Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Remember When This Video Blew Your Mind

June 26, 2012

Almost ten years ago, Mo and I made a music video together (she produced; I directed). Then it won a College Arts and Television Award (student emmy, yo). I’ve worked with Mo many times since then and see her almost every weekend because we’re friends!

But not until last night when we attended an event for the CTA and their other programs did I know SHE HAD NEVER SEEN THIS MUSIC VIDEO.

This one’s for you, Mo.


Katniss’s Flaming Herocomplex

July 21, 2011

This “motion poster” for the film adaptation of the THE HUNGER GAMES is rad.

There is a more eloquent, intelligent, and soulful articulation of my feelings for this introductory visual to the film that is based on a book series that I geek out for, but my brain is fried from a day of writing, phone calls, meetings and getting a ticket from a bike cop. Yeah, a BIKE cop.

I’m sorry I can’t embedded the fancy motion poster. Doing that would involve a plug in and privately hosting my blog — two things that I am not as interested in as I am in getting some pizza.

Btw, I love that you can also pick up an embedable countdown to the movie’s March 2012 release. Harry Potter said his goodbyes; now it’s time for a badass GIRL to take the lead in amazing-teens-in-other-worlds/times-of-good-story-franchise-glory.


April 26, 2011

Megan McCafferty’s new book, BUMPED, is ON SALE TODAY. Congratulations, Megan! And hooray for McCafferty fans everywhere!!!

Megan is the New York Times bestselling author of the Jessica Darling series, which includes SLOPPY FIRSTS, the young adult novel that I adapted into a screenplay. Every day we get closer to putting SLOPPY on the big screen, so keep your fingers crossed and… in the meantime… buy BUMPED.

BUMPED is funny, whip-smart, savvy fiction with unforgettable characters set in a hauntingly familiar yet one-of-a-kind dystopian tomorrow. And, its story has some major meat on its bones, forcing you to think about everything from the future of social networking to the nature of true love. Here’s the premise:  “When a virus makes everyone over the age of eighteen infertile, would-be parents must pay teen girls to conceive and give birth to their children, making teens the most prized members of society.”

Think I’m biased just because I’ve been obsessed with Megan’s books and characters for five years? WRONG! Check this out:

“BUMPED is brilliant, innovative, and slightly terrifying. Megan McCafferty delivers!” — CAROLYN MACKLER, AUTHOR OF TANGLED AND THE PRINTZ-HONOR-BOOK, THE EARTH, MY BUTT, AND OTHER BIG ROUND THINGS

“Dystopias don’t have to be dreary to be provocative…[BUMPED is] uncomfortable, scandalous, and not easily forgotten- there’s little doubt that’s exactly what McCafferty is going for.” — PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

“Megan McCafferty has conceived a hilarious, touching, truly original novel, told in her trademark, spot-on voice. Readers of every age will delight in this new arrival.” — RACHEL COHN, BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF NICK & NORAH’S INFINITE PLAYLIST

Follow Megan on Twitter, friend her on Facebook, join the mailing list!

Pug Attack!

January 7, 2011

I’m sitting next to a celebrity!  Well, he’s certainly a celebrity in Pug Nation and soon, hopefully, he will be know all across the country.

Next to me is JR Burningham, my Moovision editor! But he’s so much more than that – great guy, boyfriend of Tess, SLC-native, USC film grad, screenwriter and director, and…. the creator of “Pug Attack,” which is one of five finalists in the Doritos®-sponsored “Crash the Super Bowl” contest!

Doritos® issued a challenge for fans to write, shoot and submit their best idea for a Doritos® commercial. Over 5,000 entries were submitted and the list has been narrowed down to five finalists. Now it’s time for YOU to decide that “Pug Attack” should be sprung on the approximate 106.5 million people who will watch the Super Bowl. The top 3 vote-grabbing commercials will be air during Super Bowl XLV! Click here to Vote!

This means that as JR and I work on the final tweaks to the GOURMOO COOKOFF episodes,* he’s responding to support from pug-lovers worldwide and taking calls from the press. Ahem, I believe the Wall Street Journal is calling later this after. YES!!!

The best news?  “Pug Attack” is hilarious. I cracked up the first time I saw — litarally LOLed.  This is not the situation in which you vote for your friend’s video because it’s your friend’s video. Nope. You vote for “Pug Attack” because it’s good. You can hold your head high and support this pug with pride.

There’s more: if any of the top 3 commercials is selected as the best by USA Today Ad Meter, Doritos® will award the makers of that commercial $1,000,000! A second place selection wins $600,000 and a third place selections wins $400,000. If the 3 Doritos® commercials take USA Today Ad Meter’s top 3 spots then everyone wins an extra $1,000,000!

I want to know a millionaire: please vote for JR’s “Pug Attack.”

*The five GOURMOO episodes are coming along beautifully!  Everyone on the team is so happy with the shows, and I’m thrilled with everything from Chris Westlake‘s music to our host Eric Rosen‘s performance to the lovable contestants and judges to the perfect makeup by Desirae Cherman to the gorgeous sets by Scott Enge.

140 Screens in Denver then at Hatch

April 28, 2010

TOMORROW: Screening of 140 (the twitter-inspired film; 140 segment directors, I was one)at the Denver Film Society in the Starz Film Centre on Thurs April 29th 7pm. If you’re nearby, pop over and see the film and say ‘hi’ to the film’s organizer, Frank Kelly, a super nice dude who flew in from Ireland to go to the screening.  Mention my name and he’ll be super, super nice.

After Denver, Frank will be going to Montana for a TBC screening in Bozeman in association with Hatch Fest (who held the preview screening of the rough cut back in October). All systems go!

There is still time to support 140 at kickstarter before Frank’s self-imposed deadline of May 1!

Speaking to Trojans

April 13, 2010

This afternoon I’m going to be a “guest speaker” in USC’s COMM 465: Gender in Media Industries and Products. The prof, Dr. Alison Trope, will be interviewing me in front of the class of about 40 students about my perspective as a female director/producer/writer breaking into the industry, creating collaborative projects with women, championing female-driven narratives, etc. The students will have a chance to ask Q’s too.

It seems entirely fitting that I’ll be “guest speaking” right after my meeting with GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS.

They sent over a picture of the COMM 465 class. See below.


Bay Area Screening of QUEEN OF CACTUS COVE

April 9, 2010

Bay Area Peeps!

My film QUEEN OF CACTUS COVE is screening tomorrow at 2:30 PM in the Shorts Program at the Windrider Bay Area Forum.  The screening, filmmaker Q&A and reception will be held at the Center for Performing Arts at the Menlo-Atherton High School. I will be there!

In my program is SHORT TERM 12, directed by Destin Daniel Cretton. I’m eager to take in this film because I’ve been hearing about it for so long… even before it made a splash at Sundance and made the semi-finalist Oscar’s list.  It’s gonna be a great program so if you’re in the area, scurry your booty on over! You’ll even get to meet my mom and dad who will be there too!

Nominated Editors Spill the Beans

March 10, 2010

On Saturday I attended the Egyptian Theater’s “Invisible Art, Visible Artists” Seminar.  The free seminar is an annual tradition for my friends and me on Oscar weekend.  Every year the Oscar-nominated editors show up, talk their film, their craft and show a clip.  It’s moderated by Alan Heim who is a great editor (ALL THAT JAZZ, NETWORK, THE NOTEBOOK) and my dad’s doppelgänger.  They have the same warm, welcoming energy, inquisitive listening ability, bushy mustache and even speaking style.

The editors in attendance this year were:

Stephen Rivkin and John Refoua (AVATAR), Julian Clarke (DISTRICT 9), Sally Menke (INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS), Bob Murawski and Chris Innis (THE HURT LOCKER), Joe Klotz (PRECIOUS: BASED ON THE NOVEL ‘PUSH’ BY SAPPHIRE).

I’d already seen the five represented films and enjoyed all of them tremendously (except for DISTRICT 9). I like it when I’ve previously viewed the films because seeing the clips becomes extra enlightening and satisfying. It’s like reminiscing over old pictures of your favorite relatives the night before a family reunion.

My favorite editor was Sally Menke. I’ve seen her interviewed in an AFI Master’s Seminar for one of the KILL BILLS, but I’d forgotten how articulate, thoughtful and wildly intelligent she is.  I was absolutely thrilled when Sally showed and discussed the scene from INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS that I blogged about and continues to be one of my most read posts: The Strudel Scene. See below for the juicy insights she offered.

Joe Klotz was my second favorite. I watched PRECIOUS the night before so it was freshly awed in my world. He loves his profession and the art behind it. I got the sense that he has great respect for whatever story he’s telling and for the characters in that story. He was grounded, sincere and without frills. Joe chose the scene in which Precious and her mother physically fight after Precious comes home with her new baby. This is one of the best scenes in the film. See below for more details on what he had to say about its creation.

Unfortunately, neither Sally or Joe won a golden statue the next night.

A few insights and behind-the-scenes stories I’ll remember from the seminar:

  • The AVATAR guys had 10 assistants. Sally employed seven assistants (mostly because BASTERDS featured English, German, and English scenes). THE HURT LOCKER duo had three assistants for their 200 hours of footage.  Because of budget constraints, Joe Klotz edited PRECIOUS on his own Avid in his home. He had one assistant who would sometimes work off his personal laptop. You do whatever it takes to make your movie.
  • Sally and Chris+Bob (THE HURT LOCKER) spoke about how their films

    THE HURTLOCKER editors won the Oscar.

    mixed humor with tension. Sally credits this to Quentin’s voice and the tone of his films. Chris and Bob believe comedy was an important way to diffuse the tension in their nerve-wracking (in a good way) film.

  • Sally’s interest and education in human psychology lead her to filmmaking.
  • Sally and Quentin had planned to change the Strudel Scene after Cannes. And they did. Instead of covering the beginning of the scene when Landa arrives with shots of Landa, the officer and Shosanna, the camera remains on and slowly pushes in on Shosanna’s face during all the pleasantries. She’s listening to the men and steeling herself for facing Landa (the man who murdered her family years ago). Sally explained that all that matters in that moment is Shosanna realizing what’s happening and what she must do (not be suspected by Landa).  They wanted the audience to be with Shosanna, seeing into her soul at this important moment.
  • Sally also explained the last beat of the scene in which Landa leaves and Shosanna gasps/cries and releases tension and fear she was containing while they ate strudel. Sally gives us only the briefest of moments of Shosanna gasping and then cuts away.  They made this editorial decision because they wanted Shosanna to be a strong woman. It was important that the audience think of her as a tough character because she will go on to plan Hitler’s assassination.
  • Joe said he picked the clip he did because he wanted to talk about the trust between director and editor.  When he first cut that scene, it didn’t work. The stunts weren’t so good, and the coverage was lacking. He couldn’t make the scene sing. Director Lee Daniels told Joe he wanted to do a photo shoot with Mo’Nique and Precious depicting them from when Precious was a baby through her childhood. Joe trusted in Lee’s idea even though he was initially doubtful. Mo’Nique and Baby Precious start out a happy mother-daughter duo and then, when the abuses starts and continues, the stress, tension, and unhappiness show on their faces in the pictures. Lee took the pics and gave them to Joe, trusting him to figure out how to work them into the scene. And he did. Brilliantly.

She Wins

March 8, 2010

Last night I watched the Oscars with a room full of filmmaker friends. Some of them were my friends before we ever made a movie together, and some of them are my friends because we worked together. But it doesn’t really matter how our friendship blossomed. What does matter is that I was with them, all of us cheering, when Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to receive an Oscar for her achievement in directing. I was with the people who have supported me, believed in me, cheered for ME in my burgeoning career as a (woman) director. Around me were filmmakers that inspire me, collaborators that make me better at my craft, talents that I want to work with for the rest of my career. I was exactly where I should have been.

The meaningfulness of Kathryn’s win has been questioned and even lost on some.  Scott Mendelson of THE HUFFINGTON POST said:

“While it’s terrific that the previously-undervalued Bigelow became the first female to win Best Director, it’s more than a little depressing that such a big deal must be made of it. As I’ve always said, progress comes when you don’t have to talk about it… On the other hand, how refreshing that a black man was nominated for Best Director and we more or less forgot about the color of his skin during the campaign season? Progress comes when we don’t feel the need to mention it.”

For me, it is “such a big deal.” And no one is saying we’ve made progress. I think the major attention paid to Kathryn Bigelow’s nomination and predicted win is more about noticing the lack of progress but the potential for it.

I’m glad “The Kathryn Bigelow Story” got media attention even if some of the approaches were misguided (Scott does go into this in a way less revolting way: “What bugged me most about the awards season is how so many pundits tried to turn James Cameron into the big male bully and Kathryn Bigelow into some helpless female victim of his male oppression.”) It would have needed drugs to pull me out of the depression I’d fall into if no one had noticed or cared that it took us 82 years to produce a woman director whose work was worthy of the award AND give it to her.

I say ‘us’ because it’s easy to point the finger at the Academy, but is it their fault that only 7% of directors (the same as in 1987) on the 250 top-grossing movies are women? They didn’t create patriarchy.

Very few women choose to direct. Fewer still actually get to make movies. This is not to say that we should scurry to “make up for it” and give anyone with two X chromosomes the bullhorn or that doors should open because it’s forward-thinking to consider a directorial candidate who owns a mini skirt. I want it to be about the work not if someone’s got a womb. (Kathryn Bigelow did the work. I thought so back in July when I saw THE HURT LOCKER.) For the work to be good, more women filmmakers have to go out there and make killer movies, which is difficult no matter what your gender. However, I believe, it’s even harder if you aren’t part of the club. As the numbers show us, women directors are the unusual, the unexpected and unknown which is an unpopular choice to champion, finance, or encourage in a town that operates under the mantra of No.

Personally, it means a lot to me that Kathryn Bigelow won. It reinforces that I haven’t dreamed a madwoman’s dream. But in the big picture, it means a lot that Kathryn Bigelow won because the moment she got on that stage and took that little, gold man in her hands, the idea of a woman successfully directing a film wasn’t quite so unorthodox, surprising, or crazytown. It became real and 41.3 million people were watching.

Gut Response to Best Picture Noms

February 4, 2010

The Academy announced its Oscar nominations this week. While reading the list of Best Picture nominees, the first words that came to mind for each film were:

Avatar – Blue.

The Blindside – Frosty highlights are power.

District 9 – Best screaming headache.

An Education – It’s a manic, pixie, dream girl. Get over it.

The Hurt Locker – Kathryn Bigelow.

Inglourious Basterds – Why is it spelled like that?

Precious – PRECIOUS!!! (‘Precious’ as said in a terrifying whisper-scream by Golem at the end of the trailer/commericials)

A Serious Man – Coen Brothers. Again.

Up – Cartoon.

Up in the Air – No normal woman would wear a tie around her waist like that.

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