Nut Bucket Films

Archive for June, 2011|Monthly archive page


In Uncategorized on June 30, 2011 at 9:33 pm




more f$&@ing quotes

In Uncategorized on June 30, 2011 at 9:32 am




I usually hate when people always post quotes. Everyday. It gets so annoying. Maybe it is me being jealous cuz I didn’t find them. Who knows, but I have another one a good pal of mine threw my way.

‎”You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

I don’t know who wrote it but credit to the one who did.

My gut has gotten me pretty far in my short life. It has also gotten me in some trouble, and fatter at times. I love to eat and drink. All that trouble though has just turned into a bunch of life lessons and stories that I am now using to put down on paper. I guess it all happens for a reason, right?

Destiny. It’s such a fairy tale word. It even sounds fake when you say it out loud. I got to believe it though. I have never been happier in my life where I am right now. Shit is good. Home is good. Real good. Career has moved to the next level. It’s funny, all that blood, sweat, and REAL tears this year so far that has caused me to take a month and a half hiatus from thinking creatively has actually paid off. Again.

I am going to be producing a film a friend of mine is directing starting at the end of next month. Super f$&@ing excited about it. I am heading home to Michigan to take the last step in recharging the batteries so I can get back to writing my own feature film, my baby. There is also a chance I might be directing a music video at the end of July. Random. Never would have thought that but shit, people are approaching me with good projects. I must be doing something right.

So I am using the dots from the past to tell some stories, creating some successes, and trusting that I am doing something right. Where it’s taking me feels very right.

The sun shines today and the water is calm. Gonna take out the paddleboard and catch some waves. I have a break from slinging drinks and am still on hiatus. I could call it a summer vacation. I will.  Happy days.

This is not meant for advice. I am the last person who should ever give life advice. But I can say that don’t sit around doing shit that doesn’t make you happy. All the other stuff will work its way out.



a day to give back

In Uncategorized on June 29, 2011 at 8:54 am

told you three peeps had shirts off


they gave us the shaded seats


nice guns Beau


Dan Ryan, creeps into every photo

It’s probably not what most are thinking. Not for charity or for a special cause, just being grateful, ya dig?

I have been saying that a lot lately. Ya dig? “Ya dig?” I don’t know why. And “Good good.” Someone asks me how I am and I say, “Good good.”

Here is the order to the recent giving back. The Los Angeles Dodgers, despite their most recent financial troubles, decided to come give Baby Blues BBQ two stacks of tickets to a couple of recent day games. They were showing a ton of gratitude for their many fine dinners of tasty ribs and pitchers of Nana’s Sweet Tea. These were not small stacks either. Fifty tickets each!

Now it was Baby Blues turn to give back. Who do they give back to? ME! I am sure it had a lot to do with my love for the Detroit Tigers, seeing how the game was against them, and the fact that I had the ability to get fifty people to attend. I love Baby Blues, man. Last week I spent a couple of hours sending out some invites to all the regulars that come into the restaurant and some of my close friends and colleagues, all deserving of a special “thank you” for just being the shizzle. In a matter of three hours we had the forty-plus tickets spoken for. Thankfully, at least six or so were Tiger fans.  And three had their shirts off, so they gave back also.

I just didn’t want to get my ass kicked at the stadium. That’s my main reason for inviting everyone, really. Dodger fans can be vicious. What better protection than forty friends? Kidding.

No, the main reason for inviting everyone was to show some gratitude for new relationships, old relationships, and BBQ.

I have said it before, Baby Blues is like the Mecca for all SUCCESS for me in the last couple of years. I probably met 90% of the people from my last project at that place.  So, thanks again Baby Blues BBQ.  “Like” it on Facebook.

The game was a blast. A bunch of actors, producers, directors, photographers, painters, agents, kids, fans, and dodger dogs. My friend told me your body can only digest two dodger dogs a year. I had eight between the two games I went to while the Tigers were in town. I have recently gained five random lbs. and can’t figure out why they won’t go away. It must be all the hot dogs inside me. Sick. Suck it, Scotty.

Go support the Dodgers, go eat some BBQ, watch some Nut Bucket Films stuff, and go be successful. That’s my bright little point for the day. Here are a bunch of pics of the day.



Papa Grande closing it out, Tigers win.




the crew, Lije, Jai, Tyler, Matt, Joy, and Stacia

the guy who shot Donnie Darko

In Uncategorized on June 27, 2011 at 8:41 am

says it all


It has been a couple of weeks since Closing Doors premiered here in L.A. at Dances With Films (DWF). I was going through my notes on my phone today and totally forgot about the breakfast that Canon hosted followed by some knowledge dropped by one of the industry’s best cinematographers, Steven Poster.  He also shot Rocky V (my favorite one) and The Box.

Take it for what it is worth. But I think I wrote these down because they are either super true and valid or they are a bit inspiring.

“I did not know that a short film could have such a dramatic impact in that short amount of time.” – true dat.

“It allows for new talent to come out and show their stuff.” – referring to all the new inexpensive technology that people can use to make a movie. One would think that it would just make for a bunch of shitty films all over the place but it has done the opposite. Technology has allowed for filmmakers who would have in the past not been able to afford to shoot a film, to get to really show their stuff. Very cool.

“Every element of every image informs the audience.” – I find myself analyzing shit I never would even considered three years ago. Although it is hard, I will allow myself to set myself free from critique to actually enjoy Transformers!

“One inch below and one inch above the eye line tells two different stories.”

“Every day you get to put your feet on a set with actors and a story and a camera and get to tell a story is a GIFT. Not everyone gets to do that. It’s a gift.” – This was the highlight of the morning. I realize how lucky I have been to have the support enough to make a feature film. Thanks, C. Devin McKinney and M Sarki. I have gone on to produce a couple more features and direct another little diddy, Closing Doors, that just played DWF. I am a lucky SOB. Not everyone gets to do this. I can’t wait for the next one. This is what I needed. This first half-year of the hustle followed by some SUCCESS. To get to show the work to everyone that chooses to see it. To hear the compliments and assurance that I am getting better at movie-making. I am getting there. Lots of work to do and always improvement to be made.

Here are some photos from the DWF premiere. I never got to share them. Hope you enjoy. We were privileged with another almost sold-out theatre and in company of so many talented filmmakers. There is one short I really didn’t like but the funny thing is, my buddy thought it was the best one. Those are movies for ya.

Thanks again,



are you single?

Q&A with William Wanek and Lije Sarki

the wait

packed friggin' house!

Amber Lee Abbott, the photographer and friend

my cast and me

Brendan Coughlin, Lije Sari, Dave Rodriguez

thanks Brandon, and Kristen!

Nut Bucket's biggest fans

beautiful Nicole Zeoli

Aaron from the DIFF

Christine, the best...

Inspiration at a time that matters.

In Uncategorized on June 24, 2011 at 9:11 am


Someone that I really care about sent this to me a couple of weeks back. They know what’s up. They know what I struggle with. They are starting to know my breaking point.

It is something I have battled ever since I stepped foot into this city of Los Angeles. I think a lot of folks deal with it and it take some gigantic balls to make the move. Cheers to those who do. I haven’t had the huevos yet. I definitely have the thoughts though.

I am gathering a plan. I always have a plan. A strategy. I am good at strategies.

Here is the message. Enjoy.

“I found that every single successful person I’ve ever spoken to had a turning point and the turning point was where they made a clear, specific, unequivocal decision that they were not going to live like this anymore. Some people make that decision at 15 and some people make it at 50 and most never make it at all.” ~Brian Tracy


The Ultimate Day

In Uncategorized on June 23, 2011 at 11:16 am






Here is a little play by play. My brother is visiting from NYC. He has been here since Saturday and we have done A LOT. But why not f#$k up another day.

Wake up at about 7:30am. Do the morning routine. BLOG if I have time. My film came out on Tuesday, Alphonso Bow, so I had to get the word out the best I could. That took an hour or so.

Around 10am we decided to hit the water. It was nice and calm, small waves, easy for my brother and lady to try to surf and SUP (Stand-up Paddle-board). We rolled out to the beach and saw about thirty dolphins popping out of the water. I wasted no time paddling out to see if I could get close. There is nothing better in the morning than the ocean water and being six feet from a dolphin. The shizzle! We tore that up for a bit.

12pm, we decided to go down south and hit the batting cages and go karts. Don’t know why they spell it with a “k” but they do. First, we hit the batting cages at Mulligan Family Fun Center. We pulled in the parking lot and saw five school busses. Not a sign for a relaxing afternoon. No offense kids. We wasted no time in sluggin’ away at some medium fastballs. I went right to the fast fastballs. The dang helmets were all too big though. Sucked. They kept covering my eyes and made it hard to see the ball. That’s my excuse anyways. I wanted to do the fast, fast fastballs. but the machine was spitting the balls all over the place. Actually hit a bus driver in the elbow. We gave him our last token, it made him feel better.

We were going to putt-putt golf here but did you read what I said about the school busses? Enough said.

Go Kart World, here we come! We cruised in, signed our releases, and bought an hour and a half worth of riding. They have three tracks. One is pretty tight. It’s the first one we went on. Two levels. And like a figure eight with tight corners. I came around one of them and saw my brother had spun out. I tried not to hit him but there was that “older brother” inside that steered directly at the ass-end of his cart. BAM! He has had whiplash for three days. Sorry, Van. While we were walking to the next course I noticed the adult carts. I said, “How do we ride those?” Dude said we had to qualify. Which means we have to ride the next two tracks without spinning out or hitting each other. No problem. We rocked that out real quick. I was completely over the 25mph carts though. Three rides was all I needed. My arm was killing me from the day’s prior activities. BUT, we f#$%ing qualified! We put on our masks and helmets and prepared to meet our maker.

The shit was dope! Changed the day from fun to f#$%in’ super fun. One of the tracks just goes in circles so it was like Fast and Furious Tokyo Drift our there. All slick and shit. Highly recommended. I now have a license to drive the carts at all times so please get yours and let’s go race. Seriously.

We headed back to the crib to regroup and then were off to Ethiopian food in Little Ethiopia, which is on Fairfax just north of the 10 freeway. The ONLY problem of the day was my complete meltdown in the car because I was not in control. I HATE traffic in L.A. but I have experience getting around it. I have been running around to auditions for six years. Never late! For some reason I think I am better than every other human on the planet at doing so. So, me sitting as a passenger in a car in stopped traffic causes me to lose my shit. That lasted about 20 minutes. Never again will I put myself in that situation. I take the blame for being an asshole but still, I cannot handle that. So, I am sorry, but I will NEVER ride shotgun again.

We went to Merkato. The food was outstanding. Even though we were told we were eating bread made out of chick peas (super healthy) that turned out to be made out of wheat! Who told us that? I wonder. Whatever. It was like eating air anyways. You actually lay the bread down as your plate and eat off of it. You actually use the bread to do everything. You could probably wipe your ass with it if you wanted to. Food was great. We got to eat with our hands and we all shared. I can’t tell you what we ate, cuz I didn’t order, but I can tell you we had some steak and a whole fish that were both rockin’. See photo for a better idea.

Guess what we did after that? FROYO baby! And at my new spot, Menchies! That was a little slice of heaven. Click the word if you wanna experience Menchies.

That put us at about 7:30pm. We were a half hour behind schedule for the Tigers/Dodgers game but luckily my DirecTV app is awesome and I recorded it. We hit the couch and an hour into it I was the only one still standing. The others had fallen asleep to the wonderful sounds of Vin Scully’s voice. I guess it’s a peaceful way to check out.

Now THAT is a day in the life.

Thanks Van and Jai and Riv,








Grotto, a fine place to convene

In Uncategorized on June 22, 2011 at 8:46 am






All you have to do is find it! Or find one.

Try following these directions:

Go up the road just after Neptune’s, about 3 miles up stay right when U get to a Y-like intersection, go another 2 – 3 miles, on right U’ll c a wood lacquered sign looks like a ranch but it’s the only one that has a small wood cabin just there inside, prob a electric official park ranger vehicle & few civilian cars parked in a row in front of cabin – that’s it. Park in that upper lot only, maps avail inside, walk down dirt road, stay left at camp bldg, walk past campgrounds then into trail. I always stay right at first juncture w/ first lurked waterfall then keep right at next cupl options and U’ll go thru field, then woods, then end up down by creek then more woods then big boulders & waterfalls!

Thanks Jfree Hop!

Turns out they were perfect directions. The hike is called the “Grotto” hike. Neptune’s is actually referring to “Neptune’s Net“, a great fried fish joint on the PCH just north of Malibu. Here’s an old BLOG (click the word) about it. The place is rad. I got the fish burger and split it. I totally wish I got my own. Way too good to eat only half. And the onion rings are off the chain. The is the only place I eat tartar sauce. Weird. The view is sick across the street too as long as you can cross the PCH without getting run over by one of a hundred Harley dudes, or a car. Go. I demand it. The place always seems to be hoppin’ and you can drink beers on the patio if you can find a seat.

As for the “Grotto” hike, I will the let photos speak for it. I can tell you it was like going into three different climate zones. Boulders, a field, a rainforest, and a cave. That might be four. There aren’t actually climate zones but I was trying to give an idea. I am way smarter than that. We laid in a field, swam in a cave under a waterfall, and Parkoured a bunch of boulders. Yup, I was Parkouring. Not sure if that is even a word.

Some things you should know. The hike only took us an hour and twenty minutes. We hustled. The longest part is the drive to it, but it is so dang pretty you are dumb not to go sometime. The PCH can be a nightmare on the weekends so go early and come home before 4pm.

There are no signs of rattlesnakes but there are a few kids. I am not sure which is scarier but you be the judge. Have fun and say “hi” to the nice park ranger who likes to be called, “Pleasant”, by name. He gave us raisins and avocados for energy. What a pleasant guy.

Your little travel guide,















If I had a blindfold on and asked you to walk across this intersection with me, would you come?

In Uncategorized on June 21, 2011 at 8:11 am

DVD cover! Starring Jeffrey Pierce, Michael Dempsey, and Kasey Buckley

I am proud to announce that ALPHONSO BOW is officially released today, the 21st of June 2011, via Vanguard Cinema.

It has been a long time coming.  We shot this movie three years ago last month.  I remember because we started on Cinco de Mayo.  Funny, since the movie takes place in a Mexican Restaurant.  Three years is supposed to be the plan to start generating income, for most.  We are a year behind I think but I am happy where we are.  A lot of blood, sweat, and tears.  My father, M Sarki wrote the film and I, Lije,  directed it.

Less than a year after we shot the film, through a grinding effort of editing and more editing and scraping funds, we premiered the film at Dances With Films in Los Angeles (2009).  Coincidentally, last week I was privileged to have a West Coast premiere at the same festival with my most recent film, CLOSING DOORS.  It’s a bit symbolic, in a way.

Vanguard has been great so far.  The artwork has all been redone.  The film will be released in color (We have premiered the film in both color and b&w and had equally outstanding responses, but different) with a bonus b&w version on the DVD.  The film will be available in about 1000 independent video stores nationwide as well as online via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Netflix (soon), etc.  Just go to Vanguard‘s website for  more info.  I will soon have all the updated info on where you can also purchase the film direct from us here at Nut Bucket Films.  I ma hoping to have it available to stream online at our own site soon as well.

The film stars Jeffrey Pierce and Michael Dempsey with a hell of a performance from Kasey Buckley.  Jeffrey is set to be part of a new series called “Alcatraz” which FOX will release in September 2011.  Michael has a ton of credits and continues to work his butt off.  His latest film, Almost Kings, premiered at the L.A. film festival and also at Denver International.  Kasey is one half of the alt-country duo called MISS WILLIE BROWN who just played at Bonnaroo and have been touring the country with Dierks Bentley, a huge country star.  The film also features the talented composer and songwriter/singer Jason Sebastian Russo with the help of Alexandra Marvar recreating his own version of “Froggy went a’ courtin'”, an old folk song he made into his own.  He’s also got a second tune which wraps up the film.

This film is not short of talent at all.

Imagine two unique fellows from different backgrounds; one an ex male-exotic dancer trained in the martial arts, who also lays countless brick and loose women; the other an older brick salesman who provides him with jobs and materials, as well as his daily obsessive debate regarding among other things, the existence of life on other planets. Picture the two of them eating lunch together in a family restaurant, speaking entirely too loud on the topics of religion, sex, early childhood behavior, Samuel Beckett, Hitler, and a severely injured dog, and you get the idea that these two characters will surely tease ones palate. Much like the story of the old bull and the young bull, Alphonso Bow will stir up, leaving no one near them unaffected.

ALPHONSO BOW will satisfy us all.  Please enjoy and spread the word.

 Here is the trailer for you liking.
If you would like to support and watch a good film that might actually make you think, check it out.
Lije and Nut Bucket…

writer, M Sarki

director, Lije Sarki

DVD front and back

outside help for ONE of my addictions

In Uncategorized on June 20, 2011 at 9:03 am

sort of like crack

Or inside help. Not sure what to call it. If any of you know me, you know my problem or my addiction with frozen yogurt. Some call it “Froyo”. You know?

You go to the place of choice and self-serve your favorite flavor and add you favorite toppings and you get to pay by weight. It is around 40 cents an ounce. If I go over $5 bucks I know I am being ridiculous. That’s like a pound of yogurt.

I wrote a long time back about my addiction in a prior blog. HERE it is if ya wanna check it. Click that word, “HERE“.

Problem is, the yogurt over at Tutti Frutti has gone to shit. That’s an outside force telling me to slow it down. I was forcing it for a while. Eating the yogurt just because I was hooked even though it wasn’t that good. A couple of weeks back I quit going. I know there is better yogurt out there. I have had it. They are all just too far from my house. I guess if it was crack I would make the trip but it’s only yogurt.

UNTIL my lovely roommate brought some stuff called Menchie’s. This shit is outstanding! Always creamy, always satisfying, always busy as heck. “People watching” up on Montana Ave. in Santa Monica is quite nice. It’s a classy part of town too. It has all the same qualities as Tutti Frutti had. All the things I fell in love with but have since divorced. I have a new love. It is three times as far away as my first love. My visits are not as frequent but I think that will make for a more lasting relationship. I will keep you all posted.

I want to share the letter I wrote to Tutti Frutti trying to help them. I will then show you the response. If the response would have been better, like “Free yogurt for life”, I might have gone back. But this is just plain WEAK! I am sick of crappy customer service. First Delta last week and then this. Ugh.

Dear Tutti Frutti,

I wanted to write to let you know that I have stopped going to one of your stores. It was my “go-to” store and is about a mile from my house. I honestly went there every day. I actually wrote about my addiction in my blog. I will attach the link at the bottom of this email for your reading pleasure.
The problem is, the yogurt has gone downhill quickly. I noticed a few weeks back that depending on who was working, I would find a huge difference in consistency in each type. I would then have to choose the flavor most creamy. NOW, none are creamy. They are all icy. It is unfortunate. I now go the extra mile to Menchies. They are always consistent and every flavor is fantastic.
I guess on the positive side, I don’t eat as much frozen yogurt! But I would love to go back to Tutti Frutti. I hope this letter helps. Thanks for reading.

Thank you for your email.
I will inform the owner to make sure that their employees are properly maintaining their yogurt.
Thank you
Way to keep me as a customer, Tutti Frutti. Dumbasses.
Go to Menchies!

that's my brother on the right, his first "froyo" experience


right now I am into a lot of nuts, all types, and granola.

Clarity and Success

In Uncategorized on June 16, 2011 at 12:02 pm



CLOSING DOORS, here we come


view from the champagne cruise


THE CREW, Lije, Jai, Tyler, Matt, Joy, and Stacia


CLOSING DOORS, another sold out theatre. thanks LEAVE


“Now I know why you do what you do”, that’s what someone very special said to me this last weekend.  Words like help take it to the next level. I got to share this last weekend with some new friends, some old family, and some old friends.

I am going to forget about the business side of it, for now. Forget about the fact that we met some remarkable filmmakers and actors and were surrounded by such a high caliber of films.  Just gonna try to make it real.

This experience was more than that. It was an opportunity to meet some fantastic new people and share my film with them and them to share theirs’. And throughout that whole process party our asses off.

Not sure I know where to start. After a delayed flight we made it to Grand Rapids airport where we hopped on a bus to Saugatuck, MI. Right on the bus we all start chatting, Stacia, Joy, Matt, Pilaro, Kendall, Tyler and more. Instant connections and stories, right to a champagne cruise, followed by a bus ride to the Dunes Gay and Lesbian resort to check in. Oh and my girlfriend ended up driving the bus because she was the most capable. Do the math.

Here we go Shaggy!

First thing on the ferry, I met this guy, Mike Hagerty, and it turns out he produced the film Leave that we, Closing Doors, were opening for. Turns out Leave ends up being one of the hottest films at the festival. And it was. Very moving film starring Rick Gomez and Frank John Hughes. Leave ended up getting a third showing on Sunday, and so did Closing Doors. I met the programmer throughout the weekend and thanked her for such prime screening spots. Hagerty and I were in constant contact, locating each other for the next mixer or party, and I feel like I met a guy I will know for a long time. Thanks Mike!

That’s just a taste. It was like that the entire weekend. Meeting new person after person. People that we just won’t forget after four days of craziness.

Besides the people from the festival, I got to see my long time Uncle Bubba, Aunt Colleen, Uncle Tim, and Aunt Lori. I also got to see one of my best pals who came over from Detroit and let’s not forget my mother who came down from Traverse City. We definitely had some fun but the best part is hearing the solid things family can say about what you are doing. Your career, ya know? Sometimes I doubt if all the hard work I am doing means shit. Then you get to share it with people. This experience says it all.

Family came and left. We watched movies, reconnected, and partied. Except it was only Sunday and we had another day of the festival. I was out of gas. Seriously. This place was putting a hurt on me. But off to the pool again for another day mingling and getting loose.

I am not trying to make it sound like this festival was a giant party cuz it was. But I think the idea of it is this. It’s an opportunity to let the guard down. To let everyone get on a level playing field. To take away from all the typical festival bullshit where everyone is trying to meet someone to get something from them. Here it was like we were meeting each other to have a good time and just support good film and good people. Maybe I am wrong. I am not trying to force too much of an opinion, I am just trying to emphasize that when you put a bunch of talented people in a place like Waterfront, magic happens. Cheese. But true.

And other magic. Doing the “worm” on the dance floor at the closing party and singing “House of Pain” out loud. How do I remember those lyrics?

I have some quotes from the weekend that I put in my phone. Not sure who said them, I didn’t think of that at the time. And if I do know who said them, I am leaving them out.

“Let’s not talk about yesterday until next week”

“If you are gonna drowned and die, you wanna watch it”

“I’m a welder by profession, unless you need me to weld something”

“Great short film bro!”

Closing Doors was definitely the best short film at the festival, and in all honesty probably one of the best short films I’ve seen at that festival throughout the time I’ve been attending. Great Stuff! Now hurry up and make another one so you can come back to Saugatuck!”

“I didn’t know that a short film could have such a dramatic impact in such a short amount of time”

“I have a class A license, I can drive the bus”

“Heard you streaked?” “And got busted, but we’re doing it again tonight”

“F#$%in’ love nut bucket”

“I feel your passion for the film industry. My eyes have been opened”

“You are the spitting image of me, having fun, laughing, and usually getting anything I wanted…your mind is a very powerful tool, use it…appreciate what you have”

I am going to end on that one. Clarity. The whole weekend defines it. It also shows what has gotten me here and what has slowed me down. I needed this. It was truly a special moment and I am very glad I got to share it with each and every f#$%ing person that I did. And thanks to the #1 guest of the weekend. You know who you are.


Lije and NUT BUCKET FILMS (this name is defining itself, everyday)

Keep an eye out for some of these films I saw:

Moment of Truth (nice work Crowley and cast!), Vaccine (fantastic and eye-opening!), Leave (extremely well done guys!)

And some that I didn’t:

The Frankenstein Brothers, Cataplexy, The Cross-Stitch, Finding Jenua

And so many more from Waterfront HERE.

Special Thanks: Dana, Dori, and Hopwood Dupree, Derek, Edi, Kori, Christine, and Auston. You all really made our weekend. And thanks to everyone else that I missed.


check the Lake Michigan sweatshirt


my special guest



closing night party...says it all


love you Bubba