November 25, 2009

For What Do You Give Thanks?

Geez - things REALLY slowed down today. When I say slow, I mean total halt. I'm trying to appreciate these quieter days. I'm so accustomed to being a workhorse that breaks, or significant work flow ebbs, are almost stressful; I wonder/worry why I'm not busier. The reality is, there is very little I can do on days like this and I need to embrace the respite. Plus, I now have a biz dev team, which I still can't believe. Even when I'm doing nothing (which is rare), the team generates forward movement... spectacular!

Today, I give thanks to the myriad people who support, participate in, sponsor, endorse, patronize, enjoy, work and volunteer for, and believe in the NYILFF and Cinedulce. Most importantly, I'm so grateful for my personal circle of champions, who believe in me. It's a wondrous thing to feel buoyed by such love. Thank you!!



November 24, 2009

It's Holiday Time... Go Shopping!

Although things are clearly slowing down, the 'shop' is still open for business. Mid-afternoon tomorrow I'm heading out to my parents' place (time to cook with mom!) and then we're closed until Monday, 11/30. I can't wait for a few days off! I'm sure you can relate.

It's so funny how business really does slow down during the holidays. Our offices are literally quieter. Phones are ringing less frequently. Fewer heels are clap-clapping on the wooden floors. The energy level is not depressed, so much as mellow.

In terms of partner outreach, lots of companies are preoccupied with executing holiday promotions and closing out budgets for the current year. Obviously, this is a stressful, decisive time for almost all B2C's, including games and toys, consumer electronics, apparel, beauty, sports, entertainment, leisure, hospitality and travel, and the list goes on and on. Sales during this holiday season greatly impact 2010 budgets. So, come on, folks, buy your family gifts. Have holiday drinks with friends. Take advantage of vacation promotions. Spend some money to stimulate this economy and get the U.S. back on track!


November 23, 2009

Special Youth Screening

On behalf of my soft heart and the NYILFF, I'm working with my good friends, Leo and Lyndon @ McCray Media, along with actor, Ephraim Benton, to plan a special December screening of the stirring picture, "Precious", for runaways, at-risk youth and individuals living with AIDS. Ephraim is in the film and, along with other cast members, will participate in a post-screening Q&A.

Our good friends at Clearview Cinemas are being amazingly generous by offering us tickets at a discounted price of $5/each. So great, right!?

We could stop there, but, of course, I'm a dreamer. Ideally, I'd like to offer our not-for-profit partners the entire house free of charge.

For most of us, the holiday season is a time filled with abundant, delicious food, warm homes, cheerful parties, merrymaking and gift exchanging with friends and family. But, there are so many who are cold, hungry, lonely and disheartened. We have the opportunity to provide just a little bit of hope and inspiration to those who need it most.

We're still working on the details, but please stay tuned because I may ask for your help! Let's get it done!


November 20, 2009

What A Day, What A Day

I had 3 great meetings today that, together, took up my entire day. The most important of the 3, the final one, was also the most exciting. Unfortunately, I can't reveal much, but, rest assured, it was an introductory meeting that could lead to very, very big things. Basically, I am trying to secure a corporate partnership that will most certainly shift the entire trajectory of the NYILFF and Cinedulce. Of course, there is a very real possibility it may not come to pass and that's okay. It's not preferable, but I believe everything happens (or does not happen) for a reason. You just have to trust the universe and keep pushing forward. If the worst case scenario ends up being the reality, however, I have some serious thinking to the meantime, all you have to do is dream!


November 19, 2009

Hot PR Internship Opportunity!

BILINGUAL Public Relations Intern – ROGERS AND COWAN

Job Description:
ROGERS & COWAN is one of the country's biggest entertainment public relations firms specializing in many areas of public relations, including personalities/talent, music entertainment, film, convergence (video games), fashion/lifestyle, fine arts & high culture, film fashion, integrated marketing, product placement and more.

**STUDENTS MUST RECEIVE SCHOOL CREDIT for this Internship. To see if you qualify for credit, visit or call your academic department directly.

ROGERS & COWAN is currently seeking highly motivated BILINGUAL students of all levels for SPRING internship positions in the New York City office for the SPRING semester and, if interested, continuing into the SUMMER semester. This is a great opportunity to get a start in the competitive and exciting field of public relations working for a high-profile, fast-paced firm with high-profile clients.

We are looking for self-motivated and highly-responsible students who can take initiative and help the department to run smoothly.


Interns that we accept into one of the most fun and busy departments at Rogers & Cowan are treated as real working members of our teams, trusted with projects and duties imperative to our client responsibilities. While developing extensive relationships with the professionals in the company and those we work with as well as the media, interns will have fun while earning hands on experience writing various collateral pieces including pitch letters, press releases and tipsheets, media outreach and pitching, compiling of press kits, new business brainstorming and pitches, event set up and red carpet media placement, talent escorting on red carpets, press room set up, organizing a press conference, and so much more.

*Assist in the writing of press materials including pitch letters, press releases and tipsheets *Media outreach and pitching *Compiling of press kits *Contribute to new business brainstorming and pitches *Event organization and set up *Red Carpet media organization *Talent escorting on red carpets *Press Room set up *Organizing press conferences *Monitor media for client coverage *AND SO MUCH MORE!

Job Qualifications/Requirements:
*Experience helpful
*Demonstrate a strong desire to learn and take initiative *Highly responsible *Self-motivated *Detail-oriented *Clear Communicator-- both written and verbally *Proficient in basic computer programs including Word, Excel, Outlook and Powerpoint *Able to quickly learn and take on new responsibilities *Able to quickly learn new computer programs *MUST EARN SCHOOL CREDIT



Whose Barrio? You Tell Me.

Last night, we co-hosted with Credit Suisse a screening of the 2009 NYILFF documentary, "Whose Barrio?" (dir. Ed Morales, Laura Rivera), followed by a panel, including the directors, Dr. Arlene Davila (NYU professor and author of "Barrio Dreams, Puerto Ricans, Latinos and the Neoliberal City"), Nuyorican poet and playwright Jesus Papoleto Melenedez and NYC Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito (District 8). The moderator was the Ford Foundation's Dr. Hector Cordero-Guzman.

In short, "Whose Barrio?" is an emotionally charged look at the changes in Manhattan’s Spanish Harlem as real estate speculation pushes rents and property values past the point of affordability for most area residents.

The subject is obviously a charged one and the panel's Q&A session proved to be quite spirited, as audience members passionately participated in the dialogue about the challenges, benefits and overall ramifications of gentrification. Although there is no simple answer, one thing is certain: you must feel empowered to use your voice on issues that are important to you. There is truth to the adage, 'one person can make a difference'... that person could be you.

Thanks so much to all who attended. I hope you enjoyed the evening and left feeling inspired to make a difference in your 'barrio'.

Soooo many thanks to Credit Suisse's Anthony, Hanna, Todd and Darilyn for your partnership, and also many thanks to NSHMBA and Moet Hennessy for helping to make our event such a success!


November 18, 2009

All You've Got to Do Is Dream!

I've decided one of the primary reasons I love storytelling in all its forms (e.g., theater, movies, music, art, written word) is because, if executed well, the experience, for both audience and artist, can be transformative. Case in point, this week, I experienced two really incredible story moments.

First, I finished the novel, "Middlesex" (written by Jeffrey Eugenides, who also wrote "The Virgin Suicides"), which I'd been anxious to read for a while. Technically, it tells the tale of an
hermaphrodite, but, in the broader sense, it's a multi-generational, coming of age saga that incorporates themes of race, acceptance, sexuality, gender roles, family, immigration and the concept of normal. Stunningly poignant and dynamic.

Second, my biz partner, Calixto, bought us tickets to see "Dreamgirls", now playing at The Apollo for a limited run ending December 12. We went last night and, boy, was I blown away. What a production! The costumes, choreography and ensemble talent were incredibly impressive, but everyone knows the success of Dreamgirls rests on the casting of Effie, who sings the heartbreaking showstopper, "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going". I actually think "I Am Changing" is an equally moving ballad, and "Listen", which was originally written for the movie's Deena Jones character (Beyonce), was incorporated into this production as a duet with new lyrics; both songs are inspiring, beautiful anthems of empowerment. Let me tell you, as this production's Effie, Moya Angela delivers HUGE vocals layered with mind-bowing power and emotion. As expected, the crowd went nuts every time she opened her mouth, which is often. Also, big props to Chester Gregory, who nearly steals the show as James "Thunder" Early. It was a great night; big hugs to Calixto for the super generous, early birthday present.

To all of you artists, entrepreneurs, visionaries and unattached romantics, just remember: "Life's not as bad as it may seem if you open your eyes to what's in front of you...
All you've got to do is dream!"

Buy your tickets now! Dreamgirls On Stage


November 17, 2009

NEW ON CINEDULCE: '09 NYILFF Recap, Work Jerks #5, On the Edge Shorts and Hanging Out with Emmi trailer

2009 NYILFF Recap Reel!


Life As A Struggling Actor

Episode #37

Life and a web series audition.

The Work Jerks

Episode #5

Julian organizes a street combat class for the Work Jerks in an effort to bring them all together...Will they all survive the day?

"Hanging Out With Emmi" Trailer
Check out trailer for the new show coming soon to starring actor/ host Emmi Grullon. Follow Emmi as he catches up with his friends in the entertainment industry, anywhere from posh nightclubs to the streets of the Big Apple!

On The Edge
Good Luck Bad Fortune (12m, U S A) 

A homeless man experiences trouble getting help for himself and his dog at the social service office. After being rejected, in a twist of fate he discovers a discarded winning lottery ticket. Directed by Wally Valenti.

To Kill A Clown
(25m, U S A)

Two Brothers, on the run from the law, hunt for the demonic clown who stole from them. Directed by
Well Moniker


November 16, 2009

Film Recommendation: "Oldboy"

Did you ever have one of those days where you were busy all day, but you're not sure what, if anything, got done? Yeah...

This weekend, I saw this great Korean movie, "Oldboy" (2003), recommended by my good friend and NYILFF Programming Director, Juan. Directed by Chan-wook Park, the Tarantino-esque film is a fairly violent thriller with twists and turns until the very end. In his review, Roger Ebert said, "Oldboy is a powerful film not because of what it depicts, but because of the depths of the human heart which it strips bare." So, basically, Juan recommended "Oldboy" to me and now I am recommending it to you. Enjoy!


November 13, 2009

Me Encanta Mi Familia de NYILFF!

Better late than never... I started scheduling post-mortem meetings with our key NYILFF staff and department heads to review the 2009 NYILFF and, looking ahead to 2010 and beyond, discuss ways to improve the process: operations, communication, staffing, structure, etc.

It might sound boring, but I actually love it. First, it gives me an excuse to see my dear friends. Second, I love hearing feedback, including constructive criticism, because that's how you evolve and grow. I have learned it's impossible to be an expert in everything and, similarly, there's no way to see everything that goes on, so you really have to trust and rely on your staff to serve as the eyes and ears of the operation. Plus, they're all ridiculously smart, creative and talented; I'd be a giant fool (not to mention rotten manager) not to hear their ideas.

Yesterday's meetings with Juan (programming director), Kavika (panels) and Jenny (in-house publicist) were incredibly productive. Thank you!!


November 12, 2009

New on Cinedulce: My Life..., Work Jerks and a new URdulce Short!

Life Of A Struggling Actor
Episode #36

Life and a web series audition.

The Work Jerks
Episode #4

The intervention for Julian's drug making brother is underway. Unfortunately, The more the Work Jerks try to help, the more they succeed in making things worse.

"That Gringa!"
A Nuyorican runaway teams up with a "gringa" to house sit for her older sister who is a successful banker. Directed by Rob Santana.


November 11, 2009

Partners and Avocados

I just scheduled a lunch for next week with an agency that reps a major liquor distributor. We've been attempting to coordinate schedules for several weeks. I'm just trying to lock down these NYILFF sponsors. Come on, come on...

I had an interesting chat today with a friend about a possible joint-partnership with a major media company. We've actually been talking about this for a while, but it seems we may be getting a bit closer. I'm trying to sell-in the same concept to a few competing media companies. Let's see if anyone bites.

Speaking of bites, have I ever told you I love avocados? Along with mangoes, I think they're my favorite fruit. Yum.


November 9, 2009

This Is It Feedback; Precious Box Office Bonanza

I saw "This is It" on Saturday. Although I thought it was a wee bit long, I have to say, it's pretty interesting to watch M.J. work. He's clearly a perfectionist with an incredible ear (obviously) - it's just really cool to watch his genius creative process. To that end, I have to say Kenny Ortega is unbelievable. He put together that entire concept, including directing and conceptualizing the original videos. I'm sure the show would have been an incredible spectacle, but I had a hard time not wondering if Michael really had the stamina to handle the entire 50-show run. Sadly, we'll never know...

On another film note, "Precious" absolutely KILLED this weekend's box office at nearly $100,000/screen. For those of you who don't know what that means, let's just say in the independent/art house film world, a $5,000 per screen average is considered fairly strong. This movie brought in an average of $100,000 per screen, totaling $1.8 million on just 18 screens. It's not just remarkable, it's actually record breaking! For perspective, "This is It" opened with $6,675/screen and "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince" opened at $17,997/screen. From what I've read, the only movies to open with a $100,000+/screen average were "Dreamgirls" and "Brokeback Mountain". NOW, do you see how insanely huuuge that is?? Congrats to Lee Daniels and the entire cast and crew!


November 6, 2009

Precious: Worth the Oscar Hype or Not?

Thanks to my good friend, Benjamin, at American Airlines, I had the opportunity to see the film, "Precious: Based on the novel 'Push' by Sapphire", at the Opening Night of the NY Film Festival.

I have to say, it's powerful. It's in your face, aggressive, intense, disturbing and, at times, cliche - and yet, it is also surprisingly moving and uplifting. Although the film has strong Oscar buzz and was the darling of the festival circuit, there are definitely some naysayers out there (yeah, I'm talking to you Armond White at the NY Press). But, if you happen to follow or believe Rotten Tomatoes, the film received an 89% Fresh rating from the country's top critics - very solid.

See this film. We need to support diverse voices and fresh perspectives. You may love it, you may hate it, but it will no doubt make you think.

"Precious" opens in select theaters TODAY. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Precious - worth the Oscar hype or not?


November 5, 2009

New on Cinedulce This Week!!


Work Jerks
Episode #3
Julian wants to hold an intervention for his brother. And who better to intervene but people who don't even know him? Tthe Work Jerks!

Life as a Struggling Actor
Episode #35
Life and a web series audition.


November 4, 2009

HBO + Liz = Love

Great meeting today with my friend, Dennis, @ HBO. LOVE him! Love HBO! Truthfully, we're so lucky to have HBO as the NYILFF's presenting partner; the folks there are just as nice, genuine and supportive as can be. In this business, that's darn near impossible to find. Plus, they really do get 'it'. That, in and of itself, is incredibly refreshing and exciting.

Watching the World Series (of course!). Looking good, but don't want to jinx it. No whammies, no whammies... come on Yanks!


November 3, 2009

Go Team!

I had a long conference call this afternoon with the entire NYILFF sponsor team. So awesome! I still can't believe I have a biz dev team... it blows my mind. Let's see what, together, we can accomplish. Go team!

Speaking of teams... the Yankees. Okay, so, obviously, it would've been nice for them to close out the series last night and call it a wrap. BUT... now, we (hopefully) can win on NYC turf, which would be that much more exciting. Fingers crossed for tomorrow night! Go team!