To Live and Write in LA

IFFF: ‘Ridge Runners’ – Sex Trafficking in a Small Town

There are many more talented actors, writers and directors than Hollywood has room for. Ridge Runners is proof of that. The first feature film for screenwriter Austin Lott and director Hunter West is an indie crime drama which is a standout on multiple levels.

‘Girl Flu’ – A Movie About Firsts that Gives New Meaning to the Phrase ‘Period Piece’

In Hollywood parlance, a “period piece” is a script or film that takes place in the past. ‘Girl Flu’, a film written and directed by Dorie Barton, gave a new meaning to that phrase. It’s a film about firsts. Without a doubt, it is the only film you’ll ever call charming, funny and heartwarming that has menstruation as its focus.

Arnold Schwarzenegger – Zombie’s Father in ‘Maggie’

(Originally published on Blogcritics.org) My brain’s cynicism synapse snapped when I heard that a new Arnold Schwarzenegger zombie movie was opening at the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival. Somebody’s been bribed, I thought. Not the case. Maggie is not your father’s Arnold movie or zombie movie for that matter. It is a touching examination of the relationship […]

The Price of Following Your Dreams

(Originally published on Blogcritics.org) Two films debuting this spring explore the challenge and cost of following your dreams. Documentary My Way (theatrical release on Febrary 20) follows rock musician Rebekah Starr as she leaves her Pennsylvania home for Los Angeles to make a music video. Narrative drama Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter (U.S. release in March) […]

Let Me Out

There are two ways that films illuminate difficult truths about growing up: painfully, as in The Spectacular Now, and charmingly, as is done in Let Me Out.

LA Film Fest: Bits and Pieces

(First published on blogcritics.org) This year’s LA Film Fest, sponsored by Film Independent, continued to be a remarkable cultural achievement. But within its 10-day run there were highs and lows. Family Day, coinciding with the premier of My Little Pony: Equestria Girls was a great event for kids and parents. I’ve attended a lot of film festivals and this […]

Collaboration Filmmakers Challenge: The Fifteen Dollar Film School

(First published on blogcritics.org) The Collaboration Filmmakers Challenge, now in its second year, brings a new twist to film contests. You not only have to make a film in two weeks, you also must collaborate on another filmmaker’s project. Both of you have to succeed, or neither one qualifies for the prize competition. For actors and technical crew, it […]

PopConLA: Making Music Magic for Indie Producers

(First published on blogcritics.org) Music can make or break your indie film, TV show or Internet series. Getting the right music means working with composers, music supervisors and/or licensing library tracks. PopConLA, a new popular culture convention which spotlights fantasy/sci-fi, art, music, fashion, extreme sports and other pop-culture memes, brought together a stellar group of veteran composers […]

Dances With Films: Can a Bat Monster be Cinderella?

(First published on blogcritics.org) Attack of the Bat Monsters by writer/director Graham Kelly Greene is an independent filmmaker fairy tale. It premiered in 2000 at the Dances with Films festival and, even though the soundtrack wasn’t finished, it won the Best of DWF Award and got good reviews. Then, like so many other quality indie films it disappeared […]

Dances With Films: Opening Night Full of Dreams and Zombies

(First published on blogcritics.org) “Dare, Dream, Do” is the mantra of the Dances with Films independent film festival, May 31 through June 7 at the Chinese 6 Theaters in Hollywood. On opening night they lived up to their slogan for the year, “Dream Big or Go Home,” with the biggest red carpet parade I’ve ever seen. My […]

Indie Film and Dead Cats

(Originally published on Blogcritics.org) Ailuromortuusphilia [ahy-loo r-uh-mor-toos-fil-ee-uh] noun a liking for dead cats, as by indie film directors. While viewing a preview of Kill List (unrated, directed by Ben Wheatley), I realized my place in psycho-babble science had been secured: I had discovered ailuromortuusphilia. Or, in short, why do indie film makers love dead cats? In Kill List, which I’m sure will […]

‘You Got This’: Hollywood Filmmaking in the Suburbs

(Originally published on Blogcritics.org) Cancer, a marathon, thievery and a touching story are a lot to pack into a thirty minute film. That, however, is what producer/screenwriter, and American Film Institute (AFI) grad student, Sara Hills is doing in her film, You Got This. This film is the thesis for Sara’s Masters in Fine Arts from the AFI Conservatory. […]

Circus Vargas and Indie Film

(Originally published on blogcritics.org) Circus Vargas came through town a while back. It had been years since we’d been to the circus so my wife and I decided to go. This is not a big “sports arena” circus like Ringling Brothers. Circus Vargas sets up old fashioned big top tents in a mall parking lot, sometimes has […]

Produced By Conference: Big Names, Small Budget

(Originally published on blogcritics.org) The success of an independent film can often depend on getting a “name star” to sign on to the project. The “Big Names, Small Budgets” seminar, presented by SAG and SAGIndie at this past weekend’s “Produced By Conference” (PBC), focused on how to accomplish that. The PBC, presented by the Producers Guild […]

An exploration of film and filmmaking