Charles Burnett

Thanks to Charles Burnett for writing in to share his thoughts on “Honeydripper.” Charles is one of my favorite filmmakers, and it’s been such a thrill to see his early work being rediscovered. Check out Charles’ blog at http://emergingpictur.setupmyblog.com/?p=49. I hope Charles will keep contributing.

Still Chasing October

I’m fine… really I am.Wrigley wedding

It’s not as if we Cubs fans aren’t used to this sort of thing. One thing we’ve learned is to enjoy the ride as long as it lasts. And this year was quite a ride.

I made it to Wrigley for the one and only playoff game. I was with Peter Gilbert (of “Hoop Dreams” fame) and his son Leo. The atmosphere was jubilant, but tempered by the history of this franchise. The fact that the Cubs had already lost the first 2 games in Arizona had people a bit nervous. But the snippets of conversation I caught outside the park were all optimistic.

It was in the 90’s and as humid as an August afternoon. Somehow that didn’t seem like a good omen for October baseball. Continue reading “Still Chasing October”

Opening Night of Independent Film Week

After a great response in Toronto, we had the New York Premiere of “Honeydripper” as the Opening Night of Independent Film Week. Lots of great coverage, but here’s one of the more comprehensive pieces…

http://www.thereeler.com/features/a_sayles_job.php

Honeydripper All-Star Band

I’ve always loved the summer in New York City. When others are running away to traffic-clogged resort towns, I like hanging around the city and taking in whatever surprises may be around the next corner. Among my favorite activities are margaritas at the 79th Street Boat Basin, bicycling on the path in Hudson River Park and kayaking in the Hudson itself. On days where I do all three of those things, I call it my triathalon.

My very favorite thing to do in the summer is to go to outdoor concerts, and last Tuesday night, I saw a great one. The Honeydripper All-Star band was performing at the River-to-River Festival in lower Manhattan. This is the house band from John Sayles’ new film “Honeydripper,” which Emerging will be releasing late this year. This particular night was only the second time the band had played together, but you wouldn’t have known it from watching them. They were hot! We’ve posted a clip from the concert at http://www.emergingpictures.com/hd_band.htm, so you can get a taste. This first clip features Gary Clark Jr., who in addition to being a major new music talent, is also the star of the film. We’ll post some more clips as the weeks go on, so you can see the other amazing musicians in the band. And watch for more information about the band’s upcoming performances. They may turn up in some unexpected places.

Now back to the triathalon…

Carbon Neutral Distribution

Anne Thompson recently wrote a column in Variety about the “greening” of Hollywood–the attempts by certain folks in the biz to make the process of making films more environmentally friendly. I wrote her a polite note telling her that she’d actually missed an obvious angle–the fact that the current 35mm theatrical distribution process is quite unfriendly to the environment. It would take a lot of carbon credits for the industry to overcome the many trucks and planes that are necessary to delivery those 35mm film cans, not to mention the process of making the prints, which requires putting petroleum-based substances into baths of toxic chemicals. Then consider what has to happen to all those prints when they are ultimately “destroyed.” In other words, theatrical distributors have a lot to answer for with Mother Nature.

But rather than fret about it, perhaps the studios should wake up to the fact that there is a better solution than paying for carbon credits–digital theaters. Imagine a world in which film prints are merely digital files, and those files can be delivered electronically without the need for airplanes and trucks. Hollywood doesn’t want you to know this, but this world exists right now.  Continue reading “Carbon Neutral Distribution”

No Clint?!

I can’t believe that Clint Eastwood isn’t making the cut. The only possible explanation is that his two films are splitting the vote. I completely get why that may have happened. Personally, I had a hard time choosing which of the films I would get behind if I had to pick one. Neither film is as impressive or as resonant individually as they are together. I’ve always said that my favorite film of all time is “The Godfathers,” meaning parts 1 & 2. This may be a similar situation. Sorry Clint…the rules are stacked against you this year.

10 Reasons Why I Can’t Write a 10 Best List

The offer from indieWIRE to publish 10 best lists from industry types and bloggers is a wonderful thing. The more voices we have out there, the less we are enslaved to the conventional critical wisdom. So why haven’t I posted something?

1. Academy Rules… As a voting member of the Academy (and BAFTA and the PGA), I am reminded at least once a year that we are not supposed to make our preferences known to the outside world, lest they be used to prognosticate the results. Nevermind that my Academy votes and my 10 best list might not resemble one another, because as we all know, voting for “Climates” for the Best Picture Oscar is about as useful as voting for Dennis Kucinich for President. Continue reading “10 Reasons Why I Can’t Write a 10 Best List”

Altman Remembered

When word reached me this morning that Bob was gone, I was shocked. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been. His health has been an issue (and a topic of discussion) for a very long time. Back when I was at Fine Line and we were working on the release of “Short Cuts,” Bob would come to office looking so thin, so gaunt; everyone commented on the fact that he looked liked he was on his deathbed. Bob laughed and said he’d been told by his doctor to go on a diet, and he was proud of how much weight he had lost. We all took him at his word, only to find out more than a decade later that he had had a heart transplant. Bob somehow seemed indestructible.

Bob at Ira's 40th birthday party

I have so many memories…so many feelings. I can’t set them all out here… but I feel the need to spill some of it while the feelings are fresh.

I first met Bob when I was just out of college. I took a trip to Los Angeles to try and find work, and someone recommended that I look up a guy named Mike Kaplan, who was the marketing person at Altman’s production company. The company was called Lion’s Gate, but was not related to the current company of that name. I got an appointment, and while waiting in the reception area, could see and hear Bob talking on the phone in his office. He was describing a film he’d just finished shooting in Canada…a film called “Quintet.” I couldn’t have been more thrilled as Altman was already one of my idols, and this was my first close encounter with someone of his stature.

Continue reading “Altman Remembered”