Just Make Media!


Monday, March 20, 2006


A revision to David Letterman's CBS Late Night schedule puts Minnesotan Diablo Cody on Monday night March 20th after Denzel Washington.


Originally, Cody was to tape on Monday and air as the third guest on Wednesday. Cody will be plugging for her book "Candy Girl," an autobiographical account of the life of a stripper in Minneapolis adult soda pop clubs and will not speak about her script JUNO. In the interview with Letterman, Cody (her real name is Brook Busey-Hunt) reportedly tells Dave "if this writing thing doesn't pan out, I'll go back to the pole." Much to Letterman's delight, Cody describes the work of being a stripper and even "bed dances" an act that simulates sex on a bed according to viewers of the taping session.

Denzel Washington will promote Spike Lee's newest crime mystery thriller INSIDE MAN also starring Clive Owen and Jody Foster. The two-time Oscar winner also currently has a son who is being actively sought in the NFL and a daughter entering Ivy League schools. Washington plays a down-and-out cop who steps into the role of negotiating the release of hostages in a bank robbery gone wrong.

Friday, March 17, 2006


The ever sensational and outrageous Diablo Cody is going to be making an appearance in the David Letterman Show. Imagine, the guy from Richfield Minnesota with the hummingbird feeders dangling from his cap outside Woodlake Preserve....our former Minnesota on Letterman claim to fame... but with Diablo, you never know where she's gonna hang her feeders out. Letterman might think he has his hands full with Madonna but he has yet to meet Diablo...

Maybe, just maybe, our code-named devil will behave herself. NOT!

Diablo will appear as the third-guest as an "author." I didn't recall Letterman had a three guest line-up, but perhaps I am sawing logs in those desolate hours. Does Dr. James Dobson of the quickly enraged Focus on Family Counsel stay up late enough to have the hair on his back rise up and in order to scream of them damned nations?

Or maybe Diablo will hire a stand-in to play her in the guest chair on Letterman just as she did with the City Pages cover story [CP: August 17, 2005] detailing her account of meeting and not meeting with nameless WB executives to ink the 3-picture deal for her script JUNO scheduled to be directed by Brad Silberling (LEMONY SNICKET, MOONLIGHT MILE) this spring.

As of a few weeks ago, Minnesota had lost out (according to the Pioneer Press) to Illinois in the bonus bucks bidding wars as prime location for JUNO, a film styled to be Hollywood's answer to NAPOLEON DYNAMITE, even though Silberling approved of Hopkins to shoot most of the Cody scripted pix.

If Diablo's instincts are in true form, you can bet she'll be naughty but nice to fair haired midwestern Letterman from Indiana. The show is scheduled to be taped on Monday and aired Wednesday, March 22nd, if you can stay awake...



Despite being hobbled by few film selections from the big international film festivals this winter due to staff shakedowns and Al Milgroms health condition (we wish him the best), email sent from Rick Hansen calling for local submissions suggests the Minneapolis international festival might still be coming to a theater near us.

Minneapolis-St. Paul Int'l Film Festival Seeks Local Work

We're looking for Minnesota-made shorts and medium-length films of any genre (narrative, docs, experimental). Maximum length 40 minutes. Films that have screened in the M-SPIFF in the past are ineligible. Send a DVD or a VHS:

Minnesota Film Arts
Attn: MN Shorts
309 Oak Street SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414

DEADLINE: Must arrive in office by March 25

We're also looking for your video-blogs and streaming shorts. Send a DVD or VHS to the above address, or send a URL to info@minnesotamovie.com

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


Last Friday as I prepared to leave work for the weekend, I got my line-up of films, docs, funny shorts and even goofy TV commercials ready for my wife and our weekend viewing.

Yes, I said my wife. The big EP found his one true love in life Patricia and tied the knot. I am happy as a jaybird.

As I drive home along LaSalle Ave south I lamented the death of Oak Street Cinema revival house and now, it seems, the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Film Festival is going down with MFA. But, I guess, I am not too pained by the loss other than for nostalgic reasons. Frankly, there in my pocket on my iPod video I had four months of programming that I would never have gotten to see at Oak Street and Bell combined even if I'd gone every night and offered my $5 and suffered parking.

When I got home Patricia was excited with the prospect of viewing the newest episodes from the locally written, shot and produced CHASING WINDMILLS drama.

I had old and never before seen films. Old newsreel material from the National Archive in Washington D.C. as well as a 30 minute video from NASA on the Apollo 11 mission. I had a series of old funny off-beat TV commercials shot by our friends at Fallon. A mini-series sponsored by Doc Marten's about working people in London. And a series by a local couple Juan Antonio del Rosario and Cristina Cordova called CHASING WINDMILLS. I had movie trailers and all the short dramatic films nominated for the Academy Awards. Local, regional, national, and international films and video. Shorts, long form, documentary, animation and even archival history. I had a pilot for a new television show along with "behind-the scenes" materials for another.

The exciting development with internet delivered drama and documentary is that the bitstream levels the playing field, making it much easier and less expensive for local filmmakers to deliver their work to thousands, if not millions of eyeballs. And CHASING WINDMILLS is one of the most cutting edge productions in indie media making today.

What was impossible 10 and 20 years ago to view on any given weekend, is now not only possible but really easy. Alternative distribution has changed gears significantly and still the smoke has yet to clear on the directions we are heading. Going back five, ten and fifteen years in this community, we desperately hungered for alternatives to the mainstream distribution channels that delivered cheez-wiz rather than Taleggio or Parmigiano Reggiano.

Alternative content is now plentiful and in the period of a few short years our choices have changed radically. In 2004 and 05, the entire music industry was completely transformed by Napster, Garage Band, and the iPod and, despite the harsh and brutal threats by lawyers in Hollywood, the film industry walls of monopolistic control will fall and distribution will change also.

Digital distribution is a welcome development and a new age for independent filmmakers. Friends, get on board!

Friday, March 03, 2006


At the staff organized community meeting between Casablanca and Citizen Kane, when the topic of the future of MFA was raised, Board member Tim Grady stated that the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Film Festival (MSPIFF ) was fully funded and would go forward, following on a twenty plus year tradition in April. This assurance seemed to place a China Wall between the crisis of operating the slumping box office at Oak Street for revival films and our world-class film festival.

Now, the international film festival seems to be in doubt.

First, Al Milgrom founder and driving force behind MSPIFF went in for heart surgery during the Berlin International Film Festival (traditional a well-spring of film bookings for MSPIFF) and other Minnesotans hoped to see into Tim Grady in Berlin acting on Milgroms behalf. But nobody saw Grady there.

Second, placing a phone call to the offices of MFA will reveal and entirely new and inexperienced, if not, enthusiastic staff. Adam Sekuler has left for Seattle to began working at the Northwest Film Center. Al Milgrom is still recuperating at home, albeit it reluctantly. Gretchen Williams was picked as one of the hip and cool in Mpls/St. Paul magazine but not an employee of MFA. Emily Condon is gone and needless to say (despite that fact I had coffee with him in the skyway this week) Jamie Hook is happily engaged at a new cinema/live theater organization in Williamsburg Brooklyn. A week ago the MFA staff and board had not booked any films for the April schedule. If the problem at MFA was the staff, as Grady contented and not the board, now that the staff has been wiped out, where is the healing?

Third, according to a source close to the situation, the festival will not be held in April breaking with a decades long tradition and in its place a scaled down film schedule in unreel. The talk around the community is the next main festival will be moved to the fall of 2006.

This is bad news for Minnesota film lovers and could mark the end of our international film festival forever. A fall international film festival is a completely different species than one held in the spring from a programming standpoint. Moving a film festival six months downline is not as simple a task as it might seem -- its not like extending the deadline.

Probably the most disturbing aspect of the situation at MFA as it has unfolded is the lack of communication from the board with the community. Mostly, this is marked by two completely polar assessments of the condition of the organization. Other revival houses like the Oak Street around the country, more specifically the Bratttle Theater in Boston, experienced similiar downturns in box office revenues and declining membership.

Faced with the impending emergency, the Board of the Brattle jumped into action, came up with a comprehensive plan to rescue and revitalize the organization and set a deadline for the community to raise a targeted $400,000 otherwise the Brattle Foundation would close the doors. This clarity of purpose and resolve to go forward with community support is the leadership we need from MFA. Unfortunately, issues and analysis of the problem seem to have polarized the core of the non-profit board and membership.

One pole in the argument says revival cinema and Oak Street are completely healthy and artistically necessary while the Bell Museum and U Film is a drag on the organization. The other side says Oak looses money and has high overhead in keeping the doors open while the Bell with its documentary focus has been programmatically stable. Both positions now have begun to cannibalize the entire organization. And what's missing is responsible leadership and effective fiscal management.

Probbaly the most encouraging sign was a roundtable discussion hosted by Rob Nelson in the City Pages with leading curators and media arts administrators as well as Adam, Emily and Tim Grady from MFA. This community dialogue needs to continue.