Monday, May 14, 2007

New York Filmmakers Spotlighted in SciFi Channel Special Redux

As announced previously, two New York-based indie filmmaking teams will be featured in this weekend's Exposure special on the SciFi Channel. The shorts RF EYE-D, created by Leslie Jaye Goff (that's MsManhattan to you) and Aram Bauman for Puffin Films, and Bloody Mary, by Mark Harris and Timur Civan for Desperate Comfort Films, are among the nine films selected to air on the cable network by voters in last fall's Exposure online short film contest.

Originally scheduled to air in April (see original post), the 90-minute show will finally premiere this Sunday night, May 20, at midnight with subsequent airings on Tuesday,
May 22, at 8:30 a.m., and Thursday, May 24, at 3:00 a.m. Don't forget to tune in -- or set your DVR -- and then go to the Exposure Web site to vote for your favorite flick (need I say which one I think that should be?). The grand prize winner gets a pitch meeting with SciFi Channel programming execs.

MsManhattan thanks you in advance for your support for New York indie filmmakers!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

New York Filmmakers Spotlighted in SciFi Channel Special

UPDATE 22 APRIL 2007: SciFi Channel has postponed the premiere of the Exposure short film special until May 20, 2007. Check back for more information in May. Thanks!

Now that The Sopranos is back on the air for its final season, many New Yorkers are no doubt home on Sunday nights. TiVO-shmivo -- you just have to see it when it comes on at 9 p.m. So, after you've seen the new episode this Sunday night (April 22), try to stay up a few extra hours -- or go ahead and put your DVR to good use -- and check out two New York filmmaking teams who will be featured in the SciFi Channel's Exposure special.

Blatant Self-Promotion Alert: MsManhattan comprises half of one of those teams...

The one-hour show, airing at midnight (channel 44 on Time Warner systems in Manhattan), spotlights nine short films selected by voters in last November's Exposure Online Short Film Contest, co-sponsored by SciFi Channel and Sundance Channel.

It was a fierce competition. First we had to submit our films for review by the contest promoters, who then selected eight to 10 entries for each week of the eight-week contest. My production partner, Aram Bauman, and I eagerly went to the site each week to see if our submission, RF EYE-D, had been selected and, in week 4, were elated to see that it was up for voting.

And then just as suddenly as our spirits soared, they came tumbling down when we saw that we were up against two close friends: the Brooklyn filmmaking team of Mark Harris and Timur Civan with their film Bloody Mary. Given all the films submitted, and the two-month window for the competition, how did we end up vying against our own friends, with whom we've collaborated on other projects?

We hoped that at least one of our films would win for the week, and one of them did: theirs. Our joy for them was unavoidably mixed with disappointment for ourselves. And then, out of the blue a week later, SciFi Channel announced that "upon further review," RF EYE-D would share the Week 4 win with Bloody Mary.

We shot RF EYE-D in Manhattan and Brooklyn. We secured permission to shoot at the historic Church of the Intercession uptown; we also shot, guerilla-style, sans permission, in Central Park, at the South Street Seaport and in a major Brooklyn supermarket that shall go unnamed. We even made our own do-it-yourself green screen studio with yards and yards of green fabric hung in a mini-storage unit. Mark and Timur shot Bloody Mary in Brooklyn, making good use of various friends' apartments. All of the actors in both films are from the greater New York area.

Both films -- and their creators -- will be featured in Sunday night's special (it repeats on April 26 at 8:30 a.m. and April 27 at 3:00 a.m.). So, check it out and don't forget to go back to to vote on your favorite of the nine shorts afterward. The Grand Prize Winner gets to pitch a feature film project to network programming execs. MsManhattan is clearly biased, so my only plea here is: Support New York indie filmmakers!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Mega Millions Mania

MsManhattan is ambivalent about the state lottery. Yes, all the proceeds fund public education. “Raising Billions to Educate Millions,” the NY State Lottery Web site proclaims -- $2.2 billion, to be exact. But when I see folks who probably should be spending that lotto money on groceries, it makes me a little sad and anxious.

Nonetheless, I usually play when the jackpots are really huge and sometimes I play during the first week of March. A fortune teller in Dublin once told me I would win $50,000 in the lottery on March 5th or 6th. She did not say what year. So anytime a lotto drawing falls on one of those dates, I usually get optimistic and play. It has been 16 years, but, to quote the lottery ads, hey, you never know. Of course, it turns out that she told anyone who went to see her that they, too, would win $50,000 in the lottery…

But, she was uncannily correct in most everything she saw in me or, that is, my forehead. She threw Tarot cards and then gazed intently at my forehead as though a movie were playing there. It was unusual, but effective. She saw in my forehead, for instance, my former father-in-law having a heart attack while trimming the shrubbery in the front yard. She described his house and his yard to a tee, down to the unusual color of bricks for which the house was named: Greystones. And, he had, in fact, just a few months before, had a heart attack while trimming the shrubbery. She saw my office and my co-workers, including particular physical characteristics of each. She described my boss perfectly except she said he was “clean-shaven.” He had a beard, so I figured she just got that detail wrong. But when I returned to New York, his beard was gone, and he had shaved it off – I kid you not – the day before my appointment with the fortune teller.

So, with the March 6th Mega Millions drawing worth a potential $355 million jackpot, I have purchased $20 worth of tickets. That bought me 23 chances to win – you get a bonus set of numbers for each five sets you buy. I’m hedging my bets – since she said March 5th OR 6th, I waited until the 5th to buy for the drawing on the 6th… I’ve got it all worked out.

I always get a little flustered when playing lotto because the rules are different for each of the games. For Mega Millions, you choose five “regular” numbers and one “Power Ball” number. I’ve played all my lucky numbers – one being the fortune teller’s street address – in various combinations of “regular” and “Power Ball.” Like I said, I’ve got it all worked out.

Tonight’s drawing will be live in Times Square. You have until 8 p.m. to buy your chance at instant freedom. For MsManhattan, instant freedom would mean I’d have to start a new blog: MmeParis… Or, MsMaui, perhaps… As a previous Lotto ad campaign used to say, all it takes is a dollar and a dream. This March 6th, MsManhattan is a little less ambivalent about the state lottery…