BW

BREAKTHROUGH WEEKEND Teaser Trailer

Thursday, November 02, 2006

DATE NUMBER ONE screening Sat 11/4 in DC

Please visit the latest blog for the film or the film's website for more info.

Here is the essential info. re: the 11/4 screening:

screening # 12
DATE NUMBER ONE
a comedy about several first dates
a movie by sujewa ekanayake
!The Final Screening of 2006!
SAT NOVEMBER 4 :: 8 PM :: $6
a benefit screening for We Are Family,a DC non-profit that assists the elderly
WAREHOUSE Screening Room
1017-21 7th St., NW
Washington, DC 20001
202-783 3933
directions

Thanks & see ya there!

- Sujewa


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Friday, March 31, 2006

Hey China, Stop Being Evil, Release Filmmaker Hao Wu

Or at least charge him with a crime & offer a real chance for him to defend himself in court, if he did in fact do something that the rest of us in the civilized world thinks is possibly a crime. What's up China? Are you afffrrrraaaiiiddd that a lone documentary filmmaker & blogger is gonna upset your plans for global domination? :) Civilizations that do not support intellectual & entrepreneurial freedom stay poor, can't cope w/ change, die. Stop digging your own grave man, start treating your artists (& pretty much everyone else over there for that matter) & dissidents like the valuable asset that they are. Experimentation, criticism, checks & balance = growth, new discoveries & stabilization. Stop being so f**king paranoid China. You'll never be able to compete with the West if you do not start respecting intellectual freedom & individual rights. Empowered, fearless citizens make for a more productive & competitive nation. Thanks.

Here's an introduction to Hao's situation:

" Hao Wu, a Chinese documentary filmmaker who lived in the U.S. between 1992 and 2004, was detained by the Beijing division of China's State Security Bureau on the afternoon of Wednesday,February 22, 2006. On that afternoon, Hao had met in Beijing with a congregation of a Christian church not recognized by the Chinese government, as part of the filming of his next documentary. "

and

"The reason for Hao's detention is unknown. One of the possibilities is that the authorities who detained Hao want to use him and his video footage to prosecute members of China's underground Churches. Hao is an extremely principled individual, who his friends and family believe will resist such a plan. Therefore, we are very concerned about his mental and physical well-being."

Read the rest of the introduction here at the Free Hao Wu site.

Here is a link to the blog that Hao was writing before he was arrested by the Chinese government for no good reason that observers can think of.

Thanks GreenCine Daily for the link to Free Hao Wu site.

Sujewa
*******

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

2 Questions for indie filmmakers & festivals re: Festivals & Money

Two Questions Re: Film Festivals & Money:

1. Should film festivals share some of their ticket sales $s for a given screening with the maker(s) of the film being screened?
- Since the vast majority of films that play festivals do not win awards or get a distribution deal because of the film festival screening, shouldn't at least some of the $s being made by the fest through a given film belong to the makers of that film? I think that would be fair (a lot of work goes into making a movie).

2. What are the festivals that currently give film makers a share of the ticket sales $s?

Let me know if you have any comments & thoughts on these two items.

Thanks a lot!

Sujewa
*********

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Capital City Microcinema web page updated

In April - May Kelley Baker ("Kicking Bird", "Stolen Toyota", class on sound design for indies) and David Lowery ("Deadroom", "Some Analog Lines") will be swinging by our lovely town of Kensington, MD (less than 15 mins. from DC) to play their movies, talk w/ the audience at the Capital City Microcinema. I updated the CCM web page last night, a minimal update, will add more info. this week. Check it out here.


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Sunday, March 26, 2006

Tribeca fest selected doc "The War Tapes" director Deborah Scranton now blogging at Indie Features 06

From director Deborah Scranton's first entry at Indie Features 06:

" February 12, 2004, I got an offer from the New Hampshire National Guard to embed as a filmmaker. I called the public affairs officer and asked if I could give cameras to the soldiers instead? He said yes…but it would be up to me to get soldiers to volunteer to work with the project.

Less than two weeks later I was on plane down to Fort Dix, NJ. I stepped out in front of those 180 men and told them of my vision. I was met with a hailstorm of questions. "

Read the entire post here.

And here's the website for The War Tapes, a documentary about the Iraq war filmed by soldiers.

Where & when can you see this movie? From the website: "THE WAR TAPES will have its international premiere April 29th at 3pm in the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival in New York City."

Here's the introduction to the movie from the website:

" THE WAR TAPES is the movie they made with Director Deborah Scranton and a team of award-winning filmmakers. It’s the first war movie filmed by soldiers themselves on the front lines in Iraq. (Read the Director's Vision Statement.)

THE WAR TAPES follows three men: Sergeant Steve Pink, Sergeant Zack Bazzi, and Specialist Mike Moriarty. Steve is a young carpenter with a dark, irreverent sense of humor who joined the Guard for college money. Zack is an inquisitive, ironic traveler and university student. Mike is a husband and father of two, driven to fight by honor and redemption. You will see Operation Iraqi Freedom through their eyes.

The soldiers were not picked by casting agents or movie producers. They selected themselves. 10 soldiers from Charlie Company carried cameras on IED-riddled roads and into combat—and into their own internal conversations. They learned how to choose and tell their stories in constant instant message conversations with Director Scranton. They filmed under unbelievable conditions. The unit was based at LSA Anaconda in the deadly Sunni Triangle, under constant threat of ambush and IED attacks. They traveled, as a unit, 1.4 million miles during their tour, and lived through over 1,200 combat operations and 250 direct enemy engagements.

Because it’s filmed by citizen soldiers telling their own stories, THE WAR TAPES is funnier, spicier, and more wrenching than stories other people might tell about them.

All three men leave women at home – a mother, a girlfriend, and a wife. THE WAR TAPES – like any true story about war – engages the hard, tense, passionate, always difficult and sometimes beautiful way these relationships develop and change.

Director Deborah Scranton is a single mom with a journalism background and a passion for the infantry (her last documentary was about WWII vets). With Deborah’s guidance, the soldiers shot over 900 hours of videotape during their yearlong deployment. Another 200 hours of footage was shot back home by Deborah and her crew – all distilled into a 94 minute film. Deborah worked closely with Producer Robert May who executive produced the Academy Award winning FOG OF WAR; Producer and Editor Steve James, best known for the documentary HOOP DREAMS; and Executive Producer Chuck Lacy.

The unseen collaborator on the film is the internet. This is a Web 2.0 outside the wire – the intimate power of the internet exploding on the movie screen. Without instant messaging, the soldiers could never have become filmmakers – without email and cheap video, they soldiers could never have told their stories as they happened.

The soldiers’ unfailing candor and honesty defines the heart of this film. THE WAR TAPES is not afraid to show soldiers as fully complicated human beings –this is not reality TV, and it’s certainly not mainstream media coverage of the war. This is real war. These soldiers got the story the 2,700 embedded reporters never could. "

Saturday, March 25, 2006

3 DIY film events for April-May (early notice): Baker & films in DC, Ekanayake & "Date Number One" in Seattle, Lowery & "Deadroom" in DC

3 D.I.Y. film events for April-May (early notice): Baker & films in DC April 19 & 20, Ekanayake & "Date Number One" in Seattle May 19-21, Lowery & "Deadroom", "Some Analog Lines" in DC May 25.

(this is a re-post of items from indieLOOP DIY Film Group earlier today)

:: Baker & films in DC area, April 19 (sound tech class), April 20 (screening)

Kelley Baker will teach a sound design for indies class on Wed 4/19 @ Kensington Row Bookshop (home of Capital City Microcinema) in Kensington, MD. There is a fee, will announce it by Mon 3/27. Baker was the sound designer on several films by Gus Van Sant.

Angry Filmmaker Kelley Baker at Capital City Microcinema, Kensington, MD on Thu April 20. Baker will play one of his features and several of his short films, introduce the work & discuss/do a question & answer session afterwards. $5. More info. on this event coming by Mon 3/27.

Screening venues interested in booking Baker & or his films can contact him here.
Bloggers & other media interested in talking about Baker & or reviewing his films can contact him here.

:: Ekanayake & "Date Number One" in Seattle, May 19 - 21

DC based Filmmaker Sujewa Ekanayake will appear at Seattle's Northwest Film Forum from May 19 until May 21 to play his new feature "Date Number One" and discuss the work. Tickets: $8 general, $5 NWFF member, $6 children & senior. More information on this event will be available by early April. Visit the "Date Number One" website for info. on the film.

Screening venues interested in booking "Date Number One" can contact Sujewa Ekanayake here.
Bloggers & other media interested in talking about & or reviewing "Date Number One" can contact Sujewa Ekanayake here.
note: Date Number One screener DVDs available starting 1st week of April

:: Lowery & "Deadroom", "Some Analog Lines" in DC area, May 25

Texas based filmmaker, blogger & former Dallas film reviewer David Lowery is tentatively scheduled to appear at Capital City Microcinema in Kensington, MD on May 25 and play his most recent feature "Deadroom", short "Some Analog Lines" and discuss his work. $5. More information on this event will be available on Mon 3/27.

Screening venues interested in booking "Deadroom", "Some Analog Lines" can contact David Lowery here.
Bloggers & other media interested in talking about & or reviewing "Deadroom", "Some Analog Lines" can contact Lowery here.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Update on post re: AIVF fundraising

Read the original post here.

3/24/06 UPDATE:

* My membership fee is on its way to AIVF
* I called & e-mailed AIVF on 3/22 to see if I can do more to help/to discuss some potentially useful fundraising ideas that I have, no call or e-mail back from them yet (probably very busy, I hear the staff is down to 2-3 people at this point)
* indieWIRE did a front page article on 3/22 re: AIVF's troubles & future plans.
* There may be benefit events & other fund raising work happening soon, will have more on this next week.
* If AIVF closes down, there is interest among several prominent figures in the US indie film world in spearheading the formation of a new indie filmmaker advocacy & support group to make up for the closure. More on that later as information becomes "unclassified" :)

Matt Zoller Seitz interviews "Puzzlehead" director James Bai

Filmmaker & critic Matt Zoller Seitz interviews sci-fi feature "Puzzlehead" director James Bai at The House Next Door blog. Here is one exchange from the interview:

Matt Zoller Seitz: Did you think of it as a Frankenstein movie from the beginning?

James Bai: Not at the beginning. When I was first writing it, I was actually dealing with my identity issues as a Korean-American, and wanting to reflect that dichotomy of this Americanized personality that I have, and the Korean personality that I wasn’t sure existed. In philosophizing about this, I came to the conclusion that my Korean-American identity was a creation that eventually took the place of whatever identity was there beforehand, if there was one. I didn’t want to do a James Bai, you know, biopic, a Saturday afternoon, Korean-kid-growing-up-in-America kind of thing. That felt too goofy to me. I wanted to something where I could have characters that personified these sides of me and illustrated the conflict between them. I had this image, almost kind of a dream, about a robot, and a man that looked just like him. I wrote the first act of the screenplay as part of a requirement for a writing class at Columbia graduate film school, during my second year. I actually didn’t finish it. I had an incomplete all the way through to my last semester. I had to finish it to graduate, so I did finish the first act, and then I graduated, and I was lost. Once I was out of school, I had no structure in my life. I had no idea what to do, so I went to Alaska, and I started continuing to write the screenplay, They had a great public library up there, so I read a lot of books, drank a lot of beer, smoked a lot of cigarettes, and taught myself how to play the piano at a church nearby. I was renting a room in a house, and I would play my CD in the room, memorize the music – I was learning Bach – and then I’d go to the church and try to figure out how to play it. Sometimes I’d forget as soon as I got there. It was a very laborious process, but these were the things I was doing. And it was in Alaska that I read Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein.”

Read the entire interview here.

"Puzzlehead" plays at Two Boots Pioneer theater in NYC from Friday, March 24 until Wednesday March 29.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

The long introduction to the indieLOOP DIY Film Group

When I created the DIY Film Group in indieLOOP a couple of days ago I wrote a brief description/introduction to it. Today I wrote a longer introduction that touches on some historical background and sets a supportive & creative, community oriented tone:

Ultra-low/"no"-budget D.I.Y. (Do It Yourself) filmmaking and distribution/self-distribution, as odd or unusual as it may sound in light of the well known Hollywood or Indiewood production & distribution methods, is probably one of the most practiced methods of film production & distribution in the history of film in U.S.A. D.I.Y. Film, and all other D.I.Y. media making practices (depending on content of course), are very American in a positive sense: the focus on self-reliance, the belief that projects of staggering scopes may be accomplished chiefly through the ideas & labor of one or few people (with help from a lot of sympathizers, a community), the living-out of the democratic notion that each individual matters and is capable of accomplishing valuable things and becoming a positive & useful link in a community, and that size or wealth does not necessarily determine the outcome or that all is not hopeless for the player who seems like the underdog. D.I.Y. is hope for the financially ordinary/non-super-wealthy individual artists or collections of artists, specially in the creative entrepreneurial arena of motion pictures in America that is ruled by gigantic corporations with more money (and thus the ability to buy action & results) then most countries in this world.

How's that for a lofty introduction? Let's get down to the nuts & bolts. This DIY Film Group at indieLOOP was started on March 21, 2006 when indieWIRE publisher Brian Clark suggested to me that it would be cool to see such a group in this independent media social network. LOOP had made the tools available, so it was very easy for me to set up the group. LOOP DIY Film Group can be: a space where we can get encouragement by seeing that others are doing what we do or plan on doing (such as Joe Swanberg making not one but two movies each for under $5,000, playing them at prominent festivals, entering the distribution realm), a place to hang out & talk with each other/like minded artists, a place to promote our projects (perhaps like MySpace we will have samples of our work to check out here, film instead of music in our case), also a place to celebrate the awesome history of indie/DIY film - a place where names such as Jon Moritsugu, Oscar Micheaux, Sarah Jacobson, and yes, even the excellent & about to be widely distributed Caveh Zahedi (inspite of Caveh's recent stress-induced, let's hope, statement that DIY is a "myth" - which he recanted pretty much immediately), Liz Nord, John Cassavetes, Andrew Bujalski are mentioned regularly, and, most importantly, a place where a curious visitor can get a snapshot of the PRESENT and the awesome future scene of truly independent, ultra-low budget, often self-distributed, hopefully always creatively brave U.S. & elsewhere based filmmakers.

Once you join the group, feel free to make it fully yours. This group is essentially a pure democracy (w/ some minor oversight by yours truly & Brian Clark), use your best judgment and participate fully in the community, offer your ideas & talk about your projects, the industry, whatever seems relevant to this space. Everyone here is important & valuable, their projects & their opinions are important & valuable too. I would like to see this space grown into a place where indie filmmakers can go to have a comfortable space to talk to others, talk about their own projects and generally grow as artists & entrepreneurs and collectively as a positive community.

Thanks a lot for being part of something new, exciting & let's hope :), very, very good, fun, nutritious & of course super-delicious like 10,000 juicy peeled, ripe, golden mangos covered with honey & whipped cream.

Sujewa Ekanayake
March 23, 2006
http://www.wilddiner.com/
http://www.filmmakingforthepoor.blogspot.com/

Visit the LOOP DIY Film Group through here. !Thanksalot!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

If Paul Harrill's Sources (and my math) are right, then 1500 people sending $50 each (or joining the association at $70 each) can save AIVF

If filmmaker Paul Harrill's sources (and my math) are right, then 1500 people sending in $50 each can save AIVF:

"And my sources have told me that if AIVF doesn't raise some substantial cash (around $75,000) in the next few weeks the organization might be closing its doors for good." Says Paul at his blog entry about AIVF's financial emergency.

Really people - all you indie filmmakers & indie film fans out out there, do it, save AIVF. Here's a little bit of info. about AIVF - The Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers, from Paul's post:

"First, if you’re new to independent filmmaking, AIVF is the organization behind The Independent, one of the few magazines for filmmakers. Its back pages — listings of calls for work and funding opportunities — are a great resource. Besides publishing The Independent, AIVF sponsors lectures and discussions, has a resource library, and provides its members with discounts (on things like insurance, car rentals, and legal services)."

Spread out over several hundred people $75,000 is not much. You need to join AIVF anyway (all kinds of benefits & useful discounts for indie filmmakers, including insurance, read all about it here). Skip 1 cup of Starbucks coffee every day for 2 weeks & send that money to AIVF! And if they have not performed perfectly in the past, once you've given them some money/become a member of the association then you'll have some very legitimate grounds for complaining & fixing the problems.

An individual membership to AIVF for 1 year is $70. Students $40. Do it, be a star, become an AIVF member right now baby.

Get all the details you need from Paul's post (such as what AIVF is doing to prevent this kind of an emergency in the future & how things got to this point), or from AIVF, then join by paying the membership fee or if you can't afford that, donate whatever you can, and if you have lots of cash to spare at the moment, then donate lots to AIVF, I am sure they will appreciate it, so will lots of other cool people.

If you are set up for web payment & or donation, there are many options for helping AIVF. One is to donate throught the Network for Good. Do it, join or donate, help AIVF & yourself out, be nice, feel good about yourself.

I am sending AIVF my money later today (it's 12:31 AM right now here), gonna buy a 1 year membership, as soon as the post office opens or AIVF opens.

If you've donated money, become a member of AIVF recently & you want some extra publicity, press, linkage, whatever, let me know. I am going to start a COOL PEOPLE WHO GAVE MONEY TO SAVE AIVF LIST right here on this blog, as soon as I give my $s to AIVF.

Thanks a lot! Save AIVF! Do it! Let's do it to see if we can. I am sure AIVF will become very useful to us indie/DIY filmmakers & self-distributor types almost immediately.

Thanks a lot!!!

Think "s-a-v-e A-I-V-F". Then do something to make it happen. Be awesome.

- Sujewa
http://www.wilddiner.com/

3/24/06 UPDATE:

* My membership fee is on its way to AIVF
* I called & e-mailed AIVF on 3/22 to see if I can do more to help, no call or e-mail back from them yet (probably very busy, I hear the staff is down to 2-3 people at this point)
* indieWIRE did a front page article on 3/22 re: AIVF's troubles & future plans.
* There may be benefit events & other fund raising work happening soon, will have more on this next week.
* If AIVF closes down, there is interest among several prominent figures in the indie film world in spearheading the formation of a new indie filmmaker advocacy & support group to make up for the closure. More on that as information becomes "unclassified" :)

Monday, March 20, 2006

A response to Zahedi's "DIY is a myth" post

In this post, Caveh Zahedi, director of the upcoming IFC Films distributed indie film "I Am A Sex Addict", said the following:

"the do-it-yourself ethos is ultimately a myth. No one makes a film alone, and no one distributes a film alone."

Here is my response to it (I left this as a comment to the post mentioned above):

I do not think the DIY ethos is interpreted by any sane person as: a whole film made & distributed entirely by one person. However, in light of the following production & distribution structures: Hollywood & Indiewood, DIY filmmaking & distribution is a real thing. I know because I am doing it right now with "Date Number One" and I've seen Jon Moritsugu, Todd Verow do it w/ many of their movies. DIY filmmaking & distro is: low budget film production & distribution where the filmmaker or a collection of filmmakers have the final say in all significant creative & business decisions regarding a project, and where the filmmaker(s) also physically do most or all of the production & distribution work. "Sex Addict" at this point is not DIY distribution according to that definition since IFC Films is a relatively wealthy (compared to most indie/DIY filmmakers) entity & one of the dominant companies in the US independent film industry. All that, not being DIY, does not however affect the quality of "Sex Addict"'s achievements. It is an excellent film & I look forward to seeing it again. DIY is a process, and it is a valuable & useful process for many artists, and in America it has evolved, most recently, in the media making arenas, from ideas popularized by 80's Hard Core punk bands (see the new doc "American Hardcore" for more on this). Bottom line, DIY is not a myth. See some proof here: http://www.wilddiner.com/. And here (look through for links, entries on Sarah Jacobson, Todd Verow, Jon Moritsugu & other DIY artists & organizations): http://www.filmmakingforthepoor.blogspot.com/.

In the music arena check out Dischord Records, K Records, Kill Rock Stars, Asian Man Records for proof of the existence of DIY production & distribution.

Just because you are very aware of the existence of indiewood, that does not mean DIY does not exist.

Thanks.

Sujewa
*******

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LOOP successes (so far, about 2 days later)

I've spent some of my free time over the last couple of days playing w/indieWIRE's new social networkin' thingy indieLOOP. It's pretty cool (i am used to MySpace & Friendster, so LOOP is pretty easy for me), specially since it is so brand new. No one is too jaded yet, people write back to you when u e-mail them through LOOP & ask if they want to be your LOOPfriend. [btw, forgive any spelling errors on this post, i am not using my usual computer, Blogger doesn't do spell check on this computer yet] So far I've had some very useful success at LOOP: over 5 friends, 1 invitation to send a screener DVD of "Date Number One" from a writer for an excellent film blog, & made contact w/ a screening venue that I've been meaning to talk to for a while.

Looks like a little over 200 people have signed up for LOOP in just a few days, including many filmmakers, bloggers, some festivals, & some screening venues. Go join it & try it out if you are at all into making & showing or writing about or most of all watching indie films. You'll probably dig it.

Come by my page & say hi after u get LOOPy.

Sujewa
*******

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Awright! Joined indieLOOP

Here's my profile there. if you join, let me know, maybe we'll become LOOPfriends.

LOOP is like a MySpace for indie filmmakers, from the mighty indieWIRE. worth joining I bet if u r in the indie film game. u can probably make some new & interesting friends who may help you out w/ yer film stuff.

i had to create a new ID w/ iW in order to join, who knows why, maybe my old one would have worked. anyway, happy w/ the situation at the moment.

sujewa
*******

Saturday, March 18, 2006

"September 12th" on 3/21 @ Pioneer, NYC

Over at Indie Features 06 "September 12th" producer Lou Giovino says:

"We are also getting ready for our screening at Two Boots Pioneer Theater in New York on Tuesday, March 21 at 6:30 PM. It would be great to meet any Indie Features 06 bloggers in and around New York who can come to the screening. There will be a pizza and beer party afterwards."

Read the rest of the blog entry here. It's got a link to a new review.

Tickets for the screening can be purchased here.


Sujewa
*******

Still no luck w/ indieLOOP, will try again in a week

Tried to use indieLOOP features again, no luck, it keeps taking me back to the sign in page even after I've signed in once. Maybe it's my computer, maybe iL is not fully active yet, who knows, not much time to spend on it right now, will try again in a week. The idea is very exciting though - a MySpace for indie filmmakers, looking forward to being able to test drive it.

Sujewa
*******

indieLOOP: The Independent Media Social Network (indieWIRE's brand spankin' new social networkin' thingy) is up

I can't figure out how to like join it or use it yet, but maybe I'll try again tomorrow, when I am less blearrryyy eyed. Here's the link to the MySpace like new community tool for indieWIRE members & I guess anyone else who want to join. It looks good. See ya there soon. Link courtesy of AJ Schnack's blog.

Sujewa
*******

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Tips on getting the UPC bar code label for cheap for an indie DVD

Yesterday at Indie Features 06 I posted 2 perhaps useful links re: getting the UPC bar code label for a DVD at a relatively inexpensive price. Check it out & explore if you are thinking about releasing your own DVD, specially if you want a lot of retailers to carry it. Some helpful clarifications in the comments section too.

Sujewa
*******

Double SXSW award winner Eric Byler, director of AMERICANese, on Crash, racial conflicts & film

Eric Byler's new film "AMERICANese", a drama about a romantic relationship, recently won the Narrative Feature Audience Award and a Special Jury Award for Outstanding Ensemble Cast at SXSW '06. In an article at The Austin Chronicle, Byler is quoted as saying:

"In AMERICANese, you're actually looking at how people of color cope with the issue in real life, not the way that it's dramatized in the movies."

"Crash is a really good example [of that]," he continues. "Ever since [The] Birth of a Nation, it's always been racial conflict erupting in violence. For a person of color, you don't need to have somebody hanging upside down by a seat belt about to catch on fire to conclude that racism is bad."

Read the entire article here. Thanks GreenCine Daily for the link.

Here's the blog for AMERICANese, looks like Byler has written all the entries so far.

Of course Byler, who is half Asian-Am, half-Euro-Am aka "white", being included at SXSW will keep me from complaining about the possible existence of a "soft" segregation at the larger US indie film festivals & the overall liberal indie media/art scenes for ummm, let's see, at least a week I think :)

Rock on Byler & team AMERICANese & SXSW. Looking forward to checkin' out that flick.

Sujewa
*******


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