Indie Corner


By • Oct 30th, 2007 •

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You-tube! It’s going to be the most accessible and effective marketing tool for the indie film-maker. Before You-Tube, you would have to cross your fingers and hope a festival takes your film. Then there’s the extensive, expensive travel to festivals in Toronto, Sundance (Utah) or Cannes. Then maybe, just maybe, something will click. You might strike a possible deal. Lately, some You-Tube entries have gained national media exposure. Take a look at the strange video blogs posted by “LonelyGirl 15”. It’s landed her on the talk show circuit, all over the news. You-Tube has numerous “Blair Witch” styled staged videos that look real and get on the news all the time. Some of my favorites were the whiny spoiled princess in “Spoiled Girl Throws A Tantrum” or the amazingly shrill “Psycho Girl Cuts Hair.” You-Tube is also a great film achive source. I’ve added to my You-Tube favorites, Japanese cartoons from before World War 2. (You see a Max Fliescher and Disney influence.) You can also find the only known film recording of Harpo Marx speaking. He sounds like a stern NYC businessman. There are educational shorts from decades ago. One clip has Eddie Cantor singing in an experimental talkie short from 1923. Another clip has the Peanuts (aka The Mothra twins) doing a rousing Beatles tune for a 1965 Tokyo broadcast.

Then you get the weird stuff. A search under “Spirit of Truth” comes up with the very loud, hip-hop, and totally lunatic Reverend X. His screaming sermon uses more “F” words than SCARFACE. “The devil is a muthaf—ing liar, bee-yotch!” A search under “Cyriak” shows computer-animated mini-movies by Cyriak Harris, an amazingly imaginative British cartoonist whose work is a combination of Terry Gilliam and some crazy nightmare. With You-Tube, everybody is accepted into the festival, and everybody has an unlimited festival pass.

14 year old Celeste Davis has written one of the best, most disturbing, yet entertaining films about teen angst since REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE. Her PURGATORY HOUSE (Image Entertainment) follows what happens when a lonely, isolated teen girl, Silver (well played by Celeste Davis herself) purposely overdoses so she can get out of it all. She is placed forever in a half-way house with other teen suicides. A recreation room there has a big screen TV that shows what her friends are doing on earth. Are they missing her? Do they care. The film’s director, Cindy Baer, making her feature film debut, peppers the film with creepy details. Just like a real halfway or outreach house, the rooms are filled with third-rate thrift store furniture. That’s just one of the details that makes this film so rich. It has one of those love it or hate it endings. I also suggest catching up to Cindy Baer’s earlier short film – MORBID CURIOSITY.

I felt that Peter Lavilla, the writer, director and co-star of OIL AND WATER, a Los Angeles based indie feature, chose a risky genre to enter – the romantic comedy. The majority of a draw for a romantic comedy are the stars. Is J-Lo in it? How about Hugh Grant or Drew Barrymore? The film centers around Dan Lake and Ms. Gabby, two gossip show hosts who are famous for bickering on and off camera. Eventually tempers rise to the point that they become an item. I do have to note that Ms. Gabby is played with the usual charm and spunk by Rosemary Gore. Rosemary utilized her bubbly personality when she played the lead in my film SHARP AND SUDDEN, and she does the same here. The film at times yearns for a faster pace, ala Preston Sturges, Howard Hawks or Edward Burns, but overall I had fun catching another Rosemary Gore performance as well as this sometimes-funny peek into the television corporate world.

Now how about a STAR IS BORN-styled story about the rise and fall of a much loved entertainer, only it’s set in the world of Bar Mitzvah emcees? That’s what GLOW ROPES by George Valencia and Edwin Figueroa is about. Taylor is a very sheltered, somewhat introverted Bar Mitzvah emcee from “Joisey”, who is discovered by some TV corporate types, and is made a big star. Judy Reyes is great as the very business-like star-maker who puts Taylor on the road to glory.

Speaking of the corporate world, I am suggesting to the indie film-makers out there to utilize You-Tube now for all it has to offer, before the suits come in and make a mess out of it, like they did with eBay.

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