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Crew Call May 11
by Doniphan Blair
Well, it has been an exciting spring across a lot of Northern California's media community. In Oakland, our focus this issue, we've hosted Hollywood features; one of our top indies, Carmen...
Madden is about to start her second feature with television star Blair Underwood (see
), and one of our premier media and training organizations, Youth Radio, is rocking awards, web portals and health care (see
). In fact, the city's overall atmosphere (read murder rate) is improved and Oakland's gallery scene is off the hook, a vibrant emerging culture. Oakland's filmmakers are also emerging, and despite the economy, it is a perfect place to make movies: where art, tech and real life meet.
Financially, however, Oakland is in trouble and it may close its Film Office, effectively ending a decade-old dream of becoming a flourishing commercial film center. The Great Recession has devastated Oakland and even the near million dollars netted from Philip Kaufman's "Hemingway & Gelhorn" is not enough to inspire the city fathers and now mothers, with the recent election of Mayor Jean Quan.
Alas, up and down is a way life in the Bay Area film business and this bug has also bitten CineSource. While our web hits have been over 30,000 a month this year, up 300% from last summer, our advertising is down 95%—Oakland stiffed us on their ads.
But here's a heartfelt
"Yeah, yeah, yeah!!!"
for our two stalwarts:
Disher Music & Sound
in South of Market, San Francisco, and Oakland's
Leo's Pro Audio
!!!!!! Please use their services and tell them where you saw their ads.
CineSource publisher Doniphan Blair likes the hitchhiking icon, here used for the invite to the 'Anti-Eviction Party,' Saturday, June 11th, CineSource Central, 2200 Adeline, Oakland. photo: D. Blair
Indeed, CineSource may soon be evicted from our West Oakland office, although how soon it is hard to say. Indeed, we intend to carry on till the final hour searching for solutions.
Hence, please come to our "Anti-Eviction Party," Saturday, June 11th, eight till late, at CineSource Central, 2200 Adeline Street, West Oakland. This is not a sad ending to the CineSource story:
• CineSource will continue web publishing regardless of bricks and mortar
• CS will continue adding elements, like the
, please send any listings
• CS will continue advocating for the indies, narratives and docs, of Northern California as well as Oakland
• CS will continue covering all "20 Sectors" of the N. Cal media community, from Hollywood North to art filmmakers, from postproduction providers to film festivals—albeit in sometimes more limited levels
Meanwhile, I intend to take a sabbatical, turning over the editorial reins to a local writer, Stephen Middlestein, while putting out the call for a managing editor (
" if you are interested). Since I starting the magazine in April 2008 with the help of David Hakim, Roger Rose and Tony Reveaux, it has been a good run: 28 printed issues, half a million web hits and 115 articles penned by yours truly.
I interviewed Walter Murch, for a five fascinating hours, and Benjamin and Peter Bratt, for fifteen rapid fire minutes. I made some great film contacts and saw some fantastic films. I will still try to do the occasional article and spearhead the Hollywood North Gala Issue—Lucas, Copolla and Pixar—in the fall but now I turn to other writing and film projects and dismantling of my studio of 22 years.
Sure, it is surfeit with a certain sadness—the story of an art studio,
, its dreams of grandeur and the projects that didn't pan out. Yes, our documentary, "
Our Holocaust Vacation
, has just finished a hundred show run on PBS and is getting some DVD and curriculum sales but it's not quite enough to offset the $120,000 price tag. Yes, A Media's had some massive graphic projects recently, like
The History Banners
, Los Angeles, or for the Environmental Division of the City of Oakland, but went over budget or were cancelled.
Time may have come to move on—or not, since we still have some big projects in the fire, not the least this Gala Oakland Issue. Our last Oakland issue, in April 2009, jumped our web hits 500%.
Hence, we intend to keep pushing this issue, CineSource as the Oakland expert, Oakland as a film scene and the films we think Oakland should be making: in-depth investigations or romantic soul rides, doc or narrative. Cine Oakland, as we sometimes call it, is symbolized by the masterful "Sin Nombre" (2009) by Oakland-born-but-Brooklyn-dwelling Cary Fukunaga. The fact that Fukunaga is back, two years later—two years of the Great Recession later!—with the fully Hollywood but also artful and heartbreaking "Jane Eyre" is a testament to both his diversity and determination.
Power on Fukunaga and we'll try to follow in your footsteps.
Posted on May 16, 2011 - 11:08 PM