Saturday, December 19, 2009

Film Synergy has now evolved into Film Courage

I do not have enough time to do it all. If you are not already aware or you are randomly coming across this site. I would like you to know that my energy and resources that I used to put into Film Synergy are now being put into my blog and my radio show with the same name I hope to reconnect with you through those two sites.

My best to you in all of your endeavors,
David Branin

Wednesday, July 08, 2009




"The truth is that, ultra-indie or not, Branin's Night Before the Wedding is a complex and deep work that easily transcends any initial impressions its subject matter might give."
J.C. Macek III, World's Greatest Critic

"David's ability to direct a group in a totally real and naturalist way was daunting. It reminded me a great deal of Robert Altman."
Jamin Winans - Director, INK, 11:59, Spin

Hollywood, CA (July 8th, 2009)— After many months of great anticipation, the racy and funny film NIGHT BEFORE THE WEDDING will finally make its world premiere. The setting in which it is doing so has many talking, as NBTW becomes the first full-length feature to ever premiere at the prestigious HollyShorts Film Festival (HSFF), a festival that, as its name suggests, is traditionally where the biggest short films in the world premiere.

“Hollyshorts has chosen to screen Branin’s gem of an independent film as a way to begin the process of showcasing our alumni growth, as Branin is a past Hollyshorts award winner, along with showcasing our growth as a festival to look out for” stated Theo Dumont, co-founder of HSFF. NIGHT BEFORE THE WEDDING will screen on August 11 at Laemmle Sunset 5 as part of the week-long events of the festival “I have long believed that NBTW would play best in front of a ‘live’ audience. Now that idea will be put to the test. I am so honored and humbled to be presented with this opportunity by HollyShorts, Theo Dumont, and Daniel Sol. Tuesday August 11th is going to be a night that I am going to cherish.” says David Branin, the film’s director.

The buzz around the film revolves around the topic of the film itself. NIGHT BEFORE THE WEDDING portrays a realistic look into what occurs at a bachelor party and how the celebration of a man’s “last night of freedom” can ultimately become the demise of his beginning. Film reviews have commented how this film has been able to set aside the “indie” judgment and make its way to the viewer’s eyes as a movie of great thought, superb plotline and strong realism. It is with that realism in mind that Branin decided to cast La’rin Lane, a real life porn star, as herself. The cast also includes John Keating, Gregor Collins, Christopher Guckenberger, Mopreme Shakur, Sarah Ronaghi, Kevin Deen, Chad Davis, Johnny Giordani and Kristen Sullivan.

For more information on the film please visit

The 5th Annual HollyShorts Film Festival will be held Aug 6-13 in Hollywood, CA. For detailed schedule of events, tickets, location, or more information, please visit

Press Contact: 22 Entertainment
Isandra Gonzalez


Monday, June 15, 2009

Filmmaker Jamin Winans on his 'INK' Hollywood Screening

I am reposting this with permission from Filmmaker Jamin Winans (INK, 11:59). This is from Jamin and Kiowa's blog ( Just an extraordinarily honest, candid, and insightful look into the current state of distribution for today's independent filmmaker.

by Jamin

It was an intense, exciting, and bittersweet experience premiering Ink in LA this week. An amazing screening, turnout, and response at the Egyptian Theatre on June 10th. People were sitting in the aisles in the balcony, most stayed for Q & A and I've never seen digital projection and consequently our film look so good. Our cast, now family, were beyond wonderful to be with.

So where from here? This is what has happened; we premiered Ink and had an amazing response at the Santa Barbara Int'l Film Festival. We opened in Denver immediately after and played 8 amazing weeks and could have kept going, we opened in Ft. Collins and are now on our 4th week, we opened in Greeley and are on our 2nd week, then we opened in Hollywood to a packed house of over 500 people and ongoing amazing responses. We have dates booked in New York and Portland, we have a cumulative 90,000 hits on our Ink trailers on YouTube alone and we've had amazing reviews from huge publications including Ain't It Cool News and Film School Rejects. Ink has been featured on numerous sites and blogs including JoBlo, Film Drunk, and the front page of, we've been contacted by three of the four major Hollywood agencies including UTA, ICM, and WME (we signed with UTA), and we've had screenings and meetings with all the major studios all excited about the film and what's next... but do we have a domestic theatrical distribution deal for Ink? No. And that is the "bitter" of the bittersweet.

For whatever reason we cannot interest a distributor in, what seems to be no-brainer, a theatrical deal for Ink. Why? Who knows. Maybe it's the fact that our cast is relatively unknown, maybe it's because Ink just isn't like a lot of other films, or maybe it's the bad economy and the fact that so many independent distribution arms have shut down. But I would guess it's most likely the fact that the distribution and Hollywood world are consistently more conservative and risk averse than the audience itself. If there's going to be something new and different you can be sure Hollywood will be the last to get behind it.

Hollywood is a complicated place where nobody knows anything (as William Goldman famously said) and the powers that be are constantly balancing commerce and art. During the week in LA I had the privilege of doing what's called "general meetings" with a number of huge Hollywood moguls that UTA setup for me. The intent of these meetings was to get me in front of big wig producers and development executives to form a more perfect union for our future projects. They had all seen Ink and either liked or loved it, thought it was unique, visionary and wanted absolutely nothing to do with it.

I had meetings on the Warner and Sony lots where huge films are being made and famous folks are everywhere. After parking our Honda Civic between BMW's, I sat down with a number of people asking what I wanted to do next, all trying to calculate how I can make them money. It becomes instantly evident how an indie filmmaker with a voice can promptly sell his soul. The fact is, indie filmmaking is brutal, pays nothing, and usually has a limited audience. So when sitting in Joel Silver's offices (producer of The Matrix, Die Hard, and Lethal Weapon among others) it's pretty tempting to want to do anything they say. But the truth is indie filmmakers like me never get final cut in a place like this. In fact they don't get final cut anywhere in Hollywood. Every company and studio operates in the same way; Hollywood films are films made by committee not by directors. And that is the choice every new filmmaker has to make. Are you willing to join the committee and get rich, or do you want to do something singular, different and potentially remain poor?

As I went from meeting to meeting it became more and more clear that not only would a larger theatrical release for Ink be a near impossibility, but that attempting to make future unique films within the Hollywood system would also be an unrealistic dream. Of course this was no surprise which is why we never chose to move to LA, but after reading about this for years, it was discouraging to actually see it with my own eyes. And to be clear, these guys know exactly what they're making and make no apologies for it. They're looking to make huge budget, four-quadrant movies that can ideally appeal to everyone and offend no one. That doesn't bother me. What bothers me is that they're not doing anything else.

The amazing thing is, Ink isn't exactly an unaccessible, non-commercial film. It's a sci-fi/fantasy action/thriller with makeup, effects, and so on. Yes it's a little more narratively complex and requires the viewer to think, but heaven have mercy on the filmmaker trying to make something non-genre like an indie drama or comedy or maybe something, dare I say it, slower-paced. In the past 20 years Hollywood has become a system that has grown homogenized trying to bank on the limited commonalities of the human race rather than celebrate the differences.

So what does this all mean for Ink? We've always been prepared for the "system" to not embrace the film, so we've had plan B, C, D and so on. As we move forward we're going to continue playing in Colorado, LA then NYC and then Portland. Simultaneously we're going to make a foreign deal and begin releasing Ink in the rest of the world. Our hope now all lies in our fans. Word of mouth is a powerful thing and has been the only reason for our success thus far. So we hope that our fans will continue to help us carry the film, with or without Hollywood.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Partners In Crime Films announces the Canadian Premiere of Knuckle Draggers at the ReelHeart Film Festival

Knuckle Draggers is on a roll, with a sold out World Premiere in Newport Beach California, and two “Rising Star” awards- Outstanding Feature by a New Filmmaker/Producer & Best Close-up in a feature film at the DelRay Beach Film Festival, Partners In Crime films is proud to announce the Canadian Premiere of the feature film Knuckle Draggers at the ReelHeART Film Festival as an official closing night film on Saturday June 27th at 7:15pm.

“Comes at us with an undertone that makes it relatable and compelling” – Screen Rant

“It's fun, clever, witty and well-acted” – Ramas Screen

“All in all a telling slice-of-life, well worth-watching” – Cult Movies

“The movies pacing is excellent, it moves from scene to scene seamlessly” – Crave Online

“A relationship roller coaster ride with funny highs and dramatic lows.” – Movie Vine

Written and directed by Alex Ranarivelo, produced by Paul J. Alessi, and co-produced by Amie Barsky and Baptiste DeRivel. Knuckle Draggers takes a humorous but very real look at the state of modern male/female relationships. Knuckle Draggers is the relationship movie from a male perspective.

The story follows Ethan, an all around nice guy who gets dumped because he wasn’t able to provide his fiancée with the plush, stable life her friends were living. Desperate to get her back, he seeks help from his older brother Kyle, a tough talking sexist who seems to have a way with the ladies. Kyle gives Ethan a crash course on women and dating much to the disgust of some of Ethan’s female friends. Just when it seems Kyle’s misogynistic theories are about to prove themselves true, things take an unexpected turn and force Ethan, Kyle and their friends to reassess their views on relationships.

In the spirit of movies like Swingers and Brothers Brothers McMullen, Knuckle Draggers gives us a unique point of view, a timely message, and a lot of heart. Not another indie film about friends hanging out, Knuckle Draggers provokes questions about what modern couples want versus what they need, and how their needs may not have evolved much from those of our caveman ancestors.

Scottish actor Ross McCall heads a dynamic ensemble cast in the lead role of ‘Ethan’. His credits include the HBO miniseries ‘Band of Brothers’ and most recently ‘Crash’, the Starz TV series. Paul J. Alessi, plays ‘Kyle’, Ethan’s sexist outspoken brother. His credits include the Ten til Noon and the TV series Desire. Omar Gooding plays Ethan’s best friend ‘Russell’. Omar’s credits include ‘Baby Boy’, the HBO series ‘Deadwood’ and he’s just joined the cast of the upcoming Jerry Bruckheimer TV series ‘Miami Trauma’. Amie Barsky plays ‘Patricia’, Ethan’s strong-minded female best friend. The film also includes Danielle Nicolet (‘The Starter Wife’), Justin Baldoni (‘Heroes’), and Jennifer Alden (‘Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen’).

Knuckle Draggers features a musical score by Austin Wintory, whose credits include the multiple award-winning Captain Abu Raed. A dynamic soundtrack accompanies the score, including tracks by J Mello & Dave Navarro, Tyler Hilton, Marching Band, and Jennifer Love-Hewitt & Sophie B. Hawkins.

The Canadian Premiere takes place on Saturday, June 27th at 7:15pm, at Innis Town Hall, Innis College, 2 Sussex Street, U of T Campus, Toronto, M5S 1J5

For all inquiries please contact Paul J. Alessi at

See the trailer at

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

You Are Invited to a Special Screening of Jamin Winans' Latest Feature Film:

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

7:30PM Showtime

Director, Crew and Cast Q&A to Follow

Egyptian Theatre

6712 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90028


Jamin Winans’ INK is an intricately woven distorted time drama set among a "Snow White meets Nine Inch Nails" original score and highly unique visuals. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to see INK at American Cinematheque!

Winans’ urban fantasy film debuted at the 2009 Santa Barbara International Film Festival to rave reviews.

His short film, SPIN, has shown in over 80 film festivals and has won over 40 awards.

INK Trailer:

What others are saying:

"If you want to see something you've never seen before, INK is a must-see film." - Copernicus, Ain't it Cool News

"Epic in's a film that can stop your heart both with its story and with its look." - Cole Abaius, Film School Rejects

“Winans manages to morph the mundane and familiar into something utterly otherworldly, evoking the teeming atmosphere and dark imagination of everything from Terry Gilliam’s Brazil to Darren Aronofsky’s Pi.” – The Onion, Denver Decider

“Visually stunning…” – Santa Barbara Independent

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Message from Actor/Producer Paul J. Alessi

Update for Thursday April, 30th 2009 Screening of Knuckle Draggers at the 2009 Newport Beach Film Festival.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Announcing the Film Courage Radio Show

For the first time since my college years, I will be returning to the radio airwaves. This time it is going to take on a different dimension. The details follow.

This Film Courage Blog is about my personal filmmaking journey. The Film Courage Radio Show on LA Talk will be Co-Hosted by my beautiful and talented life-partner Karen Worden.

Our radio show is going to focus on other Filmmakers and their journeys and experiences. Whether they be Producers, Writers, Actors, etc. my aim is to in depth

Here’s the show’s synopsis.

Film Interviews that Inspire. Hosts David Branin & Karen Worden explore the psychology and passion of filmmakers in their dealings with rejection, adversity, and the criticism they face on a daily basis. With the help of Film Courage, you will discover how filmmakers hone their craft, where they devote their time and why.

Of course making a film is only half of this courageous battle. Aside from discussing how their films were made, Film Courage also addresses how these filmmakers find their audience. It’s all covered from Film Festivals to Theatrical to DVD and Digital Distribution.

Listen Live Sundays at 11:00AM (PST) at

The Film Courage Guarantee – You will learn something from each show even if you aren’t a fellow filmmaker, because this show gets to the heart of the journey, at the process we all go through no matter what your passion. We invite you to join us.

Contact Information: For any questions, comments, bookings, advertising, business opportunities, and/or collaborations, David Branin and Karen Worden can be reached at

Join the Film Courage Radio Show Message Board, please visit to sign up and share your thoughts and reactions.

Are you on Facebook? Become a Fan!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Update from Filmmaker Jamin Winans

Dear fans and friends,

Check out this great 9News (NBC) piece on Ink by Kirk Montgomery:

Ink is going into the fourth and maybe final week of its theatrical run at Starz. You can catch the film in Denver until April 9th. Tickets and showtimes are available here: Starz FilmCenter

On the distribution front, Ink is currently being shown to major distributors by our representative UTA. If all goes well, Ink may be coming to the rest of you soon.

See you at the movies,

Jamin and Kiowa
Double Edge Films

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Interview with Filmmakers Geetika Narang and Yasir Abbasi

Filmmaker Geetika Narang

Tell us something about you that no one really knows.

Geetika Narang: It sounds funny but when I am really angry I clean my room, and sometimes a few things break in the process.
Yasir Abbasi: I can go on doing things at extremely long stretches. Whether it is sleeping, working, watching television, or reading, I can just go on and on.

How long have you been into Film?

Geetika Narang: It's been four years now. I began with a part time job with a production house and later assisted on different projects before I started out on my own.

Yasir Abbasi: I have been working as an independent cinematographer since early 2003.

Which filmmakers have inspired you?

Geetika Narang: There are so many of them, but it's actually the films that have inspired me more than the filmmakers and the list is long.
Yasir Abbasi: Among Indian filmmakers I’m really impressed by the films of Guru Dutt and Vijay Anand. Among contemporary international filmmakers, I would say Oliver Stone, Sam Mendes and Majid Majidi. I must also mention Conrad L. Hall whose cinematography in films right from ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’ to ‘Road to Perdition’ has been simply phenomenal.
Cinematographer and Producer Yasir Abbasi

Which country do the best films in the world come from? Elaborate.

Geetika Narang: Most of the good films that I've seen have a very universal appeal. At the same time, cinema from different parts of the world has its own distinct flavour. There can’t be any guidelines that a country can set for making good films.

Yasir Abbasi: I don’t think there’s any country that consistently makes good films. But there’s definitely something special about the cinema of Iran. I think that telling a simple story without any frills requires a great deal of craft and the Iranian filmmakers excel in that.

Good Night, A Geetika Narang Film

Tell us about your film 'Good Night.' What is it about?

Geetika Narang: It is about a sleepless night in the life of a man in his late 60's. At its crux is a partially remembered song, his nostalgia and his mundane passions.

Yasir Abbasi: Good Night is the story of a night in the life of a retired engineer. As he hums himself to sleep, he realizes all of a sudden that he can’t recall the actual lyrics of the song that he is humming. This is a cause of great distress to him because he is a big movie buff and now engulfed with this predicament he can’t go to sleep. The film then follows his quest for the song that ultimately leads to a poignant moment of self-discovery for him.

What did you shoot on?

Yasir Abbasi: We shot on a Sony DSR-450P. Since a lot of the spaces that we were shooting in were relatively small in size, I had designed certain shots keeping the 4.5mm lens in mind. We were also shooting widescreen, so the 450P was our best bet.

How did you go about financing the film?
Geetika Narang: We put in our own money because we always knew that it’s almost impossible for a first time director to raise funds for a short film. So we didn't even try to approach any producers.

Yasir Abbasi: The market for short-films in India is still in its very nascent stage and hence there are practically no finances available. Geetika and I had to fund it ourselves, which in hindsight was a boon because we made the film our way and without any compromises.

Is 'Good Night' your first film? Please elaborate. What was it that compelled you to make this film?

Geetika Narang: It is my first short fiction. I have made a few documentaries before this and have worked in Delhi with other independent directors and production houses. I always wanted to try my hand at fiction and venturing into it on my own was the only way to go about it. And one day, I managed to get rid of my procrastination when I knew I had a story to tell. However, it was my co-producer and cinematographer Yasir's belief in the story that really kept me going, and it was also because of his sense of logistics that we could finish it in a reasonable time. He always believed in the film more than I did.

Yasir Abbasi: I’ve shot a lot of films for other people but this is my first foray in production. I was fed up of working with people who were either working for money or had no clue about filmmaking. I’d been toying with the idea of making a film for sometime and I discussed it with some friends of mine who are also into filmmaking. Everyone was keen but no one was willing to take the initiative. When Geetika narrated the subject of Good Night to me, I told her that we would have to make it ourselves because if we decided to wait for others to come in it with us, this film would never get made. And thank God for that decision! Despite all our fights and differences over the film we were essentially on the same plane throughout and made the film with no interference from others.

Geetika Narang directing Vinod Nagpal on the set of 'Good Night'

Will you both be collaborating again on upcoming projects?

Geetika Narang: Most definitely. I don't think I could’ve asked for a more committed cinematographer. This film, with minimal dialogues and characters, was really dependent on cinematography and Yasir has done complete justice to it. He was totally involved with the story which he almost handled on his own through his camera.

Besides, we would be producing more films together under our production company 'Also Ran Films'.

Yasir Abbasi: Of course! Geetika has been simply fabulous and arguably one of the best directors that I’ve worked with. I’m amazed at her ability to handle everything so efficiently. From re-writing the script to the last minute hunting of the props, she was incredible! I must also add here that, although she hasn’t taken the credit for it, she has edited the film as well, after our editors gave up on the film. She’s extraordinarily talented and I’m really looking forward to collaborate on more projects with her.

What are some of the important lessons you learned in the making 'Good Night?'

Geetika Narang: Since it was the first time that I was making a short fiction, there was a lot that I learnt, but one very basic thing which was reiterated to me was the importance of each department in the making of a film. Be it scriptwriting, camera, art, lights, sound, acting, or production control, just about each of them make a huge difference to the film. Nothing can be ignored or given lesser importance and that requires a lot of patience. Another important lesson to learn was that one can never learn enough.

Yasir Abbasi: The biggest lesson that I’ve learnt during the making of this film is that one should never give up. We were besieged with one problem after the other during the production. We were thrown out by the owner of the house that we were filming in right after the first day of shooting, one of the lead actors broke his arm on the set, once the shoot got over, one by one our whole crew did the vanishing act, but Geetika and I persisted. We were making a film that we believed in and never gave up.

Please elaborate a bit on your approach to making the film, including your influences (if any), as well as your overall goals for the project?

Geetika Narang: The only approach was to make a simple film, without too much of layering, sub layering or symbolism. Besides, we shared the story with a lot of people and the team was really competent. Different ideas from different people kept coming in at every stage and quite a few of them were incorporated. There was not much for me to do, as once the idea was conceived, the film got a life of its own.

The goal was to give our best shot and enjoy the process, and now the goal is to show the film to as many as possible.

Yasir Abbasi: As Geetika said, right from the very beginning we were extremely sure that we wanted to tell an uncomplicated story devoid of any layers or sub-texts. The idea was to keep the narrative as authentic and close to life as possible. It was a little tricky because there isn’t too much of spoken dialogue in the film. I guess our conviction in the story pulled it off for us.

On location of Geetika Narang's 'Good Night'

What makes 'Good Night' unique? What makes it something I have never seen before?

Geetika Narang: Good Night is a simple slice-of-life film. It’s probably not a unique story, but it has something that probably happens to everyone. I just tried to present it my way and tried to be as honest to the story as I could. It is really on the viewers to judge whether watching it was a different or unique experience.

Yasir Abbasi: We’ve been told that the biggest plus-point of Good Night is that it makes the audience identify with and relate to the story. I must add that to hear this response is slightly funny because at one level the protagonist of the film is neurotic!

How many festivals have you submitted to thus far? Are you going to continue your run on the festival circuit?

Geetika Narang: The film has been screened at three festivals, and we’ve got a good response from everywhere, so we'll definitely continue sending it to more festivals.

Yasir Abbasi: We’ve submitted the film to a few Indian festivals where the film has already been screened. We’ve been extremely fortunate that the film has won awards at all the three festivals where it has been screened. Beginning from the Best Cinematography Award at the Fulmarxx Shorts Fest (2008), the film went on to win the Silver Lamp Tree Award at the International Film Festival of India (2008), and the Best Short Film Award at the India International Women Film Festival (2008).

We are now in the process of submitting it to international festivals.

We will definitely try to send it to as many festivals as possible because the idea is to get maximum people possible to watch it.

What distribution channels are you pursuing?

Geetika Narang: Right now, the film is traveling to festivals only, and may be a little later we'll look forward to pursue distribution channels as well.

Yasir Abbasi: At present, none. Once we’re done with the festival circuit, we’ll look at the possibilities of distributing the film.

Is this a film that is available for viewing in the U.S.? Are there plans to make it available for us to see?

Geetika Narang: As of now, it is not available in the U.S. for viewing. We are hoping to have a screening there soon.

Yasir Abbasi: It is not commercially available in the U.S. as yet, but we’re in the process of sending it to a few festivals there, so hopefully very soon you might find it playing at a venue near you!

With the awards and acclaim you have earned on the Festival Circuit, what can we expect from you next? What projects are you working on? Is there a feature film in the works?

Geetika Narang: I have a few documentaries in mind and have started working on one already. I hope to a make another fiction after that, though I am not sure whether it would be a short or a feature. The story will really decide that and of course, it'll also depend on the availability of funds.

Yasir Abbasi: Well, till the time another exciting story comes along, I’ll be busy with my cinematography assignments. Have just wrapped up a series on environment and I start work on a travel-based documentary shortly. Hopefully, some interesting feature film will happen soon.

What are your long term goals in film? Where do you hope to be in 10 years?

Geetika Narang: To continue making films (in whichever form or format) and support good films. But, I do wish to make a full-length feature someday.

Yasir Abbasi: I do hope to improve upon my work and do films that I believe in. 10 years is too far away to give it a thought but I’d be really happy if I can sustain the enthusiasm for making films.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Jamin Winans INK set to Open in Denver 3/13/09

For those of you who 'Follow' this blog, you are aware of Jamin Winans INK. If you are new allow me to recap by saying that INK is a must see film. Here is the full review I wrote not too long ago,

This magnificent film is now poised to open in two days in Denver, CO. My encouragement to anyone reading this who is going to be anywhere near Denver from 3/13/09 to 3/27/09 is you have to get out and see this film in the theater. It will be well worth your time. This film is building positive reviews across the board and is destined to gather a huge cult following.

INK premieres in Denver, CO this Friday, March 13th at the Starz FilmCenter at the Tivoli and will play through March 27th.

For further ticket info, please visit

For more on INK you can visit the official site,

If for various reasons you cannot see this film during it's premiere run, yet are still interested in seeing this film, you can join the mailing list from the Official Site above and/or sign up as a Fan on INK's brand new Facebook Fan Page, That way you can stay up to date on when it becomes available in your area.

And just for good measure, here is the latest trailer if you have not seen it.

Monday, March 09, 2009

CineCore, A Pitch Worth Supporting

This came my way via an email from an industry contact. Josh Ritcher has spent the past 5 years pushing CineCore into reality. Rather than me explaining it, I encourage you to click on this link and support the project yourself.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

TV Guide Network’s ‘Big Movie Premiere: Watchmen’

Set Your Doomsday Clocks
and Wake
Your Inner Vigilante for
TV Guide Network’s
‘Big Movie Premiere: Watchmen’

One-Hour Special Premieres Thursday, March 5 at 8:00p.m. ET/PT

WHAT: TV Guide Network delves into a dark world of vigilante superheroes, Doomsday Clocks, and Cold War-era confrontations when “Big Movie Premiere: Watchmen” debuts on Thursday, March 5 at 8:00pm ET/PT. Based on the acclaimed DC Comics graphic novel of the same name, Watchmen is a dark mystery adventure set in an alternate 1985 America where costumed superheroes walk amongst everyday people. A murder prompts a retired band of superheroes to uncover a plot to kill and discredit all superheroes.

TV Guide Network introduces viewers to the diverse cast, each of whom embodies a different adventurer, known as ‘Masks’, from the story. The one-hour special explores how the filmmakers adapted a beloved graphic novel for the screen and created CGI-heavy visual effects such as the character “Dr. Manhattan.” Musician Tyler Bates invites viewers into his studio and shares how he created two soundtracks for the film-- an orchestral and a pop soundtrack. Finally, the special takes viewers behind the scenes of WonderCon, where Watchmen fans got to meet the actors playing their favorite characters, and brings viewers front and center for the film’s exciting Red Carpet premiere.

TV Guide Network’s ‘Big Movie Premiere’ franchise showcases the most anticipated films of the season. Recent ‘Big Movie Premiere’ specials include one-hour features on Iron Man, The Dark Knight, Twilight and Quantum of Solace.

Interviews with film stars Patrick Wilson, Malin Akerman, Jackie Earle Haley, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Matthew Goode, Billy Crudup, director Zack Snyder and Watchmen graphic novel co-creator and illustrator Dave Gibbons.

WHEN: “Big Movie Premiere: Watchmen” premieres Thursday, March 5 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on TV Guide Network.

TV Guide Network. Check local listings for availability and channel number.

Chad Sandhas
TV Guide Network
(323) 817-4848

Melisa Rodriguez/Miranda Gooding
Bender/Helper Impact
(310) 473-4147

Porto 7 - Free Short Film Submissions

Festival presentation:

“Porto7” – Oporto’s International Short-Film Festival, an unique event that will take place from 10th to 14th June 2009.

Festival Nickname: Porto7
Call for entry fee: FREE
Entry fee: Free

Film entry deadline: 05/05/2009
Festival Dates: 06/10/2009 - 06/14/2009
Festival Director Name: Francisco Lobo de Avila
Festival Director E-mail:
Web site:

In Oporto - Portugal

Porto7 – Festival Internacional de Curtas-Metragens do Porto, has three competitive sections: International Short-Film Competition, International Video Clip Musical and Porto7 Short-Film Competition (Short- Films under the issue: Oporto);

This festival intends to promote the production and exhibition of short-films and to act as an intermediary among cultures and nationalities that participate in the Festival.

Porto 7 is a cultural event open to producers, directors, students, enthusiastic and people that enjoy the 7th art.

This Festival is an exchanging place between artists, directors, technicians, audiovisual business companies and audience, where different promotional activities will take place. (Film Screenings, Parties, Opening and closing Ceremonies, Products presentations, Books, etc.).

Further information is available at

Festival Organization

Name: Porto7

Address: Rua Candida Sa Albergaria, nº 110
Zip code: 4150-183 Porto
City: Porto
Country: Portugal
Telephone: 0351 969076430 e-mail:


Monday, February 16, 2009

On the Set - Night Before the Wedding

On the Set Night Before the Wedding
Director David Branin provided a Mini-DV camera to his Cast and Crew saying they could film whatever they wanted while on the set of Night Before the Weddingjust not the sex scenes. Here are the results.

Night Before the Wedding Facebook Fan Page -

Night Before the Wedding Myspace Page -

Official Site -

Monday, February 09, 2009

Alex Ferrari & Red Princess Blues Featured in MovieMaker Magazine

Director Alex Ferrari

Indie Writer/Director Alex Ferrari (BROKEN, Red Princess Blues) has been featured in the current issue of MovieMaker Magazine. He has been working on bringing his latest project Red Princess Blues to the big screen for sometime now. He teamed up with Moviemaker Magazine and, which has made it their flagship project. The Red Princess Blues property already has a video game trailer (, an animated prequel to the live-action film ( and has a graphic novel in the works. They are currently looking for financing for Red Princess Blues.

For more info on RPB goto:

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Interview with 17 year-old Filmmaker Misha Vertkin

Filmmaker Misha Vertkin

How long have you been into Film?

I've always loved the medium of film, it's fascinated me since I was about 10; however, I've only been into filmmaking for about 6 months. Vera City was my first venture into filmmaking.

Which filmmakers have inspired you?

All the filmmakers who stop at nothing to achieve their visual dream; and anybody who has a unique vision and take on the world. Robert Rodriguez especially inspired me, as whenever I hit a low I always thought: “he can do it, what makes me any different?”. Quentin Tarantino's writing has always been mind-blowing to me; and has helped me craft my own style of script writing; and the way in which he has built himself up is just incredible. Also, recently, I've been researching filmmakers on You Tube, and came across an amazing guy called Matt Brown: his style is incredible, and just seeing what he can achieve with a cheap £100 handicam is utterly inspiring.

You shot your first feature film at age 16, how does this happen? What was the inspiration? Did you ever doubt whether you would be able to finish this project?

Well, I wrote the script during my GCSE's, which was probably a bad idea; I often forgot that I had exams the next day! So, I finished the script, and was quite pleased with it; and contemplated sending it to the BBC writer's room, to try and get it produced professionally. However, in the end I thought, that as it was my first script it was unlikely to get through. So, I decided to produce it myself; I'd never made a film before in my life, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to teach myself, as I would learn gradually throughout the entire process.
I began to research heavily into equipment, and what I'd need; I then borrowed some money from my mum and bought everything I needed. Basic equipment, but I wasn't looking to make a blockbuster! I then decided to shoot in the summer, but as I was going away, I only had a timeframe of a month to shoot in. I planned meticulously, and thought it would be simple, and easily do-able! I scouted out friends who could act, and friends who couldn't and began to shoot. During all of this I was moving out of home (I moved twice during the shoot!), it rained 70% of the time (60% of the scenes were outdoors!) and one of my leads got kicked out of home half way during the shoot: there were so many challenges, that I won't go into too much detail! But I had about four mental breakdowns, and decided that I wasn't going to continue about five times; somehow, though, I finished everything in the month: I had 20 hours worth of footage and no idea how to edit. So, I began to learn.

I also started college, was in a couple of plays, and making more films; so, it took a lot longer to learn than I thought! I'm sorry I've written an essay! My inspiration was my motivation, and vision; I felt this message needed to be shown. I also wanted to show people,that you can do whatever the hell you want; as long as you have that sheer tenacity and sticking power.

Tell us about Vera City. What is it about? Who acts in it? What role did you play in making it? Who does this film appeal to? What audience are you going after?

Vera City explores the boundaries we set up in our lives, which hinder our movement and freedom. It's about encouraging a positive outlook in life, and establishing our values. This is all told through the eyes of a 15 year old girl, and her surreal journey through her own mental development. I don't want to give too much away about the story, as it's the shock, of seeing it for the first time; which drives the message home. However, I can say that it begins as a very ordinary story; following a girl, as she lives her teenage life, but it's how she begins to interpret things which eventually leads to this her world, being rocked a certain number of revelations; and looks at how she copes, and develops with all these new aspects in her life. On top of this, it's also a story of friendship; rebellion; drugs; violence; and a neurotic mother!

One major reason that I felt it necessary to produce this film, was that being part of this young generation, I felt that something needed to be done about the self-obsessive attitudes of young people in the urban world. It's about not taking life for granted, and seeing everything in it's true colours.

My role was, to put it simply: everything. I did absolutely everything production wise: I'm the writer, director, cinematographer, editor, grip, producer, etc! I also, act in it as well; I shaved my head entirely specifically for the role! No-one else wanted to do it for some reason, so I had to take it upon myself..

Acting is my other passion, so I knew a whole load of people who would be interested; however, during the shoot, a few people didn't turn up: which meant some very quick phone calls, and eventually finding stand-ins who'd never acted in their life! However, my main roles, were filled by brilliant actors; and they made this project possible. I also enlisted the help of my drama teacher, and mum: as I felt adults added a little credibility to the work!

This film appeals to everyone and anyone, as I think it's rare to meet someone who doesn't need a little boost in their life. A little film, to encourage them to see the beautiful things in life; not the shite!

However, mainly, my audience will be the 14-25 year olds: as I had to build a negative world for the story to work, therefore, there is a bit of swearing, drugs, and violence (a bit meaning quite a lot!). However, do not take this to mean it's not an intelligent film: I despise, unintelligent films; which only use sex, drugs and violence to sell their product; it's a ridiculous method, and whoever delves in it should be removed from society.

Tell us a little about your production. How much time did you spend in Pre-Production, Production, Post-Production?

Well, I planned everything precisely, as I didn't think I'd be able to cope otherwise. I planned every shot: about 1800 altogether (the finished film has quite a lot more!); I made about 10 different rehearsal schedules; I even contacted smarties about using their name in the film (they declined, but oh well!); I contacted a whole host of famous bands, hardly any of them replied and only one said yes! But planning, and writing the script took about a month. As I was the only crew, I bundled all my equipment into a big hold all, which I then carried around to every location (it weighed a ton!); the actors would then only learn the line that they were to say in the shot, as they hadn't had time to learn their lines! And due to the tight timeframe, I only ever really did one take for each shot. I would set up the mic, plug in the headphones and check all the levels; I would then set up my shot, direct my actors; make sure everything was ok, and shout “Go!”. Relying on myself, meant I got everything done extraordinarily fast; and all the actors were absolute stars. Post-production was a bit laborious; as I went through a lot during the process, and I felt my confidence dropping when I first started. However, it was so satisfying to see a finished scene that it always motivated me to go onto the next: I would often stay up till the early hours to try and finish another scene. It became an obsession, which I didn't really have time for!

What was the craziest that happened while making this movie?

Well, so many things happened that I eventually lost count; I resigned myself to just expecting the worst, and just getting on with it. My lead got kicked out of home half way during the month, so, we had to sort out a place for her to live; and deal with everything else; and then still carry on filming. She insisted, despite me saying otherwise! I moved out of home and stayed in one place for two weeks and then moved again, as the contract ran out! Another person, dyed their hair half way through the shoot, so her hair changes colour randomly in different scenes! We took a door to a graveyard, a ladder to a field in the middle of know where, broke into a historic castle: and the list goes on, and on!

What did you shoot on? How did you go about financing the film?

I spent a huge amount of time researching the camera, and didn't really have any money! However, I managed to secure 3CCD Panasonic MiniDv camera off ebay; the GS400. Brilliant camera, which shoots at 25fps, and is small enough to carry easily, and bulky enough to handle smoothly. It was perfect! The mic turned out to be my biggest problem, as I bought a Rode videomic, and then realised I'd be filming in huge number of outdoor locations; and didn't have enough money for a windshield! This made the outdoor shoots frustratingly long, as we would begin to roll when a huge gust of wind would come and ruin the sound; it once took 42 takes to do one shot! I did everything on a budget of nothing, I bought the equipment through borrowing money; but everything else, was paid for through the enthusiasm of my cast, and perseverance. My lead roll travelled in on the bus everyday! A brilliant actress, and a bloody lifesaver. When shooting in certain locations, such as friends houses, I would crash on a sofa; so, I could prepare early the next morning. It was a crazy month.

What has been the biggest challenge you have faced in completing your first feature film?

Becoming demotivated, and beating myself up about how it's not turning out the way I imagined. But then I'd experiment, learn more, and it becomes my vision. It's just those low times that I have trouble with.
Many filmmakers will live their whole lives and never make a feature. You finished your first at age 17. How do you feel about that?

I feel great that I've done it, and can't wait to make my next one, but I don't see why anybody else couldn't do it! The age doesn't matter, I've met people aged 13 more mature than people nearing their 40's; it's just about your how you live your life. I just love the feeling you get when you create something, it's like nothing else I've experienced and I want to keep on feeling that; until the day I die.

What are some of the important lessons you learned in the making of Vera City?

Film as much footage as you can, take your time with every shot, and make sure everything is perfect before you shoot; DIRECT your actors, realise the vision in your head, don't just let it go because you're under pressure; and see the film as a whole, not as separate scenes, this will help you connect everything together in post!

What are your plans for distribution? Is this a film you are looking to sell? Are you submitting to Film Festivals? Where will we be able to see the film?

I began to publicise my work at first, by the only way I knew how, at the time: by going to parties and telling everyone there! I then began to research it, and look into distribution; and contacted the local Picturehouse and Pheonix: who are both very interested in screening the finished film. I'm also going to get the local press involved, as they're always looking to promote young people. I then looked into duplication, and may eventually work with my cousin to create a website to sell DVD's. However, I' going to start by creating a shop on 'create a space', as then I won't have to worry about any inventory! I don't know whether I will submit the film to festivals just yet, as I still have so much to learn, most independent feature films are made by people with years of experience, and a budget, I have neither! I do want people to see this though, as it's an interesting story, and message; and also, it's interesting to see my learning curve as you progress through the film! I'll definitely send you a link, when I've sorted everything out.

What are your goals for this film?

To have it screened, and to make a profit, which will pay for any debts and contribute towards my next feature: which I should be shooting next summer.

Will you share Vera City with your Mom?

My mum was in it! She plays a neurotic mother, which she found incredibly fun. She's a drama teacher, so was excellent and definitely inspired everyone else on set.

What's next for you? Are you going to film school? Do you have plans to make more films?

Well, it all depends on my results; I hope to go university, to study drama; and then to do a post-grad course at Bristol Old Vic. However, during all this I'm going to be incessantly making as many films as I can; I've got four more finished scripts, and am working on a whole lot more. I'm not really a fan of going to film school, as I learn much faster via teaching myself, and I don't believe you can be taught the act of filmmaking. It all just comes with experience. You can be taught how to use a camera, of course; but you have develop your own style of story telling, and I believe I can do that while doing everything else in my life. So, I have a whole range of possibilities! I always have a main plan, and then branch my way off it; and if it doesn't work out, I just go back to the main plan: and it seems to be working so far!

What do you have to say to any filmmaker out there who has yet to make their first feature film?

Just keep going, and never stop. If you get kicked down, just get back up; dust yourself off, and keep going. Research as much as you can, and ultimately experiment! Write a script that you truly believe in, and as cliché as it sounds, just believe that you're capable of doing it.

Fancast celebrates Black History Month

February is Black History Month and is celebrating by recognizing some of the amazing cinematic contributions that have been made by African-Americans.

Check out Fancast as they highlight some of the best talents of the sliver screen with a special selection of cinema including titles of yesterday and today such as “They Call Me Mr. Tibbs,” “AKA Cassius Clay,” and “Hoop Dreams.”

You can view the complete list of titles here:

Sand Creek Massacre Film Underscored

“Dance With Life Magazine Underscores Sand Creek Massacre Film”

February 5, 2009 - Centennial, CO - "Dance With Life Magazine", an e-zine that highlights people who have joined the dance with life, highlighted the Sand Creek Massacre and award-winning writer/filmmaker/consultant, Donald L. Vasicek's award-winning documentary short, "The Sand Creek Massacre". Tomaca Govan, publisher, says, "It is with great sadness that we post this video. The Sand Creek Massacre was just one incident from the centuries-long genocide of the native peoples in America. And, it continues to this day. We commend Don Vasicek for his work in accurately documenting this historical event and for his work to bring attention to the atrocities that have and continue to face this entire race of people in America."

Vasicek says, "Ms. Govan and "Dance With Life Magazine" have joined our journey to inform, to educate, and to create awareness for America's indigenous people. It is with deep gratitude that I thank them."

Govan, singer, songwriter, entertainer and host to several Internet e-zines including "Dance With Life Magazine", with a production company and music label, says, "We highlight people who have joined the dance with life. They are living and growing. They respect and appreciate the impact their lives have on others. And, there's somewhat of an understanding of their purpose. We are all vehicles and conduits for something greater than ourselves."

Vasicek added, "There are those who have confronted me about 'dragging down' the Cheyenne and Arapaho people by focusing on what happened to them at Sand Creek. The profundity of perceiving ourselves as vehicles, conduits, or as I say, channels, to help each other out, helps strengthen the link all of us have to each other, a collective consciousness that powers our world. Sit and interview Cheyenne and Arapaho people, go with them to their activities. You will discover that giving them a channel with which to tell their stories is giving them an outlet for the heartbreak they continue to experience over what happened to their ancestors at Sand Creek. After one on camera interview, I gave a Cheyenne man a bag of tobacco and a serape, something the Chief told me I should do, as an expression of gratitude. The man was over six feet tall. He word a white Stetson. He had a booming voice. He folded the serape and placed it on the floor in front of my feet. He sat the tobacco on the serape. He got down on his knees facing me. He began bowing and singing in Cheyenne. The fine point of this is that he was grateful for the opportunity to relieve himself of his grief by giving us his truth. How do you feel if you are able to tell someone about your grief? This, to me, is helping Cheyenne and Arapaho move forward because it is giving them an opportunity to tell their truth about genocide, a first hand account of genocide, something that they have held back for nearly 145 years. If that's dragging them down, then so be it. I see the light in each Cheyenne and Arapaho person I have interviewed. That is solace enough for me."

"Dance With Life" Magazine is at, Ms. Govan at


Donald L. Vasicek Olympus Films+, LLC "Commitment to Professionalism" Writing/Filmmaking/Consulting 303-903-2103

Monday, February 02, 2009

Filmmaker David Branin writes about Jamin Winans 'Ink'

Where do I even begin? I hope you follow along because Jamin Winan’s, Ink, is one of the most inspiring films I have seen and I am excited to share my thoughts about it with you.

As I begin to write this, please note that I am not a Film Critic. I am just a Film Fan as well as a Filmmaker. I am a growing storyteller also, so please allow me set up the story which will help me convey my full thoughts to you.

Back in 2005 I came across Jamin’s short film Spin. I can’t remember exactly how I came across it but I thought it was one of the more creative and just plain cool shorts I have seen. I wanted to know more about the film and the filmmaker so I contacted Jamin and ended up doing an interview with him through my Film Synergy blog (Interview with Filmmaker Jamin Winans)

I thought it was a great interview and I liked Jamin’s style of filmmaking so I continued to monitor his work. Now this will probably get me in trouble, but I believe it is important for me to mention. As I have studied films in the indie world, I got around to seeing Jamin’s first feature film, 11:59. Though that movie does finish strong, I came away feeling let down. It’s not anything I am going to dwell on here. Yet there may be others out there who may read this who have seen 11:59 and may not be willing to give Ink a chance and I am here to let you know that would be a big mistake.

Most recently, Jamin emailed me the trailer to his second feature film, Ink and I was amazed. Want to see why? Click here Ink Official Movie Trailer HD

Of course I had to follow up with a second interview via Film Synergy. Interview with 'Ink' Filmmaker Jamin Winans

For the full article, please visit Jamin Winan's Ink is one of the most inspiring films I have seen...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Interview Series - Night Before the Wedding - Actor John Keating

Actor John Keating on the set of Night Before the Wedding

Tell us one thing about yourself that no one really knows?

I am a pretty open guy with those people I know and care about. But when it comes to something that no one knows about I draw a blank. I am pretty much a what-you-see-is-what-you-get kinda guy.

How did you get your start in film?

My very first film role was the home movies that I shot with my Mom and Dad and my two brothers and three sisters. I was probably nine or ten and the films were shot on an old 8 mm silent film camera. They were pretty cheesy but my family indulged me and we had a lot of fun. Looking back on it they were corny, but cute 'cause we were all little kids.

I did two films while in college for the Kansas Dept. of Transportation. In the first film I played a drunk driver whose friend convinces him to let him (the friend) drive home. In the second film I played the supporting role of a mutual friend who is killed in an automobile accident. We filmed the aftermath of the accident in the automobile that we wrecked for the movie. It was very creepy being in a wrecked car playing dead when the accident was all for show. There was just kind of a weird “vibe” to being in that car. Hard to explain.

Have you worked with any name actors or directors?

I worked on an episode of Mind of Mencia for Comedy Central in 2006. The celebrity was Carlos Mencia. Although I did not spend much time with him, I had a blast doing the show and he was kind enough to introduce himself to the guest cast during rehearsal. Actually, the most time that I spent with him was during the shooting of the episode in front of the camera. But that was a fun day because I was "livin' the dream."

How did you get involved in “Night Before the Wedding”?

I work with the writer/director and several of the actors in the film and David wrote the film for us. I really felt honored when he asked me to be a part of the project.

What is your role in this project?

I play William Shay, reluctant honoree of a wild bachelor party. He unwittingly becomes entangled in a situation that he did not plan on and never imagined could ever happen.

What were your thoughts when you first read the script?

I knew that this role would be the most challenging of my career thus far and I was not mistaken. Playing this character took me to places that I do not visit within myself too often and challenged me to bring parts of myself to the role that I have never brought to any other character that I have played in theatre or film. I had to dig deep and really connect in a way that I had never done before.

Actor John Keating discusses an upcoming scene with Actor Gregor Collns. Director David Branin looks on.

What attracted you to working on this film?

I loved the idea of working with people that I know, love and respect. Also knowing that I would have input and an impact on the script was very attractive as well. This film truly was a collaborative effort.

What was the most challenging thing you had to face with this project?

As I mentioned in the earlier question, I had to bring a vulnerability and depth to this character that I was unaccustomed to bringing to other characters that I played. I really worked hard to try and bring to the project the vision that David Branin had and I really wanted to prove to him that he had made the right choice in casting me in this project. I hope that I succeeded.

What did you love most about being involved with this production?

The other cast and crew members. The challenge of the role was bitter and sweet. The sweetness comes from the range of emotion that I was challenged to convey. If I discuss the bitter too much I might tip my hand as to the contents of the film. And we wouldn’t want that.

I loved the fact that, like my episode of Mind of Mencia, I was "livin' the dream" each and every day of the project. I would get to the set early and excited to go and even though the days were long and the character challenging, I was doing what I loved with the people I loved.

Is this a film for women to see?

As long as they are over 18. I think that they will enjoy a peak into a side of life that they may not possibly ever experience. Besides, there are some handsome guys in this flick (and I do not include myself in the above category). And there are some terrific actors and actresses working their tails off.

Will you share this film with your Mom?

Most likely. My mom has always been supportive of my decisions and always seems to appreciate the projects that I have been involved in.

What does this film have that you will not find in a big Studio release?

This film has true camaraderie amongst the cast. The heart that is placed into this film is not easy to find in a big studio release. The way the film is tailored for each cast member shows an attention to detail on the part of the writer/director that is not found in larger films. A lotta love and effort at true story telling. No punches pulled, no holds barred.

What makes this a ‘must see’ movie?

The moral questions raised by the film challenge the audience to reflect on their own values and decisions that they make in everyday life and how they affect those around them. This movie will make an impact on you and in film, especially independent film, that is hard to come by.

Friday, January 23, 2009

To my fellow filmmakers and artists, I would like to pass on this article, “Hope For The Future: Filmmaker and Exhibitor Collaboration” which was written by Ted Hope and published on indieWIRE. It is followed by commentary from Four-Eyed Monsters Filmmaker Arin Crumley. This is an article I have already read twice and will probably read a few more times.

Ted Hope also writes a tremendously informative blog that is worth subscribing to entitled Truly Free Film

Vasicek Links President Obama to Native Americans

"Award-Winning Writer/Filmmaker Donald L. Vasicek Lauds President Obama''"

January 23, 2009 - Centennial, CO - Award-winning writer/filmmaker, Donald L. Vasicek says, "For the first time since I beganvoting for United States presidents, the first being John F. Kennedy, I have heard a U. S. President regularly mention Native Americans when he talks about United States minority people"

Vasicek, writer, director, and producer of the award-winning "The Sand Creek Massacre" and present writer, director, and producer of "Ghosts of Sand Creek", a feature documentary film, has been an advocate of Native American rights for several years. He is a board member of the American Indian Genocide Museum in Houston.

Vasicek added, "President Obama's sensitivity for community is even more evident when he mentions Native Americans, a race virtually ignored by former U. S. Presidents. I commend
President Obama for his perception and insight. Many native reservations in the United States are like Third World countries, or, is it "developing nations" these days? Development on U. S. native reservations I have visited amounts to others continuing their centuries long assault on native land for its resources. I am giving my total support to President Obama's efforts to help dissolve Native American anonymity in America and bring them to the forefront for change so that they will be looked upon as America's heritage, America's roots, and America's proud people. Anything less is and will globally be an abomination."


Donald L. Vasicek
Olympus Films+, LLC

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Interview with 'Ink' Filmmaker Jamin Winans

On this awe-inspiring inauguration day where many of us feel a new hope, I am proud to unveil this new interview with a filmmaker that I admire, an artist who is passionate about his craft, and one who raises the bar for all of us in the world of independent cinema.

Jamin Winans has just completed his second feature film, Ink, a Sci-Fi/Fantasy Action Thriller about the people who come out at night and give us dreams and nightmares. It is the allegorical story of good and evil and those trapped in between. No matter how safe you feel, evil may find you. But no matter how far you've fallen, redemption is possible. (To really understand what this all means, the Must See Movie Trailer is Below)

premieres January 23rd, 29th, and 30th at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. It is one of a handful of films in competition. For screening information, please click here, Ink Showtimes

Filmmaker Jamin Winans on the set of Ink

Tell us one thing about yourself that no one really knows?

I really wanted to be a ventriloquist for most of my childhood, but I found filmmaking was a lot more versatile. No joke, I collected 5 or 6 very sophisticated ventriloquist dolls and got pretty good at it. Retired around 10 or 11 years old…okay, it was last week.

Are there any books you consider invaluable to your process as a writer and director?

Reading books and interviews of other filmmakers in general has been really helpful psychologically. They remind you that everyone struggles and that you’re not alone. My all time favorite is of course Rebel Without A Crew by Robert Rodriguez. It’s just a reminder that anything’s possible.

What area of filmmaking do you feel filmmakers often overlook? Something that comes back to bite you in the ass if you aren't careful?

From a technical standpoint, sound is often overlooked, but yet extremely important. I would argue that good sound is almost more important than a good picture. For some reason we’re a lot more annoyed when something isn’t audibly clear or strong. Yet new filmmakers almost always underestimate this.

But from a thematic standpoint, story is really overlooked. A film can be phenomenal from a technical standpoint, but if the story just isn’t strong, it’s all for nothing.

There is the creative side of film and there is the business side of film. From developing the idea, to final cut of the film, to getting people to be interested in your project and having them pay to see it, which has been the toughest phase for you?

Sadly, it’s all very hard. I think production itself is probably the hardest on me because of the ticking clock and overwhelming pressure. There’s a constant sense that any one mistake will ruin your film, which is sometimes true. Once the film is in the can, it’s definitely easier to relax, but I can’t say I never feel a real sense of contentment.

Often times in the independent movie world, we see a filmmaker make his first feature film, then we never hear from him again. What is your reaction to that?

More power to them. Filmmaking is a horrible endevour with varying degrees of pain and humiliation. The glamorous perception of filmmaking is nothing like reality, especially indie filmmaking. It requires unreal perseverance and huge sacrifices. I think a lot of filmmakers just realize they would rather actually live life than go through that process again. If I didn’t feel so compelled to keep going no matter what the cost, I would easily walk away and do something else.

Congratulations on completing your second feature film. What were some of the lessons you learned in making your first feature film that you carried over into the making of your second feature?

Thanks! I’m sure there were a lot of bits of wisdom I took from the 11:59 (my first feature) filmmaking process, but the most I learned was in the distribution process. Going through distribution, you realize how shady the industry really is. There’s countless bloodsuckers out there just waiting to take advantage of new filmmakers who are desperate for distribution. There are producer reps who will take advantage of you and there are distributors who will never pay you. I’ve found that shady distributors are almost the norm. Filmmakers have to talk to each other and check references on anyone they deal with. That’s the only way to avoid being screwed no matter how big and successful the film.

The-Storytellers - Eme-Ikwuakor, Jeremy Make, Jennifer Batter, and Shelby Malone

Taking a moment to reflect on both of your professional features, which of the two was harder to make, the first or the second? Why?

Ink, the second film, was definitely the hardest. We shot 11:59 in about 30-35 days, but Ink was 83 days. My feeling going in was that it would be so nice to have all that extra time to really shoot what I wanted, but it turns out Ink was so logistically complicated, it still didn’t feel like enough time. And shooting that long with such a small budget becomes a test of sheer will to just keep going. I was dying after day three and I realized I still had 3 months to go. Some of the crew started falling apart and people were getting pissed. It was hard physically, mentally, but most of all emotionally.

Was it easier to raise money for "Ink" with your proven track record of quality films and a successful feature already in the books?

It was easier. 11:59 helped a lot, and to my surprise our short, Spin helped a lot as well. We met a lot of people and made a lot of good friends on the path of those two films. A few of those people really supported us on Ink from the get go. It was still a task, but we weren’t looking for too much money, which certainly makes it easier.

How did you go about financing Ink?

We wrote a business plan and really thought through the film’s marketable attributes. We talked to our friends and contacts we had made from the other films and about half a year later, we had enough money to go.

The most important thing we did was set a date and commit to shooting the film no matter what. If we couldn’t get any money, we would shoot the film with a camera, no lighting and no crew. As it turned out, we did get a little money, and that just made the film a little easier. But committing to do it no matter was the key. When people know something is going to happen with or without their help, they’re more confident about getting involved.

Quinn Hunchar as Emma, Jessica Duffy as Liev, and Ink-travel to The Collector

With "11:59" you said it was tough on you because it didn't fit into one genre. It had a bit of everything. Looks like "Ink" is a clear cut Sci-Fi/Action/Thriller. Was this a conscious decision?

Ink is actually a hybrid of genres too, but it’s a lot more marketable than 11:59. It has a lot of action and suspense, but there’s also a deeper dramatic story at the root.

Ink was already in the works before 11:59 was out, so it didn’t really influence the decisions I made regarding story and genre. Regardless, I’m happy it is what it is because it’s already been an easier path than 11:59 on the festival and distribution route.

How long did you work on the script to Ink? What was the process like? What was the germinating seed? What was it about this story that drove you to make this film?

The story of Ink was in my head for years. It was all based on a creature I was convinced I saw in my bedroom when I was about four years old. After completing 11:59 I knew I wanted to tackle a more extravagant fantasy film, but I wanted to approach it in a grittier and more authentic manner than anything I had seen in regards to fantasy/sci-fi. I started with the memory of the creature in my bedroom and branched off into an idea of people who give us dreams and nightmares while we sleep. Thematically I was really interested in the idea of redemption and that became the core in which the story was built around.

I outlined the story heavily over the course of about a year. Ink has a very complicated structure and an unformulated build, which is always risky. So during the outlining and early drafts I focused more on structure than anything else. I probably went through six or seven drafts of the script before I really had the characters fleshed out. My wife and producer, Kiowa Winans and the lead actor, Chris Kelly, were really helpful with feedback and suggestions as I moved through the drafts.

Not only did you Write and Direct Ink, you also serve as Composer and Editor. Which of these is the most fun for you? Which is the toughest?

I would say both are the most enjoyable parts of the filmmaking process. Editing is really rewarding because you’re seeing the story and all the hard work coming together. Composing is probably the most fun because it’s something I don’t take very seriously. I never set out to be a composer and I’ve accepted I’m sort of a hack, so I haven’t ruined the process by trying to be perfect at it.

"The-Incubi" from Jamin Winan's Ink

What was the most challenging thing you had to face with this project?

The fear that I was somehow making something totally ridiculous and didn’t know it. It wasn’t until the last leg of the edit that I felt entirely confident with what we had created. We took a lot of risks and when you do that, you can bomb really hard.

What did you love most about being involved with this production?

It was a real team effort with my wife. We struggled a lot, but we struggled together which turned out to be a great thing.

You have released a kick ass HD Trailer for Ink, but what we really want to know, is the full length film better than the trailer?

I appreciate you saying so. It’s tough to compare a trailer to a film. One is an advertisement and one is a story. So the question really is, “Does the trailer represent the film accurately?” I would say it’s about 80 percent accurate. The feedback I’ve heard on the trailer is that it’s reading more horror/scary than I would like. The film does have it’s very dark elements, but it’s a dark modern fantasy, not a horror movie.

Personally, the film plays a lot stronger for me than the trailer because it’s much more complex, emotional, and rich. The trailer shows just a fraction of what the story actually is. But it will be up to the viewer to decide.

What are you hoping audiences take away from this film?

I hope they walk away thinking about the power of humility.

What are your goals for Ink?

I would love to make our investors money back and I would love for the right people to see the film. Beyond that, I’m happy with anything.

Will you share this film with your Mom?

Absolutely. There’s a lot of bad language in the film, but she forgives me for that.

What does this film have that you will not find in a big Studio release?

A story you won’t be able to predict the ending to in the first 20 minutes.

What makes this a 'must see' movie?

It’s totally unique, it’s moving, and it offers perspective on your dreams and the possibility of unseen influences in our lives. Well, that and there’s some guy with a huge nose running up an invisible staircase.

For the very latest on Jamin Winans, Ink, and Double Edge Films, please visit

You can also visit Jamin's brand new blog where he chronicles his journey