Tuesday, October 21, 2008


On October 4th I got a Facebook message from Melanie Miller, Artistic Director of the Jackson Hole Film Festival, (above, right with Festival Programmer Cevin Cathell and me) announcing the closure of the Festival due to lack of funding.

Today's DAILY VARIETY has run an article (HERE) about how the current economic crisis has affected the world of film festival sponsorships.

It's a sad day when truly great Fests such as Jackson Hole have to shutter because local and national sponsors drop out for monetary reasons. I realize there are a glut of festivals world-wide -- in fact, too many here in the States in my view -- but fests that find a special niche and promote real independent cinema (not just studio specialty arms) are rare and serve as an oasis on our cultural deserts.

Melanie, Cevin, Diane and the entire JHFF gang, I want you to know how very much all your hard work has been appreciated. I know Cevin you're already over at Sonoma (another favorite of mine) and Diane you are busy at work on a feature film, but I will always remember the incredibly impressive (and exceptionally well run) festival you put on and wish you tremendous success in your next adventures.

Thank you for your dedication and talent over the past five years. I feel exceptionally fortunate to have been a participant.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


I reluctantly checked out of L'Auberge, but was excited to be joining Gerard and Jane for a quick breakfast at their home high atop a mountain range. More stunning views. More great food. More wonderful conversation. I hated leaving Sedona, but needed to get back to L.A.

Just to put things into perspective, this is the sight that greeted me upon arriving into Sedona Monday:

And this is the sight that greeted me upon returning home:

Unaltered pictures reflecting my altered life. Altered by the fact that I've been so fortunate to travel to so many cool places, and meet so many cool people. All because of this little film called SHERMAN'S WAY. For a "road trip" movie that doesn't go anywhere, it's taken me on one helluva fun trip so far.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


I spent the morning working on a screenplay, at first at the desk in my room, then down by the stream. It was a perfect work environment. I even managed to make a number of business calls from my al fresco office. At one point, an agent in New York interrupted our negations asking if I had just quacked at him. No, I said. I’m surrounded by ducks. I assume he thought I was in L.A., and I found it humorous that he didn’t follow up my comment with anything other than a nonplussed “Oh.”

After lunch I finally had the opportunity to meet Pat in person. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more enthusiastic festival director anywhere on the planet. His infectious smile and enthusiastic love of movies goes a long way to explain why Sedona Film Festival enjoys such a great reputation among filmmakers and filmgoers alike. As I pulled up to the Harkins Theater, I took note of the many construction/traffic workers outside the theater. They seemed to be waving people into the cinema with their big orange flags. When Pat greeted me in the same reflective yellow vest and hard hat, I became aware of all the traffic cones and street signs leading into the theater where the film was going to be playing. It was all for us! I was so amused and impressed with how they decked the place out with the Sherman traffic sign motif. Very clever. Very effective.

We went inside and did a sound and picture check on the film before I dashed back to the hotel, where Mike was due to arrive at any minute. The theater lobby was already filling up with people buying tickets to the 4:00 screening – including Joaquin’s mom and dad, sister and nephews, aunts, uncles and cousins. The place was crawling with Sedillo’s!

Mike and I got some business done on his porch (over a glass or two of wine) before we headed back to the theater for the first screening’s Q&A. It went great until an audience member commented on how cool she thought the sepia coloring we did on the film was but asked about its meaning. I looked to Pat and he explained that there was a problem with the projector, but it was being corrected for the next screening. It was funny how many in the audience thought it was some kind of artsy creative choice we made. Maybe on our next film. As we’ve seen at many other festivals, the audience asked great questions and made for a lively give and take.

Following the Q&A, Pat introduced Mike and I to Mary and Suzy, festival board members who were graciously hosting a dinner for us at their home between screenings. And what a home it was. A stunning, sprawling pueblo-inspired ranch home nestled in one of the most beautiful spots I’d ever seen. The delicious food was topped only by the delightful conversation. It was certainly an evening to remember. Time for us to return to the theater came quickly, and Mike and I arrived just as the film finished up.

Now… a warning for filmmakers on the festival circuit who also like their wine: ease up on the grape before doing a Q&A. I’m afraid I was a little fast and loose with my attempts at humor and forgot that our audience consisted of more than just college kids. When a sweet elderly man commented on how much he enjoyed not just the jokes, but also the heartfelt moments that left a lump in his throat, I smiled, paused and promptly called him a “pussy.” The stunned look on everyone’s face – including Mike’s – albeit priceless, is one I hope not to see anytime soon. I’m sure there were other transgressions, but thankfully my buzz was such that I’ve all but forgotten them. I’m sure Mike will remind me, however, whenever the opportunity arises. Luckily, everyone afterwards was extremely kind and filled with good humor. Seems the evening was a success.

I can’t wait to finish our next film and hopefully be invited back to Sedona. I’ll promise not to drink too much.

Monday, October 13, 2008


I was particularly excited about returning to Sedona to screen SHERMAN’S WAY during the festival’s Second Tuesday series. As I mentioned earlier on this blog, I had been to the festival years and years ago with another film and it has long held a special place in my heart among film fests. Add on top of that Joaquin Sedillo (our DP) still had tons of family living in his hometown of nearby Flagstaff and were certain to attend, I knew Mike and I were in for a fun couple of days.

After arriving at the huge Phoenix airport, I hopped into my (generously provided) rental car for the two-hour drive to Sedona. (BTW, have you noticed the trend at rental car companies lately? They seem to run out of the compact or midsize car you reserved the second you arrive, and offer to “upgrade” you to a gas-guzzling SUV. It’s happened to me 6 times in the last couple months. This time I insisted they honor the reservation, and they eventually found for me an economy car that resembled a bright red roller skate that “whistled” loudly whenever I exceeded 30 mph.)

The scenery got increasingly beautiful as I neared the Red Rock desert city and, aside from a plethora of construction workers buzzing around a series of brand new roundabouts, the town looked exactly as I recalled. As I checked into the L’Auberge de Sedona (this fest really knows how to spoil filmmakers!) I was taken by the amazing views surrounding the luxury resort. I snapped a picture of the view from my cabin (above).

Fest director Pat Schweiss called to make sure I was settled in and asked if I needed anything. I looked around the sumptuous room replete with King Size bed, wood-burning fireplace, big screen TV, spa bathtub and a private porch overlooking a duck-filled stream. “I could really use an additional 5 days here!” “We’d be delighted,” was Pat’s cheerful reply. I, of course was kidding. Not sure if Pat was.

The hotel was hosting its nightly wine and cheese reception (anytime you put the words “wine” “cheese” and “free” together… I’m there) in the main lobby and I was joined for a drink with my old friend from Australia, actor/writer Gerard Maguire. It was great seeing him after way too many years. We continued our visit over dinner at the nearby Cowboy Club and promised to get together again tomorrow after the screening when his wife Jane Alsobrook could join us. Jane and I worked together years ago (she in distribution, I in production) -- she’s a legend in the independent film world.

Saturday, October 4, 2008


Okay, how trippy is this? A screen capture of this blog was utilized on TV personality Tamara Henry's blog, and now I'm posting the altered blog in our blog. It's all getting a bit Escher. Tamara's show IN WITH TAMARA HENRY (which will air this coming Monday, October 6 in the Los Angeles area on Time Warner Cable channels 43, 77 and 98) features a segment on the Gaia Film Festival where SHERMAN'S WAY was honored with the Audience Award for Best Feature. I'm the in-studio guest, and had a fun time chatting it up with the delightful Ms. Henry. Unfortunately, I have no idea what time the program airs. Perhaps you can just park yourself in front of the TV and watch public access programming all day long.

Friday, October 3, 2008


One of the biggest personal by-products of directing SHERMAN'S WAY was my new-found enthusiasm for British cars in general, MGB's in particular. Little by little, I've seen my mailbox filled with all sorts of publications relating to British motorcars -- some I've subscribed to, and others that just mysteriously show up in my mail. One such publication arrived today, and as I was perusing its contents over lunch, I was surprised to see a mention of our very own MGB movie. Appropriately titled BRITISH MOTORING magazine sent reporter Kathleen Mangan to the MG2008 Car Show, where as you may recall, we screened the film to an enthusiastic crowd of 300. Thanks, Kathleen for mentioning the film! We appreciate the publicity! If you'd like to read the article online, click HERE and scroll down to page 35.

We've also started getting some press surrounding the upcoming SEDONA FILM FESTIVAL Second Tuesday Screening on October 14th in Arizona. Check out the latest online edition of RED ROCK MAGAZINE for a feature article on SW.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Almost ten years ago I was fortunate enough to win Best Feature Film with RHAPSODY IN BLOOM at the Sedona Film Festival and am thrilled to be invited back to screen SHERMAN'S WAY as part of the festival's prestigious SECOND TUESDAY SERIES. We'll screen twice at the Harkins Sedona Six Theatres (at 4pm and 7pm) and both Mike and I will be on hand for Q&A after each screening. I absolutely love Sedona and its very art-oriented community. I'm bummed however that our cinematographer Joaquin Sedillo won't be able to join us (he's shooting a series for CBS in San Diego), especially in light of the fact he was born and raised in Flagstaff, Arizona -- just minutes away from Sedona. But I'll use the tie-in to feature an interview with Joaquin on this blog in the coming days.

For tickets and more information on the event, click HERE to visit the festivals website.

Friday, September 26, 2008


Looks like we'll be concluding our festival run at the prestigious Hollywood Film Festival on Saturday, October 25 with a 9:00 PM screening at the Arclight Cinemas in Hollywood! We've a 200 seat theater to fill, so start spreading the news! Tickets will be on sale through the Arclight website and I'll notify everyone on this blog exactly when they become available.

Ten years ago we screened my first collaboration with Mike, RHAPSODY IN BLOOM, at the festival. Star Penelope Ann Miller won Best Actress for her tour de force performance as Lilah Bloom. I've never really been sure what Tour de Force means (I think Lance Armstrong is involved somehow) but we were all honored anyway. Who knows? Perhaps this year Mike will get the honor. Wouldn't that be a nice little bookend?

Sunday, September 14, 2008


We needed to make a midday flight from Oakland, so Mike and I left Lake County early and had breakfast in Calistoga. Unfortunately we didn't get a chance to say goodbye to Karen in person, which we would have liked, as she was a terrifically enthusiastic supporter of the film and worked tirelessly to bring SHERMAN'S WAY back to where it all started. Not to mention she filled our guest house with yummy wines and tasty goodies! Thank you, Karen for a wonderful experience!

Elizabeth's article in Lake County News was published in the Sunday edition, and can be read online HERE.

In just a few minutes, Mike and I will be boarding a plane to Denver to work with a writer adapting his play for what we hope will be our next feature film project. Oh goody! A whole new blog to look forward to!

Saturday, September 13, 2008


Mike and I began our day by heading over the hill into St. Helena to check out some wineries. After breakfast (and a brief stop into a boutique pet store so Mike could buy his dog Stevie an over-priced treat) we remembered we had a friend who owned a nearby vineyard. We hastily arranged a private tour of the sumptuous grounds and topped off the visit with a leisurely tasting of six of their top wines. What a treat!

We made it back into Middletown just in time for the Q&A following the 4pm screening. Again, we were greeted by an enthusiastic audience filled with friendly faces, some of whom were quite familiar -- including Isabella Mattina, the adorable young redhead who has an interesting on-screen encounter with James LeGros' Palmer. She was a terrific sport and joined us on stage for the Q&A. (Click on picture to enlarge.)

After signing a few autographs, (I know, huh?) we were whisked away by Karen to the Boar's Breath restaurant to dine with local reporter Elizabeth Larson of Lake County News. The two hour dinner was not only tasty and filled with great conversation, but will result in a feature article on the film.

The 8pm screening got off to a late start due to overcrowding (how cool is that!) so the Q&A started just before 10pm. Another great crowd. This audience was very eager to ask questions, which Mike and I enjoyed fielding.

Rob Brown, the county official who not only helped us with road closures but also served up an amazing Bison BBQ for the entire crew during the shoot, was there with his lovely wife and daughter. Missing was his son Jordan who had better things to do than see himself up on screen as an extra! Also in the audience was local realtor Rick White, who shared with us the above photo he took during the shoot, as well as our wonderful hosts, the McLaughlins, who invited us back to the main house for post-screening drinks.

After saying goodnight to everyone, we hopped into our rented Grand Prix and navigated the dark roads back to the compound. As we wended our way down the dirt roads towards our guest house, a large buck bolted in front of the car, startling both Mike and I. He was followed immediately by a young deer and, seconds later, a GIANT mountain lion! For some reason, I joined in the chase with my high beams on and soon watched the racing trio disappear into the woods. City boy Mike insisted we drive to the nearby main house, lest the mountain lion decide on a gamier meal -- a New York cut perhaps? As I inadvertently drove across the McLaughlin's lawn, we excitedly chattered on about our Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom experience. Inside, as we sipped wine and devoured cheeses, the other guests were somewhat nonplussed about our brush with death. Seems there is a lot of wildlife in Whispering Pines. Charlie and Linda were amazing hosts, and we greatly enjoyed meeting all their friends. As 1am approached, we reluctantly said our goodbyes and risked our lives racing back to the guest house before we being eaten. Ah, the glamorous lives of filmmakers.

Friday, September 12, 2008


Of all the festivals we’ve played, Coyote promised to be a special experience given that it took place in the very community in which we shot the movie. And as a result, many in the audience were sure to have been extras in the movie, or owners of the locations we used.

Mike and I arrived at the San Francisco International Airport at roughly the same time -- me from L.A., he from New York. After renting a car, we made our way up through Napa, Sonoma and Calistoga, where we stopped for a quick lunch. Then we were on our way through the winding roads into Lake County. Middletown to be exact – the home of Lake Langtry where we spent 10 days shooting the lakeside scenes with Mike, James LeGros and Enrico Colantoni.

We met up with Festival founder/director Karen Turcotte at the venue, checked out the projection equipment then followed her to our digs for the next couple of days. Lake County locals Charlie and Linda McLaughlin generously hosted us in one of their beautiful guest homes on their Whispering Pines compound. Mike was dubious at us staying at a compound for the word conjured up images of the Branch Davidians in Waco. For me, “compound” brings to mind the Kennedy’s retreat in Hyannisport. We were delighted to see that reality was closer to what I had imagined!

After a short rest, we briefly met our hosts and then headed off to dinner at Boars Breath restaurant – a local fine-dining establishment we frequented during the shoot. Mike and I both enjoyed a bottle of the local Guenoc wine during dinner and arrived at the screening sufficiently relaxed. The place was packed with familiar faces eager to see what we had shot two years ago. After welcoming everyone we dashed out (there is only so many times we can watch the damn thing) and returned 90 minutes later for the Q&A.

The response was terrific and the comments very generous. The entire audience stayed for the 30 minute session, some offering up corrections to spellings in the end credits! It’s always fun for us when both Mike and I are there for the Q&A, as we offer differing perspectives and commentary on the experience. A special treat was the attendance in the audience of local actress Margaret Beach who played the travel agent. Also in the audience were local county officials Kelly Cox and Debra Sommerfield, both of whom were key to bringing the production up to Lake County and without whose help the film would not have been possible. Also there was Sandy Tucker, the super nice rep from Lake Langtry Vineyards who was instrumental in securing the Guenoc Wine property.

The sad note was that Tom was scheduled to join us, and his death just a few days earlier was constantly on my mind. It was difficult at times to see him on the screen, but I will forever be proud of the fact that I played a role in the realization of his life-long dream to be a film actor.

Although, like cell reception, the GPS connection was spotty in the mountains of Lake County, but we managed to find our way back up to Whispering Pines (the town, not the resort where we housed the crew during production) and settled in for the night.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

THOMAS R. NANCE : July 16, 1965 - September 5, 2008

Tom Nance, a key member of the SHERMAN'S WAY family, and one of my closest friends for nearly 30 years, was struck and killed while riding his motorcycle in Los Angeles late yesterday. The tragic loss that we all feel is almost indescribable. Tom's laugh-out-loud script and years of hard work on the film were invaluable. His late in life pursuit of an acting career began in earnest with his debut as DOUGIE the car salesman in SW and will always be a reminder of just how multi-talented he was. Tom also designed our logo, website, poster and other sales collateral. To say he is irreplacable is putting it mildly. He was one of a kind.

A huge talent. A great friend. A tragic loss. I'll miss you, Tommy.

Sunday, August 31, 2008


It seems that no matter where Mike and I go, there is something named SHERMAN! I spent the Labor Day Weekend with he and his girlfriend at their lakehouse in Connecticut, when we stumbled across this sign at a local county fair!

Saturday, August 30, 2008


Be sure to visit your local newsstand and purchase the latest issues of CLASSIC MOTORSPORTS and CLASSIC MG Magazines as both publications feature articles on SHERMAN'S WAY.

CLASSIC MG Magazine proclaims SW to be "wonderfully entertaining! A must-see!" while CLASSIC MOTORSPORTS says it is "laugh out loud funny!"

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Boy do the folks at the Sonoma Valley Film Festival know how to treat visiting film directors! I arrived in Oakland after the brief flight up from Los Angeles and was warmly greeted by the festival's newly installed Executive Director Louisa Percudani. Louisa, as you know, recently headed up the Newport International Film Festival so it was a delightful reunion and we gabbed like old friends on what felt like a ten minute drive up to Sonoma. I was thrilled to learn that Cevin Cathell, the exuberant senior Programmer from the Jackson Hole Film Festival was also a new Sonoma recruit and would be joining in the night's festivities. So right away I knew I was in for a special evening, one that was sure to include lots of wine with two of my favorite festival folks.

Louisa dropped me off at the lovely MacArthur Place Inn and Spa and I checked in to the gorgeous Garden Cottage. I settled right in and was on the phone to Mike expressing how much I wished he was able to be at the screening with me. Aside from the fact that these events are always more fun with Mike, Tom and Joaquin along, I think Mike in particular would have enjoyed the wine country atmosphere. It reminded me so much of the preliminary trips he and I took up to the area when we first started tossing around story ideas. In fact, as Louisa and I approached the Inn, we passed a stone wall that Mike and I had stopped at to take "pre-production" publicity pictures on way back when. Notice the pensive look on "Sherman's" face as he poses in his Yale sweater complete with a rolled-up copy of the NYTimes. Can you say "on-the-nose?"

I ordered room service and gobbled up an amazing Kobe Beef burger while reading a screenplay, made some business calls then headed down to the Inn's Library where they were serving wine and cheeses. After a few glasses of both reds and whites, I went out front to meet Cevin, who was picking me up for the reception before the screening. It was great seeing her again. One of the best parts of working the festival circuit is meeting people like Louisa and Cevin. So many wonderful people that truly love independent cinema, working so hard to bring obscure little films to the public's attention. I can't tell you how much it means to filmmakers like myself to have their support. It's ironic that I had to leave Newport Rhode Island after just one screening so that I could make it to Jackson Hole in time for our screening there, only to have both of them now working together in Sonoma.

At the Sonoma Valley Community Center, I was treated to, you guessed it, more wine! I also got a chance to meet the head of the festival's board, Kevin McNeely and his wife Rose. Both were incredibly gracious hosts and I was particularly drawn to Kevin's passionate embrace of indie cinema and his commitment to the Festival's new Second Tuesday Screening Series, of which SHERMAN'S WAY inaugurated. I was truly honored to have had our film invited up for the occasion and was thrilled that so many locals turned out on a Tuesday night -- a night when we were competing with the Olympics.

When it was time to go in and introduce the film, I was delighted, surprised, then mortified to see none other than Chuck Lewis, the craggy-faced character actor who played the jeweler in the film -- a scene that was cut in the final version. I had never called him to let him know the scene ended up on the cutting room floor and was now face to face with him. It's always the most awkward part of a director's job to let an actor know, for whatever reason, that all his hard work was for naught. But thankfully Chuck took it well and was very gracious afterwards in his praise of the film. He was great to work with and hopefully his scene will make it into the DVD somewhere. He did agree to pose with Cevin Cathell for a picture.

After the screening was the obligatory Q&A, which was well attended. As I've said many times before in this blog, I particularly enjoy chatting with audiences. It never ceases to amaze me how intelligent and varied the questions are.

Once the hall cleared out a group of us headed down to the other end of the Plaza for a late dinner hosted by the McNeely's. Kevin lifted his glass of wine and toasted SHERMAN'S WAY and wished the film continued success and I likewise wished the festival the same. I let my roast duck melt in my mouth, enjoyed more terrific wine paired nicely with engaging conversation then stumbled back to my cottage around 1am. As I sat in my oversized room, I kept thinking "I can't wait for SW to be distributed, so we can make another film to take on the festival circuit next year!"

Friday, July 18, 2008


Newport International Film Festival director Louisa Percudani has moved across the country to head up the Sonoma Valley Film Festival, and subsequently invited SHERMAN'S WAY to screen August 12 as part of the festival's Second Tuesday Series. They've also generously invited me to be a part of the fun and I'm looking forward to showing the film in the very region where much of the story is set.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

TV INTERVIEW: "IN with Tamara Henry"

My morning started bright and early as I made my way over the Sepulveda Pass and into Santa Monica where I was reunited with TV personality Tamara Henry, whom I met at the Gaia Film Festival in Boulder last month.

Tamara had interviewed a number of the filmmakers there, including yours truly, and was kind enough to invite me back for an in-studio interview.

Tamara's show "IN with Tamara Henry" airs throughout the greater Los Angeles area, and she couldn't have been a more gracious hostess. Prior to taping, she gave me a quick crash course in all things spiritual and shed some light on the conscious movement that was highlighted at the Gaia Fest.

I was taken aback when she introduced me on camera as "The Emperor of All Filmdom," a self-deprecating moniker I gave myself years ago when I felt I was dancing dangerously close to the fringe of obscurity in Hollywood.

The bulk of the half hour was devoted primarily to pre-taped interviews from the festival, as well as our trailer which Tamara plugged marvelously. It was fun, and as I'm sure many of you dear readers know, I'm not terribly shy on camera but as I told Michael on a call after the taping, I can't wait for the film's release when the publicity shifts its focus on to the actors and not the short, fat man behind the curtain. The segment is scheduled to air in September, but more info can be found at greenanchors.org.

Monday, July 14, 2008


I finally received from Mike a photo of him accepting the Audience Award for Best Feature from the Newport International Film Festival back in June. From what Mike told me, the photo doesn't do the glass sculpture justice, but I'm sure the "Clammy Award" looks stunning on his mantel.

Saturday, July 12, 2008


Did everyone happen to catch our very own Enrico Colantoni's new series debut on CBS last night?

Rico plays Sgt Gregory Parker, the leader of an elite, SWAT-type police squad in FLASHPOINT, set and shot in Rico's home town of Toronto. One only needs to look at his work in GALAXY QUEST, JUST SHOOT ME, VERONICA MARS, SHERMAN'S WAY and now FLASHPOINT to see that Rico is probably he most versatile actor working today. Support this excellent show and be sure to tune in every Friday night at 10pm.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


It seems there is a grassroots campaign to elect our very own Sherman Black for President. Take a look at the media coverage thus far...

Sunday, June 29, 2008


Even PEOPLE MAGAZINE is taking notice! The current CHILD STARS: THEN & NOW Special Edition tracks the careers (and non-careers) of some of TV's most popular former child stars. Among them is our very own Lacey Chabert, who starred as Claudia Salinger in the long-running hit drama PARTY OF FIVE. What would have been really cool for PEOPLE to mention, however, is how PARTY co-stars Michael Shulman and Thomas Ian Nicholas also appear in SHERMAN'S WAY. Shulman, who of course stars as Sherman, played Claudia's first season boyfriend Artie Baum, while Thomas, who plays the intern Tom in SW, played her boyfriend Todd Marsh in the sixth (and final) season.

Friday, June 27, 2008

MG2008 - Day Two

Have you ever seen such a good-looking audience before?

At about 7pm this evening a bright flash caused me to pull back the curtains and look out my hotel room window. The 9pm Drive-In Movie screening of SHERMAN'S WAY seemed to have hit a pothole: it was POURING down rain. I knew event head Jim Schulte had everything under control, but I couldn't help but wonder what was happening downstairs with those hundreds of convertibles, let alone the projection and sound equipment. When I got down to the lobby, I heard people asking in what room the movie was going to be playing, and followed them into a large banquet room where there was already a large screen and about 350 seats set up. It seems that a contingency plan had long been in the works and and everything went off without a hitch.

The packed room couldn't have been a better audience. Even though some of the, let's say "less than accurate" restoration techniques portrayed in the film got some of the biggest laughs, the response to the story, characters, jokes and even the more tender moments seemed very authentic and appreciative. I don't think I've ever been more concerned about how an audience would respond. The MG community has been so great and so supportive of the project, I just really wanted them to like the film. And judging from the applause and the fact that 95% of them stayed after for the Q&A, I think they did. There were great questions, funny comments and very kind compliments.

Afterwards I met many kind folks who were very generous in their compliments, including Kathleen Mangan of Classic Motorsports and British Motoring Magazines and Richard Lunney, editor of Classic MG Magazine. Both expressed interest in doing features and/or reviews on the film! That sort of PR is so important to indie films like ours. I'll keep you posted.

Tomorrow is the big Car Show, so I've got to get some sleep. Oh, by the way, Josh and I spent a few hours at Longwood Gardens today, something any lover of outdoor beauty should certainly see when they are in Pennsylvania.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

MG2008 - Day One

We arrived here in Philadelphia, well, actually Valley Forge... or maybe it's technically King of Prussia... in any case, we arrived in Pennsylvania late yesterday and settled in to the hotel which is surrounded by hundreds of MG's. There are mostly MGB's but numerous MGA's, a few MGC's, some T-series MG's and a handful of MGB GT's. Everytime I see a red MGB I think how nice it would have been to bring the film's little B here. Then reality sets in as I recall how much of an ordeal it would have been to drive it from Los Angeles.

The folks here, the MG enthuisiasts, are such a terrific group. Many have come up to me to let me know how excited they are to see the movie Friday night. I'm a nervous wreck! Even though the film has played beyond our expectations to festival audiences, this will be the first time a group of gear-heads and people who really know their way around an MGB will see our "Hollywood" attempt at MG restoration!

I spent a chunk of the day with my son Josh seeing the Valley Forge National Park, a gorgeous and historic site that we could easily have spent more time exploring.

At dinner time it was off to the MG BBQ. Rather than write about it, I thought I'd share a brief video of the experience so you can actually see some of the cars. But first, a word to those at MG2008 who see this: I noticed that I keep incorrectly referring to all MG's as "MGB's" -- it's not so much a B bias, but rather me trying to do a video in one take without a cameraman, sound mixer, script supervisor, editor, you know, all the people who typically keep me from making too many mistakes! Anyway, take a look...

Sunday, June 22, 2008


Our good fortune continued its streak today when we were awarded the Audience Award for Best Feature Film at the third Annual Gaia Film Festival here in Boulder, Colorado. I was thrilled when Festival Director Una Morera announced from the stage in the historic Boulder Theater that we won.

The other Audience Awards went to FIVE WISHES, the short that proceeded our film at yesterday's screening, and FIELDS OF FUEL, the much publicised doc that had all of Boulder buzzing. Fellow filmmakers Michael Goorjian and Josh Tickell are terrific guys and I couldn't be happier they walked away with awards too.

Today started with an early brunch for the filmmakers and festival staff and jurors. After last night it was hard getting up for the 9am event but I managed to make it there and lo and behold, Heather was already seated and looking far prettier than she was entitled to considering our late night. I didn't stay long, however since I really wanted to see the 11 AM screening of DIAMOND DOG CAPER. I thought the two shorts that proceeded the feature were very clever and well produced, but unfortunately my two hours of sleep caught up with me 20 minutes into the feature and I had to retreat to my hotel room for a nap.

The rest of the day is a bit of a blur, but I'll share with you via video some of it below:

Saturday, June 21, 2008


Okay. So it's after 3:00 AM and I can't possibly be held responsible for anything I'm about to write since I was dragged kicking and screaming to bar after bar. Well, maybe not kicking and screaming, but I do recall uttering under my breath at least once "but I need to get back to my room. I need to blog." But before I go into how my night ended, let me backtrack and tell you how my day started.

I woke up late. Much too late. But I needed the sleep. I headed out to grab some food on Pearl Street and read a script while I ate. I then headed over towards the public library where our screening was to take place, but was distracted by the hordes of half-naked coeds running around with large inner-tubes. I followed the crowd (out of mere curiousity, of course) down to a river where tons of college kids were rafting the rapids. It looked incredibly fun, a little dangerous, and wonderfully refreshing on such a hot day. After watching for a bit, I wondered over to the Library and settled in for the last few minutes of the Q&A for CAKE EATERS with producer Jesse Scolaro, one of those responsible for keeping me out so late...

Soon it was time for our screening, which was preceeded by Michael Goorjian's terrific short FIVE WISHES starring writer Gay Hendricks in a surprisingly moving acting debut. Before our film screened, I was introduced by fest director Una Morera. I mentioned to the audience that my son Josh was going to be attending CU Boulder in the fall and their response was so warm, I videotaped the entire crowd welcoming him to their city. It's included below:

After the screening we had a lively Q&A. This audience was very keen on hearing about the process of making the film, not just the budget, production schedule, etc. As often happens, the questions and comments spilled into the halls and I met some terrific Boulderites. Or is it Boulderidians?

Then it was a quick TV interview with the lovely Tamara Henry, host of the Los Angeles celebrity show IN WITH TAMARA HENRY. She was exceptionally gracious and kept the conversation lively and fun. I'll keep you posted on the segment's airdate.

I was running late to a meeting with a Denver-based playwright, who was more than understanding with all the interuptions. We settled into the bar at the St. Julien and discussed his play until it was time to head into the 8:15 screening of SAMSARA, Pan Nalin's spiritual love-story set in the majestic Himalayas. This two hour and twenty minute epic was far more accesible than I imagined and I was quite taken by the beauty of it.

Okay, now we're back to where I started. I got a message on my cell from Heather, Una's friend and sometime helper, letting me know the filmmaker's party was moved to a new locale. When I arrived and introduced myself to Heather, I settled in at the bar with a glass of Melbac. It turns out, Heather was the gifted singer/songwriter that entertained at the Opening Night party. The conversation opened up to include the other filmmakers at the table including Jesse. Before we knew it, the bar was closing and we were ushered out to the street and I said my goodnights. Jesse and Heather had decided however, that I was going to join them for a nightcap at another bar, so giving into peer pressure, I trapsed down Pearl in search of an open bar.

Along the way, we picked up an hilarious trio who had clearly been enjoying the Boulder nightlife. Somehow, they managed to get the local Ben and Jerry's opened up and snagged some free ice cream, which we all eagerly shared on the sidewalk. They opted not to join us at The Foundry where we barely made last call. Upon being kicked out of that establishment at closing time, we huddled at the door marvelling at all the young people wondering aimlessly in search of a Saturday evening that didn't want to end.

This is where we met Angelo and Dana, two long time buddies that roomed together in college and provided some (often unintentional) comic relief as they gave a running commentary to the scene around us. I felt that if Josh were to meet guys like this when he gets here, he'll be just fine. They walked us back to the hotel (Angelo clearly had eyes for Heather) and said goodbyes... about ten times.

All in all it was a very fun day. The screening went well, the interview went well, the meeting went well, the party went well and well, the bar hoping went well. And now I gotta get up for a brunch at 9AM. Isn't that techincally still breakfast at that hour?

Friday, June 20, 2008


My lordy it's beautiful here. Getting here was another matter. Taking the FlyAway shuttle to LAX at 4am is never my ideal way of starting ANY day. But, despite never being able to sleep on a plane (let alone two due to the stop-over in Salt Lake City), I was happy to be greeted at the airport by Gaia Jack-of-all-trades Maxamillian, who whisked fellow filmmaker David Sereda and me from the Denver Airport to Boulder in what felt like minutes.

After checking in at the St Julien Hotel and Spa, I settled in and glanced through the local papers only to come across a couple of articles in the COLORADO DAILY that mentioned SHERMAN'S WAY. One, in which I'm quoted throughout, has me saying something I'll forever deny... even if I actually said it! (Check it out HERE. I won't repeat it here, other than to say I'm far too young to have a 26 year old!!)

The other article quotes festival director Una Morera chatting up the festival's offerings, including SW. You can read it HERE.

I'm going to try to get a few minutes of shut eye before tonight's party and Opening Night screening of the doc WATER. I hear it's quite good.

More later...

It's 11:17 PM and just returned from the Boulder Theater where a good size crowd came to see the doc WATER. Very heady stuff, especially for a sleep-deprived Angelino. While there I got to meet Josh Tickell, director and star of FIELDS OF FUEL, the doc that won this year's Audience Award at Sundance. We actually bumped into each other in Jackson Hole but didn't really get a chance to chat. Looking forward to seeing his film Sunday.

Also met Juror Jerry Aronson, director of 1994's THE LIFE AND TIMES OF ALLEN GINSBERG who recently retired from teaching film at University of Colorado at Boulder. Una was a charming hostess as she introduced all of us filmmakers from the stage before getting the screening underway.

Tomorrow starts with THE CAKE EATERS, which I saw at JHFF so it looks like I get to sleep in, then explore the town. Yippee!

Thursday, June 19, 2008


So, dear reader, we need your help. Your comments matter and as we begin to share the film with distribution execs they'll be looking for reviews of the film throughout the internet. If you've seen SHERMAN'S WAY, and liked it, perhaps you could take a moment out of your busy day and write a review and post it on the New York Times website, or IMDb, or Rotten Tomatoes, or any other site that allows regular folks like us post reviews online.

Here are some handy links:
New York Times



Yahoo Movies
Thank you, as always, for your continued support. And remember, the quicker we get this movie sold, the sooner annoying posts like this will cease!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


One of the most frequent comments I get about the movie at festivals is about our music. It seems everyone loves the incredible group of songs that Music Supervisor Dondi Bastone collected for our soundtrack and the quirky underscore composer David Michael Frank created just for SHERMAN'S WAY.

While deleting old files on a flash drive, I came across some video clips of early sessions with David as he composed cues on the piano in his studio. To me, scoring is one of the most exciting stages in a movie's life. And to watch David alter, shape and incorporate my notes on the fly is nothing short of magical. I must confess it's not always easy for me to listen to a piano and extract from that how a cue will sound with a full orchestra, but somehow David can hear every oboe, every violin and every percussion. It's truly a gift I envy.

Here is a clip from the final scene on the beach. I actually think it sounds incredible with just the piano.

Monday, June 16, 2008


Well, later this week I head out to Boulder, Colorado for the Gaia Film Festival. I'm really looking forward to this fest for, among other reasons, my son is going to the University of Colorado at Boulder in the Fall and I want to get to know the city better.

The festival describes its mandate as supporting a film "that inspires us, lifts our spirit, or transforms our lives. A Gaia Film makes us feel more hopeful, more thankful, more connected, more passionate, and better about life in general. We identify with a Gaia Film's characters on a deep, emotional level, and are motivated by their stories to pursue positive change in our own lives. A Gaia film honors the belief that simple choices can change the world and inspires us to make a difference."

Hmmm. Throw in some skin and a poop joke and it describes our film to a tee!

Saturday, June 14, 2008


I realize this is a festival blog, and a car show is hardly a film festival, BUT this terrific group of MG enthusiasts invited us to bring the little blaze red MGB from the film to participate in the show and how could I possibly say no since so many of them are friends and supporters of SHERMAN'S WAY. Besides, Bob and Vicki Bond were there with their beautiful 1967 MGB which we also used in the film as the "restored" version at the end of the film.

It was incredibly hot in the valley today, but that didn't stop hundreds of car fans from showing up. We had a lot of fun talking up the film, handing out stickers, postcards, posters and of course special "Sherman's Way" water bottles.

Joaquin was there with me, and we reminisced about the film shoot with the Bonds about our adventure in Northern California. By the way, their car won second prize in the "Chrome Bumper B" competition!

Monday, June 9, 2008

DAY FIVE - Jackson Hole Film Festival

Well all good things must come to an end. But why must the end always include trying to stuff a week's worth of junk into an overnight bag? I rushed out of the Lodge early and headed to the Jackson Hole Airport to return the rental car, check in and make it to the gate in time for my 10:30am flight. In addition to all the clothes I brought for both Newport and Jackson Hole, I now had two huge gift bags (one for Mike) as well as news-clippings, program guides and of course, a foot tall bronze statue (pictured at right). But I had to get home today in time for my son Josh's birthday.

I was pleased to learn that fellow filmmaker Matt Merkovich was on my flight and we were able to sit next to each other and continue the wonderful dialog we began at the festival. Matt's a smart guy and it was freaky to learn how much we had in common -- like we both have the same favorite word: sesquipedalian. Odd but true.

After three airports, two planes, a shuttle bus and a cab I made it home. Well, actually, Josh had called as I landed at LAX asking me to come visit him on the set of SWINGTOWN. How could I turn him down on his birthday? So I cabbed it over to the set, luggage in tow and watched him hustle on his incredibly high-paying summer job. I'm so proud. He seems to really like working on a set. After about 20 minutes, I headed home and jumped onto the phone with Mike and we caught up on business.

I've included below some video from yesterday's drive into town before our final screening. Just thought I'd share the view of the Grand Tetons. Not sure why I giggle like a school boy every-time I utter "Grand Tetons." Just sounds naughty.

Sunday, June 8, 2008


My day could not have started off better. After just a few hours of sleep, I was awakened by a call from the awards director at the Newport International Film Festival, who wanted to make sure I'd be at the Awards Ceremony later that morning. I told her I was in Jackson Hole but not to worry, Mike was still in Rhode Island. She asked for his cell number and hinted that it would be very beneficial if he appeared at the awards ceremony.

Later, while I was taping an interview, Mike texted me that we had won the coveted Audience Award for Best Feature. Our second such award. I shared the news with the interviewer and camera crew and went back to hamming it up before the lens.

Moments later, I ran into James and we headed into Studio One for our 12:30 screening, which James introduced. He was very funny, mentioning how even though he's a festival board member, was unaware we'd submitted the film and been accepted. When he saw our film's title on the list, he thought "Huh. I think I did a movie not long ago with the same title." The film started on time before a mostly packed house and played quite well, I think. James and I sat next to each other and I was pleased to hear him actually laughing along with the audience.

Afterwards, he stayed for a brief moment for the Q&A, then rushed off to a screenwriting panel on which he was a participant. I'd say 99% of the audience stayed for the Q&A which went on for about 20 more minutes. Great questions from a great audience.

I sneaked into the panel thirty minutes late. When James saw me pointing a camera in his direction, he pretended to be asleep while another panelist was speaking. I've instead decided to share with you the picture of him cracking his fellow panelists up with a witty (and insightful) response to a question.

When the panel was over I headed down to the square for a burger at Billy's Burgers then a little gift shopping for my son Josh's 20th birthday tomorrow.

It was back to the Center for the Arts and a quick drink with friends before settling into the main theater for the awards ceremony, where Melanie and Cevin handed out really cool Remingtonesque Cowboy Statues to winning filmmakers. About halfway through the ceremony, Melanie announces that they added a new category this year: Best Pre-recorded Acceptance Speech. You see, in anticipation of many filmmakers not being in attendence we were all asked to videotape a speech and send it in advance. So, one afternoon, Tom and I brainstormed and shot a few different approaches, the last of which we submitted and is included here below:

Well, I was shocked when they showed our speech to the entire crowd and then called my name to come up on stage and accept my very own Cowboy award. It was too surreal to give an acceptance speech for winning an award for an acceptance speech. Very Lewis Carroll. But very much appreciated.

Of course, the very fun day was followed by a very fun party. Which was followed by more partying at a nearby pub. I've really enjoyed this fest. Especially getting to know some of the other filmmakers like Kurt Kuenne, James Lester and Matt Merkovich -- the latter two pictured here with me showing off our 12" men.

I head back to LA in the morning and really need sleep. This is timestamped 11:59 but it's really 2:57 am. That way the blog entry date is for Sunday. There. Now you know my trick.

NEWPORT INT'L FILM FEST - The Shulman Perspective

By Michael Shulman

NEW YORK -- I just got back from a terrific and much needed weekend away from the hustle and bustle of NYC to the beautiful and historic Newport, RI. The NIFF was a great experience, and I couldn’t believe the amazing collection of prize-winning films that played at the festival. I say prize-winning because…well, we won! But I’ll get back to that later (did I mention we won?). First, let’s start at the beginning.

I’ve always loved Newport. It’s a town that has so much to offer—the scenery, the history, the restaurants, and the beautiful inns. So we were thrilled to be invited to screen. Craig arrived on Monday to prep the town for the SHERMAN’S WAY marketing machine (by machine I mean us). And on Wednesday morning at 6:00am, I journeyed to Penn Station (also historic as it’s historically crowded), hopped on the train, hopped in a cab, and met Craig at the Klau residence. Now, this festival did accommodations a little bit differently -- they placed filmmakers with a family, and the Klaus were truly one of a kind as they were endlessly hospitable. When I rang the doorbell to their Tudor home, to my “surprise” (notice the quotes), it wasn’t the Klaus who answered but Craig (he had made himself at home).

After talking to the Klaus and passing up their 10th offer to feed us, Craig and I went to the hospitality lounge to distribute more posters (and truth be told for me to drink my 5th cup of coffee that morning). After meeting some filmmakers, we had about an hour to kill before dinner, so we visited the Elms mansion, one of the most enjoyable activities in Newport. It was amazing to see how the “old money” families of Newport lived, with their regal and opulent multi-million dollar homes in which they only spent 1 maybe 2 months out of the year! But the coolest aspect of the family history was how many of these families achieved such vast wealth by sheer hard work and innovation.

Craig and I had a great dinner at 22 Bowens, located right by the water, and then it was off to a press interview with Jim Gillis for the Newport Daily News. As the locals already know, Jim is a wonderful guy, very down to earth, friendly, and talkative (trust me, that’s a rare treat for the interviewee to get a reporter who actually engages in a dialogue!). Jim, Craig and I took some pictures, talked about Newport, the experience of filming SHERMAN’S WAY, creating Starry Night Entertainment, and what we hoped for out of this festival. And then, it was off to the first screening.

Louisa, the festival director, introduced the film (a big honor), and then it began. That’s when I close my eyes. Kidding! Well, sort of. But I’ve by now memorized every frame. The screening went well, and Craig and I really enjoyed the Q & A afterwards where we found the questions both interesting and unique—people truly wanted to hear the story behind the story, and that’s always fun to tell. After the screening, we went to an after party and then it was off to bed. At 3:50am, we headed back to the airport, Craig to Jackson Hole, and myself to New York for a meeting the next day.

On Friday afternoon, it was back up to Newport, this time by car and with my girlfriend Jessie and our new dog Stevie. It was Stevie’s first trip to Newport. He was very excited (ok, I made that part up). We had a nice scenic drive, and checked into the Le Farge Perry house where we were greeted by the innkeeper’s own dog, Jacks. After showing us to our room and innocently removing the $5,000.00 duvet comforter and pillows from Stevie’s sight, she left us to enjoy a beautiful inn. Stevie was in heaven.

On Saturday, the three of us strolled around Newport, first to the ocean (it was Stevie’s first time) and state park. It was so nice to be in this huge state park with no one else in sight (remember, we live in New York City where grass is shared by 3 million other New Yorkers), and after that we visited a terrific pet store where we stocked up on treats, a great organic sandwich place, and then it was off to the screening (Stevie and Jessie stayed back at the inn).

I’ll be honest, I was really nervous! Usually Craig tests the film beforehand and does this great stand-up routine (yes, it really is a stand-up because it’s THAT funny) but this time it was just me, and believe it or not, I’m very shy. The festival staff sensed my nerves and were incredibly friendly and caring. They allowed me to test the film with the projectionist, who had everything set perfectly. That was very reassuring. And, what really helped was that my cousins Doreen, Rich, and Sloane had driven all the way from New Jersey to see the film, which I so greatly appreciated. We had the chance to talk before and catch up, and then I sat next to them during the screening. They laughed when I sat down with my popcorn, candy, and drink. Hey, it’s a movie!

The screening went well, and much to my surprise I really enjoyed the Q&A afterwards! So many people stayed, and it was nice to see the audience members smiling and genuinely interested in hearing more about how the movie was made and what will be its future. All in all, I thought, a wonderful experience, two great screenings, and two terrific audiences. Now, time to enjoy the rest of the trip and head home. Never did I imagine there would be more to come!

Jessie met us with Stevie afterwards and we all went to dinner (we had picked a really friendly local Italian restaurant named Sardella’s that allowed dogs!). I had such a nice time catching up with my cousins (whom I never get to see alone), sitting out in the sun, and eating some great food (and drinking wine!) at Sardella’s. After dinner, we took a long walk back and said goodbye--I still couldn’t believe they came all this way to see my film.

Sunday morning we woke up early, checked out (praising Stevie endlessly for not causing a lawsuit), walked along the cliffs, stocked up on Starbucks, and were about to hit the road when my phone rang…and rang…and rang. It was Ashley, the festival coordinator. “Hey…um…Mike are you staying for the Awards Ceremony?” “Well, I’m not sure Ashley, I appreciate the offer but I probably should head back. Hey, by the way, who won?” Ashley paused and replied “Mike, are YOU staying for the Awards Ceremony.” A beat. “Should I?” Ashley paused again. “See you at the Awards Ceremony.” “But Ashley-“ And she hung up. I stared at Jessie for a moment. “I think we should stay.”

They had the Awards Ceremony on a beautiful ferry, and I got to reconnect with Aaron, the other filmmaker staying at the Klaus. After Louisa’s and Eric’s opening remarks, they got underway with the Awards. And after a few minutes I heard “and the Audience Award for Best Narrative Film goes to….SHERMAN’S WAY! Michael Shulman please stand up”

I couldn’t believe it! All eyes turned to me, and everyone started clapping. I froze. It was a true honor. I walked up, got handed their award, a “Clammy” (a beautiful blue glass Clam) a plaque, and the mic. Hmm…at which point I said a few things I can’t remember, and smiled.

At the end of the festivities, I walked down the dock, called Jessie to tell her to make room in the car for our Clammy, and called Craig, who was very excited. As I said to Louisa and Eric, we were both thrilled and honored to even be at the festival, let alone win. What a great weekend! We’ll be back, film or no film.

And now…it’s 100 degrees in New York and humid. Back to reality!

AUDIENCE AWARD WINNER! Newport Int'l Film Fest

Mike was able to be present at the Awards Ceremony aboard a ferry boat in Newport Harbor where SHERMAN'S WAY was awarded the coveted Audience Award for Best Featire! Woo-hoo! Pics and Mike's blog story to come shortly!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

DAY THREE - Jackson Hole Film Festival

Today was like the perfect "film festival" day. I started my morning out watching an oddly touching, quirky doc called EVERYONE BUT YOU and although the crowd was, well, sparse, I could tell we all enjoyed subject/filmmaker Eric Shiveley's self-exploration of life, love and home. Immediately following the screening, I dashed out to join Mike via speaker phone for the introduction of our screening in Newport. (Look for Mike's blog entry from Rhode Island soon.)

After plastering the immediate area with postcards, stickers and posters hoping to drum up an audience for tomorrow's early screening, I settled in to see the Shorts Program III. Shorts are often the highlight for me of any festival, and this program was particularly strong. Stand-outs were CUTE COUPLE, A DAY IN A LIFE, VALIDATION, VOICEMAIL and SAL MOSCA. Although truth be told, everyone of the shorts were terrific and exceptionally well-programmed.

Afterwards I got an opportunity to talk shop with VOICEMAIL director Matthew Merkovich and VALIDATION director Kurt Kuenne, who it turns out also directed the award-winning doc DEAR ZACHARY, which I was fortunate enough to see up at Cinequest. Plus it turns out, he's friends with my pal, writer Rebecca Sonnenshine. Small world.

I made a promise to myself to actually sit down to at least one meal today and made good on that promise by stuffing my face with pizza at Mountain High Pizza Pie. I chose that place mostly because I like the way the name tripped off my tongue. On my way there, it began to snow. Or hail. Or snail. Couldn't quite tell. I just know it hasn't ever happened in LA whatever it was. I whipped out my trusty camera and shot some video. It was magical. At least to me. The locals looked a little annoyed at it. Or at me videotaping it. Not sure which.

I barely made it into the 5:15 screening of CAKE-EATERS, a beautifully shot, if somewhat slow-paced drama that starred John McCain look-alike Bruce Dern, as well as the young dude from TADPOLE. I can't recall where I've seen the young actress, but she was quite good in a difficult role.

From there, I gave Kurt Kuenne a (circuitous) ride to the Q BBQ Party (I got us a tad lost even though I'd passed the damn place twice daily for the last three days). What a fun party! Great band, great food and wall-to-wall film lovers.

Actor and juror Bill Pullman, who brought his wife and young son, was at the lively bash. I managed to weasle a pic with Pullman and the always upbeat and energetic Program Director Cevin Cathell.

I also finally got to meet James' lovely wife Kristina, as well as some of his local friends.

Now I'm not sure if it's all the wine I drank at the party or what, but it seems there were more animal-like creatures to welcome me back at the lodge that did last night. Hmm. We'll see how the lobby looks in the morning.