Archive for the ‘ Indie Movies ’ Category

Roshi Trailer Hits First 1,000 Views

Light Age Films releases the newest trailer for its Fall schedule – Eyes of the Roshi.

Eyes of the Roshi - Coming Soon

For Immediate Release

Contact: Ethan Marten
Ethan@twopeppers.tv
James R. Johnson
James@twopeppers.tv

Virginia Beach, VA, August 26, 2009 – The crew that brought you Tanners Point and the MTV top five finalist of the Pepsi Rock Band Video Contest, are at it again. Fresh off their three awards from last year’s festival, the producers from Two Peppers Productions were just informed their motion picture, “Dead Men,” shot on location in Virginia is an official selection of the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival (NYIIFVF).

“It took the talents of three Hampton Roads production companies to bring “Dead Men” to life,” says Producer Ethan Marten. The suspense thriller was executed by Screenwriter George Smith of Future Tense Productions. Smith brought on director Scott Hansen, who’d recently worked with Willie Nelson. “To produce, engineer and edit, Future Tense knew of only one production company to help keep our future secure,” Smith says, “Wade Harrington and James R. Johnson of Two Peppers Productions.”

Dead-Men

“The energy of crafting a story for the screen from the chaos of pre-production is exhilarating,” says editor Wade Harrington of Two Peppers Productions. “Dead Men had a lively team of all star talent in front of and behind the cameras to pull it off.”

Do “Dead Men” tell tales good enough to bring back awards from New York? If Marten’s track record is any indication, this newest Pepper’s on a hot streak, his production companies have garnered five awards from his last three festivals. “Great story, great cast, great production value from the crew,” according to Johnson, “Dead Men has winner written all over it”

Work hits too close to home for funeral home attendant Doug when his fiancée uses his gun to kill herself on the graveyard shift. Unable to call the police for appearance of foul play, Doug turns to his coworkers Jay and Steve for help. But as complications arise and tensions escalate, Doug’s friends are forced to look death in the face and confront the possibility they may have more to fear from Doug than from the cops. “Dead Men” stars Maxx Hennard, Jay Gates and Frank Edwards.

The Dead Men shooting schedule began summer 2008 and will have its world premiere during the week long New York festival beginning October 22nd. Virginia Beach native, Jay Gates is a headlining comedian who offers up a terrific dramatic performance for “Dead Men”. Maxx Hennard, who is receiving thumbs up reviews for his work in Sorority Row (Summit Entertainment, September 11, 2009) and Dear John (Screen Gems, February 2010), turns in a great performance as the grieving fiancée.

Life doesn’t end there for “Dead Men”. Two Peppers is in negotiations with distributors for limited theatrical release and worldwide broadcast rights.

Looking to produce relationship movies with budgets of under $1 million.
Will not consider anything without proper copyright or registration with the writers guild.

By your submission you understand and agree that you are hereby giving free and full permission to producer to read and review your synopsis and treatment. You also represent that you have taken proper steps to secure and protect said material.

Send synopsis and treatment only to: ethan@rexnet.tv

REX Motion Media Video Profiles

Moving Myself Forward

Yesterday, with a heavy heart, I handed my resignation to Star Circle Pictures. It’s never easy to say goodbye to something you have helped to build from an idea.

Without looking back I wish my former partners good luck and good fortune. Our journeys lie along different paths. With this move I am trusting that doors to even greater possibilities and artistic expression open. To that — I am looking forward.

As Featured in Digital Producer

Interview:
Star Circle Pictures Principals Carr, Marten Talk Samaritan and P2
Studio’s P2 lensed movie wins award at NYIIFV Festival

Star Circle Pictures’ Samaritan, the company’s entry into the 2006 New York International and Independent Film & Video Festival won an award for Best Suspense Short Film Genre. What is notable, in addition to a good story, is the film’s use of the Panasonic, P2-based AG-HVX200 camera. Read More

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Just announced today by New York International Independent Film and Video Festival
“SAMARITAN” wins Best Suspense Short!  Kimball Carr nominated for Best Director!

Festival summit ..

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Film Focus
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Best suspense movies at NYIIFVF
NYIIFV Festival wrapped eight days of film screenings, world premieres, industry panels and after-parties November 16. The festival, known as “the voice of independent film,” will showcased more than 225 international and domestic features, shorts, documentaries and animations.
Star Circle Pictures (SCP) has won the award for BEST SUSPENSE SHORT for the N.Y. premiere of “SAMARITAN” at its 2006 festival.
 

Best suspense movies at NYIIFVF
November 30, 2006

The New York International Independent Film and Video Festival (NYIIFVF) proudly announces Star Circle Pictures (SCP) has won the award for BEST SUSPENSE SHORT for the N.Y. premiere of “SAMARITAN” at its 2006 festival.

NYIIFVF is passionate about exposing films and documentaries of emerging filmmakers from all over the globe,” says NYIIFV Festival Executive Director and Founder Stuart Alson. “Star Circle Pictures had demonstrated it’s skill with new technologies, being the first in the World to complete a movie with the Panasonic AG HVX-200 High Definition Camera. More importantly, with ‘SAMARITAN’ SCP demonstrates it’s skill at telling a compelling story.” Writer/Director Kimball Carr had also been nominated for BEST DIRECTOR.

“Though new technologies are rattling the foundations of cinematic self-expression,” SCP Producer Ethan Marten says, “story will always be King, and Star Circle Pictures its loyal subject – no matter how much we love those technologies. We are proud to be receiving both Kimball’s Best Director nomination and this Award for BEST SUSPENSE.”

NYIIFV Festival wrapped eight days of film screenings, world premieres, industry panels and after-parties November 16. The festival, known as “the voice of independent film,” will showcased more than 225 international and domestic features, shorts, documentaries and animations.
NYIIFV is the place to have your projects seen and reviewed by the best of the best,” comments Editor Dave Sardella (Micro Cinema Magazine). “This world-renowned festival can be the launching pad to a successful career for aspiring directors and producers. Executive Producer of NYIIFVF Mr. Stuart Alson comments, “We were excited about our line-up of films and filmmakers from all over the world. The festival represents a new wave of independent filmmakers and offers a unique opportunity for members of the film industry.
With Samaritan “Star Circle Pictures is remaking moviemaking,” according to Adam Penenberg of Fast Company Magazine. This High Definition motion picture is reminiscent of classic Twilight Zone – suspenseful and dramatic. “SAMARITAN” explores why we fear what we do not understand, and that maybe mankind must accept “that the truth may not be what we want it to be.”

“No film was used to make Samaritan. No tape. It was shot straight onto

memory cards and editing began on set,” says SCP Producer Ethan Marten. “When wrapped — after two nights and 81 set ups — Samaritan was already in a rough cut form having never left our possession.”
For all interview, feature, review requests and more information on the upcoming NYIIFVF, please contact Briege Mc Garrity at 917 783 4042 or via email at BMcGarrityPR@aol.com or Nicole Holland at nicolefilms1@aol.com or by telephone at 702-361-1430. Media credentials can be obtained by faxing a request to 702-361-6309 on company letterhead no later than November 1, 2006. A Press Credential form and complete film program is available online in the press room section of www.nyfilmvideo.com.
ABOUT NYIIFVF: The New York International Independent Film and Video Festival was founded in 1993 by entertainment impresario Stuart Alson and is recognized as the largest competitive independent film event in the world. Passionate about exposing the films and documentaries of emerging filmmakers from all over the globe, NYIIFVF is a unique platform for emerging and established filmmakers to network and screen their work. in the hope of getting exposure and a distribution deal. Past festivals have included the work of Calista Flockhart, Cameron Diaz, Eva Herzigova, Guy Pearce, George Clooney, Jennifer Aniston, Rod Steiger, Sean Lennon, Tippi Hedren, Willem Dafoe and Vin Diesel. Indie guru Abel Ferrara famously quoted in MovieMaker, “This festival is the real deal: Everybody else just talks about doing it, these guys just do it!”






The Cinema Lounge at Gardel’s in Baltimore presents “Samaritan.”
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The Baltimore Premiere was hosted by La Familia de Alonso in the Historic Gardel’s. 
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This beautiful 19th Century building (circa 1869) is practically a studio in and of itself, and the after party can be held downstairs where the best Tango dancers come from all over the East to show their stuff.

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If you are fortunate enough to screen at this venue you will be greeted by an enthusiastic assembly of producers, directors, actors, teachers, financiers, family and film folk.  On behalf of the “Samaritan” cast and crew, and the whole Star Circle Pictures Family I would like to extend our thanks and appreciation for all the effort that went into making the Baltimore Premiere a success.

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That’s Al Ghanekar (actor), Kevin Mayberry (actor), Lisamarie Holte (actress, recently made an appearance in Flags of Our Fathers), and Robert G. Christie (Director, The Sobbing Stone), and me.


Thanks to Gardel’s, Johnny Alonso and his family, Stacie and Black Ink Films for this wonderful event.  Thank you as well to all the the attendees.  You made the trip worth while.

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Ethan, Actor Kevin Tan, and Producer Stacie Jones

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Ethan and Balck Ink Films’ Producer Stacie Jones

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Pam Good and Sheri Beyrau on the way downtown.

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The fans demand; “Free the Birds.”  This might have been one of the highlights — an army of Baltimore Oriole Fans marched down the waterfront chanting for a change in ownership. 

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Who are we  to deny the Baltimore Fans?  Pam took the picture, Johnny, Sheri and I hit the Baltimore Waterfront.  Sheri was observing and chronicling, Johnny ordered the tapas in fluent Spanish.  The conversation steered from acting from acting to travel.  From as far back as Greek Theatre chorus members were heard to say; “It’s better to be typecast than not to be cast at all….” to our favorite places to voyage — Greece, China and Portugal.

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What Star Circle Pictures won’t do for its own. 
“Samaritan” Star Johnny Alonso catches a ride across the screening room! 

If you have photos from that evening — we will be happy to post them.  Please send as j-peg with photo id’s and photo bys where appropriate to ethan@starcirclepictures.com

After remaining awake and working through the last 72 hours of the Festival with London-based MaXam Productions…

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Meanwhile, the wheels are in motion for a Spring 2007 start date for “Six Bullets 7 Strangers.”

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Stay tuned for more Star Circle Pictures developments.

(Forgive the typos, edits will come later…)

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Note to self: Next Time, Bring Vitamins. Drink more water!

Life is what you make of it, and Stuart Alson’s New York International Independent Film and Video Festival has been one wild ride. The opportunities for moviemakers are endless!

In the last two days alone, I have developed friendships I know will last a lifetime, with people it will be a pleasure working with throughout that lifetime. How unique an experience to be in situation after situation where you can do business with people whose enthusiasm, artistic integrity and passion are a match to your own. Thank you Stuart and company.

There are big things to announce on the Star Circle Pictures front, but I think it’s only fair that my partners hear it before you .. not much earlier .. but a little! What I can reveal this morning is the formation of a strategic alliance.

The Festival has been setting the attendees up with additional opportunities. Last night, Jonathan and I hit press night for the new Bond film, Casino Royale, with Maxam Productions CEO Max Bartoli. We were joined at the Ziegfeld by 1,300 of my closest friends in the media. You literally couldn’t turn in one direction without having a discussion with a reviewer, which we did .. repetedly. We engaged in conversations and handed out screeners to genuinely interested press. (Lesson learned .. always travel with screeners!)

By the way, Daniel Craig brings first class acting chops to the best Bond script yet written.

After the film, the three amigos .. Jonathan, Max and myself .. headed back to Village East for a dinner with Stuart Alson and Independent Film Quarterly (IFQ) Executive Editor Nicole Holland.. Max sprung for the cab (All class!). Topics of conversation were far ranging .. literally .. from the L.A. Festival to Cannes. Stuart loves filmmakers. He created this festival after having sweated out his own production and going through the trials of getting it shown. He still works hard to get it right. During the Festival, he tends to operate on two hours sleep a night .. if he’s lucky. “I started my own festival so filmmakers could have the opportunity to be seen in major cities,” Stuart says. “I don’t want to be involved in the politics. I don’t want to make the films .. I just want to show them. I want to help filmmakers .. get them screened, get them press coverage, arrange distribution.”

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Far ranging discussions with New York International Independent Film and Video Festival’s Staurt Alson, Star Circle Pictures Producer Ethan Marten and Maxam Productions CEO Max Bartoli
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Finding common ground with Stuart and Max at the NYIIFVF 2006

He also enjoys meeting people and making friendships. We all agreed; take care of the family, eat well, keep a roof over your head, travel and making a living doing what you love with people you like makes for a wonderful life.

The day before, I was introducing Jonathan to fetching artist rep Francesca Giordano, the beautiful Paola, and World Class Painter Gersain Muriel. We had no trouble finding his Village apartment…until we got off the elevator! Not that it was difficult; we just took a couple of wrong turns in the hallway (note to self; bring sleep along with the vitamins)

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Paola, Francesca, E. and Gersain

Three lovelier people would seem impossible to find if I hadn’t already met so many on this trip. Gersain shared his art and his hospitality, while Francesca translated some things that might have been lost. We shared many laughs, and discussed the very heart of his art and soul.

I asked where this gift first came from, because it truly is a gift. Though Gersain is salt of the Earth .. totally without pretension .. standing before one of his works it is obvious to anyone who can see or feel that you’re standing before greatness.

Gersain himself would probably disagree. Instead, he would more likely point out (as he did) that two or three previously painted images are hidden beneath the oil on the current painting. If he doesn’t like a a sketch or a painting he will tear it apart. Francesca has witnessed people fishing his images out of the trash and piecing them together. Gersain has a talent for finding the beauty in images people would generally tend to overlook or even think ugly. He loves the human form and reveals it in all its glory .. fearlessly exploring the fine line between agony and ecstacy. But he can also find the beauty in a worn, torn and abandoned wing-backed chair.

Many find his work so compelling, he is possibly the youngest artist to have sold his work in a Sotheby’s Auction. His paintings hang in important collections throughout Europe.
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Gersain grew up near Medien, Columbia. He has known tragedy. Two of his brothers were murdered. He could be bitter, but he is filled with love, and a lust for life. Francesca noted that she had never seen a more beautiful and breathtaking place or ever been more scared for her life.

When he was four or five he says, “this woman molded my dinner into little animals. Then she had me draw them on the wall. That woman was my mother.” From that moment he knew he wanted to dedicate his life to “capturing forms.”

At twelve, he told his mother of his vision .. a beautifully dressed woman in colorful robes .. a goddess. His muse. His art. In a ceremony, with candles and prayers .. he married her. His mother wept her joy for his discovery.

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Though this bad boy artist is often be surrounded by beautiful women .. not the least of which are his friends and partners Paola and Francesca .. their greatest gifts eminate from within.

If you have photos from the event — we will be happy to post them.  Please send as j-peg with photo id’s and photo bys where appropriate to ethan@starcirclepictures.com

NYIIFV Festival Part Deux

(Excuse me folks if you’re already reading this. I’m still writing editing, but I’m posting so as not to lose any of this.  At this stage, I’m so tired, I have little control over the fingers that could send what little blog there is right now — into the netherworld of unretrievable data.)

Little time for sleep.  My eyes feel like two lead balls, and the effort it’s taking to keep them in the sockets is tremendous!  Not too many others sleep during the festival either.  Though as it winds on — I notice more bobbing heads.  There are many resources to take advantage of, and contacts being made.

The festival is going gangbusters — Star Circle Pictures is proud to be a participant and have SAMARITAN as an official entry.  The NYIIFVF Premiere of “Samaritan” has been a tremendous success.

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Hitting the streets and pounding the pavement…a violent day of hawking “Samaritan” at the New York International Independent Film Festival!

There were some minor glitches in last night’s Premiere; nothing that couldn’t be overcome by a festival staff with a can do attitude — a staff wanting the best outcome for each moviemaker.  It was almost  like a Marx Bros. movie for a moment — which made me, “SAMARITAN” family members Jonathan (Marten if you have been keeping the thread from the previous blog), Tanya (you’re gonna have to read that blog!), Sheri Beyrau, Kathlin Gordon, Russ, and Victoria Smith feel perfectly at home with the Martens.  I keep thinking about the in one door — out the other from “Room Service”.  Really, the only thing we were missing was Margaret Dumont! 

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The 2nd Story Gang reunited:  Ethan, Sheri Beyrau, Russ (newest member), and Kathlin “Goat Mother” Gordon. 

We were originally scheduled for Screen 3 (door #1).  For technical reasons, the festival moved the screening to 5 (door #2), and then another quick tango into Screen 4 (#3!).  Most of my troopers have had years of improv experience under their belts, took the offering, and said yes!  Everyone got up good natured and shuffled off to 4.  The slight delay actually provided a few extra minutes for some key WCBS media caught in traffic to be on time (and for me to do my first stand up in years.  Hey, I think I even got a gig out it!).

The end result was a full and appreciative house, and a fantastic screening attended by Time Warner (many thanks to Jansylvette Rotger, Irina Miloslavski and Gabriel ((Zdravstvuite and Spasiba!)).  They’re editing already.  I wish you some sleep, but I know you won’t get any until after the 16th!

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“My name is Jimmy Carter, and I’m running for Producer.”  Developing the Pitch during the day:  “See the movie Fast Company Writer Adam Penenberg says is ‘remaking moviemaking.’”

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Improving the pitch by night…”Spike Lee says, ‘Better than Katz!’ Orson Welles says, ‘If I made just one film –  just one — it would have been Samaritan!’ ” Perfecting the pitch:  “Borat!  Screen 4 at 6:05.  Follow me!”

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Yo Brooklyn!!  “Samaritan’s” newest fans.  Ben, right, used to go to the Village East Theatres when just a pisher — way back when it was a leading Yiddish Theatre.  My brother, Richard was an usher here almost 40 years ago for original production of  “Man of La Mancha,” starring Richard Killey, before it went to Broadway. 

We were honored to have “El Barrio’ Director Melissa Eidson in attendence along with Editor Lucero Milchorena.  “El Barrio” is one of the movies one must target given so many choices at NYIIFVF.  Tonight, make your way to the Village East Cinemas — 189 Second Ave, corner of 12th St. (Jeez, I don’t even make you open a directory, can I make this any easier for you?) Screen 6 @ 6:10pm.  Now folks, they’re executing the screening of hundreds of movies.  Those screens can change if need be — so confirm “El Barrio” on Screen 6 when you get there.

Also attending “Samaritan” — all the way from Rome — we’re talking 25,000 Euros for the trip folks, Maxam Productions very own namesake and CEO Max Bartoli and Tabitha Bartolini (who handles marketing here in Manhattan).  His movie “Ignotus” set in 13th Century Italia is a festival highlight not to be missed. “Ignotus” is the story of a wounded Knight recalling the most meaningful moments of his life before his enemies find him to finish him off.  And, when all hope is lost….This is an award winning short in multiple categories including Best Acting, Best Short and Best Costuming.  “Ignotus” has been selected for more than 10 international festivals!

Max has a rare passion and integrity  — not only for his own work — but for the work of others.  He not only has earned the respect of his peers, but gives it freely.  He is a true cinefile in the best sense of the word.  No moviemaker has a better friend or champion.  Grazie, mi amici.

Catch “Ignotus” Wednesday, November 15, 8pm at the Village East Cinemas.  I’ll see you there.

Check out Maxam’s multiple projects at their site: 
http://www.maxamproductions.com/

JT Talent & Casting is not only a sponsor President John “JT” Thomas is a larger-than-life personality that belongs infront of the camera.  Only two problems: one, finding a screen large enough to contain his energy.  (JT — drink some chamomile so everyone can keep up); two, he’s an even better personal manager!  He’s been working this festival so hard — Ive had multiple directors come up and ask if he was Stuart Alson!  Et tu JT?  Here’s a quick hint to tell them apart if you’re just off the boat.  Stuart is the guy who is running around making sure NYIIFVF is a great success for the moviemakers.  JT is the guy with the glowing implant on the right side of head (don’t know why they call that blue thing a “tooth” when it’s coming out of your ear, but hey…) running around rangling everyone and making sure NYIIFVF is a great success.  Thanks for rounding up the troops for the premiere JT.

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Getting down to business with John “JT” Thomas at the NY International Independent Film and Video Festival Premiere of “Samaritan” outside the Village East Cinemas.

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Teaching JT how to cheat out to camera.  He learns quickly!

By the way, if you’re attending the festival you need to get a hold of Renata (I’m not going to tell you to read that other blog any more, but really…okay, just this once — Renata Lorenc).  She’s on the phone cutting deals and securing distribution all day.  It is not uncommon to see her perched on the floor, in a corner, next to the table negotiating on behalf of the entries.  Somebody — surgically remove the cell phone and make sure she eats something!

More to come!

Night Two at NYIIFVF

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The New York International Independent Film & Video Festival

is in full swing.  There are great movies to be seen and a great spirit to match.  Festival Founder, Executive Director, and CEO Stuart Alson has created another fantastic festival. 
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His amiable and adept team have outdone themselves.  Program Director/Film Committee Chief Nicole Holland has assembled an incredible lineup of more than 200 movies, seminars, parties, receptions and other networking opportunities with distributors and worldwide press.  Along with my Award winning Producer Brother, Actors Repertory Theatre Artistic Director Jonathan Marten, we dove into the deep end and drank of its waters.  Mmmmnnn, tastey!
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Festival Director of Marketing Renata Lorenc at the Telephone Bar and Grill.  (Sleep is not an option!)

Festival Director of Marketing Renata Lorenc and Director of Publicity Briege McGaritty hosted a networking luncheon at the Telephone Bar and Grill on Second Avenue full of laughter as well as serious shop talk. 

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Ethan and Briege making plans at NYIIFV Festival 2006

Ms. McGaritty has been called every name she can think of over the years.  “I’ve been called Brie, even Breast (by one fellow whose Freudian slip was showing), but don’t call Briege Brittish.  She’s an Irish Rose through and through!

Marketing Wiz Valerie Nicholas, a former vegan, is sinking her teeth into film success (and the chicken wings!).   Valerie, who prefers her comedy on the edge, was on her best behavior — almost.  Years ago she started out with Champion Cigars, went to work for the Cyber Boxing Zone, and has parlayed that into a film career — this night having exhibited “Out of Ali’s Shadow:   The Larry Holmes Story.”
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“I get all European media,” says Briege as she, Jonathan, and Valerie Nicholas discuss the division of the World Press.

The  house was packed with luminaries, including the former Heavyweight Champion himself.  Holmes, who has been greatly overlooked is finely receiving the respect that has been due. 
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Ethan and Former Heavyweight Champion Larry Holmes at the openning of
“Out of Ali’s Shadow:   The Larry Holmes Story.”  I’m wearing my mouthpiece — just in case.

Writer/Producer Evan Grant brought all the mishpucha to celebrate his six-year-long journey to the big screen. Executive Producer (and writer of Cinerella Man) Mike DeLisa had his family in on the celebration as well. 
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Ethan with “Cinderella Man” Mike DeLisa

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“You may be my friend, but I’ll drop you in 10!”  Clowning with Executive Producer Mike DeLisa, who responds, “Don’t give me that jive — I’ll take you in five!”  The smart money’s on DeLisa.

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From right:  Writer-Director-Producer Evan Grant, Pulitzer Prize Nominated Writer Thomas Hausen, and Little (litterally)
Ol’ Ethan

Legendary trainer and commentator Teddy Atlas lent his talents on screen as well as in person.  For all of Atlas’ accomplishments, and training of champions, he remains humble.  
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Teddy Atlas — a class act — all the way. 

He pays tribute to his late father with the Dr. Theodore Atlas Foundation, awarding scholarships and grants to individuals and organizations.

HBO’s 30-year veteran of all things boxing  Larry Merchant was was on hand as well as Pulitzer Prize Nominee Thomas Hauser, who has been at work creating a romantic comedy!
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Larry — you were robbed!  There was no way you didn’t win the decision!  What’s next for Team Merchant?

“The NYIIFV Festival is a great stepping stone,” Valerie explained.  “It has great resources and opportunities for film makers.”  Last year Mike Delisa’s “The Superfight Marciano vs. Ali” won the Festival’s Screen Craft Award. Since the Star Circle Pictures business card  made it into her “Elvis” card case, and not the plain card case –  I know we’re going to be a success!  You rock Valerie…literally!
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Three Icons.  Elvis, Star Circle Pictures, and the hand of a Media Goddess…not necessarily in that order!

Marea Productions and Cannes 2006 selection “El Barrio” Director Melissa Eidson was kindness incarnate.  As my bloodsugar dropped — she slid a plate of fries in my direction!  Many thanks Melissa. 
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El Barrio Director Melissa Eidson is an artist with compassion as deep as her talent.  Her empathy for the human condition is the heart of “Barrio.”

The journey of “Barrio” began in Harlem, where Edison tought and learned from her young students.  She brought her teaching credentials to a Brooklyn school.  The way the public perceived it, “the next stop for a lot of these kids was Riker’s Island,” Eidson said.  “We had these kids doing Shakespeare!” 

After this, was a blur of events and activity including a stay with a cool uncle — a drinking, Priest-philosopher in San Miguel — a tip toTahiti to relax and write poetry, and a baby.

All these experiences and more went into the creation of El Barrio, a story of strength, endurance and ingenuity as seen through the eyes of the people of Mexico City.

“I  have an affinity for these people,”  Eidson  says, “I feel alive with them — they are survivors.”

All photos by Jonathan Marten — even the ones he’s in!  What can I say, he’s amzing.  Okay, I took those, but you were wondering how he did it for a second — weren’t you?  More tomorrow, including the Premiere of Star Circle Pictures’  SAMARITAN.  Good night — I mean good morning!  E.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Public Relations Contact: Briege McGarrity or
Nicole Holland at 917 783 4042
Fax: 702-361-6309
Email: BMcGarrityPR@aol.com
Website:www.nyfilmvideo.comwww.nyfilmvideo.com

THE NEW YORK INTERNATIONAL INDEPENDENT

FILM AND VIDEO FESTIVAL
GEARS UP FOR EIGHT DAYS OF FILM SCREENINGS,  WORLD PREMIERES, PARTIES AND PANELS
November 9-16, 2006

Featuring the talents of Patrick Dempsey (Grey’s Anatomy), Johnny Alonso (One Tree Hill, Samaritan) actress and activist Tippi Hedren (The Birds), Alex Murrel (Laguna Beach), Jeremy Sumpter (Peter Pan), Clayne Crawford (Swimfan), former Jerky Boy Kamal Ahmed and renowned Belgian actor Patrick Bauchau (The Pretender).

_________________________________________________________________

New York, NY October 26, 2006 –  The New York International Independent Film and Video Festival (NYIIFVF) proudly announces its return to its hometown Manhattan for eight days of film screenings, world premieres, industry panels and after-parties. The festival, known as “the voice of independent film,” will showcase over 200 international and domestic feature, shorts, documentaries and animations. The festivities kick off on November 9 with a networking party for filmmakers and artists at West Chelsea hotspot Crobar. Film screenings run from November 10th-16th exclusively at City Cinemas Village East.

NYIIFVF, passionate about exposing films and documentaries of emerging filmmakers from all over the globe, is “the place to have your projects seen and reviewed by the best of the best,” comments Editor Dave Sardella (Micro Cinema Magazine). “This world-renowned festival can be the launching pad to a successful career for aspiring directors and producers.

The scope of the festival ranges from high profile to novice, so viewers experience an array of films driven by the passion of independent movie-making. Founder and Executive Producer of NYIIFVF Mr. Stuart Alson commented, “We are excited about our line-up of films especially the documentaries and look forward to hosting our filmmakers from all over the world. The festival represents a new wave of independent filmmakers and offers a unique opportunity for members of the film industry as well as delegates and attendees to mingle without the pretentiousness!

Highlights in this year’s Fall/Winter line-up include:

Samaritan – With Samaritan “Star Circle Pictures is remaking moviemaking,” according to Adam Penenberg of Fast Company Magazine.  In an uncertain world we fear what we do not understand.  This High Definition motion picture is reminiscent of classic Twilight Zone – suspenseful and dramatic.  A stranger reveals his supernatural powers while saving a young woman’s life and thwarting an armed robbery.    Victor, the Samaritan, uses extrasensory abilities to disarm the assailant.  Who or what is Victor?   Is the Samaritan a force for good?  When two worlds collide, the veteran detective investigating this mystery is left with more questions than answers after his encounter with the enigmatic Victor.

–> –> –> –>

“No film was used to make Samaritan.  No tape.  It was shot straight onto memory cards and editing began on set,” says SCP Producer Ethan Marten.  “When wrapped — after two nights and 81 set ups — Samaritan was already in a rough cut form having never left our possession.”
(Tuesday, November 11th at 6:05pm, Screen 3)

Out of Ali’s Shadow: The Larry Holmes Story. Documentary. Directed by Evan Grant. Larry Holmes is undeniably one of the greatest champions in heavyweight history. Yet despite his accomplishments, Holmes never managed to escape the presence of the beloved Muhammad Ali. This documentary sheds light upon the man and brings the legacy of Holmes “Out From Ali’s Shadow.”
(Friday, November 10th at 6:00pm, Screen 7)

Heart to Heart. Documentary. Directed by Brian Gordon. A young girl’s heart is failing and will die soon. Doctors implant a device rarely allowed in the United States. After 6 months in the hospital, we learn her fate. Film is hosted and narrated by Patrick Dempsey (Grey’s Anatomy).

(Saturday, November 11th at 6:10pm, Screen 6)

For all interview, feature, review requests and more information on the upcoming NYIIFVF, please contact Briege Mc Garrity at 917 783 4042 or via email at BMcGarrityPR@aol.com or Nicole Holland at nicolefilms1@aol.com or by telephone at 702-361-1430. Media credentials can be obtained by faxing a request to 702-361-6309 on company letterhead no later than November 1, 2006. A Press Credential form and complete film program is available online in the press room section of www.nyfilmvideo.com.

Post-screening parties will be organized by dynamic party-planning company, Rula PR and will be held each night at various upscale lounges and clubs from 10pm-1am. All after-parties will have a strict dress code and are 21 and over.

Crobar is an award-winning space located in West Chelsea (530 W28th St (Between 10th & 11th Aves). City Cinemas Village East is located at 189 E12th and 2nd Ave). Movie tickets are priced at $12 and can be purchased in advance at www.nyfilmvideo.com or at the Box Office from November 10th onwards.

ABOUT NYIIFVF: The New York International Independent Film and Video Festival was founded in 1993 by entertainment impresario Stuart Alson and is recognized as the largest competitive independent film event in the world. Passionate about exposing the films and documentaries of emerging filmmakers from all over the globe, NYIIFVF is a unique platform for emerging and established filmmakers to network and screen their work. in the hope of getting exposure and a distribution deal. Past festivals have included the work of Calista Flockhart, Cameron Diaz, Eva Herzigova, Guy Pearce, George Clooney, Jennifer Aniston, Rod Steiger, Sean Lennon, Tippi Hedren, Willem Dafoe and Vin Diesel. Indie guru Abel Ferrara famously quoted in MovieMaker, “This festival is the real deal: Everybody else just talks about doing it, these guys just do it!” 

Samaritan’s New York Premiere

Hosted By: Stuart Alson
When: Saturday Nov 11, 2006
at 6:05 PM
Where: Village East Cinema (screen 3)
181 Second Avenue at 12 St.
New York, NY 10001
US
Description:
Star Circle Pictures movie SAMARITAN has its New York premiere.

Click Here To View Event

Hope to see you there along with our cast and crew.  Tickets are $15 at the door. 

Its amazing how much preparation can go into a 48-hour shooting schedule. SAMARITAN has been a well-orchestrated, well-executed production from concept to script, right through wrap. Johnny Alonso, who stars as the enigmatic character Victor, reflected from the Toronto set of Blu where he was shooting with Robert Deniro and Orlando Bloom.
Photobucket – Video and Image Hosting

Ethan Marten: Hey Johnny.

Johnny Alonso: Paisan! How’re ya doin Kid?

EM: Feel great? Hows Kelly and the kids?

JA: Everyones happy and healthy, thanks.

EM: We have a screening in Norfolk this weekend at The City Arts Festival. If you werent in such demand –

JA: Im with everyone in spirit! Give everyone a big hug and kiss from me.

EM: Done.

JA: So how do you want to start this thing?

EM: Im gonna give some skinny on why youre such a big star.

JA: I wish.

EM: Paisan youre modest. Here we go

Johnny got his degree in acting from N.Y.U.s Actors Studio. A scout from ABC caught Mr. Alonsos improvisational technique and asked him to audition for a role the studio had not been able to properly cast for the better 2 months.

The result, Johnny landed a 1-year contract role as Seth, a pine valley high school student and Susan Luccis nephew on All My Children, straight out of the Actors Studio.

JA: Not a bad first gig.

EM: Not bad. Not done. From there many gigs have followed: a guest starring role next to Ned Betty and Andre Brauer on Homicide; a 2 episode guest starring contract on Buffy, The Vampire Slayer you worked with Sarah Michelle Gellar right before she left All My Children didnt you?

JA: Yes.

EM: Aaah! SNAKES ON MY BLOG! You landed a contract role next to Samuel L. Jackson in Rules Of Engagement.

JA: A real gentleman.

EM: Then Axe, the bass player/boyfriend to Rachel Leigh Cookes character in Stateside.

JA: Thats when things really picked up. I was cast in a recurring role on the last season of Dawsons Creek —

EM: Jimmy Franco?

JA: A snide junior stockbroker next to Joshua Jackson and Katie Holmes. Originally a 2-episode contract (directed by Joanna Kerns from Growing Pains/Lifetime) became an 8-episode run.

EM: I hear you earned a place in Guinness for this.

JA: I hold the record for the only actor to audition 28 times for a series on the WB before landing a job!

EM: You were the Susan Lucci of Dawsons Creek! I heard you didnt actually get cast. In fact, you were there auditioning so often they thought you were already part of the cast! Meeting Joanna Kerns was fortunate, yes?

JA: Call it fate to have worked with Joanna. She said we’d would work together again one day well, right after Dawsons Creek came to an end, my agent got a call from ABC and Disney. I got the chance to work with the original cast from the series Growing Pains in Growing Pains II Return Of The Seavers as Mickey Chrissys r-n-r, bad new boyfriend.

EM: You spent 1 month on location in New Orleans Co-starring with Kirk Cameron, Ashley Johnson (Chrissy), Joanna Kerns, Traci Gold, Alan Thicke….

JA: It was wild working with a cast that I grew up watching as kid after school. Joanna told me that if I auditioned for her when the show was still running, that I was a dead ringer for the Mickey character she always wanted for the series. How wicked is that! That always getting into trouble character left a lasting impression with the viewers poll as a cool/upbeat story line/change of scene and pace from the usual Seaver issues.

EM: Then the Disney summer special Stuck In The Suburbs the WB series One Tree Hill with the recurring role of Joey D. Again this was a 2 episode deal which extended to 9 episodes! Youre the only actor to segway from Dawsons Creek to One Tree Hill (which took Dawsons Creeks place). How many auditions?

JA: This time — only once — this time!

EM: Okay, lets rattle some off. Other co-starring and Guest Starring credits include F.B.I. Files, The Adventures Of Young Van Helsing, Johnny Come Lately, Night Cry, The Tango Dancer, The Passing the list is getting heavy!

JA: I didnt realize how much I had done in 8 years.

EM: Your odometer must be spinning like crazy?!

JA: Call me Road Warrior.

EM: So how did you first hear about SAMARITAN?

JA: Karen Whitlow- Jones of Atlantic Talent. She mentioned it to me on the set of One Tree Hill.

EM: What were your initial thoughts before the audition?

JA: How badly I wanted to ride my skateboard on the newly paved parking lot outside across from where the auditions were being held. (Laughs).
EM: I remember that skateboard. It had an awesome look — it almost got cast in the lead!

JA: Johnny and the skateboard are a package deal! Really, I saw how serious some of the competition was in the holding area — so I got my game face on, Zenned out, and pulled it all together — the way an actor should.

EM: This is cool. Ill tell you what was going through my head when I first saw you, and you can give youre impressions. You already got the job, and we cant edit around you so go for it! As an actor Im always wondering what the hell theyre thinking on the other side of the table.

JA: You’re the best, Paisan! That’s why we roll the way we do. Actors should know they’re called in basically on looks through a glossy, and maybe what ‘s seen on a resume. But, once you’re there, it’s your attitude, your personality — you’re star quality that puts ink on paper. Plus, you have long hair too, which makes you cool in my book.

EM: Yes. Everyone in the company’s calling me Johnny, Jr. now, which is cool with me. Victor called for a disciplined actor who could be in control of any situation with a Zen-like quality; be any age, and maybe not of this Earth. We needed a subtle intensity that could be both benign and deadly without being campy or boring. You nailed it. So it ends up being a love-fest. You gave your all — and scored a Toronto shoot with Bobby D. and Orlando Bloom (Blu). What’s the difference between a big budget with Bobby and our modest Indie?

JA: There are many differences between a big budget production with name stars and signing to an Independent project like SAMARITAN. First of all — a ton of money, the names, a roster of 100 or more working on set and in the production office — making sure every detail is going as planned. On SAMARITAN we had — what — ten? That included the director — Kimball Carr — efficiently doing the work of 100! When you make your way onto an Indie –everything I just mentioned has now been downsized to actors willing to work for scale and demo footage. The locations are usually donated with limited — very limited — and odd hours for use.

EM: Ten! I dont remember having that many!

JA: Remember, before the money people decided to back up the script, that script too was an independent. And technically it could have been shot with the small budget, but time, locations, set up, man power and power-talent requires cash and thats always been the problem. With new ways of filming, cutting down wasted energy on set ups, dailies, post, money on stock, rentals, and over time – the independent way of filmmaking will eventually become the industry standard. With a decent independent budget, which is always leagues lower than the big budget films, you can now afford a named actor which will help sell your project. Then everyone benefits from it.

EM: So how does all this effect the actor?

JA: As actors that have worked both sides of the celluloid, we generally hunt for well-written scripts. There’s a lot of crap out there. When you find one like SAMARITAN that has been put together with focus, energy, and that certain something — which can lead to great things — some things never found on the big budget films. I can’t stress how important that is to us actors. Hands down, a script any actor on any level would have been willing to work on. I’m just glad I got one of the leads!

EM: You earned it. Can you remember a moment from SAMARITAN where you got to play?

JA: Definitely. In the interrogation scene with J. Michael. I’m a very animated actor — lots of hand and body movement. I had to find something to cool me to make this character work. I broke it down to an actor’s exercise I learned at NYU’s Actor’s Studio. I played with my language and my eye contact. My eye movement and pregnant pauses became my sole movement and expression. It wasn’t easy — Paisan, believe me — but I like how it turned out. Victor became something not of this Earth. I dig it!

EM: We knew you had it at audition. When you brought your homework onto the set — we were ecstatic. When you saw the scene at the first screening what went through your head? What were you generally thinking when you were watching? Do you think I like these guys I hope they didnt blanking make me look like sh*t?

JA: Dude — positive all around! Your crew worked like any other big budget production I’ve ever been on — in fact — better than some. You guys were totally on point with time — no wasted energy. No waiting around in the trailer for four hours. We’re there to work, to create — without being idle for so long, all your heightened energy is ready to go! that’s where some of your best energy comes from.

EM: How did you approach the character of Victor and his relationship with the Detective?

JA: Victor – where do you begin? If anyone has ever been typecast in their acting career like me rebel with a heart, Mr. Rocknroll, troubled boyfriend type Victor was one character that enabled me to show diversity and acting skills that weren’t tapped yet. This character is really like no other. Ive never read for a character like this before, and I jumped at the possibility of booking it.

How many of my collegues can say they’ve played someone not of this earth with Zen like qualities? Kimball (Director Kimball Carr) really helped me get there. I knew in order to reach that level I had strip down the usual TV/film choices I have in my acting arsenal. Plus, working with seasoned vet J. Michael Hunter put me one on one in the actor’s boxing ring – a challenge. With a good director, script, and talent all around you can get anything accomplished. Im proud of what we captured in those 2 days long nights of shooting. I trusted you, Kimball, Richard and company that it would be there, and it was.

EM: What made the chemisitry?

JA: My producers Ethan E. Marten, Richard S. Marten are from Manhattan,

EM: Dont get formal on me now!

JA: Paisan, cmon!

EM: Oh Johnny you had me at Paisan –

JA: Did you know the human head weighs eight pounds?

EM: I heard that.

JA: Anyway, Actor Humberto Gettys is from Brooklyn, and myself Queens New York, even our “Roc Doc” (Dr. Daniel Cohen) was from the Queens – that made me feel at home. I was familiar with J. Michael’s work and have respect for him not only as an actor but now as a friend. It was fantastic working with Kelley Davis (Mrs. Gredenko) who I’ve known from the audition circuit. Finally getting to see her in action was really something else. This doesn’t usually happen on the big sets. on the big set for the first season of shooting, its strictly business — to see whos being asked to stay or getting replaced, after that its comfortable. the Indie sets have a personal, easy, home-like feel immediately. Its easier to work when everyone is on the same team. Its family – that means a lot.

EM: Well, you are family. Im looking forward to Baltimore September 20 at Gardel’s. I hope you have a couch worthy of a big time actor/producer.

JA: Paisan for you only the best couch will do!

Visit Johnnys site at:

www.johnnyalonsoland.com

This from Studio/monthly magazine Editor-in-Chief Beth Merchant

    This October, Studio/monthly will feature HD tips by Star Circle Pictures Producer/Director Kimball Carr. The latest installment in Hands-On HD, (its popular series bringing together leading craftspeople working on independent film, commercials, programming and corporate and educational projects) is designed to be a go-to guide for practical advice on production and post technique for HD.

     Since Star Circle Pictures has been much highlighted for tapeless HD workflow (See September’s Fast Company magazine), Carr will be covering the production flow he designed around shooting and posting HD in a tapeless direct to hard drive environment for SAMARITAN.  Key items in Carrs coverage will include: the use of Panasonic’s P2 media card recording technology; fully computer-based storyboard previsualization; on location full HD monitoring of footage both at camera and in the computer; and finally post production using Apple’s Final Cut Pro HD suite.

    The feature will reach 55,000 readers of Studio/monthly magazine, as well as a combined online audience of some 80,000 monthly visitors to www.studiodaily.com,www. filmandvideo.com and www.studiomonthly.com.

     Carr’s feature is scheduled to appear in the last week of September in the print version, and then on October 1 online.  www.studiodaily.com (for daily news, video, forums and links to Studio/monthly, HD|Studio, DIStudio and Film&Video.com)





Cue the Computers

How Star Circle Pictures is remaking moviemaking.

From: Issue 108 | September 2006 | Page 37 | By: Adam L. Penenberg

Every time you say “film” on the set of a Star Circle Pictures project, you risk getting fined 25 cents. That’s because the Virginia Beach company doesn’t “film” movies anymore. It doesn’t even use digital video or high-definition tape. It has made the world’s first short movie with the Panasonic AG-HVX-200 high-definition camera using memory cards. The goal: to reduce the risk associated with movies, which can cost tens, if not hundreds of millions of dollars with no guaranteed return on investment.

Read the rest at the link below:

http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/108/open_next-work-in-progress.html




August 15th would be my fathers 97th birthday. So you can celebrate along with the family we are sharing one of his favorite adventures. If you are a Plan 9 from Outer Space fan or someone who enjoys a good story read on! This is how Pop (Albert E. Marten) brought Plan 9 From Outer Space or Grave Robbers from Outer Space for you aficianados out of the Celluloid Closet and into our hearts!

Albert E. Marten was born in the Harlem section of New York in 1921 and grew up along (and under) the boardwalk in Coney Island. Pee Wee (or Pee Vee in the Yiddish cadence of the immigrant Jews) grew up and hut gemakht shtiferai (raised hell) during the 1920s and 30s in the home of Dreamland and Luna Park. Decades and a world war later, he took me and my brothers to the old neighborhood in Coney Island to show us where he and his pals battled other first generation American gangs and where he hung out with Murray Handwerker, son of the owner of Nathans Famous (five cents bought a kosher all-beef dog and a soda).

By way of biographical information, my Pop was a prominent entertainment and theatrical attorney. At one time an up and comer in the Democratic Party, he headed the Speakers Bureau for Congressman Franklin Roosevelt Jr. and escorted Eleanor Roosevelt to political functions. Pop took an independent path in politics and in life. To say that he had a dynamic presence would be an understatement. The dinner table was always lively and full of outrageous laughter. Mom had her hands full with her five boys. Pop was an original who defied convention.

Pop was active in the post-World War II film industry, representing talent, producers, and distributors, negotiating co-production deals, and arranging financing for more than 150 feature films. Panic Button, starring Maurice Chevalier, Jayne Mansfield, Akim Tamaroff, and Mike Connors, and television series such as Wild Bill Hickock starring Guy Madison and Andy Devine, and such Broadway productions as Peter Ustinovs Love of Four Colonels and Picnic were among his credits. In his obituary in Variety, Albert Marten was credited with introducing the completion bond to the motion picture industry in the United States.
His clients ranged from famous Hollywood swashbuckler Errol Flynn to best-selling author Harold Robbins, from Allied Artists Distribution Co. to producer Edward Pressman. He dealt with such luminaries as Marlene Dietrich and John Wayne; however, we knew our old man was an important guy when Moe Howard of The Three Stooges invited him to bring his kids to the set during filming. He once tore up a $50,000 option check for Mickey Rooney when the actor failed to show for a meeting for which Dad had flown in especially from the East Coast (Mickey was at the track!). However, of all his many achievements in show business, the one that gave him the biggest kick and brought the most laughter around the dinner table, was his having rescued from oblivion the picture consistently voted the worst movie ever made. Without my Dad, Edward Wood, Jrs originally titled Grave Robbers From Outer Space would not have become the cult classic: Plan 9 From Outer Space.

Here for the first time is the never-before-published story of how Plan 9 came out of the celluloid closet and into our hearts!

One day an Atlanta theatre owner walked into Albert Martens Manhattan law office carrying canisters of film under his arm. With the preamble that often introduced an off-the-wall proposal or a nutsy scheme Mr. Marten, I understand youre a big theatrical attorney he proceeded to explain that he had put $40,000 (big money in the 1950s) into a picture and he needed to get it out. If my father could sell the picture for him, anything above the $40,000 was his to keep. The picture starred Bela Lugosi, the venerable star of Dracula and other horror classics.

It so happened that my father had a relationship with DCA Distributors Corporation of America a successful, albeit low-rent, indie distributor. And they owed him a favor for having earlier let them out of a contract with Maurice Valency, a well-known screenwriter of the day and another client of my Dads. So Pop called up his buddy, Irv Wermser, at DCA, and told him: “Irv, Im calling my marker. I want you to screen a picture tonight.”

After office hours, the three principals of DCA and Pop were sitting in their screening room. The lights went down and the projector began to roll the film. Remember, he had never seen the movie. He just assumed it was, if not grade A material, at least screenable with Bela Lugosi. What he saw on the screen paralyzed him like a stun gun used to immobilize cattle just before slaughter. My fathers blood turned to ice water in his veins. Words alone could not describe his horror (unfortunately something not represented on the screen) at what he was watching. The strings holding up the flying saucers carrying the grave robbers from outer space were clearly visible. To say the acting was execrable was an understatement. In the middle of the picture, the role played by tall, Hungarian-accented Bela Lugosi was suddenly inhabited by a short, roly-poly actor with a deep southern accent. (After production was well underway, poor Lugosi had been re-institutionalized for morphine addiction and replaced by the very same theatre owner who brought the picture to my father!). The caped, crooked arm that hid the Lugosi impersonator’s face dropped several times during the movie revealing the “actor” half made up. The attempt to save budget gave the effect on screen of a facial floodline.

Utterly and completely mortified, sinking lower and lower in his seat, silently saying Kaddish for any future relationship with the DCA principals who surrounded him, my father wondered how he could possibly escape without getting pilloried.

After an excruciating running time, the flap-flap-flap of the film projector stopped and the lights came on. Pop straightened himself in his seat waited for the lambasting that was due and coming. One principal broke the silence: “I like it. Irv, what do you think?”

“I do too,” Irv said nodding his approval. “Al, how much do you want for it?”

Quickly recovering, my father sat up and threw out a number double the cost of the production. They hondled a little and finally agreed on a dollar figure. DCA bought Grave Robbers From Outer Space and distributed it under its new title Plan 9 From Outer Space. The movie went down in the annals of film history as the worst movie ever made, and DCA made nothing but money in the years to come.

Let’s have a DiaBlog

I’ve been writing most of these thoughts down as much for myself as anyone else, because, hey, I’m not sure anyone really reads my random thoughts or ramblings other than, well, me. Hmnnn.

I am as interested in what you, my imagined reader, has to say. I want your thoughts, your opinions about creating, producing and bringing movies to the market–a diablog, so to speak. I’m approaching the business of the biz from an actor/producer point-of-view. Marketing is also a part of my background. Mostly, I’m a regular sort who would like to do business with friendly, creative people. I was as proud of the way we executed the production of Samaritan as with the finished product. I’d like to share some of that experience with anyone who is interested; and I’d like you to share your production experiences/achievements, as well. If I have developed a friendship or a relationship that can help one of you — I’m more than happy to share it without expecting quid pro quo.

So anyone dreaming of motion picture independence or making a living as an actor, share your questions, as well as your answers. Some of you who have already been invited to participate have more experience. If you are willing to share your experience — I would be grateful.

One request for all who choose to participate. Diversity is welcome; however, I ask that the questions and answers be constructive and respectful in nature, with the intent of mutual growth and support of everyone’s dream of motion picture and creative independence.

Thanks for indulging me.

Best,
Ethan

Marketing Your Indie Movie

This was a letter to FilmDailies.com a filmmaker’s Blog. There had been a flap concerning the length of Samaritan, and that we were taking advantage of the technical first we had achieved to market our baby. I thought some indie folks were missing the point. If your Indie project screens in the forest, and you’re the only one clapping with one hand…does it make a sound? Anyway, I hope this helps some of you get the word out.

ethan-camera-atlantis-down

Hello Kraz. I am enjoying your site. I have seen a great deal of debate over the length of “Samaritan.” We are just movie makers wanting to create and needing to get the word out like everyone else. I’m puzzled by the controversy regarding the movie’s length. The first reference to Samaritan in the digitalfilmmaker.com story that started it all clearly refers to it as a “micro-feature.”

(From digitalfilmmaker.com)
Samaritan

Digital Filmmaker: “Star Circle Pictures based in Virginia Beach, Virginia has just wrapped production on a micro feature called Samaritan, the third venture for Star Circle, which represents the next chapter in the firm’s evolution. The project was shot for the express purpose of demonstrating the company’s belief in cost efficiency, faster production flow and good quality.
(End quote)

Has Star Circle Pictures pioneered a new phrase as well? I don’t think so,[actually, it appears we did!] but it is clear, Star Circle never referred to Samaritan as a full length feature. Hopefully, that will help mitigate if not stop the misapprehension.

You made an astute observation:

“Heres an indie producer whos learned his lesson well. This techie interview will probably get him more exposure (at least in indie circles) than all the PR about the movie itself.”

Though Digital Filmmaker is doing a follow up story on the movie — the hard news for their audience was the completion of the first movie to use the Panasonic AG-HVX200.

We believe movies need an audience. Something movie makers need to understand is that in order to obtain that audience, they need to be aware your movie exists. On many levels it is very difficult for an artist to “market” his/her work. Some find the marketing aspect distasteful. You believe everyone should understand that you’re a serious artist who has put blood, sweat and tears into making it, and that should be enough. To a certain degree, this is understandable, but its not a healthy attitude for the life of your motion picture. Some just know how to make the movie, and hope sheer love and passion for the project might rub off on others. I am so proud of my team and its efforts, and am willing to find the angles that will bring my movies to light and thereby light up screens. It is more important to us the independent movie making community when we have launched and even completed a picture. Not as much so for your own local media, much less a national media. To them, we’re one of maybe 1,500 indies a year. [I believe Sundance had 1,700 submissions this past year.] To top it off, unless you come from a major market or at least out of state the fact that you’re a local is usually a hindrance to getting serious coverage. Don’t fight this. Understand it, and work with it. If you’re talking to the Digital Filmmaker and other national media forums understand what that editor knows his core audience is first and foremost interested in. If you’re talking to your local media understand what makes your story news to them, too. Knowing the seven criteria for news will help each movie maker get the word out on his or her film as much as the movie itself. I’m not a proponent of this reality — just a realist.

Here they are, courtesy of Jack Driscoll: Timeliness, Importance, High General Interest to Public, Relevance, Involves Public’s Right to Know, Involves Public’s Need to Know, Whether Story Informs, Educates, Guides or Entertains Reader.

Best of Luck [broken legs] to all our Movie Making Family. May your efforts be rewarding and rewarded.

Ethan

Flashback: The Morning After with Digital Filmmaker Magazine

Found this letter written to Roger Richards of Digital Filmmaker Magazine the morning we wrapped (January 18, 2006) Samaritan. His was the first published article about our production – the first movie, according to Panasonic, completed with the HVX and P2 card technology.

Okay, here I am — fresh (or not so fresh) from the trenches of Glorious
Sleep Depravity and the Bleeding Edge of motion picture technology! Star
Circle Pictures has just wrapped our well-crafted Samaritan. Before the
revelry, allow me to thank you for yesterday’s uplifting conversation. I
was operating on my thirty-third hour when I finally dozed off in a chair.
My phone was charging on my lap and I finally remembered to bring the AC
charger out to keep the laptop from beating me to sleep. I felt like a techno-cowboy — my cell phone charging in my right holster and my laptop in my left.

Anyway, a series of frustrating calls with local media representatives who
didn’t ‘know what the big deal was about a camera,’ and hey, ‘didn’t we do a
story on your last movie?!’ had finally done what thirty-three hours straight on and
off set couldn’t – sent me into a catatonic state of unconsciousness. If I
was dreaming – I was too tired to remember anything except the buzzing,
vibrating sensations that follow knowing, “I’m not going to be able to hold my
eyes open or my head up much longer, and no I’m not in the car, so it’s all
right to give in.” Ahhh sleep.

When my eyes drew open I saw that I had missed your call…. Well, you know the rest. You lifted my spirits, and it was great news to deliver to my Star Circle Pictures partners (my brother Richard Marten and Kimball Carr), cast and crew – every one of whom had been busting their backs to make Samaritan. (And, when I say busting their backs – I mean it. We had “The Rock Doc” — Dr. Daniel Cohen on set giving chiropractic treatments to the cast and crew.) Anyway, we shot more than 80 set ups in two days, and wrapped this morning in Virginia Beach’s 2nd Precinct at 6:45am.

The Panasonic AG HVX 200 was lovingly packed and immediately shipped back home to Chicago’s Zacuto Rentals.

Now that I have enjoyed some extended sleep – let me once again say, thanks to you and Digital Filmmaker Magazine! Oh, and please send our appreciation to Norm at the Virginian-Pilot for hooking us up. He was very gracious.

I look forward to speaking with you soon. Remain Happy, and Healthy.

Ethan

Love to have your feedback. We shot all eighty-one Samaritan set ups in two nights. Great crew. Great performances. Great Chiropractor (the one — the only Dr. Dan Cohen of Olde Towne Family Chiropractic, 757-399-4700)! I think we had the only cast and crew that finished such an intense shoot in better shape than when they began.

View SAMARITAN TRAILER

Samaritan, shot in January, is the first HD movie completed with Panasonic’s AG HVX200 High Definition camera. Maverick-made, two nights, 81 setups (we’re crazy). We used Previz storyboards to help achieve this insane schedule. Star Circle Pictures is obviously excited (and biased). So who doesn’t think their baby is supremely beautiful?! We actually shot this without any film or tape. That’s right bubbalas — no film. No tape. Everything went straight onto P2 cards, hot swapped, and downloaded onto our hard drive. Star Circle was editing on set…. We’re definitely grassroots, guerrilla, and very independent spirits.

Anyway, read more in Fast Company magazine’s September issue (on stands August 18). Adam Penenberg, (Broken Glass) wrote the story on our micro motion picture and is breaking the story on our upcoming full-length feature (a psychological thriller) within the Fast Company pages.

Samaritan has been selected by the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival, and will be exhibited sometime between November 9 – 16. We’re submitted all over the world, and are awaiting answers like everyone else out there! (Break Legs Everyone Else out there.)

By the way, if you’re a festival maven or a news mensch interested in a DVD screener — you obviously know how to get in touch!

All the Best, (and we invite your feedback — no, I mean it — really!) Ethan

View SAMARITAN TRAILER

Curiouser and Curiouser

The second Digital Filmmaker article will be coming out any day now…. It’s getting real surreal! I feel like I’m outside of my own body watching these things happen to me, my friends and partners, and my family.

So April 11 has come and gone. Lovely evening. “Samaritan” was successfully previewed, and enjoyed by a lively audience. One of the amazing things about our featurette was that it went straight from the camera, to a P2 card, to our hard drive for editing. The movie never left our possession. Looked fantastic on the screen.

The panel discussion started out with a laugh. Nobody in the entire audience knew what to ask, so my brother Richard addressed one of our stars, Johnny Alonso with the first question; “Do you, as an actor, have a breath mint?” Johnny’s reply; “Why, yes…” After Rick got his, I passed them to co-stars Kelley Davis and D. D. Delaney in the audience, who, in turn passed them to the rest of the audience. I guess I owe Johnny a box of tic tacs! Anyway, no one seemed too bashful after that.

On the 31st Adam Penenberg contacted me for a story he is doing for Fast Company magazine. Adam is an author, a journalism professor at NYU, a former senior editor at Forbes Magazine, a serious investigative journalist (we’re talkin’ the real deal here), and most importantly — a menche from NY. Over the course of the next two weeks the principals and Adam had three interviews, and a private screening with partner Josh Levy and my brother Jonathan in NY. We’ll see if we make the final edit of his article.

Meanwhile, Photojournalist Hyunsoo Leo Kim shot Star Circle Pictures’

The Star Circle Pictures Team

first corporate portrait. Since certain members of the team are not exactly morning people…I am especially proud to announce that we were all puntual for Hyunsoo’s 8:45 am Sunday call time.

Producer/Partner Duncan Leung will be heading back to our Honk Kong office soon. Rick will be going shortly thereafter. Letters from Chinese officials extending a personal invitation for Star Circle Pictures to preview “Samaritan” and HD technology will follow. Curiouser and curiouser!

Hey All:

There’s lots happening on the Indie Front! Finished the third movie in January, and the edits are coming along swiftly. You can view a clip of “Samaritan” at the Star Circle Pictures site (No, really, go ahead — you’re an invited guest). I’m interested in your movie making experiences, and hearing from old and new friends.

All the Best,
Ethan Marten

Check out Star Circle Pictures

Read the Digital Filmmaker story on Samaritan