I was in college, I read hundreds of books and studied the molecular makeup and had a few personal fact finding missions. Then I got into meditation thanks to David Lynch and Yogi Bhjan, still what an extraordinary man Albert Hofmann, he started a revolution. I used to want to start a movement, the Shaz movement of the late 20th century. It's not too late. The elements of my revolution/movement are still a little unclear but I'm still up for it! RIP Albert Hofmann.

I love this photo for so many reasons!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Filmex Trailers on You Tube

I love these old Filmex Trailers, especially this one with Phil Hartman and Paul Reubens aka Pee Wee Herman. Filmex was the precursor to AFI FEST and last year when we celebrated our 20th Anniversary of AFI FEST, we had these trailers transferred from 35 MM.

I started my film fest life working at the US Film Festival, the precursor to the Sundance Film Festival, taking tickets when I was in high school. I have so many fond memories of that festival. It was so awesome to go back and find all this memorabilia from Filmex and hear all the amazing stories about elephants on Hollywood Blvd. and Alfred Hitchcock showing up to his premiere in a golf cart.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Mickey One screens in NYC!

So years ago at the Sundance Filmmaker's Lab, I was asked to step in for a day and play a small role with Beverly D'Angelo and Reese Witherspoon in a scene for "The Polish Wedding", Reese was maybe 15 years old - maybe a bit older but she was damn together for her youth and very sweet. I can't say quite the same for Miss D'Angelo, but who knows maybe she was just tired. Anyway, I was getting a little freaked out and Arthur Penn was one of the advisors that week at the lab and he kind of took me aside and told me "don't let her get to you." And he just sort of calmed me down and told me some awesome stories about "Bonnie and Clyde" and one of his first films "Mickey One" and we went back in and finished the scene. He probably wouldn't even remember this day but I thought he was amazing and so cool to take that time with me, a young actress who was intimidated and build my confidence. So, this week I was just reading an early interview with Arthur Penn about his film "Mickey One" and I wanted to put it on my Netflix but it's not available yet.

Two days later I was reading Film Journey and read a post from Doug Cummins about the Moving Image Institute conference on film critical writing. I love the post on Thursday April 17th where he lists some of the memorable comments and quotes. He mentions Arthur Penn and references "Mickey One".

So if you live in NYC - ditch Tribeca Film Festival and head over to MOMA and see the film.

Then write me a critical essay on how it was...compared to National Lampoon's Vacation... just kidding, sort of.

Screening of Mania Akbari's film "10 + 4", Monday May 5

I love Mania Akbari's work! We screened 20 FINGERS at AFI FEST in 2004
and Mania was able to come to the festival to present her film. There
were lively Q&A's after the screening and it was awesome meeting her.
Her new film is screening at Redcat downtown.

Film at REDCAT concludes its Fifth Season with the West Coast premiere
of Mania Akbari's acclaimed second feature, "10 + 4", Monday May 5

In the wake of the success of PERSEPOLIS, that presented a different,
and distinctly female voice, from Iran, it is all the more important to
hear and see the point of view of another woman from Iran, exposing her
own fight not only with the social structure of her country, but with an
issue that concerns women all over the world: breast cancer.
Mania Akbari is a painter, a video artist, a filmmaker and an actor. As
an actor, she was the main character is Abbas Kiarostami's TEN
(basically appearing in a fictionalized version of herself.) As a
director, she won the Digital Competition in Venice with her first
feature, 20 FINGERS that caustically explores the rift between men and
women in Iranian society. As a video artist, she has produced painterly,
emotionally complex yet visually abstract "Video Arts" pieces (8 in

At Kiarostami's prompting, she directed a sequel to TEN, that
documents, yet fictionalizes, her own fight with breast cancer, using
her body as a vector to bring the spectator in and using mise en scene
to create a language expressing her fight.

Mania Akbari
10 + 4 (Dah be alaveh Chahar)
Mon May 5 | 8 pm
Jack H. Skirball Series
$9 [students $7]

West Coast premiere
Iran, 2007, 77 min., Beta SP

This film reflects my inner experience. It is vitally important to
expose deep inner truths no matter how difficult and painful they are.
10 + 4 depicts a part of these realities. What is difficult and can't be
said or heard will be seen and this will make healing possible. We have
to allow the things that must die within us to die; and allow what has
to come to life again or has stayed alive to be. If we do not resist
inner death, then real death will appear in all its strength. – Mania

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Awesome Alternative film & video screenings in LA!

No better time to be in Los Angeles!

Some really cool events coming up in the next couple of weeks!

Check it out!


Carolee Schneemann has never ceased to cross mediums and boundaries to make work that resonates with raw poetic power. From her collaged war or diary films and provocative performances to her photos, paintings and installations, Schneemann's varied creations deconstruct our ingrained preconceptions and everyday assumptions. In words, images and actions, her art is deeply personal, sharply critical, intensely expressive, and always innovative. This special evening with Schneemann features a collection of some of the most highly charged political statements, erotic episodes and domestic disturbances in American avant-garde cinema.

Friday April 25 – UCLA Film & Television Archive 7:30 pm

and at the

ECHO PARK FILM CENTER 1200 N. Alvarado Street LA CA 90026 (213) 484-8846 www.echoparkfilmcen

Shows begin promptly @ 8PM and are $5 (unless otherwise noted).

Thursday, April 24 – 16mm NIGHT: GEMS FROM THE ARCHIVES - 8 PM

Film collector Russell Harnden is back with another screening of Gems From The Archives, a film series devoted to obscure, outdated, and
orphaned films drawn from his personal collection of cartoons, educational films, industrial films, and other odd footage. Once again, a sampling of those wonderful educational films from the 40's, 50's, and 60's will be pulled from the vault and screened for an evening that's sure to stimulate your mind and make you laugh at the same time. Join us and watch as everyday office furniture takes on the employees (You And Office Safety), the pork industry goes berserk (Two With Bacon), and creepy men lurk in the local movie theater (The Dangerous Stranger). There will be many more great titles as well. These sorts of "ephemeral films" often provide startling and entertaining examples of 20th Century attitudes, frequently provoking the question "What were they thinking?" So be sure to join us for what will be a fun and "educational" evening! CURATOR IN ATTENDANCE!


A tantalizing evening of short experimental videos by Catherine Forster, Carole Kim, Xhiang Zhi', Chelsea Tonelli Knight and Kim Collmer. CURATOR CATHERINE FORSTER IN ATTENDANCE!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Underworld Cinema: The Life and Work of J.X. Williams

This looks awesome!
Tomorrow night at
The Cinefamily @ The Silent Movie Theatre
Co-Presented by LA Film Forum
Tickets - $12/ $8 for members

611 N. Fairfax Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 655-2510

Check it out!

Underworld Cinema:

The Life and Work
of J.X. Williams

Tuesday, April 22nd @ 8 pm

J.X. Williams was a legendary bottom-of-the-barrel director in the
sixties and seventies, pushed even lower by his Commie leanings. One of
the few surviving artifacts of Williams's tawdry career, "Peep Show" is
a strange amalgam of dank noir drama and cheesy journalism, recounting
Sam "Momo" Giancana's reign with the Outfit. Styled as a confessional by
one of Momo's gunsels, the tabloid tell-all traces the Cosa Nostra's
connections first to the fall of Cuba and Kennedy's mob-supported
presidency, then to a spreading blight of drug trafficking that swept
through Vegas on the way to the White House. The lineup of seedy
suspects includes Frank Sinatra, crown crooner to the mob; Babs Deluxe,
a voluptuous vixen who could shake it for a shakedown; J. Edgar Hoover,
never prettier in a dress; and the anonymous mob enforcer who sings like
a true Soprano. Noel Lawrence, the reigning J. X. Williams expert, will
talk about this misfit director's overlooked and illicit career. As a
special bonus, Lawrence will also present three short subjects from the
J.X. filmography: The Virgin Sacrifice, Satan Claus, and Psych-Burn.

I love this manifesto/mission statement on Cinefamily!

What is The Cinefamily?

The Cinefamily is an organization of movie lovers devoted to finding and
presenting interesting and unusual programs of exceptional, distinctive,
weird and wonderful films. The Cinefamily's goal is to foster a spirit
of community and a sense of discovery, while reinvigorating the
movie-going experience. Like campfires, sporting events and church
services, we believe that movies work best as social experiences. They
are more meaningful, funnier and scarier when shared with others. Our
home is the Silent Movie Theatre, one of Hollywood's most beloved and
beautiful cultural landmarks. There, The Cinefamily will provide a
destination spot for Los Angelenos and others to rediscover the
pleasures of cinema.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Garfield 2.0

I don't know why Garfield is so meta these days but I am slightly obsessed with these two bizarre websites.

My favorite is Garfield Sans Garfield.

And then Lasagne Cat where for some reason the creators have decided that Garfield needs to be acted out by live actors and distorted...

I don't know what it says about society but I love them both immensely.

Monday, March 31, 2008

GLASS: A PORTRAIT OF PHILIP IN 12 PARTS screens Weds. April 2nd

AFI's 7th Annual Music Documentary Series starts Weds April 2nd with GLASS: A PORTRAIT OF PHILIP IN 12 PARTS at 8:00pm at Arclight Hollywood.

Check it out! You can buy tickets here.

I used to be a little bit obsessed with Philip Glass - I used to listen to the Koyaanisqatsi soundtrack every single day when I would write everyday! I just downloaded it from iTunes because I lost the cassette tape (yes cassette tape) years ago but, it's still gorgeous and inspiring and awesome. I love that he maintains a sort of Zen approach to his art saying, "You don't like my music? Listen to something else?" I listen.

Director Scott Hicks (SHINE, SNOW FALLING ON CEDARS) will be in attendance and around for a Q&A after the film.

I hope you can make it.

The rest of the series runs Mondays and Wednesdays through April at Arclight Sherman Oaks and Arclight Hollywood and Closing Night is May 7th at the Skirball Cultural Center with DON'T LOOK BACK and a reception to follow.

For more info and tickets, please go to the website:

Thursday, March 27, 2008

It's not too late to get to Ann Arbor!

The Ann Arbor Film Festival is still going strong even after all the censorship shite they've been through and runs through Sunday.

You can see the whole line up here.

Christen McArdle totally rocks and this festival is celebrating 46 years!

It's time to watch!

AFI Dallas starts today!

AFI Dallas starts today, no sophomore slump here!

They have some great films, you can see the full line up and tickets are available here.

Lane Kneedler and I will be blogging for AMC/TV about AFI Dallas - you can read our posts here.

In the meantime, some nice press already, I'm looking forward to seeing more.

Here's a photo from AFI FEST, Michael Cain is on the far left and Sarah Harris is in white - James Faust was in a movie which is where I hope to see you all in Dallas.

Obama in 30 seconds!

Okay, I am completely behind this and wish I had the skills and ability to describe Obama in 30 seconds! I tend to wax poetically on and on and on... I need to learn to be more concise but if you have these skills - here's your chance.

Josslyn's essay to Sekou

My friend Josslyn Luckett published this beautiful essay and I think ya'll should read it! Here is an excerpt... The full gorgeous letter can be read here at Ishmael Reed's Konch Magazine under the In this issue/Essays section.

Eulogy for Sekou

"May this Letter Find You Now, In the Best of Spirits Somehow"*

Dear Sekou,

I admit I was immediately sprung on you early 90’s NYC. Raised in Irvine, California, sure, I had four groovy UCBerkeley years under my organic hemp belt, but that didn’t quite prepare me for your “Bodega Republic.” I'd never met a real life, fine-assed, poet from Harlem with a name I couldn’t pronounce talking 'bout reparations and Deep Time with a didgeridoo soundtrack. Being grown, blissfully partnered and busy composing transcendental shout outs, you appropriately never gave me even one second of shallow time play (ahh, if only I'd been so lucky to be so politely and succinctly blown off by the handful of knucklehead poets I got strung out on in months to come...but that's not this blues). Years later we were once again in the same place, Williams College, at the same time, early 2001, for a black performance art conference where we'd both been invited to speak and perform. Calmer now and a bit more grown myself, I still hoped for "long conversations and the philosophical ramifications of a beautiful day" with you, but conflicting schedules permitted me only the pleasure of catching the tale end of one of your workshops. I remember you telling the group about a night you heard a recording of Pablo Neruda reading his poems on the radio, and you wept even though you hardly spoke a lick of Spanish. Your point was truth rings true no matter what language if your ears and heart and pores are open.

New Directors / New Films

Some wonderful films playing in New York this week in the New Directors / New Films film series.

Saw these two articles that were great, one from the New York Times and the other from Indiewire. Both "Jellyfish and "Munyurangabo" played at AFI FEST this past year.

If you are interested in "Munyurangabo" and Rwanda, you should take a look at JB Rutagarama's personal documentary "Back Home".

I'm a huge fan of Aza Jacobs, we've screened all of his films at AFI FEST and his new film "Momma's Man" was just sold to Think Film.

And "Frozen River" won an Award at the Sundance Film Festival and is produced by the fantastic Heather Rae who made "Trudell".

Such a great line up, if you're in NYC check them out.
Full schedule and ticket information is available here.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Sadly, one less human on the earth, but more stars.

"Behind every man now alive stand thirty ghosts, for that is the ratio
by which the dead outnumber the living. Since the dawn of time, roughly
a hundred billion human beings have walked the planet Earth. Now this is
an interesting number, for by a curious coincidence there are
approximately a hundred billion stars in our local universe, the Milky
Way. So for every man who has ever lived, in this universe, there shines
a star."
– Arthur C. Clarke (1917 - 2008)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Documentaries Rock!

There's a really nice article in Indiewire about the first Cinema Eye Awards.

Congratulations to AJ Schnack and Thom Powers for this excellent event and their celebration of documentaries.

I was honored to be a part of the voting community for the awards and so glad that these films got some well deserved attention.

It drives me crazy to hear Jason Kohn talk about his frustrations in the small audiences for documentaries, his movie rocks and you gotta see it!

Every year when we're programming for AFI FEST, the documentaries are often the strongest films submitted and all you want is for people to see them and be changed by their stories.

The audience is growing, but there are so many amazing documentaries that need more eyes on them.

Echo Park Film Center Events

Some really awesome programming at the Echo Park Film Center the next few weeks.
Check it out, I love Paolo and Lisa who run that place, they are Cinema Revolutionaries!

I'm psyched to see DINO'S DRIVE IN and who doesn't love GI Joe?

Echo Park Film Center
1200 N. Alvarado Street, Los Angeles, CA 90026

FILMS – 8 pm
A rare chance to see some silent shorts projected on the 9.5mm film
format (introduced in France in 1922), featuring the UK's only major
silent comedian Walter Forde. Followed by a talkie, Wild Seed (Brian
G. Hutton, 1965) an atmospheric B/W tale of two drifters featuring
rebel/musician Michael Parks in the last narrative production from
D.A. Pennebaker's aptly named, Pennebaker Productions. These films
have NEVER been released on official videos or DVDs…some films still
have to be seen on film! CURATOR IN ATTENDANCE!

8 PM
In 1995 ex Carnival Art front man Michael Petak released his
critically acclaimed album Pretty Little Lonely, produced by T Bone
Burnett, on Slash Records. Pretty Little Lonely # 13, A Musical
Documentary is the video companion to the CD. Petak, his dog Diggity
and a handful of friends traveled across the Southwest loaded with
Canon High 8 cameras and a DAT Machine, interviewing all walks of life
about love while also shooting music videos for most of the songs on
the album. This will be the first time the documentary will
be screened to the public, so buckle up and come join us for the ride!

The GI Joe Stop Motion Film Festival is the nation's first festival
dedicated to screening works by stop-motion artists who use GI Joe or
similar figures (12" and/or 3 3⁄4 sizes) as main characters or actors.
We have 25 films from all over the world including films from Brazil,
Netherlands, Canada UK and Taiwan! More info:

Stehen Cobert and product placement

I saw this article today about The Cobert Report.

Stephen Colbert is taking his show on the road. The faux-conservative comic will broadcast "The Colbert Report" from Philadelphia April 14-17, taking 80 staffers with him to cover the crucial Democratic primary.

Colbert's news-skewering program will be calling its coverage "The Colbert Report: Dorito's Spicy Sweet Pennsylvania Primary Coverage From Chili-delphia -- the City of Brotherly Crunch!," a nod to Colbert's new partnership with "the first name in electoral snacking."

I love this, this is true sponsorship integration!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Puddle Blog

I think this is just brilliant!
I wish I had thought it up.
Every puddle should have their own blog.

Spider - Jury Prize winner at AFI FEST

This awesome short film SPIDER with an exceptional ending won the AFI FEST 2007 Grand Jury Prize for shorts.

You can watch it here and buy it at iTunes.

You should buy it.

Race and Politics 2008

It's all happening!
We are the change we've been waiting for....

Monday, March 17, 2008

AFI Music Doc Series

Our Seventh Annual Music Documentary Series is starting in April!
Check it out!

I do realize that PURPLE RAIN is not technically a documentary but it is Prince's story and it's a concert film and it totally rocks!

I like to think outside the box, and just a few short years after "Purple Rain" was relased... Erroll Morris' "The Thin Red Line" will begin the blur of documentary and narrative forever.

Tickets are on sale now for Scott Hicks awesome film, GLASS: A PORTRAIT OF PHILIP IN 12 PARTS

I love Philip Glass, Don't miss it.

Mr. Rogers Day March 20

When I was in college, I used to wait tables at the Red Lion in Salt Lake City. One night at the end of my shift, I got a new table - I was just about ready to leave so I pawned the guy off on my friend.

The next day my friend told me that the guy who would have been my last table was Fred Rogers - yes that Fred Rogers and that he was so nice and when she brought the check he asked her how much a quarter of school was at the University of Utah and for the tip - he left her a check written out to the University for that amount!

I love Mr. Rogers, I should have stayed and waited on him.

But you can still honor him on March 20.
Stay warm.