Archive for the ‘Regional Film’ Category

cicadas on PBS in New York, OR: How to Write a Press Release

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008

Because of this website, I receive press releases on a daily basis from a multitude of PR firms. It’s clear with many of them that the sender hasn’t spent more than 5 seconds thinking about the audience for this website. Some of these are pretty unintentionally funny: My favorite media alert is probably the one about a re-recording of a jingle for canned beans by a Country music recording artist. But I digress.

The point is, few notices get my attention. And even fewer do I end up writing about. When I receive a notice like the one quoted verbatim below, though, I try to act on it.

Why? Four reasons:

1) The thing being promoted sounds interesting.

2) The people that read this website might be interested in it too.

3) The thing being promoted sounds as if it could use my help as far as promotion goes. I tend to favor humble affairs, not stuff with a big advertising budget. (In case you hadn’t noticed by now.)

4) The release sounds like it was written by an actual human being. You’d be surprised at how rare this is. Or maybe you wouldn’t.

Oh yes, I’m sure Kat Candler’s email breaks all sorts of “rules” about writing press releases. But I have noticed that there seems to be a direct correlation between points #1-3 and point #4. In the end, the result is that, Candler’s email not only makes me want to see this movie — it makes me want to tell others about it.

And in my book that’s a press release that works.


Screening on PBS in New York
Saturday, 7/19, 11:55pm
Sunday, 7/20, 4:25am
WNET, Reel 13

Long ago, I made this feature film called, cicadas. We shot it over the summer of 1999 in a tiny, tiny town called Bertram (population 835). We shot the film on a Canon XL1 back when mini-DV was brand spankin’ new. Over 6 weeks, Thursdays through Sundays a cast and crew trucked out to the middle of nowhere Texas to make a story loosely based on a crush I had at age 16 on a skater punk kid.

The summer of 1999 was one of the best summers of my life. We had no expectations, no grandiose ideas of making it big … we just wanted to make a feature film just to learn how to do it. And what came out of that little film was a family of friends, a super fun summer and a little movie that could.

The film went on to win some audience awards at festivals, get picked up for distribution and then dropped by distribution. And then picked up again for distribution.

If you have friends in New York who like to stay up crazy late or can record stuff to their VHS or DVD players, pass this along. It’s fun to share your heart with people. Even if it’s super rough around the edges and frayed along the hem line.


One other thing to note about press releases. For me, whether or not I write about something is also a matter of timing. Some days and weeks I’m slammed. Some days, a notice will come in and, if I’ve got a few spare minutes, I’ll throw something up on the web. People that are paid to blog full time probably work differently, but that’s how I roll.

As always, thanks for reading. And if you’re a filmmaker, don’t be afraid to see if I can cover your film. Just don’t be hurt if I don’t.

Quick Feet, Soft Hands @ the Nashville Film Festival

Thursday, April 17th, 2008

My new film Quick Feet, Soft Hands will be premiering at the Nashville Film Festival this weekend. If you’re in the area come on down to see it and introduce yourself to me (if I don’t already know you).



Friday, April 18 @ 2:15 pm
Sunday, April 20 @ 9:00 pm


Friday, June 29th, 2007

I just learned about an interesting new blog called FlyOver. From the site:

FlyOver is a blog about art in the American Outback — the people and places usually given less attention by those hopping from coast to coast. It’s a way for arts journalists and artists outside the major American urban areas to celebrate, discuss, critique and share what they do. While it was established to continue a conversation begun at USC Annenberg’s 2007 NEA Arts Journalism Institute in Theater and Musical Theater, we hope it will ultimately grow to serve a larger community of journalists, artists and institutions involved in the arts in America.

No, it may not cover issues related to filmmaking (at least not yet), but its attention to art and artmaking outside of the traditional hubs of the so-called “art world” is welcome.

Dialect Resources for Actors and Directors

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007

The lead actress of the new film I’m working on is doing some dialect research. She shared this link with me, and I just have to share it here. It’s the International Dialects of English Archive (IDEA). From their website, an explanation of the purpose:

The International Dialects of English Archive, IDEA, was created in 1997 as a repository of primary source recordings for actors and other artists in the performing arts. Its home is the Department of Theatre and Film at the University Of Kansas, in Lawrence, KS, USA; while associate editors form a global network. All recordings are in English, are of native speakers, and you will find both English language dialects and English spoken in the accents of other languages. The recordings are downloadable and playable for both PC and Macintosh computers.

It’s an amazing audio archive of dialects from around the United States. Maybe this is old news to actors, but it’s new to me, and quite exciting.

And, just in case you were wondering, we’ve been listening to Tennessee Eight.

Killer of Sheep

Monday, March 26th, 2007

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned Charles Burnett’s Killer of Sheep in my rave of Eagle Pennell’s The Whole Shootin’ Match. Funny timing: Yesterday, Dave Kehr had an all-too-short article in the NYT about the process of bringing to home video this legendary film that, in Burnett’s words, “was never meant to be shown in public.”

I had known the film was going to be released to DVD at some point — it’s been rumoured for at least a few years (held up, as Kehr notes, by music licensing issues) — so it’s nice to know we won’t have to wait much longer.

What I didn’t know was that the film is getting a release at the IFC Center starting on Friday. It will also be playing in select cities throughout the summer. If you’re anywhere near a screening, this is something you’re not going to want to miss.

To learn more about the film, check out the new Killer of Sheep website that Milestone Films has launched. If you’re a Burnett fan, make sure you click on the “Buy the DVD” tab — it reveals some very exciting news.