February 27, 2009

Bet on Yourself

Last night, Calixto and I were talking about competition. Specifically, we were talking about how it's really important to be informed of your so-called 'competitors' but not overly influenced by their decisions or apparent strategy; stay laser focused on your own vision. It's tempting to make wide-sweeping assumptions about another business' level of success based on external observations. But, that's not reality; just like Dorothy in Oz, you're not peeking behind the curtain, where there is ALWAYS a different, more complex story. Plus, you know what "they" say when you assume... it makes an ass of u and me. (Oh, come on, you knew I was going to write that!) Remember, a key factor for any business is to drive public perception through careful, conscientious brand positioning and marketing.

It's very easy to get insecure about strategic decision-making in un-chartered waters. For example, through the years, Calixto has quietly expressed frustration that we (uh, I) over-deliver to our NY Int'l Latino Film Festival sponsor partners while other properties seem to skirt by with a banner and catalogue ad. First off, I think that's boring as hell for the consumers and adds absolutely nothing to the event experience - a crucial component to longevity. Second, I've always held fast that over-delivering and understanding the need for real, material ROI is the surest route to partner loyalty and retention. Obviously, there are no guarantees in this world, but, through the years, we've had the great fortune of securing multi-year partnerships with key partners, including HBO, Heineken, American Airlines, Turner Broadcasting, Verizon, Suzuki Auto, all of our media partners, et al. On the flip side, I'm watching brands drop other properties like the Stock Market over the past year: fast and hard. Moreover, in these incredibly tough economic times, sponsorship is an even bigger bear than it normally it is. It's a massive challenge to raise the funds necessary to operate on the level to which the business has grown. Those same properties that have lost key sponsors have been forced to cut back significantly on event programming and duration. It's very sad. The community
needs to support emerging voices and continue to encourage creativity, storytelling, risk-taking, dream chasing and originality. And, of course, event producers have a responsibility to run their organizations in a responsible, professional way and deliver a positive experience to their entire community: talent, corporate partners & audience.

Back to the point: it's vital to stay abreast of the corporate landscape, competitors, trends and research, but, as an entrepreneur, you should be slightly ahead of the curve and an independent thinker. That's presumably what landed you in this position, in the first place. It's easy to get nervous when you have a different approach and are trying to shake up the system, but that's the point of what you're doing, right? Just stay focused on that. Be confident. Don't wonder why only you seem to recognize the opportunity amidst the clutter; appreciate it, bet on it, bet on yourself and go for it. Worst case scenario, you lose the bet. Eh, so what? You'll be a better, stronger, more knowledgeable person for trying... and better prepared for the next go-round. ;)

Click on image below for details!!


February 26, 2009

Save NYC Production!

Last night, a good friend of mine, Anthony, sent me an email about New York's Governor Paterson, who is trying to cut NYC tax incentives for film & television. Whoah! Are you kidding me?? That has been one of the most successful programs the city has ever instituted.

Read the facts (according to a recent NY Post article)...:

"Since the program began, the state and city combined have issued $690 million in tax credits and have collected $2.7 billion in taxes from movie and TV productions, according to a study by Ernst & Young."

"The study also found that during 2007, New York's movie and TV industry created 7,031 jobs directly - and an additional 12,481 indirectly."

Whether you depend on the film & television field for your income or it's a passion of yours, please sign the petition to let Albany know these incentives are vital to the New York film industry and community. PLEASE SIGN and forward to your family, friends and other industry folk:
Petition Online

Also, to find out how YOU CAN WATCH YOURSELF ON-SCREEN THIS SUMMER AT THE NYILFF, click on image below!!



February 25, 2009

Watch Yourself On-Screen This Summer!!

July 2009 marks the 10th anniversary of the New York International Latino Film Festival (NYILFF) and we're inviting you to help us celebrate in the best way we know how: through storytelling!

Filmmakers, actors, attendees, volunteers and staff: Share your favorite festival memories on Cinedulce by uploading an original video. Whether you premiered your first movie at the NYILFF, landed an acting gig, found love or simply got inspired to follow your filmmaking dreams, we want to hear it all!

  • Non-SAG actors only please.
  • 10-Minute maximum running time per submission.

All entries will be featured on Cinedulce.com starting in April and the best stories will be featured in NYILFF's 10th anniversary advertising campaign so be as creative as possible!

Submissions will be accepted starting February 24

Deadline for consideration in the NYILFF advertising campaign: March 31

(Please Note: submissions will be accepted and posted online after March 31, but will not be eligible for participation in the advertising campaign.)




February 24, 2009

1st Taste Tuesdays: 02.24.09

New this week on Cinedulce's HBO Latino channel...

HABLA YA: Jenny 2

HABLA YA: Juan Carlos 2

Road Trip 8: “If I Had a Suit…”
Rephstar gets jealous and they go out for Brazilian food in Loisada.


February 23, 2009

Post-Show Wrap-Up

So, I will start off by saying I correctly predicted 17 awards, NOT including Sean Penn. Go me. I actually haven't yet seen "Milk" (I know, I know - it's the very tip-top of my list), but I've heard he's incredible. The only reason I chose Mickey Rourke is because the comeback story is compelling and because Sean Penn has won an Oscar and Mickey hasn't. Frequently, the Academy likes to give the new guy a shot. That aside, I thought 17 was decent, though there weren't that many surprises. Random thoughts on the show:
  • Who knew Anne Hathaway could sing? And, what a champ for participating in the opening number! That's pretty stressful for anyone, much less a first-time nominee, but she totally nailed it.
  • Hugh - great host.
  • Tina Fey & Steve Martin - absolutely hilarious.
  • Beyonce - big fan of hers, but wasn't really feeling last night's outfit or performance.
  • And, last but most definitely not least, HUGE PROPS to Penelope Cruz! Yes!
My primary feedback, however, is the incredible joy I feel from the massive success of independent and multicultural films this past year, most notably, of course, Slumdog Millionaire. Vicky Christina Barcelona, Milk, The Wrestler, Rachel Getting Married, The Visitor, Frozen River, The Reader... it's truly unbelievable. And, for a film about Mumbai to virtually sweep the most prestigious movie awards is incredible. Honestly, it's inspiring. The trend has been slowly, but steadily growing; I can only hope the mainstream support for this kind of diverse storytelling continues for many years to come.


The Music Within
In honor of aspiring filmmakers who hope one day to win an Academy Award, I selected a youth filmmaker for Today's Treat selection. It's a totally charming short that should make you smile. Film School San Antonio presents a funnny take on Latinos possessing a music within that is not created by machines, MP3 players, radios,etc. It is a music that cannot be stopped! Directed by Jefferey Martinez.


February 20, 2009

And the Oscar Goes To...

Come on, you didn't really think I would forget to mention the Oscars, did you?? Puhleese!

For your viewing pleasure and Oscars pool convenience, here is the link to a printer-friendly version of the 2009 Academy Awards nominees list:

If you want, you can also play along live on the official Oscars web site. Check it out: PLAY ALONG

Below are my top-line predictions -- not that I'm Jeffrey Lyons from Reel Talk, but for what it's worth...

Best Picture... Slumdog Millionaire

Best Director... Danny Boyle
Lead Actor... Mickey Rourke

Lead Actress... Kate Winslet
Supporting Actor... Heath Ledger

Supporting Actress... Penelope Cruz
Best Documentary... Man on Wire
Animated Feature... Wall-E
Foreign Lang. Film... Waltz With Bashir
Original Screenplay... Milk
Adapted Screenplay... Slumdog Millionaire

We can discuss the results on Monday. Plus, you know I'm going to have say SOMETHING about the dresses. It's a given. In the meantime, enjoy your weekend and the 81st Annual Academy Awards telecast: Sunday, 02/22 @ 8:00pm on ABC.

Take it To The Floor
Charmingly bizarre. Directed by Paris.


February 19, 2009

Wish Me Luck

Busy day ahead... In addition to our weekly Cinedulce meeting, which always seems to take forever, I have big meeting this afternoon with CNN. Turner Broadcasting, which owns CNN, has been a sponsor of the NY Latino Film Festival for the past three years, but every year the relationship has shifted a bit depending on their internal strategy, corporate structure, resources, etc. This year, our best shot for continuing the partnership lies with CNN because they have a series that is PERFECT for our audience in the PERFECT time frame (August). Because we have a history of success with Turner (particularly TNT, TBS and TCM), it obviously makes the pitch slightly easier. But, the reality is, this is a new contact with an independent budget. History only goes so far when determining the future...

Tomorrow is another big day. I have a conference call scheduled with the CEO of a major Hispanic agency. I still can't believe it. Seriously, it's not every day you start with an account executive and end up con el jefe. I don't even know how it happened. Regardless, I am particularly intrigued because this agency represents a collection of brands owned by one of the largest consumer product conglomerates in the country. Plus, the parent company has a history of branded entertainment, which is excellent for Cinedulce. I would love, love, love to develop a web series with them and announce it at the NYILFF. But, let's not jump ahead of ourselves (I'm a Sagittarian!). For now, I just need to have this call and see what's on their minds. Then, we'll take it from there.

So, the good news is I'm super busy and at least some of Corporate America is still open to partnership opportunities. Wish me luck!

Fancy Girl
A "starving artist" who has had no luck landing a job, has just been financially cut off by her mother,and evicted by her Puerto Rican Landlord...Where will Annie turn? Directed by Emily Abt.



February 18, 2009


For Immediate Release


-- Deadline for HBO-funded competition is April 10th, 2009 --

New York, N.Y., February 18, 2009 – HBO and The New York International Latino Film Festival (NYILFF) today announced the 6th annual open call for entry for the HBO/NYILFF Short Film Competition. Jointly created in 2004, the competition seeks to foster films by Latino filmmakers and/or about the Latino experience.

One winner will be chosen from among applicants to receive $15,000 in funding from HBO to produce and direct a short film based on an original script entry. The completed short will be presented on screen this summer at the 2009 New York International Film Festival, July 28 - August 2, and considered for broadcast on one of HBO’s programming services.

This year, as the NYILFF celebrates its tenth anniversary, the Latino community at large can take pride in all the festival’s accomplishments” said Lucinda Martinez Desir, vice president, Market Development at HBO. “We heartily congratulate the NYILFF on this milestone, and as creators and producers, are proud that our enduring partnership continues to promote and advance new Latino talent.”

"Since its commencement, the HBO/NYILFF Short Film Competition has been one of our most successful opportunities for filmmakers", said Calixto Chinchilla, founder and co-executive director, NYILFF. "It has introduced us to some of the most talented up-and-coming Latino writer(s)/director(s), and enabled us to pair those emerging filmmakers with the award-winning creative team at HBO.”

The HBO/NYILFF Short Film Competition is open to U.S. and international entrants 18 years and older. Only original scripts will be accepted and must be written in English by a person of Latino descent or focus on the Latino experience, and entrant must hold all rights to material. The screenplay cannot be more than twelve (12) pages long and final film cannot exceed a maximum running time of five (5) minutes. The submitted screenplay or work produced from it must not have had previous cable, broadcast or internet exhibition, won awards at any other festival or been previously submitted to the HBO/NYILFF Short Film Competition under its current or any former title.

Each entry must be accompanied by one (1) completed submission form, $10.00 fee, filmmaker bio and photo, a director’s reel or last film produced (DVD NTSC only), and one (1) executed HBO/NYILFF Short Film Competition release form. There is no limit to the number of entries that can be submitted (see rules for more specifics). Entries must be postmarked by April 10th , 2009 and mailed to HBO/NYILFF SHORT FILM COMPETITION, c/o The New York International Latino Film Festival, 419 Lafayette Street, 2nd Floor, New York, N.Y. 10003.

Applicants will be notified if their screenplay has been selected by May 22, 2009. For official rules, regulations and submission forms, log on to www.NYLatinoFilm.com.

Last year, filmmaker Paco Farias received the $15,000 grant from HBO to produce and direct a short based on his original script "El Tux.” The film, a charming tale about a teen who is given a very special--and dated--tuxedo to wear to a big dance, garnered praise at the NYILFF.

Home Box Office, Inc. is the premium television programming subsidiary of Time Warner Inc., providing two 24-hour pay television services – HBO and Cinemax – to over 40 million U.S. subscribers. The services offer the most popular subscription video on demand products, HBO On Demand and Cinemax On Demand, as well as HBO on Broadband, HD feeds and multiplex channels. Internationally, HBO branded television networks, along with the subscription video on demand products HBO On Demand and HBO Mobile, bring HBO services to over 50 countries. HBO programming is sold into over 150 countries worldwide.

Launched in 1999, the New York International Latino Film Festival (NYILFF) is now the premier Urban Latino film event in the country. The NYILFF’s mission is to showcase the works of the hottest emerging Latino filmmaking talent in the U.S. and Latin America, offer expansive images of the Latino experience, and celebrate the diversity and spirit of the Latino community. Programming includes the flagship film festival in NYC, new music and art showcases, family and community events, scholarships for aspiring filmmakers, and a nationally recognized short film competition in partnership with HBO. The NYILFF is the only film event to have had the endorsement of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s NYC Latin Media and Entertainment Commission since its formation in 2003.

HBO is the presenting sponsor of the New York International Latino Film Festival.



Jennifer Abreu


Laura Young


February 17, 2009

Back in the Saddle

Okay, I'm back in the office and back to business. Right now, I'm all about sponsorship. This is an insane economy (duh), so my efforts need to be even more aggressive (if that's even possible). The NY Latino Film Festival basically lives and dies by sponsorship, which is why I work so hard to deliver, if not over-deliver, to our partners and also why I'm always so immensely grateful to those who support us - particularly those partners who return year after year. But, what this means is I can't not succeed. Can you say pressure? I can.

Speaking of sponsorship... according to today's
MediaPost, many sponsors either pulled back (e.g., American Express) or pulled out entirely (e.g., L'Oreal, GM) of this Sunday's Academy Awards telecast. Interesting. The article claims the changes of heart are due to "a weak economy and fear of a backlash against big spenders."

Julieta Y Ramon
Julieta's erotic and comical fascination with Ronald Reagan keeps her from finding Mr. Right. Directed by the great, Hugo Perez - a friend and previous winner of the HBO/NYILFF Short Film Contest (which is almost set to launch for 2009, so start writing your 5-minute short!!)


February 16, 2009

Just Do It.

It's Presidents' Day so we closed the office today. In the meantime, I'm in SFO waiting to board my plane back home to JFK. I'm scheduled to arrive at midnight so I'm sure I'll be wide awake for work tomorrow AM! ;)

Yesterday, my brother and I were having an apres ski beer (of course) and we started talking about work. Without getting into the boring details, the gist was the following: although I'm currently making far less money than I did in my 20's, I am a much happier person. Don't get me wrong, I'm all about building the NY Latino Film Festival and Cinedulce so Calixto and I, our staff and our filmmakers can all make money doing what we love. BUT, I chose to follow a different, non-traditional career path. I decided to pursue the entrepreneurial route and there are sacrifices associated with that decision... many sacrifices. But, the emotional ROI (return on investment) - the satisfaction of trying to build something new and unique, the challenges and rewards, the sense of independence, not knowing what new each day may bring - far outweigh what I hope are short-term financial sacrifices. It was a really interesting discussion because both of my brothers are also entrepreneurial. But, the reality is, there are no guarantees. There is no crystal ball. You just sort of wake up every day, believe in what you're doing and do it. It's kind of hard to explain. It just sort of feels right. For anyone who has the bug, I'd advise the following: consider the short and potentially long-term sacrifices, think about how you would feel if you made those sacrifices and then failed (on financial terms only - I believe just trying is a sign of strength and success); if you're still intrigued and excited about the idea of trying to build your own venture, then, in the words of the wise Nike ad, "Just Do It."



February 13, 2009

A Little Patience Goes a Long Way

Sometimes, it really pays to have patience. I'm sitting in an airport (again) - this time in Reno, waiting to take a shuttle bus to Truckie, Tahoe. My brother and his family are driving in from San Francisco to meet me for a weekend of skiing. As it turns out, there's a big snow storm in Tahoe, which is awesome for skiing... not so much for driving. Sooooo, they called me at the hotel this AM to say the California driving pass had been closed until 9pm due to inclement weather. Ay carumba! What's a girl to do?? So, calmly, we developed a Plan A and B, including the potential option of flying to San Fran tonight just in case they can't get through at all. Better to hang with the family in San Fran than nothing. Plus, I bought my airline tix on Priceline so I can't change them. I can only buy a new ticket home and that's clearly not happening. So, right as I'm telling my brother the flight info from Reno to San Fran, which is a very short, inexpensive hop, he gets a news update the pass would soon open. Yay!!! So, no freak outs, no yelling, no panicking - just planning and seeking solutions.

I'm telling you, I've learned to remain calm in challenging situations from work (uh, and yoga) - particularly the NY Latino Film Festival. I wasn't always like this; when I was younger, I had a much shorter fuse. And, of course, I'm human and still, on occasion, lose my cool. But, event production (and film production, for that matter) is inherently a pressure cooker, and the festival is like 30+ live events strung together in one seemingly endless week. And, that doesn't even take into account all of the non-event-related preparation that goes into producing this baby. Inevitably, there are last- minute crises, from missing sponsor signage to printing errors to ticketing complications to storm threats to talent cancellations, etc. etc. - that you just have to stay calm, breathe and tackle each issue, one at a time, in priority order. Trust me, it's much easier to blow a fuse, but that just doesn't help the situation. In fact, it exacerbates it because you look unprofessional, lose the respect of your staff and, more than likely, offend one if not multiple people. More importantly, it doesn't solve the issue; it just wastes time and emotional energy. At the end of the day, much of work is about finding solutions. Some solutions require more creativity than others, but the general concept of solving problems really is the basis of most work in most fields - medical, legal, financial, entertainment, media, etc. And, entrepreneurialism, in general, is based on the concept of finding solutions. Essentially, you feel there is a need or opportunity in the marketplace you can provide. It's a matter of taking a critical look at a situation and finding the opportunity.

The Wannabe
1990. The Bronx. A young man dares to cross the line between reality and fantasy. What price should he pay?


February 12, 2009

You Meet People in the Darndest Places

Right now, I'm sitting in a phone booth in the San Francisco airport (SFO) on my way to Tahoe via Reno to ski with my brother and his family for the weekend (thank you MasterCard travel rewards!!). My flight out of JFK was 8:05am (ouch!); just as I sat in my seat (19E), the guy sitting in 19F introduced himself and we started chatting. Before you know it, my new friend and I are yapping about business. As tremendous luck (fate??) would have it, he's a producer at a MAJOR gaming company that has a new HUGE game coming out in June. Can you guess what happened next? Yep, you're right... I immediately (but tactifully, of course) pitched sponsorship of the NY Latino Film Festival. I mean, are you kidding? This is crazy! And, guess what? He totally dug it! Before we even took off, we agreed to continue the convo next week, after he discusses the idea with his team. Talk to me...

On another tip, I never told you how Tuesday's wireless meeting went. Great! Well, I mean, I think it went great. You never know how a meeting goes until you get concrete client feedback, but it seemed to go as well as we could have hoped. Both Calixto and I were very pleased. Plus, one of the agency contacts told me she felt it went well and it was a good sign the client asked so many questions. Sooooo, we shall see. But, I was proud of us. I think we did our job. Now we wait...


Typecast One
Check out my funny boyz at Room 28.



February 11, 2009

Guerrilla Indie Film Finance

It's a crappy economy, as we all know, but the filmmaking show must go on. Filmmakers are the most determined individuals you'll ever encounter and will make their films, come Hell or come high water. In that spirit, I'm helping out a couple of very good friends, who are producers/writers/directors on a new indie film going into production next month. These guys are fundraising guerrilla-style by taking a quantity over quality approach. That is, they're seeking a high volume of low-level investors vs. a few large investors. I think it's a pretty clever approach, and, more importantly, seems to be working. If nothing else, maybe it will inspire other ambitious filmmakers to think creatively about fundraising in this (or any!) economic climate:

"Elliot Loves"
Writer/Director: Terracino ("My Polish Waiter" - short played @ Sundance, New Directors/New Films, LA OutFest + 40 others)
Producers: Sophia Antonini ("Amexicano"), Juan Caceres ("Harlem Hostel")
Director of Photography: Imre Juhasz ("Ballada" - short won the Golden Palm at the '05 Venice Film Festival)
Casting Director: Kerry Barden ("Good Will Hunting", "Boys Don't Cry", "Pineapple Express")
Guillermo Diaz ("Party Girl", "Girls Town", "I'm Not Rappaport", "Stonewall")
Elena Good (John Leguizamo's "Undefeated", TV's "As the World Turns" & "All My Children")
Ray Santiago ("Meet the Fockers", "Dirty Deeds", TV's "My Name is Earl" & "Dexter")
Genre: Comedy

Two stages of a Dominican-American's life; first as a boy trying to bond with his young mother, then as a 21-year-old looking for love in New York City.
2004 Vito Russo Award, New York NewFest
2003 OUTFEST Script Development Lab
MTV Films/New York Int'l Latino Film Festival Script Contest finalist

Fundraising Goal: $200k (they already have some investors)

1 Point = $4,000 ($1,000 = 1/4 point)

To read Elliot Loves' IMDB profile, click HERE.

Please direct all investor inquiries to writer/director Terracino @: ElliotLoves@Yahoo.com.

Today's Treat
Inconvenient Ruth
Check out this adorable and important animated short about a nine-year old who wants to save the world. Directed by Celeste Moreno and part of the Live Earth Film Series. So cute!


February 10, 2009

1st Taste Tuesdays: 02.10.09

Hot stuff. Check it out...

Road Trip 7 - “Everybody Needs an Ari”
Patty and Rephstar are the Latino Entourage in search of hot chocolate.

HABLA YA Ismael 2
In this fifth installment of the popular HABLA series, HABLA YA takes it back to where it all started...New York. Latinos from various backgrounds share their funny, often touching anecdotes and real-life accounts of what it means to be Latino in this city.


February 9, 2009

Starting Off the Week with a Bang...

So, what'd you think of the Grammy's? There were some unexpected winners (e.g., Adele for Best New Artist), but I'm so tired of the predictability of Album of the Year. They ALWAYS pick the older, more traditional music. It's ridiculous. I'm not saying the Alison Krauss/Robert Plan album isn't fantastic. It's just - come on - take a chance and try representing the youth generation for a change. It's like when Herbie Hancock beat out Kanye. WTF? I can't believe this year's A.O.T.Y. didn't go to Lil' Wayne (or maybe Coldplay). Your thoughts?

On a more personal note, my meeting on Friday afternoon with the QSR agency went great. Well, at least, I think it went great. You never really know how a meeting goes until you lock in the partner (or, as my dad says, when the check clears...LOL. Love that.). But, it seemed to go as well as I could have hoped. I already knew a couple of the folks there and others not only knew of the NY Latino Film Fest, but had attended in previous years. That familiarity obviously made the pitch much easier. Anyhoodles, we discussed some cool activation ideas that would be great for our guests, the fest and the client; you gotta love the win-win-win scenarios. And, now, we wait...

Later this afternoon, I have my beauty call. I REALLY hope that goes well. We had a very positive experience with this particular client in '08 so, obviously, I'm hoping they are interested not only in continuing the partnership, but, ideally, in growing it. We shall see... In the meantime, I need to spend this entire day busting out the wireless proposal for this big presentation tomorrow. I was really hoping to have it done on Friday but I had way too much to do and that QSR meeting basically cut my day in half. I can only do what I can do. So, now it's time to focus. I've got two big days. Wish me luck!


2008 NYILFF Promo Spot: Jenn Pinto
Okay, I know this is from 2008, but I still love it. When we shot the '08 NYILFF commercial, the actors were so hilarious we decided to cut promo spots, each one focusing on a different actor/duo. Jenn's is one of my favorites, but check out the others, too. Honestly, they're all awesome.
Huge props to Lyndon McCray for editing them all.



February 6, 2009

Cue Soundtrack: St. Elmo's Fire (Man in Motion)...

Big day: this afternoon, I'm meeting with the agency for the QSR that has expressed serious interest in partnering with the '09 NY Latino Film Fest. This would be the second time we've worked with this brand, but the first go-round was back in 2005... so, I'm pretty psyched to be back in talks with them. Plus, if I can get some of the volunteers fed through this partnership - even better! I already wrote the proposal, so I'm good to go. As always, fingers crossed.

In the meantime, I still need to get this wireless proposal knocked out for Tuesday's meeting, which is really more like a presentation than a traditional meeting. Apparently, they're having an entire 'film day', where I assume different film organizations will present their dog-and-pony show. We have a 1-hour afternoon time slot to razzle-dazzle. OH! And, as of last night, on Monday, I have the eagerly anticipated conference call with the beauty brand I'm hoping to woo back into the fold. If nothing else, things are heating up and that's a good sign. Movement is clearly better than stasis when it comes to partnership outreach.

On a totally different tip, last night, I had a little reunion with my peeps from Shooting Gallery, the now-defunct film company where I worked through much of my 20's. In 2001, the company, which enjoyed a short-lived but very electric ride as the nation's hottest indie film company, came crashing down in true Hollywood fashion: big, explosive drama with high powered lawsuits, rumors of imminent jail time and shattered home lives. Anyway, we were the marketing team and we went through A LOT together. That company was psychotic frenzy. Amidst the reminiscing, I was thinking to myself how remarkable it is we're all still such good friends. There have been divergent professional paths, marriages, babies, personal challenges and triumphs and yet here we were, having a beer at Old Town Bar, just like the good old days (though, back then, we could usually be found at Antarctica on Varick St.). I told them it reminded me of St. Elmo's Fire... you know, minus crazy Demi Moore rocking back and forth in the cold, empty room.

Check out this music video by Joell Ortiz
, directed by Rik Cordero.


February 5, 2009

New Word of the Day: Geoblocking

I learned a new tech term: geoblocking. Man, that sounds fancy. It's exactly what it sounds like: it's the ability literally to block folks from outside the U.S. from viewing your web content. Groovy. I learned it because we may need to incorporate geoblocking capabilities for some new HBO content we're getting. You learn something every day...

Okay, enough with the vocab lesson... I just got off the phone with a friend, who's helping me with some sponsorship outreach, among other things. We just thought of the coolest Cinedulce idea to pitch one of her clients. Even if that client passes, it's super groovy and can be adapted to several brand categories, but it's particularly relevant to those brands that have a strong event component in their overall marketing mix. That's exciting, right? But, you know what that means... time to write another proposal. Ay dios! Enough with the proposals already. I can't wait to have someone write this stuff for me. It's just endless.

On a different tip, I just received a call from the agency that handles a major beauty brand that we're been pitching for many months. In fact, we worked with them on an introductory level at the 2008 NYILFF and are hoping to bring them back this year on a more significant level. Well, as it happens, they have a set of meetings scheduled with the client for tomorrow (Friday) and Monday. They plan to call me during one of those days to discuss partnership for this year. Seriously, folks, cross those fingers. This could be good...

A Girl Like Me
For those of you who underestimate the voice and talent of our youth, check out this touching documentary by teen Kiri Davis. Reel Works Teen Filmmaking presents a film that explores the standards of beauty imposed on today's black girls. How do these standards affect their self-esteem and self-image?

Liz. (P.L.H.H.)

February 4, 2009

Will Macy's Still Have Its Parade?

Wow, this economic crisis is really not pretty, not pretty at all. I'm sure you heard the latest victim is Macy's, which just cut 7,000 jobs (approx. 4% of its total workforce). I guess I should stop calling them for a while, huh? I don't even know if my contacts there survived this round of layoffs. Right, so, my point is for those of us trying to raise money from Corporate America, these would be somewhat challenging times (euphemistically speaking).

Yesterday, Calixto and I had a meeting with one of the major film unions. Really like them - good people who get it. Of course, their budgets are tight as ever. Shocking. We're discussing some valuable barter opportunities - opportunities that may help cut some line items so it can be positioned as the equivalent of a small donation - but it's still a wee bit frustrating. Truth told, even in the best of times, unions can't compete in the sponsorship arena. They try to make small donations and provide other benefits that are valuable to the execution of your event. So, it's not like we were crushed or even surprised. But, you know, every partner counts and small partners add up.
Or, in honor of MLB spring training (Go Mets!), which is about to begin, single base hits add up to home runs. As I've mentioned before, I never disregard even the smallest potential partner.

The other side of the coin is we have some very positive momentum with a few major corporations, one of which is the previously mentioned QSR. That meeting is now set for Friday, so I'm preparing for it today. Then, I have a big wireless presentation on Tuesday, for which I need to prep as soon as this other proposal is ready to go. I also have another wireless company with serious interest, so that's very encouraging for the category, in general. And, fingers crossed, today I should hear back from a previous partner (spirits category) that is looking to augment its participation with us. I'm hoping to hear from the agency today. There are other things in the works, but these are the most imminent. Put out the good vibes for us!!


Just Ralph A short that wrecks the western media stereotype of Palestinians by showing a "day in the life" of Ralph, a Palestinian-American grocery store owner. Directed by Clifton Watson.


February 2, 2009

1st Taste Tuesdays: 02.03.09

Hot off the press... this week's new content on Cinedulce.com.


Obama Inauguration
A look at Barack Obama's historical inauguration from the Washington Monument. Directed by Alain Alfaro

Check out teaser for Rebel Diaz Documentary coming soon. Produced by David "Drizz" Rodriguez.


Road Trip 6: “Represent That
Patty and Rephstar go to The Heights for piraguas.

"Habla Ya"
In this fifth installment of the popular HABLA series, HABLA YA takes it back to where it all started...New York. Latinos from various backgrounds share their funny, often touching anecdotes and real-life accounts of what it means to be Latino in this city.




Taxes and Proposals and Staffing... Oh My!

Isn't tax season fun?? I'm sitting here going through our entire 2008 budget and staff list to compile for our accountant a 1099 chart. Fun times...

That aside, we have a meeting tomorrow with SAG (Screen Actors Guild). I think I mentioned previously, they have a renewed multicultural effort, which is fantastic not only for us but for the union, in general. The NY Latino Film Festival has worked with SAG a few times, but not in the recent past so it'd be great to have them back on board as a partner in '09, our 10th anniversary. It's just sort of fitting. That's one deck I need to customize today. I'm also waiting for confirmation on a meeting for later this week with the agency for a major QSR (quick service restaurant). We partnered with this particular QSR once before and it was a great relationship. Apparently, there's interest in returning to promote a new product introduction. I happen to be fairly good friends with the agency contact, so that helps move things along. It's just nice when you already have a relationship there. So, that's deck #2 I need to customize.

On another tip, on Friday, I chatted with Jeff, one of my key sponsor coordinators from last year. Jeff's awesome and, it seems, is back on board for '09. Phew! Among many other virtues, Jeff's the RSVP king. Although RSVP'ing seems like a simple process, it can spin totally out of control, especially with a film fest that has a zillion events over the course of one week. It's honestly ridiculous. Plus, Michele (our intern) has already committed to working with me on the fest and I think I've found the third amigo for my personal team. So, now I just need to consider the best way to distribute the work and define roles. Go team!

Habla Ya: Jaime
As one of the members of comedy troupe Room 28, Jaime is hilarious. Check him out here in HBO Latino's Habla Ya segment when he talks about where his dad gave him s**t for not knowing an answer on Jeopardy! Funny stuff.