December 31, 2009

New Year, New You?

I know making resolutions could appear a waste of time because no one seems to keep them, e.g., the gym is packed in January, but ebbs back in February. But, I think the New Year, similar to birthdays and key life events, provides the ideal opportunity for self-reflection.

As I've mentioned many times, over the past few months, I've been an aggressive agent (vs. victim) of change (love that saying, dad!). At certain points in your life, you realize it's time for a new chapter to begin - new adventures, challenges, commitments and priorities. We are all constantly evolving. I think these pivotal times occur when one day you recognize the slow, methodical evolution of your life has cumulatively led to transformation. That transformation, in turn, demands proactive decision making to align your life choices with your new sense of self. Obviously, your core person is the same, but there is a discernible, almost palpable energy shift that, like a pebble dropped in a pond, causes a ripple effect of change.

That said, my resolutions are very simple:

1. De-Clutter and Simplify (Literally and Figuratively).
To kick-start the process, I have spent the last 3 days ripping apart my apartment - reorganizing furniture, packing a huge bag for Goodwill, tossing away old crap and cleaning. I'm not quite done, but I already feel lighter, starting fresh.

2. Remain Open to the Possibilities and Trust the Universe.
Although I have specific goals I would like to accomplish, I don't have all of the tactics... and, I kind of dig that. Remember, be what you want to receive and don't set too many rules for yourself. You never know where life takes you and that's the excitement and individual experience of your personal journey.

What do you hope to accomplish in 2010?

In 2010, I hope you stay true to yourself, work hard to achieve your goals (even if your goal is to work less and play more!) and, most importantly, enjoy Peace, Love, Health and Happiness.



December 22, 2009

The Power of Film or One Teen at a Time

Last night's free screening of the film, "Precious", for at-risk youth was a superlative success! The kids really seemed to appreciate the film and were totally engaged in the post-screening Q&A, which had to be cut short because of timing vs. lack of questions. That's always a great sign.

Plus, I think they really got a kick out of seeing 3 of the cast members: Ephraim Benton (also a co-host),
Angelic Zambrana (Consuelo, far left) and Stephanie Andujar (Rita, far right), pictured with a giddy guest.

I was so touched by the event and the kids' reactions that I suggested to Lyndon
(McCray Media & Co) we co-host an annual series of free screenings for urban youth. We are preliminarily discussing doing it on a quarterly basis in 2010, but we'll hammer out the details first thing in January. I just need to find a generous sponsor who wants to cover the basic costs, which are fairly peewee in the scheme of things. No sweat, right?!

This is why I love film. Like all art, film isn't just a medium for communication; it's a potential catalyst for education, enlightenment, empowerment, hope, inspiration and transformation. Art truly has the power to change: change opinions, circumstances, decisions, prejudices, attitudes and even lives. If our screenings can help even just one teen make better, smarter, more proactive decisions in his/her life, then we have done a great service to the community. Plus, selfishly, it gives me a great sense of joy and fulfillment, so I'm in!


December 21, 2009

Weekend Roundup

I had a great meeting this AM (and early PM) with my good friend, Alex, at Heineken. I love those guys. Like HBO, Turner and American Airlines, Heineken has been very loyal to the NYILFF even in the tough economies of '08 and '09. Plus, Alex and I love to talk shop and life. Our anticipated 1 hour meeting last for 2+ hours. Nice.

Tonight is our free screening of "Precious" @ Chelsea Clearview Cinemas for at-risk and runaway youth. I'm really excited; I anticipate it will be as inspiring for the staff and me as for our guests.

Weekend Box Office: "Avatar" was out of this world with $73 million -- that's the 2nd largest December opening (after 2007's "I Am Legend") ever. Plus, apparently, east coast theaters claimed there was a huge sales drop due to the blizzard so receipts would have been even higher! Hellllo! Did you see it? Thoughts?

Brittany Murphy dead at age 32. Super sad - absolutely - but, I have to say, I'm over the whole hard partying, young Hollywood 'thing'. I get they're all beautiful, rich, talented and fabulous, but they're not saving lives. They need a reality check and to get their s**t together. If Brittany's sudden death isn't declared an OD (no news yet from the coroner), I'd be shocked. That aside, obviously, you never want to hear tragic news like this; it's horribly sad. My condolences to her family.


December 18, 2009

It's Golden

Okay, okay, I know I'm late in discussing the Golden Globe nominations, but I had other priorities -- like raising money for Monday's free screening of "Precious" for at-risk youth! To see how you can help, visit: HELP PRECIOUS YOUTH!

Speaking of Precious, it was nominated for multiple Golden Globes, including Best Motion Picture (Drama), Best Actress for Gabourey Sidibe and Best Supporting Actress for Mo'Nique. Not bad, huh?

Avatar - Not only a multiple Golden Globe nominee, including Best Picture (Drama) and Best Director (James Cameron) but the reviews have been really strong. I wonder if we're going to have a "Titanic" deja-vu moment with James Cameron reclaiming he's the king of the world...

Up in the Air - I saw this film last weekend and really enjoyed it. Apparently, so did the Hollywood Foreign Press Assoc. because it received a bundle of nominations, including Best Picture (Drama), Best Director (Jason Reitman), Best Actor (George Clooney - as dashing and gorgeous as ever), and Best Supporting Actress for both Vera Famiga and Anna Kendrick, who were consistent scene stealers.

The Hurt Locker - Apparently, it's amazing but I haven't yet seen it. I need to get on that.

In the Best Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy) category, my thoughts are as follows:

(500) Days of Summer - Super cute but I doubt it will win.
The Hangover - Straight up, laugh out loud hilarity.
It's Complicated - Haven't seen it.
Julie & Julia - Really fun and Meryl, as always, is a genius of transformation.
Nine - Haven't seen it.

For a full list of all Golden Globe nominees, click HERE!

For those of you in NYC, stay warm and get your sleds ready... snow is heading this way!


December 16, 2009

New on Cinedulce: Hanging With Emmi (x2!), Lovebug trailer, 15 Minutes, That Gringa!

Life Of A Struggling Actor
Episode #40 (pt. 2 of 4)
Joseph Fiero, The Director.

"Hanging Out With Emmi"
Episode #2
Emmi hits up the M2 Ultra Lounge and hangs with the sexy Angelic Zambrana, who recently appeared in the movies "Precious" and "Fighting". Look out for appearances by some of New York City's hottest deejays and more ...Enjoy!

"Hanging Out With Emmi"
Episode #3
Emmi is behind-the-scenes with Dominican R&B group, Tha Heights, for their "Selfish" music video shoot @ Club Series 56, in Washington Heights.

LOVEBUG tells the story of a man and woman living in a fictional world of technological advancements that supersedes the natural ways of human living. When they rely on a neural software to determine their fate with each other, a glitch in the system is discovered and the line between love and choice becomes distorted. Directed by Alain Alfaro.

"15 Minutes"

Music video for song by Hasan Salaam, Directed by Mark Carranceja.

"That Gringa!"
Episode #2
Malini, a Nuyorican fashionista wanna-be, meets Placento, the FOP, who will determine if she gets a foot in the fashion industry, or in her butt.


December 15, 2009

Exciting Industry News!

2008 Tony Award winner for Best Musical, "In The Heights", is officially a-go on the silver screen. The director is none other than Kenny Ortega, best known for directing the Michael Jackson doc, "This Is It", and the "High School Musical" series; Ortega also choreographed "Dirty Dancing" (pretty cool, huh?). PLUS, Lin-Manuel Miranda, the show's creator, Tony Award-winning composer and original star, is signed on to reprise his lead role. Very exciting stuff.

If you haven't yet seen "In the Heights" on Broadway, I STRONGLY recommend it. It's a totally unique, exciting theater experience with an energy that is unmistakeably NYC born and bred.

Have you contributed yet to our FREE screening of "Precious" for at-risk and runaway youth?? PLEASE HELP SUPPORT SO WE CAN GIVE THESE KIDS A REALLY SPECIAL EXPERIENCE DURING THIS HOLIDAY TIME. We only need to raise $1,000. That's it! Anyone who contributes $100+ receives 2 tickets to the event. Also, please don't forget to write "Precious Screening" in the space at the bottom titled, "Designate Your Gift".



December 14, 2009

We Need Your Help!

On Monday, December 21, 2009 @ 6:30pm, The NY Int'l Latino Film Festival is partnering with McCray Media and B.I.H.D. to present runaway and at-risk youth a FREE screening of the powerful film, "Precious", including a post-screening Q&A with cast members.

Our goal is simple: inspire a group of teens very much in need of inspiration. We are also working with several non-profits, all of which can provide these kids valuable services, support and information. It's a holiday evening of entertainment, education and, warmth - literally and figuratively.

Although Clearview Cinemas has VERY generously offered us the theater at a greatly discounted rate, there are still basic costs we need to cover in order to provide all seats free of charge.

Here's where you come in!

We're asking the community to help us with this incredible opportunity by donating even just $10.00. Anyone who donates $100+ will receive 2 tickets to the event. Please be sure to note "Precious Screening" at the very bottom of the online donation form in the space titled, "Designate Your Gift". We only need $1,000 total to cover all costs.


Donate HERE!

Also, if you have product you'd like to donate for gift bags (150 total), please email me directly:

Thank you, in advance, for opening your heart and, hopefully, your wallet.


December 10, 2009

Attention Actors: POTENTIAL WORK!

This Just In!

A new feature length comedy, "No Fats No Fems", is now
casting. If you're an actor seeking work (and, really, is there any other kind of actor??), please see below!

A comedy about a group of sexually compulsive gay men, who share their experiences in therapy, led by Dr. Tobias Hollister, who is the most obsessive compulsive of them all. Despite his success as a celebrity sex rehab doctor and bestselling author, it doesn’t seem to help him find a lasting relationship.

Tobias Hollister (LEAD)
Needs to play Age 25-33 (must be over the age of 21 due to the content in the film).
Very sexy, slim to athletic body type. He is Latino/African-American, intelligent and quirky with perfect comedic timing. Psychologist that is obsessive compulsive. Think of the movie, “ALFIE”. The character’s look and agility. Think of Nate Parker of "The Great Debaters" and "Secret Life of Bees".

Chad (LEAD)
(leading male's love interest). Age 25-33. Charming, slim to average body type. African American. New Age enthusiast and party promoter.

Dee (Supporting)
Very sexy. Age 21-35. She is our New age Latina Life Coach lesbian, who is obsessed with getting her best friend, Tobias, in a lasting long-term relationship.

Malachi (Supporting)
Age 18-30. One of the men in therapy session as former sex addict; now, he is an obsessive church-goer.

5'10" - 6'2", Age 25-35.
Athletic, masculine with “accent”, jaded man who is working on his addictions and compulsions in therapy with the group.

Hiram (Supporting)
5'11" - 6'2", Age 25-35. Athletic African-American. Masculine jaded basketball coach, who is dealing with his compulsions in therapy with the group.

Emilio (Supporting)
5'11" - 6'2", Age 25- 35. Athletic, Latino male. Masculine, volatile and often jaded by life and who is dealing with his compulsions in therapy with the group.

Courtney (Supporting)
Age 21- 35. Average to athletic body type. He has a quick wit and is sharp with excellent comedic timing. He is dealing with his compulsions in therapy with the group.

5 Extras (Supporting)
Age 21-35. Great comedic timing. Used in flash back sequences that provide comedic relief.

Craig Hunter



December 9, 2009

New on Cinedulce: Work Jerk finale!, behind the scenes of a vid shoot, The Groundskeeper!

Life Of A Struggling Actor
Ep. #40 (pt. 1 of 4)
Joseph Fiero, The Director.

Work Jerks Ep 7 (Season 1 Finale!)
It's time for the Work Jerks to assist in bringing Diana's baby into the world. But with birth comes chaos. And why wouldn't it? These ARE the Work Jerks after all!

Street Corna - Behind the scenes of "Fresh" Video shoot (3:34 mins.)
Funny outtakes. Directed by Brandzhd. Featuring Actor/Host Emmi Grullon, Model/Host Jessica Perez, Model Katherine Davis, Model/Singer Julay-Star


The Groundskeeper (8:25 mins.)
A Latino University groundskeeper connects with a University professor, but social norms and attitudes threaten to pull them apart. Directed by Ruberto Gudino.



December 8, 2009

Cinedulce Goes to Jail

Holy smokes! We (Cinedulce) received a letter from an aspiring filmmaker... in jail! No joke - the return address is the Oregon Department of Corrections and the letter is handwritten on simple, college-ruled, 3-hole punched, lined paper. It's like he wrote it in his binder during history class!

Seriously, I think it's pretty awesome he's thinking about contributing to the community through positive and productive creativity. Maybe he wants to tell the story of why/how he found himself in jail? For all we know, he has some really heartbreaking and/or inspiring story.

Still... how in the world did he find out about Cinedulce? The Internet is truly a wonder.


December 7, 2009

Danny Hastings Music Video Contest!

Calling all Canon 5D*, Canon 7D* and/or Lumix GH1* users!!! (EXCEPT NYC). Atomicus Films is producing a music video for Prince Royce and Top Stop Music and they need your help to bring all the pieces together. The video is a remake of the hit single “Stand by Me”, which is performed by Prince Royce and directed by Danny Hastings. The video will stand for peace and solidarity throughout the world and the message within it will reflect that. In order to make sure the world is authentically represented, THEY WANT YOUR HELP!

For details on creative direction, how to submit, rules & regs. and prizing, please visit: Atomicus Films Contest

Good luck!


December 4, 2009

I Choose Change

I'm narrowing down the candidates for some new key NYILFF positions and it's incredibly exciting. I spoke to several references for a couple of folks we're considering and I think we may have a place for both of them. I love mixing it up and adding new members to our awesome festival family = fresh ideas and perspectives. This is all part of a structural re-org I started a couple of months ago. It's time for change.

Although sometimes scary (i.e., fear of the unknown), change is almost always a good thing; it opens doors, opens eyes, changes your energy and attracts opportunity. I feel strongly that in both your personal and professional lives you have to keep a steady eye towards progress, evolution and growth. You have to accept and embrace when it's time to be an agent of change. Stagnation, being in a rut, is emotionally unhealthy and will inevitably lead you to feel like the victim of your circumstances when, really, you chose to ignore the warning signs.

I choose change.


December 3, 2009

Got Publicity?

I had lunch today with a good friend, who's a very sharp publicist focused on the Hispanic market. We met many years ago and have maintained our friendship ever since. In addition simply to liking and respecting one another, we also find our paths cross on a regular basis; the NYC multicultural marketing community (esp. media, events and entertainment) is fairly small. You start to hear the same names brought up in every conversation.

This lovely lunch reminded me how much I appreciate my friends and how real relationships can make a real difference (personally and professionally!). She and I continue to support each other by sharing contacts, advice and inside insights. Today's lunch was no different. I just sent her a bunch of leads and she's helping me with a particular sponsor and a potential new staff member.

If anyone needs a fantastic publicist, let me know and I'll connect you!


December 1, 2009

New on Cinedulce... "Toy Soldier", "Hanging Out with Emmi" and "Work Jerks"!

"Toy Solider" (8 mins., U S A) 

Dir. by Matt Brailey

Haunted by memories of past battles, a U.S. soldier relentlessly enacts revenge upon a hostile gang that has brutally assaulted his younger brother. Torn between love for his family and dedication to his country, the soldier is forced to discard his American citizenship after he commits a horrendous crime.

The Work Jerks
Episode #6

The mail at Long & Cumming has been completely jumbled. This leads to a stunning revelation, a new found suspicion, and an embarrassing flashback (Hint: someone's in drag) The office will never be the same!

"Hanging Out With Emmi"
Episode #1

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!