February 26, 2010

Oscar and Hunter

I don't know how or why my mind translated 'snow day' into 'contract day', but lo and behold, that's what I did for most of today. Fun stuff, people, fun stuff.

The upside is I took care of things that were burning a hole in my desk. Namely, I revised the consulting agreement with Reyes Entertainment, our publicity AOR (agency of record), wrote a consulting agreement for a new staff member and fully executed our agreement with GlobalHue, the glorious creative agency that's leading the charge for our trailer contest.

Speaking of which... did you see we extended the NYILFF trailer contest deadline to March 15?! Oh yes, we did! So, hop to it because you now have 17 extra days to knock our socks off. We're already received a bunch of submissions, so be sure to put some thought into it and send us your coolest, most creative ideas! Represent!

Click here for contest rules, regs and submission guidelines... HERE!

I need to catch up on some movies before next Sunday's Oscars presentation (March 07!), so I'm going to check out an Oscar Foreign Film nom. I'm torn between "Ajami" (Israel) and "A Prophet" (French). Both are supposed to be amazing, but I don't have time to see both this weekend. What do you suggest?

I don't know about you, but I fully intend to enjoy this recent snow dump by going skiing on Sunday. Hunter, baby, here I come...


February 25, 2010

A Bee Story

I just had one of the best confirmations ever of the concept 'you get more bees with honey than vinegar'. Here's my story:

As you know, I'm knee-, no waist-deep, in sponsorship outreach. It's insane. So, this afternoon, I sent an email to a guy I know at an auto company (to remain unnamed) including a detailed message and brief festival overview. No one likes to read long-winded proposals as a first step, so this was my intro email - short, sweet, to the point. We can talk and go from there. That's the point.

Shortly thereafter, I received a brief but not unkind rejection email from the agency. BUT, here's the kicker - the agency guy sent me the entire message thread between him and the client. Doh!

In it, the agency guy mentioned all of these totally inaccurate assumptions about us being a logo festival, no activation, we didn't even include the tiers but rather just a range, etc. Oh no you di'n't!! Breathe...

So, I composed a really professional, positive, but direct email, which stated, for future reference, that we always customize with our partners integrated platforms that include programming ownership, retail bounce backs, filmmaker and consumer promotions, cause-related overlays, blah blah blah (I won't bore you with the details). I ended it with a super friendly sign off.

Not 15 minutes later did I receive a heartfelt apology and detailed explanation of why they're passing, which, for the record is fine. It's not the fact they're passing - puhleese! welcome to sponsorship - it's the way it was done.

Anyhow, so again I replied warmly and suggested he check out the video on our web site (which he clearly had not done) should he have any other clients with a more appropriate fit.

His final response:
Thanks so much for understanding and for sending the video... I'll check it out!!

And, that, my friends is how you get more bees with honey.

The end.


February 24, 2010

Call, Email, Call, Email...

I think my office chair might actually have butt-cheek impressions. I've been nearly glued to my seat, making calls and emailing primarily about fest sponsorship. I tell you, it is never-ending.

I did, however, have a GREAT meeting with my friend and NYILFF staff member, Zulaika, who is returning this year. Yay! I merged her original role (industry client relations) with VIP client relations to create one consolidated dept, which she will manage. She's super-fantastic and PERFECT for this. Such a smart cookie, she is. Plus, she's just a cool cat so, yes, I'm psyched to have her back on board.

First thing in the AM, I met with a Mac 'genius'; my MacBook's DVD drive hasn't been working. It turns out, I'm still under the AppleCare warranty (only 78 more days in a 3-year plan... can you believe?!), so drive replacement is free. The hardware + labor together cost more than the insurance so it was totally worth it. PLUS, Matt (my little genius) realized I've worn out my keyboard, so he's replacing that too. What a peach! Hopefully, they can take care of the whole shebang on Saturday. I love me some Mac. As my friend, Justin, says, once you go Mac, you never go back...

P.S. No word yet from the talent agent I called regarding the lead female role in Lottery Man. Stay tuned...


February 23, 2010

New on Cinedulce! 2 Music Vids! Emmi, "Angel Dust" short and More!

"Bed Stuy" (3:49)
Music video for Spec Boogie, directed by Ali Santana.
Ali is a HUGE talent. Love him!

"Magazines" (4:09)
Music video for Cool Breeze Ray Directed by Steven Tapia.
According to Lyndon, this is aesthetic Candy... not a bad review!

Headliners "Making Of A DVD Magazine" Promo (4:43)
Check out the making of a true hip hop DVD Magazine by David "Drizz" Rodriguez.

"ANGEL DUST" (6:38)
Welcome to her world. Hasan Salaam and Noisemaker Media present "Angel Dust," a voyeuristic tale of survival. Directed by Mark Carranceja.
You MUST check this out!

Hanging Out With Emmi, Ep. #6 (8:16)
Comedian, actor and Urban Latino Radio personality Victor Cruz hangs out with Emmi, and shows him around Spanish Harlem.

Life Of A Struggling Actor, Ep #45 (6:47)
The Top Secret GIECO gig.


February 22, 2010

Anyone Got Some Extra Cash? Anyone? Bueller?

As of this evening, I am 'that' much closer to securing 3 new, key festival hires. Slowly but surely, things are coming together with the org. restructure. It's so fulfilling to realize a vision. Love it!

Flip side: I'm still working on sponsorship... always, sponsorship. Will it ever get easier? Or end?! Honestly, if you've never been responsible for securing sponsorship as your primary revenue stream, give it a go and let me know how it works out for you. Thank goodness we already have HBO, Heineken, DIRECTV Mas and CineLatino on board (thank you sponsor-friends!), but we need more if we're going to run this festival the way it should be run. Presssssssure...

You realize, of course, on top of festival sponsorship, I will soon start fundraising for my feature film, "Lottery Man". Thomas and I are finalizing the investor package and then we need to hit the ground running, especially if we're going to shoot in late Summer/early Fall. I've actually already started building some potential leads. I feel like a machine. Well, actually, we'll see if I'm a machine after I do (or don't) close the necessary deals. To be continued...

Tomorrow, I'm calling the agent for the talent we hope to secure as the "Lottery Man" female lead. I might be the only person excited to call a talent agent.


February 19, 2010

"Harlem Hostel" Opens!

Last night, I attended the premiere of the comedy, "Harlem Hostel", co-produced by my good friend, Juan Caceres. Juan's co-producer is another friend, Jorge Cano-Moreno of Urban Latino. Plus, I finally met the director, Nestor Miranda. It seems we've heard about each other for years, but never have had the opportunity to meet before last night. Plus, I got to catch up with a bunch of friends at the after-party at Libation AND have a VERY interesting work discussion. Yes, I actually had a meeting with a Dewar's and ginger in hand for an hour+ in the middle of a thump-thumping club. When in Rome...

Regardless, the film is SOOOO cute. These guys did a GREAT job, especially with a teeny-tiny budget. It just goes to show what dedication, passion, creativity, talent, resourcefulness, team work and heart can get you... an adorable, funny movie with distribution! Good job, Maya, for spotting a good one!

The film is enjoying a limited theatrical run at Sunshine Cinemas. Catch it while you can to support these talented Latino filmmakers and get a good laugh!

Theatrical Sneak-Peek

Sunshine Cinemas
143 East Houston St. NY, NY 10002 (V/F trains to 2nd Ave.)
Saturday, February 19 - Sunday, February 21, Show Time: 11:00am

Monday, February 22 - Thursday, February 25, Show Time: 6:00pm

February 18, 2010

Heineken is back! Storyboard artists?

Heineken is officially back as the NYILFF's official malt beverage partner AND they will have a larger presence. YAY!! Thank you, Alex!

That was just the good news I needed since I've been working like mad on securing fest sponsors. It's a process, I tell you... such a process.

On a separate note, Matt, Thomas and I had a great LOTTERY MAN meeting last night. We're moving along with the investor package, which should be ready shortly, but we need a storyboard artist. I have a couple of recommendations, but if anyone wants to send me other names, please don't be shy!


February 17, 2010

New Fest Team Coming Together!

I'm SO excited. I just met with the NYILFF's new bookkeeper, Avalon. More accurately, Avalon is our first bookkeeper. I've always done it. (Ay carumba!)

I've done a decent job. Really, though, I've always known I was under-utilizing Quickbooks, but I've honestly never had the time to learn beyond the basics. Quite frankly, it's a near-miracle I've kept the books so straight and organized for all of this time.

But now we're going big time! I can already tell she's going to be amazing and make a huge impact on my day2day life, particularly in the crunch months of June and July. Plus, she's going to teach me better ways to reconcile the books, handle credit card accounting, invoicing, etc. for the off-season months when I don't need to engage her services. This is almost unbearably exciting to a girl like me. I love this stuff... bring it on!

Hiring Avalon is just one more step in my festival restructuring journey, which is turning out to be unbelievably fulfilling, exciting and empowering. I feel like I'm building NYILFF 2.0... and a better life! Awesome.


ACTORS: Fox Ent Grp online diversity auditions!!

Here's your chance to audition for a hit Fox Show!

Fox Entertainment has launched their 2010 Diversity Auditions, and has made it easier than ever to audition via their online interface.

Get submission guidelines, an audition link and an intro from Omar Epps on the Fox Diversity Development webpage.

Good luck, thesps!


February 16, 2010

Lottery Man: Update

  • Thomas (co-producer) and I refined the biz plan a bit more. Edit, edit, edit...
  • Thomas, Matt (writer/director) and I put together a casting wish list for the top 4 characters. Exciting!
  • Thomas and I reviewed (and revised) the budget with Rebecca, our line producer.
  • Matt made a few more edits to the script. I need to print out and read that latest version. I also want to read it with a keen eye towards potential product placement and sponsor partners.
  • Thomas and I discussed the elements we'd like to include in the investor package and have started working on putting together those elements. I'd like to have some good friends at a boutique creative agency handle the creative, but they don't yet know that. Sshhhh!
  • We're looking for someone to help us do a bit of storyboarding so we can include some visuals in the investor package. Since we haven't yet raised money, we don't have a budget. Sooo... we're hoping someone (student?) will do a little bit of pre-storyboarding now in exchange for guaranteed storyboarding work for the film once we secure funding. Any interested parties or recommendations? Thomas will post an ad on Mandy, so we'll see what that produces.
  • Thomas and I are starting to work on a first-round target investor list. If you're interested in hearing more, email me directly: Liz@NYLatinoFilm.com.

February 15, 2010


The folks at Paramount have generously offered the NYILFF community tickets to a special sneak-peek of their new movie, "Shutter Island", directed by the genius Martin Scorsese and starring his muse of late, Leonardo DiCaprio.

Screening details: 7:00pm, February 18 @ the AMC 34th Street

Tickets are limited, so act now!


OR click on this link:


If you have never used the website before, it asks you some quick questions to register your account (only things with an asterisk are mandatory). Once that's done, you are able to print out a personalized ticket that will act as your screening pass.


Note: Seats are first come, first served. GET THERE EARLY!!


February 11, 2010

"HARLEM HOSTEL" Opens 2/19!


New York, New York – February 11, 2010 - Maya Entertainment announces the New York opening of Harlem Hostel, a Mira Productions and Maya Entertainment release directed by Nestor Miranda in theaters Friday, February 19th at the Sunshine Cinema. Show times at the Sunshine Cinema located at 143 East Houston Street, New York, NY are Friday – Sunday 11:00am and Monday – Thursday 6:00pm.

Starring Ramon Rodriguez (TRANSFORMERS 2) and Rafael Sardina, Harlem Hostel is about three friends from Queens who decide to move to the city together where they hope to fulfill their dreams and experience the fast-paced glamorous world of Manhattan. But what seems to be the perfect apartment in Harlem turns out to be just the opposite. The place is turned into a youth hostel to help pay for rent and an eccentric cast of characters bring with them nothing but disaster and chaos. In this comedy about growing up, three mid-20 bachelors are faced with naïve tourists, fugitives, and illegal parties as they struggle to get things under control.

Harlem Hostel also stars Steven Leon, Julissa Bermudez, Juan “Aro” Sanchez, Reymond Wittmann.

For pictures, trailers and other supportive materials visit: www.harlemhostel.com

Harlem Hostel will be available on DVD at all major retail and online stores nationwide Tuesday, May 4th.

About Maya Entertainment, Inc.
Maya Entertainment, headed by award winning producer Moctesuma Esparza and co-chaired by Jeff Valdez, is the only Latino owned and managed film entertainment company specifically focused on the growing U.S. Latino film-going audience. Maya Entertainment is the sister company of Maya Cinemas North America, Inc. a movie theater exhibition company featuring state-of-the-art multiplex cinemas with a site in Salinas, CA and new sites soon to be opened in Bakersfield, CA; Fresno, CA; Santa Fe, NM, Chicago, IL, San Antonio, TX, Houston, TX, New York and more.

For more information, please contact:

Marcella Cuonzo
Terry Hines & Associates
P: 818.562.9433
E: Marcella@thaweb.com
On the web: www.terryhines.com

February 9, 2010

Whoah, Nelly!

It's 11:06pm and I just finished my work day. Well, actually, if you count writing this blog as work, apparently, I'm not yet done... yikes!

My morning was pretty chill - just your basic work (emails, calls, bills, proposal writing, etc.). At noon, I had a long-anticipated follow-up call with the agency for a potential NYILFF sponsor. It turns out the client's budget is slightly lower than previously discussed, but they definitely have cash, love us and want to make it work. So, all in all, a great convo. By week's end, I'll send her a revised proposal and we'll go from there. As always, fingers crossed!

A few more hours of work and then I was off to a meeting with two of my favorite people - Marvin and Dennis at HBO. They are the best! Dennis and I discussed many times the changes I planned to make with the NYILFF; he has remained supportive throughout the process and, I think, is pleased to see my progress. One key strategic benchmark I realized was hiring Sonia, our new Manager of Partner Client Services, who attended the meeting. She's awesome - totally professional, organized, creative and sharp as a tack - and certainly a fabulous addition the team.

Sonia and I had a quick 30-minute follow-up meeting and then
I scooted down to NYU's Stern School of Biz, from which my brother graduated, to listen to a very interesting panel on the state of film financing and distribution. I believe personal growth and evolution are not possible without a continuing eagerness to learn.

And, FINALLY, I met my friends, Terracino and Juan, for a delicious omelet and to chat with a new friend, Richard, who handles sponsorship, product placement and event production. He generously offered them some advice and Terracino thought it'd be a good intro. In fact, it was! I like Richard a great deal and, in turn, may engage him to help me with NYILFF sponsorship. I can ALWAYS use more help, especially since I am producing "Lottery Man", helping Juan and Terracino with some things on "Elliot Loves" (their adorable feature) and, of course, have an entire film festival to organize.

Delegation (with proper management) is a beautiful thing.



February 8, 2010

My Feel Good Weekend

Holy smokes, what a weekend! I needed the work week to begin to catch my breath from the non-stop action!

A highlight was Saturday afternoon and eve, when I volunteered at the annual gala for the Human Rights Campaign at the Waldorf Astoria. My dear friend, Bryan, was the event co-chair. Plus, I 100% believe in the cause and, quite frankly, am shocked gay rights continues to be a discussion in this country. I guess I'm just a "Free To Be You and Me" kind of gal. That aside, I was so proud of Bryan for an incredibly well organized, successful event, including 700+ guests and a special appearance by the lovely Sarah Jessica Parker and the very groovy Tim Gunn.

But, it was also an interesting experience for me because I reverted back to a worker (vs. queen) bee position. It was like the new CBS show, "Undercover Boss", except I didn't work my own event, but someone else's. Still, it was a good reminder what it's like to be a volunteer.

My job was registration. I sat at a computer and checked in what seemed like hundreds of people (including two executive friends from Time Warner!). Once my shift was over, I ate with all of the other volunteers in a curtained side room with a select (but tasty) buffet of salad and pasta, and, also like the other volunteers, was not permitted to participate in the main event; we had a bird's eye view of the festivities, watching from the grand ballroom's balcony.

And, you know what? I had a fantastic time! I met all sorts of folks, ran into other friends of Bryan that I have adopted as my own, and, generally, felt a great sense of pride and satisfaction for supporting a cause that I hold dear to my heart.

Ironically, I'm in the process of interviewing for a few key intern positions with the NYILFF. (Side Note: If you're interested, leave a comment here with your contact info.)

The moral of the story is twofold: 1. get out there and volunteer - it may help you even more than the cause you are supporting; and, 2. always remember that volunteers, assistants, interns, coordinators and staff are as valuable as gems and deserve your utmost respect.

Without a dedicated support system, you have nothing.


February 5, 2010

Lottery Man: Setting Up

Okay, so here's the deal.
  • My producer's contract is signed. Whoopee!
  • I've sent in a revised version of the film's business plan and am waiting for feedback from Thomas, my co-producer, and Matt, the writer/director.
  • Matt is taking care of some minor script edits, which should be completed by Monday.
  • Next week, Thomas and I are hoping to meet with our production accountant, Rebecca, to review and tweak the budget.
  • Matt, Thomas and I put together a short list of potential men to play the lead, Patty. Thomas will start approaching their 'people', in priority order, to see if we can secure an LOI (letter of intent), which is super helpful in the fundraising process.
  • We have a couple of women in mind for the lead actress (Latina), but we'd first like to secure the male lead since he's the story's protagonist.
  • After all of the above is completed, we start looking for $$.
Oh boy...


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Job listings from HispanicAd.com. Good luck!

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To view job listings CLICK below:



February 4, 2010


Holy cow - exciting news! As of last night, I am officially signed on to produce my first full-length feature film. I'm SOOOO excited!

Without giving too much away, the film, titled Lottery Man, focuses on the themes of self-discovery, the unpredictability of love and, ultimately, redemption. It will be shot in NYC (woo hoo!), hopefully either in the Spring or late Summer. Obviously, I have the NYILFF at July's end, so we need to work around that.

Lottery Man's writer/director, Matt Smollon, is an old friend from my Shooting Gallery days - very talented guy with a great passion for storytelling (which, of course, I love). My co-producer is another old Shooting Gallery friend, Thomas Hanna - also a great guy and an attorney to boot. Convenient! I already feel a strong chemistry between the three of us (crucial), and feel so fortunate to have this opportunity. Hopefully, Lottery Man will serve as a springboard for my expanding journey as a kick-ass film producer.

So, anyway, I thought it'd be fun to let you in on the process so you can see what really goes down during the process of making a movie. Since this is my first feature, I also have a learning curve, so we can just do this together; you can be my virtual producing wing-man!

More deets to come...


February 3, 2010


Do you love watching independent films?!

If so, the New York International Latino Film Festival, presented by HBO, is looking for volunteers to join the 2010 screening committee! Help shape our 11th year with the best in Latino filmmaking.

If you are interested, please send an email to Programming@NYLatinoFilm.com and let us know:
1) Your favorite film and why
2) Why you would make a great screener
3) Your availability February – April, 2010



February 2, 2010


The New York International Latino Film Festival, in partnership with GlobalHue Latino, is conducting its first-ever commercial contest.


What is the assignment?

Create the script/storyline for the commercial trailer, one minute in length, that will serve to promote the festival.

What is the communication trying to accomplish?
  • Expand awareness of the festival.

What is the creative platform?
"New York International Latino Film Festival: How Latinos Do Film"
  • We are unique. We are special. We love cinema. So give us your best shot of how we make movies. Be serious, be funny, be absurd, be hip... anything goes! Just tell us your story in 60 seconds.

Submission Guidelines
  • Ideas must be fully explained in the form of a script of storyline, and must include a brief synopsis of the main idea.

How the Contest Works
  • The NYILFF and GlobalHue will select the idea that best captures the spirit of the festival and promotes it.
  • The winning creative concept will form the core idea from which all other communication will be developed (digital media, print, radio, wild postings, etc.).
  • The winner with work with a team of experts at GlobalHue to develop and bring to life the script.
  • The commercial trailer will be produced by GlobalHue, in partnership with participating production houses. The winner will participate in all aspects of the production (casting and talent, locations, direction) with the supervision of the GlobalHue team.
  • The production will happen in the New York area and the winner will be financially responsible for his/her own travel arrangements/accommodations, except for air travel to and from New York (to be covered by NYILFF).

For more information plus contest rules and regulations, please CLICK HERE!


"Elliot Loves" Fundraiser: Big Success!

Okay, I realize this is a bit tardy; my apologies, but I was away from Thursday AM through last night with no Internet access. But, I'M BACK!

I am so proud of Terracino (writer/director) and Juan (producer); last Wednesday's "Elliot Loves" fundraiser was a fabulous event. Over 80 people attended! Plus, everyone seemed to love the 10 minutes of footage they presented.

I want to thank Brian, Yvette and the entire CAFE BUSTELO team for helping to make the night such a great success. You guys are the best!

Also, big shout-outs to Lyndon, Justin and all of the folks who helped make this event a reality.

Remember, there are three ways you can invest:
1.) You can click on the PayPal link HERE!

2.) You can remit a check to: Third World Newsreel, note that it is for "Elliot Loves", and mail it to:
Gary Terracino
P.O. Box 290
NY, NY 10113

NOTE: This donation is tax deductible.

3.) You can contact Terracino directly at ElliotLoves@Yahoo.com about making an equity investment in Papi Chulo, LLC.