Sunday, March 09, 2008

Celebrity Spotting

Some people at work sponsored a workshop (or conference) that brought together artists and media people from the Middle East to get them to discuss how to solve the problems in that region.

Near the end, one of the attendees (
an entertainment celebrity in Damascus) wanted to buy a Macintosh to take home to her sister who owns an advertising agency in Damascus. At the same time one of the organizers also wanted advice on what new Mac she - as a life-long Windows user - should buy. I volunteered to go with them to the Apple store and help them decide.

The next day, as a way of thanking me for helping her with entertaining some of her guests and helping on the Macintosh decision she invited me along to a dinner with another of her guests, the Syrian film and TV writer/director/producer Najdat Anzour.He looks rather like a Middle Eastern John Huston, in his 50s, and has at least as much urbaneness. Najdat is well known in the Middle East as the director of some famous tv soap operas which air during Ramadan, the time of the year when the biggest tv audiences occur (due to the fasting during the day and eating after sunset).

He was here in LA to go to the conference, but also to pitch a movie project to Hollywood. He's got a story, a script, a budget ($50M) and even a big name star, but he couldn't get mainstream Hollywood interested. We spent a good part of the evening talking about the culture of Hollywood, and simply talking about movies. His english was very good, and he has a huge knowledge of film. It's obvious he is well traveled in Europe, and I advised him that getting it into the US might require that he first get it well played in Europe, and get some recognition for it there (e.g. Cannes, Berlin, London, Rome, etc.)

Near the end of the evening we participated in the ritual Exchanging of the Business Cards, and he promised he would send me the script for reading and analysis. And so very unlike Hollywood, he held to his promise. He sent me the script that very evening.

I was supposed to read it this weekend, but was so busy reading other things that I didn't do it. Will have to do it tonight, tomorrow (day) and tomorrow night.

All in all though it was a very interesting event.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Sneak Preview!

One of the local art house theaters (The Aero, part of American Cinematheque) is running 5 days of "heist films", starting with the new movie "The Bank Job" by Roger Donaldson about a famous bank heist in London in 1970. The movie opened last week in the UK (top of the charts there) but doesn't open here in the US until Friday. We not only got to see the movie, but there was a Q&A with director Donaldson ("No Way Out", "The World's Fastest Indian") afterwards too.

Geez I like living here in LA...