Nut Bucket Films

Posts Tagged ‘independent film’

wait, it’s the 4th of July? when? Monday?

In Uncategorized on July 1, 2011 at 10:42 am

Miss you guys, Nick and Danny come back!

How far back can you remember your 4th of July’s?  I was trying this morning and I could only get to last year.  Everyone keeps asking me, “What’s going on this weekend?  What are you doing?  Where are the parties at?”  I guess it doesn’t matter cuz I can’t f#$%ing remember what I did the last twenty-some-odd years.  I do know last year I was in Michigan with my family for the 4th and for the Traverse City Cherry Festival.  That was a friggin’ blast.  I am actually headed there next week.

But let’s talk about this weekend.  It’s nice that the 4th falls on a Monday.  That means a three-day weekend for most.  Not me.  I will be slingin’ BBQ and drinks through Sunday but then I can festive too.  What do I do?  I live in Venice so it will be a madhouse here all dang weekend.  I am not a fan of the shit show that goes on so I try to hide from it.  I guess that’s why I work all weekend.  Then I don’t have to make up a lame excuse for not partaking.  Plus, if I can’t remember what I did for the last ten of these holidays then it doesn’t really matter what I do cuz I am not missing out on anything.  I can tell you that if I don’t remember what I did, I had a blast.  Some of the best times I have ever had I can’t f#$%ing rememebr.  Sad, huh?  It’s pretty funny actually.

I am, however, headed to Angel Stadium on the actual 4th to see the Tigers play the Angels.  Funny I was watching the game yesterday and was listening to the announcers, Rod Allen and Mario Impemba, and heard them talking about BBQ and how you must eat BBQ on the 4th.  They were doubting that California had any good BBQ.  Now, I follow Rod Allen on Twitter, @rodallen12.  He’s a funny man and I love listening to the games with those guys announcing.  I decided to offer to bring him down some BBQ for the 4th in a little tweet I sent him during the game.  He friggin’ answered me!  It was so cool.  He actually replied to me during the game.  That’s a cool dude.

So, my 4th of July will full of baseball, BBQ, Rod, my little family, and a fireworks show that should be out of this world since we will be about a mile from Disneyland.  I will be remembering this 4th for sure.

 

As for this weekend, who knows?  I might get into a little trouble on Sunday night after all the riffraff (disreputable persons) leave my neighborhood or the neighborhood that allows me to live in it.  Before that, I will be hanging down at Baby Blues BBQ with all my regulars and visitors for the weekend, watching baseball and getting people krunk and full.  It’s not a bad gig.  I actually enjoy the heck out of it.  See, I get to have fun, socialize, watch sports, and work at the same time.  Pretty much like going out at a bar except I am already at the bar or being at my crib with a bunch of friends over.  Double Whammy!
Football Sundays please come back and don’t be late.

Whatever you decide to do this weekend, I wish you the best.  A safe and happy 4th of July.

Cheers to America,

Lije

Come to Baby Blues BBQ this weekend!

the sun will set, eventually

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a day to give back

In Uncategorized on June 29, 2011 at 8:54 am
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told you three peeps had shirts off

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they gave us the shaded seats

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nice guns Beau

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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.

Lije

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Papa Grande closing it out, Tigers win.

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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

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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,

Lije

Q&A

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...

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 http://www.alphonsobow.com 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.
MUCH LOVE!
Lije and Nut Bucket…

writer, M Sarki

director, Lije Sarki

DVD front and back

SUCCESS, a great start to June, premieres and festivals galore

In Uncategorized on June 3, 2011 at 10:45 am

DANCES WITH FILMS opening night

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What’s my theme? What’s my theme? That’s gonna be in my dang head for a month until I figure this shit out! Thanks Justin…

Well the theme for this weekend and the next is SUCCESS. This is what all the hard work is for, people. This is why I bust my balls almost everyday. So I get to share what I did. All that blood, sweat, and tears paid off. Of course it was with the help of a bunch of other people. Just look at the movie poster of CLOSING DOORS and you can see a smidgen of them. You will have to come see the movie to see the rest, in the credits. wink, wink.

We kicked off an awesome weekend last night at the opening night party for DANCES WITH FILMS film festival here in L.A. They threw a nice little get-together at FALCON bar and restaurant in Hollywood. Loads of filmmakers showed up. I met a bunch I didn’t know and surprisingly saw a bunch of people I did. Actually not too surprising, this world is so small just when you think it isn’t. Funny, I met a guy that my girl knew from some project a few years back who has a movie in the festival, and co-stars a girl I studied with, but also knows my roommate in college at Michigan State who is also from my hometown of Traverse City, MI, like really knows him, hangs out with him. He popped off the question, “You are from Traverse City? You know ‘so and so’?” You mean my roommate in college? What the hell? Crazy. That’s just a taste.

Me and that same guy, Matt, shot the shit for a while. Chatting about how great this stuff is. A bunch of passionate filmmakers in a room. A REAL Indie crowd. Everyone supporting everyone. Outside of a lot of normal L.A. hoopla of “gimme this, or what can you do for me?”, yada yada…this is more, “When is your film playing? Where you from? Check this out? This is my story! Dude, that’s crazy! Wait, your company’s name is CAKEBABY? Mine is NUT BUCKET! We gotta make a movie together…ha, ha, ha”.

Just a great feeling. I was supported by my girlfriend, co-producer, and publicist last night. They brought their game too. Adrienne is a superstar. She works for Inside Edition and is helping me with PR. She runs around like crazy and chit-chats with everyone. “Meet this person, meet that one, oh, I am going to talk to him or her”, she is great.

I am grateful, man. I get to premiere my film in a theatre in L.A. in front of almost 300 people. My writer, William Wanek, is flying out here for a festival that truly rocks and supports the shit out of itself and each other. The festival founders have become good friends of mine. I hug Michael and Leslie every time I see them. They are so supportive of Indie film. True Indie film. My feature ALPHONSO BOW premiered here two years ago and is now getting a national release June 21st from Vanguard Cinema. It will be in about a 1000 stores nationwide and online everywhere. The link says Netflix, so keep looking. On a special note about this film. One of the stars, Jeffrey Pierce, has a new show coming out on TV called “Alcatraz”. Check it out. Also another star, Kasey Buckley, is in a newly signed band called MISS WILLIE BROWN and has been touring the country with Dierks Bentley. They should have a record out soon. SUCCESS!

Next weekend we are off to Saugatuck, MI to premiere at WATERFRONT FILM FESTIVAL. This is a crème de la crème
festival of the Midwest. I like to say it is a SUNDANCE of the midwest. It is a little lake town and the whole city partakes, kind of like Park City does for Sundance. They do a bunch of lake-type fun, outdoor concerts, and crazy parties, lots of parties. We are in unbelievable company there. The quality of films is amazing. I never use that word either. It has been a goal of mine for years to get to show a movie at this festival. And now we have it. We open for a feature that has Bryan Cranston in it. Pretty dope. I can’t wait to share what happens there.

Just when you start to think you have fallen off track a bit or been on hiatus for a month, the next two weeks kick in. That’s what I am motha’ f#$%in’ talking about. SUCCESS. Makes you wake up and smell that sweat. You smile. You start to look forward to what’s next. Man, I am excited about it too. Because I know this is just a small piece of what I am driving to. It is only still the beginning. Moving forward, always, with knowledge and skill-set, and there is a big and bright future ahead.

So if you are in L.A., come out and see the movie we worked on. CLOSING DOORS. It is playing at the Laemmle Sunset 5 at 5pm Sunday the 5th. That’s a lot of 5’s. It is at 8000 Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood, CA. here is a link to the press release. Closing Doors Press Kit

If you are in Michigan next week, come to Saugatuck. We play Friday the 10th at 7pm and Saturday the 11th at 9pm at 400 Culver Street. Closing Doors Press Kit

Here are a bunch of pictures from last night and a some stuff from Nut Bucket Films, movie posters and our new icon.

Thanks for continued support from everyone. It continues to help me continue down a path that is full of boulders and rivers and alligators and sharks and obstacles that try to stop me everyday. Personal and exterior. But it is a weekend like this or next that prove to make it all worth it. SUCCESS. That’s for you Justin.

much love,

Lije

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Bees, Snakes, Cougars, Liz, and man-made Lake Perris

In Uncategorized on May 26, 2011 at 9:07 am

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see me in the middle?

see Liz in her yoga pose?

at the top, Terri Peak, Lake Perris...nuf said

So my super awesome roommate of the past year moved out last week. She really was one of the best. I will miss you, Eliana, and have a blast in NYC. But before she departed we were to visit her at her family’s restaurant in Riverside. She was there for a week and I had one free day, Tuesday. I need a wingman or wingwoman. A bribe? How about I find a great hike? “Liz, you wanna go to Riverside on this cool hike and eat at my old roomie’s restaurant? Oh and can you drive? My car gets three miles to the gallon. Sweet! OK, can you pick me up? Awesome. See you at 8:30am.” That was my end of the convo.

Turns out I spent the rest of the day searching for anything relatively close to the restaurant that might not suck to hike. Riverside? There is not a lot out there as far as hiking goes. At least not that close to where we were to eat. After hours of searching while slinging drinks I found “Lake Perris”. Turns out Liz had wanted to go to Lake Perris forever. Why? Who the f#$% knows? How did she even know it existed? Point is, she was an easy sell.

We were off. traffic wasn’t too bad. Leaving L.A. in the morning and returning in afternoon is against the normal flow so we were good. We got to the hike following some wonderful instructions from this hiker HERE. Great list of hikes in the L.A. area, I think. I only used it once.

The hike to the peak and back was only three miles. you could take the longer route and do the full up-and-down and then back again, but we were on a schedule. Plus we wanted to swim in Lake Perris! Thing is, everyone we asked about swimming said, “Ummmmmm, weeeeeeeelllllll, yeah, I guess, you could swim, Hey Jane, people swim down there?”

We cruised up that mountain. It was a sweet mountain too. Big ass boulders everywhere. One of the coolest hikes I have been on just because the terrain was so different than usual West L.A. hikes. It was like I was a Parkour guy jumping from boulder to boulder. Plus, I scaled this huge rock wall which ended up making almost shit myself. Thank god the rocks were like skateboard griptape. Check the photos. I am the tiny guy in the middle! Basically all there is to say is the hike was short and a bit vertical, which got the sweat flowing. Would have been hot as shit a month from now. And there are so many sweet-ass boulders to take creative pictures on that make it look like you were in the middle of somewhere you had never been…

Here is a little 360 degree view of the Terri Peak. We met these three country boys at the top. One had a big knife attached to his leg. Apparently they didn’t know there was a trail, and hiked straight up the mountain. Liz wanted to ask them to take a picture. I said maybe not.

After our special moments in the camera we jetted back down to the lake. There was not a soul in this whole park, by the way. Except three fisherman next to the watering hole called, Lake Perris.

The lake was being “blue-rocked” til noon so no one was allowed in it until afternoon. Well, it was 12:30 and we were ready for a swim. HA! What is “blue-rocked”? I am not going to google that. Too scared.

It was actually quite warm. And we were so dang itchy from the hike that is was unbelievably refreshing. They had showers to wash off the grime that my old roommate later told me about. I guess growing up, NO ONE SWAM IN THAT LAKE. She was like, “Eww, gross, it’s so dirty, and polluted.” Great! Thanks park rangers for telling us it’s ok. Well, it is Thursday and I have no unusual rashes. Maybe an itch or two, but I am sure it will pass. We did almost die by a swarm of killer bees though. Gladly Liz was trained to drop to the sand when a swarm comes through. I stood there laughing.

Liz, a little dirty from dropping to the sand for BEES

Ok, I am glad this shit happened when we left each and every section of the excursion. First an information stand telling us about the “mountain lions” that are on the hike and what to do if attacked! WTF?! We saw that at the entrance to the hike on our way OUT of the hike. And let’s not forget the NASCAR driving skills from Liz as she dodged hitting a giant rattlesnake on the road out of Lake Perris.

Mountain Lions? Seriously...

We left Lake Perris having a good ol’ time. We headed to Papi’s Tacos. Eliana’s mother is so sweet! Oh my goodness. She made us the best lunch. I forgot the name of what I had. It was like a giant soft tostada with an almost fried bun-type bottom and carne asada, beans, and guacamole all over it. Was so good. Liz got a fish taco that was awesome. We ate something similar to that of an elephant ear from a fair for an appetizer. We sat and talked to Eliana, my ex-roomie for a while as well. She is in law school so this was the most we had chatted in six months. Crazy. Love you Eliana, and have fun in NYC!

Check out the pics. I guess I am turning into an adventure dude. Hikes every week, Burgers, Catalina, oh and film festivals! I knew I was being productive. It’s time to make another movie.

Thanks for reading folks!

Lije and NBF!

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Letting it all go, off a bridge

In Uncategorized on May 19, 2011 at 5:20 pm

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Letting loose. Considering taking this attempt at a blog to a new level. I have handfuls of stories starting at about 13 years ago that could actually scare some folks. But the reality of it is, they are true. What better way to start promoting a film I am creating about a f$&@ed up childhood than to tell messed up, blow your mind, interesting stories of the life after?

I have decided to hold off for now. Once I open that can there is no turning back. I am gonna sit on it for a month or so. I will let you know what happens. Keep reading.

I decided to jump off a bridge. I told you all that my friend Kerry was having a birthday hike/bungee jump party. Well he did. And I went. And it was ridiculous. It was hell. And it was inspirational. And we conquered.

We met up at the trail butt-ass early last Sunday. There was supposed to be a crew jumping and a crew just hiking but seeing how it was pouring rain, just the jumpers showed.

I, of course, only wore a sweatshirt and shorts cuz I knew we were going to have to cross a river a few times. Ended up crossing that biatch about nine times. Did I say it was raining? Oh, and cold as shit.

Good thing Mark was with us. I think he was a navy seal or something. He actually cut his jeans off mid-hike. He would climb the mountain and scout ahead which kept us on track. I did my part too by standing in the water holding all the gals hands as they crossed the river. Nine times. Waist deep.

The hike was FOREVER. Five miles up a mountain. And no directions really. Just following a river. Every time I turned a corner I thought the bridge had to be there. Nope. Kept truckin.

We finally got to the top. Soaking wet. Exhausted. And now the wind was howling cuz we were on a bridge. It was at least an hour of waiting to jump after going through the training speech and all that jazz. Luckily they were heating up Gatorade for us. And they had extra jackets. I would have died if not. The sun was also peaking through and it was like god from the sky every time it did.

This was a trip though. A friggin story. I jumped. I had to go first. If I don’t go first it will freak me out the whole time. So I did it. And then I did it again. Backwards. That was dumb. Almost shit myself. I will show you a video of that here.

I never thought I would bungee jump. It was rad. And going through what we went through was an accomplishment. We conquered that bitch.

The hike down took me and my lady about an hour. We cruised. And the sun was out so I got down to a t-shirt by the time we were to the bottom. Weird thing is, the way down we only crossed the water like four times. WTF. We are idiots. But awesome ones.

I was supposed to go to my pal’s play that night. I got home and passed out at 6pm. Woke up the next day at 8am. What does that say?

Thanks Ron and Bungee America for a f$&@ing experience of a lifetime.

Cheers to “the Bridge to Nowhere”

Hearts and kisses,
Lije

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jump off a bridge or into a shark tank?

In Uncategorized on May 10, 2011 at 11:30 am

I love where I live

Or both?

This Sunday is my pal Kerry’s birthday.  What is he doing for his birthday?  Dragging all his friends northeast to the “Bridge to Nowhere”.  I freaking love it!  He always has the best birthdays.  Last year we went paintballing.  The trip is a 4 1/2 mile hike to the bridge followed by a bungee jump off the bridge, then lunch, and a leisurely hike back.  Sounds awesome right?  What’s more awesome is the text I got from my friend Sarah last night after inviting her along.  Here it is: So I met a guy wearing a suicide ‘bridge to nowhere’ t-shirt today and he inspired me to do some research. F that place!! Over 100 people have committed suicide off that bridge.  Apparently it’s beyond haunted!”  I called Sarah last night and all she would say was, “If I jumped, all I would think about is all the dead people and what they were thinking while they jumped!”  I love you Sarah.  This makes me want to go even more now.  I didn’t know it was haunted or suicidal.

As for the Sharks, you all know how much I love my Detroit teams.  The Red Wings come back home to the “Joe” to host San Jose for game 6 tonight.  If they win there will be a game 7.  They will win and there will be a game 7.  Which means my buddy Brandon and I are driving our asses up to San Jose and jumping into that Shark tank to watch the Wings take ’em down.  We were supposed to go up Sunday for game 5 but shit got all f#$%ed up and we ended up watching the game at B’s.  Turns out this was fate.  What better than a game 7.  B is heading over to my pad tonight for rib-eyes and shark meat.  Go WINGS!!!

Lot’s of stuff happening in my film world so I am going to give you all a quick update.

orientation at DWF

CLOSING DOORS

This little short I directed is now on its 3rd festival in as many months.  We will have our West Coast premiere at Dances With Films film fest right here in Los Angeles, CA.  It is actually playing at the Laemmle Sunset 5 theatre on June 5th at 5pm sharp.  I will be throwing a dope-ass after party like I did two years back when the feature I directed, Alphonso Bow, premiered there.  If you come to the screening, you will know about the party.  “Like” us on Facebook HERE please!  We would love some more fans.  It is a great little film and the stars, Dave and Brendan, are f#$%in’ great dudes!  Check their interview HERE.

ALPHONSO BOW

It has been almost exactly three long years since we wrapped shooting this feature film that I directed and my father, M Sarki, wrote.  I remember because we started shooting on “Cinco de Mayo” and we wrapped in five days.  Crazy that we did this feature in five days.  It feels great to say that it is being released in just over a month by Vanguard Cinema.  If you click the site you will see it in the upcoming releases.  June 21st is the date.  We are so proud of this accomplishment.  It has a been a bumpy ride and a hustle but soon enough you will all have the opportunity to watch it if you like.  They have done some great new artwork for the DVD!  It really brings it to life.  We are also releasing it in color and b&w.  Most of the festivals had only seen it in b&w so this is new look at the film.  I will keep everyone posted as it gets closer.  “Like” us on Facebook HERE!

fight scene, UNDERBELLY

UNDERBELLY

This Pilot project in itself deserves its own long write-up.  And I will get it done.  Soon.  We are about three more “shoot days” from wrapping the shooting portion of the project.  It has been a hell of a ride.  Shoestring budget, amazing cast, great director and producing partner, all the favors for locations and props, the time donated, and I could go on forever.  I am going to save it for later though.  Our director is on another job for three weeks so we have to push finishing until mid-June.  I am going to leave you with our cast list so you can see for your self how awesome it is.  “Like” us on Facebook HERE please if you want to keep up with the project and learn more about what it is.  Hopefully you will see it on Showtime in the near future…

CAST: Andy Dick, Reid Scott, David Rogers, Lije Sarki, Phillip Jeanmarie, Greg Evigan, Jamie Harris, Vanessa Evigan, Sonia Rockwell, Lauren Ziemski, Stephanie Rae Anderson, Natalie James.  If I forgot someone I am sorry.

Underbelly has been a trip.  I am an executive producer on it as well as a producer, production manager, sound guy, camera operator, driver, actor, and whatever the hell else you can imagine.  I have learned a lot once again.  I will share a lot more once we finish.  We have a lot of work to do.  Still have to sync and edit this thing.  Ryan, I love you for that.  Lauren, I love you for all your help too and just being you.  It has been a ride that I will not forget.  It has engulfed four months of my life.  I was recently on the verge of explosion until Ryan got a gig he couldn’t pass up.  It’s a good thing.  It has allowed me to take a three-week hiatus from anything film/TV/production/creating related.  Granted I still audition and go sling some drinks at a bar but that is all mindless.  Effortless.  It is just fun.  Not that the other isn’t fun.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the shit out of it.  I will love it even more when that is all I have to do to pay the bills.

For now, I am on vacation.  Enjoying where I live, the fruits of my labor, baseball, hockey, the beach, hikes, skateboarding, my lady friend, other friends and just being present and put together.  I love you Life.

Cheers!  GO WINGS! and Happy Birthday Kerry!

Lije and NBF

I am going to leave you with another quote from my good friend Sarah, “Hi kids! I’m going to work out with Richard Simmons at 6:30 on Tuesday at Beverly Hills studio. If anyone wants tocome let me know! Class is $15 and eveyone needs to be there 45 min early so factor it in!”  

SPECIAL NOTE:  Think twice before you ever ask me to do some shit like that again!  I am experimental, of course, but Richard Simmons scares the shit out of me.  

slingin' drinks

pal Brandon (B), repping the beer for the ticket to the game, GO WINGS!

Steph Rae, pre-fight scene, UNDERBELLY

 

Mike, on a boat, Catalina

psychiatrist scene, UNDERBELLY

me, life, fun, Catalina, again

poolside, UNDERBELLY

My lady friend

Chiggittee check yo’self

In Uncategorized on April 9, 2011 at 9:31 am

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It’s been one of those weeks. A bumpy little ride that decides to remind you what the f$&k you are supposed to be doing. Not that what I am doing is wrong or right, but is it the best path for me to take?

Last Saturday I was in some great company with some close peeps at the Dodger game. It was my buddy Dan’s birthday so I hooked up some tickets for us and we had a nice little baseball afternoon. We spent most of our time in the Stadium Club eating and drinking and gettin’ loose. Man that shit was fun. The Dodgers got whippin’ but I didn’t care, it was only the third game of the season and it was all about Dan’s birthday. He was pumped, I was pumped, The girls were pumped, and I was gettin’ loose.

Ended up for me a little too loose. I am an all or nothing kind of guy and when I decide to go strong I go big. I don’t really have a happy medium. So that afternoon quickly turned into an excuse for me to take the night off of work and spend it further having a good ole time. I can honestly say that the day was friggin’ awesome but was it worth it?

The guilt that I put on myself for my actions. I didn’t harm anyone. I just had a good time. But I missed work and was more than hungover the next day. I am my own worst enemy because any normal person would be OK with what had just occurred. They would probably be pumped and tell everyone how awesome it was. But me, I end up feeling guilty and shameful like I did something wrong and immediately judge myself. It’s not healthy for me but I don’t have any way to control my own mind from making me feel that way.

So I treat it as a check mark. It’s a point where I have to look in the mirror and decide if what I am doing is right for me. I have had a hell of a great few years and I know a lot of it is a result of me being on an even keel, knowing my limits and sticking by them. There is a reason I took a couple of years off from the bottle. It has made me a better person but at the same time it has completely f$&ked with my ability to have a guilt-free Saturday afternoon with friends.

It guess it’s good thing for me. I say it like it isn’t but it really is. Like I said earlier, I am all or nothing, and if I don’t check myself once in a while I will either end up losing everything or dead, most likely. I know it sounds dramatic but it’s true. I know some of you can relate and some might think I am crazy but my intentions are good. They always are. Sharing makes me better.

Immediately this week I got ultra focused. We are just three weeks out from finishing the shooting of our Pilot UNDERBELLY. I went location scouting for my next project, a thriller/horror film which will either stand alone as a feature or be part of a very secret plan to crush social media. You will know soon enough. ALPHONSO BOW comes out in June Nationwide via DVD, VOD, and all that other jazz. I am two weeks away from having my Director/Producer reel put together. CLOSING DOORS is headed to Germany next for another festival called the ISFF Detmold. And my buddy Eric is about two weeks from hearing from me so we can get back on track writing my life project.

Everyone falls off the tracks once in a while. Just hope you don’t crash and get right back on them. I am very lucky in my life so far and every slide has been for a reason. All good ones even if they seem bad. I might seem like I don’t have a personal life cuz I tell my BLOG everything, but I do and let me tell you that it freaking rocks. I am a grateful SOB.

So I leave you with DAS EFX and ICE CUBE saying “check yo self before you wreck yo self”.

Good stuff is coming. Keep listening.

Lije

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My short filmmaking BIO…part 3 (final part)

In Uncategorized on March 31, 2011 at 8:59 am

on tour with ALPHONSO BOW at DCFF, photo credit M Sarki

Hey readers.  All righty, this will basically get you to where I started writing my BLOG in August of 2010.  From there on out you know what I have been up to, inside and outside of my professional and personal life.  I am going to attach links to parts #1 and #2 in case you missed them.  It has been a few short weeks since entry #1 and #2 of this three-part series.  All I wanted to do was share how the hell I ended up doing what I am doing.  It wasn’t planned.  It just happened.  This is where I want to be.

My short filmmaking BIO…part 1 (click it)

My short filmmaking BIO…part 2 (click it)

Chad and Betsy came to my little screening.  Chad I knew from casting and bringing me in for commercials and Betsy was also from casting but was brought by Chad.  Betsy has been in the business for years.  She knows a ton of people in town and Chad had her come to help in the future of Get She Water (GSW).

Right about the time I screened GSW my dad decided to tell me he finished another screenplay called Alphonso Bow (AB).  This project had nothing to do with me.  Except for the fact that he may have wanted to write this one because of his last success.  He sent it off to me and I wasted no time in reading it.  I remember exactly where I was, on the beach in front of my house in Venice.  I read it front to back in about an hour.  It was a very quick read.  I laughed my ass off and though it was brilliant and instantly thought I could pull this one off, now.  Like I was ready to make this f#$%er NOW.  It had two main characters, all in one location, taking place in a restaurant in the South.  But I wanted big “names” for it.  I thought this could really help establish my career as a producer and help get GSW made.  I gave the AB script to Betsy and Chad and they read it.  They liked it.  We started to talk about making it.  So it was Chad, Betsy, and I working on this thing and I would relay what ideas we had with Dad.  Still nothing concrete had really happened, just ideas.

Chad and I decided to head to Sundance Film Festival that January of 2008.  He had just cast a movie that Fall that was in the festival and I just wanted to go for fun.  I had gone the year before, partied my ass off, and had one of the best times of my life.

Melanie Diaz, star of American Son

I already had a condo reserved and just told Chad he could stay with me.  I had some others coming out also.  My old roommate Chris and my brother and his chick came in from NYC.  And a couple other lesbians that used to not be lesbians but that is another story.

Me and Method Man at Sundance!

Sundance ruled!  This time I took full advantage and did a little bit more than party.  I saw a bunch of films, went with Chad to all the parties for his film, and did some snowboarding.

Reggie Bush and I

I even ran into an old pal of mine from college, Tom Welling, who was now super “big-time” because of his Smallville career.  I hadn’t talked to him in years.  I met a bunch of the cats from Chad’s movie, American Son, and even hung out with some filmmakers I knew from L.A. from a movie that I had worked on the year before.  They invited me to all their parties.  Oh and best yet, this chick I was “hanging” out with at the time went to all the gifting sweets and got me a bunch of free shit to take back to L.A.  I was inspired!  By everything and probably the idea of what “could be”…

Chad and I at Sundance 2008

Chad and I got back home and were like “Let’s make this f#$%ing movie!”

cold!

What had started as a little idea to make a movie for me and my friends had turned into me trying to produce a separate feature film that my father wrote.  Chad was on board.  So was Betsy.  Chad had the “hook-up” for a casting spot at 1641 Ivar.  I used to audition there all the time in my early commercial audition days.  Danielle Eskinazi was over there.  I have remained close with Danielle over the last few years.

So I was going to produce a feature.  We started with posting up a breakdown for the two characters for Alphonso Bow.  Figured we would start to test the waters and see who we could get to come into audition.  I mean really  I wanted Jeff Bridges and Ben Foster to be the leads back then but this was my first film and how was I going to get them?  It didn’t stop me from trying.  I knew a guy who grew up with Ben and tried my hardest to get the script to him.  People don’t know how hard it is for a ”nobody” to get stuff like this done.  I was nobody in town.

We started to call people in to audition.  At the beginning I  would sit through each and every one of the auditions.  I was intrigued.  You know I spent the last few years auditioning on the actor side so I loved being on the other side for a change and actually seeing what people did and brought to the table.  The first week of auditions were very poor.  It was terrifying because I was expecting all of these great actors to come walking in the door and we were getting shite!  What I learned is that it truly depends on who is casting a project and who is behind it.  Agents are very particular about what auditions they will send their “good” and “working” actors out on.  Our auditions did start to get better though.

We were using different spaces to cast from.  We kept switching it up.  We had to.  Some were free and favors and some would cost us fifty bucks here and there.  We actually found our “Frank” character on the first day.  He was probably the only great performance for the first month but we thought that was worth noting.  Micheal Dempsey came into the room at Lesly Kahn’s studio and won our hearts that day.  Betsy knew him.  Every other “Frank” was compared to him from there on out.

But the “Alphonso” character was another story.  This script was VERY heavy in dialogue.  And the character was all types of crazy.  I started to think no one would ever pull it off.  We searched and searched and kept bringing in people to audition.  Actors were getting better though.  Word was getting around town that the script was pretty good so better actors were getting submitted with better resumes and in turn we got some much better auditions.  We were getting close.  I think at this point we had given up on the fact that I was going to get my “Ben Foster” to do this movie so we started to really consider some of the greats who had come through the door.  I was actually proud of the ones we were going to choose from.  That was the part inside that said, “The hell with Hollywood, we don’t need a ‘name’ to make a great movie.”  Turns out you need a name to sell a movie.  Ha!

All along I was still producing.  We decided to bring Betsy’s friend and producer from another project in and ask him to be a part of the team.  I needed Scott Mellini to do everything that I didn’t know how to do.  Which was a lot.  I needed all aspects of a shoot.  I needed a teacher.  Scott was there by my side for the entire project until the end.  I learned a lot from him and I always felt safe having him there.  It is so important having someone to trust on a project.  I second guess everyone because I never think anyone is going to do as good a job as me.  It is a flaw I have.  I am trying to be better but I am somewhat of a perfectionist and I don’t make the same mistake twice, most of the time.

Now that we had Scott, we needed a director.  I actually remember meeting with Jeremy London one day to direct the movie.  He gave me his vision and we talked for an hour about what he thought about it and what he wanted to do with it and yada yada yada.  After that meeting, I was like WTF?  Why am I interviewing people to direct?  I knew the movie the best second to my father.  I pretty much thought that I shared a similar vision as Dad.  I knew I understood the film.  I was directing actors in the auditions at that point and I felt pretty gosh darn comfortable doing it too.

I asked Dad if I could direct it.  He said yes.  Holy F#$k!  Now what do I do?  After the initial freak-out I calmed my self and decided I needed to know the basics.  Plus, I had Scott producing so what could really go wrong?  My main concern was to be professional and confident and look like I knew what I was doing when it came time to work.  I read a book called, Shot By Shot.  I think every new director should read that book.  I learned a lot.  I quickly hired Dan Coplan again.  I knew I could trust him to shoot the film since I used him in GSW.  I got the best sound guy on the planet from a referral, Zsolt Maygar.  I found an abandoned restaurant in Van Nuys to turn into a Mexican Restaurant.  We were ready to rock this shit!

It came time to make a decision on the actors.  My dad and I and been communicating the whole way though this.  Every day.  I had been putting the auditions up online so he could see them too.  At that point we had narrowed it to down to three “Alphonso’s” and two “Frank’s”.  We had chemistry reads and after a long and very hard decision we picked Michael Dempsey and Jeffrey Pierce.

Now there are a bunch of other things that went along with the casting that I will leave out for the purpose of respect to actors, agents, and managers at the time.  But it was a f#$%ing nightmare.  Holy shit!  It made my father never want to make another film this way.  I just say it is a lesson learned and now I know what NOT to do.  If you really want to know the gory details, just ask me, and I might be able to share some.

Oh, I almost forgot to tell you all that we only had about one-quarter of the budget of a potential $100,000 movie.  I thought we could do it for a lot less but really we couldn’t.  When you think about everything we had to deal with, location, actors, crew, time, equipment, scheduling, and a zillion more things, we had about five days to shoot a feature film that was entirely made up of dialogue.  Insane.  I was insane to think we could pull it off.  But I knew we could.  We found the rest of the money about three days before the shoot.  It still haunts me.

I was prepared.  I studied.  I storyboarded.  I had phenomenal actors.  We rehearsed.  I calculated.  My sister, Elizabeth, even flew down from San Francisco to help with whatever I needed help with using her film degree from Yale.  My buddy Gabe Wilson did production design for free!

Me and Chad on set of ALPHONSO BOW

His sister Tyrus Wilson did wardrobe.  Chad brought in Sarah Hernandez who did make-up for his Sundance movie.  She rocked.  It all fell into place.  I had an amazing crew.  There I go using the word “amazing”.  I only use that shit when it is for real.

I would take you though each day but it isn’t necessary.  The shoot went about as smoothly as it could.  It was tiring for sure and we had some editing issue on set but overall it went smoothly.

Jeffrey, Michael, and the beautiful Kate on set of ALPHONSO BOW

We finished our last shot on day five just like we were supposed to.  I could have used more time.  You can always use more time.  I would have loved to have a week more.  I wanted to do a lot of shots that I didn’t get to do but I knew I wasn’t going to get to do them going into the damn thing.  Time and money is always a factor.  It is like the triangle.  Pick two of three.  You can’t have all three.  Fast, Cheap, and good.

my armpits and my face tell a story

I picked good and fast.

Most of the crew of ALPHONSO BOW...so lucky

I am going to spare details of the shoot because the point of this story is to tell you how I got to where I am now.

After the shoot I flew to Kentucky to get some exterior shots with Dan.  We spent one day doing about twenty-five set-ups all over Louisville.  My dad was there and he had all the locations laid out so that was cool.  He finally got to be a part of the real thing.  He was supposed to get to see footage throughout the whole shoot but the editing problem I mentioned earlier was part of that problem.  But we talked everyday.  We worked together on the whole thing.  This was his baby.  I was just bringing it to life.  It was fun working with Dad, running all over Louisville.  It got me excited to maybe get to do it again on GSW in the future, ya know, after AB is successful and we all make millions.

I settled back in L.A and went through the whole editing process.  It was a f#$%ing nighmare.  I fired the first editor.  I have shitty luck with editors.  Terrible luck.  Luckily, my friend Carmen hopped on board to save the day and pay for her friend X. Dean Lim to edit the fucker.  He understood the film.  And honestly, if it wasn’t for Dean, the film would not be what it is today.  Take that for what it is worth.

The next year consisted of a few film festivals but most importantly was our World Premiere in L.A. at Dances With Films.  It was awesome.  Seriously was the time of my life.  I was so proud and happy to get to share it with friends and other filmmakers.  I went to that friggin’ festival every single day passing out fliers and seeing other filmmakers’ films.  Supporting when I could.  Taking in every second of it.  I also traveled to Detroit and Louisville later that year for a couple more festivals doing the same thing.  Soaking up every second of it.

It was a ride, man.  I was proud.  I will tell you what I remember most about making that movie.  I drove home down the 405 in L.A. the last day of shooting and I remember thinking, “This is what I want to do.  This is what I am supposed to do.  I finally figured it out.”  I was thirty then.  I am thirty-three now.

For two years after that film was shot, I worked on it.  I traveled with it.  I changed the edit.  I promoted it.  I social media’d the shit out of it.  I never quit on it.  I actually released it June 1st, 2010 on Indieflix.com just to have them f#$k it up and not even release it correctly.  We have since un-released it.

I was grateful to sign with a sale agent, Mathius Gertz, a few months ago who has just secured a deal with Vanguard Cinema who will release the film in June of 2011.  A real release.  Nationwide on DVD, VOD, and all media outlets.  We are hoping to follow with an International deal.

Since the sales agent, I have started a blog which basically tells you everything I have done since then.  www.nutbucketfilms.com (follow me)

The past couple of summers I have produced two different feature films in Texas, both of which I have acted in as well.  The first will never get completed because of a stupid f#$%ing director/producer conflict.  I thought I had learned my lesson from that.  The second film, For Whom He Tolls, is now with my sales agent and we hope for a release soon.  There are two more stories within those films but I will have to save for a rainy day.  All have molded me as a producer though.  I have worked with some incredibly talented people and done it with zero f#$%ing money.  It is time for a change.  I have proved myself.  I have credibility.

Right now am writing two other films (collaborating with a friend from high school and my boys in Texas), producing a Pilot called Underbelly, and doing the festival circuit for a short film, Closing Doors, I just directed.  Life is grand.  I am still an actor.  I book jobs.  I do a fairly good amount of commercials and might get a TV show once in a great while.  I study my craft.  I stay healthy.  I love my life.  If you ever want to know anything more about the story I just told you, please ask.

I will always help in any way I can.  I have asked for a TON of help over the last four years and I owe the favors.  Tons of them.  I am grateful.

Lije