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Thursday, September 7, 2006

Austin Screening, soundtrack and semi-endorsements

The good folks at the Austin Film Festival sponsored a Stomp! Shout! Scream! screening at the Alamo Draft House as part of their Best of the Fest series. Thanks to them for the great promotion in getting the film seen.

On hand was Mike from Chicken Ranch Records, who has put out the soundtrack. Along with all the songs from the film, there’s 3 additional tracks. The legendary Fleshtones contributed super rare, original surf tune that kicks ass. Tiger Tiger added “Black Daggers” which just had its video release recently. It also kicks much ass. The Clutters added an amazing, big, crunchy guitar-laden “Tainted Love”, originally recorded in 1964 by Gloria Jones, then covered in 1981 by Soft Cell. Wholly cow, it’ll rock your head off. Also on there is the full vocal version of The Woggles’ “One Four Three” which is heard as an instrumental during Theodora and Hector’s love montage. “Renegade Grinder” is a gear-head, buzz-saw-guitar, surf track from Johnny Knox & HI-TEST that’s only in the film for a quick snippet and has to be heard in it’s entirety. Tracks from The Evidents, The Vendettas, The Penetrators and, of course, all the Catfight! songs are there in their full glory. Go get a copy from Chicken Ranch, you won’t regret it.

Pictures from Dragon*Con 2006. Not necessarily endorsements:

Sunday, July 9, 2006

Introspection & on-line reviews

The latest analogy for film making that’s come into my brain is this:  Film making is like cliff diving.

In cliff diving, you hurl yourself off the top of a mountain, hoping you don’t hit anything on the way down and successfully dive into the water.  With film making, you hurl yourself off an emotional mountain hoping you are successful (artistically, monetarily).  But with each step of production you land, splat, on another cliff.  Then you have to pick yourself back up and hurl yourself off a cliff, into the abyss again.  Always hoping you find success.  That’s how I felt showing the script to friends for the first time… casting actors and hearing my words spoken aloud… raising money… launching into production… directing a cast and crew for the first time… submitting to film festivals… screening the film for strangers, hoping it plays to them like it does to me… and, most recently, starting DVD self-distribution.  A project like this takes a great deal of commitment.  It’s been 3 and 1/2 years since I started writing the script and I feel like I’m-- maybe-- at the half way point.  I’ve always heard that finishing a film is only half the job. Marketing and selling it being a whopping other 50%.  Now I really know what that means.

On that self-distribution trail are more film festivals.  July is a pretty dry month festival-wise, but August and September are shaping up nicely with screenings in Atlanta, Rome (GA) and Calgary, Alberta, Canada.  More on those soon.
On-line reviews are starting to come in. The John Waters comparison might be the best thing anyone as ever said about one of my films.

“Stomp! Shout! Scream! is a unique B monster movie romp that’s a lot of fun… Edwards never seeks to spoof, but tell an actual story, with great performances, and a wonderful soundtrack. I really enjoyed this in all its demented straight-faced glory. John Waters would be proud.”

“STOMP! SHOUT! SCREAM!(2006) is a delightful homage to/entry in the beach party/monster subgenre of Sixties drive-in fare, packed with rock & roll, bouffant hairdos, bikinis, and cheesy monsters…”

“Stomp! Shout! Scream! is a groovy movie... Fans of Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello beach movies like Beach Blanket Bingo(1965) will dig it, as will fans of the Herschell Gordon Lewis film Blast-Off Girls(1967) or the “man in gorilla suit” movies like The Beast That Killed Women(1966).”

"It’s a tightrope walk to pay tribute to three separate genres of ‘60s movies – the beach party flick (think Frankie and Annette), the rock and roll movie (believe it or not, even Herman’s Hermits had their own movie in 1966), and the old-fashioned monster movie – without drifting into parody. Somehow, however, “Stomp! Shout! Scream!” pulls it off just about perfectly."

Sunday, June 18, 2006

FILMSTOCK, DeadCENTER, Portland Underground

The biggest week in the festival life of Stomp! Shout! Scream! just ended. Three screenings on 2 continents, and 2 premieres-- all in 7 days.

I can’t personally report how the European premiere at FILMSTOCK in Luton, Bedfordshire, UK went. To be totally honest, I didn’t realize my passport had expired until I was at the airport, ready to fly out. There was nothing I could do, except send out apologetic emails and save that credit for some future overseas screening. A couple of emails filtered in from folks who saw the movie there and found this website or Stomp! Shout! Scream!’s myspace page. They said the crowd response was good and there was a big round of applause at the end.

Stomp! Shout! Scream! was selected to be the opening night film at the DeadCENTER Film Festival in Oklahoma City, OK. There was a pre-screening party at a beautiful art gallery, complete with girl-centric rock band-- The Oh! Johnny Girls, who rocked some Shangri-la’s covers—- and a formally-attired Skunk Ape.

Over 230 people came out to see the film on a beautiful night in the OK City park. Just as the film was set to start, the city’s sprinklers came on, on the other side of the park and systematically started moving closer to the screening and the movie goers. A cagey festival volunteer grabbed several small trash cans and had them at the ready to cover the sprinkler heads. A few folks did get wet, but it was a screening few will ever forget.

Stomp! Shout! Scream! ‘s west coast premiere was at the Portland Underground Film Festival, held at the Clinton Street Theater. Showing movie since 1914, it is the oldest continuously-operated theater in the country. A small but very appreciative crowd view the film and all stayed for one of the best Q & A sessions yet.
Thanks to everyone at these festivals for giving Stomp! Shout! Scream! such amazing exposure.

Saturday, June 3, 2006

DVD Release party at ABC

The DVD Release Party, held may 26 at the Atlanta Brewing Company, was a great success. Over 275 folks showed up to drink beer, watch the film, drool over the Dames Aflame, and rock out to Catfight!’s final performance. The pictures tell the story. Here’s a bunch of ‘em.

Thanks to Ashley Zeltzer for painting up her car.

Ned Hastings enjoying his performance as the Skunk Ape.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Maryland Film Festival Recap, reviews

Stomp! Shout! Scream! screened at the Charles Theater as part of the Maryland Film Festival on Mother's Day to an appreciative crowd. A few DVDs were sold, I met some super-nice film makers and got to see some great films.
This was my 6th visit to Baltimore (The Monster Trilogy short films screened at Microcinefest and my documentary short was shown at the MFF, plus I’ve been a judge at Microcinefest). I say this every time I talk about these experiences-- I love Baltimore. No other festival that I’ve been to treats visiting film makers as well as these two festivals—nice accommodations, good crowds, great movies, great events (duck pin bowling, side trips to Orioles games and the Visionary Art Museum). For independent film makers who do this for the love of creating something and often little or no financial reward, going to Baltimore is truly motivational and a highlight of every year for me.

That's SSS Marketing Associate Ashley Zeltzer with LOL actress Tipper Newton.

Stomp! Shout! Scream! has gotten some swell on-line reviews:

“A sweet can of camp, a ridiculously delightful cinematic experience.”
Film Threat

“Stomp! Shout! Scream! was a total hoot. It's a note-perfect homage to '60s beach flicks and monster movies."
The Albuquerque Tribune

“Stomp! Shout! Scream! plays like a cross between Twin Peaks, Repo Man and Stranger Than Paradise with a little Beach Blanket Bingo thrown in to keep things interesting.”
Bradenton Herald

“The lighting was fabulous throughout - vibrant, evocative, sculptural. I loved it. The cast was great - just the right mix of real person and B-movie cliché, so that the whole movie came off like an episode of Mystery Science Theatre 3000, but with the 'bots' quips wrapped up into the movie itself.”

Reminder: The DVD RELEASE PARTY will be Friday, May 26 at the Atlanta Brewing Company. Attendees will receive a Stomp! Shout! Scream! souvenir pint glass, see a screening of the film WITH the Dames Aflame Burlesque performing, dance to Catfight! live, AND drink all the delicious local brew they care to consume. Come celebrate the DVD release in Atlanta on Memorial Day weekend.

I hate to be such a salesman, but getting the movie seen is as important as getting it made. If you’ve seen the film and like it, tell your friends or write an on-line review on the IMDB or at Amazon. Those things go a LONG way toward generating interest. Thanks to everyone who has supported the film.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Film Festival Update & DVD Release Party

Stomp! Shout! Scream! is seeing about a 15% return on film festival submissions.  That’s a lot lower than one would hope, but for a film that was created for a VERY specific audience, I can’t be too disappointed.  The submissions will keep going out, with the hope that there will be that one person on those screening committees who GETS it.

Here are the numbers since the submissions started in June 2005:  45 submissions, $1,250 in entry fees, 24 rejections, 8 acceptances, 3 Awards (Best Feature at Toofy; Best Cinematography & Best Set Design Nominations at the B-movie film festival), and 13 festivals still outstanding.

Four festivals extended invitations recently:
Maryland Film Festival, May 11-14
Dead CENTER Film Festival (Oklahoma City, OK) June 7 OPENING NIGHT FILM!!!!
Portland Underground Film Festival (Portland, OR) June 9

The plan is to have the director, producers and/or actors at all these screenings.  The DVD, soundtrack and posters will be available after every screening.  It’s a long road to pay everyone back that invested money and time, especially at $20 a pop, but this is the plan and we’re sticking to it.  I have to keep reminding myself that no one can promote this thing as well as the folks who created it.

The DVD will have a fantabulous RELEASE PARTY on Friday, May 26 at the Atlanta Brewing Company, sponsored by Stomp and Stammer magazine.  Attendees will receive a Stomp! Shout! Scream! souvenir pint glass, see a screening of the film, dance to Catfight! live, and drink all the delicious local brew they care to consume.  Come celebrate the DVD release in Atlanta on Memorial Day weekend.

If you or someone you know might be interested in seeing a beach party rock and roll monster movie, please come out to one of these events and spread the word.  If you can’t make it, there’s always the magic of internet commerce.  Thanks!

Thursday, April 6, 2006

Sarasota Film Festival Recap

Director of Photography Evan Lieberman and I had a great experience at the Sarasota Film Festival last weekend. We drove down a few days early to promote the festival and Stomp! Shout! Scream!’s screenings. Our first stop was to catch the Little Steven’s Underground Garage show in Orlando on Wednesday night. The Romantics headlined and surprised us with their all-out Detroit garage rock. The real draw for us was seeing The Fleshtones. They always put on an amazing show, but I also couldn’t miss connecting with lead singer Peter Zaremba after exchanging emails and getting an awesome Fleshtones surf song for the soundtrack CD (coming out in another month or so on Chicken Ranch Records). It was a fantastic, if way too short, Fleshtones performance. Those tourist who wandered into the Hard Rock will never be the same. I also passed along a DVD to Dan Electro, Woggles drummer who was filling in with The 45s on this tour. He played the movie on the tour bus the next day and reported that Little Steven was impressed.

Thursday, we dropped off clip reels to TV stations and made phone calls all day, vying for any promotion we could get. We landed a spot on the local news/talk show Friday at noon on Sarasota’s ABC-7. And an on-location interview on SNN News 6 Friday night at the opening night Gala. I don’t know if the TV appearances sold any more tickets, but it was nice to play local-boy-done-good on TV. There was also a story in the Bradenton Herald the weekend before the festival. The festival invited me to join in a panel discussion, “Coffee and Conversation: Establishing Shots”, on Saturday morning. Despite it’s corn-ball title, this was one of the most interesting panels I’ve seen at any film festival. Panelists included Susan Seidleman (director of Desperately Seeking Susan, She-Devil and Boyton Beach Club, which was premiering at the festival), Lisa McWilliams (producer of documentary Before The Music Dies), and Jenny Abel & Jeff Hockett (producers of documentary Abel Raises Cane). Discussions of everyone’s films, their film festival experiences and even budgets and distribution was really informative for me and full-house coffee shop.

The Saturday screening was 50%+ full with a good amount of audience reaction-- lots of laughs throughout. During the screening, I hauled boxes of DVDs, posters and a folding table to just outside the screening room. There’s was a quick Q & A, then I ran out to man the sales table. My (probably unrealistic) goal is to sell a DVD to everyone who walks out the door. Sales certainly fell short of that, but was a success nonetheless.

Both Friday and Saturday nights had big parties for film makers and Sarasota society folk, with plenty of free booze and good food. The festival really is one of the best I’ve been to with great local support, stellar venues for screenings, and a fantastic program of indie and classic films.

After a short nights sleep, Sunday started early with a podcast interview for Evan and I. Then a noon screening for Stomp! Shout! Scream! This screening was almost a full house, probably 200+ folks. And not all of them friends of the family eihter. It was the first viewing for the local Florida cast- my grandma Theodora Viola; my best friend from High School Rhett; Will who plays young John Patterson; and the beach partying dancing girls-- Brittney, Jackie and Megan. They all said nice things about the film, which is extra rewarding considering they all worked on the film for virtually nothing. This screening had great DVD sales afterward-- a fantastic start to the financial life of the film.

That's Penelope Ann Miller, who was in Sarasota promoting her new film.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Indie Film Marathon, Sarasota, self-distribution

Film making is such a marathon.  Writing, raising money, producing, editing, mixing, and now marketing and promoting Stomp! Shout! Scream! has taken well over three years and the first dollar of income has yet to come in.  Making tons of money was certainly NOT the impetus for taking on a project like this, but investors are involved and I feel a great responsibility to make this film as financially successful as possible. 
And it’s really just the beginning of the public life of Stomp! Shout! Scream!  Films can run on the festival circuit for a year or more.  The plan has always been to travel with the film and sell DVDs after each screening.  I knew it would be a 5 or 10 year project when I started, but being right in the middle is exhausting.
Actual income will start at the Sarasota Film Festival when Stomp! Shout! Scream! screens Saturday, April 1, 2006 at 5:00 pm (& again Sunday, April 2 at noon) and the just-finished DVD’s are sold for the first time.  Like most everything on this film, the DVD was self-produced and will be self-distributed at festival screenings and on-line.

This will be a really special screening for several reasons. Stomp! Shout! Scream! will be seen for the first time ever in High Definition.  I try to not evaluate or judge the film because I’m just too close to it, but I am certain that it will look BIG and BEAUTIFUL on that Regal Hollywood 20 screen.  This will also be the first time for the Florida contingent of friends, family, volunteers and crew to see it.  Investor, actress, band-namesake and my grandmother-- Theodora Viola-- will be there, too.  I’m thrilled that she will be able to see it on a big screen, with a big home-town crowd.

The DVD is chuck-full of goodness.  It has commentary from writer/director/me, DP Evan Lieberman, Producer Arma Benoit, actors Ned Hastings, Jonathan Green, Mary Kraft, and Cynthia Evans.  There’s over an hour of behind-the-scenes vignettes, interviews, raw footage and deleted scenes—- all with commentary from cast and crew.