JIRO DREAMS OF SUSHI Wins the World Cinema Award at AFI Film Festival

JIRO DREAMS OF SUSHI, a documentary about Jiro Ono, an 85-year-old Japanese sushi chef who has dedicated his life to his profession. The film just recently won the World Cinema award at the AFI Film Festival. We are beyond proud and overjoyed at this news.  The award for World Cinema was a tie between JIRO DREAMS OF SUSHI by David Gelb and KINYARWANDA by Alrick Brown – the two films were made by American filmmakers, both in foreign countries.

Karen Durbin of Elle Magazine quotes, “I loved JIRO, which pretty much blew me away. It’s an extraordinary film and an amazing debut, as subtle and precise in its way as Jiro’s sushi-making. The way that the filmmaker lets you come to know and admire this man who at first seems forbiddingly severe is masterly. By the end I felt as if I’d been given a valuable lesson in how to live a meaningful life and the sound track is inspired.”

Respectively, director David Gelb takes JIRO DREAMS OF SUSHI beyond a guileless documentary. The film was shot with a clean and direct vision and the cinematography is beautiful – a verité view of watching a master at work! To find out more about JIRO DREAMS OF SUSHI and to read the article about the World Cinema Award click here!

“I was so moved from beginning to end. I lived in Japan for many years before moving to New York and I am a sushi fanatic so I could relate on so many levels. The film not only depicts Jiro’s passion but also David’s. And for food lovers, it is food porn at its best!” Quoted Celia Cheng of Cravings.

JIRO DREAMS OF SUSHI is being released in theaters March 9, 2012 by Magnolia Pictures.

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Iggy & the Stooges Raw Power Live Released on DVD and Blu-Ray

IGGY & THE STOOGES – RAW POWER is widely considered to be one of the most influential and important rock and roll albums in music history. The power and energy of the live performance is captured in this film.

IGGY & THE STOOGES – RAW POWER LIVE: IN THE HANDS OF THE FANS was released on DVD and Blu-Ray on September 27th, 2011. The concert was filmed by a group of 6 fans. It is loud, raw, and in-your-face! This is the first release in a series of IN THE HANDS OF THE FANS concert films that MVD Entertainment Group is producing and distributing.

Through an online contest 6 fans were chosen to film the concert, and following the performance, the fans meet and interview the band.  Experience the fan’s journey as they capture a once in a lifetime concert and meet their heroes face to face.

“On the first night of the annual All Tomorrow’s Parties festival here at Kutsher’s Country Club, Iggy Pop, now 63, knew that his body language translated into still photographs resembling Mannerist paintings…the Stooges attacked the album’s eight songs, in a different order, just about perfectly.” – Ben Ratliff of the New York Times.

“This shit really sizzles and we are so obviously a crack band in a class of our own!” – Iggy Pop

Iggy Pop – Vocals
James Williamson – Guitar
Scott Asheton – Drums
Mike Watt – Bass
Steve Mackay – Saxophone

Directed by Joey Carey (Sundial Pictures) and Luis Valdes,
Produced by Joey Carey and Iggy & the Stooges,
Executive Producers Ed Seaman and Henry McGroggan. Buy it on DVD today!

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Featured Article: A Brian Brightly Film LIARS ALL

Sundial Pictures Presents, a Brian Brightly Film, LIARS ALL starring Matt Lanter of  90210, The Roommate, Vampires Suck, and Sorority Row, Torrance Coombs of The Tudors, Gillian Zinser of 90210, Manson Girls, with and Alice Evans of  Lost, and Sara Paxton of The Innkeepers, Last House on the Left, and Shark Night 3D.
The plot unfolds on New Year’s eve in London, as a provocative game spins out of control and ends in murder, the true killer elusive amidst conflicting testimony and hidden motives.  This alluring thriller targets the young, hip crowd, inviting them into a lustful fantasy adventure. A stylish, intimate night of shared secrets and newfound intimacies takes some unexpected turns, creating a mystifying evening from which no one will emerge unharmed.

Director Brian Brightly quotes, “The cast is brilliant… Their performances will be as daring and passionate as the game itself.” LIARS ALL is an evocative, psychosexual thriller about lust and desire – and the lengths some will go to prevail. Preferred Content is handling the North American sales of the film, and Cinema Management Group selling foreign rights. Be on the lookout for LIARS ALL!

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Independent Film Funding + Guidance Brings Filmmakers’ Visions to Life

Financing is crucial to getting any film made and at this very moment there are countless filmmakers seeking independent investments for their projects.  Among them are many inexperienced filmmakers who believe that finding an investor is all they need to bring their vision to life.

These young filmmakers may buy templates for business plans and books on how to create the perfect investment package. They pitch their projects anywhere someone who could offer financing for an independent film might be reached.

They enter contests for filmmakers.  They apply for grants (The Independent Filmmakers Guide to Film Financing offers a few resources). Crowd-funding through websites such as IndieGoGo and Kickstarter is also a popular way to pursue financing for an independent film today.

The hopeful filmmakers beg, borrow and sell. Some manage to obtain generous funds for their projects, but in the end, many of the films go unreleased and any money raised is never recouped.

Partner with an Independent Film Production Company

While it is necessary to raise funds for an independent film, money alone won’t ensure your project makes it through production, much less into the hands of the right distributor. Inexperienced filmmakers need guidance and assistance. An independent film production company with proven success can provide just that.

Established film production companies have built valuable relationships within the industry as well as with investors, and can show the investors a proven track record. They’re familiar with laws governing independent film funding, and have attorneys specializing in the legalities related to filmmaking. These film production companies can provide the knowledge, experience, and resources needed to take a film through production and distribution.

So rather than solely focusing on a quest for independent film funding, young filmmakers may want to invest their time and creative energy into finding a production company to partner with them and help produce their film. If they can accomplish that, the assistance gained proves to be invaluable.

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Jiro Dreams of Sushi Picked Up by Magnolia Pictures

Sundial Pictures is pleased to announce that Magnolia Pictures has purchased the film Jiro Dreams of Sushi. Magnolia’s Senior Vice President, Tom Quinn, consulted the arrangement with Producer Kevin Iwashina from Preferred Content on behalf of the filmmakers. This deal was the first sale of this year’s Tribeca Film Festival.

The film, which was featured in the Berlin, Tribeca, Provincetown, Silverdocs, and Sydney Film Festivals, is a feature length documentary directed by David Gelb (in Japanese with English subtitles). The documentary is centered around 85 year old sushi master Jiro Ono, who works tirelessly in his world renowned restaurant; Sukiyabashi Jiro. Jiro’s son, Yoshikazu, faces the pressures of taking over the legendary restaurant.

In an interview with Giant Robot director David Gelb was asked if Jiro Ono was as strict and stoic in person as he seemed on film. Gelb answered, “Nobody takes his work more seriously than Jiro. He’s been making sushi for over half a century and he still considers everyday an opportunity to improve his skills. He’s strict because he’s applying his full concentration to the present task. However, once the last customer leaves and he has a moment to relax, you’ll find that he is incredibly kind and personable. He has a great sense of humor.” Throughout the film Gelb centers on the complicated relationship between Jiro Ono and his son, Yoshikazu.

“I’m ecstatic with the way audiences are responding, and am surprised and humbled by the ambitious plans our distributor Magnolia Pictures has for the theatrical release,” said David Gelb.

Magnolia Pictures will release Jiro Dreams of Sushi theatrically in the spring of 2012.

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Vegetable Oil as Fuel- Greasy Rider

Sundial Pictures produced Greasy Rider, a documentary about a cross-country road trip in a 1981 Mercedes-Benz using straight vegetable oil as fuel.  While concerns about our environment, rising gasoline prices, energy consumption, and the idea of our ecological footprint are on the rise – you can’t help but be inspired by the two filmmakers, Joey Carey and JJ Beck.

Throughout the filmmakers’ cross-country travels their story beings to unfold. Interviews featuring political analyst Noam Chomsky, Yoko Ono and actor Morgan Freeman, (who opened a Biodiesel plant in Mississippi) are asked the hard questions and are helping to raise awareness on their own time as well. This film shows the reality of vegetable oil as fuel and what this innovation can do for our environment and the way in which we can change our future.

How Veggie Oil Works: For those of you that weren’t aware, vegetable oil, and even waste vegetable oil that restaurants throw away, can be used as a substitute fuel in diesel engines. People all over the United States and Europe have been using veggie oil as fuel for many years. *Note that regular gasoline engines cannot burn vegetable oil.

Assuming one has a diesel engine, one could use vegetable oil with no refinements or alterations to the oil other than filtering it.  Vegetable oil at room temperature has a high viscosity so diesel engines have a difficult time burning the fuel wholly when entering the combustion chamber. The outcome is unburned fuel that can potentially clog the engine. However, there are ways to fix this– for example you can amalgamate the vegetable oil with a petroleum-based diesel, which can aid in breaking down the thickness of the vegetable oil, essentially preventing the clogged engine.  The process of thinning the oil on a molecular level creates what is known as biodiesel.  This can be burnt in any diesel engine without modifications to the engine.

Another way to thin the vegetable oil is to install a system in the car that uses waste heat from the engine which is circulated by the coolant system to heat the vegetable.  By heating the vegetable oil, it thins out allowing for a clean combustion in the engine.

Waste vegetable oil as a fuel is a green, environmentally friendly and ecologically conscious way to fuel our cars. Greasy Rider not only shows the verisimilitude of alternative fuel but it inspires the audience to live greener and think outside of our petroleum oil confines. However, if you are contemplating using vegetable oil as fuel, there are a few things to consider; using vegetable oil as fuel could be illegal in certain states, as state and federal revenue agents within the U.S. require special licenses to drive the converted cars as well as payment of motor fuel taxes. If you are looking into using vegetable oil as fuel please be sure to check your state laws and look into purchasing a conversion kit.

Joey Carey and JJ Beck have joined the movement, will you?

vegetable oil as fuel

Sources found here & here

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Child Sex Trafficking in America: What You Can Do

Many people still consider child sex trafficking to only be a problem in other countries – not in the United States.  They are wrong.

Experts estimate that 100,000-300,000 children in the U.S. are exploited through prostitution each year. The average age when they first become victims of prostitution is 13.

While runaways are commonly recruited, other children are abducted and forced into sex slavery – from rural as well as urban areas throughout America. Whether the children are runaways originally agreeing to prostitution or are taken against their will, it is unacceptable. The prostitution of children is unacceptable. It must be recognized and stopped.

How You Can Help

Right now thousands upon thousands of children live in a world filled with horrors many of us cannot even begin to imagine. They need your help.

Listed below are a few steps you can take to learn about and help bring an end to child sex slavery today.


As an independent film production company, Sundial Pictures is presented with opportunities to support powerful documentary and feature films that can affect people’s lives and make a difference. One such film is PLAYGROUND: Child Sex Trafficking in America.

Executive produced by George Clooney, Grant Heslov, and Steven Soderbergh, PLAYGROUND is a must-see film in which producer and director Libby Spears investigates and brings to light the topic many Americans would rather not face.

Read the National Report & Get the Facts

With a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, Shared Hope International conducted field assessments in 10 U.S. locations and presented findings in The National Report on Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking: America’s Prostituted Children. Click the link to read the eye-opening report.

Human Trafficking of Children in the United States , a fact sheet provided by the Office of Safe & Drug Free Schools, offers additional information on child sex trafficking, including how to identify and get help for victims and where to report suspected sex slavery crimes.

Support S.596 & Related Bills

Senate Bill 596: Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking Deterrence and Victims Support Act of 2011, sponsored by Senators Ron Wyden [D-OR] and John Cornyn [R-TX], is a bill in the U.S. Congress referred to Senate Judiciary Committee in March. Bills targeting child sex trafficking are also moving through state legislatures, including in Oregon and California.

As stated in S.596, modern day slavery is one of the fastest-growing, and the second largest, criminal enterprise in the world. Human trafficking generates an estimated profit of $32,000,000,000 per year, worldwide, and sex trafficking is one of the most lucrative areas of human trafficking.

Let’s change that.

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Sundial Pictures Presents “Live Chat with Pariah The Movie” Online January 19th

As an independent film production company, we’re often presented with the opportunity to participate in the production of films with the potential to change lives and make positive impacts on our society. Such is the case with PARIAH The Movie.

An Official Selection of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, PARIAH is a full-length feature film based on the award-winning semi-autobiographical short, both written and directed by Dee Rees. In this coming of age drama Alike (Adepero Oduye), a 17-year-old African-American lesbian, is torn between trying to fit in with her conservative parents and gay friends. Faced with the question of ‘Who do you become when you can’t be yourself?’ she unsuccessfully juggles multiple identities, resulting in explosive consequences.

Everyone at Sundial Pictures is proud to have had a part in bringing this powerful drama through production, and now we’d like your help in bringing it to the masses.

To help spread the word, Sundial Pictures and co-producer Northstar Pictures arranged a special online event, Live Chat with PARIAH The Movie. Scheduled for January 19th from 8-9pm EST through LiveStream, the free event will feature exclusive clips from the new movie and a live chat with Rees and producer Nekisa Cooper. You’ll be able to see the clips, learn more about the movie and ask the producer and director questions.

Needing funds to complete the project and get the cast and crew to Sundance for PARIAH’s world premier later this month, Rees recently initiated a Kickstarter campaign. With the goal of $10,000 already met, PARIAH will be giving back to the community. Half of every additional dollar raised in the Kickstarter campaign will be donated to The Ali Forney Center, which provides support to homeless LGBT youth.

In addition to participating in the Kickstarter campaign, you’re asked to support PARIAH by demanding that it be shown in local theaters. It’s easy to do. Simply visit the PARIAH website and enter your email address and zip code.

But even if you aren’t able to donate, mark your calendar for Wednesday, January 19th, and join us for this free special online event!

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Filmmaker Elgin James Opens Up in Sundance “Meet the Artist” Interview

In a video interview for the Sundance Film Festival 2011 Meet the Artists series, filmmaker Elgin James openly talks about his new movie, LITTLE BIRDS, and why he wanted to tell this dramatic story. LITTLE BIRDS premiers next month in the U.S. Dramatic competition at Sundance, the leading independent film festival held each year in Park City, Utah.

James, who wrote and directed LITTLE BIRDS, says the film is about the last five days of the friendship of two 15-year-old girls who’ve grown up together and were best friends until one followed the other in running away to Los Angeles.

“It’s the last five days of their friendship, and it’s the last five days of their innocence,” says James in the interview.

Growing up in a remote area near the Salton Sea, one of the girls feels “suffocated,” “too big for the town” and just wants to get out. She meets some homeless skateboarders and decides to run away and meet up with them in LA. Although her best friend feels content living outside the scariness of the world, she follows along because of their friendship, leaving behind the safety of their lives at home.

The film stars Juno Temple and Kay Panabaker, with a supporting cast that includes Kate Bosworth, Leslie Mann and Kyle Gallner.

While it may seem strange to hear that the emotional tale about these teenage girls is a semiautobiographical film about a former gang leader’s life, as you listen to James in the video interview and then see the film, you can understand where he’s coming from and how this movie is his way of sharing his story.

James also talks about the impact Sundance has had on his life and the significance of LITTLE BIRDS premiering at the film festival.

“Everything I am as a person now and everything that I am, definitely, as a filmmaker came from Sundance,” he says, “so it wouldn’t make sense for it to play anywhere else first.”

Little Birds is one of two new films premiering at the upcoming festival that independent film production company Sundial Pictures helped bring to the world. The other film, PARIAH by Dee Rees, is also playing in the U.S. Dramatic competition.

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New Film Production Company Opens at Amazon.com, Changes Filmmaking

Amazon.com recently opened a new film production company, making it possible for unknown filmmakers and screenwriters to get their work noticed. The company, Amazon Studios, launched online with contests offering a combined $2.7 million in monthly and annual awards as its first call for submissions. Winners of the annual contest will get to meet with Warner Bros. Pictures for possible theatrical production of their films.

By opening submissions to anyone with a test film or movie script and presenting those submissions to a global audience for review and revision, Amazon Studios creates a new way for unknown filmmakers to get funding for their movies, as well as a way for studios to get new content and talent. It democratizes the filmmaking industry and changes how feature films develop.

2011 Call for Submissions Contests

If you’ve produced an original full length feature film or wrote a script for one, Amazon Studios wants to see it.  And they want to share it with filmmakers and movie fans globally.

The first monthly contest deadline is January 31, 2011. Additional monthly contests are scheduled for February and March. In each of these contests the filmmaker submitting the best original movie will win $100,000 and the top two movie scripts will bring awards of $20,000 each. Winners will also be entered in the annual contest with $1.1 million in awards. The annual contest ends December 31, 2011.

There’s no charge for submissions. You simply create an account, upload your project, and agree to the terms. But make sure you read the agreement; by submitting an original project you’re offering Amazon the exclusive right to buy, develop and distribute your project based on their terms. Once you’ve submitted the project, it cannot be deleted. You give up exclusive rights, even if Amazon decides not to exercise their options. According to Amazon, contest rules will evolve over time, so watch for updates.

Contests for Revisions

If you see an original film or script on Amazon Studios that you think you can make significant improvements to, or you want to make a test film from someone else’s movie script on Amazon Studios, do so. You won’t get any rights to the project, but you could be eligible for monetary awards and get exposure for your work.

Amazon Studios Wants You to Participate

Whether you’re a filmmaker, screenwriter, production company or movie fan, Amazon Studios wants your participation. To learn how you can get involved, visit this new production company online.

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