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Friday, December 25, 2009

Airplane Bloggin’: Miami for the Holidays Edition

Airplane Bloggin’: Miami for the Holidays Edition

Well, so much for subtly named blog posts, that one comes right out and says it. To whom (other than Dawn?) good question. I imagine I’ve lost most of my once small audience do to the infrequency of my posting. In fact, it seems that I post only when I fly. For the most part, that’s been the case. If its any saving grace, I do actually plan to be traveling quite a bit more than I have in the past few years, as the job I’ve taken (more below) promises more of that. Even now, I bave a few more trips on tap over the next few months.

So what’s been going on? Quite a few things….

I took a job with a small but rapidly growing sales and production company in Los Angeles. It’s a full time, in-office position, and thus, I am officially a full time resident of Los Angeles. No more back and forth – though I may travel, I am fully based in Los Angeles and report to a job M-F etc. etc.

Towards that end (and also towards the end of having a place to live with roommate who can pay the rent), I moved from my old digs in the Cahuenga pass area to newer digs in West Hollywood, with a brief stop on Cherokee in Hollywood during my search for a new place – thank yous to Scott and John, John for his hospitality, and Scott for his vacancy and generosity. After the waylay on Cherokee, and a misstart with another apartment on Franklin, I’ve been at the new place, on Alta Vista just below Sunset Blvd., for a but less than a month now. I have a new roommate, we get along fine, though we’re not close and I don’t particularly see that changing. He’d just moved up from San Diego to take a job with Disney Radio. Pretty much, we both work outside the place, and do mostly our own thing when we get home. Cordial, fine, not remarkably friendly, but its fine.

The apartment itself is close to the new job and to my gym, and its on a very attractive block in West Hollywood at about the most central location one could hope for. It’s hardly more than I was paying at the old place, and its nice and new and I have my own bath. It’s a fairly good situation this far. Oh, and its pretty quiet, except for the occasional garbage truck in the morning.

The job, well, yeah, the job. I am the head of business affairs for a film sales and production house. Means I am in charge of all that is legal and contractual. However, since it’s a small company, and (bow) I have a multitude of skills, I am spending my time in production (which is how I want to spend my time, as much of its as possible), in acquisitions, not bad, and doing a few other things to help move the Company’s business along. It’s an adjustment to be back at a full time job after many years on my own, but its OK. Adaptation is an important trait, and I guess I am still in practice, well enough. Besides, I work out of a compound where the owner’s house is also located, and it’s a fairly informal attitude except for the general office policy. That might have something to do with the industry; it definitely has something to do with the five wolf hybrids running around the compound at all times. Sounds scarier than it is and besides, with respect to the pack, I think I’ve climbed to a respectable place in the middle.

Aside from the office time, I’ve already spent time at the American Film Market, where we have a booth each year to sell the films we make and acquire. I’m booked to go to Park City for Slamdance and Sundance, after a hiatus during last winter. And unless we are in production on a movie, it seems likely that I’ll go to the Berlin Film Market and Festival during early February. If not, I’ll go to Cannes for either the TV or the Film market in the spring. So there is a lot of potential travel involved.

One adjustment has been dealing with having allocated vacation time. I only have two weeks annually in my contract, and I basically was required to take one week during this holiday. The office (and the vast majority of the entertainment business) is closed, and if I hadn’t taken the vacation, it would have been treated as “leave” and been unpaid. I’d prefer to be paid, and it worked out anyway, as I get to go to Miami and see my parents. The timing of my visit isn’t perfect in some ways, but alls well enough, and they are excited I am visiting. The apartment is going to be very crowded, as my sister and her sons will be in town as well during five or so of the ten days I’ll be in Miami. Haven’t seen the boys in a while, so that will be nice. Most likely, I’ll get to take them to the beach a few times while they are down there. Its been a little terse with my sister for a reason or two, but I am sure we will all have a good time together, and I know how much my parents are looking forward to it. I’ve visited them in Florida quite a bit for New Year’s, I think this is the third year in the last four I’ve been with them. Last year was with Newman and two years before that, I was there alone I think (I remember bringing home a girl on New Year’s Eve after getting separated from the people with whom I’d been out, Ryan and company), and waking with her and hearing my parents already awakened. They were super relaxed about the whole thing, and I think they were just happy to have me there having a good time. Hehe.

So hopefully the weather will be decent and I’ll get a little sun. LA’s been quite dreary for about a month, rainy and/or cloudy, and I hate to say, as it reflects my new sensitivity to colder weather from living in LA, absolutely freezing some of the time. I’m not that keyed up about what to do for New Years, so I’ll play it by ear and see if I am interested. Last year was fun most of the week, but New Years itself kinda stunk, and that was the same in 2007. I’ve never been a huge fan of the holiday, and always considered it a big rookie night where the chance of having a blast was less than the chance of having someone vomit on your shoes. Pushing 40 (almost), that opinion has only been reinforced. But what I can look forward to it relaxing, unwinding, and spending time with my terrific parents and family. That sound pretty good right now, and I guess on the flight back, we’ll know for sure.


Saturday, December 12, 2009

2009 Black List

The Black List 2009: Full Roster
By Nikki Finke | Category: Uncategorized | Friday December 11, 2009 @ 9:10am
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The Black List 2009: Manager Score Card
The Black List 2009: Agency Score Card

black list 20092ND UPDATE: I'm the first to post the entire roster after EW premiered the Top 10 (here as they wrote it, plus I added in some production details) because of a pre-arrangement. That's right, it's time for Universal film executive Franklin Leonard's THE BLACK LIST begun back in 2004. Compiled every year from the suggestions of 311 film executives, each contributes the names of up to ten of their favorite scripts that were written in, or are somehow uniquely associated with, 2009 and will not be released in theaters during this calendar year. This year, scripts had to receive at least five mentions to be included on THE BLACK LIST. It has been said many times, but it’s worth repeating: THE BLACK LIST is not a 'best of' list. It is, at best, a 'most liked' list." But it does catapult dozens of scripts into production and screenwriters out of oblivion. Diablo Cody's Juno, Nancy Oliver's Lars And The Real Girl, Scott Neustader's and Michael Weber's 500 Days Of Summer, are just some of the screenplays which appeared on The Black List and then were made. I've noticed that it's also a "big dick" measuring contest for the Hollywood agencies and their motion picture lit departments. Problem is, some screenwriters think this list isn't on the up-and-up and accuse junior studio execs and assistants along with self-interested agents and managers of getting together to push their own clients on projects even if already abandoned. So get off the ledge if you're not on THE BLACK LIST. And, if you are, then congratulations. This year’s list consists of 97 scripts with 311 people contributing to the ranking — up from 260 in 2008:

1. The Muppet Man By Christopher Weekes
What it’s about: The life and times of the late Jim Henson (pictured), the man behind Sesame Street and The Muppets.

What it’s like: The Andy Kaufman biopic Man on the Moon, but with puppets. This moving story depicts the life of a creative genius, with occasional surreal appearances by the likes of Kermit and Miss Piggy.

AGENT William Morris Endeavor – Bill Weinstein, Adriana Alberghetti

MANAGER Circle of Confusion – Britton Rizzio, Lawrence Mattis, Kelly McCormack

Status: Set up at The Jim Henson Co.

2. The Social Network By Aaron Sorkin
What it’s about: Chronicles Mark Zuckerberg’s complicated journey towards creating Facebook. Sorkin depicts both the founder’s motivations for starting the largest social network in the world and the human casualties that came with his profound success.

What it’s like: The fascinating biographical elements of Shattered Glass meets the courtroom drama of Kramer vs. Kramer, without the tears. Sorkin cuts between Zuckerberg’s heated depositions with his former Harvard colleagues who claimed he stole Facebook from them and the chronological retelling of the company’s trip to becoming a billion-dollar enterprise.

AGENT William Morris Endeavor – Ari Emanuel, Jason Spitz

Status: In production for Sony Pictures. Scott Rudin Productions, Michael De Luca Productions, Cean Chaffin, and Dana Brunetti producing. Jesse Eisenberg plays Zuckerberg while Justin Timberlake portrays Sean Parker, one of the founders of Napster and Zuckerberg’s idol. David Fincher is directing.

3. The Voices By Michael R. Perry
What it’s about: Jerry, a schizophrenic worker at a bathtub factory, accidentally kills an attractive woman from accounting. While trying to cover his bloody tracks, Jerry starts taking advice from his talking (and foul-mouthed) cat and dog.

What it’s like: Watching the lovable pig from Babe join forces with American Psycho’s Patrick Bateman. Some may be turned off by the script’s twisted sense of humor — Jerry has friendly conversations with his victim’s severed head — while others will get a kick out of its sheer audacity.

AGENT United Talent Agency – Charlie Ferraro, Jenny Maryasis

MANAGER Kaplan/Perrone Entertainment – Aaron Kaplan, Sean Perrone

Status: Vertigo Entertainment is trying to package the film with a lead actor. Mark Romanek (One Hour Photo) is developing.

4. Prisoners By Aaron Guzikowski
What it’s about: When his young daughter and her best friend vanish on Thanksgiving Day, a Christian survivalist named Keller Dover takes matters into his own hands, imprisoning and torturing a suspect whom the police have set free. But does Dover have the wrong man? And if he does, who really has his little girl?

What’s it like: Silence of the Lambs meets Mystic River. A terrifying, riveting read. Vivid, unforgettable characters, a bullet-fast plot, and scenes that mine our deepest psychological fears. Lock the doors and windows (and go to the bathroom) before turning the first page.

AGENT William Morris Endeavor - David Karp, Rich Cook, Adam Levine

MANAGER Madhouse Entertainment

Status: Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) directing for Alcon Entertainment and Warner Bros, Madhouse Entertainment and Kira Davis producing.

5. Cedar Rapids By Phil Johnston
What it’s about: Tim Lippy is a small-town insurance man who’s somehow made it to middle age without having quite done anything. Everything changes when he unexpectedly gets the chance to represent his company at the Cedar Rapids insurance convention, where comedy ensues, of course.

What it’s like: The 40-Year-Old Virgin meets Napoleon Dynamite. A sad, but not pathetic, middle-aged man comes of age in the Midwest. A speedily told story with romance and action and some legitimately funny jokes.

AGENT United Talent Agency – Jason Burns

MANAGER Industry Entertainment – Eryn Brown

Status: In production Fox Searchlight. Ad Hominem Enterprises producing, with Miguel Arteta directing and Ed Helms playing Lippy. John C. Reilly, Alia Shakwat, Anne Heche and Sigourney Weaver co-star.

6. Londongrad By David Scarpa
What it’s about: The writer of The Day The Earth Stood Still and co-writer of The Last Castle does an adaptation of Alan Cowell’s 2008 book The Terminal Spy: A True Story of Espionage, Betrayal and Murder, chronicling the life and strange death of Alexander Litvinenko. Remember in 2006, when that ex-Soviet spy was allegedly poisoned with radioactive tea at a London sushi joint? That’s him.

What it’s like: The script evokes Born on the Fourth of July, Silkwood, and Robert DeNiro’s history-of-the-CIA saga The Good Shepherd — but in Russia, with spies. Using Litvinenko’s final days as a framing device, Scarpa’s script flashes back to pivotal passages of Alexander’s adult life: training and serving as a KGB agent; trying to staunch the growing influence of Russian mobs as a Russian super-cop after the fall of Communism; and boldly deciding to publicly accuse his superiors of trying to assassinate a Russian business tycoon, as well as facilitating the rise of Russian president Vladimir Putin through acts of terrorism.

AGENT HML – Bob Hohman, Bayard Maybank, Devra Lieb

Status: Warner Bros. has optioned the script. Initial Entertainment Group and Infinitum Nihil producing.

7. L.A. Rex By Will Beall (based on his novel of the same name)
What it’s about: Rookie LAPD officer Ben Halloran gets partnered with scarred and tobacco-spitting Officer Marquez, and the unlikely team hit the streets of L.A. on the brink of a gang-rivalry explosion. Amid run-ins with the Mexican mafia, brutal gang murders, and corrupt cops, we soon find that Halloran may not be as squeaky clean as his brand new badge.

What it’s like: Training Day combined with the brutal violence of The Departed. L.A. Rex is as much a cop story as it is a graphic portrait of underground crime in Los Angeles.

AGENT Creative Artists Agency – Shari Smiley, Jay Baker

MANAGER Management 360 – Darin Friedman

Status: Paramount Pictures has optioned on behalf of producer Scott Rudin.

8. Desperados By Ellen Rapoport
What it’s about: Wesley Robbins, a 30-something single attorney with an unhealthy obsession with coupling up, thinks she’s found the perfect man. But when he doesn’t call for days after the first time they sleep together she freaks out and sends him a scathing email, only to learn he’s been laid up in a Mexican hospital with some broken bones. On a whim, she and her girlfriends travel down south to erase the email before she ruins what she believes could be her one true love.

What it’s like: The Hangover meets The Sweetest Thing, but in a good way. This equal parts raunchy and sweet script has LOL moments and the potential to be a big hit, especially with audiences loving movies today with complicated female protagonists.

AGENT Creative Artists Agency – Jessica Matthews

MANAGER Management 360 – Susan Bymel, Daniel Rapoport

Status: Isla Fisher is attached to star with Mark Gordon and Jason Blum producing at Universal.

9. The Gunslinger By John Hlavin
What it’s about: When a Texas Ranger is horrifically tortured and killed, his sharp-shooter older brother, Sam Lee Hensley, plots revenge against the mysterious, sadistic leader of a notorious drug cartel. Sam Lee’s quest for vengeance will cost him seven years in prison, his right hand and one eye. It will imperil his young nephew and wreak havoc on the lives of those who love him. And it will not bring him peace.

What it’s like: No Country For Old Men fused with Death Wish, graced by the melancholy of Unforgiven. Violent, macho, and action-packed, it’s as fun as a Dirty Harry script, but the remorse and grief of the central character linger long after the final gunshot.

AGENT United Talent Agency – Jason Burns

MANAGER Benderspink – Jill McElroy, Charlie Gogolak

Status: Warner Bros. and Andrew Lazar producing

10. (tie) By Way of Helena By Matt Cook
What it’s about: Set in the south at the turn of the century, Texas Ranger David Kingston and his Mexican bride are sent down to the mysterious town of Helena to investigate the multiple Mexican bodies washing up in the river. What they discover is an idyllic-like town where everything is not as it seems.

What it’s like: Pleasantville meets High Noon where dueling-pistol showdowns take on a whole new meaning and the definitions of righteousness and morality are twisted into unrecognizable concepts.

AGENT William Morris Endeavor – Cliff Roberts, Danny Gabai

MANAGER Anonymous Content – Keith Redmon, Bard Dorros

Status: Purchased by Russian filmmaker-producer Sergei Bodrov (Kavkazskiy plennik)

10. (tie) The Days Before By Chad St. John
What’s it about: A man from the future keeps hopping one successive day into the past desperate to stop a vicious race of time-traveling aliens from wiping out humanity.

What’s it’s like: This lightning-paced, time-travel adventure is Back to the Future meets Independence Day meets Demolition Man accompanied with a gargantuan production budget.

AGENT International Creative Management – Lars Theriot, Ava Jamshidi

Status: Warner Bros. has optioned it. Hollywood Gang Productions producing. A few big-time action directors have circled it but no one is yet attached.


What it's about: “Two men, Doc and Howie, inadvertently kill an elderly woman when they neglect to help her carry groceries up stairs. The incident puts them in position to get closer to the woman's attractive granddaughters, and they struggle with deciding whether to tell the women the truth about the circumstances under which they met.”

AGENT United Talent Agency – Doug Johnson

MANAGER Rain Management Group – Jonathan Baruch, Geoff Silverman

Status: The Montecito Picture Company producing.


What it's about: “A scrappy lawyer from Chicago's South Side rises to be a trusted attorney for the Outfit – the mob that controls the city through an elaborate web of bribery, voterigging and violence – until he turns state's witness and brings the whole corrupt system to its knees.”

AGENT William Morris Endeavor – Cliff Roberts

MANAGER Leverage Management – Michael Prevett

Status: Paramount Pictures. Temple Hill Entertainment producing.

13. PAWN SACRIFICE by Steve Knight

What it's about: “The life story of chess legend Bobby Fischer leading up to his historic world championship match against Boris Spassky.”

AGENT Creative Artists Agency – Brian Siberell, Sally Willcox

Status: Sony Pictures. Maguire Entertainment producing.

14. TOY’S HOUSE by Chris Galletta

What it's about: “When fourteen year old Joe Toy and his buddies tire of their parents overbearing ways, they decide to build their own house in the woods, away from the restraints of the lives they have come to know.”

AGENT The Gersh Agency – Carolyn Sivitz

MANAGER Anonymous Content – Bard Dorros

Status: Big Beach Productions

15. MIXTAPE by Stacey Menear

What it's about: “A thirteen year old outcast finds a mixtape that belonged to the deceased parents she never knew, accidentally destroys it, and uses the song list to go on a journey to find all the music in an attempt to get to know her parents.”

AGENT Paradigm – Ida Ziniti, Valarie Phillips

MANAGER Parallax Talent Management – Jim Wedaa

Status: Jim Wedaa producing.

16. THE ISOLATE THIEF by Kevin Leffler

What it's about: “In the dead of winter in the middle of the U.S. Civil War, a young man tries to hide the gold he stole from rogue soldiers who have taken over his remote house.”

AGENT International Creative Management – Aaron Hart

MANAGER Energy Entertainment – Brooklyn Weaver, Adam Marshall

Status: Hawk Koch producing.

17. BOOK SMART by Emily Halpern and Sarah Haskins

What it's about: “Two overachieving high school seniors realize the only thing they haven't accomplished is having boyfriends, and each resolves to find one by prom.”

AGENT William Morris Endeavor – Lis Rowinski, Sharon Sheinwold (Halpern)

United Talent Agency – Kassie Evashevski, Rio Hernandez (Haskins)

Status: Fox. Handsomecharlie Films producing.

18. MOTOR CITY by Chad St. John

What it's about: “A small time hood is framed and sent to prison, only to exact revenge years later.”

AGENT International Creative Management – Lars Theriot, Ava Jamshidi

Status: Warner Brothers. Dark Castle Entertainment producing.

19. THEY FALL BY NIGHT by Zach Baylin

What it's about: “A burned out detective investigates the kidnapping of a socialite couple's child.”

AGENT International Creative Management – Aaron Hart

MANAGER Mosaic – Brent Lilley

Status: Di Bonaventura Pictures producing

20. CELESTE & JESSE FOREVER by Rashida Jones and Will McCormack

What it's about: “A divorcing couple tries to maintain their friendship while they both pursue other people.”

AGENT United Talent Agency – Keya Khayatian (Jones)

Gersh - David Kopple, Lindsay Porter (McCormick)

MANAGER Brillstein Entertainment Partners - Andrea Pett-Joseph (Jones)

Status: Overture. Team Todd producing.


“A suburban ‘neighborhood watch’ group, actually a front for dads to get some male bonding time away from the family, uncovers a plot bent on destroying the world.”

AGENT William Morris Endeavor – Jeff Gorin

MANAGER Industrial Entertainment – Helena Hayman

Odenkirk Provissiero Entertainment - Marc Provissiero

Fox. 21 Laps Entertainment producing.

22. CONVICTION by Jonathan Herman

“After serving five years in prison after a botched heist, a mastermind bank robber is forced by a tenacious FBI agent to entrap his former protege who has embarked on a multi-million-dollar bank-robbing spree.”

AGENT William Morris Endeavor – Mike Esola

MANAGER Luber/Roklin - Stephen Crawford

Warner Brothers. Silver Pictures producing.

23. BEST ACTRESS by Michael Zam and Jaffe Cohen

“The story of the infamous career-long battle between screen legends Joan Crawford and Bette Davis, focusing on the on-set experience of the only film they ever made together WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE.”

AGENT William Morris Endeavor – Adriana Alberghetti, Kimberly Bialek

MANAGER Artist Talent Management – Renee Tab

Plan B Entertainment producing.

24. BETTY’S READY by Jaylynn Bailey

“After she discovers that her boyfriend is gay, a high schooler, determined to lose her virginity before she goes to college, pursues several possible ‘candidates’ before she finds love with her geeky neighbor, who has always loved her.”

AGENT Hohman Maybank Lieb - Bob Hohman, Bayard Maybank, Devra Lieb

MANAGER Circle of Confusion - Britton Rizzio, Noah Rosen

25. THE SITTER by Brian Gatewood and Alessandro Tanaka

“A suspended college student, living at home with his single mom, is talked into babysitting the three, young kids next door.”

AGENT United Talent Agency - Keya Khayatian, Charlie Ferraro

MANAGER Brillstein Entertainment Partners - Eryn Brown

Fox. Michael De Luca Productions.

26. Z FOR ZACHARIAH by Nissar Modi

“A sixteen-year-old girl named Ann Burden survives a nuclear war in a small American town..”

AGENT Creative Artists Agency - Jay Baker, Josh Krauss

MANAGER Energy Entertainment - Angelina Chen, Brooklyn Weaver

Zik Zak Filmworks producing.

27. WENCESLAS SQUARE by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely

“Based on the Arthur Phillips short story. Two spies fall in love while participating in separate Cold War missions in Prague during the 1980s.”

AGENT United Talent Agency - Charlie Ferraro, Keya Khayatian

Endgame Entertainment and This American Life producing.

28. BALLS OUT by The Robotard 8000 (Tim Talbott and Malcolm Spellman)

“When insurance salesman Jim Simmers has a near death experience, he decides that nothing matters except getting a promotion, a new car, and the hot girl from work. Jim's new attitude alienates his friends and co-workers, and he must figure out how to live his new life without losing his old one.”

AGENT Paradigm - Trevor Astbury, Mark Ross

MANAGER The Schiff Company - Nicole Romano

29. BURIED by Chris Sparling

“A civilian contractor in Iraq is kidnapped and awakens to find himself buried in a coffin in the desert.”

AGENT United Talent Agency - Charlie Ferraro, Doug Johnson

MANAGER Kaplan/Perrone Entertainment - Aaron Kaplan, Sean Perrone

Dark Trick Films, The Safran Company, Versus Entertainment producing.

29. THE DIVERSIFICATION OF NOAH MILLER by Adam Cole-Kelly and Sam Pitman

“A liberal New Yorker realizes he isn't as open-minded as he thinks he is and sets out to make a black friend.”

AGENT William Morris Entertainment - Mike Esola, Bill Weinstein

MANAGER Management 360 - Darin Friedman

34th Street Films, Radar Pictures producing.

30. THE GIRL WITH THE RED RIDING HOOD by David Leslie Johnson

“A Gothic imagining of the classic fairy tale in which a young woman is confronted by a werewolf, this time with a teenage love triangle at its center.”

AGENT Paradigm - Chris Smith

Warner Brothers. Appian Way Productions producing.

31. MY MOTHER'S CURSE by Dan Fogelman

“The young inventor of a new organic cleaning product invites his mother on a crosscountry road trip as he tries to sell his product to marketing outlets. His ulterior motive is to reunite her with a man she loved when she was young, and her motive is to help him overcome his ‘curse’ of non-commitment in relationships, for which she blames herself.”

AGENT William Morris Endeavor - Danny Greenberg

MANAGER Industry Entertainment - Eryn Brown

Paramount Pictures. Michaels Goldwyn producing.

32. RESTLESS by Jason Lew

“A tale of young love between a teenage boy and girl who share a preoccupation with mortality.”

AGENT William Morris Endeavor - Adam Levine

MANAGER Crestview Entertainment - Eric Black

Sony Pictures. Imagine Entertainment producing.

33. STREETS ON FIRE by Justin Britt-Gibson

“Two cops, reluctantly partnered, try to bring down a drug syndicate while navigating the streets of Chicago.”

AGENT The Gersh Agency - Sean Barclay

MANAGER Media Talent Group - Chris Davey

Katalyst Films producing.

34. TAKE THIS WALTZ by Sarah Polley

“A young woman struggles with her infidelities and the budding realization that she may be addicted to the honeymoon period of her relationships.”

AGENT William Morris Agency - Gaby Morgerman

MANAGER D/F Management - Frank Frattaroli

Susan Cavan producing.

35. THE TRADE by Dave Mandel

“The true story of two New York Yankees pitchers who caused a national scandal when they swapped wives in the early 70s.”

AGENT William Morris Endeavor – Bill Weinstein, Jeff Gorin, Phil Raskind

Warner Brothers. Idealogy producing.

36. BAYTOWN DISCO by Barry Battles and Griffin Hood

“Three redneck brothers get in over their heads when they agree to help a woman kidnap her son back from his seemingly evil father.”

AGENT Agency for the Performing Arts - Sheryl Peterson, Debbie Deuble Hill

MANAGER Elevate Entertainment - Jenny Wood

37. JIMI by Max Borenstein

“The life story of rock legend Jimi Hendrix.”

AGENT United Talent Agency - Keya Khayatian, Jon Huddle, Rebecca Ewing

MANAGER Anonymous Content - Adam Kossack, Bard Dorros

Legendary Pictures. Billy Gerber producing.


“After ten years on the run from the mob, the son of a mob lawyer must choose between prison and helping the man who killed his mother.”

AGENT William Morris Endeavor - Mike Esola, Lisa Hallerman

MANAGER Wirehouse Entertainment - Jessica Jordan

39. THE GUYS GIRL by Nick Confalone and Neal Dusedau

“Three male best friends realize they’re each in love with their mutual female best friend when she gets engaged.”

AGENT United Talent Agency - Blair Kohan, Rio Hernandez

MANAGER 3 Arts Entertainment - Greg Walter

Ternion producing.

40. RITES OF MEN by Jonathan Herman

“When a working class dad’s only son is murdered, he sets out to discover who is responsible.”

AGENT William Morris Endeavor - Mike Esola

MANAGER Luber/Roklin - Stephen Crawford

Universal Pictures.

41. SMILE, RELAX, ATTACK by Eli Attie

“A young, ambitious political consultant finds himself in over his head when his first big client - an incumbent Democratic Virginia Senator - becomes the subject of national scrutiny by both Parties.”

AGENT William Morris Endeavor - Bryan Besser

Mandate Pictures. Idealogy producing.

42. BOBBY MARTINEZ by Ric Roman Waugh

“A coming-of-age biopic about the titular Mexican-American surfer. Martinez rose out of the gang-ridden streets of Southern California to become a hero to his community when he swept every major amateur surfing tournament in his first year of competition and won the ASP Rookie of the Year honors in his first pro season.”

AGENT International Creative Management - Nicole Clemens, Harley Copen, Nick Reed

MANAGER Management 360 - Darin Friedman

State Street Pictures and Participant Media producing.

43. SHIMMER LAKE by Oren Uziel

“As a small-town bank-theft job slowly unravels, it proves to involve virtually everyone, from an ex-meth-lab runner to a crooked prosecutor and his vengeful cop brother.”

AGENT William Morris Endeavor - Bryan Besser

MANAGER Circle of Confusion - Britton Rizzio

Fox. Josephson Entertainment producing.

44. LOVESTRUCK by Annabel Oakes

“Cynical best friends Amelia and Ruth love nothing more than to ridicule romance. When they take it one step too far at their friend's wedding, they are sentenced to a fate worse than death - becoming heroines in their own romantic comedy.”

AGENT Untitled Talent Agency - Rio Hernandez, Jon Huddle

MANAGER Kaplan/Perrone Entertainment - Sean Perrone, Bryan Miller

Apparatus producing.

45. GOOD LOOKING by Chris McCoy

“In a future where dating services perfectly match soulmates, a man rejects the person chosen for him.”

AGENT Creative Artists Agency - Brian Siberell, Sally Willcox

MANAGER Anonymous Content - Shawn Simon

Dreamworks. Double Feature Films producing.

46. LIARS (A-E) by Emma Forrest

“A twenty-nine year old woman on the way to President Obama's inauguration stops to retrieve lost items from her ex-boyfriend in the hope of getting over her most recent heartache.”

AGENT William Morris Endeavor - Cliff Roberts

Casaratto - Eleanor Burns

Miramax. Scott Rudin Productions producing.


“The rise of Nolan Bushnell, father of the videogame industry, who started Atari in the 70s.”

AGENT Original - Jordan Bayer

MANAGER Principato Young Management - Paul Young, George Heller

Paramount Pictures. Appian Way Productions producing.

48. JIMMY SIX by Daniel Casey

“The screw-up son of a murdered mobster goes with a hitman to exact revenge on the informer who sent his father to his death.”

AGENT William Morris Endeavor - Mike Esola

MANAGER Circle of Confusion - Noah Rosen

Whitewater Films producing.

49. CORSICA 72 by Neil Purvis and Robert Wade

“On the island of Corsica in 1972, childhood best friends Marco and Sauveur find their lives veering in opposite directions - the first towards the Mafia, the second toward a simpler life with his beloved, Lucia. When the Corsican mob kills Sauveur's brother, they ignite a tit-for-tat blood feud that inevitably leads toward a final showdown.”

AGENT United Talent Agency - Jeremy Barber

Ruby Films producing.

50. ARTHUR by Peter Baynham

“Based on the 1981 film of the same name. A spoiled rich twentysomething must decide between true love and the vast fortune he’ll inherit if he marries a society woman whom he doesn’t love.”

AGENT United Talent Agency - Jeremy Barber

Warner Brothers. MBST Entertainment and Benderspink producing.

51. 2 GUNS by Blake Masters

“Based on the comic book of the same name by Stephen Grant. A DEA agent and an undercover naval intelligence officer unwittingly investigate each other while stealing mob money.”

AGENT United Talent Agency – Blair Kohan, Geoff Morely

Universal Pictures. Marc Platt Productions and Boom! Studios producing.

52. CUT BANK by Roberto Patino

“A small town thriller set in Cut Bank, Montana.”

AGENT William Morris Endeavor - Rich Cook, David Karp

MANAGER Principato Young - Evan Cavic

Stick n’ Stone Productions producing.

53. DEAD LOSS by Josh Baizer and Marshall Johnson

“A crab fishing boat crew rescues a castaway adrift in a life raft with mysterious cargo that soon both captivates and divides them.”

AGENT William Morris Endeavor - Bill Weinstein, David Karp

MANAGER Anonymous Content - Bard Dorros, Shawn Simon

Thousand Words producing.

54. THE STORM by Richard Taylor and Bryan Bagby

“A bounty hunter and his prey must unite to take on an evil sheriff and his posse in a lawless Wyoming town.”

AGENT The Gersh Agency - Carolyn Sivitz

MANAGER Anonymous Content - Bard Dorros

Simon Brooks producing.

55. I HOPE WE CAN STILL BE FRIENDS by John Whittington

“A couple breaks up after 5 years together but vow to remain friends after the fact, which proves much harder to do than they imagined.”

AGENT The Gersh Agency - Sarah Self

MANAGER Mason Novick

Inferno Entertainment. Mason Novick producing.

56. I HATE YOU DAD by David Caspe

“A father moves in with his son on the eve of his son’s wedding and promptly begins feuding with the bride-to-be.”

AGENT William Morris Endeavor - Phil D’amecourt, Elia Infascelli-Smith

MANAGER Magnolia - Javier Contreras

Sony Pictures. Happy Madison Productions producing.

57. IF I STAY by Shauna Cross

“Based on the novel of the same name by Gayle Forman. A teenage girl leaves her body after a tragic car crash and needs to decide whether to return to her life or not.”

AGENT William Morris Endeavor - Cliff Roberts, Lis Rowinski

MANAGER Jaret Entertainment - Seth Jaret

Summit Entertainment. Di Novi Pictures producing.

58. THE KING'S SPEECH by David Seidler

“George VI, also known as Bertie, reluctantly takes the throne of England when his

brother, Edward, abdicates in 1936. The unprepared king turns to a radical speech

therapist, Lionel Logue, to help overcome his nervous stutter and the two forge a


MANAGER Jeff Aghassi Management - Jeff Aghassi

The Weinstein Company. Bedlam Pictures and See-Saw Films producing.

59. THE GHOST AND THE WOLF by Rylend Grant and Dikran Ornekian

“An ex-cop and his old partner must reunite, burying years of distrust, to take on the vicious Russian mobsters who altered their lives profoundly in the 90s… destroying one and propelling the other to Captain.”

MANAGER Industry Entertainment - Andrew Deane

60. CON MEN by Eric Lane

“Greg Weinstock and Kevin Russell, two drug reps from Burlington Labs with nothing in common aside from a shared gift of moving product, are dispatched to a convention to hook the biggest sale of their lives.”

Shay Weiner producing.


“A college student home for the holidays discovers that an internet porn film turns its viewer into homicidal maniacs. As the epidemic spreads, he has to save his longtime crush while struggling to control his own urges.”

AGENT Creative Artists Agency - Billy Hawkins, Brian Kavanaugh-Jones

MANAGER Energy Entertainment - Adam Marshall, Milana Rabkin

Status: Michael de Luca Productions and David Gordon Green producing.

62. JOSH by Gary Ross

What it's about: “The lives of a single father and his teenaged son are dramatically changed when the boy's mother returns and wants to be part of her son's life.”

AGENT Creative Artists Agency - David O’Connor, Maha Dakhil

Status: Universal Pictures. Larger Than Life Productions producing.

63. MY SISTER IS MARRYING A DOUCHEBAG by Wendy Molyneux and Lizzie Molyneux

What it's about: “A young woman, thinking that her sister’s new fiance is a douchebag, sets out to sabotage their wedding.”

AGENT William Morris Endeavor - Phil D’amecourt, Simon Faber

MANAGER Kaplan/Perrone Entertainment - Aaron Kaplan, Sean Perrone

64. THE LOW SELF ESTEEM OF LIZZIE GILLESPIE by Mindy Kaling and Brent Forrester

What it's about:“A single girl in Manhattan dates the hottest guy in the world but must overcome her insecurities when she hears him deny they are dating.”

AGENT United Talent Agency - Blair Kohan, Julien Thuan (Kaling)

United Talent Agency - Jason Burns, David Kramer (Forrester)

MANAGER 3 Arts Entertainment - Howard Klein (Kaling)

Levity Management Group - Kevin Stolper (Forrester)

Status: Mandate Pictures.


What it's about: “Renko Vega, once a hero and now a rogue thief wandering the galaxy with his hyperintelligent spaceship the Jennifer 9, is forced to become a hero once again when the young daughter of the President of Earth is kidnapped.”

AGENT Agency for the Performing Arts - Debbie Deuble Hill, Sheryl Peterson

MANAGER Brucks Entertainment - Brian Brucks

66. NORM THE MOVIE by Sam Esmail

What it's about: “A buddy comedy in which a guy is transported into a movie... or so he thinks.”

AGENT William Morris Endeavor - Mike Esola, Danny Gabai

MANAGER Energy Entertainment - Adam Marshall, Milana Rabkin

67. SMASH AND GRAB by Marc Wolff

What it's about: “When his wife is kidnapped, a reformed thief has to team up with his hapless ex-partner to save her, while dodging the LAPD, the FBI, and various members of the Los Angeles underworld.”

AGENT United Talent Agency - Tobin Babst

MANAGER Mason Novick

Status: Mason Novick and Julie Yorn producing.


What it's about: “Joe, an insecure writer with a boring desk job, finally manages to sell his assassin novel, The Memoirs of an International Assassin to the one publisher that will buy it. To his horror the publisher retitles it The True Memoirs of an International Assassin and markets the book as non-fiction -- making it seem as if Joe is the assassin himself. He soon finds himself in the crosshairs of the CIA, various drug lords, the media, and a beautiful investigative journalist while on a vacation in Belize.”

AGENT William Morris Endeavor - Mike Esola, Rich Cook

MANAGER Art/Work Entertainment - Julie Bloom

Status: The Film Department. Michael De Luca Productions producing.

69. NO BLOOD, NO GUTS, NO GLORY by Chase Palmer

What it's about: “A spy and twenty Union soldiers in disguise board a train in Georgia to execute a scheme that could bring a quick end to the U.S. Civil War.”

AGENT William Morris Endeavor - Craig Kestel

MANAGER Gotham Group - Peter McHugh, Lindsay Williams

Status: Misher Films producing.

70. ALLIES WITH BENEFITS by Elizabeth Wright Shapiro

What it's about: “The female President of The United States falls for her old college fling, the now Prime Minister of England.”

AGENT United Talent Agency - Blair Kohan, Tobin Babst, Jay Gassner

MANAGER Industry Entertainment - Jess Rosenthal

Status: Scott Free Productions producing.

71. 30 MINUTES OR LESS by Matthew Sullivan and Michael Diliberti

What it's about: “A comedy about a pizza delivery guy on an unlikely caper.”

AGENT William Morris Endeavor - Bill Weinstein, Simon Faber

MANAGER New School Media - Brian Levy

Status: Red Hour Films and New School Media producing.

72. COMIC CON by Matthew Sullivan and Michael Diliberti

What it's about: “To save their beloved neighborhood comic shop, a justice league of comic geeks must plan and execute a daring heist at Comic-Con.”

AGENT William Morris Endeavor - Bill Weinstein, Simon Faber

MANAGER New School Media - Brian Levy

73. CROOK FACTORY by Nicholas Meyer

What it's about: “Based on the novel by Dan Simmons and true events. An FBI agent is ordered to baby-sit Ernest Hemingway as he goes about running a motley spy ring in WWII Cuba.”

MANAGER Alan Gasmer & Friends - Alan Gasmer

Status: Warner Brothers. Infinitum Nihil producing.

74. THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY by Mark Bomback

What it's about: “Based on the comic book written by Gerard Way. After being raised by a brilliant scientist and a hyper-intelligent chimp, six super-powered former ‘child superheroes’ reunite to stop one of their own from leading a violin symphony that will destroy the world.”

AGENT William Morris Endeavor - Jason Spitz

MANAGER Anonymous Content - Adam Shulman

Status: Universal Pictures. Stuber Productions and Dark Horse Entertainment producing.

75. HANNA by David Farr

What it's about: “A fourteen year old girl is raised by her father to be a cold hearted killing machine.”

AGENT Creative Artists Agency - Bob Bookman, Josh Krauss

Curtis Brown - Nick Marston

Status: Focus Features. Adelstein Productions producing.

THE HAND JOB by Maggie Carey

What it's about: “A coming-of-age comedy about a teenage girl who gives her first hand job (among other life experiences).”

AGENT United Talent Agency - Blair Kohan, Julien Thuan

MANAGER 3 Arts Entertainment - Greg Walter, Tom Lassally

Status: Team Todd producing.


What it's about: “A man becomes entangled in a secret society that forces him to murder.”

AGENT Feature Artists Agency - Brian Dreyfuss

MANAGER The Shuman Company - AB Fischer

Status: Maguire Entertainment and Endgame Entertainment producing.

DUE DATE by Alan R. Cohen and Alan Freedland

What it's about: “An uptight father-to-be is forced to travel across the country with an idiotic stoner in order to close a major business deal and make it home in time for the birth of his first child.”

AGENT William Morris Endeavor - Jason Spitz, Richard Weitz, Mike Esola

Status: Warner Brothers. Legendary Pictures and Green Hat Films producing.

THE CURSE OF MEDUSA by J Lee and Tom Welch

What it's about: “An origin story of Medusa the Gorgon.”

MANAGER Anonymous Content - Adam Kossack

Status: Original Films producing.

MEDIEVAL by Alex Litvak and Michael Finch

What it's about: “An unlikely group of imprisoned warriors are forced on a suicide mission to steal the King's crown in order to gain their freedom. They soon realize they've been set up to take the fall for the assassination of the King.”

AGENT William Morris Endeavor - Adam Levine

Status: Fox, New Regency. Wonderland Sound and Vision producing.

OWENS MANUAL by Greg Ferkel

What it's about: “A mild-mannered IT guy finds an 'owners manual' to his dull life but struggles to manage the realities of it when he reaches the end of the manual.”

AGENT International Creative Management - Harley Copen, Sophie Holodnik

MANAGER Caliber Media - Max Roman

Status: Gary Sanchez Productions producing.

THE LAST STAND by Andrew Knauer

What it's about: “A drug cartel king escapes his trial in a 200mph Gumpert Apollo, and the only thing in between him and Mexican freedom is a small town cop in a bordertown.”

AGENT William Morris Endeavor - Mike Esola

MANAGER Energy Entertainment - Jake Wagner

Status: Lionsgate. Di Bonaventura Pictures producing.

JAWS OF LIFE by Michael Goldbach

What it's about: “A seventeen year old boy falls in love with a woman old enough to be his mother and begins to question the meaning of love and relationships while his parents go through a divorce.”

MANAGER The Collective - Ava Greenfield

Status: Mason Novick producing.

JITTERS by Marc Haimes

What it's about: “A dysfunctional, recession-struck family moves into a new neighborhood and is terrorized by superbugs.”

AGENT William Morris Endeavor - Jeff Gorin

MANAGER Benderspink - JC Spink, Charlie Gogolak

Status: Paramount Pictures. Benderspink producing.

SWINGLES by Zach Braff

What it's about: “A bachelor who is dumped by his wingman teams up with a sharp-tongued woman he can't stand in order to meet women.”

AGENT Creative Artists Agency - Craig Gering

MANAGER Industry Entertainment - Sandra Chang

Status: Paramount Pictures. Misher Films producing.

THE TREES by Tyler Hisel

What it's about: “Isolated and threatened, a mysterious force hidden within the trees outside the small town of Laytonsville, Maryland strikes fear in the townsfolk as Sheriff Paul Shields attempts to overcome the demons of his past while protecting those that he loves.”

MANAGER Insignia Entertainment - Alexander Robb

THE SPECTACULAR NOW by Scott Neustadter and Mike Weber

What it's about: “A hard-partying high school senior's life changes when he meets a shy, insecure girl.”

AGENT Creative Artists Agency - Bill Zotti, Greg McKnight

MANAGER Kaplan/Perrone Entertainment - Aaron Kaplan, Sean Perrone

Status: Fox Searchlight. 21 Laps Entertainment producing.

SAND DOGS by Vineet Dewan and Angus Fletcher

What it's about: “A pair of Western Red Crescent Paramedics weather a series of intense, dangerous days in the Gaza Strip.”

AGENT United Talent Agency - Ramses Ishak, Michael Sheresky (Dewan)

Agency for the Performing Arts - David Saunders (Fletcher)

MANAGER Caliber Media - Dallas Sonnier (Dewan & Fletcher)


What it's about: “The story of oilman T. Cullen Davis, the richest man in the United States ever to be tried (and acquitted twice) for the capital murder of his stepdaughter, marking the end of the reign of Texas oil billionaires.”

AGENT William Morris Endeavor - Mike Esola

Status: Infinitum Nihil producing.

WATER FOR ELEPHANTS by Richard LaGravanese

What it's about: “Jacob Jankowski is about to take his final exams in veterinary medicine at Cornell when his parents are killed in a car accident. He drops out and joins Benzini Brothers, a second-rate traveling circus trying to survive during the Depression.”

AGENT Creative Artists Agency - Byrdie Lifson-Pompan, David O’Connor

Status: Fox 2000. Flashpoint Entertainment producing.


What it's about: “Based on the book by Matt Bondurant. The story of a moonshine gang operating in the bootlegging capital of America – Franklin County, Virginia – during Prohibition.”

AGENT United Agents - Anthony Jones

Status: Red Wagon Productions producing.


What it's about: “Gordon Gekko, fresh from prison, re-emerges into a much harsher financial world than the one he left.”

AGENT Creative Artists Agency - Jon Levin, Carin Sage

MANAGER Scarlet Fire - Steven Pearl

Status: Fox. The Edward R. Pressman Film Corporation producing.

THE UNDERLING by Dave Stoller and Ben Shiffrin

What it's about: “A man slowly comes to discover his girlfriend is literally working for the devil and has to find a way to escape.”

AGENT United Talent Agency - Charlie Ferraro

Status: MANAGER Gotham Group - Jeremy Bell, Lindsay Williams

THE VATICAN TAPES by Chris Borrelli

What it's about: “In a highly secured vault deep within the walls of Vatican City, the Catholic Church holds thousands of old films and video footage documenting exorcisms/supposed exorcisms and other unexplained religious phenomena they feel the world is not ready to see. This is the first tape - Case 83-G - stolen from these archives and exposed to the public by an anonymous source.”

AGENT United Talent Agency - Jon Huddle

MANAGER H2F - Chris Fenton

Status: Lionsgate. Lakeshore Entertainment producing.

YEAR 12 by Edward Ricourt

What it's about: “Twelve years after an alien invasion leaves humankind decimated and brutally subjugated, a former soldier must smuggle deadly uranium in his bloodstream and, with help from a pair of rebels, fight his way to an air force base where the uranium can be extracted and used to fuel a nuclear missile for a counterstrike that will reverse the direction of the war.”

AGENT Creative Artists Agency - Matt Rosen

MANAGER Gotham Group - Peter McHugh

Status: Paramount Pictures. Roth Films producing.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Airplane Blogging

Wrote this a few weeks back. Wasnt sure i was going to post, but what the hell.

Long indeed but I won't be starting with any apologies faithful reader. How hollow would that ring when we both know that this blog is merely a tickle in my side only at 33000 feet it seems.

Emotionally one of the roughest experiences in years. A colleague, friend, confidant, a terrible late night argument. Him aggressive and accusatory and myself defensive and denying. It seems that there was a lot more bad blood between us than I would have thought and for whatever reason it all came flowing out that night. By the end of the argument it had degenerated to name calling in the loudest of volumes. I haven't screamed like that in anger, fury, for years. After hanging up he deleted me as a facebook friend and emailed that he didn't want to know me, work with me, ever again. Will see what happens, If a detente is possible but I don't know. Its not just what was said but the feelings behind it were so full of anger. Regardless of apologies or anything else, don't those remain. Its difficult to be told by someone that virtually everyone that knows us in common thinks you are an asshole, that you are the most selfish person that only looks out for themselves. That you are to blame, largely for a huge mess which was brought upon you by others and which you did your best to rectify. Emotionally I'm still rather spent and raw. Recovering. I woke that morning after with a hangover in fact even though I hadn't had anything to drink. I've spent a fair amount of time discussing those accusations with friends and thinking about them myself. Some I can disregard I believe and some perhaps have an element of truth. I'm not perfect and I can strive to be nicer to people . Ill do that.


I'm actually Blogging on my phone as my laptop is out of juice. Its making me less verbose than normal. About to land in austin. Here with Steve hentges hunger and looking forward to seeing some of the most laid back city in America.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Winners, 13th NYC PictureStart Film Festival, June 14-5, 2009

Jury Awards

Best Short Film
Winner, Lost Paradise, Oded Binnun, Mihal Brezis
1st Runner Up, Kweisi, David Sauvage
2nd Runner Up, Refrigerator, Jim Revis

Best Actor
Winner, Kweisi, Kweisi
1st Runner Up, Sodom by the Sea, Mike Cianflone
2nd Runner Up, Lost Paradise, Moris Cohen

Best Actress
Winner, Emma’s 18th Birthday Party, Ching Shen Chang
1st Runner Up, Lost Paradise, Rotem Cohen-Zisman
2nd Runner Up, The Gynaecologist, Camila Bossa

Winner, Emma’s 18th Birthday Party
1st Runner Up, Lost Paradise
2nd Runner Up, Baby Boots, Aaron Munson

Special Jury Award
Baby Boots, Hans Olsen

Best Short Screenplay
Sonny, Julian Stephenson

Audience Awards

Best Short Film
Winner, Refrigerator, Jim Revis
1st Runner Up, Stay True Darling, James Morrison
2nd Runner Up, Trunk, Annie Feld

Best Actor
Winner, Refrigerator, Simon Sorrells
1st Runner Up, Trunk, Steve Smith
2nd Runner Up, Lost Paradise, Moris Cohen

Best Actress
Winner, Stay True Darling, Ellen Cunningham
1st Runner Up, Refrigerator, Alyson Weaver
2nd Runner Up, April Day And Night, Dana Hunter

Friday, June 12, 2009

Setting Up

Spent much of the day finalizing for the 13th NYC PictureStart Film Festival. Got everything in hand, did the limited tech checks. Seems like everything is all set. Been a bumpy one this time around, at least in getting it together, with films withdrawing after acceptance (two, one for no reason at all, the other for a good reason, they got into Toronto which required a premiere), and my assistant not being in NY for the festival. Oh and David having the swine flu and his availability for the festival being in doubt.

But Dave seems to be OK. Got my hosts locked up, judges committed, and the films set and QC'ed. So away we go.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Anyone remember these? Love em.

So i was speaking to one of my festival hosts, Sarah Mindlin. She's a NY based actress, and she does some voice-over work for a friend of mine, Ben. That is how we've met, and how she came to be hosting the first day of "Fest"-ivities.

She has this great voice - no wonder she does these voice-over gigs. That voice got me thinking back, however, to the old beer ads that used to run on the radio, in the eighties before I could drink (not long before). I couldnt recall the company that made the ads, but with some help from my sister and her friend Kelly (herself another blast from the 80's for me), I was informed that the company was Molson, and that the guy in the spots was Garrett Brown, who invented the Steadi-cam, which makes all those great moving shots that pepper every big studio movie made (and revolutionalized movie-making). Talk about a renaissance man. Anne Winn, with that sultry laugh and great comic timing, was the one I recalled when talking to Sarah.

Anyway, here is a link to their spots for Molson and others. (Click the hear link on the left side of the page).


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I dont blog anymore.

Yet I am here. I've been thinking for quite some time about making some entries. There are so many things that draw my interest on the internet, active exploits, passive pursuits, and while I am online so much of the time while I am home (i.e., not shooting something, film, not deer, dear), I don't end up here. I think about ending up here, but I don't.

And then I think its been too long. Like a friend you haven't called for so long, it becomes a question mark. Maybe its been so long that they wouldn't even want to hear from you at this point. Maybe i haven't blogged in so long (months and months) that my audience (er, both of you) wouldn't even return to read what I'd newly written. Wouldn't even think to return to look to see if I had written anything.

And yet here I am writing, because...because because because, because I write more for me than for anyone else, and I felt like writing.

Whats going on...

I am once again in NY for the summer. I may not spend the whole summer in NY. There is some film work to be finished in LALA, on a film we shot over the winter. Pickups, mostly. Supposed to happen in July, but might be August. That would send me back to LA earlier than past years.

The film festival is this weekend. In many ways its been tougher than past years. My assistant bailed to LA during the festival, and Dave has the swine flu. Yeah, seriously. So he may be out of pocket. But the new venue is great and Sawyer is on board as always, so it will work out. We had less films submitted than expected, given the once per year nature of the festival now, which I attribute to the economic malaise. I only programmed 13 new films. Well, I programmed more, but one filmmaker withdrew and another got into the TIFF (Toronto) and had to hold for his premiere there, which I understand. I didnt find anything terrific to replace them so I stayed at the shorter schedule, and decided to show one of my own films for the first time, out of competition. Should be fun, anyway.

The film business is very difficult right now for independent producers. Banks are not loaning money and many of the companies that distributed indie movies have folded over the last few years. Budgets have been squeezed. It is what it is. Probably for the best on some level, as there were too many movies being made, I think.

I remain single, for the longest stretch of singledom of my adult life.

What else, what else. I don't really have to spill everything now, if my attention is to be back sooner rather than later. That is my intention.

And I am out of practice blogging, so forgive my lack of flow. I promise not to let it be so long next time, and I'll be in better form. I think.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Airplane Bloggin'- Easy Come, Easy Go

So finally on the way back to Los Angeles, and of course, en route, doing a little airplane blogging.

We wrapped production on Monday, with a bang. Or an explosion. I cannot really be more specific in this forum, but lets just say that it was enlightening. We were all fired up about the day’s filming. Know what I mean?

And now, I’m on the late night United flight back to Los Angeles, direct, coach. Bumpy as hell, the whole ride. I am sitting in an aisle seat, and there is an empty middle seat. In the window seat, I lie to you not, is a mountain of a guy. Wearing overalls. He is a veritable parade of bodily noises, mouth and otherwise. His name would probably be Bubba (in fact, our transportation captain on the movie was named Big Bubba, a short and impressively globular white dude with the strongest Cajun accent you can image, and a very surprising sensitivity to being liked and appreciated, especially in regard to his extensive collection of automatic weapons), but that would be an understatement. He looks like the guy who lost the hot dog eating contest to Larry Finkelstein in the movie, Meatballs, except that guy would be my neighbor’s younger, smaller brother.

Having not been home in a while, I am definitely excited about seeing friends, getting to work on projects somewhat neglected for a period of time, and most of all, waking up in my own space. Getting back to the gym will be nice too. Cooking and eating home cooked meals will be excellent. I think the weather hasn’t been great in LA for the past few weeks, but no matter, home is home. And I guess I have to admit, at least based on the amount of time in spent in LA relative to NY, LA is as much or more home than NY these days.

Got bunches of pics to upload to facebook, maybe I’ll post some here as well. We had a great crew for the most part on Sinners, and what I’ve seen of the movie really looks terrific. The shoot had its challenges, mostly due to a few very tough talent issues (some resolved) and location and permit problems. But the crew and even the producers pulled together and resolved to fight through it to make the best movie possible, even given the limitations.

And that is just how is should be.

We’ll be shooting a week or so in Los Angeles to finish off production. It will actually be the first time I’ll have shot a movie in LA (Slaughter was fully prepped in LA, but of course, never shot), so that will be an interesting experience.

Happy to be home.


I was done. But Bubba just spoke to me. Asked me to move so he could get out “to go to take a piss.” Literally. First words out of him. Then he chuckled and asked which was was the “head.” Ah, the colorful sorts you encounter in traveling to and from Louisiana.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Home Stretch

Some tidbits from the shoot in New Orleans…

Filming has gone well and we’re entering our final week of filming (seven days straight because of some actor-related schedule snafus) here in New Orleans. We started filming in the French Quarter today, with a call time at 1AM, meaning hotel pick-up at 12:15. Brutal was not the word, by the time it was nine or ten AM. We wrapped by around 11:30, and despite absolute exhaustion, since we were at St. Peter and Bourbon, I had two Newcastle drafts with Mark (another producer) and Will (the director) before heading back to the hotel for around five hours of sleep.

We’ll be heading down to the worst neighborhood in New Orleans, perhaps one of the worst in the country, tomorrow, down to the lower Ninth Ward. It’s the area most ravaged by Katrina, and we’ll be shooting there over the next four days. We’re doing lots of shootouts, and its my understanding that gunfire is not an unknown sound in this neighborhood. Its definitely going to be interesting.

In finding that location, I headed down to the lower Ninth with Leon, one of the exec producers. Among my duties in New Orleans outside of general producing was to focus on locations. I took Leon with me around to a number of location candidates because he had his car here and because he, well, he is strapped. With a permit of course. I knew what this neighborhood was so having a partner with an HK 45 caliber in his pocket was a bonus, an indispensable one.

When we got out to the house that is ultimately serving as our location, it had been boarded up tight. After checking with our location contact, a rep for a government contractor who knocks down these blighted houses, we got the go-ahead and Leon kicked in the back door. He wouldn’t walk through the house though, so I walked through this flooded-out blighted former rowhouse and kicked out the front door, knocking off the padlock. How many lawyers do that? We had some company, some unfriendly company across the street. My guess is that they thought we were cops, given that we were both, well, white, and kicking in doors, and videotaping the premises. They weren’t too happy to see us, and I hope they wont be around for the filming, but I imagine with our machine gun fire and exploding house, we’ll be attracting a fair amount of attention.

We’ve been splitting rooms in production here at the hotel, and I’ve been with actors until the past few days, and now a firearms specialist, a very nice guy who was a former KGB and Russian Special Forces soldier. His knowledge base when it comes to weapons and gunshots and that kind of stuff is broad and real and maybea little scary. But he’s a good roommate. Even though he’s toying with a gravity knife as I am writing. Yeah, seriously. You should see his home movies. Yeah, seriously again.

That’s kind of it for now. I haven’t been home since early December and I am looking forward to getting back to LA and my room and the gym and friends and warm weather.


Sunday, January 04, 2009

Rosenblatt Story was embellished

I am sure many of you have seen this in one of the 1000 newspapers in which its been published. This story is a project of mine for the last five years or so. This NYT article is probably one of the more balanced on the topic i"ve seen.

Let it be known that we are still going forward with the movie, which depicts the "apple" as a dream sequence, unclear about whether it really happened. It remains, in many peoples' minds, a wonderful story of survival, a personal "life is beatiful" created in reality by Mr. Rosenblatt.

Further, a book publication, most likely a novelization of the screenplay, is forthcoming.

I do want to point out that I feel that comparisons to Madoff, a swindler of other peoples money (billions of it), whose behavior has led to desperation and suicide, and to James Frey, who wrote the completely fabricated A Million Little Pieces, about his purported drug addiction, are out of turn. Herman didnt hurt anyone with his story, except perhaps himself. And he didn't fabricate his personality or existence. He is a confirmed Holocaust survivor, and as a child lived through and endured the most difficult circumstances possible. That this had an effect on his choices and how he chose to deal with reality is axiomatic. We cannot imagine his brain, not having walked in his shoes, and not having seen what he has seen. I thank God I haven't had to endure what Herman Rosenblatt endured in the first years of hit life.


A man whose memoir about his experience during the Holocaust was to have been published in February has admitted that his story was embellished, and on Saturday evening his publisher canceled the release of the book.
Skip to next paragraph
Times Topics: Literary Fraud

A bound proof of “Angel at the Fence” circulated in advance of the publication date.

And once again a New York publisher and Oprah Winfrey were among those fooled by a too-good-to-be-true story.

This time, it was the tale of Herman Rosenblat, who said he first met his wife while he was a child imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp and she, disguised as a Christian farm girl, tossed apples over the camp’s fence to him. He said they met again on a blind date 12 years after the end of war in Coney Island and married. The couple celebrated their 50th anniversary this year.

Ms. Winfrey, who hosted Mr. Rosenblat and his wife, Roma Radzicki Rosenblat, on her show twice, called their romance “the single greatest love story” she had encountered in her 22 years on the show. On Saturday night, after learning from Mr. Rosenblat’s agent that the author had confessed that the story was fabricated, Berkley Books, a unit of Penguin Group that was planning to publish “Angel at the Fence,” Mr. Rosenblat’s memoir of surviving in a sub-camp of Buchenwald with the help of his future wife, canceled the book and demanded that Mr. Rosenblat return his advance.

Harris Salomon, who is producing a movie based on the story, said he would go ahead with the film, but as a work of fiction, adding that Mr. Rosenblat had agreed to donate all earnings from the film to Holocaust survivor charities.

Berkley’s decision came in the same year that another unit of Penguin, Riverhead Books, was duped by Margaret Seltzer, the author of “Love and Consequences,” her fabricated gang memoir about her life as a white girl taken into an African-American foster home in South Central Los Angeles. She had in fact been raised by her biological family in a well-to-do section of the San Fernando Valley. It also followed the revelations, nearly three years ago, that James Frey, the Oprah Winfrey-annointed author “A Million Little Pieces,” had exaggerated details of his memoir of drug addiction.

This latest literary hoax is likely to trigger yet more questions as to why the publishing industry has such a poor track record of fact-checking.

In the latest instance, no one at Berkley questioned the central truth of Mr. Rosenblat’s story until last week, said Andrea Hurst, his agent. Neither Leslie Gelbman, president and publisher of Berkley, nor Natalee Rosenstein, Mr. Rosenblat’s editor at Berkley, returned calls or e-mail messages seeking comment. Craig Burke, director of publicity for Berkley, declined to elaborate beyond the company’s brief statement announcing the cancellation of the book. In an e-mail message, a spokesman for Ms. Winfrey also declined to comment.

After several scholars and family members attacked Mr. Rosenblat’s story in articles last week in The New Republic, Mr. Rosenblat confessed on Saturday to Ms. Hurst and Mr. Salomon that he had concocted the core of his tale. Ms. Hurst said that in an emotional telephone call with herself and Mr. Salomon, Mr. Rosenblat said his wife had never tossed him apples over the fence.

In a statement released through his agent, Mr. Rosenblat wrote that he had once been shot during a robbery and that while he was recovering in the hospital, “my mother came to me in a dream and said that I must tell my story so that my grandchildren would know of our survival from the Holocaust.”

He said that after the incident he began to write. “I wanted to bring happiness to people, to remind them not to hate, but to love and tolerate all people,” he wrote in the statement. “I brought good feelings to a lot of people and I brought hope to many. My motivation was to make good in this world. In my dreams, Roma will always throw me an apple, but I now know it is only a dream.”

According to Ms. Hurst, who represents other inspirational writers including Bernie Siegel, author of “Love, Medicine & Miracles,” Mr. Rosenblat first concocted his story in the mid 1990s as an entry to a newspaper contest soliciting the “best love stories.” In 1996, he appeared on Ms. Winfrey’s show with his wife and repeated the fabricated story. From there, it snowballed, with versions appearing in magazines, a volume of the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” series, and a children’s book, “Angel Girl,” by Laurie Friedman, released in September by an imprint of Lerner Publishing. Mr. and Mrs. Rosenblat, who now live in North Miami Beach, appeared on CBS’s “Early Show” in October.

As media coverage of Mr. Rosenblat’s story spread, scholars and others began to question the veracity of the romance throughout the blogosphere, pointing out that, among other things, the layout of the camp would have prevented the pair from meeting at a fence.
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Times Topics: Literary Fraud

In a telephone interview in November, Mr. Rosenblat defended his story against such doubts. He said that his section of Schlieben, a sub-camp of Buchenwald, was not well guarded and that he could stand between a barracks and the six-to-eight-foot fence out of sight of guards. Roma was able to approach him because there were woods that would have concealed her.

In recounting the stunning “reunion” with Ms. Radzicki 12 years later as survivors living in New York, Mr. Rosenblat said Ms. Radzicki told him she had saved a boy by hurling apples over a fence to him.

“Did he have rags on his feet instead of shoes?” Mr. Rosenblat said he asked her.

She said yes and he told her, “That boy was me.”

In a telephone interview Sunday, Ms. Hurst, who sold the book to Berkley for less than $50,000, said she always believed the essential truth of Mr. Rosenblat’s tale until last week. “I believed the teller,” Ms. Hurst said. “He was in so many magazines and books and on ‘Oprah.’ It did not seem like it would not be true.” On Sunday, Ms. Hurst said that she was reviewing her legal options because “I’ve yet to see what kind of repercussions could come from this, and I was lied to.”

Ms. Hurst said that Mr. Rosenblat did provide some documentation, including a 1946 letter from a warden with the Jewish Children’s Community Committee for the Care of Children From the Camps that said Mr. Rosenblat had attended a technical school in London. Evidence of an organization with that name did not appear in Internet searches on Sunday.

Susanna Margolis, a New York-based ghost writer who polished Mr. Rosenblat’s manuscript, said she was surprised by his description of his first blind date with Ms. Radzicki. “I thought that was far-fetched.” she said. “But if somebody comes to you, as an agent and a publisher, and says, ‘This is my story,’ how do you check it other than to say, ‘Did this happen?’ ”

That so many would get taken in by Mr. Rosenblat’s inauthentic love story seems incredible given the number of fake memoirs that have come to light in the last few years. The Holocaust in particular has been fertile territory for fabricated personal histories: earlier this year, Misha Defonseca confessed that her memoir, “Misha: A Mémoire of the Holocaust Years,” about her childhood spent running from the Nazis and living with wolves, was not true.

A decade ago, a Swiss historian debunked Binjamin Wilkomirski’s 1996 memoir, “Fragments,” which described how he survived as a Latvian Jewish orphan in a Nazi concentration camp. It turns out the book was written by Bruno Doessekker, a Swiss man who spent the war in relative comfort in Switzerland. Mr. Rosenblat, at least, appears to have told the truth about being a prisoner in the Nazi concentration camps.

The primary sleuth in unmasking his fabrication of the apple story was Kenneth Waltzer, director of Jewish studies at Michigan State University. He has been working on a book on how 904 boys — including the Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel — were saved from death by an underground rescue operation inside Buchenwald, and has interviewed hundreds of survivors, including boys from the ghetto at Piotrkow in Poland who were taken with the young Herman Rosenblat to the camp.

When Dr. Waltzer asked other survivors who were with Mr. Rosenblat about the tossed apple story, they said the story couldn’t possibly be true.

In his research of maps drawn by ex-prisoners, Dr. Waltzer learned that the section of Schlieben where Mr. Rosenblat was housed had fences facing other sections of the camp and only one fence — on the south — facing the outside world. That fence was adjacent to the camp’s SS barracks and the SS men there would have been able to spot a boy regularly speaking to a girl on the other side of the fence, Dr. Waltzer said. Moreover, the fence was electrified and civilians outside the camp were forbidden to walk along the road that bordered the fence.

Dr. Waltzer also learned from online documentation that Ms. Radzicki, her parents and two sisters were hidden as Christians at a farm not outside Schlieben but 210 miles away near Breslau.

Holocaust survivors and scholars are fiercely on guard against any fabrication of memories because they taint the truth of the Holocaust and raise doubts about the millions who were killed or brutalized.

“There’s no need to embellish, no need to aggrandize,” said Deborah E. Lipstadt, the Dorot professor of modern Jewish and Holocaust studies at Emory University. “The facts are horrible, and when you’re teaching about horrible stuff you just have to lay out the facts.”

Airplane Bloggin’: Back to NOLA

Sitting in the Admiral’s lounge for American airlines in Miami International Airport, I cannot help to feel more like a yeoman. No wireless access. No complimentary beverages other than coffee and water, and if you want a complimentary meal, I guess one can subside on three or four of the mini-muffins they have displayed under the glass cases. They do seem to have a full cash bar, but that’s not really the point of these airline clubs, is it? I thought the point was, when you’re encountering the ordeal that airports are in the modern age, it was a little oasis, with free lubrication. I don’t pay for the club, I get in by virtue of a platinum amex, but still, its just one more thing that’s been taken away, put on a paying basis. Its like the girl who used to lay you for the hell of it, the friend with benefits, who know wants girlfriend status. It’s a poor analogy, but forgive me, its early and I am still a bit groggy, a situation not aided by the weak-ass coffee here. Only thirty minutes from my flight, guess I should mosey (mosey?) to my gate…

Well, its hours later and I am in my hotel room in New Orleans. I think I am the first one back in the city from the production.

Miami…Miami. Was great. It was terrific to have that time with my parents, as its not often that I get to see them for an extended period of time. A bump here and there, to be sure, but all in all a great and relaxing trip. Dave Newman came down and despite the cramped quarters (we had to split a room, and David bought his version of an air mattress, which was a pool flotation device, only Newman) to sleep on. And with Ryan and Ricky in Miami, for the most part, the nightlife was kicking. New Years Eve itself was probably the weak link in the nightlife chain, a rookie night as I’ve always called it. But hitting the other spots, from the places at the Fontainbleau (Liv, and the outdoor portion of Blade by the Pool), the Mondrian (with Jen Styles, an LA friend), Mokia, Rokbar and all the rest. Oh, and the Shore Club, at Skybar which was lowkey (yeah yeah) and fun and non-pretentious somehow.

We hit the beach almost every day (except for the days spent at the Fontainbleau pool). The beach was a scene of course, crawling with paparazzi and the occasional celebrity. I actually ran into AnnaLynne McCord, who was an actress who was attached to Slaughter when it was supposed to enter production. You might know her better from 90210 (the new one) or from playing the teen seductress of Dylan Walsh on Nip/Tuck. In any event, despite our shared trials and tribulations she was very nice and gave me a New Year’s hug and kiss despite being clad in a very small bikini, which is something I really hope some reaching paparazzi got on camera.

I also had Mickey Rourke shake my hand and inadvertently spit on me. I hope it was inadvertent. Especiallybecause I bought him a shot of Jagermeister afterwards. He drank it like it was a shot of apple juice. We didn’t hug afterwards.

It was a bit of a whirlwind, ending up with Newman and I at Mokia the last night he was in town (he left the third, me the fourth) til 5 Am , me basically watching him people watching. He had an 8AM pickup for the airport, and was gone when I woke up hours later. I basically spent much of my last day first waiting for confirmation that I was leaving the next day (today), sleeping, packing and sleeping (lots of sleeping).

And now its back to work in New Orleans. Did some location scouting today, mostly in the ninth ward, and hit up the famous Port Of Call for Burgers and Monsoons, and to see Miami lose to Ravens, unfortunately. Like the Dolphins’ season, it wasn’t a perfect vacation, but it was pretty darn good.