A DIY Filmmaker Sujewa Weekend
DIY Filmmaker Sujewa came to town this past weekend. Saturday night, I went with Sujewa and Tambay Obenson of The Obenson Report to see a sneak preview screening of Princeton Holt's DIY feature Cookies & Cream, which was playing at the Sexy International Film Festival. While I thought the concept of the film was quite interesting-- a young woman who works in the adult webcam world and can't seem to settle down with the right guy, all of whom pretty much only go out with her because of her profession, finally finds a guy she really likes whom she doesn't tell about her job, because she wants him to love her for who she is and not what she does...and a pretty solid performance by the lead Jace Nicole as Carmen-- I found the execution the be somewhat amateurish...pivotal scenes are poorly lit, little to no chemistry exists between Carmen and Dylan played by Brian Ackley, and quite a bit of out-of-sync ADR (additional dialogue recording). It's a nice first-time feature effort, but needs a lot of polishing if it plans to travel far. I do understand the limitations of low-budget, indie, and DIY filmmaking, but at the end of the day, the presentation is still very important. Princeton had a great show of support that evening as much of the cast, crew, family and friends came out.
And Sunday, I finally got to sit down and see Sujewa's documentary that I was lucky enough to be one of the interview subjects in, Indie Film Blogger Road Trip. We gathered at Cinema Echo Chamber's Brandon Harris' pad in Brooklyn. It was Sujewa, Tambay, myself and of course Brandon who was preparing for his big day at MoMA where he would be introducing two films for the Best Films Not Playing at a Theater Near You program.
In Indie Film Blogger Road Trip, Sujewa takes a journey on the East Coast from his hometown of Kensingon, Maryland, to New York where he interviews staples of the indie film blog community including Anthony Kaufman, Brandon Harris, Stu Van Airsdale, Tambay A. Obenson, and myself. Then he heads south to Fayetteville, North Carolina and talks with Chuck Tryon of Chutry Experiment (see Chuck's write up of the film here), and even deeper into the South to Atlanta where he meets up with Noralil Ryan Fores of ShortEnd Magazine, and Gabe Wardell and Paula Martinez of the Atlanta Film Festival. And finally back up to Maryland where he talks with Armondo Valle and Erica Ginsberg of Docs in Progress.
I like Indie Film Blogger Road Trip as a social commentary on a growing community...a kind of multi-city film panel discussion on digital video. Sujewa makes great use of a diverse bunch of unique bloggers, each speaking about the state of indie film blogging and how it's evolved from and its affects on more traditional means of film journalism and criticism, what each of us brings to the table, and where we see things going. Structurally however, since the film is a road trip, each interview is shown chronologically. There's no special editing employed to build any sort of thematical archs, so topics are spoken about by each of the indie film bloggers individually one after the other, and no interconnectedness. I was however pleasantly surprised at my own little segment, as I'm usually camera shy, and I didn't seem to fluster as much as I thought I did, and came out sounding intelligible and succinct, though there was one moment where I flubbed and called indieWIRE, Indiepix :)
Indie Film Blogger Road Trip is definitely the first documentary about indie film bloggers that I'm aware of, and I hope it gets some play at festivals. I look forward to hearing reactions from audiences and other indie film bloggers, of course.