Friday, September 30, 2005


Pilot Season Workshop is Saturday from 1-4pm. Cost is $125.00
Scene Study with Lisa Lax is Sunday from 3-5:30pm Cost is $25.00 or $20.00 if you bring a friend.
Location for both is Southwest Tennessee Community College-Sycamore View location, Parrish Bldg. Room 5-Macon CV. drive.
Pls confirm your attendance with Lisa Lax at:

Here's ANOTHER Sunday morning call

So, with three calls for extras this Sunday morning, no actor in town should be idle. Wonder what this will do to church attendance.

This from Lisa Lax:
I still need security guards and drivers for Sunday at 8:15 a.m. at the intersection of Crump and Kentucky for the indie film, "The Garden." Contact or call 818-644-3976

Yet another party scene, also Sunday morning, different project

From filmmaker Edward Valibus Phillips:

"Grim Sweeper" is looking for extras on Sunday, October 2nd. It's a bar scene at Neil's Bar on the corner of Madison & McLean. We need extras 21 and up. Shoot is from 7 a.m. - 11 a.m. Please arrive by 6:45 a.m. Craft services will be provided. Please do not wear bright colors or items with readable logos or sports teams. Please email for more information. Visit to learn more about the movie!

Play it right and you can go from this shoot to the "Other Way Round" scene (see below).

Extras needed for party scene: more info

More details regarding a previous post: Filmmaker Brian Pera is shooting a party scene this Sunday, October 2nd, starting at 10 a.m. for a movie called "Other Way Round" in which there will be crowd scenes and some speaking parts in the form of "casual" conversations caught on film. The party will be a daytime party in the movie so would be trendy casual dress. All ages, 20s and up. The address is 2400 Parkway Place, which is a block north of Sam Cooper off East Parkway, down the street on the left. Call him at 490-3151 or just show up a little early.

Beifuss reviews "Forty Shades"

John Beifuss at The Commercial Appeal offers a trenchant review of "Forty Shades of Blue," including this:
The movie's musical milieu is integral to Sachs's multi-layered story, which celebrates Memphis soul while recognizing, with melancholy, that the city's most vital days may be in the past.

Interview with Ira Sachs

Indiewire has a splendid interview with the director of "Forty Shades of Blue." Among Ira's observations:
I think initially we set out to make a realistic drama and we ended up making something much more controlled and I think that's what gives the film its strength, because you feel that there's a hand guiding you. I used to want to hide that hand. And I don't want the hand to wave at you, but I want you to feel like you can relax within a story being told and an emotion being elicited.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Extras needed for party scene

And a sophisticated one at that. Novelist/filmmaker Brian Pera's screenplay is generating some good buzz. Google Brian Pera to find out more about his work. I'm reposting his recent call for extras:

I need as many people as possible for a party scene to be filmed Sunday, October 2nd. The camera will travel the room picking up fly-on-the-wall conversations and I would like strong actors to participate, as I'd like those conversations to be convincing. Anyone available that day? Contact me if so. The movie is called "Other Way Round" and shoots in Memphis and Arkansas throughout the month of October.

Contact Pera at

Memphis Mojo reviews "Forty Shades"

Brown Burnett at MemphisMojo takes a look at the stars of "Forty Shades of Blue": Rip Torn and Memphis:

"... the movie belongs to Torn, who is finally being appreciated after almost a half-a-century onscreen in every kind of role imaginable and he’s always – ALWAYS – good.
Sachs hands the movie to the 74-year-old actor and lets him run with it and his performance comes so easily you actually believe he’s a washed-up old Memphis record producer."

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

New York Times and others on "Forty Shades"

A. O. Scott of The New York Times waxes favorably about "Forty Shades of Blue":

"Forty Shades of Blue," which won the top prize at Sundance this year, is one of the few American films to come out of that festival that deal with the agonies of adulthood rather than adolescence. (Unlike "Hustle & Flow," the other recent Sundance prizewinner set in Memphis, this film is more concerned with the realities of emotional failure than with fantasies of show-business success).

Alan, Laura and Michael have complicated motives and needs, and Mr. Sachs views each with a mixture of sympathy and detachment, allowing their relationships to tangle and ramify through a series of long, quiet, carefully observed scenes. They remain mysterious to one another, to us and also to themselves, while remaining grounded in painful and recognizable situations. Laura, whose pain is most acute, is also the most enigmatic, since she is trapped in a second language, as well as in her own beauty.

Memphis itself takes on something of the dimensions of a character in the film, insinuating its history and personality into the story and giving it a rough, lived-in texture as well as a musical lilt that helps its sorrows go down a little easier - at least for the audience.

The New York Press raves: "Forty Shades is by a superior artist interested in depicting true emotional intimacy." It further makes approving reference to Ira's "The Delta" (1997). But there's also this passage: "Sachs tells a hetero story of a Russian immigrant, Laura (Dina Korzun), who finds herself the trophy wife of a country music producer, Alan James (Rip Torn). In Memphis again, Sachs innovates another bluegrass confidential revealing Laura's dissatisfaction: She's out of place (a frustrated songwriter laboring within an idiosyncratic idiom) and overwhelmed by her own damned luck."

Country music? Bluegrass?

And the Newark Star Ledger chimes in:
Sachs films all this with a hasty, sometimes barely focused camera, as if to give it a documentary feel. It's an eye-catching technique, and may have something to do with this having won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, over the far-better Memphis music story, "Hustle & Flow." But gritty touches aside, this is still a soap-opera story at its core.

Extras needed for Sunday shoot

From Lisa Lax:

I need 6 Security Guards and 2 Drivers for extras in the Indie Film, "The Garden" for Sunday. Wardrobe is dark suits.

Contact: 818-644-3976,

Nashville Film Festival: Call for entries

Nashville Film Festival (NaFF) proudly announces its 37th international competition for features, shorts, documentaries, animation, experimental work, music videos and young filmmaker videos. It runs April 20-26, 2006.

Entry Deadline: November 4, 2005
Extended Entry Deadline: December 2, 2005

The Festival also features children & family-themed films, special sections for Tennessee filmmakers, archival screenings, gay & lesbian-themed films, workshops, panel discussions, music showcases, and guest appearances by nationally recognized figures in the film and music worlds. All styles, genres and lengths of films are accepted.

Top Prize for Features - Selected as one of the "Best Film Festival Prizes" in Film Festival Today's Winter 2005 issue. The Regal Cinemas/Nashville Film Festival Dreammaker Award, entitles the winning feature film to a week's run in a Los Angeles County Regal Cinema. The L.A. screening qualifies the film for Academy Award consideration. (Films must not have acquired U.S. distribution to qualify for this award. A 35mm print must be available by September 2006.)

Top Prize - Shorts and Animation
First prizes in the Short Narrative, Animation, College Student Short Narrative, and College Student Animation categories qualify the winning films for Academy Award consideration.

Special Music Films in Music City Awards
Nashville Film Festival celebrates Music City's heritage with unique music and film awards: Best Music In a Feature Film, to recognize particularly effective or innovative uses of music, whether through original score, imaginative musical arrangements, or songs in a feature; and the Impact of Music Award, for the film (feature or documentary) that most effectively explores or celebrates the impact of music on the human experience.

NaFF also features Audience Awards for features, documentary features and music videos. See the complete list of awards at

For more information and to download Rules, Regulations and an Entry Form click here.
Or contact:
Nashville Film Festival
Phone: (615) 742-2500
Fax: (615) 742-1004

Big Star

Oh, and you thought we were talking about you? No, it's the legendary Memphis band. And it's off-topic for this site dedicated to the film arts, but once in a great while I'll link to something creatively worthy that also goes to the essence of the Mid-South. Here's the link to a brutal review of the band's latest on

What does a producer do?

Keeps a journal for one thing. When he's not dropping names, Judd Apatow's view of his job is pretty interesting.

So, Stephanie Allain, tell us: What's it's like on the BSM set?

"Forty Shades" -- more reviews

The Village Voice, with a largely favorable review and a lamebrain headline ("... a stunning grand ole soap opry"), says, among other things:

A rare serving of adept regional indie cinema, Ira Sachs's Forty Shades of Blue uses its Memphis milieu as setting and as character—the film is waist-deep in country-blues insouciance humming with nostalgia for itself and disdain for early-millennium consumer homogenization. But Sachs, a talented realist whose previous feature was The Delta (1997), doesn't cartoon it up; the local fauna lives its own life at the film's edges.

Cinematical gives a lengthy description and then concludes:

The audience is left stranded over and over again, struggling to assign meaning to scenes that are clearly supposed to be deeply affecting but in reality offer nothing but hollow images.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

"Forty Shades" reviews

More and more are coming in. Here's an excerpt from one on Film Threat:

Director and co-writer Ira Sachs creates a restrained visual style, communicating his characters’ unease with compositions that place people on the extreme edges of one side of the frame, sometimes cutting off part of their faces. But repetitive interaction between characters in an aimless story can’t hold up the film’s weight, and it eventually collapses on its noble attempt to capture life’s frustrations and compromises.

And several are on Indie Wire including this Eric Hynes excerpt:

(Rip Torn's) method-acting arsenal is both deeper and less showy than Harvey Keitel’s, which might explain why subtlety-skittish directors prefer the latter actor for these brawny-blubberer roles and hire Torn instead for one-note turns with his baritone. Credit Ira Sachs for giving Torn room to move, and for knowing that a professional supporting player and space-sharer would ultimately let his co-star, Dina Korzun, run off with the film.

Documentary maker in Memphis

Today's CA reports that New Orleans musicians displaced by Katrina to Memphis are being filmed by Los Angeles documentary filmmaker J.B. Letchinger. He's in the process of working on a demo to recruit investors.

"I'm looking for funding to pay the musicians involved and to do production that's going to be worthy enough to be potentially broadcast, or given a theatrical release nationwide."
--Documentarian J. B.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Life at Black Snake Moan

Bevan B. Bell's blog is one of the better journals, worthy of checking frequently to see one man's adventures making movies, being in them and, as the most recent entry will attest, losing sleep over them. He tells about being an extra on "Black Snake Moan" without revealing much -- but it's mandatory reading anyway.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Family makeover on TV: Could it be you?

Updating a previous post on the BBC/TLC searching for families for a prime-time TV show.

They are looking for households with children aged 4-13 that are watching too much TV, not helping around the house and chowing down too much on fast food. The show brings in an expert who implements a three-week program that will improve every aspect of family life, with a focus on nutrition. Families will receive $1,000 if they are selected.

For more info, contact:

Arnold Edwards II:, 491-8860
Jarrod Wilson:, 626-3395

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Beifuss on Tarantino on Tennessee

The CA's John Beifuss interviews Quentin Tarantino on the Tennessee-filmed "Daltry Calhoun."

Sez Q:

"At one point, we were like, 'We could go to New Orleans, and it would be a really colorful place and we could get some really good tax breaks.' But when you're writing a movie and the environment is really important, you need to go to that place because you know you're going to capture something. Then with me being born in Knoxville and Johnny being born in Knoxville, it would have just been bad karma to shoot anywhere else."

Friday, September 23, 2005

In today's CA

"William Eggleston in the Real World," a documentary of the Memphis artist who shook up the art world with his color photographs, debuts at the upcoming Indie Memphis Film Festival.

John Beifuss reports:

Director Michael Almereyda will attend the Oct. 23 evening screening at Muvico's Peabody Place 22 cinema. Eggleston, 65, also is expected to attend the event, which represents the most significant premiere in the eight-year history of the festival dedicated to "The Soul of Southern Film."

The Eggleston documentary has received almost unanimous acclaim since its debut last month in New York, thanks to its honest and unfiltered portrayal of a significant artist. The documentary is not related to "Stranded in Canton," a 75-minute film "sculpted" by local author and filmmaker Robert Gordon from some 35 hours of video footage shot in the 1970s by Eggleston. "Canton" was screened in April during the Memphis International Film Festival.

Indie Memphis's other notable premiere is Tim Kirkman's "Loggerheads," which debuted at this year's Sundance Film Festival. The movie features an ensemble cast -- Tess Harper, Bonnie Hunt and Chris Sarandon, among others -- in several overlapping stories set in North Carolina. The film will open the Indie Memphis fest on Oct. 21.

More than 70 features, shorts, documentaries, music videos and animated and experimental films will be screened during the festival, which runs Oct. 21-27 at Peabody Place. Festival passes are $60; individual tickets are $6.

Also in today's CA:

Beifuss on Tim Burton's Corpse Bride

Do ya look like Elvis?

Soderbergh bitch slaps the studio system

The excellent director has some drastic thoughts about what's happening and what will happen to moviemaking and moviegoing. This is from a UPI story on

"Soderbergh, who believes that the good old days of watching 35mm movies in theaters, where they play for weeks at a time 'are gone. I wish it weren't so. Everything changes and evolves and we've got to get with it, embrace it and find a way to make it work. The movies are not the way they used to be...' "

Beifuss on "Forty Shades"

Excellent story and interview with Ira Sachs in the CA.

"Forty Shades" is "not like a lot of American films being made right now. In truth, it's very hard to make dramas -- straight, serious dramas that touch people in a way that's very personal. A lot of films being made today are intent on offering escape from the personal. A film like 'War of the Worlds' is about escape where this is a film about discovery.

"Philo of Alexandria wrote, 'Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.' For me when I read that in some magazine article once, it seemed to describe the kind of movies I want to make, which are clear-eyed and aware of people's weaknesses and follies but also empathetic because everyone is trying to figure out their approach to life."

--Ira Sachs

Thursday, September 22, 2005 loves Ira Sachs critic Andrew O'Hehir raves of "Forty Shades of Blue": "What American film once was, and could be again." Here are some excerpts:

Ira Sachs' "Forty Shades of Blue" was the grand-prize winner at this year's Sundance Film Festival, and it's easy to see why. ... This powerful drama of family, love and adultery set against the Memphis music scene will make you wonder what the hell is wrong with the American film industry, which can hardly ever make movies this good for grown-ups.

"Forty Shades of Blue" (is) a compelling family melodrama somewhat in the manner of late John Cassavetes or early Robert Altman. The story of a legendary Memphis soul-music producer (played by the great Rip Torn) who's gradually losing his ice-blonde Russian girlfriend (a knockout performance by Dina Korzun), the film combines high production values, terrific acting and a distinctively American lyricism in a combination you hardly ever see these days.

... the film's combination of lustrous surface and surprising depth belongs to another time -- the past, yes, but maybe also the future. ... "Forty Shades of Blue" is a breakthrough work by a major new talent in American film. If audiences beyond the big coastal cities don't get to see this, shame on all of us.

Music from "Forty Shades"

You can get music from the movie here. For the "Forty Shades" website, go here.

Scene study / acting workshop

Scene study and acting workshop with Lisa Lax will be this Saturday the 24th and ongoing. You can join in anytime.

It's from 1 to 3:30 p.m. at the Southwest Tennessee Community College on Sycamore View, Parish Building No. 5 -- Macon Cove. Cost is $25 per person, $20.00 if you bring a friend.

If you want to go, contact Lisa at to reserve a space. Provide your age or age range so she can pull an appropriate scene for you.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Thesps, Tramps, Figs and Clones at the Brooks

It's an evening of creative delights at the "1st Wednesday" soiree at the Brooks museum on Oct. 5.

Naturally, I want you to see "Someone to Call My Clone," a 25-minute comedy video written by Memphis Cool's alter ego and produced by Amber O'Daniels and a team of Meisner methodologists with grand hearts and commitment.

But if you won't come for that, then come to see and hear the astonishing Archer Records rockabilly royalty Amy LaVere, who will thump bass with her group, the Tramps.

And if you won't make it for Amy, then get over to check out "
Inventing Van Gogh" vignettes by Playhouse on the Square -- a preview of a terrific collaboration blending art and theater featuring some of Memphis's best actors: Jonathon Lamer, John Maness, Brian Mott, Jeff Godsey and Joanna Lipman.

If none of this is enough for you -- and you should start feeling ashamed -- there will also be a guided tour of Fred Wilsons' Old Salem: A Family of Strangers in the museum itself.

But wait, there's more:

You can have dinner at the Brushmark with Petite Grilled Lamb Chops with Blueberry Shiraz Reduction, Lobster and Caviar Deviled Eggs, Grilled Figs with lardons, shaved Parmesan, and arugula greens.

All in one evening. Oct. 5, from 6-9 p.m.

It's presented by CB Richard Ellis and sponsored by Paulsen Printing.
You get in free if you're a member of Brooks; $5 if you haven't joined yet.

"Across the River"

The short indie by writer-director John Harvey will be released later this year. Check out the trailer.

You want Hollywood to come? Show 'em the money

The Tennessee Film Production Advisory Committee public hearings are being held in Memphis next month. These discussions will address offering incentives to TV and movie productions much as Louisiana has been successfully doing. It would mean money for the state of Tennessee and jobs for actors, crew and others.

It's Oct. 12 at the Memphis Botanic Gardens, 750 Cherry Road, from 2-4 p.m. A reception with committee members will be held right after.

There is another session on Sept. 28 in Nashville at the Belcourt Theatre, 2102 Belcourt Ave., from 2-4 p.m.

Forty Shades premiere

The premiere screening is Thursday, Sept. 29 at Studio on the Square with an after-party at Stax. Both events are $50 per person or you can just do the party for $25 (and it's all a fundraiser for the Stax Music Academy). Many cool people will be there, including J. Blackfoot doing the music. Go to the Soulsville web site for more info and to order.

Will technology kill movies and newspapers?

Here are excerpts from an interesting column from

Newspapers and Movies—Both Fading Fast

There are two important institutions that are about to be decimated by technology: newspapers and movies. It won't be pretty.

The biggest impact technology has had on any social institution is moviegoing. I think moviegoing is doomed to die off slowly unless Hollywood can come up with a reasonable new experience. As it now stands, I can feed an HDTV signal into a standard Toshiba LCD projector through the composite video ports and blow out a 100-inch 16:9 image on a screen and get a theater experience in the home. With progressive scan or line-doubling DVD players, the experience is phenomenal. Use a DLP theater projector or a large-screen plasma display, and you're in heaven.

So why do I now want to go to the theater? Do I want to go because it's more expensive than a DVD rental? Do I want to go for the greasy popcorn coated with trans-fat butter-flavored oil? Do I want to go so I can hear cell phones going off? The only reason you may want to go is if you can see the big-screen version of the movie and the movie has big-screen impact. In Europe and Asia they still have massive theaters with screens as huge as the ones in the old American drive-ins—a real event and a real group experience. In the United States this is rare.

Now with the DVD and the so-called home theater, the average experience is simply better at home. You can stop the movie when you want. You can eat dinner while watching. You can pause the movie and examine a scene more closely. The only thing you really miss is the group experience of sitting in an audience with a hundred or more strangers who react to the film.

Also, they are starting to bring the release of the DVD closer and closer to the release of the movie. This means that eventually they will be released at the same time, and only the most spectacular movies will get any attendance. All the art and small films will just be DVDs. This means that essentially all but a few movies will eventually be nothing more than made-for-TV movies going immediately to DVD.

Does this kill Hollywood? And what does it do for the public need for great movies? This is the baffling part of this scenario.

I've been thinking about it because another American institution is under attack simultaneously: the printed newspaper. Newspapers, once fat and happy with local ads and classifieds, have all bloated up, with too many staffers producing a minimal amount of content per person. An average reporter was once supposed to write 75 column inches a week.

This was justifiable when the newspapers were rolling in dough, but craigslist has probably sunk the business, with free classified advertising that is far more useful and functional than anything delivered by any newspaper. There was a lot of money made by the classifieds. That money is gone. Nobody knows how the newspapers can recover. Nobody.

Curiously, many newspapers rely on big income from movie advertising. There goes another income stream, as that business begins to fade. Another irony is that today's newspapers report celebrity gossip as a form of news, helping to prop up the Hollywood machine. And since newspapers and their movie reviews help pump up sales of blockbuster films, we have an interesting chicken-and-egg dilemma. What got eaten first? The chicken or the egg? We are essentially going to watch two American institutions shrink or fragment into new forms that will probably resemble their earliest iterations, both small by today's standards.

Working with Shakespeare

Theatre Memphis is offering a PLAYING WITH SHAKESPEARE class Oct. 15-29 with instructor Jo Malin. It's Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon for three weeks. Cost is $40. This is for the experienced performer who wants to explore techniques and gain confidence working with Shakespeare's text. Call 682-8601 and ask for Kell Christie.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Benefit concert Oct. 1

From the Daily Mississippian:

Ole Miss is hosting “Mississippi Rising,” a benefit gala Concert that will take place on Oct. 1 at the Tad Smith Coliseum and will feature well-known celebrities. The concert will assist victims of Hurricane Katrina on the Gulf Coast.

Confirmed entertainers include Morgan Freeman, Ray Romano, Whoopi Goldberg, Jason Alexander, Sela Ward, Marilu Henner, Kathie Lee Gifford, John Grisham, Kathy Ireland, Lance Bass, Delta Burke, Gerald McRaney, Jean Smart, Debbie Allen, Doris Roberts, Mary Haskell, Gary Morris, Marilyn McCoo, Billy Davis, Jr. and Steve Azar.

Sam Haskell, university alumnus and former Worldwide Head of Television for The William Morris Agency, and Lanny Griffith, chief executive officer of Washington, DC-based lobbying firm Barbour Griffith & Rogers, LLC are organizing the concert. Both are Mississippi natives.

The concert is being funded by a contribution from the United Health Foundation in Minnesota that was given to the MS Hurricane Recovery Fund. Corporate sponsorships are being solicited by a national finance team. All proceeds raised by this event will go to the MS Hurricane Recovery Fund or The Hurricane Katrina New Orleans Recovery Fund. The concert will consist of celebrities talking about the effects of Hurricane Katrina along with entertainment.

Tickets are on sale at the Coliseum’s box office or online at Ticket prices are $30 for seats in the stands and $100 for floor seats.

Anyone interested in volunteering can call or stop by the Ford Center, the Central Ticket office or the Student Union information desk. Volunteer forms are online at

How dysfunctional is your family?

BBC Productions / The Learning Channel will be at the Mid-South Fair this weekend in search of families for a prime-time TV show.

They are looking for households with children aged 4-13 that are watching too much TV, not helping around the house and chowing down too much on fast food. The show brings in an expert who implements a three-week program that will improve every aspect of family life, with a focus on nutrition. Families will receive $1,000 if they are selected.

To be considered, stop by the BBC/TLC table in the Center Square at the Mid-South Fair on Friday evening or anytime Saturday.

Casting for public service announcement

We are finally shifting into a faster gear to get this project rolling. We are still looking for specific types, so if you fit this type or know someone who does, please inform them of this opportunity.
We are in need of the following.
Asian female
Asian male
African American girl (8 - 10)
If you have contacted us before considering these parts, please do so again to reaffirm your interest.
John Moore, Producer
Churchill Studios High Definition Production & Post
Grade One Entertainment / Namesake Pictures, L.P.
Studio 901.754.6675 . G1 901.754.4535 . fax 901.754.6088 -

Extras needed Oct. 2

From novelist/filmmaker Brian Pera:

I need as many people as possible for a party scene to be filmed
Sunday, October 2nd. The camera will travel the room picking up fly-on-the-wall conversations and I would like strong actors to participate, as I'd like those conversations to be convincing. Anyone available that day? Contact me if so. There are also still various speaking parts I need to cast. The movie is called "Other Way Round" and shoots in Memphis and Arkansas throughout the month of October.

Contact Pera at

Monday, September 19, 2005

"Hollywood's Biggest Blunders"

Another in the excellent Slate series on the economics of Hollywood. A must read for the big picture.

Extras needed

Filmmaker Edward Valibus Phillips sends us this:

Memphis Indie "Grim Sweeper" Wants You!

Corduroy Wednesday Productions is looking for a few good extras in the following weeks.

A diner scene will be shot this weekend. We need a handful of extras to play customers. All ages. Shoot will start after 2 p.m. Sunday the 25th.

Sunday October 2nd is a bar scene. We need extras 21 and up. Shoot is from 7 a.m. - 11 a.m.

Please email for more information. Visit to learn more about the movie!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Auditions for "dead anonymous"

Reposting this as a reminder from filmmaker Tommy Kha:

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.

Local filmmakers on the loose

Today's CA reports on the Cooper Young Festival and zooms in on Vineet Thapar and John Fuess shooting scenes.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Extras needed Sunday for outdoor wedding scene

Filmmaker David Lee need bodies Sunday (18th) for the final shot of his movie "Slow Down ... You're Dating Too Fast."

The scene is an outdoor casual wedding. Meet at 2:15 p.m. at David's house and then you'll head over to the location at Shelby Farms. The total time should be about a half hour.

We need bodies, as many as we can to make it look great! If you can't come, send a friend or three, we'll take good care of them!

Call David at 901-351-8032.

Friday, September 16, 2005

New talent agency in town

Forrest Pruett has established Actors First, a new talent agency in town primarily focusing on getting jobs for actors. Here's what he has to say:

The goal of Actors First is simple: To provide employment opportunities for actors in our growing acting industry. If you are working within the industry or if you want to join an agency that always puts actors FIRST, then Actors First is the agency for you.

Actors First can provide opportunities in film, commercials, industrials, voice-overs, and corporate spokesperson and specialty events. We are always looking for fresh faces!

We also offer classes to train you to work and be comfortable in front of a camera. You’ll learn acting for film, stage, television and commercial work, all while gaining confidence in yourself and your appearance.

For more information, visit Actors First online at or call 901-382-3305.

Scriptwriting workshop

Arnold Edwards will be heading a six-week writing workshop at the MeDiA Co-op. Cost is $50 per person and pays for the location at the First Congo Church for six days. It pays for handouts and materials purchased for the workshop. It pays for all media materials (disks, etc.) and for additional needs for the workshop.

You get:
1. A structured workshop designed to teach scriptwriting, where your first draft (90-120 pages) should be finished by week 5.
2. Instruction of format, character development, analyzing a scene, writing good dialogue, etc.
3. Critique of your script by your peers.
4. Guidance in getting your draft copyrighted.
5. Class and personal instruction on script writing, ensuring you get what you want from the workshop.
6. And the list goes on and on leading to A GREAT SCRIPT!

The workshop is designed to help anyone, even those who consider themselves accomplished script writers.

Slots are filling up fast. The classes will be small to make sure everyone gets the instruction they need). If you are interested contact Arnold now. Classes begin within the next few weeks. For more information, please contact Arnold Edwards at

In this week's Flyer

Hustle's over; Black Snake begins: Chatting with Craig; also, a Howard Hawks festival

Review of 'G' by Ben Popper

In today's CA

"Any time you shoot an independent film, you have no idea what's going to happen to it, but we loved the material." --Andre Royo
'G' actors are nearly moguls: Interview with moviemakers

A fusillade of words: Beifuss reviews "Lord of War"

'Real World' to hold auditions at Newby's Sept. 24

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

"You got something to say ...

... or are you waiting for me to ask you to dance?" --Unnamed detective in "Thief" (1981)

I've enabled comments so you can post to your heart's content. You'll have to use word verification which is necessary to eliminate the execrable spammers to whom I say, "Now go away before I taunt you a second time." (Unnamed French soldier in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" (1975)).

Indie Memphis Micro Cinema Club: Be there

Film lovers (and that would be you if you're reading this), cancel whatever you had for tomorrow night and attend the Indie Memphis Micro Cinema Club's September meeting at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Short films from around the country will be screened, and refreshments will be available. It's at the Power House, 45 G.E. Patterson, next to Central Station. Free everything.

The lineup:
  • "Free Radicals": 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 is the organizer of the annual Soul of Southern Film Festival.

Hollywood: Still alive and well in Louisiana

This is a press release from a production company invested in the Pelican State:

When Hurricane Katrina came ashore, Louisiana-owned L.I.F.T. Productions had nine projects in either production or pre-production (budgets totaling over $100 million).

Louisiana film workers quickly deployed and all shows were saved by finding locations, offices, and housing in North Louisiana cities like Monroe, Shreveport, and Natchitoches.

L.I.F.T. offered all Louisiana workers, including their families and pets, housing, relocation, and stipends to establish an expansion office in North Louisiana ($1.5 million aid package).

All 500 workers on L.I.F.T.’s payroll continue to receive paychecks without interruption despite closed banks and strained communications.

Expansion to North Louisiana will not slow down expansion plans in New Orleans. On the day before the Hurricane L.I.F.T. paid earnest money on 10 acres in downtown New Orleans which will be the hub of a $150 million motion picture, television and new media studio. All financiers of the project have confirmed their commitment. L.I.F.T. Productions will reopen its corporate offices in downtown New Orleans and production offices in Harahan as soon as possible. Both offices escaped damage from Hurricane Katrina. L.I.F.T.'s Shreveport office will also permanently remain open.

“L.I.F.T. has already secured housing, production crews, and new set locations. All of this just about a week after the hurricane hit. That shows us the people here are really dedicated to this industry and rebuilding their state” said Hollywood Producer Yoram Pelman, who arrives in Louisiana in the next two weeks to begin production on the upcoming movie Roadhouse2.

Alex Schott with the Governor’s Office of Film and Television says Louisiana’s aggressive tax incentive program will not be affected by Hurricane Katrina. “Productions are committed to staying in Louisiana. And we are committed to staying open for business.”

L.I.F.T. is a Louisiana-based film studio providing financing and a full array of production services to feature films and television programs. L.I.F.T. produced almost $75,000,000 in locally-financed production in 2004 and is on track to double that in 2005 with more than 30 productions.

"Finding Home"

From today's Commercial Appeal: Hints from a former Elvis costar on how to market your indie.

Walk the line: early reaction

This is from the Nashville Scene blog Pith in the Wind. Contributor Jim Ridley discusses "Walk the Line" that he saw at the Toronto Film Festival.
I have seen the Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line, a hugely entertaining lives-of-great-men study that benefits from smart direction, crackling performances and great music (duh). It has some of the same problems as Ray: its uplifting arc of addiction and recovery is probably the least interesting thing about its subject's life, and its pop psychologizing is pretty shallow. Nevertheless, Joaquin Phoenix (a casting choice I couldn't fathom when announced) grows convincingly into the Man in Black: paradoxically, his Cash seems more believable because the actor doesn't do spot-on mimicry—his performance, like his singing, is just off enough not to sound like a Johnny Cash impression. And Reese Witherspoon is a firecracker as June Carter Cash. Most of the attention will focus on Phoenix, but that's partly because Witherspoon is the kind of player who works to make her co-stars look good. The director, James Mangold, does an amazing job of filming the musical numbers—specifically in the "Folsom Prison Blues" sequence, shot in one unbroken take that refuses to turn away from Phoenix's withering glare. Good stuff.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Craig Brewer: The past is one helluva prologue

Wednesday night at Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, filmmaker Craig Brewer showed up after a day on the set of "Black Snake Moan" -- the movie he's creating -- to introduce a screening of "The Poor and Hungry," his first feature.

The contrast between his two creations is stark and, feeling a bit raw as he gets ready to start official shooting on Monday, Brewer shared his feelings with wit and resignation. " 'Poor and Hungry' has been on my mind a lot today," he said, recalling that one of the initial screenings of "Poor and Hungry" was in that very auditorium at Brooks in 2000 -- "the first time we had a big audience."

It was, however, the contrast of that first feature -- one into which he invested all of his material and spiritual self -- to his experience in the current production that charged his commentary.

Wednesday had been a day of dealing with lots of cooks in the "Black Snake Moan" kitchen.

Brewer, for example, liked many of the choices that came out of Samuel L. Jackson's research of the character of the bluesman, one in the mold of the late R. L. Burnside or T Model Ford or Big Jack Johnson.

"I really like what he's doing," Brewer said. "One is like Big Jack Johnson -- he's got a full open crown gold grill right across the top, and when he sings the blues and you're really right up close on him it gives you chills. And he's got this gray hair and mutton chops that come out like a wolverine. But he also has this one, ah, mole that's like right here -- and I like the mole, right? And I saw it and I said 'Wow, man, that's real. I like that.' "

But gone are the "P&H" days when he could make a command decision and move on. As "BSM" prepares for shooting to being this week, "We have to do these makeup tests and we have to film these makeup tests and everybody has to watch the makeup tests and comment on the makeup tests."

And everybody does.

So the number and luster of gold teeth are in question. The size of the mole is debated.

What's more, he's having to deal with the babble of misinformation and supposition spilling out -- particularly from talk radio -- about Katrina evacuees waiting to get into The Pyramid. (They're not. The city and county have plenty of better places to put them although Brewer has offered to help if needed.)

"So that's all happening today," Brewer said. And then referring to making "P&H": "I just so remember being covered in my own sweat and the sweat of my brother in law because he was standing over me with the boom pole, and I had just one little video camera."

It was, he observed, particularly special making a movie with next to no money.

"When somebody gives you a lot of money it's their money too," he said. "It is no longer yours. And when you are making something with your own money or no money, what you gain in not having money is 'Man, right or wrong, this is my baby, this is mine completely.' "

And that's the way it was with "P&H," a time, Brewer said, when he didn't see it so much as his first movie but his last.

"So when you watch this movie and you know that I'm making this new movie, keep that in mind, that those of you who've seen 'Hustle and Flow,' you're going to see what made 'Hustle and Flow': You're going to see the demo tape that I made and know that it was at a time when my father had died very unexpectedly and he left me with words like 'Get back into it,' 'Don't be afraid,' 'If you only have a video camera and clamp lights, celebrate it, don't be ashamed of it.'"

And after a rough day at the studio, Brewer welcomes a bracing shot of perspective. "Every once in a while I have to watch 'Poor and Hungry.' "

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Jeffrey Nightbyrd's 10 Laws of Auditioning

Nightbyrd is head of Acclaim Talent agency based in Austin. He's been doing casting in New Orleans and although that city is out of the picture for a while, incentives offered by Louisiana remain in effect and projects are likely to show up elsewhere in the state. At a recent audition workshop, he provided this useful list:

1. The audition begins when you enter the door ... of the casting office.
2. Remember the casting director is your ally. She wants every actor to look good on her tape.
3. Fill the room. Casting directors have long days, so make your moments interesting.
4. Know your lines. In the audition you have to create the character, not remember lines.
5. Relax. Learn a personal relaxation technique that always works, then morph into your character.
6. Make strong and interesting character choices. The mistake is being afraid to make a mistake. Middle of the road auditions don't get the jobs, or even the callbacks.
7. Make the camera your friend. Know your basic light and camera angles.
8. Stay in character. Never apologize.
9. Give them confidence in your professionalism. Productions are expensive -- they don't take chances on amateurs.
10. Bring lots of headshots. Headshots are a key marketing tool.

Friday, September 9, 2005

Local Katrina benefit

If you want to volunteer there's a general meeting Saturday, Sept. 10 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Playhouse on the Square conference room. Sign up at this bulletin board for additional info.

Scene study class

From Lisa Lax:

We're on for this Sunday, Sept. 11 at Southwest Theatre on Manassas and Union from 4-6 p.m. Cost is $25 but only $20 if you bring a friend; free for hurricane victims. Improv, commercials, scenes and networking. Email or call 818-644-3976.

In today's Commercial Appeal

"Junebug" review.

Bask in glow of 'G' stars this weekend

"The Beat That My Heart Skipped" review.

"The Exorcism of Emily Rose" review.

Thursday, September 8, 2005

Casting call

From Lisa Lax:

I'm looking for 2 midgets or dwarfs for this indie film I'm casting. Please let me know if you know anyone.

Wednesday, September 7, 2005

Here's a Memphis Flyer story on southern movie "Junebug" opening in Memphis on Friday.

"We're not trying to define the South with our movies.
You can tie your brain in knots trying to talk about that."
--Director Phil Morrison of North Carolina

Extras needed Sunday

From Forrest Pruett:

We are looking for actors for a bar scene in the independent film "Delusions."

Even if you have worked on this film as an cast member or as an extra already, WE NEED YOU! Come dressed differently if you can wear your hair different.
We can't pay you, but we can get your face out there! This film IS going places. Come on it will be fun, and be a part of this dark and mysterious film.
The shoot is this Sunday Sept. 11th from 2:30-8 p.m. Feel free to bring friends. WE NEED 30 PEOPLE.
It's at the Complex, 704 Madison. If you get lost call Waheed Alqawasmi at 239-4070.

Do not wear anything with a logo on it, not even a hat. Wear normal party/dance attire. Please email me back ( and let me know if you can make it -- we are trying to feature the very best Memphis has to offer.

Free screening

"CSA: The Confederate States of America," through the eyes of a faux documentary, takes a look at an America where the South won the Civil War. The film is by Kevin Wilmott, a film professor at the University of Kansas in Lawrence.

It turns history upside down and takes a satirically humorous, and sometimes frightening, look at the history of an America where the South won the Civil War.

Special movie screening Tuesday, September 13, 2005 at Muvico Theaters in Peabody Place at 7:30 p.m. FREE.

Passes available at the National Civil Rights Museum, 450 Mulberry Street.

Tuesday, September 6, 2005

Gilligan is dead

Bob Denver aka Maynard G. Krebs aka Gilligan, off on that eternal 3-hour voyage.

Starting today and the rest of the week

First it's the Oxford Film Festival starting this afternoon, with flicks, panels and people who love movies. This is simply great stuff.

And then tomorrow night, plan on going to the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art for its 1st Wednesday event from 6-9 p.m., with music, art, dance and a screening of "The Poor and Hungry" at 7:30. The museum is planning on regularly showcasing video/film by local folks, so come out and support this event. Great food at the Brushmark too.

See you there.

Monday, September 5, 2005

Hollywood's lousy summer

The Associated Press reports that "Summer 2005 was the worst since 1997 for movie attendance, which dropped sharply and rattled the complacency of studios. For the 18 weeks from early May through Labor Day, domestic movie grosses are expected to total $3.6 billion, down 9 percent from summer revenues of $3.96 billion last year, according to box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations. Attendance figures are even bleaker. Factoring in higher admission prices, the number of movie tickets sold should come in around 562.5 million, down 12 percent from summer 2004."

Why? Lots of reasons.

"Some movies did score big, but the overall downturn lingered and then worsened, prompting gloom-and-doom predictions that audiences were growing tired of rising ticket prices, concession stand costs, pre-show advertising and other movie theater hassles.

"With so many other entertainment choices -- video games, limitless TV programming, home-theater setups -- audiences may be edging away from moviehouses.

"In an Associated Press-AOL News poll in June, nearly three-fourths of adults said they would prefer to stay home and watch movies on DVD, videotape or pay-per-view rather than traipse to a theater. Almost half said they think movies are getting worse."

Artists come together for Katrina aid: This means YOU (Part 2)

Here's an e-group for those who want to be involved in the benefit performance being planned (see posting below). It's free to join:

Sunday, September 4, 2005

Forty Shades trailer

The "Forty Shades of Blue" trailer is viewable at the movie's website here.

Oxford Film Festival Panels

Johnny McPhail passes this on regarding the festival panels. The lineup is amazing and you should make every effort to check out whatever's in your area:

"Let us be clear about one thing for sure: the film festival is not only the celebration of films made, but also
of films to come. To that end, the 2005 Oxford Film Festival is proud to outline our slate of filmmaking panel discussions geared at giving anybody and everybody a chance to get a “leg up” with an insiders peek into film. Two of the greatest ways to learn are by doing and by talking with those who have “done.” Our panels give audience members the opportunity to interact, question, and gain insight that can only be afforded by those who fought the fight already. If you have ever wanted to be behind (or in front of) a movie camera, or ever thought about writing a screenplay, you’d better find yourself a seat in the front row and pick the brains of our talented panelists."

Click here for information on panels plus times and venues.

Artists come together for Katrina aid -- this means YOU

A benefit performance to help victims of Katrina is in the planning stages. A number of locals, mostly theater people, met Saturday at Playhouse on the Square to begin coordination of the event that is tentatively scheduled for early or mid-October. The Orpheum has offered to provide the venue and technical assistance, but beyond that nothing is definite. It may well be something of a variety show with acts from as many groups and individuals as possible. Actress Lindsey "Poor and Hungry" Roberts, who is heading up the effort, wants wide participation -- theater, opera, ballet and music groups. If a filmmaker has a short work to offer, that would probably be considered. Artists uprooted from their homes in the storm area may also participate. It hasn't been finalized who will get money from the benefit, but it'll likely be a group like the Red Cross.

Can you help organize or perform? The effort will require many skills, from technical to PR to accounting to legal to cleanup to setting up a silent auction as well as the usual song and dance. Call Lindsey at 830-1528 or e-mail

Saturday, September 3, 2005

Doing a nude scene

Memphis Cool will be doing the instruction.

Extras for party scene

From Forrest Pruett:

We are looking for actors for a party scene in the independent film D E L U S I O N S. We can't pay you, but we can get your face out there! This film IS going places. Come on it will be fun, and be a part of this dark and mysterious film. The shoot is this Sunday Sept. 4 from 6-10 p.m. Feel free to bring friends. The address is 49 South Prescott. For directions, click here.
If you get lost call Waheed Alqawasmi at 239-4070.

Do not wear anything with a logo on it, not even a hat. Wear normal party/dance attire. Please email me back and let me know if you can make it -- we are trying to feature the very best Memphis has to offer.

How about a quickie?

Check out this one-minute Bollywood-style featurette put together by local filmmaker Vineet Thapar and friends. It's entered in the New York Minute Film Festival and you can vote for it there:

Friday, September 2, 2005


"Sunday morning we realized that with a category five [hurricane], the walls would be breached, so we just drove. I kind of don't give a sh-- anymore, frankly ... that our sweet little working lives have been disrupted. It's such a damn stinkhole there for all the people that we know and love and their homes. The state of our production is so [low priority] in our lives now."
--Lucy Lawless on shooting "Vampire Bats," the movie she had been filming in New Orleans. Quoted on

Links to CA movie info/stories

Info on the Oxford Film Festival (Sept. 6-11)

For mothers and young children, the CineBabies Matinee (on Tuesdays)

For Howard Hawks fans: The 2005 Cinema Memphis Retrospective (Oct. 7-9)

Reel Architecture: Movies on architecture at the Brooks Museum (starts Sept. 8)

Youth Showcase - Indie Memphis

The Indie Memphis Film Festival is accepting submissions from movie makers 18 and younger. Works chosen will be screened Oct. 22 during Indie Memphis' Youth Showcase. Mail entries to Indie Memphis Youth Showcase, PMB #632, 1910 Madison Ave., Memphis TN 38104. There is no entry fee. Movies must be received by Sept. 12. The Indie Memphis Film Festival is Oct. 21-27 at Muvico's Peabody Place 22. Need more info: Contact Shelley Durfee, Youth Showcase organizer: or 246-7086.

Job listing for video editor

Video Editor / Motion Graphics Designer position on Craigslist.

Scene study workshop Sunday

From Lisa Lax: A lot of people asked me to have a workshop on scene study so I'm throwing one together for this weekend. Escape the Labor Day Weekend Stress for a couple of hours. Sunday 2:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m. at First Congo Church, 1000 S. Cooper, $20 (free to Katrina victims). We'll do warm-ups, scene study and I'll answer any industry questions. We'll have fun, relieve some stress and network like crazy. Bring your headshots. Mature teens welcome also. Confirm with Lisa at Call 818-644-3976.
UPDATE: Location has been cancelled. Lisa is looking for a new venue and we'll update when we know. But call her anyway.
It'll be at the SouthWest Theatre (Southwest Tennessee Community College) at Manassas and Union downtown in the Theatre Building. Park at Linden and Manassas.

Thursday, September 1, 2005

A brutal projection

“Louisiana had been on a roll, but they literally came to a crashing halt,” said Jack Kyser, chief economist at the Los Angeles Economic Development Corp. “New Orleans is not going to be a good location for filming, probably for several years.”

American Idol tryout cancelled

The open tryout for "American Idol" scheduled for Monday at FedExForum has been cancelled due to local relief efforts for Katrina refugees. Another audition city will be named later. The Denver and Chicago tryouts are still on.

Louisiana Casting Database

Johnny McPhail passes along the Louisiana Casting Database which has a new thread in its forum to discuss the hurricane and its impact. Registration is $10 to get access to the forum and news links.

"Hollywood South" hammered

From the L.A. Daily News:

By Greg Hernandez, Staff Writer

Hurricane Katrina appears to be quickly washing away Louisiana's goal of becoming Hollywood South with several major studio films now halted in midproduction while other projects in preproduction are now in question.

Louisiana was becoming nearly as big of a headache to the Southern California movie industry as the runaway-production capital, Canada, with an increasing number of projects being lured south by generous tax incentives and a rapidly growing production infrastructure.

In 2004, film and television production companies received $67 million in tax breaks from Louisiana to take their projects there, including the biopic "Ray," starring Jamie Foxx, and current releases "Dukes of Hazzard" and "Skeleton Key."

The state has continued with a steady flow of projects this year with three movies in production when the hurricane hit: the Warner Bros. horror film "The Reaping," the comedy-drama "The Last Time" and the CBS movie "Vampire Bats," starring Lucy Lawless.

"They were on a tremendous roll," said Jack Kyser, chief economist for the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. "I think it definitely knocks them out of the box. I think this cleanup will take a long time, and the state's attention will be focused on rebuilding."

The New Orleans and Louisiana film commissions could not be reached Wednesday, when their outgoing voice-mail message stated: "Due to Hurricane Katrina, production in New Orleans has been suspended indefinitely."

The upcoming week

A reminder that these especially worthy events deserve a place on your calendar:
  • Next Wednesday is a screening of "The Poor and Hungry" (pictured: Eric Tate and Lindsey Roberts) at Memphis Brooks Museum of Art during it's 1st Wednesday event (also includes amazing photos by Ernest Withers, a performance by the New Ballet Ensemble and music by Native Son). It's on from 6-9 p.m. with the "P&H" screening at 7:30. This is an excellent occasion, only $5 for nonmembers of Brooks. And required for any of you local cineastes who haven't seen "Poor and Hungry" yet. Bring friends.
  • The Third Annual Oxford Film Festival is Tuesday through Sept. 11. Bring friends
  • Next Wednesday and Thursday are audition workshops at Ole Miss. Bring head shots.
  • And Monday is auditions for "American Idol" at the FedExForum. Bring confidence.
Check postings below for more info.