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Package

Robert Altman died the night before Tom Waits new album came out. This is something that makes complete sense and should be explored further. Both artist came to me later in life thanks to my wife's expansive taste. I had never seen an Altman film (aside from Popeye as a kid), or listened to a Tom Waits song until I was in my late 20's when I met Amy. She being an avid fan of both set me down in front a DVD player and then a record player and made me (willingly) partake in many sessions of these artists works. My creative life hasn't been the same sense.

Congrats to Yen who is damn near picture lock on "Ciao." I saw the cut last night and it's a touching, slow burn of a masterwork.

In addition to filmmaking and cooking I've taken on a suprising new side-career. Through a strange set of circumstances I was able to attain a close ally in the world of modeling. She is very adament about a new wave of fashion type that is bursting at the seams so she hooked me up with some photographers and such and I've been doing some modeling. One of the most suprising shoots I've been invited to do was for underwear. Well a pretty major company has taken notice of the underwear shots and sometime (hopefully) at the beginning of next year I'll have some ads coming out. I don't want to say anymore at this point for fear of jinxing it but holy crap it's gonna be cool.
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Hannah Takes the Stairs = Brilliant

Joe Swanberg has done it again.
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Some Analog Lines screening at Austin Film Fest

David's heralded short film Some Analog Lines has been invited to screen as an intro to the Animated Shorts section at the Austin Film Festival. If you're in the area I would suggest that you see it now before the special extended DVD edition with all new effects comes out this Christmas.

Here's the info: http://aff.bside.com/2006/?_view=_filmdetails&_template=aff2006&filmId=6135056&.
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Tornado - Waits

Amy had a dream about being stuck in a church with Tom Waits during a Tornado.
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Please Everybody, This is Important

Urge Your Federal Representative to Oppose the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act
H.R. 4239, also known as the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, is a bill that could make it a crime punishable by imprisonment to cause any business classified as an "animal enterprise" to suffer a profit loss -- even if the company's financial decline is the result of peaceful protests, consumer boycotts or media campaigns. Please "Take Action" to urge your federal Representative to protect our First Amendment rights to freedom of speech by opposing the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act. Also tell a friend about this issue and donate to IDA so that we can continue our important work for animals.

Go here to sign a petition: http://ga0.org/campaign/HR4239

So here's the definition of terrorism according to the American Heritage Dictionary:
ter·ror·ism (n.)
The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons.

Now what in the hell does an animal enterprise, meaning Private Business, have to do with our society or government. How does causing a private business to lose profit terrorize our society or governement.

Does this mean that if someone picks up a flier at Spiral and decided to skip the meat next time they're at the grocery store that we are terrorist!?

Geez, please let your voice be heard.
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GDMF is done and will be showing soon


A FILM BY JAMES M. JOHNSTON



DOWNLOAD TRAILER

QUICKTIME

FOR iPOD


OFFICIAL SELECTION OF 2006 DALLAS VIDEO FESTIVAL
AUGUST 11 ~ 10:00 PM ~ KALITA HUMPHRIES THEATER
visit www.videofest.org for details


UPDATE: For those of you who don't want to download the trailer.

Get this video and more at MySpace.com
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Hot Damn!

Octopus vs. Shark
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Some Analog Lines (vote)



If you read this blog you probably already read my good friend David Lowery's blog. But just in case I wanted to make sure you all know that David's film Some Analog Lines is one of three finalist for the SXSWclick Festival, an online film festival sponsored by South By Southwest. He is up for two prizes a Jury prize and the Audience Award. The latter is where you come in. Please go here to watch the film: http://sxswclick.com/watch/some_analog_lines/, then vote for it.

Some Analog Lines is one of my favorite works by David and as you'll see when you watch it, it is a highly affecting personal essay film.

Enjoy and don't forget to vote. As David said "...while I really don't feel like staging a campaign or urging people to go out of their way to send those ballots in, I certainly won't complain if the mood strikes anyone to do so. I do feel like urging people to take a look at the film, though, because I'm really proud of it, and want people to see it."
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Praise Gods

This September: Original Unaltered Trilogy on DVD

"See the title crawl to Star Wars before it was known as Episode IV; see the pioneering, if dated, motion control model work on the attack on the Death Star; groove to Lapti Nek or the Ewok Celebration song like you did when you were a kid; and yes, see Han Solo shoot first."
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Items Of Interest I

Deadroom Screening - We are screening Deadroom in the D.C. area thanks to DIY Filmmaker Sujewa and Capitol City Microcinema for hosting us. Here's all the details:
DATE: Thursday, May 25th
TIME: 7:00pm
PLACE: Kensington Row Bookshop
3786 Howard Ave. Kensington, MD 20895

Maybe W. will come and show some support for his home state filmmakers.

"Eco-Terrorism" Witchhunts - Check out this article about the SHAC 7 to get yourself oriented and then check out the authors blog called Green is the New Red. Seriously, whether you are vegan or not, this is very wrong and it's implications can reach into any sort of activism.

Monster Road DVD - I saw this film back when Deadroom played the Texas Film Festival. It really is an amazing piece of work. It's about the animator Bruce Bickford who serves as a true inspiration to any and all artist. The filmmaker Brett Ingram is a stand-up fellow who's given us a truly honest peek into the inner-workings of not only claymation but what it's like to be obsessive about your art.

Please show some support and and buy the DVD. They are self-distributing it through the website. It really says something when a great documentary that wins best doc at Slamdance and is picked up to play on the Sundance Channel can't get a decent DVD distro deal.

Young American Bodies - Joe Swanberg is cool and so are his films Kissing on the Mouth and LOL. Now he's doing a internet series for Nerve.com.

Metrognome - An up and coming local arts collective that is trying to harness a DIY film collective here in Fort Worth. Here's a word from James Watkins, whose blood, sweat, and tears goes into making Metrognome a success: "Serious Filmmakers are hard to find in Fort Worth. At least they have been until now. Metrognome is dedicated to independent cinema in all its forms, and to further public awareness and create an independent-filmmakers support group, we are trying to put together a local, not-for-profit film center in the Untitled #1518 building. Equipped for screenings, meetings, lectures, production and post-production work, the 1000 square foot space will be a home for local filmmakers to collaborate, promote their works, arrange screenings, client meetings, and more. Filmmakers, production companies, or businesses interested in participating-in, volunteering for, or sponsoring this venture should come out for an introductory meeting at 7:30pm on Sunday May 14th at the Spiral Diner at 1314 W.Magnolia, Fort Worth TX 76104. After a meet-and-greet at the Spiral, we will be heading over to the Metrognome to look at the space and discuss the possibilities it holds."

IndieLoop - A Myspace type of thing but specifically for Independent film from the great folks at IndieWire. You can find my profile here: JMJ.

Wristcutters: A Love Story - Saw it. Like it. Tom Waits is brilliant in everything he does.

Colbert Video - This thing is spreading like wildfire on the internet. In case you haven't seen it please watch all three parts attentively. A true roast that even a vegan can enjoy.
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Hotel






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This Weekend


Storie Productions screens Stacy Schoolfields acclaimed documentary Rescue Me in Forth Worth


Sunday, April 23rd, 7:00 p.m)
Spiral Diner - 1314 W. Magnolia, Fort Worth, TX 76104
(Free)
Directions: From I-30: Exit Summit/8th Ave, and go South for one mile. At Magnolia turn Left (heading East.) Five blocks down we are on theNortheast corner of 6th and Magnolia.

Coming off the heels of sold out screenings of their narrative feature jumping off bridges at the South by Southwest Film Festival, Storie Productions brings Stacy Schoolfields acclaimed documentary, Rescue Me to Forth Worth.
After learning that over 20,000 animals are euthanized in Austin, Texas every year, Stacy Schoolfield volunteered to foster abandoned animals in her home. This film chronicles her experience, taking viewers straight to the heart of pet overpopulations causes and complexities and examines the costs to individuals and the community. Rescue Me invites viewers to meet rescue volunteers, learn what motivates and challenges them, and experience the highs and lows of volunteering from the satisfaction of matching a foster animal with an adoptive family to the disturbing numbers of adoptable companion animals euthanized every day due to overpopulation. The subjects, including writer-songwriter-politician Kinky Friedman, all speak to the societal costs of our disposable cultures lack of stewardship toward animals. They point out, that fixing the problem of pet overpopulation and abandonment is bigger than one volunteer, or a small army of volunteers can fix.

For more information, please contact Tracy Frazier at tracy@storieproductions.com

www.storieproductions.com
www.rescuemedocumentary.com (view trailer here)

-ALSO-
-----------------------------------------------------------------
2nd ANNUAL FILM FATALE PREMIERES APRIL 22nd!!!!
-----------------------------------------------------------------

Saturday April 22nd FILM FATALE will return For Another Night of Film
Come to Metrognome Collective
(1715 Lancaster Ave. in Ft Worth, TX)

See Great NEW Short Movies Directed or Written by Women
This Year We're also bringing you the awesome Girl Bands:
White Girl (Denton), Wilson Steele (Denton), and Lovie (Dallas)

Raffles, Popcorn, and Denton's Craft Mafia will also a part of the Festivities
For More Info Message us Here or Email Maria at maria.garcia@metrognomecollective.org
or check out www.metrognome.org


Once again, all donations will go to Family Health Care Clinic in Denton. The clinic is staffed with doctors and nurses devoted to providing low income pregnant women with quality prenatal care.

COVER: $ 7 B.Y.O.B.


And check out this really cool promo video that Karina Lomelin made for Film Fatale:


Get this video and more at MySpace.com
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Fort Worth Film Kultur

The reporter for the "Kultur" column in Fort Worth Weekly was kind enough to call and let me know ahead of time that there is a glaring factual error involving me in the column. He apologized profusely. I found this to be honorable on his part and thanked him for it. Basically it says I was at SXSW purely as an audience member because Deadroom got rejected. Finally got my pic in the paper and it says I'm a reject. Oh well, they'll print a retraction but the damage is done. Shit happens.

I'm glad that instead of taking the tact of blaming SXSW for not showing more Fort Worth films he takes the city to task for not supporting the type of independent art films that festivals are looking for. Although, I must say he was pretty off the mark in his cheap shot at "Fa$cist Watch". If he would have asked me about that I would have said they suffer from the same problem as SXSW. If there were any FW filmmakers making hard-hitting docs about local or other worldly topics they would be more than happy to show it. So I thought it was inappropriate to lash out at those guys. They are good peeps and they do a lot for the community here.

I thought he was right on point however with his comments on the Lone Star Film Society. For a film society they do absolutely nothing to cultivate local talent. I've been trying to get them to show Deadroom since it premiered at SXSW last year and I got nothing. Dallas, Austin, Cleveland, Philadelphia, College Station, Louisiana, and soon D.C. but Fort Worth: nothing. Except mine and Nick's living room of course. And you know what, if I asked the folks at 1919 Hemphill to play it they would do it in a second.

I must say, I'm happy that FW Weekly has taken an interest in what I'm doing and cares enough to seek my opinion in film related matters. I certainly hope they keep on supporting the local film scene and don't let it fall to the wayside.

Here's a link to the article: http://www.fwweekly.com/content.asp?article=3814

I know that writers are forced to deal with issues of word count and space for their articles so I'll take a second to expound on the last line in the article, “The situation in local film is indicative of the entire art scene, it all goes back to the people, and they’d rather have a SuperTarget on West Seventh Street.”

Basically, people in Fort Worth, and most of America probably, would rather support the building of a new Wal Mart or Super Target than drive five or ten miles to support a local business. Which is the same with film, they will go to the nearest multiplex and watch whatever is out but they won't go a little out of their way to seek out a locally made film. It is what it is.

UPDATE:

Response to the Article from Ramsey Sprague who created the Fa$cist Watch Series but has recently stepped down from running the series due to his new full time job as a State Organizer for The Green Party:

"Next Time, Ask!

With regards to Kultur's perplexing attitude with regards to the 2 year old Fa$ci$t Watch film series and 1919 Hemphill - Where to begin? First, I applaud the Weekly's printing of the name – it's the first time that it's done so opting usually for the original “1919 Hemphill Film Series”.

Let me make on thing clear - Fa$ci$t Watch is a political documentary film series. If Fort-centric filmmakers made political documentaries, you can be rest assured they would be welcomed in the series with open arms! We've supported other Texas documentary directors like Patrick Phillips, who was living in College Station and who now resides in Austin (big surprise), as well as Texas expatriates like Nick Cooper and David Redmon, whose highly acclaimed film Mardi Gras: Made in China received its North Texas Premier at 1919 back in 2004! Incidentally, it was this film that started the Fa$ci$t Watch series.

Every year the traveling Gadabout Film Festival has come through 1919, we always feature local filmmakers' shorts including James M. Johnston's and The Chaotic Cong's many shorts. At least one of The Chaotic Chong's shorts was filmed at 1919! We've has also hosted Maria Garcia's Film Fatale series in past years.

We've shown and discussed films that cover gentrification, affordable housing, military recruitment controversies, eminent domain abuses, peak oil's effects, living wage battles, vegetarianism, family farm struggles, corporate governance, media corruption, indigenous rights, as well as clean air, water, and soil issues. I'm perplexed how “Kulture” seems to think that these issues don't “have anything to do with Fort Worth.”

Aside from film, some 1919-kateers are very active in their representative government and have appeared at Council Chambers numerous times protesting the Trinity Parkway, neighborhood gas drilling, and increases in square footage minimums for newly built houses – among other policy of interest.

Oh, and Kay Granger, Joe Barton, Michael Burgess, Eddie Bernice Johnson, Kenny Marchant, Pete Sessions, Jeb Hensarling, Sam Johnson, Chet Edwards, and Ralph Hall!

An amateur reporter's tip to a paid one: next time, ask!

Ramsey Sprague
"

And here's a response from David's Blog:

"I've always maintained that my friends and I make films in Dallas-Ft. Worth for reasons of circumstance, and not choice. I love making films here, but that's because I'm making a film, not due to where I'm making it. There is no filmmaking community here; there are merely filmmakers (many of them wonderful and talented, many of them my friends) functioning in a civic void (something tells me that Laura Miller would never jump off a bridge for one of our movies). I'm not afraid of burning bridges when I say things like this, because there really are none to burn. Individual support is thankfully in no short supply; but I can count the local institutions that have consistently gone out of their way to help us on two fingers (Bart Weiss' Video Association, and MPS Studios), and we've long been bemused at the fact that our films have received press in national publications more often than in the local newspapers. And when the area rags do mention us, they shoot themselves - and us, and whatever vestige of a community the metroplex might have - in the foot, as the Fort Worth Weekly did the other day when they printed this article. James has written a level-headed response to it; since I don't live in Fort Worth, and have no civic pride in the metroplex, I don't feel the need to go easy on it. Initial good intentions aside, this is sloppy journalism at best, and deliberate misrepresentation at worst; the reporting erroneously substantiates the very problems it purportedly laments. The author's error regarding Deadroom (an insult to inaccurate injury) isn't even the most egregious element; it is his snide comments about the Facist Watch film series, which is run by friends of ours who do know who their congressmen and women are, that I find entirely unforgiveable. Someone needs to stop a moment and weigh the value of fact-checking against snarky commentary. It's an embarassment, both to my peers and to the city itself.

I'm happy and proud to be known as a Texas filmmaker; get any more regionally specific than that, though, and I start to get uncomfortable.
"
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Outlaw Son Clips

That ol' sly dog David has made a page of descriptive phrases and acommpanying clips for The Outlaw Son. Looking brilliant so far, makes me proud to be the Producer (even if I haven't read the script and have no idea what the film is about.)

Here's the link: http://www.road-dog-productions.com/outlawson/osmain.html.
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Dishes are Done Dude

Principal photography for GDMF is officially done. Now it's on to post-production in about two weeks. First we have to get all the little stuff ready for the Deadroom DVD. I guess I shouldn't say "we." At this point David and Yen are doing most or all of the work. I just have to show up for commentary recording and chime in my 2 cents about the behind the scenes documentary.

I suppose I should post some tales of the shoot. But I'm too tired right now. Hopefully I'll have some pics to put up soon. All in all I'm very happy. Things got crazy a few times. There were a few loose cannons on the ship to make it interesting. All the actors did fantastic but Abbey really amazed me. She went beyond my expectations. Of course any actress who's favorite all time film is A Woman Under The Influence has got to have something going on behind those eyes. She really pulled out all the stops considering she had no script to lead her.

I'm going to sleep.
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Why is it so quiet?

It is very quiet right now.
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I, Heart, Poperratic

This is awesome:


Now that's the way to handle the elephant in the room. I saw The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things last year at SXSW. I've thought about it a lot since then and I think it's a really good film. I really need to watch it again to solidify my opinion of it. Either way, I hope the whole J.T. LeRoy "scandal" doesn't overshadow a film that stands completely on it's own outside of all that.

Major congrats are in order for Jaye Luckette (blog) on signing a full record deal. Her wonderful band Poperratic (official site, myspace page) just signed to the indie label Rebelution Records. I wish her much luck and success. She's a true, hardworking artist and she deserves it.

Another congrats to Cammi who had a baby: Curtis Elliott. He'll always be Tophat Ratheath to me.

So, I'm off to SXSW 2006 in a couple of days and then it's a mad fury of industry getting GDMF ready to shoot by March 31.
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Props for David

In addition to being intimate "friends" with David I've always been a big fan of his work. So I was happy to see that Girish, who writes a damn fine blog has written a pleasant apercu about David's short films.

Read it here: http://www.girishshambu.com/blog/2006/03/david-lowerys-short-films.html

Check out David's short films for yourself here: http://www.road-dog-productions.com/shortfilms/shorts.html

In other news: I've seen The New World six times now.
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Why Does God Hate Freedom

I hate being labeled anti-Bush. I hate that the entire current progressive movement is labeled as such. As if my entire problem with the Oligarchical climate of American Politics can be distilled into a petty disagreement with one man. No, I am anti-fascist. I am anti the entire government and ruling class currently in place. Bush is a pawn and a king. Remove him from power and he is still a piece in a system that hates freedom and everything that cannot be controlled. That is what I'm against.
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SXSW 2006

LOL (website, SXSW page)
4:15 PM, Monday March 13th - Austin Convention Ctr
1:30 PM, Wednesday March 15th - Austin Convention Ctr
9:45 PM, Saturday March 18th - Austin Convention Ctr

Jumping Off Bridges (website, SXSW page, Kat's blog
2:30 PM, Saturday March 11th - Alamo S. Lamar 2
1:30 PM, Thursday March 16th - Paramount

The Cassidy Kids(SXSW page, Bryan's blog)
7:00 PM, Sunday March 12th - Paramount
4:45 PM, Wednesday March 15th - Alamo Downtown

I'm definitely looking forward to seeing A Prairie Home Companion and I can't wait to watch V for Vendetta again. I'm know there is tons of other stuff to see and it will be nice to gorge myself on good films as a normal audience member. No guilt this time thinking I should be out talking to people, making connections and what not. This time I'm just there to support the fest, my friends with films and watch great films.

In GDMF news, rehearsals are going better than I could ever imagine. I can't wait to put these folks in front of a camera.
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Filmmaking For The Poor: The Easy Path to Becoming A Professional Indie Filmmaker

Filmmaking For The Poor: The Easy Path to Becoming A Professional Indie Filmmaker

This is a really great Manifesto. I especially love these parts:

"forget confusing fame, wealth, power for love & health (forever)"

"[And on a purely creative note:
creativity is a powerful gift & ability, use it wisely
being able to make a movie is a rare ability in the history of this world, use that power well
seek out things that should be celebrated but aren't, celebrate them, your peers will reward you for it
seek out things that should be articulated (because doing so will make life more livable for some or many people), no matter how painful, articulate those things through your art, you will be making the world a better place]"
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My Large Forearms

Thanks for the reminder David. There is a nice little article about me in The Fort Worth Weekly:
http://www.fwweekly.com/content.asp?article=3565

For the record: I don't know if I misspoke or Kristian (the reporter) heard me wrong but I meant to say $15,000 not $50,000.
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The New World

GDMF has a website now: GDMF.beautifulconfusion.com. Check it out and tell me what you think so far. Special thanks to David for putting it together.

The New World is the best movie in the world right now. After seeing it a second time last night my belief was reaffirmed. It's kind of like going to church in the Sistine Chapel and catching the holy spirit. I plan to see it many more times before it leaves the theater. Those plans will probably distill into only one more viewing but I'd like to see it much more.

Congrats to Joe, Kat, and Bryan.

Speaking of Joe, you should definitely check out the new website and trailer for LOL. I'm one of the lucky few able to see a rough cut of LOL. I absolutely can't rave enough about this film. I've watched it twice already and I just can't get over the amazing performances especially by Kevin Bewersdorf. The direction and relevance of it's story is so on point. I really hope this one blows the fuck up.

I also got a chance to see a rough cut of The Cassidy Kids. Produced by Bryan, it's as different as can be from LOL. Actually, LOL is more akin to Bryan's Indie Spirit Nominated Dear Pillow although they are different films in there own right. Anyway, TCK is a well crafted character drama/mystery and deserves all the fest attention it can get as well.