Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Back from Sedona. The beautiful, red, Martian landscape of Sedona. It's interesting: everything - all the buildings, traffic lights, even the bus stop benches - is painted some shade of red to blend in with the natural environs. From a mile away, the city would be completely camouflaged. Sedona is one big chameleon. Must be a city ordinance or something.

Surprisingly, the hippies are not as plentiful as I expected. I didn't smell patchouli once. It's more of a wealthy, retired astrology guru kind of vibe. More Manhattan Beach than Venice Beach. Real estate is fairly expensive, and tourism is a big business. A few extra yoga studios and art galleries per block, but most of the people on the street looked over 40. Whom hippies aren't even supposed to trust!

Spent one night chatting with a former IBM salesman turned ordained minister, self-help author and bartender. He was serving us drinks at an Italian restaurant owned by an eleven-year-old. (Inherited from a man who fathered him illegitimately and basically disowned him, leaving this shocker in the will, so the story goes.) The bartender told us about the religious book he's writing, "Does God Prefer Roses Or Tulips?", which he assured us the answer was "neither", God being very diplomatic and loving us all equally, and told us about a nearby area being turned into some sort of religious leader's co-op with swaths of land purchased by the Dalai Lama and himself, among others.

More highlights of the Sedona Film Festival:

1. Stee had a rented convertible and we drove up into the mountains with the top down; breathtaking views.

2. The amazing hotel that they put us up in, which was much classier than we're accustomed to. It had a French name, for God's sake.

3. Sitting by the huge fireplace late into the night in the lobby of the hotel, drinking whiskey and Coke and musing over our next project.

4. Getting to actually see movies at a film festival - at Dances With Films I spent most of the time in the mixing room trying desperately to be ready for the screening. Saw "Dogville", which I loved, and a good war movie called "The Forgotten".

5. Meeting other directors at the Filmmaker’s Party, which was unfortunately on the last night.

My only major complaint is that things were pretty disorganized at the festival (apparently due to some very recent management upheaval). Seeing John get the award was exciting, although the ceremony was very overbooked - I ended up eating my plate of pasta standing up in the back.

We drove through Flagstaff for a change of scenery, and on the ride back, we got a flat tire in the middle of the Mojave desert. Yay! So, we got to see Lake Havisu (at least the part with the tire stores.)

Sunday, March 07, 2004


Hey - I'm in Sedona at the film festival right now, sitting in their un-air conditioned library (hippies...), but before I get into the fest I want to fill you in on my second visit to the AFM.

I showed up last Saturday morning and things were already slowing down considerably. I was hearing people say that it was a slow year in general, and also that the number of films with A-list stars was pressuring buyers to spend more money on fewer films, a trend that apparently has been increasing at the market in recent years.

And then there's horror. At one point a woman marched into our office and declared urgently, "I need horror films with a lot of T & A!"

Later, I walked the entire market, floor to floor, checking out each room. I wandered into an office that specialized in the sort of production our visitor was seeking. One of their girls cornered me at the entrance, somewhat protectively, as I was casually eyeing a poster for a movie called "Vicious Blondes".

"Can I help you?" She smiled like a saleswoman in the men's fashion department talking to a vagrant wandering around mumbling to his penis. Which was weird - it's not like I look threatening and for all she knew I'm a buyer. Once again, it occurred to me to start speaking in fractured English.

Instead, I gave the response that wards off all salespersons: "Just looking."

She stood fast, asking me a few banal questions until she summed up that I'm not a buyer, and therefore a pointless man. I glanced up at one of the posters on the wall.

"How's 'Blood Shack' selling?" The poster featured a fellow with smeared black face makeup exiting a barn through an opening he fashioned with a chainsaw, and blood oozing out behind him.

"Really well, actually, because people think that's Alice Cooper."

I got back to our office somewhat disheartened, just as many warned me would happen, just as all filmmakers claim to be in the face of the meat market. I love the AFM, I find it fascinating, because it's all about the commerce of film, but I also hate the AFM because it's all about the commerce of film.

We did make a lot of contacts, and started negotiations with some buyers that seem promising. But the only definitive news so far is: Thailand.

That's right, Old Siam, "Buttleman" is coming!

พัดลมไทยเลอเลิศของฉันหลาย. เวลามา. ทันทีคุณจะสามารถพิจารณาฉบับที่ถูกก๊อปปี้แย่มากๆของมัน\ที่ท้องถิ่นของคุณ 'Buttleman' หลายทางหรือเก็บมันที่วีดิโอฮอลลีวู้ดกรุงเทพมหานคร. พอดีเมื่อฉันสนุกกับวิธีทำอาหารของคุณเป็นเวลานานหลายปีที่ครัวไทย Grandma's ตอนนี้คุณจะขึ้นรถแท็กซี่รสชาติของฉัน. Soup's ที่ต่อไป!*


My many wonderful Thai fans.

The time has come. Soon you will be able to view a poorly dubbed version of "Buttleman" at your local multiplex, or pick it up at the Bangkok Hollywood Video. Just as I have enjoyed your cuisine for many years, at Grandma's Thai Kitchen, now you will get a taste of me. Soup's on!

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