Downtown Film Festival judges say hand me the envelope please…And the winner is…

14 07 2012
Downtown Film Festival L.A.Announces 2012 Award Winners

Betty I Am” and “We Are Legion” Given Best Picture NodsAnthony Meindl for “Birds Of A Feather” and Caskey Ebeling for “Getting Up”

Honored as Best Directors

Melissa Leo and Joey Capone Take TOP Acting Awards

Heathen and  Thieves” Captures Audience Favorite Award

The downtown Film Festival grows in the number of films entered and people attending each year. This is the first fest since it was in hiatus for two years and was held at the Independent theater with a dynamite afterparty at Towne (9th & Flower).

The winners of the 2012 Downtown Film Festival Los Angeles were announced today (Friday, July 13th) in an awards presentation at The Hayworth Theater in Los Angeles.

Taking top honors were “Betty I Am” and We Are Legion” for Best Picture feature narrative and  feature documentary, respectively. “Betty I Am” by director Jose Renteria Jr.is a stylish black-and-white film shot on 16 mm that follows the story of two siblings brought together by the untimely death of their father. “We Are Legion,” directed by Brian Knappenberger, is an in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at the secret hacktivist movement Anonymous.

Best Director honors went to Anthony Meindl for his narrative feature “Birds Of  A Feather”and to Caskey Ebeling for her documentary feature “Getting Up: The Tempt One Story.” Meindl’s film is a new twist on the time-honored comedic movie genre where the action revolves around the mounting of a musical play. Ebeling’s film is  a poignant account of the comeback of well-known graffiti artist Tempt One who became ill with ALS, the debilitating neurological affliction also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

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All four films – “Betty I Am,” “We Are Legion,” “Birds Of A Feather” and “Getting Up” made their  Los Angeles premieres during the festival.

“These independently produced feature films reflect the extraordinary quality and diversity of content in today’s independent cinema. We’re very proud to have played a role in providing a showcase for them in the Film Capital of the World,” said Greg Ptacek, Festival Co-Director.

Sharing the Best Picture Short Film award were “Been Good To Know Yuh” by director Corey Brandenstein, an imaginative depiction of a chapter in the life of poet-songwriter and folk singer Woody Guthrie,  and “This Is A Story About Ted and Alice” by director Teressa Tunney, a battle of the opposite sexes with a decidedly different ending.

The Audience Favorite award was captured by “Heathens and Thieves,” a genre-bending action thriller with a  film noir plotline of intrigue and betrayal but set in the Old West.

Oscar winner Melissa Leo took the Best Actress award for her dark comic role as a woman on the dating circuit in “This Is A Story About Ted And Alice.” Joey Capone was named “Best Actor” for his role in “Carlos Spills The Beans,” playing a character who inherits the family restaurant with disastrously funny consequences.

A complete list of the film awards, as they were presented at tonight’s Closing Night ceremony, follows. Downtown Film Festoval L.A. is a nonprofit organization dedicated to spotlighting emerging film talent in the culturally diverse and historic downtown district of Los Angeles.

Downtown Film Festival L.A. 2012 Film Awards

Note: Titles in ALL CAPS indicate feature-length films. Titles in “quotes” indicate short films.

1. Best Director – Short Film

Lauren Lillie – “Paying for It”

2. Best Editing – Short Film

Nayeli Garci-Crespo & Santi Minasi – “Dissent”

3. Best Screenwriting – Short Film

Paul Grellong – “Tracer Gun”

4. Best Cinematography – Short Film

Joe Kocsis – “Legend of the Widower Colby Wallace”

5. Best Musical Score – Short Film

Paul Festa – “The Glitter Emergency”

6. Best Short Films – Honorable Mention

  •  “The Glitter Emergency” directed by Paul Festa
  • “Past Due” directed by Denise C. Plumb
  • “Paying for It” directed by Lauren Lillie
  • “Scenen (Act 1, Scene 1)” directed by Hans Montelius
  • “Substance Ovüse”directed by Burke Roberts

7. Best Short Films (tie)

  •     “Been Good To Know Yuh” directed by Corey Brandenstein
  •     “This Is A Story About Ted and Alice” directed by Teressa Tunney

8. Best Los Angeles Films (All Films)

“Botes al Amanecer” directed by Nikki V. Roberts

9. Best Editing – Feature

Nils Arrington & Thom Newell – JUST LIKE BEING THERE

10.  Best Screenwriting – Feature

Iris Almaraz & Gustavo Ramos – DELUSIONS OF GRANDEUR

11. Best Cinematography – Feature

Robert Murphy – CARLOS SPILLS THE BEANS

12.  Best Music/Score – Feature

Adam Blau – FUZZ TRACK CITY

13.  Best Performance by an Actor – Honorable Mention

  •     Michael Buffo – “Slapstick Porno”
  •     Robert Loggia – THE DIARY OF PRESTON PLUMMER
  •     Jimmy Simpson – “Tracer Gun”
  •     Rob Tepper – “Been Good to Know Yuh”

14. Best Performance by an Actor (All Roles/All Films)

Joey Capone – CARLOS SPILLS THE BEANS

15 . Best Performance by an Actress – Honorable Mention

  •     Anishika Fontae – “Gasp”
  •     Kelsey Ford – “Paying for It”
  •     Celeste Pechous – “Past Due”
  •     Matthew Simmons (playing Peg-Leg Ballerina) – “The Glitter Emergency”

16. Best Performance by an Actress (All Roles/All Films)

Melissa Leo – “This Is a Story About Ted and Alice”

17. Best Director – Feature Narrative

Anthony Meindl – BIRDS OF A FEATHER

18. Best Director – Feature Documentary

Caskey Ebeling – GETTING UP:  THE TEMPT ONE STORY

19. Audience Favorite Award (All Films)

HEATHENS AND THIEVES

Directed by Megan Peterson & John Douglas Sinclair

20. Best Picture – Documentary

WE ARE LEGION

Produced and Directed by Brian Knappenberger

21. Best Picture – Narrative

BETTY I AM

Produced by Joe Engelke, Israel Gomez

Directed by Jose Renteria Jr





Actress Tippi Hedren to intro film “The Last Elephants of Thailand” at LA Femme Film Festival, Sat. Oct. 16th

15 10 2010

THE LAST ELEPHANTS OF THAILAND TO SCREEN AT LA FEMME FILM FESTIVAL SATURDAY, OCTOBER 16

Activist/actress Tippi Hedren to introduce the film

Melanie Griffith and Tipi Hedren

Los AngelesOctober 14, 2010 The Last Elephants in Thailand

by Michelle Mizner and Don Tayloe will screen at the 6th Annual LA Femme Film Festival, on Saturday, October 16 at 6pm.  The film, a stunning statement on elephant abuse in Thailand and beyond, has already garnered wins at the San Antonio Film Festival, Bangkok IndieFest and the Venice Green Screen Film Festival and will compete at the United Nations Association Film Festival (October 22 – 31) at Stanford University.  The filmmakers’ prescient insight is also being brought to light by Hollywood via the new Reese Witherspoon film Water for Elephants.  The film will be introduced by the legendary Tippi Hedren, a well-known animal activist.

Michelle Mizner is a documentary filmmaker from Central California.  She studied cinema and creative writing on full scholarship at Cal State Northridge, where she directed Barrio Thief, a short film about a family affected by drug-resistant tuberculosis in Peru.  Upon graduation, Michelle they joined forces with Don Tayloe to make this film, a process that altogether took almost 2 years.   “Don and I were both working full time jobs and living on opposite sides of the country, but this was a passion project.  It began as a small story about an elephant hospital in Thailand, however as we were filming and made aware of the hardships faced everyday by domesticated elephants and the humans who care for them, and we knew we had an urgent responsibility to share.

Michelle hopes the film challenges viewers to consider their own opinions about how and why elephants are used in entertainment and tourism, both at home and abroad.  “People love elephants.  So its heartbreaking to learn that something as innocent and alluring as an elephant painting can actually be the result of serious torture.”

Don Tayloe is a practicing internist at the VA Hospital in Fresno.  He became interested in the Elephant Hospital in Thailand because of the uniqueness of a hospital that only treated elephants.  It gave him the chance to observe cutting edge veterinary medicine applied to elephants.

Tippi Hedren, actress, producer, activist was the recipient of the “Thespian Award” from the LA Femme Film Festival in 2008.

The LA Femme Film Festival, now in its sixth year, runs October 14- 17, 2010. The Last Elephants in Thailand will screen at the Davidson Valentini Theater, The Village at Ed Gould Plaza in Hollywood on Saturday, October 16, at 6pm.  Tickets for the festival can be purchased online atwww.LAFemme.org or at the box office.





65th Anniversary of D-Day Celebrated on Film

2 06 2009
WW II Vet Bill Newbery, suffered frostbite while serving in the 75th Div., Normandy. He won a drawing for the DVD at a recent event Memorial Day weekend in LA. Photo by George Mc Quade

WW II Vet Bill Newbery, suffered frostbite while serving in the 75th Div., Normandy. Photo by George Mc Quade

The Americans on D-Day A Great Father’s  
Day Gift for Dad, Grandpa and Whole Family

 

Film Review
Steve Shepherd

 “The Americans on D-Day” is a compact and concise examination of the United States‘ part in the June 6, 1945, Allied invasion of Normandy. 

 Considering the enormity of the actual D-Day undertaking it might sound hopeless to present a comprehensive account in a film with a running time of 44 minutes, but producer-director Richard Lanni has come up with a well organized documentary that provides a clear outline of the events of D-Day, punctuated along the way with somewhat more detailed accounts of specific moments in the battle that turned the tide of World War II in Europe.

  The film benefits immensely from the presence of Ellwood von Seibold as host-narrator-tour guide. Donning authentic military uniform and accessories – down to the “pineapple” style hand grenade hanging from his utility webbing – von Seibold shares a wealth of knowledge on the subject, presenting it with an elegance that provides an effective counterpoint to the brutality that is, after all, at the center of the D-Day story. 

200-AmericansOnDDay DVD

  “The Americans on D-Day” strikes a tone appropriate to the nature of D-Day, offering a matter-of-fact account that acknowledges the powerful emotional component of its subject matter while stopping short of romanticizing or idealizing an event that was as bloody and brutal as it was essential to the Allies’ success inEurope. 

  The production deftly blends archival footage and stills with contemporary footage. Early on, we see black-and-white images of U.S. forces, including Supreme Allied Commander Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower – as we hear audio of Ike’s sendoff to the D-Day forces. 

  “You are about to embark upon a great crusade,” he tells them. “The hopes and prayers of liberty loving people everywhere march with you. You will bring about the destruction of the German war machine.

  “We will accept nothing less than full victory”

  The film then goes on to function as a battlefield tour, offering close-ups of German fortifications along the beaches of Normandy, arms – including the MG-42, a heavy machine gun that could fired upwards of 1,200 rounds per minute – and bridges and structures that played key roles in the Allie invasion.

  Interviews with both U.S. and German veterans of the operation provide further personal insight into the significance of D-Day and its human toll.

  Many of the images presented in “The Americans on D-Day” will be familiar to those who have seen the feature film “Saving Private Ryan,” the TV miniseries “Band of Brothers,” or any number of other filmed projects that touch on D-Day.

  The DVD package has extras including the film’s trailer, a making-of feature, a segment on weapons training, another on uniforms and a collection of stills.
Sphere: Related Content. ===================================================================
Editors note: If you would like a copy of Americans of D-Day to review at your publication or media news website contact:

MAYO Communications 818-340-5300
or send request by email.





New media critical in entertainment publicity say editors

23 02 2009

New media editors and consultants give entertainment publicists the lowdown on traditional media vs. new media. 
New media editors and 
consultants give 
entertainment publicists 
|the lowdown on 
traditional media 

vs. new media.

“Seven or eight years ago I was directing a story People Magazine was breaking on Jennifer Lopez calling off her wedding to Ben Afleck,” Managing Editor Todd Gold, Fancast.com told a standing-room only crowd of Entertainment Publicists Professional Society (EPPS) media workshop recently (2-19-09).

“It was significant, because it was the first time People Magazine had broken a story Online rather than saving it for the issue. It really ushered in the every minute news cycle, and the idea of a branding a story as you broke it was fascinating watching it break around the world. You could almost draw a map as it was picked up in Europe, then New York and then across the country. Now we work the same model but at different speeds.” 

“Old media and traditional media right now are suffering from many crises and its very static,” said Gold.
Managing Editor Todd Gold and Journalist Shira Lazar talk about how new media is changing the way entertainment stories are getting distributed.

Managing Editor Todd Gold 
and Journalist Shira Lazar 
talk about how new media is
changing the way entertainment
stories are getting distributed.

“In terms of getting the message out it is old, and it does seem behind the times, while new media is dynamic, it’s writing rules as it goes, while tethering with some traditional standards. 

Gold reported that Fancast.com gets seven million unique visitors a month, but they pay attention to smaller sites that are running and gunning, and it gives them a barometer of people’s interest.

“I think as a publicist, it is a good idea to pitch the big outlets like Entertainment Tonight and every show you can think of, but because of the Internet, you should pitch the bloggers, too,” said Former NBC Reporter and Hybrid Journalist Shire Lazar, a crossover media personality. “It is good to have your story on the big shows, and influential blogs that are not owned by CBS, NBC and the networks. They may have a better capability of making your story more viral.”

The panelists described showbiz and political media Online as the “wild, wild west, unfiltered, no fact checking and no rules.” 

Francisco Dao, The Killer Pitch defines new media (r) as Editor Zach Behrens, editor, LAIst.com listens in.

Francisco Dao, The Killer Pitch
defines new media (r) 
as Editor Zach Behrens, 
editor, LAIst.com listens in.

 “It is fast and with the lack of filtering there are pros and cons,” said Francisco Dai, The Killer Pitch. “In the old days when Todd (Gold) was an editor at People we pitched him, and if he liked it he wrote it up. If he like the story, but didn’t like you, maybe he wrote it up in maybe a negative sense. But he did the writing and he chose the articles and it came off professionally. Because of the speed and lack of filtering in new media, there’s nothing like Todd to write it up for you, or nobody like him to decide what actually deserves to be written up,” he said.   

Some publicists make the mistake with new media thinking, “wow great, now I have a platform, I don’t need to suck up to journalists, so I get to put all our stuff out there. They put out a lot of junk, which clearly reflects on your clients or whatever you are trying to promote. Since there is a lack of journalistic filter, you need to learn how to filter it yourself, said the panelists.

The panel agrees that there is a lot of fear out there about new media.  Michael Liskin, Online social networking consultant said, “People fear new media, they don’t always understand it, they ask which social networks do I get on, which ones are the best ones, how can I do this for my client and in what way? It’s the integration of all the different channels and connecting them in a way that makes sense in reciprocal connections that can do a lot for your client and yourself.

Media Consultant Michael Lisken shares his experiences with new media Online.

Media Consultant
Michael Lisken 

He cited Britney Spears’ site as a doing it right. Liskin advises, “just get going with new media. It is already happening without you anyway. So if you don’t get going, right off the bat, you’re already behind the eight ball,” he said. “It’s very important to be part of it, to be part of the conversation.” 

One example of how old media drags its potential burst was the story about Writer Michael Star, who  has a TV column for the New York Post, and broke the story given to him exclusively by NBC about Saturday Night Live Alum Jimmy Fallon to host Conan O’Brien’s vacated slot on Late Night. Then a news release came out the next day and more than three thousand articles hit the Internet on Friday, Feb. 20, 2009. The bloggers pick it up where traditional media left off. The old way is to give it to a site and hope it gets picked up, but today it’s faster with sites like Facebook, Twitter and other social networks.

“We don’t have venture capital, and I’m the only full time employee at the site along with two volunteer writers for our large audience, but I will get 50 emails an hour while trying to write posts,” said Editor Zach Behrens, LAist.com, one of LA’s most popular entertainment news blogs. “So a lot of things get kicked to the side. Everyone wants to pitch us. To me a lot of it is about developing relationships.  You really have to pitch useful headlines in your email that grabs us. For me I have found instant messaging has been the best way to pitch.

Editor Zach Behrens (center) of LAist.com outlines his view of traditional media vs. traditional media.

Editor Zach Behrens (center) 
of LAist.com outlines 
his view of traditional
media vs. traditional media.

 “A phone call takes me away from everything, but instant messaging I do things at the same time. I can get files through, and someone sitting at their desk all day I can ask, ‘hey just a follow-up question about this story, or can you send it to me.’ Or with people I have developed relationships on Mondays I instant message everyone and say, ‘hey what’s going on in the art scene this week, because I need to know about it or assign a story.’ Those instant message conversations reduce spam. It’s like twitter, we are so immediate and we always want to be original in our reporting, but if I am calling for a quick quote, I’m ready to go to press in five minutes.” 

“The number one reason stories viral out on the Internet is news,” said Fancast’s Managing Editor Todd Gold. “It doesn’t change from traditional media when you have something hot that people want to know about. The subcategory of that is you have something quirky, funny, a twist on whatever. Two examples: We had a Dancing With The Stars contestant blogging on our site last season exclusively, and when she got sick and went to the hospital she blogged about it, and it was picked up everywhere. Or  something quirky: The head of Menza gave us a list of the smartest TV shows ever.  It got picked up around the world. It is really about the best news and information. In terms of pitching Fancast.com, we’ve been new and under the radar.  We have been making sure the usual experience is a phenomenal one in terms of watching video.”

Fancast streams hundreds of TV shows and 9,000 hours of full length episodes in current hits, classics and past shows so we go the experience right. Now we combine it with editorial. “We are competing with TV Guide and Entertainment Weekly at that level so we are looking for big stories. One of the great things of working Online as opposed to a magazine is we have unlimited space, we don’t worry about paper cuts, so we do as much as we can with every pitch that our human resources allow.”

 “New media runs the gamete,” said Francisco Dao, Media Consult, The Killer Pitch.

“New media can be everything from a fan site to your twitter account. You really need to do it all. It is fast, where I can take it or you can take it and go directly to the audience. That’s how I see it.”

Standing room only for the new media workshop at ICG headquarters in Hollywood, Ca.

Standing room only 
for the new media 
workshop at ICG 
headquarters in 
Hollywood, Ca.

 Dao cited Miami’s Basketball Star Shaquille O’Neal story. Shaq recently got on Twitter.com and tweeted a question direct and unfiltered asking, “what should I have for dinner at Quiznos?’ Shaq doesn’t always think about what he’s saying and will do quirky popular things. It makes him that much more likeable. Now, Ashton  Kutcher and Demi Moore have a Twitter account but are more careful. They still do movies, still do interviews on ET, but the new media is the ability for everyone sitting on this panel to go direct, go unfiltered, to have conversations with their audience. And maybe a different conversation,” Dai said. 

According to Gold at Fancast.com, standards of quality are being incorporated into in a new model of the future.  He said, “If you are pitching a story in a newspaper or a magazine, you’re hoping that story is interesting enough that the reader remembers to tune into that show or program their DVR.Managing Editor Todd Gold (center), editor, Fancast.com says quality still matters in blogging and new media. Left is Michael Liskin and on his right is Hybrid Journalist Shira Lazar.
Managing Editor Todd Gold (center), editor, Fancast.com 
says quality still matters in blogging and new media. 
Left is Michael Liskin and on his right is Hybrid 
Journalist Shira Lazar.
 

“When you go on to Fancast.com, you’re getting a story, embedded in the story you’re getting the full episode or a preview clip as well as pictures, along with tune-in information. It is all right there and it is immediate. People are reading the story, watching the TV show, their watching the preview, they get tune-in info and soon they’ll be able to hit a button and program their DVR right from that story.”