Thursday, March 31, 2005

**Dumblings**

Another item from the menu of a neighborhood restaurant here in Phnom Penh: DUMBLINGS. Mmmm! Gotta love them dumblings!

Anyway, looks like the land grabbing doc has been greenlit by the NGO, they want to shoot in later May; until the paperwork/contract is signed though (see the former post re: HD Cinema 10) I will remain healthily skeptical. But it does seem solid, and today in fact we shot an hour of interview material with s noted social anthropologist who was discussing the effect of land alienation (land grabbing) on local indigenous communities. The efect being, not good, in many cases seriously and critically disrupting the communities.

Soon hope to get the Susan hero tapes here in Phnom Penh, at whih point I'll have to aquire the case of a Firewire HD, might have to locate a chepa one on Ebay. Then, will try to scrape together enough for a 250G HD and I'll hpefully be in action with a very rudimentary editing setup.

Moa later. Busy days, hot days, powere outages leaving no air con and a sweat-soaked long sleeved shirt which I had to wear to be "respectable"during the shoot for the NGO.

Once they get to know me though, I hope to revert to my standard casual attire: buttless chaps and a baseball hat with a built in fan and drink holder.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

My Letter to the CEO of Rainbow Media

Another scorcher today in Phnom Penh; the Mekong river coils lazily downstream, past boats that look a thousand years old, families tending crops on the far side of the bank.

Anyway, this is the letter I wrote to the CEO of Rainbow Media, Joshua Sapan. Rainbow Media Holdings owns HD Cinema 10, the company that unethically went back on their word during the recent "near"TV sale of BookWars, mentioned a blog ontry or two ago.

I thought I'd post it here for educational use--please note that neither Mr Sapan, nor Kelly Devine (the buyer from HD Cinema 10 who pulled the deal) nor anyone else from Rainbow Media or IFC or HD Cinema 10, did reply:

=====================

11/30/04

Rainbow Media Holdings, LLC
attn: Joshua Sapan
President and chief Executive Officer
200 Jericho Quadrangle
Jericho, NY 11753

Mr. Sapan,

Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Jason
Rosette, I'm an independent filmmaker (please see
www.camerado.com) who had recently entered into a broadcast
deal with buyer Kelly Devine of the emerging HD 10 High
Definition Channel, operated by Rainbow Media.

I am greatly disappointed about an ethical situation that
involves that particular deal with the HD 10 channel, and
by extension, Rainbow Media. The situation is so striking
that it impinges, in my view, upon the very basis upon
which Rainbow's IFC unit is founded, specifically: that it
"is now the largest network dedicated to capturing the true
spirit of independent film, uncut and commercial-free, 24
hours a day, reaching audiences that are passionate about
films and filmmakers that take risks."

I highlight the relevant parts because I am an independent
filmmaker who takes risks--and as you'll soon see, I took a
risk with regards to a broadcast deal with HD10. But as a
result of these celebrated risks, I was significantly and
negatively destabilized, financially, as a result of
entering into a deal with the buyer from HD 10.

I'm referring in particular to recent deal that I had
entered into with Kelly Devine, who representing the HD 10
interests and title slate; this was a confirmed deal that
had been underway for some time regarding my title
"BookWars". In the end, however, the offer had been
arbitrarily withdrawn, through no fault of my own, despite
definite, explicit, and unqualified verbal confirmation
over the phone with Ms Devine which also specified that the
following "paper" was a formality to he deal terms we'd
agreed upon over the phone.

Now, while I'm no buyer or sales agent, I have had to act
as de facto sales agent for myself for ten other successful
deals for this picture, all of which went without a hitch,
including a deal with IFC's sister channel Metrochannels.
In no instance of these did the verbal agreement not
interface with the contractual paper component of the
agreement smoothly.

In this instance, I had made a definite agreement with
Kelly Devine to sell my title, "BookWars" to the HD 10
channel. There was no doubt or condition applied to the
done deal terminology expressed over the phone. The
discussions had been underway for several weeks, and then
when the final word and discussion came and we spoke, Kelly
told me we had a deal according to the terms set forth in
the deal memo.

"So it's definite?" I asked
"Yes. Definitely"

Then she asked me to send the W9 form, which I did, and the
digital master of my program, which I immediately did,
TRUSTING HD10 with my submaster, as I trusted that Kelly's
word was good, and reflected the good faith of HD10.

Incidentally, please also bear in mind that in Asian
countries where you may already do business (and where I
hope to be working soon in a media group) the verbal
agreement and handshake are, as you know, not at all just
social gestures which lead to the real deal via the
paper--the verbal agreement IS the deal, and the paperwork
is a mere formality. I'm aware of the differences here in
the States, but again, I've dealt with plenty of other
buyers from all over the world, inclduing the US, who
honored their agreement.

Anyway, going back to the deal with HD 10: Naturally after
the point where Kelly confirmed repeatedly that we had a
deal, that it was on, I then did outreach to various other
buyers and industry folks to announce that I'd made this
sale.

I was essentially taking the title off the market* (*later,
when the deadline came and when and there was no word from
Kelly, I informed her that I would be compelled to
field--but not accept--other offers if the deal were not
formalized, and that this would be a relevant item to take
into account if HD 10 continued to be non-responsive about
the paperwork and other areas of execution in the deal.

Also, and critically: I took a risk (a measured risk, I
thought, because I felt Kelly's word and HD10's word to be
good) and spent a couple thousand bucks--peanuts for
Rainbow, I'm sure, but not for me--to develop my next,
third feature. My second feature, incidentally, is
currently in post and should be complete this Spring/early
Summer.

Anyway, somewhere down the line, while I was out of the US
waiting for the paper elements to come through from HD10's
side, but significantly AFTER I'd supplied the requested W9
and Master in a timely fashion and in good faith, things
became muddy--the intial broadcast date of October 15 came
and went, and communications with Kelly became vague,
indefinite, and fuzzy.

Finally, at one point, without any instigation on my part,
and without prompting, I was told that the "deal could fall
through at any time." Later I would learn that this was
owable to the fact that HD 10 decided not to feature
documentaries such as mine after all. Not a technical
thing, not an E&O thing...an internal adjustment made after
the fact on HD10's side.

Then at last, when I inquired about the actual broadcast
dates, since I was not in New York where my E& O diligence
materials are stored, and I wanted to plan a trip to
retrieve them when necessary, but not if the deal was not
moving forward, I was told by Kelly, "don't you think we're
both very hesistant about this deal?"

I was astonished.

"No. I'm not hesitant at all. I sent you my master, W9,
we made a solid agreement, and we're waiting to paper it."

And in the meantime, banking on your/HD10's word, I spent
some very limited discretionary money on developing my next
project--a strategically wise move I thought, which would
dovetail with the PR generated by the HD 10 broadcast of my
first picture.

Anyway, bottom line: HD10 pulled the plug on the deal, and
I was screwed because I placed faith in the deal. In other
words, if I had never spoken to Kelly Devine at HD10, had
never placed faith in HD10's word and assumed that this
deal--as with my previous Metrochannels deal--was good and
solid, I would not have made any financial decisions that
might have destaibilized this independent filmmaker's
fragile revenue structure.

After all, again: I'm an independent filmmaker who takes
risks, a quality IFC celebrates in a mandate which
presumably adds value to the channel.

But from my experience to date, this mandate is a
questionable one. If the channel is changing its slate or
reducing its programming, these celebrated independent
filmmakers can be cut free, at the filmmaker's loss. In my
view, this is not right.

It's also not right to attempt to frame to dissolution of
this deal as any fault of the filmmaker/seller, especially
when the filmmaker/seller has moved forward in good faith
and in a timely fashion at every step of the way. Yet in
this instance Kelly explained initially that HD10's
withdrawal of the deal was due to my being "hesitant"!
(Then later said it was due to internal restructuring)

That's really the bottom line. I'm sure there are other
perspectives, and that Kelly might certify that she was
conditional all along about the status of the deal, but in
my view, based on the working of all other deals I've been
involved with, this deal was not proceeding in a solid
manner, on the up and up, from the HD10 side.

In short, the pulling of the HD10 deal, not for techical
reasons or E&O reasons, but for arbitrary or internal
reasons after a deal has been solidified, is just bad
business, period. I may be a small producer, an
independent filmmaker, but if the qualities of my craft are
those that IFC chooses to adopt in its branding strategy,
then there's something wrong about this.

Joshua, I'm writing this to you not to throw dirt at Kelly,
or to disparage your operation. But I felt it important to
go to the very top, in this instance to yourself, so that
you might be aware of the effect the workings of part of
your operation are having on some of your smaller
independent producers, indeed, the ones who supply IFC with
their label-brand which advocates "risk taking":

In the end, I'd still like HD10 to acquire my film, if for
no other reason than that I might be able to recoup some of
the money I've spent on other projects based on the good
word, or "credit", of HD 10 and Rainbow Media.

The specific amont I spent on developing that third script
(the time I took off, expenses, etc) is peanuts for
Rainbow, I'm sure: only $2500 bucks. For me it's a lot
though, and I 've been forced to turn off my cell in order
to preserve cash, so if there's any interest on your part
(which I hope there might be) to address this situation in
a constructive way, please contact me at
camerado@camerado.com

I'd still like to proceed with the deal, now that I've got
an interest in it; I believe the title is strong and worthy
of the new HD 10 channel. maybe we can work something out
where HD 10 can show it a few times just so I can recoup
the $2500, to at least reach a net zero loss from my
dealings with them. Even that would be preferably to the
feeling that I've been shafted.

I'd say that ethically at least it, would be honorable on
the part of Rainbow to attempt to move forward in good
faith as originally planned, and I would like to do the
same.

Thanks and all the Best,

Jason Rosette
INDEPENDENT FILMMAKER
camerado@camerado.com
www.camerado.com

Monday, March 28, 2005

++I GOT MY MOJO BACK++

Have just returned from the long awaited and absolutely necessary Visa run to Poipet, border of Thailand where I finally secured my Cambodian business Visa. What a hassle, but at least I got it done and now can extend indefinitely. There's a bit of a story that goes with the Visa, but first I have to write about my newfound Mojo, because it's more important to document this and I have to fucking write it first:

My Mojo is back. I may have only $400 to my name right now, but I don't care I am going to fucking regenenate myself and build an edit station and I am going to start cutting Susan Hero myself, ASAP.

I have my fucking mojo back and I am going to tear water buffalo from their bony skeletons with my bare feet...I will eat a cake of dust and bleed my stumps dry on all the landmines in the hills of Pailin; I will shower my living sperm over the humps of all the temples in Angkor before the yawning, gasping flocks of monks; I will bewitch the last wild elephant of Mondulkiri and use him to trample my enemies, and then I'll carve flutes from their bare bleached bones; I will inherit a tribe of magic snakes who will hiss my song towards the furthest four corners of all continents; I will flail myself with the gourds belonging to the ghosts of all the departed ancestors of all the Prey Arak--all the Spirit Forests-

--and all my departed ancestors: my dear old Dad, dead when I was only 8 cut down in his prime by cancer; my great Dupka spanking Polish grandmother; Uncle Bill from Florida, who lived in a trailer with pitbulls and went mournfully blind from diabetes.

Yes, I will burn my own fatty fuel before that goddamn movie eludes me!

Susan Hero will go on. Hilltribe documentaries are on hold, grim and bitter expats and fat NGO ladies will eat their cakes in the strange bakery, but I will wrestle the movie forward, I will try, and I will succeed.

After the final cut, when the picture is locked, I'll take the heads of all the folks who did not believe, all the Elvis Mitchells, the cultured critics, the ones who pretend to know with sad amusement the awful travails of those who slog it out daily, without a map (although I still have all four limbs, and currently, my health). And I'll sun their heads on slanted rocks, until they wither and lighten, so that I may string them all like beads around my waist, to carry and fondle them...as reminders of a different time.

I'll build myself a PC from parts and find a pirated copy of Sony Vegas or Avid DVXpress!

I will drink molten engine grease from the legions of Phnom Penh motomen's skinny motorcycles; I will, in mad celebration, tear the skin off my worn, rank red, pulpy cock, sore from banging every single available taxi girl to canonize the thumping rythm of postproduction!

I will carve a living genital from the magnetic signal of the tapes. It will uncurl as a fat, giant, magic Anaconda of the mind. It will curl itself on the basal plate of humanity and squeeze us til the viewer evolves from ape to man. My own movie will dribble fat, rich milk into my gulping mouth.

Susan Hero will emerge from the fog of doom like the ghost of gone admirals, like pretty angels, gentle as the smell of newly cut grass!

I've let it go far too long; I recently and amicably emailed G to discuss things, and it's apparent that there's no way I can finish the picture given the long distance methods we're using now. I have to be by the picture, I have to cut it, and I can make the fucker dance.

++I have my Mojo back++

We'll see how this pans out in due time. Meanwhile, I have to be practical, and so I will resume a monklike lifestyle, continue to Ebay Buddha heads, try to hustle as much cash as I can any way I can.

Every dollar must be fought for; every moment is prescious, matters. Every frame, every passing feeling, every waking idea is part of the Magic Mountain.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

++Back from Poipet with a new Business Visa!!++

Yes, that's right folks. I'm officially able to stay in Cambodia indefinitely thanks to the new Business Visa, granted to me by "my best friends" at the Cambodian border! All I need to keep renewing is....you got it....CA$H. But i't's easy, just take your passport with Business Visa inside, $150 bucks for a six month extension, and head over to Lucky! Lucky! motorcycle shop, where they also specialize in Visa matters.

What sort of business do I intend to conduct here in Cambodia? Well, maybe more of the same -- teaching, hanging out with beautiful girls (since dates are so cheap here: .50 cents for a Coke and they're satisfied, which is great on my salary!). BUt most of all I want to get back into SHOW BUSINESS: to somehow start the final edit of Susan Hero, maybe even put together a Vampire movie I'd like to shoot here.

More later, but it's great to be back to (generally) paved streets again!

Thursday, March 24, 2005

(((A Deal Gone Sour)))

Thought it was worth mentioning this for various reasons: way back in October, when I was scraping by in New Mexico after shooting our next road movie, Susan Hero, which features great native American talent, and great new actors all round, I was very very low on money.

**I say this is worth mentioning so that any emerging or established filmmakers can take note of this situation and try to learn from it**

(Thus started the cycle which I now am climbing from, the very challenging situation which is described in such detail in HURRICANE--the uncut version of this blog/diary, which started in Oct 03' when I first set out to make the picture.)

Anyway, one day, out of the blue, and having been petitioning the universe for some deus ex machina to boost the finances and stop the slow downward financial spiral, I got a call from Kelly Devine of HD Cinema 10, the new HD channel headed by IFC, part of Rainbow media.

She said they wanted to aquire BOOKWARS for their channel!

After much discussion, and after sending a couple DVDs and many phone calls, she personally told me (as has happend with twelve other buyers re: TV sales for BOOKWARS), that they wanted to move forward as soon as possible:

"So it's definite?"

"Yes. Definite. We'll paper it soon..."

Which means the contract will soon follow, which must necessarily happen since the verbal agreement always comes first. See, it's physically impossible for the written agreement to precede the verbal agreement Please note that many other TV sales which I've been involved with: ZDF/Arte, Metrochannels (the sister station of IFC), SVT, NHK, PBS, Bravo!, and many more...all these TV sales operated the same way, with the verbal discussion, the handshake, coming first as it walways does.

Cut back to the deal with HD Cinema 10. I had so taken the buyer, Kelly Devine, at her good word--as I have with many other previous buyers, thinking now that I had a very significant and desperately needed TV sale coming in for BOOKWARS. Based on this, I saw fit to take a trip that I'd been waiting to take for three years, to Athens, Greece, where I would stay on the cheap with my old friend and bang out the screenplay for my next feature PAT and LLOYD's FINAL COUNTDOWN. (which is now complete and lined up to be the next project after Susan Hero.)

Anyway, while I'm over there, pecking away, after I've spent limited discretionary delvelopment money based on the presumably good word of the buyer from HD Cinema 10, after I've signed the W9 form and sent it back, after I've sent the MASTER as per their request...the deadline for deliverables comes and goes, and I hear not a peep from Kelly.

So I email back saying: Kelly, if I'm to head back to NYC and get the releases and other due diligence paperwork, I need to know what's happening. I can't book a trip back to NYC if things have been delayed, etc.

So I get an email back saying:

"Jason. It appears we're both so hesitant about this deal...I'm going to have to withdraw the offer."

"Hesistant?" And I thought, I've just sent you my master, the W9, have emailed you left and right, have spent scarce cash developing my next feature under the rock solid word that the TV sale is underway, and now you want to reneg and "withdraw" the offer?

Later, and more soberly, she emails to say that in actuality, the deal was not withdrawn because I was hesitant, but because the company ran out of financing. Suddenly it's no longer "my fault". They just can't afford to aquire any more movies.

[more later, including my letter to the CEO of Rainbow Media!]

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

++Boiling Guts++

My guts are starting to boil...I can hear stranges noises coming from them, sounds like the bubbler of a fishtank.

The rule of thumb here in Cambodia is: "if you see a bar of soap, use it". But no mater how careful you are, you're bound to pick up some kind of bug, and I've found that it's often not a matter of IF you have the runs, but TO WHAT DEGREE you have the runs.

Feeling blue because the hilltribe doc is on hold, hasn't been cancelled outright, but they're waiting for money to come through from the EU and that means delays, delays, delays.
Fuck. True, I'm successfully building up an alternate skill set here (teaching), but I also want to be workin gin my primary field (film/video) as well, and it's frustrating.

Another thing that's frustrating: low on money. Down to my last $500 to my name, and while I'm accountable for my choices, some of them were made under some degree of compulsion.
Ie, do you want to continue sleeping in your car in New Mexico while you HOPE some kind of gainful work emerges, or do you roll the dice now and head to Asia to build up an alternate (read, useful/practical) skill set?

In the end, it all comes down to choices we make, and some of the early choices I made were, in restrospect, not the most advisable...

Specifically: the decision to attend NYU Undergrad Film School, a decision I made when I was 17 years old, was a serious financial error which continues to affect me to this day. I'd advise any prospective students who are reading this to think twice about plunking down so much money for a Film/TV degree, and to instead consider obtaining a degree in a practical field while making movies on the side and learning that way.

Anyway, have to check the emails, am deciding what to do about Susan Hero. To I get the materials sent here and try to cut it myself?

Lukewarm Coffee

On the moto, as I rode to work this morning to teach the officer from the Minister of economics, swerving through traffic to avoid the Landcruisers which are driven with impugnity by former Khmer Rouge bigwigs...I noticed on the power line up ahead, a bushy tailed squirrel prancing across the busy road far overhead.

I felt nostalgic, a little, for the old squirrel days back home in Ohio, back in the days of tree forts and Halloween. Our trees were full of the paunchy rodents, who'd nimbly claw their way from pole to pole along the high tension wires.

"Hey...that's no squirrel"

No, it wasn't. It was nothing less than a bare assed monkey, clever and determined, balls drooping off his mangy hide, trying to make his way across the great Russian Boulevard.

He made it across and stopped to rest at a grubby, battered cement pole which supported the wires. He clung to it grimly, halfheartedly, as King Kong does in his final moments (watch the movie to see what I mean) as he clings to the spire of the Empire State Building, riddled with holes by the assaulting biplanes.

I looked back at my fellow primate as I passed, and I thought I could see that he was watching me depart. And then, another movie moment, but this time the scene in Deliverance where the retarded banjo player watches impassively as Burt Reynolds and the other doomed canoers make their way under the footbridge and down the river...onwards...to their unsavory destinies.

Later in the day I scoured a menu to fill my gut, and saw the following listed in proud bold letters:

**Lukewarm Coffee with Milk**

Ah, the smell of it!

Monday, March 21, 2005

Reviewing the Rough Cut of Susan Hero

Just received the rough cut of Susan Hero, via poste restante, at the Phnom Penh post office. So far, so good: a little long and the pacing needs to be tightened, but the editor, Giacomo Ambrosini, has put in a lot of effort to make this the best cut yet--have't watched it all though (very long--2 1/2 hours!) but so far things seem promising.

However, G (Giacomo) has a problem with the firewire bus on his computer, and from this point on we're a bit stalled until we can get our equipment situation sorted out.

Ah, if only I were a minority filmmaker, not a rich white man, then I'd surely have access to more grant money. Or if I were a woman, or a "person of color". Or if I were ethnically connected, like my Irish and Jewish friends. (not a joke or being bitter: it's true)

"What're you talking about, you're a rich white dude from the suburbs."

"Oh...yea...I forgot...uh, right." (he says as he eats another handful of rice from the cooker and observes his bank account online--the lowest it's been in FIFTEEN YEARS)

Anyway, regarding our need for equipment and assistance to move forward with Susan Hero: If anyone can offer some advice or assistance, let me know at--> camerado@camerado.com

Also: a logistical problem, since I'm located in Asia now and G is back in New York, and I'm disinclined to go back to NYC --or the States for that matter--for a while if I can help it.

To summarize, I left NYC for a variety of reasons, basically got sick of the ratrace there...still in a ratrace here, but it's a much mellower ratrace, a race of lazy, sluggish, smiling rats with funny porkpie hats.

Not long after I'd made the deicison to leave NYC, to head out to New Mexico to make my second feature, SUsan Hero (back in 03'), I narrowly escaped (not bullshit) from a violent attempted kidnapping at gunpoint, a random crime by a coupple gangbangers and a BMW SUV...from that point on, I lost my taste for "urban America". This essentially capped my decision to leave NYC, and I felt that it was a sign or taste of the decline of America which I sense may be underway right now, and which I hope to avoid.

Me (to the crime victim counselor)

"You know, after the kid with the afro put that gun in my face, I kinda'find myself becoming racist. I don't want to be, but I can't help it"

Crime Victim Couselor

"That's completely natural. You shouldn't be concerned about that right now, just be glad you survived."

Fair enough. I've had my taste of urban America for the time being, and part of my plan is to get to know Asia well, the future seat of the world's economy...especially after our President/public servant has mishandled the USA so terribly and irrevocably.

Enough of this! I have to celebrate the incredible women of Phnom Penh, their silky lithe figures and beaming smiles.

Away, Phantoms!

(stay tuned for more info on the progress of Susan Hero)

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Lovely Ladies Picking Their Noses...

Everyone picks their nose in Cambodia; if you don't when you arrive, you will gladly adopt the habit. You'll soon find yourself probing a nostril with a gentle, wayward backhanded gesture, as naturally as Samba the elephant tosses a bucket of husk-filled turds as he passes by on Sisowith Quay, back home afgter a day of work at Wat Phnom giving elephant rides to tourists.

Yes: you'll find the lovliest ladies, with the tightest and most delicate figures, scooping gently at their nose-holes with pretty sculptes nails while they bat their eyelashes at you.

The object of the hunt is found within the act of digging itself; any gems which are found are not eaten or even examined, rather, they're tossed cavalierely aside as a fisherman might catch--and then release--a rainbow trout.

He fishes for sport. And so do they!

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Tired--but it's Good Kind of Tired

Still waiting to hear about the hilltribe documentary; in the meantime, the villagersa re being harassed by the local police and Cambodian government.

Susan Hero, our New Mexico road movie, seems to be on hold due to unsolvabel equipment problems. Need more cash, and it's slow to generate...

Thus, an appeal to any readers who want to contribute to our latest effort, the road movie Susan Hero:

Visit our website at http://www.camerado.com/popes.html to find out how you can assist our second feature by becoming a Pope of Camerado!

Thanks from afar,

JR

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Check out the short land alienation / hilltribe doc

Here it is, the short demo doc we produced for the NGO regarding land alienation in Ratanakiri province, Cambodia:

http://www.camerado.com/media/ratanakiri_small.wmv

**The good news is: they liked the short and we are now discussing the details of a longer, commissioned piece--negotiations under way, I'll announce it here when things are official!**

Friday, March 11, 2005

Beef Trip with Cheese Fish

Just thought I'd add this while I remembered:

***"BEEF-TRIP WITH CHEESE FISH"***

...it was listed in the menu the other day up in Ratanakiri.

Showed the hilltribe short demo tonight to the NGO folks; they seem positive and some figures were discussed (though no formal offer or green light to start shooting, etc).

Could conceivable be starting up right away...but what about my students? Shall I get them to sell brinze Buddha heads on Ebay for me while I'm gone?

Just for the record I thought I'd add that I'm not living large. In fact, finally moved out of the OKAY guesthouse, across the street to a house that I'm sharing with two Ducth guys and one of theior Khmer wives, they run a travel shop downstairs.

Although I'm just renting a room ($100 per month with attached bathroom--would be $800 bucks per month or more in NYC excpt for the cold water), and this is my first place, my own first autonomous place I've had since w finished shooting Susan Hero back in New Mexico in late June.

I did briefly take a room in the townhouse of a strange old cat lady in Santa Fe (desperate for a roof, as I was sleeping in my car and on couches). But I've chiefly been living VERY low on the hog due to the big gamble I took in moving to NM and overspending on production of Susan Hero--which is now being tighted to a 100 minute rough cut in NYC.

Alas:

I cannot see,

by what strange eye,

bewitched I be...

[gotta go check out some rock and roll, theres a band playing at Ruby's tonight in Phnom Penh, called the I Love You band]

Thursday, March 10, 2005

I'm a WINNER!!!!!

Can't believe my luck these days; things seem to be DEFINITELY turning around!

For example, I'm now down here at the Tuol Sleng Internet cafe, near the infamous former Tuol Sleng prison S21 [now a museum to the Cambodian Holocaust], where the Khmer Rouge held and tortured thousands of innocent men, women, and children.

I'm just chillin'and drinking a Pepsi after teaching my wealthy government minister English student on the other side of town--the one who lives in a Sky blue mansion behind razor wire--and getting ready to hit Babel studios where our short demo / fundraising trailer of the Jarai hilltribes is about to be finished ....

...when I check my email to find that I have (once again!) won a MAJOR LOTTERY!!!

Here's the message from the lottery president (?) , a Mr. Donald Duke--from London England: [*note, my response to him is included ]

==========>>>

YES!!!!
I can't f*cking believe it!!!
You guys ROCK!!!!
I'm already figuring out what I'll do with my winnings--you can best your sweet peaches I WILL help humanity with some of the money.
Thanks, Donald!
On Thu, 10 Mar 2005 03:59:17 -0800 donaldduke654@o2.co.uk wrote:> DEAR WINNER> > THIS PROGRAM IS BEING SPONSORED BY EMINENT> PERSONALITIES AS A WAY TO ENCOURAGE THE USAGE OF> INTERNET SERVICE WORLD WIDE.> EMAILS WERE PICKED AT RANDOM WHICH WERE LATER SUBJECTED> TO BALLOTTING AND> YOURS WAS ENVENTUALLY SELECTED AS ONE OF THE> WINNERS IN DIFFERENT CATEGORIES.> TO BEGIN YOUR CLAIMS WE ARE IN RECEIPT OF YOUR PAYMENT> FILE SENT TO US. WE> HAVE THE INSTRUCTION TO PAY YOU THE SUM OF TWO MILLION> FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND> EUROS AFTER PROPER IDENTIFICATION.> > > IN THE LIGHT OF THE ABOVE, YOU ARE THEREFORE REQUESTED> TO FILL THE FORM AND RETURN SAME TO US VIA EMAIL> ATTACHMENT TO OUR EMAIL ADDRESS FOR FURTHER ACTION.> YOURS FAITHFULLY,> DIRECTOR(LEGAL) JAY HAUSEN & ASSOCIATES.> > REFERENCE NUMBER: WINNING NUMBER:??????????????. FULL> NAME: ???????????????? AGE????????????????????> OCCUPATION ??????????????? SEX:????????????????> COMPANY NAME::??????????? ?????????????????? FULL> ADDRESS: ????..?????????????????> COUNTRY NAME ???????????????????????????????? TEL:> ????????????? FAX: ??????????> E-MAIL????????????????????????????> ??????????????????????????????????> ?????????????????????????????????? IF PAYMENT SHOULD> BE MADE BY DRAFT OR CHEQUES (Please State)> ???????????????????????????????????> ???????????????????????????????????> ??????????????????????????????????? HAVE YOU EVER> DIRECTLY/INDIRECTLY PARTICIPATED IN ANY LOTTERY> PROGRAMME (YES OR NO) IF YES PLEASE> STATE??????????????????? WILL YOU LIKE TO GRANT PRESS> CONFERENCE? YES/NO ------------------------- I HEREBY> ENDORSE THUS: ___________________________> Date ___________________ Signature> N.B.: WE HOPE YOUR WINNINGS WILL BE USED FOR THE> BETTERMENT OF MANKIND, AND WILL CHANGE THE LIVES OF SO> MANY PEOPLE FOR GOOD. NEVER THINK OF WHAT PEOPLE CAN> DO FOR YOU BUT THINK OF WHAT YOU CAN DO TO UPLIFT THE> LIVES OF PEOPLE.> > > > > ________________________________________> For a wide range of mobile phones,free> upgrades,accessories and tariffs plus> special deals when you buy online,visit www.o2.co.uk/shop> <http://www.o2.co.uk/shop>> >

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I especially like the part where they express their hopes that my winnings will be used for the betterment of mankind...Donald, that is so sweet of you!

Off to Babel Studios to put the final subtitles in the trailer...

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Fat Lizards Hang from the Ceiling in the Gobbling Nook of Insect Dreams

Today, down time on all media sides as G (back in NYC) figgers out how to get the hard drives running again to tweak the cut--again--of Susan Hero. Current approach is to have him cut a 100 minute version, which will cause, I hope, a tighter, leaner cut. And the ultimate goal is to make a 100 minute version for release.

None of the Hollywood people I know can perceive the emergence of this picture, I'm sure, the odd-angled way it's taken place.

But you can be sure that when the picture makes its rounds on the festival cicuit and lands the frist few TV sales, they'll be patting us on the back:

"Here son, have a cigar."

So what's my company now that I'm still obsucre, in the raging Asian night, in the furthest Mekong reach of the lumpen Earth?

Lizards. Geckos actually with flabby, fat round pawed toes, who've stakes out territories near the awful lamp which adorns this Khmer ceiling. They lie in wait for unsuspecting insects, then they'll pounce suddenly--gulping their prey--to return to their shadows with bulging eyes.

They remind me a puppet who never made it onto Sesame Street. Al little too weird. A little too VILE. [my favorite was always Oscar the Grounch anyway. Really...an angry dirty hairy monster with a Bronx accent who lived in a garbage can. Awesome. Never see that on today's careful, correct, litiginous TV]

Anyway, will head soon after this exhausting day of teaching and hustling for a post facility to make the hilltribe trailer, to Mikey's bar, where fat Jack likes to display his drunken stomach, where Navy, the sexy Khmer waitress was just pulled from her post by her gun weiling Military Police husband--and where tonight is "Jam Night", and I will try to recall a few tunes.

Raskolinikov said "They laugh from drink; I shall drink and get drunk with them."

Sometimes wise, sometimes not, depending on the current state of your skeleton.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Back from shooting Video in a Hilltribe Village

Just flew back from Ratanakiri (and boy are my arms tired...wa, wa, wa). Went up there to expolore some doc ideas and meet with some NGO folks who are eyeing a potential doc about land alienation in the region (land grabbing: stealing land from the natives, it's rampant).

Well, one thing led to another and after a day of shooting stills in the hills with a local Tumpun assistant from the NGO, went the next day to an even more remote hilltribe village, Jarai (sp?) very close to the border of Vietnam where hug construction companies have been slowly moving in for the kill.

Anyway, shot some vide which we hope to turn around very quickly for an NGO conference on the 11th, featuring the rearely seen villagers explaining their situation in their language (and Khmer) and pleading for assistance.

Spent the night in the houseof one of the family's with the Jarai -speaking guide, woke to the sound of big animals beneatht he stilted house moaning in the dawn. Even had a dream that someone asked me a question , but instead a big cow answered : "yeaaaaaaa."

Staggered out wearing my blanket like a chief, while everyone else was already gathered round their fire. They laughed and gestured for me to come over. After a brief hang amongst stogey-smoking elder ladies and the chief himself, we got down to shooting some video which I hoppe to post via a link on this blog shortly.

NOw back ion Phnom Penh, where the curvy beautiful Internet girls await me...