Austin, the New LA? 16 Nov 2009.

I always wondered why Austin ex-city leaders would have pointed Austin towards LA as a model city. Last week’s Financial Times Weekend had Lunch with Eli Broad. In which, Mr Broad stated he aimed to make LA a cultural capital. His most forthright notion was linking the stars to cultural events. But isn’t that a bit like buying a Casio watch because Leonardo DiCaprio does an advert for Casio? That only elevates the product on the page or on your arm for a very ‘cheap’ nanosecond… It has no transformational value… unless you’re delusional. So no thanks, Madison Avenue – I’m driving… Anyway… If LA has been in existence since 1781 but is just now shouldering the notion of being a ‘cultural center’ – that can’t bode well for Austin, can it? Napoleon brought culture to the French – but, um, culture isn’t a PR campaign.

Published: Financial Times Weekend, November 15 2009 02:00 | Last updated: November 15 2009 02:00
From Ms Elaine Wilner.

LA Has A Long Way To Go Before It Is A Cultural Capital
Sir, With all due respect to the 93rd richest man in the world, Eli Broad’s claim that Los Angeles is up there with Paris, London and New York as cultural destinations is a bit bizarre. I guess that’s why they call it La La Land.

Yes, they have a lovely drive-in/drive out concert hall (don’t try to walk up to it in scary, empty downtown LA). Yes, the LA Philharmonic sounds very good indeed. Yes, the Opera company (which has a limited schedule) is offering a ground-breaking Ring cycle, but “we’ve got more theatrical productions than New York or London – admittedly they are spread out”, as Mr Broad puts it. Is he counting San Diego, Phoenix, Las Vegas and Denver?

I visit Los Angeles several times a year. Although, I find that its museum offerings are always plentiful and frequently – as the Michelin guide would say – “worth a trip”, the rest of the city’s cultural life, particularly in the performing arts, is no better than you would find in most American big cities – and certainly less than New York, Chicago or even Philadelphia (my home town).

Recently, I encouraged friends to try something different from the usual Caribbean cruise at Christmas time and come to southern California. My search for classical music concerts, theatre and dance performances for them to attend turned up nothing but holiday-related fare, with almost every venue either dark or presenting some child-oriented holiday programme.

Certainly, the goal of reshaping the world capital of entertainment into a world capital of culture is a worthwhile one. But, there is a lot more work to be done. LA will not get there if the leading civic lights declare mission accomplished and explain the failure of the rest of the world to get it as just a PR problem.

Joseph Mutinda. AKRC. 15 Nov 2009.

Gilbert Koech 2:14:39
Laban Moiben 2:15:21
James Bolt 2:15:43
Joseph Mutinda 2:16:00
Noah Talam 2:17:43

My friend, Joseph Mutinda, finished the San Antonio RnR Marathon in fourth place. I stopped by to see the AKRC crew yesterday in San Antonio and sat in on the technical meeting for the elite runners. There was a field of 60 elite runners in this race. (As well as a total of 30,000 runners in general that participated). The entire AKRC group finished incredibly. I asked Joseph how he felt. He told me what he always says: That he will run the race exactly like he trained. Joseph, by default, became the lead in the film I just finished on the AmeriKenyan Running Club. He is super articulate, super humble and super fast. He told me that, this year, each race he competed in was better than the last one. He will race in the LA Marathon next year. Congratulations to AKRC – incredible job!

Larry Madaras. Feature Film Editor. 9 Nov 2009.


Hey Ed,

The best thing to do would be to update your hi-def master to the current cut, and then do a “tape to tape” color correction of version. You would supervise the session along with a colorist. Don’t be afraid to tell them the look you want since you’re the director, but a good colorist can also bring something to a project. In addition to keeping it all legal, LOL.

Final step, make your masters, probably a Blu-ray and Digibeta. All your standard definition DVD’s etc should be made off of that approved master.

You should also think about clearing unlicensed music and photos now as well. You can usually get “festival” rights for things fairly cheaply, and lock in a price for distribution at the same time so you have an idea of how much you’d be on the hook for. Also you could add all the cleared items to your end credits and not have to re-do that later.

There’s an organization called the Independent Film Project (IFP). If you become a member they have contacts to people/lawyers who work with low budget filmmakers on clearances.

Good luck and enjoy the festival ride!

Thanks for your compliments on the show, it’s actually been a bit of a struggle so I’m glad to hear it’s looking fluid to someone who hasn’t worked on it, LOL. Like I said people who work on films that turn out good are rarely able to think about much except for the mistakes and problems they had to overcome…

There are (later in the film) a number of “crossing the line” changes that we had to force, but the best way, traditionally to do it, is with a camera move.

It takes the potential confusion of the screen direction change away by showing the shift on camera and resetting the audiences POV. Our director of photography did manage to do that a number of times quite slickly, though I’m not sure of the exact one you’re referring to. If you can combine a camera move changing the line, with an actor moving within the shot to a new position, well then you’re really talking movie making, LOL!

I better get back to packing my stuff. My 19 year old cat and I fly back to LA in the morning, but I’m really glad we were finally able to meet in person.



Phillip van Kuren. Artist. 9 Nov 2009.


The McKinney Avenue Contemporary in Dallas, Texas will exhibit “FORTY YEARS of WORKS on PAPER, 1969 – 2009. 14 Nov – 19 Dec, 2009.

In a place… like Austin. You get a lot of… well, he’s a painter but he doesn’t paint or she’s writer but she doesn’t write or a dancer that doesn’t dance or Oh! she’s an ex-wife of an ex-mayor… It can get slightly confusing. In with the good and out with the bad…

My friend, PvK, is an artist. Phillip is also the Director of the Pollock Gallery at SMU which, like the Meadows Museum, can hold it’s own… Not just locally but internationally. And that’s the whole point. Isn’t it, Austin?

Notes from the Underground. 3 Nov 2009.

I asked an industry friend in Sun Valley recently about Jeff Katzenberg’s strategy to preempt Disney’s animation releases. I asked why Disney didn’t sue Katzenberg for “look and feel”. Here is the reply:

Hey. Sorry for the delayed response. Been a bit busy launching our current round of engagement.

Some answers are:
Very hard to establish legal basis for a judgment without exposing way more of the internal creative process than they’d want.

K was already suing D for a cut of the profits that the films on his watch raked in. They ultimately settled behind the scenes, with K getting about $280 million.

D had a lot more to lose from a PR standpoint than SKG did. They were already bleeding from the other suit, and the company as a whole was very uncomfortable with the Eisner-Katzenberg showdown. Many see the roots of Eisner’s departure in this feud.
Having just acquired the ABC network, D wanted shows that SKG was producing, and had to bury the hatchet in order to get content.

The S and G in SKG were also being alienated by the battle – and neither Spielberg nor Geffen were people one would readily cut ties with for long.

I did check back to see if I was remembering the battle correctly, after all these years. Seems that the whole thing started when the release date for Antz was pushed up 6 months to beat Bug’s Life to the theaters. But Disney and Universal were already at the clone game before that. Some samples are listed in the attached PDF.

Having looked over the returns, though, I think the best answer is that Disney kept winning, thanks mostly to Pixar’s success. In this JPG, Disney’s purple, SKG is green. In the chart to the right, the vertical axis represents release dates:
DW v Dis
All this would make it seem that a preemptive strategy wasn’t as effective as one might think. Jury’s still out on that – though K was the one who originally put Pixar and Disney together, so he planted the seeds for his own biggest competition. He’s been much more effective at keeping Sony, Fox and Warner Bros at bay.

Interestingly, Katzenberg can claim direct responsibility for about a third of all box office receipts for animated films released in the US in the past two decades, regardless of studio of origin – or $4.4 billion of a $13 billion industry.

Some people you just don’t sue.

Santa Fe Film Festival Dates. 2 Nov 2009.

Keino - Film Poster NL 11-6-09 AGAVE

The Santa Fe Film Fe Festival opens 2 – 6 December 2009.

“chasing KEINO” will screen at 8:00PM on 2 December at the Jean Cocteau Theatre and again on 6 December at 12:15PM at the New Mexico History Museum. Please stop by if you are in the Santa Fe area or visit

A huge Thanks You to anyone who helped, looked at, made suggestions regarding this film! Very much appreciated! Many Thanks!