Dec 03


All Content, Industry Insiders Comments Off on SUNDANCE AND FILMAKA
The Egyptian Theatre in Park City

The Egyptian Theatre in Park City

Filmaka’s own Deepak Nayar and Thomas Augsberger will be showcasing their newest film TUCKER & DALE VS. EVIL at SUNDANCE in January. It’ll be screened at Midnight….read all about it here. See everyone on Main Street!

Dec 03


All Content Comments Off on COLIN FIRTH, ACTING AND THE FACE
Colin Firth discusses his role in THE SINGLE MAN

Colin Firth discusses his role in THE SINGLE MAN

Filmaka Jury member, Colin Firth talks about working with Tom Ford in his new movie THE SINGLE MAN.

There was a serenity on the set,” Firth said. “I was given the space to engage and to feel it. Tom didn’t bombard us with instructions; we weren’t given any really. But you knew by the way he said, ‘That was great,’ if it was or wasn’t great.

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Nov 15
Nicholas Cage & Filmaka Jury Member Werner Herzog

Nicholas Cage & Filmaka Jury Member Werner Herzog

Filmaka Jury member Werner Herzog and Nicholas Cage in today’s Los Angeles Times talk about working together on their new film BAD LIEUTENANT

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Nov 02

Only weeks before the first day of Ragbrai, I learned that I was not allowed to use motorized vehicles to shoot bikers along the route. This restriction was a significant hurdle. I realized that the actual bike riding and the conversations along the route were key of the movie and had to be captured, so we had to find a solution.

Ragbrai is not a race it’s a “ride”. The riders actually socialize along the route. They stop and eat snacks along the way.dsc03634 They eat pies and pork chops and pancakes. They drink home made lemonade and relish hand churned ice-cream. When they get hot, they go swimming in natural pools on the side of the road. Recovering party goers take naps along the route. Couples laugh and joke and needle each other.

We had to capture this key aspect of the ride! But how do we keep up and track of all our subject when they’re in constant motion, if we cannot drive along the route??? The producers questioned my determination to film along the route, but on this one, I would not budge. So we started exploring options:

modified cargo trailers
tandem bikes with backwards seats
motorized bicycles
bikes with side cars

Finally, our line producer Bernie, discovered a cargo trailer that was solid enough to tow a refrigerator. He spoke with our key DP Steve Cambell and together with my approval, they decided to modify the cargo trailer so that it could accommodate a camera operator. And it would be towed by a tandem bike. This seemed like a pretty good option until Talia, one of our producers, showed the trailer to her father who designs satellites. After a quick appraisal, he determined that the modified cargo trailer that we were banking on would not hold up for the whole ride. Worse, it would be super uncomfortable, unstable and unsafe for our camera operator. He offered up his design skills which we readily accepted.

image001The trailer Talia’s Dad designed and which was built by locals in Iowa was functional. It was dual axel, with aluminum railing and a boat captain’s seat mounted in its center (we had to change the location of the seat, because putting the operator in the center tipped the trailer off balance). Ultimately, our trailer worked pretty well.

We’re talking about close to 500 miles, 7 days along hilly roads, windy roads, rainy roads, and sun soaked roads. This was not an easy assignment for a camera operator, but Mario Signore embraced this challenge with gusto and the footage that he captured from the trailer is priceless!

It was tough finding what we called “mules” to ride the tandem bike that pulled the trailer. I must say, there were some real hero’s on that ride who stepped up to assist us. The “mules” physical prowess combined with our selective use of roads (we only selected flat and smooth parts of the route to travel the trailer on) made it possible for us to capture a high percentage of usable footage. There was a huge amount of huffing and puffing involved and I really appreciate the effort put forth to tow that trailer. And I know that Mario does too!

A big thanks also goes out to Joe Stearns, the “B” Camera unit production sound maestro. He managed to achieve some awesome sound using remote mics that worked better than I ever imagined.

Oct 21

Hey everyone!

Filmaka has just debuted Filmaka Frights! For the last few days of this Halloween season these films will delight you, terrify you, and make you scream like a cheerleader. Watch them if you dare!

So in celebration of  the start of the holiday season I thought we would take a sneak peak into just an ordinary day at Filmaka.

Upon entering our office you will be greeted by our secretary, Eunice.

She is always there, watching...

She is always there, watching...

Continue reading »

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Oct 20

Last Chance to Enter Feature Film Competition!

All Content, Competitions Comments Off on Last Chance to Enter Feature Film Competition!

This is it – the big she-bang, the grand finale. It’s our final theme of the Feature Film Competition. If you’d like to submit a few shorts and get picked to direct your own fully-funded, fully-produced feature, don’t delay – start charging your camera batteries!


Every month, from over 100 submissions, 10 Peer to Peer Winners and 5 to 10 Filmaka Selections are chosen as Entry Level Winners. Each gets $500 and the opportunity to make another film – a Jury Level submission – for which they will receive $1000 funding. TThe Jury Level films are judged by our FILMAKA JURY of world-class film professionals. Three Jury Level Winners are chosen from each theme, and at the end of the year, all Jury Winners compete in the final showdown.

Our final round theme is…


The theme is…every previous theme. That’s right – you can submit a film that relates to ANY of the previous themes for the 2008-2009 competition. They are:

      Race Against the Clock          The Other Side
      Smoke and Mirrors                 Hard Times
      Fresh Start                                  The Party
      Pros and Con Games               The First Day
      On the Road                               Truth or Dare
      Help Wanted                              Behind Closed Doors

If you’ve got a film on your hard drive that you didn’t finish in time to submit to a previous theme, now’s the time to finish it and get it down that modem line to us! PLEASE NOTE: YOU CAN NOT RE-SUBMIT THE SAME FILM YOU HAVE ALREADY SUBMITTED TO A PREVIOUS THEME. Your submission to this short film competition must be original. Re-submissions will be disqualified.

You have until DECEMBER 1, 2009, AT 24:00 HOURS to upload your short film to the WILD CARD competition. Be sure to read and follow the DELIVERY RULES and TERMS AND CONDITIONS before you submit.

So print that script, call the crew, and start laying down some bytes!


Oct 12

Bill Pullman Opens on Broadway

All Content Comments Off on Bill Pullman Opens on Broadway

Filmaka Jury member, Bill Pullman, opened on Broadway last night in David Mamet’s play OLEANNA.

Bill Pullman and Julia Stiles on Broadway

Bill Pullman and Julia Stiles on Broadway

Pullman’s open demeanor, a countenance that morphs into desperation, is just right for this professor, whose world — academic, financial and personal — is unraveling around him.

Read More of this review here…..

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Oct 05

Hey everyone!

This Thursday, October 8th, Director Azhur Saleem and Producer James Boyle will give a talk about their experiences as independent filmmakers. Come and join the discussion at:

Mac store

1248 Third Street Promenade

Santa Monica, CA

6-8 pm

Also, here is a sneak peek at their new film:

The Marionette Unit – Inception Trailer from Fun Size Studios on Vimeo.

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Oct 05

poppiesRagbrai is so vast, how on earth do we capture it? To tackle this dilemma, I adopted a notion I have always embraced–every moment is like a piece of a hologram containing within it the whole–meant that, we could cover a “piece” of each key element and it would reflect the whole. With this approach, things started looking somewhat more manageable. We would choose those “pieces of the hologram” or in some cases, they would choose us.

blowfish-riderProducers Susie Gorrell and Talia Shakur-Rodriguez focused on narrowing down the list of riders. Steph Cambell, our head DP along with consultant Chris Blanch worked with me to narrow down sections of the 400 mile route that we would focus on based on beauty, clear passage, diversity of “look”, and unique interest (animals, barn, etc.). And I narrowed down what town elements and town people we would cover along with who we would cover to set the groundwork of the ride.

Here a list of the hologram pieces we collectively chose to focus on:

10 primary riders (5 of them where part of a team called Team Gnarley–we felt it was important to cover a team as well as individuals)
8 secondary secondary riders
20+ sections of road
9 various town “elements” including pie making, cement pouring, ballooning, light weight airplanes flyers, safety preparations, trains passing, hometown bands, etc.
5 or so towns’ spokes people
John Karras, co-founder Ragbrai
T.J. Juskiewicz, coordinator of Ragbrai
Unique & quirky people “catch as you can”
Vast Landscapes
Tiny moments: a bird flying by, an insect landing on a flower

I conferred with our head DP Stephen Cambell who is stationed in Florida and was shooting on a feature during our 0a2v3893prep. We determined that we would need and array of cameras strategically assigned. We would have three fully equipped camera units with camera crew, sound and a PA. We would have lipstick camera mounted on helmets, handle bars, and various other moving pieces. I thought it would be cool to give some of our subjects consumer cameras to document their own stories when we couldn’t be with them.

Our line producer Bernie Cassar struggled to bring all these pieces together within our budget, but I really felt this was the bare minimum we needed to get the kind of coverage we needed and Steve and I did our best to come up with cameras that would serve our needs and fit within the budget. We ended up with four different type of cameras all to be used for very distinct and specific purposes. The camera units would also be assigned distinct and specific purposes. And as it turned out, this was a fantastic strategy.

Sep 24

0a2v6533After the location scouts, the investigations of the riders and intense research, including watching user clips on youtube, digging into the Ragbrai website, connecting with past riders on Facebook and reading a book called “Ragbrai: Everyone Pronounces It Wrong” written by John Karras one of the founders of Ragbrai, I started to envision what elements we need to capture to create a rounded and complete portrait of Ragbrai. Narrowed it down? Well sort of.

I decided that Ragbrai is an alchemical concoction–that the magic of the ride results from the combination of the rides unique aspects. So, in order to truly capture Ragbrai we would have to capture0a2v6517 these aspects combining to give our audience a taste of the magic.

It seemed to me that the elements of the magical potion that creates Ragbrai are:

Bicycles, up to 20,000 of them.
Iowa, the actual physical ride extending over 400 miles across the state of Iowa
Iowa, the small towns, 9 host towns and over 20 along the way
Iowa, the small town folk, 100’s of them
Bike riders from all parts of the country and world up for an getaway adventure, up to 20,000 of them
The support folk, vendors, bike shops, musical acts, volunteers, police, medics, etc., I don’t know… thousands?

I share my alchemical notion with my producers and with the documentary’s investor. Everyone agreed with this approach. Great. They like it. Phew. Now, back to earth. How do cover all of this? It’s pretty vast. And it’s a moving target. And it’s non-stop 24 hours a day. And there some insanely crazy challenges like:

No motorized vehicles on the road.
Insane sound hurdles (Have you ever been in a crowd of thousands, closed your eyes and listened?)
Multiple subjects, doing different things, in different places, simultaneously.
Long lines everywhere especially for everything including food and bathrooms.
Limited sleeping accommodations.
Crew size determined by modest documentary budget.
Equipment determined by modest documentary budget.

So how do we do this maximizing potential for success?